Who and What is the Happy Warrior
This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.
(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Mainly I wanted to offer my reverence for the Constitution of the United States and say "happy birthday!" Unfortunately our Constitution is showing serious signs of dying. There are some who wish to change it, to ignore it, to "re-interpret" it, to pre-empt it. This is accomplished so subtly, out of supposed "good intentions" and sometimes under the cloak of some urgent crisis (a la White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste — and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn’t think you could do before.”)
Here are some relevant (and wise) thoughts that we would do well to consider:
To the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Constitution of the United States is as a tree of liberty under whose cooling branches one might find a haven from the scorching sun of turmoil and oppression and have his rights protected according to just and holy principles. To them, the Constitution was established by the hands of wise men whom God raised up for this very purpose, and they devoutly believe that if it should be in danger of being overthrown, their lives, if need be, are to be offered in defense of its principles. (See D&C 101:77–80.)
-Harold B. Lee(True Patriotism 2; revised in Ye Are the Light of the World 176)
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
-George Bernard Shaw
"Let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;-let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, & to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American... let it become the political religion of the nation."
-Abraham Lincoln, address to the Young Men's Lyceum
27 Jan. 1838; Liv. Lincoln, pp.23
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
At $578 million, the Robert F. Kennedy School in Los Angeles is the most expensive public school ever built in America. It features a high-tech swimming pool, a chic auditorium, vaulted ceilings, luxury amenities and a design aesthetic worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest. ABC News reports that the school is more expensive than the "Bird's Nest" stadium in Beijing, China, built for the 2008 Olympics, and the Wall Street Journal notes that it cost more than L.A.'s Staples sports center.
And while a half-billion dollar public school complex would be jarring enough to taxpayers during plush budget times, this public school was constructed at a time when the district faces a $640 million deficit. It's a red carpet reminder of why California and so many other states face severe budget shortfalls.
But Joe Agron, the editor-in-chief of the school construction publication American School & University, said that "Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning." When asked by the Wall Street Journal whether the school's plush amenities and architectural flourishes were necessary, Thomas Rubin, a consultant for Los Angeles' bond oversight committee, was blunt: "Did we have to do that? Hell no. But there's no accounting for taste," Rubin stated.
But it's neither "impressive environments" nor good taste that will raise academic achievement, boost graduation rates or cultivate a thirst for learning. Nor is it half-billion dollar school complexes. In fact, many very low-performing school districts throughout the country spend tremendous amounts of taxpayer resources on public school facilities and have hefty per-pupil expenditures. In Los Angeles, conservative estimates put per-pupil spending in excess of $11,000; other estimates put the figure closer to $30,000 per-pupil. Yet just 15 percent of 8th grade students are proficient in reading and less than half of students graduate high school. The WSJ notes:
The K-12 complex isn't merely an overwrought paean to the nation's most celebrated liberal political family. It's a jarring reminder that money doesn't guarantee success ”though it certainly beautifies failure."
Unfortunately, the profligate spending on the Robert F. Kennedy public school isn't an isolated case. Los Angeles taxpayers are also on the hook for a $232 million Visual and Performing Arts High School as well as the $377 million Edward Roybal Learning Center.
While these schools were constructed in part using $20 billion in bonds approved by Los Angeles residents, the spend now, pay later mentality permeating a public education sector dominated by special interest groups has been bolstered by continual federal bailouts courtesy of the Obama administration.
These federal bailouts - $100 billion in new money given to the Department of Education through last year's "stimulus" followed by another $10 billion teacher union bailout this August - prevent states from making the long-term budgetary decisions necessary to ease the burden on taxpayers and create systemic education reforms.
To all my blog readers: this is YOUR money being frivolously spent by an educational establishment that is always crying "save our schools" and "don't let teacher positions be cut". I say, no more taxes, bonds or gifts until you start using the money you are already getting with some sort of higher intelligence than you are currently displaying!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A somewhat benign example of this is the periodic media coverage of shark attacks. It seems like every 4 years or so there is a virtual slaughter that takes place along the beaches of America. In reality it is just the media spotlight on a phenomenon that represents far less than 7-10% of the mortality causes... but it sure is dramatic. And so for one summer everyone is paranoid about swimming in the ocean. Not such a horrible consequence by comparison.
And so it is with our morally and rationally challenged pastor of The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida. One obscure pastor of an obscure non-denominational church is casting a long and ugly shadow on Christianity and on Americans.
I am not one to speak in absolutes when it comes to the prospect of burning books (although I can safely take a universal stance against the burning of people -a lesson well learned from early American history in Salem, Massachusettes). I am loath to burn books or flags although I can think of instance of both where I would participate. The disgusting account of a manual of child molestation which is just now being carried by the news media is one such example of a text that deserves to be burned... and I would happily provide the match. But I would defend and protect the integrity of even those texts for which I have strong distaste -included in the list would be The Communist Manifesto, Mao's Little Red Book, The Feminine Mystique and The Catcher in the Rye (this last being a matter of personal dislike rather than strong philosophical disagreement). Texts that qualify as sacred writings are on an infinitely higher level of consideration. It is beyond me that a Christian who is knowledgable in the long, painful, tortured history of early Christianity would condone or conceive of the idea of destroying another religion's sacred text. To me this pastor and this non-denominational church has lost its claim as legitimate Christians. I ask the single, the most fundamental clarifying question of Christianity as they consider the rightness or the wrongness of this potential course of action: What would Jesus do? If they can seriously suggest that he would condone their behavior, much less lead the book burning himself I have no other way to explain their perspective and their beliefs than to apply my Perpetual Idiocy Axiom -there will always be a small percentage of people who believe entirely untenable and irrational things... and unfortunately there is little you can do about it in a free society.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
As it turns out they only had to look in their trunks.
Come on people... it is only physiology.