RNC Changes Symbol from Elephant to Praying Mantis

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus describes Mitch McConnell’s resemblance to a praying mantis.

The Republicans have officially adopted the praying mantis, a cannibalistic insect with disturbing predatory behavior, as the party symbol.

“It was inherently appropriate,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, “This year’s primaries affirmed our decision to make the switch.”

The praying mantis, if left with no other dining options and/or whenever it feels like it, will resort to eating other mantises. Priebus explained that this attribute made for a resemblance that extends far beyond the previous symbol’s significance.

“Elephants have spectacular long-term memories. Republicans don’t, or else they wouldn’t keep doing the same stupid thing over and over and over again,” said a committee member, “Plus I should mention that praying mantises only pretend to be religious …”

Republicans tend to attack fellow Republicans, a trend that has only worsened over time. Party members explain that many attackers have “no idea when to quit” and will even “attack the platform” of the party, or even refuse to quit rambling after the primaries or runoffs are over.

Mantises also eat their young, a characteristic the Chairman also described as “fitting for our party.” He added in a press release that “…with our continuing difficulties in reaching out to the younger generation, and considering that we basically eat them alive as we cave to detrimental policies, higher taxes, marriage penalties and college-funding debacles, it seemed more than appropriate, but almost necessary.”

Priebus said that the change isn’t a prank.

The new party symbol.

The new party symbol.

“Hopefully this embarrassing symbol will motivate those idiots to quit acting like a bunch of cannibals during the primaries and runoffs,” concluded Priebus. “The Committee won’t change it until party members quit eating each other.”

“Good” is the Enemy of the Constitution

An open door is accessible from both directions: that's why legislators shouldn't venture into unconstitutional jurisdictions, not even for "good" legislation.

An open door is accessible from both directions: that’s why lawmakers shouldn’t venture into unconstitutional jurisdictions, not even for “good” legislation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a momentous difference between a good bill and a constitutional bill; when legislators cannot distinguish which is which, the situation quickly morphs into something like our own.

In the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate, there are truckloads of technically “good” bills vying for attention: many are ideologically correct, display excellent policy choices, and may offer solid plans to lessen or eliminate problems state and local governments face.

However, these “good” bills have a fatal problem: their unconstitutionality. The fact that they accomplish nationwide education reforms or that they realign the states’ spending priorities is never enough to justify the fact that they are wandering into unconstitutional jurisdictions, creating an even more centralized government.

No matter if the proposed legislation proposes to accomplish a worthy goal, a centralized flaw defeats the very purpose of this “good” legislation.

When states bow down to agreeable federal laws, like nullifying all state gun control laws, banishing all varieties of dysfunctional state bureaucracies, or even amending home schooling rules, the enacted federal laws will eventually change—perhaps even to the polar opposite—but the jurisdiction Washington secured for itself will never change hands.

If the federal government forces a new policy on the states once, it can change it twice. The only difference may be that for the first time, the states agreed and that for the second, they had no choice. If the federal government declared that all states must abolish, for instance, laws prohibiting open carry, it can just as well use its newly acquired jurisdiction to declare that all states must prohibit open carry.

Federal interference in state laws opens a door that can be approached from either direction.

Even if California’s pesky “Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment” was wiped off the face of the earth through a federal law, the jurisdiction goes both ways—the federal government thereby sets a precedent that central jurisdiction supersedes local powers in such-and-such area.

This does not bode well for states or local governments. If originally the federal government did something appropriate policy-wise, the jurisdiction it obtained by interfering in state matters is jurisdiction that it can just as easily abuse for the worst.

Even if you agree with the policy behind a federal law—for instance, maybe one that nullifies all state gun control laws—the means by which this policy is achieved is unconstitutional and inherently unpredictable.

The flipside to federal legislation is that once the federal government accumulates a power, it will never let it go, like a sinking boat taking on water. (Like a sinking boat, a central government with too much power will sink.)

Conservatives, even if they are voting for “good” legislation, should be wary of anything that hijacks jurisdiction from the states. Jurisdiction that the states sacrificed for “good” federal legislation will be altered, abused, twisted, and contorted to benefit the legislators and lobbyists, leaving the states with neither the jurisdiction or the policy for which they abjured their authority.

Nationwide laws can be “good.” But more often than not, they are still proponents of centralization and an enormous threat to states’ rights and the people’s power. Those who give up states’ rights for a “good” piece of legislation not only deserve neither, but in the end, they will have neither. 

 

Good vs. Evil

All right, everyone knows what I’m talking about. Anyone who has seen a movie, read a book, or listened to an audio drama knows that the basic formula is good vs. evil. Anything else is pretty boring. We see good versus evil in animated movies, live action movies, and everything in between. Without a good bad guy, the movie starts to fall apart.

Everyone loves these movies, which is probably why they dominate our media. Kids know what they are even before they know the core values of good and evil, and years later adults still watch them, because they are just good. However, these characters are fake.

Why videos and books are so exciting is because we could never ACTUALLY have a robot take over the world, because we wouldn’t know how to fix it. The characters are built to be able to overcome, and let’s face it, no one is really born with, say, ice powers, or force fields. We don’t inherit magic weapons and we don’t live in the Middle Ages, or in Middle Earth. If we’re honest, these stories would never work in real life.

However, it is thrilling to take an idea and run with it, to imagine all the things that can happen. What if? is a big part of imagination, the mother of movies. What if evil really did run wild? Who could stop it?

It’s a big thing. Before we forget, we need to step back and remember what the true battle between right and wrong is. We need to remember the one who has truly overcome, and the enemy that we really should fear. Everyone knows that without a good bad guy, the movie is a bit boring. You need someone so evil that you know for a fact that he (or she) will do exactly what he says he will, and that he needs to be stopped. The best bad guys want to destroy everything, and usually aren’t human.

lewis

Lewis, protagonist of Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons”, and Doris, the robotic villain.

Maybe it’s because we think that humans aren’t capable of ruining the world. I’m not sure, but I think the frequent use of robots, monsters and aliens as villains reflects our unconscious awareness that we are not alone, and hilariously outgunned. There are things much greater than us, and we can’t defeat them alone.

Praise God that we finally get it! I only wish that movies like the ones I’ve referenced (Without saying any names) would not just point in random directions when they ask what is greater, but that they would point to the creator. We can believe in robots and aliens that are all-powerful, why can’t we believe in a sinister accuser who has been corrupting and destroying from the beginning of time? We can believe in superheroes who overcome, why can’t we believe in a savior?

Jesus fought the battle that no mortal could. He was beaten and mocked, like a hero in a MARVEL movie. But instead of fighting back, he held his tongue, and waited for agonizing hours until it was his time to overcome. On the third day, he destroyed the enemy so thoroughly that he is only a shadow of his former self, and must content himself with whispers, because he power is broken.

That’s the true version of Good versus Evil. More action than a superhero film, and with a better ending than any Disney film. All good heroes start out weak but win anyway, a reflection on the fact that our Hero was born as a BABY when he was the all-powerful Lord of all, and became one of us.

No movie, no matter how hard Hollywood tries, can ever rival that. Nothing even comes close.

 

Happy Dog Bored

Hi. It’s the…well, actually, it’s the BORED dog coming from you via internet and a cat. No, my people still are keeping me in solitary confinement.

Well, I did get let off yesterday, but there was the weirdest thing there. Apparently chasing chickens is a crime that must be stopped, and so my people invested in this horrid machine that emits an ear-breaking sound every time I go near the chickens or the corn patch. It doesn’t seem to bother the people as much, strangely enough, and I can’t for the life of me understand that. Obviously it must mean that human ears are inferior to those of a dog.

Dogs do seem to have the advantage over people. We can run faster, have tougher feet, thicker skin, more legs, longer noses, and higher intellect than them. However, there is one thing that this species has that makes up for their deficiencies: opposable thumbs.

An opposable fifth digit would be so useful. Maybe I could unlock the chicken cage instead of digging under it. I might even be able to write my own articles, so that Fluffy would stop Promiseposting unflattering pictures.

Like that. That is not me, and I have no idea who it is, but Fluffy put him there. He is rather cute though, with the nice ears and the tail, and big paws…sorry, I got off subject. Cats do that to dogs. They take whatever wisdom you had in your head and replace it with…I don’t know, cotton candy. Gummy worms. Something not very smart. If you don’t believe me, look at a cat lover and tell me that they’re in their right mind. Nope. Cat deception.

I’m going nuts here. That oppressive screaming box deters me from having fun when I’m off, and when I’m on there’s nothing to do but wag my tail and sleep. Dogs, take it from someone who knows: don’t make them put you in the doghouse. There is nothing to do here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m going to blame the chickens for this. They will pay dearly for this boredom.

Sequel

Picture this:

You’re a kid, and you just watched like the “best movie ever” and are driving home from the movie theater and are driving your parents crazy talking about it. Most likely your thoughts will wind around to the thought of a sequel. Or maybe you’re a teenager and you just saw the most awesome superhero film, and are thinking the same thing.

Yeah, it might be the “best movie ever” but let me give you some observations.

  1. Sequels are often bad compared to their predecessor.
  2. Most people don’t watch sequels.
  3. Sequels have this weird habit of jumping time either years after the first or smack in the middle the first movie.
  4. Sequels are usually inferior because if a movie was good enough to have a sequel, it probably tied up any loose ends needed to continue.

See, sequels are often disappointing. This does not usually apply to series of movies, like Star Wars or something, because the writers planned to continue. However, sequels are usually based only on the base movie’s success, and require a good deal of rushed writing, which explains the inferior plot.

But sequels make good money. Fans of the original will come out to see the sequel to “see what happens next” and will pay to see it. Also, people who were little when the first one came out are older now, and might pay for all the themed merchandise that Hollywood tosses out with each new film.

In this year, three sequels have come out already, and about three more (that I know of) are going to come out. Of these, two are superheroes and at least three are animated. These all have good stands because they are standing on the shoulders of their awesome masters. However, a movie has to make its own stand in the world if it wants to be great. In my family’s opinion, Cars 2 was better than Cars, but it will be forever tied to it because without the first, the second makes no sense.

But I’m not saying not to watch the Planes movie, or How to Train Your Dragon 2, I’m just saying to be aware of the sequel syndrome and be prepared.

Chosen Ones: Friend or Foe?

Caro looked at Gino in unbelief. “If you could stop Nya before, why didn’t you?” Opal shrugged. “She hid away to make sure that you weren’t found. Unless I speak to her face to face, it will do nothing.” Promise barked. Caro looked at him. The silly dog always was wanting to bark at nothing. Then again, the last time he had barked was when the soldiers were coming. He snuck a glance out the window: nothing. Opal had been talking to Gino quietly while he had been distracted, and he left the room.

Opal turned her clouded blue eyes to Caro. “Tell me about my friend. Tell me about Nenya!” Caro looked at her. “Nenya?” “Your sister?” Opal cocked her head. “Nenya Julietta? My friend?” “Oh!” Caro became uncomfortable. “She’s gone.” Opal’s face paled. “Gone? Gone to glory?” Caro had never heard that phrase, but he felt that it was speaking of death. “Aye. She’s gone.” He didn’t say anymore, but Opal continued to talk.

“I was afraid of that. I couldn’t see her anymore. I dreamed of her.” She sighed and looked up as if she could see her friend in front of her. “She was a true princess! The  true thing! With hair like gold, and a face like a king’s. She had been mistreated in life, but death, though it came in pain, and stole her last breath, brought relief and peace to a weary soul, And now, with her loved ones, she is whole.” Her voice turned into a song, then ceased.

Caro had never really thought about what would happen after death. His only thoughts had been bitterness and anger against Nya, and longing for his sister. Gino re-entered the room with what Caro guessed to be a workbasket. The girl begun to spin and talk of plans.

“Of course, Nya isn’t going to just invite us in. If I’m going to see her, it will have to be in His timing. So how are  we going to get to her, and more importantly, how are we going to make it alive?” Gino sat down and rubbed Promise’s ears. “I really don’t know. I haven’t talked strategy with anyone but a three-year-old.” Opal laughed. “That was a ridiculous idea we thought up. But really now, what do we do? Should we make a stand, or retreat for better ground?” “What is better than a mountain?” Caro asked.

“We could be surrounded.” Gino pointed down and around. Opal nodded. “Right. But the… but the… well, ” She waved her hand in the air and Caro felt cold inside. “–her magic. We must not forget that.” “Magic?” Caro asked, scarcely wanting to know what she meant. “Witchcraft would be a better word.” Gino commented, running his hand through his dog’s silky fur.

Caro felt sick. “What do you mean?” Opal’s face clouded. “Dark magic. Actions and powers never ordained by the creator. Mystical evil. Changing of seasons. Changing of minds. Enchantment, you might say, against the people. It’s a grave and terrible thing, but it must be counted in our plans.” Promise barked again. “No, silly dog, we’re not listening to your opinion!” Opal laughed, then froze.

Promise and Pussy

Gino looked up sharply, and froze as well. Caro looked around. He didn’t see anything. “What is it?” He asked, but they didn’t move. Promise growled and trotted to the door. Caro followed him, hoping for an explanation for the actions of the others. Through the window he could see a figure trudging through the snow. And he was wearing a uniform.

Caro looked at the dog again. “Good dog. What do we do now?” “Let him in, of course!” Opal shouted. “I have heard of him.” Caro walked back to them. “What does that mean?” He asked. Gino was silent, but Opal’s sightless eyes pierced through the silence. “He is searching for us. We should see what his purpose is.” She picked up a poker. Caro wasn’t sure if she was still in her right mind, but he obeyed, and opened up the door.

The man hadn’t seen them yet. He was about as old as Gino, with dark hair, dark eyes, and freckles. His face was likeable, but he was a soldier, and soldiers were the enemy. Caro found it hard not to challenge him, as he watched the green-black uniform ascend the peak. Was he a scout to an attack? Or was he sincere, and wanted to find them for good reasons? Whatever it was, Caro would be ready.

If you missed any of Caro’s adventures, you can find them here.

Beware of the GEICO Gecko

Humans think this creep is cute for some reason. Don't fall for it--but if they actually did decide to suspend the laws of physics with their anti-gravity forces, you wouldn't be able to fall for anything, actually.

Humans think this creep is cute for some reason. Don’t fall for it. Never mind … if geckos did suspend the laws of physics with their anti-gravity forces, you actually wouldn’t be able to fall for anything. 

 

Dear Hodgkins,

As a regular reader, I understand well the threat facing western civilization from lizards.  But what about geckos?  They look sort of like lizards.  And what about those GEICO Insurance ads? Should I be concerned about GEICO?  –Concerned Calico

 

Concerned Calico,

Geckos are definitely something to be concerned about: while both lizards (suborder Iguania) and geckos (suborder Scleroglossa) are both of the order Squamata, they are competitors for world domination. Pitting them against each other is one of the best things we can do, as infighting proves particularly devastating to reptiles.

If there is ever a gecko infestation in your house, be afraid. While lizards are treacherous brutes with manifold physical powers and the brawn necessary to take out a full-grown cat, geckos have abilities that defy the laws of gravity.

Fortunately for us, the gecko population is significantly smaller than the lizard population. Not to mention that they don’t breath fire. Considering how I’m an expert, I should leave the easier tasks—like slaughtering geckos—to kittens and other amateurs.

However, even though geckos are significantly easier to eliminate, there are some things to keep in mind about geckos:

  • They are every bit as cunning as lizards—but what’s worse is how elusive they can be.
  • They don’t taste good.
  • If you want to scare a human, all you have to do is put a gecko in their face. (I would not recommend this because your human may banish you to Siberia.)
  • Unlike lizards, they can’t breath fire. They do, however, have anti-gravity abilities.

Anti-gravity forces are formidable. Since geckos could suspend gravity universe-wide, we ought to consider the consequences:

  • There is no atmosphere on the moon because it doesn’t have enough gravity—meaning that it’s a near vacuum. Without gravity, our atmosphere and pretty much everything else on earth (including water) would float away into space.
  • That’s not all. Atoms and molecules would separate and fly apart at the seams and suddenly elementary particles would be moving at the speed of light.
  • In other words, no gravity means that everything would basically cease to exist and you would be a jumble of particles zipping around what used to be the universe.

The GEICO gecko may promise 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance. Maybe so, but I would rather have gravity than cheap car insurance.

So, Calico, it would be best to finish off as many geckos as possible. It isn’t just western civilization at stake this time—but do keep in mind that right now lizards are the primary threat.

I love me too,

Hodgkins

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Hunting Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Expert Tree-Conqueror;
And Your Humble Master

A Great Performance

Have you ever been on the stage? In a play, or choir, or have you ever watched a friend do one?

Though my theatrical experience is limited to singing, I have a good friend who can be honestly described as theatrical. She likes to act and she’s good at it. However, while she’s doing the play or musical, she is as tense as can be, and almost wishes that it was over. There are so many things to think about! You want to do your best, and you also have to make sure the people around you are doing their best too, or else your play will fail.

I’ve only done it once, and I was in charge (unofficially) of a bunch a little kids to keep them quiet while the others moved around the props. I had like five to work with. She does it several times a year and has 15-30 people to worry about. She’s a pro. But I can empathize with her when she confides in me that she is scared, because I would be too.

It’s kind of interesting how the success of a play counts on everyone learning their parts. In order to do it right, you not only have to memorize your dialogue, but you also have to come in and go out at the right time, or it looks sloppy. And you should listen to the director, or else you might mess up both of those things.

Plays and movies are hard, but plays are unanimously harder to put on, because there is no retake in a live performance. Sometimes we wish that we could just go through life like a movie: “Cut! I made a terrible decision. Let’s run that scene through again.” Wouldn’t that be great? But that’s not the way it goes. Every mistake, every word you say, has an audience.

Life is a live performance. We can’t change it when it’s done, and we can’t go back and re-do it. But one of the things I have noticed is that live performances often touch you more. You can’t interact with a TV screen, but with real people acting in front of you. A play can not be described, because who can describe a flow of emotion? No, plays are wonderful things.

And after the stress of  the performance, you say, “Glad that was over.” Yet you want to do another, because it, even though it is crazy and stressful, is rewarding. If you don’t get to do another you feel regret, especially if it was a very good one. A play well done is felt by the actors.

And I think a life well done is even better, because you get no practice. You can’t practice going through trials, but if by God’s Grace you overcome them anyway, you deserve a crown of glory, simply because he loves you and loves to see you succeed. Bow, smile, and turn away. The play has ended, and real life has begun.

 

The Right to Work: Reserved for Adults?

All legislation sends a message. American child labor laws send a clear one: everyone under the age of 18 needs to be protected from the capitalist exploitation known as “work.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression; it restricts working hours, occupations, and employers for all children under 12, almost all teens from ages 13-16, and most teens from 16-18. Only industries that had strong lobbying institutions in the 1930s were spared: some branches of agriculture, congressional pages, newspaper deliverers, and a few other minor employment opportunities.

great depression lines

One reason why child labor was suddenly demonized in the 30s was so adults would have a better chance at getting work. Washington’s solution was the FLSA, and as a result children and adults suffered.

As with most left-leaning restrictions, regulations, and redistribution schemes, child labor laws seem morally justified, sound in principle, and even an escape for youngsters trapped in what at first glance appears to be an eternal cycle of low-level education and subsequent low wages.

Legislation like the FLSA, however, is an example of symbolism over substance, a law chasing a trend, and an attention-seeking Washington attempting to take credit for a pre-existing societal shift. By 1930 only 6.4% of males and a diminutive 2.9% of females under the age of eighteen worked, indicating something that economists have been trying to explain to labor regulators for decades: parents and children usually make the best economic decisions for themselves. One-size-fits-all legislation like the FLSA usually fits no one and inhibits the very progress that makes it possible for a child or teen to support himself or herself and achieve success.

Still a divisive issue in 2014, child labors laws have elicited much argument in the past, including Rep. Fritz G. Lanham’s satirical 1924 argument against the FLSA:

Consider the Federal agent in the field; he toils not, nor does he spin; and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his populous household was not arrayed with powers like one of these.

Children, obey your agents from Washington, for this is right.

Honor thy father and thy mother, for the Government has created them but a little lower than the Federal agent. Love, honor, and disobey them.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, tell it to thy father and mother and let them do it.

Six days shalt thou do all thy rest, and on the seventh day thy parents shall rest with thee.

Go to the bureau officer, thou sluggard; consider his ways and be idle.

Toil, thou farmer’s wife; thou shalt have no servant in thy house, nor let thy children help thee.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Federal agent, and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Thy children shall rise up and call the Federal agent blessed.

Lanham’s opposition to child labor laws was well-founded.

 

Good, Better, and Best

“Child labor laws sound great when you hear the talking points and look into the harsh reality of teens and children left with no other decision but to work, in historical context or even in today’s world,” said Steven, a young Lumberton resident, “But it’s a question of good, better, and best: if your alternatives were either to starve, to work at a farm for very low wages, or to work in a factory for sufficient (albeit still low) wages, which would you pick? If going to school meant starvation, would you still want to ban child labor?”

Situations vary drastically. Child labor laws cannot accommodate the millions of unique children, thousands of industries, hundreds of education levels, and the inimitable factors that combine to create a child’s or teen’s lifestyle. While a teen may have poor discernment, they understand that survival trumps education. (Not to mention that in third world countries, education is expensive, rare, and typically of low quality in the first place).

David Roodman explains:

We are all descendants of children who survived to adulthood only by laboring, whether as farmers or herders or gatherers. Only with their labor could the family subsist. I look forward to the day when there is no child on earth for whom this is the best choice. But we are not there yet. And we are not as close as you might think. Going by the numbers, the world has made great progress getting kids into school … how quick should we be to tell parents struggling under circumstances far different from our own what the right choice is?…

Self-interest is a crucial factor that makes child labor laws unnecessary and little more than a symbolic burden on the American teenage population. Getting a job before age 12 in a third world country usually signifies unfortunate circumstances; here it would almost always merely demonstrate a desire to earn a few extra bucks in the summer months. If the situation was genuinely bad enough, would it not be better anyway for a young adult to get a job than to lose everything?

Maybe a teen wants to learn more about his future career, practice a skill, or even just make some money from expertise he already has. In the United States, there is almost never a case where a child needs to support himself: but there are plenty of “underage” folks who want to save up for college and build up an impressive resume before age 20. Every situation is drastically different, and child labor laws are testimonies to the refusal of left-leaning regulators to realize that fact.

When a child or teen decides to start working a job—including in a third world country or developing nation—it may or may not be a good move to make, but it may be the best choice that this child has: child labor laws can limit or destroy these options and make it impossible for young people to get a firm footing on life.

 

Detrimental Symbolism Over Substance

Child labor laws limit options because they work on the assumption that all career choices require the same amount of training and experience. The trade-off might be worth it if the laws actually did something positive; however, they were not responsible for the drop in American child labor nor do they accomplish anything beneficial in today’s economy.

In other words, child labor laws are a complete flop and little more than a symbolic attempt to show that Washington “cares” about children in desperate situations. Oddly enough, Congress and FDR saw fit to eliminate some children’s best option during the Great Depression to show that they “cared.” Adopting child labor laws denies the fact that there are situations wherein a job before the age of 16-18 is the best option, and ignoring such circumstances exist is a demonstration of either callous disregard or deliberate ignorance.

From 1820 to 1930 child labor became prevalent, peaked, and then plummeted to almost nothing—all before the FLSA and without restrictions on labor. United States child labor laws were nothing but symbolic.

In “State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor” (Explorations in Economic History) Carolyn Moehling explains that the employment rate of 13-year olds around the beginning of the twentieth century did decline in states that enacted age minimums of 14, but so did the rates for 13-year olds not covered by the restrictions. Overall, laws are linked to only a small fraction of the decline in child labor.

1930s family at home

A sample of what leftists are fond of calling “the masses,” circa 1930.

Curiously, the children “of the masses”—the commoners, the general public—had more money, more luxuries, more food, longer lifespans, more access to medical care, more clothing, and more education than any generation preceding them. The aristocracy has generally had the most access to education in almost all given historical settings, but in America, things were changing. The increased economic activity and burgeoning scientific discoveries of the late 19th century and early 20th century were giving children and teens not only a chance to survive, but a place to work and time to study. Somehow it happened without child labor laws.

The FLSA was scarcely a contributing reason for the drastic reduction and practical elimination of child labor between 1880 and 1940. Economists attribute the drop in child labor to economic growth (which brought rising incomes, shorter hours, and larger schools) and industrialization. It allowed parents the financial luxury of keeping their children and teens out of the workforce, away from the farm, and instead in school.

The statistics prove that capitalism, not child labor laws, ended the fifty-year reign of child labor in the United States. Apparently these laws offer no benefits and nothing but detriment.

 

Child Labor Around the World: the Left’s Hypocrisy

Is communism the answer to the alleged problem of child labor? Judging by North Korea, it's about as far as you can get from a solution.

Is communism the answer to the alleged problem of child labor? Judging by North Korea, it’s about as far as you can get from a solution.

While the Socialist Labor Party of America is adamant that “Child Labor [is] Still America’s Shame,” the fact is that the United States has one of the lowest child labor rates in the world. It was heading towards that ranking even before the FLSA was made law. This can be attributed to American free markets (currently our economic system most resembles interventionism, not laissez-faire capitalism) and technological innovation.

Daniel De Leon, an American socialist, said that “Socialism alone is the remedy for child labor.” Not to burst his bubble, but the worst child labor offenders in the world are socialist states, communist regimes, or outright dictatorships, where children are not banned from jobs but are instead required to work: North Korea, China, Cuba, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have the largest child workforces, for example.

Communists, socialists, and most left-leaning political parties have stolen the moral high ground, claiming that they oppose child labor and will pass laws to stop it. In reality they mean that they do not oppose child labor, but rather children working for the private sector. They will stifle or abolish private property, employment, and salaries to prevent this “atrocity”.

While banning child labor can actually place children in even worse situations than they were already in, forcing a teen or child to work—as communists are fond of doing—is much more devastating. Families split up, teens are abandoned altogether, and children are left to fend for themselves. Mandating labor requirements always has terrible aggregate results.

In the United States, children are not allowed to make the choice to work. In North Korea, however, the situation is inverted: work is required by law. State control over this delicate and formative life decision is a violation of inherent rights either way.

 

Quality Education?

One excuse for the lobbyist-motivated child labor ban is so that “our youth can receive a quality education.” This is no reason to restrict nearly all young adults under age 18 from working. Some children graduate early—maybe even by age 14—and are left with a few years of nothing before they head to college. Others have plans for occupations like leather-working, carpentry, or plumbing, and while a “quality education” is important to finish, there’s not a reason they cannot practice their craft for pay.

building workshop

Child labor laws make it well nigh impossible for young adults to practice or learn new crafts.

While Washington may not be creative enough to think of situations wherein it is possible to both work a part-time job and attend school at the same time, students are. Despite the fact, it’s still illegal.

A summer job can be better education than schooling, and in some cases manual labor is very convincing to pre-teens and teens who don’t feel motivated to do well in school or get a college degree. Child labor laws ignore this, making it impossible for students who are ahead, graduated early, need experience in their future field, or a slight motivation to study harder to avoid a lifetime of drudgery.

A “quality education” sometimes needs to include hands-on opportunities and the responsibilities that come with a job. Child labor laws are there to ensure that no such thing happens.

 

A Question of Morals

Many people support child labor laws for understandable moral reasons—perhaps out of concern for the teen or child (probably the biggest worry) and concern for the situations that might have driven them to employment.

If there was a situation so dire that a person under the age of 18 was seeking employment, consider this: if the situation is so bad that they are needing to support themselves, what good would it do to ban the employment option?

It is not the question of morals so much as it is the question itself. Allowing each individual and family a choice is infinitely better than guessing the majority’s decision and making other options criminal.

Young adults deserve the option of getting an after-school or summer job, working through an internship or apprenticeship, and even getting a part-time job to test career and industry options.

Young adults deserve the option of getting an after-school or summer job, working through an internship or apprenticeship, and even getting a part-time job to test career and industry options.

In desperate settings, child labor laws only tie the hands of young adults. In other circumstances—like a summer or after-school job—the law only serves to prevent good things from happening, which leads to an important issue: the work ethic.

 

 

The Work Ethic

“What lesson do we impart with child-labor laws? We establish early on who is in charge: not individuals, not parents, but the state. We tell the youth that they are better off being mall rats than fruitful workers. We tell them that they have nothing to offer society until they are 18 or so. We convey the impression that work is a form of exploitation from which they must be protected … We rob them of what might otherwise be the most valuable early experiences of their young adulthood,” said Jeffery Tucker.

Work is not exploitation, but child labor laws assume that it is: it engenders an entitlement mindset, and as Tucker mentioned, it does send a message that young people are worthless until they “are 18 or so.”

Responsibilities, schedules, deadlines, etiquette, and customs of the business world are only a few things that a part-time job could teach a young adult. Junior high or high school students searching for career options, wondering where they would do well, or questioning their prospective degree choices can benefit much from interning, getting a part-time job, or even just working at a fast food joint. Any and all work experience contributes to influence another employer that a worker is worth hiring.

Empty resumes are rarely noticed, and when it’s illegal to add anything until you’re past 16 years of age it can be difficult to accumulate enough experience to know where to go with life in time to make a decision about college.

 

Economic Loss

You're wrong, Mr. President.

You’re wrong, Mr. President.

President Obama refers to child labor laws as an example of “common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.” Interference in the right to work and the right to hire is far from a “common sense” economic policy that strengthens the nation.

“Neither 16 or 18 are magic numbers—they are arbitrary limits thought up by regulators. ‘Child’ labor laws exclude vast portions of our population from the labor market, preventing young adults from being paid for their services and thus entirely eliminating the profit motive, meaning that most work is off-limits and the jobs available are voluntary. It should be no surprise to us that teens stay at home all summer and play video games,” said an anonymous Texas policy analyst, “The innovation and competition that young adults could bring to the workforce is lost to Mario Brothers because of ‘child’ labor laws.”

 

The Last Word

Child labor laws allegedly protect young people from ruthless employers. Reality, however, is a different matter.

On one end of the spectrum, youngsters who might face difficult financial situations or other circumstances are left with few options. Eliminating employment or limiting hours when a job is likely the only way out is hardly a good way to help them out.

On the other hand is a young adult maybe not dealing with extenuating circumstances but merely trying to earn money, find experience, or decide what to do with life, and “child” labor laws bring out the worst in all of these situations.

It may seem that the FLSA and other labor regulations brought an end to an era of child labor, but again, it was the state chasing a trend to sway popular opinion and bolster public support, not society bowing to the state. Laissez-faire capitalism did not create child labor on its own, but the free market ultimately ended the practice—not the state.

The largely symbolic child labor laws in the United States limit economic progress and innovation, harm the work ethic, and on top of that send a message of worthlessness to young adults—it’s long past time to do away with the FLSA and its kind.

Washington tells “worthless” young adults to wait for employment and refuse legal payment for services. Young adults should tell Washington to either cut it out or get out.

 

 

 

 

A Happy Dog’s anger

Rats.

Rats.

Anger has been aroused in the hair house…I have been chained up for the better part of the week. Apparently, raiding the chicken house is illegal here. Think one naughty thought, and you’re history! Ok, maybe it was foolish to jump on top of the chicken house three times while Adam and Dad are riding on the lawnmower. But I never thought that they’d do that.

However, I was able to see the satisfaction of wet chickens. Their cage was in a low spot and they were standing in water up to their little clawed toes. They were mad. But I loved every bit of it.

Unfortunately, I can do like NOTHING in this doghouse. I’ve tried chewing the chain, I’ve even tried to get my assistant and my technical adviser to help. But my assistant just gave me a goofy grin and said he liked being able to have all the scraps to himself, greedy pig. And my technical adviser just laughed so hard that he almost fell out of the tree. I wish he had, so that I could toss him in the mud puddle, but he didn’t, and I’m bored.

Anyway, I’ve read how imprisoned leaders of groups, when they are imprisoned, will sometimes recite poems about holding on to themselves, like Invictus. Well, I made one up.

Chickens from the dark abyss

Will fall into my mouth,

And if by some strange chance I miss,

They will be flying south.

Hmm. That sounds better than it writes. Well, I give up. I have nothing better to do than to make up poems, because all of my pleading and whining has done absolutely nothing to sway them from their cruel imprisonment of their faithful dog. All of my looking pitiful is like looking pitiful to a tree root with about the same result.

I can’t believe they’re so heartless.

Well, until I escape, plan retaliatory strikes against the chickens in protest.

Pacifist in Pasadena

 

Dear Hodgkins,

I want to protect my family like you do, but do I really have to kill the lizards?  I just hate killing things.  Especially the cute little green lizards.  They seem so harmless.  And my human servants don’t seem to mind having them outside.  –Pacifist in Pasadena

 

It can be scary, yes. But you have to overcome your qualms about chewing live reptiles if you're ever going to make a mark on the world.

It can be scary, yes. But you have to overcome your qualms about chewing live reptiles if you’re ever going to make a mark on the world.

Dear Pacifist in Pasadena,

I’m not a pacifist, but perhaps I can help you in your decision. As the manly hunk of muscle that I am, I find it neither difficult nor emotionally challenging to slaughter reptiles—even the cute little green lizards.

But for those who aren’t as courageous as I am, I offer some advice:

  • Realize that western civilization could collapse if lizards are victorious in this constant struggle for power. The end of western civilization doesn’t sound too bad at first, until you think about the consequences: for instance, Purina would go out of business.
  • Remember that it’s your duty to kill lizards. The fate of humankind is in your hands—er, paws. But that’s aside from the point. (You’re probably wondering why humankind even matters. Mainly because they feed us for free, are really gullible world domination assistants, and on top of all that will sometimes scratch behind our ears.)
  • If you’re so cowardly that you can’t finish the lizards off with only claws and jaws, purchase an air-soft gun to take out the creatures. Much less difficult, but just not any fun either.
  • Try and realize that the apparently harmless and cute lizard staring so trustingly at you is really a wolf in reptile’s clothing. It’s out to kill. It’s more destructive than a dachshund, tinkle ball toy, water gun, angry human with a pea shooter, and a vacuum cleaner combined. I hope that helps you grasp the gravity of the situation.

Only you can prevent lizards from taking over the world. Do your part—catch one today.

I love me too,

Hodgkins

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Hunting Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Expert Tree-Conqueror;
And Your Humble Master

Valid Grievances

declaration of independenceIn 1776, the thirteen colonies made a bold move and separated from Britain—it seemed to be a lost cause from the start. While many schoolchildren would say “taxation without representation” was the reason for the revolution, there were 26 other listed offenses that earned King George III his rightful title of tyrant. Surprisingly, some of them sound eerily familiar and close to home.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” It could apply just as well to the President (and all of Washington, for that matter) as it did to King George.

The Founders were none too pleased with Britain “For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.” Britain made sure that the colonies could only legally trade with its own industries, forcing Americans to have a drastically reduced export market and to pay high prices for necessities. While the federal government has not taken upon itself to prevent international trade altogether, it has worked feverishly to please special interests groups vying for halting imports here and slowing exports there. This interference in trade has been detrimental to Texan and American jobs, consumers, and businesses.

“… Imposing Taxes on us without our Consent …” is definitely one of the most famous lines from the Declaration. Considering that the federal government’s main function is confiscating funds, and considering that the states and the people are left out of bureaucratic decision-making processes, this grievance is still very much valid.

One of the highlights of the Declaration describes how Britain deprived “us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.” The United States has a fairly consistent judicial system—but the federal bureaucracy has adopted a wholly unjust system that bypasses the judicial, legislative, and executive branches altogether and often does leave “criminals” without much of a choice but to pay the fine.

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.” If that rings a bell—and it should—the time has come for the people to stand up and offer a my-way-or-the-highway ultimatum.

As far as the checklist of grievances goes, history and technology have altered the nature of some grievances, but they are justifiable grievances nonetheless. It is only a matter of time until the federal government decides to complete its mission to become the 21st century rendition of King George III’s government.

How long before the federal government suspends our legislatures and declares itself invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever? Before it plunders our seas, ravages our coasts, and burns our towns? Before it destroys the lives of our people? If history is a reasonable basis to reach such a conclusion, such devastation and tyranny could be in the not-too-distant future. It seems conspiratorial, exaggerative, dramatic, or even nonsensical, but the grievances listed in the Declaration are a stark reality in many nations and can be here, too, if affairs continue in the present course.

Totalitarian governments usually do not, and cannot, take root overnight: they grow slowly, promising to be something wonderful as soon as they reach full size. When they do, the entire nation is within its clutches. Unless the United   States is a miraculous, first-time exception, it will continue to follow the pattern of all big governments: harming property, liberty, and ultimately, life itself.

That’s reason enough for another Declaration of Independence.

help my unbelief

I’m just a girl, but I’m growing up. I’m literally trapped by the already and the not yet, stuck between childhood and adulthood. I don’t want to conform to the ‘teenager’ mindset, but I’m having struggles finding my place in life. I’m young, but I’m old. what do I do with this mess?

I’m being pulled two different ways. I both shun and cling to my childhood, while I long for and fear adulthood. I want to be responsible, but I want to be fun. I want to grow up, I want to be able to make a difference. But that seems so far away.

No one said that teenage years would be easy. I would argue that they are the most confusing time in a person’s life. You want to say that you are an adult, but you are still a child. See how confusing this is? No wonder we aren’t considered very trustworthy. We have to meet two expectations if we have brothers and sisters younger than us: grow up and stay young. That alone is enough to make anyone jump into a pool and scream, like the kid did in that ridiculous Lowes commercial. At least then no one can hear your rant, and you can pretend it doesn’t exist when you’re done.

Not to mention the fact that you, and the world, is changing. Suddenly, you’re wondering what the proper way of having friendships is. You’re wondering if you should change your actions like your mind has been changed, especially to people of the opposite sex. And it’s hard, as you realize how old you are, to try to defy the ‘teenage’ mindset. Unfortunately, people take that to mean you have to be ‘perfect’ to avoid being ‘rebellious’.

But the hardest thing, in my biased opinion, is deciding what to do with your life. I know I write about how we can change things, but I still can’t help but think that my part is so small. Right now my energy is spent on the most foolish of things, like absurd stories and video games.

I feel like that poor father begging Jesus to heal his son. “”If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”” (Mark 9:22-24) But my cry would be more like “I believe that you can use me; help my unbelief!”

But I have to remember that every job, every gift, is precious to God, and can be used for his glory. So I keep writing. And I keep learning Spanish. I’m not sure why, but it might prove practical someday. More than elvish anyway. I’m trying my best to be a good sister and daughter, and friend too. I try to cut back on video time and to read my Bible more, and I know I’m not perfect, but also that I’m not expected to be.

That sort of takes the pressure off a little, doesn’t it?

 

J.R.R. Tolkien and Philology

Tolkien, the philologist

Tolkien, the philologist

J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Hobbit and a prominent 20th century philologist, was an expert in language studies: he not only spoke an astonishing number of languages (Middle English, Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh) but was also familiar with many others, particularly ancient Slavonic and Germanic tongues. Tolkien’s infatuation with language surfaced in his literary works, both fictional and academic. Through his specialization in English philology and Old Norse to his work for the Oxford English Dictionary, J.R.R. Tolkien’s linguistic studies became enormously influential aspects of his fictional works and especially The Hobbit.

the hobbitInterestingly, Tolkien’s linguistic creations in The Hobbit are numerous, all of them attributable to his background in philology. A fascination with the spoken word had captured Tolkien when he was young, leading him to specialize in linguistics—English philology, particularly. After careful study of Old Norse during his time at college, Tolkien began working for the Oxford English Dictionary in 1918. At the University of Leeds, he subsequently became Reader in English Language. Courses in several different types of English as well as the history of the language dominated his teaching there, but he also taught introductory Germanic philology, Gothic, Medieval Welsh, and Old Icelandic. Elvish languages alluded to or featured in The Hobbit or its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, included Primitive Quendian, Common Eldarin, Quenya, Goldogrin, Noldorin, Telerin, Ilkorin, Doriathrin, Avarin, and Sindarin, all ten of which directly resulted from his time as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary, his language studies, and his philological teachings. To many of Tolkien’s admirers, biographers, or readers, “It becomes clear that Tolkien invested at least as much of his expertise, ingenuity, imagination, and time in constructing his languages as he did in devising his narratives” (Adams 1). Tolkien himself explained (Sale 1), “A real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.” Tolkien’s invented languages required an enormous amount of scholarly philological work and knowledge. He refined and improved the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of the Elvish languages until his death, just as he never ceased the philological studies that bred and developed the remarkable languages of The Hobbit’s Middle Earth.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the 2012 Warner Brothers movie, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the 2012 Warner Brothers movie, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Furthermore, languages in The Hobbit are heavily influenced by real-world languages, including Old Norse, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic tongues, more evidence of Tolkien’s careful thought and study of language. Early forms of Elvish were influenced by his study of Spanish and Latin, and when he began examining Finnish, he incorporated elements of that language into Primitive Quendian and Common Eldarin. Various versions of the Elvish tongue featured languages that Tolkien found interesting, amusing, beautiful, or even merely practical:

His creation, or more strictly sub-creation, of Elvish might owe much to his interests in Welsh and Finnish, but it is also clear that his immense creativity and the invocation of the beautiful, mysterious and almost painfully real Middle Earth was founded on a deep appreciation and love for language. (Morris 1)

Tolkien’s extensive study of language, especially of Finnish, contributed much to the Elvish language and later directly affected not only Middle Earth but the characters in that fantastical realm.

Indeed, although Tolkien’s fictional and academic creations, including The Hobbit, are immensely popular and a widely acclaimed masterpiece in fantasy, his invented languages resulted in Middle Earth, not the other way around. A fascination with language had gripped Tolkien in his youth, before writing mythical tales ever entered his thoughts. In fact, one of Tolkien’s apparently controversial claims about languages, both a priori and a posteriori constructed languages and natural languages, was that no matter a tongue’s effectiveness or practicality, it was nothing until there were myths and a culture surrounding it. “Tolkien essentially wrote The Lord of the Rings [and The Hobbit] in order to give his languages a world in which to exist,” said Dawn Catanach (Catanach 1). It has also been noted that “In some strange way, the articulation of Elvish and the other languages of Middle Earth were the catalysis for the rest of his [Tolkien’s] mythos” (Morris 2).

Known as a lexicographer, linguist, philologist, and philosopher, J.R.R. Tolkien is known most of all as the author of The Hobbit and the creator of Middle Earth, clearly a product of his studies in philology. Tolkien’s language studies, undoubtedly without which The Hobbit could not be the same and without which Bilbo Baggins could not exist, have influenced not only his works but the writings and linguistic knowledge of philology students and authors around the world.

 

 

Works Cited

Adams, Michael. From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

Catanach, Dawn. “The Philosopher and the Philologist J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Heidegger, and Poetic Language.” Unm.edu.University of New Mexico, 2006. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.

Morris, Simon Conway. “Darwin’s Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation.” Ed. Michael Byrne. Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Russel Re Manning. 1st ed. London: SCM, 2013. 34+. Print.

Sale, Roger. Modern Heroism; Essays on D.H. Lawrence, William Empson, & J.R.R. Tolkien. Berkley: University of California, 1973. Books.google.com. Google, 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Hobbit. First ed. Boston: Mariner, 2007. Print.

 

Happy Dog Pastimes

Ok, where are you guys?

Ok, where are you guys?

Ah, spring. The grass is green, the chickens are fat, and the skies are blue. Springtime can be a very strenuous season with all the  chicken hunting that needs to be done, but you need to be able to take some time off every once in a while.

Every dog needs a hobby. It can’t always be chicken combat. A dog needs something to help him relax when the throes of war hit him. On these days, I head to the shady front yard and dig for lizards.

See, we have a pileup of dead leaves lying around all over the place, and lizards like to burrow in them. I don’t understand what the advantages of a home made out of wet leaves, but lizards seem to enjoy them. When you dig up the leaves, you can find all sorts of amphibians and reptiles down there.

Of course, this hunting takes little exercise. It is merely a focus drill, where I trap the lizard with my paws, pick it up with my mouth, carry it to somewhere else, and then let it run. After a few games of lizard hide-and-seek, the lizard doesn’t want to play anymore, so I go on to the next one.

Bunny chasing is also a novelty here in the country. I’ve never caught a big one, but I have nabbed babies. My people do not approve of this, but I do it anyway. Once my assistant caught a big one and left it on the driveway. Man, were they mad! Squirrels also prove to be good racing partners. These games increase your speed and agility.

But of course, nothing compares with rounding up cattle. No, we don’t have cows. My people simply do not see the virtue of having a nice practice steer in the front yard. But there are a few not to far away that I can round up. I find intense pleasure in rounding them up into little groups. However, their owners do not.

But these are simply exercises meant to sharpen my mind and make me faster and more alert, so I can chase chickens!

Siegfried in Silsbee

My Dear Hodgkins,

I take exception to your claim to be Supreme Emperor of the Universe.  I have seen nothing from you that vould entitle you to make such a claim.  You are hereby notified that I intend to discredit you, take over your empire, and destroy you.

In the meantime, I vould like to ask you something: vhat do you use for ear mites? Have a nice day.

-Siegfried in Silsbee, Supreme Emperor of the Universe, Chief of Kats Are Obviously Superior (K.A.O.S.)

 

Siegfried in Silsbee,

Your claim is detestably false, Chief of K.A.O.S. Your organization—I must point this out to the readers—is the international organization of evil.

Well, I’ve got news for you, “Supreme Emperor.” I’m the Supreme Emperor. Your government is wholly illegitimate, unofficial, and on top of that, doesn’t actually exist. My claim to the universe has a firm footing in reason: I declared myself Emperor before you did.

I should mention that I have my own secret organization: CONTROL. Alrighty, let’s talk about the odds:

  • I don’t have a cool acronym like you do …
  • But I have more firepower. I’ve got vicious wild lizards that can kill you before you can say “honorificabilitudinitatibus hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.” Actually, you’re so dumb that you could never say it anyway.
  • I have Facebook followers.
  • I have guard humans.
Yeah, Siegfried, you think you can beat me? Seriously? I have a Tinkle Ball Drill every day. EVERY DAY.  (Look at my muscles.)

Yeah, Siegfried, you think you can beat me? Seriously? I have a Tinkle Ball Drill every day. EVERY DAY.
(Look at my muscles.)

Must I also unleash my secret weapons? Perhaps I should unleash a plague of lizards on Silsbee?

You would be foolish to continue in your contrived plot to conquer my universe, you vermin-infested rogue.

I love me too,

Hodgkins

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;

Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;

Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;

Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);

Expert Tree-Conqueror;

And Your Humble Master.

P.S. For ear mites, I recommend visiting a trained human. Generally, human slaves called “veterinarians” are only too glad to take care of stuff like that.

 

Totalitarianism: the New American Disease

Americans conquered this creature; can they defeat totalitarianism?

Americans conquered this creature; can they defeat totalitarianism?

“From colonial times until the 1940s, malaria was the American disease,” said the late Dr. Robert Desowitz, an expert in medical parasitology. From prehistoric days to the baby boomer generation, malaria (also known as yellow fever) claimed more victims than any other infectious disease. The medieval and colonial eras—replete with bogus science little more than old wives’ tales, abominable sanitary and hygienic precautions, and hazardously overcrowded cities—were conducive to outbreaks like the infamous 1793 Philadelphia epidemic.

Virtually eliminating the threat that malaria once posed, many crucial medical and scientific advancements would have never existed had the 18th-century United States government imposed requirements for malaria treatment—the untimely intrusion would have swamped healthcare progress and scientific efforts. Whether from malicious motivations or the commendable desire to keep citizens healthy, regulation means more malaria and no progress, universal detriment to humanity and the consistent result of government attempting to make health mandatory.

Arch_Street_FerryIn the space of four months in 1793, malaria killed over 5,000 Philadelphians. The scientific consensus prompted diagnoses of the imbalanced humors phlegm, choler, bile, and blood. Revolutionary War hero Dr. Benjamin Rush hypothesized that street stenches disequilibrated the humors and sparked the outbreak; city government attempted to lessen the odoriferousness of the rudimentary sewage systems. Not surprisingly, the city’s misinformed efforts left malaria unchecked.

This raises an important question: what if an equally misinformed 1793 equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had become involved in ending the epidemic?

At the time, most doctors employed ineffective herbal tea to treat yellow fever; others found more jeopardizing medicines. Known as the “prince of bleeders”, politically connected Dr. Rush staunchly advocated a mercury and jalap poison purge for curing the rampant disease.

Assuming that a 1793 FDA was possible, and that the likes of Dr. Rush would not overthrow the tyrannical institution, the administration would likely approve a poison purge and a few herbal teas.  Other treatments and medicines would wait years for testing before their market debut. Pouring into approved projects aligned with government goals, funding would for centuries crush and “disprove” alternatives.

Locked in interventionist cronies’ stagnant spell, medical science would be forced into stalemate.  If existent at all, progress would inch along at the will and in the shape of government agenda. Government is an unauthorized and incompetent failure when it limits individuals’ health decisions—evidence is ample in Canadian healthcare, capable of working miracles but otherwise smothered in thousands of pages of regulations.

For over 70 years, science has had malaria under its thumb. Clearly state intrusion would have rendered this victory, the easily manufactured pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, unlikely or impossible.

Whether levying taxes on fatty foods, capping the size of sugary drinks, or rejecting new cancer drugs, government has no incentive whatsoever, other than lobbyists’ well-lined wallets, to accept change or innovation. Dr. Joseph Mercola, a popular but controversial proponent of alternative medicine, commented, “The FDA will not protect your health, nor will any other government agency … the government is interested in promoting drug company profits, not promoting your health.” (Mercola)

As John Stossel explains in his recent book, No, They Can’t, “If government ran health care, those advances would slow to a crawl, because governments don’t innovate. They just keep doing what did last year.” (Stossel) Burgeoning medical and scientific knowledge alone considered, a cure for cancer is more likely in 2014 than ever before. The FDA’s tainted scrutinizing, however, is lowering the chances of such a breakthrough.

William Faloon remarked, “A major reason so many cancer patients die today is an antiquated regulatory system that causes effective therapies to be delayed (or suppressed altogether).”  (Faloon) Stossel illustrates why the dawdling regulatory system forms in the first place: caution. Natural hesitance “makes it easy for government to leap in and play the role of protector,” he explains (Stossel). The FDA takes, on average, 12 years to approve a new and potentially life-saving drug. With an average cost of bringing a new drug to market at $1.3 billion, major pharmaceutical companies sometimes pay up to $11 billion in the never-ending quest to appease FDA employees. In twelve years, cancer kills about 91.2 million patients worldwide.

That the dismissive gesture of a bureaucrat’s annoyance and the insidious corruption of a slow-witted agency could be directly responsible for millions of deaths is not only preposterous, but unacceptable. Brenna Liepold, a teenaged cancer victim who died in 2003 at eighteen, lamented: “Modern science cannot offer me a cure …” (Painter). Tragically, Liepold’s death is largely attributable to the FDA’s sluggish approval system. Government involvement in medical science and an individual’s healthcare choice is an intrusion threatening life itself: FDA agents are mere human beings in superhuman positions that entail third-party life-and-death decisions.

yellow_fever1793One can only ponder our national condition had the FDA, with its present jurisdiction and imperium, come into existence 221 years ago. Presupposing that another country’s doctors would not intervene, life expectancy would still be 35 years; disease would be attributed to imbalanced humors; and Philadelphians would still chew garlic and burn gunpowder to ward off yellow fever. All things considered, legislators’ good intentions usually precipitate catastrophic debacles like the FDA. When the state invites itself into one of the most personal matters of life—the health of citizens—the state has adopted compulsory death, disease, and stagnation as official policy.

Ultimately, government overstepping its bounds and taking on the role of supreme health authority is more destructive than all the infected mosquitoes on the planet. Perhaps totalitarianism should be known as the American disease, now that malaria is obsolete in this role. One thing is certain about this ideological affliction resulting in inconceivable physical tragedy: the American people should, with the determination of the dauntless individuals who forced the downfall of malaria’s empire, focus their attention on eradicating and conquering this strain of liberalism forevermore.

Chosen Ones: A Mountain Climb

Caro, Gino, and the large black-and-white sheepdog, Promise, traveled a good way up the mountain before they stopped and looked back. The flames had died down from lack of fuel, and the small wooden structure was completely decimated. Gino looked around. “Here, boy!” The dog came over to him and sat down obediently. “We need to sell the sheep again. You know what to do.” Promise bent his head and wagged his tail.

Caro watched as Gino took out from his pocket a small piece of paper, scribbled on it, and then fastened it onto Promise’s collar. The dog stood up and ran off. Caro watched it. “What is he doing?” “Fetching the sheep. We’ll stay here tonight. A fire is too risky, but I doubt that they’ll search in the caves, so we’ll be safe.

Though both boys were tired, Gino stayed awake even after Caro had drifted off, watching closely the valley. He looked up at the stars, and then down at the prince. “I wonder if this is really the answer. I wonder if he’ll ever be king.” Then he shook his head at his own doubts. “Of course he will. That much has been revealed. I just wonder if I’ll be there to see it.”

Caro woke up the next morning to a strange feeling. A wet, pointy blunt thing was rubbing him. He opened his eyes. Almost on top of him was Promise the sheepdog, and the rubbing object was his nose. Caro almost jumped in surprise, and Promise barked. Obviously he wasn’t used to having strangers so near his master.

Gino jumped up and rubbed Promise. “No, silly dog. Promise with money pouchThis is a friend, hear? Now, let’s see what you brought for us.” Promise wagged his tail and lolled out his big pink tongue. Then he trotted off, and returned with a small pouch in his mouth. Gino knelt down to take the pouch and opened it. “Well done, Promise. See this?” He held up a small silver coin. “Passage through the mountains and supplies. That’s what my good friend has given us.” He rubbed Promise behind the ears and stood up.

“Well, Caro, we’ll have to make the trip to see Opal now, or it will be too dangerous and we’ll have to wait until next summer. ” Caro nodded. “Then now! I really don’t want to wait if I don’t have too. If your friend can help me defeat Nya, then I would like to see her.”

Gino turned and looked at Caro. “Defeat Nya with weapons? With real strength? Impossible! Though she is evil, she was chosen. She really can’t be destroyed with…” he gestured around “earthly stuff. Only a word from her creator can undo her. That is why we must see Opal.”

Caro wanted to ask more, but Gino walked on, and he had to run to keep up on the rugged terrain. Though Gino was weaker than Caro by far, he was older and more experienced. He knew just where to walk to avoid becoming exhausted in the climb. It wasn’t easy. The mountain began to shower them with rain, and then snow, but they didn’t give up.

After a few days of climbing, Gino pointed up ahead. “Do you see that snow bank?” Caro looked up. “What? That one on the side of the hill?” Gino nodded and smiled. “That’s Opal’s house. We painted it white so that it wouldn’t be easily found. It’s almost always snowy here. Come on!” He began to run towards the house, and Caro followed.

He opened the door and walked in. “It’s me, Opal. How are you?” Caro hesitated at the door, and Promise growled at him. He butted the back of Caro’s legs with his head. A girl was sitting by the fire. Her dress was a light blue color, and her hair a pale blonde. It was pulled back into a loose braid over her back. Opal and the fireHer whole appearance was pale, but there was a lively flash of light in her eyes, that betrayed a free spirit. Near her was a black-and-brown spotted cat, who mewed tolerantly at the intruders.

The girl heard and looked over her shoulder. Then her blue eyes glistened. “I knew you two would be coming if I gave you enough time.” She smiled and stood up. Caro looked harder at her. “Have I seen you before?” he asked. “Yes, Prince Caro. I was at the fishing docks, when you took your boat and went looking for Gino. You have seen me, and I have seen you in dreams.”

Caro looked at Gino, who shrugged. “Opal is a prophetess.” He explained. “She can see better blind than many can see completely healthy. And she is the one to defeat Nya.”

Chicken Advertising

Chickens: they aren't warriors.

Chickens: they aren’t warriors.

Hello. It’s me, Happy Dog (or GOOD DOG, if you like it better) and me, Fluffy, who writes for her. She can’t read. Because you all are so kind with your mice, and have been reading my nice little rants against chicken-kind, I’d like to relate a classic conversation between two of our chickens, Jezebel and Blaze.

Blaze:   Good morning, Jezebel.
Jezebel:   Now see here! What do you mean a good morning? Was yesterday any worse?
B:   Um, no. I just was wondering if you were done with the nesting box. That dog has been staring at us for about an hour and I was wondering if I could go in there to lay my nice little brown egg in peace.
J:   Well, no, you can’t. I haven’t laid my egg yet and it’s safer in here. Go lay it in one of the other boxes.
B:   Well, that’s just it, my sister is in one, and yours is in another, and there is a line three chickens deep to get into the other two. That dog spooks us into governmental regulation, it seems. Besides, you already laid two hours ago. You’ve been in there for a while
J: Not like we don’t need a little governmental regulation. I’d fancy myself an excellent queen. But until that dog leaves, I’m not leaving either.

At this point Blaze went off and laid her egg somewhere else. I had the satisfaction of chasing her around and making threatening gestures. Tee hee. If I can’t have them, I’ll make their lives miserable.

The only problem is that our people have some strange pleasure in naming their chicks names from books and movies, which alters their personality and gives them strange powers. We have a simply annoying hen who believes herself to be the wizard Radagast from the Hobbit movies. My sidekick (the dog, not the cat. From now on, I’ll call the cat my technical adviser) tried to talk her out of it but she kept waving her little stick and making him change colors. Man, those chickens can be WIERD.

That’s one of the reasons we need to get rid of chickens. I have no problem with people having pet dogs or cats. Hey, I’ll even be lenient and say hamsters, mice, rabbits and parrots are acceptable. But I draw the line at chickens. When children call their chickens Caspian, Anakin or Eowyn, they are using magic that they don’t understand. The last thing this world needs is more chickens touting swords and lightsabers.

So now you understand what a public menace these chickens are, and how they need to be stopped. I hope this post helps you understand that chickens should not be given names that they do not deserve. If nothing else, people, do not give your chickens the names of ninja-jedi-superhero-people. Please call them understandable things, like Nugget, Strips, Griller, Sandwich, Salad….there are infinite possibilities.

Father of Fantasy

Hi there, Rebekah here. I’ve been sick, so I was able to do a lot of reading over the last couple of days. What was I reading? Well, fantasy. Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald.

We all know about C.S. Lewis, and due to the recent films, most of us know about J.R.R. Tolkien. These spectacular writers, one an apologist and one a linguist, set the world of fantasy spinning. However, did you know that they had a master in their trade, a person who inspired so many beloved stories, but has been relatively forgotten?

His name was George MacDonald. If you read his work, you might think about Hans Christian Anderson, because of their similar writing. MacDonald wrote fairy-tales, to put it simply, and was good at it. His works have a spiritual side that is unparalleled in earlier stories.

This man was a pastor, poet, and writer. He also happened to be Scottish. He wrote about love, and life, and magic, and things that we only dream about. His students were many, though he only met a few. One of the ones he did meet was the preacher later known as Lewis Carroll. Carroll wrote that it was MacDonald who convinced him to publish his fantasy story, Alice in Wonderland. Another was Mark Twain, who didn’t like MacDonald, but still was at least slightly moved by his work.

How did this man become such a father of fantasy? Why did he impact so many now-famous writers? And why is he still unknown?

Well, I don’t know why his work has been ignored so much, but I think it must be because we don’t really appreciate fantasy anymore. It has become synonymous with bedtime stories for little children, like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretal, etc. But if you think about these stories, they are very mature, even a little dark.

But MacDonald’s work was different. I’m not saying that it had different characters, but a different tone. He had witches, princes, princesses, fairies, even a werewolf and a vampire. But there was a theme to his work. He showed mankind as it is, and portrayed fairies as silly, tricky creatures, goblins as sullen, obnoxious beings, and as some things that looked like mortals  to be wise.  His characters were good and clean, his magic was steeped in richness, and his evil characters were unpitied. He had a soul, a theme of his fantasy that later writers like Lewis and Tolkien mirrored in their works.

He showed the day to be glorious, but the night not to be feared. He wrote about cowardice, and about bravery. Of stories that could be true, and of those so ridiculous they make Alice in Wonderland look believable. They speak of shadows as something that is not necessarily evil, of fairies that are not evil, but are also not wise. His girls had a grace and virtue to them that is mirrored in Tolkien’s elves (Galadriel comes in mind) while his boys were brave, but had weaknesses that they had to overcome, like the kings of Narnia, Peter and Caspian.

Fairy tales are not necessarily for children, but for those who still cling to thoughts of a world beyond ours. Though fantasy invents strange things, it should ultimately point up. Each character had one more powerful than it, and each character had one weaker. The strong bore the weak, the weak helped the strong, and they point with glittering hands to the God who gave us Imagination, to dream.

 

The School Bus to Cuba: Far From Magic

The school bus to Cuba?

The school bus to Cuba?

A dictatorship’s existence hinges on one thing: controlling the people. The most obvious means is through capturing the attention and support of children and teenagers; advocates of big government have been eager to embrace the younger generation, and the chief method by which they can obtain support is through the public education system.

“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens,” H.L. Mencken described.

“It may seem conspiratorial to assume that the American education system is involved in a concerted effort to indoctrinate students,” said Jill, a Texas homeschooler, “But every new education ‘reform’ makes it seem less and less like an attempt at political correctness or open-mindedness and more like a deliberate measure to mold the next generation into something only a totalitarian would want.”

With the advent of Common Core and the Department of Education’s centralized debacle, schooling in the United States is going through a metamorphosis which can hardly be described as freedom-friendly.

Creating a compulsory education law is the first step; then comes eliminating alternatives to public education. On a global level, what does a totalitarian education system have in common with the Department of Education?

One of the Nazis’ first moves was to outlaw most youth groups; they replaced them with the mandatory Hitler Youth, an organization that existed for over twenty years and replaced social activity, religion, and sports for many young Germans. The compulsory program claimed an entire generation for its own.

When the Soviets took over East Germany after World War II, “right away, the Soviet occupation force banned private kindergartens …” as Anne Applebaum described in her book, Iron Curtain. Rewriting history textbooks was the next move (after snagging all of the toddlers and sending a great deal of “fascist” teachers, who refused to teach Marxism-Leninism, to the Gulag or leftover concentration camps).

The Soviets, quite literally, hijacked any and all youth gatherings within its territory. When the Hungarian Catholic youth group Kalot, a popular alternative to Madisz, (its state-run counterpart) refused to yield control to the communists, its leaders were arrested and sentenced to labor camp.

Chinese education is described as having “no distinction” between propaganda and indoctrination—and the state keeps a tight grip on children and teenagers, giving them a carefully thought-out diet of propaganda and political rallies from their first day in school.

In Cuba, one of the first moves after the Revolution was to nationalize all schools. The Communist Party of Cuba created the Unión de Pioneros de Cuba” (Union of Pioneers of Cuba). Without joining the Pioneros, Cuban children cannot attend school—furthermore, schools encourage students to turn in their parents if they overheard a conversation about government or other “illegal” activity.

The list of seized education systems could go on.

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education,” said Albert Einstein. Especially in light of Common Core, most schooling, particularly social studies and liberal arts, is little more than rote drill, regurgitated speculation, and reformulated history. If anything can get in the way of learning, it would be forcing students to memorize nonessential information—and particularly since academic success and the student’s career are contingent on doing well on said standardized test.

Texas would do well to back out of the entirety of the federal education system, although that is well nigh politically impossible.

Leftists know well that few forces can eliminate the resistance like a dictator-friendly mandatory education system. President Barack Obama can be justifiably classified as a leftist, but he still does not qualify as a dictator; the federal government’s education system may be sympathetic to communism and nauseatingly politically correct, but it is not comparable to the “Union of Pioneers” just yet, though it must be noted that there are plenty of similarities between the two systems.

However, that does not mean that parents, students, and citizens should not keep an eye out (government thrives on neglect), nor does it mean that the federal education system does not have the potential to follow Cuba’s example.

While D.C.’s attempt at education is a miserable failure in an academic sense, it is far from conspiratorial to say that bureaucrats and left-leaning special interests groups have been successful. The school bus to Cuba may take a while to get there (it isn’t magic, after all) but for sure it’s on its way.

If Texas is to remain free, public education must be kept under close watch. At this stage in the game, the best thing for children and their freedoms might be to abolish the current system altogether.

For Tabby in Toledo: How to Shut Up a Dog

 

 

 

Dear Hodgkins,

I like being with my family most of the time, but sometimes they really get on my nerves.  There’s this noisy schnauzer that lives here, too.  Sometimes, when I don’t think I can take anymore of his barking fits, I climb on top of a bookshelf and try to push books down on top of him. The problem is I usually miss the target and then I get in trouble for knocking down books.  Do you have any better ideas on how to silence a barking dog? –Tabby in Toledo

 

 

Dealing with mutts: a problem that we all face.

This brute came around the corner and attacked me. My superior brain power defeated its brawn.

This brute came around the corner and attacked me. My superior brain power defeated its brawn.

Until I force the canine species into servitude and finish up my after-school world domination project, I am stuck having to deal with all the planet’s idiot dogs—yes, you’re right, that’s redundant.

Shutting up a schnauzer, or any dog for that matter, requires much more than temporary annoyance tactics. Success requires more than wit and cunning, but knowledge, wisdom, tact, and insight into the pitiful canine brain. The last requirement can be most difficult, particularly for our sophisticated feline mental apparatuses—a bit like running the 1985 Microsoft 1.0 Word Processing program Write on a 2053 supercomputer. (Yes, I daresay that I’m ahead of my time.)

Here’s the risks from the dog:

  • The relatively dimwitted pups can engage in tit-for-tat combat known as kerfuffle. It can be painful, but scarcely dangerous.
  • Or they can kill you. It depends on what type of dog you have on your hands.

 

Here’s what you might face from the human:

  • Forced labor camp, exile in Siberia, starvation rations (maybe even only one meal a day), or getting thrown in the bathtub or pool. Personally I think the last two options are the worst.
  • They may even take the dog’s side. That would be so humiliating you might as well refuse to catch lizards for a few weeks or something stiff like that.

 

So, Tabby. Here’s my advice:

  • Get in a kerfuffle with the dog and pretend to be seriously injured. The human won’t know better and will then proceed with punishing the dog or exiling it to Siberia. Since you live in Toledo, I doubt you’ll hear him from there.
  • Otherwise, feed it peanut butter. Lots and lots of peanut butter. Preferably laced with tar.
  • If bad comes to worse, kill a mouse and drop it at the dog’s feet. Considering that we’re dealing with a dog, this primitive manifestation of a threat could alert him to the fact that you mean business.
  • Learn how to use duct tape. I’ve found this to be quite effective.
  • Attempt to remove its vocal cords.
  • Join H.O.D.G.K.I.N.S., the group of soon-to-be elitists (after I achieve world domination). I have no idea what good this will do, but it benefits me, so that’s a decent reason for you to join immediately.

That’s all I have to say. And if any of you have other questions, feel free to comment, message me, or email me. I am a fountain of practical and applicable knowledge when it comes to stuff like this.

I love me too,

Hodgkins
Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Expert Tree-Conqueror;
And Your Humble Master.

Public Service Announcement

20140330 Hodgkins smells a flowerDear humans,

Now that spring is in full swing, the vile reptiles that your species calls “lizards” are increasing in numbers. Every day they appear in greater quantities.

Do not be fooled by their apparent cuteness. These creatures can kill you. If you suffer a lizard infestation or a lizard captures your house, it will utterly destroy your furniture in a single fiery blast of its caustic lizard breath. This is only the beginning.

If it accesses your social media, the lizard will destroy the entire internet. If you let it touch your smart phone, it may be resourceful enough to build a missile via a free app and then create a massive transient electromagnetic disturbance.

And it must also be noted that you must never let it get near your microwave or it could develop even more powers from the radioactivity.

If all else fails and the lizard takes over your house, go ahead and blow up your neighborhood. Civilization is more important: it is a question of “when” and not “if” a lizard will create a stash of nuclear warheads in your closet and then proceed to use your living room as a launching pad.

With the advent of spring comes great responsibilities. Do your part and prevent the lizards from taking over.

I love me too,
Hodgkins
Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Expert Tree-Conqueror;
And Your Humble Master.

A Happy dog’s Agenda

Hi. The Hget rid of chickensappy Dog has returned! Yay me. Ok, well, I see that a lot of you dogs have been reading these posts. I hope that they inspire you to attack the chickies in your life. But I’ve been talking with my assistants, and we have decided that we need to step it up a notch.

Actually, I had to talk to them one at a time. I was going to talk with them together, but, well, one is a cat. My other assistant, Tanner, chased him under the pickup and that ended our meeting. No one said that having a cat on your team was easy. We communicate by me barking at the roof and him yowling down replies. These meetings are getting annoying because someone thinks that I’m trying to attack him and keeps “intervening” thus cutting short negotiations.

I sometimes wonder about having a cat on my team. He really doesn’t care a lick about chickens. But he is the only one with small enough paws to use a computer. If I ever figure out that trick, I’m replacing him.

But I didn’t come here to write about Fluffy. I came here so he could write about how to get rid of chickens. My assistants and I decided that we needed to spread anti-chicken propaganda all over the internet.

Unfortunately, Fluffy has not figured out how to do that yet. So the next best thing is to print out lots of posters and carry them all over the neighborhood. Each one will say something like this.

get rid of chickens

I think we did a good job. Anyway, there are several ways to get the word out. You can also tell people. Barking at cars is a good idea. Sometimes there are dogs there, and even if there isn’t, at least the driver gets the idea that we mean business.

So keep up your barking. If we get enough people knowing about it, or if my assistant somehow figures out how to use facebook, we can do a lot to repel this big invasion of chickens. Of course, we’ll need help from all you dogs out there.

Satan’s Shadow

 

I did not catch her name
I did not catch her tears
Hit me like a chain
When the story hit my ears.

We live in a world full of evil. We read about and see the worst things happening. People starving, being sold into slavery, being killed because of who they are, or because they don’t have enough money. It’s going on all over the world. We read about it, we watch documentaries, we see pictures, and we want to help. But we feel so small. What can we do against so much evil? Where is God? Why do we feel so useless?

Why do people die ‘over there’ while we sit and worry about lunch plans? We’re all little Marthas, too busy working and doing our own thing to listen. But we’re worse than Martha because she was actually serving the Lord. We’re serving ourselves.

When we figure that out, we begin to panic. How can I do anything? Is there any way that I can change anything, or am I just sitting idle? Should I be doing more than just reading and watching things about it? Should I, you know, go over there?

And then of course we look inward and see all of the evil that is here among us. Forget about going over there, there are people dying right here. If we look at all of this wrong, we can get discouraged. What is one person against so much trouble?

But we’re looking at this all wrong! Instead of seeing all these problems as unconquerable, we need to treat them as opportunities. Christians have been pitted against evil for years, Even in the beginning, there were slaves, kidnapped children, severe sickness, war, prejudice, and racial killing. But the Church has always had a choice, either make a difference or quiet down and hope for the best.

There have always been those who were content to build within their walls, but there have also always been those who, filled with the Holy Spirit, reached out to the wicked world around them. These were the martyrs, the heroes of the faith, those who lived and died with a purpose, “of whom the world was not worthy.” (Hebrews 11:38) When John wrote his Revelation, he wrote about the church in Pergamum, he said ” “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” (Revelation 2:13)

When we hear their stories we long to be counted among them, but we feel like it will never happen. But what is the difference? We’re dealing with the same problems, unfortunately in the same kind of culture. Time hasn’t changed that. So what has changed? Is the difficulty only in our hearts?

Think about it, people. We have been called to do great things, but the greatest things are also the smallest. You have a voice, and though we live in Satan’s shadow, we CAN make a difference. We can change the world by reaching out from our homes. From our keyboards. From our classrooms. Whoever has a gift, let him use it. Don’t give up in fear! Take a step, no matter how small, and watch as the gates of hell quiver with terror. When God is in the midst of us, we cannot fail.

“All I need/I did not catch her name” Song lyrics by Caedmon’s Call, 2004

How to Get Your Human to Go On Walks

It is with grave displeasure that I write this article.
It is a humans’ duty to let their much loved master (dog) take them for walks.
Many people, such as my humans, do not wish to go for fifteen mile strolls to places such as Walmart. For some strange reason, they prefer to drive these odd, four-wheeled contraptions to places that aren’t “just across the street”. I don’t know about you and your master-of-a-dog, but I am adorable, extremely energetic, and have enough “extreme energy” to bark all night in the protest of my humans habit of not taking me on a walk at whatever time I deem necessary. For a dog, walks are necessary because it will:

Help us sleep much better at night. (Daytime also) When we sleep deeply at night times, we sleep deeply enough that we don’t hear neighboring dogs barking. When we don’t hear other dogs barking, it reduces the number of times we run thru the doggie door at turbo speed, barking our little heads off.

Going for lengthy walks on gravel or pavement minimizes the number of visits to the (ugh!) Veterinary clinic to have our toenails trimmed. (They do it in such a barbaric manner.)

It gives us chances to chase strange cats, squirrels, etc. and to sniff all of the delicious road kill. (My human won’t allow me to execute the latter action, no matter how hard I pull and strain on the leash. Train your human carefully to avoid this manifestation of poor instruction.)

Going for walks in a large open space gives you the chance to see whether you or your human is superior in speed and in running.

Federal Jurisdiction: Not Everything Should Be Bigger in Texas

Motiva, also known as the Port Arthur Refinery, is the largest on the continent and is the seventh-largest refinery in the world. (Photo credit Beaumont Enterprise.)

Motiva, also known as the Port Arthur Refinery, is the largest on the continent and is the seventh-largest refinery in the world. (Photo credit Beaumont Enterprise.)

It’s a commonly quoted fact that Texas, if it were a sovereign nation, would have the 14th largest economy in the world, coming in immediately behind Russia, Canada, Australia, and India. Listed as one of the top four industries in the state, the energy industry’s activity has contributed a great deal of the crucial jobs, capital, and innovation required for the state to achieve such a ranking.

However, energy success is in spite of Washington: federal regulators are waging war against Texas energy and the higher standard of living, lower prices, and greater efficiency it brings about. Put simply, many environmental regulations are a bureaucratic tip of the hat to the free market’s enemies.

With a friendly business climate and moderate taxation, Texas has experienced surprising prosperity—even through the recession in 2008—and continues to grow despite federal interference. Like the Keystone Pipeline, job-creating energy projects are numerous in Texas (the oil and gas capital of the United States) but the federal government halts, stifles, over-regulates, and heavily taxes such efforts.

In 2012, the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) reported that the oil and gas industry employed 379,800 people in 2012; Texas added the most new jobs in the oil and gas industry in the first half of 2012, rising by 34,600. Two of the world’s ten biggest refineries are in Southeast Texas, and the state leads the nation in crude oil production and refining.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a grossly unconstitutional bureaucracy influenced not by reality but by far-flung special interests groups, leads the assault on Texas energy. For instance, the EPA forced the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on Texas because of a hypothetical connection between the state’s emissions and a pollution monitor in Granite City, Illinois. The costs of complying add up to $2.4 billion every year—for that rule alone. Commentators were of the opinion that the EPA was “picking on Texas.”

Greenhouse gas regulations influenced many manufacturers to scale back expansion projects because of the compliance costs. Recent ozone standards will likely kill 7.3 million jobs by 2020 and on top of that will add over $1 trillion in regulatory costs per year. Estimates put the costs at hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The Las Brisas Energy Center in Corpus Christi, a project of Chase Power, closed because of the “insurmountable regulatory framework erected by the EPA,” as the Washington Times reports Chase Power CEO Dave Freysinger saying. The regulation destroyed around 3,900 prospective Texas jobs. The ditched project is not an isolated incident.

“The Las Brisas Energy Center is a victim of EPA’s concerted effort to stifle solid-fuel energy facilities in the U.S., including EPA’s carbon-permitting requirements and EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for new power plants,” he continued, “These costly rules exceeded the bounds of EPA authority, incur tremendous costs, and produce no real benefits related to climate change.”

The damage done by the EPA on Texas jobs and state prosperity is incalculable; it has little foundation in science; and even assuming that the science was correct, the harmful regulations would do little to stop pollution or “climate change.”

Enemies of the free market may not be concerned about the environment, but they are interested in crippling the remnants of free nation and backhanding American energy prices. The question at hand is not one of clean air, but of freedom: does government control really help anything? Look to Chernobyl.

The EPA may be well-intentioned, but more than likely not. Controlling the energy sector is the easiest way to get a grip on the economy; extreme leftists are aware of that. It’s a handy foot-in-the-door trick that makes it possible, nay, likely that more controls can be placed on other industries. Texas cannot stand for this. While legislation like the REINS Act and the American Energy Renaissance Act (introduced by Texas Senator Ted Cruz) will definitely relieve the energy sector’s regulatory nightmare, in the end the answer lies in abolishing the agency itself.

Nearly everything is bigger in Texas, but unemployment lines, electricity bills, gas prices, and federal jurisdiction should have an exemption.