Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Qualified to Vote

Provision 11 in the United States Constitution is found in Article I.2.1: "Any citizen of a state who is qualified to vote for a representative in the state legislature shall be considered qualified to vote for a Representative in the United States Congress." This provision says that, if a person is qualified to vote in state elections for representatives to state legislatures, the same person has a Right to vote for his representatives in Congress. "This was a major concession to the states to allow them to decide who could vote in a federal election. What if a state allowed women to vote? What if a state allowed eighteen-year-olds to vote? Or slaves? This was a risk the members of the Convention were willing to take. Each state would decide who could vote. Eventually four amendments to the Constitution settled all three of these questions. 1) The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. 2) The Fifteenth Amendment prohibited the states from denying any citizen the right to vote because of `race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' 3) The Nineteenth Amendment prohibited the states from denying a person the right to vote because of sex. 4) The Twenty-sixth Amendment reduced the voting age of citizens to 18" (W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution. 267). The Founders did not want the right to vote for Congressmen to be limited to the rich, learned, famous or owners of land. They wanted the electors to be the people of the United States. They were concerned that any other arrangement would create divisions among the people, and particularly, make enemies of those excluded. A parent could make some arbitrary rules for their family council, such as girls cannot vote, any male under age ten (or whatever age) cannot vote, etc. After those who are excluded realize what happened to them, discuss how they feel about the situation and what would be more fair and equal.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jesus Christ, Our Savior

We lived in heaven before we came to earth. We lived there as spirits with our Heavenly Parents and with all our spirit brothers and sisters. We loved our parents and wanted to be like them. One day our Father called all of His children together and presented His plan for their happiness. All of us who came to earth thought it was a wonderful plan. We were there when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). Father explained that we would need to leave our heavenly home and His presence for a time. He also explained that all of us would sin and some of us would lose our way. He knew that we would need help to find our way back to Him. He knew and loved each one of us individually and wanted all of us to return to Him. He included in His plan of happiness a way that we could return. His plan provided for a Savior to help us. He asked, "Whom shall I send?" Jesus Christ, known in heaven as Jehovah, said, "Here am I, send me" (Abraham 3:27; see also Moses 4:1-4). Jesus loved Father and us so much that He was willing to come to earth, to give His life for us, and to take our sins upon Himself. He knew that for Father's plan to work, we must be free to choose. He wanted us to have the opportunity to choose whether or not we would obey Heavenly Father's commandments. He said, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thing forever" (Moses 4:2). Satan, who was called Lucifer in heaven, said, "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor" (Moses 4:1). Under Satan's plan we would not be allowed to choose but would be forced to do his will. He would take away our God-given freedom of choice. He also wanted Father's glory. After hearing both sons speak, Heavenly Father said, "I will send the first (Abraham 3:27). Jesus was chosen and foreordained to be our Savior (see 1 Peter 1:19-20; Moses 4:1-2). Satan became angry because Heavenly Father chose Jesus to be the Savior, and he rebelled against God. Satan and those who followed him fought a war in heaven against Jesus and His followers. Revelation 12:11 tells us that the Savior's followers "overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." Because of his rebellion, Satan and all the spirits who followed him were sent away from the presence of God and were cast down from heaven. One -third of all the spirits in heaven were punished for following Satan and were denied the privilege and right to receive mortal bodies. Because we are here on earth with physical bodies, we know that we chose to follow Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Satan and his followers are spirits roaming around on this earth. They know who we are and what we did in heaven. They work daily enticing us and tempting us to do wrong. We followed Jesus Christ and accepted God's plan in heaven. We must continue to follow Jesus here on earth. It is only by following Him that we can return to Heavenly Father and our heavenly home. The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us what we must do to return to be with God. Jesus came to earth, taught the plan of salvation and exaltation, and gave us a good example to follow. He atoned for our sins and made it possible for us to return to our heavenly home. Now it is up to us to exercise our freedom of choice and choose to follow Christ.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Firm in Faith

As I searched for ways that we can strengthen our families, I realized - again - that true principles will always be the best way. We live in perilous times, times that were foretold in ancient days. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." Paul continued describing the conditions of the last days. I know that he described the conditions of our day: "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," etc. The conditions of our day must be very similar to those in ancient America just before Jesus Christ visited the inhabitants there. "The church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord" (3 Nephi 6:14). We must stand strong and immovable in the principles we believe and the standards that we hold dear. We must do the things that are most important in our homes and that will be best for our families in the long run. Some of those essential things are sincere personal and family prayer, daily study of the scriptures, weekly family home evening, self-reliance, and provident living. No one else can do these things for us. We must do them for ourselves if we want to be "firm, and steadfast, and immovable." Our strength and commitment to be strong grows as we live these principles. As we stay committed to these actions, each day can be a little better than the previous one. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, "You cannot today remotely imagine what that decision to be unwaveringly obedient to the Lord will allow you to accomplish in life. Your quiet, uncompromising determination to live a righteous life will couple you with inspiration and power beyond your capacity now to understand" ("Making the Right Decisions," Ensign, May 1991, 34).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pray for Our Nation

An advisor to Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, organized a prayer group. This group of people committed themselves to pray for the safety of England, its people, and peace. The people in the group pledged to stop at a designated time each evening and pray for one minute for their country. England was able to stand tall during the war in spite of many brutal attacks on the nation. The report on this event suggested that the bombing stopped soon after the praying began. There is now a group of people in the United States who are trying to do the same thing for our nation. Our Republic is in danger of being destroyed from within by a radical progressive movement. We desperately need God's help to keep our Constitution and to maintain our liberties. If you would like to join this prayer group, stop whatever you are doing each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, and 5:00 PM Alaska) and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, and that our land will remain Christian. I have a strong testimony that there is strength in praying in numbers, and I know that God hears our prayers. History has shown this statement to be true. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Our land definitely needs some healing! Another prophet told his people, "… it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared…." (Alma 10:23). I hope and pray that there are enough prayerful, righteous people in our nation that our Republic might be spared.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The Soviet Story"

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about progressives and how they want to change our history and traditions. Since then I have learned a little more about how socialists change history and traditions. Edvins Snore, a Latvian filmmaker, wrote and directed a documentary entitled "The Soviet Story". After his film was released in Russia, this man was burned in effigy on the streets of Moscow by young hoodlums who blamed him for rewriting the nation's history. He wrote a special article for Glenn Beck's newsletter, from which the following information came. He made his documentary film because he wanted "to show the world the history of those nations, millions of people, who lived behind the Iron Curtain, under Soviet occupation." The current Russian text books apparently depict Stalin as a successful manager, but they fail to note that under his "successful management" there were 7 million Ukrainians who were "intentionally starved to death." Under his management "whole nations and ethnic groups were wiped off the map." In 1940 the Soviets invaded the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia and deported all the people to Siberia. Then millions of settler from Russia moved into the Baltic States. The Soviets did much the same thing in the Ukraine. In 1944 the Soviets deported the whole Chechen nation - men, women and children - to Central Asia. The people were loaded into cattle trucks and moved in one day - February 23, 1944. Only 80 percent of the people survived the move. The impact of the Soviet actions in these nations is evident today. The former Soviet republics are free democracies now, but their societies are divided in both their ethics and ideals. These divisions increase the risks of conflict and instability. This documentary shows footage of the renowned British playwright Bernard Shaw calling for extermination of "parasite classes" in the 1930s. It also includes footage of the Soviet-Nazi friendship during the early part of World War II.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My husband was recently diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. This diagnosis was not a complete surprise to us because his blood tests over the past few years showed that he was getting close to it. I understand that diabetes causes damage to the circulatory system because the extra sugar in the bloodstream causes the blood to thicken. This alone causes the entire system to work harder. If the arteries are hardened or blocked by plague, then the thickened blood has an even more difficult time flowing through the body. Thus, diabetes can be a contributing factor for heart attacks and/or strokes. I also understand that a diabetic's major goal is to keep the level of sugar in the blood as level as possible. This goal can be reached by a combination of several steps. The most important step is to be aware of carbohydrates as well as the amount and time of eating them. After a night of fasting, it is important to eat within an hour of waking as well as to eat something at least every four hours. To shorten the fasting time at night, a small snack should be eaten just before going to bed. Besides eating wisely, it is also important for a diabetic to exercise regularly because exercise lowers the blood sugar level. Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their disease with diet and exercise alone. A second reason for regular exercise is that it helps to prevent a wide variety of diseases: osteoporosis, some kinds of cancer, and heart disease. It also lowers blood pressure, boosts "good" (HDL) cholesterol, and decreases "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. A third reason for regular exercise is that it helps to manage weight. The more exercise one does, the more calories are burned. This is good for type 2 diabetics because excess weight is often an underlying reason in the disease itself. We are in the process of making the necessary changes in our diets and schedules as well as increasing the amount of exercise we do. The biggest change to our schedules is simply being more regular in our meal times - and this is a good change. I've been doing some studying about the disease, and I'm not as nervous about which foods to fix when, etc. I found some new recipes to add to my collection. This one sounds real good so I'll probably try it soon. It is for Almond Fudge Freeze and would probably be good with or without sugar. Almond Fudge Freeze Ingredients: 1/2 cup ice 2 cups sugar-free vanilla yogurt or ice cream 1/4 cup sugar-free hot fudge topping 1/8 tsp almond extract Sugar-free frozen whipped topping, thawed (optional) Cocoa powder (optional) Directions: Combine first four ingredients in a blender container in the order listed. Process on and off, stirring in between to blend ingredients. Serve in a tall glass. Garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and cocoa powder, if desired.

Monday, January 25, 2010

William McKinley

           The name McKinley has a special place in my heart as well as the hearts of most Alaskans and Americans. One of my beautiful granddaughters is named for Mount McKinley, the highest peak on the North American continent - which was named after the late President. The land surrounding Mount McKinley is called Denali National Park, Denali being the Alaska Native name for the mountain.

           William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio, where his parents owned an iron foundry. He was the seventh of nine children and attended school in Niles, a rural town of about 300 people. When he was nine years old, the family moved to Poland, Ohio (near Youngstown), to find better schools. There McKinley attended a private school. His father remained in Niles to run the iron foundry and spent much of his time away from his family.

          McKinley joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at age 10. When he was 17 he entered Allegheny College but dropped out due to illness. McKinley was the first man in the town of Poland to volunteer to fight in the Civil War. He joined the 23rd Ohio Infantry commanded by the future U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes. He brought food to his regiment while it was under intense enemy attack during the Battle of Antietan in 1862 and earned a promotion to second lieutenant by his actions. By the end of the war he had the rank of brevet (honorary) major. He was later known in political circles as Major McKinley. After the war he studied law and worked for a county judge for about eighteen months. He entered law school in Albany, New York, in 1866 and started practicing law in Canton, Ohio, in 1867.

         McKinley married Ida Saxton on January 25, 1871, and they were blessed with two daughters. The younger daughter died in 1873 at four months of age. That same year Mrs. McKinley's mother died. Two years later the other daughter died. Ida became an invalid because of the shock and grief and later developed epilepsy.

         McKinley was a gifted public speaker and naturally popular. His political career began in 1869 when he was elected as the county prosecuting attorney. In 1876 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served seven terms in the office. In 1890 he lost his bid for an eighth term, but he was elected as governor of Ohio in 1891. He ran for United States President in 1892 but lost to Benjamin Harrison. He ran for President again in 1896, campaigning on the need to maintain the gold standard (a system in which the dollar was defined as worth a certain amount of gold). He defeated William Jennings Bryan to become the 25th United States President.

         In 1895 Cubans rebelled against Spain, which had ruled Cuba for nearly 400 years. After he took office in 1897, McKinley pressed Spain to negotiate with the rebels. Even though he wanted to remain neutral, McKinley let it be known that the United States would go to war to protect US interests. After the USS Maine exploded in the Havana harbor in Cuba on February 23, 1898 (history suggests that explosion was caused by an accident), public opinion pressured McKinley to take action. On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. The Spanish-American War lasted only 113 days, and a treaty was signed on December 10. Spain surrendered Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States and sold the Philippines for $20 million.

          Also in 1898, the United States took possession of the Republic of Hawaii and signed a treaty with Germany and Britain to gain what is now part of American Samoa. In 1899 McKinley used military force to put down a rebellion and to fight the Boxer rebellion in China. His strong stance as Commander-in-Chief impressed the American citizens.

          McKinley ran for a second term as President with Theodore Roosevelt as Vice President. They campaigned on prosperity at home and prestige abroad and won a sweeping victory. In March 1901, the United States enacted the Platt Agreement, which later became part of Cuba's constitution. With this agreement the United States had the right to intervene in Cuba's affairs if there were problems there. In May the Insular Cases were decided by the US Supreme Court. This decision said that the United States could control territories without giving their people US citizenship. In July a civilian government was installed in the Philippines.

         On September 6, 1901, McKinley was shot at a reception by Leon F. Czolgosz who hid his revolver under a handkerchief. As the President approached to shake his hand, Czolgosz fired two bullets at him. One richoted off McKinley's button, but the other went into the President's stomach. He was rushed to surgery but lived for only eight days before dying from gangrene and infection. He died the morning of September 14, 1901, just over six months into his second term as President. Mrs. McKinley died in 1907 and is buried beside her husband in Canton at the McKinley National Memorial. Facts for this post came from an article by Lewis L. Gould, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, pgs 338-342.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

House of Representatives

Provision 10 of the United States Constitution (Article I.2.1) is that the members of the House of Representatives shall be elected by qualified voters in each of the states. The people had the Right to vote for their own representatives. This provision made the United States a democratic republic. A democracy involves all the citizens participating in the way government runs. When the people elect representatives to do the work of government, it is called a republic. We have a democratic republic because the masses of qualified voters elect their own representatives and then the representatives pass the laws and run the government. The Founders of our nation had great confidence in the American people. At the time our Constitution was written, there was no government on earth where the people elected their own representatives. They apparently understood that a pure democracy could not last. "Two hundred years ago a noted historian Alexander Tyler explained, `A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until [a majority of] the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse [gifts] from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy [taxing and spending], always followed by a dictatorship. The average life of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years'" (quoted in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution by W. Cleon Skousen, p 265). The Founders wanted to have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" without the problems caused by a true democracy. Skousen explained, "A people's `constitutional' republic is sometimes called a `federal' republic or `democratic' republic, This system is based on the supreme will of the people, which is expressed in a written constitution. It was invented by the American Founding Fathers. This American system divides power vertically and horizontally and assigns to each level of government those responsibilities which can be most efficiently and economically administered there. It proved to be the soundest system of government ever devised by man" (The Making of America, p 265). Skousen lists the following advantages of a republic with quotes from the Founders to support them: 1) "Wise representatives can benefit the public more than the public can benefit itself;" 2) "In a Republic, a majority rule is the first principle;" 3) "A Republic is the only means of securing equal rights;" 4) "Every citizen has a voice and a vote" (Making of America, p 266). The Founders hoped that by founding our nation as a democratic republic that the country could grow bigger without becoming divided. An easy way to explain this principle would be to compare a family council with father, mother and children discussing family concerns with a council for an extended family where only the representatives of each group come together to make decisions.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Children of God

One of my most favorite songs is entitled "I Am A Child of God" and was written by Naomi Ward Randall about 1957. It teaches and explains our true relationship to God. I learned this song when I was about twelve years old, soon after it was written. The song goes: "I am a child of God, and he has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. [Chorus] Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with him some day." The second verse states: "I am a child of God, and so my needs are great; help me to understand his words before it grows too late" followed by the chorus. The third verse is, "I am a child of God. Rich blessings are in store; if I but learn to do his will, I'll live with him once more" [Chorus]. The fourth verse was added later and states: I am a child of God. His promises are sure; celestial glory shall be mine if I can but endure" [Chorus]. This song teaches a very important doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner that even children can understand it. God is the Creator and the Ruler of this earth and many other worlds. He is all powerful and all knowing. He is also our Heavenly Father who loves us very much. All of us are children of our Heavenly Father, literal sons and daughters of God. All people who were ever born on earth are spiritual brothers and sisters. Because God is our Father, we all have the potential to become like Him and receive a fullness of joy. Just as we are not identical here, we were not all alike as spirits. We were sons and daughters, males and females. We all had different talents and abilities and received different assignments on earth. Even though we do not remember our premortal life, Heavenly Father knows who we are and what we did in our life with Him. He has a plan for each of us to help us reach our full potential as His child and has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born. His plan makes it possible for each of us to learn the lessons that we personally need and to do the most good with our particular talents and personalities. Our Father in Heaven loves each of His children. He sent us to earth to receive physical bodies and to develop godlike qualities. He did this in order for us to be tested, to gain experience, and to progress as individuals. We were sent here to prove ourselves by exercising our moral agency to choose good or evil.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti II

Since the earthquake struck Haiti last week, I've learned a lot about the nation. Here is some information that I've learned. Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies. This island lies between Puerto Rico and Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti covers the western third of the island, and the Dominican Republic covers the eastern part. Haiti is one of the least developed countries as well as one of the most densely populated countries in the Western world. About 80 percent of the people in Haiti cannot read or write. The average Haitian lives to about 50 years of age. Haiti is the oldest black republic in the world. It has been independent since 1804, but it has not progressed as free countries usually do. It has had numerous leaders, but for most of the past 200 years it has been ruled by dictators who didn't really care about the people. The United States is the oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, and Haiti is the second. Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Hispaniola in 1492. His crew established a Spanish base in what is now Haiti. In later years French settlers came in large numbers and developed Haiti into a very rich colony. Haiti's official name (Republique d'Haiti) and official language is French. It's capital and largest city is Port-au-Prince, which is located at the intersection of the two peninsulas that form Haiti. The land is very mountainous. The climate is tropical with mild temperatures. Most Haitians are descendents of black slaves brought from Africa. About 5 percent of Haitians are people of mixed black and white ancestry (mulattoes). A few people from America, Europe and Syria also live in Haiti. There are three classes of people in Haiti. The black people are very poor, speak a language called Haitian Creole (partly based on French), and follow a religion that blends Roman Catholic practices with voodoo. The French speaking middle and upper classes are comprised of white foreigners and mulattoes, many of whom were educated in France. Facts for this post are from an article written by Gary Brana-Shute, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, pp 14-17.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freedom for All Americans

This week we celebrated the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., black civil rights leader. I must admit that I have very mixed feelings about this holiday. I recognize that civil rights for all Americans are very important, and I believe that Dr. King's participation in that achievement should be honored. I just don't quite understand why we have a national holiday named for him, especially because we have no other person honored with a national holiday. Consider that we have forty-three former Presidents of the United States, many of whom have performed great deeds. George Washington led our military troops to victory in the Revolutionary War bringing freedom to all Americans; he directed the convention where the United States Constitution was written, and he served our new nation as our first President. He was a great man whose love for his country kept him from accepting the proffered gift of being the king of it. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, approved the new Constitution even though he was serving our nation in France at the time it was written, and served as our nation's third President. James Madison wrote the United States Constitution and also served as the fourth President of our nation. Abraham Lincoln kept the country together during the Civil War and gave the Emancipation Proclamation while serving as our sixteenth President. Not one of these men and many others who accomplished great things for our nation is honored with a national holiday named specifically for him. There was a time when both Washington and Lincoln had national holidays named for them. In order to have one national holiday named for Martin Luther King, Congress took the two holidays named for Washington and Lincoln, lumped them together in one holiday and called it Presidents Day. Even though it has been twenty-five years since this happened, I have never heard a reasonable answer for the action. I personally believe the reason for this action was more to appease the African Americans among us than to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. I believe that this holiday was designated as part of a plan spear-headed by Lyndon B. Johnson and his cohorts to bring the black people into the Democratic camp. They achieved their purpose because African Americans have supported the Democrats for nearly fifty years since the civil rights acts were passed by Congress in the 1960s. African Americans do not seem to understand that the Democrats are simply using them to win elections. The latest revelations about statements by Senator Harry Reid and former President Bill Clinton prove that Democrats are racists, something that many conservatives have believed for years. I believe that Democrats pretend to be friends to poor people, African Americans and other minorities while actually trying to keep them "down on the plantation." I believe that the main purpose for the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of LBJ was to get votes. In trying to keep blacks and others in the slavery mentality, Democrats enact legislation that keeps all of us under control. A great example of their need to control Americans is the "health care reform" that the Democrats have tried to force through Congress even though Americans are telling them in no uncertain terms that we don't want their reform. It is just a continuing progressive plan to enslave all Americans. One way that Americans of all colors, all religions, all cultures, etc. can gain more freedom is to vote all progressives out of office as soon as possible!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Marriage in the entire United States is on trial in California. The federal trial in San Francisco to determine whether or not Proposition 8 is legal is now in its seventh day. This lawsuit will have an impact on every constitutional amendment on marriage in the nation.

Last fall residents of California voted for a constitutional amendment to make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal marriage in the state. Proponents of Proposition 8 worked long and hard to get their message out to the people, and the people voted in favor of marriage. Prop 8 would have failed without the surge of black voters who went to the polls to elect Obama as President. Now there is a trial taking place to decide if the ban on gay marriage is constitutional. The lawsuit charges that the measure on the 2008 ballot violates United States constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. The constitutional ban on gay marriage is expected to eventually reach the United States Supreme Court.

One of the attorneys opposing Prop 8, former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, known for his conservative views, said in his opening remarks that marriage was "one of the most vital personal rights" and a "basic civil right." As I see it, no one is taking away anyone's right to marry. The law simply states that it must be a member of the opposite sex.

Charles Cooper arguing in favor of Prop 8 said that marriage to opposite sex couples has 'prevailed in virtually every society since early history." He said that data from the Netherlands shows that same-sex marriage leads to a decline in marriage, more divorces, and more children being raised outside marriage.

I hope that the Court finds in favor of Prop 8. If it does not, constitutional amendments in support of marriage in Alaska and many other states will also be considered unconstitutional. I prefer to rely on the statement in The Family Proclamation to the World: "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts Election

Voters in Massachusetts made a very loud and clear statement today when they elected Scott Brown, a moderate Republican, to fill the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy for nearly fifty years. Brown will be the first Republican Senator from Massachusetts since 1972. Brown's election makes him the 41st Republican in the Senate and breaks the 60-vote majority that the Democrats have held for the past few months. This could make a big difference in our nation because Brown campaigned on voting against Obamacare. This was a HUGE achievement. Many people are hoping that it will be enough to save our nation from the progressives who are trying to take it away from us. If nothing else, it is causing other Democrats to evaluate their position in politics. Even though Brown is a moderate, he ran on conservative principles. His win shows that conservative principles are what the people want. I hope that Brown sticks with the conservative principles that he campaigned on and doesn't move to the left!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr.

My VIP for this week is Martin Luther King, Jr., the black civil rights leader. As I write this post, Americans are enjoying a national holiday - a day off work or out of school - in his honor. Many cities, including Anchorage, are calling for today to be a day for service.

King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, as the second of three children born to his parents. He was the eldest son and was named after his father who was pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. One of his grandfathers had also served as pastor at that church.

King did very well in high school, skipping the 9th and 12th grades and entering Morehouse College in Atlanta at age 15. While at Morehouse, King decided to become a minister and was ordained just before he graduated in 1948. He earned a divinity degree at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and then went to graduate school at Boston University. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in theology.

While in Boston he met Coretta Scott, a music student. They married in 1953 and eventually had four children. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1954.

King began his civil rights activities in 1955 in connection with a protest of Montgomery's segregated bus system. Montgomery had a city law that required blacks to give up their seats on buses when white people wanted those seats or to sit in that row. One day in 1955 a black passenger named Rosa Parks decided to disobey that law. She was arrested for her disobedience.

Blacks were urged by black leaders in Montgomery to boycott the city's buses. An organization was formed to run the boycott, and King was chosen to be president of that organization. King insisted on nonviolent protests, but his own home was bombed. For over a year, thousands of blacks refused to use the buses. By orders from the United States Supreme Court in 1956, Montgomery was forced to provide equal, integrated seating on public buses.

King joined with other black ministers to expand the nonviolent struggle against racism and discrimination. At that time, segregation existed throughout the South in public schools, transportation, recreation, hotels, and restaurants. Some states deprived blacks of the right to vote.

In 1960 King moved to Atlanta and became co-pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. In 1961, the civil rights movement picked up steam when black college students across the South began to push back. They sat at lunch counters and entered other facilities that refused to serve blacks. Massive demonstrations were launched in Birmingham, Alabama, to protest racial discriminations. Dogs and water hoses were used by police to drive back peaceful protesters, including children.  A national outcry against segregation was the result of heavy news coverage. John F. Kennedy proposed a civil rights bill to Congress.

On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people attended an event called the March on Washington. They gathered at the Lincoln Memorial where the high point was a speech by King. This stirring "I have a dream" speech defined the moral basis of the civil rights movement.

"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited racial discrimination in public places and called for equal opportunity in employment and education. King later received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize" (David J. Garrow, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, p 321).

In spite of the new legislation, white officials in Selma, Alabama, denied most black citizens the chance to register and vote. In a protest organized by King in 1965, several hundred protesters were attacked by police officers using tear gas and clubs to break up the group as they attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital. This attack was broadcast nationwide and shocked the general public.

Lyndon B. Johnson requested a bill in Congress that would eliminate all barriers to Southern blacks' right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was soon passed by Congress, but violence continued against civil rights workers in the South.

In 1967 King enlarged his movement to include poverty. "He believed poverty was as great an evil as racism. He said that true social justice would require a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Thus, King began to plan a Poor People's Campaign that would unite poor people of all races in a struggle for economic opportunity. The campaign would demand a federal guaranteed annual income for poor people and other major antipoverty laws" (David J. Garrow, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, p 323).

King also joined the growing anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. While supporting a strike of black garbage men in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. King's body was first buried at South View Cemetery in Atlanta and later moved near Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The following words from King's "I Have A Dream" speech are on his tombstone: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."

Shock, grief, and anger followed King's assassination. More than 100 cities in our nation experienced riots by black people. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibited racial discrimination in the sale and rental of most housing in the United States. An area including King's birthplace, church and burial spot was made the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in 1980. Congress passed a law in 1983 designating the third Monday in January as a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two Legislative Bodies

Provision 9 of the United States Constitution, from Article I.1.1, is "The Congress shall consist of two separate legislative bodies - one to be called a Senate and the other to be called a House of Representatives." American citizens have a Right to be subject only to laws approved by both houses of Congress. There was a huge debate at the Constitutional Convention over the best method for representation. Under the Articles of Confederation, each state sent delegates to the House of Representatives, but there was no upper house or senate. Most of the states had both an upper house and a lower house in their state legislatures at the time of the convention. After much debate about how Congress should be organized, a compromise was reached to have both an upper house and a lower house in the national government. The lower house or House of Representatives would represent the population with the number of representatives from each state being determined by the number of citizens in the state and the states divided into congressional districts. Representatives would be selected by popular vote and would represent the people who elected them. The upper house or Senate would be comprised of equal representation (two senators) from each state. The senators were to be appointed by their respective state legislatures and would represent their state and insure that the state's rights and interests were protected. After the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted in 1913, Senators were also elected by popular vote just like Congressmen. Senators now represent the people "at large" or all the people in their particular state. There is no one in Washington with the specific responsibility to guard the rights of the state. The Seventeenth Amendment changed an important part of the system invented by the Founders. Their system was founded on an idea put forth by political scientists for centuries, an idea that combined the advantages of "the one, the few, and the many." The work of the Founders established a system for this idea for the very first time in history. "The one," represented by the President, would administer the law and direct wartime efforts. "The few," represented by the Senate, would guard property and wealth and establish order. "The many," represented by the House, would represent the will of the people. The federal government as well as most of the states adopted this arrangement of government. The idea to have two branches in the legislative body gives the people double protection in that a majority of each house must be in favor of a bill before it becomes a law. The Founders set up a system of government that provided a measure of permanency. All members of the House of Representatives run for re-election every two years. A President serves for four years before seeking re-election for a second term of office. Senators serve for six year terms with one-third of the Senate running for re-election every two years. This system insures that there are experienced leaders in office at any given time. The idea of "the one, the few, and the many" is also apparent in successful families. "The one" is represented by a father, who is the head of the family. "The few" is represented by father and mother working together for the good of the family. "The many" is represented by the entire family in family council.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

There Is A God

I know that there is a God in heaven. I have felt His presence many times and have received many answers to prayers. I have many reasons why I believe in God. I look at the world around me and see everywhere proof that God exists. I see the sun rise and set every day without exception. I see the seasons follow in order - winter, spring, summer, fall - every year. In the spring I see my tulips and other flowers come back as well as the grass turn green and the leaves come out on the trees and on my raspberry bushes. Summer brings much more sunshine and warmth, which brings even more plants out of the ground. When the summer is over, I see the leaves turn beautiful colors and fall to the earth. Then I see the snow fall to insulate the earth from the bitter cold of winter. I see proof that God is in control whenever I look at the sky at night and see the millions of stars and constellations, all organized and in perfect order. I saw the hand of God in my life on the day that my first grandchild was born. It was a wonderful blessing to be able to watch this miracle take place! I see evidence of God whenever I look into the faces of my little grandchildren and see their sweet spirits shining out through their eyes. I consider that it is a major miracle that all of my grandchildren were born with all of their parts in the proper places and in good health and strength. God, through His Son Jesus Christ, created this earth and everything on it for the benefit of all His children. He also created the universe and other worlds. He did this in order that His children might have a place to go to obtain bodies and to learn to be like Him. I believe that all of us are created in the image of God as taught in Genesis 1:26-27 and as Stephen saw in Acts 7:55-56. We look like Him because we are His children. I believe that He is an eternal spirit with a tangible body of flesh and bones, a body that is perfected and glorified. I believe that His glory is beyond description. I believe that God is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. I believe that He is full of goodness, love and mercy. I believe that all good things come from God. The Savior taught the importance of our knowing about God and becoming like Him. He said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). I believe that the more we know God, the more we will love Him and keep His commandments. I believe that we can become like Him. Some specific actions we can take to learn to know God better are: 1) Believe that He exists and loves us; 2) Study the scriptures; 3) Talk with Him in prayer; 4) Obey all of His commandments as best we can. By doing all these things we can come to know God and eventually return to live with both the Father and the Son.

Friday, January 15, 2010


The recent earthquake in Haiti taught several lessons to the rest of the world - at least to those people who paid attention. One very important lesson was a reminder that it takes time for help to arrive after a disaster. Family members and neighbors need to care for and help each other. A young woman by the name of Christa Brelsford who grew up in Alaska and attends Arizona State University, her brother, and some friends were doing some volunteer work in Haiti when the earthquake struck. They were part of an eleven-day volunteer program to teach literacy to adults and children. When the building where they worked began to fall, they ran down the steps to get out. On the way she slipped, fell and was soon buried under the rubble. She said that when she realized that her leg was trapped, she remembered the earthquake drills at school in Alaska and the importance of protecting her head. The brother and friends spent nearly an hour and a half digging her out of the rubble of the cement building. She was one of eleven patients flown from Haiti to Miami where her right leg was amputated below the knee. A second lesson was a reminder to count our blessings no matter what our situation. Even though Brelsford lost her lower leg, she was very grateful for life itself as well as for her brother,their friends, and medical help. A third important lesson was a reminder of the need for personal preparation. We need to remember that the time to prepare is prior to the event! We also need to remember that we need to prepare physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally simply because none of us know what is in our future. People in Haiti became desperate for medical supplies, water and food. Their homes and everything in them were destroyed. Then the evil element of society came out - I've heard that it takes about 72 hours after a big disaster before the looting, etc. begins. In Haiti, someone yelled that a tsunami was coming and to drop everything and run. There was no water coming, but all the belongings left behind were ripe for the picking of those who gave the false warning. These are just three of the lessons taught by this recent earthquake. As Alaskans we know that we could be hit by an earthquake at any time but we could be in the snow and cold. Our hearts and funds go out to the people of Haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Free to Choose

For this Freedom Friday, I want to revisit the topic of moral agency. After I published my last post on this topic, I prepared a lesson for the five-year-old children that I teach each Sunday and realized that I had missed the most important reason why we should use our moral agency wisely. That reason is that it makes us happy to choose the right. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us. Because They love us, They want us to be happy. One way that we can be happy is to have the opportunity to make choices. This is why Heavenly Father gave us the great gift of moral agency long before we came to earth. With the gift of moral agency, we have the right to choose how we will live our lives. Because we are able to make choices, we are responsible for our actions. When we make the right choices, our agency becomes stronger and our power to make right choices increases. One thing that we need to remember is that even though we have the power to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. In Matthew 5:6 it says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…." To "hunger and thirst after righteousness" means to choose the right. Making right choices helps us to make more right choices. Choosing wisely brings peace of mind and freedom from feelings of guilt and remorse. Using our moral agency wisely brings happiness. If we want to truly be free, we must learn CTR - Choose The Right!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


My husband and I have discussed buying gold on numerous occasions over the years but never actually purchased any. I am wondering lately if we made a very bad mistake in not buying it. The dollar is in serious trouble due to the overspending by our government, and I am wondering if the dollar can be saved. When a representative of a gold investment firm called last week, I began to think about maybe buying gold again. After a discussion with my husband, I decided that I really needed to know more about gold. I learned a few new things about it and will share what I know with you. The metallic element known as gold (chemical symbol, Au) was one of the first known metals. Those who possess this bright yellow metal have been for thousands of years considered wealthy. No one knows when gold was first discovered, but there is evidence that people in Ur in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and in Egypt were using it as early as 3500 BC. The artistry in the cups and jewelry found in those countries suggests that people had been working with gold for several hundreds of years before the objects were made. Gold is valuable chiefly because it is rare, but it is also valuable because it can be made into fine wire (ductile), hammered into sheets (malleable), or formed into any desired shape. It also has resistance to rust and other chemical changes that would cause tarnishing. Gold's beautiful yellow color and soft metallic glow make it highly valuable as jewelry and other ornamentation. It is also easy to work with because of its softness. Gold must be combined with some other metal when it is made into a hard object such as jewelry or coins. This type of mixture is called an alloy. Gold alloys are measured in karats (or carats), which are divided into 24 parts. Pure gold is 24 karat (24K). The number equals the amount of gold in the item, such as 18 karat gold means there are 18 parts of pure gold plus 6 parts of some other metal. Copper and silver are common metals to be alloyed with gold, such as in gold leaf. White gold is made from gold alloyed with such other metals as nickel, palladium, or platinum. According to scientists, gold is formed from gases and liquids coming up beneath the earth's surface through cracks or faults in the surface of the earth. Gold can be found in several different places: 1) lode or vein deposits where minerals have filled fractures in rocks, resulting in thin, sheet-like deposits; 2) placer deposits are larger particles like nuggets and grains of gold that have been washed into streams; 3) Some gold as a minor element is found in copper deposits called porphyry copper deposits; 4) There is some gold in solution form in all seawater - about one grain of gold per short ton. Pure gold is not often found. It is often mined as a by-product of quartz, calcite, lead, tellurium, zinc, or copper. Gold mines produce about 40 percent of the US-produced gold. Gold is obtained in a two-step process: 1) get the gold ore; 2) separate the gold from the ore. Gold is used by nations as an international form of money and is acceptable in all countries as payment of debts. When a country is on the gold standard, it is willing to redeem any of its money in gold and it has a set price to buy and sell gold. Some of the advantages of being on a gold standard are that it checks inflation, restrains government spending, and stabilizes currency exchange rates among countries. A disadvantage is that it prevents necessary adjustments in domestic currency supplies as well as in international exchange rates. Until l933, when the US abandoned the gold standard, a stated amount of gold could be obtained for most paper money. The gold value of a dollar was reduced in 1934, but gold remained the standard of measurement until the mid-1970's. The US was officially on the gold standard when Congress passed the Gold Standard Act in 1900 but went on and off the gold standard several times before abandoning it completely in 1971. The official price of gold in 1973 was $42.22 an ounce (about the size of a silver dollar). The government stopped setting the gold value of the dollar in 1976, and the price of gold now rises and falls in relation to the demand for gold. The demand for gold must be high at the present time because I was quoted a price of $1100 an ounce last week. I should have bought gold in 1973! The United States has not minted gold as legal currency since 1933, but it does issue gold coins for collectors ($50, $20, $10, and $5 pieces) as well as bullion coins for investors. Most of the nation's gold has been stored underground at Fort Knox, Kentucky since 1937. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York stores the gold reserves of many nations. Facts for this post came from articles by Harrison Ashley Schmitt and Irving Morrissett in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol 8, pages 249-253, 254.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Officer Down

It happened again! Some idiot thought he had the right to ambush one of our Anchorage City policemen last Saturday. I do not know the injured officer, but I am indignant! Investigators say that Officer Jason Allen was in uniform and was in a marked patrol car when he was ambushed. He had responded to a domestic-dispute call from a home on Medfra Street, between 14th and 15tgh avenues, and then returned to his car. Just before 2:00 a.m. Saturday a dark-colored sedan pulled alongside his patrol car, and a person on the passenger side of the car opened fire with a handgun without any words exchanged. Allen was shot five times in the arms and torso, but his bulletproof vest stopped some of the rounds. He stayed alert enough to call for help on his radio and to pass along information to his fellow officers before going into surgery. His injuries were potentially life-threatening, but he has a good chance for a full recovery. He is a veteran police officer with a reputation for fairness and a good man to have patrolling our streets. The shooting does not appear to be connected to the call that Allen responded to at the home on Medfra. There is a very, very slim possibility that someone with a grudge against him tracked him down. He had been on duty for about three hours and was not on his usual turf in another part of town. The police do not yet have a clear motive for the shooting, but it appears that Allen was shot simply because of his uniform. Our entire community is shocked, especially those at the APD. Since the shooting, off-duty officers have volunteered their time to pair up at night for safety reasons. The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association is offering a $10,000 reward, which comes from the police union, the city and other public safety unions. This is the first time in recent memory that a bounty has been offered for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of criminals. Other officers have been assaulted, but this case is different in that the officer was ambushed. An editorial in the Anchorage Daily News this morning states, "The shooting of Anchorage police officer Jason Allen … was an attack on the community. That's because any assault on an officer of the law is a fundamental assault on the rule of law." This type of brazen and deliberate attack is not a familiar one to Anchorage, and there is some concern that it might be gang related. Other agencies are assisting in the investigation. Agents from the FBI, the Alaska State Troopers, the Seattle Police Department and others are now in on the search. Seattle officers are assisting because of their recent experience dealing with shootings there on October 31 and November 29 that killed five police officers. There may not be a specific link between the shootings in Seattle and Anchorage, but the crimes are similar and may require similar strategies in the investigation. The local FBI office is providing assistance, resources and technical assistance and whatever else they can provide to solve the case. This case may not end up in federal jurisdiction, but it is not unusual for federal authorities to get involved in a serious case, especially when an officer is targeted. My thoughts and prayers are with this officer, his family, and the entire police force. May God help them find those involved in the shooting and bring them to swift justice!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dwight David Eisenhower

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the leader of the victorious Allied military forces in Europe in World War II. His military career covered more than 30 years before he was elected Commander-in-Chief in 1952. The tall, bald-headed man known as Ike was loved throughout the world. He had a broad grin and a friendly personality that could make almost everyone feel comfortable around him. Ike was organized, thoughtful, and patient, and he thought that good leaders led best by inspiring others to cooperate and to rise to their full potential.

Ike faced many difficult decisions as President. There were widespread investigations because of fear of Communist influence in government. There were bitter disputes caused by new civil rights issues. There were crises in foreign affairs caused by Communist threats in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The war-time hero who became Commander-in-Chief helped keep peace in the world.

Eisenhower was born October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas. He was the third of seven sons born to his deeply religious parents. He was named David Dwight Eisenhower but was always called Dwight David Eisenhower. His parents were descendants of German and Swiss immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700's. I wonder if his ancestors came to America because of the kindness shown by General George Washington to the captured German Hessian soldiers.

Ike was popular in high school but didn't know what to do after graduation. A friend suggested that he apply to the national military academies where the tuition was free. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He was respectful of his parent's opposition to war even though he chose a military career.. He played football at West Point but quit the team after injuring his knee In 1915 he graduated 61st in a class of 164 and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He was assigned to Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio, Texas.

While there he met Mamie Geneva Doud (1896-1979) who was visiting from Denver. They started dating and were married on July 1, 1916 - the same day Ike was promoted to first lieutenant. Ike and Mamie had two sons. The oldest, Doud Dwight Eisenhower, died at age 3 of scarlet fever. John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower became an Army officer and diplomat. John's son, David, married Julie Nixon, the youngest daughter of Richard M. Nixon.

During World War I (1914-1918) Ike directed tank training programs at Camp Colt in Gettysburg. Pennsylvania. After the war he served in the Panama Canal Zone on the staff of Brigadier General Fox Conner. With Conner's support, he was selected to attend the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1926 he graduated first in his class of 275 top Army officers to survive the demanding training. He held various positions before becoming an aide in 1933 to General Douglas MacArthur, the Army Chief of Staff, in Washington, D.C.  When MacArthur was stationed in the Philipines in 1935, he took Ike with him. While in the Philipines, Ike took flying lessons and made his first solo flight in 1937 at age 47.

World War II began in 1939, and in 1940 the United States began building up its military in case it was drawn into the war. In 1941 Ike was appointed by the Army to plan the strategy for the Third Army in war games in Louisiana. The "enemy" force included a tank division commanded by Ike's friend George S. Patton, Jr., who also became a World War II hero.

Ike's performance in the brilliant win earned him a promotion to Brigadier General in September 1941. He also caught the attention of the new Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced the United States to enter World War II, Marshall assigned Ike to Washington, D.C. to serve in the Army's war plans division.

Ike was promoted to Major General in March 1942. In June 1942 he was named commanding general of United States forces in the European Theater of Operations, advancing over numerous senior officers. He became a Lieutenant General in July 1942 and named commander of Allied forces organized to invade North Africa. The invasion began in November 1942 and ended with the retaking of the region from German and Italian forces.

In February 1943 Ike was promoted to the rank of four-star general, then the highest rank in the Army. He organized the Allied invasions of Sicily in July 1943 and of Italy in September 1943. In December 1943 Ike was named supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

The Allies planned to invade Normandy in northern France in early June 1944 by crossing the English Channel. This plan was history's largest seaborne invasion ever. "The success of Operation Overlord depended on low tides and calm seas for the landing boats, and clear skies fore the bombers protecting them. But on June 3, the weather turned bad, with rough seas and heavy clouds. Weather experts told Eisenhower there was a slim chance that the weather would clear up on June 6. If the invasion did not begin that day, it would have to wait two weeks until the next low tide. 
"Eisenhower faced the anguish of decision. He could risk millions of lives on the small chance of good weather, or he could delay the landing and probably lose the vital military element of surprise. On June 5, Eisenhower made his final decision. `OK, let's go!' he ordered. The invasion began early in the morning of June 6, 1944, a day that became known as D.-Day. By nightfall, the Allies had a firm hold on the beaches of Normandy. After 11 more months of bloody fighting, Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945" (Elmo Richardson, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 6 [1994], p 150).

Eisenhower received the newly created rank of five-star general in December 1944 and returned to the United States to a hero's welcome in June 1945. He wanted to retire from the military but accepted the position as Army Chief of Staff in November 1945. Ike retired from active military service in 1948, became president of Columbia University in New York City, and wrote a best-selling book about his wartime experiences. He was called back into the military when he became the supreme commander of the newly formed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Europe. He was eager for the opportunity to work with the unique international army.

Ike became active in politics as a result of divisions in the country over the Korean War , which started in June 1950. Many Republicans thought the United States should withdraw from the bloody conflict. Ike thought the United States needed to be involved in problems facing the rest of the world in order to live in peace and freedom.

Many Republicans urged Ike to run for President arguing that only he could unite the party's conservative and liberal wings. He was concerned that there had been no Republican presidents for twenty years but would not run against Harry S. Truman. When Truman chose not to run for re-election, Ike retired from the Army - again - without pay or military benefits and became a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. He was not the leading candidate, but he won the nomination on the first ballot and chose Richard M. Nixon to be the vice presidential candidate. Republicans won the election with 55% of the ballots cast and gained control of both houses of Congress.

Many people admired Ike's experience and integrity and believed he would restore government to its proper role as well as protect against Communism. As President, Ike delegated wide powers to aides. He made each Cabinet officer and White House assistant responsible for an area of government affairs. He chose officials for their strong convictions and managerial abilities. Soon after he became President, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services) was created, making ten Cabinet positions. Eisenhower and Nixon were elected for a second term in 1956 - by an even greater victory than in 1932.

Ike was the first President prohibited from running for a third term by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which became law in 1951. He left office in January 1961 and retired to his farm in Gettysburg. There he raised cattle and wrote three books of memoirs. He died of heart failure on March 28, 1969, after a series of heart attacks. He was buried in Abilene, where a library with his papers opened for researchers.

Some highlights from the world of President Eisenhower are: 1) "The Korean War ended, after three years of fighting, with the signing of a truce agreement on July 27, 1953; 2) Controlled nuclear energy came into use. The U.S. Navy launched the first nuclear-powered vessel, the submarine Nautilus, in 1954. The first large-scale nuclear power plant began operations in 1956 at Calder Hill in England; 3) Segregated public schools were outlawed by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. In a landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the court ruled that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional; 4) Rock 'n' roll became the leading form of popular music. A band called Bill Haley and His Comets recorded one of the first rock hits, "Rock Around the Clock," in 1955; 5) The merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955 united the two leading U.S. labor federations; 6) The first polio vaccine, developed by the American medical researcher Jonas E. Salk, was declared safe in 1955; 7) The Vietnam War began in 1957, when Viet Cong guerrillas started to attack the South Vietnamese government; 8) The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the Atlantic Ocean and Great Lakes, was completed by the United States and Canada in 1959; 9) Fidel Castro took over the government of Cuba in 1959 and soon turned the country into a Communist state; 10) New inventions included the laser, a device that produces a narrow beam of intense light, and xerography, an ink-less copying process perfected by the Xerox Corporation" (Elmo Richardson).

I was not aware of most of these highlights while they were happening. I knew about the labor union merger because my U.S. History teacher hammered into his students the wrongness of this merger. I remember receiving polio vaccine and the fear associated with the disease. I had a good friend who wore a full-length brace on one of his legs from elementary school through high school. I remember seeing him running across the school yard.

The Vietnam War was on the news a lot in my older teens and young married life. I knew several young men who served in Vietnam. I grew to adulthood believing that Eisenhower was a really good President. I remember when he left office and also when he died. He was well-loved and respected by American citizens. My brother-in-law served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He liked Eisenhower so much that he called his beloved little dog Ike.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lawmaking Powers

The eighth principle of the United States Constitution is found in Article I.1.1 (Article I, section 1, paragraph 1). This principle is: All legislative or lawmaking powers granted by this Constitution shall be vested exclusively in the Congress of the United States. This principle means that we as the people of the United States have the Right to expect the majority of our representatives to review and approve every proposal before it becomes a federal law. Our Founding Fathers made the law-making procedure as safe and secure as they could possibly make it. "Their legacy to future generations included a series of highly significant guidelines for Congress" (W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p 250). Skousen included a list of the safeguards desired by the Founders: 1) "Federal laws should be few in number," 2) "Each law should be written in simple, non-technical language," 3) The House had the responsibility to "scrutinize proposed laws as the representatives of the people," 4) The Senate had the responsibility to "scrutinize new laws as the representatives of the states, 5) The President had the responsibility to scrutinize "new laws from a national viewpoint, 6) "The Courts must scrutinize new laws in terms of the Constitution." Skousen continued, "With so much good advice concerning the lawmaking process, it was no doubt expected that the proper procedure would remain strictly within its prescribed limits, particularly in view of the statement in Article I, section 1, that ALL lawmaking authority would be vested exclusively in the Congress. However, that is not what happened" (The Making of America, p 251). The Founders intended that each state would remain sovereign in its responsibilities and that the Federal government would stick to its own responsibilities. Congress gradually passed laws that encroached on the rights of the states, and both the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch began "writing laws" in their own unique ways. Since 1887, requirements known as "administrative law" has been issued by various governmental agencies. These "administrative laws" are enforceable in the courts just like laws made by Congress. In addition, Presidents have taken to writing executive orders, which are also enforceable in the courts. Executive orders started as administrative orders to the government agencies but did not affect the public. These executive orders gradually increased in number and influence. An example of how gradual they grew is a comparison between the 71 executive orders written by President Grover Cleveland and the 51 issued by President William McKinley with the 1,006 issued by President Theodore Roosevelt. By January 1985, the official count of executive orders numbered 12,498, and there have been many written since that time. The Founders required that all treaties with foreign governments be approved by the Senate, but Presidents began making secret executive agreements with foreign nations. The Yalta Agreement in 1945 between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin is an example of the agreements made. Neither the Senate nor the American people know today all the commitments made by Roosevelt at Yalta. The Judicial Branch also got into the act of "writing laws." The courts would take authority from Congress to do "judicial legislation" or authority from the Executive Branch to do "judicial administration." It is obvious that all three branches of the Federal Government have a difficult time sticking to the Constitution! The Founders provided two means of safety for the lawmaking process, whether the laws are made by Congress or the courts. The first way gave the state legislatures power to reverse decisions made by Congress or courts by calling for a convention to amend the Constitution. This regulation was written in such a way that neither Congress nor the courts could prevent it. Alexander Hamilton said, "In the fifth article of the plan [as provided in the Constitution], the Congress will be obliged on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to call a convention for proposing amendments which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof." Hamilton continued, "The Words of this article are peremptory [mandatory]. The Congress `shall call a convention.' Nothing in this particular [provision] is left to the discretion of that body…. We may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority" (as quoted in The Making of America, p 256). The second means of safety for the people was the common jury. This was thought by the Founders to be the most powerful weapon of defense against abusive government - but the Supreme Court took away half of its power in 1895. Since that time the people do not have the right to judge the law. If the people of the United States are to regain control of the Federal government, the "first safety net - the power of the state legislatures to call a convention and reverse the Congress and the courts - must become operational. As of 1985 it has never been used. This device could then be employed to restore the powers of the common-law jury. After that a carefully structured "New Bill of Rights" could be submitted to a constitutional convention, which would restore the original genius of a divided, balanced, and limited government as envisioned by the Founders…. We must have a generation of Americans who believe in the Founders' original success formula and who have the ingenuity and grit to restore it as the Founders initially planned it" (The Making of America, p 257). I have not found any indication that a constitutional convention has ever been held, but I did read somewhere that one was threatened until Congress approved one of the Amendments that we now have. This health care bill that is currently working its way through Congress may just be the one that forces a constitutional convention. I do not know of a simple way to teach this principle to children because I am having a difficult time getting my own brain around this concept - or at least why we are having problems with it today. I believe that we can put the blame for this problem on the progressive movement also since the bigger problems have come about in the past hundred years since the progressive movement began.

Keep The Christmas Spirit

One of my favorite Christmas stories is a story of how we can change our lives. This story is called A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It was written nearly 200 years ago but is still relevant and popular today. The Christmas Carol is a story about a man named Ebeneezer Scrooge who was filled with hate. Even though he was still walking around, eating, sleeping, working, etc, his heart was stone cold and darkness filled his life. He didn't like anyone, not even himself. One night Ebeneezer Scrooge was visited by the ghost of his late partner. He noticed that Marley was dragging a heavy chain made of "cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel." Marley told Scrooge, "I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it." I wonder what my chain is made of and what is hanging from it. Scrooge questioned, "Why do spirits walk the earth?" Marley answered, "It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world … and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness." Scrooge stated that Marley "was always a good man of business." To this, Marley cried, "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business." After the ghost of Marley departed, Scrooge was visited by three spirits. The first spirit referred to himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past. This spirit took Scrooge back through his childhood, youth, and young adulthood. He saw the kindness of his younger sister and the pretty young woman that he had once loved but lost because he was too interested in money. The second spirit referred to himself as the Ghost of Christmas Present. This spirit showed Scrooge the citizens of his area. They were living in less than pleasant circumstances but were happy. He saw people preparing to observe Christmas with faith, food, family and friends. Scrooge saw the family of Bob Cratchit, particularly crippled Tiny Tim. This family was very poor but happy and full of love. Bob worked for Scrooge, but Scrooge didn't pay him enough to support his family. Scrooge saw his nephew who was trying to be kind to Scrooge and include him in his life, but Scrooge thought his nephew wanted only his money and wouldn't have anything to do with him. The third spirit was the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. This spirit showed Scrooge as a dead man who was unloved and unmourned. It also showed the Cratchit family in a state of deep mourning for Tiny Tim. When Scrooge returned from the last visit, he realized that he was still alive and capable of changing his future. He became friendly with his nephew, raised the salary of Bob Cratchit and helped the struggling Cratchit family. He made mankind his business. He became a good friend, a good employer, and a good man. Christmas is a season when a peaceful, calm feeling of love is in the very air. It is a time when most of us are a little more tolerant of the bad behavior of other people and a little more helpful to the poor and needy. It is a time when we dig a little deeper in our pockets, wallets, and purses to purchase gifts for those we love and to help other people, even strangers, to have a happier Christmas. The spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. The feeling in the air is love. It is through the love of Christ for us that we have the ability to love other people. It is something that we can keep with us all the time. A favorite comic of mine is a Family Circus by Bill Keane. The picture is of a mother boxing up and putting away Christmas decorations and a little boy speaking to his mother: "Grandma says when we put away the Christmas things … we shouldn't put the Christmas Spirit away with them." I am still enjoying my Christmas decorations but have decided to put them away this week. I've decided to do something a little different this year. I will keep one of my many Nativity scenes out in the open to remind me to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive in my home. It will help me to remember that Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate Christmas and that it is possible to have His Spirit with us always. It will help me to remember Jesus Christ and the love that He has for each of us. I hope that it will help me to be more loving, kinder and more gentle to those around me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Traditions and History

My younger sister spent the past five or six weeks sharing her memories of childhood traditions. She wrote them as a gift to her children and was gracious enough to share them with her siblings also. I am very grateful for her written memories because they helped me remember more of the traditions of our extended family. I found that for numerous occasions, her memories were much different than my own and/or much more detailed. Traditions and memories of those experiences have helped to make us what we are at the present time and form a big part of our history. It is important to have traditions as well as to remember our history correctly. This is one reason why progressives want to change the history and traditions and traditions of our nation. In May 2008, Michelle Obama said, "Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices; we are going to have to change our conversation; we're going to have to change our traditions, our history; we're going to have to move into a different place as a nation." What did she mean when she said that we would have to change our conversations, our traditions, and our history? We change the conversation when we put a different slant on the words. We change traditions when we stop repeating the stories of our national heritage, when we take prayer out of the schools, when we stop pledging allegiance to the flag and start pledging allegiance to the earth. Another way to change history is to say that white things are now black and black is now white. For example, President Obama has said that we are no longer a Christian nation. How can he say that when 92 percent of Americans believe in God? How can he say that when 83 percent of Americans believe that public schools should celebrate religious holidays? How can he say that when 66% of Americans celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday honoring the birth of Jesus Christ? History can be changed by emphasizing something different. What are the schools teaching our children? Schools in Wisconsin teach the history of organized labor but won't allow anything about Jesus Christ in their school systems. Other schools teach evolution but denounce the possibility that the earth was created by God. The people who attended the town halls were depicted as trouble makers - but not one of them became violent or was arrested. Those people who want lower taxes are depicted as people that hate the poor. Returning military veterans are depicted as dangerous to our nation. Tea party goers are simply ignored. An example is Time Magazine's year in pictures review which did not include any pictures of either the 9/12 rally in Washington or the tax day tea party protests that were happening all over the country. Millions of Americans protested out-of-control government spending, corruption, special interests, and the health care reform, but none of these was important enough to Time Magazine to be included for the year. If the media is brought under the government umbrella, we can expect that history will be recorded much different than it is really happening. I learned a very important lesson from reading about family traditions through the eyes of my younger sister. I learned one more reason why each of us should be keeping journals. We need to write history as we see it happening in order to have a foundation to judge what other people write.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Progressive Movement

The progressive movement is destroying our freedoms and liberties. This movement started around the turn of last century and is very strong today. Progressives gave us the Federal Reserve. They brought redistribution of wealth through the progressive income tax. They brought us the League of Nations, then the United Nations. They brought in Prohibition to force people into better health by denying them alcohol. They brought in the idea that our Constitution is a flawed, living, breathing document and that our Founding Fathers were a bunch of rich racists.

Progressives today speak a different language. When they say "economic justice" they really mean "taking from the halves and giving to the have nots." When they speak of "social justice" they want "someone to step down so that someone else can have a turn." When then-Presidential Nominee Barack Obama said, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America" he really meant that he was on the verge of "collapsing the state as we know it and rebooting it as a progressive utopia."

What most people call socialism, progressives call social justice. They seem to really believe that they are making things better. There have been numerous attempts by progressives to take over the government of the United States, and the modern-day progressives have learned from the earlier attempts to transform America. The speed with which government has taken over private industry in the past year shows that there was a plan in place long before the election was held.

Progressives now live by these rules: 1) No debate is allowed. People like Al Gore have said things like, "The discussion is over." They know that truth will prevail if it is allowed out in the open. Look what happened at the climate change conference in December. 2) This transformation cannot be conducted in the open. Health reform is a good example of this. The leaders of both the House and the Senate denied all proposals that were not part of their plan to take over our health care system. Obama and the other elected stooges are now meeting in secret to determine the future of Americans' health care. 3) They never let a good crisis go to waste. They are just waiting for something really bad to happen in order to take over our country.

Those people who are truly listening to the words of the progressives and watching their actions recognize that these rules are in place and are being used. The people who are basically responsible for the overwhelming and possible collapse of our economic system are Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven, authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy. They wrote about collapsing the economy and how to do it in an article they wrote in the 1960's called, "Mobilizing the Poor: How it Could Be Done." It was published in The Nation, under the title "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty." Cloward and Piven were radical professors at Columbia in the 1960's. They believed in "change" and "social justice." They wrote a plan to put Saul Alinsky's social change for America into effect. Their plan was to overwhelm the system and cause capitalism to fail. To do this, they would overload the government bureaucracy and bring on economic collapse by impossible demands. In a ten-year period, from 1964 until 1974, the total number of people on welfare rose from 4.3 million to 10.8 million. New York City alone had 1 million welfare recipients in 1975 and declared bankruptcy.

More than twenty years later, Mayor Rudy Giuliani was still trying to deal with some of the problems. He referred to the Cloward and Piven strategy while describing the economic sabotage. He said, "This wasn't an accident; it wasn't an atmospheric thing; it wasn't supernatural. It was the result of policies, choices and a philosophy that was embraced in the 1960's and then enthusiastically endorsed in the City of New York." He went on to say, "This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare" (Video Clip dated July 20, 1998).

Hard-working American taxpayers grew tired of providing money to able-bodied welfare recipients generation after generation, and welfare reform was begun. After the welfare reform bill was signed by Bill Clinton in 1996, millions of people were taken off the welfare rolls. Meanwhile, the progressives turned to other means to overwhelm the system. One way was to register all the dead-beats to vote. Bill Clinton signed the Motor Voter Bill into law in 1993 and invited Richard Cloward and his wife, Frances Fox Piven to the signing. Now they are working on a plan to provide amnesty to all undocumented workers who are in our country illegally.

Numerous Presidents of the United States have been progressives, including Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. John McCain is a progressive and would have taken us down the same path that Obama is taking us but at a slower pace. Obama's speed has caused many people, including myself, to wake up to what is happening.

Progressives have become part of the system of our national government. Hilary Clinton wrote her college thesis on Saul Alinsky and has proclaimed herself to be a "modern progressive." I encourage everyone to study and learn more about how progressivism started and where it wants to take our country. A good place to start is by listening to Glenn Beck interview Matthew Spalding, director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for American Studies. This interview explains a lot about progressivism.

Today I was listening to an address given by Ronald Reagan at the 1964 Republican National Convention. He was talking about Russia and the threat of communism, but I was shocked by how much his words apply to our nation right now. I really recommend that you listen to the entire speech. Here is just one quote from it: "This is the issue of the election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."

The freedoms and liberties that we enjoy are being threatened right now. Our economic system is on the verge of collapse due to the massive national debt. Each American citizen - man, woman and child - now owes more than $340,000! Americans must wake up and realize what is happening or it will be too late to stop the progressive program before it destroys our nation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alaska Railroad

My family has been involved with the railroad in Alaska numerous times, beginning with my father. During World War II, my father left his home, his wife and six children to look for work. He ended up in Alaska digging railroad tunnels through the mountain from Portage to Whittier. He went home for a few months and then returned to Alaska a second time to work on the railroad. Many years later, Dad was thrilled to take my mother, my youngest sister, myself and some of my children on the train to Whittier to show us where he worked. Several of my children worked on the railroad as young adults to earn money for college. The hours were long and the work was difficult but the pay was good. The Alaska Railroad was owned and operated by the federal government for more than sixty years. Ronald Reagan signed the legislation in 1983 that transferred ownership of the railroad to Alaska. This year on January 5 Alaska celebrated twenty-five years of ownership of the nation's only full service (passengers and freight) railroad. The people of Alaska are the real owners of this railroad, but it is run by Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC), a self-sustaining State of Alaska corporation, which is overseen by a seven-member, governor-appointed board of directors. Alaska paid the federal government $22.3 million for the Alaska Railroad. This price included 655 miles of track, 38,000 acres of land including all rights-of-way, four terminals, and 1,545 units of rolling stock including locomotives, freight cars and passenger cars. Total railroad assets were valued at $37.2 million in January 1985. The value was reported to be $854.1 million by December 31, 2008. In January 1985, the revenues of the railroad were $61 million. Annual revenues had grown to $180.4 million by the end of 2008. New locomotives and passenger cars have been added, new facilities have been built, the Whittier Tunnel was opened to vehicle traffic, and other capital and operational improvements have been made. The acquisition of the Alaska Railroad was a good decision twenty-five years ago. It should remain a valuable property for the people of the great State of Alaska for many years in the future.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Airport Security

Are terrorists becoming bolder or are we less secure under the Obama Administration? Official sources tell us that there have been twenty-eight terror attacks, either successful or attempted, since 9/11. Twenty-eight divided by nine averages out to about three per year. I understand that there have been six attacks during 2009. So, what's up? One fact is very clear, and that fact is that the United States and the world's airways remain vulnerable to terrorists. I believe that one of the reasons that we are so vulnerable is that our liberal left wants everything to be politically correct. I understand that our newest terrorist now has an attorney and will be tried in our court system - just as if he were a United States citizen. When are our leaders going to understand that our enemies are using our humanity to destroy us? The question that I want to discuss today is, how much freedom will we need to surrender in order to be safe? I do not have any problem with profiling for security reasons. If older, Caucasian women were to become known for blowing up airplanes, I would expect everyone to wonder about me, and I would try to be as cooperative as possible with those in authority. I don't particularly enjoy the experience of having dogs sniff around my private parts, but I think that I prefer dogs sniffing around than being patted down. I know that I prefer dogs to full body scans in public. I think that my second choice would be to be patted down by a same-sex employee. This seems less intrusive to me than a body scan. My last choice would be a full body scan. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of somebody - anybody - taking a detailed look at my body. I endure physical examinations by my doctor simply because I consider them necessary to preserve my health. I suppose I could endure body scans to preserve my life, but I wouldn't like it! I like freedom and privacy as well as being innocent until proven guilty. I do not like the fact that my life, liberty, property and privacy are being threatened because some deranged people from another country think it necessary. The more freedoms I give up, whether voluntarily or by force, the more determined I am to win this war against terrorism. I hope that Obama gets his act together soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Richard M. Nixon

I chose Richard Milhous Nixon (1913- 1994) as my VIP for this week simply because his birthday anniversary is this week. The presidential election of 1968 in which Nixon became the 37th president was the first time I voted. The minimal voting age in all United States elections was 21 until the 27th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1971. Nixon was the only President of the United States ever to resign from office. He left office on August 9, 1974, while facing almost certain impeachment for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. This scandal included a break-in at the Democratic national headquarters and other illegal activities by members of his re-election committee. Nixon's attempt to cover up the crimes became a major part of the scandal. His successor, Gerald R. Ford, pardoned him for any crimes he committed while President. I remember well where I was when I heard the announcement of his resignation. I also remember the feeling of sadness for our nation to realize that a President would break the law and need to leave office. On that particular day I was driving our blue 1970 Chevrolet pickup up the Glenn Allen Highway to hunt Dall sheep in the McCarthy area. I was driving because my husband couldn't get the day off work and would fly up later with a hunting buddy. My two little girls, ages one and two, were with me in the truck. We were pulling our little thirteen-foot camp trailer - my very first time ever to pull a trailer on a highway. It was a very scary experience for me, especially while crossing a huge river on an old, one-way bridge made of two different sections of wooden planks - one strip of wood for the left tires and one strip of wood for the right tires. I consider it a major miracle that I was able to keep all the wheels where they were supposed to be and made it across the bridge instead of falling in the river! I was very grateful that my husband was there to drive home. Nixon was born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, a village thirty miles southeast of Los Angeles. He was the second of five sons born to his parents who were of the Quaker faith. In 1922, the Nixon's moved to Whittier where the parents opened a combination grocery store and gasoline station. When Richard was about ten, he began working as a bean picker. As a teenager, he worked as a handyman in a packing house, janitor at a swimming pool, and barker at an amusement park. While in college he worked as a bookkeeper and as manaqger of the vegetable department of his father's store. He attended elementary school in Yorba Linda, Whittier and nearby Fullerton. At Whittier High School, his favorite classes were history and civics. He played football and starred in debate. Nixon entered Whittier College, a Quaker institution, at age 17. he won several debating awards and became student body president there. He attended Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina, on a scholarship. He was elected as president of the student law association and to the national law fraternity for honor students. He ranked third in a class of forty-four students when he graduated in 1937. The Great Depression was still in force when he graduated. He tried unsuccessfully to join the FBI and then a law firm in New York. He joined a law firm in Whittier, California, and later became a partner there. He met Thelma Catherine Ryan (1912-1993), nicknamed Pat by her father because she was born on the eve of St. Patrick's Day. They were married on June 21, 1940, and were later blessed with two daughters, Patricia (Tricia) (1946) and Julie (1948). Julie married David Eisenhower (1968), grandson of former President Eisenhower. Tricia married Edward Cox (1971). I think that at least one of these weddings was held in the White House. Nixon served in the United States Navy during World War II. He was an ensign in a naval air transport unit in the Pacific and was later promoted to lieutenant commander before the war ended in 1945. He was elected to his first political office in 1946 as a representative in the United States House of Representatives. There he served on a committee that laid the ground work for the Marshall Plan and other aid programs. He helped write the Taft-Hartley Act, which established controls over labor unions, and became a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He was re-elected to the House in 1948 and came to national prominence because of the Alger Hiss case. Hiss was a former State Department official who was accused of passing classified State Department documents to a Soviet spy ring during the 1930's. It was a case of Hiss's word against that of his accusers. Some members of the Un-American Activities Committee wanted to drop the case, but Nixon insisted that the charges needed to be proved or disproved. The question of communists in government was a huge political issue of that time. Hiss was convicted of perjury for his denial. Nixon was elected to the United States Senate in 1950. He was nominated in 1952 to run for Vice President on a ticket with General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He served two terms as Vice President, stepping in several times to keep the government running smoothly while Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack, a serious illness, and a stroke. Nixon campaigned for President against John F. Kennedy in a close and hard fought campaign. In the end Kennedy won by 114,,673 popular votes. Nixon carried 26 states to 22 for Kennedy, but Kennedy received 303 electoral votes compared to Nixon's 219. There were widespread charges of fraudulent vote counting in certain states. Nixon began a law practice in Los Angeles in 1961. He ran for governor of California in 1962 but lost to Governor Pat Brown. He began a new law practice in New York City in 1963. He became a partner in a Wall Street law and his associates placed his name first in the list of partners. Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew won the election of 1968 against Herbert H. Humphrey and Edmund S. Muskie. Some of the issues of their first administration were: the Vietnam War, relations with China and the Soviet Union, inflation, school desegregation, the space program, the environment, anti-war protests, and the women's liberation movement. Nixon and Agnew won a landslide victory in 1972 against George S. McGovern and Sargent Shriver. Nixon won 18 million more popular votes than McGovern - the widest margin of any presidential election. Nixon received 520 electoral votes to McGovern's 17. The Nixons brought a calm and reserved way of life to the White House. They preferred formal dress for their receptions and favored fox trots and waltzes for dancing. Nixon was the first President to play the piano since Harry Truman. He occasionally played the White House piano for guests. Nixon followed sports closely, especially professional football. The Nixons purchased a large estate in San Clemente, California, a beach resort between San Diego and Los Angeles. The residence was called the Western White House because Nixon spent working vacations there. Nixon's short second administration began with agreements to stop the fighting of the Vietnam War (January 27, 1973) and to begin exchanging prisoners. United States troops were out of South Vietnam in March 1973. Nixon continued his efforts to improve relations between the United States and China. Nixon ended the military draft and made the military an all-volunteer force. The year 1973 saw inflation of 8.8 percent. A fuel shortage led to reduced supplies of oil for home heating and industry and to gasoline rationing in some states. A Federal Energy Administration was set up in 1974 to deal with the energy shortage. The Watergate scandal hit early in 1973 when evidence was uncovered that linked several top White House aides with either the break-in or later attempts to hide information related to it. Nixon insisted that he didn't participate in either the break-in or the cover up. He promised a full investigation and named Archibald Cox as special prosecutor. Cox was later fired, and Leon Jaworski appointed. This led to a move to impeach Nixon. In addition to Nixon's problems, Vice President Agnew resigned when evidence was discovered that he accepted illegal payments while serving as an officeholder in Maryland and as Vice President. Nixon became the first President to appoint a Vice President under the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. He named House Minority Leader Gerald Ford as Agnew's successor. Ford became Vice President on December 6, 1973. When Nixon was forced to release tapes made in the White House meetings, three articles of impeachment were recommended. He resigned from office on August 9, 1973. Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th President at noon on that day. Ford became the first President who was never elected as Vice President or President. The Nixon's led a quiet life after his retirement. The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace opened in 1990 in Yorba Linda, California. The library includes a museum. Nixon died at age 81 on 22 April 1994 of a stroke suffered at his Park Ridge, New Jersey, home. His burial was beside Pat in Yorba Linda, California, at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Other items of interest during this time period are: 1) Golda Meir, a former Milwaukee, school teacher became prime minister of Israel (1969-1974); 2) Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. walked on the moon (July 1969); 3) China joined the United Nations (1971); 4) Civil war in Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh from the territory that had been East Pakistan (1971); 5) Revolution in Chili led to the death of President Salvador Allende, the first Marxist elected democratically to head a nation in the Western Hemisphere (1973); 6) The fourth Arab-Israel war erupted when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel (October 1973). Facts and information are from an article by Stephen E. Ambrose in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, pp 428-438.