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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alaskan Politics

Alaskan politics made national news this past week when Joe Miller, a little-known, courageous conservative, received more votes than Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary election. Miller has an awesome resume that includes being a combat veteran and former federal judge. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Miller was miraculously ahead of Murkowski 51-49 percent on election night. Thousands of absentee ballots were counted today, closing the gap between Miller and Murkowski a little but leaving Miller too far ahead to catch. Murkowski conceded the election tonight. I think that I can safely say that Murkowski was blindsided by Miller because recent polls had her leading Miller by 30 percent. Few people really expected Miller to win, but he kept quietly working to win the nomination and pulled out a victory. Senator Jim DeMint wrote, "Despite what the liberal media and Washington establishment may say about Joe Miller, he is a rock-solid conservative who believes in balanced budgets, constitutional limits, and individual liberty…. Joe Miller supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, he opposes earmarks, he opposes corporate bailouts, he will fight against amnesty, he's pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and will be a breath of fresh air in a Senate that is filled with career politicians who go along to get along." Alaskans, like most Americans, recognize that something needs to be done to change the course of our nation, but I personally had to seriously consider the two candidates before deciding how to vote. I then sought confirmation from God if my decision was the right one. I don't think that I would have been too upset by a Murkowski win, but I decided to vote for Miller because he was the more conservative of the two. I know that our leaders in Washington need to start making difficult decisions with wisdom in order to bring the spending under control, and I think Miller is more capable of the hard votes than Murkowski is. I believe that Miller's win should be a wake-up call to Republicans: Even though Alaska's Congressmen have brought home much pork over the years, Alaskans understand that we can't bankrupt the country to benefit ourselves. I also believe that Miller's win should be a wake-up call to all Alaskans: Only those who vote have the power to decide who our representatives will be. About 27 percent of registered Alaskan voters bothered to go to the polls to vote, and they were probably the more conservative voters. There was a proposition about abortion on the ballot with the conservative side being just a little ahead of the more liberal side. If you didn't bother to vote, you have no room to complain about the results! Joe Miller has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund organized by Senator DeMint as well as the Tea Party Express.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) was among four Vice Presidents in United States history who assumed the office of chief executive upon the assassination of the President. Johnson became President on November 22, 1963, after John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Texas. He was elected to a full term as President in 1964, receiving more than 61 percent of the votes. He chose not to run for reelection in 1968. Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in a farmhouse near the town of Stonewall in central Texas. He shared the same birthday as my mother. He was the eldest of five children, two boys and three girls. His father was a farmer and school teacher who served five terms in the Texas House of Representatives, and his mother was a former teacher. His paternal grandfather made the statement on Johnson's day of birth, "He'll be a United States Senator some day." Johnson was a healthy active child who liked to hear stories from the Bible, history, and mythology. He learned the alphabet by age 2 and to read by age 4. At age 5, his family moved to Johnson City, Texas, a city founded by his grandfather. There he attended public school. He didn't like to study but made good grades because of his mother's insistence. He attended the Johnson City high school where he and a friend won a county-wide debating contest. He was popular to become president of his class of seven students and graduated from high school at age 15 in 1924. His parents encouraged him to attend college, but he was through with studying. After working in California for seven months waiting on tables, washing dishes and doing farm labor, he hitchhiked back to Johnson City and found work on a gang building roads. His parents continued to encourage him to go to college and were told one especially hard day, "I'm sick of working just with my hands. I don't know if I can work with my brain, but I'm ready to try." Johnson entered Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State University) in San Marcos in February 1927. He borrowed $75 from the bank in Johnson City to start college and worked as a janitor to pay his expenses. He also became a star debater and practiced giving speeches while sweeping the halls. He had a second job as secretary to the president of the college. He became interested in college politics and had his first political success in college when he organized the White Stars, a campus political group who took control of campus politics from a group dominated by athletes called the Black Stars. He became the editor of the school newspaper and a leader in other school activities. He received excellent grades and made many friends. He left college and taught school for a year to earn enough money to continue his education. He graduated from college in 1930 and then taught public speaking and debate at Sam Houston High School in Houston. His debating teams won honors in state contests. Johnson entered politics when he campaigned, gave speeches and talked with voters for Richard M. Kleberg, a Democrat running for the U.S. House of Representatives. When Kleberg won the special election in November 1931, he took 23-year-old Johnson to Washington as his secretary. Apparently he made a good impression on the other congressional secretaries because one of them recalled: "Within a few months, he knew how to operate in Washington better than some who had been here for 20 years before him." Johnson met his future wife, Claudia Alta Taylor (known as Lady Bird since age 2) on September 12, 1934, at a hearing of the Texas Railroad Commission in Austin. She was the daughter of a wealthy family in Karnack, Texas. He asked her for a date immediately after meeting her but was rejected. He made many long distance telephone calls to her from Washington as well as sending many letters and telegrams; he proposed two months later and she accepted. The were married on November 17, 1934, and went to Mexico for their honeymoon. They had two daughters, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines. Johnson, at age 26, was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the Texas state administrator of the National Youth Administration (NYA). Although he was the youngest NYA state administrator, he directed 12,000 youths in work projects such as playgrounds, roadside parks, and soil conservation. About 18,000 young people went through high school or college with the assistance of his organization. In 1937 he quit his job as a youth administrator in order to run for Congress in a special election against nine opponents. Even though some of his opponents were better known than he, they gave him valuable publicity when they accused him of favoring the plans of FDR. Johnson was in the hospital recuperating from an emergency appendectomy on April 10, 1937, when he learned that he had won the election with nearly twice as many votes as his nearest competitor. After leaving the hospital, Johnson was invited to join FDR aboard the presidential yacht in Galveston for a fishing cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. He then rode the President's special train through Texas. Roosevelt and Johnson developed a warm and lasting friendship. In 1938 and 1940, he was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with no opposition but lost a bid to the U.S. Senate in a special election. About an hour after the United States declared war on Japan (for bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941), Johnson requested to be moved from the Naval Reserve to active duty. He was sworn in three days later as a lieutenant commander, the first congressman to go into uniform. Johnson was a special representative of President Roosevelt and traveled to New Zealand and throughout the Pacific area of operations, spending several months with General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. MacArthur personally awarded the Silver Star to Johnson for gallantry after a mission aboard a bomber that was attacked by Japanese fighter planes. While Johnson was overseas, his supporters entered him as a candidate for reelection to the House in the spring of 1942. In July of the same year, President Roosevelt ordered all members of Congress serving in the armed forces to return to Washington. In May 1948 Johnson announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate and ran against ten opponents in the primary election. None of them received a majority of the total votes; this forced a runoff election, which Johnson won by 87 votes. He became a U.S. Senator in January 1949 and was appointed to the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 1951, the Democratic senators elected Johnson to be the whip (or assistant leader). In January 1953 he was unanimously elected as minority leader at age 44, the youngest ever chosen to be Senate leader. He was reelected in 1954 by a margin of three to one votes over his closest competitor. The Democrats controlled both house of Congress, and Johnson became the Senate majority leader. Johnson had a heart attack in July 1955, spent five weeks at the naval hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, before going to his Johnson City ranch to recuperate, give up smoking, and go on a diet. A recovered Johnson then returned to Washington to resume his post as Senate majority leader. Johnson was a strong support of the exploration of outer space, helped establish the Senate Aeronautical and Space Committee, and made himself its first chairman. He also sponsored the law to establish the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Johnson pushed through the Senate in 1957 the first civil rights bill in more than 80 years, and three years later he beat down a Southern filibuster to pass another civil rights measure through the Senate. I remember reading or hearing a news article quoting Johnson as saying that these civil rights measures would insure that blacks were supporters of the Democratic program forever. When Democrats nominated Senator John F. Kennedy, a liberal Catholic from Boston, Massachusetts, for President, he invited Johnson, a more conservative Southerner and member of the Disciples of Christ, to be his running mate. The Kennedy/Johnson team narrowly defeated the Nixon/Lodge team. Johnson was also reelected to a third term in the Senate in the same election but resigned from the Senate and was sworn in as Vice President in January 1961. He was sworn in as President of the United States on November 22, 1963, aboard Air Force One, after Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson won reelection by a landslide in the election of 1964. During Johnson's full term, the economy boomed. In May 1964, he said, "… We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society." The term Great Society describes many of Johnson's domestic programs. In 1965 and 1966 there were large Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House, and President Johnson was very successful in getting his proposals passed. Johnson's programs included: 1) The War on Poverty was fought with the Appalachia bill - a law that was passed by Congress to improve living standards in the Appalachian Mountain region containing 11 states. Congress passed a housing law in 1968 to provide $5 million in tax payer money to help needy people buy houses and rent apartments. 2) Additional civil rights legislation was passed in 1965 to ensure voting rights for blacks by outlawing literacy tests as a voting requirement, etc. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed in an effort to end racial discrimination in the sale or rental of houses and apartments. 3) Congress passed laws increasing federal funds for education, a cut in excise taxes, stronger safety measures for automobiles. 4) Two new executive departments - the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the insurance for the elderly. In addition to domestic issues, Johnson also had to deal with the Vietnam War. There were about 16,300 military advisers in Vietnam when Johnson became President. In an effort to protect U.S. bases in Vietnam and to keep the Communists out of the country, Johnson ordered the first U.S. combat troops into South Vietnam in the spring and summer of 1965. There were more than 500,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam by 1968. The Vietnam War greatly divided our nation between Americans who wanted to use stronger military action and end the war (hawks) and Americans who wanted to cut back on the fighting to eventually bring all U.S. troops home (doves). The critics of the war included Democratic Senators Eugene McCarthy (Minnesota) and Robert F. Kennedy (New York). Johnson also had to deal with problems in the Dominican Republic in mid-1965 when rebels tried to take over the government. Johnson sent U.S. troops to end the rebellion because he feared Communists gaining control of the rebels. By mid-1966, order was restored, elections were held, and all U.S. troops came home. In 1966 Robert C. Weaver was named secretary of housing and urban development and became the first black to hold a Cabinet position. In 1967 Thurgood Marshall became the first black to be appointed to be a Supreme Court justice. Opposition to Johnson's Great Society programs grew in 1967 when more Republicans were elected to Congress and slashed appropriations for many of the programs. People were divided about whether to spend money for the war or for domestic programs. In 1968 additional taxes in the form of a surtax was instituted to help pay for the Vietnam War and to check inflation. Racial tension increased along with opposition to the Vietnam War, and demonstrations were common throughout the nation. Riots broke out in the ghetto slums of Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City, Los Angeles and Newark with federal troops being sent to Detroit. A special commission warned about the nation dividing into two societies, "one black, one white - separate but unequal. Many Americans began to question federal policies in both foreign and domestic areas, and many grew doubtful about whether the Administration was being honest about the Vietnam War. Johnson's popularity dropped as the credibility gap grew. When Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy both announced that they would challenge Johnson for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, Johnson made the shocking announcement "… I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President" (March 31, 1968). He did not want to cause a "division in the American house" and so withdrew in the name of national unity. Johnson's announcement also included a reduction of bombing missions in North Vietnam and led to talks between U.S. and North Vietnamese representatives, beginning on May 13, 1968. All bombing and other attacks on North Vietnamese territory was stopped on November 1, 1968, leading to peace talks. When Johnson left the White House on January 20, 1969, he retired to his Texas ranch. Later that same year Johnson's birthplace and boyhood home became part of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Site (now Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Part). Johnson avoided active participation in the political process and published his memoirs, The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969 in 1971. The Lyndon B. Johnson Library opened at the University of Texas in Austin that same year to hold many of Johnson's papers and souvenirs. In April 1972 Johnson suffered a heart attack and rarely left his ranch after he recovered. He had another heart attack on January 22, 1973, and died. He is buried on his ranch in the family cemetery, which is now part of the national historic park. The Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after President Johnson died. August 27, Johnson's birthday, was made a Texas legal holiday by the state legislature. Other events in the world of President Johnson include: 1) The Beatles, a rock music group from Great Britain, toured the United States in 1964 and created a sensation wherever they went. 2) The Women's Liberation Movement gained strength. Groups such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) (founded in 1966) fought to end discrimination against women.. 3) The Six-Day War between Israel and three Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan and Syria) was fought June 5-10, 1967, and Israel gained control of Jerusalem and the surrounding area, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. 4) Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (New York) were assassinated in 1968. Facts for this post came from an article by Philip Reed Rulon in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, pp 144-152.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Temporary President

The principle of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.3.5, "In case the Vice President is not available to preside over the Senate, the Senate will choose one of its own members to serve as president pro tempore." The Senators have the right to elect one of their group to preside over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President. The president pro tempore would lose his or her right to speak and to vote during deliberations in the Senate. He or she would only vote in case of a tie - just as the Vice President would.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if everyone were perfectly honest? There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a group of people who were "distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end" (Alma 27:27). These people were distinguished from their fellowmen and by God. President Brigham Young taught that complete honesty is necessary for salvation. He said, "If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 293). God is honest and just in everything He does. In order for us to become like Him, we too must be honest in all things. People who are honest love the truth, and they love justice. They are honest in both their words and their deeds. Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are Gods of truth and therefore cannot lie. In contrast, the devil is a liar. He has even been called the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). Mark E. Peterson once said, "Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves" (Ensign, Dec. 1971, 73). What is dishonesty? Dishonesty takes many forms, among which are lying, stealing, and cheating. Intentionally deceiving other people is lying. The Lord told the children of Israel through Moses, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). Bearing false witness is a form of lying. Jesus Christ taught the importance of honesty while He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). Lying takes many forms: speaking untruths, deceiving others by a gesture, a look, silence, or by telling a half-truth. It is dishonest to lead others to believe something that is not true. Honest people speak the whole truth even when it is inconvenient or disadvantageous. Another form of dishonesty is stealing. Jesus Christ commanded, "Thou shalt not steal" (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is the act of taking something that does not belong to us whether it is from a person, store or community. It is stealing to take merchandise or supplies from an employer. It is stealing to make unauthorized copies of music, movies, pictures, or written text. It is stealing to accept too much change from a clerk or to receive more merchandise than actually purchased. Still another form of dishonesty is cheating. It is cheating to give less than owed or to get something undeserved. It is cheating to give less than a full day's work for a full day's pay. Taking unfair advantage is one form of cheating. There are no acceptable reasons for dishonesty although many people try to justify being dishonest. Anyone who excuses their dishonesty, cheats themselves and loses the Spirit of God. Without guidance from the Holy Ghost, it is easier to become more and more unrighteous. If we want to become totally honest, we must examine ourselves carefully and often. When we find ways in which we exhibit even the least bit of dishonesty, we must repent immediately. When we become completely honest, we will reach the point that we cannot be corrupted. We will be true to every trust, duty, agreement or covenant even at the loss of money, friends, prestige, or life itself. When we become completely honest, we will be able to face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, "Let every man's life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of" (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 252).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stay Healthy

Families grow stronger when individual members maintain healthy life styles. My extended family has battled heart problems for many years and diabetes in recent years. Cancer raised its ugly head in my family less than eight years ago when my older brother died of colon cancer before his test results were back. Since that time, another brother battled bladder cancer, a niece went through surgery and treatments for breast cancer, and a nephew battled skin cancer as well as having a large growth removed from his jaw. Genes play a big role in whether or not we develop diseases, but there are behavior influences as well. "Live a healthy life style" is the basic and simple counsel from experts in the medical field. The simple facts show that a healthy body is more capable of fighting off disease and recuperating from bouts of illness. We have long been told to do the following: 1) Eat a healthy diet. Cut down on fats and salt. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that work together to fight disease. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat at least five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Whole grains and beans should be included as part of a healthy menu. Meat should be eaten sparingly. 2) Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for you. 3) Regular exercise - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week - can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. 4) Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Regular checkups with your doctor help in discovering and solving problems. 5) If you smoke, stop. "Smoking is linked to at least 15 types of cancer and accounts for around a third of all cancer deaths" (Mary Stewart, M.D.). 6) Protect yourself and your children from the sun. Apply sunscreen liberally, wear protective clothing, and check yourself often for problems. Some sun is necessary for good health, but too much sun damages the skin and causes skin cancer. 7) Get the right amount of sleep by having a regular bedtime. 8) Drink enough water. Some health problems come in spite of all we can do to prevent them - but we don't have to invite diseases into our bodies. Individuals who practice good health habits bring strength to themselves and to their families.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nation of Families

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the family is the basic unit of society. The family determines the strength of society and needs to be strengthened and protected. America was built by individuals who believed in marriage and the family. They were God-fearing people who read the Bible and came to America in order to live their religion without governmental interference. When the French writer, Alexis deTocqueville, came to America, he observed, "There is no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated …. But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and peace. There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness, he accustoms himself easily to moderate his opinions as well as his tastes. While the European endeavors to forget his domestic troubles by agitating society, the American derives from his own home that love of order which he afterwards carries with him into public affairs" (Democracy in America, 1:315). America became a great nation because its citizens understood the importance of marriage and family. They understood that "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 11:11.) They understood that even though the husband acted as head of the home, both partners held equal status. They understood that the man was to protect the family and provide for the daily needs while the woman was to nurture the children and provide a wholesome environment for her family. The Proclamation on the Family proclaims, "… marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…. The family is ordained of God." Because the family is the core unit of society, it is vital that individuals and communities as well as state and federal governments strengthen and protect families. When the family is threatened, the very foundation of society is also threatened. Ideas and quotes for this post came from W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, pp. 199-204.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wounded Knee

The Battle of Wounded Knee was the final clash between Native Americans and the United States Army. The Indian wars were savage battles between Native Americans and white people who came to America to establish new homes. The wars were struggles for the rich lands that eventually became the United States of America. "Most Indian wars were little more than futile attempts by desperate, poorly equipped Indians to keep their land and their way of life. The white people won in the end, and often rewrote history to suit themselves. A famous Indian-fighter, General Nelson A. Miles, said that `The art of war among the white people is called strategy or tactics; when practiced by the Indians it is called treachery'" (World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, p. 191). Settlers from England came to the Atlantic Coast of North America in the early 1600's to establish new homes. As more and more settlers moved into Indian lands, disagreements happened between whites and Indians. The arguments usually resulted in the death of either an Indian or a colonist and often escalated into a war. An Indian war usually took place within a small area and usually involved only a few people. Most of the wars began with one Indian tribe fighting the white people who lived nearby, but many tribes could be involved in fighting white people if the battle spread. The basic cause of most fighting between white people and Indians was the difference in their ways of living. There were a few Indians who raised corn and other vegetables, but all of them hunted wild animals for their food and clothing. When white settlers moved into an area in the East, they began to cut down forests to clear the land for farming. They destroyed trees and underbrush that provided homes for wildlife, and the wild animals went elsewhere. In the West, white hunters killed buffalo by the thousands just for their hides. In both areas, the Indians were put in a situation where they had to choose to move to another area or to fight for their hunting grounds. I tried to put myself in the place of the Indians: How would I feel and what would I do if someone invited themselves to live in my house and eventually forced me out of my home? Both white settlers and Native Americans were to blame for the many misunderstandings that grew into wars. The colonists believed that Indians were savages without souls and refused to recognize that Indians had rights. The Native Americans failed to understand the ways of the white people. An example of this misunderstanding concerned treaties. While whites thought the Indians were selling their land to the settlers, the Indians thought they were selling only the right to use the land and were shocked to learn that they could no longer hunt on the lands of their ancestors. There was only one ways for the problems between colonists and Indians to end because European settlers came to America in a steady stream and had large families. The Indians were quickly outnumbered and pushed further and further west. There were approximately 1 million Indians when white settlers first landed in the Americas. By 1900 this number was reduced to approximately 237,000 because of disease, strong liquor, and nearly 300 years of warfare. The Indian tribes fought among themselves for thousands of years before the arrival of the white people, and they fought for a variety of reasons - best hunting grounds and village sites, revenge killing, and personal glory. Many of the Indians considered war and hunting as the only acceptable occupations for a man, but all tribes were not equally warlike. Some tribes, such as the Iroquois and the Apache, were fighting most of the time, but other tribes, such as the Delaware, were usually peaceful. When the white settlers arrived on the scene, Indians usually fought simply for survival. When white men invaded the Black Hills, a series of Indian uprisings started and were led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. In 1876 the Indians signed a new treaty giving up the rights to their land in the Black Hills. Most of the Sioux surrendered to the white men and settled on reservations located west of the Missouri River. Sitting Bull went to Canada, but he returned to South Dakota in 1881 and settled on the Standing Rock Reservation in 1883. A religious movement, called the Ghost Dance, spread among the Sioux in 1890. Army leaders were afraid the movement would lead to another uprising by the Sioux and sent Indian police to arrest Sitting Bull. He resisted and was killed, but some of his followers left the reservation and joined a band of Sioux on the Cheyenne River led by Chief Big Foot. Federal troops found the Indians and took them to a cavalry camp on Wounded Knee Creek where they began to disarm the Indians. Someone fired a rifle and started a bloody massacre. The troops killed more than 200 Indian men, women and children there on the northern plains. I have had the privilege of knowing many beautiful and talented Native Americans. My mother grew up on an Indian reservation because her father was an Indian agent for the federal government. She maintained friendships with many Indian friends throughout her adult life. I attended school with many Indians and know of their intelligence and talents. One of my daughters married a man who is part Alaska Native. I find no justification for white people considering themselves better than these beautiful people. Even though I love America, there are parts of our history that I do not like. The Battle of Wounded Knee is just one of those historic moments. Facts for this post come from articles written by Joseph H. Cash, Edward Hogan, Sr. and Jerome A. Greene in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 18, p. 683, and Vol. 10, pp. 190, 191.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Promised Land

Do you believe that America is a chosen land and is protected by God? I do. The first reason for my belief is because I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God - and this book explains that this land is a "land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands" (1 Nephi 2:20). This book also tells us that "all the land, both on the north and on the south - A chosen land, and the land of liberty" (Alma 46:17). Again, this book teaches that "after the waters [of the Flood in Noah's time] had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord" (Ether 13:2). The Book of Mormon also describes a vision given to a prophet named Nephi. In this vision Nephi saw a man [Columbus] who traveled across "the many waters" to the promised land. He was followed by others [Pilgrims] "who went out of captivity, upon the many waters" in "multitudes." The vision showed these multitudes in the promised land battling with their mother nation [Revolutionary War] and being "delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations" (1 Nephi 13:12-19). When Jesus Christ visited the inhabitants of the Americas (3 Nephi 11-26), He gave them a sign of when the gathering of Israel would take place. He said, "… I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things [gathering] shall be about to take place …. When these things [Book of Mormon] … shall be made known …. For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father…." (3 Nephi 21:1-4). From these scriptures we know that God considers America to be a chosen land and wants the inhabitants of it to be free in order to bless all mankind. The second reason why I believe America to be a chosen land that is protected by God is found in the history of the United States of America. I believe - as did he - that Columbus was led by God to discover the New World. I believe that God raised up George Washington to lead our nation in its battle for independence. I also believe that God blessed Washington and his rag tag army to obtain victory over the greatest military on earth at the time. I believe that God prepared and raised up the men who wrote the United States Constitution. I believe that God provided leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan to lead our nation during perilous times. I also believe that God brought victory to the United States at critical times during several wars - examples are the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War and Battle of Midway during World War II. I believe that God blesses America because there are millions of Americans who worship the God of this land, even Jesus Christ. I know that I am not alone in believing that there is something exceptional about the United States. Millions of people in this country think America is special, and many more millions across the world look to the United States for an example and for hope. "Belief in a nation's exceptionalism seems to be almost entirely an American trait. For example, as documented in a recent survey, nearly three-quarters of United States citizens say they are proud to be Americans. Fewer than a third of the people in France, Italy, Germany, or Japan feel the same about their country" (Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart, Seven Miracles That Saved America - Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope, p 3). The Stewarts listed the following principles which define "the idea of American exceptionalism": 1) "American's long-held belief that all of God's children are created equal …. All are equal before the law and all should have equal access to the protection of the law…." 2) "America's Constitution - the fact that the `highest law of the land' emphasizes individual rights and decentralization of power…." 3) "The American belief that personal liberty and freedom is the highest priority…." 4) "A belief in a meritocracy - that we should be judged by what we accomplish and what we can do, not by our family lineage…." 5)"Adherence to private morality - a belief that there can be no public virtue without private morality, and that public virtue is essential to the success of our government and the preservation of individual liberty and freedom." 6) "Cultural make-up - Americans are inherently more patriotic, religious, independent, and inventive." 7) "Social integration - a commitment to the social integration of individuals from various racial, religious, and ethnic groups…." 8) "Geographical - recognition that our geography, climate, and abundant natural resources provide us an enormous opportunity for material well-being" (pp 4-5). The Stewarts' book, Seven Miracles That Saved America," is a wonderful explanation of seven different times that God intervened to help keep America free. It is an interesting book to read. It added to my belief that America is a choice nation and will remain choice and blessed as long as its citizens are righteous and worship Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) was our only President to be a grandson of a previous President. Benjamin's grandfather was William Henry Harrison who was the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe. Both grandfather and grandson ran for the presidency two times, winning one term of office and losing the other. Both men, previous to becoming President, had been successful army commanders, and both had served in the United States Senate. A Republican campaign song for Benjamin Harrison was a song called "Grandfather's Hat Fits Ben." Benjamin won my respect when I read that he did more than any other President to increase respect for the United States flag. He ordered the flag to be flown over the White House and other government buildings and urged the flag to be flown over every school in America. Benjamin Harrison was born in a red brick home on his grandfather's farm near the Ohio River in North Bend, Ohio, on August 20, 1833. He was named for his great-grandfather who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin was the second of ten children and was a short, stocky boy who spent his youth on the farm. His father was a farmer who served two terms in Congress. Harrison attended Farmers' College, is located in a suburb of Cincinnati, for three years and there he met his future wife, Caroline ("Carrie") Lavinia Scott. Carrie's father was the president of a college for women. Mr. Scott moved his family and his college to Oxford, Ohio, and Harrison followed them a year later. He graduated from Miami University there in 1852 and married Carrie in 1853. The couple had two children. Benjamin read law with a firm in Cincinnati and was admitted to the bar and moved to Indianapolis in 1854. Harrison decided to enter politics and had a name that was familiar to voters - his father was a Whig congressman and his grandfather was a Whig President. Benjamin became Indianapolis city attorney in 1857, secretary of the Republican state central committee in 1858, and reporter of the state supreme court in 1860. He was reelected twice. Harrison taught Sunday School, became a deacon of the Presbyterian Church in 1857, and was elected a church elder in 1861. In 1862 he was asked by the governor to recruit and command a regiment of volunteers in the Civil War. His first recruit was his former law partner. The regiment he led became a well-disciplined unit that fought in many battles. Harrison stood 5 feet 6 inches tall and was called "Little Ben" by his soldiers. He was a fearless commander and rose to the rank of brigadier general. Benjamin won national prestige as a lawyer after the war but was unsuccessful in his bid in 1876 to become governor of Indiana. He was appointed to the Mississippi River Commission in 1879 by President Rutherford B. Hayes and held the position until 1881. President James A. Garfield offered him a post in the Cabinet, but Harrison turned it down because he had been elected to the U.S. Senate in 1881. He was not re-elected. In the presidential election of 1888, Harrison was nominated by the Republicans in part because of his record from the war and his popularity with war veterans. His opponent was President Grover Cleveland. Harrison did not win re-election in 1892, losing it to Grover Cleveland. Harrison's term was the first time that life in the White House was thoroughly photographed. Even though electric lights and bells were installed in the White House in 1891, the Harrison family didn't feel comfortable with them for fear of shocks. They chose to use the old-style gas lights or requested the electrician for the White House to flip the switches. President and Mrs. Harrison were joined in the White House by their daughter, her husband, her two children, Mrs. Harrison's father, and a widowed niece, Mrs. Mary Dimmick. Mrs. Harrison had poor health but served as official hostess. She died on October 25, two weeks before the national elections of 1892. Benjamin returned to Indianapolis to practice law. He married Mrs. Dimmick in 1896 and had one child with her. He wrote a book about the federal government in 1897 entitled This Country of Ours. He died at home on March 13, 1901 and was buried in Indianapolis. Important events in the world of Benjamin Harrison are: 1) The Eiffel Tower in Paris was dedicated in 1889. 2) The Johnstown flood took place in Pennsylvania in 1889. It killed more than 2,000 people and caused damage costing over $10million. 3) About 2 million acres of land in Indian Territory in Oklahoma was opened to white settlement in 1889. 4) A newspaper reporter named Nellie Bly began a trip around the world in November 1889 and set a record of 72 days 6 hours 11 minutes. 5) The Battle of Wounded Knee took place in South Dakota in 1890 and was the last major fight between Indians and U.S. troops on the northern plains. About 200 Indians were massacred by the soldiers. 6) Congress created Yosemite National Park in 1890. 7) Wyoming joined the Union in 1890 as the first state with women's voting rights. 8) James A. Naismith, a physical education instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts, invented basketball in 1891. 9) Ellis Island in New York Harbor became a reception center for immigrants in 1892. 10) Inventions of the period included the diesel engine (named after its inventor Rudolf Diesel) in 1892 and the zipper in 1893. Facts for this post came from an article by H. Wayne Morgan in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.9, pp 70-73.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Choose Own Leaders

The principle for this Constitution Monday is found in Article I.3.5: "The Senate shall choose its own clerks, sergeant at arms, and all other officers needed to function effectively." The Founders provided the Senate the right to conduct its business in independence from any other government office. The main officers in the Senate include: 1) The President Pro Tempore or president for the time being. This officer is always a leader from the majority party and is elected by Senators to preside when the Vice President is not in attendance. 2) The Committee Chairmen are chosen from the party in the majority by seniority; they have important roles in the process of legislation. 3) The Floor Leaders are the real leaders of the Senate and are chosen by each party. They are chosen in caucus meetings. Their job is to keep their members organized and in harmony with the party position. Other duties include scheduling legislation, handling information, promoting regular attendance, and being a liaison between the Senate and the White House. 4) Party Whips are assistants to the Floor Leaders. 5) The Secretary of the Senate administers oaths of office, keeps the Senate Seal, keeps record of legislative bills and certifies their passage. Other officers are the Sergeant at Arms, secretaries to both the majority and minority leaders, Chaplain of the Senate, the Parliamentarian, and the Senate pages.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


There is much talk today of the need for charity in our nation and how government can force us to be charitable, but what is the true definition of charity? The World Book Dictionary defines charity as a "generous giving to the poor or to organizations which look after the sick, the poor, and the helpless; an act or work of charity; a fund, institution, or organization for helping the sick, the poor, and the helpless; alms; kindness in judging people's faults; love of one's fellow men; natural affection; love" (pp 343-344). "The life of the Savior reflects His pure love for all people. He even gave His life for us. Charity is that pure love which our Savior Jesus Christ has. He has commanded us to love one another as He loves us. The scriptures tell us that charity comes from a pure heart (see 1Timothy 1:5). We have pure love when, from the heart, we show genuine concern and compassion for all our brothers and sisters" (Gospel Principles, p 173). I noticed that in neither of these definitions is any mention of government-enforced charity. Charity comes from the heart of a willing giver. Mormon, a prophet in the Book of Mormon said, "Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail - but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever" (Moroni 7:46-47; see also 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Nephi 26:30; Moroni 7:44-45, 48). The Savior gave us a perfect example of charity in His life. As the Son of God, He had perfect love for all mankind, and He showed us how to love. He taught us as well as showed us by example that all mankind has spiritual and physical needs that are important. He said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." He also said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13). Most people will not have to give their lives as the Savior did, but everyone can have charity by putting Christ at the center of their lives and by following His teachings and example. Just as the Savior did, we too can bring blessings into the lives of other people. The Savior taught by using stories or parables. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ taught that we should give to those in need, whether we know them or not (see Luke 10:30-37). The parable tells of a man who was traveling to another city. While on the road he was attacked by robbers who stole his clothes and his money, beat him, and left him to die. A priest came along, saw the man and passed by. Then a temple attendant walked over to him, looked him over, and passed by. Along came a man from Samaria - a people who were despised by the Jews. When he saw the man, he felt compassion for him and knelt beside him. The Samaritan bandaged the man's wounds and then put him on a donkey and took him to an inn. There he paid the innkeeper to care for the wounded man until he was healed. Jesus taught his followers to give food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. He also taught that when we visit the sick, the widowed, the fatherless, or those in prison, it is as though we were doing those same things for Christ. He promises that those who care for the needy will inherit His kingdom. (See Mathew 25:34-46.) Jesus also taught his followers that they didn't need to decide whether or not someone really deserved to be helped (see Mosiah 4:16-24). After we have taken care of our own family's needs, we should help all who need help to the extent of our ability. In helping as much as we are capable, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who sends rain to fall on the just and on the unjust alike (see Matthew 5:44-45). Sometimes people need more than just material goods. President Thomas S. Monson said, "Let us ask ourselves the questions: `Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?' (Hymns, no. 223.) What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace - to have inspired gratitude in another human being. "Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved" (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 60). True charity must come from the heart. We do not have charity if we give without feeling compassion for those in need (see 1 John 3:16-17). Paul the Apostle taught that we are filled with good feelings for all people when we have charity. If we have charity, we are patient and kind; we are not boastful, proud, selfish or crude. When we have charity, we do not remember or rejoice in the bad things done by others; neither do we do kind things to make others indebted to us. When we have charity, we share joy. When we have charity, we are loyal, believe the best in others, and show kindness to others. The scriptures teach, "Charity never faileth." (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.) Jesus Christ, our Savior, gave us an example of how to feel toward and how to treat other people. He loved sinners but despised wickedness. He had compassion for little children, old people, the poor and the needy. He had such great love for all mankind that even while the soldiers were pounding nails into His hands and feet, He begged Heavenly Father to forgive them (see Luke 23:34). He was very firm when He said that if we want Heavenly Father to forgive us of our sins, we must forgive others of their trespasses against us (see Matthew 18:33-35). We can learn to feel toward others as Jesus did by following his formula: "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?" (Matthew 5:44, 46). So - now that we know what charity is - how can we develop more charity? 1) We can study the life of Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. By learning what He did in certain situations, we can know what to do when we are faced with the same kinds of situations. 2) We can pray for greater charity - especially when we have uncharitable feelings towards someone. The prophet Mormon counseled, "Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [charity], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ" (Moroni 7:48). 3) We can learn to love ourselves by gaining the understanding that we are children of God. The Savior taught us that we must love others as we love ourselves (see Matthew 22:39). When we love ourselves, we also have respect and love for ourselves. We can learn to love ourselves by being obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, repenting of our wrongdoing, and then forgiving ourselves. As we grow in love for ourselves, we can also feel the deep love that the Savior feels for us. 4) We can stop thinking we are better than other people and learn to have patience with their faults. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 428-429). In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a young man named Enos who was concerned about his sins. While he was out in nature, he felt the need to commune with God. He said, "My soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. "And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed" (Enos 1:4-5). When Enos asked how this could be, the Lord explained that his sins were forgiven because he had faith in Jesus Christ. The interesting thing to me is that when Enos heard that his sins were forgiven, he knew that the Lord loved him and would bless him. He also was able to forget about himself and was able to reach out to others. He was concerned about his family and friends, the Nephites and he poured out his whole soul to God in their behalf. The Lord again answered his prayer by telling him that they would be blessed according to their faithfulness in keeping the commandments. When Enos knew that his family and associates would be blessed, he reached out even further and began to pray with many long strugglings for his enemies, the Lamanites. The Lord assured him that his desires would be granted, and Enos spent the rest of his life trying to save the souls of both the Nephites and the Lamanites. (See Enos 1:6-26.) Enos was filled with true gratitude for the Lord's love and forgiveness and became filled with charity. He spent the rest of his life helping others to receive this same gift. Enos became more like Jesus Christ when he learned to be truly charitable. We can and must learn to have charity in order to inherit the place in Heavenly Father's kingdom that is being prepared for each of us. True charity cannot be legislated or taxed or otherwise forced. It must come from a willing and loving heart.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Difficult Discussions

Families are strengthened when they can discuss difficult topics without personal attacks. An oft-heard statement is that religion and politics should not be discussed among family members and friends. This statement may apply to those groups who want to maintain a superficial level of association, but family members must be able to share thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner about those topics that are most important to them. Families do not become strong by only discussing the weather, which team is going to win a tournament, or the schedule for the week. I recently had the opportunity to share several days with some of my children and their families, and one evening we became involved in a political discussion. The discussion began when one of my daughters asked me to explain why I have suddenly become so interested in politics. I answered her question as best I could, and the discussion grew from that point. I am pleased that we could have the discussion that we had because I believe that understanding took place. I know that I came away from the conversation a better person in spite of feeling a little bruised on my ideas. I hope that our family can continue to enjoy many more such conversations. The discussion helped me to clarify in my mind exactly how I feel about certain topics. I enjoy having serious discussions with my children because of their intelligence as well as their training and experience. They are far from being my clones and have ideas and experiences much different than mine. I have learned much from them for many years. I sometimes tend to have "tunnel vision" until one or more of my children help me to see a wider vista. For example, I stated that I would like to end all entitlement programs of the federal government. I didn't mean that they should be ended abruptly but could be gradually phased out over several decades. Several of my children explained that all entitlement programs cannot be deleted because we need a safety net for people who cannot take care of themselves: They may have fried their brains with drugs. They may be crippled through no fault of their own. They may simply be old and sick or have experienced more downs than ups in their lives. Whatever the reason, there are people who cannot work to provide for their own needs and have no other means of support. Even though I was already aware of this group of people, my children further convinced me of the need for some kind of program for those who really need it. I still believe that government programs have too much fraud in them, are too large, and are growing larger as time goes by. In our discussion we agreed that government needs to become better organized and be downsized in order to use taxpayers' money better We also discussed patriotism and why more people do not fly the United States flag. We agreed that there is a difference between people who do not fly the flag and those who will not fly the flag.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Entangling Alliances

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that a free nation should have no entangling alliances but should have peace, trade, and good friendships with all nations. Our Founding Fathers desired to keep our nation separate from all other nations. They wanted to have good relationships with all nations as well as avoid as much as possible regional quarrels and disputes. They understood that alliances with some countries would automatically make them enemies to other nations. George Washington made the following statement in his Farewell Address to the nation: "Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence." (Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, 35:231.) For over one hundred years, Progressives have been moving the United States further from the Founders' ideal separatism and closer to internationalism. We have become entangled in almost every mess in the world because we didn't listen to good counsel. In 1939, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., then serving as Under-Secretary of State, urged the leaders of the United States to accept the role of the peace maker of the world. He said, "America, multi-raced and multi-nationed, is by tradition, by geography, by citizenry, by natural sympathy, and by material interest, the great natural nation of the earth. God so designed it. Drawn from all races, creeds, and nations, our sympathies run to every oppressed people. Our feelings engaged on opposite sides of great differences, will in their natural course, if held in due and proper restraint, neutralize the one [with] the other. Directed in right channels, this great body of feeling for the one side or the other will ripen into sympathy and love for all misguided and misled fellowmen who suffer in any cause, and this sympathy and love will run out to all humanity in its woe…. "America, the great neutral, will thus become the peacemaker of the world, which is her manifest destiny if she lives the law of peace." (Quoted in the Freemen Digest, Oct. 1978, pp 2-3.) If the United States had followed Clark's counsel, we might have avoided several wars, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the war in Afghanistan. If the United States had truly been making peace and staying disentangled in the affairs of other nations, we might have avoided numerous terrorist attacks. The United States needs to return to the Founders ideal of separatism - not isolationism - and become the world's peacemaker instead of the world's policeman as we are in our current internationalism. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 189-197.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Terrorist Attacks

I searched for an event during the Clinton Administration that would be significant for a history lesson this week and had to settle for terrorist attacks. In researching for this post, I discovered that the first terrorist attack took place in 1920. On September 16 of that year, a TNT bomb was planted in an unattended horse-drawn wagon in New York City. It exploded on Wall Street opposite the House of Morgan; it killed 35 people and injured hundreds of other people. The crime was never solved, but Bolshevist or anarchist terrorists were believed to be responsible. The next terrorist attack apparently took place in 1975 when a bomb was set off on January 24 in Fraunces Tavern in New York City. This bomb killed 4 people and injured more than 50 other people. A Puerto Rican nationalist group (FALN) claimed to be responsible. Police tied 13 other bombings to the group. In the thirty year period from 1979 when Iranian radical students seized the U.S. Embassy on November 4,took 66 hostages and kept 52 of them prisoners for 444 days until the Christmas Day bomber in 2009, there have been more than 40 separate terrorist attacks or attempted attacks within the United States or against Americans abroad. Most of them were credited to people from the Middle East. I'll elaborate on only those that took place while Bill Clinton was in the White House. On February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the basement garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. It killed 6 people and injured at least 1,040 other people. Militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 9 other people were convicted on conspiracy charges in 1995. In 1998, the suspected mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, was convicted of the bombing. Al-Qaeda involvement is suspected. On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City, a car bomb exploded outside the federal office building. Walls and floors collapsed, killing 168 people - including 19 children and 1 person who died in the rescue attempt. More than 220 other buildings received some damage from the bomb. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were later convicted in the anti-government plot to avenge the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas, exactly 2 years earlier. On November 13, 1995, a car bomb exploded at U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and killed 5 United States military servicemen. On June 25, 1996, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex. It killed 19 American servicemen and injured hundreds of others. In June 2001, 13 Saudis and a Lebanese, all alleged to be members of Islamic militant group Hezbollah, were indicted on charges relating to the attack. On August 7, 1998, in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, truck bombs exploded almost at the same time near 2 United States embassies. These attacks killed 224 people (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injured 4,500. In May 2001, 4 men connected with Al-Qaeda - 2 of them were trained at Al-Qaeda camps inside Afghanistan - were convicted of the killings and later sentenced to life in prison. Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who remained at large, was one of 22 men indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the attacks. On October 12, 2000, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole was docked and refueling in the Port of Aden in Yemen when a small boat carrying two men approached the ship. Explosives packed into the small boat were detonated alongside the U.S.S. Cole. The resulting explosion killed 17 sailors on board the destroyer and injured 39 others. It also tore a hole 40 feet high and 40 feet wide in the side of the 505-foot-long vessel. Some international analysts suspected that the bombers were connected to Arabs who were sympathetic to the Palestinian uprising while other analysts thought that the blame for the bombing lay with Osama bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire who was believed by the United States of funding terrorist attacks such as the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden was responsible for a pledge to drive the United States military forces out of the Middle East, and his main supporters were Islamist militants from various Arab countries who were referred to as "Arab Afghans." Several Arab Afghans were detained by Yemeni authorities for questioning in the bombing. Investigators for the Yemeni government concluded that the two bombers who were killed in the attack on the U.S.S. Cole had been Arab Afghans from Saudi Arabia. Three to six Yemenis were suspected as being accomplices in the incident. It seemed at the time that President Clinton was not all that interested in pursuing Bin Laden. Maybe the destruction of 9/11 could have been avoided or lessened by concentrating on stopping Bin Laden during the Clinton Administration instead of the investigation about oral sex in the Oval Office.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alaskan Aviation

The recent aircraft accident that claimed the life of former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens renewed national interest in aviation in Alaska and reminded Alaskan pilots of the perils of flying in this Great Land. The crash of the Stevens' Otter was not an uncommon event in Alaska. In fact, aircraft accidents here are fairly routine, almost like automobile accidents in any other state. Most of the accidents are fender-benders, some do serious damage to the aircraft, and a few cause death. Alaska has approximately 200 villages that are located off the road system, and Alaskans use airplanes much as Outsiders use taxis and four-wheel drive outfits. Most accidents happen in the summer months when more pilots are flying. There have been 21 airplane crashes in Alaska in 2010 with 17 of those crashes happening since June 1. At the time the Stevens' aircraft was plowing into the side of a mountain, another group of five airplane accident survivors was waiting for rescue on the Knik Glacier where weather conditions prevented rescue for several days. A Pave Hawk helicopter landed several miles down the glacier from the wreck and left four National Air Guard rescuers who hiked for twenty-one hours up the glacier before reaching the crash site. The Pave Hawk was then diverted to the Stevens accident, and a Black Hawk helicopter traveling from Fairbanks was sent to the Knik Glacier. While trying to land on the glacier, the Black Hawk rolled over and crashed, leaving additional people on the glacier to be rescued. A few days after the Stevens' accident, two more people were killed when their airplane flew into a mountain. Being a member of the flying community of Alaska, I am more than a little interested in the recent mishaps. There are numerous reasons for aircraft accidents, just like there are for automobile accidents. Most reasons fall into the category called "pilot error" while some are caused by the weather and a very few are caused by aircraft malfunction. Some conditions coming under pilot error are: lack of experience, making a wrong turn (such as going up the wrong canyon and not having room to turn the aircraft around), flying too low for the terrain, flying too fast to land safely, flying in weather conditions not suitable for flying, etc, My husband has been piloting small airplanes for nearly forty years and has been an Alaskan bush pilot for more than thirty-five of those years. He has about 5,000 hours of flying time compared to the 28,000 flying hours of the pilot of the Stevens' aircraft. He has already had his share of mishaps and near-death experiences, losing one aircraft completely. He has also gone on many search and rescue missions for missing aircraft. The accident that affected him most was probably the one where he found a friend whose airplane had augured into the ground while searching for wolves. My husband flies aircraft on wheels, floats and skis. When I first started flying with him, I spent whole trips searching the ground for safe places to land. Now I am more relaxed and at peace with the experience. My husband has postponed many fishing and hunting trips due to bad weather. Last winter his gear sat in a stack by the garage door for more than two months waiting for the weather to break. One day he actually made it across Cook Inlet before turning around due to a strong headwind. Return trips home are often delayed because of bad weather. In fact, as I drafted this post, I was sitting in a warm and cozy cabin in a remote part of Alaska waiting for the rain to stop and the skies to clear enough for us to return home. Alaskan aviation can be summed up as follows: There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots - but there are no old, bold pilots. Alaskan pilots have an especially difficult time with weather because conditions change quickly over the immense amount of country and single engine aircraft travel approximately 100-125 miles per hour. Pilots here must be aware of weather conditions all around the route they plan to travel. They must also maintain their aircraft in top condition as well as know their own personal capabilities. Taking proper precautions, aviation in Alaska is as safe as driving down a freeway in many other states.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bill Clinton

The man that we know as William Jefferson Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas, on August 19, 1946, three months after his father was killed in an automobile accident. His given and family name was William Jefferson Blythe IV after his father. Bill was told by relatives and family members that he resembled his father with his good looks and lively personality. Bill lived with his mother and her parents in Hope, Arkansas, and he stayed with his grandparents while his mother went to New Orleans for a year to become a nurse-anesthetist. Bill was four years old when his mother remarried. He started using his stepfather's last name while still in elementary school and formally changed his name to William Jefferson Clinton when he was 15. Bill was strongly influenced by his mother. She and Bill often enjoyed long conversations about situations one of them thought were unfair. His mother remarried when Bill was four years old, and the family soon moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. His stepfather was an alcoholic who occasionally abused Mrs. Clinton verbally and/or physically. Bill stood up at least once to protect is mother from his stepfather and credited his troubled family life for his skills at solving disagreements and avoiding conflicts. In spite of occasional problems, Bill was close with his stepfather at the time of the older man's death. Bill, whose family was Baptist, attended a Roman Catholic in Hot Springs for two years in preparation for attending the large public school system. Bill earned good grades and enjoyed schoolwork. Bill was active in a variety of clubs and held many offices in high school where he played tenor saxophone in the band and served as band major while a senior. Clinton showed an early interest in politics. While serving as a delegate to the American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C., he had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with President John F. Kennedy. This meeting convinced him to pursue a career in politics. After high school graduation in 1964, Bill attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., majoring in international affairs. He served as president of his freshman and sophomore classes. He studied hard and helped pay his expenses by a job with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His was strongly influenced by black Americans' fight for social justice in the civil rights movement. After graduating from Georgetown, Bill entered Oxford University in Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar, a scholarship he won during his senior year at Georgetown. After two years at Oxford, Bill entered Yale Law School in 1970. He paid his expenses there with a scholarship and holding part-time jobs. Bill met fellow law student Hillary Rodham from Illinois. They began dating in 1971 and married on October 11, 1975. The Clintons had one daughter, Chelsea, in 1980. Hillary continued to pursue her own career as an attorney and later became active in public affairs as Hillary Rodham. She adopted the last name of her husband in 1982. After graduating from law school in 1973, Bill took a position with the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville. He ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 but was defeated. In 1976 he ran unopposed in the general election for attorney general of Arkansas and took office in January 1977. Early in 1978 he became a candidate for governor of Arkansas and was inaugurated in January 1979. He was defeated when he ran for reelection in 1980, but returned to the office in January 1983. He was reelected in 1984 and again in 1986 by wide margins. After Arkansas passed a constitutional amendment in 1984 to change the governor's term of office from two years to four, effective with the 1986 election, Bill was elected to a fifth term in 1990. Bill became the Democratic presidential nominee in July 1992 and later won the presidential election. He had great leadership skills, and the United States enjoyed peace and well-being during his administration. He was re-elected in 1996, becoming the first Democratic President since FDR to win a second term. During his second term as President, he was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for lying under oath about having oral sex with an intern in the Oval Office. He was tried in the Senate but was found not guilty of the charges. He apologized to the nation for his behavior and remained a popular President. As a former President of the United States he is a distinguished Elder Statesman who continues to serve his country whenever called upon. Facts for this post came from an article by Ernest C. Dumas in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol.4, pp 682, a-e.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Settling Ties

The principle for this Constitution Monday is found in Article I.3.4, "The Vice President shall not be allowed to vote unless there is a tie and his vote is necessary to make a decision." The Founders provided to members of the Senate the Right to be independent of influence from the Vice President except when his opinion is necessary to break a tie vote. The Vice President has made the deciding vote in more than 200 cases. This provision keeps the Vice President aware of affairs, both domestic and foreign, and should help him or her to be better prepared to assume the duties of President in case of death, removal, or incapacity of the President.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Word of Wisdom

The Lord's law for good health is called the Word of Wisdom. When we came to earth, we received physical bodies. A physical body is one of the greatest blessings we have because we must have a physical body to become like our Heavenly Father. The Lord places so much importance on physical bodies that He calls them temples (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20). He considers our bodies as being holy. Because of the importance of our bodies, Heavenly Father wants us to take good care of them. He wants us to be happy and knows that healthy bodies bring more happiness. He also wants us to stay worthy to receive the Holy Ghost by keeping our bodies and minds clean. He knew that we would be tempted to treat our bodies unwisely or to partake of harmful things; therefore, He told us which things are good for our bodies and which are bad for them. This information concerning good health is contained in the Word of Wisdom, which is found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom helps us to stay worthy to enter the Lord's temple and to enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. Disobedience to this law causes the Lord's Spirit to withdraw from us and causes damage to ourselves physically and spiritually. The Lord revealed that there are certain things that we should not take into our bodies. He commanded us to not use wine or strong drinks (drinks containing alcohol). The use of strong drinks often causes cruelty, poverty, and disease to enter our homes. It often is the cause of dishonesty, loss of chastity, and loss of good judgment and is always a curse to those who drink it. Use of alcohol by expectant mothers can cause physical and mental damage to their unborn children. Drivers under the influence of alcohol cause many automobile accidents each year. The Lord also revealed that "tobacco is not for the body" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:8) because it is harmful to our bodies and our spirits. Scientists have shown that tobacco causes many diseases and can harm unborn children. We should not smoke cigarette or cigars, or use chewing tobacco. Any form of tobacco taken into our bodies is harmful. Even being around those who smoke tobacco can cause health problems for non-users. The Lord counsels us against the use of "hot drinks" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:9), meaning coffee and tea, which contain harmful substances. Wisdom requires us to avoid all drinks that contain harmful substances. Wisdom dictates that we should not use drugs except when they are medically necessary. Some drugs are even more destructive than alcohol and tobacco, which are also drugs. Anyone who misuses drugs should seek help, pray for strength, and counsel with their bishop in order to fully repent and become clean. In the spirit of the Word of Wisdom, we should avoid anything that we know is harmful to our bodies. We should not use any substance that is habit forming. We should avoid overeating and any foods that cause allergic reactions. The Word of Wisdom gives us guidelines, but it does not tell us everything to avoid or consume. It is a law that is valuable physically but also spiritually. By obedience to the Word of Wisdom, we become stronger spiritually. This law helps us to purify our bodies in order to have the Spirit of the Lord dwell with us. The Lord also revealed that there are certain things that are good for us. These foods include fruits, vegetables and wholesome herbs, which should be used with wisdom and thanksgiving. The Lord has said that the flesh of birds and animals is provided for our food but should be eaten sparingly. Fish is also good for us. Grains, especially wheat, are good for us. The Lord has revealed other ways to keep our bodies healthy. We are taught to "cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; … cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:124). We are also told, "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work" (Exodus 20:9) and to not labor more than we have strength (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4). President Thomas S. Monson told us that we should keep our bodies healthy. He said, "Nutritious meals, regular exercise, and appropriate sleep are necessary for a strong body, just as consistent scripture study and prayer strengthen the mind and spirit" (Ensign, November 1990, p. 46). When the Lord revealed the Word of Wisdom to teach us how to care for our bodies, He also promised blessings for doing so. He said, "No temporal commandment gave I …, for my commandments are spiritual" (Doctrine and Covenants 29:35), meaning that His commandments concerning our physical bodies are for our spiritual good. Keeping the Lord's law of health and obeying His other commandments brings promised blessings physically and spiritually. We are promised good health physically, which helps us to "run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:20). Physical health is a great blessing, but the promised spiritual blessings are even greater. God promises us that we "shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:19), meaning that we will be taught important truths through revelation by the Holy Ghost. President Boyd K. Packer taught, "Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit. In that marvelous revelation the Word of Wisdom, we are told how to keep our bodies free from impurities which might dull, even destroy, those delicate physical senses which have to do with spiritual communication. The Word of Wisdom is a key to individual revelation" (Ensign, November 1989, p. 14). The Lord also promises that the destroying angel will pass by us. President Heber J. Grant said, "If you and I desire the blessings of life, of health, of vigor of body and mind; if we desire the destroying angel to pass us by, as he did in the days of the children of Israel, we must obey the Word of Wisdom; then God is bound, and the blessing shall come to us" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], p. 192). I know that living the Word of Wisdom brings blessings to us. I know that avoiding harmful substances, including too much food, makes my body healthier. I know that too little sleep makes me tired and too much sleep makes me groggy. I know that I enjoy more closeness to God because I keep my mind and body clean.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Our topic for strengthening the family on this Saturday is to practice personal and family preparedness. When individuals and families are prepared to meet their own needs, they put themselves in a position to help others. We do not have to wait until we are fully self-reliant in order to help and serve other people. President Marion G. Romney taught: "Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak" (Ensign, November 1982, 93). The Lord revealed in Doctrine and Covenants 29:34 "All things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal." Even though the following principles will help us temporally, the end result will be spiritual strength. There are six areas where we should become self-reliant. Those six areas are: literacy and education; career development; financial and resource management; home production and storage; physical health; social-emotional and spiritual strength. Let me expand on the areas individually. 1) Literacy and Education. Each person, to the extent of his or her ability, should be able to read, write, and do basic mathematics. Parents can teach these skills and habits to family members. Parents and children alike can take advantage of educational opportunities. Regular study of the scriptures and reading other good books will increase literacy. 2) Career Development. Each young person should receive counsel to help select a suitable vocation. Talents and skills should be evaluated when selecting a career. All should obtain appropriate training in order to become proficient. 3) Financial and Resource Management. Each individual should establish financial goals, pay tithes and offerings, avoid debt, pay obligations, use resources wisely, and save during times of plenty for use during times of need. 4) Home Production and Storage. Each individual and family should produce as much as possible by sewing, gardening, and making household items. Each individual and family should learn techniques for home canning, freezing, and drying of foods and store a one-year supply of food, clothing, and if possible, fuel. 5) Physical Health. Each individual should use wisdom and practice sound principals of nutrition, physical fitness, accident prevention, weight control, immunization, sanitation, mother and child health, dental health, and medical care. Each individual is responsible to maintain a healthy and clean environment and to acquire appropriate skills in first aid, home nursing, and food selection and preparation. 6) Social-emotional and Spiritual Strength. Each individual should build spiritual strength to meet life's challenges with confidence and stability. This is accomplished by learning to love God and to communicate with Him in personal prayer, by loving and serving others, and by loving and respecting him or herself by righteous living and self-mastery. Social-emotional and spiritual strength increases through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bishop H. Burke Peterson said, "When we speak of [personal and] family preparedness, we should speak of foreseen, anticipated, almost expected needs which can be met through wise preparation. Even true emergencies can be modified by good planning" ("the Family in Welfare Service," Welfare Services Meeting, April 1975, p. 4). As individuals and families practice personal and family preparedness principles, families become stronger and thus strengthen our nation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Peace through Strength

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that free people must stay strong in order to survive. The title for this post came from President Ronald Reagan who said that the only way our nation could have peace was to be so strong that no other nation would even consider attacking us. He said, "Peace through strength," and then he acted to make our nation strong. Our Founding Fathers wanted peace for their new nation, and they understood that peace comes through strength. They understood that being a nation prepared to defend itself would provide protection from greedy nations wishing to profit from American prosperity. Benjamin Franklin wrote, "The very fame of our strength and readiness would be a means of discouraging our enemies; for 'tis a wise and true saying, that `One sword often keeps another in the scabbard.' The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent." Franklin said later, "Our security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth, that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain [India], when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying 'Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you.'" A common description of George Washington is "First in peace, first in war, first in the hearts of his countrymen." Washington understood the realities of life. He fought for the cause of liberty and risked his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor fighting for the independence of Americans. He wanted peace, but he declared, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." Our Founders passed their policy of peace through strength down to their descendents. Americans have been known for their love of peace and their willingness to go to war to preserve peace. This may be one of the "fundamental changes" brought about by the Obama Administration. By the out-of-control spending and the policies of the federal government, our economy may be destroyed to the point that we have no means to wage war. By their dismantling of the military, we may have no manpower to fight a war. By our President going on a world-wide tour apologizing for our country and bowing to our enemies, we may lose the respect - and thus the fear - of nations who want to subdue us. In order for us to maintain peace and keep our freedoms, we must be stronger than all other nations. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, pp 181-188.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great Depression

The Great Depression is the name given to a worldwide business slump that occurred in the 1930's. The high employment and low business activity of this period of time ranked it as the worst depression in modern times. The Great Depression started on October 29, 1929, when the values of stocks in the United States dropped quickly and thousands of stockholders lost large sums of money. The savings and investments of many stockholders were wiped out completely. Banks, factories, and stores closed their doors and left millions of Americans without jobs or money. Many people had no choice except to rely on the government to provide food for them or to accept charity from other people. President Herbert Hoover was in the White House when the Great Depression started. The voters rejected Hoover in 1932 and elected Franklin D. Roosevelt as President. The reforms of Roosevelt gave more power to the federal government and helped to ease the depression. We now know that those same reforms helped to keep our nation in the depression. Every nation was affected by the Great Depression, which caused a sharp decrease in world trade because every country was trying to strengthen its own industries by raising tariffs on imported goods. Because of the Great Depression, many countries changed leadership and type of government. Examples of how the poor economic conditions of the times caused changes would be the rise of the German dictator Adolf Hitler and the Japanese invasion of China. Adolf Hitler's plans to make Germany a world leader gave hope for improved conditions to the German people. Japan developed industries and mines in Manchuria (a part of China), claiming that this economic growth would relieve the depression in their own country. World War II (1939-1945) was brought about because of the militarism of the Germans and the Japanese. World War II ended the Great Depression because nations increased their production of war materials, which provided many jobs and put large amounts of money back into circulation. The severity of the Great Depression had many causes. The stage for the depression was set in the 1920's when many banks failed and farmers and factory workers had low incomes. The decade of the 1920's was a time of prosperity for businesses, but the prices of farm products fell about 40 percent in 1920 and 1921. With farm income remaining low through the 1920's, farmers lost so much money that they could not pay their mortgages and had to either rent out their farms or move. Bank failures increased during the 1920's with about 550 banks going out of business from July 1, 1928, to June 30, 1929. Most of the bank failures occurred in rural areas because farmers experienced poor conditions. This uneven distribution of money was also a cause of the depression. Farmers and workers in the coal, railroad, and textile industries did not share in the prosperity. There was a 50 percent increase in industrial production, but the wages of industrial workers rose much slower. Goods were produced faster than works could afford to pay for them, and many people started to use credit to buy goods. After a time, workers reduced their spending in order to control their debt, causing a reduction in the amount of money in circulation and business to worsen. The average price of common stocks on the New York Stock Exchange more than doubled from 1925 to 1929. This great rise in stock values encouraged many people to speculate or to buy stocks in hopes of profiting from future price increases. When stock values plunged on Black Thursday (October 24, 1929), most stock prices remained steady on Friday and Saturday before falling again the next Monday. Stockholders panicked on Tuesday, October 29, and sold a record 16,410,030 shares of stock. This giant sale caused thousands of people to lose huge amounts of money because stock values fell far below the prices paid for the stock. Banks and businesses that had purchased stock lost so much that they had to close their doors. Stock values continued to fall steadily for the next three years. The effects of the Great Depression are still felt in our nation today. Before the depression, people considered bankers and business executives to be the nation's leaders. When the stock market crashed and banks and businesses could not relieve the depression, Americans lost faith in them. When the federal government finally succeeded in improving conditions, the people decided that the government should be responsible for maintaining the national economy. Because the federal government increased federal control over banks and the stock market, the government had more power to provide money for the needy. The Social Security program in existence at this time is a result of the Great Depression because the government thought it was better to "retire" older people in order that younger people would have jobs. Since the depression, both Republicans and Democrats have sought to broaden the powers of the federal government. The government now has programs to provides hospital and medical insurance for the aged and to regulate price and wage increases. The Obama Administration has added more regulations to broaden the powers of the federal government. The attitudes of many Americans were changed by the depression. Some people who lived through the Great Depression became very concerned about material possessions and wanted material comforts lost or never previously owned. They wanted appliances, cars, homes, and financial security. Many people, like my own parents, wanted to be better prepared for any future economical down turns and saved literally everything including such things as nails, various types of materials, items of clothing, etc. This importance of material conditions and financial security that developed among many people of the depression era affected relationships between parents and children. People of my generation did not have the experience of losing everything or struggling to find work or not having food to eat and did not understand the behavior and attitudes of their parents. This emphasis on material possessions and financial security, combined with a lack of communication, helped to create the "generation gap" of the 1960's and early 1970's. Our nation and the world are now experiencing an economical downturn similar to the Great Depression. Unemployment stands at 9.5 percent. Work is hard to find. Businesses are downsizing. Homes are being repossessed. The federal government is instituting new programs to "redistribute the wealth" of our nation. It appears that my generation should have learned the lessons of the Great Depression: stay out of debt, prepare for the unexpected, maintain an emergency fund. Can the rising generation learn the lessons without having to experience the hardships? Only time will tell. Facts for this post came from an article by Robert Sobel in The World Book Enyclopedia, Vol. 8, pp 338-343.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Are you concerned about the direction our nation is headed? Do you want to make a difference? The best way to change the conditions in a home, community or nation is to change a person. Human beings have little ability to change other people, but we have great power to change ourselves. Allow me to suggest a few actions for changing yourself and thus changing our nation. 1) Pray once a day on your knees. Pray for protection for our nation. Pray for our leaders to make wise decisions. Pray for yourself and your family. 2) Tell the truth because the truth will make you free. 3) Do something nice everyday for every member of your family. I can promise you that you will be changed by doing these three things every day for three weeks and that greater changes will take place as you continue doing them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Herbert Hoover

The topic for our VIP Tuesday is Herbert Hoover. Herbert Clark Hoover was the President when the Great Depression swept through the United States. He became President after establishing himself as a millionaire business man and a successful public official. The United States was experiencing a period of great prosperity at the time Hoover became President, and Americans were expecting even better days. The stock market crashed and the Great Depression started seven months after Hoover took office. Hoover as well as many members of the business world expected the depression to be short and prosperity to return. He was a member of the Republican Party and was the first President "to use the power of the federal government to fight a depression." Hoover was shy and reserved. and he had a quiet sense of humor, laughing loudly on rare occasions. He enjoyed fishing, hiking, and reading biographies and detective stories. Herbert was the first President to be born west of the Mississippi River. He was born on August 10, 1874, in West Branch, Iowa. Andrew Huber (or Hoover), one of his ancestors, came from Germany in 1738 and settled in Pennsylvania but later moved to North Carolina. His son John became a Quaker whose descendants settled in Ohio and later moved to Iowa (1853). Herbert's father was a blacksmith and dealt in farm equipment. His mother was born in Canada. Herbert had an older brother and a younger sister. Herbert's father died when he was six years old, and his mother died when he was nine years old. Relatives raised the children, and Herbert did not live with his brother and sister most of the time. He lived with an uncle for two years of his childhood. Herbert had a pleasant childhood even though he was an orphan. He enjoyed playing in the woods and fishing and swimming in the streams. He earned money to buy fireworks by picking potato bugs - one cent for every hundred bugs. He went to Newberg, Oregon, in 1885 to live with another uncle and received his secondary school education at Newberg College, a small academy where his uncle served as principal. He worked to earn money and weeded onions one summer at fifty cents per day. When his uncle opened a real estate office in Salem, Oregon, in 1888, Hoover worked as an office boy for him while studying algebra and geometry at a business college. After talking with an engineer in 1890, Hoover became interested in engineering and decided to become a mining engineer. He enrolled in the first class of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, when he was seventeen years old. Hoover managed a laundry agency. delivered newspapers, and worked as a part-time secretary for the head of the geology department to pay his college expenses. He did geological work in Arkansas, California, and Nevada during his summer vacations and worked for a short time as a miner in California after he graduated in 1895. Hoover met Lou Henry, the daughter of a wealthy banker, in the geology laboratory at Stanford and married her in Monterey, California, on February 10, 1899. She was a brilliant woman who spoke several languages and was very interested in science, literature, and art. Herbert and Lou translated a famous old book about mining from Latin into English and were recognized for their work by Stanford with special degrees. Lou also wrote articles for many scientific and historical publications after her husband became President. The Hoovers had two sons. Hoover began his career in the office of well-known mining engineer in San Francisco in 1896. The next year at age 26, he was hired by a London company as an engineer to manage gold mines in Australia. He spent less than two years in Australia and in late 1898 accepted the position of chief engineer for the Chinese Imperial Bureau of Mines. Herbert and Lou spent their honeymoon sailing from California to China. Mrs. Hoover learned to speak Chinese while her husband made prospecting trips and directed engineering projects. When the Boxer Rebellion started in 1900, Herbert supervised the construction of defenses for the foreign settlement in Tianjin and directed the distribution of food and other supplies during the two-month Boxer siege of the settlement. After the rebellion, the Chinese government discontinued its Bureau of Mines and Hoover went to London where he helped to organize a private company to develop mines in China. He returned to China in 1901 as the company's general manager but resigned after a few months. He returned to London as a partner in a mining company with which he had been associated since 1897. He established his own engineering firm in 1908. By 1814, Hoover was a millionaire by reorganizing mines in many parts of the world. Hoover was in London in 1914 when thousands of Americans were stranded in Europe by the beginning of World War I. After being asked by United States officials in London to aid the stranded people, Hoover organized a committee that aided about 120,000 Americans to return home. Hoover was asked in August 1914 by the U.S. ambassador in London to organize food relief for Belgium, which had been conquered by German troops. He set up the Commission for Relief in Belgium and gathered and distributed food and helped to raise relief funds from October 1914 until April 1917. Many thousands of lives were saved by the efforts of his commission. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, President Wilson asked Hoover to head the United States Food Administration where he was given broad powers over the prices, production, and distribution of food. His campaign to save food for people in war-torn Europe was well supported by the American people. The term "Hooverize" meant to economize and to save and do without various foods with the result of meatless and wheatless days being observed. Hoover was internationally famous when he returned to Europe after the war ended in 1918 to direct the feeding of millions of people. Many people were so impressed with Hoover by 1919 that they thought he should be President, and both Democrats and Republicans wanted him to be a candidate in the 1920 election. He announced that he was a Republican but didn't do well in the primary election. He was named in 1921 by President Warren G. Harding to be secretary of commerce and held this office under both Harding and President Calvin Coolidge. Serving as secretary of state showed Hoover's great skill as an administrator and planner. He reorganized the Department of Commerce and expanded the work of the department. He was so involved in many activities that one official said that he was "Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary of everything else." Under Hoover's directions, many conferences were held to consider such problems as industrial production, labor relations, child welfare, foreign trade, and housing; he brought order into radio broadcasting, promoted commercial aviation, and helped to end the 12-hour workday for the steel industry. Hoover became the Republican candidate for President in February 1928 a few months after President Coolidge announced that he did not "choose to run" for reelection. Prohibition was a major issue of the campaign with the Democrats wanting to repeal Amendment 18 of the U.S. Constitution. Many Americans thought the Republicans better able to keep the nation prosperous and opposed Alfred E. Smith because he was a Roman Catholic. Hoover carried 40 of the 48 states and received 444 electoral votes to 87 for Smith. Hoover's good-will tour of Latin American helped lay the foundation for the "Good Neighbor Policy" of the FDR era. Hoover expected prosperity to continue in spite of the fact that the United States had been building up to a crash for a long time. Farmers did not share in the prosperity of the 1920's, and people in the coal-mining and textile-manufacturing industries had poor working conditions and low wages. There was widespread buying on credit, which weakened the economy; thousands of people bought stocks with borrowed money. Stock prices soared. and then the stock market crashed in October 1929. The Great Depression was here. Many people, including Hoover, thought the depression would be short and that the stock market would recover within a few weeks or months. When 1929 ended losses were estimated at $40 billion, and stock values on the New York Stock Exchanged had dropped 40 percent. Fortunes were destroyed, and thousands of workers lost their jobs. Hoover called business leaders, industrialists, and labor leaders together for conferences, and all agreed to cooperate in an effort to keep wages stable and to avoid strikes. Nevertheless, the economic conditions worsened. More than 12 million people were out of work by 1932. Factories closed, banks failed, and thousands of people lost their homes because they couldn't pay their mortgages. Clumps of shacks for homeless families became known as "Hoovervilles." Germany and other nations were affected by the Great Depression, and they could not pay their war debts. Hoover was reluctant to interfere with the American economy, believing that the depression was just temporary. He expected businesses and industries to solve their own problems and to help in the national stabilization efforts. In 1932 he requested Congress to pass several laws to enable the government to help businesses and to keep banks and other firms from going bankrupt. Even though Hoover believed that the states and local communities should provide relief for jobless workers, he realized that the unemployed needed more assistance. The federal government loaned $300 million to the states for relief and provided credit for homeowners and farmers. Improvement was made in court practices and bankruptcy procedures. Hoover supported many public works and conservation programs, which were designed in part to provide jobs. One such program was to build Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam) on the Colorado River. The government also worked to develop inland waterways for navigation and flood control, added 3 million acres to national parks and monuments, and enlarged the national forests. The government also build more than 800 public buildings and helped states to build about 37,000 miles of major highways. In spite of everything Hoover did, unemployed workers staged hunger marches and demonstrations in several cities during the early 1930's. The White House received a new look during the Hoover Administration. They decorated it with souvenirs and art objects collected during their years of world travel. There was a large cage of canaries in the second-floor corridor surrounded by bamboo furniture and grass rugs from South America. The Hoovers entertained frequently but avoided personal publicity whenever possible. They escaped the summer heat by vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where the President enjoyed fishing for trout. The Hoovers built a summer home in the mountains and later gave it to the Shenandoah National Park. The Republicans had little hope of winning the election of 1932. New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a "new deal" for the American people and promised to balance the budget, bring relief to the unemployed, help the farmers, and end Prohibition. Hoover defended his record, but Roosevelt carried 42 of the 48 states and won 472 electoral votes. Bank failures and unemployment increased during Hoover's last four months in office. Amendment 20 to the Constitution - the "lame duck amendment" - became law in January 1933 and took effect in October 1933. It provided that a President's term of office should end on January 20 instead of March 4. After Hoover left the White House, he spent much of his time traveling, reading, speaking and writing. He continued to develop the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace that he founded at Stanford in 1919. The Hoovers moved from Palo Alto, California, to New York City where Mrs. Hoover died on January 7, 1944. Hoover published three books: 1) The Challenge to Liberty (1934) - an attack on President Roosevelt's New Deal program, 2) The Problems of Lasting Peace (1942), and 3) The Basis of Lasting Peace (1945). He headed a committee to collect relief funds for Finland in 1940 during the first Russo-Finnish War. After World War II, Democratic President Harry S. Truman named Hoover chairman of the Famine Emergency Commission to survey the food needs of many nations. He traveled to Europe in 1947 to report on relief needs to President Truman. In addition, in 1947, Hoover was named chairman of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. The commission was called the Hoover Commission, and commission proposals that were adopted cut costs and stream-lined the federal government. Hoover was a director or a trustee of nine private educational, scientific, and charitable institutions. The Herbert Hoover Library that houses most of Hoover's official papers was dedicated in West Branch in 1962. Hoover published his three-volume Memoirs in 1951-1952 and The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson in 1948. He also completed his four-volume work titled An American Epic in 1964. Hoover gave all his income from government employment, including his pension, to charity and to public service projects. He returned to popular favor because of his services to government and society. He lived longer after leaving the White House than any other former President. He died in New York City on October 20, 1964, at the age of 90. Our nation mourned him as a truly great American. He was buried on a rise overlooking the small house where he was born in West Branch, Iowa. Important events in the world of President Hoover are: 1) The stock market crash of October 29, 1929, which wiped out the savings of thousands of investors and helped to cause the Great Depression; 2) The Great Depression, a worldwide economic slump, caused thousands of businesses to fail, millions of workers to lose their jobs, and needy people to wait in bread lines to receive food; 3) The first practical all-electronic television system was demonstrated in 1929, and the first reliable analog computer was built in 1930; 4) Canada became an independent nation in 1931; 5) Japan invaded Manchuria on September 18, 1931, an attack that helped to start World War II; 6) The Nazi party, led by Adolf Hitler, gained power steadily in Germany during the early 1930's; 7) Labor union activity was encouraged in the United States by the passing of the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Ellis W. Hawley in The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, pp.326-331.