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Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Growing Success of Southern Gospel News

Last week as I was covering the Katherine Harris campaign for the Senate in Florida, I thought it would be appropriate to the setting to write an article on an internationally-known gospel quartet, The Florida Boys. You can find that article
in the archives section of The Liberty Sphere.

As I mentioned in that article, there is an entire industry that has grown up around this style of music, indicating that the genre has an army of ardent fans who march under the radar screen of the news outlets and the music industry in general. 'Southern Gospel Music,' as it is known, boasts one of the top selling artists in any field of music, the venerable Bill Gaither, whose videos have sold in the millions, according to Billboard and other organizations that track music sales.

At the forefront of this style of music is a growing company called 'Southern Gospel News.' This is the umbrella organization for several companies that record, promote, and play Southern Gospel Music, such as 'Southern Spin,' the company's radio subsidiary. The company owns several labels that produce and distribute the work of Southern Gospel artists. It is also home to a publication and Internet site called 'Southern Gospel News,' where fans can find complete information on their favorite artists. Their web address is:

This website is a professionally produced gathering place of artists, writers and bloggers, industry support personnel, and fans. The fans are even provided with a free forum to express their views on various subjects regarding southern gospel music, as well as share the latest news about their favorite groups and artists.

From fairly humble beginnings, the Southern Gospel News has amassed quite a following and has enjoyed a tremendous amount of growth. Today it is a key player in the continued success of this form of music.

The reason I highlight this growing company is that it shows just how deeply Americans feel their spiritual roots. Gospel music has always been around in one form or another for as long as this country has existed. Demographics, styles, and tastes may change, but the one constant is that Americans always find a way to express their deepest spiritual thoughts and feelings through the medium of music. I detect no change in that trend.

Southern Gospel News, in fact, appeals to listeners of a variety of musical tastes, from traditional quartet singing to progressive, contemporary sounds, from country and bluegrass flavored gospel to ensembles, from soloists and duets to trios and quartets. There is something there to appeal to all musical tastes.

The modern popularity of Bill Gaither, the Florida Boys, the Gold City Quartet, the Dove Brothers Quartet, the Isaacs, and new groups such as Crossway and Valor, is evidence of a vast amount of interest in spiritual matters in America today.

Southern Gospel News is an important source where Americans can pursue that interest.

BREAKING NEWS!! Magazine Data Shows Republicans Retain Control

The Drudge Report is carrying a story today from a political magazine that projects Republicans will retain control of both Houses of Congress. The magazine, Barron's Online, has done a race-by-race analysis of each Congressional and Senatorial campaign in the nation. That analysis has revealed some surprising results that may foil the conventional wisdom.

Barron's states that according to their data, the Republicans will more than likely retain control of the House, the worst case scenario being a net 14-seat loss, which would give them a one-seat majority. In the Senate the magazine projects the Republicans winding up with 52 seats, which will maintain their majority despite the loss of three seats.

The full story can be found at:

Two Weeks to Elections, Thoughts on the Home Stretch

This coming Tuesday marks the final two weeks of Campaign '06, the midterm elections. I would like to offer a few thoughts on the campaign as we head down this final stretch.

One, the moral failings of a few isolated politicians is no reason to implicate everyone within one Party. Gerry Studds and Barney Frank certainly were not examples of what all Democrats are like, and neither should Mark Foley represent Republicans. So far, the FBI has discovered no physical contact between Foley and any House page. Why, then, should Speaker Dennis Hastert be vilified for the actions or non-actions of another? From what I can tell, Hastert is an honorable man who deserves re-election.

Two, the war in Iraq has become unpopular because Americans have come to expect military campaigns to be neat, tidy, and shortlived. War is none of the above. Regardless of whether we should have gone into Iraq to begin with, we are there now for better or worse, and the prudent course is to stay until the job is done. The job is done when Iraqis take responsibility for their own country and its defense. Like it or not, Iraq is ground zero for terrorism. Saddam gave haven to terrorists and their training camps. They are a part of an axis of terrorism that includes that entire area of the world--Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria. To bolster a budding Democracy in that part of the world would be a gargantuan achievement toward dismantling the hold of Muslim Jihadistsd.

Three, it appears that Senator Joseph Lieberman is cruising toward a major victory in November, taking back his Senate seat as in Independent rather than as a Democrat. The voters of Connecticut are rejecting the extremist politics of his two opponents, the most striking of which is the Democrat, who ran under the delusion that shrill anti-war rhetoric would be a winning strategy. Even in so-called 'liberal' Connecticut we see that such rabid leftist ideology plays well only to the most extreme fringe in the Democrat party. This being the case, it is difficult to image this strategy working anywhere else in the country.

Four, it appears at this point that Katherine Harris will lose in her bid to unseat U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida, in spite of Nelson's deplorable views on taxes. My hope was that Congresswoman Harris could win, and she still might, although it is appearing unlikely. Harris' views on the issues are directly in line with such Libertarian ideals as smaller government, lower taxes, abolishing the IRS, repealing the Income Tax, and implementing an entirely new system of taxation in this country. However, the Congresswoman made a series of missteps during the campaign that has cost her dearly. My hope is that she can gain back the ground she lost and come from behind for a victory on election day. It will depend upon the Florida voters who are truly concerned with a sensible approach to the issues going to the polls in droves.

Five, the economy has come roaring back. Unemployment is still low, the stock market is skyrocketing, inflation is under control, oil prices are way down, and things are looking good for the next year at least. If it's really 'the economy, stupid,' then there should be no reason for Americans to vote to oust Republicans and turn over the Congress to those who would surely implement big government schemes to get more of our money.

Six, the notion that we should vote against all incumbents is NOT a good idea after all. After doing much ruminating on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that such a notion is not based upon sound logic. If an incumbent is doing a good job, and if that incumbent has not proved to be a crook, then why 'throw the rascal out?' It makes no logical sense. There may be many incumbents we want to keep, as the alternative may be much worse. This is not to say that there are no incumbents who need to go.

Seven, the Bush doctrine on North Korea is a resounding success that should be celebrated. Having been stung by the failures of the previous Administration's policy of 'bi-lateral talks' with a regime that lied, the Bush Administration insisted from the start that talks with Kim Jong-il should be 'multi-lateral' that would include the Chinese. The Bush doctrine was proved to be correct this week when Kim apologized for conducting a nuclear test after he had received a stern reprimand from the Chinese government. The Chinese are the ONLY ones to which Kim will listen. Why, then, should we as Americans turn to those who have been calling for a return to failed 'bi-lateral talks' with Kim, such as John Kerry proposes?

Eight, despite polls that show Governor Bob Riley way ahead in the state of Alabama, the Governor has taken a hit in the national media this week over his membership in a whites-only Grand Lodge. The AP picked up the story again, after having reported on this several weeks ago, and Riley's membership in the all-white lodge was reported all over the country, particularly in places such as Maryland, North Carolina, and Delaware. Many Masons are up in arms about the practices of this Grand Lodge, as the United Grand Lodge of the Scottish Rite has long since repudiated an exclusionary policy against Blacks. The result is that despite the virtual news blackout of this story in Alabama, many Alabama voters get their news on the Internet, and thus, they have seen the story many times. I have a hunch that Riley has taken a hit in the polls and that this election could be much closer than we think. Many Alabama voters have turned to Libertarian Loretta Nall in her bid for Governor. Stay tuned. Who knows where this one is going.

We still have a little over two weeks left to election day. Much can happen in the final two weeks of a campaign. Trends can shift in the blink of an eye. So stay informed. Educate yourself on the real issues rather than secondary muck such as a politician or two going bad. And by all means, plan to vote!

More on the 'Libertarian Democrat' Nonsense by D. Martyn Lloyd-Morgan

I have maintained from the start that the so-called 'Libertarian Democrat' concept, propounded at Cato Unbound, is nonsense. This is not so much due to any problem I have with the literal term as with the hidden agenda evident among those who have jumped on the bandwagon. Democrats are hopping onboard this ship with the hope they will pick up votes that would normally go to Republicans and sail right into victory in November.

The original concept, so far as I can tell, has to do with the notion that Democrats could find a natural ally in the Libertarian movement since both tend to promote social liberty, that is, both have some concerns about the present trend toward more consolidation of government power, particularly in the Executive Branch, and the inherent dangers that lie buried like landmines with regard to individual, civil liberties.

So far so good. I share those concerns.

However, if there are that many Democrats that have such a problem, then why is there not a move afoot to get them to jump onboard the Libertarian Party bandwagon than to encourage people of a libertarian persuasion to vote for Democrats? It seems highly odd to me that we are not encouraging them to join US rather than the other way around. Why? Why is this idea being propounded in a manner that is beneficial to Democrats?

That is the one question that has yet to be answered by the purveyors of this misguided and utterly naive concept.

As much as I am loathe to say it, Libertarians are the ones being duped by politically savvy Democrats in this proposed marriage of strange bedfellows. Democrats have no intention of toning down the march toward big government, more centralized government power, increased taxation, or of taking a more sympathetic view toward individual liberties. Gun control laws blow the whistle on that one. In addition, go to almost any major college campus in the nation where Democrats are in control and watch the manner in which free speech is handled. It is practically non-existent, unless the speakers in question tow the accepted party line that has been totally infected with a case of rampant, galloping political correctness.

The number of conservative speakers who have been shouted down, heckled to silence, hit in the face with pies, all at college campuses, are too numerous to mention. So much for the support of free speech on the part of leftist ideologues.

And which Party do you suppose they support? I can tell you it is not Republican or Libertarian!

Do Democrats stand for a repeal of gun control laws and a return of the Constitutional right of citizens to own and bear firearms?

Do Democrats support an end to the Income Tax and the implementation of a national sales tax or a flat tax, which would lead to a total revamping of the U.S. Tax Code?

Do Democrats want America to win the war on terror? Or do they wish to cut and run in Iraq, which will increase the chances of terrorism being brought back to our shores rather than overseas?

Do Democrats support free markets? What about less government intrusion into the right of private citizens to enter contracts in the exercise of free commerce? What about the freedom of citizens to make their own private choices, free from the scrutiny of government, such as smoking, eating fat and sweets, riding a motorcycle without a helmet?

Do you honestly believe Democrats do not wish to continue policing the private choices of citizens? They are the ones that started this practice to begin with!

How many Democrats support tax incentives for parents to homeschool their children? I do not mean vouchers to send children to private schools. That keeps the hands of government in the process. I mean real tax incentives for parents to either place their children in private schools or to homeschool their children.

What kind of plan and vision for America have the Democrats offered? So far, the only thing I have seen is mud slinging, highlighting the moral failings of a few Republicans although the Democrats themselves have their own skeletons in the closet, and telling the country how terrible Bush is rather than offering any real alternatives.

The economy at present is very strong. In fact, it has come roaring back like gang-busters. The stock market has been at an all-time high. Is it really just the economy, stupid? This is what Democrats claimed in 1992 and 1996. Is this not true anymore? Funny how no Democrat will talk about the strong economy. Funny how the mainstream news media will not mention it at all.

How would Democrats make a very strong economy any stronger? Tax hikes?

No matter which way the issue is spun, the contention that Libertarians and those who lean libertarian should vote for Democrats who throw a few verbal crumbs our way is one of the most half-brained schemes I have ever witnessed.

If we, as Libertarians, fall for this ploy by Democrats to get our votes, then we will deserve whatever tyranny befalls us if they gain control of Congress.

Do Libertarian core principles mean something, or are they for sale?

My friends, if they are for sale, then we might as well fold up the tents and go home, join the Democrat Party, and march in the big-government, heavy-taxation, rights-robbing parade.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guns and Women!

As the picture above depicts, there is a growing interest in guns among American women. A simple web search on the subject or a seach of the blogosphere will reveal numerous websites dedicated to women who cherish the 2nd Amendment and the freedoms we enjoy in this nation.

One organization that I heartily recommend is called 'Gun Owners of America' at:

This is not a site that is exclusively geared toward women who own firearms, but there is a wealth of information about the safe and responsible use of guns, as well as information about gun rights. In the link section of that website you will a list of scores of organizations that are dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment, and you will find that many of those are operated by and geared toward women.

Among those organizations are 'Armed Women of America,' and 'Women Against Gun Control.' But there are many more.

This is gratifying to see. The grassroots is hard at work protecting and preserving our right to own and bear firearms.

It's great to know that many of the female persuasion are at the forefront of this battle!

Robert Palmer Rockin' Out

Let me share with you a dark secret. I like Robert Palmer's music. This comes from one who likes nothing better than to sit down to a relaxing piano concerto by Chopin or a rousing symphony by Tchaikovsky. Yet the rocker's music always fascinated me by its mixture of the hard, driving rock beat presented by the suave, sophisticated presence of a singer who dressed as a lounge performer.

Palmer's career was marked by a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, with each peak accentuated by a string of hits. His highest peak occurred in the 1980s with his string of MTV video hits featuring mini-skirt clad female band members backing up a well-dressed Palmer who sang songs such as 'Simply Irresistible,' 'Addicted to Love,' 'She Makes My Day,' and many more.

Robert Palmer died a couple of years back at the age of 54, suffering from a heart attack while on holiday with his American girlfriend. It was a great loss.

Rockers are not known particularly for having the most notable singing voices. Most are mediocre at best, relying instead upon heavily choreographed dance moves, techno-centric backup music that hides the singer's flaws, and hype from recording moguls who make stars rather than discover them.

Palmer was different. While he did not possess an overwhelmingly proficient vocal talent, he was a cut above the rest, as is evidenced by his lovely song, a love song, entitled, 'She Makes My Day.'

Palmer shines as he intones the lyrics--

I'll never be lonely now,
She fills my heart with joy.
She just has to smile to take my cares away,
She just has to touch my hand to make me stay,
She's all good loving at once, she's all good loving at once...

Here's to the memory of a great artist!

Kim Jong-il Apologizes, Bush Doctrine Vindicated

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, under increasing pressure from China, has apologized for conducting a nuclear test recently and has promised that he will not do so again as long as the U.S. enters into either bi-lateral or multi-lateral talks with the struggling nation.

Note carefully three striking elements in this story. One, Kim has apologized--something that is rarely if ever seen. Second, he promised not to conduct further nuclear testing if the U.S. enters into either bi-lateral OR MULTI-LATERAL talks. The Bush administration has insisted on multi-lateral talks that include the Chinese. Kim has conceded. And third, all of these statements from Kim come from direct pressure from the Chinese government, the very reason the Bush administration has insisted all along on multi-lateral rather than bi-lateral talks.

You will not find this angle on the story in the mainstream media. The reason is not far to find. To concede that this is a victory for the Bush doctrine on North Korea is nothing less than an outright, stinging repudiation of the failed Clinton policy on bi-lateral talks that resulted in North Korea's secret, deceptive program of developing nuclear weapons right under the noses of the naive Clinton Administration. The reason Kim Jong-il has so long insisted on bi-lateral talks is that he got away with eight years of deception as long as he had direct contact with the Clinton Administration. That policy took China out of the mix, meaning that there was no pressure on Kim to conform to China's bidding. He could then talk a good game, assuring Clinton operatives that he was using the nuclear material we were sending them to 'bolster the nation's energy supply,' yet all the while secretly using the material to build weapons.

When Kim admitted in 2002 that he had been duping the Clinton Administration, including its token mastermind on foreign policy, ex-President Jimmy Carter, the Bush administration was further convinced that multi-lateral talks that included the Chinese was the only prudent course. Eight years of abject failure was enough.

And this is precisely another reason why the mainstream media will not give top billing to this part of the story. It vindicates the Bush doctrine on North Korea a mere two weeks before the mid-term elections.

George Soros, the Democrat billionaire, has been meeting on a daily basis with officials at the major news networks, such as ABC News, to make sure that any story that makes Bush look bad is headlined and any story that makes him look good is buried. The mainstream media has a vested interest in insuring a Democrat-controlled Congress as a means of punishing the Bush administration for implementing policies it hates, such as tax cuts, the war on terror, and the war in Iraq.

To concede now, at this late date, that the Bush doctrine has been a mammoth success could well lead to minimal gains for Democrats in November. Yet the truth is there for all to see.

The question is, will the truth prevail in this election?

BREAKING NEWS! Lieberman Opens 17-Point Lead

Today's top news in the world of politics comes from right here in Connecticut, where Senator Joe Lieberman has opened up a 17-point lead over his closest opponent in the U.S. Senatorial race, according to a major poll released today.

According to inside sources who monitor polling numbers, Connecticut voters are beginning to break toward Lieberman in the final weeks of the race. This is due to several factors. One, Lieberman has a loyal following here among those who are attracted by his integrity and independent mindset. Two, Lieberman appeals to moderate Republicans who admire his courage to buck the Democrat Party elite. And three, most moderate voters are uncomfortable with both the rabid anti-war rhetoric of the Democrat candidate and the staunch conservatism of the Republican candidate.

Thus, the only choice that seems palatable to most Connecticut voters, who themselves reflect the moderation and pragmatism of Lieberman, is to send Joseph Lieberman back to the U.S. Senate for another term as an Independent.

Stay tuned. We shall see if the polls prove to be right in this part of the country.

UPDATE!! National Media Heats Up on Bob Riley and the Masonic Scandal

Alabama Governor Bob Riley, shown right, is in the news once again concerning his membership in a racist Grand Lodge--that is, everywhere but in the state of Alabama.

Apparently the state news blackout of the Governor's membership in a racist faction of Freemasonry continues. The rest of the nation, however, is taking notice.

The Associated Press picked up on the story once again, and it has appeared in places such as Baltimore, Maryland. The link to the AP story on TV station WMAR-TV is found here:

If the link does not work, simply copy and paste the URL into your bar.

The story is an in-depth analysis of racism among a small portion of the ranks of Freemasonry in places such as Alabama, North Carolina, and Delaware.

It's great to see this story finally catching on in the mainstream media, and many thanks to the 'Widow's Son' at the Burning Taper for the latest update on this still developing story. You can visit the Burning Taper, a Masonic website at:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lieberman, A Man of Conscience by D. Martyn Lloyd-Morgan

The Lieberman campaign kicks into high gear in this final stretch of the race toward the November elections. The Connecticut Senate race has proved to be one of the most, if not THE most, interesting campaigns in the nation.

Senator Lieberman was spurned by his Party for voting his conscience on issues. He is nobody's lap-dog. The Senator through the years has proved to be a man of principle, integrity, honesty, and conscience. He knows who he is and what he believes in. And if he feels his Party is wrong, he has never hesitated to say so.

The anti-war fringe of the Democrat Party set out to defeat Lieberman in the primary. They won. The Party's choice is a leftist, anti-war activist who ran his campaign on one issue alone--Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq.

However, many voters in the state of Connecticut appreciate Senator Lieberman's independent streak having watched him through the years define his identity, values, beliefs, and principles. They know that when Lieberman casts a vote in the Senate, it is done from the core of a man who is driven and motivated by a deep sense of statesmanship and love for his country.

Thus, Lieberman was given the motivation to run as a third-party, independent candidate, and with good reason. He stands a very good chance of defeating both his Democrat and Republican rivals and becoming the next Independent member of Congress.

One may not always agree with Lieberman's views. He is a rather odd mixture of conservative, liberal, and moderate points of view, the result of which is a segment of the population that finds him distasteful on some of the issues, particularly single-issue type voters. However, this is one of his strengths. The Senator refuses to be placed into a box and labeled. Each individual issue stands on its own merit. There is no pre-scripted, ideological course for him to follow other than what he thinks is right.

I have found myself disagreeing with Senator Lieberman on various issues, but I have never once questioned his integrity and trustworthiness, nor his love for his country.

In my humble opinion, the nation needs Joseph Lieberman in the Senate. It is hoped that the fine citizens of Connecticut can rise above Party loyalty and send their trusted Senator back to Washington for another term.

For the Love of Dogs by D. Martyn Lloyd-Morgan

A new book is coming out soon entitled, 'For the Love of Dogs,' in which the author substantiates the theory that dogs feel a variety of emotions similar to humans. The signs can be found in the manner in which they hold their mouths, eyes, ears, and tails, but particularly their mouths. It's all about body language.

Most of us dog lovers have known this all along, but skeptical scientists claimed that the brains of dogs are not equipped to make them capable of feeling the emotions of pleasure, sadness, depression, affection, joy, etc. Well, now they have been proved wrong. Your dog is a rich source of a wide range of emotion if you will take the time to pay attention to the signs.

Don't you just love the picture above? This beautiful animal is obviously posing for the camera. It is one of my favorites.

To dog lovers everywhere, I offer you this photo, which I found on an online news source.

Dirty Rascal Democrats. A Lesson from History

The setting was the early 1980s. Two U.S. Congressmen had been caught in sex scandals, one of whom was involved with same-sex liaisons with a teenage House page. Both of these Congressmen were reprimanded by the House. One, however, was defeated in the next election by the voters back home. The other easily won re-election.

Daniel Crane, R-Ill., had served his district well as a conservative. However, his constituents would not forgive the harm he had done to his family by having an affair with a female who had worked in the congressional offices.

Gerry Studds, D-Mass., although reprimanded by the House, had some 'big gun' support from the Party's elite, such as Ted Kennedy, who came to his defense in spite of having a same-sex liaison with a teenage male page. His district back home saw no problem, and he was re-elected to Congress.

National Review, the conservative/libertarian magazine founded by William F. Buckley is known as much for its humor as its political wisdom. After the election that year, this little item appeared in the margin on one page:

Dads, un-chain your daughters,
But Moms, lock up your sons.
Phil Crane has gone down in defeat,
But Gerry Studds has won.

The only problem was Phil Crane was sent packing. Gerry Studds was almost rewarded for his moral and ethical failures.

Do you note the inconsistency here?

Today, Democrats have sought to make political hay out of the Foley affair. The man has admitted his problem, he admitted he is gay, and he resigned. In a fair world, that should be the end of the story. He is no longer in Congress. What more could be done? The FBI reported today that as of yet they have found absolutely no evidence of any physical contact between Foley and the page in question. Yet, the 'dirty rascal Democrats' won't let the story die.

This is extremely odd given their overwhelming support of Gerry Studds in the midst of a sex scandal with a teenage male page. There were no calls for his resignation, no pressure from the Democrat leadership for him not to run again. Instead he was fully embraced.

The lesson from history concerning the Crane/Studds incidents should highlight what we are dealing with...hypocrites in the Democrat party who obviously have no more concern for the safety and security of House pages than to turn a gay man loose on teenagers.

Obviously, the Dems live by the motto, 'When THEY do it, it is despicable. When WE do it, it is right.'

My question is, do we really want these people running Congress?

Eugene Ormandy--A Name That Should Be Remembered

To those under the age of 35 or those who are not aficionados of what is known as 'classical music,' the name of Eugene Ormandy is probably not familiar. On the other hand, it might be. Ormandy dominated the majority of the 20th century as the esteemed conductor of the renown Philadelphia Orchestra from 1936 until 1980. His long tenure with the orchestra was unprecedented.

Ormandy's is a name that should be remembered, not just for the fact that his career took him to the very pinnacle of the classical music world but because he was truly one of the very few musical geniuses of the 20th century. At the age of 3, Ormandy could identify symphonies. At the age of 4, he could play the violin. By the age of 5, he was the youngest pupil in the history of the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, of which he was a native. And at the age of 10, Ormandy was performing for the royal family of Austria-Hungary.

Although Ormandy's original expertise was in violin, he once told his father that 'violinists do not have the prominence and prestige of a conductor.' When Ormandy came to the United States to do a concert tour playing the violin, he eventually landed a seat with the Capitol Theater Symphony. He made his conducting debut in 1924. During this time Ormandy was heavily influenced by Arturo Toscanini of the New York Philharmonic. This proved to be a providential foreshadowing of things to come, as it was Toscanini's illness when he was scheduled as a guest conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra that Ormandy was tapped as his fill-in. Ormandy was an immediate sensation.

In 1936, Ormandy became the associate conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, serving along side of the great Leopold Stkowsky. Then, in 1938, Ormandy became the sole permanent conductor of the orchestra, a position he kept until his retirement in 1980. At that point, the orchestra made Ormandy the 'conductor emeritus,' a position that he kept until his death in 1985. Ormandy's last performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra was at Carnegie Hall on January 10, 1984.

The 20th century was dominated by three outstanding orchestra conductors--Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein of the New York Philharmonic, and Arthur Feidler of the Boston Pops. Each had their own unique style and genius--and public acclaim. But it was Ormandy who perhaps overshadowed the other two by the sheer force of his genius and the place he made for the Philadelphia Orchestra in music history.

These were the days when orchestras hired permanent conductors. Those conductors were given free reign as to who would play under their baton. Today, this is no longer the case. Conductors are free-lance, 'free-agents' who hire themselves out to orchestras for specific occasions. This has led to a revolving door of sorts, as a single orchestra may play under a dozen different conductors in the course of a year. Ormandy had the great fortune of molding and shaping his orchestra the way he wanted. Each member of the orchestra was hand-picked by Ormandy himself.

The power of the Ormandy presence produced an entirely different sound than was the standard fare at the time among orchestras. Ormandy relied on the velvet, mellow sounds of the woodwinds and strings to produce a tight, warm, easy-on-the-ears listening experience, as opposed to the somewhat overuse of the more shrill sounds of brass, as most orchestras exhibited. One need only listen to an Ormandy rendition of Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus' as compared to Bernstein's rendition to see what I mean. Both styles have their merit, but most orchestras were doing the Bernstein styling, which meant that Ormandy created a sound totally unique among the great orchestras.

This uniqueness brought wide acclaim to the Philadelphia Orchestra. They were the very first American orchestra to be invited to perform in Red China. Their recordings were best-sellers, including the popular version of 'Handel's Messiah' as performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When former President Richard Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate controversy, he sent his advisors and the Secret Service twirling in a frenzy when he insisted, at the last minute, that he was going to hear Eugene Ormandy conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra. Despite the objections of his staff concerning the logistics and the security concerns, Nixon would have none of it. He was going to hear Ormandy, period.

Known as 'the modest little maestro,' Ormandy received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970--an event at which he cried upon accepting the award. He is also an honoree of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Interestingly, one can find many sites on the Internet which contain examples of Ormandy's many verbal missteps. The Hungarian native never quite caught onto the intricacies of the English language, and thus, the more mischievous of the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra would keep their pens handy so that they could quickly write down these 'Ormandy-isms.'

While these things can be quite humorous and are a part of history, they in no way undercut or minimize the genius of 'the maestro.' Anyone of any age should learn his name, read of him, and listen to his music. Eugene Ormandy has left us with a rich legacy of pure enjoyment. His genius is to be forever celebrated.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nall's Boobs vs. The Boobs in Office

Loretta Nall, Libertarian Candidate for Governor of Alabama, shown above, has a cleverly worded campaign slogan these days. It seems that a certain reporter wrote an article about her, along with a picture of Nall that showed a tiny bit of cleavage. The columnist stated his mother might be ashamed of him, although there was nothing indecent at all about the picture.

Nall cleverly responded by stating, in essence, 'It is better to vote for these 2 boobs than for the boobs we have in office!' Her reference, of course, is to Bob Riley and Lucy Baxley.

The slogan took off, and there is now an entire line of Nall campaign apparel, coffee cups, pictures, etc., that show Nall at the forefront and Riley and Baxley below, with the words, 'Vote for THESE boobs (Nall's) rather than these two boobs (Riley and Baxley).

Nall has had success with this slogan, as evidenced by USA TODAY picking up the story.

It is to be hoped that Alabamans have enough sense to vote for the real deal, Loretta Nall, and not the two boobs who currently hold office in Montgomery.

My Kind of Woman, Part 2 --Legs Galore

Ok, so I like to look at a woman with gorgeous legs. Is there a law against it?

Here's one more....enjoy!

Katherine Harris, Equestrian--My Favorite Picture

The picture you see above of Katherine Harris is my favorite of all. This shot shows U.S. Congresswoman Harris in her element--as the quintessential equestrian. A longtime lover of animals, horses in particular, Harris understands the feelings and thoughts of those who cherish their relationships with the animals entrusted into their care.

Recent polls show Harris trailing Senator Bill Nelson by upwards of 17 points. Harris refuses to accept the conventional wisdom that she cannot win in her race for the U.S. Senate and states that despite the fact that she knows it is an uphill battle, this is a battle she intends to win.

I hope she can. Bill Nelson is another typical tax-and-spend Democrat who will repeal the Bush tax cuts, raise our taxes, and refuse to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Harris, on the other hand, understands the complete nonsense of our present system of taxation and is committed to revamping it. She will vote to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. This alone is enough to vote for Harris.

Let's hope the polls are wrong and that this race is much closer than most pundits think. Maybe Ms. Harris can foil the pundits and sneak up and win.

Big Brother Declares War on Fat, Sugar, and Tobacco

Where does it stop? Big Brother is at it again. This time the watchdogs of the private lives of Americans have decided that we eat too much fat and that restaurants and food processors must lower the fat content of their products, or face fines.

Ground zero for this latest intrusion into American privacy is New York City. Normally I love it here. There is something about the sites, the sounds, the people, the culture, and the ambiance that attracts me. I have visited here often over the last 30 years, and I never cease to leave the city gratified for having visited.

However, New York City politics is another matter.

The war on fat is yet another indication that Big Brother does not trust its citizens to make their own choices as to their diet. Big Brother has decided we are making the wrong choices. Big Brother needs to intervene.

Obviously, the people who are on the front lines of these violations of individual rights seem to think that we poor citizens are imbeciles. We do not possess the ability nor the intelligence to chart our own course, make our own decisions, and decide what's best for us at any given moment in time. Rather we are viewed as mindless automatons who are at the mercy of commercialism. When we walk by the fruit and vegetable stand at the grocery store or the fresh market, we pass it up every time to head out to McDonald's for a Big Mac and a shake.

Therefore, Big Brother, who obviously loves us and wants to protect us from ourselves, comes to the rescue. Restaurants, fast-food chains, and food processors are told they must reduce fat in their products or else. New York City politicians have found themselves another excuse to make a power-grab.

It doesn't stop there. Sugar has been deemed to be yet another culprit. Big Brother says we consume too much or it. Even if that is true, is it the government's role to police our eating habits?

What if I want to smoke a cigar, or a pipe? I was shocked when I traveled to Dallas for a convention to find that there, in the heart of the Old West, smoking was not allowed inside hotels at all. Patrons of restaurants, bars, and hotels in downtown Dallas are forced to go outside to exercise their personal autonomy.

I have no problem with smoke-free zones in restaurants. People who do not smoke also have rights. Does this mean, however, that the long arm of big government must put its intrusive hands in the process and force smokers outside? What about a smoking zone in restaurants? What's wrong with that? And what about smoking rooms in hotels? Why is this unacceptable?

So you see, New York City isn't the only place that has been corrupted by the food-and-smoke police. Even Dallas, Texas has succumbed. John Wayne is surely rolling over in his grave.

Lest anyone gets the notion that I am advocating for smoking ourselves to death, or eating high-fat, high-sugar foods to excess, let me set the record straight right now. Each individual American has their own choices to make. Eating a healthy diet is just plain good sense. Smoking is bad for you. But if my neighbor makes the choice to smoke or eat Big Macs and candy bars at every meal, who am I to tell him he can't? What right does the government have to intrude on his personal life?

The answer is NONE! These violations of Constitutional principles are gradually eroding away the rights we cherish as Americans--rights that are supposed to be protected by the U.S. Constitution. Yet our complacency is our undoing. We are asleep at the wheel. We are allowing big government bureaucrats to come up with new ways to gain the power to control our lives.

Make no mistake about it--this is a power ploy. It has nothing to do with health or compassion. Big Brother is addicted to power, and he has to continually gain more of it in order to feed his addiction.

Americans must wake up while there is still time to resist this intrusion into our lives and this trampling of our rights. We MUST stand up to Big Brother and say, 'NO! ENOUGH!' Big government needs to go on a diet and be put in its place.

Better still, big government needs to go to rehab and get into recovery.

Does Alabama Disenfranchise Voters?

Alabama Libertarian candidate Loretta Nall, who is running for Governor of the state, is urging Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley to insure that her votes are counted. Apparently there is no mandate in Alabama law requiring write-in votes to be counted, although this is a foundational principle of U.S. Constitutional law.

Nall cites several cases of precedence in U.S. jurisprudence that make clear the fact that write-in votes are the right of the people and that those who vote in this manner are entitled to have their votes counted.

The question is, is this the case in the state of Alabama? Does Alabama abide by U.S. Constitutional law? Are their thousands of voters in the state who are disenfranchised by the practice of not counting write-in votes?

Loretta Nall has made significant inroads into sectors of the population in Alabama that are turned-off by the two major parties. Thousands of people are expected to write-in her name on the ballot in November. Nall wants to make sure these votes are counted and has written to Secretary of State Worley stating her concerns.

More about this issue can be found on Nall's website at:

URGENT! Nall Issues Instructions on Write-in Ballot

Alabama gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall, who is running on the Libertarian ticket, has issued crucial instructions concerning the process for voting for a write-in candidate. You can find these instructions on her website at:

As you may well remember, Nall failed to receive the required number of signatures on a petition drive to have her name printed on the official ballot--a bewildering and discriminatory aspect of Alabama law that forces third party candidates to circulate petitions. Thus, she is running as a write-in candidate.

Some voters may not fully understand the process for voting for a write-in candidate, and thus, the instructions found on Nall's website.

If you live in the state of Alabama, these instructions are crucial. Be sure to pay a visit to the Nall campaign's website listed above.

Mozart Sacrificed at the Altar of the Politically Correct

In a world in which the 'politically correct' movement has run amok, there is yet another victim that has been sacrificed on its altar. That victim is none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the acclaimed 18th century composer who penned much of the world's most beloved music.

Germany is the setting for this latest crazed display of going to extreme lengths so as not to offend a minority. The Deutsche Opera, one of the three main opera houses in Berlin, was scheduled to offer a performance of Mozart's 'Idomeneo,' which contains a scene of a beheaded Muhammad. The opera house cancelled the performance for the fear of inciting rage and violence among Europe's significant and growing Muslim community, although the scene also depicts the severed heads of Christ and Buddha along with Muhammad's.

The original 1781 version of Mozart's 'Idomeneo' tells the story of a king of Crete during the Trojan War. The modern production under the direction of Hans Neuenfels, however, contains an inserted scene that depicts the severed heads of Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, and the Greek sea god Poseidon. When Mr. Neuenfels refused to delete the scene at the urging of The Deutsche Opera, the opera house then cancelled the production, citing warnings from police of a major outbreak of Muslim violence if the performance proceeded as planned.

The cancellation brought a swift reaction from German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who stated, "We will tend to become crazy if we start forbidding Mozart in opera houses. These extremists tend to use anything to go crazy. If Western officials and artists censor themselves for fear of the reaction of extremists, we will never convince anyone that freedom of speech and tolerance are a better way."

Mr. Schaeuble has it right. To placate people of the Muslim religion only encourages more of their unacceptable behavior. We must remember that the ultimate goal of Islam is to make the world Islamic either by choice or by force. Those who refuse to convert are then considered 'infidels' who must be killed. The growing menace of Islam in Europe is of great concern to the leaders of the European Union, but presently their tactic of appeasement only adds fuel to the fire. Slowly but surely, Muslim immigrants continue to pour into Europe where they insist on being given special privileges and where they threaten violence and mayhem if the local governments and citizens offend them in some way.

The day is coming when we will see such blatant displays of cowardice right here in America. The politically correct thought-and-speech police, if left unchecked, will insure that our hands will be tied in doing anything about the various growing threats to our society.

Who would have thought that Mozart would be banned in Berlin?

To say that it could not happen here is to have one's head in the sand. But the issue is not really Mozart's music. That is a mere symptom of a deeper, broader, and much more sinister problem brewing under the surface--the unwillingness of civilized people to stand up to those who would suppress freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and other human liberties that are so hated by Muslims.

Either we face it now, call it by its hideous name, let the chips fall where they may, offend whoever is offended by freedom, or else we will see our women walking about on the streets of New York City in veils. Is this what we want as a society?

Islam is not a freedom-friendly religion. There is no such thing as liberty in an Islamic society. Why, then, do we feel we must walk on egg shells to avoid offending these opponents of human freedom?

It is to be hoped that a chorus of millions like the German Interior Minister will rise up and forthrightly condemn these extremist bullies--and those who appease them--persistently, consistently, relentlessly. We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that one slap on the wrist will be enough. Muslim extremists never give up. Neither should we.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tracy Coenen's Fraud Files

Many thanks to Tracy Coenen of Sequence, Inc. Forensic Accounting for linking to The Liberty Sphere in support of her hypothesis that perhaps revamping the U.S. Tax Code would reduce the amount of fraud in the country. My article entitled, 'Overhauling the U.S. Tax Code' was of particular interest to Ms. Coenen in her work as a forensic accountant for Sequence, Inc., which investigates various types of accounting fraud among companies, corporations, the government, etc.

I had not thought about it, but the present problem of tax fraud, which experts say is rampant today in our nation, would be entirely eliminated with the implementation of the national sales tax, or the flat tax. The present system of contradictions, confusing language, loopholes, and endless provisions only invites fraud. In addition, much of what passes for fraud is nothing more than sheer confusion on the part of taxpayers, tax-preparers, and accountants alike as they muddle their way through the maze of the torturous and vaguely worded tax code.

Ms. Cohen is also a speaker for her company, and she is available for seminars, didactics, retreats, corporate meetings, etc, to help business persons and government workers understand how to minimize the risk of fraud in their various spheres.

Many thanks to Ms. Coenen for her link to my article. Her company info and her personal bio can be found at:

The link to The Liberty Sphere is found in the section called 'The Seventh Carnival of Fraud.'

Remember, the more people we can get on the bandwagon of overhauling the tax code, the closer we are to a fairer, more honest, and less burdensome system of taxation in this country.


A dire warning has come from Taliban senior official Mullah Masoom Afghani urging Muslims in the United States to flee the country pending an imminent terrorist attack during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. This year Muslims around the world are celebrating Ramadan Sept. 24 through Oct. 23. Afghani is convinced that a major terrorist attack will occur in the United States before Oct. 23, according the Pakistani journalist Jamal Ismail, who previously worked for al-Jezeera.

Ismail reported to the News of Pakistan that he received a phone call on October 5 from Afghani, who told him that he was warning U.S. Muslims to get out of the country due to a major terrorist attack that may occur within the U.S. before Oct. 23. Ismail stated that this was the first time the head of the pro-Taliban cleric's consultative council had ever issued such a warning.

This is the second such warning to be issued within one month, the first of which was a message sent by the al Qaeda field commander in Afghanistan, who called for Muslims to leave the United States. The commander, Abu Dawood, told Pakistani reporter Hamid Mir that the attack on America would involve the use of weapons of mass destruction that have been smuggled into the United States through Mexico. As a reporter, Mir has covered al Qaeda extensively and has met with Osama bin Laden.

Mir quotes Dawood as stating, "Our brothers are ready to attack inside America. We will breach their security again."

The renewed terrorist attacks are reportedly being coordinated by el-Shukrijumah, an American citizen and radical Muslim cleric. El-Shukrijumah migrated to the United States in 1985, when he became the imam of the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn, New York.

The Mosque is located at 554 Atlantic Boulevard in Brooklyn and has served as a haven for terrorist activities in the U.S. In 1995 Shukrijumah became a nomad of sorts, moving to Florida, then to Norman, Oklahoma, then to Panama, during which time he studied to obtain his U.S. aviator's license, a computer science degree, and trained to become a munitions expert, specializing in explosives and nuclear weapons.

El-Shukrijumah is without doubt one of the most dangerous individuals in the world. Hand-picked by Osama bin Laden to carry out the next major terrorist attack on America, Shukrijumah has reportedly developed a plan to simultaneously attack several major metropolitan areas inside the U.S. at once, resulting in millions of deaths.

The activities of Shukrijumah and others like him are well-known to the U.S. Government, which is monitoring these activities. However, these startling reports should be a sobering reminder that we are, indeed, at war. It is a war over civilization, culture, and values. Muslim extremists are intent on the complete destruction of America, its people, and our way of life. They do not intend to stop until they succeed.

This is why we must be diligent as citizens. This is why we cannot become complacent or go to sleep at the wheel. One of the ways we can exercise our due diligence is to vote for candidates in November who are intent on insuring our victory and the defeat of Islamic Jihadists. This IS a fight to the death. If we discount it, 'cut and run,' or lose our resolve to fight this war, the consequence may well be millions of your fellow citizens lying dead in the streets of New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami.

This is no time for the faint of heart or for those who wish to throw in the towel.

NOTE! For more information on this breaking story, visit World Net Daily News at

Monday, October 16, 2006

Buckley's 'God and Man at Yale'

In the 1950s a young man of 25 years of age wrote his first book, the subject of which was his lamentable experience as a student at Yale University. A young William F. Buckley had embarked upon his college career with high hopes and expectations for the revered University but instead found himself disappointed, disheartened, and disillusioned over what our educational system had become. Little did Buckley, or anyone else for that matter, know that this book would burst onto the scene, sending academia spinning on its heels and catapulting the young author into national prominence.

That book is entitled, 'God and Man at Yale,' and you will note that it is available at, one of the advertisers on this blog. Scroll down and look at the left-column ads to find the book, and click on it. You can find the book both new and used at various prices. It is well worth the cost.

This is the definitive work that launched what became known as the conservative movement in America, although the word 'conservative' at the time meant that its adherents, such as Buckley, were more in line with libertarian thought than the current neo-con thinking. Buckley challenged the overt indoctrination rampant in modern academia that propounds a philosophy that is antithetical to the principles of free markets, human liberty and free choice, the exploration and discovery of faith and the freedom to express that faith openly, and other such tenets that are found in none other than the U.S. Constitution.

Buckley, in fact, contended that what he found at Yale was a direct challenge to the principles upon which this nation was founded, and he made his case in such a compelling and eloquent fashion that the halls of academia were sent scurrying for cover in order to plan their offensive. America has never been the same.

Many believe that it was William F. Buckley who laid the modern philosophical groundwork for the triumph of conservatism under Ronald Reagan. If Barry Goldwater was the political voice that led to America's eventual acceptance of conservative principles under Reagan, it was Buckley that provided its intellectual foundation. Known as a relentless debater, he was able through sheer logic and clear rhetoric to lay to waste any argument a liberal could put forth in favor of the growing menace of big government. And he did it without the shrill bullying that is common today but used the power of a disciplined mind to deliver a detailed, logical, and irrefutable challenge to liberalism and provide alternative views to counteract it.

This book is a must-read for any libertarian or conservative.

Should Saddam be Executed?

The trial of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq has been viewed as a three-ring circus of sorts by observers all around the world. Part of this has to do with the prisoner himself, whose tirades have only served to solidify the notion that Saddam is brutal, volatile, hostile, and cunning. The revolving door of judges presiding over the trial attests to the manipulative maneuvers of Saddam, each intending to tip the balance of justice in his favor. Yet the trial itself, with all its shortcomings, is a testimony to the strides Iraq has made toward liberty and justice within a few short years.

There would have been no trial at all for anyone under Saddam's rule.

As the trial winds down and draws near to a close, the subject of the appropriate punishment has been discussed widely. This is assuming, of course, that Saddam will be found guilty by the court. For all intent and purposes no other verdict can be rendered given the voluminous documentation of acts of barbarism against humanity by the defendant, complete for all the world to see. This being the case, what then? What should be the terms of his punishment?

The subject of crime and punishment is not a simple matter but a highly complicated maze of complexities that boggle the mind. For example, should the Governor of Illinois have continued with the execution of those on death row when it was discovered that dozens of those very prisoners had been found guilty based upon false evidence when DNA samples were taken? The only prudent course to take in such a circumstance is the course the Governor took, which was to immediately place a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois.

This is one of the reasons that I have sided with anti-death penalty groups in the last few years. The criminal justice system is fraught with so much fraud, human error, and political shenanigans that many of the verdicts in murder cases can be viewed with suspicion. Regrettably, before the days of DNA testing we probably put to death countless innocent citizens.

My philosophy of pro-life is another reason I am reluctant to support capital punishment. If I am to be consistent in my stance for the sacredness of human life, from conception to the grave, then I must leave the ultimate decision of life or death to God alone.

Having said that, there are notable exceptions to any philosophical argument. At times there are crimes that are so heinous, so barbaric, so brazen, and so repugnant that we MUST abide by the old legal standard of the punishment fitting the crime.

One of those exceptions is Saddam Hussein.

Hussein should receive the death penalty if found guilty in a court of law. The man is such a danger to society that to incarcerate him for life would be risky...particularly in that part of the world. The jitters and whines of those afraid that his execution would spark a volcanic outburst of terrorism like we have never seen before pale in comparison to the travesty of justice that anything less than his execution would display.

If the terrorists wish to make us pay for ridding the globe of one of the most brutal and dangerous men the world has ever known, then so be it. We will be ready for them.

In fact, this may be the chance to rid the entire globe of Islamic Jihadists once and for all.

Saddam deserves his execution.

Agriculture/Farming--The Next Major Energy Source?

The agricultural industry may well be the next major source of energy for the U.S. Even now certain sectors of society are utilizing bio-diesel technology for fuel. Though this endeavor is still in its infancy it is well worth pursuing.

Each time there is an energy crisis in this country, either due to short supplies or skyrocketing prices, the calls for developing alternative sources of energy rise from here and yon. We are told that we can develop fuel cell technology that will render gasoline usage obsolete. We are told about nuclear power sources, solar energy, modern wind-mills, and ethanol. Then, as soon as the crisis has passed, it is back to business as usual with Americans buying gas-guzzling SUVs that give the big oil companies windfall profits.

I have nothing against companies making huge profits. This helps the stockholders who invest in those companies, and the result is a better economy for ALL Americans. However, fossil fuels are not a renewal energy source, and the conventional wisdom is that it is much to our benefit to start developing new, renewable energy sources that reduce our dependence of foreign oil and drastically reduce our depletion of non-renewablel energy sources.

This would not put the oil companies out of business. Rather, the oil companies have the resources, the funding, and the means to be at the forefront of some of these alternative sources of energy. Bio-diesel is one of those sources that holds great promise for several reasons. It is no more expensive than growing any crop. Farmers can then not only provide the nation's food supply but its energy supply as well. It puts the land to good use. It is renewable. It burns much cleaner than oil based products. It is less expensive than gasoline. And the oil companies, if they so choose, can do the refining that converts the crops to fuel.

Agriculture and farming is one of the things that made this nation great in its early years. What goes around comes around. Perhaps we are on the brink of seeing this vital industry take the lead in yet another endeavor, that of providing the nation with a better source of energy.

One of the campaign planks of Alabama Libertarian Loretta Nall is the push for the development of bio-diesel. Soy beans and other grains and grasses can easily be grown as the source of production for this type of fuel. Nall mentions the infamous, poverty-stricken 'black belt' of lower Alabama as an area where this type of agriculture could be developed. The soil is rich and suitable for farming, and the area could greatly benefit from the economic impact of having such a major industry.

There are other areas of the nation where the land is primed and ready for the development of this potentially fast-growing industry.

Presently, oil prices are way down once again. Reports indicate that before the free fall in oil is over, we could well see gas prices at $1.50 per gallon in some areas, or lower. The temptation would be to fall into the trap, as we have in the past, of breathing a sigh of relief and resuming our over-consumption of oil.

That would be a tragic mistake.

History is our guide. Oil prices do not stay down. We are at the mercy of foreign governments that manipulate the market for their purposes. Oil prices will surely rise again at some point, and we will be back at square one.

This time, one can only hope that we have lived and learned, and grown. This nation is very resilient. We can do this. It is time for us to get serious about the development and production of alternative sources of energy. The agricultural industry is a good place to start.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Of Religion and Things Spiritual

Having returned home after several weeks in Birmingham, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, I suddenly realized that this was Sunday--nothing earth-shattering about that, other than I was taken aback by my total lack of giving thought to matters of the soul on this day that has been traditionally set aside for such reflection. My upbringing was one in which Sunday was revered as a sacred day set aside for worship, prayer, rest, and the doing of good deeds.

These things are still part of my psyche and form the core of my identity.

I will admit, however, that most of my attention of late to religion and spiritual matters has revolved around reflection and meditation rather than church attendance. It's not that I am opposed to going to church but that my schedule has inadvertently excluded this from the realm of possibility.

Still, my spiritual roots run deep. I am a descendant of a long line of religious non-conformists and congregationalists in the British Isles. These hearty souls dared to stand up to religious and governmental authorities who attempted to dictate doctrine, polity, and politics, and forged a path of resistance to the Church of England. The congregational non-conformists branched into several different strains through the years, the Baptist movement of Smyth and Helwys in London in the early 1600s, the Puritan movement, the Methodist movement of John Wesley, as well as other reformers who blazed a trail resulting in the Scottish Presbyterian movement, as well as the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales. The early Quakers were also part of this group.

An important principle rises to the surface of my religious views and spiritual practice resulting from my heritage. That hallmark principle is the freedom and power of the individual to make choices, to serve and love God and to practice their spirituality in their own way, without interference from any government or ecclesiastical body. Roger Williams, one of the first Baptists to come to the new colonial settlement in New England (who, by the way, founded the state of Rhode Island), was so insistent on the concepts of the 'free church movement' and 'freedom of the individual' that he was banished from the colony by the Puritans.

We non-Conformists can be an ornery and stubborn lot.

We place great value on following one's conscience as we are led by One who holds all wisdom and knowledge in His hands and who transcends the finite minds of the human race. One man or woman armed with truth is more powerful than a thousand Huns with swords.

There is much to be said for sitting in your chair in the quiet and solitude, with an open Bible and open mind, seeking the presence, illumination, wisdom, and guidance of God apart from any human interference. In such a setting, it is just you and God. Great spiritual insights come to those who quietly read, meditate, pray, listen, and wait for the light that comes from a higher realm. Christ said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' Wise men and women still seek Him and His truth today. As you can see, there is a rather significant thread of Quaker thought that runs through me.

I am ready to get back to church. Although I nurture my spiritual core and tend to matters of the soul on a personal basis, my soul thirsts for the music, the prayers, the ritual, the readings, and the preaching of the corporate worship experience. I am not saying I won't be absent for periods of time ever again, for that would be unrealistic. But the soul needs to be fed. I get at least some of my soul nourishment there.

And thus, those are some of my thoughts on religion and things spiritual on this Sunday evening. I hope your Sunday was filled with peace.

RIP, Mr. Studds, and Thank-You

Former U.S. Congressman Gerry Studds, D-Mass. has died from a blood clot in the lung after collapsing several days ago while walking his dog. Studds was the first openly gay member of Congress who became widely-known after his infamous sex scandal with a teenage Congressional page. Although Studds was 'reprimanded' by the House, there were no calls for his resignation from the then-Democrat-controlled House, and he won re-election to his seat in the following election.

Several members of the Democrat leadership at the time, including Senator Ted Kennedy, came to Studds' defense after his affair a with male House page was made public.

Democrats continued to chirp Studds' praises following his untimely death, including John Kerry and Ted Kennedy (yet again).

I have no interest in vilifying the dead. Studds was duly elected by a majority of his district in Massachusetts even after his sex scandal with a teenager, and that is certainly their right in a free society. He served his country, and I hope he rests in peace.

However, if there ever was a man who typifies the hypocrisy of Democrats in Congress over the Foley incident, it is Gerry Studds. Compare their reaction to Studds in 1982 with their reaction to Foley now. This may well be the greatest gift the Republicans could receive in an election year.

So, Rest In Peace, Mr. Studds, and thank-you.

UPDATE! Russ and Dee Fine

After a long absence Russ and Dee Fine, the radio personalities in Alabama who were fired over their expose' of Governor Bob Riley's membership in the whites-only Grand Lodge of Alabama, have provided us with a brief update.

Their post can be found on their website at

The Fines report that much has happened in the intervening weeks, and they are intent on posting the full story in the near future on the website provided above.

I know that many, many people, including myself, are eager to read about what's been happening with regard to their career, the Masonic protest which was led by Masons in front of the headquarters of the Grand Lodge in Birmingham, and any further news about the political fallout from the Governor's membership in that organization.

I, for one, will be keeping you posted as I am informed...

My Kind of Woman--A Leg Man's Dream

As an unabashed girl-watcher and leg man, I offer you my kind of woman. Enjoy...

And Now a Little Humor

~Joke of the Day~

It seems that an elderly couple went on a tour of the Holy Land. While they were there the woman died suddenly and unexpectedly. The husband was perplexed as to what to do, being so far away from home.

He approached the local funeral authorities in the Holy Land and explained his plight.

They said, 'Sir, we can help you. It is fairly easy. You can either pay $5000 to ship your wife's body back to the U.S., or we will bury her right here in the Holy Land for just $150 American dollars.'

The man thought for a moment and said, 'I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll be shipping her back home.'

The funeral director was perplexed and exclaimed, 'You mean you had rather pay $5000 to have her shipped home than to pay just $150 to have her buried in the Holy Land?'

The man said, 'Yes. It seems I remember another man who died here once, and he rose from the grave in just three days. I'm NOT taking any chances.'


Libertarianism as a political and social philosophy has its roots in the great thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Men such as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and many others believed that the highest ideal an individual or a society could attain is that of personal and collective liberty. Thus, they set out to create a nation that would attempt, as far as humanly possible, to implement measures that would promote that freedom that they loved so dearly.

Many in modern American life, however, have forgotten these timeless and sacred principles of a free society. Either we have been brainwashed by those with a hidden agenda and a vested interest in hiding the real truth about the founding principles of this nation, or we have not been taught these principles at all due to a 'dumbing down' of the nation's educational system in some sort of ridiculous attempt to be politically correct, 'multi-cultural,' or to outright advocate for socialistic big government.

It thus becomes the task of modern libertarians to define 'libertarianism.' It is to be stressed at the outset that libertarianism is NOT limited to the Libertarian Party or its planks. Libertarianism is much broader than that. For our purposes the term 'libertarianism' refers to that political and social philosophy that advocates for human liberty is every sphere of life. And with that we can fully define and explain libertarian principles to those who are open and curious enough to comprehend.

The following definition is not original with me. In fact, the person who wrote it is fairly anonymous, known only as Becky C. on her Yahoo website and blog. In reading her definition of libertarianism I began to admire her intelligence and much so that I realized that I could do no better in writing a definition. In fact, my feeble attempt at explaining concepts pales in comparison to this person's erudition. I only regret that I do not know her name, nor am I computer savvy enough to tell you how to get to her website. It seems Yahoo is particular about such things.

So, for what it is worth, here is an excellent article on the definition of 'libertarianism' as written by Becky C. on her Yahoo website.


(1) Individualism. Libertarians see the individual as the basic unit of social analysis. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions. Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility. The progressive extension of dignity to more people -- to women, to people of different religions and different races -- is one of the great libertarian triumphs of the Western world.

(2) Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away.

(3) Spontaneous Order and the Civil Society. A great degree of order in society is necessary for individuals to survive and flourish. It's easy to assume that order must be imposed by a central authority, the way we impose order on a stamp collection or a football team. The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes. Over human history, we have gradually opted for more freedom and yet managed to develop a complex society with intricate organization. The most important institutions in human society -- language, law, money, and markets -- all developed spontaneously, without central direction. Civil society -- the complex network of associations and connections among people -- is another example of spontaneous order; the associations within civil society are formed for a purpose, but civil society itself is not an organization and does not have a purpose of its own.

(4) The Rule of Law. Libertarianism is not anarchy or hedonism. It is not a claim that "people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything." Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome.

(5)Limited Government. To protect rights, individuals form governments. But government is a dangerous institution. Libertarians have a great antipathy to concentrated power, for as Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Thus they want to divide and limit power, and that means especially to limit government, generally through a written constitution enumerating and limiting the powers that the people delegate to government. Limited government is the basic political implication of libertarianism, and libertarians point to the historical fact that it was the dispersion of power in Europe -- more than other parts of the world -- that led to individual liberty and sustained economic growth.

(6) Free Markets. To survive and to flourish, individuals need to engage in economic activity. The right to property entails the right to exchange property by mutual agreement. Free markets are the economic system of free individuals, and they are necessary to create wealth. Libertarians believe that people will be both freer and more prosperous if government intervention in people's economic choices is minimized.

(7)The Virtue of Production. Much of the impetus for libertarianism in the seventeenth century was a reaction against monarchs and aristocrats who lived off the productive labor of other people. Libertarians defended the right of people to keep the fruits of their labor. This effort developed into a respect for the dignity of work and production and especially for the growing middle class, who were looked down upon by aristocrats. Libertarians developed a pre-Marxist class analysis that divided society into two basic classes: those who produced wealth and those who took it by force from others. Thomas Paine, for instance, wrote, "There are two distinct classes of men in the nation, those who pay taxes, and those who receive and live upon the taxes." Similarly, Jefferson wrote in 1824, "We have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." Modern libertarians defend the right of productive people to keep what they earn, against a new class of politicians and bureaucrats who would seize their earnings to transfer them to nonproducers.

(8) Natural Harmony of Interests. Libertarians believe that there is a natural harmony of interests among peaceful, productive people in a just society. One person's individual plans -- which may involve getting a job, starting a business, buying a house, and so on -- may conflict with the plans of others, so the market makes many of us change our plans. But we all prosper from the operation of the free market, and there are no necessary conflicts between farmers and merchants, manufacturers and importers. Only when government begins to hand out rewards on the basis of political pressure do we find ourselves involved in group conflict, pushed to organize and contend with other groups for a piece of political power.

(9) Peace. Libertarians have always battled the age-old scourge of war. They understood that war brought death and destruction on a grand scale, disrupted family and economic life, and put more power in the hands of the ruling class -- which might explain why the rulers have not always shared the popular sentiment for peace. Free men and women, of course, have often had to defend their own societies against foreign threats; but throughout history, war has usually been the common enemy of peaceful, productive people on all sides of the conflict.

It may be appropriate to acknowledge at this point that it may be your suspicion that libertarianism seems to be just the standard framework of modern thought -- individualism, private property, capitalism, equality under the law. Indeed, after centuries of intellectual, political, and sometimes violent struggle, these core libertarian principles have become the basic structure of modern political thought and of modern government, at least in the West and increasingly in other parts of the world.

However, three additional points need to be made:

First, libertarianism is not just these broad principles. Libertarianism means action and actually applies these principles fully and consistently, far more so than most modern thinkers and certainly more so than any modern government.

Second, while our society remains generally based on equal rights and capitalism, every day new exceptions to those principles are carved out in Washington and in Albany, Sacramento, and Boston (not to mention London, Bonn, Tokyo, and elsewhere). Each new government directive takes a little bit of our freedom, and we should think carefully before giving up any liberty.

Third, society is resilient; it can withstand many burdens and continue to flourish; but it is not infinitely resilient. Those who claim to believe in libertarian principles but advocate more and more confiscation of the wealth created by productive people, more and more restrictions on voluntary interaction, more and more exceptions to property rights and the rule of law, more and more transfer of power from society to state, are unwittingly engaged in the ultimately deadly undermining of civilization.


Tuesday May 23, 2006

Becky C., wherever you are, if you happen to run across this, my deepest appreciation is extended to you for these moving and inspiring words. Let freedom flourish!! Give me liberty, or give me death!!