quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

By my watch it's just a few more minutes before 2006 is officially history, and 2007 begins.

May the very best of this past year be the worst of the next!

Friday, December 29, 2006


The "Butcher of Baghdad" claimed that he would face death as a martyr.

Hmm..... according to Webster:

1: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
Saddam was tried, sentenced, and executed by the Iraqis, not because he witnessed to or refused to renounce his religion, but because he caused the suffering and death of many Iraqi people.

2: a person who sacrifices something of great value and esp. life itself for the sake of principle
Usually, that "something of great value and esp. life itself" belongs to the martyr. One doesn't become a martyr by destroying the property and lives of others.

3: VICTIM; esp: a great or constant sufferer (a ~ to asthma all his life - A. J. Cronin)
The one who suffers is the martyr - not the one who has caused the suffering.

He was executed as a criminal. Plain and simple.

By his own people.

A US judge refused, and rightly, I think, to block the execution. Judge Kollar-Kotelly said U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction to interfere in another country's judicial process. Saddam's lawyer sent a letter to Bush saying he should be freed if the U.S. wants to end its problems in Iraq and earn the friendship of Arabs. OTOH, there have been widespread public demonstrations in Iraq cheering the guilty verdict and death sentence. Is there something about Iraqi public opinion that Saddam's lawyer "knows" that the people themselves don't? Yes, there will be those who will protest violently, just as Saddam taught them during his lifetime - it seems ironic, somehow, that they protest his innocence (or "righteousness" if not innocence, perhaps?) by behaving in the same way. ("We prove it is right to be a bully by being bullies.")

(Nouri) Al-Maliki had rejected calls that Saddam be spared, telling families of people killed during the dictator's rule that would be an insult to the victims.

"Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence," al-Maliki's office quoted him as saying during a meeting with relatives before the hanging.
(Associated Press via Fox News: Saddam Hussein Executed by Hanging)

As Ronald Reagan believed, there is an immense power and value in human freedom.
My prayer is that true courage will prevail in the Middle East, and that the death of the Butcher may give the common people more of the encouragement they need to stand up for their own freedom and self-determination.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Grand Avenue by Steve Breen

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yes, I read Sheldon

Sheldon Comics

Heh. Heheheh.

Merry Christmas to you too, Dave, and to all y'all! I hope everyone has a blessed and wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Worth Reading

Excerpts from an essay in My Losing Season, a forthcoming book from Pat Conroy (author of The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and Beach Music.)

The true things always ambush me on the road and take me by surprise when I am drifting down the light of placid days, careless about flanks and rearguard actions. I was not looking for a true thing to come upon me in the state of New Jersey. Nothing has ever happened to me in New Jersey. But came it did, and it came to stay.

In the past four years I have been interviewing my teammates on the 1966-67 basketball team at the Citadel for a book I'm writing. For the most part, this has been like buying back a part of my past that I had mislaid or shut out of my life. At first I thought I was writing about being young and frisky and able to run up and down a court all day long, but lately I realized I came to this book because I needed to come to grips with being middle-aged and having ripened into a gray-haired man you could not trust to handle the ball on a fast break.

When I visited my old teammate Al Kroboth's house in New Jersey, I spent the first hours quizzing him about his memories of games and practices and the screams of coaches that had echoed in field houses more than 30 years before. Al had been a splendid forward-center for the Citadel; at 6 feet 5 inches and carrying 220 pounds, he played with indefatigable energy and enthusiasm. For most of his senior year, he led the nation in field-goal percentage, with UCLA center Lew Alcindor hot on his trail. Al was a battler and a brawler and a scrapper from the day he first stepped in as a Green Weenie as a sophomore to the day he graduated. After we talked basketball, we came to a subject I dreaded to bring up with Al, but which lay between us and would not lie still.

"Al, you know I was a draft dodger and antiwar demonstrator."

"That's what I heard, Conroy," Al said. "I have nothing against what you did, but I did what I thought was right."

"Tell me about Vietnam, big Al. Tell me what happened to you," I said.

The essay is titled "An Honest Confession by an American Coward," and I want to share the conclusion he comes to after spending an evening with his old teammate, and the soul-searching which that evening caused:

I have come to a conclusion about my country that I knew then in my bones but lacked the courage to act on: America is good enough to die for even when she is wrong.

Read the essay here courtesy of Family Security Matters.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

On a lighter note

Drove down to a local feed store this afternoon to pick up a half-dozen bales of straw and a couple pallets to use as a backdrop for archery targets.

I drive a pickup, yes, but it's just a little Ranger - not exactly designed for hauling oversized loads. The pallets and bales definitely over-filled the bed. And - I'd forgotten my rope. So, I wound up driving home very carefully, avoiding main roads (and thus the majority of traffic) and keeping the speed down. I could just see the wind grabbing one of the bales and dumping straw all over the road....

When I got home, I told my husband that I'd just done two things I swore I'd never do: I drove with an unsecured load in a pickup, and I'd made a "straw purchase."

Ba-dum bum. The look on his face was priceless.

Next time, though, I'm remembering the rope.

Something to ponder

Found via a link from a pro-gun blog:

"Gun-rights advocates sometimes defend the Second Amendment in terms of the right to defend themselves from criminals and the right to hunt. Those things are, of course, important but they miss the real purpose of the right to keep and bear arms, which is to protect against tyranny imposed by federal officials."

Read the rest of the article here: The Doomsday Weapon by Jacob G. Hornberger, October 2003 (posted 03/08/2004 on the Freedom Daily website.)

Mr. Hornberger is unabashedly libertarian, while I consider myself an "independent conservative" (I've been known to vote for a Democratic candidate over a Republican on occasion) so I tend to disagree with him on some of his assertions. He seems to have forgotten that Iraq is a war zone... and that the Iraqis have (and are allowed to keep) firearms - including AKs - for their own self defense. And in the three years since this article was written, a number of steps have been taken to return increasing levels of autonomy to the Iraqi people. (No bets yet on how successful they'll ultimately be, considering the history of the area, but they're trying.)

However, I note the following quotations from Thomas Jefferson:

"[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another."

"The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated by the wisdom, and resting on the will of the people."

So I agree with Mr. Hornberger that the framers and signers of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adamant that America should remain a nation of free peoples. They'd seen and had enough, thank you, of the alternatives through history.

And just for grins:
"Anything that keeps a politician humble is healthy for democracy." -- Michael Kinsley

I'm not skilled at political debate; while I've got my opinions, and I hope I've actually made those opinions based on facts and reason instead of emotion or impulse, I'm not trained in the ability to express those opinions in a way that can stand up under debate. I have confidence in what I believe, but not in my ability to express it effectively, or to remember all the details when under pressure. So, I tend to rely on the writings of others to help me express my thoughts. I'm hoping that this blog will help me, at least a little, in overcoming this handicap.

As well as provide a place I can just "think out loud" sometimes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 15 - Bill of Rights Day


Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII - In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Transcript courtesy of JPFO

The Bill of Rights - not the Bill of Privileges. Happy Bill of Rights Day! Use 'em or lose 'em....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Voting is not only a right, it's a responsibility. It's like keeping house. Those who do not vote get exactly the government they deserve, and should not complain.

If you don't help with the house cleaning, don't think you've got the right to complain that it isn't being done your way. Roll up your sleeves, dig in and get to work, and then you'll have the right to critique the results.

That being said, I voted in the runoffs today. No, my candidate didn't win. But I didn't just sit on my behind & hope for "a favorable outcome." Voting matters. 'Tain't a democratic republic if the voice of the people (which includes me and my family) isn't being heard!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wise Woman

With thanks to the friend who forwarded this to me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 1941

Pearl Harbor Day.

Have you thanked a veteran lately?

Friday, December 01, 2006