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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Midnight, last night

It's a scary thing to be suddenly awakened from a sound sleep by the smell of smoke. Realizing that the faint haze in the moonlit room isn't a lack of focus from bleary eyes, but is very real.

Wood fires and trash fires smell a bit like that.... so do structure fires. I woke the husband and we checked our home thoroughly - even though by then it was obvious the haze and stench were coming from somewhere outside.

We went outside and checked the immediate neighbors' homes. No sign of flames. Our roof was clear as well. But the haze covered the entire neighborhood. And then, the sound of sirens.... passing within a block of our home, and stopping almost immediately.

The chapel a few blocks over was on fire. It was brought under control fairly quickly, and didn't spread to any surrounding structures. Even so, damage was pretty extensive, and arson is strongly suspected. I drove past on the way home after work, and the entire area is still taped off as the investigation continues... it will take a while to clean up and rebuild, if the congregation chooses to do so.

It took us a while to get back to sleep. Some years ago, our own church building across town was hit by an arsonist. We've lived through this, and the adrenaline reaction to this fire took a while to subside. I used last night as an excuse to add a couple more smoke detectors and a 2nd fire extinguisher to our own home.

The most important thing is, no one was hurt or killed. God is good.

The Church is not a building.... it is the hearts and dedication of the people. I hope they understand that, and choose to rebuild.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California 'dodges bullet' as 5.4 earthquake rocks region

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A 5.4 magnitude earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, spooking millions from Los Angeles to San Diego in a juddering reminder of the region's vulnerability to seismic shocks.

No major injuries or damage were reported following the quake, which struck at 11:42 am (1842 GMT) near the town of Chino Hills, 33 miles (50 kilometers) east of Los Angeles at a depth of 7.6 miles (12 kilometers), the US Geological Survey said.


Henry Renteria, the director of California's Office of Emergency Services, said he expected to receive reports of minor damage as the day progressed.

"But luckily, I think we dodged a bullet here, and have not seen any major issues with this event," Renteria told reporters.

While I am VERY glad that damage seems to be minimal for a quake of this magnitude (I do have family in that area), I still find it funny that Renteria chose that particular metaphor. After all, this happened in California.

"Help! even Mother Nature's shooting at us!"

(Actually, though... maybe she's just shooting back?)

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Federal Judge Upholds Florida’s NRA-Backed “Guns at Work” Law

Fairfax, VA—A federal judge handed down a decisive victory for gun owners in Florida yesterday. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that state law allowing employees with Right-to-Carry permits to keep a firearm in their private vehicles while at work is constitutional.

Just passing on the good news. Entire article available at the link above.

(Psst... hey, Texas! are you paying attention?)

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hey, Cat

Cat, if you see this, please contact the Sheriff's department.... if for nothing else so they can let your family and friends know you're OK.

We love you, we're worried about you, and we're praying for you.

Or if you don't want to contact the sheriff, then email me. Or someone. Let us know you're all right.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Bush lifts executive ban

...on offshore drilling.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush lifted an executive order banning offshore oil drilling on Monday and urged Congress to follow suit.

Citing the high prices Americans are paying at the pump, Bush said from the White House Rose Garden that allowing offshore oil drilling is "one of the most important steps we can take" to reduce that burden.

However, the move is largely symbolic as there is also a federal law banning offshore drilling.

"This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil reserves is action from the U.S. Congress," Bush said.

Link to complete article on CNN above.

h/t to SYLG.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Juárez says crime sites are not for children

The Juárez police department is asking residents to stop taking children to view the murder scenes that have become a daily occurrence in the troubled city.

Whiskey. Tango. Hotel. In A Handbasket.

The new "entertainment" in Cd. Juarez... some folks are touring the murder scenes. With their kids.

Lord have mercy.

(complete story at the link above.)

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Guns may be allowed at Texas colleges

Texans might soon be able to pack heat on college campuses.

That is just one of several proposals that could reach lawmakers next year as they — and legislators nationwide — explore broadening some gun laws.

“It addresses personal protection,” said state Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, who heads the House committee that considers gun bills. “People who do things [like the Virginia Tech shooting] basically know they are walking into a gun-free zone.

“They are cowards ... facing people not allowed to fight back.”

It's a decent article, although not completely factual... for example, this line: Texas law now prohibits guns in places such as government buildings and lets private businesses ban weapons on their property.

Yes, private business can post 30.06 and legally bar the carrying of concealed weapons on their property - if they post exactly as prescribed by law. No problems there... private property rights should be respected. However, such postings are not enforceable at State government offices, unless it's along the lines of a court; one may also not carry on the premises of a school, and there are a few other restrictions. Federal government is a bit different, and has its own guidelines. The article did not differentiate between the two. It said "government buildings" and leaves the reader with the mistaken impression that they're all off-limits.

A professor recently testified on the issue before a legislative committee, saying he is responsible for making sure students get out of the building safely if there’s a fire, tornado or other dangerous situation.

“But he said he’s tasked — if somebody starts shooting students — with hiding under his desk,” Driver said.

Utah is the only state so far to allow weapons at all public universities.

And so far, it looks like Utah has had neither a) gunfights in the dorms, cafeterias or classrooms, nor b) problems with someone coming on campus with the intent of committing suicide-by-cop, and taking others with them.

Pay attention, America. (and you, too, Texas! I'd like to be able to go on campus for various open-to-the-public activities without having to disarm... especially this close to the border.)

Entire article at the link above.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Washington state sued over parolee's crimes

OLYMPIA -- Washington state is being sued over a rape and murder committed by Michael John Braae, 48, a former country singer known as "Cowboy Mike," while he was on parole.

In a case seeking unspecified damages, survivors of Lori Jones, 44, of Lacey accused the state Corrections Department of disregarding a judge's order to tighten supervision of Braae a year before she was killed.

Entire article available at the link above.

Rape, murder, aggravated assault, eluding an officer... Braae was charged, tried, found guilty, and then placed on parole after serving several years.

The paroling judge, Christine Pomeroy, ordered "community supervision" - but the state Corrections Department instead placed him on the lowest level of supervision, that did NOT require visits with probation officers, disregarding the judge's order.

And now Lori Jones is dead.

I wish her family Godspeed in this lawsuit.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

If they won't give up, why should we?

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - When Capt. Ivan Castro joined the Army, he set goals: to jump out of planes, kick in doors and lead soldiers into combat. He achieved them all. Then the mortar round landed five feet away, blasting away his sight.

"Once you're blind, you have to set new goals," Castro said.

He set them higher.

Not content with just staying in the Army, he is the only blind officer serving in the Special Forces — the small, elite units famed for dropping behind enemy lines on combat missions.

I think Capt. Castro's story is a good one for this Independence Day weekend. Full story at the link above.

h/t to blonde sagacity.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Laughter in God's House

Our little family church was celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of one of our couples this past Sunday. At their request, we sang a number of old hymns mixed in with modern worship songs and choruses, and what we didn't have music for we sang a capella. (M & A are an absolutely wonderful couple...we are so blessed to know them.)

Now, I don't claim to have a voice to write home about, but I do love to sing with a group. (my enthusiasm tends to outstrip my ability... so if I can blend in with a group I tend to sing better. ) Unfortunately, a couple of the a capella songs went just a wee bit higher than my comfortable alto range for a few notes, and my voice tends to either go seriously squeaky-flat or seriously quiet under those circumstances. (Trust me, quiet is better...) However, I also noticed than when my voice gave out, that I messed up some of the other singers as well. I apologized several times for flubbing the music.

Then one of the guys commented, "Yeah, when your voice goes out, the whole thing goes out." Someone else agreed, and the first guy explained, "You have a good voice for 'filling in' on the songs when there's no music. It sounds fuller when you sing. When your voice goes out, the whole thing kind of fades."

Filling in? Fuller?

I couldn't help it. I turned to my hubby, pouted my lip out, and said, "Honey, does this song make my voice look fat?"

M & A laughed harder than anyone else....