Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

-I decided to look back at all my Thanksgiving posts that I've done since I started blogging.  I did one every year from 2006 until 2011.

-The past 3 years were a time of great transition and change for me.  My heart wasn't into blogging.  I had high hopes that this year was going to be "easier".  It wasn't, BUT, I realized I have A LOT to be thankful for.

-I have learned A LOT over the past 3 years, and I wouldn't trade any of it, even though it has been incredibly hard.

-My list below isn't necessarily in order of importance, and it is by no means exhaustive.

What I'm Thankful For:
-God's Unconditional Love for me through thick and thin
-My 4 incredible kids (I can't imagine my life without them)
-My amazing boyfriend (who has taught me how deeply you can really love someone)
-My friends (who have stood with me during my deep valleys)
-My brother (who has been a source of strength and comfort to me these past 3 years)
-My Mom (who is a great listener and a woman of compassion)
-God providing for my needs
-Blogging (it has been a very therapeutic outlet for me and is something that I thoroughly love doing)
-Reading (I met my goal of 60 for this year and am still going strong)
-My health
-Books, Movies and Music (they take me to other places and times)
-How God has been opening my eyes over the past 3 years
-God teaching me perseverance through my job struggles
-God giving me a chance to start over
-How God is going to give me the right job at the right time
Happy Thanksgiving 2006
Happy Thanksgiving 2007
Happy Thanksgiving 2008
Happy Thanksgiving 2009
Happy Thanksgiving 2010
Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 3)

3-The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
He (Teddy Roosevelt) could never live happily on the periphery of anything.  He had to be in the arena.  He left power too soon.--The Roosevelts
Teddy Roosevelt:
-Teddy visited the White House 1 1/2 years after he left and he remembered every servant and gardener by name and asked them about their lives.
-He was still young, and felt personally and politically betrayed by Taft.  He didn't think Taft was making the right decisions.  To be fair, he probably wouldn't have been happy with anyone, because he still had the energy and the desire to be president.
-Taft was devastated to lose Teddy's friendship when Teddy decided to run for president the next term.  Even though he was still popular, the Republican machine wanted to stick with Taft.  So, Teddy ran as a 3rd party candidate, the party was called The Progressives but became more well known as The Bull Moose Party.
True to Roosevelt's progressive beliefs, the platform of the party called for major reforms including women's suffrage, social welfare assistance for women and children, farm relief, revisions in banking, health insurance in industries, and worker's compensation. The party also wanted an easier method to amend the constitution.--The Bull Moose Party Platform
-Many of Teddy's closest friends urged him not to run.
-He was shot by John Schrank while on the campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  This didn't stop him from finishing his speech.
-Just like Ross Perot ensured that Bill Clinton won the presidency, Teddy Roosevelt ensured that Woodrow Wilson won.  When you split the Republican vote, the Democrat wins.
-Teddy took it very hard, and was shocked that he lost, and that he lost by so much.
-He went on an expedition into the Amazon with his son Kermit and almost died from Malaria and other illnesses.
-He thought we should get into World War I right away and wasn't quiet about it.  He said, "For to be neutral between right and wrong, is to serve wrong."
-When the U.S. finally did enter World War I, he visited the White House to ask Wilson if he could help raise up a division of volunteers and lead them into battle.  He was not in good health, and for other reasons too Wilson had to turn him down.  He was devastated that he couldn't play a part.  He then gets very old, very quickly.  David McCullough says, "Its as if he was a high intensity light bulb that burned out quickly."
-Yet, all 4 of his sons did get to fight.  And his youngest, Quentin, died in the war.
-He died on January 6, 1919 at the age of 60.

Franklin Roosevelt:
-The election of 1912 divided the Roosevelt family because Franklin was supporting Woodrow Wilson.  However, Eleanor supported her Uncle Teddy.
-He won re-election to the State Senate that same year, and then was appointed to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he now held the same job that his cousin Teddy once had.
-All of the Roosevelts sided with our allies during World War I and thought we should be joining them right from the start.  Franklin didn't say anything in public because he worked for the Wilson administration.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
-People who didn't like Franklin, often liked Eleanor, so she helped her husband succeed politically.
-She found that she knew how to excel in the political arena.  She had finally found something that she could do better than her Mother-in-law.
-She had her 6th and last child by the time she turned 31.
-The war liberated all of her executive ability.
"The war was my emancipation and education."--Eleanor Roosevelt
-Instead of having to make social calls, she could now invest her time in helping those affected by the war.
-During this time, Eleanor came across a bundle of letters.  They were love letters from Lucy Mercer to her husband, who had once been her social secretary.  Eleanor was devastated.  Franklin always wanted someone to adore him like his mother had, and Lucy did that.
-Eleanor said he could have a divorce if he wanted one.  But Franklin's mother said she would cut him off and never give him another penny if he did, and a political advisor told him that it would end his political career, so he stayed.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)
Episode 2-In the Arena (1901-1910)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

First Lady Profile #7--Dolley Madison

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Few First Ladies had more influence on the social and political life of early America than Dolley Payne Todd Madison.  As the wife of the fourth president of the United States, she played a key role in the development of the new nation's character and the quality of its public image.

Dolley Madison knew all of the presidents from George Washington to Zachary Taylor.  She served as the White House hostess for President Thomas Jefferson.  She was the official hostess during her husband's two terms in office.  Until she died in 1849, Dolley was involved in the social life of Washington, D.C.--Alice K. Flanagan

-Dolley was born on May 20, 1768 in Guilford, North Carolina, but the family soon moved to Virginia.
-Her parents were Quakers (they are against war and believe in the equality of all people)
-Dolley attended a Quaker common school
-She had to dress in plain clothes, because Quakers didn't believe in jewelry or colorful clothes, etc...  This was hard for Dolley because she loved pretty things.
-When she was 14, the Virginia Legislature passed a law which enabled slaveholders to free their slaves.  Dolley's family were one of the first families to do this, and they then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
-In 1789, her father's business failed, and he ended up declaring bankruptcy.

-Dolley had many men pursuing her, but she finally accepted John Todd's proposal, so she wouldn't be an additional financial drain on her parents.
-She was 22 and John Todd was 27 when they got married on January 7, 1790.
-On February 29, 1792 she gave birth to a boy and they named him John Payne.
-In 1793, Dolley gave birth to another boy but both him and her husband died in on the same day in October from yellow fever.
-The next year she met James Madison and they were married on September 15, 1794.  He was 17 years older than her and wasn't a Quaker, as a result the Quakers disowned her, but Dolley felt she was making the right decision.

Photo Credit: First Lady Biography for Kids
-James was in Congress, so even though the Quaker society disowned Dolley, she flourished in the political society in Philadelphia.  Also, now that she was no longer a Quaker, she could take advantage of the latest fashions.
-When Thomas Jefferson was elected President, he appointed James Madison to be the Secretary of State.  Since, Jefferson was widowed, he asked Dolley to serve as the official White House Hostess.
-She developed her own style in Washington D.C. as hostess, and was the "undisputed fashion leader" there, ordering all of her gowns from France.
-After Jefferson's two terms in office, James Madison was elected President and he and Dolley moved into the White House on March 4, 1809.
-Congress provided the funds so Dolley could furnish the White House with the help of a decorator.

Photo Credit: War of 1812 Archaeology
-On June 18, 1812 the War of 1812 began and the United States of America was again at war with the British.
-On August 24th, Dolley was alone at the White House with some servants.  She fled before the British came and rescued many important documents and a painting of George Washington.  This ended up being crucial since the British set the White House and the city of Washington on fire.
-After they left the White House, they retired to Montpelier.  They continued to entertain and often gave dinner parties for political friends.

-When James Madison died on June 28, 1836, she experienced a great loss.
-He had been working on his historical papers detailing the discussions that led to developing the U.S. Constitution.  Dolley had been helping him and after his death, she finally found a publisher, the U.S. Congress.
-She moved back to Washington in 1837 with her niece, Anna, leaving the care of Montpelier to her son.  Her son Payne was constantly drinking and gambling and racking up debts as a result.  Because of this, Dolley eventually had to sell the Montpelier estate to pay off his debts.
-She died on July 12, 1849 and was given a funeral fit for a president.
-There is a collection of Dolley Madison memorabilia on display at the Greensboro Historical Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

First Lady Links:
-National First Ladies Library
-C-Span Series on First Ladies

Reference Material that I checked out from the library:
-Dolley Madison--Barbara Witteman
-Dolley Madison: Her Life, Letters, and Legacy--Holly Shulman
-Dolley Madison: America's First Lady--Myra Weatherly
-Dolley Madison: America's First Lady (American Experience PBS DVD) 
-A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation--Catherine Allgor

My Dolley Madison Books:
-Dolley Payne Todd Madison--Alice K. Flanagan
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas
-First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women--Susan Swain, C-Span
Previous Profiles:
-Martha Washington
-Abigail Adams 
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant
-Louisa Adams
-Frances Cleveland 
-Lucretia Garfield 
-Edith Roosevelt

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prophet's Prey--A Review

It was important for me to let the CPS know that I had never met nor spoken with any FLDS woman who had not been abused in some form.  Not one.--pg. 271
-Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower is my 8th and final book (for now) in my study of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

-Brower was the private investigator who spent countless hours looking into all the abuse committed by Warren Jeffs and others in the leadership of the FLDS.  He accurately labeled Warren Jeffs with the title, "pedophile prophet".
With the FLDS, the Feds are facing one of the largest organized-crime syndicates in the history of this country.  Some ten to fifteen thousand members support a religion that participates in child abuse, interstate and international sex trafficking, and other crimes in support of their religious dogma.  It is a much bigger gang than Don Corleone ever had in the Godfather movies. 
I have often pondered how the public would react if the same sort of ritualistic crimes that I have investigated within the FLDS had instead centered on a congregation of Satan worshippers.  The only difference is is that Satan worshippers know without a doubt that they are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if they get caught raping a virgin.  If the FLDS crimes had been put in proper perspective, outraged citizens and lawmakers would have demanded action years ago.--pgs. 300-301
-After reading books by many of the victims, it was good to get a comprehensive, overall look at the FLDS.  Brower also put into perspective how outrageous all of the crimes of the FLDS are, but because of the mob mentality of the cult, they have gotten away with things for way too long.

-What I find most reprehensible is that Jeffs and other men raped young children, and did so in the name of God.  I can't think of a more horrific thing to do to another person and then claim that God sanctions it.  The Bible says:
If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.--Matthew 18:6
-God will hold Jeffs and all the other men accountable for the abuse they have committed.  I couldn't agree more with Brower's conclusion to his book.
We live in a country in which the practice of illegal, arranged incestuous marriage, the sexual exploitation of women and children as part of religious rituals, the trafficking of children across interstate and international boundaries, and the tyranny of breaking families apart has never been tolerated.  

There is no question that great strides have been made in this worthwhile cause, and I have faith in the ultimate outcome; but the lasting changes needed to provide for the safety and security of thousands of children have yet to be achieved.  Until the FLDS hierarchy, whoever that may eventually be, finds the human decency to stand before the world and accept responsibility for their criminal actions, and sincerely apologize to their many victims with a commitment to never again abuse or neglect another child, it will never truly be over.  Until that day, I will remain vigilant.--pg. 311
 Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods
The Witness Wore Red
Stolen Innocence 
Lost Boy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sexiest Men Alive

Taylor Kitsch: What I love him in--Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor

-People always leaves out a couple of gems in their Sexiest Man Alive Issue.  I decided I would post the ones that I agree with, and then add some great ones that they missed.

Matt Czuchry: What I love him in--Gilmore Girls and The Good Wife

Mark Wahlberg: What I love him in--Lone Survivor and Invincible

Charlie Hunnam: What I love him in--Sons of Anarchy

Who They Missed--

Timothy Olyphant: What I love him in--Justified

Anson Mount: What I love him in--Hell on Wheels

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone Pipeline

-60% of the American people support the Keystone Pipeline

-14 Senate Democrats joined all 45 Republican Senators in voting for it

-Labor Unions are mad at the Democrats who didn't vote for it

-It would provide jobs and have economic benefits
The project would move oil from Canada into the United States and eventually to the Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would create jobs and ease American dependence on Middle East oil. A government environmental impact statement also predicts that a pipeline would result in less damage to the climate than moving the same oil by rail.
-Yet, it failed to pass a veto proof majority by only one vote, and the President plans on vetoing it.

-However, even CNN admits that Obama will unlikely lose this battle in the end.

-Meanwhile, since Democrat Mary Landrieu (who was a big supporter since her constituents support it) wasn't able to convince enough of her fellow Democrats to pass it, she may lose in her run-off election coming up soon.

The Good News:
-Even though the bill failed the veto proof majority by only one vote, it will be back next year and likely pass.

-This will be good news for everyone, except environmental extremists.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Elise Stefanik--Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress

For all you middle-school presidents, secretaries and treasurers that aspire to lead the country some day, here is some encouraging news - Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever to be elected to the US Congress started the same way. The 30-year-old who defeated Democratic incumbent Aaron Woolf in New York's 21st Congressional District in the November 4th midterm elections, began her political career in sixth grade, as student council secretary.--Meera Dolasia
-She was born on July 2, 1984 in Albany, New York
-She went to the Albany Academy of Girls when she was elected the student council secretary.  She was actually able to fulfill her campaign promise with the help of a fellow leader.
-She graduated from Harvard's Institute of Politics in 2006 and was awarded the Women's Leadership Award while there.
-Immediately after graduation, she went to work for George W. Bush's Domestic Policy Council.
-A year later, she joined the office of the White House Chief of Staff.
-After Obama was elected she became the Policy Director for Governor Pawlenty’s Presidential campaign.
-She then worked as Director of Communications for the Foreign Policy Initiative.
-It was there that she helped co-found a group of think tanks called Defending Defense.

-During 2012, she worked for the Republican Party, most notably as the leader of debate preparations for Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
-After the election, she returned home to work for her parents' plywood business.
-In 2013, she decided to run for Congress.
-She defeated her Republican primary opponent, and then went on to defeat her Democrat opponent, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

-She is a young, rising star in the Republican Party.  I am excited to see what she will do when she gets to D.C.

Elise for Congress
Meet Elise Stefanik

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 2)

Teddy Roosevelt was a brand new type of president, a hyperactive adult, and a steam engine in trousers.--The Roosevelts
Episode 2-In the Arena (1901-1910)

Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to:
-Leave the country during the course of his time in office
-Have been born in the city
-Be known by his initials, T.R.
-Go down in a submarine
-Send a transatlantic cable for purposes of diplomacy
-Own an automobile
-Win the Nobel Peace Prize
-Invite an African-American (Booker T. Washington) to dine with him in the White House
Descriptions of T.R.:
-Youngest president in history at age 42
-Brilliant, possibly a genius
-Bird Watcher
-Big Game Hunter
-Author and Naturalist
-Historian and Expansionist
-Moral Crusader and Shrewd Politician
-Proud Husband and Father
Teddy's Accomplishments While President:
-The break-up of Northern Securities
-The Coal Strike Settlement
-The Panama Canal
-The Pure Food & Drug Act
-The Hepburn Act
-An end to the Russo-Japanese War
-Millions of Wild Acres preserved for future generations to enjoy
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.--Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt:
-He saw himself as a defender of right, a moralist.
-His presidency was the first one where the American people were excited about the White House.
-He had an unbelievable amount of energy.  He raced through the day drinking lots of coffee.  He read a book a day, sometimes 3 if he had time.  He personally answered 150,000 letters that were sent to the White House.
-During the coal strike, he became the first president to mediate a labor dispute
-He bought the rights from the French to build the Panama Canal.  The Canal is one of the greatest human achievements.
-During his run for re-election in 1904, he and Edith entertained writers, artists and musicians.  The public loved reading about the Roosevelt White House.  Huge crowds appeared wherever he went.
-"He was the first American president who had the look and the sound and the education of a Harvard man and there had never been anything like that in American politics."--David McCullough
-Through all of his presidency, he was resolutely himself.  (Which is probably one of the main reasons I have always loved him.)
-He came up with the Square Deal.  The essence being that rich men and poor men should be treated equally.

-He won re-election in 1904 by a landslide.  He then made the huge mistake of promising that under no circumstances would he run again in 1908.  He later said, "I would cut my hand off if I could take back that statement."
-It was difficult to be one of Teddy's children, since living up to their father's standards was almost impossible.  Alice especially had a hard time, since she never felt like she had a real home after living with her Aunt Bamie, her grandparents and now her Dad and Step-Mom.  As a young woman coming of age in the White House, she did almost everything that a girl her age back then wasn't supposed to do.
-Teddy pushed through bills that began to rewrite the role of the government in American's lives.
-While in office, he created 18 national monuments, the National Parks went from 5 to 10 and he created the National Forest Service.
-Yet, after all his accomplishments, he didn't think he was a great president because he had faced no great crisis while in office.
-He handpicked his successor, Taft and helped him win election.
-He then went to Africa and abroad for over a year so he wouldn't be tempted to comment on decisions that Taft would make.  He hunted big game in Africa.
-He was just as popular as when he was president, when he returned home, millions of New Yorkers came out to greet him.

Franklin Roosevelt:
-He asks Eleanor to marry him when he is 21 and she is 19.  His mother had always been overprotective of him, and with his father having passed away she was concerned about being alone.
-He was fascinated with Eleanor, she was Teddy's favorite niece, but more than that he was fascinated with her substance.
-He was one of the first people to realize how intelligent she was and very substantive, there was a lot there.  He truly did love her.  When he asked her to marry him, he said he could make something of himself with her by his side.
-He and Eleanor attended Teddy's Inauguration.  13 days later on November 17th, Teddy led a parade and then made time to give Eleanor away at her and Franklin's wedding.  They took a 3 month honeymoon
-Franklin decided to run for the legislature as a Democrat, without bothering to consult Eleanor about it.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
-Eleanor had a rough childhood.  Her mother was very beautiful and was disappointed that Eleanor wasn't.  Her mother's nickname for her was Granny.
-Her father, (Teddy's brother) was an alcoholic and was absent for most of her life.  Yet, she romanticized him and her relationship with him, even after she became an adult.
-By the age of 10, both of her parents were dead.
-She went to live with her pious grandmother.  Also in the house with them was an abusive nurse, an unstable aunt and two drunken uncles.
-Eleanor was lonely and struggled with a lot of fears.  Her Aunt Bamie came to her rescue.  She recommended that Eleanor be sent away to a school called Allenswood.  She was there for 3 years and she described them as the happiest of her life, where all her fears disappeared.
-Her instructor at Allenswood insisted her students be independent minded, intellectually alive and socially conscious.  Her education made a huge impact on her and brought out her great intellect.  She was the most admired girl at her school.
-To her dismay, her grandmother made her come back from school at the age of 17.
-Her and Franklin got engaged on November 22, 1903, but weren't allowed to announce their engagement until a year later, on December 1, 1904 because of Franklin's mother.
-She volunteered to work with immigrant children in a settlement house, and took it very seriously.
-Because of this, she helped Franklin see beyond his "privileged" world.
-Her marriage to Franklin was "a bargain she would often regret."
-They each wanted something from a relationship that the other in the end couldn't give.
-Eleanor wanted an intimate, someone she could confide in.  A husband who would always be supportive and there for her.  He could not provide that.
-Franklin wanted someone who had all the devotion to him that his mother had had, but not the admonitory part.  But sadly, Eleanor could not be worshipful and had to be admonitory.
-Eleanor had hoped that Franklin's mother Sara would become the mother she never had, but it was not to be.  Sara had a 6 story town home built for Franklin and Eleanor, and Eleanor was not consulted about anything.  Sara hired all of the staff herself and Franklin and Sara oversaw the construction and furnishing of the house.  So, Eleanor had no say in anything at all, not even in hiring the nannies that would watch her children.  She resented this immensely (who wouldn't?) and Franklin didn't understand why this was such a problem for her.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Review of Courage and Consequence!

Photo: Karl Rove and I at Hannity's Take Back Our Country Event in 2010
The courage and conviction I saw among those aboard Air Force One and in the White House in the years ahead gave me the confidence of having been on the right side of the fight.

I wanted things on the wall that reminded me of where I came from and whom I admired.

...the leading reform opponents--this tale's true villains--were Democratic congressman Barney Frank and senator Chris Dodd. Dodd was less angry than Frank--though this could be said of virtually everyone on Capitol Hill--but he was just as wrong in his diagnosis of the problem and his opposition to reform.

At its heart and in its results, politics is the great, moving expression of our democracy. There are knaves and fools in politics, but the arena is also filled with people motivated by high ideals and great causes who work with skill, integrity, and honor.--Karl Rove
-I read this book at the beginning of the year, so this review is way overdue. 

-I have always respected Karl Rove, but this book has only increased my respect for him and President Bush. It was fascinating to see how things took place behind the scenes. A lot of it confirmed things that I thought at the time. 

-I met him at Sean Hannity's Take Back Our Country Event, and he was genuine and kind.  I have a good friend who used to work with Rove and Bush back in Texas while Bush was running for Governor, and he vouches that Rove is the real deal.

-I highly recommend reading it!

41: A Portrait of my Father

-President George W. Bush has written a new book entitled, 41: A Portrait of my Father.  This book isn't about himself or his presidency, but about his beloved father.

-I loved his first book, Decision Points, even more than I thought I would.  So, I'm looking forward to reading this new book.

-He has made appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and the Today Show.  I've watched both of them and I'm excited to see Sean Hannity's interview with him on Thursday.

-On CBS Sunday Morning, Bob Schieffer interviewed Bush, below are the opening comments to the first part of the interview:
In all our history, we've had just two sets of father-and-son Presidents . . . John and John Quincy Adams; and George H. W. and George W. Bush. The younger George Bush (President # 43) has quite a bit to say about his father (#41), and in an interview at his Presidential Library in Texas, George W. Bush has much to tell our chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.
Links to the interviews:
-CBS Sunday Morning Part 1
-CBS Face the Nation Part 2
-Today Show Part 1
-Today Show Part 2

Monday, November 10, 2014

25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

-On August 13, 1961 East Germany began constructing the Berlin Wall which would separate East and West Germany for the next 28 years.

-Thanks in part to President Ronald Reagan and other circumstances, the wall came down on November 9, 1989.

-On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Brandenburg Gate urging Gorbachev to tear down the wall.  The phrase, "tear down this wall", was controversial and many of Reagan's aides didn't think he should say it.  Speech writer Peter Robinson wrote the controversial phrase, and Reagan went against the critics and kept it in the speech.  No one could've known how famous and instrumental that speech would become.

-Some excerpts from Reagan's speech:
President von Weizsacker has said, "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed." Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph. 

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
-Yesterday was the 25th Anniversary of the wall coming down. Germany celebrated and the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel led several events commemorating the fall.  She herself grew up in East Germany and was 35 years old when the wall came down.  Below are some excerpts:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel led several events Sunday, including the placing of a rose in one of the few remaining sections of the Wall  to commemorate the 138 people killed in Berlin alone as they tried to flee the Soviet-allied state.

In a speech at the main memorial site for the Wall, Merkel said that "the fall of the Wall has shown us that dreams can come true."

She called the Wall a "symbol of state abuse cast in concrete" that "took millions of people to the limits of what is tolerable."

-When I took a trip to California back in 2012, I was able to see numerous pieces of the Berlin Wall that were brought over here from Germany.  In fact, there are more pieces of the wall in the United States now than in Germany.

-It truly is a remarkable event to celebrate.  The wall coming down was a huge step for more of the world to become free and to move away from communism.  The people who live in East Germany today have a much brighter future than they did 25 years ago.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Turn: Washington's Spies

The show follows New York farmer, Abe Woodhull, who bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring, an unlikely group of spies who turn the tide in America's fight for independence.--AMC 
-I can't say enough good things about the new TV show, Turn: Washington's Spies.  It is based on a book with the same name, Washington's Spies by Alexander Rose.  Rose serves as a consultant for the show.  I look forward to reading the book.

-As I have mentioned many times before, I love learning about history, and am a war movie buff.  The Civil War and the Revolutionary War are my favorite to learn about because both wars were fought for freedom.

-When I home schooled my kids, we watched a TV series called, Liberty's Kids which was about the Revolutionary War.  It was very well done, and was accurate in the story it told.

-Turn tells a little bit different story, but it still looks at all sides of the Revolutionary War.  What I have been most struck by is that the British had fully taken over whole towns.  For some reason I hadn't pictured that before.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Mia Love--Republican's 1st Black Congresswoman

It’s hard to overstate how unlikely Love’s victory looked on paper. Utah is less than 1 percent black. Though more than 60 percent of the state’s people identify as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church is just 3 percent black. Love, 38, is one of these few black Mormons — part of a church that, until 1978, didn’t let African Americans participate in all church activities and still hasn’t apologized for its racism.
Yet, a woman born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants is now a duly-elected representative of the Beehive State.--Justin Moyer
-Mia Love's path to Congress is truly an inspirational one.  As stated above the odds were against her.

Unlikely Odds:
She is from Utah, which is only 1 percent black
She is a Mormon, when only 3 percent of Mormons are black
She is the first Haitian-American to serve in Congress
She is the first black, Republican woman to serve in Congress

Mayor Love is best known for her conservative positions on limited government, increased citizen liberties and limited restraints on business. She believes the best thing she can do as mayor is stay out of the way of business and out of the lives of citizens. She advocates a return to the personal responsibility and reduced government dependency engendered by her father.--Bio on Mia Love

-Love was born on December 6, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York and then moved to Connecticut.
-Her parents emigrated from Haiti in 1973.  They worked hard at numerous jobs to pay for Mia and her siblings to go to school.
-When she went to college, her father said this to her:
Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.
-Her father's quote would help shape her life and philosophy.
-She graduated from the University of Hartford with a fine arts degree in 1998.
-She converted from being a Roman Catholic to a Mormon.
-She then met her husband, Jason Love and they were married in December of 1998.
-In 2003, she was elected to the Saratoga Springs city council.  She served for six years and then was elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs. 
-Love was named one of Ten Republicans to follow on Twitter by the National Journal in August of 2012.

-She spoke at the Republican National Convention that same year.
-In August of 2013, she was named one of the Up & Comers in the top 25 Influential Women of the GOP by Newsmax.

During her victory speech after winning the 4th District Congressional seat, she had this to say:
Someone is going to have to turn power back to the people and away from Washington. Tonight you have made history, Love said. This election is historic because we have raised Utah's voice.
-I am excited to see the impact that Mia Love will have in Utah, and on the country as a whole.

Mia Love for Congress
Utah-4: Mia Love
Love Wins 4th District Congressional Race
25 Most Influential Women of the GOP
Meet Mia Love

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

2014 Book List--Part 5

Fun Things This Year:
-I beat my previous reading record, and I still have 2 months left.
-I've written more book reviews
-Book Publishers have been sending me free books to review

My Topics of Study This Year:
-FLDS Cult
-First Ladies

1) Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight--Karl Rove
2) The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House--Barbara Olson
3) The Kennedy Wit--Bill Adler
4) Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama--Ann Coulter
5) Relax-You May Only Have a Few Minutes Left: Using the Power of Humor to Overcome Stress in Your Life and Work--Loretta LaRoche
6) You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life--Eleanor Roosevelt
7) American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom--Rick Santorum
8) Raylan--Elmore Leonard
9) The Barbarian Way: Unleash the the Untamed Faith Within--Erwin Raphael McManus
10) Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson--Joseph Hosey
11) The Everything Organize Your Home Book--Jason R. Rich
12) Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer--David Reichert
13) Drinking and Dating: P.S. Social Media is Ruining Romance--Brandi Glanville
14) Willoughby's Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistable Temptation--Jane Odiwe
15) Eat That Cookie--Liz Jazwiec
16) Heath Ledger: His Beautiful Life and Mysterious Death--John McShane
17) Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors: And Other True Cases--Ann Rule
18) Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real-World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness--C.C. Chapman
19) Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde--Jennie Garth
20) Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity--Hugh MacLeod
21) Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
--Michelle Knight
22) In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace & Bruce--G.A. Henty
23) In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth--Ann Rule
24) Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce--Kristin Armstrong
25) The Power of Praying Through the Bible--Stormie Omartian
26) Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims--Rush Limbaugh
27) Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10--Marcus Luttrell
28) Clippings from My Notebook--Corrie ten Boom
29) Escape in Iraq: The Thomas Hamill Story--Thomas Hamill
30) I Grew up Little: Finding Hope in a Big God--Patsy Clairmont
31) SeinLanguage--Jerry Seinfeld
32) Sizzling Sixteen--Janet Evanovich
33) Smokin' Seventeen--Janet Evanovich
34) Ted and Ann-The Mystery of a Missing Child and her Neighbor Ted Bundy
35) Explosive Eighteen--Janet Evanovich
36) Notorious Nineteen--Janet Evanovich
37) Sleepers--Lorenzo Carcaterra
38) Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer--Beth Moore
39) Anna Eleanor Roosevelt--Dan Santow
40) Julia Dent Grant--Christine Fitz-Gerald
41) Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams--Ann Heinrichs
42) Frances Folsom Cleveland--Susan Sinnott
43) What is the What--Dave Eggers
44) Lucretia Rudolph Garfield--Ann Heinrichs
45) Takedown Twenty--Janet Evanovich
46) Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt--Barbara Silberdick Feinberg
47) Escape--Carolyn Jessop
48) Triumph: Life After the Cult--Carolyn Jessop
49) Facing the Music: My Story--Jennifer Knapp
50) Church of Lies--Flora Jessop
51) When Men Become Gods--Stephen Singular
52) The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice--Rebecca Musser
53) Stolen Innocence--Elissa Wall
54) Lost Boy--Brent W. Jeffs

2013 Book List
2012 Book List
2011 Book List
2010 Book List
2008 Book List

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Fury--A Review

Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.--Don WarDaddy Collier
-I'm a war movie buff, so when I saw the previews for Fury, I knew I wanted to see it.  It shows Pitt leading a tanker crew of soldiers through Germany towards the end of World War II in April 1945.

-Whenever I watch a movie based on history, I look up how accurate it is.  A review on Bustle had this to say:
Though at first glance, Fury may seem as if it’s just another World War II movie with a stellar cast (I mean, Brad Pitt, Shia Labeouf, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, and Scott Eastwood? Yes, please), don’t write it off as that just yet: While yes, the movie deals with the much-employed setting of World War II, it’s actually much more true-to-life than it seems — even if it’s not based on one singular story. From Street Kings writer/director David Ayer, Fury is actually based on a collection of true stories from real-life army veterans who spent their time during World War II in tanks, just like Pitt’s tank crew in the film.
-Director David Ayer wanted to communicate the personal and emotional price that men had to pay as a result of fighting in the war.  I think the movie did a great job of conveying that.

-Brad Pitt is a phenomenal actor, and I was struck by that as I watched the movie.  I have always loved how Pitt carried himself in Troy.  I saw the same thing as I watched Fury.  He exudes this air of humble confidence as a leader, and it makes you want to follow him anywhere.  I can't even describe the powerful emotions that he is able to convey.

-Fury did a great job of showing the reality and harshness of war, and the decisions that must be made when you are fighting for your country.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Lost Boy--A Review

In the world of the FLDS, things are not always what they seem.  The shiny, smiling surfaces often hide a world of rot and pain.  And even royal blood and being born male can't protect you from sudden changes in its convoluted power structure.--pg. 8
 -The more I read about the FLDS and other cults, the more I see how much they are like countries that are run by dictators.  Dictators and Cult leaders don't allow any freedom for its' members, most believe in communism and/or socialism and the members are brainwashed to believe their lives of slavery are a good thing. 

-Warren Jeffs actually studied Hitler and obviously employed some of Hitler's methods to control people and get them to do what he wanted. 
But while it (polygamy) might seem good in theory, in practice, at least in my experience, its' actually a recipe for misery for everyone involved.  --pg. 8
-Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs was another piece in my puzzle of learning about the FLDS.  Up until now I had only read books by the women who had fled and by those who had investigated the FLDS.  Jeffs highlights how polygamy isn't just horrific for the women, young men are also its' victims.

-I recently watched Sons of Perdition, which is a documentary about the many lost boys that either escape or are kicked out of the FLDS.  Hundreds, and possibly close to 1,000 boys have been abandoned by their families at the behest of Warren Jeffs because they were competition for the older men.

-Sons of Perdition and Brent Jeffs' book highlight the many struggles that these boys go through.  Most haven't gotten a good education, because too much time was spent indoctrinating them and also boys are expected to go to work at a young age.  So, once they are in the outside world, they realize how far behind they are.

-Some of the boys have also been victims of abuse, so once they are on the outside, they are prime candidates to become drug addicts and become victims of other illegal activities.

-Brent Jeffs was a direct victim of Warren Jeffs, since Warren raped him and two of his brothers when they were only 5 years old.  It is hard to fathom just how many lives Warren Jeffs has completely destroyed.  Brent's older brother Clayne, was never able to cope with the sexual abuse at Warren's hands and he committed suicide.

-Clayne's death was a major motivator for Brent to get the help he needed to heal, to bring Warren to justice for his crimes and for Brent to tell his story.

-Below are some more quotes from the book:
I'd never really had a chance to develop my own interests.--pg. 146

It's hard to explain just how strange it is to lose your community, most of your family, and an entire belief system and way of life.--pg. 154

When everyone else around you believes, when every single person you know acts as though something is true, when you have been taught it every day since infancy, it really is hard to stand up.  Being instructed day in and day out to value obedience, to see faith as higher than reason, and to discard independent thinking as a sign of possession by the devil makes it even more difficult.--pg. 168
By now, it was clear to me how Warren had turned the FLDS from a strange religion into a dangerous cult.  The difference is this: whereas a religion may have weird beliefs and practices, a dangerous cult uses a combination of seemingly innocuous techniques to control people.  It usually has a charismatic leader who is seen as the source of all wisdom and salvation.  Such groups can actually push normal people to do bizarre things that they would never dream of doing on their own.--pg. 225

When women are seen as second-class citizens, I don't think polygamy can be anything but abusive.--pg. 226
-I regard Brent Jeffs as another hero like the women I have written about.  He too, escaped and went on to face many obstacles, but stood up for himself and many others, so that there might be at least a little justice for the many victims of the FLDS.

Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods
The Witness Wore Red
Stolen Innocence