Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election 2008, an Essay

This was passed along to me by a friend of mine. The author has been a lifelong friend of his. Though you might not agree with everything that he says, please take into consideration what he is saying, what he is asking you to do.

Election 2008


Robert W. Sweet, Jr

Commonwealth of Virginia

October 27, 2008

Far too many Americans take the position that all “politicians” are crooks, and therefore there is no reason to vote at all. I do understand that sentiment, but let me offer another perspective. This comes from nearly 40 years of being in elected and appointed, in local, state and federal government positions of public trust.

First, only human beings are elected to public office. NONE of them are perfect, NONE. Those who promote the idea that we will have the Kingdom of God on Earth if we only elect the "right President" have been "smoking something."

Second, governments are ordained of God, and we are to be subject to them, that is the Bible way.

Third, in the case of the United States of America, we did have Godly men who drew up our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution. They based these documents on the principles of the Bible, and Old Testament Jewish law. The Ten Commandments are prominently displayed on our buildings in Washington, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Congress. In addition, there many federal buildings that have quotes from the Bible that remind us that the Founders of our Republic recognized that to remain a free people, government should be strictly limited. That is what our Constitution does, and we depart from those principles at our peril.

Old Ben Franklin, who was a key player in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, is quoted as saying the following. When he was leaving Constitution Hall in Philadelphia in 1778 a woman asked him what they had produced. He said: "A Republic, Madam, IF you can keep it."

He was referring in part to the Preamble of the Constitution which states:

"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Every official of government must "swear or affirm" to uphold the Constitution in every public office they hold. I have had to take this oath many times in my various Government positions. For me, it was, and is a sacred oath. I took that oath with my hand on the brings tears to my eyes as I write this when I think back over the more that 25 years I spent in Washington, DC, and the many jobs I have held, from the White House, to the U.S. Department of Justice, to the U.S. Department of Education, to the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, to the U.S. Congress as a staff member. Each and every time that oath was administered I felt the obligation to uphold it, and always "under God."

I know that there are many "politicians" (elected and appointed) to positions of trust who do not execute their responsibilities wisely, or even honestly. But I can also say with certainty, that there are many, many elected officials with whom I have worked at the local, state and federal level who do. I attended Bibles studies with them in the White House, the U.S. Senate that U.S House of Representatives and the Federal Agencies where I worked. We had fervent prayer for our leaders, for both parties, and for the preservation of our Republic.

It is more than the President and Vice President we are electing next Tuesday. We will elect a President and a Vice President true enough, but "WE THE PEOPLE" also will be electing ALL of the U.S. House of Representatives, one third of the United States Senate, at least half of the Governors of our States, and a large percentage of our State Legislators. And will be electing Mayors, Judges, and "dog catchers" too.

When we elect our President and Vice President, as imperfect as they are, we will be giving them the authority to appoint, without any approval from the electorate, more than 3,000 political appointees of their choosing. Those individuals will be the members of their Cabinet who will run the U.S.

Justice Department, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Energy, a total of 13 major agencies and myriads of sub agencies that literally control our daily life right down to our pocket books and our heath care and our courts. Not the least of which is the probable appointment of several Supreme Court Justices who can forever change the nature of how we deal with marriage, abortion, child abuse, pornography, home schooling, prayer, tax policy, national defense, and security, immigration policy, and the protection of erosion of the Bill of Rights that guarantee us the freedoms our nation has cherished and preserved for more than 220 years. When we elect the Members of the House and Senate we will be giving them the authority to appoint or hire more than 25,000 staff members who will run the U.S. Congress. These staffers will write the laws, advise Members of Congress and although unelected themselves will have a profound impact on the everyday life of all Americans.

It is "We the People" who determine our destiny...all Under God...but nevertheless we have our part to play in "keeping the Republic" that has made us the freest nation on earth, or we will authorize our elected officials and their appointees to place us in bondage like much of the rest of the world.

Many, many elections are won or lost by a single vote...democracies rise of fall by the will and the vote of the people.

In the election of 2008 we have choice between Obama/Biden who believe very strongly that government is the answer to all or most of our problems, whether health care, or financial, or social, or our national security. McCain/Palin believes that it is "We the People" who should decide our destiny. In my opinion, McCain/Palin is much more likely to appoint men and women who will preserve our Republic rather than destroy it.

All of these individuals are human. They are imperfect, just as we are, but it is our opportunity, our collective decision as voters to decide which candidates should have such power. It will make the difference between a socialistic nation and one that will continue to uphold the Constitutional principles that this nation was founded on more than 200 years ago. The American Republic has lasted longer than any other Republic in the history of the world, and as Ben Franklin said: "....if we can keep it."

The Oath of Office and the Constitution


I (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

That Oath for me was more than my allegiance to the United States of America….to “defend” her from “all enemies foreign and domestic. It was my solemn charge to pray and exemplify Jesus Christ in all my duties in public office.

I have been battered, bruised, criticized, ridiculed, fired, shouted at, scorned…because of stands I have taken for Christ and for the Constitution. I do not regret one moment of it, and I consider it an honor to have been able to serve. No one likes to be always on the offensive, but that seems to be the way it has been for me over the decades I have been fighting for the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

One of my good friends during my White House years was a colleague of John McCain when he was in the Hanoi Hilton. Jim Warner spent 7.5 years imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton. During the years I knew him he walked with a cane because of the torture and abuse he took while he was in prison. He used to come to my White House office to talk quite often, and when he would leave he would always say “Cheer up” because that is what he would say to his prison colleagues who day after day languished without hope of ever being free. I have never forgotten that, and when the times are tough, and the fight is difficult, and even overwhelming I say “Cheer UP!” We have a God who is watching, who has our best interests at heart, and who said he would “NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US.”

Now, for the sake of our beloved America…VOTE!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The history of coffe as told on

ThinkGeek (stuff for smart masses) has a cool product for the caffeine affectionado: The Handpresso Portable Espresso Maker.

On the item's page, there is the complete, if brief history of coffee. I've shamelessly ripped it off and posted it here for your enjoyment:

It used to be that people would travel for thousands of miles to get good coffee. As the story goes, the plant originated in what is now Yemen. It was popular with the Sufis there for its ability to drive away sleep. Coffee didn’t make it to Europe until 1600 when Pope Clement VIII, despite appeals to ban it. The habit spread across Europe, until the Dutch, sick and tired of paying out the nose to import the stuff from Ethiopia and the Ottoman Empire, illegally smuggled live plants and cultivated them in hothouses in Holland.

Then, in 1720, the French brought the first vines to the Americas. The following weekend, the first Starbucks opened [citation needed].
Check out their site, buy stuff and then tell them that you heard of them here. Then they can consider it free advertisement instead of copyright infringement. (Hopefully that will be enough to keep me from getting sued!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thanksgiving plans...?

Beth: "So, for Thanksgiving, we're going to Lake Tahoe..."

Nick: "Del Taco?" (link for those of you who don't live in CA)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Interesting video

Now, I'm not one to get into heated political debates, but I do have my opinions on who is the best candidate to be our next president.

Here's something to think of when you cast your ballot: Video Link

It's a long video and could have done without the "Post this everywhere" at the end, but the meat is still there and it's still important.

Let me also say this: I understand that it's not solely Obama's fault. Blame is shared through the whole Democratic Party...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pic of me on our website, explained

In the picture of me on our family website, I'm wearing the CPAP mask that I sleep in. It's hard to really see in that pic, but it's solid plastic and covers both my mouth and nose and has a double strap that connects in the back. As cumbersome as it sounds and looks, it's actually not that bad to wear.

The part that touches my face is a super-thin silicone skirt. The idea is similar to the skirt of a hovercraft in that the air pressure creates the cushion and therefore also the seal. So basically, I sleep with a tiny hovercraft on my face all night.

Of course, since it's made of silicone and is soft and squishy, it's also similar to a fake boob.

While one description will make people scratch their heads in puzzlement, the other will win me the admiration of men the world around. Take your pick. Just don't blame me for your choice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tinier still...

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with TinyURL. TinyURL is a free service that will allow you to take a long, ugly and/or complicated URL like the real one for my web page and shorten it down to something easy to remember, like the one I have above. When people click the TinyURL, they are taken to your website (or specific web page). You are able to track the number of people who click through your "Tiny" and see how many people are checking out your website. The "Tiny" will stay active as long as it is clicked on at least once a year. Oh, and did I mention all of this is free?

The really impressive part is this: When I was setting my "Tiny" up, I goofed. (No that's not the impressive part, this is:) I sent an email to the TinyURL people letting them know that I messed up and was wondering if there was any way we could correct it. I sent the email late last night and was surprised to have received an email from them this morning letting me know that it has been corrected and giving me the link to the tracking page as well.

If only more people could provide this level of customer service. I mean, if a place that provides a service for free can support its "customers" like this, don't you think that places that I give money to could step up and be at least courteous enough to offer the same?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Short URL, same fruity goodness

It's a little easier to remember that way.

Scarcity of posts

Yeah, I've been slacking and not posting anything new.

There's a reason for that though. There's not really much new to post. Not until today that is...

I've been trying to put together a graphic design portfolio so I can get a job doing what I like doing (and invested some big money in for school).

Since I've been away from design for the last few years, I have nothing current to show and all my stuff from school is packed in a box that's buried somewhere in our storage closet. That means that I have to start from scratch. Unfortunately that also meant that I had to build a new computer to replace the ancient one that blew up on me some time last May, so it was more like starting before scratch. Fortunately, my parents were generous enough to lend me a little money to put together a modest computer to get started. (Thank you!)

So, I have a computer, now I need to have the all-defining Web Presence. While browsing through the Photoshop blogs that I read, I ran across this tutorial that sparked an idea: Wouldn't it be fun to do a comic book cover for a home page?

The page is still in its rough-in stage. There's not much on it yet other than links to our blogs and a Pay-Pal link (why not?). Right now, the URL is terrible. I'm going to get a TinyURL to make it easier to remember. After all, if I can't remember it, how is anyone else supposed to?

Right now, the page is here. Bookmark it because I don't know if I'll ever be able to find the link again myself. I'll post the new-and-improved, easy to remember link as soon as I get it set up.

Comment and let me know what you think!