Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Say No to Revisionist Thanksgiving

I'm not sure what's happening, but for some reason my kid's schools want to ignore American history. Or at least part of it.

You see, I've always grown up with this weird notion that the first Thanksgiving Day celebrations in America started in 1619 in Berkeley, Virginia. It's located about 20 miles upriver of Jamestown, and was the first permanent settlement in the Virginia colony.

The Berkeley Charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a "day of thanksgiving" to God:

"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty god."

It wasn't until 1621 that the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts (the 'Pilgrims') celebrated Thanksgiving - a story is familiar to most us.

In 1789 President George Washington issued a National Thanksgiving Proclamation. He wrote:

"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks-for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country...for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed...and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually...To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us-and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best."

Now, 218 years after Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, our schools want to pretend it never happened.

Or at least my daughter's schools do.

I think it has to do with all of this "God" stuff. From what I gather, it's become a non-event for the schools. Instead of calling the two days off from school the kids get the "Thanksgiving Holiday Break," the schools are referring to it as the "Fall Break." In class, they've not discussed the fact that this commemorates major events in this country's pre-history. The only reason my kids even thought about it is because we talked to them about Thanksgiving in our home.

What gives?

Oh, yeah. I forgot. The fact that the reasons this continent was even settled had to do with finding religious freedom, and we can't talk about religion these days in schools. Forget the fact that the founding father's gave thanks to God for their successes. Forget the fact that these architects of our country, government, and way of life, ever believed in God. Forget the fact that religious freedom is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

It doesn’t matter, it seems.

Apparently Americans don't want to talk about anything that mentions God in public school, these days. Public education isn't concerned with historical facts. It's concerned with upsetting anyone by mentioning God. We must be so careful of these poor atheists, sensitive souls that they are.

Funny. I don't remember exactly where in the Constitution it says that we have the right to not ever be offended. In many ways, our freedom of speech guarantees that we will be offended from time to time.

At the risk of offending some of you poor, sensitive souls, I'm celebrating Thanksgiving. I'm going to pray to God and thank Him for the wonderful freedoms we enjoy. I'm even going to thank Him for bringing you into my life. After all, we are fellow Americans, even if we may not share the same views on Diety, and I value that connection.

It's okay. Get upset if you want to. I don't care. The Constitution guarantees you the right to be offended. It even guarantees you the right to offend me with your own speech. Please do. I take comfort in the fact that, as long as others are exercising their rights to free speech, I can continue to exercise mine.

Oh yea. With regard to the 'free speech' issue, isn't it interesting that it's in the same Constitutional amendment that guarantees freedom of religion? Hmmm ...

I’ll bet there are some of you that hate that fact, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Environmental Disaster in Gunnison

It amazes me how little press this has gotten. Then again, it's taken me quite some time to blog about it, as well. It shouldn't surprise me, though. This is happening in a small town in central Utah.

I shouldn't pontificate too hard, though. The only reason it caught my eye is because my father grew up there.

Gunnison is the site of the largest gasoline leak in Utah's history. It's estimated that around 10,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the faulty tanks of a Top Stop filling station into the ground. The gas has travels through different channels down Main Street. The fumes have started seeping into various stores and residences forcing closures and evacuations.

All of this started back in July, and barely anyone noticed.

Now, at least, the company is doing something about it. They've hired Wasatch Environmental to clean up the mess, but sucking out the gas fumes isn't a perfect solution.

When will the gas be gone? When will the citizen's of Gunnison get to return to their normal lives? It's anyone's guess, at this point. Not knowing much about the impact of this kind of environmental disaster, I wonder if they ever will be able to.

Here's some links to help fill you in on the situation.

Unsafe Levels of Fumes Discovered in Gunnison

Huge Gas Leak Threatens Downtown Gunnison

Neighbors Look for Answers in Gas Leak

Why Did It Take Months to Discover?

Comments about the problem at KSL

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lest We Forget

Happy Veteran's Day

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

School Vouchers are Dead, but We're Brand New

Just a couple of quick notes today.

First, the Utah School Voucher Program (Referendum 1) was overturned to the surprise of nearly no one. What did surprise me was the spread. It was a near landslide opposition. That put me, once again, on the other side of the majority.

No surprises for me there, either. I just thought it would be a closer contest than it was.

Second, I wanted to bring your attention to my new masthead and (slight) site rework. What do you think? I kind of like it.

Let me know what you think, though, will you? I'm emotionally needy, like that.