Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Greeting for Christmas 2008 & New Years 2009

From an Old Rough Cradle

From an old rough cradle

To the old rugged cross,

From a manger of hay

To mansions of glory,

From Heaven to earth

To Heaven again,

Flows the steam

Of Redemption’s story.

© 2008, Wesley G. Vaughn

May the peace of God

reign in your hearts,

not only at this season,

but throughout the coming year.

Yours ever,

Wesley & Patty Vaughn

(c) 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Goldilocks' faith serves lukewarm mush

I found this column by Michael Medved. It is just as relevant today as it was in April 2007. Just click on the link to go to the article:

"Goldilocks' faith serves lukewarm mush"
by Michael Medved
in USA Today
Posted 4/22/2007 8:07 PM

My reaction: I went to high school and college in the 1960s. This was the decade of the Hippies. Many of them were rebelling against the establishments of their parents, more particularly the watered-down liberalism of mainline institutions and the materialism of well-to-do families.

This decade also saw young people flocking to join the Peace Corps, drawn by the call to give of themselves for others.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Would Jefferson Do?

Today the world is faced with piracy on the high seas. Sea-borne Somali brigands are capturing ships not only off the coast of Somalia, but in the Gulf of Aden and in the open waters of the Indian Ocean, holding the ships and crews for ransom. At least one major shipping firm is avoiding the area altogether, choosing to take the longer (and more expensive) route around the southern tip of Africa. Currently, the navies of several nations are patrolling the seas off East Africa, but the area is large and hard to police effectively.

What would U.S. President Thomas Jefferson do if he were in office today? What did he do two hundred years ago? Pirates from the north coast of Africa (the Barbary States) held maritime commerce in the Mediterranean hostage. They seized ships, claiming the ships and their cargo, holding the crew for ransom or selling them into slavery. Several European nations paid tribute to the Barbary States to exempt their ships from pillage. Even the United States paid tribute for a time. But after a while, Americans said, "That is enough." The cry arose, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."

Thomas Jefferson was president at the time. He and the U.S. Congress declared war on the Barbary states. We fought two wars in the Mediterranean. Port cities of North Africa were captured, including Tripoli, and the piracy was brought to an end.

I believe that if Jefferson were in office today, he would take decisive action. He would take the battle to the home ports of the pirates. One proposal for today would be to work together with the other nations patrolling the waters off Somalia to neutralize the home ports of the pirates. One way would be to divide the targets. Have the U.S. Navy take one, the Russian Navy another, the Indian Navy a third, and so on until all are covered.

Why not do this unilaterally? This is an international problem. The pirates are indiscriminate as to the nationalities of the crew members and the ships’ ownership, registration, cargo, origin and destination. It needs to be made clear that the world as a whole is taking action. The accounts of the Barbary Coast piracy point out that the pirate regimes played off the European powers against each other. Dividing up target pirate ports is preferred for three reasons:
-(1) It reduces friction and difficulties in coordination among the allies.
-(2) It reduces the time needed to execute the plan, also facilitating the element of surprise. The assembling of multinational squadrons would tend to give away the intent.
-(3) Each power is responsible for its own objective, and can therefore take credit for it.

What about the hostage crews? Just pay ransom for all and get them back. As soon as they are safely out of the way, move in. If done quickly enough, most of the ransom money can be recovered.

What do you think?

PS: A "Crisco" version of this was published in the Times-Reporter of Dover/New Philadelphia, OH, on 12/02/2008 <>.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthplace Issues: John McCain and Barack Obama

An issue was made this year of the "Natural-born citizen" status of the two major party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 and Obama's live birth location was questioned.

First, John McCain. This is the easiest to deal with. At the time of his birth, the Panama Canal Zone was a United States Territory. His parents were both US citizens and he was born on a US Navy base. So on all accounts, there should have beeen no question that John S. McCain III is a natural-born citizen of the United States of America.

Next, Barack H. Obama. Somehow, someway, several persons publicized doubt that Sen. Obama was born in Hawaii. There have even been lawsuits brought in federal court to delay the election or otherwise force Obama to produce his vault original certificate of live birth. The Obam campaign has released the image of a certified copy of the original certificate. It is available on the following website:

Some people posting comments on this have questioned its authenticity on basically two counts: (1) no crease from folding and mailing, and (2) no embossure of the seal of the Hawaiian dept. of vital statistics. I downloaded this image and zoomed in on it. I saw the folding crease, which goes through the center of the state seal. Persons who have Hawaiian birth certificates say that they are signed and embossed on the back side. Near the bottom of the image, the date stamp of the copy is seen bleeding thorugh from the back. Just above it, under magnification, the embossing can be detected by distortions in the background pattern in a circular pattern. It is not as distinct as it would be on the side which was embossed. Just check out any embossed heavy paper document you have to see what I mean.

The birth certificate notwithstanding, his mother was a US citizen. And although at the time of Barack's birth she was only 18 (not yet five years past age 16), since she had been a citizen and resident of the US all her life, her citizenship still applies, since the five-year clause should apply only to those who are 21 years of age or older (which I believe to be the original intent of the law).

As one who supported and voted for John McCain, and as one who has serious questions about the direction Pres. Obama with Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Maj. Leader Reid will take this nation, it could be a relief to have BHO disqualified from being President. But also being a person of reason, I say (barring future discovey of evidence of fraud and forgery) that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr, is a natural-born citizen of the United States, thereby meeting that qualification for President of the United States of America.

The raising of this issue regarding both candidates in this year's election demonstrates the fact that in any campaign or controversy red herring issues will arise. (A "red herring" is a bogus or irrelevant issue brought up which detracts from the core issues.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Open Letter to Sen. Barack Obama

Senator Obama:

I have a couple of questions to ask you.

Considering that (1) your mentor when you were a teen, Frank Marshall Davis, was a Communist, (2) you worked on the Woods Foundation with William Ayers, a radical leftist, (3) you have written that you were attracted to Marxism, and (4) you have stated publicly at least twice that you would redistribute the wealth, doesn’t this mean that you and your policies are socialist?

Considering your remarks about Fox News, and the reaction to Joe the Plumber and Barbara West, would you as President try to “manage the press” in violation of the First Amendment?

Sincerely yours,

Wes the Press Operator

PS: I’ve been asked to list on applications all of my driving citations. I thought if I asked these questions, you would check it out.

PPS: Maybe you’ll also look into all my school grades.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Liberal Trifecta Agenda

The Liberal Trifecta Agenda

If a leftist president and a liberal supermajority in both House and Senate take office inJanuary, what will this mean for this country? We can be sure that they will use their dominanceof the national lawmaking process to enact their agenda. This is what I foresee as likely:

1. Re-enact the so-called Fairness Doctrine (FD). For those of us who are too young toremember the former FD, it required all broadcasters who promote one point of view togive equal time to proponents of the opposing view. I remember when, in the 1970s, aChristian radio station I listened to had to air statements by atheists and cults. The FDwas abolished in the 1980s because it violated the First Amendment right to free speech. It was also unfairly administered.
A new FD will be primarily aimed at conservative talk radio. Liberal talk radio hasbeen unable to attract enough listeners, so instead of competing fairly, the liberals want tohandicap the competition.

2. Enact the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which Obama has said he wants to put intoplace. FOCA would invalidate all laws in all the states which regulate abortion. Whenone or more of the states challenge the law in court, my guess is that the federal judge(s)will be threatened (not publicly, of course) with impeachment if they make the “wrong”decision. With a liberal supermajority this threat will be credible.

3. Create the Federal Elections Standards Act (FESA). [The name is not official.] Thecurrent voter registration scandal and reported cases of vote fraud in several states and theelection mess it will create will provoke a demand for a way to prevent or rectify futuresituations. The most “foolproof” way (as though anything could actually be foolproof) isto tag each ballot with the voting number of the voter. Then validation of voters cancontinue through a set time (perhaps 30 or 45 days). If a voter’s registration is found tobe invalid, or if the voter has voted multiple times, his ballot can then be culled out andcancelled.
This might sound like a great idea until you realize that it abolishes the secret ballot. Who has access to the voting records? Database after database has been penetrated andconfidential information compromised. Do you want how you voted revealed to thosewho would harass you: your boss or union steward? Your opinionated neighbor? Theplace where you apply for a job? Or others?

4. Pass a very stringent hate speech law (HSL). This would make it a federal crime toeven call certain lifestyles “wrong” or “sinful” or “evil” on the pretext that disapprovalleads to violence. Since freedom of religion is protected by the First Amendment, andexception will be made permitting the criticism of religious beliefs and practices. So itwould still be legal to denounce and/or ridicule, even libel, Christians and Christianity,Jews and Judaism too. Don’t worry about the Muslims. People will be afraid to criticizethem (*POW*).

5. After the HSL is in place and tested, now is the time to pass a Right ofMarriageAmendment (ROMA) and send it to the states for ratification. ROMA wouldsay something like, “no state, territory, district or any other jurisdiction of the UnitedStates shall restrict or prohibit the right of any two persons to marry for reason ofgender.” In other words, it would permit same sex marriage nationally.
It only takes two thirds of each house of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment,but it takes three fourths of the states to ratify it. This is where the HSL comes in. Sincegender orientation is protected from disapproving comment by the HSL, it would now beillegal to campaign against ROMA if it is brought up for ratification in your state.

Does this sound scary? That depends on how much you value the free and open society wehave enjoyed for so long in this land.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is Voter Registration Fraud a Threat to the Secret Ballot?

Is Voter Registration Fraud a Threat to the Secret Ballot?

At this time, we are in the midst of a massive voter registration scandal. Workers hired by ACORN to canvas people and register them to vote have ignored the law and common sense in several ways.

1. They have registered persons already registered. This has resulted in multiple registrations for the same person. One man in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was registered as many as 73 times.

2. They have falsified the registration applications. This includes entering the names of fictitious persons, deceased persons, celebrities, etc.

3. They have registered persons ineligible to vote, although the persons told them they were not eligible.

4. They have used aggressive tactics in canvassing, in some cases offering incentives to people to register.

According to the testimony of several persons, the canvassers claimed they had to get enough registrations to get paid.

During this time, I have been hearing that the secret ballot, which we have enjoyed in this country, may come to an end. So how does this relate to the scandal?

First, with such a widespread voter registration scandal, in at least fourteen states, so close to the election, it threatens the integrity of the election itself. The result of a vote count controversy in so many states will raise an outcry, a call by the public for some way to prevent this, or at least to cull out the votes of voters who are found to either be ineligible or to have voted multiple times.

One method would be to tag each ballot cast with the voter who cast it. This is easy to do with electronic voting. It can also be done with other voting methods, too. Then after the election, as verification of voter registrations continues for those the officials did not have time to verify before the election, if a voter proves to be ineligible, his ballot can be located and cancelled.

This may sound like a good idea to many, especially with so many late registrations pouring in. But there is a danger. Who has access to the records, the links between the votes and the voters? How secure are they? The past few years, database after database has been penetrated, making sensitive information insecure.

What if those on one side of an issue or for one candidate were able to comb through the lists of votes and voters? Would every union member want the union officials to know how he or she voted? Would every employee want his employer to know how he or she voted? Some people live in neighborhoods where they certainly would not want the neighbors to know how they vote. Would you want your voting record made public?

We see stories in the news of the government and political parties in certain other countries harassing those who vote against them. Elections are won by 90% or more, because voters are afraid of losing their jobs or defending themselves from trumped up charges. Do we want to see that happen here?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Tree That Almost Died

The Tree That Almost Died

Wesley G. Vaughn, © 2008

As published in The Outreacher <>

(in print, but not online)

One morning in mid-April, I got up to find that it was 29°F, and had been all night long. In Ohio, frost and freezing nights can be expected halfway through Spring, and this year was no exception. Since I had not worked the evening before, it was easy to forget about the potted plants outside. Coming home at 12:30 am, I would have seen them and brought them into the garage.

Alarmed, I went out to check the plants. To my dismay, the leaves on the grapefruit tree were curled with the frost. I didn’t know how badly it had been injured, but it looked bad. This tree was special. I had planted a seed from a grapefruit we ate, and it sprouted and grew. It was eight years old but not too big since it was a potted plant. We had brought it from Virginia to Ohio. It seemed such a shame to come this far only to freeze. With a sliver of hope, I took it into the garage and set it down far from the door.

Over the next few weeks, I checked the grapefruit tree almost every day. A few at a time, leaves dried up, beginning at the tip. It was apparent that all would go. But in the second week I saw what looked like a few, very few, new leaves emerging. A month later, all but a few of the frosted leaves had died, and these few were dying. Not wanting to damage the tree needlessly, I waited until a leaf was obviously dead before removing it.

Shortly after Memorial Day I pruned off dead wood. By then several sprouts were showing. Before the end of June, new branches grew from the lower trunk. These have now grown straight up like parallel trunks. The whole tree is lush with glossy dark green leaves. Of course, spines are growing too. The tree that almost died has not only made full recovery, but looks better than it had for a long time. The freeze which almost killed the tree stimulated new growth which gives it a greater glory.

In Psalm 51:8, David says, “Let the bones that You have broken rejoice.” [NASB] David referred to a shepherd breaking a leg bone on a lamb which kept wandering away. The shepherd
then carried this lamb every time he moved the flock. The lamb became dependent on and bonded to the shepherd. By the time the leg healed, the lamb always stayed close.

David was chastised for his sin. Job was blameless, yet God still let him suffer severe affliction. Though Job did not understand why, his faithfulness through this suffering brought glory to God. It also revealed Job’s real character to a scrutinizing world.

The apostle Paul says that God causes all things to work together for good for His children (Romans 8:28). He goes on to say what this good is: believers being fashioned into the image of Christ (verse 29). Since God is all sovereign and all powerful, nothing can happen to us unless and until He allows it. This is for His glory, and for our greater good.

Leaving the grapefruit tree out on a freezing night was unintentional. The good results were accidental. But God’s letting us go through suffering and loss is not accidental. It is intentional, and for the best intentions. Like the sheep whose leg was broken, it draws us closer to Him. And like frost that almost killed the tree, it stimulates new growth we would have never otherwise experienced.

Scripture references –Psalm 31:12; 34:18; 38:8; 44:19; 51:8, 17; 61:1; 69:20; 147:3; Romans 8:28-29

Friday, September 26, 2008

System Failure

System Failure

Fred Chipp was the system administrator at a large firm in Chicago. He lived in the suburbs in a medium-sized house with a large yard in a nice subdivision. Fred drove the roads, freeways and streets to work fives times a week, sometimes six. He drove, that is, until the combination of gas prices, traffic congestion, and environmental consciousness persuaded him to use public transportation. From then on he drove to the local park-and-ride, completing his commute by train and bus.

Once he started to use public transportation, Fred enjoyed it. There was time to read, work on problems, surf the Blackberry, etc. It was great! This went on for five years. But Fred’s wife, Tillie, worried about the germs he might catch from other riders.

Last winter, Fred came home with a bad cough. It became worse, but the hard worker he was, Fred kept going to work. Finally Fred collapsed and was hospitalized. It was too late. Fred had let it go on too long without proper attention. Within the week, the end came. The cause of death? System failure brought on by a commuter virus.

© 2008, Wesley G. Vaughn

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Rage" Out of Bounds

I had not heard of the rock group Rage Against the Machine (RATM) until the news of the riot following their concert in Minneapolis Wednesday night. So I googled them and found this MTV article about their plan to play in Minneapolis during the Republican national Convention in St. Paul ( They also played in Denver during the DNC.

The MTV article said that "according to Minneapolis' Star Tribune, [RATM] will bring their incendiary politics and anthems of violent revolution to the Target Center September 3."

The article also went on to say:

De la Rocha recently called for President Bush to be "tried for being a war criminal," and during the band's Lolla set, he raged against the last eight years of Republican rule and even had a word of warning for "Brother Obama," referring to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama.
"Now, we know Brother Obama. ... But I tell you what, if he comes to power come November and he doesn't start pulling troops out of Afghanistan, I know a lot of people who are gonna stand up and burn down every office of every Senate [Senator?]."

What De la Rocha said comes perilously close to incitement to riot and violence. The last I checked, incitement to riot is not protected by the First Amendment.

It would appear that Rage Against the Machine is out of bounds.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Suspicious Minds

Suspicious folks
With suspicious minds
Will make all kinds
Of suspicious finds.
(c) 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Presentation

Meet George and Janet Shepherd. They've been married for about a year. They appreciate and understand each other so much more than before they stood at the altar. There is, however, one thing. I'll let Janet and George speak:

Janet is talking with her friend Mary.

Janet: There is one thing I can't understand about George."

Mary: What is that?

Janet: It is like this. When I fix something nice for George, something I know he'll like, and I give it to him, his reaction is so . . . so . . . so strange."

Mary: How is that?

Janet: Well . . . he gets this kind of a look on his face. It is like he is afraid to touch what I've fixed.

Mary: Then he refuses it?

Janet: No. After almost a minute he'll smile, take it from me and eat it. He does enjoy what I fix, but I just don't get it, that initial reaction. I wish I could see inside of him, to see what he is thinking.

Mary: Find a way to get him tell you, to talk about it.

Meanwhile, George is talking with his friend Pete.

George: Has one scene in a movie ever made a lasting impression on you?

Pete: Well, maybe. I'm not sure. Why did you ask?

George: When I was very young I saw a movie about the Garden of Eden. Not just once, but several times. Dad had the movie and showed it to many groups, mostly churches, and I usually went along.

Pete: So, what was it about this movie?

George: The scene about the Temptation really bothered me. It would play over in my mind again and again. At night I dreamed that I was right there in Eden.

Pete: Does it still bother you today?

George: It didn't until I got married.

Pete: Wow! How does this happen?

George: It is when Janet fixes something nice and brings it to me. Then she says softly and sweetly, "Here, try it. It is good." It sounds just like Eve when she handed the fruit to Adam.

Often we have no idea what influences the way another person takes what we say or do. If only we knew, we might know how to make a better presentation. George knew what affected him, but many times we don't know what motivates our reactions. Mary's advice was good. If we don't understand someone, it may help to have him or her talk about it.

(c) 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Just a Few Questions, Please . . .

I was just laid off and looking for something to make some money. I saw an ad online
that said, "Get Paid to Take Surveys and Evaluate Products' Key Requirements. We need people who are motivated to help us evaluate products and ... " Just below it was a similar ad.

"Well," I thought, "I can still do that when I go back to work and make some extra
change." So I clicked on the ad for " (1)" and signed up.

After I registered, there was a survey of surveys. Which ones was I interested in? I don't
smoke, never have, so I checked "no" for the one on smoking. Several others had no interest
either, so "no." A few were about products or services I use or have used, so I selected them then
clicked "Continue."

The next page had several other survey firms on it. I signed up for a handful, then started
on one. After all, since I needed the money, I'd better get started now.

The first one was for Panda Research. (2) A list of companies spilled down the screen and
off the bottom. I selected one and answered the questions. At the end, I was asked to sign up for
a trial period for that firm's services in order to complete the survey and be eligible for the
award. It was the same way for the next few. From then on I went to the bottom to see what the conditions were. Most wanted you to subscribe to their services to qualify for survey pay.

Well, I've had experience with trial periods. First, you have to remember to cancel in time to not be billed. If you don't by the deadline, you're in and paying. When your income's cut, that's not
what you need. Second, some firms give you a hassle when you try to opt out before they get
their hands on your money. "You can't do that" countered with "But you said," etc.

Another site seemed more reasonable. But there was a catch. Each survey earned only a
little. For the time it took to fill them out, it was less than minimum wage. And then, you have
to have a minimum amount in your account before you can collect.

I came to the conclusion that most of the surveys were vehicles for recruiting customers
for the clients. They were not worth the time spent as a source of income, at least not for me.