Two Bad, One Good: Supreme Court Decisions

Constructive Curmudgeon says

The Supreme Court just ruled that a college or university may deny a student group official status if that group does not allow homosexuals as leaders.

Stop the ACLU says that people are going to quit signing petitions.

In an 8-to-1 decision, the high court said public disclosure of referendum petitions does not as a general matter violate the First Amendment.

We saw how well the “saying who gave $$” worked out, with Prop. 8 in California, right? (Such as this article.)

GOOD:, in “Gun Rights Must Be Honored by States/Cities,” says:

[T]he constitutional right to bear arms … binds state and local governments, as well as federal officials…

The justices, voting 5-4, said an individual right to bear arms was among the fundamental guarantees protected against state and local interference through a constitutional amendment after the Civil War.

So Chicagoans have the right to own and use their weapons to stop criminals.


I have a headache today. I am sure it is because I did not sleep well, after hearing about the stroke my mother had. I do not know where the apostrophe is on the Swiss keyboard. The y and z are transposed. The @ sign is on the G and needs the alt key to come up. Odd. Or unique.

Mom: Stroke

I am in Switzerland.

I got an email from my brother that said that my mother had a stroke this morning.

I got the email and went, “Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.” The OC girls who were here asked what was going on. They brought me a tissue, gave me a hug, and went downstairs to tell SS and get her to come up here. SS and BS (giggle on that) came up and offered to let me use their phone to call home. It’s way cheaper now than it was 30 years ago when I was here. (10 cents versus $2 a minute.)

I called J, then C, then S. S, typically, said that mother was just fine and it was no big deal. I knew she would say that, which is why I didn’t call her first.

J called me back. Mom can’t walk again. You have to tell her how to move her feet.

The good news is that has happened before, and she got better.

The bad news is that has happened before… so she’s had at least two.

J is upset with C for telling me. I knew she would be. But I also appreciate C for letting me know. Although I am glad I didn’t hear when it happened, since that was when my conference was.

Interesting Reading

Australian “Angel” Saves Lives at Suicide Spot about a man who watches for the suicides, smiles at them, and invites them in for tea.

The Love Letters of John Wooden. He’s been writing his wife of 53 years a letter each month on the anniversary of her death. He’s been doing it for 25 years.

Things from the 50s that some of us older folks remember from the 60s and 70s. I remember 19 of them. (There are pictures, so it’s easy.)

17 Afghans have disappeared in the US. I hope they are looking for a good life and not to cause trouble.

The Hobbit of Flores was a direct descendant of Homo sapiens. The folks just got smaller in order to survive on the island. How do we know? There was major dwarfism and gigantism on the island for animals that were “normal” size off the island. Why should humanity be any different?

I do wonder, though, what the positive biology of getting smaller and less smart was. How did that help them survive on the island?

Lausanne Today

So I went to both Migros around the house. I bought toilet paper, because I thought we were out. There was some, but I’ll be here another week, so…

I also bought yogurt and bread for the Smiths. I don’t think I got the right one of either kind, but hopefully they will be okay with it.

While at the down Migros (down the hill), I found “Happy Birthday” candles. Since SS wanted those from the States, or at least the letters from the States, I bought every one they had.

That made me want to go to the Migros up the hill. So after I delivered the groceries, I asked where I should go. KS told me and I headed up there. I bought another five or six there. I also bought rolls, soda, apple juice, and cheese. The rolls are small, so I had two with cheese for breakfast/lunch. I’ll probably have those for breakfast every day.

Tonight I have a party for the conference, so I’ll go to that. In the meantime, I’m going to go to the Migros Metroplex (a mall?) and shop around. Maybe I can find what SS really wanted.

I also went to the bank and changed money. It’s right next to the up Migros, so that was easy. They gave me a better exchange rate than the place in the airport.

Last night I woke up after an hour. Then I couldn’t go to sleep for three. When I woke up I started panicking about the Smiths going to Geneva for church. DK doesn’t like me, but I’m hoping he won’t say anything. He was really rude to me in Abilene, some years later. Maybe he’s grown up since them. Wendell Broom swept in and said they were glad to have me, bless him.

I screwed up when I was here. I was isolated and unaware. So I skipped school. Got found out. Got a lecture. (That was NOT fun.) Then, after about six months, I started skipping school again. I decided I shouldn’t do it, went in to talk to them about going back to school. They said I needed to pay all the months I didn’t attend (two or three) and I freaked out. I ran to Montserrat’s house and cried, called my folks, and said I wanted to go home. So they let me.

I was so young, stupid, and immature. It would have been much easier and cheaper to pay the school and start over again here. But I didn’t want to deal with the humiliation.

What was really bad was they charged my boss for the months I wasn’t there. (I didn’t know they would do that and I didn’t leave him the money.) He wrote and asked me for the money. I sent him what I had immediately and then took about two weeks to send the rest.

It was a hard time and I was so alone and tired and scared and stupid. I admit it. I was stupid. I also told two lies. They were major lies, but only two.

After that I hated myself. Why had I done it?

So that’s why I didn’t like Switzerland. Yes, my boss was hard on me and I didn’t speak the languages well and they didn’t make the kind of allowances I would have preferred… BUT the problem was mostly me.

I like to think I’ve grown up since then. I hope so anyway.

But I just woke up in the middle of the night and panicked about the Smiths finding out what a jerk I was. I calmed myself down by asking what was the worst. They’d unfriend me from fb; they’d throw me out of the house and I’d have to stay in a hotel (at that point I might go to Paris after all); they’d know I was an idiot… And I realized that they might not like me as much after hearing it, but they probably wouldn’t throw me out and they certainly wouldn’t gossip about me. So, the worst was perfectly livable.

Do you think God is having me deal with old issues so I can be a better person? I have to say that though it’s not easy, it’s been good for me. (Of course it’s not Sunday yet!) But I went through NC last year and now that time is much less painful. Now I’m lancing the Geneva boil. The only one I have left is the teaching high school thing. Those last two are the times when I disappointed myself. I tried to be a good teacher, but I wasn’t. It makes me worry about what I do now.

Can We Really Tell What Young People Will Be?

I am in Switzerland and at dinner we have discussed the Swiss system, which chooses in the sixth grade whether you will go to college or not. One of the teachers of my friends’ children said that he can tell in kindergarten which class they will be in. BigArmWoman says that Americans can tell in the third grade.

If you want to be enlightened and depressed, go read it.

(For those of you who didn’t go read it, 3rd grade exams are used to predict the need for prison beds.)

Loving Lausanne

I am having a great time in Lausanne. Here is 7 hours later than Houston, so I stayed up until 7 pm so that I could avoid the jet lag issues. It seems to have worked fairly well.

My sister bought our tickets first class. I love flying first class. I tell you what, if you can afford it (which I probably can’t), it’s worth it. I honestly had the best steak I’ve ever eaten, in terms of tenderness, on the flight out here. They served dinner at 7 or so, our time. Then they served breakfast at 6 am, Swiss time. So really about midnight. But it worked to help you reset your clock.

I arrived at 7:15 a.m. in Geneva yesterday. I got to the train station by walking. It’s attached to the train station.

Going to the bathroom in the train station part (as opposed to the airport part) was a bad plan. $1. Of course, when I got to Lausanne, the bathroom was $2 in the train station.

I waited at the gar for two hours. I had misrepresented the time I would arrive (I thought I was getting in two hours later.), so Stephanie and Brady weren’t available to pick me up. But I had a quiche lorraine and a hot chocolate for lunch, which was great. I enjoyed all the people watching. I also watched Swiss news. They are much more likely to have the whole world on. I saw a section on a riot in Jamaica and a flood in Brazil. Two US sections were on; one about the president and one about the soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Smiths were gracious enough to let me stay with them. Bless their hearts!

I’ve enjoyed getting to know them at all and/or better. Tonight Kathleen and I are going to dinner. I am looking forward to that.

Yesterday I mostly stayed at the Smiths. I did walk around for about forty-five minutes, but that was all. There was a birthday party for the English-speaking students that the girls from Oklahoma Christian were tutoring. I attended that. It was fun.

Then I went to bed.

I told Stephanie I’d be up on my own this morning, but I didn’t actually get up till 9. By then she had other things to do. At 1 she took me to walk around Lausanne. She showed me the cathedral and the city hall (where the party is tomorrow night). That was good. I can find it by myself.

I’ll probably get up tomorrow early (or earlier) and walk down to Migros to go shopping. I need to find some stuff for my family. I’ll probably buy the boys tee shirts. If I see something unusual in shirts, I might get Ron something. They are $$$ though. Here the prices for smaller things are about $2 more.

I bought a 100 ml soda for $3.50 at the gar. Then today while I was walking around the soda was $5. Ouch.

I’ve learned a lot about the school system. Since all the Smith kids went to school here and Kathleen is in the university here (well, actually the polytechnic), we talked about that a lot. I love hearing about that sort of thing.

I have had a blast so far.

The only thing I am sorry about is that I am not outgoing and willing to head to Paris on my own to visit while I am here. I’d like to go to the Louvre.

He Will Command His Angels Concerning You

nofearwiththelordStaff Sgt. Edward Rosa reads the Bible and extends a cigarette to Pfc. Jorge Rostra Obando, who was stunned by an explosion in Afghanistan’s Arghanab Valley. One comrade was killed and two injured in the blast. Pfc. Rostran asked the sergeant to read Psalm 91, a favorite from his childhood. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova for The Wall Street Journal) — Photo Journal – WSJ

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91, NIV, from BibleGateway

Reading Helps Reading: Give Students Books

This is incredibly important for low socioeconomic students.

When low-income students are given books to read during the summer, they read more, a Florida study found. This summer a large-scale study in seven states will look at whether book giveaways can stem the usual “summer slide” in reading skills. USA Today’s Greg Toppo asks: “Can a $50 stack of paperback books do as much for a child’s academic fortunes as a $3,000 stint in summer school?”

Low-income students have few books at home. Walking to a public library may be dangerous. The result is a “summer slide” in academic skills that may account for 80 percent of the achievement gap by sixth grade, says Richard Allington, a reading researcher at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Researchers note that low-income students lose about three months of ground each summer to middle-class peers.

“You do that across nine or 10 summers, and the next thing you know, you’ve got almost three years’ reading growth lost,” Allington says.

For three summers, students in 17 high-poverty elementary schools in Florida got 12 books on the last day of school. After three years, book recipients had “significantly higher” reading scores, showed less of a summer slide and read more on their own than classmates who didn’t get free books, Allington and colleagues reported.

Found via Joanne Jacobs

The USA Today story.

Are we losing our freedoms?

Right on the Left Coast quotes from the Washington Examiner about the government’s working paper on the “reinvention of journalism.”

Apparently the working paper thinks that the newspapers have a right to the news they report:

Copyright protects an author’s articulation of facts, but not the facts themselves.

State law versions of the “hot news” doctrine, however, can protect a news
organization’s investment in fact gathering to a limited extent. In International News
Service (INS), the AP challenged the use of its news wire stories by INS, which
immediately rewrote the stories and distributed them to its own clients. Based on
common law misappropriation principles, the Supreme Court recognized a “quasi
property” right of very short duration in the facts that were gathered, digested, and
disseminated at great expense by the AP.

Would anyone be talking about this if there weren’t a move to federalize the press? I don’t think so.

Would the government recognize a blogger’s right to the news? Probably not. And, according to some, the bloggers wouldn’t be protected.

God help us that we are giving away our freedoms to a government which wants to run it all. (That’s totalitarianism, in case you weren’t thinking.)

Flag Etiquette

All persons present should face the flag, stand at attention and salute on the following occasions:

1. When the flag is passing in a parade or review. The salute to the flag
in the moving column is rendered at the moment the flag passes.
2. During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag.
3. When the National Anthem is played and the flag is displayed.
4. During the Pledge of Allegiance … I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

from Flag Co