Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time For Another Round Of Continental Learning...

Do you know that the word 'coin' is supposed to be used to describe a disk of precious metal? Since 1965 our coinage has not be made with silver and so according to Uncle Eric we are actually using tokens as our money.

Today for our home leaning we started to read Uncle Eric's book, Whatever Happened To Penny Candy. Coinage today is called clad because of the copper/nickel-zinc metals pressed together to make the coin. Look at a penny and nickle. They have no groves along the outside called reeding, unlike dimes and quarters which do have reeding more commonly called milling. He says this has something to do with inflation and recession.

I have a 1964 silver quarter. Our daddy says that the groves were used to show if someone was removing silver from the coin and once the edges where smooth then that amount of silver was no longer worth 25 cents.

We did not know that our paper money use to also say "Silver Certificate" instead of "Federal Reserve Note".

This book sounds like it's going to be a great learning tool for us. We also started World War II by the same author. We are going to learn more about the Eastern Front. I am surprised at the numbers of Russians killed. Over 18 million.

To learn more about continental learning, you'd have to watch Liberty's Kids. Which I don't even know if it's on PBS anymore. Sorry.

City Council Meeting...

Last night, Gove and I attended our first city council meeting. After hearing Oliver DeMille this month at the annual Thomas Jefferson Forum in SLC, Gove deiced he should start attending and I am interested in seeing how things work. First I was surprised that an opening prayer is given. I saw a number of scouts in the audience and they participated with both the prayer and pledge.
We listened as one man was granted the right to build on University Ave. at about 800north, another man was denied his townhouse proposal because it seem the majority of the council wanted more then 1.5 baths for a three bedroom townhouse and are concerned this type of housing will have faster turnover rates.
The city council seems concerned with the need for local neighborhood leadership through people who are long term residence.
There was a heated discussion from the public regarding an area east of BYU. It sounds like there are people who violate the terms for dwellings with an apartment and somehow the owner of the deed or mortgage needs to be living in the home as well. It appeared to me that the older people did not want this change passed but that younger married people did. The change did pass.
One side note here, apparently you can only have a guest stay in your home for 30 days!!

Not sounding very clear to you? You can watch the proceeding on channel 17. There was a little talk that maybe the city is looking into broadcasting on the web possibly.

Now, to find out who are neighborhood chair person is...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand."

Woodrow Wilson

Friday, March 20, 2009

I've thought about blogging a lot lately. Really I've been thinking about it and wondering why I feel like holding myself back. I've had plenty to think about. Somehow when I decided to not take a history class this semester and instead focus on my health, I found myself turning away from this blog.

And here I am at 4pm and needing to get dinner ready so we can be off to our honey bee class for beginners. Surprise! Bethany won a bee hive February 13th. She, with help from her family wrote an essay and won second place (there where about ten 2nd place winners).

My weight training and fat loss is going very well. I've lost 18.2 pounds of fat in the past 8 weeks. (My scale says I've lost 21 pounds). Outside of feeling like a cold is coming on, I've been feeling great. My arms are stronger, and I actually ran at 4mph for just over 4 minutes this week. I'm sure I can push myself more now. I look forward to climbing to the "Y" with the kids very soon.

Did you watch the youtube below this post? My words lack the power I'd like to give them and so I think that is also a reason for me staying away. Maybe I can try again....

Words Do Change Our Hearts...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Source: The Gettysberg Address,

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Congress lacks constitutional authority for most of what it does

Published: March 11, 2009

During winter months, I work out 10 minutes on the treadmill and lift weights at seven stations four mornings a week. Over the years, during the spring through fall months, I racked up about 2,000 miles on my road bike. This level of exercise helps account for why, at 73 years, I'm in such good health and physical fitness. So my question to you is whether you think regular exercise is a good idea. I think the answer is definitely yes, if nothing other than its beneficial effects on health-care costs. Since exercise is a good idea, would you support a congressional mandate that all Americans engage in regular exercise?

Instead of simply saying, "Williams, you're a lunatic!" and rejecting such a congressional mandate out of hand, let's ask why it should be rejected. We should keep in mind that there's precedent for congressionally mandated measures to protect our health and safety. Seat-belt and helmet laws are examples. If you're in an accident and wind up a vegetable, you will be a burden on taxpayers; therefore, it's argued, Congress has a right to mandate seat-belt and helmet usage. Wouldn't the same reasoning apply to people who might burden our health-care system because of obesity or sedentary lifestyles? If it is a good idea for Congress to force us to buckle up and wear a helmet on a motorcycle, isn't it also a good idea to force us to regularly exercise?

There is only one question to ask were there to be a debate whether Congress should mandate regular exercise. Whether regular exercise is a good idea or a bad idea is entirely irrelevant. The only relevant question is: Is it permissible under the Constitution? That means we must examine the Constitution to see whether it authorizes Congress to mandate exercise. From my reading, the Constitution grants no such authority.

You say, "Aha, Williams, you've blown it this time. What about Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which says Congress shall provide for the 'general welfare of the United States.'? Surely, healthy Americans contribute to the nation's general welfare." That's precisely the response I'd expect from your average law professor, congressman or derelict U.S. Supreme Court justice. Let's look at what the men who wrote the Constitution had to say about its general welfare clause. In a letter to Edmund Pendleton, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, said, "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one ..." Madison also said, "With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." Thomas Jefferson said, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

If you compare the vision of our nation's founders to the behavior of today's Congress, White House and U.S. Supreme Court, you would have to conclude that there is no longer rule of law where there is a set of general rules applicable to all persons.

Today, we are commanded by legislative thugs who, with Supreme Court sanction, issue orders commanding particular people to do particular things. Most Americans neither understand nor appreciate the spirit and letter of the Constitution and accept Congress' arbitrary orders and privileges based upon status.

What to do? Thomas Jefferson advised, "Whensoever the General (federal) Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." That bit of Jeffersonian advice is dangerous. While Congress does not have constitutional authority for most of what it does, it does have police and military power to inflict great pain and punishment for disobedience.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.