The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Blog Archive

Jun 30, 2009

June review

Wow June was a busy month for my blog. I started listening to KIRO FM during the day, which gave me an unbelievable amount of food to blog as my mind careened through the material. We don't have TV at home - and each time we've hooked up the cable and turned to the news, only to hear vile report after vile report, we're sorry we wasted our time. Yet, there are things going on in the nation that we should be aware of and the more I listen, the more I want to get moving to do something to prevent us from becoming a socialized nation. I feel the fire burning to get to school and become both a journalist to report it and wake the nation up and an attorney so I can get in to court and fight against it. Whatever "it" may be. To prepare my children for what their nation will face and not be sheople but organized and involved. Yet, I find myself lacking in the knowledge or ability to start and frozen by the same issues that hold most people from movement. I am no different - I just blog about it to the 5 or 6 people that actually read this stuff (thank you thank you thank you thank you!).

Several times over the last month I have been driving to work in the sunshine, listening to some report about the changes of our country that may be leading to a socialized government and I realize how much I enjoy my freedom in America. The freedom to choose my job, to get up in the morning, drive to work, leave when I want, choose to make more or less money, choose to have insurance or not - and not really have the government breathing down my neck. I am thankful for the government funds that have helped us out in our times of need. Unemployment, insurance coverage for children, food assistance, educational funding, stimulus payments. We've used what was available when needed and grateful. Do I think that's the answer for this country? I'm not sure how we can afford it. I don't know what the answer is but I don't think it's socialism. We have made decisions in our household that have kept us from being financially lucrative as we could. No college, had children, taken on responsibility, debt, part time work - a multitude of choices that may have set income potential limits. Do I resent another person's success? No. But I do resent those with success that take advantage of the backs of the people around them to promote their wealth. Story of humanity I guess. Do I think their wealth should be distributed amongst us? No - but I do think there should be accountability for those that take advantage. (would that mean some government officials would have to pay the price - maybe?... Sssssorrrry!(Gilly, Sat Night Live)).

Mr. Chadwell and I did get in to a discussion when Rush Limbaugh's last contract and reported salary because I was blown away by how much his salary was. I guess that's free enterprise but I do have the thoughts that some people are paid way too much for what they are doing. It's unbelievable. And then we have starving people in this country. Our towns. However, there are people who are starving or homeless by their own choices in life. I guess that's accountability yes? Consequences to choices? Some times. With over 6 billion people on the earth how do you wade through each case and decide who deserves help and who doesn't?

How do you make it fair? Those of you that know me long enough, know I've been asking the "fair" question my whole life and it could bring a chuckle. My son now asks that question all the time - he's definitely and apple off of this tree. Anyway, that's June. It's definitely been an interesting month - what will July hold? Ahhhh, more subscribers I hope!

Happy sunny day to you all -

Jun 29, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon...

My next adventure???? I think so!

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle - Registration Information

Shared via AddThis

On a lighter note...

I was going to blog on the news report of the website from Canada, with 4 million members, based solely on HELPING a person find someone to cheat on their spouse with... but you know, I just can't handle that issue today and I'm sure most of you are sick of it as well. Give us a break.

So this got me smiling today. Why? Because - here's my confession - I AM A MESSY DESK PERSON! AND I KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS! AND SOMETIMES, IT FEELS GOOD TO LOOK AT MY MESS!

Yes, I have come out of the closet. (Oh, that's not a revelation to those of you that have worked or lived with me?) The more I get to know my disorganized children, the more I love myself. And I was smart enough to pair myself up with an equally unorganized partner. Even better. Only.... well I won't comment on his pile.

We both are the "creative type", which apparently breeds clutter because our minds work better under pressure..... sure, it does.... (which doesn't explain those brief moments of unbelievable peace I feel when the counter is bare or I can see the desktop.... I'm sure it's delusion.)

This is obviously written by one of those annoying organized people, peering down their nose over their glasses at my "pile". Hmpf - but the ending sentence gives me the clearance - to be ME!

What's Wrong With A Messy Desk?
Clean or messy doesn't matter. Effective does.
By F. John Reh,

The war on your desk

Every day more and more information is thrown at you. New mail, reports from various committees, invoices, proposals, and more all hit your desk several times a day. You are too busy to deal with it right away so it just begins to pile up. Your desktop begins to look like a war zone.

The problem here is not that your desk is messy. The problem is that important stuff gets lost. It either gets buried by new material coming in, or it is in the new material, but is not noticed. As a result, you spend too much time on things that are simply urgent rather than those that are important.

When your boss wants to know how soon she can have that report for the Vice President, you don't want to tell her you didn't notice the memo she sent you requesting the report. Nor will your boss be thrilled to hear that the layout for the new product line is late because you set it aside and it got covered up and you forgot about it.

Some people will tell you the best way to solve this problem is a clean desk. Others say messy is okay. Who's right? Neither. And both.

Cluttered desk, cluttered mind

Not too long ago, there was a popular expression 'a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind.' That expression gave rise to an entire industry designed to help business executives clean their desktops as a sign of their mental acuity.

No doubt you have seen movies where the boss sits in his office atop a downtown skyscraper. He sits behind a glass-top desk with no drawers. The only adornments are the impressive pen set for signing important documents and a telephone or intercom so he can give orders.

On the other hand

Many people see nothing wrong with piles of paper covering the desktop, even spilling on to the chair seats and office floor. They quote adages like 'a cluttered desk is a sign of genius' and 'a messy desk is only a sign of a messy desk.'

We all know someone whose desk is that way. You don't see how they can even tell if the desktop is metal or wood. Yet, when you ask them for something, they go right to a pile, leaf through 2 or 3 sheets, and pull out what you asked for.

What works for you

Both sides are correct. The issue is not which is correct. The issue is which will make you more effective. There are a few fundamental guidelines that apply to both approaches, but the key is to work in a manner that allows you to be most effective. Almost everyone needs to get rid of some of the clutter atop their desk, but having no more than a single item on your desk at any one time won't work for many of us.

Many people are working on several projects at the same time (or almost the same time). Creative types feel the need to have inspiration surrounding them. Detail-oriented individuals need volumes of reference material close at hand. Some people feel the piles of work make them look busy and, thus, keep them safer in times of layoffs. Others feel a clean desk shows how efficient they are at getting the work done. What is important is to do what works for you.

Jun 26, 2009

MJ takes over - Rebecca & KIRO FM

Rebecca writes:

I'd like to say I didn't spend a lot of time on the death of Michael Jackson yesterday but you know, I did. I woke up this morning to a dream and in the background the distinct beat of the beginning of one of MJ"s songs was playing in the background. I woke up and mentally went through the music in my head to figure out which MJ song it was - "Beat It" - ahhh yes. A great song. I talked to Matt about all the stuff on KIRO FM that was discussed yesterday, the stupid arguing between Ron & Don (I ended up turning the radio off, it was ridiculous) and what I felt was the sadness of a lost life of an incredibly talented person. But was it a lost life? I don't know. If he took his incredible wealth and used it for good & helped one person, then it wasn't lost. I love music. So his contribution to my musical experience is definitely not lost. I love the memories of the Michael Jackson poster I had on my wall as a late teen and listening to his Thriller album over and over and over and over and over.... It makes me smile, so not a lost life when it brings a smile to my face and the tapping of my toes, the feeling of a need to relax & dance a bit. As his life took what appeared a nasty turn, I turned him off. He definitely walked a different hallway. I didn't know much about his children so I hoped they had some sort of "normal" life. As I perused Dory's page today and read this article, I was again saddened to read they did not have a "normal" life. My comments to the article about him were directed to his pain medication addiction, which Matt & I have lived the direct destroying effects of that in our lives. I did not know MJ had an addiction but last night I commented to Matt that the changes in his behavior reminded me of an addict. Apparently I nailed it. For his children's sake, I hope he wasn't a pedophile. It would be nice (in my rainbow and butterfly world) to see the 3 of them grow in to adulthood on some normal functioning level. It's interesting to hear of people talking about how abnormal MJ's life growing up was and that his family dysfunction contributed to his oddities and inability to cope and then turn around and say the kids will be fine & surrounded by loving family if raised by the Jackson family. Okay...? Anyway, here is Dory's story today:

Dori writes...

One of the most electrifying performers of all time... mentally unstable... quite likely a heinous criminal... everything about Michael Jackson seemed to involve extremes.

Thriller came out when I was in college - I was never a big fan of his music, but for people around my age, Michael Jackson definitely was a big part of the soundtrack of our lives.

His musical greatness is undeniable. And it was quite obvious when he was a young child. He was already a seasoned veteran performer at age 13 when he made this appearance on the Sonny & Cher Show.

He was an amazingly talented kid. Then, in 1983, he was at the top of his game at age 24 when he delivered one of the signature moments in pop culture history - on the Motown 25 special.

Seeing those performances makes the tragedy of what his life would become even more striking. He was accused of child rape and had a well-publicized addiction to painkillers. From his Wikipedia page:

Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old child named Jordan Chandler and his father Evan Chandler. The friendship between Jackson and Evan Chandler broke down. Sometime afterward, Evan Chandler was tape-recorded saying amongst other things, "If I go through with this, I win big-time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever...Michael's career will be over". A year after they had met, under the influence of a controversial sedative, Jordan Chandler told his father that Jackson had touched his penis. Evan Chandler and Jackson, represented by their legal teams, then engaged in unsuccessful negotiations to resolve the issue in a financial settlement; the negotiations were initiated by Chandler but Jackson did make several counter offers. Jordan Chandler then told a psychiatrist and later police that he and Jackson had engaged in acts of kissing, masturbation and oral sex, as well as giving a detailed description of what he alleged were the singer's genitals.

An official investigation began, with Jordan Chandler's mother adamant that there was no wrongdoing on Jackson's part. Neverland Ranch was searched; multiple children and family members denied that he was a pedophile. Jackson's image took a further turn for the worse when his older sister La Toya Jackson accused him of being a pedophile, a statement she later retracted. Jackson agreed to a 25-minute strip search, conducted at his ranch. The search was required to see if a description provided by Jordan Chandler was accurate. Doctors concluded that there were some strong similarities, but it was not a definitive match. Jackson made an emotional public statement on the events; he proclaimed his innocence, criticized what he perceived as biased media coverage and told of his strip search.

On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled with the Chandler family and their legal team out of court, in a civil lawsuit for $22 million. After the settlement Jordan Chandler refused to continue with Police criminal proceedings. Jackson was never charged, and the state closed its criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence.

In 2005, Jackson again faced charges of child molestation - again with a 13 year old. After a lengthy trial, he was aquitted of all charges.

Along with the musical genius and the horrible criminal accusations, we very publicly saw his descent into self-mutilation and mental illness. A very good looking boy and young man had turned himself into this:

Dazzling performer? Despicable molester? Demented wacko-Jacko? Let the conversation begin on how you think Michael Jackson will be remembered.

Jun 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Dead

Multiple reports this afternoon that Michael Jackson died of Cardiac Arrest this afternoon. Just the other night, Matt pulled up 80's videos on YouTube and we reminisced the best decade of rock video and music. Michael Jackson's videos came up and I said "that was when he was cute and I had his poster on my wall. Good music & videos then".

I remember my mom's reaction when John Wayne died. She was heartbroken. It brings to mind my own age as Carradine, McMahon, Fawcet and Jackson pass away 2 weeks of each other.

When they said Jackson was 50 years old, in my mind he's not much older then myself... what a jolt to me!

There you have it. Reporting from Seattle... this is RebeccaFM.

KIRO: Must Enjoy Long Walks On Argentinian Beaches

I listened to the confession live yesterday. Sickened. Disheartened. Disheartened that I continue to have faith in these people. And yet, my profile says - I dislike politicians. I dislike dishonest people. Well it's not a wonder why over the past few weeks. I didn't get time to publish my blog I was working on and this is from KIRO FM, Dave Ross and I like his points. My favorite word over the years in the midst of stupidity - look of shock on my face, eyes blank - Unbelievable. - Dave Ross

Now THAT was a press conference from the Twilight zone.

I realize I should have more sympathy for Governor Mark Sanford, just as I probably should have had more sympathy for Senator John Ensign, and even Newt Gingrich, but I don't.

Merely entering public life demands a huge sacrifice from your family. To then COMPOUND that by betraying your wife requires a level of narcissism that you'd think even a politician would be incapable of.

But beyond that - for a governor to DISAPPEAR for four days in order to nurse his angst? And lie about it? Too bad he wasn't under oath.

And during his press conference he felt compelled to tell the story of the affair - how it began innocently, how it was such a special friendship, how in fact he was trying to get her to reconcile with her husband… PLEASE!

You're the governor of a state in a country on the verge of DEPRESSION! How do you justify devoting even a second of your life to relationship counseling?

I'm beginning to think that all this Glenn Beck teary-eyed flag-waving populism has attracted far too many emotionally overwrought personalities to public office.

Obviously politicians are human, and humans stray, but if a politician is going to cheat, he ought to do it with enough skill that the rest of us don't end up having to watch. That was Clinton's problem too. The difference between Sanford and Clinton is that Sanford is trying to tell us his relationship was genuine and beautiful--, albeit ultimately tragic. At least Clinton knew full well he was just another Bubba.

Jun 24, 2009

Our Story about the times.

This isn't a story about a neighborhood or business thriving. It is a story about a family of 7 surviving job loss this year.

In the Spring of 2007, we were forced to look for a new home when the one we had been leasing for 2 years was sold. We also needed to move into the school district our children were attending and this was the push to move. My husband had a great job with a very decent salary, I worked part time and we decided to find out if a home purchase would be an option. We met with a mortgage broker and were told that we could qualify for an "Interest Only" loan that would keep our payments barely above our budgeted goal. We had very minimal debt and our goal with the move, whether to rent or buy, was to keep our living expenses at a level that we could still support if either of us lost employment and to avoid the increased stress of trying to manage normal living expenses on half of an income. Obtaining an interest only mortgage was nothing either of us ever really considered so as we walked out of the mortgage brokers office, the fact that they were downloading our credit reports and messing around with the reporting to create the portfolio the management wanted to see, did not lead us to believe this was the step for us. We weren't going to put ourselves in a risky position for the sake of owning a home.

We decided to forget buying a home at that time and continued to look for a lease that fit in to our budgeted plans. We had to really work hard at finding a lease that met our budget. Our kids attended school in one of the more expensive real estate areas of Woodinville and it was not going to be easy to find something in the price range we were looking for. At the last hour, on the way to lease another home not in the area we wanted, a house literally fell in to our path that fit all the requirements of what we needed for our family and budget. It was a true gift.

15 months later, in October of 2009, other departments within my husbands company started to suffer employee cuts. "heads are rolling on the hill" was the term being used. In November my husband's department started to go through quality efficiency review and a month later, even though their department had been told they would not suffer any cuts, the decision came through to cut - and my husband was laid off, despite excellent performance reviews and recommendations from the department director. We lost health & dental insurance coverage for the family and half of his income, which was the base salary for our living.

We look back at the decisions we made in 2007 to lease, instead of own, to keep our living expenses at a manageable level for a situation like this and we know it was one of the most solid decisions we've made together. We are a blended family, have custody & raise together our combined five children. The children were covered by a secondary insurance through their other respective parent. Now that secondary insurance becomes primary and WA state medical coverage we decided to apply for becomes secondary. With a $2000 deductible per child & 80% coverage under the primary, the state coverage became a financial saver when one of our kids was diagnosed with a serious disorder a few months ago and has required extensive medical care. My husband & I, however, have no insurance, cannot afford the COBRA even with the stimulus package supplement and simply hope neither of us gets sick while we are in this situation.

6 months later, interviews and job applications submitted & submitted & submitted, there is no work to be had in a dying industry - printing. My career is in the commercial real estate market, which has been hit hard by the economy this last year, yet my employer keeps me on and mysteriously enough, business finds it's way through the door. My employer has a reputation of integrity and hard work which I think keeps him in mind for those that are looking to work a deal during this time. My husband & I do worry about what will happen if he is unable to find a position in his industry by the time the UE extensions run out, the consideration of losing 20 years of experience or start over at mid life with 5 kids, 2 entering college in a few years themselves. We can't even think about if there will be Social Security funds for us at retirement. Right now we live day to day with a thankful heart that we are able to raise our own children and endure this period of time in our country, with the hope that work & provision will continue to flow through the door.

Jun 19, 2009


Yeesh - I read this and thought I probably sound like my grandparents did when my parents went through the 60's . (shhhh, don't point out I am a product of the 60's free love!) I am becoming a crotchety old woman of an older generation. I guess I'm arriving.

News shocker! One more politician stepped out on his marriage. The question today on the radio was - should he be burned in the media and should he continue to serve this country - because does the cheating really effect his ability to do his job? This is a "private" matter and it happens all the time, "in every neighborhood". This blog is not about any moral issues of infidelity but about the question as to the standard a politician, public official or someone in leadership should be held to.

This week there have a been a few issues of adult behavior on the radio. Repeatedly this one issue comes to mind for me -

We are raising children. Are you? As parents, we spend a good amount of time trying to educate ourselves in dealing with the kids effectively and positively. Have you ever heard the term "good choice"? Maybe, "consequence". Maybe "consequence" that follows term "choice"? How, as a child today, do they look at the adults that lead our country, whether it's government, entertainment, sports - and come to the conclusion that this lesson of consequences in relation to choices, is relevant? Usually, the teaching is good consequence to good choice/behavior, negative consequence to poor choice/behavior. The unwanted or negative consequence (citation, jail, death, punishment, etc) is the deterrent to breaking laws, drugs, "poor" behavior. But, the US society today, tolerance for everyone and everything means the excuse of "it happens everywhere" (everyone does it!) - and no consequence. In fact - another shock! - the more power and money an individual has in this country, the more allowances given for wrong behavior. A public apology is enough. No standards are set. Accountability and responsibility have become the exception and not the rule to those that govern and lead.

A point about Clinton being impeached came up and if this elected official is not held to the same standard, do we owe Clinton an apology? I'm still looking around for the consequence of the impeachment. So what apology would be necessary? Ouch, that slap on the hand stung! Please apologize.

I am not naive to believe our country will change it's view on this issue. In fact I think it will get worse. We are a nation of generational change. More & more unacceptable behavior is becoming the norm. But we shouldn't look around in dismay at the behavior of the younger generations. Disrespect, irresponsibility, lack of self control, alcoholism, drugs, lack of dependability, is growing among the young and this is a good example of why - they are being led by a group of people who conduct themselves in the very same way, with no personal OR societal accountability for their own personal life choices.

And speaking of Clinton - who probably is not the only president to be "untrue" - if the president can take advantage of his position of leader in this country with a young impressionable intern, without real consequence, then why would any politician care about being held to a standard of fidelity within their own marriage or committed relationship?

Intimacy in marriage usually is a prime life commitment. And I know there are plenty of reasons, excuses, life choices, etc etc etc, for straying. But, should a person decide and willingly commit to another person in the normal parameters of marriage, requesting in return a vow of faithfulness, (assuming this senator did not have an open marriage) - is that commitment not more important than a commitment to a nation?

Interesting question for debate.

I do think politicians ARE different from citizens and knowingly choose to put themselves into a career that expects a higher standard. They put themselves in the public limelight & usually they portray some sort of value systems to get elected. If they are married, they understand they choose to put their own family to the same scrutiny. Infidelity for any leader, public official, pastor, school teacher, any area the media can crucify - is a target. Not only for the offender but for their family. If an adult cannot have the self control to take that seriously and protect those in their own home, why are they going to retain self control in a high position of power over the citizens they are suppose to lead?

We push entertainment on our kids at every turn. And read article after article of the young - and some older - Hollywood stars who are repeatedly intoxicated or high, reports that are rarely associated with true consequences of the choices. A ticket here or there, maybe short jail time, stint in rehab - like it's part of normal life. I think the only story that really showed any consequence was Britney Spears, who lost her children but that was such a big story the media ate it up and ran it everywhere. Suspicion of sports figures who buy their way out of sentences, with the league's help so they can continue to play and put money in the owner's pockets.

I guess this is what I should teach our children. Power, wealth, financial stability, recognition IS the way to go because there you have it easy & can do what you want! No rules. No standards.

Hence... Enron, the banking industry, the stock market, the auto industry, AIG.

No accountability.

Jun 18, 2009

Save the Fly

I try to just be a conduit... but sometimes the thoughts in my head, take over the keyboard. This is one of those times.

Last week I laughed so hard, in amazement, when Matt told me about PETA's argument against Pike Place Market employees throwing the dead Salmon around, before packaging for customers.

I actually said "wow, business must be down if they are worrying about that".

Today, as I listen to a great part of the Dave Ross show devoted to their complaint about the President killing a fly in a meeting - all I can say is

Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Should The President worry about PETA's - RIDICULOUS - complaint against the killing of a fly - we should just give up our arms to the rest of the world right now. I cannot believe this is on the headlines of the news on The President of the United States today.

Maybe if the efforts over this moronic story were spent in other areas that actually mattered, the world might be in a better place.

And I'm using Dori Monson's word - MORON - today.

Yes, I'm being negative. In Gilly's word - Ssssorrrry!

Jun 16, 2009

10 Worst Habits (MSN)

I've had a horrible day. Right from the start, one thing after another. For 90 minutes I tried to get in to the shower, only to be pulled & pulled & pulled as each new crisis presented itself. I've found with a house of 7 and constant responsibility, emergency, details, schedule, that I've become a bit of a procrastinator in getting tasks done - probably purely for survival & a severe lack of time. If it's not an emergency, I can handle this emergency and get that one done a bit later. Came across this MSN article today and yes,once again I am failing at employee/human of the year!

When two people fall in love, they only see sunshine and rainbows when they look into each other's eyes. If you asked, "What's the worst trait of your boyfriend or girlfriend?" they would answer, "Absolutely, positively nothing!"

Ask that same question a few years later when they're living together and have seen each other at their respective worst. You'll get a pretty good list:

"She cuts her toenails on the coffee table."

"He speaks in a cutesy voice on behalf of the dog."

"She kicks me in her sleep."

Hopefully none of these nuisances finds its way into your work life, but other ones probably do. Everyone has some weaknesses in their work behavior that they need to work on, and they often extend beyond annoyances (such as eating a smelly lunch at your desk) and become problems for your career.

Here are 10 habits that you should try to break:

1. Procrastination

A lot of people work best under pressure, or at least they say so. With everyone having a different personality, you can't say a strict schedule works best for all employees. Putting tasks off until the last minute, however, invites plenty of problems, even if you think the final result will be glorious.

When you leave yourself no wiggle room to complete a task, you run the risk of encountering an unexpected obstacle that makes you miss the deadline. Even if the situation is out of your hands, everyone will be left wondering why you didn't plan better and account for last-minute emergencies.

2. Being a sloppy e-mailer

E-mails are second nature to most people these days, and in informal communications they've become a digital Post-it note. We type out a message and send it without proofreading or double-checking the recipients. That's a recipe for disaster.

If you haven't learned your lesson by now, the day will soon come when you accidentally "Reply All" to an e-mail and a slew of unintended readers receive a silly note you intended only your co-worker to read.

3. Confusing informal with disrespectful

In many workplaces, the boss might be the decision maker, but he or she isn't the stern, humorless caricature you saw on TV. Using your supervisor's first name and going for some drinks after work are common in many industries. Still, you are the employee and the boss is the boss -- the one who can fire you and tell you what to do. Don't cross the line by talking to her as if you're talking to one of your direct reports or even your best friend. You need to show some respect for her authority.

4. Taking advantage of leeway

Some companies are strict about the time you clock in and out. Others have guidelines but no hard rules, so you can arrive at 8:35 a.m. and no one cares. If over time you're arriving at 9:10 a.m. and leaving at 4 p.m. (with plenty of breaks in between), your reputation will suffer.

This also goes for dress codes. Business casual is up to interpretation, but ripped jeans and concert tees probably don't fall under your company's accepted definition.

5. Refusing to mingle

Plenty of wisdom lies in the advice not to mix personal and professional lives. However, refusing to take part in any social activity -- such as the office potluck or a happy hour -- will not help your career. You don't need to be the resident party animal, but being personable with your colleagues helps build camaraderie. You get to know other people better and they get to know you as more than the person they pass in the halls.

6. Always running late

This isn't the same as abusing leeway; this is a matter of trust. If you're late to work, to meetings and with projects, your boss and colleagues will associate that trait with you. When it's time for a promotion or to deal with an important client, everyone will think twice before giving you the opportunity. Who wants to trust the person who can't manage his or her time?

7. Being rigid

One of the unfair aspects of the working world is that sometimes it seems you can't win. If you're hired to do a job, most bosses don't want you passing the day by reading your favorite book. The reason: You were hired to do a job, so do it. But if the boss comes to you with a new project that's outside the parameters of your usual duties, it's still yours to do. "You don't pay me to do that" isn't something you want to tell your supervisor.

8. Acting as the resident contrarian

We all love your spirited personality, but try not to be the person in the meeting who always has a better idea and can tell you why everyone else's idea is dumb. Voices of opposition are often missing in many workplaces because too many eager employees want to be "yes" men and women. But too much negativity grates on nerves and makes people dread hearing your voice. Continue to be a critical thinker, but make sure you're doing what's best for the company and not just trying to be the loudest voice in the room.

9. Badmouthing the company

With blogs, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other sites, you have plenty of opportunity to vent your frustration with life. If you're going to complain about how dumb your boss is and how much you hate your job, keep those rants private. The Internet is public domain and comments have a way of finding their way back to all the wrong people. If you wouldn't stand outside your boss's office and tell a co-worker how ready you are to quit, don't express the same thoughts in an open forum.

10. Politicking

Office politics are often unavoidable, and sometimes having a grasp on what's going on can benefit you, but you shouldn't spend more time masterminding office warfare than you do working. Getting caught in the crosshairs of a workplace controversy can be out of your control, but if you're the one instigating the drama, you're earning a bad reputation. You're the person who starts trouble and whom no one trusts. That's the kind of notoriety that follows you from one workplace to another.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Jun 14, 2009

A weekend in the life of The FitzMull Clan

Okay, this is just a glimpse into our weekend. This is without the usual other 2 softball games we have. End of seasons! Yes! Summer is coming... wait 4 of 5 will still be taking summer classes, McKenna was accepted at Bellevue Youth Symphony Summer camp and Girl Scouts young adult camp, plus then all 4 girls will be in day camp in August, soccer will start and **** gulp **** ALL FIVE are playing this year! I don't have a clue how we will do it.... By some miracle we will arrange care for all 5 on Labor Day so we can enjoy the Dave Matthews tickets Matt got for his 41st birthday... we shall see! So here's my Facebook status today:

Our weekend... are you ready? :) I asked McKenna if we were ever without children... she laughed and said "um, no - are you crazy?" - Saturday, Ryan's last game, up at 6:30, trying like mad to find the missing downloaded DVD version of the team movie.. then the copies we burned failed... off to the game, don't let the cupcakes melt in the sun...back home, figure out the dvd issues (I was right!!!), Rebecca off to take McKy shopping for her HI trip...another enlightening day for mom that daughter is growing up, Matt's at home w/kiddos, peyton bday party, oops 4got present, to store, back to party, home, back 2 p/u peyton. I'm still shopping, Matt home to make dinner, me to mall, oops Kayla need suit for camp, dang! hunt like mad (do you know how inappropriate swimsuits are?!!!, home for late w/little one, shoo off to bed, movie w/older girls, midnight... and bedtime. Up at 6:30, breakfast for girls, they are off to church at 8, breakfast for Matt & little kids, quick family walk & football through neighborhood, back, get ready for church, church - Matt decides to get baptized! Wow! back home, lunch for 7, off to the mall to return suit & p/u lost sunglasses, oh I forgot about the fish... bought fish for kids, tanks, fill water, let de-chlorinize, forgot more fish, back to store, to Micheals art store, back home, matt work on art project for Kass class, finish DVDs for Ryans team, sleeve, label, fold clothes, was there a nap? no... dinner, dessert, dishes, games, bed time.... 9pm, my eyes are burning, ahhhhh, bedtime. good night!

Jun 12, 2009

Ryan's Team Video

I made it!

Jun 11, 2009

Rebecca's Response

Someone emailed me today this EXCELLENT point to remember:

"...remember that the founders of this country came here seeking freedom of religion--the right to worship as they saw fit…and not be persecuted or judged. Yes, most of them were Christians, so it’s correct in saying we were founded on Christian principles. I think they were very careful NOT to write Christianity into the Constitution…and they believed that each person should have the freedom to worship according to their beliefs."

Now for my response - I know I've thrown a lot on here in 2 days. But that's blogging and I've been behind. Someone emailed me and said it sounds like I think Christianity is the only way, only Christians have morals. First, they weren't my responses. I was publishing responses to the Treaty of Tripoli info posted.

Whether Christianity is the only way, is something every person has to determine themselves. I certainly do not think only Christians have morals. All humans fall short in some matter and probably all humans lack morality in some aspect of their lives, regardless of how much they choose to excuse it away. So here are some thoughts I have on this nation and it's "Christianity".

I've noticed, as I'm sure many have, over the years a general movement away and a growing intolerance within our country of Christian principles or the freedom to simply express the belief in Christianity. To the point that some religious persecution is happening and I think coming in our future to this country. This is why it gets my interest to hear the president say we are not a christian nation any longer and I am concerned that he attempts to speak for this nation regarding that matter and as to what the future will hold for Christian views. It seems as human nature, our politics and stance on things is either WAY left or WAY right, not really meeting in the middle so tolerance for one view, means obliteration for the other.

Maybe the Treaty of Tripoli was signed as stated, in order to induce their nation in to peace and not continue to hurt US people, maybe OBama's words were meant as such as well. To induce peace with a nation, who's religion seeks to destroy those with opposing religions. As I type this, the thought occurs to me how interesting it is that OBama is in the middle of a world meeting, a political meeting and sees fit to discount our Christian principles as a nation, in order to bring peace and hopefully end further attacks on US citizens. It seems to boil around religious beliefs. Yet, we must discount ours to induce their favor. Seems a bit two sided and begs attention to what is being given away for the rights or consideration of another country. This is the US and I think we are giving away who we are in many areas, which in turn is giving power to other countries to dictate what and who we are.

Dori Monson recently talked about the fact that an American can't smile in a drivers license photo yet, Muslim women are able to sue and win in the states to keep their faces covererd in their photos. This had nothing to do with being Muslim or anything against any particular race of people. It was about the fact that the Drivers License and it's photo is something we do here in America for identification purposes. Should someone choose to live in this fine country, they should be ready to abide by our laws. Instead we seem to be expected to change the way we live in our own country to accommodate those from around the world that choose to come here. Many listeners called in who had lived abroad and talked about how proud citizens are in other countries, flags are flown, pride is lived and the country is not trumped within by outsiders. Yet, in a large move for tolerance and acceptance of everyone, America is losing who it is as a Nation. When the right to put up your American Flag is removed because the flag is offensive to another person, living on our soil, it's gone too far. When a government official shows up outside someone's personal residence and starts interrogating them about what they are doing in their own home, because it is of a Christian gathering where the words Amen, Hallelujah and praise songs are used - something has gone too far. We need to wake up in light of these small movements against tolerance for Christian principles AND who our nation is. Maybe we need to go back to the beginning and remember where we began. I think this interest in whether we began as a "Christian" nation or not is part of that fighting back and attempt to keep our country American and against the movement to uphold the rights of everything - but Christianity.

I heard this interesting song the other day - something about how things in life don't happen overnight. It happens slowly. A marriage doesn't end overnight, a father doesn't leave his children overnight, etc. Things happen over time to slowly erode something that was strong. I see that happening to our great nation and many things are happening across America we don't even realize. When someone can bring them all together in one place for the big picture, well "overnight" is happening and we need to pay attention.

And no I do not believe in any way only Christians have morals or values. But I do believe there is a need to stand up & pay attention to where this is headed and fight for our rights to live with those values. It chills my blood when I listen to the DVD "expelled" and hear a scientist say that what he hopes is people will rely on science more to achieve his goal, which is to ultimately push "religion" where it belongs, a nice thing for the weekend and at some point, humanity will no longer feel the need to rely on religion or God. For me it's not about doctrine, I believe God is too many times forced & pushed in to the same category as "religion" and they are two very different things. I know God exists by my own life experiences and believe there is a danger of forgetting who we are in this universe, what humanity means and the importance of human life.

Mr. Chadwell Part 6

Mr. Chadwell can be found at

Well, I guess THIS would be the wrap on this issue. You may be familiar with the old saying "A text without a context is a pretext." I think this applies in this case.

I think you have to take into account what is meant when a nation is "founded on" Islam and realize that such nations have no tolerance for dissenting religious views either from within OR from without. (You know, because Islam is such a "peaceful" religion. Gag.) In the case of the Treaty of Tripoli, this becomes key. It was in the interest of the U.S. at that time to make these nations understand that we were not founded on Christianity the way they were founded on Islam and that we were not the sort of country that would make war with other countries over different religious beliefs. (and the Muslim nations were, by the way) I think that this is the thrust of article 11. In other words, the Treaty of Tripoli was written to a Muslim nation or nations, not to our citizens, and those Muslim nations would have understood this in a particular way.

This seems like the best way to harmonize article 11 with those other quotes from the same men that signed the treaty. Again, we cannot merely sweep their other comments under the rug. If we can, then why don't we sweep the language of the TREATY under the rug? Nope… that wouldn't be right either.

Another interesting point may be found in that very first line of article 11. The article states that the GOVERNMENT of the United States isn't founded on Christianity. I don't think I would want to say that the government is necessarily the same as our nation as a whole. This has always been unique to our government… it governs, but in a very limited way (or at least it was limited at one point in history) and so much of the nation operates, in a sense, independently of the government. Much of American life (even today, believe it or not!) is NOT governed. (enjoy it while you can!) Therefore it could be said that, while America as a nation with its society and culture was "founded on" Christianity, the government itself was set up according to Christian principles, but with limits established that would ensure freedom of religion in spite of the fact. I'll grant you that this line of reasoning is a bit more convoluted than the first, but treaties are not entered into lightly nor worded carelessly… you can bet that every word in that treaty was very carefully chosen. There's probably a reason why they referred to the government and not the nation.

Here are three more quotes which I could have included previously… I offer these because I actually think they threaten my second argument because they speak of GOVERNMENT being supported by religion (Christianity). "Founded on" has the idea of a foundation, and foundations (and pillars) support things.

Patrick Henry, 1799 "The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor… and this alone, that renders us invincible."

Patrick Henry says that religion (Christianity)--and the morality and virtue which flow from it--is the only thing that makes our nation invincible.

Daniel Webster, 1800 "To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper."

This one ought to get our attention. Morality is grounded in religion (again, Christianity) and without that, there is no grounding for morality. We have not preserved morals at all. Nationally we have embraced the notion that morality is relative, that what's right for you may not be right for me, that there is no such thing as truth, that all religions are equally valid (and, in reality, false). Therefore we have no grounding for morality, no foundation. Without that, Daniel Webster says, the superstructure MUST fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated (perverted or of impaired quality) and corrupt, laws become invalid and constitutions are like garbage. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Charles Carroll, 1800 "Without morals, a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion… are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."

What else needs to be said? Obama himself, though he claims to be a Christian, decries the Christian religion and has undermined any solid foundation of morals. Don't get too excited about that… lots of recent presidents have done precisely the same thing. I think there are rough days ahead for the United States.

Anyway, I think you get the idea. I think it's very difficult to rely on article 11 of this treaty as any kind of "proof" that American was not founded on Christianity or is not a Christian nation. The treaty had a very narrow context with a very narrow life span. It is predictable that atheists embrace the Treaty of Tripoli and yanked it out its context and used it to support their own world view… a world view which the founders clearly rejected. They do the same thing with evidence for evolution. They take finch beaks that change size and shape over time, pull that fact out of its context, ignore the fact that the finches' beaks end up getting smaller again and that the finches never become anything other than finches, and then from this they conclude that a single-celled organism can evolve into, well, YOU. Fits the pattern, doesn't it?

I think that's all I've got. Hope it all makes sense. I'd welcome your comments, critical or otherwise.

Jun 10, 2009

Mr. Chadwell - Pt 5 (and final?)

One other aspect of this that needs some light…

It is a popular notion that many of the founding fathers were "deists" and not Christians. Benjamin Franklin is often slapped with the "Deist" label. But if you compare the belief of Deism against some things that Franklin actually said, it makes you wonder.

The term "deist" today is a term reserved for a person who believes in a deity, but a deity that created the universe and essentially walked away. A disinterested deity. A deity that does not interfere in history, that doesn't interact with humans, and is generally not concerned with anything that goes on down here. Given that understanding of "deism", consider very carefully these quotes from Benjamin Franklin and ask yourself whether what he says is consistent with that sort of belief:

"…how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered… And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?"

Daily prayers? To whom? A god that doesn't care? A god that walked away? Divine protection? The god of deism won't protect anyone… he doesn't care, he walked away. Prayers heard and graciously answered? The god of deism doesn't answer prayers. Powerful friend whose assistance we need? What assistance does the god of deism offer us? None. Here's another.

"…I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth––that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probably that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel…"

Does the god of deism govern in the affairs of men? The god of deism notices if a sparrow falls to the ground? Does the god of deism raise up empires? Does the god of deism assure us of anything? Does he reveal himself in sacred writings?

Clearly, Benjamin Franklin was no deist… at least not as deism is described today. Be very skeptical of claims about the founders being "deists."

How did the Founders' religious beliefs break down?

The denominational affiliations of the 55 "Founding Fathers" were a matter of public record. Among the delegates were 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown, and only 3 deists… this at a time when church membership entailed a sworn public confession of biblical faith.

This demonstrates that the members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping the political foundations of our nation, were almost all Christians, 51 of 55--a full 93%. Indeed, 70% were Calvinists (the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and the Dutch Reformed), considered by some to be the most extreme and dogmatic form of Christianity.

The conclusion here, of course, is that the vast majority of the founders were Bible-believing Christians, and even one that may have described himself as a "deist" (Franklin) wasn't a deist by today's vernacular and seems to indicate a firm faith in God of the Bible.

All important information to have when considering whether American is a Christian nation.

Mr. Chadwell Part 4

There's a very fair-minded analysis of the Treaty of Tripoli here:

I guess you have to break the issue of resolving the apparent contradiction down into the possibilities. What are the possible explanations?

One possibility is that our government simply misrepresented itself for the purpose of getting the treaty passed so as to protect U.S. merchant ships from pirates. That's not a pleasant possibility… I'd like to think more highly of our founders than that. So I'm not saying I think that's what happened, but among the universe of possibilities, that's one.

Another possibility is that all of those other quotes are either misunderstood or are otherwise invalid. And of course, we'd have to show evidence to support that. That's another possibility, but it seems like even more of a stretch than the first.

The third possibility is that there's something in the historical context and language that would make sense out of the apparent contradiction. This seems most likely to me.

One thing we cannot do, however, is simply ignore the language of those founders who clearly viewed Christianity as the foundation of this nation. If we can simply ignore their language when it argues FOR a Christian foundation, why can't we just ignore language that argues against it? Understand, I'm not suggesting we do either… but the separatists are. They wish to simply ignore the language that argues against their understanding. This is not good form.

For example, it seems they might be ignoring the Treaty of Paris in 1783, fourteen years before the Treaty of Tripoli. This Treaty, negotiated by Ben Franklin and John Adams and others, begins with the words, "In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity..."

Now "Trinity" is exclusively a Christian doctrine… (or at least it was until Mormonism began using it to describe something else, but Mormonism wouldn't come along for another 60 years or so, and I suspect that their hi-jacking of that theological term came along some time after Joseph Smith wrote his books. Islam, for example, rejects the trinity and so does Judaism.

My point is that there must be something else going on here. It is certainly NOT the open and shut case that the Stephen Jay Gould article wants us to think it is. Having considered what I've offered thus far, don't you agree?

I think that there is an unfortunate tendency to overlook some middle ground in this "Is American a Christian Nation" controversy. Secularists seem to be under the impression that if we say that the nation is "founded on Christianity" that this necessarily removes their freedom to reject Christianity. They seem purely incapable of imagining a foundation built on Christianity which also ALLOWS them freedom to believe something else. When I say that America WAS founded on Christianity (and of course I do believe it was) I do NOT mean that our government set out to require citizens to believe in Christianity. For one thing, you could not possibly found a nation on Christianity (REAL Christianity, BIBLICAL Christianity) and require any such thing because you would understand, based on your belief in Christianity, that it's not possible to REQUIRE people to believe a thing. You would understand that people are answerable ultimately to God and God alone and to suggest they were answerable to you (the founder, let's say) for their beliefs would violate your own belief in Christianity!! So what the secularists are reacting to is not even possible if the founders really truly believed the Bible and had a proper understanding of Christianity, and it appears that they did.

Once again, there need not be this idea of "separation of church and state" in order for people to have religious freedom. The 1st amendment gives us religious freedom (or at least it did at one point… Now we've essentially swept it under the rug) by ensuring that the congress can make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That in no way means that the government's laws are not, or cannot be, based on Christian principles. I don't even understand why the government cannot "endorse" a religion in a general sense… again, without legal consequences. If, in talking with you, I "endorse" a particular view (as I often do!) that is not tantamount to me REQUIRING you to adopt that view, is it? Of course not!! As long as the government is not punishing people for not believing in Christianity, (or any other religion) and as long as the government is not interfering with the free exercise of religion, then we have religious freedom regardless of what religion the government may or may not have been founded on. Does that make sense to you?

The doctrine of "separation of church and state" does not appear in the constitution. We've discussed this before. You have some language about not requiring elected officials to belong to one religion or another, and you have the 1st amendment. I don't see how these occurrences argue at all for a "separation" except in the sense that the government is not requiring citizens to believe any particular religion.

Mr. Chadwell Part 3

One interesting element that I found, which doesn't really explain anything away, is that the Treaty of Tripoli was re-negotiated 8 years later, at which point article 11 was removed.

What does that mean? I don't really know.

Mr. Chadwell Part 2

Okay… The next step is to understand that, whether we like it or not, some of the same founders who were apparently involved in the Treaty of Tripoli said some things which, well, appear to blatantly contradict article 11 of the treaty. I believe you've seen many of these already, 'cuz I sent you a bunch recently. As I read article 11, initially I am really perplexed at how these men could have agreed to say THIS (article 11) when elsewhere they so clearly said something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. But it might also help to go back even further and discover why anyone ever came to this land from England at all. What was their mission? Naturally, part of it was to escape what they regarded as a tyranny in England. A religious tyranny, to be more specific. But consider this from the Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England, May 19, 1643

"Whereas we all came to these parts of America with the same end and aim, namely, to advance the kingdome of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to injoy the liberties of the Gospell thereof with purities and peace, and for preserving and propagating the truth and the liberties of the gospell"

Wow!! These people (at least in 1643) had the idea that by settling North America as they did, not only were they escaping England, but it seems even more importantly, they believed they were enlarging the kingdom of Christ and SPREADING THE GOSPEL. Propagating the truth and liberties of the gospel. (they had odd spelling back then, didn't they?) This has powerful implications, does it not?

I'll grant you that it does nothing to explain away the Treaty of Tripoli language that came along 150 years later. We still have to understand what THAT was all about. But clearly the settlers had a particular "end and aim" in mind, and it clearly was not a secular, religiously "neutral" nation… at least not as early as 1643. Did things change that dramatically in 150 years?

Now, in light of this, consider these quotes:

John Adams, 1776 "Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand."

Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand? That language "upon which… can securely stand" conjures up the idea of a "foundation" does it not? This is only 21 years prior to the treaty. Now, I also notice that Adams didn't say "Christianity", he said "religion." That's pretty broad. You'd have to look around a bit more and see if you could find evidence to suggest he may have understood "religion" to BE Christianity. More on that in a minute…

Benjamin Rush, 1798 "The only foundation for… a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."

Well this is interesting. One year AFTER the treaty was signed, and Benjamin Rush is saying that religion is the ONLY FOUNDATION upon which to build a republic is religion. Again, he doesn't specify WHICH religion. Interesting.

Samuel Adams, 1779 "Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness."

Wow. Again, this is 18 years before the treaty. Religion and morality are the ONLY solid foundation… there is nothing else on which you can establish public liberty and happiness. Interesting.

Patrick Henry, 1799 "The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor… and this alone, that renders us invincible."

Two years after the treaty. The "pillars of all government" are morality and religion!! Pillar, like a foundation, is a support.

Here are three quotes from Alexis de Tocqueville, who was not an American, but came here from France in the early 1800s (after the treaty, notice) and made these observations:

"The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other."

"Religion should therefore be considered as the first of their political institutions. From the start, politics and religion have agreed and have not since ceased to do so."

"The religious atmosphere of the country was the first things that struck me upon my arrival in the U.S. In France, I had seen the spirits of religion and freedom almost always marching in opposite directions. In America, I found them intimately linked together and joined and reigned over the same land…"

De Tocqueville, an outsider, a "disinterested party", observed that it was CHRISTIANITY that was driving government and politics in the U.S. He said that religion (and by that clearly he means Christianity) should be considered the FIRST of [the Americans'] political institutions, and he says that in American, since the beginning (think of that quote from the Articles of Confederation) politics and religion have agreed, and apparently still did when he visited the U.S. You could hardly count de Tocqueville as any part of a grand conspiracy, right?

Benjamin Rush, 1798 "Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts they will be wise and happy."

Here Benjamin Rush, one year after the treaty, identifies Christianity as the religion in question.

So, how do we reconcile this with the language of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli?

Honestly, I'm not sure I know just yet. But I know this… whenever you have what appears to be a contradiction, it is either a genuine contradiction, or there is something about ONE SIDE of the contradiction that we're not understanding properly. Does that make sense? The question is, which side are we not understanding properly? The evidence seems overwhelming that the founders believed they were founding a nation on Christianity, at least in some sense. And yet here you have article 11 saying that the government was not founded on Christianity IN ANY SENSE. Truly, this is perplexing. Very interesting.

Mr. Chadwell Part 1

As you might expect, I have lots to say about this. I'll start off, however, with the frank admission that I had never heard of the Treaty of Tripoli either. I now understand that Obama apparently invoked the treaty in his recent speech which probably explains why this issue came to our attention, ultimately. So, understandably, in reading the treaty I'm struck by the language used. I'd like to share some observations with you about this which will serve as a foundation of sorts… a backdrop, maybe.

And by the way, thank you for bringing my attention to it. Every time I encounter something like this, it drives me to learn more about it, and in that process I become better equipped to deal with it. I'd much rather hear this from you than, say, some secular type whom I'm trying to persuade as to the founding of this nation and be left flat-footed, caught be surprise. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

For one thing, and understand this is a minor consideration but a consideration nonetheless, but the article you cite is associated with Stephen Jay Gould. Gould died a while back, but I think it's at least minimally relevant to understand who Gould was. Gould was a rather well known atheist and evolutionary, uh… scientist. I was going to say "biologist" but some of those guys get picky about their precise title, so I'll use the broadest one I know. Gould was bothered by the fact that the fossil record provided precious little in the way of transitional forms and if Darwin had been correct, we should have an incredible wealth of transitional forms. So, he came up with the theory called "Punctuated Equilibrium" to explain away this lack of transitional forms.

What's my point? My point is that everyone has a bias. I most certainly have a bias, so do you, so did Stephen Jay Gould and those who share his world view. Hopefully you have seen by now enough evidence to persuade you that the popular evolution story which we were all fed is demonstrably false and literally impossible. And again, I don't disbelieve evolution if evolution simply means "change over time". I can agree to that and compromise NOTHING in the way of my Biblical world view. But if "evolution" means all living things descended accidentally from a single common ancestor, (this is the story we were fed in school) is laughably absurd and has, in fact, very little (if any) evidence to support it. Still getting to my point… The question is, if people like Gould can look at the plain evidence and simple problems associated with evolution and their naturalist world view and persist in interpreting that data to their favor, then they are obviously prone to twist anything else to their favor if it threatens their world view. These guys (as you've seen in the Expelled movie) will go to GREAT LENGTHS to defend their world view and deny God. Think of Michael Ruse in "Expelled" when he so confidently asserted the life arrived "on the backs of crystals" as if that explains anything. Think of Romans 1:22 which says "Professing to be wise, they became fools."

Now I understand that this alone does not disprove this whole assertion about the Treaty of Tripoli. But it demonstrates the lengths to which people of this world view will go in order to defend their view and to assail the truth. Therefore, their conclusions ought to be treated with careful scrutiny and suspicion, and if their conclusion turns out to be valid, so be it. But there's a good chance it won't.

New e-mail coming. You may post these as comments if you like… up to you. Right now I'm really just writing to you, personally, not so much "to your blog". I'll break this up into several e-mails, 'cuz this is going to get complicated.

I hope it's clear that, since this is the first time I've heard of this treaty, I'm actually reasoning this through to a large extent as I write whatever it is that I write. So while I most certainly do have a bias, I will try to set that aside and just focus on the question at hand and see what reasonable conclusions can be reached. It's a very interesting problem.

There are many passages in the Bible, for example, which skeptics love to point to as being contradictory and of course then they stomp all over the Bible and say that it's obviously not divinely inspired by some "perfect" God. But these always turn out not to be contradictions when the passages are examined more carefully. It always turns out that one part of the contradiction has simply been… often times it has to do with us imposing our way of doing things from our historical context and our culture onto their way of doing things in their historical context and their culture. When you get a little bit into their culture and historical context, the contradictions fade away and things start to make sense.

It's possible that something similar is happening here with this treaty, and that what the secularists are really doing is pulling this article out of its historical context in a way that is misleading. If that strikes you as a bit of a stretch, well, join the club. But we have to account for the thoughts expressed elsewhere by those same founders. If we just ignore all of that then most certainly we're missing something.

Make sense?

Jun 9, 2009

Treaty of Peace with Tripoli

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary

Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.
Annals of Congress, 5th Congress

Article 1. There is a firm and perpetual peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary, made by the free consent of both parties, and guarantied by the most potent Dey and Regency of Algiers.

Art. 2. If any goods belonging to any nation with which either of the parties is at war, shall be loaded on board of vessels belonging to the other party, they shall pass free, and no attempt shall be made to take or detain them.

Art. 3. If any citizens , subjects, or effects, belonging to either party, shall be found on board a prize vessel taken from an enemy by the other party, such citizens or subjects shall be set at liberty, and the effects restored to the owners.

Art. 4. Proper passports are to be given to all vessels of both parties, by which they are to be known. And considering the distance between the two countries, eighteen months from the date of this treaty, shall be allowed for procuring such passports. During this interval the other papers, belonging to such vessels, shall be sufficient for their protection.

Art. 5. A citizen or subject of either party having bought a prize vessel, condemned by the other party, or by any other nation, the certificates of condemnation and bill of sale shall be a sufficient passport for such vessel for one year; this being a reasonable time for her to procure a proper passport.

Art. 6. Vessels of either party, putting into the ports of the other, and having need of provisions or other supplies, they shall be furnished at the market price. And if any such vessel shall so put in, from a disaster at sea, and have occasion to repair, she shall be at liberty to land and re-embark her cargo without paying any duties. But in case shall she be compelled to the land her cargo.

Art. 7. Should a vessel of either party be cast on the shore of the other, all proper assistance shall be given to her and her people; no pillage shall be allowed; the property shall remain at the disposition of the owners; and the crew protectedand succored till they can be sent to their country.

Art. 8. If a vessel of either party should be attacked by an enemy, within gun-shot of the forts of the other , she shall be defended as much as possible. If she be in port she shall not be seized on or attacked, when it is in the power of the other party to protect her. And when she proceeds to sea, no enemy shall be allowed to pursue her from the same port, within twenty-four hours after her departure.

Art. 9. The commerce between the United States and Tripoli; the protection to be given to merchants, masters of vessels, and seamen; the reciprocal right of the establishing Consuls in each country; and the privileges, immunities, and jurisdiction, to be on the same footing with those of the most favored nations respectively.

Art. 10. The money and presents demanded by the Bey of Tripoli, as a full and satisfactory consideration on his part, and on the part of his subjects, for this treaty of perpetual peace and friendship, are acknowledged to have been received by him previous to his signing the same, according to a receipt which is hereto annexed, except such as part as is promised, on the part of the United States, to be delivered and paid by them on the arrival of their Consul in Tripoli; of which part a note is likewise hereto annexed. And no pretense of any periodical tribute of further payments is ever to be made by either party.

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Art. 12. In case of any dispute, arising from a violation of any of the articles of this treaty, no appeal shall be made to arms; nor shall war be declared on any pretext whatever. But if the Consul, residing at the place where the dispute shall happen, shall not be able to settle the same, an amicable referrence shall be made to the mutual friend of the parties, the Dey of Algiers; the parties hereby engaging to abide by his decision. And he, by virtue of his signature to this treaty, engages for himself and successors to declare the justice of the case, according to the true interpretation of the treaty, and to use all the means in his power to enforce the observance of the same.

Signed and sealed at Tripoli of Barbary the 3d day of Junad in the year of the Hegira 1211— corresponding with the 4th day of November, 1796, by

MAMET, Treasurer.
AMET, Minister of Marine.
GALIL, General of the Troops.
MAHOMET, Commander of the City.
AMET, Chamberlain.
ALLY, Chief of the Divan.
MAMET, Secretary.

Signed and sealed at Algiers, the 4th day of Argill, 1211—corresponding with the 3d day of
January, 1797, by


And by the agent Plenipotentiary of the United States of America,


Is America a Christian nation?

I hadn't heard of the US treaty with Tripoli before. Found this interesting article at the website:


Does the 1796-97 Treaty with Tripoli Matter to Church/State Separation?
Speech given to the Humanists of Georgia on June 22, 1997 and at the 1997 Lake Hypatia Independance Day Celebration.
By Ed Buckner, Ph.D.

We freethinkers are, I suspect, sometimes suckers for the big lie that the U.S. really was founded as a Christian nation. We've heard it so often that we tend to doubt our allies who dispute it as maybe just over-zealous, over-eager, well-intentioned-but-wrong atheists out to prove what they want to believe rather than to understand the truth. I know I suspected something like that when I first read "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion..." as a quote from the Treaty with Tripoli. And I know of at least one cynical atheist, Frederic Rice (with his own website full of information:

Mr. Rice has even, in his profound ignorance, called me dishonest and urged me not to use the honorable label "atheist" for talking about the treaty. But careful research into the facts, accompanied by honest presentation of those facts, leads to important support for the thesis that the Constitutional framers intended this nation to have a government strictly neutral regarding religion.

The pirates of the Barbary coast in general and of Tripoli (in what is now called Libya) in particular were destroying U.S. shipping and holding as prisoners U.S. seamen in the 1790s. It was a serious problem and a series of negotiators were sent to try to put together an agreement to improve it.

On 4 November 1796, near the end of George Washington's second term, a treaty with the "Bey and People of Tripoli" was signed, promising cash and other considerations to Tripoli in exchange for peace. Leading the negotiations for the U.S. at that point was Joel Barlow, a diplomat and poet (he wanted very much to be remembered as America's epic poet). Barlow was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and of Thomas Paine (Paine hurriedly entrusted the manuscript of the first part of the Age of Reason to Barlow when Paine was suddenly arrested by the radicals of the French revolution).

Barlow was very likely by 1796 a deist, though he had served earlier as a military chaplain. There is considerable dispute about whether the Arabic version of the treaty read and signed by the representatives of Tripoli even had the famous words included (they are not present, as was discovered in about 1930, in the surviving Arabic version). No one knows why. The treaty remained in effect for only four years, replaced, after more war with Tripoli, with another treaty that does not have the famous words included. One or two later treaties even allude to the Trinity. *If* the major claim of separationists regarding the treaty were a legal one, these facts might be fatal. But no one claims that the treaty was the basis for our government being non-Christian--it is the godless Constitution, which calls on no higher power than "We the People," that is the necessary and sufficient legal basis. What the treaty does is to powerfully reaffirm what the Constitution and First Amendment intended. (The references in one or two later treaties to things such as the Trinity occurred in treaties with Great Britain and Russia, both officially Christian nations at the time; no declarations that the U.S. is a Christian nation were included.)

When I first read the words "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion..." I was, as I said, skeptical. Why would such a thing be in a treaty? Why would some have claimed, as I later learned, that George Washington wrote them? (Apparently only because the words were written during Washington's second term.) Was there controversy in the Senate when the treaty was ratified, or did the language even appear in the version ratified? Or was it buried deep within a long, complicated treaty where perhaps it wasn't even noticed? Did the public even know the treaty was passed or what it contained, and what was the reaction? Was it possible for the public to know who voted for it, and what price did those supporting it pay?

Fortunately for me, my son (and only child), Michael, lived for several years in Washington, DC, only two blocks from the Library of Congress, and my wife and I visited him frequently. When we did, I spent time at the L of C, much of it reading up on the treaty. I found some answers in the official Journal of the Senate. The President (by then John Adams) sent the treaty to the Senate in late May 1797. It was, according to the official record, read aloud (the whole treaty was only a page or two long), including the famous words, on the floor of the senate and copies were printed for every Senator. (It should be noted that the controversy about the Arabic version is irrelevant here: all official treaty collections from 1797 on contain the English version, and all include the famous words of Article XI.) A committee considered the treaty and recommended ratification. Twenty-three Senators voted to ratify: Bingham, Bloodworth, Blount, Bradford, Brown, Cocke, Foster, Goodhue, Hillhouse, Howard, Langdon, Latimer, Laurance, Livermore, Martin, Paine (no, not Thomas Paine), Read, Rutherfurd, Sedgwick, Stockton, Tattnall, Tichenor, and Tracy. We should ask ourselves whether we should not consider these 23 (and President Adams) great freethought heroes. In a very public way, they voted to say that "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, . . ." the Muslims of Tripoli therefore need not fear a religious war from the U.S. The vote was recorded only because at least a fifth of the Senators present voted to require a recorded vote. This was the 339th time (I went through the Journal for the first five Congressional sessions and counted them myself) that a recorded vote was required. It was only the third time that a vote was recorded when the vote was unanimous! (The next time was to honor George Washington.)There is no record of any debate or dissension on the treaty.

President Adams signed the treaty and proclaimed it to the nation on 10 June 1797. His statement on it was a bit unusual: "Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all other citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof."

What happened then? Did our heroes pay a heavy price? Skeptical that the public even knew about the treaty, I went to the periodicals reading room of the Library of Congress in, appropriately enough, the Madison Building. After some poking about I found out how to get access to newspapers of the 1790s, mostly on microfilm, but in a few cases I saw the actual papers of the day.

I found the treaty and Adams' statement reprinted in full in three newspapers, two in Philadelphia and one in New York City and, in one case, held the actual newspaper (the Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Daily Advertiser for Saturday, 17 June 1797) in my hands. There is no record of any public outcry or complaint in subsequent editions of the papers.

And what of our heroes? Well, none suffered any known negative consequences, and I've read biographies of each. One Senator, Theodore Sedgewick of Massachusetts, went on to become the Speaker of the House (imagine Newt Gingrich endorsing such a treaty! Henry Clay is the only other American in history to be first a Senator, then Speaker). Another, Isaac Tichenor, became Governor of Vermont, and then returned to the Senate for many years. Georgia's Senator, Josiah Tattnall (Georgia's other Senator was absent), did not return to the Senate, but he did serve thereafter as one of the youngest Governors in Georgia's history, and has a county in Georgia and a number of streets, squares, etc., named after him. (His father was a Tory; his son by the same name was a famous officer in the Confederate Navy.)

From our perspective these men may be heroes, but in truth the vote they cast was ordinary, routine, normal. It was, in other words, quite well accepted, only a few years after first the Constitution and then the First Amendment were ratified, that "the Government of the United States of America was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." After a bloody and costly civil war and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment determined that citizens of the United States cannot have their rights abridged by state or local governments either, religious liberty for all was established. Governmental neutrality in matters of religion remains the enduring basis for that liberty.

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