Monday, September 29, 2014

10th Anniversary: Michaelmas 

I have not posted on this 10th Anniversary year of this blog lately.  But Michaelmas, the Feast of Michael and All Angels, today brings back memories of times in Oxford and Cambridge as it has before.  For Michaelmas marks the beginning of the academic years of those two great universities (Hence, both name their Autumn terms “Michaelmas term”.), and I’ve shared in the excitement of that in 2007 and 2011.

2007 was particularly auspicious as I spent Michaelmas weekend in Cambridge when the University was just starting the academic year. (Cambridge starts a week earlier than Oxford, where I was studying.)  It was excellent attending services at King’s College and a Michaelmas service at Little St. Mary’s.  The whole weekend recharged my batteries and restored my joy before returning and diving into the taxing work of Oxford’s Michaelmas Term.

Michaelmas still prompts me to dream of England, particularly Oxford, as I indeed literally did again last night.

I suspect I will be in Cambridge and Oxford with anticipation again one Michaelmas.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Big Announcement: Pilot Point is Published! UPDATED 

About two weeks ago, I gave you a shameless tease.  Now I am ready to make the big announcement.  My novel Pilot Point is published and available!

As you can tell from looking at some past posts, the road of writing and publishing Pilot Point has been a long and winding one indeed.  It began decades ago in the days before the internet and self-publishing was viable and before Anglicanism and the Book of Common Prayer got its hold on me.

That long road was providential as I greatly improved Pilot Point with a strong Anglican flavor, even weaving the Book of Common Prayer through it.  Also, the novel has become an interesting timepiece, still set in the late 20th Century along I-20 in West Texas and in North Denton County, Texas.  As in much of life, events did not transpire as I would have wished.  (I strove to get an earlier version of the novel published in the 90’s and had strong and reputable support in so doing.)  But when I look back, I can see the gentle, strong hand of God’s providence.  He has proved himself an excellent editor, if you will.

The novel itself somewhat defies description and genre.  I am not aware of anything out there quite like it, which is fine as I do not want to duplicate another’s work.  I venture that it is best described as a literary novel with both a strong Texas and Anglican flavor.  Yes, unusual.

The novel follows the orphan Clayton Hays and friends he gains as they struggle with loss and fear in the midst of a Texas drought.  It is a simple story, but one in which I think readers will find much depth.

But read it for yourself.  Pilot Point is available at Amazon at a nice discount.  Or you can buy it direct from the publisher (but no discount there).  I will announce when it is available in Kindle form.

Also, those into Facebook, please “like” the Facebook page for Pilot Point.

Thanks for your prayers and support, and feel free at ask questions in the comments.


UPDATED: My announcement is so big, Eric Holder is trying to upstage it.  The nerve!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Environmental Totalitarianism UPDATED 

I think I should state right off the top that I believe in taking responsible measures to protect the environment and to conserve nature and wildlife. Further, I have taken measures on my own land at personal cost so to do.

However, as long time readers know, I also oppose all forms of totalitarianism.  And the environmental movement has become pretty much become just another face of Leftism with a strong streak of totalitarianism.  The words of a prominent spokesman, Robert Kennedy, Jr., illustrate this very well:

Kennedy Jr. accused skeptical politicians of “selling out the public trust.” “Those guys are doing the Koch Brothers bidding and are against all the evidence of the rational mind, saying global warming does not exit. They are contemptible human beings. I wish there were a law you could punish them with. I don’t think there is a law that you can punish those politicians under.”

Kennedy saved his most venomous comments for the Koch Brothers, accusing them of “treason” for “polluting our atmosphere.”

“I think it’s treason. Do I think the Koch Brothers are treasonous, yes I do,” Kennedy explained.

“They are enjoying making themselves billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us. Do I think they should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals,” Kennedy declared.

“Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offense and they ought to be serving time for it,” he added.

If you want something really toxic, look at what Kennedy and his totalitarian ilk are doing to this country.


In case you think Robert Kennedy Jr. is a one-off, the climate change protests were swarming with totalitarians.  See for yourself.

The Snooze Media ignored this, of course.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Lady of Perpetual Litigation Declines a 2nd Term 

The Presiding “Bishop” of THE Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced that she will not seek a second term.  Perhaps she thought she had done enough damage already.

If so, she certainly won’t admit it.  Instead

In her letter to the church, the Presiding Bishop cited the accomplishments of her tenure noting first her “relational work”, which was “fundamental to the reconciliation we seek in Christ.  As bridges are built, more and more people can begin to cross the divides between us, and God’s dream begins to take flesh in a more just and peaceful world.”

Her citing her “relational work” towards “reconciliation” is beyond laughable.  Other than her heresies, the hallmark of her tenure has been vindictive litigation against parishes and dioceses that could no longer conscientiously stay in her apostate “church.”  She well earned the moniker, Our Lady of Perpetual Litigation.  She increased the lawsuits engaged in by TEC at least five times.

She even torpedoed amicable negotiations toward settlements, preferring to sue instead.  The most famous instance of this was in the Diocese of Virginia.  Bishop Lee was close to a settlement until Schori barged in.  In his words at the time, “there is a new sheriff in town.”

Her heresies and arrogance sped the demise of The Episcopal Church.  People have flooded out.  Five dioceses have left.  The last of those five, South Carolina, she practically forced out by an absurd and patently dishonest deposition of Bishop Mark Lawrence.  Oh, have I mentioned all her depositions of the faithful?

Yes, I could go on.  But Katharine Jefferts Schori has indeed done enough damage to The Episcopal Church already.  May she enjoy her retirement.  A very warm destination awaits.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Wouldn’t It Be Nice . . . 

. . . If the Snooze Media paid half as much attention to Obama’s scandals, such as IRS targeting, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc. etc. as they are to attacking the NFL?

Methinks the Democrat News Media’s priorities are a bit off.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Giving the Scots their Due 

As you all know, the Scots decisively rejected independence and decided to stay in the United Kingdom, which is a wise move on their part . . . and which proved me correct in my prediction.

But what I find most interesting from last night was a certain episode in Glasgow.  Ten instances of voter fraud were discovered.  Contrast the response to what would (not) happen in the U. S.:

Police launched an investigation after the city’s council alerted them to 10 suspected cases of voters impersonating other people, allowing them to complete two ballot papers. Under British law, voters are not required to present identification when they take part in an election.

Stewart Hosie, SNP Treasury spokesman at Westminster, said it was “very sad that people feel the need to engage in any kind of impersonation”, adding: “I think that’s a daft thing to do. The ballot papers have been identified, they will be taken away and fingerprinted, the police will do their job and I’m sure whoever has done it will be caught and sentenced….”

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the Leftist politics of Scotland.  But at least they actually oppose and vigorously seek to punish election fraud.

The contrast with the ruling political party in the U. S. is stark indeed.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

More on the Hannah Overton Ruling 

Yesterday morning, I greatly rejoiced in the overturning of Hannah Overton’s absurd murder conviction.  Now I’ve had some time to digest it.  With the caveat that I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV, I find the following most interesting.

Pamela Colloff, who has done a praiseworthy job of following this story through the years, posted a good summary of the case and of the ruling yesterday evening.  If you are not familiar with this case, I would definitely start there.

I think the opinions themselves are also well worth reading.  And they are neither long nor hard to read. 

The lead opinion, to which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed by a 7-2 margin, pointedly overturns the conviction on narrow grounds as conservative appeals judges are wont to do.  Judge Lawrence Meyers writes that Overton’s Defense greatly erred in not presenting Dr. Michael Moritz, an expert on salt poisoning and pica, to testify. He contends this omission meets the tests of determining ineffective counsel, and then in effect says that’s all we need to rule.

But the conclusion is rather pointed in saying what is left unsaid:

Because we are granting relief on Applicant’s first claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, there is no need for us to address the second issue of whether the State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. We reverse Applicant’s conviction and remand her case to the trial court for a new trial.

A very interesting concurring opinion by three of the judges just as pointedly says the unsaid.  It in effect says that the issue of ineffective counsel is enough to rule, but we are going to talk about the prosecution anyway.  In their own words:

The majority does not address applicant’s Brady claims because it grants relief based on one of her ineffective assistance of counsel claims. It is helpful, however, to place that ineffective-assistance claim within the broader context of applicant’s claims concerning the fundamental unfairness of her trial.

And they are withering in critiquing the conduct of the prosecution in the Overton trial, especially in withholding exculpatory (Brady) evidence from the Defense.  They certainly do not hold much back on the subject of lead prosecutor Sandra Eastwood:

At the habeas hearing, the lead prosecutor conceded that, during this 2007 trial, she was an alcoholic who was also taking prescription diet pills that affected her memory. She was later fired by the District Attorney (who had been the second-chair prosecutor during this trial) for unrelated ethical violations. During the habeas hearing, the prosecutor repeated seventy-two times that she did not recall or did not know the answers to questions concerning the investigation or trial of applicant. She could not remember documents that she had written during the trial and did not recognize her handwriting; she did not remember writing the e-mails that came from her e-mail address, nor receiving other e-mails at that address; she could not remember if she saw any vomit when she previewed the evidence with one of applicant’s counsel before trial, and she did not remember asking the police to have it tested.

The second-chair prosecutor (later appointed as the District Attorney by the Governor) testified that the lead prosecutor told her that “she would do anything it would take to get an advantage over the Defense,” including sending a “spy” to applicant’s church group to learn the defense strategy. The second-chair prosecutor testified that the lead prosecutor was not ethical and was “not truthful.” She said that the lead prosecutor told her that no vomit samples had been saved as evidence. She said that she was “concerned with the fact that [the lead prosecutor] was violating the Court’s orders.”

And that’s for starters.  Again, I am not a lawyer.  But I find it remarkable the three appeals judges feel it right so to call out the prosecution when that was not necessary to make the ruling in question.  It is safe to say that they were provoked by the egregious misconduct of the Nueces County D.A.’s office.

Not only that, the three question (page 2) the jury instructions issued by trial judge Jose Longoria, although they do not mention him by name.  Those instructions have also been an issue through the years.  They certainly contributed to the over-the-top verdict of guilty of capital murder.

As for the two judges who dissented, this is the last straw for me.  If they are so blind as to think Overton received a fair trial….  Given their short opinion, they hardly seem to care and hardly address the issues raised by the majority.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is elected.  And I will never vote for Judges Keller (aka Sharon Killer) and Keasler again.  I counsel all Texans to do likewise when the time comes.

The ball is now in the court, if you will, of the current Nueces County District Attorney, Mark Skurka.  His options range from trying Ms. Overton for capital murder again to dismissing all charges against her.

Hannah Overton has already served seven years in prison for a crime she did not commit.  Even if she was criminally negligent in the death of Andrew Burd – and that is a big “if” not at all supported by the body of evidence – seven years is certainly more than enough to serve for that.

D.A. Mark Skurka did not do the right thing when her conviction was appealed.  He now has the opportunity to make some amends.  Mark Skurka should dismiss all charges against Hannah Overton post haste.

I am among those who will be watching his conduct closely.  Eight years of injustice from the Nueces County D. A.’s office is enough.

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