Wednesday, May 25, 2005

But It's Such a Pretty Boat

Two replica 1800's era ships, the Lynx and the Lady Washington, are at the Vancouver harbor. If you do not know what movie the Lady Washington had a role in, you need to watch the extended material on a certain maritime movie. Anyways, my family saw those ships today. We waited in line under a hot sun for about 45 minutes, then got on the Lynx. It is a reproduction of a privateer that sailed during the War of 1812. Quite interesting, but not as nice as the Lady Washington. I don't know it saw any action, but it was still quite interesting.

Soon after we disembarked, a Coast Guard helicopter flew in and hovered over the Columbia. After a minute or so, legs dangled over the far side of the chopper. Once it was about fifteen feet above the water, the man jumped in and the helicopter flew away. They guy drifted while the chopper flew in a large circle and a Coast Guard boat headed off some eager jetskiers. After several more minutes, the man was hauled back into the helicopter. A dummy was then dropped into the water and was subsequently rescued. After that, a fireboat proceeded to blast all five of it's nozzles, while the Coast Guard boat headed off another boat. So, my day has been quite interesting, but mid-term studying calls.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Myths Again

Yep, I am thinking about myths once more. Vagueness can be used very well in an otherwise obvious story. For example, in Narnia we are never completely sure what the Professor's house is like. The largeness and mysteriousness is known and reinforced by the mysteriousness of the text. It is possible to have both worlds.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I have been using the Silver Skin theme for Firefox until today. But today, I discovered the Brushed theme. This one is incredible, using the perfect buttons and colors. It is by far the best theme made to date.
(It also goes well with the colors of this blog)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ism Paper

Well, I have finally finished the monstrosity known as an Ism paper. I only worked on it for two weeks, and that fact is blatantly obvious. Anyway, it is posted below, for anyone brave enough to read it.


Populism is the idea that there is a selfish oligarchy running the government which must be removed for the benefit of the people. This idea has existed since there were governments led by fallen men and populaces made of fallen men. Populism is an idea that enjoyed prominence during the 1890’s, but has existed for millennia and made many effects.

During the 1890’s there was much unrest; post-war deflation continued, farmers were fearful of exploitation and it appeared that elitists were running the government. First, during the Civil War, paper money was printed to fund the Union Armies. But in 1869, a law was passed required that fiat money be redeemable for gold and silver. This created deflation, a very nice thing for lenders, and a very bad thing for debtors. Banks that lent paper money could now demand gold in return, requiring debtors to pay back more than they borrowed. This caused many problems for farmers and other laborers, prompting ideas of exploitation. What would make more sense than bankers using money they got from workers to pass laws that would milk the workers even more? Things got worse in 1873, when silver was taken off the coinage list. Any cushion for deflation was completely taken away. There was improvement with the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, which allowed free silver again, but it was too late for many. The second problem was specific to farming, mechanization allowed overproduction and crop prices plummeted. Moreover, farmers had bought their machines with borrowed paper money, so they couldn’t keep up with their debts when deflation happened. The third problem was the cost of shipping. Where there were multiple railroad lines prices would usually be decent, but where a single line was run prices were outrageously high. This clear abuse angered many and further hurt remotely located farmers. These problems caused much instability and unrest.

Because of the problems, the populist People’s Party grew quickly. In 1892 at St. Louis, their first national convention was held. The adopted platform accused America of “rapidly degenerating into European conditions.” General James Weaver was nominated for President and prior Confederate General James Field was chosen as his running mate. The populists hoped that by choosing a Yankee and a Southerner they could transcend the old problems and take on the new ones. However, the democrat candidate Grover Cleveland won. In the next year the Panic of 1893 took the nation by surprise. Some people blame this on over-expanded railroads, but many people blamed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. So Cleveland repealed it, taking away free silver. As can be imagined, the populists were incensed. It was obvious proof of elitism; the powerful ignored the populace’s plight while getting rich without working. The result was a distinct increase in votes for Populist candidates during the 1894 election, even though it was a mid-term election. But the biggest boost was still to come.

William Jennings Bryan, Democratic Presidential candidate at the turn of the 19th century, brought the issues of populism into the national spotlight. He drew into the Democratic Party, “Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” He decided to represent the common people and the common people flocked to him. For three months during the campaign he only slept two hours a night. Meanwhile, his opponent never left his front porch. It would seem logical that the person who stumped the nation would win any election over someone who stayed home, but William McKinley was supported by all the Eastern elite. What more proof of an oligarchy did the Populists need when McKinley won? Bryan ran again in several more elections, but never grabbed the highest office in the land. The champion of the people never completely got the people’s respect.

After a short period of fame, the People’s Party fell out of favor because national conditions improved. Gold had been discovered in Alaska, stabilizing the money supply, (Grant) and Theodore Roosevelt was running for Vice-President. Bryan lost again, by a very thing margin. The People’s party jumped high for a short time, but quickly fell flat.

Even if the People’s Party did not last long, the idea it was based on is ancient, and continues to this day. Because all humans, whether governing or governed, are sinful, corruption on both sides is a constant reality. The question of how to act justly when faced with tyranny has faced many populaces, such as Israel upon Solomon’s death.

Then they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you." 1 Kings 12:3-4

The populace was right, in this case. Their freedom had been restricted by Solomon and the people asked his heir to lighten the load. At this point, the populace was acting justly, and giving the new King the chance to also act justly. However, improvement would not happen.

The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." 1 Kings 12:13-15

Rehoboam choose to restrict freedom, putting him in the wrong. Rather than subjecting themselves to what appeared to be a tyrant, many of the Israelites deserted Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king. Unfortunately, Jeroboam led the people into spiritual slavery by erecting idols. The problem of a populace removing sin in government without going into sin itself has troubled people since ancient times.

The consequences of Populism are broad, but the movements in America are more important to us. The American Revolution had a very good impact on America, because the Founding Fathers acted justly. The British government was clearly wrong, and the Americans did almost everything right. The next populist movement in America would be the one that happened in the 1890’s. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to have had much influence, but it did. When William Jennings Bryan was nominated by the Democrats, he brought the plight of the little people into politics. The thought that the populace is being oppressed by the elite has dominated American politics ever since. Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of being the elite and brag about representing the people. Populism created America, and gives us a dislike of “The Elite.”

To conclude, Populism was prominent in the 1890’s but has a far-reaching history. At various times it has been used justly, and sometimes not. The consequences of this idea are large.

The Living Word of God

I recently heard the Bible referred to as "The Living Word of God." I have heard it before, but I started thinking about it this time. How could it be living, wasn't it completed more than a thousand years ago? Then my brain got hit by an idea:

God is out of time, so when you read a passage He decides what you should read at that moment, and writes the Bible accordingly. Of course, He could also influence what passage you are reading, but either way, He ensures that whatever you are reading is exactly what you need to read. Being outside of time has to be interesting.
Today is Joshua's birthday. You have my permission to go into mourning.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Debate Resolutions

Yep, the voting is open here

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Testing Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yahoo search seems to be very nice to me. For some reason many of my first posts will appear in the first few pages of certain searches. For example, this blog shows up as number three under the search, "huge squirt guns." It also shows up under "Gileskirk families" and other ones. I am quite surprised.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


How should workers be paid? It seems fair that they should get paid according to how much their work is worth to the company they work for. But how do you figure that out? And if workers are paid all they are worth, will the company get any profit? Should the company get any profit? Should I keep asking questions?
Help needed, applicants must have answers. Will pay according to your worth, if I figure that out.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Who is a Populist?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Are Ethics Ethical?

Ethics are the standards for right and wrong as decided upon by a society. This can work acceptably if the society is deciding about the propriety of ice cream selling, but it runs into problems when a society is deciding about other things. For example, what if a society tries to define ethics in a unique way? If the society decides that the alligator decides on ethical issues, the alligator becomes absolute. This is perfectly fine until the alligator decides on the propriety of ice cream selling. Once the alligator makes a decision, it is not the society who is deciding. The society may accept the alligator’s decisions, but that is not true ethics. Ultimately, all subjective rules must be enforced by objective rules. If not, the elusive public opinion will turn everything on its head, including the process that allows the process to go on. Everything is based on objective standards, or attempts at it.