Archive for June 2014

Income inequality speech…….This guy scored a 100   Leave a comment

This speech risks sounding like a Republican Party product — which I most definitely do not want to do — but it does a good job of explaining why conservative-libertarian types like myself are angered at Obama’s policies. In a perfect world we’d all be rich. We passed on the perfect world back in the Garden. The best we can hope for today is the freedom to fail because it also affords us with the freedom to succeed.

The Rio Norte Line

In early January 2014, Bob Lonsberry, a Rochester talk radio personality on WHAM 1180 AM, said this in response to Obama’s “income inequality speech”:

Two Americas

The Democrats are right, there are two Americas …

The America that works, and the America that doesn’t.

The America that contributes, and the America that doesn’t.

It’s not the haves and the have not’s, it’s the dos and the don’ts.

Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society, and others don’t. That’s the divide in America ..

It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility.

It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office.

It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country. That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.

The politics of envy was on proud…

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Posted June 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Since When is Significant Risk Ordinary?   Leave a comment

My Turn: Regressing to a new normal | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Rich Moniak | For the Juneau Empire  The writer, who I often disagree with, does a great job of explaining what he means and of asking questions about why this system exists and if it is necessary or should we be doing something else.

I believe the federal government uses the alert system to control American sentiment. We’re more comfortable with armed guards invading our personal space before we get on a plane. We object, but do very little about the NSA spying on our phone calls and emails. Have you had your bag checked while going into a public venue, ladies?

All of these violations of our natural right to privacy and security in our person and property seem “okay” to many Americans because of the “risks” we face from terrorism. We have to be “safe” and take “proper precautions”.

And American liberty dies with hardly a wimper because we traded it in for an illusion of safety.

Posted June 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Interview with Jane Bwye   6 comments

Image of J. L. BwyeJane Bwye and I met through Authonomy, a Harper-Collins site for writers to critique each other’s work and practice book marketing. We were part of a Christian writers’ critique group which provided the commonality for our very different books. When Jane’s book Breathe of Africa was picked up by Black Cat Publishing, she left Authonomy, but we reconnected here on WordPress and on Facebook. I have always appreciated her patience and sense of humor, so when she reached out to me, I naturally responded.
I hope this will be the first interview with a writer on Aurorawatcherak. Jane will be following up with an article, with perhaps more to follow.
Jane has been a businesswoman and intermittent freelance journalist all her life. She lived in Kenya for over half a century, where she went to school, and brought up her large family.
She wrote regular feature articles for the Daily Nation in the ’60s, and under a by-line BWYE THE WAY… for The Chronicle, in the ’80s. She has coordinated/authored a cook book in aid of the National Museums of Kenya, and is working on a short history in aid of her local church near Eastbourne.
Product DetailsHer first novel Breath of Africa took 40 years to gestate, drawing on her experiences growing up in the country she still calls her home.
A world traveller, she buys a bird book in every country she visits. Now “retired” to the UK, she mentors small business start-ups, judges dressage, and advocates for the elderly, while indulging in her love for choral singing, playing tennis, duplicate bridge, and walking.
Jane, tell me something about yourself
That’s an open question, if there ever was one, Lela! Where do I start – and end? One thing: I’m a dreamer; always have been. Sometimes I know it’s been a form of escapism. I’ve looked forward to bedtime when I can dream myself to sleep in a maze of fantasies and block out the hard bricks of what life has sometimes thrown at me.
Perhaps that’s how I’ve survived? And how I’ve been able to conjure up stories to write down. Sometimes I’ve had real dreams and I write them down, before they can fade away.
Why do you write?
I write to give body to my dreams and thoughts; and to describe turning-point events in my life – and there have been many. When I travel, I write a diary (as in my Friday Round-the-World blogs)
I guess there’s always been a bit of a historian in me, so I date my writings and find myself doing research when publication is the aim.
I love watching people and I can’t help imagining what they might be thinking. I like to think the observations are stored away in my mind, to come out when I create a character.
Sometimes I write to clarify, or even justify my thoughts and feelings.
And I chronicle events in the lives of my family members, because I love them.
I write for myself.
What I remember most about Breath of Africa is the visual images your words conjure. After only a few paragraphs, I was right down in the long grass, hearing sounds that could only be large predators on my scent. Every scene wrapped me in the sights, sounds and scents of Kenya. What was the inspiration for the book?
Need you ask! Africa and its wide open spaces was the inspiration for my book. And nostalgia, as I sat at my desk cramped into a tiny flat on a crowded street in a teeming city in the UK – gazing through sagging telephone wires towards the hills of the south downs.

One primary focus of the novel is the interaction and clash of two very different cultures and worldviews, how that leads to misunderstandings and abuse of those who are not “us”. Can you talk about that some?

I grew up in a country where black and white were starkly different, but more so for the grown-ups than for the children. We were kept apart by our disparate societies.
But I enjoyed being with the Africans who were employed in and around our home; they were my friends – more so than my parents, who were always occupied with other things.
I know that many children of that era felt the same way, and several books have been written of childhoods featuring friendships across the races. In my idealistic fashion, I wanted to write a book in which those friendships lasted into adulthood and beyond.
But I was shocked by the extreme antagonism exhibited by some of our neighbours. The horrors of the Mau Mau murders were kept from my knowledge within the protective environment of our home, although I sensed an increasing tension and lack of trust.

Clearly, you draw on a lot on your own experiences in Kenya. Are there any real people who inspired some of the main characters?

Within the freedom of fiction I let myself go when I created a caricature of several extremist farmers in the character of Myers the white settler farmer.

I guess I was thinking of my step-father in describing the benign Boney, Caroline’s father, in the beginning of the book.
And of course there’s lots of me in Caroline – and also in Charles Omari Ondiek, who was in part inspired by the proprietor of an African business magazine I once worked for briefly in Nairobi.
I combined aspects of different friends from my school days into the character of Teresa.
Mwangi, the Mau Mau oath-giver, was a figment of my imagination, and maybe part-product of reading Nicholas Monserrat’s horrific “Tribe” books. (see this post on my blog)
I sensed a strong feeling of hope in your writing. So many writers who take on Africa seem pessimistic about the prospects of healing the rift between those two cultures. And, I would note that it’s not just between white and blacks, Europeans and Africans, but also between tribal groups. Yet, there is love across the cultures in Breath of Africa?  The 20th century saw some horribly barbaric upheavals in Africa which has led many observers toward pessimism for the future. Do you feel that there is hope for Africa in the 21st century?
Of course there’s hope in Africa! Without hope, there is no life, and its people are vibrant and forgiving. Hope lies in the younger generations – epitomised in forward-thinking schools in Kenya, careful to keep an even balance.
It also lies in that great leveler, the sports field. I was actively involved in Kenya squash, where all races and tribes would gather for the sake of the game; tennis too, and rugby. Some sports, of course, integrate people better than others and now through sheer force of numbers, teams are largely of one colour – though I would be surprised if they contained only one tribe.
Neither is business concerned with ethnicity. Many aspects of commerce in the 21st century are global, even in Africa, despite being “forgotten” by the rest of the world.
It is politics and sensation-seeking media which side-line Africa and highlight its horrors.
There are horrors everywhere in the world. And for me, the Middle East is more of a lost cause than the so-called “dark continent.”


I came to know you through a Christian writers’ forum on Authonomy. Do you believe that Christian faith holds any hope for healing the rifts between people groups in Africa or elsewhere? And, if you don’t want to touch on that topic, I understanding and won’t have issue with it.
Kenya is largely a Christian country. Faith and hope are strong among the poorest of its people, who exhibit a simplicity, happiness and gratitude for the smallest of mercies. People from churches overseas have had life-changing experiences when visiting to help communities in Africa, and I suspect the benefit received by those offering charity is greater than that of the recipients.
Africa can teach the rest of the world a thing or two about faith, forgiveness and the philosophy of life.
I guess that is why I believe so firmly that there is a future in Africa – even though it may not be the same hope as understood by the rest of the world.
Are you working on another novel?
I Lift up My Eyes, a novella about what can happen to a relationship when serious illness strikes. It will be published by Crooked Cat later this year.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If I can do it – so can you! If you persevere, you will succeed, and I don’t expect you to take forty years, as I did.
Book Trailer:
Link to my Website and Blog:
Link to
Link to Smashwords:
Lela – Thank you, Jane, for being willing to be my very first

Crucial Differences   3 comments

An acquaintance, Afshin Ziafat, was raised a faithful Muslim in the United States and accepted Jesus as Savior as a senior in high school. He tells the story of how during a basketball game in a public high school, he said “Jesus Christ” to express his frustration at what might have been an illegal check. One of the other players shot back “Stop! That’s my Savior you’re dragging through your foul mouth.” Afshin shot back “You mean, your prophet.” And, the other student said “No, I mean my Savior and my God.” Ashin demanded to know where he’d gotten that idea and the other student said “The Bible.”

God touches people when they are ready for His touch and that set Afshin on about a year-long search for proof that Jesus was nothing more than a prophet and that his classmate (or his classmate’s religion) was making it up. Instead, he convinced himself that Jesus Christ is Savior and God. His wealthy father disowned him and he had many other struggles because of this life-changing event, but he is still a faithful Christian with an international ministry to Muslims.

Afshin learned something that the atheist in this video has not.  There is a substantial difference between faiths. While this woman would like to lump all religions together, they are not the same. There are huge differences between Islam and Biblical Christianity, between Hinduism and Biblical Christianity, between various Christian-like cults and Biblical Christianity and, for that matter, between “Christianity” and Biblical Christianity.

And, those difference matter!

Let’s start off with very basic differences between Islam and Biblical Christianity.

The God of the Bible is not Allah and Allah is not the God of the Bible.

The Qur’an describes Allah as a vengeful, angry god who demands the total obedience of his followers and even then, they may not make it into paradise. “Allah is a long way away and you do good deeds in hope of getting closer to Allah, and hope for the best,” Afshin says. “If Allah wills, you go to paradise, but you never know.”

Allah offers no peace, even for the faithful Muslim. Good deeds don’t guarantee a ticket to paradise, but even asking questions about confusing ideas in the Qur’an could, because Muslims are not allowed to question Allah, who is a far distant god, a being to be feared, who is always ready to punish wrongdoers.

Contrast that with the God of the Bible. NOTE: I said the God of the Bible, not the Christian God. Many sects have redefined God in their own image, but the God of the Bible is still discoverable through that book.

God created the universe and the first man and woman as an act of love and He immediately sought a relationship with them in a world that provided all that they needed for life.

Adam and Eve chose to alienate themselves from God, with tragic results, because the one thing we need for life more than the garden could provide is Him. We are the inheritors of that choice to violate the human-divine relationship. It means we sin (disobey God) and it means that we can never be good enough to reestablish that lost relationship throughout our own power. Fortunately, what we cannot do, God can.

The Old Testament foretold a Messiah who would come to bless mankind. That Messiah is Jesus Christ! God took on human flesh to step down into our messy world, live and die to restore that relationship. God as Jesus offers peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. Those who have asked Christ for forgiveness have agreed to restore that relationship and share His message of restoration and peace. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). When Christians share the gospel, we are speaking for Christ, Who is giving you every opportunity to restore that relationship.

The most awesome truth in the world is that while all people have sinned, God still loves us so much that He personally make it possible for us to be forgiven so that we can have a relationship with Him. While Allah is distant and angry, the God of the Bible is personal and loving.

But, unlike Islam (and some other isms), God does not force anyone to come to Him who does not want to come to Him. It is your choice to reestablish that relationship. Biblical Christians can tell you about the gift of salvation, but they cannot (nor should they) force you to accept. God can love you and provide you with the door way to a restored relationship, but He will not force you to walk through it. It’s always your own decision.

While Islam is a religion that involves doing things, saying prayers, keeping rituals in the uncertain hope of appeasing an angry god, Biblical Christian faith is a restored relationship with a loving, forgiving God Who says that once you’ve entered that relationship you will always be restored, even if you are not always the ideal Christian.

Begich belongs at Republican debate – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor   Leave a comment

Gotta love our local humor!

Begich belongs at Republican debate – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

Speak out against College Road plan   Leave a comment

Lance Roberts, a local realtor and occasional politician, has the other half of the College Road story.

Speak out against College Road plan – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

Posted June 23, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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College Road changes will improve safety – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Community Perspectives   Leave a comment

College Road changes will improve safety – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Community Perspectives.

Sounds so reasonable, but College Road now sees both lanes of the two-lane configuration being used. The turn lane is not meant to be used for passing or for faster traffic, so now you’ve forced everyone on the road to be stuck behind the slowest moving vehicle.

It is likely to cause MORE accidents, especially head-ons. That’s just common sense, that if you slow traffic down on a road that is built to go faster, the faster moving traffic will use that turn lane to get around slower moving vehicles and that will risk a head-on. Yes, the drivers will be held responsible, but in reality, it will be FMATS who caused the conflict.

Private Sector overcomes Government   Leave a comment

North Pole take-out owner delivers on promise to deliver – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Local News.

This piece in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner just begged to be posted!

The State of Alaska Department of Transportation rarely closes roads unless the weather closes them. Alaskans are used to driving in adverse circumstances and DOT generally lets us use our own judgement. But occasionally, the conditions require a road closure — like when heavy rainfall threatens the integrity of a bridge.

Government closed it because it was the right thing to do, but a private  businessman with a can-do attitude didn’t let that stop him from giving good customer service.

Knott deserves a huge round of applause. Mike Laiti (whose mom is one of my favorite former coworkers) deserves a pat on the back for telling the world about Knott’s service heroics.

This is what small business in America looks like, so why do we keep putting a thousand-pound weight of regulation, increased taxation and forced health insurance on every day heroes?

Posted June 23, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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I Am Not a Muslim!   5 comments

That might seem like I’m stating the obvious, but a commenter forwarded a you-tube video featuring a self-described angry atheist who grouped all religions together. I’m posting on my husband’s tablet, so I can’t post the video (others probably could) so I’ll do that later or you can find it in the comments for “A Message to Atheists”.

What this woman does by lumping all who claim the label of Christianity with Muslims, Hindus, cult groups and just about anyone else who acknowledges the reality of the metaphysical is create a logical fallacy based on a false dichotomy.

The false dichotomy is that all religions are equivalent and that only atheism is a reasonable response to the world. In the video, the speaker makes the case that all religions are capable of atrocities in the name of religion. Tomorrow we can expect the Amish to launch the next 911.

Clearly the Amish bear little resemblance to Sunni Muslims,but pay no attention to the evidence. Their belief in the metaphysical is dangerous.

My faith teaches me nonaggression. As far as he world allows, I practice my faith in peace. I won’t violate God’s laws to make the world like me, but I’m not going to blow anything up for my beliefs. So don’t lump me with Muslims who do believe the sword is an appropriate way to advance heir god’s agenda.That is not the god of the Bible and the fruit of our different faiths are evidently different.

The false dichomy of religion versus atheist leads to all sorts of logical fallacies, not the least of which is that Christians whose Bible teach them nonaggression are going to launch the next 911.

What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?   2 comments

Someone in a writer’s group I belong to asked for the broad strokes’ definition.

Romans 10:9-10:  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Don’t just read the verses and go “Wow, that’s all there is”, because that isn’t. It’s the salvation experience in a nutshell, but there is more to it than just believe and confess. Paul’s writings are never one-dimensional. You have to ask yourself what is means that “Jesus is Lord”, for example.

But it’s a good broad strokes answer to the theological question.

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