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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio

Disclaimer: I was a provided a free copy of this book to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I chose to read Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio without knowing who Diamond Rio was, and it seems to me that a book should be able to stand on its own merit as literature. However, I think that only fans of the famous country group would really love the book that is their collective autobiography. The book did propel me to listen to some of their music, and it is really fabulous. However, the storyline of the book really got bogged down in the name-dropping arena and with so much inside detail about the Opryland and Nashville music scene.

The book opens with the group's artistic crisis, and then traces the development of the group. It then veers off into the careers of its individual members, with many, many photographs included. Although many of those stories have potential, I just didn't feel the depth of the drama or that the real personalities of the group members connected with the reader. Again, this may be because I am not a Diamond Rio fan. However, I had hoped that the book would transcend the genre and transport me to their world. The book just did not do that for me.

I am sure that Diamond Rio fans will love this book. It has so many pictures and a very detailed history of their long-term success and relationships. As a reader with a different perspective, I had a difficult time maintaining interest. So, non-country music fans may want to skip this one.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Voters Guide

With the upcoming primary election in Illinois, the Illinois Family Institute has published a voter's guide.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Civil Contempt and Judicial Abuse of Discretion

What is Civil Contempt of court and why is its abuse a dangerous precedent in the American legal system?

Civil contempt "generally involves the failure to perform an act that is ordered by a court as a means to enforce the rights of individuals or to secure remedies for parties in a civil action." For instance, parents who don't pay court-ordered Child Support may be held in contempt of court under civil contempt or journalists who refuse to divulge their sources. The problem with civil contempt is that people are imprisoned indefinitely and they are forced to prove a negative. If a parent who is ordered to pay support based on false premises fails to pay, the judge can choose to ignore evidence and send them to jail indefinitely. None of the protections of the constitution are afforded them, and judges are allowed great discretion - including up to 14 years imprisonment - with no due process, no guarantee of legal representation and no jury trial. Many judges abuse this power of discretion. Fortunately, in Illinois, our judges are no longer merely accountable to the next higher court. In this state, judges must now hold onto their offices through an election. Judges are now directly accountable to voters.

To protect themselves, their children and their future, voters need to wake up and research the candidates they vote for. Voting for judges may seem like a confusing matter, but with the Internet making so much more information available, candidates are being forced to present themselves and their past actions to public scrutiny. This can only be a good thing. Corruption and abuse of power don't thrive in an environment of truth and revelation.

For more information about this topic, go to Legal Affairs Articles

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


A good friend sent this along to me. And, I believe it is high time for MAJOR ACTION in this country:

"My friends and neighbors want to promote the "Congressional Reform Act of 2010." It would contain eight provisions, all of which would probably be strongly endorsed by those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights so many years ago who are now "spinning" in their graves today!

I know many of you will say, "This is impossible." Let me remind you, Congress has the lowest approval of any entity in Government, now is the time when Americans "We the People" can join together to reform Congress - the entity that is supposed to "represent" us.

We need to find a brave Senator to introduce this bill in the U.S. Senate and a brave Representative to introduce a similar bill in the U.S. House. These two people will become American heroes.


A Fellow American


The Congressional Reform Act of 2010

1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options are below.

A. Two Six year Senate terms

B. Six Two year House terms

C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

2. No Tenure/No Pension: A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves over into the Social Security system immediately.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people they serve.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people they serve.

8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are NULL & VOID effective 1/1/2011. The American people did not make this contract with congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list. If not, just delete.

Harder to pass, but still a good idea is the 28th Amendment. It's a similar idea to rein in the Congress.

Amendment 28

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives. And Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. All bills presented before the Congress shall have a preface that will outline the constitutionality for such bill, and each spending bill will pertain to one issue and not have attachments or "ear-marks."

The term of all elected members of Congress is limited to a maximum of 12 years."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Philosophically, I consider myself more in line with Republican ideals. However, because too many Republicans have abused their power and merely given lip service to the concepts of less government, protecting the lives of unborn children, and being fiscally conservative, I no longer vote along party lines or even identify myself as a Republican or Democrat.

Because lying, corruption and hubris have overtaken the process and become the norm (for both main parties), there are VERY few in government who are not tainted. Of course, we are all human and therefore prone to human mistakes and error - no matter how brilliant or self-sacrificing we are. That said, there are far too many elected officials - judges, law enforcement, administrators and lawmakers - who represent only a very narrow group - sometimes only themselves! And the reason for the corruption comes right back down to you and me. Not enough voters take elections seriously and do their homework. It is a responsibility of every adult citizen of this country to participate in the process.

Since I wasn't raised in Illinois, I still don't understand all of the Illinois' government processes and positions. One of the most puzzling still remains the process of how judges are appointed and elected. In my blog over the next three weeks, I will be sharing what I have learned about the judicial election process.

The first thing that I know to share is that Tuesday, February 2 is the primary. This is the election where each party chooses the candidates who will run in the general election in November. In the primary, Democrats run against Democrats and Republicans against Republicans. Early voting begins next Monday. So, the time is now! No more delay. Homework time!