ISSUE #10: May Election Signs & “Red” America

Sign Count: Polling the May Elections

by Heath Bell

For the last few months, I’ve been driving around the city and county counting the signs in order to gauge popular support for the City Council and School Board candidates. There is some evidence to suggest that voters who know little about the candidates will vote for whoever’s name is most seen, meaning signs are significant not just for gauging the views of that voter, but also their community. However, just like normal polls don’t measure the results of elections 1:1, I don’t anticipate this will either. In the end, turnout is most important!

First, for the City Council election:

Charlie Kiehne, Randy Briley, and Bobby Watson are neck-and-neck in a seemingly tight race. I counted 24 Kiehne signs, and 23 each for Briley and Watson. I counted 1 Tim Riley sign, which was actually a car, but I decided to count it anyway. It would seem Sharon Joseph has no campaign signs out, meaning she will overperform her sign count regardless of the result. As for crossover, I’ve noticed Kiehne signs can either be by themselves, with Briley signs, or occasionally with Watson signs; high crossover support is a good sign for Kiehne. Briley signs are mostly by themselves, but sometimes appear with Kiehne signs. If Briley supporters vote like this (only for him), he has a good chance of victory. Similarly, Watson signs appear mostly by themselves, with the occasional Kiehne sign. Based on the lack of Joseph signs, it’s difficult to say how she will be supported, but anecdotal evidence tells me she and Watson may share a coalition. Finally, Tim Riley remains the dark horse candidate. It seems he (like Joseph) doesn’t have signs up, so it’s hard to judge his support. However, there is a possibility that those supporting only one candidate may vote for Riley as a second choice.

Next, we’ll move to the (more exciting) FISD School Board race:

Dennis McCanless has a commanding lead with 49 signs, Jake Whittington and Brian Lehne have similar numbers at 34 and 32 respectively. Taylor Ward has 20 signs, and Keri Hensley has 12. It’s interesting that all 5 candidates have a healthy number of signs, while also being much more imbalanced than the City race. As for crossover, McCanless signs mostly appear by themselves, which could be a good sign for him. However, some also appear with Whittington or Lehne. Whittington has by far the most varied crossover, appearing with McCanless, Lehne, and Ward. Interestingly, Lehne’s crossover can be split into 2 categories: those with Ward & Hensley, and those with Whittington or McCanless. Ward & Hensley’s signs mostly appear with each other & with Lehne, however, a minority appear by themselves.

Again, the results will end up being all about turnout, so don’t forget to early vote today or Tuesday, or on election day May 6th!

Red America?

by Amy Heimann

Once upon a time, there was a group of colonies in near proximity to each other with similar goals and aspirations that would align themselves into a unified country. As individual colonies, they learned about gathering funds for public/government uses from one of the most developed kingdoms in the world and besought to use the same strategies to develop themselves and their newly established nation. One of those methods of money generation was the tax on property. In its original form, this was simply another name for wealth tax. Eventually however, it became a way for the government to own all private lands. For if citizens do not pay property taxes, they will forfeit said property.

Before the nation was formed, one of its colonies required schools to be built for the education of children outside of the home. That was in 1647. In 1790, one of the other former colonies –now a state– declared by its state constitution the expectation of free public education for children of the poor. Another two states mandated compulsory school attendance in 1852 and 1853. By 1918, all children in the nation were forced to acquire proof of elementary school education.

In 1812, this young nation entered into a war that required funding from the government to continue. Most of the money came in the form of customs duties, but many goods were smuggled onto the land, bypassing this form of revenue. How horrid! The country’s government responded by legalizing civil asset forfeiture. This practice allows the government and its law enforcement officials to lawfully seize money, goods, and property from citizens without convicting or even accusing them of a crime. The practice was never abandoned.

When this country later went to war with itself, and one side’s debt rose to $500,000, property and import taxes did not seem like enough income to the struggling government. So a graduated income tax was instituted in 1862. This was ended in 1872. In 1892, a new president signed into law a flat rate income tax into existence, only to be struck down by the highest court of law a few months later, being deemed contrary to that nation’s constitution. The constitution was amended in 1913 and the graduated income tax returned to stay. Nineteen-thirteen was an eventful year for this country in that it also oversaw the formation of centralized banking that would give the government certain controls over the nation’s monetary system. That same year, the estate tax was also established, taking a chunk of inheritance away from many of the nation’s citizens.

In 1930, this country’s national army began work on creating an agency for peacetime surveillance to replace the world-war-necessitated Cypher Bureau that had closed. This Signal Intelligence Service served until 1952, when it was renamed and reorganized as the National Security Agency. This agency has at various times spied on national threats, allies, and citizens. A mere four years later in 1934, the country developed a commission to regulate intra- and inter- national communications. This agency has been known by its acronym FCC ever since.

With security in mind, this country also adopted a Transportation Security Administration in 2001 to oversee mass transit systems, like airlines, railways, waterways, and highways.

In 2008, this country’s government sensed that more and more citizens were renouncing their citizenship. How awful! So the country introduced the exit tax, forcing certain well-to-do citizens to pay a 23% tax rate if they choose to leave.

In less than 235 years, this country has arguably largely met seven of the 10 goals set forth in Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto: “#1 Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. #2 A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. #3 Abolition of all right of inheritance. #4 Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. #5 Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. #6 Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State…#10 Free education for all children in public schools.” Only three more to go; Marx must be happy in his grave.

Also, This:

Federal Judge Attacks Mail-Order Abortions. Texas Judge Kacsmaryk has ruled that the abortion-causing drug mifepristone be removed from shelves, declaring that the FDA succumbed to external pressures in approving it 20 years ago (see The Fulcrum, Issue 8 for the backstory). Kacsmaryk continued his official statement by referring to the 1873 Comstock Act, which outlawed mailing all articles and substances “intended for producing abortion” in addition to contraceptives and “lewd” written materials, such as abortion advertisements. This Act was altered in the 1970s, making it legal to mail contraceptives, but the abortion implements clause still stands. The Comstock Act was purposefully and entirely disregarded during the reign of Roe v Wade, but pro-life advocates hope its full legal force will return shortly. The Supreme Court on April 21st blocked the ruling from taking effect until the case can be heard by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Global Food Shortage Expected to Continue. As the Russian war on Ukraine is now well into its second year, the World Bank plans to distribute $30 billion on efforts to reduce food insecurity. An estimated 87.7% of countries have experienced food price inflation of 5% or above between December 2022 and March 2023. Several counties have encountered food inflation over 30%, including Argentina, Venezuela, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, Pakistan, and Laos. The USDA predicts that Ukraine’s delayed 2022/23 harvest will be 31% lower than the previous year, and will likely further affect prices on wheat, barley, corn, sunflower, and soy. Also of potential concern are new trade restrictions. At least 33 countries have employed food export-limiting acts or food export bans.

UN Releases Report with Recommendations on De-criminalizing Sex with Minors. A group effort with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNAIDS, and other jurists announce their legal opinion that “With respect to the enforcement of criminal law, any prescribed minimum age of consent to sex must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Enforcement may not be linked to the sex/gender of participants or age of consent to marriage…sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribe minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual…the enforcement of criminal law should reflect the rights and capacity of persons under 18 years of age to make decisions about engaging in consensual sexual conduct and their right to be heard in matters concerning them.” The panel also states that prostitutes and those who facilitate, manage, organize, advertise, or provide premises for sex-work (pimps) should be decriminalized and allowed to legally operate. Also, “Criminal law may not proscribe abortion.” Furthermore, anyone who aims to “change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression…may be addressed through other provisions in the criminal law.”

Book Review

Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater by Brayton Harris.
TX 921 Nim

Most of the residents in Fredericksburg assume they know the life and story of Admiral Chester Nimitz. He was born here in Fritztown, joined the Navy at a young age, rose to Commander of the Pacific Fleet during WWII, and accepted the surrender of the Japanese. Fewer people know he spent his childhood growing up in Kerrville, that he never graduated high school, and that he faced court martial before the war. Still fewer can tell you that he commanded a gunboat, destroyer, and four submarines within the first six years of his commissioned service. Or can recite the story of how he lost parts of his fingers (ever notice that the Nimitz statue on Main Street is missing a few digits?).

Perhaps the biography of the “greatest naval leader of the last century” deserves another look.

The Pioneer Memorial Library houses several biographies of our hometown boy, including one by author Brayton Harris. This account carefully examines Nimitz’ leadership skills from childhood onwards, detailing his adeptness of mediation and strategy. Multiple insights arise also from Nimitz’ personal life as father and husband, which create a pleasurable and satisfying read. The book, in perfect chronological order, also lays out the war in the Pacific from Nimitz’ own eyes and may be easier to understand than walking around the ultra-informative national museum on Austin Street. Everyone interested in history or local ‘celebrities’ is encouraged to read about the admiral’s Admiral from his own vantage point.

Die Deutsche Ecke

There are several German compound nouns around Fredericksburg that you likely pass by frequently. Certain businesses and locations, past and present, adopted German names in deference to the history of the town. A few of these are easy enough for English-speakers to understand the purpose of the business without assistance. Two that come readily to mind are Gästehaus Schmidt (Guest + House of the Schmidts) and the late Blumenhandlers (Flower + Handler’s).

Perhaps the first installation of a compound noun in Fredericksburg is Der Stadt Friedhof, established in 1846. Stadt = City/town and Friedhof = Cemetery. The word ‘cemetery’ in German is quite lovely to contemplate. A Hof is a ‘yard’ in the sense of a ‘center’ (for example a ‘train station’ is a Bahnhof). Combine that with the root of the word meaning ‘peace’ and you get a Peace + Yard/Station on the road to the resurrection of the dead.

Also early on in local history was the creation of the Hauptstrasse. Haupt = Core (in the sense of ‘main’; for example, a Hauptbahnhof is a ‘central train station’) and Strasse = Street. It was only fairly recently that Kreuzberg became better known as Cross Mountain. On Thursdays during the summer and on various festival weekends, Marktplatz is used as a marketplace.

Then there is a slew of restaurants. Ausländers means ‘foreigner’s’. The preposition aus means ‘out’ and Land = Nation. The ‘er’ at the end indicates a person in that state, like we would call someone a ‘New Yorker’. Which is really the same thing as an Ausländer. Friedhelms is Peace + Helmet. Ratskeller I would probably interpret as ‘basement of city hall’ although this is not a one-to-one translation. Keller = Cellar and Rat = Advice, Rats = Council, and a Rathaus = City Hall. Perhaps the idea for the name was that people would gather together underground and dish out advice by means of chewing the fat? Altdorf is Old + Village. And if you are paying attention, you can deduce what Altstadt means.

Although Der Kuchen Laden is not a compound word, I’ll include it here anyway. A Laden is a ‘shop’ and Kuchen means ‘cake’. I think many folks assume Der Kuchen Laden is ‘The Kitchen Store’, but that is not quite right. A ‘kitchen’ is Küche in German. (By the way, I love how kitchens are basically named for cakes, like that’s the primary purpose of said room in the house.)

What other local businesses have I missed? Let me know!

The Good News

Popular Commentary of the Bible: New Testament Vol. I. by Paul E. Kretzmann, 1921. CPH.

John 3:3-8

Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said unto Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again’. The wind blows where it wills and thou hearest the sound therefor, but cannot tell whence it comes and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Unless a person comes into being, is born, anew, again, is made over entirely into a new creature, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God which Jesus is preaching so earnestly. Without such complete regeneration a participation in the joys of the true kingdom of God is impossible. No one can be saved unless he is regenerated.

Nicodemus, like all the Pharisees, believed that he could be saved by the works of the Law. His view is shared by millions of misguided people today. To be worthy of heaven by one’s own merits, that is the aim of all modern Pharisees. But the demand of Christ differs radically from that assumption. It overthrows all self-righteousness and pride completely. It insists upon a complete change in the moral condition of a man, a thorough and all-including transformation of the heart, of the mind, of the will of a person, which also must become evident in a new manner of living, so that such a person, in his thinking, willing, feeling, in words and in works, is a new man. Without such regeneration no one can enter into the kingdom of God.

The statement of Jesus, simple as it was, was at the same time so thoroughly at variance with the commonly accepted idea as to the way of getting to heaven that it almost took the Pharisee’s breath. His question reveals his utter inability to grasp the idea of the Lord to its full extent…such a change in the field of morality seemed to him impossible, verging on the ridiculous, preposterous. How can a person, especially one of advanced years, deny the habits and customs of years? If that is to be done, then every person must really begin his life all over again, just as he came into the world. The very suggestion is unthinkable from the standpoint of reason, just as the idea of conversion, of regeneration, is preposterous in the opinion of the average self-righteous person. And therefore Jesus explains, once more with solemn emphasis, that the rebirth out of water and Spirit is absolutely essential, it is a prime prerequisite, for the entering into the kingdom of heaven. Spiritual regeneration by Baptism, through which the Spirit of God is given, is unavoidably necessary. Baptism is the means by which the Holy Spirit works regeneration, the new birth. Conversion is therefore in no way the works of man, but it is the work of God the Holy Ghost. To be born again or anew is to be born out of the Spirit, to receive from Him a new heart, a new mind, a new will. To gain this object, God uses Baptism as one of His instruments. This Sacrament actually works and gives new life; the water is not merely a symbol, but an actual means, through the power of the Word, in working salvation. But one that has been converted in this way, and has thus become a partaker of the grace of God, thereby enters into the kingdom of heaven, into the invisible Church; for the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are identical.

That His demand of an absolute regeneration is well founded is proved by the fact that all men, as they are born into the world, are flesh; theirs is a sinful, corrupted nature, alienated from God, hostile to God. The carnal-mindedness of natural man is enmity toward God. It is an irreconcilable contrast: all men carnally born, from carnal parents, by nature flesh and filled with the same sinful affections as the parents in their nature, and, on the other hand, that which comes into existence by the creative work of the Spirit in conversion, the new man, filled with divine life, with divine power from above, through the working of the Spirit. He that is born of the Spirit has the Spirit’s manner; his heart, mind, and will are directed to God and to that which pertains to God; such a one, and he only, is fit for the kingdom of God; he alone can receive the kingdom of God with its heavenly gifts and blessings. It should therefore not be a cause for wonder that a new birth is required for entrance into the spiritual kingdom. To natural man, indeed, it is a marvel, something that he can never fathom and understand, in just what way the Spirit of God works.

The Lord tries to make His meaning clear by an example…there is the wind: it blows where it chooses; it come, it goes…but the beginning and end, the why and wherefore of the laws of nature are unknown, just as it is impossible for mere man to understand creative power. The blowing of the wind is done in absolute independence of any man’s will; no one can govern and fix its direction. And just so it is with the working of the Spirit of God: the process of regeneration cannot be ascertained by the application of the senses; that is a mystery of God. Only the results are apparent, and they are often of a nature to make us marvel. The regenerated person shows an entirely different manner than before his conversion. What he shunned before he now seeks; and what he sought and loved before he now hates. He is a new, a different person, all by the power of the Spirit. As the wind is free, not bound to any place, person, or time, so also the Holy Ghost. Just as the wind moves, drives, comforts, and penetrates everything, so it is also with the working of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost does His work how and when He wishes to; He does His work in His own peculiar way.

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