January 14, 2021

Tell The Truth

By Glenn

Now is a moment for strength, not weakness. Strength requires facing the truth. As the Good Book says, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” 

On Jan. 6, domestic terrorists broke into the United States Capitol to stop the confirmation of the Electoral College vote. What we saw was disgusting.

Not since the Civil War has a political party fought against American democracy. After the armed rioters broke into the US Capitol, they drove both Houses from the floor, vandalized the building, placed bombs and killed a police officer. They wanted to overturn an American election. 

Minutes before the insurrection, the crowd had gathered to hear Donald Trump speak in front of the White House.In December, he had tweeted an invitation for them to come to Washington.Donald had told them to “go wild.”  His adoring minions dutifully organized. They told the attendees to prepare. They were going to “storm the Capitol.”   

On Jan. 6, standing in front of the White House, Donald repeated the now familiar lie. He convinced the mob the pending vote in Congress was theft. The mob needed to “stop the steal.” Donald told them, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”

Except he didn’t march. Donald ran to the safety of the White House while the crowd taunted police.  The mob was hell bent on capturing the United States Capitol. They pushed through law enforcement.  They beat police with bats, wrenches and even American flags.  The mob chanted, “Where is Pence?” as they carried zip ties, guns and nooses. It could have been worse.

There is no way to separate Trump-inspired violence from Trump’s election lies.  Trump invited the mob to Washington, riled them up with lies about the election and sent them to the Capitol to pressure Congress to overturn the election.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bocca_della_Verit%C3%A0#/media/File:Rom,_Bocca_della_Verit%C3%A0.JPG

But it wasn’t just that day. Since the election he and his Republican cohorts have been peddling the same lie of a fraudulent election. That has been unmasked as a lie by every court, by every Republican judge and official with authority over the vote.   

In 50 cases and more the courts from the US Supreme Court down has upheld the election as legal and binding. These facts did not matter. The lie incited the mob.

After the riot, William Barr, Donald’s Former Attorney General, said Trump was guilty of, “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress” and his behavior was “betrayal of his office and supporters.”

A few responsible Republicans across the country have joined him.But Grayson County officials have not faced the truth.  Why choose to be on the wrong side of history? 

Grayson County Commissioners must stand up for what is right.  Until then, do they seriously want to teach our children to surrender to domestic terrorists?  Do more Americans have to die for Donald’s lies?

January 7, 2021

Trust is a Life Skill

By Glenn
Topics:
life

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Not all life skills are the same.  Some are more important than others.  One essential skill is learning to tell the difference between fact and fiction. We have to learn who is telling the truth and who is lying to us.

If we don’t learn this skill, life can become pretty miserable.

This week I had to confront reality.  I had to face the facts or suffer the consequences.  I had to trust a doctor whom I only met in July.  He told me the truth. Should I trust him?

This summer, while teaching online, I fainted.  It was the second time that I had lost consciousness for no apparent reason.

My normal doctor, whom I’ve known for about 20 years, scheduled an MRI and sent me to a cardiologist.  The MRIs were nothing new for me.  They are loud and boring.  

The cardiologist was.  He seemed like a nice young man.  (Now that I am over 50, I can say that.)  This stranger asked me to wear an overnight heart monitor. 

This too was pretty easy.  I had already worn a similar device for sleep apnea. The halter found nothing.

The next step was an implanted chip to provide continuous monitoring for up to five years.  I asked the doctor if this were the Bill Gates model. He said that he didn’t know but would find out.  My sarcasm obviously failed. 

The implanted chip was a good choice.  It quickly discovered that about once per month my heart slows and pauses for 5-6 seconds.  The doctor is concerned that these episodes could happen while driving or another activity.

Think about it.  Once per month my heart slows and pauses for 5-6 seconds.  No doctor listening to my heart could have found it.  Even the chances of a twenty-four hour monitor finding the pause would be small.  I don’t understand how the chip worked, but it did.

The next step is a pacemaker.  That is a pretty big step, but I will follow my doctor’s advice.  He told me that it could save my life or someone near me.  If one of these episodes happened while driving, the results could be catastrophic.

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007369.htm

At each step of the way I had to test my skills as an adult.  Were these experts lying to me or telling me the truth?   Certainly there is a financial gain related to the procedure?  Couldn’t they just recalibrate the results?  Couldn’t they find those lost five seconds?

I decided to face reality.  I’m not a medical doctor or expert.  Part of growing up is learning to tell the difference between fact and fiction, learning who to trust.   It is a life or death skill.

January 3, 2021

Granny Comeaux’s Cabbage Rolls

By Glenn
Topics:
Food

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Jackie makes the best cabbage rolls every New Year’s Day. She uses a recipe handed down from her great grand mother: Granny Comeaux.

Blend in blender: 1 Bell pepper, 2 celery, 1 large onion, parsley, green onions, garlic

Drain in colander

Mix Meat in Bowl: 1 lb. Ground pork, 1 lb. Ground beef

Season meat with salt, pepper, Tony’s, garlic powder

Mix together blended vegetables and one cup raw rice into meat

boil leaves for 5 minutes, cut stems out, Bowl

Line large pot with outer leaves of cabbage

place rolls in pot

2 big cans of tomato soup and water top two rolls, add salt to whole pot, boil cover for 45 minutes

Here is the “actual recipe” Maddie (Jackie’s mom) dictated over the phone.

January 1, 2021

Happy New Year

By Glenn

December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

By Glenn

We live in a world of artificial lights. Light is all around us.  It can even be with us twenty four hours if we want it.  Natural light, however, brings so much joy.  Who among us is not mesmerized by the glow of a candle, a fire or a star?

Darkness is not simply the absence of light. Darkness is a sense of loss.  We lose our sense of direction, forcing us to stop and wait for a light to point the way. If we don’t slow down, we will likely run into something and hurt ourselves.

Darkness can also weigh on us.  It creates a greater sense of the unknown.  Darkness amplifies real and imagined dangers.  How much louder is a sound at 2 am in a dark house that 2 pm in a house full of light?

Without artificial light we are at the mercy of natural sources of light.  We sleep at night, snuggled in our houses.  We work in the day.  There is nothing like a fresh cup of coffee as the sun comes up.

We just passed the darkest moment of the year. December 21st was the winter solstice.  From now until June 20th the days will get longer and brighter.  

It should come as no surprise then that Christians chose December 25th to celebrate Christmas. Yes, Christians chose this date.  There is nothing Biblical about it.  It is completely symbolic.

In the dead of winter, in the darkest days of the year, Christians celebrate the Light of the World.  This Light brings Joy to the World.  We put lights on our houses.  We put lights in trees. We light up the darkness.

These artificial lights are symbols that drive home the Gospel message.

Matthew 5:  14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Our light is our works.  Do we give the gift of light?  Do we feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Heal the sick? Welcome the immigrant? Show kindness to those in prison? Do we comfort the afflicted?

Can we, as Christians, humble ourselves even though we are made in the image of God, not deeming equality with God something to be grasped?  Rather, can we take the form of a slave?  Can we serve our neighbor?

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71427942

Service brings light into the darkness.  Christmas has all the symbols to guide a Christian on our journey through the world.  Where there is darkness, bring light.  Where there is sorrow, bring joy.  Where there is despair, bring hope. 

Merry Christmas!  Let’s make 2021 a Happy New Year.

December 17, 2020

State of Denial

By Glenn

I thought that we lived in the state of Texas.  Looking at Republican politicians, we must live in the state of denial.  Joe Biden won 306 Electoral College votes and 81,283,495 individual votes. 

Joe Biden easily won the Presidency.  There is no doubt.  Even Republicans in the states Biden won, say Biden won.  No lawsuit presented facts to challenge that Joe Biden won.

Republican election officials confirm Joe Biden won.  Republican governors confirm Joe Biden won.  Republican judges confirm Joe Biden’s victory was legal under the Constitution of the United States of America.

At the beginning of December United States Attorney General Willian Barr said “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Texas Republican politicians, however, are in a state of denial. 

Misleading the way has been Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Paxton is infamous because he is currently under a federal felony indictment that could land him in prison.  He is accused of misleading investors by failing to disclose he would benefit personally from their investments.

Something similar happened with his frivolous lawsuit against Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania .  In each state the loser in the Presidential election sued to overturn the votes counted.  The loser never provided any evidence under oath.

The oath is a linchpin of our judicial system.  It is one thing to lie on Fox News or One America Network, but it is illegal to lie to a judge.  The loser’s attorneys refused to lie in court the way Rudy Giuliani lied on television.  They simply had no evidence.

When Ken Paxton filed his suit to overturn the election results, he knew these facts.  He simply didn’t care.  He abused his office by filing a frivolous lawsuit in the United States Supreme Court.   Paxton lacked any evidence, new or old.   

To no one’s surprise, the US Supreme Court refused to even hear the case.  It wrote, “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.”    That is a fancy way of saying Paxton made no sense.

Well, someone was surprised.  Allen West, a confessed war criminal and Chairman of the Texas Republican Party, was.   He even pondered if it were time for Texas and other states to leave the United States of America and form a new country.

Allen West, self confessed war criminal, asks if Texas should leave the USA.

Do Texas voters really want Republican politicians to lead us out of America?  Is Texas really a state of denial?  Or is it a proud member of the United States of America?  I know my answer.  What is yours?

December 10, 2020

The Pretender

By Glenn

America has never had a pretender before.  Pretenders were regular features of European monarchies.  In monarchies the government, called the Crown, was the personal property of the king.  It passed from father to son or, rarely, to his daughter.

In America, we have a Republic.  The term “republic” derives from the Latin phrase “res publica.” The phrase means “public thing.”  Our government is a public institution, not a piece of personal property.  The people, not God, select our government.

The Founding Fathers choose a Republic over a monarchy because the historical evidence showed that people secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity better than kings.   In kingdoms, the heirs often squabbled over the throne.  The loser would act as a pretender, undermining the security and prosperity of the people.

The Founders didn’t have to look far into their own history to find a disruptive pretender.  During the Eighteenth Century, the Jacobites provided a constant source of irritation to the English.  These sore losers sought to restore the Stuarts to “their house.”  The English Parliament had driven the Stuarts off the throne twice because of mismanagement.

The March of the Guards to Finchley by William Hogarth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_rising_of_1745

America only experienced this type of “pretending” once in its history.  In 1860 America voters elected Abraham Lincoln, a man hostile to slavery.  Every state accepted that Lincoln won the Presidency.  In response, however, a minority of sore losers decided to secede from the United States of America. 

The Confederates invoked the favor of “Almighty God” and built a new government around the cornerstone of white supremacy.  They might have succeeded at dividing the country, but they made a fateful error.  They attacked the United States of America.

Every school child learns that America won.  The costs, however, of that uncivil war was brutal.  Six hundred thousand Americans died because one side lost an election.  They betrayed our country’s values. They betrayed the Republic. 

Today, some Republicans are begging their leader to accept his loss.  Republicans in Georgia counted the votes THREE times.  Joe Biden won every time. The Pretender cannot accept reality. 

America has never had a Pretender before.  Pretenders are dangerous.  Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperge begged his leader to “quell the violent rhetoric being born out of his continuing claims of winning the states where he obviously lost.”  The pretender has not stopped pretending.

Sowing these seeds of violent division couldn’t come at a worst time.  Nearly three thousand Americans are dying every day.  A true American leader would rally everyone to save lives, not focus on himself. 

What do you want written in the history books?  Will you support the Republic or the Pretender? Reality or denial?  Your choice will write the history of America.  What will you do for your country?

December 3, 2020

Best Days Ahead of Us

By Glenn

I always get a chuckle when people talk about the “good ol’ days.”  When people image the past, they usually imagine themselves in a utopian cottage or a royal palace.  For the vast majority of people in past, their life was nasty, brutish, and short.

Before the late 1900s, humans lacked basic knowledge of microbiology and chemistry.  Instead of science they relied on common sense and superstitions to make sense of the world.  These methods were not very reliable.

Humans are particularly bad with evaluating novelty. We can’t recognize the benefits of something new.  We also have a hard time admitting the dangers of something old.

Two everyday items that had a hard time breaking through were potatoes and tomatoes. These two plants were indigenous to the Americas.  When explorers brought them back home, Europeans refused to eat them.

Can you imagine Italy without a tomato sauce or a St, Patrick’s Day boiled meal with potatoes?  Who would the nightmare of a burger without fries?

Europeans were convinced these modern staples were poisonous.  It took centuries to overcome this “common sense” of the Good Ol’ Days.

Hot showers and regular baths took even longer to catch on.  Well into the 1800s Europeans rarely bathed or washed their hands. 

In 1846 Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, discovered hand washing prevented patient deaths.   Backed with data to support his argument, he recommended doctors wash their hands before treating their patients. 

Unfortunately, doctors refused to listen.  They refused to accept that they themselves introduced deadly pathogens into their patents.  I am certainly happy more doctors and nurse learn real science.

Hand washing was a relatively pain free and inexpensive solution to premature death.  What happens, however, when the solution costs someone money?

We don’t have to look much farther than the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke.  In 1964 year US Surgeon General linked smoking to cancer and discouraged its use.

The merchants of death kicked into high gear.  They hired public relations firms to discredit the government’s report.  There was big money in selling cancer in a stick.  

Thankfully, we put the Good Ol’ Days behind us.  Our society values reality over conspiracies. We are getting better at distinguishing good from bad.  America’s best days are ahead.  

November 26, 2020

Family Memories

By Glenn
Topics:
Glenn Melancon

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My dad, CW3 Yves “Buster” Melancon, served twenty seven years in the United States Army. This meant that most of my first fourteen years were away from my extended family.  Holidays were a treat. 

Unlike my cousins, whose parents stayed closer to South Louisiana, I only saw my grandparents at Christmas.  Eventually, I only saw my grandmothers.  Both of my grandfathers died before I developed any real memory of them. Death cuts short new memories.

From second to fifth grade we lived in Bamberg, Germany.  During those three years, we were almost completely isolated from our family.   In 1973 a long distance call was expensive and an overseas call was a luxury.

Bamberg Rider

Dad retired in 1980, and we moved to “The West Bank” across from New Orleans for his new life.  The metroplex offered him a variety of job opportunities.  I’m sure a big benefit for both my mom and dad was living within an hour of their mothers and most of her brothers and sisters. 

We did see them more often, especially at huge Cajun weddings.  My mom had twelve brothers and sisters, and I had 50 cousins on her side.  During my high school years, we gathered to eat, drink, and dance.  For the first time I got to know my cousins.

After those brief four years, I moved off to college in Lafayette.  Visits home became less and less frequent.  At that point Christmas became an annual event at my parent’s house.  My dad’s mother had a stroke and moved into their house.  Dad’s siblings and my cousins all gathered to put a smile on Maw Maw’s face.

In 1989 I married Jackie.  We met in Lafayette, but remarkably she had grown up in my mom’s home parish, St. Charles.  Jackie knew many of my cousins on the “Landeche side” of the family.  Our wedding was in Luling, Louisiana, not far from New Orleans.  Both of our families and many of our high school and college friends attended.  We sure passed a good time.

Over the next four years, I worked on my Masters and Doctorate in History.  Since Jackie was teaching in Lafayette, we lived there.  Luckily, her extended family on her mom’s side lived within an hour.  We had plenty of support for our first son, Christopher, and then Alexandre was born.

We both knew life would change when I graduated from LSU.  That’s when I got a job at Southeastern in Durant.  We found ourselves hours away from home, but not family.  I had two aunts that lived in North Texas.  They had come here long ago to work at TI. 

This year will be different.  Christopher is in the US Army and Alexandre is in the US Air Force.  We don’t know exactly what Christmas will look like, but Jackie and I will be eating Thanksgiving dinner alone.  We want to make sure the people we love stay safe to make memories with them.  

Our parents taught us that true love requires sacrifices. We will live to celebrate together next year.

November 19, 2020

Reality Wins

By Glenn

Reality does not depend upon your beliefs.  For example, gravity is a scientific theory.   If you drop an object on earth, it will fall unless acted upon by an outside force.  You don’t have to believe in gravity for it to work.

Since January 2020, conservative politicians have been trying to speak Covid 19 away.  They pretended that their public denials would change reality.  Dallas television star and megachurch pastor, Kenneth Copeland, stood before his congregation and blew Covid away.

Copeland’s magic failed.  Despite the false claims it would magically disappear one day, it has not and it will not.

https://youtu.be/hsGbk820O_Y

Something has changed, however.   Since the election, Republican governors across the Midwest have been imposing new covid-19 restrictions. They had to face reality.   The virus is spreading. 

Before the election, they kept up the charade. Parroting the lie that covid-19 was simply the flu.

Conservatives demanded that everyone go about their daily lives as normal.  In the North and South Dakota, Republican governors rejected any government action.  They argued that individual choice was enough to slow the spread.   They now have the worst cases in America.

In Texas Governor Greg Abbott put Republican election efforts ahead of public safety.  He rejected the reality of a pandemic and increased capacity in bars and restaurants.

Abbott wanted the spread the lie that Covid 19 was defeated and the economy was bouncing back.  That was a political narrative that didn’t match reality.

Day by day Texans watched with their own eyes as Covid cases climbed in the month of October.  This period produced a false sense of comfort.  The number of deaths seemed to remain flat.

Like the Indian summer we often enjoy every fall, Covid without deaths will come to an end quickly.  Death is a lagging feature of Covid.  First people get sick.  Hospitalization rates then go up.  An increased number of dead are the last phase of the spread.

Covid 19’s will be an arctic blast on economic activity.  The struggling airlines industry has already started cutting back flights.  Many of us know traveling for business and pleasure simply is not safe.

Unfortunately, about 40 percent of Americans are denying reality.  They will not take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones or their neighbors.  They continue to believe the political lies. They continue to spread the virus.

You don’t have to believe in Covid 19 to get sick.  Please be careful.  Wear your mask.  Wash your hands.  Keep your distance.