About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

Repost: Teddy Roosevelt’s Legacy

All too many today appear to think the left’s attacks on our Constitution and federal republic form of government is recent, something that started with Johnson’s “Great Society” or even earlier with FDR’s “New Deal.” Both answers are wrong. There was nothing great about Johnson’s welfare state society nor with FDR’s attempt to impose a leftist dictatorship by packing the Supreme Court. No, it started much earlier, decades earlier with Teddy Roosevelt and his progressive movement in the first two decades of the 20th Century.

Here is a repost of an article I wrote a few years ago before the ‘Pub 2012 convention in Tampa. Many conservatives denounce the 16th Amendment’s imposition of the income tax. Few give thought to the implication of the passage of the 17th Amendment.


The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell made my daily task easy today. It’s a short history lesson on Progressivism. 

If you ask a sampling of High School graduates, or even some college graduations today, the question, “When did the election of US Senators start?” many would give you a blank look assuming that the direct election of Senators was in the original Constitution.  They’d be wrong of course. It started with the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution and Teddy Roosevelt was one of several who helped pass it.

The 17th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed by Congress on May 13, 1912 and was ratified on April 8, 1913. It replaced the appointment of US Senators by the state legislatures with a provision for the direct election of senators.

Text of the 17th Amendment

Section 1.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

Section 2.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of each State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

Section 3.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The push for this constitutional change started in the first decade of the 20th century.  Supposedly, it was to “enhance” democracy.  In reality, it was another step to grow and strengthen the central government at the expense of the States.  The checks and balances in the original constitution balanced power between the States and the Federal government. The original design of our government was almost that of a confederation with power sharing between the states and the central government. The aftermath of the Civil War began the process that upset that balance. The early 20th Century Progressive movement further upset that balance.

Wiki has a reasonably balanced writeup on the 17th Amendment and the history that led to its adoption. Teddy Roosevelt was also involved along with William Jennings Bryan. Roosevelt, along with Taft and Wilson were the three Progressive Presidents between 1901 and 1920 that brought us the 16th and 17th Amendments that has directly led us to our current fiscal crises.

Now we get to today’s Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation.

Political Convention Drama Begins

This week’s Republican National Convention is already experiencing its own drama thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac, which has postponed most of the events until tomorrow. But this year marks the 100th anniversary of another Republican Convention embroiled in political drama of a different nature.

Unlike today’s conventions, which are little more than multi-day campaign rallies, at the 1912 affair in Chicago, 1,000 policemen stood by to make sure the delegates didn’t get out of hand. Strands of barbed wire lay concealed beneath the bunting on the speaker’s platform to keep disgruntled delegates from charging the stage.

The very nature of our Constitution and our democracy was at stake, as William Schambra explains in a new First Principles essay from The Heritage Foundation.

On one side was Teddy Roosevelt, who ran for President that year aiming to reshape American democracy. He thrashed lackluster incumbent William Howard Taft in the primary contests, declaring, “I believe in pure democracy.”

But his definition of “pure democracy” included upsetting the Constitution. He endorsed “certain governmental devices which will make the representatives of the people more easily and certainly responsible to the people’s will.” These reforms included the initiative, the referendum, the recall of elected officials and even judicial decisions, and the direct election of U.S. Senators.

On the other side were Taft (Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor in the White House just four years earlier) and the Republican leadership, including Senators Elihu Root of New York and Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts. They stood for the Constitution. Root and Lodge were great admirers and longtime friends of Roosevelt, but Roosevelt had sent shock waves through the Republican Party. Roosevelt had proposed a dramatic constitutional change that, according to Schambra, “posed the danger of undermining popular confidence in the institutions of government.” Therefore, Root, Lodge, and Taft were determined to deny Roosevelt the nomination at the 1912 Republican convention.

Unlike the typically bland convention keynote speeches designed to smooth feathers ruffled by the nominating contest and unite the party for the main event in November, Root’s keynote was a call to constitutional conservatism.

As Schambra notes, Root grounded the Republican Party in the Constitution, since it had been “born in protest against the extension of a system of human slavery approved and maintained by majorities.” After all, the GOP was the party of Abraham Lincoln, who had declared in his first inaugural address that “a majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations…is the only true sovereign of a free people.” The party’s duty, therefore, was not to reform the constitutional system but to “humbly and reverently seek for strength and wisdom to abide by the principles of the Constitution against the days of our temptation and weakness.”

Preventing Roosevelt from winning the Republican nomination, these first conservatives saved the party from a platform of radical constitutional reform. But it also meant losing the general election. Taft won only two states, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson became President, with Roosevelt coming in second.

“The result of the Convention was more important than the question of the election,” Root later said. Losing the general election did not supplant their “duty to hold the Republican Party firmly to the support of our constitutional system. Worse things can happen to a party than to be defeated.”

Root, Lodge, and Taft sacrificed their friendship with Roosevelt and victory in the general election to save the Constitution from a proposed overhaul. Constitutional conservatism began with saving the Republican Party from Teddy Roosevelt. It continues today with the fight to save America from a deeper descent into progressivism. Members of the Tea Party movement are the intellectual heirs of Root, Lodge, and Taft.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “it is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor.” In a new essay in Heritage’s Understanding America series, President Edwin J. Feulner explores the ways the American people are bound to preserve our republic.

It is up to us to ensure that we remain a virtuous and free people, Feulner writes, and to make sure our government stays faithful to the principles on which it was founded.

“This is partly a job for the free press and the ballot box,” Feulner writes, “but we will not be able to speak and vote in support of America’s founding principles if we forget what those principles are.”

As we watch the political party conventions, we have a duty to educate ourselves on the constitutional role of government and to compare that with what the candidates are saying. As Feulner says, “we have always an obligation to pass the inheritance of freedom on, unimpaired, to the next generation.”

While the ‘Pubs in Tampa wait out the passing of Hurricane Isaac, contemplate what changes to our government has been inflicted on us by Progressivism and how we might reverse or mediate those impacts.

From here to there and home again

A few of you may have wondered what happened to the ‘Court. Most of the rest of you nay have never noticed I hadn’t posted since early in July.

There was a number of reasons. First, I’d become really, really, really hacked at the GOP from the national to the local level. Second, I needed some time off.

Mrs. Crucis and I decided to seek new climes and took off on a two week excursion out West. We traveled to twelve states and six National Parks and National Monuments.

A few close friends knew we were gone. However, we didn’t broadcast to the world we were away from home until after we had returned. I’m amazed how many give no thought to the security of their homes and blab to the world they aren’t home.

Be that as it may, we are back. It’s time to start saving for our next excursion.

Here are a few pics for your enjoyment.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

I was surprised to note that the last eruption was only 2,000 years ago. That was this morning, geologically speaking.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, MT

Now you know why it’s called Glacier National Park. We also saw some glaciers on mountains in Idaho. By the way, we discovered that the state crop in Idaho is NOT potatoes. It is hay. We saw one, ten-acre potato field but saw hundreds of well-kept and irrigated hay fields.

Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park

See if you can find them. Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park, MT


Ya think?

A story appeared today in the Washington Times, “Chief Justice John Roberts may be beyond reconciliation with conservatives.” Is anyone surprised? Roberts received a pass by many in the GOP after his affirmative vote in favor of Obamacare. After his vote to support subsidies for Obamacare, Roberts lost whatever good-will he retained with conservatives and the rank-and-file GOP.

To his credit, Roberts voted against same-sex marriage and against the over-reach of the EPA in regulating the coal industry. It was Justice Anthony Kennedy who voted with the four liberals on the Court to uphold Obamacare subsidies and same-sex marriage. Ironically, while it was Kennedy who tipped the Court in favor of same-sex marriage, it was Roberts, the Chief Justice, who took the blame.

Now an outcast among conservatives, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may get the chance to redeem himself in the coming months with his stand on affirmative action, the power of labor unions and other key cases, but some on the right say it’s too late for him to salvage his credibility with them.

The court over the next year will issue several highly consequential decisions in cases of deep importance to conservatives. The justices will decide whether labor unions can force nonmembers to pay the equivalent of union dues, whether universities should consider race during the admissions process and, in a case that could dramatically alter the political landscape, how voting districts can be drawn.

Other cases centering on abortion and gun rights also could find their way before the Supreme Court, giving Chief Justice Roberts chances to regain the faith of conservatives who believe he betrayed them with two votes in three years to salvage the Affordable Care Act and cement a central piece of President Obama’s legacy. — The Washington Times – Sunday, July 5, 2015

For many, it is too late for Roberts to redeem himself. He has proven himself to be unreliable in the votes that have counted. The Justice who should be more despised is Kennedy. His vote was the tipping point on the Court for same-sex marriage and in truth, he has voted with the liberal wing as often as he has for the conservative wing.

The Court had been viewed, before the first Obamacare vote, as having a majority of conservatives. That belief has been dispelled and no conservative, now, has any faith that the Court will support any conservative issue.

Ramp Tales

Ramp tales: stories told by old pilots. Some tales are of questionable veracity.

I used to fly. Not a lot but it was an item on my bucket list. One item that I finally accomplished in my fifties. Although I was an Air Force veteran, I didn’t learn to fly until long after I was out. My flight instructor was Charley Craig, a 30,000+ CFI based at the Gardner KS Municipal Airport—K34 on the Kansas Sectional.

Gardner is a small airport; not much different from many small town airports. It has the usual string of T-hangers, a small FBO for dispensing gas, cokes and the often needed restroom, and a small job A&E shop. Charley, Ellen (Charlie’s wife), his sons and daughters ran the FBO and a flight school. Charley was my CFI or Certified Flight Instructor.

During this period I used to spend my Saturdays flying with Charley or hanging out with an assortment of Ramp Rats, most of whom were former WWII and later military pilots. Whenever pilots gather, Ramp Tales are told. Frankly, I’ve forgotten most of them, but I did acquire a few of my own.

One of the Ramp Rats was a former WW2 pilot, Billybob. I don’t actually remember his name, but Billybob seems appropriate. Billybob was a US Army Artillery spotter. He flew a J-2/J-3 olive green Piper Cub over most of Italy and other parts of Europe.


Air Coupe

Billybob lived somewhere near the KS/MO state line and owned an Air Coupe, a single-engine, all aluminum, twin-rudder, two-seat small plane popular after World War II.

Billybog kept his Air Couple stashed at a private field that had no services. Whenever he needed fuel…or groceries for that matter, Billybob would fly in to Gardner, top off his Air Couple and beg a ride into town to buy whatever he needed. Usually there was always someone around who would chauffeur Billybob around. I did myself a time or two.

Billybob loved his Air Coupe. It was highly polished bare aluminum. Billybob had no radio in his Air Couple. If he did, he never used it as far as I know. The first inkling that Billybob was on his way in was seeing a shiny spec entering the pattern for a landing. Another Ramp Rat told me that at one time, Billybob had painted his Air Coupe a bight canary yellow. A color also known as Piper Cub Yellow. The story told by that Ramp Rat is why Billybob stripped the paint off his plane leaving nothing but bare aluminum.

Pilots and Ramp Rats in particular have a weird sense of humor. Unusual because most of their humor is expressed in practical jokes. Those jokes tend to be more mental than physical. No pilot would interfere with the safe operation and flight of an aircraft. Just about anything else, however was fair game.

One of the favorite excuses of weekend pilots to fly is to fly to fly-ins. Billybob, like many pilots, loved to show off his plane. He would go to a fly-in, park and display his Air Coupe with a placard mounted inside its bubble canopy giving all the Air Coupe’s specifications and history. A bright yellow airplane drew the attention at fly-ins like honey draws bees.

Garner, K34, has an annual fly-in sponsored by a local EAA chapter. When fly-in time arrived, Billybob and his bright yellow Air Coupe would arrive without fail. A number of the local Ramp Rats began to call the yellow airplane, Tweety, after the yellow cartoon character.

One year, a Ramp Rat replaced Billybob’s placard with another one that contained, along with a more humorous description of the Air Coupe, a large cartoon—Tweety. That new placard drew all the kids and it wasn’t long before Billybob’s Air Coupe was surrounded with kids, some of whom asked for rides in Tweety.

Billybob was a bachelor. He’d never been married to anyone’s knowledge and had few, if any, relatives. Kids terrified him. At first he would discard the new placard and politely refuse the requests for rides.

A number of Ramp Rats entered into a conspiracy. They would follow Billybob to fly-ins and, when Billybob wasn’t looking, switch his placard with a Tweety placard. Billybob became known as Tweety on the Fly-in and Airshow circuit.

At first, Billybob took it all in grudging good humor. That is until a Ramp Rat took the joke one step further. At one airshow, a small local thunderstorm passed through. Everyone headed for the FBO and hangers to get out of the rain. While everyone was distracted, one enterprising Ramp Rat scotch-taped the name, Tweety, in foot-high letters on the fuselage and wing of Billybob’s Air Coupe.

Thereafter, whenever Billybob came to an air show or fly-in, someone announced over the unicom, “Tweety arriving!” If a PA system was available, the name was announced over that as well.

It was the last straw. The next time Billybob was seen, his Air Coupe had been stripped of all paint except for his registration number. Instead of the bright yellow paint, the Air Coupe was bright, polished aluminum. Tweety was gone, but not the name.

I was told this story one day when I was hanging out at Gardner. I had been up with Charley Craig practicing timed turns. It was hot and I was cooling off under the shaded porch of the FBO with a Coke and a small scanner at my side that I used for eavesdroping on the local unicom. I noticed a bright spec low on the horizon and over the unicom came the call, “Tweety arriving!” A Ramp Rat standing nearby saw my surprise and told me the story.

In another sense, the call was a safety warning. The  pattern height for Gardner was 1000′. Billybob, perhaps due to his wartime experience as an artillery spotter, had an aversion to flying at altitude. He preferred to fly lower, much lower, as low as was legally allowed for the location. At times, he ignored the minimum height rules when entering the pattern. That could cause problems.

However, Billybob, was well liked, given his eccentricities. The local pilots knew his habits and kept an eye out for him. As long as he didn’t cause problems with transient pilots, no one called him on his practices.

Billybob is gone now. His Air Coupe was sold along with the rest of his estate. There’s nothing left except the echo of an announcement over the unicom, “Tweety arriving” in remembrance of Billybob and his bright yellow Air Coupe, Tweety.

Time out

My blogging will be curtailed, somewhat. I have too much to do and time in finite. I’m busier this summer, it seems, than I’ve been in a long time. I’d like to use more of my available time on other tasks.

Plus, I’m having a case of burnout. Our domestic political crises continues to grow. Exponentially, it seems. The left is attacking everyone who disagrees with them and even some who do. The parasite class is trying to refight the Civil War and has made advances in their attempts to eliminate or rewrite history to agree with their agenda.

I’m sick of it. And the hatefilled villainy grows at the state and local levels as well. The ‘Pub establishment at all levels is betraying us with the eager assistance from those so-called conservatives who are nothing more than contemptible political bigots.

I need some time off. Blogging will be slight. I have things to do. When those are completed, I’ll return. For now, thank you all who read my blog.

Blue skies…

My neighbor is in pain today. He lost a close friend over the weekend. A pilot lost his life Saturday in a crash at an airshow in Cameron, MO.

Steve O’Berg was an accomplished pilot. He held an Air Transport Pilot certificate, was a retired Army helo and fixed wing pilot with over 7,000 hours in the air. “Included in those 7,000 hours were 4,000 hours of military flight time and 400 combat hours in Iraq.”

My neighbor was present when the crash occurred. There is no known cause, at this time, for the crash. The accident was reported by the Aero News Network.

Airshow Pilot, Steve O’Berg, Lost in Airshow Accident

Media Handling Of The Story Leaves Much To Be Desired (Surprise!)

Sun, Jun 28, 2015

ANN regrets to report that airshow pilot Steve O’Berg has reportedly perished in an accident while conducting an airshow routine at the Cameron Airshow, Saturday afternoon, in Cameron, MO.

The Red and White Pitts S2-B apparently failed to complete a descending maneuver sequence and impacted the ground, amid trees, under circumstances yet to be properly documented. Despite what was reported to be a fairly swift med-evac from the site, O’Berg perished from his injuries.

O’Berg had an impressive background. His bio notes that, “His military career in the Army spanned 23 years until his retirement in 2007. While in the Army he flew OH-58’s, UH-1’s, UH-60 BlackHawks, C-12 King Air 200, and the C-23 Shorts-330. He retired with over 4,000 hours of military flight time including over 400 combat hours flying in Iraq.

Steve’s extensive civilian flying background includes over 7,000 hours flying everything from J-3 Cubs for fun, Boeing helicopters in Alaska Heli-Logging, Commuter Airline pilot for peanuts and a lot of things in between. His FAA Licenses include Airline Transport Pilot, Multi-Engine, and Rotary Wing Instrument flight instructor certificates.”

The airshow was shut down following the accident, but a night performance was later allowed to proceed. The Cameron Airshow organization published the following statement on their Facebook page, “At approximately 1:50 this afternoon there was an accident during a routine aerial performance. On behalf of the Cameron Airshow, we’d like to emphasis our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the pilot that was involved in the accident.”

The Kansas City news community sent their 6th Jr. Varsity reporting string to cover the crash. As expected, they butchered the story. You would expect reporters who claim to have some professionalism to do a least a smidgen of research before writing their story. But this is the 21st Century and sensationalism is first, research and accuracy as far, far lower place in their reporting. Their professionalism was non-existant. The text below is a prime example.

Aero-News Commentary/Analysis: Unfortunately, local media coverage was not only errant… but embarrassing. As an example (and certainly not the only story with errors), a report published online by KSN.com and bylined by, ‘Nick Sloan, Shain Bergan, Gary Brauer/KSHB-TV.’The story asserted that O’Berg’s aircraft was doing ‘stunts.’

The article went to say little of consequence, but did describe O’Berg’s professional, FAA/ICAS/ACE approved/monitored airshow routine and performance, as ‘doing dives and flips in front of the crowds’ and adding a statement that the aircraft, ‘attempted to do a corkscrew maneuver near the runway.’ — ANN.

Aero News Network then proceeded to explain that planned, practiced aerobatic routines are not “stunts.”

Folks… as I noted in comments attached to the poorly detailed and conducted story referenced above, the Pitts was not doing ‘stunts’ — the aircraft and its pilot were doing carefully planned, rehearsed, and approved precision aerobatic maneuvers. The pilot was a professional who received extensive scrutiny from his peers, ICAS (via its ACE program) and the FAA. The airplane did not do ‘dives and flips’ — it did a series of planned precision aerobatic maneuvers according to an approved airshow sequence that was practiced again and again before being performed at an actual airshow. This was a good pilot, a professional/qualified airshow pilot, that had a tragic accident, and deserved the respect of a journalist — at least someone doing more than 30 seconds worth of research, in accurately relating the tale of a horrible tragedy. If a so-called journalist is not up to checking the facts and respectfully detailing what’s known at this time, then he or she should please pass the story off to someone who will ask the right questions, learn the proper details, and (ultimately) respect the passing of a man who tried to share his love for aviation with the public. — ANN.

Whenever you see an aerobatic pilot exhibiting his skill, understand that every move is carefully choreographed, carefully planned, and extensively practiced. It is a exhibition of a lifetime of accumulated skill.

Blue skies, Steve O’Berg. I didn’t know you but I’ve known many like you. Farewell.


Need say no more.

This section of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has just been rendered invalid. Our right to choose whom a church will or will not marry has been made illegal.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy.