Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back Home from North Louisiana

 Visited with the in-laws. Met the newest addition to the family. Ate an utterly delicious home-cooked Christmas dinner. Great fun! And on the way home, stopped at the Duck Commander store and had my picture made in front of the famous sign. Got a Phil T-Shirt. 

It was a quick trip -- up on Tuesday, Christmas dinner on Wednesday, back home today. Taking it easy for another day or two before jumping back into everything.

Photo: T. Ward

Monday, December 23, 2013

...and a Happy New Year, too

Public Domain Image by Petr Kratochvil

Phil's Right. The NAACP Is Wrong

Josh Barro: Robertson thinks black Americans were treated just fine in the Jim Crow-era South, and that they were happy there.

The NAACP: "As you may know, Phil attacked both African Americans and LGBT people in a recent GQ interview (January 2014) – saying that African Americans were happier under Jim Crow laws, and equating being gay with bestiality and promiscuity."

First, Phil didn't attack anybody. Second, I've already dealt with Barro's first lie, that Phil equated homosexuality with bestiality Here.

Now let's expose the NAACP's lie, and see whether or not Phil's memories are accurate.

Phil said,
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
I don't have any problem believing he never personally saw mistreatment of a black person. As a kid in the same era, I didn't, either. I heard about it, read about it ... never saw it with my own eyes.

Judging by his reference to welfare and entitlement, he is not talking about the effects of Jim Crow laws or the changes made by the civil rights movement. His use of the terms "pre-entitlement, pre-welfare" indicate he was talking the poverty programs of the 1960s -- i.e., the Great Society and the War on Poverty. And what were the effects of those programs?

(Note; these programs had the same effect on all poor families, but the subject of the question, the subject of the answer and the subject of the "outrage" is blacks, so that's what I'm discussing here).

Did the poverty programs end poverty for blacks? No. According to, The poverty rate for all African Americans in 2012 was 28.1% which is an increase from 25.5% in 2005. Not a good track record for anti-poverty legislation that's been clipping along for fifty years or so.

But the poverty programs did far more damage to the black family than simply failing to end poverty. The absolute worse effect, with horrific consequences, was the removal of the husband and father from the black home -- which resulted, basically, in the dissolution of the black family.

Studies show that the safest place for women and children is in a home where there are two parents married to each other. Conversely, the single most accurate predictor that a child will live in poverty is being born into a single parent household.

In 1963, the black out-of-wedlock birthrate was 23%. Today it is 72% and growing. Again, according to, black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have the highest rate of poverty at 47.5 compared to only 8.4% percent of married-couple.

Do you suppose they're happy in their government-created, father-absent existence?

The marriage penalty built into welfare programs has basically destroyed the black family by removing husbands and fathers from the black home. The effects are far, far worse than mere poverty. Fatherlessness is the cause of some of the worst social pathologies in our society.

Children from fatherless homes are:

   15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
   4.6 times more likely to commit suicide
   6.6 times more likely to become teenaged mothers
   24.3 times more likely to run away
   15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
   6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions
   10.8 times more likely to commit rape
   6.6 times more likely to drop out of school
   15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenage
   73% of adolescent murderers come from mother only homes
   6.3 times more likely to be in state operated institutions


ItÂ’s a Fact!  HereÂ’s why:
     · 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census).
     · 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
     · 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. (Source: CDC)
     · 80% of rapist motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes. (Source: Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26).
     · 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (Source: National Principals Assoc. Report on the State of High Schools).
    · 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. (Source: Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. Of Corrections, 1992).

These statistics translate to mean that children from fatherless homes are:

     · 5 times more likely to commit suicide
     · 32 times more likely to run away
     · 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
     · 14 times more likely to commit rape
     · 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
     · 20 times more likely to end up in prison

So, blacks weren't better off before the "poverty" programs that didn't erase poverty but did erased the black father and destroyed the black family?  They're happier living with these horrific social pathologies than they were living in intact families working the fields? Black mothers in that situation weren't happier than black welfare mothers today who lose their children to behavioral disorders, crime, joblessness, hopelessness, suicide, murder and prison? Would YOU be happier with that?

Phil is right.

And the NAACP not only lies. They are enabling the destruction and misery of blacks by supporting toxic policies and effects that accompany welfare programs.

What Josh Barro Gets Wrong About Phil Robertson

(I have noted on my other blog that I'm not entirely comfortable with some types of religious discussion online, particularly doctrine and the meaning of scripture, because I think it is a not good venue or format for such discussions. But sometimes I have to disregard my discomfort and make some written observations of a religious nature.)

What Barro gets wrong the same thing nearly all critics of Robertson who are ignorant of Scripture get wrong.

Barro says,
Robertson hates gay people. Robertson in 2010: "Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.

This last one is key. My inbox is full of "love the sinner, hate the sin" defenses of Robertson's 2013 remarks. But Robertson doesn't love gay people. He thinks they're, well, "full of murder."  His views on gays are hateful, inasmuch as they are full of hate.
You have to look at who "They" is referring to in the scripture, and Barro obviously isn't doing that.

You have to go back to the opening verses of the passage. The people Paul is writing about (in Barro's comment) are clearly identified in verse 18 of Romans, Chapter 1 -- men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. What truth are they suppressing? The truth about God -- his eternal power and divine nature. And due to suppressing this truth, they become so foolish as to substitute man himself or animals for God.

Now, does it have to be explained that man and animals do not have eternal power or a divine nature? Does it have to be explained that they are not fit subjects for human worship, and worshiping them will have all kinds of detrimental effects? A look at those affects is what follows in that scripture.

So who are the people described? People who think it is not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.  Homosexuals are not the ones instigating the evil listed, and Robertson didn't say they were. They are not the cause -- they are part of the result. The cause is refusing to retain the knowledge of God.

Now, you may disagree with this passage of scripture, Barro -- but DON'T DELIBERATELY MISSTATE WHAT IT SAYS.

Only verses 26 and 27 (highlighted in red, below)  refer specifically to homosexual behavior. The verses before and after them identify clearly who is being discussed: men who suppress the truth (about God)  by their wickedness and who think it is not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. In other words, what the scripture is saying is, Remove the knowledge of God from your culture, and expect the following...

Our culture is FULL of such people, both those who suppress knowledge of God, and those who exhibit the behavior of life without God's influence -- in politics, in education, in business and industry, in entertainment. Our whole secular culture constantly pushes the notion that it is not worthwhile for society or individuals to retain the knowledge of God, as Barro has just demonstrated. And the result is what you see rampant in our culture: murder, envy, strife, hatred, and all the rest....

Phil knows this. Most Christians know it. Barro apparently does not.


Romans 1: 18-32

Verses 18-20
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Verses 21-25
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Verses 26-27
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Verses 28-31
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Verse 32
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Slight Cover Redesign

Got a lot of help from folks on writers' forums. I think it's a real improvement! In the original design, the stalker dude wasn't even visible at Amazon thumbnail size. Now, everything except the tagline is visible on the thumbnail, and even the tagline is readable at Amazon detail size.

I gave the pyscho stalker dude his meat cleaver back, on the advice of some critiquers at the author forums. Liberty Lamprey may think it looks like a Yoshi blade, but other folks figured out it's a cleaver held at an angle to the camera. (Then, too, LibertyLamprey may have just been in petty ridicule mode...)

Found these definitions of suspense and thriller, at least, insofar as novel genres go. Gone South is suspense, since the reader knows about the danger in advance, but the characters do not.
Suspense - when the reader knows something the character doesn’t, and the tension builds from wondering how or if the character will survive. Will he or won’t he fall into the trap, get shot by the sniper, or be eaten by the monster we know is waiting in the closet. Our hearts beat faster as the tension builds.

Thriller - the reader doesn’t see the threat coming. It’s slam-bang action, and the reader rides along with the protagonist, experiencing things as they happen to him, and is just as surprised when the monster jumps out from the closet.
More great info at the same website: 

It's fascinating to learn about the requirements of different genres.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Title Change

I like this one better. Oh, and thanks to LibertyLamprey for (unknowingly) suggesting the change in the knife blade.

I'm really enjoying the reading that's acquainting me with the suspense/thriller genre. I'm also reading up on Mobile, Alabama, where most of the story takes place. Reacquainting myself with the Battle of Mobile Bay ("Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" ~Damnyankee Admiral David Farragut), the Battle of Blakeley, and other area history and place of interest is also enjoyable.

Plotting continues; all the major and secondary characters have names, most have locations, and now I'm starting on their jobs/professions. Most of this is background noise, not really pertinent to the plot, and a lot of it probably won't even get mentioned in the story. But if you're a plotter you gotta know stuff like this. Oh, sure, you gotta know it if you're a pantser, too. But I think one of the major differences between plotters and pantsers is that plotters have to know this stuff up front, before actually writing the story. Pantsers don't even think about it until they reach a point in the storywriting where it's needed.

The first major target of Freedom Fair (the anti-Confederate Group, or, more accurately, the Confederate Erasure Group) will be Admiral Raphael Semmes. They want his statue on Church Street removed. They want the CSS Alabama artifacts removed from the City of Mobile's museum. They want his home on Government Street (privately owned by the First Baptist Church) closed to the public. They want Semmes, Alabama to change its name, as well as the Admiral Semmes Hotel.  They want all reminders of him erased.  They think if they can topple this remarkable fellow and genuine hero, all the rest will tumble like dominoes.... 

This is what the Dunbars are standing up to, and the cultural war of words that results is an ongoing drama played out in the Confederate heritage blogosphere -- and elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More Characters Coming Together

Meet Seth Becker, psychopath, of Weidner, Indiana... He's rather Adam Lanza-like, wouldn't you say?

And an anonymous anti-Confederate blogger who goes by the handle Hardtack....

And pro-Confederate blogger Vic Sellers (and his lovely wife, Lauren)....

Not sure yet where Vic and Lauren hail from... perhaps Arkansas or Texas

Story structure and plot are coming together, too, thanks to some great articles on structure and writing thrillers and suspense (not my usual genre).

Images: 123RF, Dreamstime and

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meet the Protagonists...

 ... of the novella Going South...

Knox Dunbar and his wife, Sydney of Mobile, Alabama
The "Rock Stars" of Confederate Heritage

I always find images (models, usually stock models) to use during the writing of my stories, to prevent "character drift." (Back in the '80s, pre-Internet, I used to cut them out of catalogs and magazines). This model is very good for Knox, though I wish he were in more casual clothing.

All of the major characters have images, and preliminary backgrounds and backstories.

I have completed a 560-word synopsis, or overview, that will guide me through the early part of the writing.

Sometimes, the models I choose for the writing stage are used in promotions and video trailers when the story is finished. But it's a little early to be thinking about that for Going South....

Did I mention that this story is gonna be fun to write? It already IS fun!


Did you know it is a COPYRIGHT VIOLATION to cut pictures out of catalogs and magazines? So suggests one of Simpson's peanut gallery floggerettes.

Here is a link to the U.S. Code, Title Seventeen (Copyrights). I don't have time to wade through the chapters, sections and paragraphs, but any folks of leisure out there might skim it looking for the lowdown on cutting pictures out of magazines and catalogs (smirk).

Image composited from photos by 123RF images and C. Ward

Going South -- First Ideas

Goaded by content on the Internet, a deranged northern youth travels to Alabama to "rid the world of some Neo-Confederates." He targets a husband and wife in Mobile, Alabama, who have gained kudos from the Southern heritage community for their work in standing up for Confederate history and heritage.

(Backstory: Mobile has been selected as a target for "Confederate cleansing" by a new leftist, "anti-racist" group. The ideological battle -- and the war of words -- between this group, and the husband/wife team and their supporters, has attracted considerable attention on the social nets and the blogosphere, and is coming to the attention of the news media.)

The husband/wife team (and their children) are vilified, lied about, harassed, and persecuted by critics -- mostly online, although there have been some disturbing offline incidents. They do not publicize the incidents, but a few of their friends know, and are worried about them.
Did I mention this is gonna be fuh-huh-hunnnn to write?

This One's Gonna Be Fun to Write

Will be a short story or novelette, probably.

Cover mock-up comp image copyright by 123RF Images.