New to America? What’s an immigrant to do? Suggestion: Become assimilated like this famous man.

Israel Baline, a Russian-born Jew, was born in a time of great turmoil in the empire of Russia.

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18-year-old Russian immigrant Israel Baline

Russian pogroms intensely persecuted Jews over a three-year period from 1903 to 1906. If you are familiar with the musical “Fiddler On The Roof”, you can understand why his family wisely chose to immigrate to our shores a couple years before the pogroms took place.

The wedding day of Tzeitel and Motel

A natural singer, young Israel started off as a street singer. In a few years, he became the toast of the nation for the creation songs that touch the hearts of patriotic Americans to this day.

Along the way from street singer to a beloved songwriter, an American treasure, he adopted an accidental misspelling of his name. Israel Baline became Irving Berlin.

As a self-taught piano player who never learned to read music, he created a unique transposing keyboard which he would lift and move left or right to change key. You see, he could only play in the key of F#. Irving demonstrates his piano invention in the following video.

This prolific songwriter left us a treasure trove of musical entertainment. Click on this link for a list of his songs. His most popular and better-known songs include Puttin On The Ritz, White Christmas, and God Bless America.

Irving Berlin was born in Russia but he became the epitome of red-blooded Americans.

His family legally immigrated. Rather than segregating themselves from American society, they embraced it and became as American as, well, apple pie.

God bless America, land that I love.

I am forever thankful for Irving Berlin’s contributions to our country. It is people like this man who truly define America as exceptional.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Trump is right – Obama is wrong: Blacks are worse off

white house rejects trump claim blacks are worse off under obama.png

A Washington Times article by White House correspondent Dave Boyer published 8/25/16 says, “Despite government data supporting Donald Trump’s claim that blacks are worse off under President Obama, the White House insisted Thursday that blacks have made progress under the first black president and that the Republican nominee would reverse those gains.”

The Obama inept administration didn’t start the destruction of black society, but it greatly exacerbated the situation by deflecting blame and refusing to accept the truth.

  1. blacks experience greater unemployment now than when Obama took office
  2. black food-stamp participants increased 58 percent, from 7.3 million to 11.7 million
  3. Over 1,400 more black Americans murdered other blacks in two years than were lynched from 1882 to 1968
  4. Black People (mostly men) commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime
  5. Despite making up just 13% of the population, blacks committed half of homicides in the United States for nearly 30 years
  6. Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined
  7. It would take cops 40 years to kill as many black men as have died at the hands of others black men in 2012 alone
  8. University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012.

Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Sources for above facts:
Washington Times – http://ow.ly/g1gb303BDGi
Breitbart – http://ow.ly/bLsI303BDJF

What is at the root of the devastating facts described above?

Professor Walter Williams (black by popular demand) lays out the root causes of dystopian black lives in Townhall Magazine.

I quote: “Hustlers and people with little understanding want us to believe that today’s black problems are the continuing result of a legacy of slavery, poverty and racial discrimination. The fact is that most of the social pathology seen in poor black neighborhoods is entirely new in black history. Let’s look at some of it.

Today the overwhelming majority of black children are raised in single female-headed families. As early as the 1880s, three-quarters of black families were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black families were two-parent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children had the same mother and father.” Read more http://ow.ly/Oz7B303BEgK

What’s the cure, brother?

There is no simple sound bite I can give you. The problems are manifold and the cures will be difficult to implement, if at all possible.

First and foremost, teach the true history of black society in America. Expose the degeneration of black families due to faulty government policies that promote child rearing out of wedlock. End affirmative action that essentially attributes black problems to white people in general and wealthy specifically.

The ultimate cure is a revelation of Jesus Christ in the hearts of black preachers who have for so many years contributed to the myths that perpetuate racial segregation.

As it is written, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Potpourri for ‪Poverty‬ – So, you want to legalize ‪marijuana‬?

legalized pot makes people poorer.png

“The middle and upper classes have been the ones out there pushing for decriminalization and legalization measures, and they have also tried to demolish the cultural taboo against smoking pot. But they themselves have chosen not to partake very much. Which is not surprising. Middle-class men and women who have jobs and families know that this is not a habit they want to take up with any regularity because it will interfere with their ability to do their jobs and take care of their families.” NY Post – link to full story http://ow.ly/T5IR303sszo

In the years of my youth, it was called Mary Jane. Some folks, people like Willie Nelson, became rich despite the use of ‘weed’, but Willie is an exception.

Is marijuana a ‘gateway drug’ that leads to the use of more powerful drugs? Perhaps. I’ve been on planet earth a while and over my lifetime I’ve known folks who smoked pot, but never graduated to a higher high and others who became blithering idiots.

There are millions who regularly drink alcoholic beverages in moderation and never become drunken. Then there are those whose personalities change after one beer.

There is no magic number, no specific means to predict when a person will lose self-control and for this reason, I strenuously object to the blood-alcohol level standard that arbitrarily defines “driving under the influence” by Texas state law.

The issue to me isn’t at what level of blood-alcohol is or is not DUI. Neither is the issue of should we or should we not legalize marijuana. The issue is one of self-control.

As it is written in holy scripture, “…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things!” – Galatians 5:22-23

Do you see? There is no law against self-control.

Human laws come into play when we engage in activities whereby we lose control of ourselves.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Resource: John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government

Book in PDF format

John Locke – Two Treatises of Government

Who was he?

Source: Biography.com

English philosopher John Locke’s works lie at the foundation of modern philosophical empiricism and political liberalism.

“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”
—John Locke

Synopsis

John Locke, born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, Somerset, England, went to

john_locke_quote_Where_Law_Ends_Tyranny_Begins
Philosopher John Locke (1632–1704)

Westminster school and then Christ Church, University of Oxford. At Oxford, he studied medicine, which would play a central role in his life. He became a highly influential philosopher, writing about such topics as political philosophy, epistemology, and education. Locke’s writings helped found modern Western philosophy.

Two-Hour Course of Study on Two Treatises of Government – The Cato Institute

 

Rockwall County Transportation Planning at Work

green-acres
Rockwall Isn’t ‘country’ anymore

Ava Gabor’s line in the Green Acres theme song was, “goodbye, city life”.

I propose a revision of that song for Rockwall County, something like “Hello, city life!”

Lots of folks have discovered how wonderful living is in Rockwall County.

 

Extraction from the Facebook Page of Rockwall County Judge David Sweet 8/19/2016

This was the column in the Rockwall Herald Banner last week addressing transportation improvements in Rockwall County….. (click on this link to the original article to read the full text)

Commissioner David Magness recently made the observation that Lake Ray Hubbard and Interstate 30 are extremely important to Rockwall County: We are defined by our beautiful lake – and if I-30 didn’t go through here, Rockwall County wouldn’t be what it is today.

….

…. TxDOT has announced plans to reconstruct I-30 through Rockwall County as the initial project for the planned upgrade of I-30 from downtown Dallas east to the state line.

I-30 currently carries approximately 100,000 vehicles per day into Rockwall and 50,000 vehicles per day through Fate and Royse City.

The project, which is estimated to cost $750 million, will have no toll components. The project will run from Bass Pro Drive eastward to FM 2642, which is just east of the Rockwall/Hunt County line. The highway will have four lanes each direction from Bass Pro Drive to SH 205 and will have three lane  frontage roads each direction across the lake. The project calls for three main lanes each direction from SH 205 eastward to FM 2642, with new one way  frontage roads across the county. The project scope includes a new westbound entrance ramp between Horizon and FM 740. A public meeting is expected to be held in November, and let date is projected for December 2021.

…..Currently under consideration is the potential to bring John King Blvd. up to state standards so it would become SH-205, thus taking it around the City of Rockwall and out of the center of our historic downtown. That would return Goliad Street, currently designated as SH-205, to the City of Rockwall.

The $200 million project would involve widening SH 205 from a two-lane rural to four lanes urban-divided with allowance for an ultimate six lanes. The project has been divided into two phases, with the southern phase running from SH 80 in Terrell to FM-549, and the northern phase from FM-549 to Lavon. The state is currently doing schematics and engineering for the project. Let date is anticipated to be February 2021.

Proposition 7, which was approved by voters in November 2015, is providing funding for work on these and other state road projects in our area and around the state.

We are proud that there is an incredible relationship between TxDOT and Rockwall County, and that we have worked together with officials from each city in Rockwall County to have a unified transportation plan. We’re also very proud of the vision and teamwork between the county and each one of its cities as we all act as one in prioritization of projects.

Over the next few months  the county will work with engineering firms for the projects and discuss phasing. I-30 must be a user friendly improvement project – that is a priority. We expect any economic impacts to be minimal.

These two major projects will make a positive impact on this wonderful county along with several other road projects also scheduled. If you are interested in learning about any or all of the projects, please go to the county website, rockwallcountytexas.com, and follow the prompts to the road consortium.

My Two Cents

Widening of I-30 will be a mammoth project without which Rockwall will be strangled as dramatic increases in traffic flow bring tandem automobile collisions that send motorists scurrying to Rockwall streets.

Which transportation improvements benefit the people of Rockwall County? Answer: ALL of them, including the John King 205 bypass.

As our burgeoning population strains present roadways, let’s patiently endure roadway construction, keeping in mind the finished product and the manifold benefits of thoroughfares capable of handling high-volume traffic.

Looking beyond the widening of I-30, expect further transportation improvements that will come with the Outer Loop highway that will effectively bifurcate Rockwall County along a north-south route somewhere west of downtown Royse City.

I can think of no road construction that has ever happened without the naysayers resisting improvements. Personally, I am thankful for the long-range planning that keeps North Texas commerce and our people moving freely.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

John King Blvd – Always Intended as a SH-205 Bypass

From the 2011 Rockwall Comprehensive Plan, and to further reinforce the purpose of John King Blvd., read extracts from the plan.

Appendix C – BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION

“John King Blvd. is a City initiated, funded and constructed roadway. Named for an exceptional City leader, statesman and former Councilman, it was conceived to provide bypass traffic relief to Texas highway 205 which penetrates downtown, and to provide access and structure for developing properties on the east side of the City.”

john king in the rockwall comprehensive plan 2011

City of Rocwall Comprehensive Plan 2011

Extract from Comprehensive Plan, Page 34

“John King Blvd corridor (see Appendix “C”). John King Blvd was conceived to provide by-pass traffic relief to Texas State Highway 205 and to provide access and structure for development on the east side of the City. The City should adopt design standards for this corridor similar to those in place for other key entry points to the City, particularly given the opportunity of enhancing the image of an undeveloped roadway corridor.”

Recently, new residents living along John King Blvd. discovered the intended use of that thoroughfare. They protest its use as a SH-205 bypass.

It’s human nature to resist change.  But, changes are inevitable in a city like Rockwall where growth is the new norm.

The issue is the common good. We the residents of Rockwall have endured major thoroughfare construction and improvements. I thank God Ridge Road is no longer a two-lane blacktop. I’m also thankful for the privilege to participate in the county 2008 road bond election that accelerated reconstruction of Ridge Road below Interstate 30.

No doubt residents in the southeast areas of Rockwall are thankful for improvements to SH-276 that for most of its history was a simple two-lane blacktop roadway.

Due to funding shortfalls, TxDot expects cities and counties to ‘pony up’ part of the cost of thoroughfare construction.

What to SH-205, FM-740 and SH-276 have in common? They are public thoroughfares.

Because public thoroughfares are issues bigger than one neighborhood or small city, they must be carefully coordinated to assure adequate capacity for vital transportation routes. The City of Rockwall doesn’t exist in a ‘transportation vacuum’. Our fair city is but one of many in our North Texas region where thoroughfare plans are carefully worked out years in advance to assure equitable provision for all the municipal and county entities.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments is the agency that is responsible for cooperative transportation planning.

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click on the above imaqe to learn about NCTCOG

 

What is the NCTCOG?

“The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is a voluntary association of, by and for local governments, established to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development.”

Learn from the NCTCOG 2012 Update how the council of governments how John King Blvd. fits into the master thoroughfare plan for our area. The outer loop project, by the way, will dwarf all other major transportation routes. And, sometime in the future, I-30 will be widened to handle growth of east-west traffic.

Transportation is always good for everyone. The folks who object to our plans for John King Blvd. as a SH-205 bypass would not be living where they are if we had not agreed to spend roughly 85 million dollars for that roadway.

John White
Rockwall, Texas