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Monthly Archives: November 2011

America’s first governing document, the Mayflower Compact

Long before the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution there was another document that sought to establish a governing arm and purpose for the colony known as Plymouth Plantation. The Mayflower Compact was this country’s first governing document.

Everyone knows the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving celebration; therefore, in the wake of today’s political wrangling I felt the need to review the first document that made all others possible. It is short on rhetoric but was sufficient in providing a platform for establishing a government in this new land.

When the Mayflower ship landed farther north of its intended target of Virginia territory, the colonists realized they were outside of the governing powers of the land granted in a patent from the Crown to the London Virginia Company. The ship carried not only those we know as the Pilgrims who made the crossing for religious freedom but it also had many “strangers” (colonists who were not members of the congregation of religious dissenters leading the expedition). The strangers knew they did not have to answer to any laws and therefore announced they “would use their own liberty; for none had power to command them….” To prevent chaos the colonists decided to establish a government and allegiance to the king. (This, of course, is during a time the king was seen as a benevolent figure and way before unrests that led to the Revolution.)

The Mayflower Compact was drafted and the Pilgrims required all men to sign it before leaving the ship. Historians feel it was more of a social contract than an actual legal document in which the settlers consented to follow the compact’s rules and regulations for the sake of survival. It was signed on November 11, 1620 by 41 of the ship’s 101 passengers. The compact bound all signers to accept whatever form of government was established after landing. The compact created a “Civil Body Politic” to enact “just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices. The compact remained in effect until Plymouth was incorporated into the Dominion of New England in 1686 and then the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

As they disembarked the Mayflower no one could predict the tremendous hardships facing them. Only half of the original 101 passengers would be alive by the next spring. The first winter was brutal and most of the colonists remained on board ship until they had sufficient housing built to accommodate them. They suffered exposure, scurvy, and contagious diseases in addition to surviving harsh winter storms.

As every school child knows the new venture was successful. In the fall of the following year the Pilgrims held a time of celebration for the fall harvest and invited the local Native Americans to share in their good fortunes and to repay them for their kindness and guidance.

The Mayflower Compact is a testament to the Pilgrims’ dedication to their cause and a willingness to work together to achieve their shared dreams. They saw the importance in putting aside individual wants and needs to join together in a civil body politic; for better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the common goals. They were willing to compromise in order to establish a workable government to ensure the success of their great venture.

Modern version of the Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.[12]


NOTE:  for a more historical look at the first Thanksgiving please see “Thanksgiving Thoughts: from five kernels of corn to gobble till you wobble”, Nov. 24, 2010


So to Speak | Joe Blundo commentary: Meyer’s praises being sung already

It looks like I was not the only writer to see the connection between sports, the gods, and religion. (See The gods of football, Nov. 21, 2011) In today’s Columbus Dispatch, columnist Joe Blundo has an excellent satire and allegory along the same themes of what I posted yesterday. What is it they say about great minds?


So to Speak | Joe Blundo commentary: Meyer’s praises being sung already.

The gods of football

Disgusting, nauseating, horrendous, and criminal—these are just a few words to describe what has happened at Penn State; but there aren’t enough words in the English language to adequately describe the horrible events and sexual abuse cover-up that have occurred over the last 15 or so years.

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State defensive coordinator, has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15 year period. Those are the “known” facts but there is speculation that the abuses may go as far back as the 1970’s. There are eight identified victims but there may be many more discovered as the case continues. Fallout from the case so far has cost the school president, Graham Spanier, and the legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, their jobs. Athletic Director Tim Curley is on administrative leave and Vice President Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the university’s police department, has stepped down. Schultz and Curley are also charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to report to the police.

Penn State Football

The lives of the eight young boys have been forever changed, their youth robbed of its innocence, and self-esteem and trust forever damaged. All of this happened at the sports altar in the temple of football. They were used as sacrificial offerings to appease the gods of greed and excess in the name of football. A large and prestigious university may come tumbling down because no one wanted to stand up to the great god of sports and his high priest, Joe Paterno. No one wanted to risk the wrath of the gods and alumni by going to authorities with the ugly truth. Those in charge of the temple—the administrators, coaches, police—all kept their silence.

Exposing the truth would have meant a possible loss of revenue and a black eye for the athletic department. By allowing the cover-up to continue for so long the black eye appears minor compared to the festering ugly wound eating away at the face of the university. And make no mistake, it was a cover-up. One quick read of the official grand jury indictment shows that so many odd things had been happening over the years that everyone had to know what was occurring. Sandusky openly traveled with the young boys to team and other events, the boys stayed with him and attended team breakfasts and meetings, and he was seen late at night with the young boys in the locker rooms and showers.

There were whispers and rumors about the football program for years among the sports circles. Sandusky, who was JoePa’s heir apparent, suddenly retired, at the young age of 55 in 1999, even though he had just won the assistant coach of the year award. At his retirement party Paterno made a quick appearance, said a few words and quickly left. All of this for someone who had reportedly been his good friend and many considered would someday follow in Paterno’s footsteps. The first abuses that we know of occurred five years earlier. Could there be a connection here?

Other rumors say that the abuses began as early as the 1970’s. Coincidentally, Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, was founded in 1977. Is there another connection here? Sandusky chose his victims from this non-profit organization that was designed to provide guidance and develop self-confidence for troubled young people. It appears some of these young people emerged from the program even more troubled than when they entered. It took the courage of one heroic mother to finally stand up to all the followers of the almighty sports gods and say nothing was as important as her son.

The Greeks and their athletic gods

The worship of sports goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. They believed that their gods loved to see strong, fit and graceful young male bodies. Therefore, one way to gain favor from the gods was to exercise, eat right, and excel in athletic games. They even felt that a loss meant that the gods didn’t like you.  Athletic competition was tied to worship of the gods.

Even the word “stadium” has religious significance. It comes from the Greek word “stadion” which was the name of the place built to honor Zeus and was where athletic competitions were held. The legend says that when Heracles completed his twelve labors he built the Olympic stadium as an honor to Zeus. Following its completion, he walked in a straight line for 200 steps and called this distance a “stadion” which was later used as a unit of distance. The term “stadion” or “stade” was later applied to mean a short race or sprint measuring between 180 and 240 meters, or the length of the stadium.

Today’s gods

Things haven’t changed much in today’s world. One of the most notable and profitable athletic companies is named after the goddess of strength, speed, and victory—Nike. Not to be outdone, Adidas is marketing an athletic shoe that sweeps into wings at the ankle channeling the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans in which Hermes and Mercury were said to have wings on their feet.

Outstanding athletes are still viewed as gods in a sort of hero-worship. Ohio State will never forget but long suffer the name of Terrell Pryor. He was the beautiful muscular specimen of a quarterback god who was supposed to bring glory to the Temple Shoe. What he brought was greed and shame to the Shoe and its followers. He had risen so high on his pedestal that worshipers paid mucho money for the privilege of his autograph on temple equipment such as shoes, shoulder pads, etc.

Over the past several years the gods (coaches, star athletes, and entire teams) have felt protected behind the veil of worship and have been so empowered that they tempted the fates. However, purgatory and hell will eventually catch up and the golden touch of Midas will turn to rust. Terrell Pryor, high priest Coach Tressel, and other lesser gods were banned from the Temple Shoe—some forever and others for a prescribed period of time to do their penance. The same will happen to the worshipped and their flock in Happy Valley.

This past weekend gods and fans of Temple Shoe and Happy Valley Temple gathered to test their powers. Ohio State and Penn State met at midfield, shook hands and took a short time to honor the victims and respect the game before entering their colossal battle. Karen S. Days, president of the Center for Family Safety and Healing based at Nationwide Children’s Hospital said “We wanted to make sure the victims felt honored. It also was a sign to Penn State that we support you.”

Putting the games into perspective

Let the games begin again and continue forever—in a clean and honorable way worthy of the one true God. Let us never forget that no one person is bigger than the game, institution, or the temple of football itself. Even though we worship them as gods, they are mere mortals with all the human frailties that come with it. Let us put the game in perspective and honor the competition, not the personalities involved. Honor the sport and do the right thing on the field and off—no matter the cost. God bless the victims and their families and let us pray no other innocent victims will be sacrificed at the altar of sports.

I was sabotaged! Thank you very much

The morning before Election Day I eagerly go to my computer to post my newest and last blog regarding the fight against SB 5. Computer is working fine, I do some last-minute polishing of a piece I have been working on for several days and then press the button to post it to my blog—NOTHING!

I access my internet home page and the Columbus Dispatch but then it slows to a crawl and then a stop. I cannot access my blog and then I suddenly have no internet connection. Strangely, when I check my modem connection it shows 5 green bars but then there is an orange circle over it. I call my internet provider and am told they can’t send a technician for 3 days. Curiously, I find I can get back on the internet an hour before the polls close on Election Day.

Did someone deliberately block my internet connection? The internet technician came out today, three days after the event, and tested all necessary items. Bright green bars flashed across the screen. He tells me there is no problem with my internet or modem. In fact, very strong signals are coming my way. I ask him about the possibility of sabotage and he politely repeats that there is nothing wrong with my internet connections. He explains that many things can be done to create interference—even someone from China could have created the problem. Somehow I doubt that anyone in China could give a rat’s ass about Ohio politics, my writings and my blog.

Am I frustrated? Yes! Am I angry? No. I am not angry and in fact I have many things to be thankful for. So, I am taking this time to extend my thanks to the malicious culprit who tried to silence me:

  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to run several scans on my computer. Everything checked out OK with no viruses so I guess my firewall is working.
  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reboot my computer and internet several times. I needed the extra exercise of crawling under my desk. I also found a few extra pens while I was down there.
  • ·         Thank you for the opportunity to talk with the lovely tech support people in India. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting their dialect mixed in with the background noise of a hundred other tech support people.
  • ·         Thank you for the extra glass of wine at the end of that day.
  • ·         Thank you for freeing up my time and allowing me to take advantage of a beautiful Indian Summer day and go for an impromptu drive through the back roads with my husband. It was a lovely day.
  • ·         Thank you for confirming that people are reading my blog. The events are too coincidental for make me to think it was anything else but objections to my blog. In addition, there is also the time you or your friends reported my blog to the Facebook people as being “abusive”. I must have made my points well.
  • ·         Thank you for including me in the list of those who were censored. That list includes: George Orwell’s 1984; Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer;  Adolph Huxley’s Brave New World; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Joseph Heller’s Catch 22; J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; and many, many more. That is a pretty impressive list and I feel honored to join it.
  • ·         Thank you for showing your true, sadistic colors.

Although this was done anonymously, I know who you are. Your politics are different from mine so you are leaning to the right of the scale. You are obviously a fan of Gov. Kasich and feel he can do no wrong or you would not have found my words so offensive. You are a bully and a control freak; otherwise you would not stoop so low. You would, instead, wait until my blog is posted and then engage in debate under the comments section.

Unlike many other blogs found on the web, I have tried to maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism. I have not resorted to profanity or name calling which is found in many others. There is nothing “abusive” in my content other than a different point of view than your own. True followers of Notes from the Pond know that I encourage healthy debates and discussions. That has been one of my points during the SB 5 campaign—people deserve the right to come together to discuss the problems and work them out together. It is only through open minds and honest discussions can we find the answers to the many problems our state and nation are facing.

We need to be able to come together as one family around the table to look at our many needs and then find a workable solution that benefits everybody. This will never happen as long as there are some people so interested in their own self-serving needs that they feel they must stoop so low as to change the words of a grandmother as in Grandma Quinn or to try to silence a lowly blogger.

Finally, thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes.

The People of Ohio Speak Up for the Middle Class


The people of Ohio stood up and said to Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled legislature in a loud and clear voice, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” The referendum on SB 5 was defeated across party lines by 61% to 39%.

The fight over Issue 2, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from many hard-working middle class people, proved to be a battle ground for rights and dignity for the Ohio workers. It was a battle that was far more than just Republicans versus Democrats, or union versus non-union, or even the haves versus the have-nots; it was a battle for the right to be heard. Ohioans and the American people in general are fair, intelligent and reasonable when treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions.

Gov. Kasich’s bus finds a roadblock

When Gov. Kasich rode into office a year ago he came with an arrogant attitude that said it is my way or the highway. He literally told a gathering of reporters and lobbyists that if you aren’t on his bus he is going to run you over. What he didn’t consider is—if you get enough people surrounding the bus then it isn’t going anywhere. Some tried to get on his bus but found the doors closed and others began looking for another mode of transportation. Now the people have found their own bus and are driving it straight toward Kasich and his buddies.

At his concession speech Gov. Kasich said he will take some time to listen but then defiantly announced that local governments should not expect a state bailout. People don’t want bailouts. They want to work. They want the opportunity to bring management and workers to the table to discuss among themselves their problems and work out a solution benefitting all. It is called negotiating and compromise.

Ohioans won’t tolerate disrespect

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland noted how state workers took 20 furlough days and pay freezes to help him balance the budget. “The impression that was given to the public was that public employees aren’t willing to participate. I think they have been and will continue to be,” Strickland said. “But they are not going to take disrespect, and they aren’t going to tolerate name-calling. If this administration understands that, then I think there could be the ability to work together.”

Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association said, “There has always been room to talk. That’s what collective bargaining is about. You bring adults around a table to talk about serious issues.

Support crosses party lines

These issues were important to more than just the people directly affected by SB 5. We Are Ohio, the organization behind voting no on Issue 2, raised $30 million, four times that of the Republican Building a Better Ohio. In addition, more people voted against Issue 2—about 2.1 million—than voted Kasich into office in 2010—1.89 million. In a Quinnipiac Poll two weeks before the election, 32% of Republicans were opposed to SB 5.

Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “By standing with teachers and firefighters and cops, Ohio has sent a loud and clear message that will be heard all across the country: The middle class will no longer be trampled on.”

Grandma Quinn—“We showed him!”

But Grandma Quinn, the great-grandmother who unwilling became the face of the campaign, said it best when she said, “That showed (Kasich). We showed him.” Short, sweet, and to the point. I like that Grandma Quinn.

Yes, Ohio’s voice regarding treatment of the middle class was clear last night and loud enough to be heard across the nation, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”,-Vote-No-on-Issue-2,-and-Defeat-John-Kasich