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User Journal

Journal Journal: First grandmother deceased

The obituary for my father's mother, lightly edited & marked up.

"Our beloved mother, grandmother and sister, Beth Swainston Lambert, passed away on Friday, January 20th, 2017, at the age of 91, at her home in Gilbert, Arizona. She was born April 30, 1925, to Theron Lane Swainston and Ila Fern Hawkes on the Swainston farmstead in Whitney, Idaho. Hers was a happy and secure childhood, growing up on a dairy farm surrounded by relatives on the neighbouring farms. Her parents instilled in her the importance of working hard, getting a good education and living the gospel.

"She graduated with honours from Preston High School in Idaho. In the fall of 1942, Beth began her studies at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Frustrated by the military presence on campus, she withdrew after her first year. She returned home and worked at the Franklin County Ration Office. Beth returned to Utah State College in the fall of 1944 and majored in Home Economics. In her senior year, she met her husband-to-be, Maurice Reed Lambert.

"She had a great desire to serve a mission and was called to the British Mission in 1948. Shortly before she left for England, Reed proposed to her, so she wore an engagement ring during her mission. A highlight of her mission was meeting and teaching Lorna Nelson in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lorna later married Bethâ(TM)s brother Theron.

"After completing her mission, she taught Home Economics at Springville High School. On July 28th, 1950, she married Reed in the Logan Temple. Together they went to Iowa State University where Beth pursued a masterâ(TM)s degree in Foods and Nutrition. After the birth of their first child, David, Beth ended her studies and became a full-time mother.

"The growing family moved from Ames, Iowa, to Appleton, Wisconsin. Later they moved to Los Altos, California and then Pleasanton, California where Beth lived for over 30 years.

"Beth was a faithful and devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in many service capacities. She especially enjoyed serving in the branch in Appleton, Wisconsin, teaching Relief Society and serving as an ordinance worker for many years in the Oakland Temple.

"Education and music were very important to Beth. Her favourite composer was Johann Sebastian Bach. She appreciated the opportunity her parents gave her to take piano lessons. She began teaching piano lessons from her home in Pleasanton, and taught for over twenty years.

"Beth loved gardening and watching birds. She enjoyed collecting cookbooks, church books, rolling pins, thimbles and Royal Doulton figurines. She was a firm believer in continuing education and took college courses well into her seventies.

"Her greatest joy in life was her family. As a mother and grandmother, Beth has left the legacy of a wonderful example to her children and grandchildren. She has instilled in them the importance of gaining an education, being life-long learners, serving in the Church, and remaining faithful to the end.

"Beth was preceded in death by her husband, Maurice Reed Lambert; daughter, Meriden Burk; brother, Herbert Kall; sister, Genieve; and great-grandchildren, Tabitha Boling and A.J. Milewski. She is survived by her brother, Theron L. Swainston (Lorna); sister, Sylvia Symons (Dewaine); sons, David (Janeen), Scott (Elizabeth), Paul (Deborah) and Kevin (Elisabeth); son-in-law Larry Burk (Adri); 29 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.

"The family expresses deep appreciation to her granddaughters [...] and [...] whose devoted care made it possible for Beth to live at home, as well as to Amy Kimball, Casey Shay, Keri Lawson and the staff at Companion Hospice for their excellent and loving care.

"Funeral services will be held Friday, January 27th [in] Gilbert, Arizona. A service will also be held Saturday, January 28th [in] Fillmore, Utah. Internment [will be in] Fillmore Utah." (My grandfather Maurice Reed grew up in Fillmore and is buried there.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Who I'm planning to vote for, and why

I should say first of all that I'm really proud of Mitt Romney, I identify with him, and I suspect he might make a good president. He was born in the state where I grew up, he's a member of my church, and he has a history of business and state-government success. Even more personally, my parents went to his father's funeral and I used to listen to his niece's talk-radio show as a teenager.

With all that, however, I think Barack Obama is a better choice this year for president, and I would like to see some portion of the Republican delegation in the House replaced as well. There are things the current administration has done, or not done, that don't sit well with me, but regarding the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Obama has shown that he can tackle them, and Romney tells an unproven story of what he would do.

It's important to distinguish between each candidate's "agenda" and his party's "platform". The democratic party has elements that are working to remove checks and balances on induced abortons, legalize strange research with left-over embryos, remove the traditional support or prepference for traditional forms of marriage, and take away the right to bear "arms", meaning actual weapons that could kill someone. The Republican party has elements that want to make English the official language of the United States and waste public-education money on vouchers for attendance at sectarian or other private schools. Those are all things I object to, but they'll mostly be decided at the state level (although they might come to the SUpreme Court) and neither candiate spends a lot of time talking about them.

Instead, the main issues are the economy, the deficit, the recently-passed health-care law, foreign policy against Iran, North Korea and China, foreign policy in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Syria, and (for Obama) immigration reform.

Regarding the economy and deficit, Obama has taken and still calls for a balanced approach, planning to allow certain tax cuts to expire and cutting spending in many areas but also "investing" in areas that should have long-term benefit, such as education and alternative-energy research. Romney says he would not raise taxes and would cut a lot of spending, but would also increase military spending. Of course the president himself has little power over the budget beyond approving or vetoing a bill that originated in the House, and issuing executive orders to dispose or not dispose of discretionary funds; which is why it would be helpful to have more people in the House who can actually talk to each other and make long-term plans.

For the health-care law, Romney says he'll nullify much of it his first day in office, then work on a replacement. Since insurers and employers are already changing their computer-systems and policies to conform to its requirements, that would wast a lot of effort, and is causing much uncertainity.

In foreign policy, Obama has shown that he can negotiate and lead in a complex world, where we compete with coutries more populous than ours, and worry about their citizens' political rights, but worry more about nuclear-weapons development by much smaller states and terrorist attacks by a variety of non-state actors. Romney talks big, and perhaps he would be just as good a negotiator once actually in office; but his arguments with the President during the last debate over exactly what he said at a Rose Garden speech shortly after the attack on the embassy in Libya sound lik partisan bickering, not evidence of a clearly better policy or understanding on his part.

On immigration reform, I personally would support another amnesty like the 1986 one for Central American undocumented immigrants, raised caps on other kinds of immigration, and new programs to bring (or keep) more people here with advanced technical skills. I realize that some people think we need more border security, a limited controlled regularization procedure instead of amnesty, and only slightly raised caps on the H-1B program or something like it. The bill the Senate considered, but that did not become law, for comprehensive immigration reform a couple years ago was, in my opinion, an excellent compromise, and an essential step in the right direction at that time. One component of that was the DREAM act; as its sponsor, of course Obama supported it; unfortunately, Romney tore even that piece apart, with lukewarm support for one sub-piece and no support for another, and given his stance on that issue alone I cannot support him.

In the local races that affect me, I am supporting a Democtrat for State Senate (who I know personally from my son's first-grade P.T.A.), and a Democrat for the House (because his opponent has disagreed with me on everything I've ever actually written a letter to him about).

I should say again that I will be proud to be an American if Mitt Romney is elected; and as others have said he may tun out to be a pragmatic and unifying administrator, but as a practical matter, I expect to vote for Barack Obama, and I encourage my fellow citizens to do the same.

User Journal

Journal Journal: President calls for tax reform, immigration and a balanced budget

Watched the State of the Union address yesterday for the first time in years. President Obama opened by listing his recent military accomplishments: approving the operation to assassinate `Usama bin Ladin, withdrawing "all American troops" from Iraq. He went on to touch a laundry-list of things he wants to improve in America, many of which require bills from Congress. He asked for fairer taxes in several places. He repeated his call for three-part immigration reform, in the middle of comments about jobs and education: the DREAM act, permanent visas for STEM college graduates or potential entrepreneurs, and a better-funded Border Patrol (although he pointed out that illegal crossings from the south already appear to be down). He did not set a specific target date for no deficit spending, but talked about the need to borrow less in several places. In the end he called on Congress to think of themselves as soldiers and public servants, not as an elite group that had a right to pay lower taxes.

The speech is also reported on the White House website and, of course, in the minutes of the House.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Facebook

The title says it all. At my younger sister's instigation, I finally created a facebook profile for myself. It's all right; really good for something done in PHP. The event-planner looks better than the Yahoo! calendar. One of these days I'll get around to writing my own mail-client and calendaring-frontend in Java or perl/Tk...
User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm a Wikipedian

Last night I created a Wikipedia account and a user page. No more anonymous edits... Not that I plan to contribute a high volume any time soon; but it's cool to have another account.

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