The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves is an ancient one. Reports and discussions describing the history of Memorial day in the United States suggests it evolved during and after the Civil War. The practice of devoting a day for decorating soldiers’ graves appears to have begun in the South; and was later copied in the North. There was no common agreement with regard to what day the soldiers should be honored. The practice of honoring soldiers killed by their countrymen in the Civil War war was not given a specific name and day until May 5, 1868 when General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually and nationwide. The call for local communities in the South and North to agree upon a common day for decorating the graves of all soldiers who died in the Civil War asked people to look beyond the reasons why the soldiers had fought that war in order to commemorate their deaths. “Memorial Day” was first used as a synonym for “Decoration Day” in 1882. But “Decoration Day” was not changed to “Memorial Day” officially  until 1967. Funny, that I do not recall the official name change. 1967 was the year I graduated from high school in Bettendorf, Iowa. The United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Maybe the reason I cannot remember is because we, the people, had already changed the name before the government got around to memorializing it. Did you know the … Continue Reading

SPRING, May 9, 2015

    I bet Dottie is about as old in dog years as I am in human years. That’s comforting as I watch her run down the gravel road ahead of me. It was just a year or so ago when she was having trouble walking. The vet gave her pain pills and still she hobbled. And then suddenly, she was running again. Chasing chipmunks and deere. Its funny how life can be like that. Difficult, for a time. Then freeing. I have concluded Spring is my favorite season now, in my sixties. When I was younger I use to like summer best. I didn’t have to go to school. I loved shedding my clothes, basking in the sun and turning tan after my first sunburn. Summer was different for my generation. The ozone layer wasn’t gone and we weren’t taught the sun would give us skin cancer, and make us wrinkled when we got older. It was a different world. I am convinced that each person who lives a lifetime, not cut short, enters one world and leaves another awed by the differences. The reason I like Spring best now is because it is the season of beginnings. It is the season which shapes the rest of the year. I believe now is a good time to start reshaping our world. My partner and I, along with several friends, are planning and planting Wind and Water Gardens. Our goal is to feed many more people than ourselves. I want … Continue Reading

How One Divorce Changed Washington’s Constitution, May 6. 2015

A co-worker and friend, Michael Fasset, wrote the following article “How One Divorce Changed Washington’s Constitution”. Michael is not a lawyer, but in my mind he knows Washington’s constitution and UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) better than many judges. Michael’s study of divorce reinforces what I said in my last April 28, 2015 blog; namely, that our founders intended to prohibit “power of sale” clauses and prevent nonjudical foreclosures. Here’s a copy of Michael’s research: How One Divorce Changed Washington’s Constitution by Michael Fasset Introduction Legislatures are often viewed as nearly omnipotent. The power of state legislatures in America is frequently described by courts as plenary; which means unqualified or absolute. Washington State Farm Bureau Federation v. Gregoire, 162 Wn. 2d 284, 290, 174 P.3d 1142 (2007). Courts practice a policy of presuming legislation as constitutional unless proven otherwise “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Island County v. State, 135 Wn. 2d 141,955 P.2d 377 (1998). But once upon a time, the People reminded their elected representatives it is the People, alone, and not the legislature, whose power is absolute. Doc Gets Divorced David Swinson Maynard, universally known as Doc, was Seattle’s first doctor, second lawyer, and a justice of the peace. It was Doc who proposed the city be named Seattle, after his friend the Duwamish Chief Si’ahl (more commonly Seattle). He was settled on 640 acres (1 square mile) of land in King County which would become his, at least temporarily, under the  Donation Land Claim Act of 1850.  In other words, he was … Continue Reading