True Stuff that I Made Up

PLEASE NOTE: The entries which are published at this site are solely my personal and sometimes whimsical musings. For information regarding my political positions and proposals, please visit

Further, this website is devoutly dedicated to all of my friends and associates, both early and late, who have mentored and influenced me. However, being who they are, the majority of them have been late most of the time.

  Also, check out my personal entry at

Friday, September 30, 2005

My Dad

Early yesterday evening, as I went to visit my parents, my Dad (Willis "Woody" Theodore Kump) was sitting alone and close to the front door of their Falling Waters, West Virginia apartment. (Mom was out for a brief visit with a close family friend)
Dad anxiously was waiting for my younger brother David (born in 1971) and the news about his big new promotional opportunity at his workplace.
My brother's close proximity to my parents, as both their landlord and next door neighbor, has been a tremendous blessing for them.
Although his mind still is sharp, Dad now largely is homebound and not able to move about to any great extent.
Born in 1927, he now is frail with myriad health problems, and his daily routine mostly consists of sitting in his favorite chair while reading or watching television and closely following the events of the day.
Mom (Betty Ann Steinbach Kump) does her best as his primary caregiver, without complaint.
They've been married since January,1947.
When I still was a young boy, one of Dad's books, a training manual for Navy pilots, prompted me to ask him about it.
He told me that he dreamed of being a Navy pilot when he graduated from High School in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, but when he enlisted, those hopes were dashed.
World War II was drawing to a close at that time, and the Navy no longer was accepting candidates for its flight schools.
He spent his enlistment on a Fleet Oiler (U.S.S. Monongahela AO42) in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
He still remembers when his ship was docked at Bahrein, and taking a swim in the Persian Gulf.
One of the souvenirs he brought home from the Far East is a King Ebony carving of a lion, with ivory insets for the eyes, teeth, and claws.
His Dad (Edgar Rudolph Kump, December 5, 1905-December 4, 1989) fashioned it into a lamp, now somewhat battered and worn, but sitting proudly upon my desk as I type this entry.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Marital Mentors

There is a married couple here in my local LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) ward (congregation) who never fails to lift my spirits and bring a smile to my lips.
The mutual love for each other of these two former full-time LDS missionaries just is so palpably obvious in their body language and their behavior toward each other.
This also is manifestly evident in how their faces light up with such joy and peace whenever they look at each other.
They and the power of their faith in their relationship are a shining example for me; an example of the fruits of humble righteousness and striving to always put the happiness of your spouse as your first priority.
These two marital mentors understand and are living the principles for a marriage that transcends time.
For a free video about loving family relationships, and how they can last forever, call 1-888-537-6777.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Who's this guy & what did you do with Larry?

An old friend (who shall remain anonymous and also a witness protection program participant) both flattered and flabbergasted me with the following e-mail, so much so that I finally decided that it was worth sharing:
"You are intelligent man, with a working mind, and a tinge of humbleness, (which) comes far and few in-between these days..... Give 'em Hell Harry at the (MCEA) union meeting and don't put your elbows on the table....."
Yep, I know.
I'm also still bemused and befuddled at this assessment.
Who is this guy, and where's Larry?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Just Imagine!

(from the "MCEA News", a publication of the Maryland Classified Employees Association)
Instead of just complaining about their low pay, a small band of MCEA Correctional Case Managers transformed their problem into a solution.
It was a difficult battle, but four years after just a handful of case managers met at a Hagerstown, Maryland restaurant to plan strategy to upgrade their salaries, their determination has paid off with big bucks,­ up to $7,000 a year.
As a result, about 285 Correctional Case Managers, their Supervisors, and their Department Managers will earn increases of one and two pay grades, retroactive to July 1, 2005.
The pay hikes will cost the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) $1.5 million to make the case managers equal to Parole and Probation Agents, according to DPSCS.
Despite the sideline naysayers and discouraging setbacks, these MCEA stalwarts persevered until the Governor, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and DPSCS all agreed that Case Managers deserved a lot more money in their paychecks for the tough jobs they do in the prisons.
Larry D. Kump, a Correctional Case Management Specialist II and Vice President of MCEA Chapter 67, Public Safety Non-custody Employees, did most of the heavy lifting on this issue. Tom Nittinger, also a CCMS II, was designated as the point person to follow up on the upgrade with Mary Ann Saar, DPSCS Secretary.
Class-action grievance hearings on the upgrades were held before an Administrative Law Judge in 2003, after both DBM and DPSCS had recommended the increases to improve working conditions for the case managers.
But things stalled in bureaucratic quicksand.
There was finger-pointing on which agency was at fault, but in the end it appeared the effort died for lack of departmental funding and no final approval by DBM.
Determined not to let the issue die, Case Managers revisited the promise for a salary upgrade with DPSCS Secretary Saar in a January meeting with Western Maryland legislators to discuss security, understaffing, and other correctional issues.
To the group's relief, Saar committed to review the issue.
Meanwhile, Kump organized his colleagues to keep the pressure on the administration.
He also kept in constant communication with legislators and their staff.
"This victory will open the door for other prison salary reform opportunities," said Kump, who continues to speak out and pursue other salary and working condition initiatives on behalf of correctional officers and other coworkers, which includes, but is not limited to, another follow-up meeting with representatives of the Governor, area legislators, and Public Safety/DOC officials in September.
He urged employees to join MCEA and recruit others to join the MCEA team.
Kump pointed out that, "Just a handful of folks CAN make a difference, especially if they are part of the MCEA team, but just imagine what all of us could accomplish if all of us were working together as MCEA team members. Just imagine!"


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Musings of an LDS Moralist Libertarian

While my political philosophy has been influenced and enhanced in large part by my faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - LDS Church), my political beliefs nonetheless are my own, and should not in any way be construed as official LDS policy or doctrine.
I believe that the Constitution of the United States of America was established by God through divinely inspired men who were raised up by God for that very purpose (see LDS Doctrine & Covenants: Section 101, verse 80), but that our government also should not attempt to coerce or "bind the consciences" of we, the people ( see LDS Doctrine & Covenants: Section 134, verse 4).
In other words, all of us have individual and family responsibilities to live productive and moral lives, but that responsibility should not be mandated by government.
We also are held accountable by God to seek out and support righteous leaders (see LDS Doctrine & Covenants: Section 134, verse 3), but neither we or our leaders should attempt to impose our values upon others or take away their freedoms of choice.
For example, I believe all (not just the wealthy) have a responsibility
and moral obligation to reach out and help the disadvantaged among us (such as is done within the LDS Church via monthly "fast offerings").
I believe that all attempts to help the disadvantaged, especially including government programs and policies, should encourage and promote self and family reliance and not reward laziness by creating an Aldous Huxley "Nanny-State" of a permanent underclass of entitlement dependents.
I believe wrongdoers should be fairly tried and judged for their crimes against other persons and property.
However, to be tried or given heavier punishments for using a particular kind of weapon (gun control laws) does not deter the criminals but only diminishes the Constitutional Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.
Likewise, to prosecute people for the alleged thoughts of their hearts or on the basis of invidious classes ("Hate" crimes), as determined by an Orwellian "Thought-Police" codex, is oxymoronic as well as destructive to a civil and a harmonious society; it actually breeds more race and class conflict..
To me, abortion is moral anathema, although other sincere folks disagree; but the government should not be involved in either prohibiting it or funding it.
Even so, I support the election of leaders who support persuading all of us to embrace a "culture of life", and to provide more positive incentives for adoption and other alternatives to abortion.
There are many good and sincere men and women within all mainstream political parties, but I cannot embrace any political party whose political platform and leadership endorses and even celebrates moral deviant behavior or discriminates against people of faith.
Conversely, I also cannot embrace the doctrine any political party who seeks to impose the religious philosophy and doctrine of a few upon the many or of the many upon the few.

Postscript: U. S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is a member of my Church, but he certainly does not share many of my political values.

Friday, September 02, 2005

What about Tomorrow?

"...we know not how soon."
These words by the American Prophet Alma in 82 B.C. (The Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 13, verse 25) were about the birth of Jesus Christ, but, as I watched the news reports this morning of the crisis in New Orleans, I was reminded anew of how fragile is the fabric of our lives, and the repeated warnings we have been given to prepare ourselves; for "these are the times that try our souls" (Thomas Paine).
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has left fires, devastation, disease, rapes, starvation, panic, and widespread looting; with even police officers and firefighters being attacked.
A Fox News reporter compared today's worsening condition of the City of New Orleans to that of a "third world country".
The New Orleans Chief of Police reported that some of his officers have turned in their badges and resigned, telling him that it just isn't worth it to risk their lives and to be shot in the back.
While efforts are mobilized to rush help and protection to these desperate folks, the rest of our country is reeling from the meteoric
rise in gasoline prices from the loss of Gulf State oil refineries; adding to our previous problems at the pump, which have steadily worsened.
Even though we were given a wake-up call with the 1974 Oil Crisis, since then we have become even more dependent on foreign oil, have failed to build any additional oil refineries for the last twenty years, and even have gone on personal spending sprees to purchase more and more gas guzzling family trucks, vans, and SUV's.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) have repeatedly been counseled and warned by our leaders to
prepare and gird ourselves for these times, that we may be able to better provide for our families and to help our friends and neighbors.
Not too long ago, a member of the D.C. Temple Presidency pleaded with the saints in this area to come to the Temple as often as possible, prophesying that there will come a time when we just will not be able to get to the Temple.
The tragedies of today may only be a harbinger of tomorrow's trials.
Now is the time to prepare for tomorrow.