What About Melania?


After all the vitriol this woman has endured for four years and more, it is a wonder that Melania Trump can speak positively of her adopted country. When she was the First Lady, she was insulted, ridiculed and discounted in her role.

Melania at a campaign event with Donald and Barron in November 2015, via Wikimedia Commons.

Joe Selvaggi talks with MIT Professor Charles Stewart III about the political party’s presidential candidate nomination process and what or who ultimately decides who is chosen.

Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy


Since JD Vance is now Trump’s VP candidate, I decided to get my book review posted.

The book was rather celebrated by some quarters on the left as a way for people on the left to understand the shock of Trump’s 2016 election. The book’s subtitle is “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” I’m guessing it is due to be heavily torn apart by the media now that Vance is Trump’s VP candidate.

Was there time enough to shoot the shooter?


It’s unclear exactly how much time elapsed between the time Trump’s would-be assassin was spotted and pointed out by rally attendees and when he fired his rifle at the former president, but it may have been enough time to alert the counter snipers to point and fire at him before he was able to fire his first shot.

“We Are in God’s Hands Now”


My proposed speech for President Trump’s nomination acceptance this week:

Good evening, and thank you for that amazing welcome. In light of the events last Saturday I am very glad to be here with my wife, Melania, and my family. I am saddened that a great man, Republican, and supporter –Corey Caperatore– is not. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family. I am also mindful of two other supporters who were wounded but fortunately were not killed — David Dutch and James Copenhaver. It saddens and angers me that wonderful men and women all across this country who have supported our great movement have been publicly vilified and in some cases imprisoned and killed. It is a sign that as in all ages there is good and evil, there is right and there is wrong. These are contending forces that shape the history of mankind. That everyone is capable of good and evil, that no one has a monopoly on good, is the beginning of humility and our journey to God.

Threats to the Rule of Law


Anyone watching the slugfest within the Democratic Party knows about its deep divisions over whether Joe Biden should run for re-election, or indeed stay in office for the duration of his term. But for all these divisions, Democrats are strongly united on two unassailable propositions. The first is that Joe Biden has been a great president on both domestic and foreign affairs. And second, the transcendent threat to democracy is embodied in Donald J. Trump, even if, as Frank Bruni wrote in the bellwether New York Times last week (before the assassination attempt deeply discredited harsh political denunciations on all sides), that Trump slyly remained on good behavior as Democrats duked it out among themselves. To make matters worse, Trump was going to—according to yet another Times stalwart, Jesse Wegman—strengthen a Supreme Court that goes about gaslighting the public by pretending to be moderate. This is the court, of course, that has handed down decisions like United States v. Rahimi, which held sensibly that nothing in the text or history of the Second Amendment required striking down a federal law that forbade a person guilty of domestic violence to possess a firearm.

One reason the Democrats are so panicky is that they fear they cannot count on Trump to defeat himself in the upcoming election—even more so now that images of a bloodied, defiant Republican candidate have been dominating news pages this week. But there is another narrative even more dangerous to the Democrats’ re-election story that needs airing. Biden and his administration have been far from blameless on key issues of public affairs. Indeed, their deeds are a far greater threat to democracy than Trump’s ill-chosen words. (Despite Trump’s improbable denial that he ever led chants of “lock her up” against Hillary Clinton, for instance, while in office Trump never sought to indict her or any other Democratic insider.)

Why Vance?


The vice president normally matters little, but the pick is heralded with great interest because it is one of the few actions that a candidate takes which is highly visible to the media and the public. So there is good reason to ask why Trump picked Vance and what it shows about Trump’s understanding of the race.

Vance is intended to appeal to the Rust Belt swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Trump believes this is where the race will be won or lost. Vance is a MAGA populist rather than strictly an economic or values conservative. His story of pulling himself up with hard work from poverty and a messy upbringing to riches and power appeals to many in the states Trump is trying to win. Vance is also young and dynamic, and he’s been a loyal supporter since sometime in Trump’s first term. He said that Mike Pence was wrong in refusing to throw out electoral votes on J6, which Trump appreciated.

Sweet Things


Recently, something transpired in our household that reminded me of the old days, when our daughters were smaller.

Our washer broke–started leaking water onto the floor–but that’s not the “sweet thing” referenced in the title.

The events of the past weekend dominate the discussion. Our five things for today:

  • Ann tackles the latest Trump legal news from Florida as Judge Aileen Cannon dismisses the documents case on the Appointments Clause
  • MSNBC puts their Nazi talkfest, Morning Joe, on the sidelines
  • The ladies of the United States Secret Service
  • The motives of the would-be assassin
  • How long will the attempt to “lower the political temperature” last?

Note: This episode was recorded right before Trump’s announcement of Sen. JD Vance (R – OH) as his 2024 running mate.

For Vice President of the United States


Donald Trump has chosen the junior Senator from Ohio, JD Vance. Vance, who will turn 40 on August 2nd, is the youngest candidate on a major party ticket since Dwight Eisenhower chose the 39-year old Richard Nixon in 1952.

Vance was elected to the Senate just two years ago. He was critical of Trump during his 2016 run but Trump endorsed him in his Senate race against Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, which he won 53-47%. He was a public relations specialist with the Marine Corps during the Iraq War. He has a BA from The Ohio State University and his law degree from Yale.

He came to prominence in 2016 with his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.

Judge Cannon Dismisses the Documents Case Because Jack Smith Was Unlawfully Appointed by AG Garland.


Here is the actual order in the case. This esteemed judge made sure there could be no doubt that she was dismissing this disgraceful persecution totally, absolutely, completely. Period. A very bright moment shining forth in the gloom surrounding so much of the Federal Judiciary in our time.

*** For the reasons set forth above, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows: 1. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Superseding Indictment Based on Unlawful Appointment and Funding of Special Counsel Jack Smith is GRANTED in accordance with this Order [ECF No. 326]. 2. The Superseding Indictment [ECF No. 85] is DISMISSED. 3. This Order is confined to this proceeding. The Court decides no other legal rights or claims. 4. This Order shall not affect or weaken any of the protections for classified information imposed in this case or any protective orders pertaining to classified information. 5. The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. Any scheduled hearings are CANCELLED. Any pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT, and any pending deadlines are TERMINATED. DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Fort Pierce, Florida, this 15th day of July 2024. _________________________________ AILEEN M. CANNON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

A Chain of Mistakes


Most accidents, disasters, and tragedies happen because of a chain of mistakes. If someone had made a different decision at one point in the chain, the disaster likely would have been averted. The attempted assassination of Trump was no exception. Here are the decision points that I have seen (and I don’t hold myself out as a security expert by any means):

  1. Why was the building from which the sniper fired not occupied by police? Did the advance team fail to note it? Were there too few Secret Service agents assigned to Trump to occupy it? Did someone fail to take his assigned position? Did the counter-sniper teams figure that they could cover it from their other positions?
  2. Why did the concerns of bystanders who saw a man with a rifle not get relayed to the Secret Service? Or if they were, why was there no effective response? Why didn’t the policeman who climbed to the roof of the building arrest or kill the shooter?
  3. Why didn’t the counter-sniper team preemptively fire at the sniper? Were they waiting for permission?
  4. It took a very long time to evacuate Trump once they had covered him behind the podium. Someone said, “Let’s move,” but the agents seemed to struggle to get Trump up. Haven’t they practiced with someone of Trump’s height and weight? Or was there another reason?
  5. Why does the small female agent join the scrum around the president at about 1:30 in this video? She is smaller than all the men, which leaves Trump’s head exposed. If there had been a second sniper, this would have been an opportunity for a kill shot. And it provided an opportunity for Trump’s iconic fist pump and “fight, fight, fight.” Trump is a tall and not thin man, so you need large agents to protect him. What if Trump had been incapacitated and had to be carried out under fire? It would have been impossible. She also is one of the agents who assists the president down the staircase but seems to have a hard time doing it, which again leaves him exposed. Was she a DEI hire?
  6. Why did the agents permit Trump to do a final fist pump at the SUV door? Again, another opportunity for a kill shot by a second sniper. They should have bodily shoved him into the SUV immediately, which they eventually did.
  7. Why did 3 female agents mill about as the presidential SUV was preparing to depart? (One is the infamous agent who adjusted her sunglasses.) They seem not to know their responsibilities in that situation. DEI hires?

There were some good things that I saw as an amateur observer. The cover team was on Trump within 3 seconds of the first shot, and they shielded him fearlessly and skillfully for the most part. They didn’t hesitate and look toward the sound of the shooting, which often delays less skilled cover teams. It shows excellent training to overcome that instinct.

Licensed to Lie, Sidney Powell


It’s surreal to be writing this review on the day after the assassination attempt on Donald Trump. This book focuses on the long slide of our “justice” department into a “conviction machine” by a woman who started her career as a starry-eyed believer in the integrity of the DOJ.

As I observed the events of yesterday, I could not believe that a competent Secret Service would not detect a person on a roof with a rifle within 150 yards of a former president/current leading presidential candidate, especially when people in the crowd were pointing and yelling “there is a guy with a gun up there” before the shots fired.

Once we stop laughing, this is no longer funny…


I don’t know how to paste Twitter threads.  But there was a really funny one recently, regarding Kid Rock:

  • Obligatory:  Kid Rock makes music for people who know exactly how much Sudafed you can buy at a time.
    – Kid Rock music is the official soundtrack for copper theft.
    – One time Kid Rock played on the radio while I was driving and somehow I stole my own catalytic converter.
    – His music came on and an electric Sawzall just appeared in my hands like some kinda trailer trash Exalibur.

Ok.  First of all, those are really funny.  As a proud redneck from SE Ohio and NE Tennessee, I appreciate the humor in those Tweets.  Jeff Foxworthy had a great routine where he’d repeat, “You might be a redneck if…” with lots of different punch lines — those Kid Rock Tweets are all top-shelf and could compete with Mr. Foxworthy.  And my fellow rednecks would all laugh, at our own expense.

Although Mr. Foxworthy’s punch lines rarely sounded critical.  He did not condescend.  Us rednecks identified with his descriptions, like, “You might be a redneck if…”:

On the Edge of Catastrophe


It was right at dusk when everything hit the fan. You know that moment, when it isn’t quite dark but dark enough to impair your vision? Your car’s headlights are on, but they aren’t really providing much value. It was right in that narrow window of reduced visibility that I saw the car slam into the old woman. I was driving down a 4-lane street and the car coming toward me hit an elderly woman who was crossing the road. No brakes. Full speed at around 40 mph. The force of the blow launched the old woman up into the air several yards in front of the car. The driver immediately slowed down but didn’t stop, I suspect because the old woman was above his field of vision. She must have been 12 or 14 feet in the air. The car eventually caught up with the woman and, as she came down, she landed hard on the roof of the car, then rolling off the back, she landed in a crumpled heap on the pavement behind the car. I saw all of this out of the corner of my eye as I was traveling the opposite direction from the car that hit the woman. This kind of unexpected crisis takes a bit to sink in. Your brain rebels at quickly grasping and processing what your eyes just saw.

When the old woman landed on the roof of the car, the driver well-and-truly freaked out, veering suddenly into my lane and risking a head-on collision. I steered hard to my right and the freaked out driver zoomed past my left rear fender, crossed two lanes behind me, and finally ground to a halt when he hit the curb and a street light.

After veering right to avoid the head-on collision, I did a rapid u-turn into the parking lot on my left, jumped from my car and starting running toward the woman, lying ominously still, in the road.

If Trump is neutralized, some things will change.  But most things will not.


From YES Market Media, via Shutterstock. Photo ID: 2458373881

Imagine that Trump had been killed yesterday.  You would think that after that unique threat to democracy had been removed, the left might change their approach to, well, something.  I’m not so sure.  In fact, I suggest that they would not change anything at all.  I made up the below hypothetical news story to illustrate my point.  Would you consider this to be satire or reality?

Over the Roof of the World


One incredible achievement during World War II was the US supply of China over the Himalayan Mountains. An airlift over some of the world’s most difficult terrain. By war’s end, it moved over 750 thousand tons of cargo to China. The aircrew flying its route called the route “The Hump.”

Skies of Thunder: The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World, by Caroline Alexander, tells the story of the Hump. The book describes the airlift, what it took to assemble the resources to conduct it, and the circumstances leading to starting and continuing it.

Ms. Alexander opens by sketching in the background, describing the wars between China and Japan and the need to supply Chinese armies from abroad. Eventually, the sole path to China was the overland Burma Road, between Rangoon, Burma (now called Myanmar), and Kunming, China. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and Britain. Japan invaded Burma, a British colony. A disastrous British defense allowed Japan to capture most of Burma, which Ms. Alexander describes in painful detail. It severed the Burma Road.

Involuntary Man’s Laughter


   Working for a retail giant bookstore chain is a good idea on paper, when you’re in your 20s.  You start with grandiose ideas of turning everyone on to your favorite authors, favorite movies and favorite music, and making like-minded friends.  On the second day or soon thereafter, disillusion starts to set, like cranberry juice on a white v-neck Fruit of the Loom.  The first rule of retail, “The customer is always right,” is pure…well, I don’t want to say gaslighting. (Everything is gaslighting nowadays.) Customers are so seldom right, the ones who know what they’re looking for stand out like George Clinton at a Klan rally. Then, there are the customers who seem to have taken the shuttle bus from Pluto.  I used to work at Borders in Oklahoma City.  I have a lot of weird and sometimes funny memories of my time there. Here’s an anecdote of an encounter I had with a customer fresh off the intergalactic bus.

     He was a short, dark haired man in his 30s.  He said he loved the old Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway “Bonnie and Clyde” movie so much he wanted any books pertaining to the real-life despair pair.  He got hung up on a book with a title that hinted at some misunderstanding of the demonic duo.  “Yeah, were they victims, or villains?” he said thoughtfully, “That would be a great debate topic.  That and the life of Christ.”  (I’m not sure how he made the jump to Jesus or why he had doubts about whether to canonize or cannon Parker and Barrow.) I nodded, but said nothing, although my jaw might have slacked wide enough to house a small blimp.  I had some questions, besides the obvious one about what Christ had to do, had to do, with it. 

Quote of the Day – Adaptability


Global sea temperatures in the Ordovician period were sweltering, estimated at around 100F at the equator – John Long, The Secret History of Sharks

I am reviewing The Secret History of Sharks for Epoch Times. (It is a first-rate account of the development of sharks from their origins to the present.  I recommend it.) This passage struck me when I read it because of all the fuss about global warming climate change going on today. The Ordovician Period began 485.4 million years ago and ended 443.8 million years ago. It followed the Cambrian Era. We are talking about a long time ago. Since life still populates Earth, it demonstrates that 100F tropical water temperatures are survivable.

Biden is the brand


If you want some perspective on current events, try looking through old newspapers. I’ve done a few projects where I went through old newspapers looking for specific events and was struck by the fact that almost none of the issues that occupied issue after issue were remembered or discussed anymore.  This too shall pass.  But in my life, every now and then I have the feeling of living through something momentous—something that causes shifts in behavior and will be talked about, and written about, for a long time.  Certainly the moon landing, Watergate, the fall of Communism, the 2008 financial crisis, the pandemic.

And now, the fall of Joe Biden.  What has unfolded since June 27th has been quite amazing to watch, and even if he hangs on, he is wounded well beyond just being a lame duck.  As someone said, no one will be listening to what he says from now on, just how he says it.  Is he having a good day or a bad day?  I don’t know if it is dementia or some other neurological condition, and as I said in another blog, likely the only ones who do at this point are his family and they certainly won’t talk.  It is a sad fact that neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are notoriously hard to diagnose by doctors in their early stages.  I have an acquaintance who saw multiple doctors over several years before he was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  This difficulty is one of the reasons that pharmaceutical companies are looking so hard for early biomarkers.  The cognitive and behavioral changes come on gradually and I posit that it is the family that usually notices them first and it is usually a while before they seek medical advice.  Why?  1) because they are on the spectrum of normal aging:  forgetfulness, irritability, repeating stories, word-finding difficulties;  2) because they fluctuate day to day.  So family members anxiously look for signs that it was just a temporary blip.  Or, as supporters have said about the debate:  “Anyone can have a bad day.”  The problem is that with aging or early neurological disease, you can’t control when those bad days show up.

Celebrating Alec Baldwin’s Salvation


By now most people have heard that Alec Baldwin’s trial on involuntary manslaughter has ended in a dismissal with prejudice (meaning he cannot be retried). This came about because potentially exculpatory evidence in the possession of the prosecutor was withheld from the defense. The evidence was apparently “live” rounds sent by the supplier of the “squibs” that were to be used in movie production. A major question was how a “live” round made it to the gun used in the filming. If it was sent by the supplier unknown to anyone in the production company, then Baldwin did not do anything wrong — tragic as the shooting was. The prosecutor’s theory was that someone in the production company knew that there were “live” rounds in the shipment and negligently included them in with the “squibs,” setting the deadly incident in motion.

Baldwin did not help himself with his reputation as a bit of a hothead, blowhard and, possibly, a sloppy producer. That, and his theory that the gun fired without him pulling the trigger, was not credible. It wasn’t credible because at various points he both claimed not to have pulled the trigger and at other times seemed to admit pulling the trigger. But the case was never about an intent to wound or kill anyone. It was always about grievous negligence that led to the taking of a life. And that negligence could only have been imputed to Baldwin as the producer and ultimately the one holding the gun, if someone in the company knew there was a risk of a “live” round being in that gun.

“KC” Campbell an A-10 Pilot


Colonel Kim Nichole Reed-Campbell flew the A-10 in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. On April 7, 2003, during the Iraq War, her A-10 was hit by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire over Baghdad. She and her wingman were providing air support for US ground troops engaged with Iraqi forces on a bridge over the Tigris River.

During a mission over Baghdad on 7 April 2003, Campbell’s aircraft (A-10A s/n 81-0987) suffered extensive damage from enemy fire. “We did our job with the guys there on the ground, and as we were on our way out is when I felt the jet get hit. It was pretty obvious — it was loud… I lost all hydraulics instantaneously, and the jet rolled left and pointed toward the ground, which was an uncomfortable feeling over Baghdad. It didn’t respond to any of my control inputs.”