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Big D said “Lion Ted,” Not “Lyin’ Ted”

 

The corrupt, phony media intentionally misrepresented how President Donald J. Trump referred to Senator Ted Cruz in the 2016 debates for the Republican nomination. I listened to the debate audio a number of times, then loaded it on my audio analysis decoder, which came standard on my Commodore VIC-20. The results?

Big D clearly said “Lion Ted,” which is an honorific bestowed on political giants in the US Senate who have either killed an innocent woman (Ted Kennedy) or single-handedly derailed the repeal of Obamacare (John McCain).

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Environmental Law Without Property Rights

 

The new term of the United States Supreme Court got off to an inauspicious start in the important case of Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. At issue in the case is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), which allows the government to take steps to protect endangered and threatened species from destruction. Weyerhaeuser involved the preservation of potential habitat for the dusky gopher frog, whose lifestyle requires living underground in areas covered by open-canopied pine forests, from which the frogs migrate to isolated, ephemeral ponds for breeding before returning home. These exacting conditions are not easily found, and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) spent an inordinate amount of time, effort, and careful study to locate such a habitat. In this case, the FWS acted only after it conducted, as the majority in the Fifth Circuit noted, an exhaustive “economic analysis, two rounds of notice and comment, a scientific peer-review process including responses from six experts, and a public hearing.”

After its investigation concluded, FWS designated as critical habitat some 1,544 acres of privately-owned land in Louisiana. That land had been slated for timber harvesting, followed by residential and commercial development. The FWS made its designation even though only one such frog was found on these lands back in 1965. The ESA’s instruction to the FWS was to make sure that the site designated as critical habitat contains “those physical or biological features . . . essential to the conservation of the species.” The FWS read the term “essential” broadly to cover the proposed site, subject to two huge caveats. First, the designated space could not support the dusky gopher program in its current condition. Extensive site modification was required to make the area habitable for the frog. Second, FWS had no current plans for the needed site modification, and it had set aside no funds for its improvement. As a result, the site was in limbo. The Fifth Circuit majority protested that such critical habitat designations “do not transform private land into wildlife refuges” because they neither authorize the government to enter the land nor require the private owner to modify the property to populate it with members of the endangered species. But that sentence tells only half the story: the designation does put the land into legal limbo because its owners can no longer use it for its intended purposes unless they first obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act to alter the site, which can only happen if FWS approves of the change in use under the ESA. The plaintiffs alleged “that the resulting lost development opportunities could cost the landowners $34 million.” Those are social as well as private losses.

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Motorcycle Accidents

 

Last summer I was browsing through our towns’ police department Facebook pages because sometimes I like to see a little of what is going on in that circle. It’s very limited, but sometimes they have useful traffic or fire updates, and it’s interesting to see what crimes might be mentioned. One incident that stood out to me was the death of a motorcyclist on one of the main roads. The driver of a pickup had changed lanes into him and knocked him into a box truck. The details were sparse, as you would expect from a simple Facebook post, but the motorcyclist died, and it was hinted as likely the fault of the pickup driver.

Yesterday, I volunteered to be in the church nursery as I had been sick on my normal day and it just so happened that my husband’s aunt had also volunteered and were placed in the same room. I haven’t seen her for a while because she just retired and has been off to places like Kenya, the Philippines, and Missouri. She is one of those involved, social ladies that knows everyone and is generally up to speed on the happenings of our cities. I don’t know how people do that.*

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A Question of Birth

 

This is an honest question.

For many years, before we even heard about the LGBT movement (with increasing letters added), we heard from the gay community that being gay was a matter of birth. The reason a person is gay is because they were “born that way.” There was an assumption there is a genetic disposition to gay orientation, so it is wrong to even suggest that a gay person could change. California legislators came to believe it was necessary to pass laws against “conversion therapy” because it would be wrong to try to change how someone is “born.”

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Quote of the Day: On Whining and Deafness

 

Last Thursday I had the very great pleasure of driving to Armagh, PA, a tiny little town in farming country about one-hundred miles East of us, in West-Central PA, where Mr. She, my stepdaughter Jenny, our granddaughter Eve, and I had lunch at Griffith’s Tavern, a nice little diner of the “hot meatloaf sandwich with gravy out of a can” variety. Good comfort food, reasonably priced. Also, excellent beer. A great time was had by all.

Other than the chance to see and visit with each other, the purpose of the trip was the handing-over of the annual Halloween costume. I’ve been making my granddaughter’s Halloween costumes since she was two, and now she’s ten. Let’s see: Benjamin Bunny; a chicken; a butterfly; a peacock; an ‘underworld peacock, black and sparkly, probably the closest Eve will ever come to the ‘Goth’ look in her life; a mermaid; ‘Girl Darth Vader’ — I think that’s all of them. All of them unique challenges. Almost all of them made with stretchy, spangly, slippery fabrics that those among us who sew will recognize as just the worst and most difficult stuff to sew, ever. Still, it’s been great fun, and the bag of scraps I’ve accumulated over the years has come in handy from one project to the next.

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Zeal Gap?

 

The gallery for --> Democrats Vs Republicans MapIs there a zeal gap in American politics? This question plays off the infamous “missile gap,” a campaign fiction deployed by JFK to defeat Nixon in 1960, when Nixon was the Vice President to the General of the Armies who defeated Nazi Germany. Conventional wisdom says liberals/Democrats are zealous in politics, like sports fans, where conservatives/Republicans tend to only engage episodically. Is this advantage real, and is it still there?

Years ago, a self-identified liberal cheerfully wrote, for a major publication, that she and her fellow liberals view politics like other Americans view sports. It is fun to fire off a quick letter to a politician or corporation and make a few calls to friend and foe offices. Daily. Yes. Daily. Whereas, conservatives, and the rest of the population, only rarely rouse themselves to a single episode of political expression. This is anecdotal, but we all have anecdotes to affirm this claim.

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Searching for Meaning After Trauma

 

“There are no atheists in a foxhole.” Though the aphorism may date from the 20th century, the idea that we seek connections when we are most alone, afraid, and even traumatized is not modern. It seems to be a hardwired human feature.

We can find comfort in our parents, spouses, and children – as well as belonging to extended families or communities, tribes, and nations. But that is not necessarily all that is asked of us. If, as I would argue, G-d wants us to seek a relationship with Him, then He made us needy, so that we would reach out for Him.

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Conflict Coffee?

 

A few years ago, my company was forced to spend millions of dollars proving that our products do not contain “conflict minerals,” or raw materials produced in war zones. A fool’s errand, if you ask me, because it is nearly impossible to prove where all of the raw materials used in any product originated.

I was just in my local Starbucks, and I noticed they have a small blackboard where they list “Starbucks Reserve Coffees.” One of today’s Reserve selections is D. R. Congo Kawa Kabuya.

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Predicting Elections Using A.I. and Machine Learning

 

Here’s a set of stats from the 2016 election you may not know:

  • Trump received 2 million more votes than Governor Romney.
  • Hillary Clinton received 62K fewer votes than President Obama.

Obviously, a shift happened over four years which favored Donald Trump. Which demographic factors motivated that shift? More importantly, is there something we can project for the 2018 and 2020 elections?

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Testing the Water

 

My kid brother John is the most diehard Trump supporter I know, a real MAGA guy. Me, I’m just a conservative Republican: I voted for Trump because he wasn’t Clinton, and I’ll vote for him again because he’s still not Clinton. But John loves the guy.

Last week, while I was back in Albuquerque visiting family, my brother and I decided to do something wildly out of character: go out to our favorite sandwich place — Schlotzsky’s — wearing our approval of President Trump on our sleeves (figuratively), and then stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee.

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A Little Boy and an Anonymous Gift

 

It is one of those days which is so beautiful, clear as crystal, crisply cool, here in the far West of the Panhandle, the part which the Good Lord willed to be spared the ravages of the nightmare named Michael, that I thought I might note how grateful I am to Him for this gift he has granted us.

I was moved to note these feelings of the deepest kind of gratitude, the kind which is simply not capable of being captured by mere words, by reading a truly poignant column in my daily scan of news items, an undertaking which is almost always, shall we say, not exactly uplifting but overflowing with news which is the polar opposite of inspirational. This piece, by Salena Zito, is entitled “A 90-minute flight, 45 presidents, and an 8-year-old American boy” and, especially if you’re not having the kind of lovely afternoon with which we have been graced, please go read this wonderful and inspirational piece. Ms. Zito tells of meeting two uniquely, and true, Americans — one, the little boy of the title and another who does, indeed, qualify as one of the heroes of the story.

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Will This Military Cemetery Be Desecrated?

 

Once again, the secular Left is prepared to remove a religious symbol because it believes it violates the Constitution. Does anyone else see the irony in this decision to defend the Constitution?

Of course, the decision by the three-judge panel of the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals to remove the cross had little to do with the Constitution and mostly to do with attacking the Christian cross specifically and attacking the symbols of religion in general.

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Quote of the Day: What’s Cookin’?

 

“Any young woman who can read, can cook.” — Grandma Galloway (my mother’s mother)

As a family of four children and two parents, living on a doctor’s salary, dining out regularly was not a wise budgeting option. Beyond the financial incentive to cook our own meals, meals were family time. Financial and family rationales for cooking still apply today. As we turn, in our own homes, to cookbooks, and other sources of recipes, our mother’s recitation of her mother’s wisdom echoes in our memory.

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Borderline DNA Test

 

View original artwork here.

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In Another Episode of “Everything is Problematic”

 

First, they came for the Disney princesses, and I did not speak out, because I’ve always hated Disney princesses. That’s how I feel at least. So here I am, speaking out against the offensive on Disney princesses, because I’ve come to learn the culture war will inevitably come to my doorstep.

In case you missed it, Disney princesses is the outrage du jour:

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What Do We Owe Honduras?

 

I am a Catholic but not a theologian. I recently heard a sermon about my moral obligations regarding the wave of economic refugees increasingly heading our way. It reminded me that much of what I encounter in Catholic moral teaching seems to be infused with defective economics. For example, it is accurate to say that all Christian social teaching tells us that getting attached to material consumption to the exclusion of spirituality, human connections and the needs of others is wrong. But this truism is often followed by a non sequitur that poverty in the Third World is the result of First World overconsumption. 

A consistent defect that permeates this line of thinking is the medieval assumption that resources and material well-being are always a zero-sum game. Two centuries of incredible global growth in material well-being, lifespan, technology, and productivity should have forever dispelled zero-sum thinking but Marxists, peak oil enthusiasts, and the current pope manage to cling to static medieval perspectives.

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Arizona Rally: The Opening Act, Oh My!

 

The Arizona MAGA Rally was another great success, no thanks to the new Arizona Republican Party Chairman. The structure of these rallies is set and well known by now. President Trump is the headliner, and he will bring up a person who he wants to highlight during his speech. Before that, there are a series of opening acts, following the consistent opening ceremony, comprised of: the Pledge of Allegiance, public prayer invocation, and the National Anthem. Stunningly, the new guy in Arizona, Jonathan Lines, managed to mangle both the National Anthem and the opening acts.

Setting the Scene:

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No, It Wasn’t the Russians. Democrats Have Been Losing for Years.

 

Spoiler: Trump won the 2016 elections and it had nothing to do with the Russians.

President Trump won the election fair and square. In truth, the big reveal in all of this is that Democrats have been losing since President Obama took office.

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Scott Lincicome: In Defense of Free Trade

 

Scott Lincicome is a leading international trade attorney, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and senior visiting lecturer at Duke University. In this Conversation, Lincicome explains the system of free trade agreements and alliances that the U.S. has built over many decades and how the system contributes to peace and prosperity for America. Lincicome also shares his perspective on the renegotiation of NAFTA, the decision not to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and other trade agreements. Finally, Kristol and Lincicome consider where Republicans and Democrats stand on trade today—and where the parties are likely to go in the future.

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Stuck

 

View original artwork here.

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Fly Me to the Moon is Made of American Cheese – For Now

 

“What Sort of All Hallows’ Eve Trollop Art Thou?” PIT Seventeen asks. I’m not sure. I’m fairly sure what sort of trollop I’m not — I’m not the sort to consider glitter and body paint an acceptably modest substitute for undies. At least not on me. Nonetheless, The Sun alleges the black, bespangled, and quite bare bat bum is this Halloween’s fashion trend (any “trend” involving bums, of course, being of great interest to The Sun).

I stumbled on this so-called trend while perusing The Sun‘s investigation into snake handling, the ritual wherein Christian oppressors manhandle (“personhandle” would be more gender-neutral, but “manhandle” properly names and shames the unjust kyriarchy) innocent serpents, possibly without the serpents’ consent, purportedly for God’s glory. These oppressors — typically poor Appalachian whites — are themselves oppressed, of course, themselves victims of the same kyriarchy which enables their cross-species molestation. As one of Ricochet’s resident reptilians (I only self-identify as human online), I ought to have been outraged by the speciesist presumption that conscripts nonhuman species into human worship without even asking permission. Instead, I got distracted by sparkly bums.

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‘To Bear Witness to Corruption in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Was a Painful Decision’

 

So begins the third “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, on the ongoing sexual abuse/coverup scandal in the Church (h/t @9thdistrictneighbor). With this latest installment of “he said”/”he said,” Archbishop Viganò restates the key points of his original testimony and also answers the rebuke he received from Marc Cardinal Ouellet.

It was good to have the key points listed succinctly and to have an answer to Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, but what touched me most were the reasons Viganò gave for writing his testimonies. He strikes me as a man of great faith (which is in direct contrast to how I view those involved in this scandal).

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The New Democrat Strategy: Win Secretary of State Elections First

 

Democrats know their appeal sucks to average American voters now (IMHO). But what should they do? Here are my thoughts.

Who was the unsung hero in Florida in 2000? Does the name “Katherine Harris” ring a bell? It should. She was the SecState in Florida who stopped the endless recounts, and her actions were ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Loneliness and the End of Learning

 

As is my wont, my mind is connecting a bunch of things this morning: Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine blog is providing a critique of one of Sen. Ben Sasse’s theses in his book: that there is an epidemic of loneliness. Paul pulls a couple of quotes from Yuval Levin’s piece in the National Review, “All the Lonely People?” Here is the key quote:

[W]e talk about loneliness as we do because we lack the vocabulary to describe the kinds of problems that arise when institutions grow weak and communities unravel. Those problems are very real and they are near the heart of what is happening in America now, but maybe they are not the same thing as loneliness—and maybe seeing that can help us better understand them.

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