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From an article published by RealClearInvestigations on October 30, 2019, written by Paul Sperry. More than two months after the official filed his complaint, pretty much all that’s known publicly about him is that he is a CIA analyst who at one point was detailed to the White House and is now back working at […]

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For example, the recent resolution condemning the Armenia Genocide.  I firmly believe two things: The genocide of the Armenians by the Turks did happen, and it was an atrocity, and Turkey’s continued denial of it is disgusting. The job of Congress is pass legislation that changes the law of the land and affects the national […]

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Shakespeare On The Potomac

 

The drama playing out in Washington is striking, something out of Shakespeare. In the press Trump is portrayed as the ineffectual Richard II, the scheming and illegitimate Richard III, the lost and aging King Lear, the arrogant Caesar and the lustful and intemperate Henry VIII. The opposition sees Trump as irredeemably flawed. His leadership in their vision can only bring political disaster and a series of impending future political tragedies of monumental enormity.

The Never Trumpers see the flaws as well, magnified and monstrous. In their worldview, political winners must be heroes and not just be virtuous now, but always. There is no room for the penitent, much less the continual, sinner. Superior virtue should always trump grandiosity and ugly self-promotion. To the Gary Robbins’ (@garyrobbins) of the world, Trump is a poseur, a promoter, the PT Barnum of modern politics, feckless, unworthy, a travesty really, a mockery to those who want their presidents to be made of, not have, brass.

Trick or Treat: The Art Thief and the Wild Swordsman

 

Are your dreams tricks your sleeping brain plays on you? Or are they treats? Mine are usually treats. They are cinematic extravaganzas. In fact, I am not always in my dreams, and sometimes famous actors are, even if I have no idea who they are at the time and only recognize them later. Or, there was the time after James Gandolfini’s death where I saw him playing the romantic lead in a RomCom dream. Sure, my dreams don’t always make perfect sense, but they are far better than the dreams I hear other people tell about where they are late to a test for which they haven’t studied and they happen to realize they are naked. Those other people’s dreams are definitely tricks. If that is the sort of dream you have, it’s time to sit back and read about another type of dream.

My first realization in this dream found me standing in a 1920s style convertible. It was the type where the opened roof was opened all the way back to the end of the car since, in those days, the trunk was literally a piece of luggage that one tied to a luggage rack on the back of the vehicle. The convertible was bright yellow. It was a larger car with perhaps as many as three banks of seats. At the very least, it was what would have been called a seven-passenger touring car. It was also moving. My middle brother was driving.

It’s Too Late in Campaign Season for Facebook to Ban Political Ads, but Not Fact-Check Them

 

Facebook has instituted fact-checking before, like with its partner BOOM in India.

There are some famous natural experiments out there, such as the Dutch Hunger Winter study or the Oregon Health Insurance study. Or how about that nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea showing the benefits of democratic capitalism vs. totalitarian communism. That may be the most famous and instructive natural experiment of all.

Silicon Valley may be giving us another enlightening comparison. Twitter is banning all political advertising, while Facebook will continue to run such ads — even those containing false or misleading claims. We should get a first read on the results on either the evening of Nov. 3 or the morning of Nov. 4, 2020.

A Chicago Trick or a Autumn Treat

 

How do I spend my Halloween? With Autumn (name changed to protect the guilty), my good friend and all-but-adopted little sister. She is married and an RN, but she likes to joke about being “perpetually 11.” Autumn is what happens when a tomboy stays a tomboy without crazy parents or society interfering. She likes fireworks, amateur bartending (I always get a gin and tonic when there), heavy metal, and talking about politics. Lest you think anything untoward is going on, she is a conservative Catholic married to a conservative Catholic convert with an ample firearms collection. (We were in College Republicans together.) Autumn is affectionate with all her friends, which is awesome, and also loves to dress up for Halloween.

Visiting Autumn’s old place for Halloween is an experience in and of itself. Her parents have a house that is already partway to haunted, and the decorations make the ancient bungalow look positively spooky. Her Mom is a blast and an awesome host, and Autumn is an incredible extrovert and organizer, so the party is always fun, with all kinds of guests. Autumn’s Dad, well, he makes Archie Bunker look like a woke hipster. Getting into politics with him can be either amusing or result in a barrage of invective. The guests are from all over the social/political spectrum – Autumn has maxed-out charisma – so the party would be fun regardless of what we did.

Playing Evil on Halloween

 

Halloween is not immutable. Common American traditions today bear only the slightest resemblance to druidic rituals and superstitious people casting frightened glances over dimly lit turnips. Trick-or-treating today isn’t even the same today as it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Heck, some families meet in parking lots to distribute candy from car trunks, because walking a neighborhood at sundown is apparently too dangerous for attended kids.

Few today believe in whatever these traditions once stood for. Halloween is not connected to All Hallows’ Day in most minds. It is not about dodging ghosts or nodding to ancestors.

Halloween is simply an occasion for fun. Americans don’t have many holidays; fewer still not initiated by government. Halloween is about candy and silly costumes and pumpkin carving, and all those things that can get little children excited.

The Decline (or Not) of the American Horror Film

 

Note: The following essay deals with what I will call “straight” horror, i.e., horror films not intended to be tongue-in-cheek and do not contain elements of self-parody or intentional humor (with the possible exception of the reference to Dead Alive). So, none of the Bruce Campbell Evil Dead movies or the various aging slasher franchises will be dealt with. Nor will it deal with television/net-based series.

If you have at all seen the American horror movie The Brain that Would Not Die you probably saw it on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which “Jan in a pan,” the decapitated head of the girlfriend of the mad scientist in the movie, kept alive through methods he perfected in his twisted perversion of medical science (he was a doctor specializing in transplant medicine and reconstructive surgery the set-up tells us) visits the bots and Mike from the Gizmonic Institute during intermissions. I was not so lucky. At the age of 10, maybe 11, I suffered through the film in all its stomach-turning awfulness, unmitigated by the quips and comments from the MST3K team, and was rescued from its twisted if ineptly executed story only by ads for the local car dealerships and some guy in Indianapolis who really, really wanted to sell you guns. Lots of them. And frankly, I was glad he did because I knew I would need them badly if that thing locked in the secret experimental operating theatre in the basement ever got out.

You see, that “thing” was the key to the horror of the whole film … er … movie. This piece of cinematic waste does not deserve that sometimes-noble appellation. Sure, the movie had key elements of the horror genre in the west, to wit:

Standing Up for the Second

 

Recently I discovered that the development I live in has its very own gun club! The founder of the club, Janet Warnsdorfer, moved to Florida from Pennsylvania, where gun clubs abounded (in spite of being a blue state). She was surprised that there were no gun clubs right in our area here in Florida, and decided to remedy that situation.

Part of her motivation to form a gun club was in response to a group that had formed that purported to support gun safety, but she was concerned that their goal went beyond safety. (That group had formed following the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.) So Janet decided we needed a group that supported gun owners and gun rights. We have a monthly magazine in our development which is distributed to all residents where she can promote activities.

The group, just under one year old, already has 150 members. Although we have no gun range, the group occasionally visits local ranges. They are primarily a social group for now, meeting once per month, and have had various speakers visit, offering programs such as training women on gun use. Another speaker, an NRA Certified Instructor, spoke about personal safety and security practices for seniors. They hope to have a deputy sheriff from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department speak on being involved with an active shooter situation. The club has no board or dues.

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I think that it is essential to read source materials instead of mere commentary about source materials.  Here is a copy of today’s Opening Statement of Timothy Morrison today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “Chairman Schiff and Members […]

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Impeachment: Past the Point of No Return?

 

The House voted today to move ahead with a formal impeachment inquiry. In my mind, that means they will have to impeach the president. The vote was on party lines with only two Democrats voting against. It is partisan, it may lack any actual crimes, but it is happening.

Here is the thing: if they do this and then do not impeach, then it will be as if they cleared the president of any wrongdoing. We are coming up on an election year, so I do not believe Democrats will do that. This is no longer about Russia, Ukraine, collusion, or any other issue. This is about politics, period. With or without cause I think we passed the point of no return.

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RealClear Investigations Suggests ‘Whistleblower’ Likely 33-Year-Old CIA Analyst Eric Ciaramella It said Ciaramella is 33-years-old, a registered Democrat who began working at the White House during the Obama administration and previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan. Preview Open

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In hindsight, we now know that the so-called whistle-blower claim was the predicate for a secret hearing and that the whistle-blower law was indeed used, though falsely, to shield this so-called whistle-blower from identification to say nothing of cross-examination, legal responsibility and confrontation. And now we know that the claim itself was second or third […]

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How We Fire-Beleagured Californians See Things Right Now

 

The Marvel cartoon sums up our feelings nicely. Several weekends ago, a friend’s property was caught in the wake of this mad man in Lake County, CA. The mad man not only attempted to burn down his residence, but then let his fire spread out over 30 acres across the highway from his place.

I raced over to my friend’s place, to find California’s finest already there. Not only fire truck operators and guys in tractors creating fire breaks, but pilots for the helicopters and air tankers. For several hours my girlfriend, her sister, father, and I stood entranced beneath the aircraft.

A Really Great Halloween Party

 

Way back in the 1980s, I played in a string quartet with some other amateur ladies. We played strictly for fun, and we did have a lot of it. One year, we decided to have a Halloween costume party for our many musician friends. We asked all of our friends to base their costumes on something musical, and that could be anything at all with a musical theme. We made cookies with music-note cookie-cutters, and someone brought a cake with a very clever frosting in music-staff and notes.

But the best part of that party was the costumes people dreamed up. Starting with myself, and my first husband, who was a mechanical engineer… He always liked to say that I played the violin and he played the stereo. He bought some foam-core board and made himself a very elaborate boom-box costume. He painted on all the controls, front, back and sides, including all the legends (labels) and the battery compartment. I had the bright idea of going as a clarinet. We bought some black poster-board and silver paint. We cut out the front and back, and he painted on all the silver keys. Then, he made me a headdress that was the mouthpiece, with very realistic reeds on the front. I wore the costume like a sandwich-board, with shoulder-straps connecting the front and back of the clarinet. My one mistake was forgetting to put a hinge somewhere in the front panel so I could sit down! By the end of that party, I had very sore feet!

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I received a survey from USAA (not picking on them, I have been with them for over half a century and recommend them) and one of the three answers to a question was like “married or living together.” Shortly thereafter I was looking on a certain not to be named social website and up pops […]

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