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It’s Party Time!  Where? The UK? The White House? In Miami for Super Bowl 2020?  Maybe…..but not to be outdone,  the biggest crowd in their 134 year history turned out for another celebration in Punxsutawney, PA, as a light snow fell, and guess what the outcome was?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgQngZ4aIxw Preview Open

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I once started a Judith Rossner novel. I also once started a Danielle Steel novel. I recently started a nonfiction work by one Laura Thompson, titled The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters. It too I will fail to complete, though I will again read quite a bit of it before I quit. Chick […]

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Party in the UK: Happy Brexit Day

 

I wrote this less than 10 hours before the UK officially left the EU. Hooray! For most Americans, who have seen the political and social havoc that Brexit has wrought from a distance and at intervals, I’m sure this seems like the inevitable, albeit, long conclusion to a rocky process. But living on the ground, even compared to the experiences of the most well-informed non-Brits, is an entirely different experience.

In lectures, tutorials, and railway stopping protests, Brexit has been continually hashed out over the last two years. Every time a cabinet minister or prominent MP comes to visit our uni Tory Society, he or she is bombarded with Brexit related questions, to almost the exclusion of domestic policy. Bringing high school friends to Parliament last summer came with a man wearing a Boris mask and a Union Jack leotard shouting about the French, and a troop of be-started pro-EU protests singing about trade policy. We’ve watched two prime ministers be felled, hosted contentious debates from the highest placed on both sides at Union, and seen the pound flail in value. In short, it has been an exhausting and deeply divisive two years.

And now I’m left to wonder about the direction that the UK will take once it is free from the EU’s grasp in a few hours. At 11 pm, Boris Johnson will speak, no bells will toll and then … I don’t think that the UK will fall in the brave new post-European world that it has created for itself. It was dragged kicking and screaming into the ever-increasing treaties and blocs that formed the EU over decades, and its dictates did much to offend traditional British political and social mores. There will be trade deals and immigration upset on the horizon to be sure, and negotiating the precise nature of Britain’s relationship will be a challenge, but life will go on here. The bigger curiosity is to see how the UK responds as it turns inwards politically and farther outwards in commerce and alliances.

Let America Be America Again

 

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

— Langston Hughes, excerpt from “Let America Be America Again,” written in 1925

Impeachapelosi: The Speaker’s Horrible Impeachment Strategy

 

The error of the House was not beginning with the end in mind.

Back in the “I’m just a bill” days of Schoolhouse Rock, I was a Boy Scout getting my first merit badge-fueled deep dive into the US Constitution. It wasn’t difficult to note those moments when the Senate (and sometimes the House) had to forge supermajorities: ratifying a treaty, overriding a veto, initiating an amendment to the Constitution.

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Does anywhere else besides N.C. have “Sanctuary Sheriffs”? The one I hear about on a radio campaign ad (opposing his independent streak) is claimed to have released a man who attacked 2 people…then after release, went on to kill a 19 year old girl, but there are few details. This story tells of another one: […]

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Coronavirus Update

 

President Trump’s team has come out with an initial briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, offering facts, cautions, and pushing back against panic. Johns Hopkins University has an excellent data visualization tool, constantly updating data on maps: “2019-nC0V Global Cases (by Johns Hopkins CSSE). CNET has a fact-based story, with lots of links, that is being regularly updated; it is now titled: “Coronavirus cases pass 11,000, US declares emergency: Everything we know.”

This was a display of competent communication to the American public, treated as adults. Dr. Redfield gave the numbers. Dr. Fauci then explained the question posed by people on Ricochet, including me: why is this different from the well-known annual deaths from the seasonal flu?* With the numbers and the differentiation in place, the briefers laid out a series of screening and quarantine steps that will go into full effect Sunday. Anyone who has been in the province where the outbreak started will be quarantined for 14 days, while those coming from other areas with known infections would be screened and then go into “self-quarantine.” They were also careful to speak of sympathy and compassion for the Chinese people who have been affected, directly or with family losses.

Here is the video and the whole transcript, of the press briefing, followed by the text of the presidential proclamation. Both the transcript and the proclamation are posted on the White House website.

Brexit Parties and the Rainbow White House

 

Yesterday, the United Kingdom formally left the European Union. Good for them, and congratulations to our cousins across the pond! I have looked forward to this day for years, and I’m happy for them.

There’s been discussion and debate about how pro-Brexit Brits should celebrate this event — or even if they should celebrate at all. Many among the significant fraction of the population that opposed the exit — the “remainers” — reportedly take umbrage at the seeming insensitivity of the happy revelers.

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

 

If I were marooned on a desert island and could only have one book, it would be Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I first read this book in a Boeing 747, in 1984, on my way to Britain for a three-week vacation with my then-husband. I remember reading a passage, I don’t remember which, that made me cry it was so beautiful.

After Ray and I got married, for a while we went to bed at the same time, and he would read me a chapter before turning out the light. Sometimes I would fall asleep while listening to him read, but I could hear that he liked the book as much as I did (he had not read it before). In 2005, he gave me a hardback first edition of the book, and it lives on my bedside table, always waiting for me to open it to just about any page, and resume the braided stories of Athansor, the white horse, and all the people’s lives he touches.

Thank You for Your Service, Gen. Flynn

 

Here, in a few words–his own, from the sworn affidavit he filed with his Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea on Wednesday — is a sketch of the outstanding man the gang of hoodlums of the Weissmann investigation tried to utterly destroy for three horrible years:

I served over thirty-three years in the United States Army. Five of those years I spent deployed in active combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the world in support of United States foreign policy objectives. (Para. 2, Declaration)

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I still enjoy reading Jonah Goldberg and David French but when they chastise people for saying Bill Kristol is no longer conservative… And then Bill tweets, “We are all Democrats now”… Do you have to shoot Neil Gorsuch on 5th Avenue to no longer be considered conservative? Preview Open

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Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

The UK Is Free

 

An hour ago in Ireland, Britain left the European Union. It returns to being an independent, self-governing nation. Best wishes to them. May God grant Ireland someday a peaceful exit from the European Union. The above is the theme of victory.