Minneapolis Parks kick out the State Patrol

 

Minneapolis is known for its beautiful and extensive park system. One would think that the people fortunate enough to serve on the board that oversees this urban garden would concentrate on maintenance, expansion, outreach, and other obvious necessities. But the poison is in the groundwater now.

A divided Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed an emergency resolution to kick the State Patrol out of parks headquarters, where troopers would take breaks and eat lunch.

Covid Debacle Should Spur Education Reform

 

The Arizona legislature failed this year to pass a bill that would have required third-grade students to be held back if they failed to learn to read adequately. The unsuccessful bill uncovered some unhappy truths about the state of education.

Third grade is recognized as a critical progression point for reading proficiency. Students through third grade are taught to read, after which they are expected to read to learn. Those unable to do so suffer a lifelong handicap in today’s knowledge economy with enormous economic and social consequences.

In 2019, 60 percent of Arizona’s third-graders failed to meet our own reading standards. Unfortunately, nothing really new here.

Present on Purpose

 

We live in an older neighborhood. That was on purpose. My husband and I wanted a bigger backyard than most newer neighborhoods in our city provide. There were other reasons too: cost, location, and no HOA to name a few. Chickens were a priority. So was being able to do with our yard whatever we pleased, without permission from another. 

But that meant we had to buy in a not-so-fantastic part of town and we were entirely okay with that.

My husband was recently talking to one of our neighbors. He’s an older man, someone who has lived on this street for a very long time. He wanted my husband to know how much he appreciates our family living here. My children are always outside, running up and down the street to their friends’ houses, riding their bikes, laughing loudly and playing, and this neighbor said that having them outside playing all of the time is such a joy. He relayed that the entire atmosphere and mood of our street and our little piece of this town has changed significantly since we moved in.

All True Wealth

 

Despite the synergine the Count’s eyes were going shocked and vague. He pawed at the little plastic oxygen mask, batted away the medic’s worried attempt to control his hands, and motioned urgently to Mark. He so clearly wanted to say something, it was less traumatic to let him than to try and stop him. Mark slid onto his knees by the Count’s head.

The Count whispered to Mark in a tone of earnest confidence, “All . . . true wealth . . . is biological.”

Equality Act Takes the Road to Coercion

 

One centerpiece of the Biden administration’s legislative agenda is HR 5, the Equality Act of 2021. Its central move is to expand the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That expanded definition of sex discrimination is coupled with a broader definition of public accommodations that includes “places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.” The legislation, moreover, allows the Department of Justice to intervene in cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to add its clout to private claimants.

Proponents of girls and women’s sports and religious liberty have issued powerful objections to this expanded definition of sex discrimination. The Act would permit biological males who self-identify as female to participate in girls and women’s sports. Critics, pointing to the dominance of transgender girls in state track and field meets in Connecticut, insist this move comes at the expense of biological girls and women who are unable to compete successfully for medals and scholarships against their biologically bigger and stronger competitors.

In addition, the act contains no explicit exemption for religious organizations that accept the traditional biological definitions of sex in running their own institutions, including single-sex educational and recreational programs. And the act could exclude these programs from receiving federal support for school lunch programs. Indeed, those religious organizations could no longer rely on the strict-scrutiny standard of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, but instead would be subject to the more forgiving standard articulated in Employment Division v. Smith (1990). This means that any facially neutral law will bind religious organizations even if they suffer far more serious harms from the prohibition, which in Smith took the form of criminalizing Smith for using peyote for sacramental purposes at a bona fide ceremony of his Native American Church.

Quote of the Day: The Texas Declaration of Independence

 

Today is San Jacinto Day, the day Texas won its independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. Seven weeks earlier at Washington on Brazos, Texas had declared its independence. At San Jacinto, they secured it.

The battle involved only around 2000 participants – roughly the total attendance of two Five-A high schools with their faculties. The age distribution of the combatants was likely only a few years older. Most of the common soldiers were in their late teens or very early twenties. Yet the result of the battle changed North American history decisively, opening the path for the United States to spread to the Pacific coast along the section that fell outside the Louisiana Purchase.

Ashli Babbitt and Broken Windows

 

Ashli Babbitt is, as far as we know, the only person to die as a direct consequence of a deliberate act of violence during the riot of January 6 in Washington D.C. She’s the young woman who was shot by an unnamed Capitol employee while climbing through a window in the Capitol Building.

Ms. Babbitt was able to climb through a window because the window had been broken by rioters. Rioters broke the window in plain view of armed Capitol Police, who made no visible effort to stop them. (This can be observed in the short video made in the minutes leading up to and culminating in the shooting.)

Drowning in Irony

 

One thing you can count on: the Left has no interest in being consistent, truthful or rational. They are perfectly comfortable contradicting themselves or misrepresenting the facts, because, after all, it’s for the greater good. So far no one has told me what the “greater good” actually is, or what’s good about it, but I digress.

Lately, the number of confusing and contradictory statements that have come from the Administration has been startling. I decided to list some of them, and you may find them both alarming and amusing. Some go back a couple of years. I will do my best to represent the understanding of the Left—although “understanding” might be an overstatement. For your aggravation and pleasure:

Safety in a Time of COVID

 

I would like to offer a life-saving safety tip, particularly to you young people, during these challenging times.

You read the news, you know that danger is out there, and you know that none of us is immune. But there are things you can do to keep yourself safe. If I could offer you one important tip, taken directly from today’s headlines, it would be this:

Walter Mondale, Proudly Progressive Democrat, dies at 93

 

Walter Frederick “Fritz” MondaleVice President Mondale, former senator from Minnesota and vice president to Jimmy Carter, has died at the fine old age of 93. He was a proud progressive from Minnesota who got his start in politics at age 20 by successfully getting out the vote in a Republican majority district for Hubert Humphrey’s 1948 Senate run. Mondale, on graduating college, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951, but was not deployed to Korea. On completing his enlistment, Mondale used the G.I. Bill to attend law school, during which time he married Joan Adams, his one and only love for the rest of their lives together, until she died at age 83.

In 1976, Walter Mondale helped balance the Democrats’ presidential ticket with the nuclear engineer Navy officer and peanut farming Southern governor, Jimmy Carter. Mondale helped deliver Minnesota for the Democrats in 1980, 46.50% to Reagan’s 42.56% and Independent John Anderson’s 8.53%. He had no political reach beyond his home state, however, as the electoral college map shows:

electoral college map 1980

One Vote Republic: America in the Balance

 

In 2020, Senator Ted Cruz wrote One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History, and in 2021 we see the United States Supreme Court again making his case. On 9 April 2021, amidst the continuing media smoke screen of one crisis or another, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision holding at Americans who want or believe they need to physically assemble together in bible study will likely prevail against the Christian-hating communists running California. The razor thin majority made explicit that they were slapping down the 9th Circuit againThe left wing disagreed, regurgitating the lab-coat left’s long-rehearsed lies, and G.W. Bush’s man on the bench, John Roberts, Jr., sided with the left while taking the dodge of not adding his name to their rationale for standing our First Freedom on its head. Personnel is policy and this latest disgraceful episode again affirms the danger of letting RepubliCAN’Ts nominate justices without careful scrutiny across all areas of supposed conservative concern, from national security, to economic, to religious/ cultural conservativism. A read of the slim majority’s written opinion and a perusal of the current and retired living justices’ official biographies is instructive.

Personnel is policy, especially with Supreme Court justices:

The Left Wing:

The Bulwark

 

It’s funny how catalysts work.

In chemical terms, catalysts are things that accelerate reactions but that are not themselves consumed in those reactions. When you add oxygen to a fire, the rate of burning is increased — but the oxygen is consumed in the process: oxygen is not a catalyst. On the other hand, the platinum in the catalytic converter in your car is a catalyst: it catalyzes (facilitates) a chemical reaction that reduces toxic carbon monoxide and waste hydrocarbons, converting these substances into, largely, non-toxic carbon dioxide and water. (Platinum isn’t a perfect catalyst, in that it’s gradually changed in the process, but it does a good job nonetheless.)

We Can Do This

 

When I woke up on Shabbat, I was hesitant to open my eyes fully, dreading the malaise that had been dogging me for days. But I’d already slept in longer than I wanted, and so I pulled myself out of bed and stood up. And I felt, well—almost normal.

After two interminable weeks of feeling so poorly (yes, malaise is the right word but yucky describes it more fully for me), I was so relieved to feel a sense of my former self. It didn’t last long, and throughout the rest of the day, fatigue showed up now and then. Yet I could have breakfast, even a small cup of coffee (!), do my Torah study and reading, have a decent lunch—well it was a very special Sabbath, to say the least.

As I did my meditation that morning, the thought came to me: I can do this. I couldn’t imagine enduring the whole chemotherapy regimen. But I realized that I had probably survived the worst, and there was more “worse” to come. Yet among those days would be good days: days where some of my energy returned, some days when I laughed and cracked jokes, days where I took a walk and breathed in the sunshine, other days when I could truly appreciate G-d’s presence. My friends had tried to reassure me, but I had to know for myself.

O Canada

 

I’ve always had a fondness for Canada. Not the actual thing, but the idea of Canada I have in my head. Unspoiled forests, resolute Mounties, briny fishermen in hardscrabble towns where traditions go bedrock-deep,  magnificent architecture. It’s like a parallel version of the US:  select the top tier of the US states, do a copy-drag, reproduce it, and run a simulation to see how the cloned version would do if you moved the French sliders to the maximum settings,  and tweaked the national character settings vis-a-vis their powerful neighbor so they were always trying to balance pride and envy, contempt and admiration, resentment and gratitude. 

In the Canada of my old imagination, it has cosmopolitan cities with dreadful 70s cement architecture built by men with egregious sideburns, and I still like it. They built a whole nation up there, another iteration of Western Civ. Australia without the lethal fauna and convict history. It’s fun to think about a nation that fused the US and Canada, how it might have shaped our own culture. 

Rusty Young, RIP

 

The great pedal steel guitarist of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, Rusty Young, has died at 75. He always struck me as one of the nicest people in rock — and among the most loyal, too:  he stayed with Poco, through all of its incarnations, for 50 years. He is best known for three songs, the first being “Kind Woman” for the Buffalo Springfield (he was invited to one of the band’s recording sessions … and stayed).

When the Springfield broke up, he and his fellow band member (and lifelong friend) Richie Furay formed Poco and, in the footsteps of Gram Parsons, invented country rock. Poco was never a giant success, but it remains highly esteemed among aficionados. Young did contribute two of the band’s best songs — which are also among the most beautiful in the rock canon:

QoTD: Liberals Need to Defend Free Speech—says a Liberal. Should We Care?

 

The problem is that people will inevitably differ about which speech qualifies as racist. The term has become our own scarlet letter, an all-purpose way to prohibit ideas you dislike. So we need to defend the free-speech rights of everyone, even avowed racists. The best response to hateful speech is to raise your own voice against it, not ban it.

–Jonathan Zimmerman, in the WSJ

QotD – Morality

 

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike. – Oscar Wilde

This quote sums up the essence of Wokism. It is weaponized morality. Define everything as a moral absolute and use it as a club to beat those you dislike with. After all, if they are immoral, then you can dismiss them as not quite human.

April Showers Bring . . . Godzilla?

 

Godzilla 1954What could possibly go wrong here? Japanese scientists, with the approval of government officials, will dispose of radioactive waste water from the decommissioned nuclear power plants at Fukuyama by dumping it in the Pacific Ocean. This is not from the Babylon Bee, nor is it a belated April Fool’s story. It is a tale of our time, playing on our distrust of asserted expertise and asserted public interest. The power of the story also depends on a belief in zero risk options, indeed of magical cake that all may enjoy while continuing to have. Oh, and the story has deep international cultural significance.

I ran across the story through InfoWars, hosting a ZeroHedge column. So, trust but verify. Strait Times? Check. Business Insider? Check. The Sun? Check.

The cooling water that has been accumulating at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan will be released into the Pacific Ocean after it has been treated to remove all harmful radioactive substances, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet decided yesterday.

April Showers Bring . . . Woke Weatherproof Styles Ad

 

Amazon April front pageIt is perfectly natural for retailers to pitch products to the season or occasion. We should especially expect on-line retailers to pitch rain gear in April. So, the presence on Amazon’s homepage of two boxes, “Men’s weatherproof styles” and “Women’s rain-ready styles,” is unremarkable. We have also come to expect the leftist virtue signaling, in the form of the latest approved intersectional hashtag and special emphasis on Black Lives, showing that they Matter to Amazon. Yet, what are we to make of the visual presentation of how Amazon thinks a black man should look?

The top right image is a Amazon screen capture from the evening of 11 April 2021. There is a web page wide top banner advertisement that rotates. The advertisement you see is for an Amazon Prime original series, Them, with each season intended to tell a tale focused on African Americans, and apparently on white people as racists.

Them‘s first season is grounded in the historical reality of the second Great Migration (1940-1970). This was the second wave of the Great Migration (1910-1970). American blacks moved from rural areas to inner cities and from the old South to the North and West. Walter Mosley set his Easy Rawlins private eye series in Los Angeles, with the series starting in 1948. If you have not read any of the series, you likely at least recognize the Denzel Washington movie based on the first novel, Devil in a Blue DressSo, Los Angeles is a good setting for a series set in the 1950s, as well as convenient for the video/movie industry.

Uncommon Knowledge: Cold War II—Just How Dangerous Is China?

 

China is a nation with 1.3 billion people, an economy projected to become bigger than the United States’ in just a few years, and a rapidly growing military.  Hong Kong has already fallen under its authority. Meanwhile, Taiwan looms in the distance—with a population of almost 24 million, it’s a technology hub and the world’s leading manufacturer of microchips and other items essential to high tech. What are China’s ambitions toward Taiwan? And if they are ominous, what should the US response to Chinese aggression be? To answer these questions, we’re joined by two experts: former national security advisor (and current Hoover Institution senior fellow) H. R. McMaster and former US deputy national security advisor (and current Hoover distinguished visiting fellow) Matthew Pottinger. They also discuss the Biden administration’s recent diplomatic encounters with China, and which countries might be allies in a conflict with China—and which ones would not be.

Justice Thomas Concurs, Slams Big Tech

 

Justice Clarence ThomasJustice Clarence Thomas has, for a second time recently, rung the alarm bell about the tyranny of Big Tech. Instead of empty posturing, like every Senator and Congress-critter, Justice Thomas paints a road map for legal strategies and arguments to put the tyrants firmly under controls that restore our Constitution. Justice Thomas just needs the right case and three men and a woman of courage to join him.

Justice Thomas wrote his latest concurring opinion in the context of a case against President Trump, where a lawyer alleged President Trump violated the Constitution in blocking this individual from @realdonaldjtrump on Twitter. The case being brought against the president, the name of the case, when it was dismissed as moot by the U.S. Supreme Court in the first week of April 2021, had changed to BIDEN v. KNIGHT FIRST AMENDMENT INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIV. Justice Thomas points out that “public forum” law does not fit well with online platforms. He then outlines two other doctrines that have a long legal history of application to private businesses: “common-carrier law” and “public accommodation law.”

If part of the problem is private, concentrated control over online content and platforms available to the public, then part of the solution may be found in doctrines that limit the right of a private company to exclude. Historically, at least two legal doctrines limited a company’s right to exclude.

Wanted: More Safe Spaces

 

We need more safe spaces. No, not the sterile little cubbies that the snowflakes need to avoid being “triggered,” to avoid facing an unpleasant idea or a challenging thought; we have enough of those already. We call those spaces “universities,” and the country is littered with them. No, we need more places where normal Americans can hear and say what they believe without fear of being fired, of their children being ostracized, of their grades being ruined, and of their families being torn apart.

I’ve lived in a lot of America: Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque, Memphis, Sarasota, Cleveland, Austin, Tucson, rural Missouri, and rural New York. I’ve lived in urban high-rise apartments and on rolling farms, owned homes in lush Florida suburbs and dusty New Mexico river valleys. I’ve met a few people who think America is a racist hellhole full of injustice and oppression, but vastly more who go to church and go to work and make sense and raise their kids and maybe believe too much of what they see on the evening news. Americans aren’t by and large a “woke” people. We’re a gloriously apolitical bunch, a nation of sensible and pragmatic and decent citizens busy making ends meet in an often challenging economy.

It’s Not Jim Crow

 

The outrage from Democrats and Republicans (for different reasons) regarding the changes to Georgia’s voting laws is just plain pathetic. Although it’s tempting to ignore them, the arguments from both sides are misleading, incomplete, and dangerous. And more of these laws are being passed and proposed by other states to bring integrity and fairness to the voting laws.

The Federal government is doing everything in its power to wrest away the power to define elections that have been governed by the states, and Republicans have to stop making vague and general protests about the accusations, denying the incorrectness of the criticisms and, and state why the new laws will actually benefit all peoples, black, white, and other races.

We must overcome the hyperbolic language of the Left from dominating the conversation and educate the public. We also must acknowledge that we have allowed our schools to deprive our children of a legitimate education about the history of race, particularly in the areas of voting rights and elections; these are the people who will influence how we move forward into the elections of the future. I propose that we briefly review the origin of “Jim Crow Laws,” limit our discussion to their application to elections, and then identify how to enlighten the public about the efficacy and appropriateness of the election changes we anticipate.