Ricochet Silent Radio, Part 2: Lord Protector of the United States

 

Turn down the lights! It’s time for another Ricochet Silent Radio adventure in our ongoing series…Tales From the PIT!

You’ve tuned into 1954’s boldest radio sensation. Rocket with Ricochet into the infinite horizons of the far-off world of the future. At the beginning of the 21st century, one man will uphold justice…by breaking the law! Last night, our story began in the distant year of 1997, with the turbulent saga of John Mantle, a young spaceman whose improvised, desperate defense of the space station against a trio of orbiting pirates returns him to Earth as a hero. Hard times and the challenge of a new national data bank call him back to Federal service, but the covert opportunity to mete out his own justice to the men who paid for the pirate raid can’t be resisted for long.

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Immigration and the Census

 

Judge Jesse Furman of the District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a 277-page opinion last week in the watershed case of The State of New York v. United States Department of Commerce. At issue was the lawfulness of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s order to include a question in the 2020 census that asks all individuals whether or not they are citizens of the United States. That order was vehemently resisted by the Census Bureau and was promptly challenged in court by New York State, which assembled a coalition that included 17 other blue states, numerous cities and towns, and private organizations whose funding allocations depend on an accurate census count. They claimed that including the citizenship question on the census would reduce the size of the total population count as illegal aliens would decline to participate in the census, lest they be put in legal jeopardy. They further insisted that none of the customary follow-up procedures could remedy that structural undercount.

Judge Furman ruled against the Department of Commerce on a standard array of administrative law grounds. He found that the various plaintiffs had standing to challenge the order; that the Department offered pretextual grounds for the decision; and that its decision was not in accordance with law, because it both ignored specific mandates in the Census Act of 1976 and that its lack of factual foundation rendered it arbitrary and capricious. Furman denied, however, all constitutional challenges to the ruling, by finding that the Department did not engage in any form of invidious discrimination against immigrants and hispanics.

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A Tribute to Earl

 

What does it mean to be a man? It occurred to me this morning that my friend Earl is the epitome of what we want in a man, what we should expect from a man, and I’m proud and honored that he is my friend.

I’ve written about Earl before on Ricochet. He is a tall, lean black man, a Progressive and one of the kindest and most self-reflective persons I know. He is also 86 years old, declining from a multitude of health conditions including early Alzheimer’s. He loves to discuss ideas and ask deep questions; I would often ask him what he thought the answers were to his questions, because I knew at some level he had his own heartfelt, often profound answers.

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GOP: Losing Race by not Entering

 

On Monday, Arizona Republicans showed casual contempt and a dismissive attitude towards racial equality, and the public in Mesa, AZ saw it. The East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Festival is a public-private partnership, with the City of Mesa officially involved in organizing and sponsoring the event. I will post photographs later, illustrating the parade as I did for Veterans’ Day, but what I saw, and did not see, prompts me to write before the day is gone.

What follows is a first-hand report of the parade: organization, the crowd, parade entrants, and the festival following the parade.

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Ricochet Silent Radio, Part 1: Lord Protector of the United States

 

Turn down the lights! It’s time for another Ricochet Silent Radio adventure in our ongoing series…Tales From the PIT!

Yes, you’ve tuned into 1954’s boldest new radio sensation. Rocket with Ricochet into the infinite horizons of the far-off world of the future. At the beginning of the 21st century, one man will uphold justice…by breaking the law! Incredible…but possible! Is this a Buck Rogers fantasy, or could it be a deadly accurate prediction of America’s tomorrow? Ricochet’s imaginary network of classic radio brings you a daring glimpse into what just might be–(Theme music climax)–Tomorrow’s world!

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Change (Probably) Isn’t Good

 

I think a lot about the nature of conservatism and what is variously called leftism, progressivism, or liberalism, but which I like to call radicalism. I think of the political spectrum as having, as its most important axis, a continuum that runs from conservatism to radicalism — from, on the conservative side, an affinity for tradition and reluctance to accept change, to, on the radical side, a casual disregard for tradition and a comfort with change.

I don’t believe that either side has a lock on intelligence, morality, or virtue. I think people of both conservative and radical dispositions are necessary. I think most of us lean one way or the other innately, rather than as a result of education or circumstance — and that most of us lean toward the conservative side, for fairly obvious reasons of evolutionary selection and survival.

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How to Build a Computer 25: The Magnetoresistive Effect

 

Our story starts with Lord Kelvin, one of the great old school physicists. You can read about his career from John Walker’s old Saturday Night Science. Actually, at the point he enters this story I don’t think Kelvin had made lord yet; he was just some bloke named Thompson. This Thompson fellow was playing around with magnets and electricity and that sort of thing. What he discovered is that you can change the resistance of a wire with a magnetic field. And furthermore that that change in resistance depends on the angle between the wire and the magnetic field.

Let’s take that a little more slowly. Change in resistance when you’re in a magnetic field? Okay, I can buy that; there’s all this nonsense about wires and magnets and whatnot that I’ve been blathering about up until this point. Angle? The resistance in your wire will vary a great deal whether it’s parallel or antiparallel to the magnetic field on your disk. (Antiparallel means parallel, but facing the other direction. The northbound lane on a highway is antiparallel to the southbound lane.) If your wire is running current right-to-left and your magnetic field is pointed left-to-right then your wire’s resistance is at it’s highest because of your antiparallel configuration.

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Is America Worrying Too Much About China’s Rise?

 

Recall the 2010 “Chinese Professor” television commercial from Citizens Against Government Waste. It depicted a futuristic Beijing classroom where students hear a triumphalist lecture on American decline. Despite (or maybe because of) its questionable economic substance, the ad really struck a nerve. (It currently has some 3 million YouTube views).

At the time, writer James Fallows called it the “first spot from this campaign season you can imagine people actually remembering a decade from now.” And I think he was right about that, probably because “Chinese Professor” tapped into both pre-Trumpian concerns America was no longer great and that fast-growing China was ready to surpass the United States as global hegemon just at the US surpassed Great Britain. Indeed, that angst probably gave added resonance to President Trump’s MAGA message, one that when he delivered it in the 1980s focused on Japan as the rising Asian threat.

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Dear President Trump, Senate Leader McConnell, and Speaker Pelosi

 

There is a silent epidemic impacting our bravest and finest citizens, their families and friends; Those who served in the United States Military are more likely to die from suicide than on the battlefield.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, each day there are around 20 veterans who commit suicide. What’s more, they report that veterans’ suicides account for 18 percent of the suicide deaths in the country, while they only make up 8.5 percent of the adult population. Even more disturbing is how many US soldiers who attempt suicide often have no history of mental health issues.

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Quote of the Day: “The Difference Between a Click and a Bang…

 

… is Logistics!” — Anonymous, found on an Army coffee mug; see also Major General (Retired) Vincent Boles

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.” Tom Peters, Rule #3: “Leadership Is Confusing As Hell,” Fast Company, March 2001

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Nancy’s Note

 

View original artwork here.

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Toward a Deeper Civility

 

From a President who often seems mean-spirited and petty, to angry mobs threatening their opponents with bodily harm, to smugly superior journalists and entertainers preaching their bottomless contempt to a Pavlovian audience of unthinking conformists, the observation that much of our national conversation is mired in incivility and vulgarity seems undeniable.

Whether or not this is new is debatable. Heated political exchanges are nothing new; yellow journalism and intemperate pundits are not a 21st-century phenomenon, nor even a 20th. What seems likely is that the scope of incivility has increased, upward to the President and Congress, downward to every citizen with a microphone or Twitter account. Partly this is the product of greater participation: when everyone has a voice, a lot of people with nothing useful to say will nonetheless say it loudly.

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It’s Scold Season

 

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” — C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

The recent ad by the Gillette razor company telling us men to be more like what the people at Gillette think we should be has certainly sparked debate. However, what’s missing from that advertisement (and most of the conversation it has created) is any information or guidance as to how men can learn to act like the honorable, forthright, compassionate, and brave leaders we should be (and occasionally are).

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Democrat Caravan

 

View original artwork here.

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Writer’s Block or Making Excuses

 

I don’t have writer’s block—at least not in the conventional sense. Once I pick a topic, the words seem to flow —with some careful editing. And I love to write on Ricochet. But I just feel like I don’t have much to say anymore. We have so many skilled writers on Ricochet, and they often seem to know precisely what to write on.

There are those who write on the politics of the day: what comment by Trump has enraged the media; where is the latest issue where the Republicans have stepped in it; are we hopeless to have any effect against the Progressive movement?

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President Trump: The Adult in the Room

 

Speaker Pelosi and her coterie stewed in their foiled plans to flee the country and gather anti-Trump anecdotes from far-flung Swamp patches — leftists burrowed into career State and Defense staffs. Meanwhile, President Trump stood before a portrait of President Washington, faced the American people, and delivered a reasonable legislative proposal in measured tones.

The president offered a three-year extension to 700,000 DACA recipients and to 300,000 persons in another category, who claim they need protection from a situation in their home country. He repeated his demand for $5.7 billion to erect an additional 230 miles steel slat barriers this year. In addition, he called for 2,750 new border agents and 75 additional immigration judges, while highlighting the shocking number of pending cases, now nearly 900,000. Trump pledged to hold a weekly meeting following passage of this legislation to reach a complete reform of our immigration system.

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Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

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Trump-Era FBI Investigation

 

View original artwork here.

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