Quote of the Day: Bequeathing a Spirit of Reverence

 

Those of you who can legitimize the quote mentioned in the title (which is supposed to come from Plato’s Meno), please have at it.  I can’t authenticate it.  However, the spirit of “bequeathment” is entirely appropriate for what I’m about to say, so I’m going with it.

“Pity. Pity he never had any children.”

And at that, Chips opened his eyes as wide as he could and sought to attract their attention. It was hard for him to speak out loud, but he managed to murmur something, and they all looked round and came nearer to him.

Trump v. Big Tech

 

Former president Donald J. Trump has bullied his way back into the public eye with his recent broadside against Twitter, Facebook, and Google (YouTube). The target of his lawsuit is their systematic and allegedly unconstitutional censorship of political speech, including, of course, his own. His critics predict that the lawsuit will suffer an early and ignominious death. “ ‘As stupid as you’d think’: Trump’s social media lawsuit looks like a mess,” blared Vanity Fair. Tech journalist Kara Swisher, writing in the New York Times, dismissed Trump as a First Amendment dummy who fails to understand that the amendment applies only to “Congress, not Facebook. Congress, not Twitter. Congress, not YouTube.” Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick indignantly proclaimed that privately controlled companies are, in Vanity Fair’s paraphrase, “not beholden to the same speech laws that public platforms are”—and fully expects that Trump’s lawyers will face legal sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit that is, he argues, a thinly disguised fundraising effort by the former president. While noted First Amendment expert and dean of Berkeley Law School Erwin Chemerinsky allowed that many cases fall into “a gray area,” he insisted that this lawsuit against private parties does not.

That is, until you read the actual complaint, which shows that Trump’s lawyers are aware of these objections. It is indeed a gray-area question as to whether they have pleaded enough facts to overcome the bedrock principle that the First Amendment does not apply to private action. It turns out that matters are more complicated than his critics acknowledge.

For example, the Trump complaint alleged that Twitter acted “in concert” with the CDC and prominent officials of the incoming Biden administration when it decided to impose a lifetime ban on Trump’s Twitter account on the grounds that his actions on January 6, 2021, amounted to an incitement to violence that remains present after the Senate certified the election of Joe Biden.

QOTD: On CRT

 

“Critical Race Theory is liable to end for reasons very similar to the reasons the Salem witch trials ended.” – Gamaliel Isaac

You can read his entire column here.

Summer in the Midwest

 

We moved to the Midwest when I was 16 and was … underwhelmed. (Something about moving halfway through high school to southern Ohio where the sun never seemed to come out and it was always damp.)

But I’ve appreciated it more as I’ve grown older. This summer has been a particularly pretty one, as I hope my pictures will attest. Enjoy!

A Boarding School Education Part II: The Room at the Top of the Stairs

 

With my suitcase of home-sewn dresses, summer clothes from the market, and the precious store-bought red and white checked skirt I was saving for the first day of school, I climbed on the night bus for Bangkok.  I would proceed north from the humid capital to Chiang Mai, where I was to start my first term at boarding school.  It was fall 1982, and I was eight years old. I wasn’t alone–my older brother was coming with me. I imagine my parents and younger siblings came along, too, at least as far as Bangkok.

In Chiang Mai, we entered a soi, or side street, and turned down a driveway of an expansive property with a two-story building to one side. The house was white on the first floor, with dark wood on the second.  My brother and I were part of the first cohort of dorm kids to live here, which included several other sibling pairs along with the German dorm parents and their four children.  The first floor was mostly one open room, with a cool concrete floor, long kitchen, dining tables, living area with straw rugs, and red-patterned curtains. I heard stories from Papi, the dorm dad, about how the first iteration of the building had been so sloppy that they’d had it torn down and rebuilt. The yard was still a mess, he said, and needed lots more work.

I’m Flying Over Tucson And I Can See Downtown LA

 

See the source image

The Lockheed SR-71, one of Lockheed’s greatest achievements,  no longer flies and has found a home in air museums instead.

The F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 Lightning, The F-117 Stealth Fighter, although it is more of a bomber, when written about are not usually prefaced with the Lockheed name. When the SR-71 is written about it more often than not it is prefaced with “Lockheed”.

Group Writing: Fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way

 

Do you remember the days when we had heroes like Superman, who were strong, powerful, unique, and inspiring? I didn’t read comic books, but I fell in love with Superman/Clark Kent from the first TV show, Adventures of Superman. The dates of the show are in dispute, but the dates 1952-1958 are generally accepted. And since I only remember the black and white shows, I may very well have seen re-runs.

TV and Movies vs. Reality

 

I often watch videos from a site called “Fire Department Chronicles.” The host is a firefighter/paramedic and some of his funniest videos are picking apart TV show scenes. “911 Lone Star” seems to bear the brunt of many of his videos, but after watching them he is definitely not unfair. What fascinates me is that they must have technical advisers but don’t appear to listen to them.

Honestly, EMS and firefighting are often dramatic enough without making stuff up. In general, I find the abandonment of any attempt to be technically authentic very strange.

Quote of the Day: Friendship and Stories

 

“Those who cannot conceive of friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a friend.” – C.S. Lewis

Contemporary media and culture does not seem to understand friendship, which is a tragedy beyond measure.  A true friend is worth more than refined platinum.   There was the friend who picked me up in another state, the friend who prayed with me after I snapped and lost control of myself, the friend who asked me to be his best man, the friend I talked down from the brink of suicide, the friend I trained and hired for my job, the friend who taught me how to shoot, the friend who I introduced to his future wife.   All of these are men I care about and respect – my bros.   There are also close friends I have that are ladies whom I am not romantically involved with at all.  These are co-workers and old college friends, one of whom is like an adopted younger sister.  The idea that having a close friend actually means a desire to screw them is utterly disgusting to me, but society seems to aim that way.

The Truth About Fact-Checking Truth and Fiction

 

sorting fact fictionNoodling around the internet, searching on “truth or fiction,” I pulled out truthorfiction.com and mediabiasfactcheck.com. Opening up mediabiasfactcheck.com and reading their “about” page prompted this post. Take as true that a very small organization is dedicated to accurately sorting media sources on the independent left—right and “conspiracy-pseudoscience”—”pro-science” axes. The viewpoint of the team or the team members comprising the organization may not blind, but will at least distort their judgment. If not a blind spot, they will certainly have a cognitive astigmatism. “Fact-checking” political and other value-laden stories was dominated, almost from the beginning, by leftists, who understood the value of controlling information and public perception.

Consider this paragraph from mediabiasfactcheck.com:

The credibility of a website/media source is not determined by who owns them but rather by their track record. Everybody starts as a beginner and, through experience, becomes an authority in their field. MBFC [Media Bias Fact Check] is no different. Over the last 5+ years, we have proven to be a trusted authority on the rating of bias and the credibility of media sources. For example, MBFC is trusted by major media outlets and IFCN fact-checkers. This is evidenced by frequently being referenced by sources such as USA TodayReuters Fact CheckScience FeedbackWashington Post, and NPR, among dozens of others. We are also frequently used as a resource in libraries, high schools, and universities across the United States.

Dillon Clark, aka Professor Clark, joins Carol Roth to talk about his runaway hit children’s book (also for adults), Stonks on the Moon, based on the retail investor community know as “the Ape Army” or “Apes”. We talk about the David vs. Goliath focus of retail investors vs. Wall Street and how community is a critical foundation for these investors.

Plus, a “Now You Know” on Dr. Seuss.

Quote of the Day: Reinhold Niebuhr on Marxism

 

Reinhold niebuhr.jpgThe insights into human nature which Marxism has fortunately added to modern culture belong to the forgotten insights of prophetic religion. They must be reappropriated with gratitude for their rediscovery. But since prophetic religion must deal with the total human situation it cannot accept them merely as weapons in one particular social conflict. To do so would mean to make them the basis of new spiritual pretensions. The pathos of Marxian spirituality is that it sees the qualified and determined character of all types of spirituality except its own. Thus the recognition of human finitenness becomes the basis of a new type of pretention that finitenness has been transcended.

From An Interpretation of Christian Ethics. Click here to see the quote in the book itself.  I’m trying to get some working competence with the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr (not to be confused with his brother Richard Niebuhr) because I’m teaching this course again next year.

I have a long way to go.  And, arguably, I’m not even in the right book!  This is just some early Niebuhr that he later critiqued himself!  (Speaking of Niebuhr, I also recently noticed that I’d been spelling it incorrectly–NiebHur instead of NiebuHr.)

What Do You Mean We Have To Sink The Bismarck Again?

 

My Mom and Dad met when they were reporters for the El Paso Times.  After they married, my father became a correspondent* for the Associated Press in New Mexico.  My mother worked as a police reporter, stringer, and photographer until my father became AP bureau chief.

She still reads two physical newspapers every day.  During a visit last week, she handed me this clipping, asking “How did that happen?”

A Historian’s Search for Truth

 

My new book hits the bookstores today: The Vanished Texas Coast. (You can get it at Amazon or Arcadia Publishing if you cannot find it in your local bookstore.) It is a collection of short essays about incidents in Texas maritime history, linked by the theme that they are all largely forgotten.

But they are all linked in a different way. They all represent a historian’s search for truth.

‘Freedom’ is an anti-government slogan

 

Across Cuba, people are protesting in the streets, in an effort to escape the yoke of socialist oppression that has suffocated the Cuban people for 60 years.  American Republicans view Cuba’s socialist government as inhumane and dangerous.  So did Democrats, until recently (see, for example, JFK).  But more recently, American socialists, news media, and other Democrats have taken a more nuanced view of the Cuban government, repeatedly pointing out its universal health care, or admirable literacy programs.  For some reason that escapes American Democrats, the people that actually live in Cuba tend to take a less nuanced view, and they want to destroy their government.

The protests got so big and so widespread so quickly that even the Cuban government’s cheerleaders in the American media were forced to mention the story.  Powerline has a typically outstanding summary of the situation.  Their post included the following passage from a New York Times story, which caught my eye:

Shouting “Freedom” and other anti-government slogans, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets in cities around the country on Sunday to protest food and medicine shortages, in a remarkable eruption of discontent not seen in nearly 30 years.

Incentives Matter: Getting Women and Men to Talk

 

Thomas Sowell famously points out that if you want to change the outcomes, you merely have to change the incentives.

I find it fascinating that the Torah takes this very same approach. Genesis tells us of many bad outcomes. We see that the Torah itself engages in changing incentives in order to avoid repeating the past.

Print the Legend

 

My movie-obsessed daughter recently went on a Western kick. It does the heart good that a 25 year old gal, uprooted from solid Appalachian soil and replanted in the urban wilds of Brooklyn, finds a fascination with authentic American cinema. Hannah has that innate ability to see beyond the entertainment purposes of film, to the underlying messages and themes the director intends.

So great westerns were a natural fit. Big vistas and big ideas. Americans literally forging out a civilization from the wilderness – struggling with ideas of justice and duty. Westerns provided a perfect backdrop to write these truths across the wide open sky.  Men entering their houses justified.  We could use more of that sentiment today.

Is the cultural revolution over?

 

If politics is downstream of culture, we are told we have to work to change the culture before we can win politically. Are we too late?

Ed West in an article titled “The West’s Cultural Revolution is Over” on the British site unherd.com says we are indeed too late. He begins with an anecdote of a soccer star in England who wrote in defense of the English players who took the BLM knee.  I know nothing of the player, but West uses him as a surprise candidate for BLM actions, stating that he exhibits all the presumed conservative virtues in his life. Then he gets down to the more general point:

Disappointing results on the pitch Sunday night as England fell to Italy on penalty kicks. Among the faithful in attendance was one Toby Young who was hangin’ with the WAGS. We get a firsthand report from Wembley.

And then we, uh… tackle the “Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey” at the Redbridge Library. (Well, those are words we never expected to type…) and the PM says we’re definitely on our way out of lockdown on the 19th. Toby wonders if, when it comes to the vaccine, does James have his price?

Being Welcomed to a Movie

 

For some, movie watching is an isolated event, especially watching a movie on television. But there is a long tradition of hosts who keep home viewers company along with Bogart and Bacall and Don Knotts.

The first TV host I remember watching as a kid in the San Francisco Bay Area was Pat McCormick hosting KTVU’s Dialing for Dollars. When I was home sick (or faking sick), Pat was a much better option than the afternoon soap operas. Old films were interrupted by commercials and McCormick phoning random people from the phone book asking if they knew the amount of money being given away (starting with $100 and going up into the thousands if no one answering their phones gave the correct amount).

I don’t really remember the movies I watched, but I remember McCormick because he also hosted kids’ shows in the afternoon: Captain Cosmic and the puppet show Charlie and Humprey.

Happy Baptism!

 

Do you know the day you were baptized? I don’t know mine. There’s a record somewhere, neglected. 

We all know our birthdays. We celebrate them. But why? Those are not the days we began. Those are not the days we were chosen, given to God, set apart, made alive in Christ.