My Spicy, Saucy Love Affair

 

Everyone has a preference for spicy food. Some love it spicy, some just want it mild. I wouldn’t say I preferred spicy food ever since I was a wee child, because really, I think I mostly ate spicy food because Dad enjoyed it, and like most young boys I wanted to be like my dad. Oddly enough the first spicy food I remember enjoying was the hot cinnamon salt water taffy. Like a mad scientist, I’d try the regular cinnamon and the hot cinnamon to test my own reactions to the delicious taffy. Sure enough, the hot cinnamon was spicy and I couldn’t eat another right away.

I also discovered Tabasco Sauce from my dad who used it generously on his breakfast eggs. Again, I’d try the same thing and again I discovered I could only eat a few bites at a time at first. Of course, as others have noted, one develops a tolerance for these things and soon Tabasco was a regular part of my breakfast meals with nary a second thought. From there I’d enjoy the hot salsas like my dad. I suppose I may have stopped there and been perfectly happy if it weren’t for the late nineties.

About that time is when I met a man who briefly moved to Oregon from New Mexico. He was a large and charismatic fellow who, being from Albuquerque, enjoyed his hot sauce. And he didn’t mean what Oregonians at the time thought was “hot.” That stuff was child’s play for him and he often would tell us this. Well, much as I liked to pretend I was not affected by such things, the truth was that I could be, and being told that my hot-sauce-fu was weak only made me wish to become stronger. Thus, began a five-year journey where I tried hotter and hotter sauces.

This was not always easy. Hot sauce was gaining in popularity at this time, however, in 1998 I moved to Minnesota. Suddenly hot sauce was rather difficult to find. For example, on my first visit to the grocery store, late-twenties me went to get chips and salsa because those were staple foods for that bachelor. Chips were easy enough to find. Salsa … well, I found not hot salsa. Just medium, mild, and … extra mild? What sorcery is this? Yes, in Minnesota, I found the strange concoction known as “extra mild salsa” and my confusion at such a things existence was only topped by the befuddlement of my acquaintance from New Mexico. “What do they do?” he queried, “take the flavor out?”

I did indeed find a hot sauce shop at the Mall of America. My friends thought I was overly fond of the mall. Me, I was just happy to find a location where I could get sauce hotter than “medium.” It was later that I discovered a buffalo wing chain and eagerly tried all the sauces there. I kept raising the envelope until I hit the hottest sauce they had on the menu. I recall enjoying wings, then suddenly having an odd sensation on my lips. I quickly realized my lips were going numb. It took a full fifteen minutes before I could properly feel them again.

I suspect there I realized two things: one, no matter how much hot sauce I ingest, there’s always something hotter and two, maybe I shouldn’t constantly be pushing the envelope, especially as I’d lost contact from my New Mexico acquaintance and there was no one to taunt my selection of spicy sauces. There was no longer anyone to impress. Being in Minnesota at the time, there were only people who boggled at my desire to remove all sensation from my lips.

I had found I’d reached my limit. Habaneros remained on the menu. Anything worse than that I generally avoided. It’s been a good plan and mostly avoids the day or two long Journey of Regret that comes after I’ve eaten a lot of spicy food. It helps that, after getting married, I’m less likely to have a dinner of chips and habanero salsa. I’ve still a taste for the spicy, I suspect aided and abetted by allergies which leave me with little sense of smell. I suspect because of this I tend towards very strong flavors as well as certain food textures.

Halting the progress has done wonders for me. Suddenly I’m not just seeking the next big spice. Instead, I’ve discovered the various tastes of the peppers and how they are complimented. Habaneros’ distinct flavor pairs well with sweet foods. A habanero mocha was one of our favorites back in Oregon. And if you get a chance to try Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat ale, I recommend it. It pairs apricot with habanero. The heat sneaks up on you and tantalizes then is gone again making for a multilayered brew that my wife and I still like. I’ve found an enjoyment in the small independent makers of hot sauce. Farmers Markets seem, oddly, a great place to pick up some and their varied flavors make things interesting.

I still have quite the high tolerance for heat, at least higher than average. As a result, it’s very difficult to gauge how hot something is by a given vendor’s warnings. Sometimes I’ve heard, “Careful, it’s very hot” to only get a slight tingle. On the other hand, in general I’ve found when a Korean BBQ restaurant or when an Indian restaurant warns you that something is very hot, it is indeed very hot. On the other hand, I find I’ll even try the mild salsas as even if they don’t give that tingle, a good sauce maker will have plenty of flavor there. I’ve no word on whether that’s true for extra mild salsas. I’ve only found that in Minneapolis.

Saddle Up and Run for the Border

 

From the Oregonian:

Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, has dispatched state troopers to find missing Republican senators and bring them back to Salem to legislate.

All 11 Republican senators are in hiding, at least some of them out of state, in order to prevent the Senate from having the quorum it needs to operate. They can’t abide the Democrat-backed carbon cap and spend bill that is up for a Senate vote today.

Senate Democrats also announced that missing GOP lawmakers would be fined $500 per day. The money will be deducted from their per diem and salary.

By Thursday afternoon, an online fundraiser had raised more than $3,000 in support of the Senate Republicans.

The cap and trade bill has been written in such a way that voters will not have the opportunity to vote on it, and it will definitely penalize rural counties. It will probably be the final dagger in the heart of the Oregon logging industry.

Hide and stay hidden, boys and girls, and end this legislative session.

Economic Lesson

 

For ten years, I had the pleasure to live on an island paradise, Bald Head Island, NC. It lies a couple of miles from Southport, NC, the separation caused by the Cape Fear River at it’s entry to the ocean. A Houston oil and gas Barron bought the island as a place where two of his twenty-something sons could cut their teeth as developers. This was in the mid-’80s. His name was George Mitchell and was considered the inventor or, more exactly, the pioneer of fracking.

Around 1995, I struck up a chance conversation with George. He had traveled from Texas to BHI to be honored for his support of conservation on the island. I was only vaguely aware of who and what he did. After some small talk, he told me about fracking and I later told him about cheese. He was emphatic about the eventual significance of fracking. I was a believer.

Jump forward about ten years and the impact of fracking became apparent near my other home in Pennsylvania. A little hamlet, Hickory, PA, about six miles from my little farm, became the epicenter of fracking in the Marcellus shale fields. Land owners began collecting large sums of dollars for the oil and gas underground. The economic significance was huge. Farmers bought new equipment, fixed up their property, bought RVs, sent kids to college, and put money in the bank. All that money spent in Hickory and elsewhere in our great country used to go to some sheik in the Middle East. Now it stayed at home. The US is now the largest producer of energy in the world.

Jump forward to this week and our President’s speech in Florida. MrsCheese and I watched and afterward I bought up my conservation with George Mitchell. By that late in the evening, my sugar pie honey bunch had enough politics, had her “ woman ears” on, and really wasn’t listening.

I have needed a haircut for three weeks but the four times I went to the barber shop it was full. When we lived on BHI because of the inconvenience of going to the mainland, on the passenger ferry we bought a hair trimmer and my best girl cut my hair. She was good at it but always fearful she would mess it up. After moving to South Carolina I was told to get a real barber.

Today, I begged my sweetie to get out the clippers. She gave me a terrific cut. When she finished, I reached in my pocket and gave her $25 bucks. We kept the money at home. Just like energy. By the way, I bought gas yesterday at $2.09. Thanks, George. Thanks, Honey Girl.

Midnight Hours

 

‘Nurse! … Nurse!’ Footsteps ran towards the sound of the screaming. A door was flung open, the light from the hallway falling on the man in the bed. ‘Where’s the rest of me!’

The nurse sighed and, businesslike, stepped forward, flinging the covers back. ‘Right where I left it the last four times,’ she said. ‘I told you, the anesthetic takes a while to wear off.’

The nurse could see the blush rising on his face, even in this light.

‘Oh,’ he said.

‘Yes, “oh.”‘ She drew the bedclothes back into place over him. ‘Now, Jimmy,’ she said, smiling, and without looking at his chart, ‘are you going to settle down, or am I going to have to sit in with you till you do? You’re just having a reaction to the anesthetic again. It happens sometimes.’

‘I …’

She sighed theatrically and settled in the armchair by Jimmy’s hospital bed. ‘Do you remember who I am?’

‘You’re …’ He tried to think.

She was just opening her mouth to tell him when he got it.

‘You’re Karen. One of the nurses. Right?’

‘Close enough,’ said Karen. ‘Do you remember why you’re here?’

‘I— …’ He screwed his face up trying to remember. A hand rested gently on his, drawing it away from his head and back onto the coverlet.

‘Easy now. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter right now. Come on, shh, I’m here.’ She gave him a quick glance. No bleeding. His breathing was all right for now. But he was getting a bit too het up. ‘Do you remember what we were talking about before — you were showing me what you were working on.’

He tried to nod, ‘Y-y-yeah …’

Her eyes went to the jumble of papers and pencils on the table by the bed. ‘All right if I take a look?’

He was starting to doze. She took the slump of his head for a yes and started leafing through a few of the pages. There was a story she’d been reading on and off that she’d like to find out how it ended. There were also drawings. Guess there wasn’t that much else to do to while away the hours when you were sick and on your own. Young guy like him, you’d think there’d be somebody at least.

Karen smiled as she came to one of her favourites, a cartoon of some of the nurses performing a musical number. And there were sketches. Looked like he hadn’t been doing much writing but … ‘Hey,’ she said, ‘you still awake?’

‘Yeah …’ came Jimmy’s voice. As if it were coming back into focus some more. ‘I’m awake.’

She took a little pencil-torch out of her front pocket and shone it on the drawing. ‘This who I think it is?’

He turned his head to glance at it. The blush started again. ‘I-I—‘

‘Hey, hey … It’s all right. I like it.’

‘You do?’ he said.

‘Yeah. Not many people notice that about me.’

Jimmy looked surprised. ‘How could they miss it?’

‘Mister,’ she said, smiling very, very broadly, ‘I think you’ve had a little too much anesthetic. Can I keep this one?’ she added, holding up the page to him.

‘Sure,’ he said. ‘I c-c-can drawww anoth …’

‘Lightweight,’ she whispered, still smiling. She checked his breathing. Sleeping like a baby.

She looked down at the sketch again as she stepped quietly back towards the door. Honestly. She shook her head. A halo … And swan’s wings … She poked her head round as she was drawing the door shut. ‘G’night, Jimmy,’ she whispered. ‘Same time tomorrow?’

There was a drowsy murmur from the man in the bed as he felt his guardian angel leave the room. Her secret was safe with him …

From the Police Blotter: A Machete/Crossbow Confrontation

 

From Q13 Fox News:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — ​A Bellingham Police officer and a Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputy shot a California man who fired a crossbow at them near Arroyo Park Sunday.

According to a news release from Bellingham PD, Bellingham officers responded to Arroyo Park, where people reported a man threatening them with a machete.

Officers arrived to investigate and called for a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office K-9 to assist. As officers and the K-9 approached the suspect, police said he fired a crossbow directly at them.

A Bellingham officer and a Whatcom deputy returned fire, striking the suspect.

The suspect is a 46-year-old California man who was treated at the scene and then taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Although police released his name, Q13 does not typically name suspects until they are formally charged with a crime. No residents or officers were injured during the exchange.

The officers involved in the shooting have been re-assigned per each agency’s policy.

After he is released from the hospital, the suspect will be booked into the Whatcom County Jail on charges of felony harassment and attempted murder. Police say the suspect has a criminal history in California.

The suspect was rather upset with officers and used some foul language to express his displeasure at being shot as he was loaded into the ambulance.

.

Tell Tehran Where They Can Put the Uranium

 

Iran to Break Nuclear Deal Uranium Stockpile Limit

The Iranian atomic agency confirmed Monday the country will soon exceed the limit for its uranium stockpiles set out in the failed Obama-negotiated JCPOA nuclear accord.

Speaking at a live news conference broadcast on Iranian state television, spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi added Tehran will also increase enrichment levels of its uranium holdings “based on the country’s needs.”

The announcement follows comments by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on June 15 that his country will continue scaling back compliance of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal unless other signatories show “positive” signals about the agreement.

You know this really takes me back to my childhood.

Yes, the good old days. A quiet peaceful time with little conflict to interfere with our quiet peaceful lives. Funny, now that I remember it more clearly there never was any such quiet peaceful time. Life always seemed to involve one kind of conflict or another. There never was a time you could just crawl into your safe space and avoid the whole thing.

Tehran is a pirate state. They intend to hold the world economy and their own people hostage. Their megalomaniacal ideology encourages them to agress upon the rest of humanity relentlessly. When Thomas Jefferson sent the flotilla to the Barbary Coast he gave those pirates his answer to their extortion.

August 1, 1801, The First Barbary War; The Schooner USS Enterprise engages The Polacre Tripoli.

We don’t pay tribute to pirates. The Mullahs can choke on the Uranium.

Quote of the Day: The Maltese Falcon

 

I’ve previously quoted from this great movie. Here’s another:

Spade[smiling] You are a liar.

Brigid: I am. I’ve always been a liar.

Spade: Don’t brag about it. Was there any truth at all in that yarn?

Brigid: Some…not very much…Oh, I’m – I’m so tired, so tired of lying and making up lies, not knowing what is a lie and what’s the truth.

Draining the Swamp: An Impossible Task?

 

The administrative state, also known as the Deep State and The Swamp, has been with us for a long time. Recently, however, I heard Professor John Marini talk about his work in “unmasking” the administrative state and I realized the future of the Republic is precarious, if not endangered. I learned about his work when he appeared on Mark Levin’s Sunday night Fox News show, Life, Liberty & Levin.

Professor Marini is one of the few writers who talk about the attack on our constitutional system by the workings of the administrative state:

It might seem odd to look to an avuncular professor of political philosophy to provide the coherence that populist politics needs but cannot supply for itself, but at least in America this makes sense, since the teachings of political philosophy, starting with natural rights, go back further than the Founding itself. What’s far more strange than this is the rarity of such efforts — Marini is one of a small number of writers on politics who have made it their work to question the legitimacy of rule by experts and to expose it as an attack on the constitutional system of the separation of powers, balances and checks, and accountability to the electorate.

The most obvious attack on our government occurred with the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson. He believed that the Constitution was an archaic document that if used at all, needed to be modified periodically, in order to serve the times. Rather than rely on the separation of powers to enact legislation, Wilson supported the governance of experts to decide the needs of the country. Rather than relying on Congress to legislate, that body would only need to provide oversight of the experts who would create the governing rules. The largest source of these experts was academia, where new areas of “science” were being identified on a regular basis.

The Supreme Court has also been complicit in assisting the administrative state:

Marini expresses particular disappointment that the U.S. Supreme Court, rather than protecting separation of powers as defined by the Constitution, has instead facilitated the establishment of the administrative state. Its opinion in Humphrey’s Executor v. United States (1935) was particularly egregious in that it affirmed the power of Congress to create quasi-legislative, quasi-judicial agencies within the executive branch largely free from presidential control. Put another way, it authorized agencies technically within the executive branch to exercise substantially non-executive functions.

Even Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the Supreme Court’s greatest defender of the Constitution’s separation of powers was inattentive to the ravages that the administrative state wreaked on the structural provisions of the document. In 1984, two years before Scalia’s elevation to the Court, it announced in Chevron U.S.A. v. National Resources Defense Council (1984) what has come to be known as Chevron deference: the doctrine that courts will defer to an administrative agency’s reasonable interpretation of the ambiguous terms of a statute that it administers.

Essentially, once Congress enacts a statute, it has no control over the agency that implements it; but when an agency enacts a rule, that agency decides what it means and has the final say on how it is implemented. That rule has the same effect as a law.

The explosion of rules and regulations over the last 25 years is mind-boggling:

For an analysis of the mixed results of slowing the enactment of new regulations and removing existing regulations, you can read here.

We now have a Congress that has distanced itself from the populace and we are governed by a group of elitist experts:

The separation of powers, and the governing institutions, no longer serve as the principle defenders of a regime of civil and religious liberty. The rights of individuals, and the rule of law itself, are in the hands of the institutions of the administrative state. Consequently, the paramount problem is how to re-establish partisanship on behalf of constitutional government.

Unfortunately, the Republicans have deferred to the Progressives revision of the separation of powers:

The most politically successful, or progressive, party is the one that has most fully embraced the administrative state as fundamentally just, as the good which justifies self-interest on behalf of progress. The conservative party cannot quite accept the alienation posed by the rejection of the past that is required by rational or administrative rule. But it has accepted the political and moral conditions established by historicist, or progressive, thought. As a result, it has lost the understanding of the theoretical meaning that had established the good of constitutionalism. Not surprisingly, progressive parties are confident of their purpose, whereas conservative parties are merely cautious

So those are the facts. We have a Congress that has relinquished its purpose as the legislative branch of government to the administrative state. It cites its role as oversight, but given the number of rules and regulations that have been passed until recently, they probably have little idea of which rules those agencies are creating, except when the most egregious are made (and are widely publicized). Fortunately, the President has demanded the rolling back of many regulations, and restricted the number of regulations that can be written, but given the massive power that has been given to these agencies, and the reliance on their “expertise,” Marini says it will extremely difficult to re-establish the separation of powers and the power balance. He presents a dismal look at the future:

There is no guarantee that Donald Trump can or will succeed in restoring political rule. He has the opportunity to establish a new political landscape, one that is not yet recognizable. It seems likely that the new partisanship he has brought to bear will be at odds with many of the organized interests in Washington. Those interests will defend themselves and their alliances with the bureaucracy. Still, Trump must establish a governing coalition, and this requires the cooperation of a legislature that has been the anchor of the administrative state.

Will Donald Trump receive the support he needs? Do too many Republicans support the status quo? Do they see Donald Trump as a threat to their way of governing?

Donald Trump has been striving to drain the swamp and upend the deep state. He still has a big job in front of him.

The Supreme Court Allows Peace Cross to Stand

 

This is, to put it mildly, a most welcome decision with an unusual line-up of votes in that Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, as would be expected, but the other two members of the usually-reliable Left wing of the Court, Kagan and Breyer, joined in the majority. The Fox News report includes the following:

For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion. Alito noted that while this particular cross does not serve a religious purpose, removing it because it is a cross would be a religiously charged action.

It has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions,’” he wrote, quoting Justice Breyer’s concurrence in the 2005 decision in Van Orden v. Perry.

The court’s decision reverses the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the cross was unconstitutional.

Is it too soon to recall that old line, “The times they are a’changing?”

Quote of the Day: Mucking About

 

A recent podcast from “The Mark Davis Show” quoted one of the founders of the Dallas Cowboys:

“Money is like manure. If you spread it around it does a lot of good, but if you pile it up in one place it stinks like hell.” — Clint Murchison, Jr.,
(As quoted in: Time, Volume 124, 1984, p. 96)

Murchison, who made his money in oil and real estate, was summing up how he had conducted his business affairs for decades. He was one of the founders of the Dallas Cowboys, and involved in the construction of the original Cowboys stadium. A recent Star-Telegram column, by Mac Engel, reported and advocated an effort to have Murchison inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Murchison had previously tried to buy NFL franchises before he was granted an expansion team and created the Dallas Cowboys in 1960; he wanted something beyond what a pro football team had become in the 1960s….

Before Texas Stadium, watching a sporting event was basically akin to the Cotton Bowl, where the Cowboys had previously played their home games.

At Texas Stadium, Murchison introduced luxury, suites, fan comfort, amenities to sports in the U.S. that had never been previously experienced. Any time you walk into a pro sports stadium today, you can see Murchison’s influence.

Murchison, it turns out, did not create this barnyard phrase. The quote, in its original form, traces back to Frances Bacon in 1625, when he attributed various sayings to a possibly fictional character:

Mr. Bettenham, reader of Grays-Inn, used to say, that riches were like muck; when it lay upon an heap, it gave but a stench, and ill odour; but when it was spread upon the ground, then it was cause of much fruit.

Bacon’s concerns were not just about private action, but also state policy. As Adam Smith would later advocate for the superiority of a free market over merchantilism, so Bacon was concerned about state policies that had the effect of reducing the availability of money and land in the national economy. If we understand money to be a representation of wealth, not wealth itself, then we might extend the idea.

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution were keen to both promote communication, sharing of ideas, and to provide protection for a useful period to original, useful, ideas. Consider the inclusion of two grants of enumerated powers to Congress:

Article I, Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power…

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Part of the complaint against the lords of Silicon Valley is about concentration, a great piling up, of control over expression of ideas and art. The attendant public stench may be analogous to the piling up of properties under government grants of privilege in Britain, or the great consolidation moves by early American industrialists, which invited the creation of anti-trust law.

George Gilder, in his 2018 book Life After Google, claims that blockchain and related ideas will lead to a great decentralization over the next decade. The subtitle is “The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy.” I suggest Whiskey Politics #188 as a good introduction. Perhaps we will see a great breaking up of the great enclosures of digital social space and economy. Perhaps we are witnessing the last grasping moves of the information economy’s great barons. If so, then we may be on the verge of another great increase of wealth, induced by a radical decentralization of control. An Army of Davids might finally be freed to take up pitchforks and spread money and ideas around where they judge it will do the most good.

Member Post

 

OK, I’m going to rant a little. My wife watches the Food Network a lot. If you’ve never watched, there are a LOT of cooking competition shows on that network. For instance, “Beat Bobby Flay.” These chefs come on and try to beat Bobby Flay, who basically slaughters 95% of all comers. They start out […]

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20 Questions From The New York Times

 
  1. In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?

To quote Madison, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Including the president. “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” In an ‘ideal’ world, guns would be irrelevant, since no one would misuse them. Unfortunately, this is not an ‘ideal’ world and never will be. The philosophy that you can make the world ‘ideal’ has killed more people than guns ever will.

  1. Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?

Why is there no third, fourth or fifth option? Is healthcare so simple that there is only two ways of dealing with it?

  1. Do you think it’s possible for the next president to stop climate change?

I’m not sure, but I’ll get on it as soon as I cure cancer.

  1. Do you think Israel meets international standards for human rights?

Since the New York Times apparently does not have international correspondents anymore, let me tell you about some of the things that are going on in the world. There have been attacks on oil tankers, possibly instigated by Iran. China is saber-rattling in the South China Sea, encroaching on its neighbors, especially The Philippines. China is also facing popular opposition in Hong Kong. Syria, Yemen, and Libya are undergoing civil wars. Venezuela is collapsing and the failed socialist state is being propped up by Cuba, Russia and Iran, again. Saudi Arabia is supporting one of the sides in Yemen, opposed by Iran, yet again. Saudi Arabia is also in conflict with Qatar and Turkey. There are still enclaves of the Islamic state in Iraq. Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran (!) continue to have disagreements with the Kurds. There is ongoing revolutionary violence in The Philippines, Congo, Indonesia, Mali, Eritrea and South Sudan. Russia is still in conflict with Ukraine, and is also pressuring Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. North Korea is a slave state with nuclear weapons. Zimbabwe is a kleptocracy. South Africa has started expropriating farmland. New Zealand has curtailed speech and gun rights by fiat. India recently had a national election and is continuing to have a simmering border dispute with Pakistan. There were massive terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. Egypt just had a former president die under suspicious circumstances while on trial. Australia had a national election with surprising results. The Prime Minister of Great Britain just resigned amid ongoing upheaval about Brexit. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain are still facing major debt problems. Sweden, Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Spain are having ongoing difficulties due to massive numbers of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Mexico and China are having trade difficulties with us. Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are flooding into the US due to economic and safety issues in those countries. Israel is one of the most peaceful, prosperous and conflict-free nations in the world. You might as well be asking me about Monaco, Andorra, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or Canada. I find it odd that your focus is on the only Jewish state in the world. Ohhhh, now I see!

  1. Who is your hero and why?

What is this, the Miss America Contest? That’s just a silly question.

  1. Would there be American troops in Afghanistan at the end of your first term?

Let me dust off my crystal ball. Hmmm, sorry, it’s a bit cracked, I can’t see into the future. 

  1. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 

I’ve done a deep analysis of this pressing issue and have studied myself extensively. I have also consulted with sleep experts and recorded my sleep regimen on a spreadsheet. As a result, I can tell you conclusively that this question is also silly. I get enough sleep to function. I’m not tired now.

  1. Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?

I will defer to my colleagues in the US House and Senate who have done nothing to reform immigration in the last ten years. If these highly intelligent leaders think it’s not a problem, who am I to contradict them?

  1. Where would you go on your first international trip a president?

I’ve always wanted to visit the tank museum in Bovington, England, and hey, since it’s on the government’s dime, why not?

  1. Describe the last time you were embarrassed. Why?

I was just embarrassed right now, for you, because you asked such a stupid question.

  1. Do you think President Trump has committed crimes in office?

I will again defer to my colleagues in the House who have studied this much more than I have and have not drafted articles of impeachment.

  1. Do you support or oppose the death penalty?

I think, after due process, everyone who commits a heinous crime should rot in a jail cell, devoid of stimulation, with only the company of loutish guards and criminal psychopaths. This should be the punishment no matter what capital crime you commit: Murder, treason, terrorism, or being inconvenient to your mother.

  1. Should tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google be broken up?

Let’s break Facebook up into four different companies: Facebook, Facebook II, Bookface and Myface. What, you’re on Myface, but your daughter’s on Facebook, your sister’s on Facebook II and your Mom’s on Bookface? Well, just get the app for each one. I’m sure it will work out and having to wade through four times as many alerts will only be slightly more annoying.

  1. Are you open to expanding the size of the Supreme Court?

Yes. I think there should be 101 members, and also that they have to be at least 65 years old. That way, the Senate will be spending all its time confirming judges instead of passing idiotic legislation.

  1. When did your family first arrive in the United States and how?

What, is this sponsored by Ancestry.com? What if you don’t know? Who knows when Elizabeth Warren’s ancestor crossed the Bering Strait?

  1. What is your comfort food on campaign trail?

I can’t imagine a question more stupid and irrelevant than this one.

  1. What do you do to relax?

But apparently you can.

  1. Does anyone deserve a billion dollars?

No one “deserves” anything. All anyone needs is a roof over their head, a mat to sleep on, some rough clothing and three bowls of gruel. Oddly enough, in the states that decide what a person “deserves,” a lot of people end up without what they need.

  1. What is your favorite color?

Oh, come on!!

  1. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European? *

 

The preceding was my answers to a series of questions, with some additions, posed by the New York Times to the Democrat candidates for president. ** I’m not a Democrat,*** so I’m not running for president, leaving aside my total lack of experience and qualifications.**** I’ll still bet you think my answers are better than any of the leftist boilerplate being spouted by the ‘real’ candidates.

* Wouldn’t it be great if the same thing happened to the questioner as in the original?

** Warning: The graphic at the top of this link is truly nauseating. What, you don’t read the footnotes before you click? Well, now you will.

*** Though apparently that’s not a qualification.

**** With the collection of small-town mayors, has-been ex-governors, second-string US senators, third-string US representatives, out-of-touch rich-piggies, and loopy self-improvement gurus in the race, being qualified is apparently not a qualification either.

 

Juneteenth: Emancipation Day

 

On June 19, 1865, Union Army Major General Gordon Granger read General Orders, Number 3, to the people of Galveston, Texas. It was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, but at last the words of freedom came to African-American slaves in Texas. This day became known as Juneteenth, and eventually became first an unofficial holiday and then a holiday recognized by some states.

General Granger wrote, in part:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Texas officially recognized Juneteenth with legislation passed in 1979, effective 1980. Here is Governor Abbott today:

President Trump has issued proclamations the past two years for this day. Here is the 2019 presidential message:


Presidential Message on Juneteenth, 2019
Issued on: June 19, 2019

Melania and I send our best wishes for a memorable celebration to all those commemorating Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the United States Army marched into Galveston, Texas, and issued General Order Number 3, declaring, “all slaves are free.” With this order, the message enshrined in President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was brought to Texas, unshackling thousands of slaves who had remained in bondage. Six months later, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States once and for all.

That joyous day in June 1865 became known as Juneteenth. For millions of African Americans, Juneteenth has served as an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental truth that all people are created equal and that liberty is a right endowed by our Creator.

Across our country, the contributions of African Americans continue to enrich every facet of American life. This Juneteenth, as we vow always to uphold the God-given rights of all Americans, we pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of African Americans.


Now, consider that President Trump, uniquely among Republican presidents since at least Grant, has actively sought the material well-being and the political support of African-Americans. In that context, we can think of Blexit and other individual and group moves away from the Democrats, the party of slavery and the KKK, towards President Trump’s party. No, not the institution of the Republican Party, which still can’t get out of its own way, President Trump’s party.

To the extent that Republicans stop being Republican’ts with respect to ethnic minorities, in general, and especially the African-American community, there is real hope for a real shift in electoral dynamics, making the calculus far more complex for both major parties. Consider some of the promise made in President Trump’s re-election launch rally [commentary in italics]:

Together we will keep unleashing the power of American enterprise so every American can know the dignity of work and the pride of a paycheck.

One of my parents’ neighbors is a retired Army NCO (sergeant). He runs a construction crew, staffed entirely by fellow retiree/veteran Army NCOs. They are all, also African American. The crew rolls up in their vehicles early in the morning and loads out their work trucks. Two of the cars already have Trump 2020 bumperstickers. Think about that. Really think about it.

We will elect a Republican Congress to create a safe, modern and lawful system of immigration. It will be a system that strengthens our country, upholds our values, and protects our way of life.

President Trump had already laid out how it was poor black and Hispanic communities who took the brunt of Democrats and open borders Republicans “good intentions,” losing jobs, having wages depressed, and being forced to compete for resources with non-citizens who were jumping the legal immigration line.

We will enact trade deals that ensure more products are proudly stamped with the words “Made in the USA.”

These are the non-college jobs needed for dignity and self-reliance.

We will create a great health care system based on honesty, transparency, more options and far lower costs for much better care.

African-American men have had shorter life expectancies than the general public for decades. People trying to get back into the work force do not need the healthcare system to be an obstacle.

We will give school choice to millions of underserved children who are trapped in failing schools and failing school systems. We will continue rescuing our inner cities from disastrous reign of Democrats who presided over the decimation of their education systems, the outsourcing of their jobs, and the devastation of their neighborhoods. We will expand opportunities zones so that no community is ever left behind. Thank you [Senator] Tim Scott. Great help.

This is aimed straight at the Democrats’ claims about who really cares for African-Americans.

In the face of new threats, we will defend privacy, free speech, religious liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms. We will protect our Second Amendment.

Recall that it was an African-American man, a retired engineer whose community had become gang-infested, who sued Chicago for the right to possess a handgun for self defense. Here is Chicago Magazine’s story on Otis McDonald, whose case was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago. Also, black Millennials are significantly more religious than other Millennials, while blacks, overall, are significantly more likely to read and believe the Bible and to even just identify as Christian.

We will push on with new medical frontiers. We will come up with a cure for many, many problems, to many, many diseases, including cancer and others. And we’re getting closer all the time. We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all, and we’re very close.

This is especially relevant to African American men who have sex with other men, according to a 2019 CDC HIV fact sheet:

African Americans continue to experience the greatest burden of HIV compared to other races and ethnicities in the United States. In 2017, Blacks/African Americans accounted for 13% of the U.S. population but 43% (16,694) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. Black/African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are more affected by HIV than any other group in the United States. That same year – 2017 – Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for 26% (10,070) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses nationwide.

We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars.

This is about national strength and a bold leader, part of the explanation for why black men have proved more supportive of Trump than black women in polls and voting. At the same time, Hidden Figures connected the space program back with black women.

And above all, we will never stop fighting for the values that hold us together as one America:

We believe in the Constitution, and the rule of law.

We believe in the dignity of work and the sanctity of life.

We believe that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the true American way.

We believe that children should be taught to love our country, honor our history, and always respect our great American flag.

Notice that all of this paints Americans as unified in a civic identity, not fragmented in oppositional identity groups.

And we will live by the words of our national motto: “In God We Trust.”

See comment about on strength of African-Americans’ religious beliefs and identity.

Powered by these values, we won a victory two and a half years ago. We won a victory for every parent worried for their children, and people worried about their children. They were concerned that their children wouldn’t have the same opportunity as they had. We are going to make that opportunity even better. We won a victory for every mom and dad who lost a job because our leaders waved the white flag of economic surrender. You’ve seen that too much. We won a victory for American self-government, self-rule, and self-determination.

We have been blessed by God with the greatest nation on the face of the earth and we are going to keep it that way. We are going to keep it that way. With your help, with your love and devotion, and with your drive, we are going to keep on working, we are going to keep on fighting, and we are going to keep winning, winning, winning.

We are one movement, one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

This is a clear distinction from the Democrats’ identity, fear, and hate based politics. President Trump is “raising a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels.”

And together:

We will make America wealthy again,

We will make America strong again,

We will make America safe again, and

We will make America great again.

As BET Founder Bob Johnson, the first African-American billionaire, wrote after the 2016 election:

To the Republican Party, we say to you, even though you have ignored us or often times actively conspired against our rights, “we have no permanent enemies.” To the Democratic Party, we say to you, even though you have taken our vote for granted and often patronized us, “we have no permanent friends.” What we do have are “permanent interests” and we invite both Parties to demonstrate your understanding of and willingness to respect and address our interests.

Since then, Mr. Johnson has praised the benefits for African-Americans of the Trump economy:

“You have to take encouragement from what’s happening in the labor force and the job market,” Johnson said. “When you look at African American unemployment, in over 50 years since the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been keeping the numbers, you’ve never had two things: African American unemployment this low and the spread between unemployment among whites and African Americans narrowing.

“That absolutely means the jobs market is soliciting employees who have been out of the labor force, some of it just based on discrimination, some of it based on changes in education, access and technology changes,” he continued. “And so when you look at that, you have to say something is going right.”

This administration, and this Republican president has made more effort to not only ask for votes but also to listen and to respond with policies, either with the help of the Congress or within the power of the Executive. There is a common thread in President Trump’s call for a “New Deal for Black America,” his opioid initiative, his immigration reform demands, and focus on jobs for the “forgotten Americans.” As a result, this president may be “trumping fear with hope.” This may expand the electoral map, force both parties to really compete for votes, and perhaps help shift the narrative from identity groups to geographic communities, voting districts. This may be another case of “Trump makes everything better.”

Still Cooking with Fire After All These Years

 

Happy Birthday to Ann Wilson of Heart, born 19 June 1950. She and her younger sister, Nancy, are the heart of Heart, a band that burst onto the world stage from the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1970s. They were part of the soundtrack of my youth. Wait a minute. 2019-1950= . . . 69. That just can’t be right.

Ann Wilson was the distinctive lead vocalist, while Nancy provided great harmony and kicking guitar licks. Their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, was released in America our bicentennial year, with “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” propelling them up the radio play charts. They struck while the iron was hot, releasing Little Queen in 1977 and Dog & Butterfly in 1978. These women did their own thing, playing neither the tough girl nor the pop tart. They did not need an image manager, as they actually had musical and songwriting talent.

Here is the title track from their first album, performed live on BBC’s music television series The Old Grey Whistle Test:

Here are the Wilson sisters, acoustic, no backup, singing their third album’s title song “Dog & Butterfly” live to a Seattle hometown crowd.

Just to make clear that this was a band with actual vocal chops, watch the back stage banter and harmonizing on two 1960s songs, followed by them live on stage, with Nancy’s long acoustic intro winding up the audience to launch into “Crazy on You.”

All of which brings us back around to “hot.” A hot band, led by hot chicks, was naturally “Cooking with Fire:”

Great Trump 2020 Kickoff, but What About the Squirrel?!

 

I tuned in a little late to the official Trump 2020 Kickoff Campaign in Orlando, FL last evening. The house was packed with over 20,000 people and it appeared to be a rousing success. As it wrapped up, Fox News was running a ticker tape across the bottom screen of other important news in case you missed something. I definitely missed something.

Apparently, a man in Alabama was keeping a pet squirrel. It is illegal to keep a pet squirrel in Alabama. There’s more: He was also keeping it as an attack squirrel, and supposedly let it loose on one too many people. Someone finally called the cops.

The owner would feed the squirrel meth to keep it aggressive and ready. When the police arrived, the idiot was arrested for illegal substances … and keeping a pet squirrel. The police had to let the squirrel go, according to the ticker news, as there was no safe way to test a squirrel for meth. No – I’m not making it up!

I’m glad one of Trump’s many accomplishments highlighted this evening has been to crack down on illegal drugs! Not even a squirrel is immune these days!

On behalf of all squirrels, Make America Safe Again!

Right and So Wrong

 

“By doing one wrong thing, I thought I could make everything right.”
― Scott Smith, A Simple Plan

Spoken early in the novel by the narrator, this is perhaps the best summary of the story of this book and it’s a rapid downward spiral. A Simple Plan was first published in 1993, and later was adapted as a screenplay into a film by Sam Raimi, but that film pulls some of the punches of the book.

Three men, Hank, Lou, and Jacob discover a downed plane and in it is a dead man and several million in cash. Since it’s easy to guess it’s illicit, Hank concocts a plan. They hide the money, wait six months, and if no one is looking for it they’ll split it three ways; otherwise, they’ll burn the money and no one will know they were going to take it. With rather alarming rapidity, things quickly seem to spiral out of control and Hank puts himself into situations where he makes one terrible choice after another seemingly for the protection of his brother Jacob, and his family. All the while he rationalizes that this is what he must do to protect his own.

It’s a very dark tale, but a very human one. How often do we do something wrong with the justification that, in the end, we’ll see everything turn out right? Hank’s parents died years ago in a traffic accident. He admits never being terribly close to his brother. He has little connection with the people in his small town. You rarely see him interact with his coworkers. He only attends a church during funerals. He is a man who is rudderless. There is little guiding him away from the wrong thing, and anyone close to him who could guide him is weak at best — they sometimes encourage him to the wrong thing and are ineffective when attempting to guide him away from wrong. Once Hank sets on the path of self-destruction, he only has his own sense of right and wrong, which are horribly skewed.

“There is a way which seems right to a man;
but its end is the way of death.”
–Proverbs 14:12

Member Post

 

It turns out that on Facebook you can call Trump or any Rebublican “Hitler” or a “Nazi” but if you mock that tiresome tendency it violates “community standards”. This was banned within an hour in a set of comments I made today:     If a government official points out that Jim Acosta is a […]

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What Cannot Be Unseen

 

A few days ago, fellow member @unsk wrote about California’s threat to the sanctity of the confessional in the Catholic Church. As an observation, I replied:

I don’t think many people appreciate the burdens the church puts on its priesthood. The confessional is an awful weight. The secrets some people carry are enough to push one to a breaking point and I cannot fathom knowing the secrets of an entire congregation.

To look out from the pulpit and to see adulterers, abusers, addicts, and worse and all the while greeting them as if nothing is wrong – and being absolutely handcuffed in responding to it.

No wonder some priests drink.

This morning, The Verge published an article about the folks working at Cognizant, a company that provides moderators for Facebook content. If priests deserve respect for the things they’ve heard, these people deserve sainthood for the things that they’ve seen.

We worry about Facebook silencing conservative voices. This is the least of that company’s worries. Among the innocuous postings of family reunions, Little League schedules and political rants are some of the vilest things imaginable. Cruelty to children, cruelty to animals, cruelty to adults — and all of it recorded by cell phone and posted with a sick and twisted pride. The videos get reported and some poor schmoe has to watch it, and by Facebook rules, for at least 15 seconds.

While the article serves mostly to condemn the overall working conditions at Cognizant and their string of dog-and-pony shows for Facebook management, it’s the overwhelming nature of the work that’s most disturbing. For $15 an hour, these people are watching the worst mankind has to offer. Videos are deleted and reposted by someone else, again and again. But even after they’ve been permanently dealt with, they still run forever in the minds of the moderators. Walking into a room full of internet work stations has become their equivalent of going to war, but without the ability to take out the bad guys.

At this point, the digital genie can’t be put back in the bottle, but it needs to be crippled a bit. The question remains as to how to accomplish that. Meanwhile, Facebook needs to take control of its moderation problem. And take care of their moderators.

Promises Made, Promises Kept; More Promises Made.

 

President Trump kicked off his reelection campaign with a rally in Orlando. VP Pence was the opening speaker, doing his usual polished job. First Lady Melania Trump spoke beautifully:

It has been my honor to serve as First Lady of this incredible country for the past two years. And I’m excited to do it for six more. I am proud of all my husband, this administration, and the whole family have done on behalf of the American people, in such a short time. He truly loves this country, and will continue to work on your behalf as long as he can. All of us will. Thank you all again for being here tonight. And now, I want to introduce my husband, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

President Trump was in fine form. He called out the Democrats and the media for trying to steal and then undo the 2016 election. He said the attack was on the voters, the people who had been put down and forgotten by career politicians. The president rehearsed the craziness and hatred coming from the Democrats, towards the American people, and warned Democrats must not be allowed back in control of the country. He especially pointed out Democrats’ reckless disregard for the most vulnerable Americans, who are most harmed by floods of illegal immigrants taking jobs, services, and increasing gang crime. He expressly claimed the Democrats’ immigration position is all about their own political careers.

President Trump then reviewed all the promises kept* and all the good news the media has desperately ignored or denied. He hammered on employment and wage growth for each group of Americans who had been left behind for so long. He called off every demographic by name and how much better they were now doing. The president pointed out foreign policy, both security and trade policy, and how each action was making America wealthy, secure, safe, or great again.

President Trump praised First Lady Melania Trump for her work on the opioid crisis, and his daughter Ivanka for job training and criminal justice reform. The president then praised and pointed to Senators Rubio and Graham. He praised Senator Tim Scott for opportunity zone legislation. He praised the governor, his wife, the female lieutenant governor, and each Republican member of Congress present. He even called up Sarah Sanders, hugging her, having her say a few words, then hugging her again as she left the stage, hinting that she might be running for something big.

After reviewing the craziness and extremism of the DNC as a whole and of the presidential primary candidates, President Trump outlined his positive vision, promises to keep over the next six years. I have corrected the following from the raw C-SPAN transcript:

Together we will keep unleashing the power of American enterprise so every American can know the dignity of work and the pride of a paycheck.

We will elect a Republican Congress to create a safe, modern and lawful system of immigration. It will be a system that strengthens our country, upholds our values, and protects our way of life.

We will enact trade deals that ensure more products are proudly stamped with the words “Made in the USA.”

We will create a great health care system based on honesty, transparency, more options and far lower costs for much better care.

We will give school choice to millions of underserved children who are trapped in failing schools and failing school systems. We will continue rescuing our inner cities from disastrous reign of Democrats who presided over the decimation of their education systems, the outsourcing of their jobs, and the devastation of their neighborhoods. We will expand opportunities zones so that no community is ever left behind. Thank you [Senator] Tim Scott. Great help.

In the face of new threats, we will defend privacy, free speech, religious liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms. We will protect our Second Amendment.

We will push on with new medical frontiers. We will come up with a cure for many, many problems, to many, many diseases, including cancer and others. And we’re getting closer all the time. We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all, and we’re very close.

We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars.

And above all, we will never stop fighting for the values that hold us together as one America:

We believe in the Constitution, and the rule of law.

We believe in the dignity of work and the sanctity of life.

We believe that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the true American way.

We believe that children should be taught to love our country, honor our history, and always respect our great American flag.

[applause] [cheering]

And we will live by the words of our national motto: “In God We Trust.”

[cheering]

Powered by these values, we won a victory two and a half years ago. We won a victory for every parent worried for their children, and people worried about their children. They were concerned that their children wouldn’t have the same opportunity as they had. We are going to make that opportunity even better. We won a victory for every mom and dad who lost a job because our leaders waved the white flag of economic surrender. You’ve seen that too much. We won a victory for American self-government, self-rule, and self-determination.

We have been blessed by God with the greatest nation on the face of the earth and we are going to keep it that way. We are going to keep it that way. With your help, with your love and devotion, and with your drive, we are going to keep on working, we are going to keep on fighting, and we are going to keep winning, winning, winning.

We are one movement, one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

And together:

We will make America wealthy again,

We will make America strong again,

We will make America safe again, and

We will make America great again.


The C-SPAN video feed cut out a couple times. Here is an uninterrupted feed, provided by Fox10 out of Phoenix, Arizona:

* A point of criticism: The Donald J. Trump campaign owned PromisesKept.com is outrageously out of date. It shows nothing since 2018, and is mostly 2017. It is true that the White House official website is clearly communicating the president’s actions and results. However, President Trump is paying people to run a campaign operation as well, and they are stinking up the internet with the most basic form of website management incompetence. They are creating the impression that President Trump has accomplished nothing since the midterms, and mostly since his first year in office. That is basic political malpractice and needs to be fixed, immediately.

Red-Green Alliance and Concentration Camps

 

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (socialist) called the facilities where our immigration service detains illegal immigrants “concentration camps,” and made it clear that she meant to compare the detention centers and the American civil servants to the Nazi concentration camps and guards. She did so by invoking the post-Holocaust battle cry “Never Again,” claiming that we were violating that moral imperative. Never mind that the new masses of illegal immigants, including the children, crossed our southern border because her party has conspired to use them as hostages and golden keys to subvert our laws for permanent ruling advantage.

AOC is comfortable expressing her loathing of America and trivializing the actual Holocaust, to say nothing of the gulags. She will pay no more price than her comrades, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. She is operating safely within the interests of the red-green alliance. The radical left and political Islamism are both served by simultaneously demonizing American defense of the constitutional republic and diminishing the public perception of real eliminationist totalitarianism.

While “Never Again,” has been used both to refer to the particular horror of the attempted elimination of all Jews and to refer universally to genocide, the power, the punch, comes from the images, the video, the many accounts, of the Nazi eliminationist program. There were no camps used in the Rwandan Genocide. Rather there was mass murder by machete, directed by old-fashioned AM radio transmission, while President Bill Clinton and the Canadians ensured there would be no effective resistance by a small but competent military force. Apparently, the fine sounding phrase just did not apply.

As a member of Congress, AOC is perfectly well aware that both adults who entered our country illegally, or who made the well-coached false asylum claim while clutching their child hostages, and the conspirators’ child hostages, are being provided the best medical care of their lives, along with nutritious meals and clean, safe, sleeping quarters. American taxpayers are even footing the bill for millions of diapers. Her slander of this country and of the thousands of honorable immigration enforcement officers, who defend our sovereignty every hour of every day, is both casual and calculated.

Townhall has the AOC video story, including her video, embedded. The key passage is this:

“I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something,” Ocasio-Cortez continued in her live video. “The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘Home of the Free’ is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”

When she was called out on what she had actually said, she pretended to be misunderstood:

That is when a fellow leftist jumped in, as you can see. So, “Auschwitz was a mixture of work and death camps.” No, they did not stop digging when Stephen Miller and others pushed back. The problem with the first rule of holes is that sometimes people think they are following a gold vein. Once you pass “through the wormhole with the DNC,” Holocaust minimization works to your benefit. Ask Jeremy Corbyn.

Notice that Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (Islamist) just blamed America for Iran bombing oil tankers. This is entirely consistent with her history of public statements. You are entitled to decide if her position on Iran, which is clear and consistent in its long-term plan to wipe the one majority Jewish state off the map, is motivated by Ilhan Omar’s feelings and beliefs about Jews.

Some have asked if AOC has hit the bottom of the hole she’s been digging. Jewish groups expressed outrage at AOC‘s comments, except of course those groups captured by the red wing of the red-green alliance. Well, hold her AOC Chardonnay:

OK, Now It’s Real: Twitter Is Bad

 

I have been on Twitter now for quite a few years. I follow mostly political folks who are right leaning as well as a few other sites that I respect in one way or another. I have about ten people following me (which suits me just fine) and I very rarely ever post or re-tweet anything, I’m just a lurker. It has all been very good fun being a lurker but over the last three or four months I have become increasingly exhausted by the speed at which information, if you call it that, cycles through the platform. I guess what I am saying is that I was looking for a way out. I just can’t do this anymore….

I have always followed Jonah Goldberg on Twitter. It used to be that we agreed on many things but as time has gone on I have found that, how to say it: Came for Jonah. Stayed for the dogs. I have a very sweet Basset Hound of my own so I did a search and there are many many Basset Twitter accounts. I started following a few and, for a time, I had some very nice Basset Hound pictures to make me smile through all the political madness. Then those Basset accounts started re-tweeting and I started following more accounts with pictures and over the last month or so I have found that I am following more dog accounts than political ones. Joy!! this could be the solution: gradually reduce the political accounts and just follow dogs! I was happy with this arrangement for a time…..

Don’t get me wrong, the pictures are great. But I have discovered that many of those Bassets have political convictions as well. There is a dog from Ontario (that’s in Canada) that is not only radically left wing but also hates Americans. There is another Basset that lives in Oregon that has very strange ideas about sexuality and wears a rainbow collar. Another hates Trump with a white-hot flame. On the other hand, the right-leaning Bassets just seem to want to live up to conservative ideals, and not chatter on about it. Now, I know a thing or two about Bassets and let me tell you I have never met a Basset that thinks of anything except food, sleep, play, and tummy rubs. Amidst all the photos and videos of happy dogs running and playing there is a virtual minefield of political commentary. You can’t get away from it.

So that’s it! I’m done!

From Now on I am just going to look at the pictures.

Member Post

 

Wouldn’t it be great if Gorsuch suddenly gets a fan base in the democrat party? Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented, arguing that historical evidence shows the practice is contrary to the original public understanding of the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause. By parting company with all of his colleagues except Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gorsuch shows once […]

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My Ten Favorite Poems

 

I’m surprised you made it this far. Let’s face it: It would be difficult to come up with a title any less inviting than My Ten Favorite Poems. I suppose I could have called it My Ten Favorite Poems! Number Seven Will Blow Your Mind! But I have too much integrity to use that sort of clickbaitery just to attract the gentle readers of Ricochet. (Photos of cute kittens and Bob the dog to follow.)

First some historical background: Poetry has fallen on hard times, a beggar on the streets of culture. The New Yorker still publishes a poem or two, more out of tradition than anything else. They pay 40 bucks for a poem. They pay 675 bucks for one of their unfunny cartoons. That tells us something about the state of poetry, doesn’t it?

There are still a few literary reviews that publish poetry. Some even charge the poet for publishing his poem. But the literary reviews have been dropping like flies. (Now that I think of it, they’re always dropping like flies.) The venerable review, Poetry, still exists, but who cares? (It was saved from extinction when a nonprofit foundation took it on a few years back.) Antioch Review will pay you 20 bucks for a page of poetry. Twenty bucks! That will get you a couple of cups of fancy coffee at Starbucks for a literary piece that may have taken you two weeks to write.

It’s the old iron law of supply and demand at work: There are a hundred aspiring poets for each poetry reader. As a result, readers are worth far more than poets.

But at one time, poetry was the life of the party, and anyone with cultural pretensions read poetry. In England’s 18th-century coffee shops, they talked and talked about poetry: “I say, Sir, did you read the latest satire by Alexander Pope? The little guy eviscerated any number of courtiers and fops. I have to give it to the ugly little Papist. He can pen a biting couplet. (Pope was a 4’6” Catholic asthmatic with a hunchback.)

The form that slowly replaced poetry in the minds of readers was the novel. As unlikely as it seems, there was no such thing as the novel proper in England until Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe in the early 18th century.  

Until that time, it was all poetry, from narrative epics like Beowulf, to sonnets by Shakespeare, to odes by Abraham Crowley. Even as late as the 19th-century, poetry was the king of culture, and novels were, well, trivial things that women read. Real men read poetry.

I’ve now arrived at my promise in the title of my post. A few weeks back, Ricochet’s Trink asked me to list my ten favorite poems, and I promised I’d get back to her. Trink, here’s that list.

If my list calls up memories of your classroom suffering, Ricocheters, I apologize, but I taught poetry out of anthologies of literature for 30 years, and it’s all I know. I like non-U stuff as well: a pithy couplet, a bit of doggerel, a humorous narrative poem, and especially limericks. Here’s one of my favorites:

There once was a hermit from Belgrave
Who kept a dead prostitute in his cave.
Said he, “I’ll admit
I’m a bit of a twit,
But think of the money I save.”

I’m leaving out long narrative poems like Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales lest you think me pretentious. I’m sensitive to charges of pretension. (By the way, I can read Old English and Medieval English. What do you think of that?)

Finally, here it is:

1. Andrew Marvell: To His Coy Mistress (“The grave’s a fine and private place/But none I think do there embrace.”)

2. Alexander Pope: Rape of the Lock (“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”) If you’re wondering why Pope is on this list — and probably no one else’s — it’s because the 18th-century was my specialty, and Pope was right in the middle of everything. No poet has ever written clever couplets the way Pope could.

3. Robert Burns: To a Mouse (“The best-laid schemes of Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley”) and Tam O’Shanter. Both are written in the late 18th-century Scots dialect, which makes them a bit hard to read. But once you get used to the dialect, you will know why Burns shows up on almost everyone’s list of “Beloved Poets of the English Language.”

5. Dylan Thomas; Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night (“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”) Thomas’s poem is written in a form called a villanelle, and Thomas couldn’t have chosen a better form for his poem.

6. Rudyard Kipling: Gunga Din (“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”) I just re-read this after a number of years, and it’s really good. I’m warning you, though. Kipling was the most non-PC of the British poets, and for that reason he went out of favor for a long time. Gunga Din has a conclusion that might bring a tear to your eyes.

7. Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods (But I have miles to go before I sleep.”), Fire and Ice, and Nothing Gold Can Stay. I’ve read Frost’s early poems. They’re dreadful. Frost was one of those poets who grew into a great poet.

8. Wilfred Owen: Dulce et Decorum Est (“The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.”) The First World War was terrible, but it produced great poetry, including Flanders Field (where poppies grow)

9. W. B. Yeats: The Second Coming (“The best lack all conviction while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”) In my mind, Yeats wrote nothing but great poetry.

10. Randall Jarrell: The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner (“When I died, they washed me out of the turret with a hose.’) My uncle was a ball turret gunner who was shot up inside his turret. I have his Purple Heart.

Perhaps only a few readers have a favorite poem anymore, but I’m counting on Ricochet, the home of people who read, to come through on this. If you find yourself among that elite group (I’m not above pandering), you might want to describe the circumstances of reading your favorite for the first time — or perhaps you want to answer why it’s your favorite. Pull up something from your childhood if you wish.

A Tale of Two Tales Following Morsi’s Death

 

Mohammad Morsi, who was elected president of Egypt leading an Islamist party, died in court late Monday. He had been deposed by the military after imposing an Islamist constitution and showing his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood more clearly. The military acted after a second wave of popular unrest showed people wanted change, but not quite the change Morsi seemed to be delivering.

France24 reports Morsi was buried Tuesday, in keeping with the custom of burial as soon after death as possible:

Egypt’s public prosecutor said Morsi was pronounced dead in hospital at 4:50pm local time. He said the medical report showed no apparent sign of recent injuries.

The former leader was buried in a solemn ceremony attended by his family in Cairo’s western district of Nasr City early on Tuesday, one of his lawyers, Abdul-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, told the AP.

Both France24 and Deutsche Welle produced short summary videos. They are markedly different in content and tone, reflecting sharply different national policies and politics.

The French report seems like straight news reporting. You hear about a new constitution as evidence supporting concerns about the direction he was taking the country. Contrast this with Berlin’s view, omitting the detail about the new constitution and rolling out a series of attacks on the current Egyptian government, hinting at foul play.

Maybe this is one more dot in the growing collection pointing to the wisdom of shifting our military presence in Europe from Germany to more compatible states like Poland. Perhaps these two official narratives form two more points building up the pointillist image of Southwest Asian geopolitics. Of course, watching coverage and responses from inside and outside Egypt, an alternate headline could be: “With Death of Morsi, Mischief May Ensue.”