Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. His Last and Hardest Fight: The Story of Harrison K.W. Childress

 

In the spring of 1889, a hopeful group of job seekers wanting to join the Atlanta, Georgia, police force waited to be inspected by the Police Board of Commissioners. The men were marched into the room in two squads, and in the second group was a man who immediately caught the attention of the board. A reporter who was covering the meeting wrote this account:

“In the second squad was a gentleman with but one arm. He gave his name as H.K.W. Childers. ‘How did you lose that arm?’ he was asked. ‘In the second days fight of the seven days fighting around Richmond,’ he answered. ‘ ‘What command?’ ‘Nineteenth Mississippi.’ After the second squad had been retired, there was a general expression of sympathy for the veteran. ‘I wish I could vote for him,’ said the chairman. ‘So do I,’ said Mr. Brown.”

Peachtree Street in Atlanta, circa 1880s (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Atlanta_in_the_1880s#/media/File:Peachtree_Street,_1882.JPG)

The soldier in question was named Harrison K.W. Childress, but in the grammatically flexible 19th century, he often spelled his name Childers. Sympathy he got from the Board of Commissioners, but little else; there was no room on the Atlanta Police force for a one-armed veteran.

Harrison K.W. Childress was just one of the approximately 78,000 Mississippians who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He left no diary or letters about his wartime service that have survived to the present day, and if I had not found this brief article in the March 31, 1889, edition of The Atlanta Constitution, his story, like those of so many other Mississippians, would be lost to history.

But this little tidbit, this one brief article, only gives us a quick glimpse into the life of a disabled Confederate soldier who was struggling to support himself and his family in the postwar South. If only the rest of his story could be told… and fortunately it can. I was intrigued enough by the story of Private Childress to do a little looking, in the off chance that there might be more to his story – and there is! With a little research I found a second, more detailed article about Childress written in the April 1, 1906 edition of The Atlanta Constitution.

Before I go into this second article, however, a little background on Harrison K.W. Childress is needed. He was born on May 9, 1838, in Mississippi, probably in Marshall County, which is where the Childress family was recorded as living in the 1850 United States Census. Harrison’s father, Gowen Childress, was a small farmer who reported to the census taker that he owned $1,200 in real estate. By the time of the 1860 census, 21-year-old Harrison and his older brother George were living with a Betsey Waldrip, perhaps as boarders, in Tyro, Marshall County, Mississippi. Harrison listed his occupation as laborer, and reported that he had a personal estate worth $200.00.

 

Flag of the 19th Mississippi Infantry (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~ms19inf/)

When the Civil War started, Childress joined the “Marshall Rifles” from Marshall County, on May 25, 1861. The company went to Richmond, Virginia, where they were called into the service of the Confederate States as Company I of the 19th Mississippi Infantry.

 

Childress survived the 19th Mississippi’s baptism of fire at the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 5, 1862, and made it through the regiment’s second battle at Seven Pines, Virginia, on May 31 – June 1, 1862. But his luck ran out at Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, on June 27, 1862. The 19th Mississippi was part of General Winfield Scott Featherston’s brigade, (12th, 16th, 19th Mississippi regiments and 2nd Mississippi battalion) of General James Longstreet’s corps. Featherston’s brigade was engaged in very heavy fighting at Gaines’ Mill, and the 19th Mississippi in particular took extremely heavy casualties in forcing the Union troops out of their prepared positions. A newspaper reporter for the Macon Telegraph (Macon, GA) wrote on July 4, 1862, of the attack at Gaines’ Mill:

The attack of our men on this position was impetuous and daring, but the loss was great, for the foe were so screened by their position that it was impossible to get at them properly. Their loss was severe…The 19th Mississippi went into action with 521, had 31 killed, 150 wounded.

Sketch depicting advancing Confederate Infantry during the battle of Gaines’ Mill (Library of Congress)

In the bloody fighting at Gaines’ Mill, Childress was hit by a bullet in the left arm, and a Confederate surgeon had to remove the limb above the elbow to save the desperately wounded private’s life. Childress was sent to St. Charles Hospital in Richmond where he slowly recovered from his devastating wound. On August 6, 1862, his service record notes that he was returned to duty. Given the nature of his wounds, Childress doubtless could have asked for, and would have received, a discharge from the army. But the young man did not do that – he remained in uniform, and his service record for January – February 1863 showed that he was “detailed for hospital duties.”

Childress’s wound must have been giving him trouble, for on February 20, 1863, he was admitted to Winder Hospital in Richmond for treatment. His condition made it impossible for him to return to the 19th Mississippi, and on April 23, 1863, he was transferred to an army hospital near his home in Grenada, Mississippi. Again, Childress would have been perfectly justified in seeking a discharge from the army. He had suffered a terrible disfiguring wound in service of the Confederacy, and no one would have thought the worse of him for wanting to go home. But this young man decided to continue to serve his state as best he could. His records for July – August 1864 noted that he was “Detailed as Hospital Guard in Mississippi.” The final notation in Childress’ service record noted in January 1865 he was on a 30-day furlough, and that the recommendation that his furlough be extended was approved.

Winder Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, where Childress went for treatment. (https://civilwartalk.com/threads/bath-master-at-camp-winder-hospital-richmond.140056/)

After the war, Childress returned home to Marshall County to begin a new life. In the 1870 census, he listed his occupation as farmer, but it must have been a modest operation: he listed the value of the real estate he owned at $640, and his personal estate was worth $560. In 1873 Childress married Martha Bell, and in 1880 the couple decided to move to Georgia with their four children, settling on a farm in the town of Douglas. The family remained there until sometime in the mid to late 1880s, when they gave up the farm and moved to the city of Atlanta. In 1887 Martha died, and two years later Harrison Childress applied to the state of Georgia for a Confederate veteran’s pension. His application was approved, and the old soldier was granted a pension of $100 per year. This amount, generous as it was, could not sustain his family, and in the 1890 Atlanta city directory, Childress was listed as making his living as a peddler.

In 1891, the widower married Mary Julia Gay, and about 1905 the couple purchased a house at 299 Jones Avenue in Atlanta. With only modest means, they put down $25 on the $900 house and paid notes of $10 per month. Even this small amount must have strained the family finances to the limit, for in April 1906, a dejected Harrison Childress walked into the offices of The Atlanta Constitution and related to reporter Alan Rogers his sad story. The journalist took down the tale that the old veteran told him, and on April 1, 1906, he published the following article:

VETERAN FIGHTING BATTLE TO SAVE HIS THREE COWS

Struggle of a One-Armed Soldier to Meet the Payment of a $10 Note Which He Must Pay Monday Morning

This is the true story of a battle for three cows and the home of H. K. W. Childress, and the victory seems to lie mostly with the public and the loss of the battle with the 1st of April, when a note for $10 comes due.

H. K. W. Childress, one of the old veterans who was among the first to answer the call of the confederacy, marched in to the office of The Atlanta Constitution yesterday with a story of his last and hardest fight which occurred in a commonplace prosaic battle field on a street in Atlanta in this present time of piping peace.

Comrade Childress for almost a year has been fighting the fight of a brave man, and the cause for which he fought has been the saving of his three cows, which represent the saving of a lifetime. Not a very large capital, perhaps, but there came a time in that other struggle when the Nineteenth Mississippi, C.S.A., was ordered to a charge at Gaines’ Mill, Va. Colonel L. Q. C. Lamar commanded the regiment, and the corps was commanded by Longstreet. To those who know, that tells the whole story, so far as the charge was concerned, although it does not suggest such details as the loss of an arm on the part of Private Childress of Company I, one of the fighting men of the line.

The loss of that army mustered Private Childress out of the army, all soldiers being expected to carry two arms of their own in addition to all ordnance in the way of fighting machinery. But when Private Childress had gone to his old home in Marshall county, Mississippi, and had recuperated at least part of his old-time strength, one of his arms having been buried with a miscellaneous collection of confederate limbs and other members of the body at the field hospital dump behind the old church at Gaines’ Mill this same old soldier reported for duty and the cause he loved at the nearest army hospital as an orderly. He trotted around through the wards, being fortunate in having saving both of his pair of legs while fighting as one of Longstreet’s corps in Virginia, and helped in the dressing of surgical cases as much as a one-armed man could. This was all very well until the surgeons left the hospital and took the field, and then it was found that the requirements were more than any one-armed orderly could meet, and Private Childress was again mustered out and returned to his home in Mississippi.

But all these things are a part of the unwritten history that does not find its way between the covers of handsomely bound covers, where there is no room for the mention of the fighting men of the line, perhaps because there were so many of them. At any rate, it has nothing to do with the battle that was fought in the little barn yard in the rear of 299 Jones avenue, and the hope of saving the three cows that represent the entire assets of the Childress family. Really, this last campaign, this long struggle in the times of peace, began in 1880 when Civilian Childress came to Georgia and rented a farm in the western portion of Fulton County. There were children to raise and educate. These things were attended to. The children grew up, got married and had little troubles of their own. They moved away, and so it is that Mr. Childress is alone with his wife, the only two members of the regiment now waging a gallant fight for saving of the three cows.

It was about a year ago that this Childress regiment of two came to Atlanta. They started to buy the little home at 299 Jones avenue with a payment of $25 down and notes for the remainder at $10 a month until $900 without interest, should be paid. These payments were kept up until now. Then one of the cows went dry. Other complications set in, and now the note is due and the Childress treasury is empty.

Ex-private Childress was far from the fighting man of the ’60’s as he marched into the Constitution office, forty years by the calendar and twice that far because of disabilities that forced themselves in on this one-armed struggle in eking out a living from the rest of the world that hurried by so rapidly that most men with two arms and the full quota of physical members had to double-quick to keep up with the procession. Probably these disabilities were responsible for the hobble rather than the march which with much leaning on a stout cane, made possible his advance to the desk of a reporter. His story was told simply, and his mission was one of information. He wanted to know if there was any way of saving his home, on which he has already paid more than $100, which is a large sum when earned with one arm, and most of all he wanted to know if there was any way in which he could save the cows, which would be little use to him without a place where he and the other member of his little home regiment could milk them.

This note which threatens the loss of the $100, the loss of his home and, most of all, the loss of the three cows which have done so much and which have been such good friends to the Childresses in their struggle against the battles that belong to these piping times of peace.

 

The grave of Harrison Childress (Findagrave.com)

Apparently Childress’ appeal in the newspaper was successful, as he was still listed as living in the house at 299 Jones Avenue in the 1907 Atlanta City Directory. The veteran did not have long to savor his small victory; in the February 8, 1907 edition of The Atlanta Constitution, under the title “MORTUARY,” was the following brief statement: “H. K. W. Childress, aged 67 years, died yesterday morning at 2 o’clock at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. W. F. Cassells, 80 Belgrade avenue. He was a brave confederate soldier and is survived by his wife, four daughters and three sons.”

 

Childress may not have been able to leave his family riches of the material sort, but he did pass on to them a rich legacy of honorable service to his country. His son, Albert Wylie Childress served 30 years in the United States Army, retiring as a captain. When he died in 1953, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Albert’s son, Albert Wylie Childress II, attended the United States Military Academy, graduating with the Class of 1945. After a long and honorable career, he retired as a lieutenant colonel in the army.

Harrison K. W. Childress is buried in the Ramah Church Cemetery in Palmetto, Georgia. He has both civilian and military markers on his grave, but the marble stone denoting his military service has a mistake: his unit is listed as the 19th Georgia Infantry instead of the 19th Mississippi Infantry. It’s a small thing, but it should be corrected; Childress was a proud son of Mississippi who fought alongside his fellow Mississippians, shed his blood among his fellow Mississippians, and he will always be counted among his fellow Mississippians who served the Magnolia state so well during the Civil War.

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Questions: The timestamp translates to 10:30 pm on Saturday. The shooting took place at 10:39 am on Saturday yet the text implies that the author is contemplating carrying this out. The shooter was already in custody at the timestamp time. Who put this up on the internet if not the shooter? The text is roughly […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dog Sittin’

 

I introduced Thor a couple years ago. Thor passed on and crossed the Rainbow Bridge last month. He went from fine fettle to riddled with cancer in just three days. Thor’s family was devastated. They got two new German Shepherd pups. Keeping with a theme, the pups are Odin and Loki.

Their owner, a veterinary surgeon who is one of the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo’s best friends, had a conference and decided that the whole crew, her, her kids, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s kids (5 kids in all) would go to the conference and make at sort of a vacation. Her boyfriend is one of my best friends, a former SEAL who I worked with for years and who retired whilst working for me.

They originally had a teenager lined up to watch the house and dogs. Then, thinking about the probability of the teenager throwing a kegger at the house, pulled us into house/dog sit over the next two weekends. Then, the teenager never showed to get the download on carrying for the pups and the other three dogs. So, I and the Mrs. have the gig for the week.

When I got home from work Wednesday night, the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo informed me that Thursday night when I got home, we’d be going to the Vet’s house to get the download on care and feeding of the animals. That we would do for the next week+. I handled the information that my next nine days had been ‘jacked with my usually calm and equanimity. But still, the Vet’s a good friend and she deserves to be able to take time off with her loved ones without worrying about her critters. The critters are:

  • Princess Leia: She’s my GSD, but it’s not like we’re going anywhere without her.
  • Talla: Another GSD. Also occasionally called Taliban, with cause. About 7 years old. Moves, plays and chews non-stop.
  • Becket: A grumpy, pugnacious, snaggle-toothed-with-an-underbite terrier mix. If Becket doesn’t know you or know you well, he has a tendency to sneak up behind you and bite your heel/calf. First time he tried that with me, I patiently explained how if he tried it again I was going to drop-kick him through the goalposts of life. We’ve been good, since then.
  • Fiona: An adorable long-haired, miniature Daschund, with one brown and one blue eye. She’s a sweety, and brooks no shenanigans or trespass from all the other, larger dogs.

As for the two new pups, they are very young; their ears haven’t stood up yet. Too, if going with a Norse naming theme, the dogs are named appropriately.

-Odin: He’s going to be monster-sized. He’s pretty internally focused, not interested in pleasing others, and bats the other, smaller dogs out of the way without hesitation (the plucky smaller dogs then rage on him; he’ll catch on). He dwarfs Loki, and he only has three weeks age on him.

-Loki: He’s always up to some type of mischief. He always attacks from ambush. Sometimes, he’ll attack just because he’s got the opportunity to ambush, not because he has any kind of agenda in mind.

I like dogs. Heck, I love dogs. Moving into another person’s house for nine days to take care of someone else’s curs though, wasn’t really in the plan. Still, the bonds of friendship come with obligations.

And, her house and property are okay, I guess. It’s not like we’ll be roughing it. Mostly.

I don’t usually carry my phone around with me, hoping to take a great selfie or catch some phenom on video, but I’ll try to keep my phone close to capture these little darlin’s as we go through the week.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Badges, Tabs, and Doodads

 

In the Army, one wears the badges, tabs, and doodads on one’s uniform. It kind of tells people where you’re at, where you come from, and what you’ve done.

When two Army guys meet, there’s an immediate assessment of each on the other according to his badges, tabs, and doodads. This immediate, line-of-sight sizing up is officially known as “butt-sniffing.”

On the right sleeve, you wear the patch of whichever unit you’ve been to combat with; if you’ve been to combat with multiple units, you pick whichever you want (usually, it’s the one that will give you the best props during butt-sniffing). On the left sleeve, you wear the patch of the unit to which you are currently assigned. Also on the left sleeve, one wears (up to three, only) the tabs to which one is entitled to wear through the application of blood, sweat, and tears. There’s the Ranger tab (Hoowah!), the Special Forces tab (we’re pulling down max per diem for this gig, right?), the Airborne tab (All The Way!), and the Sapper tab (I know nothing about this tab, but I think it’s suspect).

Esoterica: If one is airborne qualified, one wears his airborne badge on his chest, which badge is dependent upon one’s jumping experience. There’s the parachutist badge, the senior parachutist badge, and the master parachutist badge (otherwise known as the “master blaster”). The airborne tab on one’s sleeve denotes that one is currently assigned to an airborne unit. So, one can be airborne qualified, but not in an airborne unit, in which case one only wears the badge. One can be a dirty, nasty leg (i.e., non-airborne qualified) but assigned to an airborne unit, in which case one wears the tab. If you got both, you wear both.

Other badges one may see on the butt-sniffee one is assessing are the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (a musket with a wreath around it), the Expert Infantryman’s badge (just a musket), the Combat Diver badge (Waves, tides, and currents shall not affect the combat diver! Your last breath of air is like no breath at all!), The HALO badge (High Altitude/Low Opening jump), the Combat Action Badge (I’m not an Infantryman, but I got shot at), and the Pathfinder badge (also know as the patch-finder badge). And by the way, may I just mention that if one graduates from the Special Forces Qualification Course, one is a qualified and certified pathfinder, but one does not get to wear the purty badge. That’s because Infantrymen are chauvinists.

On the combat duty uniform (BDU, ACU, multi-cam, spectral cam; they’re changing uniforms so fast, on can hardly keep up), all of the “badges” are cloth images, sewn onto the left side of the chest (of the tunic; you hardly ever have to sew the badge onto your actual chest anymore).

If one is an overachiever (or a masochist), one can earn the right to wear the Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces tabs stacked up on one’s left sleeve. This display is known colloquially as the “tower of power.”

After 9/11, Special Operations Forces became famous for wearing ball caps. First, ya can’t wear a Kevlar/MICH/ACH helmet all day, every day on a long-term deployment (well, unless you’re Big Army, then suck it up, buttercup). Too, the initial ball caps made a statement. Most were NYPD, FDNY, or Yankees ball caps. You want to mess with us? Americans? Okay, doom on you. ‘Mericans being the blessed capitalists that they are, there soon became suppliers for ball caps with Velcro on the front (to put the badge, tab, or doodad of choice on), a long strip of Velcro on the back (for a name tape or a blood-type tape), and a wee square of Velcro on the top (for a swatch of GLINT tape, so the AC-130 knows who not to kill).

I’m done with that now. No more badges, no more tabs, no more doodads. No more butt-sniffing–threat assessments in the Walmart parking lot as to who is and isn’t a threat isn’t butt-sniffing.

It’s time for me to chill out.*

I still have an affinity for ball caps, though.

But I found the perfect tab for me, now. So I’ll walk around proudly wearing this, instead of the tower of power (which I’d never do on a ball cap, anyway, on accounta that’s kind of douche-y).

*Yeah. I know. Husha yo mouf.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hollywood Revolution: Conservative Spinoffs

 

Proceeding from Gary’s revolution (let’s be sure to pin it all on him and Titus, if there’s trouble), this should be a fun and hopefully productive prompt. What is a film or TV show premise that you had high hopes for but was spoiled by leftism or by any heavy-handed propaganda?

As you know, no challenge is so daunting as a blank slate. “Hey, you should make a conservative film!” Well, that’s … not helpful. We can’t all be script writers. But let’s at least attempt to get the ball rolling with some ideas.

The goal is not to come up with overtly political stories. Rather, it’s to present familiar tales in ways more amenable to the Right’s values.

For example, maybe you enjoy grandiose disaster movies and you just want one without the theme of climate change.

Perhaps you would like a spacefaring story that doesn’t claim we had to leave Earth because humanity stinks and we ruin everything. Maybe curiosity and ambition are reasons enough to search the stars.

Or you might want a romance in which characters don’t jump into bed just because they enjoyed a day together.

The more specific you can be, the better. Name a film or two that had great but wasted potential. Name a show that started out well but fell apart when the usual bunch took over in later seasons. What stories are worth retelling … only without the nonsense this time?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Columbia River Bar Pilots

 

Crossing the Bar – Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Rising from the Ashes in Israel

 

The following letter is from Alifa Sadiyah, one of our Rico friends from Israel. She lived on the moshav that was destroyed by the terrible fires this past spring. With her permission, I am posting her letter, and have encouraged her to visit Ricochet to know there is one fine group of people that supports her and wishes her well. Here’s her letter:

Dear Susan,

Thanks so much for your email. I’ve been wanting to post something on Ricochet, but I find (as others here have found) that I can’t get my brain organized and find the energy to think out what to write — unless someone asks.

It’s beginning to sink in what a horrible experience this has been. Right now the absolute worst part is that about 30 families from the community are living in one section of the guest houses at Kibbutz Hafetz Haim, near Gadera/Ashdod. In many ways it’s quite pleasant: lots of green lawns; the large families have cabins; my daughter Shira and her two kids have two rooms, and I have one room, shared with our dog and one of the cats that was rescued. The drawbacks are that the food in the dining hall is abominable, and we are far away from “home.” We do not know if we will be moving out of here the end of this month, or maybe in January. On Sunday night there’s a meeting at which we will get a better idea.

We are supposed to be getting “karavilot” (a caravan-villa) as temporary housing until we can rebuild, but those cannot be installed until there is electricity and water. There are a number of legal issues that have to be resolved before we can rebuild. I suspect this will take years.

I go back to the moshav every few days to check on the cats that live around my house. My beloved Tiger and Jadwiga appear to be gone forever, but Nate, Mommy-T Cat, Kitten Little, and Roberto come to the house to eat. There is another very shy cat that I see sometimes, and one of the black cats with no name. One of my neighbors had been feeding the cats after the fire, and he realized that some other animals were eating the food, so he got permission from another neighbor whose house was destroyed to use the leftover wood from their building project to make cat feeders — just a box with a cover and an opening large enough for the cats. He also got a waterer that refills itself. Of course there is no running water into my house, so it’s just a hose hooked up to the outside connection after the water meter was replaced.

My house still stands, but Shira’s house on top was completely burned, leaving only the twisted I-beams and the frame for the cover over her porch. Miraculously, my car survived, and only needed a good cleaning. Maybe the car cover I put on before leaving for the States helped.

My house will have to be demolished, but I’ve been searching through the ashes and have found a few little treasures, such as my father’s mess kit from World War II, only a little blackened. I searched through the ashes in my bedroom for jewelry, but it was all lost. I did find a substantial lump of gold that was a ring I loved: it had a pruta coin from year two of the First Revolt. That coin had been minted when the Temple was still standing. The coin must have melted before the gold did. There were a few ceramic things that were undamaged, but I don’t have hope of finding anything else of even sentimental value.

The thing that bugs me the most is losing my entire library, about 500 books. Most of the books were on history, geography, the Holocaust, Jewish studies and religion in general, medicine and nursing, plus a lot of reference books I needed as an editor. I had a large collection of classical music, and I was really sad to lose a CD collection of early recorded Gospel music called Goodbye Babylon which came in a wooden box with a tuft of cotton.

Oh well.

It’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s only stuff; almost all of it can be replaced… you need to be grateful that no lives were lost…” Yeah, I got that. It’s a real Zen moment. And, sure, at my age I needed to downsize anyway, but there are moments when I don’t feel very philosophical. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life cooking on a tiny apartment-sized stove when I had a beautiful Lofra. And I know my refrigerator was getting old anyway, but it was the only one I ever had of which I loved the interior design, and besides, it was my neighbor Emery (a refrigerator repair man) who came with me when I bought it and told me why that model was the best design for the climate in Israel. Emery died shortly after, and the house he and his wife built was consumed. Zelda told me she found two steel balls amongst the ruins — those Chinese balls with bells inside that you used in a kind of hand massage. Someone had given them to Emery when he was doing chemo, and he passed them on to Zelda saying she would need them.

What is really infuriating is that there has been a lot of looting in the houses where the interiors did not burn, and my house (which has no doors or windows) is missing two cast iron skillets and a ladder that would have survived. Unless looters are looking for cat food, they won’t find anything worth stealing, thank goodness.

So, I’ll close here. Today, on a more positive note, some volunteers are coming to do tree planting on the moshav, and I want to join them.

Thanks so much for being in touch. You can post this on Ricochet if you like.

Alifa

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Racism: Where?

 

I started this conversation because I hear the POTUS accused of racism when I can’t hear it. I’m hardly a Trump defender – he was in my bottom three GOP candidates in 2016 (I can’t easily convey how much I dislike John Kasich and Mike Huckabee), but like many I’m very pleased overall with his tenure in office.

I don’t get how criticizing four freshmen congressman makes him racist, or singling out a congressman from a district with huge crime and poverty problems. The only way to find race here is to note that two of “the Squad” are black, as is congressman Cummings. But I don’t see the racism in the tweets, and I have read columns by several conservative commentators as well as conversations here that sort of assume it as a fact.

I have read the tweets, and I don’t see it. The charge of racism has almost lost its meaning, since it’s applied so loosely. I mean, Congresswomen Cortez and Tlaib (I know the term Congresswomen would make them furious) are not even of a different race than the POTUS.

Since I see the POTUS’s tweets called racist without any visible argument to back it up, can someone please explain it to me? If you think the president’s tweets about any of these five congresspersons are racist, please explain it to me.

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“When no hill is worth dying on, eventually your enemy has all the high ground and you are surrounded.” – CDR Salamander CDR Salamander is a long-time milblogger. The quote is a a take on the saying, “Is this the hill you want to die on?” It is a response to the command “take that […]

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“Can anyone think of a single government program of social engineering for the “good” of people that ever worked out?” I want to ask this same question of all my social engineering brothers and my social engineering sisters, whether they be advocates of the well-meaning social engineering proposals of Karl Marx, Miss Ocasio-Cortez, James Pethokoukis, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Say You Want a Revolution, Part 3

 

In a recent post, we revisited fifty years ago, a cultural turning point with many similarities to today’s, a tumultuous, angry year when much of Hollywood saw mass audiences respond to Easy Rider and M.A.S.H. But inadvertently, it triggered a powerful law-and-order backlash whose inexhaustible fury would ensure that Archie Bunker, General Patton, Dirty Harry, Popeye Doyle, Vito Corleone, and Charles Bronson would provide the most iconic screen moments of the early Seventies.

To understate things, it sure seems today like a lot of people in this country, tens of millions of media consumers, are frustrated by their relative powerlessness. The Woke Market is not as big or bigger than the rest of America put together, and yet you’d never know that if you looked at a list of current films or TV shows. We can debate the reasons why, but there’s clearly an unsatisfied need to hotwire a path to cultural change, because whatever market mechanism is sending a corrective signal to the media, it’s not reaching enough of a real response.

The two articles so far in “You Say You Want a Revolution,” which began in June, and continued with part 2 in July, are invitations to imagine how to move towards a healthier culture, unabashedly aiming at putting ideas into practice, not proving them in theory. It’s an ongoing Ricochet conversation that seeks to move the ball a little farther down the field each time. We suggest specific examples of possible projects and ask you to dream up other, better ones.

Praise and shame; it never goes out of style. The Left’s playbook is a strong one: Attach your story to emotion, to a lasting, if not inextinguishable cause that nearly everyone can understand: For example, hard-line prewar segregation versus the rise of an oppressed people. Or women finally getting an equal chance at work, but at a time when they were more sexualized than ever. It’s not tough getting dramatic and colorful stories out of those raw ingredients, which have persisted as film material for roughly half a century. There are conservative variations on the stories just described, but by and large, they are considered liberal stories. They’ve proven that they have staying power, like it or not. They could be milked almost indefinitely.

What could be the equivalent on the Right? There are plenty of possibilities and you’ve already seen many of them discussed on Ricochet. Resentment over endless generations after generations of identity politics. Questions about the continuing relevance of affirmative action. Or even the seemingly incurable social-cultural abyss between groups of American whites who might as well live on different planets.

Not: Abstractions about the free market. “You didn’t build this.” “Ownership society.”

Those are only some of the deep and lasting emotions that a new direction in culture could turn into powerful screen stories. We’ve identified a few “causes”; now, we have to create or choose the specific projects that will embody them. When I posted the first in the series, @SkipSul said that in an age of many fragmented media choices, we’d be foolish to swing for the fences and bet everything, tentpole-style, on a handful of once-in-a-lifetime, win or lose it all kind of message-laden films. SkipSul, as usual, was right.

Nobody knows what will “hit,” so produce dramas, comedies, action pictures, documentaries, even dating movies appropriate to the chosen mission. A production slate is always needed. For a century, a studio putting everything on a single roll of the dice has been a prescription for disaster: Cleopatra, Heaven’s Gate, and Waterworld. Yes, Mel Gibson (a troubled man with undeniable gifts) got away with it on The Passion. No, that doesn’t mean you’re a sure thing to get away with it when your current project finally meets its audience in 2021 or 2022.

Netflix, despite its financial ups and downs, is becoming Hollywood’s new business model. The Industry has a suicidal tendency to go with bet-the-house tentpoles, but Netflix and Amazon focus on an annual collection of lower-budget productions with growth potential if any one of them should catch on.

This new scattershot approach should have some relevance to social conservatives. Bluntly, if you were, for example, devoted towards extending the beneficial effects of the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) and a wealthy member of the church donated a lot of money towards its media ministry, you could produce one mid-sized theatrical movie about Martin Luther. For the same sum, you could present an array of online “products” at as many levels as possible—kids, pre-teens, teens, young adults, families, and the elderly.

So you’ve decided what movie projects are missing from American life, and you’ve got writers and actors who are ready to make them. At this stage, to get them made and sold, it’s not like you’d need a rich pal: It’s worse. You’d probably need a couple of them, with different skill sets that don’t always overlap. The impresario, the super-salesman, and the keeper of the faith are not usually the same guy, and you need them all. The impresario is the showman, the braggart, the dynamo with a thousand contacts who can keep a production pipeline organized. He or she works in collaboration, and creative tension, with the head of sales. The impresario knows what artists and entertainers want to do; the sales boss only cares what people want to buy. Sales bring in the money, production spends it. You’d also be wise to have a Keeper of the Flame; someone of eminence who deals with Wall Street, the banks, the lawyers and the auditors.

Where could you even start such a process? Do it the way the pros did it—and by the pros, I mean the progressive Left. Make a handful of successful small projects and prove that developing a wider market is possible. That’s how the Sundance Institute changed Hollywood. It started with a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” symbiosis. Robert Redford was the handsome prince. Harvey Weinstein was the ugly hunchback behind the throne. Redford’s holy, immaculate non-profit created a forum; Harvey’s down-and-dirty Miramax skillfully exploited the opportunity. The two were inseparable. Think of the synergy of Intel and Microsoft, or (once upon a time) Apple and Motorola, Sundance, and Miramax. Sundance discovered and encouraged new social trends; Miramax weaponized them and made a fortune.

My electronics analogies aren’t up to @hankrhody quality, but here goes: you know how amplification works? In a heated vacuum tube, or a transistor, a strong flow of electricity is interrupted and shaped, controlled by a much weaker one. Studios, TV networks, streaming platforms capable of serving millions of simultaneous streams; that’s big money by anyone’s standards. Yet, rather like the Church acting as a throttle (at the best of times) on Medieval kings, intellectual institutions like AFI (the American Film Institute), AMPAS, (the motion picture academy) and the Sundance Institute, all with a relatively modest financial profile, manage to lead the big money boys around by the nose. Prestige, praise, blame, and shame; that’s how the non-profit “clergy” of Hollywood work their cultural magic. I’ve got no right to distance myself; for decades, I was in it up to my neck. There’s no more efficient way to change Hollywood movies than to be in charge of praise and shame.

When Leonard Nimoy read about the astonishing grosses of Star Wars in 1977, he would recount later, he smiled and waited for the phone call, knowing that Paramount Pictures would suddenly realize, “Hey, we’ve got one of those!” When you look at the AFI or other cultural arbiters, conservatives should remember, “Hey, we’ve got one of those!” and work with @titustechera to make it a more powerful instrument of change.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Will of Will (George)

 
George F. Will demonstrating irony without self-awareness.

There is no better teacher, if you approach teachers with a critical eye, than George F. Will. Follow his wanderings, question his assumptions, and cut through his erudite, but ever regretful lamentations on the American condition. Will celebrates in quiet tones, and drones on, grief-stricken, about the frenzy overtaking our world in what appears to be well-reasoned tomes (calm, dull, professorial lecture rants?).

As he grows older, they become less and less a philosophy, and more a journey in new age discovery attracted to the latest bright and shiny object (or revelation). Crows flock to tin foil. But, Will is different. He is an Edgar Allen Poe style raven, or more precisely the poem, The Raven – elegiac. When he puts pen to paper or key to screen, his words flow with excerpts taken from great thinkers and ideas laid down centuries ago, all spattered with mourn. Will was born too late, too soon, or in the wrong place … or more than likely with the wrong contemporaries. He would probably say his observations are predicated on immutable truths, but if that were true, one would expect a longer life expectancy to the conclusions he draws. His ideas have the half-life of a US Army issue MRE (about five years). And like an MRE, after a few days of this diet, it doesn’t sit well on the stomach. Filling, not fulfilling.

However, Will’s wonderment and fascination with the world around him, and himself, makes for great instruction on the importance of endurance. Or, should we now call it sustainability? His credentials and brilliant writing though compelling, lack the integrity he so desperately projects with his classical rhetoric. One almost gets the feeling Will is a bit of a scold. You know, a “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” lefty academic caught in what may have been a past philosophical conversion or career choice that now entraps him in a vocation, Conservative. He seems to feel contrition about this as he keeps writing and rewriting the rules of Conservatism, what it means to be a Conservative, what Conservatives should be, what Conservatives should think. Try as he may, he is crying out for acceptance and adjusting his interpretation until the rest of us see his light.

While Will shares many of William F. Buckley’s skills of lofty elocution and writing, he lacks Buckley’s tempered-steel logic. Buckley rarely flipped. Will flips every few years or so. George F. Will’s contemporary, Charles Krauthammer, was less dramatic, more circumventing, clever, and yet, more consistent. As Will ages, he is becoming captured by his medium, mainstream media. He is following the path of David Brooks, sometimes brilliant, sometimes useful – but never for long. What this all means is if you follow George Will to his logical conclusion, you may soon find yourself alone. He is resolute, until he isn’t.

Which brings us to the topic of another political observer, Marianne Williamson. Williamson is a presidential candidate after having made a good living in the guru, self-improvement industry. Paul Mirengoff took the time to capture this new Rasputin/Billy Sunday/Joel Osteen variant and her groovy zeitgeist in his post on Powerline, Statecraft as Soulcraft. Like Will, Williamson’s solutions feel good because they ignore the obvious and most critical consequences.

To make his point, Mirengoff drew a comparison with George Will’s screed, “Statecraft as Soulcraft” (published in 1984 by, … ‘Written in Sand Publishers?’). This book called for government to promote the sociology of virtue. Apparently, Conservative Will feels the state needs to supplant or supplement the individual, family, and church, or perhaps he was unaware modern public schools were already being turned into Progressive indoctrination camps for a century or more (see, John Dewey). In the book, Will criticized the Founders for failing to grasp the need for a government bureau or board of ethics. Indeed, perhaps Conservative Will was thinking about past successes in state-sponsored ethics (e.g., efficiency of Il Duce, obedience to Emperor, love of Mao, or another of their contemporaries who built his personal power upon state-sponsored ethic). Nothing like a government to discern, instruct, and compel personal ethics. Achtung!

But here is the gem in bold print that appears in Mirengoff’s piece. This captures Will’s later reversal of his book’s hypothesis, because in 1984 he apparently held a less jaundiced view of government rather than an enduring philosophy reflecting that of the Founders. Call it a belated realization (great awakening?):

Will has since changed his mind (since publishing Statecraft as Soulcraft). He told Peter Wehner, that he now has a jaundiced view of government, and hence of assigning it the role of crafting souls. In addition, he now recognizes that the freedoms enshrined by the Founders are good for the soul. Our economic system, for example, doesn’t just make us better off. It makes us better by enforcing such virtues as thrift, industriousness, and the deferral of gratification.

The idea of statecraft as soulcraft never caught on with conservatives. It is fundamentally at odds with conservatism. It’s the modern left that wants the government to hector, or coerce, us into improving our souls. Indeed, the totalitarian left has long talked about creating a “new man”, more virtuous than actual men, and about overcoming “false consciousness.”

One might write the negative of the sentence in bold print above as “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

No one hated idle hands, or underemployed hands, more than Adam Smith. Adam Smith is viewed as the father of modern capitalism and trade theory or comparative advantage – the “economic system” referred to in the quote. However, Smith was more a social psychologist than economist or political theoretician. Smith wrote as much or more on religion, compassion, and morals, as he did about wealth. It should surprise no one that Smith was well-read by American leadership, who looked around and saw their lives as proof of Smith’s ideas (Wealth of Nations was published in 1776).

Smith observed how humans behave, how they respond to industrialization and urbanization, and how they might replace the things lost when life was no longer focused on the rural family and village. Smith believed when man was no longer encumbered by aristocratic or state-imposed serfdom, his nature was free to seek reward by his own labor. Rewards spurred industriousness which in turn motivated noble endeavor, frugality, self-improvement, and responsibility – and the demands of industrialization and urbanization created a need to relieve the boredom and tedium by seeking community and spirituality amongst a cohort. Thus, free markets removed the power of the ruling class, this freed men to create plenty, plenty allowed them to make the connections between their self-interest and their human sympathy for those around them. This later part was Smith’s most noble contribution.

Someone may want to tell Will, Smith’s formula of human motivation is what motivates him and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson to pitch secular ethics. And the state played no role.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs! Not Messing!

 

The veterinarian finished his examination of the three-legged, short-tailed, grey and white cat with one blue eye and one green eye, shook his head wonderingly, and looked over at her owner.

“Don’t you have any normal pets?” he inquired.

“Actually, no,” I replied.

It isn’t as if I’ve gone out of my way to seek out the unusual, the bizarre, the damaged, the halt, the lame, or the blind when it comes to four-legged, three-legged (or even two-legged, trust me), companions. They find me. And they always have. In Africa, during my childhood, it was monkeys, lynxes, deer and parrots; for the last thirty years, it’s been cats and dogs, with the occasional rabbit or bird mixed in for good measure–not so exotic, but just as capable of worming their way into my affections, a shortcoming and weakness which, perhaps, I need to work on. And I am.

The last pet I made up, out of thin air, that I’d really like to have, and which I deliberately pursued, was an Old English Sheepdog, early in 1986, and shortly before Mr. She and I moved into a field in extreme Southwest PA to build a house. We got him as a puppy, we named him Wulfie (after St. Wulfstan), and he was a total lovebug. Smart, stubborn, and in terms of any practical application, utterly useless. He died at the age of twelve or so (a venerable age for the breed), probably of a heart attack, leaving Boris (girl, long story, don’t ask) a golden retriever mix we rescued from unfortunate circumstances in the city in 1985, alone. So, what to do?

Enter, out of the blue, the Old English Sheepdog rescue people, who offered up Harry, a three-year-old enormous exemplar of the breed. A people doctor would probably have placed Harry squarely in the middle of the autism spectrum, but this was the late 1990s, and he thrived on the farm. Alongside the creatures who, thanks to the kindness of strangers, kept turning up: Kirby (part Australian Shepherd and unwanted); Duke (appeared on the back porch full of buckshot, three weeks after Boris died at the age of about 18–another trenchant comment that my veterinarian made as some point was along the lines of “My God, I’ve never seen pets live, consistently, as long as yours do”); Houdini and Twiggy, rescued from running loose on the ridge in 2005; Penny, found by a friend of mine wandering at the junctions of SR-40 and I-70 in Washington, thin as a rail and reeking from some awful skin disease; Cinnamon, a small chow-looking mix who died at the age of about 19 and never quite got over what seemed to be a grudge against men in uniforms; my stepson Sam’s Boston Terrier, Leon (who I include here for the purpose of completeness, although small, yappy little dogs are so not my favorites); and Buddy, wonderful Buddy who, already aged and with few teeth when I first met him in 2008 sitting by the side of the road, seemingly with nowhere to go, simply got up, marched into the passenger side of the car, and moved in, living for another seven or eight years, when it seemed his course had already pretty much run.

Since then there has been Levi, dishonorably discharged from his work at the farm up the road, and Xena, his pal, and a gradual decrease in the number of canines on the farm as anno domini and its inevitable effects have taken their toll. I can’t say (as anno domini takes its inevitable effects on the two of us) that Mr. She and I mind all that much. So, at the moment, on the canine front, Xena and Levi are it. (Shhhhh. Please don’t tempt fate on our behalf.)

This says nothing about the regular eruption into our lives of those dogs who don’t belong to us, who aren’t abandoned, and who just need to be returned to their owners. These include Ace, the black Labrador from Claysville who likes to roam, Bear, the Husky mix from a mile or so up the road in the other direction, Jimmy the Chihuahua mix, and (my favorite) Riley, the deaf and geriatric beagle, who occasionally wanders off from his equally deaf and geriatric owner, gets lost in our woods, and stands howling loudly (usually in the middle of a nice little stand of poison ivy or poison oak) till I rescue him and return him home.

So. Those are the dogs. On to the cats.

As the saying goes: “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.”

And never was that more true than with Pookie, the tiny, blind kitten I discovered in the field mewling like–well, like a kitten–with his umbilical cord inextricably wrapped around a blade of grass. He had what my stepdaughter laughingly called “Press-On Fur,” a few scraggly bits of grey fur, here and there, reminiscent of the advertisement for “Lee Press-On Nails” at the time (about 1990) and he was extremely weak. Nevertheless, I put him in a shoebox with a wad of sheep fleece to snuggle into, an alarm clock to listen to, and a cc or so of Jim Beam to warm him up, and disappeared up the road to find the kitten milk replacer. He remains the only cat I’ve ever raised from so very young an age (probably 2-3 days old), and he lived 19 years. He was a pistol. He turned into a beautiful, long-haired Persian-type cat with an aggrieved and jealous disposition, and is the only cat I’ve ever had to ask the fire department to rescue, when he disappeared for about a week and I finally discovered him about 40 feet up a tree, 1/4 mile down the road, just after a hellatious thunderstorm. The first fire department I begged for help laughed at me. (Truly, a mistake on their part. Promise.) The second one sent their truck, their ladder, and their men, for their October “ladder training” to rescue my cat. I’ll always be grateful to them. (And, for that, they get the money. And always will.)

I’ve also bonded with my veterinarian over the hundreds and hundreds of dollars (thousands, probably) I’ve spent over the past thirty years, getting the neighborhood and feral cats spayed and neutered. If they’re dumb enough, or desperate enough, to show up in my barn for food, they’re going down. No questions. No excuses. (Only once have I had a medical “incident” as a result; when I got bitten by a cat and ended up with what looked like elephantiasis of my leg, but which was really a variant of “cat scratch fever.” That’s when I was prescribed a massive regimen of “doxycycline,” an antibiotic which I learned was first used to mitigate STD’s, and which led me to wonder if the doctor who discovered its propensity, and so named it had been aware of the eighteenth-century use of the word “doxy” to describe prostitutes. But I digress. Imagine my surprise.) Still, the doxycycline worked for me, and things returned to normal. Apropos of nothing, it’s now the favored drug for treating dogs who have a positive reaction to the ‘lyme disease’ test.

Cats are dumped and released in country surroundings in staggering numbers, every day. While my kinder self wants to believe that people who do this think (kindly) that they’ll survive, this isn’t usually true. (It is especially not true for rabbits. Please do not release domestic rabbits into the wild. It’s a death sentence. Please take them to your local animal shelter, where at least they’ll have a chance.)

I can’t count the number of cats we’ve found, in the woods or in the driveway, or which we’ve placed, been gifted with, given away and kept, over the last thirty years. Dozens and dozens. Perhaps a hundred or more. At the moment, the reckoning is as follows:

Little Levi: Dumped by the people who lived across from my stepdaughter. They moved away, left their apartment, and just turfed the cat out into the street to fend for himself.

Am:  My stepson Sam’s cat. She’s very old.

Darlene and Wookie:  Gifted by friends of ours in Pittsburgh. There were six kittens delivered under their porch by a mother cat who was thrown out by a woman who lived up the road from them. Darlene is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever known. Wookie is one of the dumbest. They’re prone to having little conversations along the following lines:

Wookie: Darlene. DARLENE! I killed a mouse!
Darlene: I highly doubt that.
Wookie: I did! I did! I smacked it off the desk and onto the floor and it was dead!
Darlene: How do you know it was dead? Did its whiskers stop twitching? Did it stop breathing?
Wookie: No, but its batteries fell out.
Darlene:  Oh, Wookie!!

Or

Darlene: For the love of God and Two Policemen, Wookie, now what are you doing??
Wookie:  Look. It’s a spa.
Darlene: Huh?
Wookie:  It’s lovely. You get inside, and lots of lovely soft, warm cottony things bat you around, and it blows warm air all over you. It’s very relaxing.
Darlene:  WOOKIE!! GET. OUT. OF. THE. CLOTHES. DRYER. NOW!!
Wookie: . . . Whoops . . .

Little Alice, a/k/a “Psycho Cat:” She was a kitten offered to us by a little girl when we were entering the supermarket one day–“Hey, mister, do you want a free kitten.” “No thank you,” I said, on behalf of us both. Second thoughts caused me to wonder if the little girl and her adult companion would give the kitty to a creep who’d feed it to his pet python, so we went back. This little girl was Mexican, was traveling with her family while her dad followed the “fracking” work, and had rescued the kitten from behind the motel where they were staying. She’d gone to Walmart, found the milk replacer, studied what to do on the Internet, and obviously loved this little kitty. But they were about to move on, and her dad said she had to find a new home for the cat. Soo . . . enter, She. In terms of ingratitude, this cat wrote the book.

And, 

Psymon: A beautiful orange and white cat I’d been trying to entrap for a several months, who suddenly (after spending the winter in the woods) marched into the house sometime this past March, and hasn’t left since. He’s an angel.

So, I think that’s it for now. Two (very large) dogs, and six cats. Relatively few. Please, may it stay that way for a while.

Of course, there’s the all-black, rather old looking cat who turns up occasionally for a meal and who I haven’t succeeded in rounding up yet. Trust me. It’s just a matter of time . . . 

Please. Support your local humane society. They do great work. And get your pets spayed and neutered, unless you’re in the breeding business. And if you are, please keep all the creatures as healthy as possible. Thanks. Bless.

In Memoriam, Zippy the Pinhead. 1998-2001.

A tiny, tailless, sweet little cat who never even made it to four pounds in weight. She was special.

 

 

 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Defense of the Indefensible

 

Despite being a member for almost two years, this is my first post on Ricochet. I am currently in the middle of a two-month hiatus from my work as a Data Analytics and Visualization Consultant, and I wanted to take on the challenge of writing once a day for an entire month. I’m making no guarantees on quality, consistency, or readability on any of my posts. This is mainly an exercise to ensure my time off is (at least partially) well-spent.

So now the meat.

I have friends across the entire political spectrum, from ultra-conservative (American) right-wing, to full-Bern socialist supporters (note that they are not ACTUAL socialists as they still live comfortably in American Capitalism). This morning, I woke up to a post from a former childhood friend who was upset that one of her neighbors had recently erected a flag featuring President Trump superimposed over the American flag (available at Amazon). While I personally find the item to be in poor taste, I was a little surprised at how much attention the post got, most of it agreeing with the author of the post that it was in poor taste. However, I couldn’t help but ruffle a few feathers by pointing out that this wasn’t the first time we’d seen the American flag “enhanced” in such a way. In fact this flag was seen flying over the Lake County, FL Democratic Party HQ in 2012 (and is also available on Amazon).

That prompted me to post a (mostly coherent) rant on Facebook, in which I admonished my friends and blamed them for putting me in the unenviable position of defending President Trump.

In 2016, I attended the Republican National Convention as an alternate delegate representing the Republican Party of Washington state. Some of you may remember that Washington’s delegation was staunchly in favor of Ted Cruz, despite the fact that he had officially dropped out of the race by the time Washington held its primary. Washington has an open Primary, and as such, I personally see no reason why a party should bind it’s delegate votes to the popular vote in the state. That being said, I was among a vocal group that actively spoke out against the nomination of our current President, and proudly declared myself as part of the #NeverTrump movement.

However, after the election, like many others, I took a more measured “wait and see” approach, judging him on his actions since the elections. And to borrow from Ben Shapiro, I believe in the “Good Trump/Bad Trump” philosophy, which is to praise him when he does well, and call him out when he acts stupidly.

Effectively, I called out my friends for being hyperbolic and subject to TDS. Below are some excepts from my rant.

TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is a real, legit thing. He could literally tweet about how water is wet, and my FB and Twitter feeds would be filled with claims about how “water” was a dog whistle for white nationalism, and a flood of “experts” would come out and explain that the properties of water actually made it dry, and Snopes would fact-check the claim as “partially true.”

You have put me in the unenviable position of defending that crass jerk. And do you know WHY I will defend him?

Because for all of his asinine tweets (and let’s face it, most of them ARE asinine):

-The economy is booming: unemployment is at a FIFTY (50) year low
– His administration is tougher on Russia than any administration since Bush the Elder (yes, for all the talk of “collusion” look up his record on sanctions against Russia).
– He upheld the promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the undisputed capitol of Israel
– Threats of tariffs against southern neighbors like Mexico and Honduras are forcing those countries to toughen their own border security and illegal immigration problems.

But by all means, keep pretending that he’s worse than:
– FDR, who literally put American citizens in internment camps
– Woodrow Wilson, who reinvigorated the KKK, screened Birth of a Nation in the White House, and re-segregated the government and military
– Andrew Jackson, who forced Indigenous tribes to move from their ancestral lands to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears
– LBJ, whose “Great Society” created a welfare state that destroyed minority families by incentivizing single motherhood, and created urban ghettos

I challenge any of you to name ONE thing this president has DONE (not just said, but actually acted on) since he took office that is as bad (or worse) than those four things listed above.

It kills me to defend Trump, especially as i remember what it was like at Cleveland three years ago. Seeing the ushers in the neon green hats trying to “whip” (in the political sense) the delegation into getting on board the Trump Train, and strong-arming (in the literal sense) those who refused to drink the Kool-Aid. That experience made me revile party politics and swear off participating in future events.

But if I’m being honest with myself, and my friends, I will defend the President on his actions, even if I can’t defend his tweets. For the record, I’ve not committed to voting for anyone in 2020, and will wait and see what the landscape looks like closer to the election.

Thanks for reading my first-ever post on Ricochet and I look forward to discussion and feedback.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Can’t Choose Life

 

There’s a pro-life slogan that goes “Choose life.” I’m sure the idea is to subvert pro-choice language for a pro-life message. Unfortunately, it concedes the pro-choice worldview that life is something that can be chosen. I’m sorry to say that it isn’t.

My husband and I decided to “choose life” ten years into our marriage. Seven years later, the only pitter-patter of little feet in our house still comes from our cats, even after three rounds of inter-uterine insertion (IUI). My sister and brother-in-law decided to “choose life” with in vitro fertilization. For the first round, all five of their embryonic children died before any could be implanted. The second round resulted in four embryos. She had one implanted today; she has about a 50% chance of that child surviving to live birth. My cousin and her boyfriend managed to have a healthy pregnancy when she became pregnant accidentally and they “chose life”; her infant son died two months ago after surviving mere hours.

Life simply cannot be chosen. Even when we can create an embryo in a lab, we cannot do better than a coin flip to ensure it survives to be a healthy baby. We can make ourselves open to life, we can accept life, we can embrace, encourage, nurture, and even extend life; but we simply cannot choose to make a life the way we can choose options off a menu.

P.S. For those wanting to say that I could choose to become a parent through adoption: I regret to inform you that the process has changed slightly since Matthew Cuthbert brought home Anne of Green Gables because the orphanage was out of teenage boys that day. One can choose to start the adoption process, but the choice of whether one will be a parent is in the hands of the birth family, the adoption agency, the local social services, the family court, and even sometimes the Supreme Court and foreign governments. All of those decision-makers are much more strict in deciding who ought to be a parent than Mother Nature.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

From Second City Cop A 12-year-old girl was shot soon after her father argued with the gunman at a North Side store, police said early Sunday. About 2:30 a.m. officers were called to the 3200 block of North Kimball Avenue for a report of a drive-by shooting in the Avondale neighborhood. They learned the 12-year-old had […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Sublime Way to Chill Out

 

Dry Ice pellets
Dry Ice pellets
Sublime has a number of meanings, such as lofty, noble, above the rest. However, in the world of chemistry, sublime means to go directly from solid to gas, do not pass liquid, do not collect in a flask. The classic example of this is dry ice, solid carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide gas is everywhere (a fact that sends Al Gore into conniptions) as the product of combustion and biological use of carbon sources like sugars and fats. This means it is easily available for scientific study. As scientists sought to chill this gas, they found that they could not liquefy it at atmospheric pressure, no matter how much they cooled it down. Liquid carbon dioxide only exists at high pressures. That means the solid left no liquid behind as it sublimed – thus the name dry ice.

Dry ice is in common use as the cheapest way to get temperatures well below freezing. Dry ice sublimes at −78.5°C (−109.3°F) which has a wide range of uses – including ice cream and fog machines. (Be careful with the fog – it has elevated CO2 levels and is dangerous without good ventilation.) Two of these uses are ones I encounter regularly in the lab.

The first use is for shipping biological samples. Dry ice keeps the samples preserved without risking leakage or flooding. However, all of that CO2 is slowing turning into a gas. If it is not properly vented, the package will explode. (One of the reasons dry ice is harder to get now is that people without common sense made homemade explosives with this method.) We hear of reports about once a year of another exploding package, though it is getting less common.

-80 Freezer
A normal -80 freezer
The other side is related. Typically, bacteria and cell lines are stored frozen around dry ice temperature (-80°C).

It’s so common that people will mention having a “minus eighty” and most scientists will immediately know what you are talking about. These freezers often hold years of work, the product of countless hours of painstaking labor. Normally, they have backup batteries and similar systems, but those only last so long.

During grad school, the power went out in my lab’s building on a summer day, so I went into the sweltering, pitch-black building with cryogenic gloves, a flashlight, and bucket of dry ice. I was frantically packing the freezer with dry ice to help keep it cool. That was a bizarre contrast between feeling like I was in a sauna while working with stuff cold enough to burn my skin…

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Comey’s Comeuppance Cometh

 

John Solomon is one plugged-in reporter. I started to see chatter on social media about DOJ IG Horowitz referring people, including Comey, for criminal prosecution and find that Solomon already has an article up on it. In the referral being reported, Comey leaked classified information for political purposes and personal gain, and then lied about it when interviewed, but the Justice Department declined to prosecute him.

Given that article says DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins” (not enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law), sounds like they may have what they consider more serious, better case(s) on other charges … like FISA abuse maybe?

The Hill published a brief article back in May that outlined three likely inquiry streams for Barr’s various DOJ investigations to pursue:

1) whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation

2) whether Comey’s team obeyed long-established investigative guidelines while conducting the investigations and, specifically, if there was sufficient, truthful justification to legally conduct electronic surveillance of an American citizen (FISA abuse)

3) whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas of the previous administration’s DNI, CIA director, and attorney general. A particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, either its own or the CIA’s.


Word on social media is that Horowitz is referring several of former bureau leadership.

Wonder how this will play out…fully expect Dems to trash Horowitz. Does Comey then play victim? Will the adverse findings of professionals put a dent in his public moralizing?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Two Faces of Policing

 

There are two faces of policing: community policing and enforcement can be somewhat confusing at times. Thankfully the violent encounters seen on YouTube still disturb the majority of the American public. Television and movies tend to glorify violent encounters. Violence sells, but most encounters between private citizens and police officers rarely result in a violent encounter. Police officers are no different than any members of any other profession. Some are competent and some are not. Police officers should be held to a higher standard of conduct than private citizens.

The Sunshine Division of the Portland Police Bureau has provided food and clothing to needy families since 1923. Policing is a strange job, a mixture of compassion and sometimes violent encounters. You never know what you will get as a street cop. The Sunshine Division is supported by private donations.

More than nine decades after those early humanitarian efforts by uniformed and volunteer police – and still in a vital partnership with Portland Police Bureau – Sunshine Division continues its fundamental mission: to provide emergency food and clothing relief year-round to Portland families and individuals in need. During the life of Sunshine Division, we’ve grown into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that relies solely on donations to fund the collection and distribution of food and clothes.

Through our front doors we serve 15,600+ households a year with “shopping” experiences in our clothing store as well as with food (including nonperishable, frozen, fresh produce, and dairy products). We also make bulk donations of food to 15+ other food-relief agencies in five counties, thus extending our reach beyond the City of Portland.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Augustus on Discontinuing the Dole

 

“I had a good mind to discontinue permanently the supply of grain to the city, reliance on which had discouraged Italian agriculture, but refrained because some politician would be bound one day to revive the dole as a means of ingratiating himself with the people.” — Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus

It is August 1, a month named after Cæsar Augustus, thus I thought I would go back to the old boy as my source for today’s quotation. There are many good or interesting quotations attributed to him, but this one tickled my funny bone. Yes, one might see it as a bit fatalistic. One might also see it as the root of Rome’s destruction that he did not act. Or, one might see it as a nod to human nature.

What do you see in it?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Crying Jag

 

“Money may not buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” ― Françoise Sagan

When I first came upon this quote, I had no idea who Francoise Sagan was. I found out that she was a novelist and playwright whose 1954 novel Bonjour Tristesse (Hello, Sadness) brought her international fame at the tender age of 18.

A glamorous life following that early fame was also plagued by gambling, cocaine, and alcohol addictions. When she died in 2004, she was reported to be in debt by more than a million Euros.

So was this French author and amoralist right? Is it better to cry in a Jag? Somewhere I read that the car company used the quote for one of its ads. A Pfizer-sponsored website posts it as an inspirational quote.

But I’m inclined to think Sagan got it wrong. Crying in a Jag indicates that your search for happiness in fast cars has failed. Crying in a bus indicates hope. You can go up from a bus; but unless you’re crying because your Jag is yet again in the shop, you’ve nowhere to go but down.

“Vanity, all is vanity,” says the Preacher (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Perhaps it takes a preacher to help us come to our senses. In the end, whether you’re crying on a bus or in a Jaguar, you’re crying. The point is the tears. And like tears of joy, tears of repentance bless us. I hope Sagan cried those tears, too.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

We all make fun of the idea of voting for someone because they are easy on the eyes. Americans are SO shallow and silly, aren’t they? Here’s why I would vote for Tulsi over any other Democrat: my life is better because when I open the local newspaper every morning I do not have Hillary […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Members will remember back in May, I started a GoFundMe campaign here on Ricochet and that other place, to help get @kayofmt through a very tough time in her life. The Members came through with a pretty sizable pile of dough. I am very sorry I forgot to post this when Kay sent it two weeks […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Pats on the back…and maybe a nice gift. Because I’m watching the second Democratic debate. I didn’t even recognize the guy with the eyebrows. And why is Gillibrand still in this? The only interesting person on the stage is Tulsi Gabbard.

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