This is not my place.

by baldilocks

I’ve lived in my apartment for fourteen months now. After having spent nine months in homeless housing, I don’t like to complain about my present habitation. And it is not that bad. Nice, relatively quiet neighborhood. Very racially mixed, as I said in my last post. The noisiest thing: car alarms and fast drivers.

I’ve talked before about my homeless sojourn; my first roommate had four AM hallucinations featuring me knocking on the walls and, as a result did things in “retaliation” like threaten my life. And, after I proactively rid myself of her company, my two new roommates were very nice older ladies who liked to sleep with all windows closed. I usually slept with a fan directly on my face and no covers.

Now, therefore, I try to revel in the solitude, the cool, fresh air and the freedom from the need to sleep with one eye open.

The only real problem I have living here is a very slight one: my landlords’ attitudes. Every time I tell them that there’s a problem, they act as if I’ve sabotaged their property.

Example: my front windows were stuck in the closed position for months, beginning just two month after I moved in—in September of last year. I let it go for the winter but when it began to get warm again, I told the owners—a married couple. The man came over and fixed them easily—something I was unable to do because I don’t have the upper body strength necessary. Then he mentioned that the windows had never gotten stuck before. When I said that they simply just stopped moving, he said: “sure they did.” I was silent. You don’t want to curse out your landlord.

There have been three other incidents like this.

I used to be a landlady—owner of a duplex and I lived in one of the units—so I understand about how tenants are sometimes. Heck, the teenaged son of my tenant burgled the battery out of my temporarily out-of-service car while the car was in the garage! I found out when I went to take it to mechanic. (I told him that a functioning battery had better magically appear under my hood in 24 hours or the police would be informed. I assume that he lifted one from someone else.) But to automatically be assumed to be an unreasonable breaker-of-things doesn’t happen to me often.

It kind of interesting to be looked down upon and have others expect the worst of you. Did I mention that these people were black? Losing almost everything I own has taught me that I am not my material possessions. If my landlords are lucky, they won’t have to discover this in the same manner that I did.

No more complaining.

And I have a new video up.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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Two words: Supreme Court. That’s why many people voted for Donald Trump.

Trump should have the opportunity to replace at least three justices on the court over the next four years, including the Scalia vacancy, possibly the irritating Darth Vader Ginsburg and the wobbly Anthony Kennedy. It’s conceivable that liberal Stephen Breyer might call it quits, too.

Since the Democrats will undoubtedly fight many of the administration’s policies in the courts, these choices will prove not only important during the Trump years but far beyond them.

As a result, it is important for Trump to choose outside of the usual ranks of the judiciary. Eight of the justices come from the bench; only Elena Kagan does not.

Some of the recent choices from the judiciary by Republicans have not proven reliable. For example, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a neck-snapping decision in support of Obamacare. Kennedy joins the liberals when it comes to social issues involving abortion and same-sex marriages. Perhaps the worst example of a Republican appointment was David Souter, who was selected by George H. W. Bush as a bedrock conservative and joined the liberal side of the bench after a few years.

A conservative bench also could look back on some of the wrong-headed decisions from recent years, including Obamacare. Even more important would be the possibility of a case to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It’s worth noting that more than 100 federal judgeships are also waiting to be filled.

One suggestion: appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court. Although Trump and Cruz may not have gotten along during the 2016 campaign, the Texas Republican has a significant track record as a conservative.

He has argued more cases before the court than any other member of Congress, including positions to uphold the right to bear arms and religious freedom.

I supported Cruz for president and am pleased to support his nomination to the court. His selection would assuage the doubts of many conservatives who voted for Trump.

Update: I called the presidential election correctly in Pennsylvania in my last post, but I got the Senate race wrong. My apologies to Pat Toomey!

Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.


At Don Surber’s site he notes that my fellow catholics had a lot to do with Donald Trump winning the presidency

Catholics got the last laugh as they swung nine points moving from Democrats (Obama won Catholics by two) to Trump (he won Catholics by seven).

as did Crux:

But out of sight of most media reports, religious concerns also seem to have played an important role in Trump’s win. Whether religious voters were embracing Trump or blocking Clinton, there seems to be a clear political message in the result, which is that people of faith cannot be ignored, disparaged or taken for granted.

Coming on the heels of an administration known for court battles with faith-based businesses, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders over policies such as the HHS contraception mandate, which includes sterilization procedures and drugs critics regard as abortion-inducing, revelations seen as indicative of team Clinton’s hostility to aspects of evangelical Protestantism and the Catholic faith certainly didn’t help.

Nor did a Catholic on the bottom half of her ticket who took public policy positions at odds with the teaching of his Church on issues including abortion, the death penalty and marriage.
Nor, of course, did leaked emails from her campaign manager discussing using political operatives to change Catholic doctrine from within the Church.

But for my money the thing that made the difference for the non cafeteria Catholic was the third debate and this question

One of the things I’ve seen over the last 30 years are a group of elderly catholics Democrats who cut their teeth on JFK who seemed totally oblivious to the party rejecting faithful Catholics.

Even as the party became more and more hostile to the faith they remained in blissful ignorance, never getting the image out of their head of Democrats as the party of JFK and confident that all the talk by people like me who had left the party over their hostility to my faith were mistaken or misguided.

Then they saw, for the very first time ever in a presidential debate, a question on abortion that actually illustrated the extreme position of the Democrats. When they saw Chris Wallace question Hillary Clinton on late term abortion (2:20), heard Hillary defend it, and then listened as Donald Trump said:

Well I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the 9th month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother, just prior to the birth of the baby. Now you can say that that’s Ok and Hillary can say that’s ok but it’s not OK with me.

At that moment the mask was torn off and while that kind of thing wasn’t going to move “cultural” catholic whose faith is a coat that is put on or off depending on their comfort level I suspect that many of those older faithful Catholics, the type of folks that “Catholic” colleges which have no trace of faith on campus but send letters quoting scripture soliciting funds to, finally saw the Democrat party in general and Hillary Clinton in particular, for what they are.

And when they did I suspect many of them in rush belt states decided that a vote for Hillary was a bridge too far.