One of them anyway …

by baldilocks

Well I guess I understand why the DHS is doing this, but

Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program that is drawing criticism from within the agency.

The previously undisclosed program, called “Quiet Skies,” specifically targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” according to a Transportation Security Administration bulletin in March.

The internal bulletin describes the program’s goal as thwarting threats to commercial aircraft “posed by unknown or partially known terrorists,” and gives the agency broad discretion over which air travelers to focus on and how closely they are tracked.

It is a time-consuming and costly assignment, they say, which saps their ability to do more vital law enforcement work.

TSA officials, in a written statement to the Globe, broadly defended the agency’s efforts to deter potential acts of terror. But the agency declined to discuss whether Quiet Skies has intercepted any threats, or even to confirm that the program exists.

I’m guessing ‘no’ and ‘yes.’

Between this, and the TSA activities — x-rays and groping … er … pat-downs — I’ll pass on flying when I can. I have a choice with my upcoming trip and I choose the ground, along with a relative bit of freedom.

From those who don’t know what I’m talking about, go here. And, yes, one Peter Ingemi is on my list of persons to visit.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

The teaching of history in high school has become so appalling that few students arrive at a university with any coherent understanding of the past.

As an example, I’ve been asked to be on a panel for my college’s students who are too young to know much about 9/11.

Think about that. Somehow college students don’t know enough about 9/11, an event that occurred less than 20 years ago that has shaped the United States so distinctly.

With a lack of understanding about recent historical events, it is not surprising that students don’t know much older history. And what the students know is mostly tripe. Somehow 9/11 was OUR fault. Saddam Hussein wasn’t such a bad guy. We stole America from its true owners and should pay reparations for slavery.

But there’s more. The College Board, a nonprofit organization that runs the SAT and Advanced Placement program, announced that it was revising the world history course it has offered since 2002.

After many complaints, the organization added 250 years to the front end of the course, making the new class cover the 13th century through to the present day.

Here’s what students will learn in the additional material:

–The founding of the Mali Empire in 1235
–The death of Sundiata Keita in 1260
–The life of Mansa Musa (1280-1337)
–Swahili cities of the 14th century
–Zimbabwe in the 15th century

And wait for it: The beginning of the European slave trade in 1441.

All of these areas of history may be worthwhile to examine, but I don’t think they belong in an introductory world history course.

But there’s even more. One of the suggested areas of study is to imagine if Christopher Columbus were a woman named Christine.

The study guideline suggests an area of discussion includes the societal interpreations of menstruation in European and Native American culture. I’m not kidding.

Here it is:

In a companion syllabus, the rest of the course, which is supposed to be at the college level, provides information on the following:

–Global Interactions (c. 1450 to c. 1750)

That would be creating imperial empires that subjugate humans throughout the world. Now I’m kidding, but it’s probably close to the truth.

–Industrialization and Global Integration (c. 1750 to c. 1900)

That would be dehumanizing workers and expanding empires to subjugate the poor.

–Accelerating Global Change and Realignments (c. 1900 to the Present)

I think this probably means a lot of bad things happened unless you were part of the one-percenters.

You really can’t make this stuff up! But I guess a lot of high school history teachers do.

Here’s Sam Cooke:


By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Not much surprises me anymore but I have to admit, I’m surprised that this, via The Hayride, is a thing now:

At an annual American Library Association conference in New Orleans, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) officially introduced “Drag Queen Story Hour” to librarians across the country.

According to an ALSC post on its website, libraries across the country could now be hosting men dressed as women in scary costumes with horns, while reading to young children. The feature image is of Xochi Mochi who read at the Long Beach public library dressed as a demon with five horns and a white painted face. Last year drag queens read to school children at public libraries in New York City and throughout California, wearing wigs and makeup.

Of course, after a photo of Xochi Mochi went viral on Facebook Left-wing propaganda site Snopes argued that it was impossible to know if he was dressed like a demon since demons only have 2, not 5 horns. Apparently Snopes would know this. Forget about a man dressed like a woman and a devil-horned demon reading to children– that shouldn’t concern anyone, just the number of horns.

Here is a clip from the post referenced above from the American Library Association site:

 Interested in bringing Drag Queen Storytime to your library? ALSC Committee Members received tips for optimizing success from library pioneers who have already done it.  We also had the chance to meet a Drag Queen who talked about the value of offering this program, including fostering empathy, tolerance, creativity, imagination and fun.  Drag Queen Story Hour is a non-profit and you can find out more at its homepage.

You’ll have to click over to The Hayride to see the photo of the five-horned, white-faced drag queen.

This practice actually started last year in libraries in New York and in California and has been endorsed as a signal of acceptance of diversity by the left.

I am not implying judgment at all but I do think there are some dangers here.  I don’t think drag queens are just popping into libraries to ambush kids; programs like this would be announced or promoted as such and if you don’t want your five year old being read to by a Satanic five horned goddess, don’t send him to drag queen story hour.

I do question the motivation, however.  What is the gain by LGBT groups?  Aren’t these readers setting themselves up to be seen as “other,” as “different?”  Is it for attention?  Manipulation? Indoctrination? Or just to show five year olds that drag queens are people too?

I guess I have a lot of questions about this.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

I have a few things to say about the Cardinal McCarrick case that Catholics should take to heart

Christ is still Christ, the Church is still the Church and the Doctrines are Still the Doctrines:

Nothing McCarrick has done changes the truth of God, Christ, scripture of the Church. In the 2000 year history of the church there have been countless number of Deacons, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and even the occasional Pope who have not acted in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the doctrines of the church and in the future you can be sure that there will be plenty more but while the names and the times may change God and Christ and the salvation that is offered by Christ through the church endures or as Jesus told Peter, The Gates of Hell will not stand against it.”

The Numbers are still minuscule Context

the Roman Catholic Church is a huge worldwide church with over 415,348 priests, over 40,000 deacons over 5,000 Bishops and over 200 Cardinals . Given those numbers the McCarrick’s of the world might continually grab the headlines but the priests and religious by the hundreds of thousands who are tarred by him will continue their work feeding, clothing, educating, sheltering and otherwise tending to the spiritual and physical needs of the people they serve with the rest of the world taking little or no notice.

What gay scandal?

The McCarrick scandal has one thing in common with the previous scandals involving the church and minors. It is primarily a gay scandal. One of the great tricks of the media was to turn a scandal that was primarily a Gay scandal ( 78% of the abuse involved homosexual acts, men abusing boys.) into a “church” scandal with homosexuality completely ignored. For the “Catholic’s for Mortal Sin” lobby within the church this separation of Homosexuality from this scandal has been vital as they continue to attempt to redefine sin rather than combat it. It is important to call them out on it.

The “why should I bother” trap

There are several traps for souls that are an offshoot of a scandal like McCarrick’s. One is what it does to marginal Catholics or Catholics struggling with the faith. It goes like this: “Why should I bother trying to avoid sin when you have Cardinals and Bishops doing things like this? This is the devil hoping to nail you as collateral damage and is one of the worst parts of a scandal like this. The reality is McCarrick is no different that a crooked Senator or a crooked governor or a crooked Police Captain. When Rod Blagojevich was nailed for corruption did that mean that the laws of Illinois didn’t apply to the citizens there? When Richard Nixon resigned due to Watergate did this mean federal law shouldn’t apply to others? To decide you don’t have to worry about sin because of McCarrick’s sins is exactly what the Devil is looking for from you and like a man who speeds thinking he can get away with it because a cop he knows of does, is in for a rude awakening.

The Pride / Francis Trap for Conservative Churchmen

There are two more sin traps that the McCarrick case produce. The targets of these traps are the formed and conservative Catholics. The first is the sin of pride. The sins of a liberal Cardinal does not make our own sins any less dangerous, if we point to McCarrick and his enablers and talk about our own “righteousness” then we are doing the Devil’s work for him. Remember pride is the first of the deadly sins and if we use the McCarrick case to distract ourselves from our own sins and actions we are making a huge and damning mistake. Likewise it’s worth noting that McCarrick has been a Cardinal since 2000 a bishop since 1977 and a priest since 1958. It is therefore a stretch to lay all of the inaction in this case on the current Pope. This case is a cause for lamentation not a weapon to beat the Pope over the head. There is a fine line between critique of the church done in love and leading an attack on the church which is the work of the Devil. If you’re the least bit unsure of where that line is, the best thing to do is step away from it and pray.

Two different Scandals/sins:

It’s important to remember that there are two or three different sins involved with McCarrick. McCarrick and those like him are committing two sins unnatural sins of the flesh and the breaking of ecclesiastical vows. They are both scandals because he is a high churchman. Meanwhile there is the institutional sin of those around him which is different than his, but is the same sin that was common in the Church during the various scandals of the 2000’s. The sins of cowardice and pride. It is that unwillingness to confront the sins of those like McCarrick that has been the meat and potatoes of all these scandals. At best their feared the “Why should I bother trap” already mentioned at worst they feared a drop in respect and funds. Both of these are cowardice and pride. If proper ecclesiastical authorities were willing to come down on him hard right at the start then it would have been the story of an individual priest booted out and would have set a very visible example. That unwillingness to take the hit when it was small both here and in previous scandals is the church’s real sin.

The Hardest lesson of them all

Of all the things that must and should be said about McCarrick’s sexual sins and the sins of cowardice of the churchmen who refused to call him out, these is the one that people least want to hear.

McCarick’s sin and the sins of those who covered for him, like any other sins are completely paid for by the sacrifice of Christ and if sincerely confessed and with proper contrition are subject to the same absolution and forgivness that Christ offers to each and every sinner.

This can be a tough one to remember but it’s also Christianity 101. Christ didn’t just die for our little sins or our big ones, he died for everybody’s sins, especially for the REALLY big ones. If McCarrick and those around him sincerely repent, confess their sins and seek absolution Christ will give it.

Now it must be stressed that this forgiveness is of the eternal consequences of their actions. That doesn’t mean he or any of those involved are absolved of the temporal punishments either legal if laws were broken or ecclesiastical penalties such as laizication that might be applies. It simply that their eternal souls might be kept out of the grasp of the Devil and that’s a good thing because ANY soul kept out of his hands is a victory worth celebrating.

As Catholics it is our job to pray for this result, in fact we should be praying for everyone involved. It’s what we do

Choose a Subscription level

Of course one time tip jar hits are welcome as well

Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Either way it’s most appreciated.


Lake Michigan at Chicago

By John Ruberry

Chicago, which is for now America’s third-largest city, has suffered a rough 21st century. It is beset by a declining population, a high murder rate, soaring taxes, poorly-rated bonds, and burdensome public employee pension debt.

Now you can add lead in tap water to Chicago’s problems. Chicago pumps its water from Lake Michigan, which is largely lead free.

From an April Chicago Tribune article:

Amid renewed national attention to the dangers of lead poisoning, hundreds of Chicagoans have taken the city up on its offer of free testing kits to determine if they are drinking tap water contaminated with the brain-damaging metal.

A Tribune analysis of the results shows lead was found in water drawn from nearly 70 percent of the 2,797 homes tested during the past two years. Tap water in 3 of every 10 homes sampled had lead concentrations above 5 parts per billion, the maximum allowed in bottled water by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Alarming amounts of the toxic metal turned up in water samples collected throughout the city, the newspaper’s analysis found, largely because Chicago required the use of lead service lines between street mains and homes until Congress banned the practice in 1986.

It was the lead from service lines in Flint, Michigan that contaminated that troubled city’s drinking water. Service lines are the connecting pipes from water mains to homes, schools, and businesses. Upkeep of them, and their replacement, is the responsibility of the property owner in Chicago. And replacing those service lines isn’t cheap, it will cost a property owner anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000. A lead filter is a cheaper alternative.

The Flint water crisis was brought about when that city, in a cost-saving measure, switched from purchasing its water from Detroit–which gets it from Lake Huron–to the Flint River. Chloride corrosives from the river reacted with the lead in the service lines, putting dangerous amounts of lead into Flint’s drinking water. While the US EPA says no amount of lead is safe, the EPA action level is 15 ppb, which many Flint homes exceeded.

But there is no federal standard for tap water lead levels in regards to individual residences.

The Tribune article cited here discovered that some Chicago homes tested had lead tap water with amounts slightly above 15 ppb.

Chicago is currently replacing 900 miles of water mains, and such work can increase lead levels in drinking water, the EPA says. And that might be the cause of the high lead content in Chicago’s water.

Excessive lead levels are particularly damaging to children as it can lead to developmental problems. In fact, dangerous lead exposures among Chicago’s children could be a factor in the city’s high rate of violent crime.

The Chicago Park District may soon shut off nearly half of its water fountains on its crowded Lakefront Path because of the high lead content in its water. For twenty years I swigged that water when I was training for marathons.

Chicago’s two-term mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who is up for reelection next year, has been mostly quiet about the lead issue.

I’ll leave the final words for Randy Conner, the city’s Water Management Commissioner, “Chicago has the best drinking water and the cleanest drinking water that is ever to be found.”

Pass me the bottled water as I praise the day I moved to the suburbs.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit from Morton Grove, Illinois.

Today we premiere the first of a new Series of short Subscription Commentaries that replaces the old podcast.

This particular commentary will be open to all but future commentaries will be for paid subscribers only

Today’s commentary is titled NECCO Wafers and the Trump Economy

Incidentally packages of NECCO wafers are selling for ungodly amounts on ebay
If you want to be sure to get these commentaries as they come you can subscribe here

Choose a Subscription level

Of course one time tip jar hits are welcome as well

Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Either way it’s most appreciated.


by baldilocks

And Santa Barbara

If there’s one thing we Los Angeles natives and residents can take comfort in, it’s this: we aren’t San Francisco.

Two restaurant supervisors in San Francisco introduced new legislation Tuesday to prohibit new office buildings from offering free lunch.

Ryan Corridor, a local restaurant owner, told KPIX that they can’t compete against big tech campuses and workplaces that offer employee-provided lunch.

“We see it in our business,” Corridor said. “We see thousands of employees in a block radius that don’t go out to lunch and don’t go out in support of restaurants every day — it’s because they don’t have to.”

London Breed

I keep reading that the city is covered in poop and used needles. Is that an exaggeration? Not according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed:

“There’s more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen.”

With all that human by-product lying around and being replenished constantly, one wonders when the feces-borne illnesses will start to mutate. But I digress.

(I’m going to take it at face value that food from existing SF corporate “cafeterias” is free, though the only free cafeteria I’ve ever seen was also called a military dining facility.)

One assumes that SF employers who can afford to feed their employees do so in order to keep the latter from having to navigate through the city’s homeless population during lunch. Make’s sense to me; employee morale, and all that.

Advocates of the proposal told KRON that banning free workplace cafeterias would help “support small business” and “add to the cultural vibrancy of the city.”

The proposed law will be for new construction only. Mighty Google, Twitter and Facebook will not be forced to stop feeding their employees.

It’s telling that even nominal capitalists like this Corridor guy can’t resist the urge toward force. He wants mandatory support for his business.

And you just know that this law will pass. After that? Criminalization of sack lunches. Some dude will have to be bailed out of jail for eating a homemade PB&J in his cubicle.

“You will support us while stepping on poop, dirty needles and human being and you will like it!”

No, LA  isn’t San Francisco yet, but don’t tell our city council about this, because they are very competitive when it comes to speeds at which a city can be ruined.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

I’ve noticed a troubling trend. When faced with adversity, setbacks or the like, a lot of people decide to go off and “find themselves.” You’ve probably heard it too. The vision you and I have is someone trekking off into the woods for a month and then suddenly emerging as a “new man” or “reformed woman,” or something like that.

Well, if you’re thinking about doing this, let me tell you: it likely doesn’t work.

Continue reading “Stop trying to “find yourself””

For the first time in several weeks I’m not working overtime so I took advantage of this to relax in an Air conditioned room playing the DOS version of the old Avalon Hill 1830 (still a spectacular game) and look in on twitter when I saw this tweet from Joe Scarborough

The piece in question follows the headline, a snvipit

Like the multitude of mere mortals who faced voters before him, Trump may finally be feeling gravity’s unforgiving pull as one summer scandal bleeds into another. A recent Quinnipiac University poll put the president’s approval rating at 38 percent. More troubling for Trump’s quislings in Congress should be the political beating Midwest voters are dishing out on the politician they helped elect president. According to an NBC News-Marist poll, only 28 percent of registered voters in Michigan believe Trump deserves to be reelected, while only 30 percent of those surveyed in Minnesota and 31 percent in Wisconsin believe he deserves reelection. Republicans are also trailing badly in generic ballot tests, and Democrats’ prospects for taking over the House and Senate continue to rise.

Now I have a soft spot for Joe Scarborough because of an old tip jar hit and the way he and the whole Morning Joe crowd treats viewers at meet and greets bit his faith in these polls sound more like a liberal wet dream than reality, he continues:

The political news for Republicans is so bad that even Trump is blinking. Vladimir Putin will not be coming to the White House this year; the president has put major pieces of his trade war on hold and has shelved any plans to shut down the government this fall. But Republicans hoping to save themselves from the political storm that will soon wipe away their congressional majorities would be well served to speak out against Trump’s most destructive policies, which are anti-conservative, illiberal and sure to bring doom to the once-Grand Old Party.

Alas you have to go back to 9/11/2001 and the NYT fawning piece on terrorist bomber and future Obama enabler Bill Ayers to find a piece of writing with worse timing.

Gross domestic product grew at a solid 4.1 percent pace in the second quarter, its best pace since 2014, boosting hopes that the economy is ready to break out of its decade-long slumber.

The number matched expectations from economists [emphasis mine] surveyed by Reuters and was boosted by a surge in consumer spending and business investment. Stock market futures edged lower on the news while government bond yields moved lower.

I think the number is not only incredible, but that this number met economists expectations is a really big story considering what we were told by the media for months.

I’d like to know why the media didn’t report that economists were expecting these numbers? Of course Trump is looking to do even better

That’s the fastest rate of the growth since the 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 and the third-best growth rate since the Great Recession. In addition to the strong second quarter, the Commerce Department revised its first-quarter reading up from 2 percent to 2.2 percent.

“We’re on track to hit the highest annual growth rate in over 13 years,” President Donald Trump said in remarks an hour after the report hit. “And I will say this right now and I will say it strongly, as the deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers, and these are great numbers.

How bad is it for the left and the NeverTrump George Will Max Boot “vote for Democrats in the fall” crowd? Jeb Bush is tweeting about how good the Trump economy is.

Given the Bush family’s dislike for Trump that must have been a hard tweet to send out but it speaks well of Jeb that he did, but don’t expect the beltway crowd to sing a different tune, after all that’s how they make their living.

Now all of this doesn’t answer the question: “Hey DaTechGuy, why does this post have a picture of you holding up a package of NECCO wafers, particularly when the company that makes them just closed the plant and you’re talking about how great the economy is?”

The answer is, that’s a tease for tomorrow’s post so you’ll have to wait for tomorrow for the answer to that question.

if you think this site is worth supporting please consider kicking in here:

Or even better subscribing.

Choose a Subscription level

Or buying my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Either way it’s most appreciated.