. . . and that’s what I fund disturbing.

A crisis focuses the mind.

However, in order for a crisis to focus the mind, it must be recognized as a crisis

noun, plural crises [krahy-seez] (Show IPA)
a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.
a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.
the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change occurs, leading either to recovery or to death.
the change itself.
the point in a play or story at which hostile elements are most tensely opposed to each other.

Now, if you browse Drudge, Memeorandum, or BadBlue this morning, you find the following (in no particular order):

North Korea Launches Another Missile, Escalating Crisis

AMAZON now hosts Defense Department’s most sensitive data..

U.S. Navy Investigating If Destroyer Crash Was Caused by Cyberattack

‘For first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda’

Add to those a myriad headlines about the White House.

I have spent several days away from cable and internet news. Reducing the cacophony has done wonders for my peace of mind.

In this age of information, we are challenged to find a balance between information on things we can do something about, that affect us directly and that are pertinent to our daily lives, and trivia that is a waste of time.

For that, one must use your good judgement, otherwise, when everything’s a big deal, nothing’s a big deal; you end up either dismissing everything as unimportant, or you go nuts.

How to develop good judgement, then, when for instance, colleges are offering counseling to students who are traumatized by Ben Shapiro?

I have no answers, but “Think for yourself” seems like a good start,

thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

Self-discipline. Courage. Questioning dominant ideas. The challenge of our lives.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

I spent most of Sunday night in my closet.

Not in the coming-out-of-the-closet figurative way: I actually was lying on a down comforter on top of a foam pad with two pillows while hurricane Irma pounded away outdoors. I’m fortunate to have a closet large enough to sleep in, and it was the quietest place to be. I played my old Gregorian Chant by the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos CD that I had uploaded into the iPod years ago, and dozed on and off.

By 5:00am or so the wind had died down enough that I went back to my bed. Power was cut off at 5:45am with a “pop!”

Living through Irma in Central Florida was as frightening as when I spent hurricane Sandy in the family room of my Princeton house in 2012. I would have much preferred to have been dining with Pete and Stacy instead.

However, the amount of damage where I live was minimal. No flooding, a few tree limbs down, no electricity, but the house was completely intact, and we had natural gas and running water. We were under tropical storm warning until 4pm on Monday and it remained cloudy, but the strong breeze helped to dissipate the humidity and cool the house.

This is the view from the back porch at 10am Monday,

My sister in Miami, who had fifteen (!) people staying at her house, also had no damage to her property – and neither did any of her guests.

We are grateful beyond measure.

The local FM radio station has been covering live on talk radio since before the storm, and they have done a great service to the entire area with very informative updates and a great amount of emotional support to all the callers. Local officials, utility company spokespersons, rescue personnel, owners of private businesses, all regularly call in with updates.

Electricity was restored yesterday, much to our delight. The food in the freezer didn’t thaw.

Parts of Florida are greatly affected, but every person and organization (private and public) in the state is working towards restoring normality. The coordination between public and private is extraordinary. I have never experienced anything like it.

If you are traveling to Florida, make sure to check your route/airport in advance. For instance, Miami International airport is still under limited schedule.

On the bright side, the Gainesville Police Department promises a calendar, and perhaps the officers from Sarasota may, too.

In thankful praise to Our Lord,

For the win,
Nun With A Chainsaw Becomes Symbol Of Post-Irma Cleanup: ‘She Rocks

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

We live lives of privilege.

We can spend hours debating politics, deciding what to wear to work, which running shoes to buy, which cut of beef to grill with shrimp and veggies for dinner, and where to spend our vacations.

We also spend substantial amounts of money, time and effort on our homes. In addition to my blog and reading addictions, my greatest and probably most expensive addiction is my house, HGTV included. I have purchased, improved, lived in, and sold three houses.

I bought my fourth house, moved in last month, and have spent a great deal of time unpacking and deciding what to keep and what to toss. Yes, I should have done that when I first left NJ for FL, but was renting an old townhouse with a popcorn ceilings and knew I was going to buy a different house later on, so here I am, sorting and unpacking. I’ve even been trying to decide whether or not to add curtains (I’m not a curtains person).

These past days my obsession has been Hurricane Irma, as you already know. From the looks of the latest forecast models, my area of central Florida will get hit with 100 mph winds (category 2) at 2am Monday, which I’m dreading. My rational brain knows I live in a well-constructed concrete house with underground utilities away from the waters in an area where people from Miami have come for shelter. My irrational brain worries.

I spent a scary Hurricane Sandy in my house in NJ reading the Psalms out loud so I wouldn’t have to listen to the wind. My house was untouched by the storm. All I needed to do was to schedule having a few tree limbs removed from the yard and stay in a hotel until the electricity was back. Sandy’s eye was almost eighty miles away; Irma apparently will be ripping right through Florida.

I am, of course, worried about possible damage to my new house, but I’m also worried about relatives who decided to stay in Miami. They are hardy folk who have lived in Miami for decades and are definitely less worried than I, a newcomer. In contrast, a friend who also has lived in Miami for decades is not taking any chances, shuttering down her house and sheltering at the hospital where her husband works.

Having Jim Cantore in Miami does not ease my worries at all.

I’ve been reading hundreds of Facebook posts on Irma. The more annoying are those urging all people in Florida (population 20 million) to “get the [insert expletive] out.” The more encouraging are photo journals of friends living in Puerto Rico who now have no electricity and water but whose homes and cars are intact and were not flooded.

Yes, life is tough. Yes, there are bigger things and existential questions we should be concerned about. Yes, we are blessed every day, for which I am abundantly grateful.

But yes, I’m superficial enough I’d rather be thinking about curtains instead.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

As expected, the President’s announcement on the DACA (the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) program was going to create a controversy.

Andrew McCarthy explains why DACA is defective (emphasis added),

Contrary to much of the public commentary, the defect in DACA is not that it was done in the form of an executive action (under the guise of a Department of Homeland Security memorandum). There is nothing wrong with an executive order that merely directs the lawful operations of the executive branch.

The problem is the substance of executive action. DACA is defective in two ways. First, it presumes to exercise legislative power by conferring positive legal benefits on a category of aliens (the “dreamers,” as concisely described in Yuval Levin’s Corner post). Second, it distorts the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion to rationalize this presidential legislating and to grant a de facto amnesty. These maneuvers violated core constitutional principles: separation of powers and the president’s duty to execute the laws faithfully.

I recommend McCarthy’s article, and fully agree with his statement “There has never been a shred of honesty in the politics of DACA.”

Indeed, a few years ago a naturalized citizen who was brought here as a child by undocumented parents (both parents are now back in their country of origin) explained to me that they were very suspicious of any governmental act that had you declare names, addresses and other data without clear legal limitations on the use of that information.

Immigration is a very important issue, but my mind is on other things. I bought a house and have spent the last month unpacking (less than 10 boxes to go!) in Central Florida. Now Irma‘s turning up in the map:

If Irma does turn into Florida, NHC currently has it going right through the center of the state at 2 a.m. Monday, passing directly through Miami. Irma is likely to remain a Category 5 or 4 hurricane for at least the next couple of days.

“The next couple of days” may mean that Irma could die down to a category three by Saturday, which would be a  very good thing for Florida.

The map looks like so much spaghetti,

As Rush Limbaugh pointed out,  You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. Uncertainty is fertile ground for fear and panic, both on immigration and on the weather.

Having said that, August was a very stressful month, so I’m hoping Irma loses strength soon, and especially . . . if it gets to Florida.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

It is resplendently clear that the POTUS will be criticized for whatever they do, but anything Pres. Trump does is chum for the critics’ shark pool.

George W. Bush flew over the Katrina disaster zone, Obama stayed at Martha’s Vineyard while Louisiana flooded. Both got their critics and their supporters.



Pres. Trump went to Texas and the media has gone berserk, even when – or perhaps because – rescue and relief efforts have gone very well. His visit caused minimal, if any, disruption to rescue and relief operations.

Since the reporters appear to get paid to gripe by the word and there was little to gripe about, several took to complaining about Mrs Trump’s shoes following an article by a Vogue fashion critic of clown-like tastes, who, in her own words,

When she is not writing about fashion, she can be found haunting flea markets all over the world.

After which she wears all her flea market finds, all at once.

But I digress.

The shoe outrage was so ridiculous that after a while my inner capitalist succumbed to the temptation of posting a link so I could make a commission on the Adidas Mrs Trump wore. Unlike the prior FLOTUS’s, these sneakers are not $540, but $60.

While the White House announced that Pres. Trump has pledged $1 million to Harvey relief, Politico ran a story saying that Pence shows Trump how to sweat it out with Texas victims – because sweat equity, or something. This is the same Politico that carried nary a word on Mitt Romney helping with the tree stump removal, but hey, Politico wants their POTUS good and sweaty (after which they would deride him as undignified).

Now the clamor is rising for a Healer-In-Chief, which I find most ridiculous of all. The lefties and the media (I repeat myself),

blasted his speech in Texas for its “lack of empathy”and the Twitterverse is all atwitter with prog criticism of the President for his poor skills as a “healer.”

I’m with The Diplomad (emphasis added)

I don’t want a “healer” for President. I can go to a doctor or a priest for that. I want the President to be a hard-ass realist who does his or her duty in line with the Constitution, especially the requirement to protect the country from all threats.

He concludes with,

I had noted many times before that I have had enough of candle-light vigils, “we are not afraid” marches, teddy bears, and empty words. We need real leaders who will confront issues openly and view them without politically correct glasses.

Since Pres. Trump will be “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t,” confronting issues openly and viewing them without politically correct glasses while abiding by the Constitution is fine by me.

Enough of the clowns at Politico and Vogue.

When I need healing I don’t go to elected officials, and I certainly don’t need moral leadership from them, either.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Roger L. Simon wants to Make Harvey a Catalyst for Something Good. Roger reminds us of the Bible,

If you want to blame someone for Harvey, blame God.  But just be grateful it wasn’t worse, as in: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time.”

If you look at the WaPo and their like, you would think the entire country is nearly approaching civil war, instigated by clashes between Antifa and Nazis. My admittedly limited experience is that, when I actually think about the hundreds of people I know, I realize that I don’t know anyone who actually would participate in any violent demonstration as a member of either group.

I lived for decades in a very liberal college town. I attended conservative gatherings for years. I have met hundreds of people in the full range of the political spectrum. Of all the people that I have kept in touch over the years, no one would admit to being willing to participate in “peace through violence,” at least not to my face.

Instead, I remember dozens of people who have over the years participated in acts of great selflessness, even heroism. Some during World War II or other wars, some during natural disaster relief, some from circumstances that arose unexpectedly or that took time developing.

All of them Americans, either by birth or choice.

Deborah Heine has videos of ordinary American heroes in the wake of Harvey’s devastation; Pat Austin reports that

The Cajun Navy mobilized and headed to the Houston area Sunday afternoon.

And I can go on and on.

I urge you to read Roger’s article,

It’s probably hoping for too much, but perhaps this “act of God,” horrific as it is, will, ironically, have come along at a propitious moment for our country.  We have been going through a period of the most extreme division, driven to a great extent by virtually minuscule political minorities that were nearly, or should be, extinct.
. . .
Working together to repair a disaster could and should be just the thing to turn our society away from this self-immolating rut (actually it’s worse than that).  We can’t — and doubtless shouldn’t — all head down to Texas to help with the restoration, but we can do it with our hearts and minds. Given what has been going on recently, it may be a now or never situation.

This is the challenge of our times.

Read also Ace, Is America Now Officially Crazy?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Adult discourse is a thing of the distant past. Here’s a dog tale from the idiotarian minefield.

A group called Patriot Prayer (about which I know absolutely nothing) announced a rally on Facebook,

Free Speech Rally
San Francisco Crissy Field Beach 8/26/17 2 pm
Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1454498877929964

You go to the event, Freedom Rally San Francisco, for this full description,

***Patriot Prayer Large Event***
No extremists will be allowed in . No Nazis, Communist, KKK, Antifa, white supremacist, I.E., or white nationalists. This is an opportunity for moderate americans to come in with opposing views. We will not allow the extremists to tear apart this country.
Specifically, Richard Spencer and NathanDamigo will not be welcome.

Before you accuse Patriot Prayer as being hateful, please find specific examples. You will not find any hate speech, you are being lied to by corrupt politicians. SF is supposed to be a safe haven for minorities. If this is true then please be respectful to the speakers we are bringing in. 3 black, 2 hispanic, 1 asian, 1 Samoan, 1 muslim, 2 woman, and 1 white male. There will also be an opportunity for an open mic for moderate Americans. Love and Peace is the only way to heal this country- so we ask that you do not use hate against us with the intent of fighting hate. We are here to spread a message of love.


Liberty Weekend in the Bay Area! This is a 2 day event in the NorCal SF Bay Area!!

Liberty Weekend with Joey Gibson – Patriot Prayer, Amber Gwen Cummings – Transsexual Patriot, & Lindsay Grathwohl – patriot, mom & Daughter of the late Larry Grathwohl.

Patriot Prayer Joey Gibson rally will kick off Liberty Weekend on Saturday August 26th at Crissy Field Presidio & Amber Gwen Cummings rally is on Sunday August 27th at MLK park in Berkeley.

Join us in San Francisco, California on August 26th,2017 at the Presidio – Crissy Field at 2pm for a day of freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism! San Francisco has long been a city that prides itself in acceptance of all, so together, let’s unite in this beautiful city to listen to some great speakers & live music!

We just received confirmation that the band – Good Ol’ Boyz will be performing in San Francisco at Crissy Field!

Speakers will include: Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, Will Johnson of Unite America First, Kyle Chapman – “Based Stickman”, Harim Uziel – Los Angeles For Trump, Amber Gwen Cummings – Transsexual Patriot, Kathryn Townsend, Gabriel Silva -Activist, Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, Pam Brunfield-Uriate, and more! As more speakers confirm, we will update this page.

I don’t know any of the speakers, either.

Some in San Francisco are not happy and they made plans, Turd Reich: San Francisco dog owners lay minefield of poo for rightwing rally

Hundreds of San Franciscans plan to prepare Crissy Field, the picturesque beach in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge where rightwing protest group Patriot Prayer will gather, with a generous carpeting of excrement.

Because nothing says “liberal values” like covering your own city in feces?

“I just had this image of alt-right people stomping around in the poop,”

. . . and spreading feces-borne bacteria all over the city after the rally?

Tuffy Tuffington said of the epiphany he had while walking Bob and Chuck, his two Patterdale terriers,

With a name like mine maybe I should not disparage people’s names, but, really, Tuffy Tuffington? Who named this guy, P. G. Wodehouse? Aunt Agatha‘s West Highland white terrier McIntosh would never take part in this. Where is Jeeves when we need him?

Continuing (emphasis added),

and trying to think

As the saying goes, trying is not doing, especially when you’re 45 years old and this is what you can come up with,

of the best way to respond to rightwing extremists in the wake of Charlottesville. “It seemed like a little bit of civil disobedience where we didn’t have to engage with them face to face.”

a.k.a. passive-aggressive vandalism,

Tuffington, a 45-year-old artist and designer, created a Facebook event page based on the concept, and the dog owners of San Francisco responded in droves. Many have declared their intention to stockpile their shitpiles for days in advance, then deliver them in bags for the site.

Yes, not only are they full of it, they are stockpiling it for days.

(The group is also planning to reconvene on Sunday to “clean up the mess and hug each other”.)

Tuffy and his thugs are going to need more than hugs after spreading bacteria from dog feces (emphasis added),

Beyond your grass, it has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. EPA even estimates that two or three days’ worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it, to swimming and shell fishing.

Guess where Crissy Field is?

As you read above, it’s right next to San Francisco Bay.

I’m afraid to ask, how more stupid can they get?

Rally cancelled

Gibson said the group would hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. at Alamo Park in the city to talk about what led up to the decision to cancel the event. He called on Mayor Lee to provide security against left-wing militants and anti-fascists, or Antifa.

Side note,
TRIGGER ALERT: San Francisco’s mayor’s name is Ed Lee. Of the Beijing Lees, perhaps?

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

People of a certain age will remember one advertising jingle, “Everything’s better with Blue Bonnet on it:”

Back then we were being sold an inferior product that had the shape and color of the real thing, but certainly fell short of the real thing.

I remember that we did a blind taste test in grade school, and our young taste buds, even then, for the most part could tell the difference between real butter margarine. Only one or two, out of fifteen kids, could not tell the difference.

Now we have communist apologists selling us again on the wonders of communism, named at times 21st Century Socialism, Democratic Socialism, and on and on.

The current wave started with the glamorization of Cuba’s misery: The Kardashians went to Cuba, Fast and Furious did an episode of the franchise and Chanel did a fashion show in Havana, which definitely was not the Wendy’s Soviet fashion show,

When tourists kept getting sick and the hotels didn’t get the promised amenities, travelers lost interest. Most people didn’t even need to learn about ongoing assaults on the Ladies In White or bizarre acoustic attacks on American and Canadian diplomats. They just stayed away.

But the cause lives on, and, if the believers don’t succeed, they try, try again.

Sex sells, so the NY Times found someone who extolls Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism.


I know a couple of people who actually lived in Eastern Block countries, and the last thing they had was “better sex.” They were too exhausted.

Snoopy of the Watchers’ Council actually lived there,

As any Soviet citizen with brain a bit larger than that of hamster will tell you: find a person who waxes lyrically about his/her life (sex life included) under the Soviet regime, and I’ll show you a person of privilege, not a regular Joe the Public.

And of course I just have to bring up this exquisite passage from the article:

Consider Ana Durcheva from Bulgaria, who was 65 when I first met her in 2011. Having lived her first 43 years under Communism, she often complained that the new free market hindered Bulgarians’ ability to develop healthy amorous relationships.

The hilarious quote caused me a few laughs. I am not disclosing my age, but I still could compare my amorous relationships before and after my 43. There simply ain’t any comparison, you are totally right, Ana, but I am sure it is not because of the social changes Bulgaria underwent. The weather was better back then too…

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, so the young and “woke” look to Venezuela for equality . . . while enjoying the East Village. Food lines, they believe, are good because “everyone has to do the same thing — they wait in line equally.”

The privileged few in communist societies would have a good laugh.

And no, you can’t get butter or Blue Bonnet in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the East Village people ought to try doing without toilet paper for one day, and ponder what it’s like to do that “equally” every day of the year.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

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This video turned up on my Facebook feed, where a beautiful young girl makes the point, “Black people have scarier things on the horizon than the almost endangered species of white supremacy.”

So do people of every color.

As she points out, the media are still carrying on about what Pres. Trump said/didn’t say at a press conference three days ago.

Harry Stein states What Trump got right in the press conference:

Objecting to the tearing down of these monuments does not make one a Nazi, or a racist, or even passingly unreasonable, much as Trump’s adversaries wish it were so.

I was a student at the University of Georgia in the early 1970s. Jimmy Carter was governor and segregationist Lester Maddox his lieutenant governor.

I had transferred from the University of Puerto Rico with sketchy knowledge of the history of the South, but even then I realized that the Civil War, which caused 620,000 deaths on both sides, was America’s defining moment. The Civil War is worthy of study and reflection, and trying to wipe out unpleasantness by destroying any amount of public monuments will not erase that: “Our history doesn’t change when a monument is removed.”

The young girl in the video posits that the media is creating a narrative. I’m not sure who originated the narrative at this point, but I agree with her that the media is simulating a reality of sorts. Hours, days, of sundry talking heads opining about a press conference have priority over news such as

  1. Mike Pence’s official visits to Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama, the latter being cut short over the North Korea situation
  2. Colombia’s FARC official disarmament day while dissenting FARC factions fight government forces
  3. Russia arming Venezuela’s government in exchange for oil
  4. al-Qaeda taking territorial control in Syria
  5. and of course, yesterday’s terrorist attack in Spain.

The Guardian has the latest on item #4:

Hours after van killed 13 people and injured 100 in Las Ramblas, seaside town of Cambrils hit by second vehicle attack, leaving one dead and six wounded

Predictably, there’s a Trump-associated headline on this.

Journalism used to go by “if it bleeds, it leads.” Now so-called journalists are the ones deciding what bleeds where, and they’re bleeding Trump from every one of their pores.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Fifty years ago I was an avid young reader who would eagerly devour any book in front of me.

Back then I attended an all-girl’s Catholic school, and when I was twelve years old or so, I found out that the Catholic Church had a list of banned books: Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

The Index became a syllabus of sorts. Thanks to the Index I discovered and developed a taste for the works of George Sand, Balzac, both Dumas and several other great authors. As a result, I now think of great literature as guerrilla reading: a form of guerrilla warfare not only against Marxists, deconstructionists and their destructive pals, but against any form of censorship.

Fast-forward fifty years and what do I find at Instapundit?

Fanny Hill is now too triggering for college students in London.

Fanny Hill??

The full title lets you know from the get-go what the book is about, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Amazon, (which sells a Kindle edition for 99 cents) describes it,

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (popularly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland first published in London in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors’ prison in London, it is considered “the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel”. One of the most prosecuted and banned books in history, it has become a synonym for obscenity.

So 269 years ago Cleland was broke and in the pokey, and thought, “Ya know, maybe if  I wrote some smut I’d make enough  money to get out of this mess,” which he did.

You would think this description would interest Game of Thrones-watching college students, especially when you realize that Fanny Hill was listed as one of the 15 of the Most Controversial Books in the Western Canon, but noooo . . .

Cleland did such a good job that, unlike thousands of smutty books over the ages, Fanny Hill stood the test of time.

Never mind that; the little SJWs are scandalized,

“The book incensed the British clergy and censors upon its publication. However, heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of ‘maypole[s] of so enormous a standard’ appear to be proving too much for university students.”

The professor named in the article says she doesn’t teach Fanny Hill anymore, (emphasis added)

The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power. When senior academics make a work of pornography a set text, they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced.

Coerced? Because a professor lists a book in a syllabus? Isn’t that what professors are for?

Critical thinking is one thing one may gain from the study of literature, but that’s gone out the window – not that the safe space SJWs inhabit has windows.

Now more than ever, reading literature is a form of guerrilla warfare.

Attention: See Da Tech Guy’s pinned post!

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog