Director Comey speaking at the Coast Guard Academy.

As a sponsor family to a Coast Guard Academy Cadet, I have access to some unique opportunities. One such opportunity presented itself on Tuesday when my cadet texted me. “Director Comey is speaking at the Coast Guard Academy on Thursday. Would you like to come?”

Who wouldn’t! Despite a long day at work, I put on a service dress uniform, met my cadet on campus, and walked together up to Leamy Hall. Since the cadets were allowed to ask questions, I asked him what ground rules had been set by the Academy.

“They said the focus was race, and to not ask anything about Hillary Clinton.” I thought the race part was interesting, and no surprise about Clinton. I explained that even if a cadet was brash enough to ask, the Director would likely deliver one or two prepared sentences and move on, and you would have lost the opportunity to get a legitimate answer to a question.

cga_comey_upstairsThe view from my seat.

Director Comey started his hour talking about leadership, specifically that good leadership requires both kindness and toughness. He is a very good speaker, and obviously very comfortable getting in front of crowds. He’s also really tall, FYI.

Then he talked about race, specifically the issues surrounding African-Americans and police enforcement. His first big point was that we needed more accurate data to get an idea of how to tackle this problem. He brought up the Harvard study that showed lethal force was more likely against whites, but non-lethal force was more likely against blacks. He wants police officers out of their cars, because “It’s hard to hate up close.” He worried that if policing becomes viewed as an undesirable occupation, then he will struggle to attract good men and women to the force.

cga_comey_lineupCadets line up to ask Director Comey questions.

Then he brought up Hillary Clinton, which was a surprise. He hit a number of points:

  • That he assigned some of the best people to that case.
  • That they rendered their decision without political pressure.
  • That seven layers of managers agreed with it before he did as well.

He also brought up the most important point of the evening, that even if Hillary Clinton had been an FBI agent, while she would have been disciplined, she wouldn’t have been prosecuted, because we historically don’t prosecute people for those crimes.

He has a point. We’ve had a number of high level people mess up classified handling, and while they get fined, most never serve jail time.

“But this guy was fired from the military!” Yes, that is true in plenty of cases. But the difference is that the military is exercising Non-judicial punishment and Courts Martial authority. It’s NOT a trial. The removal from the military in most cases is done at an Administrative Separation board. While it’s not pretty for the person involved, it doesn’t result in jail time.

So I can see Director Comey’s point. But that brings up a bigger issue. We spend billions to generate classified information, then we fail to protect it because we let people off when they exercise poor judgement. It’s sad when you spend more efforts attacking law-abiding citizens then prosecuting chumps that hide classified in their socks.

If Congress is so enraged over Director Comey’s decision, then start by clamping down on our fickle laws over classified information. Add minimum sentences to mishandling, especially for politicians and other civilians. Start putting people in jail for gross mishandling.

What Hillary Clinton did was wrong. There is no denying that. Personally I find it terrible, and it sickens me that most people seem to shrug it off, not understanding the damage that was done. The fact that it’s happened in the past so many times, without Congressional action to fix it, makes it even worse. At some point, we as a nation need to decide how much we care about classified information and how it is handled.

The views expressed above are of the author and do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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A few years ago I watched on PBS the Metropolitan Opera‘s staging of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungs, which were played in sequence over a week, preceded by a making-of documentary. I liked the documentary.

I dislike most of Wagner’s music – too long, too many strident notes for my taste, but I was fascinated by the contraption:

the huge, glitch-prone contraption that served as a single set for all four operas in the Wagnerian cycle

The million-dollar contraption required that the Met’s floor be reinforced since it actually weighed a ton, malfunctioned frequently (including showing the Windows logo one time), and dominated every moment of the four operas.

But it was fun to look at. Look at the valkyrie ride in on the twenty four planks (for full effect raise the volume and watch it on your YouTube tv app):

If that doesn’t look like a seesaw’s worth of Wagnerian fun, I don’t know what does.

The presidential and vice-presidential debates are at least as long as the Wagner Cycle, drag on and on, hit too many strident notes, and like the Met’s contraption, weigh a ton. In order to watch, some feel the need to reinforce themselves with adult beverages.

Makes one wish the debates would bring the contraption for entertainment value. Imagine the armored candidates rollicking on the 24 planks.

However, once the fat lady sings, by now the best we could hope for is that the documentary will be better.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog. She loves the Bugs Bunny Wagner.

This piece at Bill Quick’s site (via Glenn) should be read by every Democrat who having voted for liberals for decades suddenly found the state too expensive to live in and moved to NH.

On a recent evening, more than 300 homeowners who are worried about their rising property tax bills filled First Unitarian Universalist Church in North Austin for a town hall meeting. If something doesn’t change, many said, they will soon be priced out of their homes.

Two nights later, a similar discussion played out in South Austin, where homeowners gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in Travis Heights to talk about what can be done to slow escalating residential tax values.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

For those of you who don’t know, Austin is a liberal bastion in Texas as Wikipedia puts it

Austin is known as an enclave of liberal politics in a generally conservative state—so much so, that the city is sometimes sarcastically called the “People’s Republic of Austin” by residents of other parts of Texas, and conservatives in the Texas Legislature

And it’s this fact that make the story so ironic. Nationally they’ve voted GOP three times since 1960 (the landslides of 72 & 84 and George Bush by 49.7% in 2000) and on the local level haven’t elected a republican mayor for 20 years.

Thus unlike the actual People’s republic in China these folks elected their local leaders who have voted for all the spending that has required all those higher taxes. Bill Quick put it best.

Suicidally stupid bint thought she was voting to spend other peoples’ money. Which didn’t bother her at all. Until she discovered, to her horror, that good intentions were not enough, and that, mirabile dictu, she was the other people.

Invariablly people in a republic get the government they deserve, let’s hope she doesn’t move to a less expensive city and vote the next generation out of affording their homes too.

By NG36B

What I got out of the debate:

Hillary is pro-women and children, unless she’s busy killing them in a late-term abortion.

Trump called out NATO, and he has every right to:

Trump won’t agree to election results. Sort of like the 2000 election:,_2000#Florida_recount

NG36B regularly posts on Saturday afternoon at Da Tech Guy. Check out his last post here.

DTG:  9:50 PM ” The one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience.”

DTG  9:21 PM First time ever Hillary has been called out on her extreme position on abortion


DTG 8:28 PM We’re going to try something new tonight. I’ve created this new account and given access to all our writers. If and as they wish they will be putting commentary on and/or after the debate.

The updates should appear at the top as the are written. I expect we will see both some commentary during the debate and some general comments post debate.

As I’m working tonight and will be off the grid by 9:45 PM I won’t be in the mix and as this is the first time we’ve done this I expect a glitch or two.

But baring said glitches I hope you enjoy what you see.

Today is the final Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of my work schedule I will be able to watch only the first hour of the debate while listening to the final hour as I drive into work.

Here are some pre-debate thoughts

This is likely the last chance that Donald Trump will be able to address the American people outside of the filter of the MSM before election day. That means he needs to point the debate to items the MSM wants to ignore from the Project Veritas tapes to the Wikileaks revelations.

This is the first time that there has been a debate with a moderator from FOX. Hillary Clinton is going to have to be prepared to be actually challenged on issues by a moderator for the first time in, well forever.

It is pretty safe to assume that regardless of what actually happens at the debate the MSM as a whole will state the election over and Trump doomed.

If by some chance Hillary underperforms greatly than I guarantee the media will be unified in blaming FOX and insisting they should be excluded from now on (Even if she does well this is a likely post debate meme).

One of the myths of this election cycle has been that “If only the GOP didn’t nominate Trump the MSM would be talking Wikileaks, Project Veritas etc” I guarantee that if the Trump tapes where not out there the media would find a different reason to ignore all of the above.

Based on the CNN reactions we can assume that if the veritas tapes come up in the debates you will see the words “convicted criminal” be repeated over and over with O’Keefe.

Very curious if the National Enquirer stuff will be brought up, I’m sure Trump is waiting for Clinton to dismiss them with a “That’s what John Edwards said” line.

The apparent decision to bring James O’Keefe to the debate is an excellent idea and put the MSM in a position where they are forced to comment on the “why” thus the “convicted criminal” business.

I’d bet real money that Hillary congratulates the Cleveland Indians in her opening statement before Trump gets a chance after all Hillary operatives aside there are no votes in Toronto.

Who wants to be that most of the post debate stories of the MSM have already been 60-707% written? The only real mystery left is what the MSM meme will be to spin the results, but within 30 minutes of the end of the debate I suspect every network will be using the same one.

The interminable campaign season wears on, and we’re being dumped on:

Wikileaks dumped the Podesta emails, part 12:

If you had any doubts that the Dems and the press are in cahoots, you can rest assured:

Speaking of Politico, they have a story about the Dems dumping barrels of money

to its House candidates this fall by way of a legal loophole that has helped them bypass the typical limits on coordinated spending between parties and candidates

Just three days ago the WaPo was saying Hillary’s already won, and is now deciding whether to “expand the map or stick to the plan.”

Because the polls can’t be rigged?

Back to the subject of Wikileaks, don’t doubt that the Clintons are corrupt: In just one instance, Qatar gifts Bill Clinton $1,000,000 for his birthday. Arms flow increases 1,482%.

And then there are allegations of quid pro quo, also known as tit for tat,

In a statement released by the State Department, Kennedy said he reached out because he wanted “to better understand a proposal the FBI had made to upgrade one of former Secretary Clinton’s emails prior to its public release” and that McCauley raised the topic of FBI slots in Iraq “as an entirely separate matter.” He said he could not speak to McCauley’s recollection but insisted: “There was no quid pro quo, nor was there any bargaining. At no point in our conversation was I under the impression we were bargaining.”

Kennedy also said in the statement his motivations “were never political.”

More news dumps: James O’Keefe’s videos of the Clinton campaign and the DNC strategy of inciting violence at Trump events – which violence Hillary blamed on Trump’s words – and engaging in voter fraud.

(Don’t forget my interesting experience last week.)

But hey, the POTUS says to “stop whining,”

At a news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Obama said, “I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place.”

Maybe, if he’s serious about discrediting, Obama ought to tell his party to stop dumping raw sewage while they’re at it.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.


If you watch the news, you might not realize that on the Navy’s birthday, the USS MASON had already been attacked twice from Yemen. Or that we sentenced an NCIS agent to 12 years in prison for a massive Pacific scandal. The Navy isn’t as interesting as our Presidential election, which is why you’ve probably missed that it’s being slowly dismantled.

Consider these points:

hsvWhat happens to aluminum hulls when they meet missiles. From
  • We’ve purchased the next generation of warship, the Littoral Combat Ship, where we focused on speed. Yet it’s hull is aluminum, it lacks a lot of firepower, and despite being billed as being cheaper, we aren’t getting a lot of cost savings.
  • We’ve changed personnel procedures to allow transgender personnel, without having first fixed our broken health care system, so we setup the system for failure before even getting out of the gate.
  • We completely dissolved our Navy rating system so that we could better align with the civilian sector. Never mind that we had multiple programs to make it easy to transition from the Navy. We also changed the retirement structure. It’s almost like we don’t want career Sailors anymore, and certainly not any with warfighting experience.
  • We’ve spent millions on multiple uniform changes, but many of us are still working in dilapidated buildings built in the 30’s and 40’s, and we’re told there isn’t any military construction money to help us.
  • We ignored offensive sea weapons, and now the Chinese and Russians have missiles that can strike us long before we ever get within firing range.

The Chief of Naval Operations said the Navy was to focus on three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready. USS MASON was certainly ready to strike against an adversary in Yemen, but are we building a Navy that can keep us safe from Russia and China? Maybe that question isn’t as enthralling a discussion as the Presidential election, but it certainly is one we should be having.

The views in this post do not reflect the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other branch of the US government. They belong solely to the author.

If you’re curious about the Navy rating disestablishment, check out my post here.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  This post will be free from any commentary regarding last night’s debate or any discussion of the current state of the American presidential race.  You’re welcome.

If you haven’t watched Marc Levin’s documentary, Class Divide, now running on HBO, you should. It is beautifully and poignantly done.

The documentary explores gentrification in New York’s Chelsea area and the educational divide that exists between the luxury “world school” Avenues, and the schools available to the kids in the housing project right across the street from Avenues.  But there’s more there: the documentary shows how community activists banded together to save “the High Line” – an abandoned elevated rail track, and turn it into an elevated park and track that runs through the neighborhood. The documentary shows how hope can survive in people in even the worst circumstances. And it shows the promise and innocence of youth.

This subject is very personal to me as I teach in a high-poverty school; we aren’t in as big a city as New York, but poverty is poverty wherever you are and these kids face the same problems.  Further, there is a gentrification project (on a smaller scale) underway in my school’s neighborhood.  My students are seeing houses torn down, houses loaded on trucks and hauled out, and expensive businesses and housing brought in – far outside their reach.

Kids coming from high poverty areas face learning challenges that upper socio-economic kids don’t face. These students live so “in the moment,” as they wonder if the electricity will be on when they get home, will there be food there, will there be an adult home?  They carry their important possessions with them in their backpacks to school because either they feel like they have to for safety, or because they don’t know where they’ll be sleeping that night.

How are kids like this supposed to concentrate on algebraic equations?

So, I understand kids in poverty and the educational challenges that presents.

Class Divide artfully explores this issue and ultimately what we see is that money can’t buy happiness (trite, but true):

The main thrust of “Class Divide,” is to look inside these two very different worlds namely, Avenues: The World School, and the Elliot-Chelsea public housing projects, as seen through the eyes of the kids (“Sheila Nevins idea”) and see how it feels to them. In the film, we go inside Chris Whittle’s remarkable private school, Avenues: The World School. We see what a privilege it is to be a student there (pre-K to 12th grade tuition is $40,000 per student) and meet some of the kids who attend the school. However elite, The World School is to be admired for its mission to produce students who will flourish and compete globally (every child takes classes in Mandarin or Spanish). We meet Yasmin, a curious, empathetic young female who wants to create a bridge of understanding with her 115 Step Project (the amount of steps between her school and the public housing). We meet Luc, a sensitive, caring young male, who, tragically, takes on the economic divide tipping in his favor, as a painful weight to bear.

The heart of the documentary rests in 8-year old Rosa who lives in the projects and sees the shiny new school through the bars on her windows. She’s smart as a whip and her potential is unlimited, yet a school like Avenues is far outside her reach.

The documentary makes you think hard about the American education system.  It makes you think carefully about values, too.

If you get the chance, be sure to watch it; it’s currently running on HBO and HBOGo.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.


There has been a lot of debate over remarks Donald Trump made about our veterans and PTSD. He was accused of saying many veterans were weak and unfit, leading to a rise in PTSD. In reality, Trump was misquoted by the media, although no one should be surprised by this.

Although The Donald didn’t say it, there is some truth to the accusations that some military members are more susceptible to PTSD than others. Although PTSD numbers are hard to come by, suicide numbers are much easier, and I think we can safely say that trends in suicide will probably closely resemble suicide trends.

To start analyzing, we need to know what the military suicide rate is. Historically, we can get some data for the 80s and 90s:

militarysuicide8093Source: National Mortality Profile of Active Duty Armed Forces

But that was the 90s, and things are different now. A more recent look can be found in a RAND study:


Taken at face value, and compared to a national average of 10 suicides per 100,000 people, it looks like active duty military are killing themselves 50% more than normal.

But what is normal? The population of America is about 50/50 male/female, yet the military is primarily male, and weighted towards the 18-25 year old crowd. Conveniently, these people have a particularly high average suicide rate that hovers around 20-25 per 100,000. When compared to that, the military rate is actually much lower than normal.

But what about that rise? It’s pretty obvious that from 2006 we see a rise in suicide rates. Obviously the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on troops.

But the timing doesn’t make sense. Afghanistan casualties were fairly steady up to 2008. Casualties in Iraq were already steady by 2006, and in fact went down in 2008 onwards, yet the suicide rate continued rising. And when the Army looked into it, a full one-third of the suicides had no deployment history. The wars causing the rise in suicides doesn’t hold up to closer scrutiny.

This is where the insider piece helps. As a Navy guy stationed previously at an Army base, I couldn’t help but notice with disgust the number of fat Army troops walking around. This wasn’t simply inter-service rivalry. I looked into it, and found the Army was waiving body fat requirements more so in 2006 and onwards in order to meet an increase in end strength. Local unit commanders confirmed that it wasn’t just body fat. Non-violent felonies, mental health issues, and all sorts of other conditions that the Army would previously screen out were being waived.

So what happens when you are no longer taking from the best part of the population, and instead are taking more average people? In the Army’s case, you get more average-people problems. The suicide rate rose to the average 18-25 year old male rate.

I’ll go out on a limb here. While PTSD can strike anyone, it is far less likely to strike the average soldier we recruited in 2002 than the soldier recruited in 2007. We had to lower recruiting standards to fill a wartime need, and we did it without providing the proper medical support for those people. As a nation, at some point we will need to come to grips with that decision.

Which means Donald Trump was right when he said

“when you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it. But a lot of people can’t handle it. And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie, nobody would believe it.”

If we want to help our veterans struggling with PTSD, let’s start by using statistics to help us tackle the right problem first. Stop blaming the wars and start fixing the poor choices we made as a nation.

This post solely represents the view of the author and does not represent the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other branch of the US government.

If you’re a great American and want to help fight suicide and PTSD, you can donate to a variety of places, or go volunteer at your local VA hospital. If you know someone that needs help, tell them to call the Military One Source Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, because one suicide is one too many.

There are few people who are as good as Robert Stacy McCain as stating obvious truths that people ignore

Because it is easier to remain silent than to express unpopular truths, we find that liars are increasingly influential in academia — hello, Professor Lisa Wade — and common sense is now quite uncommon on campus.

We are expected to believe that college girls in the 21st century are afflicted with an extraordinary naïveté about how sex happens.

“Why are these boys furnishing me with free alcohol?” we must imagine the college girl asking herself, as she downs her ninth drink. “And why does this boy want me to go back to his dorm room at midnight?”

Gosh, honey, this is all a huge mystery to you, isn’t it? You graduated high school at the top of your class, and your parents are paying $60,000 a year to send you to this elite private liberal arts college, so maybe you could do a little arithmetic, add 2 + 2 and tell us what this is about.

Now think about this for a second.

If this was 1816 or even 1956 it’s just possible that a young lady might be sheltered enough that she may not realize what is going on.

But we have spent the last 25 years informing our children about sex to the point where it is all around them from youth, and that’s not even counting the effect of the internet and online porn so the idea that an 18 year old college girl doesn’t understand that drinking alcohol to excess at a college party might lead to an undesired sexual encounter, that’s just not credible.

Of course to our feminist friends if you suggest to a young lady that getting drunk with a young man at college might not be a good idea, you are some sort of misogynistic cad and given our culture of victimhood it might even be possible that a girl might covet the victim status that comes from later regret.

But for my money an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  I’ll give the last word to Screwtape

The Enemy described a married couple as “one flesh”. He did not lay “a happily married couple” or “a couple who married because they were in love”, but you can make the humans ignore that. You can also make them forget that the man they call Paul did not confine it to married couples. Mere copulation, for him, makes “one flesh”. You can thus get the humans to accept as rhetorical eulogies of “being in love” what were in fact plain descriptions of the real significance of sexual intercourse. The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.

Given that fact I’d suggest avoiding sex without a ring on the finger myself which is why I taught my sons what my father taught me:  If she’s good enough to sleep with she’s good enough to marry.”

Closing thought:  This is another example of God’s rules being for our benefit rather than his.

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I can’t see how the Baltimore Orioles justify losing a one game winner take all game with Zach Britton on the bench, I mean what’s the point of having a guy who was 47 for 47 on the team in saves if you don’t use him in the situation where the entire season is literally on the line?

I’m old enough to remember when the MSM actually cared about their facade of objectivity but Hillary Clinton is such a bad I was looking at candidate that such considerations have become a luxury.

Even decades after his death there simply isn’t anyone who turns a comic phrase better than Groucho Marx.  His one liners are just as funny today as they were in the 1930’s.

You know Burger King used to be pretty good for fast food, now I can’t eat it without my stomach turning.

The easiest path to riches in the future will be as an eye or ear doctor who treats people in their 50’s and above who have spent decades squinting at tiny phone screens or with earbuds in their ears blasting away.

As Obamacare’s failures continue to multiply it’s very apparent that the smartest thing the GOP has done in the last decade was to not give Obamacare a single GOP vote.  All of these failures are owned by democrats and will continue to be forever.

Is anyone actually surprised that the IRS is still going after conservative groups?  And be assured that if they are willing to do this openly before an election, how much more shameless will they be in their attacks if Hillary Clinton wins.


It amazes me that more conservatives in general and Christians in particular are not using the laws concerning “hostile workplace environments” to sue employers, particularly large corporations.  Until that starts happening conservatives will continue to go more and more into the closet.

Cumberland Farms became a fast food takeout restaurant so quickly I didn’t even notice until it happened.

It’s on Trump and a rundown of interviews from his Bedford event and his speech, you can listen here or click on the fedora to the right.

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It really stinks when you’re drawing a blank on what to write about but over the course of 8 years it’s bound to happen once in a while so here are 10 more quick thought that twitter won’t get but you will.

Toronto holding Ortiz hitless in his final games demonstrates the difference between a beloved players last game not mattering in the standings and a players last game being against a team in a must win situation.

I’ve predicted that the media’s bias in the last month of this election is going to be so bad that even the cynical will be shocked. I think I’ve vastly understated the matter.

There are elderly catholics who because of JFK still think the Democrats love the church despite all the evidence otherwise. It’s very frustrating.

If Wikileaks brings down Hillary it’s a good thing for the nation but it doesn’t change the fact that they are bad people doing bad things, their battle vs Hillary is like a war between ISIS & Iran, we can only hope that both sides lose.

I’ve seen a lot of people say Hillary corrupted the FBI, that’s not true, the bottom line is the FBI was given a choice between doing their duty or protecting Hillary and choose the latter. So if you are an FBI agent and a person like me looks on you with distrust and scorn, blame the guy in the mirror.

I’ve said it many times an it’s worth repeating. If our enemies were looking to do us the maximum harm both domestically and internationally and installed their own leader, how would their actions over the last 8 years vary from what this president has done?

I’m sorry but a priest who sees a person heading toward Hell and doesn’t tell them so is being the opposite of loving, just like a doctor who tells a patient a comforting lie to avoid telling him they’re in danger of death should be fired. Incidentally I’ve been reading a chapter of the gospels every day for 2 1/2 years now and Jesus talked a lot about people going to hell, that being the case you think it would come up more often in the pulpit.

What’s the point of even having BBC America if they don’t have Doctor Who available on demand?

Now that Tom Brady is back suddenly my argument about an older quarterback getting four extra weeks rest as a plus is being repeated all over.

Unless you are willing to define what a person’s “fair share” is I think demanding someone pay it is a load of BS.

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So David Ortiz has played his last regular season game and ended said regular season career with a weak ground out to the pitcher.

While his finish was not spectacular let’s consider David Ortiz’s 2016 stats

Ortiz led the league in doubles with 48 (and that’s on two bad legs)
He led he league in RBI’s with 127
He led the league in extra base hits with 87 (finishing 8th all time btw)
He led the league with a .620 Slugging percentage (Ironically the only time he has led in this category in his career
He led the league with a 1.021 OPS (on base plus slugging)
He Led the league with 15 intentional walks

He finished 6th in Batting with a .315 avg
He finished 3rd in On Base percentage with .401
He finished 7th in total bases with 333
He finished 8th in Home runs with 38
He finished 8th in walks with 80
He finished 5th in runs created with 130
He finished 2nd in offensive win percentage at .756
He finished 5th in sacrifice flies with 7

and in more esoteric stats

He finished 2nd in adjusted OPS
He finished 2nd in adjusted batting runs
He finished 2nd in adjusted batting wins
He finished 5th in at bats per HR ratio
He finished 2nd in base outs runs added
He finished 3rd in win probability added
He finished 4th in situational wins added

And on the minus side was 4th in hitting into double plays with 22

For any normal player such a season would be considered spectacular.

For a 40 year old player with bad legs an feet in his final major league season that is spectacular.

No major league player in a career not ended by suspension (Joe Jackson) sudden death (Roberto Clemente) or Serious injury / disease (Sandy Koufax) has ever had a year like this to finish a career and of course there is still the playoffs to come.

I have no idea how the Red Sox or Ortiz will do in the playoffs, but even if the Tribe sweeps us in 3 and Ortiz goes 0-12 consier this.

While Curt Schilling deserves a fair share of the 2004 credit David Ortiz is the man who converted the Red Sox franchise and fans from a group of people waiting to see what would go wrong, to a franchise that believes it can win in any given year. He is a player that transformed fandom in this region.

I don’t expect to see another like him in my lifetime.

Federal regulations place an enormous burden on our economy.  They are strangling every individual and business with red tape.  Earlier this year the Competitive Enterprise Institute released this report detailing the exact size of this regulatory nightmare.  Here are some highlights from that report.

  • The total cost of regulatory compliance for 2015 alone was $1.885 trillion
  • The cost per household that year was $15000
  • 80000 pages of federal rules and regulations were added to the federal register that year
  • There are about 60 different federal agencies writing regulations

The vast majority of these regulations violate several fundamental clauses of the United States Constitution.

All of these regulations are written by departments of the Executive Branch or by independent agencies.  This violates Article I Section 1 which states:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

The legislative branch has been derelict in its constitutional obligations.  For the past several decades both houses of congress have written laws which have delegated legislative power to these regulatory agencies.  Congress does not have the authority to delegate legislative authority to anyone.  They are not granted that power.  John Locke, one of the primary influences of the framers of the Constitution, was quite clear on this when he wrote his Second Treatise on Government:

The Legislative cannot transfer the Power of Making Laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated Power from the People, they, who have it, cannot pass it over to others. The People alone can appoint the Form of the Commonwealth, which is by Constituting the Legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the People have said, We will submit to rules, and be govern’d by Laws made by such Men, and in such Forms, no Body else can say other Men shall make Laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any Laws but such as are Enacted by those, whom they have Chosen, and Authorised to make Laws for them. The power of the Legislative being derived from the People by a positive voluntary Grant and Institution, can be no other, than what that positive Grant conveyed, which being only to make Laws, and not to make Legislators, the Legislative can have no power to transfer their Authority of making Laws, and place it in other hands.

Regulations written by these regulatory agencies are treated as the law of the land even though they are never passed by both houses and signed by the president.  This is in violation of Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution, which defines the formal legislative process.

The US Constitution created a limited federal government with only clearly defined powers, which are spelled out in Article 1 Section 8.  All other powers are left to the individual States.  This is declared in the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

These regulations violate the Tenth Amendment because they grant the federal government the authority to regulate in areas not contained in the powers enumerated in Article 1 Section 8.

The federal government treats these regulations as if they are the law of the land, in violation of the Supremacy Clause, which is Article 6 Section 2:

This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Because these regulations violate several provisions of the Constitution, they are not in pursuance of the Constitution; therefore they are not the law of the land.

Since all of these regulations already violate several articles of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment preventing the federal government from implementing this regulatory nightmare is not the solution to this constitutional crisis.  Thomas Jefferson proposed the solution to this crisis when he wrote the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.  The States must refuse to implement these unconstitutional regulations and the States must refuse to help the federal government implement them.

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“I only know this is wrong.”

– Guinan
Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Yesterday’s Enterprise”

I’m a sucker for time-travel stories. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Back to the Future, Stephen King’s 11/22/63 or anything else, a good story about the hero traveling back in time and affecting (or restoring) “the timeline” is one of my favorite diversions. If the plot is clever and resolves itself well, I’m even willing to put up with hokey dialog and two-dimensional characters. I just love it when a story, which can easily open itself to paradox, cliché and deus ex machina anti-climax, manages to apply self-consistent logic and arrive at an exciting, thought-provoking and satisfying ending.

Of course, we know that time travel is impossible. You can’t go back in time and murder your grandfather, there are no alternate universes and there is no grand government conspiracy hiding an actual time travel device so we just think it’s impossible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to change the past, at least not if you’re a progressive, or whatever term the left chooses to apply to itself. The only hard part is getting yourself into a position to do it, such as becoming a Supreme Court Justice.

If you’re like me, and believe that words have meanings and expect that logical self-consistency is essential for any set of laws to make sense, then you would agree that once a law is passed it’s meaning should remain constant until such time as the legislature chooses to amend or repeal the law. That’s a pretty basic feature of any “government of laws, not of men.” The problem, as the left sees it, is that our Constitution was set up to make it hard to change the law, but we conservatives see this as a feature, not a bug.

The way the Constitution says you change a law is to advocate for the change and convince the legislature to pass the amendment, get it approved by the other house and have the president sign it into law. But that can be difficult since (ideally) each legislator is beholden to a constituency (those pesky “we the people” again), so they have to convince them that it’s a good idea too. If they can’t, then they may get voted out in the next election. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. What if there were an easier way?

Let’s suppose that time travel were actually possible. Our legislative crusader could go back in time, maybe to the Constitutional Convention, and actually advocate to change the Constitution. Maybe convince James Madison that the first amendment should include that phrase “Congress shall make no law limiting the ability of a mother to kill her unborn child at any time during her pregnancy.” Then the Supreme Court never would have had to wrestle with the abortion question in Roe v. Wade.

Instead, the left has discovered that Legislative Time Travel is much easier. All they have to do is decide what policy they want to enact and then declare that the meaning of the appropriate legislation is actually different from what everyone thought it was originally, and – surprise! – it actually means just what it needs to mean to enact whatever policy they want. They did it with abortion, they did it with gay “marriage” and now they’re doing it with “transgenderism.” Instead of going back in time and convincing Madison, all they have to say is “Madison really meant whatever I wish he’d meant.”

And the Obama administration doesn’t even have to go back that far. By reinterpreting Title IX to include the nebulous term “gender identity” they have the chutzpah to tell legislators, many of whom are still around, that the law they passed to prohibit discrimination based on sex now means something completely different.

So now we find ourselves in an alternate reality where laws are no longer logically self-consistent, since “gender identity” is completely subjective and this made-up interpretation of plainly written law is now in direct contradiction of the First Amendment in forcing churches and religious organizations and employers to go against the practice of their faith (i.e. the free exercise of their religion) to accommodate what the American College of Pediatricians has classified as a psychological disorder.

Since we don’t believe in Legislative Time Travel, we need representatives who will follow the Constitution and not just make things up as they go along. Since Clinton has pledged to be Obama’s third term, we can expect more of the same if she is elected. It says a lot about how far left Clinton and the democrats have become that Donald Trump is actually the candidate who is more likely to restore our timeline to one that make sense.

Some days you just have nothing so here are a few quick one sentence thoughts

The NFL will continue to accommodate SJW vs their customer base as long as they are more afraid of the former than the latter.

Can someone explain to me how one can believe that a person who successfully does business on an international scale dealing with different countries and cultures on a regular basis like Trump is not competent to deal with such things as president.

People have an incredible capacity to rationalize anything if it will allow them to maintain their worldview and position even if it contradicts facts to their faces.

For most people no amount of starvation, suffering or murder thousands of miles away will outrage them as much as being cut off from a parking space they consider their own.

As long as people can make a profit either politically or financially by demonizing police and law enforcement it will continue to be done.

Most of the listlessness of our current culture that we constantly try to relieve via counseling and medication is an attempt to fill the hole left by our abandonment as a culture of Christianity.

The only difference between “common sense” and a “stereotype” is what is culturally acceptable.

There is nobody more powerful than someone who is unconcerned about what other people think.

In reality all a person needs to live is, a safe place to sleep away from the elements, food and protection from attack.

If you are reading this then you have achieved a level of wealth and comfort above the majority of humans who have ever lived in all history and likely don’t realize it.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT  — There were protests in New Orleans Saturday, as promised, at Jackson Square and at other Confederate monument sites in the city.  The stated goal of these protests, organized by Take ‘Em Down NOLA and BLM, was to bring the monuments down with ropes, if necessary.

They did not succeed.

All of this new hullabaloo is in advance of the September 28 court hearing on the monuments this week.

The event began Saturday in Congo Square in the Treme section of New Orleans and hundreds of protesters began their march to the French Quarter and Jackson Square.  The group was comprised of people on both sides – some people were there in support of the monuments and others were opposed.

Interestingly, the Andrew Jackson monument was not one on Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s original hit list.  His initial targeted monuments were Lee Circle, Liberty Place monument, P.G.T. Beauregard monument, and the Jefferson Davis monument.

Upon arrival at Jackson Square, the protesters were met with mounted patrols who guarded entrance to the monument. Protesters chanted “No justice, no peace” and some threw paint filled water balloons, much like the vandal that targeted our Confederate monument here in Shreveport a few months ago.  The estimate to remove the paint from the Shreveport monument is staggering and the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Shreveport are raising money to help cover the cost.  Because the paint soaks into the marble and granite, removal must be done with chemicals and care.

The night before the protests in New Orleans, the PGT Beauregard monument was tagged with red paint: “Burn ‘em Down.”  Local preservation groups got out quickly to clean the paint from the base of the monument.

There were about seven people arrested during the protests Saturday, mostly for disturbing the peace; two were arrested for fighting. One had a weapon.

After the protesters moved on from Jackson Square, they marched through the French Quarter and blocked traffic on Canal Street, and finally as it all disbursed and darkness descended on the city, monument watchers were in place through the night to ensure that no more vandalism or violence took place at each of the targeted monuments.

To say that this is a time of great tension in our southern cities is an understatement but after talking to the people that live in New Orleans, most are not concerned with the monuments and never pay them any attention. These protests and agitations are primed primarily by outside BLM groups whose main purpose is to create racial tension. Those monuments have stood for years without notice and without protest.

It all makes me very concerned for our shared history, our heritage (as American, not just north and south), and our future.

And now we wait for the September 28 hearing.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

inline1The heart of Saint Padre Pio

Two days ago I happened across an article saying that the relics of Saint Padre Pio would be on display at the Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Since I’m only 2 hours south of Boston, it seemed like a golden opportunity, so I packed my oldest kids in the car after school on Friday and made the drive to Boston.

I had never seen Saint relics before in person, so I had no idea what to expect. I actually didn’t even know anything about Padre Pio, so I had to Google him the night before.

abouttoenterAre we REALLY seeing a Saint’s heart?

Despite nasty traffic, we got to the Cathedral around 6 pm. I expected security or some sort of general craziness, as I heard that thousands had come before in previous days. Instead, I found a relatively orderly line forming from the back of the church. So we got in line and walked inside.

openning1I gotta say, Skyrim has nothing on this real life marvel

The cathedral is nothing short of impressive. As our line progressed forward, I calmed myself and said a short prayer for my youngest daughter. She has multiple heart defects, and I asked Padre Pio for an intervention. Since his heart was on display, it seemed like a good time to do so.

suspicious1He’s keeping an eye on you…

As we got close to the front, I put the camera away and picked up my son. As much as I wanted a close up picture, it just didn’t feel right to stand in front and snap away, plus it would have slowed the now-really-long line down. So we all came forward, I kissed the enclosure, my kids did as well, and we stepped to the side.

The “guardian” of the relic seemed really suspicious of anyone with a camera, including an outstanding gentleman like myself.

eyeonyou1Nothing gets past this guy. Not even me.

I mean, really? I’m not Indiana Jones. I don’t even know what you would do with a stolen relic. Is there a black market for these things?

With two little kids and a 2 hour+ drive back, we didn’t stay for Mass, but we did get one last picture.


Probably the coolest part of this experience was realizing that there are modern Saints and modern miracles. Sadly, the media doesn’t care to focus on these miracles and instead would have us wallow in political discussions. Luckily for us, we have a Church we can go to that can bring these modern miracles to life.

This post solely represents the view of the author and does not represent the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other branch of the US government. All of the people in it are real, including the really cute kids pictured above.

If you liked this, you might like reading my blog, and maybe even buy my Kids Book on the Navy.

If you say that an Islamic Terrorist IS authentically the religion he claims to be, the media and the current SJW culture will declare you a bigot and an Islamophobe

If you say that a “Transgender” person IS NOT authentically the sex/gender they claim to be, the media and the current SJW culture will declare you a bigot and transphobic.

If you like what you see here and want to help support it.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The fight to preserve American History has now moved to Baltimore with the latest attack coming from the Special Commission to Review Baltimore’s Public Confederate Monuments.  Their recommendation is to move an equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson which depicts the two men right before the 1863 battle of Chancellorsville; another statue up for removal is of Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision in 1857.

The Commission has elected to retain the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Confederate Women’s Monument.

Cities across the South have been battling this issue on both public and private property for some time now and it is never without controversy. In New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been trying to rid the city of its Confederate monuments for two years without much success – so far.  The case has been tied up in the courts and is coming up for a federal court of appeals hearing on September 28; this upcoming date has renewed the controversy and the Take Em Down NOLA activist group is threatening to take the monuments down themselves with ropes.  Vandalism on the New Orleans monuments is a constant (although it wasn’t as bad until Landrieu started this campaign).

In Baltimore, the Special Commission has suggested adding signs to the monuments that present a new historical narrative “in today’s context.”  The Maryland Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has concerns about revisionist text and believes that the historical context should be accurate.  Who will write that text?

Add to all this monument controversy the new effort by the National Parks Service to create revisionist history of the Reconstruction period – again, an incredibly painful and inglorious time in our nation’s history.  The NPS has already

“…published a handbook for rangers and historians to ensure that “discredited legends” (like neo-Confederate claims that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery) don’t “stand in place of historical fact.”

And finally, consider the recent decision by the Tennessee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy who reluctantly accepted a deal from Vanderbilt University to rename Confederate Memorial Hall on their campus:

The final terms of that deal were announced Monday after anonymous donors gave $1.2 million toward that purpose. Despite the payout, the organization said it was “disappointed that an institution such as Vanderbilt University would attempt to whitewash, sanitize and rewrite American history.” University leaders, including Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, have said the word is being removed because of symbolic ties with racism and slavery that are painful for Vanderbilt’s increasingly diverse community.

It goes on and on and where will it end?  What is the ultimate goal here?  What will we have achieved once the word “confederate” is erased from our national consciousness?  Will racism and prejudice be eradicated once all the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are gone?

Racism and prejudice are learned behaviors.  They do not come from blocks of stone or from words carved into the name of a building.

When a nation attempts to rewrite its history only bad things will follow.

In the Baltimore study, Fitz Brundage, chairman of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has said, “’Why would you have monuments to Lee and Jackson in Baltimore?” Mr. Brundage asked, calling the two men traitors to the U.S.”

I can only imagine what he says in his history classes.

And why in the world are we re-fighting the Civil War anyway?  Are we blaming all this on Dylann Roof?

The whole thing makes me sad and makes me wish Shelby Foote was still alive who once said this about the Confederate battle flag:

I can’t really argue with the people’s decision to remove it; if a constitutional body decides to remove the flag from a certain place, I can’t argue with that decision. I differ with it, but I can’t really argue with it because it’s a fait accompli. But to me the flag is a noble symbol, and I’m sorry to see it scorned. The confederacy stood for a great many things other than slavery. A dependent slavery is part of its right to decide what it wanted to do, but that was not what people fought the war about on either side. It was greatly contributory to starting the war and it was contributory to the North winning the war because of Lincoln’s definition as a war about slavery. It was not that in the first place or the last place. It was other things, many other things.

Much more than we can go into here; my point simply is that erasing it all changes nothing and only makes us ignorant and less informed.

Changing the name of a building changes nothing but the name of the building.

Only education can bring change and wisdom.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

That’s how we used to deal with traitors…

So the new Snowden movie is out in theaters, and if you couldn’t already guess from the title, I won’t be seeing it. Snowden is a traitor, and the only thing he deserves is a quick stop on a short rope.

“But he’s a hero and exposed the eeeevil NSA!” So the media tells us anyway. Let’s break this down a bit.

First, the NSA isn’t evil. Contrary to what the media would have you believe, the NSA is full of hard working Americans who try and keep our country safe. The organization is constantly scrutinized by Congress. Their budget gets approved every year just like every other Department of Defense organization. They are even run by a military member, currently Admiral Michael Rogers.

The NSA’s job is to support combat operations. While the media running a nice article about supporting the troops is all well and good, the NSA is trying to keep people alive. Breaking our enemy’s networks, processing that information and disseminating it all around the world in a timely fashion is hard. It takes a lot of smart people to do this. It’s certainly harder than writing shallow articles for a failing news organization.

But, let’s say you’re working in the NSA and you find out someone is abusing their position of trust. You can’t just go to the police. Luckily for us, Congress and the Executive branch thought this out and put in place a whole bunch of programs:

  • You could contact the NSA’s Inspector General. They work to maintain the integrity of our system.
  • You can contact your Congressman directly.
  • If you’re in the military, you can communicate directly with your commanding officer.
  • You can contact the criminal investigative service in the Navy, Army or Air Force.

The best part about all of these paths is that every one has cleared personnel, so you don’t risk disclosing classified information.

In case you don’t even agree with that, realize too that Snowden put all our troops in harms way. The terrorists that read his information will likely change how they operate, making it harder for us to prevent them from hurting our troops. The millions we spent on gaining access is now for nothing…your tax dollars up in flames.

Snowden is a traitor hands down. Don’t waste your money at the box office.

This post solely represents the view of the author and does not represent the official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, National Security Agency, or any other branch of the US government. It also doesn’t put our troops in harms way.

If you liked this and love America, you might like reading my thoughts on Fairness, and maybe even buy my Kids Book on the Navy.

by baldilocks

It’s one of those days.writers-block

So, instead of commenting on the news or on someone else’s commentary on the news, I’m going to give you some links to pieces I plan to read after I compose this post. Here we go.

I think that the link immediately above is the one I’m looking forward to reading the most.

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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

Many people are writing about the fifteenth anniversary of the Islamist terrorist attack on America. Garrett M. Graff has a compelling article at Politico, ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’ that tells the story of that horrible day by those in the Bush White House.

September 11, 2001, profoundly changed my view of the world.
On a personal level, it brought home how ephemeral life really is – especially since my birthday is on September 13th.

Ephemeral as it is, a responsible adult’s life has inescapable obligations and commitments, and we all enjoy pastimes in our valuable spare time.

Which brings me to the subject of pro football.

As a University of Georgia alumna, I loved UGA football while I was a student. I loved it while in college because of the social scene and the general enthusiasm of a football weekend, but to this day my knowledge of football is patchy at best. (Indeed, years ago my coworkers were annoyed that one week I won the football pool, but I digress.)

I do understand, however, how one develops a passionate interest in a sport, an activity, or a subject. I hope most people do; indeed, it is a poor life that does not experience a passion for something. In that sense, I fully understand why people are football fans even when I don’t know much about the game itself.

Likewise, many people  are passionate about politics.

Once you combine a passion for a sport with political statements, such as the (maybe?) intentional grounding plans for September 11, no less, tempers will flare, big time.

The excellent Argentinian movie The Secret In Their Eyes (not the American remake) explains a soccer fan’s passion in this scene. At the end of the scene, however, the actor says, “There’s one thing a guy can’t change, Benjamín. He can’t change his passion.”

The thing is, you can change you passion, not only once, but many times, in your lifetime. Ace explains:

It’s Not Give Up Something. It’s Choosing Something Better.

Ace both quit smoking and gave up watching football, because they became zombie habits (emphasis added):

For me, i didn’t stop watching football to make some political statement. I just realized it was a habit I wasn’t particularly enjoying — it was a Zombie Show I was watching. One of those shows you keep watching long after you have stopped taking pleasure from them, just because you’re in the habit of watching them, and they’re still on.

Zombie habits are just bad habits. If you’re not really enjoying something that takes up hours of your life: stop. You will quickly find some better things. The mind wants to be engaged and to have fun. You will find fun.

Ace is not alone in this realization, of course. Political-activist football players and teams are risking, as Juliette mentioned, that

A large portion of the NFL’s audience won’t put their monies out for this sort of thing.

Life is short; you don’t need 9/11 to remind you, even when it brings immediacy to the point. So, if the pastime has become a zombie habit, listen to Ace: You’ll find fun.

And good luck to the NFL guys.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.


Saw this at when I got back to the retreat center from EWTN very late tonight

I’m sure someone can explain why we should care about Mr. Romney’s opinion in this matter because I sure can’t.

That’s all.

Update: For the record if Dr. Jill Stein is also included I have no problem with Johnson in the debate, after all both Johnson & Stein have the same chance to be elected president or even winning a state.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – If you will indulge me once more, I’ll wrap up my Louisiana Flood 2016 coverage with this post, “God willing and the creeks don’t rise,” as we say down here.

Some Flood Facts:

  1. At this point, flood damage is estimated to be about $8.7 billion, but they are not finished making inspections and assessments yet.  That isn’t a final figure.
  2. Flood damage has been documented in 55,000 homes so far and that number will probably double. Let that sink in for a moment.  55,000.  So far.
  3. Only 20% of those homes had flood insurance because they were not in a flood plain.
  4. More than 6,000 businesses flooded.
  5. Farmers/Agriculture sustained an estimated $110 million in damages.
  6. Estimates are that about 30 state roads washed out and 1,400 bridges will need to be inspected, according to Governor Edwards.
  7. Up to 5,000 bee colonies were wiped out across South Louisiana.
  8. On the Baton Rouge Police Department, about 170 officers got water in their homes and about 190 firemen. The State Police didn’t fare any better. Meanwhile, they were out helping citizens.
  9. State Farm has received over 18,000 claims for flooded vehicles (so far).  I have a friend that works at a Lexus dealership who tells me the leased, flooded vehicles are being towed in so fast they are running out of places to put them.
  10. Thousands of pets have been rescued; many of these will never be reclaimed from the shelters.
  11. Livingston Parish, just east of Baton Rouge, had to relocate its parish prisoners and is racking up substantial costs housing them while they clean out their jail and order new mattresses and supplies. This is likely the case across south Louisiana.
  12. Damage in the East Baton Rouge school district is estimated to be around $50 million.

All in all, it has been a catastrophic event and as people are drying out and putting belongings to the curb, waiting for insurance adjusters, and trying to resume life, things begin to take on a new normal. Football season is back and although the LSU Tigers played poorly this weekend, there is still hope for the future. There is always hope.

There have been good things come out of this terrible event and that has been neighbors helping neighbors, black, white, whatever – everyone is pulling together. We have a rejuvenated pride in our state and in each other.

The Cajun Navy has been a beacon of hope and love for many.

Most schools will reopen this week and children can get back to their own new normal.

And so it goes.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Contrary to what is taught in colleges and promoted by the media today; the government created by the US Constitution is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. About a century ago progressives began systematically transforming this country from a constitutional republic into a European style parliamentary democracy. They accomplished this by elevating laws passed by congress, executive orders, federal regulations, and Supreme Court decisions to the status of the supreme law of the land, while completely ignoring the actual text of the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

In recent decades, progressives have taken this transformation well beyond turning this nation into a parliamentary democracy. They have created a form of government that is more dangerous by greatly increasing the power and scope of the Executive Branch. President Obama now wields almost unlimited legislative power through his unconstitutional use of executive orders.

This fundamental transformation has also included the creation of a fourth branch of the federal government. This branch consists of an army unelected bureaucrats who control virtually every aspect of our lives.

The Constitution created a bottom up government hierarchy, with the federal government as the weakest tier. Local governments were supposed to have the most influence on our daily lives. States were meant to be mostly independent nations tied together by a weak central government. The federal government lacked the power to reach down and affect the lives of those living inside the States. This has now been completely reversed by progressives. Virtually every aspect of our lives is closely regulated by the federal government.

These fundamental transformations, which have been greatly accelerated by President Obama, have produced disastrous results for everyone. To reverse these disastrous transformations, “We the people” must restore our government back to a constitutional republic. Here is my step by step guide to accomplishing this.

We must educate ourselves

I would highly recommend everyone read:

The Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
The Federalist Papers
The Anti-federalist Papers
The 5000 Year Leap, by W. Cleon Skousen
The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, also by Skousen.
The Kentucky Resolutions by Thomas Jefferson
The Virginia Resolutions by James Madison

The Kentucky Resolutions and the Virginia Resolutions are essential reading because they contain the blueprint for restoring our constitutional republic.

We must educate others

Please share this article with as many people and groups as possible thru Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. Please read the texts I mentioned in the previous section and share that knowledge with as many people as possible.

We must educate our State governments.

Most members of State governments are completely oblivious when it comes to the extent of the restorative powers that the States can wield when dealing with a federal government that has exceeded its constitutional limitations. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions in response to the Alien and Seditions Acts,which were passed in 1798. Here is section one:

Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

James Madison echoed Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Virginia Resolutions. The constitutional doctrine laid out in these documents, which is called nullification, is the single most important tool for restoring the federal government to its constitutional boundaries. To implement nullification States need only to declare that a certain action by the federal government violates the Constitution, therefore it is null and void, and the State will not enforce it. States can use nullification on all federal laws, regulations, executive orders, and Supreme Court decisions that violate the Constitution. This process is independent from the Supreme Court.

We must make nullification a major campaign issue.

It is vital that we ask every elected member of State government if they support nullification as a means of restoring our constitutional republic. If they do not, we must find alternative candidates that do, and we must make every effort to get them elected.

I do not believe the Article 5 amendment process is the answer.

The federal government has completely ignored or distorted every single clause of the Constitution and every single amendment. I firmly believe the federal government will do the same with any new amendment that is ratified. The federal government will not reform itself. Under the Constitution, the States were always meant to be the ultimate restorative force.

Please check out my previous articles:

Politically Correct equals Newspeak
The Intoxicating History of Beer
Climate Change Has become a religion
Freedom of Religion not Freedom From Religion
Time to bust some Second Amendment Myths

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During the Clinton impeachment hearings Democrat pols and the media that serves them knew what Bill Clinton was and what he had done, they had a choice:  They could back him up, despite the facts OR they could pressure him to resign and be replaced by Al Gore.

They choose the former.

DaTechGuy 1/15/2016

Yesterday the Muruna marriage between Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin finally became more costly than it was worth.

Rep. Anthony Weiner has been caught in a “sexting” scandal, and this proved to be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back:

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, announced today that she is separating from her husband, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

I’m written plenty about this marriage in the past  but as I was watching Jake Tapper on Monday discussing this and the security implication of blackmail for the husband of a top aide of Hillary Clinton my head started spinning.

We are seriously talking about the security implication of Anthony Weiner due to his sexual peccadilloes when we are talking about letting Bill freaking Clinton back into the White House?

I know the MSM is still trying to pretend that this is no big deal but I have two words to say to such people:

Jeffrey Epstein

Or as Donnie Deutch put it back in may:

“Here’s the tennis game,” Deutsch said. “Donald Trump kissed a woman in a bathing suit. Trump hits back: Tell me about the president’s relationship with a guy named Jeffrey Epstein. That’s your tennis match.”

If I was Donald Trump I’d use the Weiner scandal as an excuse to bring up Jeffrey Epstein, of course the plan might be to wait till first debate to get a reaction out of Hillary and her media guards.

Closing thought: It will be interesting to see if that video still works tomorrow

Update:  Reversed two letters in Jeffrey, corrected

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I talked to a friend this week who just returned to Shreveport from Baton Rouge where he has been helping his son who was flooded this month.

“You can’t imagine the stench down there,” he told me.   There are unending piles of debris lining the streets in neighborhoods now as people begin to gut their houses and work to see what can be saved.

“My son called me when the water started rising,” he said.  “Dad, it’s coming up into the yard.” And then later he called, “Dad, the water is 6-inches into the garage now.”  They moved things to higher levels but by the next morning it was too late to get out.

They called for help and the boats showed up.  The only thing they took with them were their cats, stuffed into pillow cases with their heads poking out.  They lost everything, including two cars.

I talked to another friend with The Cajun Navy who told me about rescuing an eighty-year old couple; they’ve lost everything.  Eighty-years old – how are you going to start all over at eighty?

There has been one horrible story after another.

And now, the water is gone but the debris pickers have moved in.  The dumpster divers are trolling neighborhoods digging through people’s debris piles and taking things they want to try to salvage.  The problem with that is that the insurance adjustors have to come check those piles first.  You can’t make a claim for a lost washer and dryer if it isn’t there.  You can take pictures, and that’s always advisable, but most people don’t want their life’s possessions pillaged while they’re trying to salvage what they can.

As if there was not enough to worry about, Louisiana now has wary eyes cast to the Gulf of Mexico where another tropical depression is forming.  There may not be a soul in the state who isn’t praying for the collapse of that system.

The last thing we need right now is more rain.

Meanwhile, The Cajun Navy is stronger than ever and has been busy gutting houses and delivering supplies.

There has been a lot of grumbling about The Red Cross and while I can’t speak from personal experience, I’ve seen pictures of the scanty meals they are doling out, compared with the hefty red beans, rice and sausage plates other services are giving out!  I can’t fault the Red Cross too much for that – not many people can cook good Louisiana cookin’ like a native.

I do have concerns about one anecdote I heard about local legend Clay Higgins who stopped by a Red Cross shelter and who was praying with an evacuee.  A shelter official stopped him because not everyone in the facility may have been Christian and it might have been offensive to people.  That bothers me.

There was a viral post on Facebook about the Red Cross throwing away donated food and clothes which has been proven partly inaccurate.  The Red Cross wants only your money or your time.  They don’t want to sort through clothes and they don’t want to fool with food.  Because of their poor reputation in that regard, most people I know are donating to Samaritan’s Purse or other faith-based organizations.

All in all, we are rebuilding, recovering, and regrouping.  I’m in northwest Louisiana and we are dry, but just like our friends to the south, we are anxiously watching the sky this week – pray for blue skies.


Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

HumanParasiteby baldilocks

It looks like our country isn’t the only one which is experiencing election insanity. From Philip Ochieng:

An ideology is any systematic set of religious or political ideals. Ideally, then, every political party should be identifiable by distinct ideological thought. But, if so, what is the ideological difference between Kenya’s ruling and opposition parties? Every thinking voter ought to pose that question concerning Kenya’s massive switching of parties every time the General Election looms.

Because the next such polls are nigh, Kenya’s politicians now dash from party to party. The political migration will reach its apogee upon party nominations, when certain candidates have failed to be licensed to vie for civic and parliamentary seats.

But if a party is a bastion of discrete ideals, how can pre-election “party-hopping” be the chief characteristic of Kenya’s alleged “multi-party democracy”?

The answer is that none of Kenya’s plethora of parties ­­­is a truly ideological movement. All our political associations are practically identical by their emptiness of social thought.

Father attributes this dearth to the idea that his countrymen

have adopted that language but do not bother to master its nuances that our moral and intellectual vacuity looks so much more spectacular than the Anglo-Saxon world’s.

In all former European colonies, we do not even know how to pretend about it. We vote not for the social beauty of ideas – not for ideologies – but for something else. To call a spade by its name, Kenya’s big tribes vote only for the presidential candidate identifiable with their cluster of tribes. It is a deeply embarrassing manifestation of our backwardness in social ideals.

Father shouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s what we’ve become here in this bastion of the Anglo-Saxon idealism for the last few elections. I imagine that things get lost in translation in the other former British colonies where English is not the first language spoken at home, but Americans don’t have that excuse.

Both sets of people—Kenyans and Americans–do have something else in common, however: few members of either set of citizens have been formally educated into understanding the importance of ideals—of principles. And I don’t know about the Kenyans, but I’ve been greatly surprised to find out that many, even most self-identified political conservatives, don’t really know what ideals/principles are. That isn’t an accident.

And, without ideals, what’s left? Tribalism of many varieties, but these are almost always of the ethnic type.

Like my father says, the politicians and the constituents in his country don’t even try to fake it. I’d say that we’ve come to that point in the USA as well.

Hang on! It’s going to be a bumpy election.

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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest fad: Getting up at 4AM – not because you have to, but because you want to.

When I commuted to NYC from Convent Station, NJ (no, I have never lived in a convent; Convent Station, between Morristown and Madison, is named after the convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and the train station was built during the 1870s to serve the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, now a College), I used to get up at 5:30AM.

I was in bed by 9PM. Then on Saturdays I slept until 10AM. Not being a real-early morning person, the sleep deficit seemed to accrue faster than if I slept from 11PM to 7AM.

I had a long commute, but would get to work at least an hour before official opening time, and was able to have a full breakfast, get a lot of work done, and tend to priorities before the normal interruptions of the day started.

The 4AM crowd, however, seem rather more intense – some recommend sleeping in your gym clothes.

The key to enjoying the early morning quiet time, however, is not sleeping in your gym clothes and rushing off to the gym before the crack of dawn; Rather, the key is being able to have a block of uninterrupted time with no outside distractions, where you can focus on the day’s priorities.

This means you are unplugged (no phone calls, texts, Facebook or other social media), are not available for interruptions, and, in my case, are  not listening to music, the TV. You are exclusively paying attention to the task at hand.

If the only way you can do so is at 4AM, all the more power to you.

However, in my case, I’ve found that – especially when my son was a baby – dedicating an uninterrupted twenty-minute block of time (a “unit”) during the day to a single, focused task was more effective than any other time management technique I tried. With a little practice, you can even estimate (“this will take three units”) how long it will take to get things done.

And you’re not sleeping in your gym clothes.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I was reading R H’s post A robot could replace your crooked real estate agent and fully understand why he wants a robot to replace RE agents.

You see, I’ve been a licensed real estate agent since the late 1980s. I was active for a few years.

The office I worked in closed over a decade ago. I was young and naive back in the 80s, but even to my young and naive eyes it became clear that some of the people I was working with would do anything for money.

And I mean anything.

The thing is, the ones who really outperformed everyone were the most professional and ethical agents.

Having learned that, when it was time to sell my Princeton house, I had a rather long conversation with the local office’s manager to ask him which of his agents he considered the most honest. He recommended Beatrice Bloom.

Home buying or selling is an extremely stressful, emotional experience. The advantage to having a good agent is that you have an experienced person with professional distance working with you.

It all works best when you are prepared. Here are a number of suggestions:

If you are a buyer:

Talk to your bank and find out what you can afford. Stay in that range.

Decide where you want to live.

If your target area is too expensive, are you willing to sacrifice space for location? Do you rather have a larger house in a nearby suburb instead?

Get as much information as you possibly can over the internet.

  1. For instance, here are the best New Jersey school districts. School district ratings and property values are directly related.
  2. Use Trulia,, and Zillow. Look at their listings, and read all the information on each.
  3. Crime statistics are also available online.

Now is time to interview real estate agent(s). Preferably, ask friends to recommend someone they have worked with. Make sure to check references on any real estate agent you interview. Walk away from anyone who does not meet your standards.

Once you have found a house that seriously interests you, make sure  to check out the flood plains map in city hall before you make an offer.

Have a real estate attorney, i.e., an attorney specializing in real estate. A good real estate attorney may find information on the property (not just the routine title search) that you need to know.

Be there for the termite and structural inspection.

If you are a seller:

Make sure you really want to sell. Set a timeline.

Use Trulia,, and Zillow to view the closing price of nearby properties comparable to yours.

Have a house inspection.

Declutter, clean, and invest in having the house staged. Clean some more.

In order to get maximum selling price, your kitchen and bathrooms must be updated, the house must meet all code regulations, and the entire property must be in pristine condition. Do not expect a buyer to pay top price otherwise.

Be realistic about your selling price. If your listing price is too high, no one is going to buy your house. No one is even going to make you an offer.

Before you list, interview your prospective agent(s), and check their references. Get in writing what services the agent provides (video, brochures, open house) aside from the basic multiple listing service. Beatrice even has an app for house showings that includes scheduling and feedback.

Disclose all known problems or defects with both your real estate attorney, and with your listing agent, before you list. If you know, for example, that your septic tank must be replaced, put that in writing to both your agent and your attorney when you list. You can get sued for nondisclosure.

Don’t be home when the house is being shown.

Once you have accepted an offer, make sure to ask your agent what the schedule is (inspections, mortgage commitment) and verify it has been met.

Pay attention to what your agent and your attorney are telling you.

And how did it all work out?

My Princeton house was under contract within six days from when it was listed. It closed on schedule. Beatrice’s commission was 5% of the selling price. She earned every cent.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.




I first encountered political correctness back in September of 1991 when I first attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  It became immediately apparent to me that this political correct nonsense was a dangerous form of Orwellian censorship.  Newspeak, from George Orwell’s 1984, leapt to mind the first time I encountered the PC thought police in action.  For those of you who haven’t read 1984 recently, here is how George Orwell described Newspeak in the Appendix “The Principles of Newspeak.”

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.

Here are excerpts from article “The Origins of Political Correctness” from the Accuracy in Academia.  They will demonstrate the parallels between Newspeak and Political Correctness.

If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.

First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses.

And finally, both have a method of analysis that automatically gives the answers they want. For the classical Marxist, it’s Marxist economics. For the cultural Marxist, it’s deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired.

To further emphasize the parallels here are excerpts from the article “Political Correct is Cultural Marxism” which appeared in the American Thinker

PC, just like Marxism, forces people to live a lie by denying reality.  PC takes a political philosophy and says that on the basis of the chosen philosophy, certain things must be true, and reality that contradicts its “truth” must be forbidden

PC, just like Marxism, has a method of analysis that always provides the answer it wants.  For PC, the “answer” is found through deconstruction, which takes any situation, removes all meaning from it, and replaces it with PC’s desired meaning.

Both Newspeak and political correctness are totalitarian in nature.  George Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning against what was happening in the Soviet Union so Newspeak was based on Marxist principles. just like political correctness.  Both seek to control thought by controlling language.

Unlike Newspeak, political correctness is alive and well here in the United States, where it has infected all aspects of our culture.  Colleges and universities were the first to be infected by political correctness, which is now preached in just about every class, and where contrary ideas are not welcome. Hollywood was also infected along with the news media, which has turned both into propaganda arms for progressives.

All across the United States people are afraid speak their minds because they are afraid to be labeled bigots.  In far too many cases, individuals are denied the opportunity to speak their minds because the media is so infected and contrary opinions are not allowed.

Political correctness is dangerous.  All criticism of Islam is deemed islamophobic no matter how valid the criticism is.  Whenever there is a terrorist attack by Islamic extremists all connections to Islam are swept under the rug.  A pathological fear of guns is a central tenet of political correctness with gun control a central theme.   All criticism of illegal immigration is labeled xenophobic.

Political correctness is designed to influence elections.  Conservative policies and ideals are labeled bigoted, extreme, and offensive by the media while liberal ideals are lionized.  All efforts at securing elections through voter ID are labeled racist.

Refusing to be silenced is the only way to counter political correctness.  We must always speak our minds. We must speak out about the evils of political correctness.  On my dorm room door I had a large sign proclaiming “political correct is censorship.”  The sign was vandalized often and I took a lot of heated criticism because that was not a popular position at UMASS but the sign remained.  I am frequently critical of political correctness on Facebook and I post whatever I want no matter how much it offends my liberal friends.  Fortunately for us the internet has provided a multitude of options for people to get non PC news and express non PC views.


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At the Daily Caller an excellent question is being asked:

Black Lives Matter finds itself under fire for protesting the Baton Rogue shooting, but ignoring the Louisiana flood, reports the Washington Times.

A video of a Baton Rogue resident asking where the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter people are has gone viral.

“I have not seen not one Black Panther boat, not one Black Lives Matter boat, truck or nothing else. So with all the drama that was going on with the Alton Sterling killing, oh they came out with guns, ready to go to war. But here we go, all these people flooded out and truly in need of some help and you can’t find not one of them,” Jerry T Washington said in the video.

If black lives matter, then one would think that they matter when blacks are being flooded out and losing everything.

But for Black Lives Matter™ black lives apparently only matter when one can make political hay out of said lives, the black flood victims are living in a state with a democrat governor and a democrat president.

So as far as Black Lives is concerned, those black lives…don’t.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – A week after the cataclysmic event, the national media is slowly beginning to notice that Louisiana is flooding.

Donald Trump came to visit this week which garnered a bit of attention, mostly from pundits who wanted to mock him for bringing PlayDoh to kids who have lost all of their toys, their homes, their stability, their pets, and everything they know.

In Livingston Parish, 87% of the homes there flooded.  In Baton Rouge, at least 40,000 homes are believed to have flooded.  Most of these people don’t have flood insurance.  The numbers are staggering.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air makes the point that all these visits by politicians to disaster areas are basically pointless:

What are we really accomplishing with presidential visits to natural disaster areas other than setting up politically oriented photo ops or chances for opponents to score a few cheap shots?

I can answer that:  the visits raise hope.  They encourage people who have nothing left.  They show people that someone cares about their plight.

From The Advocate:

[Rep. Steve] Scalise, the House Majority Whip who represents Louisiana’s 1st District, said he thought Trump’s visit was helpful to the state and to flood victims.

“You can see how he really lifted the spirits of a lot of people who need that right now,” Scalise said after Trump left. “One of the most important jobs of a president as it relates to national disasters is to show up and show people you care.”

At this point, most of the people in the south Louisiana flood zone don’t really care if Obama shows up or not.  That he didn’t feel compelled to interrupt his golf game on Martha’s Vineyard long enough to visit, to show concern, or that his staff didn’t care enough to even put up a statement on the White House web page for several days, speaks volumes.  He isn’t up for re-election and could not care less what happens here.

Hillary Clinton finally got around to making a statement nearly a week after the devastation.  She isn’t coming, by the way.  She thinks it would be disruptive, and maybe so, but she really doesn’t care about us either.

One group who does care what happens though, is the Cajun Navy.  You may have heard about them. The Cajun Navy is a group of volunteers who stepped up to help those in need when others would not.  Before the soaking rains moved out of the area, the Cajun Navy was already heading out in canoes, boats, pirogues, you name it, ready to go in and rescue the helpless.

That’s the thing: the flooding was so vast that first responders just could not get to all of the cries for help.  For days these citizen soldiers in The Cajun Navy have been pulling people off of roofs, out of houses, saving pets, rescuing horses in pastures inundated with water.  These people know the back roads.  They know the countryside. They know where to go.

And if they don’t know where to go, they set up communication on Zello and Glympse to help manage the requests for help.  They helped their neighbors, they saved strangers, they checked levees.

Now they are helping distribute donations and supplies and are helping gut houses ruined by floodwaters.

There are no government dollars helping them, no GoFundMe page, and they accept no donations.  They aren’t selling t-shirts. They are just doing what is right.

So, we don’t really need an Obama entourage down here.  The golf courses are under water anyway.

We could use Red Cross donations, though.  It’s really important that the nation doesn’t forget about south Louisiana now that the waters are receding.  The ruin and devastation is still here.  Donations and support are needed.

It’s going to be a long haul, but we are #LouisianaStrong and we will recover.  We are grateful for Donald Trump’s visit, grateful that even though it might have been a photo-op, he still cared enough to come.  He made a sizable donation to flood relief.  He made some kids smile.

But most of all, we are proud of our Cajun Navy who no doubt are the heroes of the Flood of 2016.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Meet the future of real estate. From Wikipedia

People buying a home ask questions like “How good is the local school?”, “How safe is the neighborhood?”, and “How high is the electric bill?”.  Having purchased multiple homes, I find that real estate agents don’t know the answers to these questions or are banned by state law from answering. This is quite dangerous. My first neighborhood had two murderers and multiple pimps, but my real estate agent never said anything.

HPIM0618It looked like a great starter home…until the police lights showed up

I think real estate agents are crooked, and robots should replace them.

Some will say “But buying or selling real estate is too complicated for a robot!” I don’t buy it. In fact, I bet my robot real estate agents would provide superior customer service.

I’d name my robot agent Johnny. Johnny would take your desires (price, bedrooms, etc.) and show you homes. His programming would prevent him from pushing a home on you above your budget or without enough bedrooms. While human agents typically scan MLS, Johnny could look through hundreds of databases to find you a home.

mlsEvery real estate agent, ever.

If you asked Johnny about safety, he could pull crime databases and estimate crime rates in your neighborhood. Johnny could reach into your state’s testing database for local school information. He could even find electric and gas bills.

schoolsWhen your local real estate agents laugh about you after work

Worried about a “title search?” Johnny could do that. All you need now is a lawyer for signing forms, but with robot lawyers coming online soon, Johnny might do that too.

I, for one, would welcome our new robot real estate overlords.

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.

NG36B is a military blogger who regularly blogs at The Navy’s Grade 36 Bureaucrat. If you love your kids and America, you should buy his Kindle book about the Navy and read it to them every night.

And hit Da Tip Jar and mention him so that he can win Da Tech Guys competition!

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Most likely the first individuals to brew a beer like substance were lazy farmers who invented this marvelous beverage completely by accident.  These slothful farmers left grains outside and the grains were allowed to sit in water for an extended period of time.  This caused natural enzymes in the grain to convert the starches into sugars and then over a period of many weeks airborne yeast converted the sugars into alcohol.   It didn’t taste very good but it gave the drinkers a cool buzzy feeling if they drank enough.  This took place in various regions of the world approximately 9000 years ago when grain cultivation was becoming common.

Over time individuals in different regions of the world began experimenting with this intoxicating elixir.  These intrepid brewers discovered that if they collected the sugary liquid that is left over from steeping grains in hot water and then boiled it with bitter herbs or spices they ended up with a much tastier brew.  What they did not realize was that by boiling this mixture to brew the beer they were killing off the harmful organisms that were living in the water,

Before the advent of proper sanitary practices, water quality limited the number of people that could live in close proximity.  With all of the grains used, beer is also very nourishing.  The health benefits of drinking beer rather than contaminated water quickly became evident.  Beer became the beverage of choice.  This allowed more people to live in close proximity to each other which allowed larger cities.  More grain was needed to brew beer which led to advances in agriculture.

Without bitterness beer would be cloyingly sweet.  Many herbs and spices were used in different regions to add the necessary bitterness.  One particular herb, the flowers of a fast growing vine called hops, proved far superior to all of the rest.  Not only do hops provide the right amount of bitterness and wonderful flavor combinations, they are also a preservative.  No harmful organisms can grow in beer when hops are used.  The first recorded use of hops happened in the Hallertau region of Germany around 1000 AD.   By the 1400s hops replaced all other brewing herbs in Europe.

Beer played a major role in the founding of this nation.  In 1620 the Mayflower was heading for the Virginia Colony.  Due to a navigation error the ship ended up off the coast of what would become Boston.  The ship was running low on beer so rather than sail to the intended destination the captain left the colonists off at Plymouth.  The brew house was one of the first buildings built.

Even though the water in North America was pristine, new colonists did not trust the water.  Beer was believed to be essential for survival in the new world.  Most village taverns brewed their own beer along with farmers.    Large commercial breweries opened in cities.

Beer was one of the primary fuels for the American Revolution.  Colonists would congregate in taverns, drink beer, and plot ways to answer England’s outrageous taxes and policies.  On December 16, 1773 a group of colonists gathered in Boston’s Green Dragon Tavern.  Among them were Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  Barrels of beer were donated by John Hancock.  Fortified by those barrels of beer the colonists, who called themselves Sons of Liberty, climbed aboard ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dumped copious amounts of tea in the harbor.

After the revolution beer played a major role in maintaining liberty.  Rather than rely on a standing army the framers of the Constitution relied on militia units made up of the body of the people.  Members of the militia had to train in order to be effective.  At first getting the militia members to attend training proved difficult.  To encourage greater attendance towns provided barrels of beer, making sure the beer was consumed after training.  Free beer greatly increased attendance.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT  — South Louisiana is flooding.  You may have heard about it on the news.  It’s really bad.  In a press conference Sunday morning, Governor John Bel Edwards said it is “plenty bad.”

Many homes that have never taken on water before have flooded with this storm and many of those people don’t have flood insurance.  They’ve lost everything.

In the northern part of the state, we are dry: I haven’t seen rain for ages, but down south, this is a catastrophic disaster that is all too reminiscent of the flooding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 although in the case of Katrina there were at least warnings and opportunities to evacuate.  In this case, as the result of a tropical depression in the Gulf, it just started raining and did not quit.  Some areas in and around Baton Rouge have received over two feet of rain in two days.  Baton Rouge is, on average, about two feet below sea level although that varies widely across the city and the problem today is as the Amite River crests there is a huge backflow problem into bayous and streams which will cause more flooding in days to come.

The crest of the Amite River will be of primary concern in the next few days and could cause terrible flooding, perhaps worse than the devastating 1983 flooding there.  Cresting is starting to happen but is moving slowly south and so more flooding is certainly anticipated and although rain in Baton Rouge abated on Sunday morning as the storm moved west, more rain is in the forecast.  With saturated ground, “even a typical summer thunderstorm could cause flooding,” Governor Edwards said.

There were over one thousand vehicles stranded on I-12 and while the National Guard attempted to rescue those people, many chose to spend the night there and remain with their vehicles.  On Sunday the first responders began bringing food and water in to them.

The Louisiana National Guard has deployed 1,700 Guardsmen as of Sunday afternoon but those numbers were expected to climb to about 2,500 before this all winds down.

The Advocate is providing excellent ongoing coverage of the flooding and has a heartbreaking slide show of flooded schools, homes, interstates, and highways as well as an interactive map of flooded areas.  Much of the LSU campus is underwater.

One can’t help but think of Randy Newman’s Louisiana, 1927 when something like this happens:

What has happened down here is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

In a Sunday morning press conference, Governor John Bel Edwards reported that over 7,000 people and 500 pets have been rescued; as of Monday morning the numbers are staggering: 20,000 rescued and 10,000 in shelters. There have been six fatalities. He has requested a major disaster declaration for the affected parishes from the FEMA Region 6 director.

The storm is moving west now and in Louisiana at least twenty-seven state offices are closed Monday as authorities attempt to respond and to keep people off the roads as much as possible.  On Sunday, Louisiana State Police reported that there are over 1400 critical bridges that must be inspected before they can be reopened for safe travel; over 200 roads are closed.

If you want to volunteer or help, here is a list of everything from the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the United Way may need.  As I said,  there are over 10,000 people in shelters with more to come.  Pet shelters are still being set up as well as medical needs shelters.

My friend Rob Gaudet of Gaudet Media got out yesterday and was filming in Ascension Parish as he looked for places to volunteer and help.  In true Louisiana spirit, as he and his friend Chris waded through six inches of water in the street in a neighborhood, people were outside watching the water and cooking gumbo in a large pot.  They called Rob and Chris over and fed them some gumbo. They were offering it to anyone who passed by and even sent some home with Chris for his wife.  They went on to a nearby middle school where David Duke was filling sandbags. Rob and many others will be out volunteering today.

While Governor Edwards in no way wants to compare this catastrophe to a hurricane, the local meteorologists have been calling this a “hurricane without the winds.” Governor Edwards is quick to point out that had this been a hurricane we would have much more infrastructure damage as well as widespread power outages.

Even though it isn’t a hurricane, it is still, as Governor Edwards said, “plenty bad.”

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Yes, I quit doing this again.

by baldilocks

I’m having a bit of trouble concentrating today. Not an unusual state of affairs, but, today, it’s really bad due to the fact that I’m in the process of incorporating new habits into my life. So I leave you with a review of my already-published novel while I work on the new one. Disclaimer: the review was written by my old co-blogger.  As with my own re-posts, it’s slightly edited.

Tale of The Tigers is a story of two college kids who fall in love.  It’s about race and racism.  It’s a time capsule of the early 90s.  It looks at the dynamics of family relationships.  It examines sex and sexuality.  It reassesses sacred cows of the cult of the politically correct.  It makes important statements about friendship, loyalty and trust.

Like her blog writing, Ms. Ochieng’s novel is chock full of subtleties.  Her characters could’ve turned into cardboard cut-outs.  Instead, the folks that inhabit Tale are flesh and blood people, full of admirable traits and painful weaknesses.  The outline of the plot never devolves into a cliché romance.  Thankfully, Baldilocks takes the story in unexpected directions.  Tale studiously avoids telegraphing its punches, which makes for an exciting read.

Beyond these great things, for me the best part of the book is the fact that the story stays with you long after you’ve finished it.  You’ll find yourself replaying sequences from the book in your mind.  Moreover, you’ll catch yourself pondering the book’s themes long after you’ve put it down.

In short, Tale of The Tigers is a damn fine piece of work from a writer with a powerful voice.

(Thanks to James Del Rey)

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.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks