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.

outside1

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.


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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 hotair.com 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

A note from DaTechGuy: This is the last week of Da Magnificent Tryouts. If you like Jon’s Piece(s) and want him to stay now is the time to hit DaTipJar in his support and share his pieces




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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.

#LouisianaStrong

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, Realtor.com, 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, Realtor.com, 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.

JohnnyFive
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.

A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Jon Fournier’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar So if you like Jon Fournier’s work please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Jon Fournier’s post is the reason you did so.

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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

I’m not sure why, since I don’t subscribe, but this NYT piece popped up in my news alerts on August 10:

Stress Over Family Finances Propelled Hillary Clinton Into Corporate World

Indeed, stress over family finances is what propels people into the ‘corporate world’; it’s what’s known as getting a job.

What follows should have the World’s Smallest Violin (WSV™) playing the world’s saddest song as background music:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Losing the governor’s race here in 1980 so shattered a young Bill Clinton that he could not face his supporters, so he sent his wife around to thank campaign workers instead. He later gathered with close friends for dinner but quietly sulked, playing the country song “I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling” on the jukebox.

I don’t know whether to laugh or barf, but Bill should have torn himself away from the jukebox and personally thanked every supporter present. They had spent time and shed sweat and tears on his campaign.

But his wife had a more pressing concern: money. The ousted governor needed a job,

It just never crossed his mind that he could lose? And he had plenty of prospects – he had been a Rhodes Scholar and had a law degree from Yale; it’s not like the IHOP was the only choice. And guess what? There are people happily working at the IHOP!

the family needed a place to live,

There were no rental vacancies in the entire state of Arkansas?

and moving out of the governor’s mansion meant losing the help they had as they raised their 9-month-old daughter, Chelsea.

Because offering “the help” more money and better hours was out of the question?

The morning after the election, Hillary Clinton worked the phones from the mansion, calling wealthy friends and asking for help.

My wealthy friends know me as a responsible, self-reliant person that would not be “asking for help” under such circumstances.

Which is probably why we’re still friends.

Continuing,

Mr. Clinton was of little use as he fixated on voters’ rejection.

Useless putz. Or so are we led to believe, since it favors Future POTUS Hillary to be shown as wearing the pants in the family.

And for the first time, friends said, Mrs. Clinton glimpsed fragility in the future she had moved to Arkansas to pursue. She worried about saving for Chelsea’s college, caring for her aging parents,

You can hear a focus group being asked, “what are your financial concerns for the future, little people?”, and the writer incorporating that answer (“my kid’s college bills, my aging parents”) into her article, but here comes the punch line (wait for it)

and even possibly supporting herself

Again, she had prospects (see also Yale Law, Arkansas Bar Association). Punch line (emphasis added):

should the marriage or their political dreams dissolve.

Hmmm . . . is that the object of their marriage?

The article wouldn’t be half as ridiculous if it weren’t for this other August 10 story:

Judicial Watch today released 10 pages of new State Department records that include an email sent by State Department spokesman Brock Johnson alerting Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s then Chief of Staff, that a “significant” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request had been made for records showing the number of email accounts used by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Over at The Atlantic (not exactly an arm of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, or VRWC™), David A. Graham actually engages in journalism and offers From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer. Newly released emails show the complicated nature of ties between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton-led State Department—and the high risk of conflicts of interest.

Graham looks at the private email server, Hillary’s State Department emails, Benghazi, the conflicts of interest, Huma, the speaking fees, the Clinton Foundation, and even the Bad Old Days,

What is it? Since the Clintons have a long history of controversies, there are any number of past scandals that continue to float around, especially in conservative media: Whitewater. Troopergate. Paula Jones. Monica Lewinsky. Travelgate.Vince Foster’s suicide. Juanita Broaddrick.

While the NYT plays the WSV™, The Atlantic is hitting with the anvil chorus.

There’s a good reason why Andrew Klavan calls the NYT “the former newspaper.”

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

Fortunately we have another quadrennial event to distract us from the utterly depressing presidential election this summer. I must admit that I wasn’t really that interested in the Summer Olympics leading up to it, but I’ve gotten pulled into the whole experience, mostly from watching the swimming and gymnastics events over the first few days. The swimming was exciting, watching Michael Phelps add to his stash of gold medals and especially seeing Lilly King defeat the drug-cheating Russian in the 100m breaststroke. But for sheer awe-inspiring domination, nothing beats the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team (literally!).

U.S. Women's Gymnastics TeamThe “Final Five,” as they’ve named themselves, put on a performance in the qualifying round and the team finals unlike anything ever seen before. But aside from the outstanding individual performances we witnessed, they won the gold medal as a team in a sport where they were each judged individually and in many cases were also competing against each other. To watch Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian was something special.

Rather than recap the results, which had the US team winning by 8 points in a sport where differences are often measured in tenths, there were a few other things that struck me about these young women. The first is how they were each focused on trying to help the team. During the qualifying round, three of the women, Biles, Raisman, and Douglas, were competing among themselves to qualify for the all-around final, since only two gymnasts per team could qualify. Laurie Hernandez, in her first international meet, was not eligible for the all-around since she was left out of the parallel bars exercise in favor of Douglas, whom she beat in each of the other three events. But whatever disappointment she felt was invisible behind her radiant smile and electric personality as she competed in the other events. And parallel bars expert Kocian, who was selected for the team just to participate in this event, received the highest score in both qualifying and in the finals (where she tied). Douglas, too, came back with the third-highest parallel bars score in the finals, which was the only event in which she competed. They each did their best in their own performances but also to encourage each other to reach their team goal, which was to win the gold medal as a tribute to their team coach, who is retiring.

As amazing as it was to watch this team of women compete, it was when I found out how much they each value their faith in God that I became even more impressed. I think maybe the gold medal isn’t the most important thing to them. Perhaps we could all take a lesson from that.

Oh, and there’s another thing to like about this team. With all the racial polarization in our society today, I for one found it extraordinarily refreshing that no one, least of all them, made any kind of issue about what race any of them was. It was their performance and their camaraderie in the pursuit of a common goal that mattered. Another lesson our society could learn from them.

Please be sure to check out my previous articles:

The Left is Wrong About Rights

Ends, Means and Democrats


A note from DaTechGuy: I hope you enjoyed Tech Knight’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Tech Knight’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Tech Knight’s post as the reason you did so.

Normally i’d link to his previous pieces but he’s already taken care of that.




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To a great many on the political left climate change has become a religion. They believe passionately in man caused global warming despite a lack of any valid scientific evidence.  There is plenty of evidence but is it valid scientific evidence?  No it is not. If you examine this evidence closely you will see it falls into three categories.  Most so called scientific evidence is based on computer models which have proved to be inaccurate time after time.  Secondly, inaccurate observations in the form of poorly sited monitoring stations, usually surrounded by growing cities that trap in more heat, are very common.   The final category masquerading as scientific proof consists of anecdotes in such publications as mountain climbing magazines.  If you question their belief these true believers will point out that 97 percent of all scientists believe in man caused global warming.  This widely cited statistic is based on one deeply flawed survey of published scientific journals.

Those that question this belief in man caused global warming are treated as heretics.  Sixteen liberal attorneys general have begun the process of prosecuting climate change deniers in their states.  The first time I questioned global warming on Facebook a liberal friend very sarcastically asked me if I believe in gravity.  That was just the beginning of the onslaught from my liberal friends.

President Obama, along with the help of Democrats in congress, is in the process of establishing climate change as the official religion of the United States.  It has been reported on several conservative sites that President Obama is in the process of implementing the Paris Climate Accord even though the Senate has not ratified the treaty.  Article 2 Section 3 Clause 2 of the Constitution is quite clear on what is required for a treaty to be legally binding:

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.

The Obama administration is implementing this agreement through executive orders.  This use of executive orders would also violate the following provisions of the Constitution: Article 1 Section 1 which states only congress has the power to legislate, Article 1 Section 7 which is the formal legislative process, and Article 6 Section 2 which is the Supremacy Clause.

President Obama has waged a war on coal power plants by enacting debilitating regulations through executive orders.  The Supreme Court has temporarily put a stop to these regulations.  If these regulations go into full effect a great many coal fired power plants will shut down causing energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket” as President Obama has promised.

Preaching climate change has become the central mission of NASA under President Obama.  Manned space flight has been put on the back burner to make room for the climate missions.  Schools at all levels are preaching climate change as gospel.  Contrary information is not welcome.

Please check out my previous 2 articles

Time to Bust Some Second Amendment Myths

Free Exercise of Religion not Freedom from Religion

 

A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Jon Fournier’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar So if you like Jon Fournier’s work please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Jon Fournier’s post is the reason you did so. If you missed Jon’s last two posts he linked them above before I could, check em out.




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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – My thoughts are disjointed this week so this post probably will be as well, so bear with me.  My friend Smitty at The Other McCain sized up exactly how I’m feeling these days:

Regret that my 2016 Election Primal Scream Therapy has curtailed my blogging to the point of non-existence. Keep in mind that it’s all fun and games until junk gets real, states secede and armies march.

Yeah, so political blogging is so far from my radar right now.  This election is too important to not fight for, but I’m absolutely exhausted from arguing about it – it was bad enough in previous elections when I had to debate and fight the opposing side, but now we are debating and fighting against not just the opposing side, but half of our own.

I’m absolutely befuddled by the rationale of the “I can’t vote from Trump” people.  If that’s you, maybe you can explain it to me.

To illustrate my point, I was part of a conversation last week in which a conservative voter that I know stated that she could not vote for Trump and would probably vote for Gary Johnson because basically there is no difference between Trump and Hillary.  Putting aside the fact that Johnson doesn’t have a bleeding chance, it’s important to remember that at least to my knowledge, Trump hasn’t abandoned any of our Ambassadors in foreign countries to be killed, or our servicemen, for starters.  If he has a string of suspicious deaths, oh say like that of Vince Foster, behind him, I am unaware of it.

My conservative friend then said she would rather have McCain or Romney over our current president (but remember, she also advocated voting third party, aka throwing your vote away).  So…now I’m beginning to lose interest in this debate.

What is important to remember is that the next president will likely have the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices.  We know who Hillary would appoint; can we say that for certain about Trump?  I’m not willing to give Hillary Clinton that power.

I’m so tired of irrational arguments like this.  Again, I know this election is too important for us to falter, but I’m sick to death of the so-called Conservatives pulling for Hillary now.

This is why I now just share pictures of rescue dogs on Facebook and spend my spare time playing PokemonGo.  In fact, I might just stay off of social media until November.

Sign me “Disillusioned” this week.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

I can’t spare his man, he fights!

Abraham Lincoln on US Grant

Jazz Shaw quotes the latest Reuters poll showing that two weeks of the wrath of Kahn hasn’t put Donald Trump away for Hilary Clinton

While the other polls were drawing all the gloom and doom headlines on CNN and MSNBC, the ongoing Reuters-Ipsos survey had a different story to tell.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead over Republican rival Donald Trump narrowed to less than 3 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday, down from nearly eight points on Monday.

Now one might wonder the reason for this.  Is it the Kahn info getting out of social media?  The other gold star parents finally breaking out on CNN? The cash for hostages deal making waves?  Hillary’s inability to tell the truth? JD’s Analysis proving true?

I’m sure all of those things have a role but I think what’s going on is more basic and can be best explained by this classic scene from Rocky 2 (1979) between Apollo Creed and his manager Duke where he explains why Creed should have nothing more to do with Rocky.

The Key line

Duke: He’s all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you. Now we don’t need no man like that in our lives.

It doesn’t matter how much you throw at Donald Trump, it doesn’t matter what the media says about Donald Trump, it doesn’t matter how many people bemoan Donald Trump, the man keeps coming.

As I’ve said many times if Mitt Romney showed half of Trump’s fight against Barack Obama we would be talking about President Romney’s re-election campaign now and it’s worth noting the only time John McCain led against Barack Obama was when Sarah Palin, a Trump supporter, went after him.

However their wrath, like the media’s was and always has been reserved for conservatives.

The more fool them.


Tomorrow begins week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.




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“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Thomas Jefferson
Engraved on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Thomas Jefferson
The Declaration of Independence

There are two important things to note about the rights guaranteed us by the Constitution. The first is that the Constitution doesn’t “grant” us any rights. Instead, it speaks of rights already in existence (unalienable and endowed by our creator, according to the Declaration of Independence) and explicitly prohibits the government from infringing on those rights. The second is that each of the rights explicitly spelled out in the Constitution is personal.

Liberals tend to talk about rights in terms of what others must give you: a “living wage,” health care, housing, or even an abortion. These liberal “rights” get things exactly backwards. The only way one person can have a right to something that someone else must provide is for the provider to be forced to provide it, regardless of his consent.

The liberals on the Supreme Court, in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, recently struck down the eminently-sensible Texas law that ensured safe conditions for women seeking abortions. Their “reasoning” was that the law unreasonably restricted women’s access to abortions. Let’s think about that logically for a moment. The Supreme Court, citing a “right” that is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, has said that it is unconstitutional to restrict a woman’s access to abortion.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose that all the abortionists in the country suddenly decided to move to Australia. Or, in an unfortunately less-likely scenario, let’s suppose that every abortionist suddenly developed a conscience and realized that they had been murdering innocent children and repented, refusing to perform any more abortions. Could anything restrict a woman’s access to abortion more than that? What then of this supposed “right” for a woman to get an abortion? Is it really possible that the Supreme Court, or Congress, or even a State Legislature could somehow prohibit this mass-exodus of abortionists? I can just see Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan at JFK airport looking for that last abortionist and tackling him before he can board that last flight out. The logical conclusion is that the supposed “right” to abortion is no right at all.

Is there a “right” to housing? How can that possibly be when someone must build the house? And who decides what kind of house? Do you have the right to three bedrooms or only two? A cape in the suburbs or a brownstone in the city? If you have the right to a “living wage,” who decides what that is? How hard do you have to work to receive it? How good do you have to be at your job? Does a “living wage” include cable TV and a cell phone?

It simply cannot be that anyone can have a right to something that someone else must provide. The truth is that liberals are not interested in rights as our founders understood them. They invent “rights” for one of two reasons. Either they are trying to force people to behave a certain way or they are trying to buy votes from people who care more about what government can give them than protecting themselves against what government can do to them. Anyone who supports this approach cannot claim to “support and defend the Constitution.”


A note from DaTechGuy: I hope you enjoyed Tech Knight’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Tech Knight’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Tech Knight’s post as the reason you did so. If you missed his last piece, it’s here




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Judges are ordering the removal of crosses from war memorials.  Ten Commandment sculptures are being removed from court houses.  Nativity Scenes have been removed from a great many town commons.  Members of state and local governments are being barred from opening meetings with prayers.  Religious statements are being banned from school graduations.  This is just a small sample of instances where public displays of religion are being removed and members of government are being prevented from freely exercising their religious beliefs in public.  The battle cry for this war on public displays of religion is always the same; there is a separation of Church and State which is supposed to be an integral part of the US Constitution.   This phrase cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution yet, according to David Barton from the organization Wall Builders; it has been cited in over 4000 cases.

The Supreme Court Case Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947 marked the beginning of this war on public displays of religion.  Here is an excerpt from that ruling.

Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.

To create such a sweeping new constitutional doctrine, Justice Hugo Black borrowed that phrase from a personal letter rather that Constitution itself.  That letter was from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association.  Here is the text of that letter:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

As you can see from the letter, the mechanism Jefferson mentioned for erecting that wall between church and state is the actual text of the First Amendment religion clauses.  The first clause prevents the US Congress from passing laws that would establish a national religion.  The second clause prevents the US Congress from passing laws that would interfere with the free exercise of religion by individuals.  James Madison went into great detail when he proposed this amendment in the House of Representatives.  Here is an excerpt from the debates during the writing of the Bill of Rights:

Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience

James Madison, the author of the First Amendment, issued the following  presidential proclamation in 1814.  As you can see this proclamation contains religious language.  Madison believed such a proclamation did not violate the establishment clause so how could town officials participating in prayers violate the same?

The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace.

It is quite clear from the entire transcripts from the drafting of the Bill of Rights that those amendments only applied to the federal government.  James Madison proposed extending certain clauses from the Bill of Rights down to the States.  This was defeated.

When Justice Black issued his Everson vs. Board of Education ruling he claimed that the Fourteenth Amendment extended this separation of church and state down to the States by incorporating the Bill of Rights down to the States.  According to that ruling this was accomplished because the entire Bill of Rights was included in the word liberty found in the due process clause of that amendment.  That is the height of absurdity because this clause of the 14th Amendment is a copy of the due process of the 5th Amendment.  The 14th Amendment did extend the due process clause of the 5th Amendment down to the States however that was the only clause of the Bill of Rights that was extended down to the States by this amendment.

Many states had official religions at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.  After the ratification of the Bill of Rights those same states still had an official religion.  On their own those states de-established their official religion.  If the establishment clause did not prevent states from having official religions how did it stop state and local government officials from leading others in prayers?

Both Madison and Jefferson were instrumental in de-establishing the official church of Virginia.  James Madison wrote “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessment” and Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom.”  Both works have been quoted by proponents of this modern, all inclusive, idea of a separation of church and state to prove Jefferson and Madison advocated for this doctrine.  These quotes are taken out of context.  The full text of those documents does not support that conclusion.

A note from DaTechGuy: I hope you enjoyed Jon Fournier’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar So if you like Jon Fournier’s work please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Jon Fournier’s post is the reason you did so. His piece from last week is here.




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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Can I say “I told you so” now?

Louisiana elected John Bel Edwards in the last gubernatorial election because so many voters just couldn’t stomach David Vitter any longer; standing in judgment of Vitter’s decades-old moral lapse (one which his wife had long since forgiven), enough Louisiana Republicans crossed lines and voted a liberal, Obama-Democrat into the governor’s office despite my screeching pleas that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And now they feign indignation when Edwards isn’t acting like a Republican.

I won’t rub salt in the wounds because we have a long row ahead of us, but let me just point out the latest slap in the face from Edwards.

I can’t write the story any better than Ellen Carmichael did last week for the National Review.  You must read her article.  The gist is that during the campaign, Edwards promised to protect the state’s school choice program, but under the protective cover of a state budget crisis, Edwards is doing an about-face on that promise:

When the state’s budget pressures surfaced, Edwards saw his opportunity. He could send a signal to the public that its insistence on maintaining educational justice for impoverished families in the form of scholarships to private schools was simply not in line with the way he was going to run Louisiana. Teachers’ unions came before such kids as first-grader Nicole Jack.

The teachers’ unions, of course, supported Edwards heavily during his campaign.  His wife was a teacher.  I talked personally to many, many teachers who voted for him because they believed he would support them and they could not stand Vitter.

But what about these kids in failing schools?  What about his promise to keep school choice?

Carmichael makes an excellent point when she says:

And he had his excuse: budget cuts. While the state allocates nearly $3.5 billion to its education department annually, Governor Edwards’s team felt it appropriate to take away the $4,800 scholarship from 17 families who wanted to give their kids a better life. Meanwhile, Louisiana spends $10,490 for each pupil enrolled in the state’s failing public-school system. If Nicole Jack cannot escape the school’s waitlist in time, her education will cost the state more than double what they insist they’re trying to save, proving yet again that it’s not about dollars and cents. It’s not about the kids, either. It’s about politics.

It is, in fact, over five hundred families affected, not just seventeen as the article mentions.

In place of school choice vouchers, Edwards established the Every Student Succeeds Act panel by Executive Order whose mission is to bring public schools back up to par.  Joe Cunningham writing for The Hayride explains how this will work:

They’re going to say plans like the voucher program and expanding charter schools are taking valuable resources from the state and the schools, therefore they should be eliminated and attention turned back to the schools themselves. Which is what the school boards and teacher unions want. School choice is, after all, a direct challenge to how things are run. If public schools are forced to compete and improve, many could end up failing. But if there is no real challenge, then there’s less accountability. It’s not some evil plan to horde all the money and power so much as it is laziness on their part. The way things have always been is what’s gotten Louisiana into the educational pit it’s in…. Edwards and his supporters don’t want families to control where and how they get their education. They want the System to do it, and the System is far too concerned with itself. They must take money from the hands of the taxpayers and put it into the schools themselves rather than let families choose where it goes. You don’t get to choose. Let the State do it for you.

You can read more on the ESSA panel here.

Of course we want all of our public schools to succeed and to strive for excellence but until the deep housecleaning that will make that happen occurs, there must be options for kids like Nicole Jack, who for one brief moment, saw a bright future ahead of her at a private Catholic school, only to have that snuffed out by a politician.

The bottom line is that the school voucher program truly helps kids with academic potential who are languishing in failing schools and in the end could read huge rewards, both educationally and financially, for Louisiana if not for crony politics.

John Bel Edwards is simply paying his debt to teachers’ unions on the backs of our kids.

Now, who didn’t see that one coming?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

On July 19th Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey unilaterally banned the sale of most semiautomatic rifles in the State simply because they share characteristics with already banned “assault rifles”.  This is the newest in a long series of threats to our right to bear arms.  The best way to fight against these threats is by arming ourselves and others with knowledge about the original meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment.   We must combat all of the distortions and out right lies about the Second Amendment.  Most of the distortions of the Second Amendment come from those on the left however those on the right are also guilty on a couple key points so please keep reading even if you consider yourself to be an expert on the Second Amendment.

How many times have you heard the one about the Second Amendment being just about hunting?  If you’re like me you’ve heard it way too many times.  The framers of the Second Amendment made it abundantly clear the purpose was defense — self defense, defense of the community, defense of the State, and defense of the nation.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was written in 1776, served as a model for the Bill of Rights.  It is very similar to amendments proposed during the New York and North Carolina ratifying conventions for the Constitution.  The final version of the Second Amendment was an edited down version of this which conveyed the same meaning with less words.  Here is section 13 of that document:

That a well-regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that Standing Armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Two common distortions which are linked together are that the Second Amendment is a collective right that only applies to members of the militia and the militia was exactly same as the National Guard is today.  Both points are incorrect.  None of the rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights are collective rights.  The framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights believed only in individual rights.  The National Guard, which came into existence in 1933, is made up of formal military units composed of a limited number of individuals.  The militia was made up of the entire population.  That was clearly stated in the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the amendments proposed during the ratifying convention.  Here are two more quotes regarding the make up of the militia and scope of the right to bear arms:

Richard Henry Lee Federal Farmer 18

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…

George Mason Virginia Ratifying Convention 1787

I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”

The right to bear arms is not granted to us by the Second Amendment.  That right is granted to every individual by God.  It is one of the God given Natural Rights.  The Second Amendment protects and preserves that right by preventing the federal government from interfering with that right in any way.  All federal restrictions and regulations involving firearms are unconstitutional.  The only role the Supreme Court should play involving the Second Amendment is to declare all federal restrictions unconstitutional.  Unfortunately the federal government, including the Supreme Court, stopped following the Constitution decades ago.

I know I’m going to take heat from some on the right about this but the Second Amendment does not prevent the States from placing restrictions on firearms.  The Bill of Rights does not apply to the States in any way.  That is quite clear from the transcripts form the drafting and the ratifying of the Bill of Rights.  James Madison proposed extending some of the Bill of Rights to the States but that was shot down.  The US Constitution created a bottom up federal republic not a top down national government with the federal government in complete control.  No rights are absolute,  At some level decisions have to be made to determine where exercising your rights becomes an abuse of your rights,  If freedom of speech is absolute what would prevent someone from standing outside your bedroom window all night screaming threats and obscenities at you?  If freedom of religion is absolute then there would be no way to prevent human sacrifice.  The framers of the Constitution believed these decisions should be made at the State level.

There are two levels of defense built into our constitutional system to prevent the States from becoming abusive to our rights.  The first line of defense is the State Constitutions.  Every State Constitution has a Bill of Rights.  All but a few protect the right to bear arms.  Here is what the Massachusetts Constitution has to say on this subject:

Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

Since guns are meant for common defense and those so called assault weapons are perfect for common defense aren’t they protected?

The ultimate line of defense is “we the people”.  It is up the people of the States to decide when the State governments go to far in the regulations of firearms,  They must play an active role and hold the State governments accountable.  They must educate their fellow citizens, organize protests, and vote out all that want to go to far with restricting guns.  I firmly believe that permit less open carry with no restrictions is the model for all States.

Who is Jon Fournier — Im a strict constitutionalist who has studied the Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention, the transcripts of the State ratifying conventions, The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, and the writings of the framers of the Constitution. I have also studied economics through the writings of Adam Smith, F A Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.

A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Jon Fournier’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar So if you like Jon Fournier’s work please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it don’t forget to mention Jon Fourniers post is the reason you did so.




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Following the money can be an intriguing political exercise. Take one Planned Parenthood affiliate’s political expenditures, for example. When a candidate benefits from PP expenditures and later has to vote on a PP contract, when does business-as-usual becomes a matter of ethical concern?

Darlene Pawlik wants to find out. She’s checking things out close to her New Hampshire home, and she has filed a complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee against Governor Maggie Hassan and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. The complaint might be heard formally at the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for August 3.

Pawlik was prompted to act by a June 2016 “do-over” vote by the state’s Executive Council that sent “family planning” money to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England only months after the same Council turned down a similar PPNNE contract proposal. It’s unusual for a contract denied in a fiscal year to be re-introduced and approved in substantially the same terms later in the same fiscal year, but that’s what the Executive Council did with its 3-2 vote on June 29.

A bit of background: PPNNE is the region’s largest abortion provider, although the New Hampshire contracts are for “family planning” services and are not meant to be used for abortions. (Thereby hangs a tale for another day.)  The denial of the original contract hardly de-funded PPNNE, however much the denial gave PP supporters the vapors. PPNNE’s budget is $20 million a year. The original contract was for $638,000; the do-over contract was for a little less than that. By comparison, PPNNE spent $1.5 million on “public policy” in 2014. That doesn’t count campaign donations and independent campaign expenditures by PPNNE’s political arm.

Back to the do-over vote. The more recent contract passed because executive councilor and GOP candidate for governor Chris Sununu switched his vote from 2015. PPNNE’s Action Fund stayed out of Sununu’s race in the 2014 election.  On the other hand, the campaigns of Governor Hassan and Councilor Van Ostern were the beneficiaries of PP donations. Hassan, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, named a pro-PP commissioner of health and human services earlier this year who promised during his confirmation process that he would “bring back” the PP contract. Van Ostern was the chief cheerleader for PP on the Council during the recent reconsideration vote. He is a Democratic candidate for governor.

In her ethics complaint, Pawlik alleges that as recipients of PP donations, Hassan and Van Ostern should have recused themselves from any action on contracts with PPNNE. The governor has no vote on the Executive Council, but she presides at Council meetings and was more than happy in that capacity to speak in PP’s favor at the June meeting before the contract vote was taken.

It’s hardly news that political committees get involved in elections, and it’s hardly news that governments do business with entities associated with those committees.What’s news is that a concerned citizen is taking action to clarify how much back-scratching is too much. The same-fiscal-year reconsideration of a rejected contract begs for further scrutiny.

The New Hampshire Union Leader quoted PPNNE’s vice-president for public policy as saying “PPNNE and its Political Action Fund are ‘separate and distinct organizations with different funding, different activities and different tax status.’” Presto: no conflict of interest, says PP.

Look again, says Darlene Pawlik.

She is appealing to an Ethics Committee that is under most New Hampshire residents’ radar. The Committee itself has been moribund for several months, with its three most recent scheduled meetings cancelled. There’s a meeting scheduled for August 3, though, and we know now that at least one complaint should be getting a hearing.

Stay tuned.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at http://leavenfortheloaf.com. When she's not writing, she's hiking in New Hampshire.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire.

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A government of laws, and not of men.

– John Adams, Novanglus Essays, No. 7

The Constitution is a pretty straightforward document. It explains how the government is to be organized and lays out the rights and responsibilities of each branch, as well as specifying those things the government may not do so as to protect our God-given rights. It really defines a relatively simple set of rules, and establishes our country on principles that are pretty much the opposite of “the ends justify the means.” This is why I have such a problem with the Democrat party being about to nominate someone whose entire life is a testament to skirting the law, obstructing justice and pursuing any means necessary to achieve her desired ends. I am shocked that “We the People” could have let ourselves be put in this position.

Let’s apply Occam’s razor to the two big email-related scandals plaguing the presumptive (for another day) Democrat nominee, shall we? Without even speculating on what information might be in them, is there really any doubt that she hid all her email traffic (not to mention her daily calendar) from government servers so that it wouldn’t be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) access? Regardless of whether the emails were classified, she broke the law by hiding them. The simplest explanation is that she hid them because they contain information that she thinks would anger the public and/or congress and make it more difficult for her to become president. And the Democrats think that this law-breaking failed Secretary of State is the most qualified person ever to run for president? Seriously?

Then there’s the DNC email leak, showing that the DNC rigged the nomination process to sabotage the Sanders campaign and nominate Hillary. This was obvious from the moment they announced the limited number of debates and did their best to hide them on holiday weekends when no one would be watching, but the emails reveal much more chicanery. The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is going immediately from disgraced DNC chair to honorary chair of Hillary’s campaign simply illustrates the quid pro quo – another example of breaking the rules to achieve the desired result.

I guess the party of “the ends justify the means” really has found the person they believe is the most qualified person ever to run for president. It’s too bad that their definition of “qualified” is “having no qualms about violating every principle on which and for which this country once stood.”

Who is Tech Knight? I am a Catholic conservative married (20+ years) father of two. My logical mind comes from my engineering background, but I am also a bit of a history buff, particularly our nation’s founding. I have been very active in my parish as a lector and serving on our Parish Council, and have volunteered for a number of community organizations, especially the Boy Scouts and local youth theaters, to be able to spend time with my kids. My wife is my compass, my best friend and the love of my life.

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Just remember this or Bernie votes.

The Democrat Party isn’t apologizing to you for conspiring to defeat Bernie Sanders over the last six months and more.

They are apologizing to you that they were foolish enough to put it in emails and get caught.

That is all.

Update: This tweet nails it.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — As we roll into the Democratic National Convention this week, I’d like to make a few simple observations.  Mind you, they are only my opinion, but here we go:

  • Hillary Clinton has no soul. The list of people who did not survive her evil machinations is legend.
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz got booed offstage in Philadelphia this morning for her part in the collusion against Bernie Sanders. Hello, Karma.
  • The DNC has built a four-mile, eight-foot fence around the convention site. Hello, Irony.
  • As expected, Donald Trump received a nice bounce in the polls after the RNC convention; you can probably expect Hillary to do the same. It happens every four years.
  • Clinton-Kaine says they won’t sling mud on Trump. What’s the over/under on how long that lasts?  Anyone?
  • How long before we start pricing Hillary’s wardrobe this week? Will she wear the $12,000 Armani jacket, or was that a one-time deal?
  • The RNC has released a new ad today about Hillary’s heavy baggage. This is a point I find interesting; I recently had a conversation with a twenty-something voter whom I know to have pretty good sense as a rule, but who is planning to vote for Hillary.  This voter had no clue about Whitewater or who Vince Foster was, and admitted to not really following the Benghazi tragedy. There are a lot of people like that; you might call them single-issue voters.  In this case, the person likes Hillary because he believes in gay rights and he thinks Trump is going to load all the illegals onto buses and ship them back to wherever they came from.  So, he likes Hillary.  It’s voters like this that concern me – they need to do more research and they need it presented to them in case they won’t do it themselves.  Benghazi is a big deal to me and I’m going to do all I can to be sure these younger voters and uninformed voters know about it.

The next week is going to be interesting; I don’t think I’ll be able to watch Hillary’s shrill nomination acceptance or her speech later.  Her voice makes my skin crawl.  I’ll read it, or read about it.  The convention will be filled with Hollywood star power and typical speeches about how wonderful the candidate is.  You know all this.

As for the Republicans and Trump, well, he wasn’t my first choice but he’s my candidate now.  He’s got faults and issues, but I do have confidence that he’s the right person now.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who say that they just aren’t going to vote – they can’t make themselves vote for either Trump or Hillary because they hate them both.  It’s the “I’ll sit this one out” folks that will hand this election to Hillary.

If you’re one of them, shame on you.

If you’re not one of them, you know people who are.  Talk to them.  It’s important.

And with that, let’s get this convention behind us so we can concentrate on November.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – On July 8, 2016, Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Williams posted this to his Facebook account:

post

Today he is dead.

Yesterday, three Baton Rouge police officers were killed and three others injured – one is critical and on life support.  The officers were ambushed while responding to a call of a man with a rifle at a convenience store near police headquarters.  The shooter, Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, MO, is dead and it appears he was acting alone.  As is always the case, early reports are sketchy and there is a lot still to be learned here, but please don’t let me hear anyone say, “What were his motives?”  I think his motives were clear.

There may or may not be a connection, but less than 24 hours before the shooting on Sunday, the Black Panthers had a meeting in Baton Rouge for the purpose of forming a new chapter there.  The chapter was formed and names gathered for potential members.

Coincidence?

Why was Gavin Long in Baton Rouge anyway?

And let me get this out of the way right now:  I put all of this at the foot of Obama for his divisive rhetoric from Day One.  Go all the way back to the Henry Gates incident and work your way up.  There are plenty of examples, not the least of which is his invitation to the hate group Black Lives Matter to come to the White House where he praised their outstanding work.

Cleveland police officer and Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis said it best:

“The president of the United States validated a false narrative and the nonsense that Black Lives Matter and the media are pressing out there to the public — validated with his very divisive statements. And now we see an escalation. This has got to end. We need some leadership in this country to come forward and put an end to this. I don’t care if it’s clergy, I don’t care who it is, but somebody has got to step up and put an end to this because it’s the false narrative and very influential people that are politicizing the false narrative. Absolutely insane that we have a president of the United States and a governor of Minnesota making the statements that they made less than one day after those police involved shootings. And those police involved shootings, make no mistake, are what absolutely has triggered this rash of senseless murders of law enforcement officers across this country. It is reprehensible. And the President of the United States has blood on his hands and it will not be able to come washed off.”

I agree with him.

However, none of that brings back the officers in Dallas or in Baton Rouge who have been killed this month.

The ripple effect of this is crushing.  Montrell Williams had been an officer in Baton Rouge for ten years; he had a wife, a new baby, a family.  They are devastated.

Officer Matthew Gerald served multiple Army tours in Iraq and had been with the department since October.  His family is devastated.

Brad Garafola’s wife found out her husband was killed when she was stopped by police cars on her way to meet him at a convenience store.  He leaves four children.

Personally, I’m at a loss right now; I’m angry, frustrated, and depressed.  I wish we had a national leader who could bring peace rather than division.  I wish we had a man of character to lead us rather than a community agitator.  This was not Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.  Not at all.  This is not what we want to teach our children and this is not the mess we want to leave to them.

It has got to stop.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

by baldilocksbaldilocks

Excerpt from The Great Indoctrination, originally posted on June 19, 2008.


The Left has been building America up—or down rather—for overt socialism and Marxism for a long, long time. When most educational systems stopped properly educating their charges, stopped familiarizing them with the tenets of socialism, small-l liberalism, capitalism, basic economics and, most of all, history–or, rather, failed to call the pertinent concepts and ideologies by name–those Left-dominated systems were able to present socialist principles sans proper labeling and color those principles as good and necessary.

Socialist principles became rights. The results of that indoctrination have become so pervasive that, when those who are properly educated (formally or self-educated) try to explain how and why such principles aren’t rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and how implementation of these “rights” will eventually bankrupt a nation and—in the end–radically alter life in this country for the worst, the explainers get labeled adversely: racist, Nazi, Uncle Tom, fascist, Aunt Jemima, sexist, tool of the Patriarchy, or some combination thereof, depending on the coating and plumbing of the Cassandra in question. And the labels stick because the definition and history behind those terms isn’t taught either. So, for example, instead of a Nazi being defined as someone who oppresses a set of persons, a Nazi is defined as someone who stops another from oppressing a set of persons (see Bush and Iraq).

And after those seeds are planted, the politics of Envy and Covetousness play a huge role in further softening the ground for Marxism. The idea of profit beyond a certain limit being morally wrong stems from nothing but envy.

So, if the regular Jane knows nothing about government or economics or history except for the distorted versions dispensed by the average public educational system, the average university system and/or the Seven o’clock news, she can be convinced, for example, that nationalizing the oil industry will bring down her gasoline bill. She can be convinced that corporations are the enemy of the worker. She can be convinced that their money is her money. She can be convinced that all profits of other individuals and corporations belong to her and those like her. She can be convinced that the great, almighty government can save her and everyone from the dastardly, mustache-twirling corporations. And, ultimately, she can be convinced that the icon of Hope and Change—the very flowering of the Left’s Marxist transformation plan for America–can and will make all of her dreams come true.


And she and her fellows will threaten to burn down the country when her dreams don’t come true fast enough.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game (click on left sidebar image), 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!

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If you really want to sum up the Clintons in general & Hillary Clinton in particular, this headline at Drudge does it perfectly

CLINTON LAWYERS SCRAMBLE TO BLOCK UNDER OATH DEPOSITION…

 

Because if there is one think that can mess up a Clinton it’s to be forced to tell the truth on the record.

That is all.

 

Update:  Typo in title fixed

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  I’ve shown tremendous restraint over the past week on social media and my own blog in not writing about the protests and the inflamed rhetoric out there following the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge and the following ambush against law enforcement in Dallas.  In fact, the only thing I posted on Facebook about it was that people need to stop sharing the media’s attempts to fan the flames and need to stop making it worse by posting hate filled memes and divisive commentary.

That won’t change here.

I will say this.  I am broken-hearted by all of it.  I live in Louisiana and I live three hours from Dallas.  This is close to home.

I have watched protests online via The Advocate and other Baton Rouge and NOLA news outlets.  The protests are tragic enough but the commentary by people watching is worse.  I’m as far from a Kumbaya-singing-hand-holding-liberal as a person can get, but we are all human beings!  Stop acting like this!  There are good and bad eggs in every single racial group and to stereotype any one group is just wrong.  Stop it.

Now, what I find curious this morning is this report from WAFB out of Baton Rouge about the arrests yesterday during protests:

According to the EBR Parish Prison booking sheet, all but seven of those arrested were from outside of the Baton Rouge area. An additional four are from cities directly neighboring Baton Rouge. The majority are from New Orleans. The rest are from Minnesota, North Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, New York, Washington D.C. and other cities from around Louisiana.

About a dozen of those on the posted list are out of the area.  Are they here for legitimate reasons and just caught up in the moment?  Maybe.  Are they bussed in by people with nefarious reasons?  Maybe.  If it’s the latter, shame on you.  And shame on those who sent you here.

From the protests I’ve watched, the Baton Rouge police have displayed extreme professionalism and restraint.  The police have had the main goal of keeping the roadways open and keeping these people from getting run over or obstructing traffic.  In return they’ve been hit with apples, eggs, water bottles, and rocks.

I watched a Periscope feed last night of a young woman who was among the protestors and inciting them to “get in the road!  Get in the road!  That’s why we’re here!”  That’s not a protest for Alton Sterling.  That’s not protest against perceived injustices by law enforcement.  That’s inciting a riot if you ask me.  She did indeed go into the road and got a few to go with her, but quickly ran back into the crowd when the police moved back into position across the street from them.

It’s a sad thing to watch for Louisiana.  It depresses me.  This is not who we are.

It’s my true wish that outside agitators would leave us alone and let us work this out together.  We don’t need the professional race baiters or the BLM agitators down here.

Go out today and to something nice for someone.  Smile at the person you pass on the sidewalk, thank an officer for what he does, pay it forward somewhere.  Wherever you live – let’s not let those who want to divide us succeed.  They are powerful but we are stronger.

Be kind.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Black Lives MatterBy John Ruberry

Even though the protest took place just three days ago, the blocking of the Dan Ryan Expressway near Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood by Black Lives Matter radicals is already largely forgotten. The rally was organized after the deaths of two black men last week by two police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. The Chicago protest was of course overshadowed by the shooting deaths of five Dallas cops during a Black Lives Matter protest in the Texas city that night–seven other police officers were wounded. The assassin, Micah Xavier Johnson, sympathized with black nationalist groups and can fairly be called a racist.

The Chicago expressway blocking occurred three days after another bloody holiday weekend in America’s third-largest city. Four people were murdered in Chicago and an astounding 62 others were wounded during the 4th of July weekend. The thugs didn’t lock up their guns on July 5. In fact, on the day before the expressway protest a four-year-old Englewood boy was shot several times a mile away from that rally.

I wasn’t there but I will wager a sizable sum of cash that none of the leftists decried the shooting of that boy.  The people who live in the home where the 4-year-old lives believe their home is being targeted–they claim they don’t know by whom. In May a 53-year-old woman who lives in that house was wounded in a shooting there.

pierre-loury
Pierre Loury

One house–two shootings–three months. Does anyone seriously believe that the Chicago Police is targeting this home?

Since New Year’s Day there have been 2,054 shootings in Chicago–312 of those shootings were fatal. The great majority of the victims were African-American as were likely the perpetrators, although no one can say for sure because most “Chiraq” murders are street-gang related and go unsolved.

This year there has been just one shooting death by Chicago Police of a criminal suspect, 16-year-old Pierre Loury, a known gang member. Cops say Loury, who posted a picture of himself holding a gun on his Facebook page, pointed a weapon at them.

Madison and Pulaski in Chicago
Madison and Pulaski in Chicago

Loury was a West Sider, and as bad as Englewood is, most of Chicago’s West Side is worse. The West Side, unless you are Mayor Rahm Emanuel or part of the CPD brass, is well known among Chicagoans for its open-air drug markets. The corner of Madison and Pulaski is a popular spot to purchase narcotics. Yes, Black Lives Matter leftists protested the Loury death–and they briefly blocked the Eisenhower expressway on the West Side, but they didn’t march on Madison and Pulaski. Turf wars over drugs often turn fatal, there is nothing new about that.

Only some black lives matter to Black Lives Matter. Crime doesn’t seem to matter at all to them.

But as with all leftist causes, protesting police shootings is only a means to their end. “The issue is never the issue,” they say, “the issue is always the revolution.”

Meanwhile black people keep shooting each other in Chicago and other big cities in America. Only the police are there to provide protection.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.