Photo is from the Boston Globe article -Tornado strikes in Webster and Dudley, destroying dreams among its damage – Taken by Craig F. Walker/Globe staff

On Saturday, August 4th, a tornado tore through the town of Webster Massachusetts, doing extensive damage to the town’s Main Street.  Two large buildings were damaged so bad they were torn down within hours and another two large buildings were so badly damaged they will be torn down in the very near future.  It is a miracle there were no deaths and only one minor injury.

Webster Massachusetts is my home town and the town I’m living in now.  My house, which only lies 500 yards from where the edge of the tornado made its closest pass, was raked by outflow winds that were about hurricane force.  Considering the tornado was 300 yards wide, it was a near miss.  Compared to the 45 individuals whose homes were destroyed and lost everything, I was extremely fortunate.

On August 9th, a United States congressional delegation, consisting of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Richard Neal, and Jim McGovern, held a closed door meeting with members of the town government and local emergency officials to discuss relief efforts.  After the meeting they met with the press.  The local TV stations broadcasted some of the press briefing.  In those clips the delegation did what every congressional delegation does, talk about recovery efforts and bringing in money to help rebuild.  The news broadcasts left out a large portion of what the three had to say.  I found this transcript of the full press briefing on Congressman Richard Neal’s Website.  This portion of the transcript angered me a great deal:

All three lawmakers further raised concerns about the number of tornadoes that have touched down in the state in recent years, arguing that the storms underscore the impacts of climate change.

“This is a reminder that climate change has real, tangible implications,” Warren said. “We’re watching more severe weather, we’re watching — over and over — these ‘never happened before events’ or ‘happens once every 100 years’ and now, they keep happening again and again and again. There are real costs to a changing climate.”

Warren added that such weather events are why the United States should be a leader on climate-related issues.

“This is not a time for us to turn our backs on the needs of creating a sustainable world for all of us,” she said.

It outraged me that the three of them, with Senator Warren as the chief spokesman, used the tragedy that happened in my town to push climate change.  It outraged me that our United States Senator would use this tragedy to blather on about nonsense that masquerades as scientific truth.  It took me only two Google searches and five minutes to completely discredit all of her claims.

As you can see from this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration link, after peaking between 1990 and 2010, the number of tornadoes nationwide has decreased.   The past few years the number of tornadoes has been low.  The projected number of tornadoes for this year, based on the number through June, will be below average.

According to data from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, during June, there were 166 preliminary tornado reports. This is below the 1991-2010 average of 243 for the month. Tornadoes occurred throughout the month, with almost every day experiencing at least one tornado due to upper-level lows and fronts moving through the Great Plains and Midwest. However, there were no large-scale outbreaks and no tornado-related fatalities. For the year-to-date, there have been 596 preliminary tornado reports, below the average of 818. Depending on the final confirmation rate, the January-June tornado count could be the lowest since 2002 when there were just 468 tornadoes.

A lot has been made of the fact that three tornadoes in a short period touched down in Massachusetts.  Many newscasters have accompanied Senator Warren in speculating that this is proof of catastrophic man caused climate change.  This article in the Boston Globe, of all places, discredits these claims.

The tornado that tore through Webster and Dudley on Saturday was the third twister to hit Massachusetts within a 10-day stretch.

That may seem like an alarming statistic, but so far this year, tornado activity in the state is roughly in line with historical trends.

“This is really kind of typical actually,” said Bill Simpson, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s bureau in Norton….On average, between two and three tornadoes hit Massachusetts annually, according to weather service records that date back to the 1950s.

Of course, the numbers fluctuate year to year.

“You can have years with none and then you can have years with six or eight tornadoes,” Simpson said.

This climate change hysteria is nothing more than an excuse to push socialism and a government takeover of more and more of our economy through overbearing regulations.  Windmills and solar installations are gigantic waste of money which require vast government subsidies.

****If you would like to help those in town who lost everything, please check out this link on the official Webster Town Website.

The MSM announcing that they will unite in penning anti-trump editorials on Thursday the 16th is as newsworthy as Chick-Fil-A issuing a press release that they will close all of their stores on Sunday the 19th.

A reminder to those who are using this meme to claim that Communists ended the Holocaust, Stalin’s Communists had already starved 30 million to death before Hitler opened his first death camp.

In fairness to supporters of Keith Ellison, I wouldn’t blame a single one of them if they discounted the assault accusations against him given that they came out two days before a primary election.

I know that friend Stacy McCain believes in making common cause with radical lesbians over the Transgender issue but I draw the line at the “Pussy Church of Modern witchcraft

If this video had been of a Protestant Pastor talking about gays then there would be no other story in the media this week.

The latest ANTIFA stuff proves few things that I’ve written have stood the test of time better than my pieces on DaTechGuy’s Laws of Media Outrage.

Also this 2007 post from Glenn Reynolds about Wikipedia has held up pretty good too.

Was watching Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth a few days ago when Jews on screen said “What have the Romans ever done for us?” and without thinking I answered aloud “The Aqueduct“.

What will the NFL do if and when the people who abandon it over the anthem protests discover the other 1,000,000 things there are to do with your time?

Never forget that there is a difference between doing something wrong (a sin) and doing something the mob or a portion thereof doesn’t like.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’m headed back to my second week of school this week and let me tell you, it has taken me all weekend to recover from week one!  Not that anything went wrong, but it does take all of one’s energy to lay down a good foundation for the semester in that first week.

Just some quick bits and updates this week:

The Classroom Library Project:  as most of you are aware, I started a Classroom Library in my tenth grade ELA room this year with the belief that kids will read when they have choice.   Additionally, the Louisiana version of Common Core stripped all novels from our curriculum and we read a whole lot of non-fiction speeches and articles.  So, I’m trying to restore balance.  At the end of day one, ten students had checked out books.  It was glorious.  By the end of day three, my entire fourth block spent the last twenty minutes of class Friday reading from their books.  Everyone had a book of their own choice and was reading.  I’m very optimistic about what we can accomplish this year!  I spent the entire day Saturday setting up Reader’s Notebooks to give to my students this week.  Thanks to everyone who sent us books and remember, the Wish List is continuously updating!

Currently Reading:  A friend recommended The Sun Does Rise by Anthony Ray Hinton.  I downloaded it on my Kindle (during an especially dull in-service last week) and have not been able to put it down.  Anthony Ray Hinton did thirty years on Alabama’s death row for a crime he did not commit.  He is a thoroughly engaging writer and I am saving the last sixty pages of this book for later today when I can read straight through.

Confederate Monuments:  A couple of articles have popped up on my radar about Confederate monuments this week: this AP article and then the New York Times has a piece as well.  Removal of the monuments in NOLA hasn’t seemed to have restored peace and unity there or solved the city’s other issues as far as I can tell.  The battle over the Confederate monument in Shreveport is still ongoing and the Daughters of the Confederacy is still raising money to save their monument and plead their case.  One takeaway from the NYT piece is that not all these reminders of the Civil War can be removed, which begs the point, to me, why even try to erase or sanitize history?  Let’s just educate.

What People are Talking About:  Prison reform.  Here in Louisiana we are hearing lots of discussion about Governor John Bel Edwards reform package that has released thousands of inmates in an attempt to lower incarceration rates.  The Edwards camp says it has been a success but not everyone, including U.S. Senator John Kennedy, agrees.  At least two have been re-arrested and charged with murder.  The plan might have looked good on paper and may be saving the state money, but the problem seems to be that the education and training programs were not all in place when the doors to the prisons opened.  It will be interesting to watch the recidivism numbers over the next months.

 

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

First they came for Alex Jones and his Info Wars and so many stayed silent, including too many on the political right.  When the same social media organizations come to silence their next right wing website will so may remain silent, or will it be too late?  Once censorship like this begins, there is usually no way to stop it.  The same forces that are silencing Alex Jones have been gunning for Drudge and Breitbart for years.  I fear that it will not be long before those two, and many others receive the same treatment.  The best and only time to resist censorship is immediately, when it begins, and to resist it as forcefully as possible.  Everyone should condemn this shameful treatment of Alex Jones and his Info Wars, no matter if you agree with what he has to say or not.

I firmly believe censorship, of any nature, is always wrong.  I firmly believe everyone has a right to say whatever they want to say, and everyone has a right to listen to whatever they want to listen to.  The most common justification for silencing someone is to label what they have to say as hate speech.  What exactly is hate speech. you might be wondering?  That question is impossible to answer because the concept is way too subjective.  Far too often, any ideas espoused by those on the political right are labeled hate speech by those on the political left, and then those ideas are banned.

This Breitbart Article describes why the silencing of Info Wars happened.

Big tech’s coordinated purge of InfoWars — which was hit by bans from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube in rapid succession — did not occur in a vacuum. On this issue, Silicon Valley bowed to CNN journalists and Democrat politicians who ceaselessly lobbied for the site to be censored.

It’s a sign of how the concentration of power in America has shifted from big government to big tech that politicians are now lobbying tech companies rather than the other way round, but that’s exactly what happened over the course of the past few months, as Democrats applied relentless pressure on Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants to censor InfoWars.

It is unsociable that members of the Democratic Party would lobby for censoring InfoWars, or anyone else.  This attack of Alex Jones’ freedom of speech was politically motivated.

As you can see in this article by the AP, cries of hate speech were the justification for this purge.

Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech following protests on social media.

Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his “InfoWars” show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. Over the past several days, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have also removed material published by Jones. Twitter, which hasn’t banned Jones, has also faced similar calls.

Does Alex Jones or InfoWars engage in anything that can reasonably be called hate speech?  On this I am no expert.  Before this story broke I had never been to InfoWars, or viewed any of his videos.  This is only because I already have a dozen or so websites I visit daily for my news and political information.  I did not have time for another.  Based on what I’ve seen in the past two days, I have not seen any evidence, on just InfoWars, of what could be called hate speech.  Even if the site was nothing but “hate speech” I would still decry the silencing of his sites as forcefully as possible.

Brent Bozell of News Busters has similar opinions on this.  Here is what he had to say in this article:

I don’t support Alex Jones and what InfoWars produces. He’s not a conservative. However, banning him and his outlet is wrong. It’s not just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets….Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like.

Conservatives are increasingly concerned that InfoWars is not the end point for those who want to ban speech. It’s just the beginning. We are rapidly approaching a point where censorship of opposing voices is the norm. That’s dangerous.

Ben Shapiro, who is no fan of Alex Jones, is quoted in this Daily Wire Article as saying:

Trust in social media is declining nearly as fast as trust in media overall. There’s a reason for that. And it’s not because social media tolerates voices like Jones. It’s because they don’t tolerate voices like Jones while tolerating voices who are just as bad on the political Left – and they show no signs of limiting their censorship to Alex Jones.

Some Democrats are reported to be working on a plan that would very heavily regulate the internet.  The main objective of that would be to completely strangle all forms of communication from the political right.  Here are the details.  Censorship of conservatives by social media is a major problem but government intervention is not the solution.  Government intervention will only make this problem far worse, just like government intervention always does.  Government intervention is not called for in this case.  These companies are private companies.  They have every right to run their companies any way they want to, including censoring others.  I have every tight to speak out against this censorship, and all censorship, as loudly as I wish to, and I’m imploring others to do so as well.

by baldilocks

China in Africa.

Chinese corporations are all over Africa.  In June 2017 a McKinsey & Company report estimated that there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa.

What are Chinese corporations doing in Africa? That’s a highly controversial issue.

The reason Chinese corporations are in Africa is simple; to exploit the people and take their resources. It’s the same thing European colonists did during mercantile times, except worse. The Chinese corporations are trying to turn Africa into another Chinese continent. They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.

This is the view several African politicians have. The Zambian politician Michael Sata was one of them. At least he was before being elected President of Zambia in 2011. He wrote a paper presented to Harvard University in 2007 that said “European colonial exploitation in comparison to Chinese exploitation appears benign, because even though the commercial exploitation was just as bad, the colonial agents also invested in social and economic infrastructure services Chinese investment, on the other hand, is focused on taking out of Africa as much as can be taken out, without any regard to the welfare of the local people.” (quoted in Scott D. Taylor’s “The Nature of Chinese Capital in Africa, Current History, May 2018, p. 197)

This is something on which I need to do a great deal more research.

I plan on asking my bio father — Philip Ochieng — about this. He edited the rather well-known book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney. He and I think differently about a great many things, so that should be an interesting conversation or three.

Consider this post a place-holder and, possibly, a Part One.

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

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

Or hit Juliette’s!

The strongest criticism of Judge Kavanaugh centers around his ruling in the case Klayman v. Obama, which dealt with NSA warrantless bulk data collection under the Obama administration.  Here is the text of that decision.  On the surface, the opening statement is strong evidence of his possible weakness regarding one of our most important protections provided in the Bill of Rights.

I vote to deny plaintiffs’ emergency petition for rehearing en banc. I do so because, in my view, the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

In order to make an informed decision we must dig deeper into the decision and examine the basis for this ruling.  Here is how Judge Kavanaugh justifies this ruling:

The Government’s collection of telephony metadata from a third party such as a telecommunications service provider is not considered a search under the Fourth Amendment, at least under the Supreme Court’s decision in Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979). That precedent remains binding on lower courts in our hierarchical system of absolute vertical stare decisis.

As you can see from this quote, Judge Kavanaugh is basing this decision on precedent from a Supreme Court decision.  As a member of a lower court he claims he is bound by vertical stare decisis.  Here is the definition of this concept from Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute

Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.”  In short, it is the doctrine of precedent. Courts cite to stare decisis when an issue has been previously brought to the court and a ruling already issued… A court engages in vertical stare decisis when it applies precedent from a higher court.

This concept dates back to English Common Law and even back to Ancient Rome.  Because of this concept it is difficult to reach an informed conclusion on how he will rule once he is on the Supreme where they can set new precedent on any case.

In the Klayman v. Obama, Judge Kavanaugh goes on to say:

Even if the bulk collection of telephony metadata constitutes a search, cf. United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 954-57 (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring), the Fourth Amendment does not bar all searches and seizures. It bars only unreasonable searches and seizures. And the Government’s metadata collection program readily qualifies as reasonable under the Supreme Court’s case law. The Fourth Amendment allows governmental searches and seizures without individualized suspicion when the Government demonstrates a sufficient “special need” – that is, a need beyond the normal need for law enforcement – that outweighs the intrusion on individual liberty.  Examples include drug testing of students, roadblocks to detect drunk drivers, border checkpoints, and security screening at airports

This statement bothers me a great deal.  The framers of the Constitution believed that freedom and preservation of our rights were more important than safety. It was a common theme.  Judge Kavanaugh  goes on to say:

The Government’s program for bulk collection of telephony metadata serves a critically important special need – preventing terrorist attacks on the United States. See THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT (2004). In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program. The Government’s program does not capture the content of communications, but rather the time and duration of calls, and the numbers called. In short, the Government’s program fits comfortably within the Supreme Court precedents applying the special needs doctrine.

From the text of the 4th Amendment you can see that there are no exceptions for national security.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

From this chapter of Framers Intent by Thomas K Clancy, you can see that the notion of national security and safety exceptions to the 4th Amendment are very new.  The original intent of John Adams, who wrote the article of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights which became the model for the 4th Amendment. was to make the protections as broad as possible.  Could Judge Kavanaugh have based a negative ruling in this case on different precedent and still uphold stare decisis.  Yes, he could have, because there is so much conflicting precedent on the 4th Amendment and any constitutional concept.  That is one of the main reasons why precedent is such a flawed concept, which actually violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.  Relying on the actual text and plain meaning as understood during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution are far superior.

I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is weak on the 4th Amendment.  Based on his rulings on every other issue I’ve read so far, he is strong on all other issue.  Even with his weakness on the 4th Amendment, I still believe he is worth supporting for the Supreme Court.  Rand Paul also agrees.  Here is what he tweeted on the day I was writing this article:

By:  Pat Austin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess I have a lot of questions about this.

 

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

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

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

Continue reading “Stop trying to “find yourself””

There is a philosophic battle royal, or even a metaphoric civil war, raging in this country.  On one side are those who embrace free market capitalism, the economic system that built the United States into the freest and most prosperous nation.  The other side is steadfastly trying to transform this nation into a Democratic Socialist nation, which will only result in economic ruin and an oppressive centralized government, which will become totalitarian over time.

Here is how our great national struggle is described in this American Thinker article

With Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coming out of the shadows and being described as the future of the Democratic Party, the fight card has been set: socialism versus free-market capitalism.  Socialism versus constitutional republicanism.  Socialism (authoritarianism) versus self-rule.  In short, bondage versus freedom.

All of the defenders of free market capitalism have a much more difficult message to sell.  In order for the free market to work properly all of us have to produce something worth buying, either a service or a good.  No one gets a free ride.  It is much easier to seduce the uninformed with cries of free stuff for everyone.  It has gotten to the point where almost our entire educational system, our news broadcasters, and our entertainment industry are bashing the free market with negative distortions and erroneously praising socialism.  We need to work extra hard to get our facts and arguments right and to transmit them to everyone as effectively as possible.  Here are some of the more impactful facts and arguments I have encountered.

Here is a quote by Milton Friedman from chapter 1 of The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom.

Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era. History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.

Here is another quote from the same chapter.

Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place.

It is an effective message to highlight the fact that the free market is all about voluntary cooperation and Socialism is all force and coercion.

Here is part of a transcript from an interview with Milton Freidman on Phil Donahue from 1979.  The entire interview is a must watch.

The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.

There was no greater champion of the free market and no harsher critic of Socialism than Ayn Rand.  Here is one of my favorite quotes by her from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal written in 1966.

America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.

Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man’s well-being is not their goal.

It appears that the free market has been steadily failing us for the past 100 years.  It is not the free market that has been failing us, it is government intrusion into the free market that has been causing the slow motion collapse.  Ayn Rand discusses this in The Voice of Reason = Essays on Objective Thought,

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.

Critics of the free market complain that that system runs on greed.  Here is how to answer that concern with a quote by Adam Smith from Chapter 2 page 19 of Wealth of Nations.

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

I tried to choose just one quote from this article by Thomas Sowell but I could not because it is such a fantastic article.

If you have more quotes that could help in this battle of ideas please share them in the comments section.