Report from Louisiana: What would it take to make you move?

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – What would it take for you to leave your community and relocate?

My family has lived in Shreveport for decades: my parents and my grandparents on both sides lived here. I’ve raised my own children here. My daughter never gave five minutes thought to staying here; she found a place to live in Texas and was gone before the ink on her diploma was dry. There are no jobs or opportunities for young people.

My husband is originally from the Midwest and while he loves visiting home, he doesn’t want to deal with the winters there, and I’m kind of thankful for that because I really do love living in Louisiana. Yes, it’s a politically screwed up state, but isn’t everywhere?

I love Louisiana: it’s never dull. I love the weather, I love the food, and I really do love the people. The scenery and diversity is perfection.

I am nearing retirement (another story in itself, thank you Common Core) and when I stop and think about it, there’s nothing much to hold me in Shreveport any longer. Crime is escalating, jobs are non-existent, poverty is high, and if the casinos ever pull out we will be in really bad trouble.

My neighborhood is one of the older, better ones in town, not high end, no HOA, strictly middle class. But it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood. Last night, someone came down our street and heavily vandalized folks Halloween decorations. My neighbors woke up to pumpkins smashed all over their vehicles, decorations pulled up, damaged, stolen.

Things like this have become the norm. Shootings are daily occurrences. Downtown is hollowed and filled with homeless people who aggressively panhandle anyone who walks the sidewalks. A day or two ago a young lady went to WalMart at 3:00 in the afternoon and was attacked in the parking lot.

Why do we stay here? Is it like this everywhere? I don’t think so.

Since my book came out last October we have spent the past year traveling all over the state for speaking engagements and I’ve fallen in love with a little town in south Louisiana. In fact, I’ve visited at least four times now and will be five before the end of the year. The people are nice, the culture is fabulous, the opportunities many. I think I need to move.

All of this is to say, what would it take for you to leave your community and relocate? What would be the deal breakers for you? The food? The local culture? Cost of living? Crime? Weather? Health care services?  There are a lot of things to think about.

But the older I get the more I realize our days are so damn limited and you never know how long you have. Why not live every single one of them to the best of your ability? 

Why settle?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Things that get worse

We like to think everything is going to get better over time. Mainly due to technological advances, this turns out to be true in most cases. Our phones tend to get better over time, or at least they get faster and have more memory (and get more expensive). We’ve gone from about two types of crap beer to so many microbrews that its becoming uncool to drink light beer. Our cars are safer, our water is better quality, and our appliances are more energy efficient.

Not everything is getting better. There are plenty of things that get worse, mainly due to human beings.

Home Building and the trades. I recently had a home built, and it was an ugly process. One of the most surprising parts was just how hard it was to find people that were willing to work, because most trades are solidly booked.

Locksmith? A week to get one in.
Electrician? Solidly booked, literally bounced from my house to another plus multiple emergency calls every week.
Brick and foundation guy? When I met him, he had five other jobs on the books.

Because of the shortage, we’re going to continue to get homes mostly built to lower, quicker to obtain standards. It’s not going to change until we get more people in the trades to help increase competition.

Wifi and Internet. Most people get internet in a cable modem, and then to an all-in-one wifi access point and router combo unit. The unit acts as a router, switch and wireless access point all in one, doing all three of these things poorly. Especially for bigger homes, the all-in-one sucks.

This is made worse by throughput. I have a small script that checks my internet throughput every hour, and its shocking how poor the connection can be from Cox. You might have a great WiFi device, but its like hooking up a new car to an old set of tires…you just don’t get the right performance.

Free Speech. We have access to tons of information via the Internet, and the exchange of ideas should be relatively free. But its not going to be, and social media is largely to blame. Social media is allowing people to remain in an echo chamber, and despite the increased connectivity, this is going to result in more restrictions on free speech.

Don’t believe me? I shared a Babylon Bee story and had a liberal friend of mine tell me he had never heard of the Babylon Bee. Now, Babylon Bee (a satire news agency) tends to be more conservative, but it’s very well known…unless your Facebook feed is being manipulated to never share conservative viewpoints.

Echo chambers lead to turning people into “others,” which make it far easier to legislate against and even commit violence against. At some point, we’ll have enough free speech restrictions that it will reach a tipping and we’ll snap back, but in the near future, social media is going to make it worse.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

1984 was supposed to be a warning not an instruction manual

George Orwell wrote 1984 as warning to his generation and to future generation, a warning against the totalitarianism that spread throughout many nations during the 1930s and 1940s.  Rather than heeding the warnings, leftists in this country seem to have embraced 1984 as an instruction manual or a playbook.  It may not be the case that they are literally using 1984 as their playbook, it is more likely that they are simply using the tried and true steps to implement their leftist policies which eventually will bring about the totalitarian society Orwell warned us about. 

The progressivism here in the United States is very similar to the other totalitarian leftist political philosophies, socialism and fascism.  The main difference is that progressivism has  a soft veneer of compassion and politeness, along with much better press agents.

All leftist political philosophies target children in an effort to implement social change, very often turning children against the older generations.  Look at how progressivism here infected colleges and universities first then grade and high schools. Compare that to this quote from Chapter 2. 

It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak —  ‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.

Progressives here have constructed a set of beliefs which are built on many contradictions and absurdities.  If you don’t embrace these beliefs you are labeled an enemy and silenced.  AntiFa now physically attacks those who do not follow leftist beliefs and there have been many calls to imprison  individuals who do not follow along. Check out this quote from chapter 2

Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

There has been a concerted effort in this country to erase our actual history and replace it with politically correct revisionist history. Doesn’t this quote from Chapter 3 remind you of that?

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.

This quote from chapter 3 reminds me of the progressive orthodoxy that is crammed down our throats by the media and other adherents to Political Correctness.

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Political Correctness is Newspeak.  That is abundantly clear from these two quotes from Chapter 5

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.

By 2050 — earlier, probably — all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron — they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’

Collectivism rather than individualism is at the heart of all leftist philosophies, including progressivism.  This is captured in this quote from Chapter 7

The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering — a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons — a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting — three hundred million people all with the same face.

Progressives here have received a tremendous amount of help redefining reality through the liberal news media, infected educational system, and Hollywood, similar to this quote from Part 2 Chapter 5

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

This quote from Part 3 Chapter 2 reminds me so forcefully of the progressive attempt to force their world view down our throats.  Individualism is a major impediment to their world view,  Turning us into a mindless mob which embraces the twisted PC reality will be the end result of their efforts.

You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

Like all leftist philosophies, progressivism is all about a small body of elite gaining power over the masses.  This quote by Obrien from Section 3 Chapter 3 captures that so well.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

All quotes are copied from this Wikiquote page.

The unsuitable 90 Day Fiances

Why settle for a totally unsuitable romantic partner who lives here in the USA, when you can quit your job, travel thousands of miles to a miserable-yet-exotic location where you don’t speak the language, and spend your life savings on an alien you met through the internet ?

That is the premise of the 90 Day Fiance TV franchise on the TLC cable channel.

The 90 days refer to the K-1 visa
“If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).”

The franchise has several series: The original 90 Day Fiancé (now on its sixth season), 90DF: Before the 90 Days (three seasons), 90DFHappily Ever After (four seasons), 90DF: What Now? (three seasons), and 90DF: The Other Way (one season).

There’s also Pillow Talk, where 90DF alumni comment on 90DF: Before the 90 Days in bed while consuming a lot of snacks. The funniest are black American brothers Tarik and Dean, and married couple David and Annie (he’s American, she’s from the Philippines).

I came across the 90DF: Before the 90 Days one day when I was fighting a cold, and quickly became hooked. It’s a soap opera without the fancy clothes.

There are cougars Darcey, Rebecca, and Angela. Rebecca and Angela are grandmothers. Darcey can’t seem to stop crying (maybe because her clothes are two sizes too small), and Angela can’t stop verbally abusing her Nigerian boyfriend (who is 20 years younger, wants a baby, quit his job to become a kept man at her request, and is a Trump fan). Darcey’s boyfriend Tom is English but they detoured to Albania (miserable location); Tom is a crackerjack salsa dancer, which made her cry because she can’t dance. Darcey and her identical twin sister wear matching outfits, as do Rebecca and her boyfriend. Angela hasn’t matched outfits … yet. Rebecca’s Arab boyfriend, who took her money to buy her a ring, just rode off on an ATV into the Sahara desert when she told him she’s still married to her third husband. 

The guys are not faring much better: religious Ben’s sweating bullets over negotiating the bride price for his Kenyan girl, ultrametrosexual Tim can’t summon the energy to make love to his beautiful Colombian girlfriend, and Caesar’s spent US$40,000+ on his Ukrainian catfish (look up the word if you never heard of it) who sounds like Peggy from the Discover card ads. Through it all, Tim exfoliates and moisturizes daily.

These are all grownups who ought to know better. The one that has her parents worried is nineteen year old Avery, who six months ago converted to Islam, and went with her mom to Lebanon where she married Syrian Omar four days after first meeting him in person. Two million Syrians are camping in Turkey seeking shelter from the war but Avery insists that she’ll move to Syria if Omar is denied a visa. You can hear the audience saying, “if she were my daughter … “

If it sounds complicated, it is!

Get some popcorn in the microwave, watch the fiances and you’ll be hooked soon after.

Fausta Wertz is enjoying her retirement from blogging about more serious matters.


Life is Not Fair

Hot News Flash
by baldilocks

Lebron James and Hunter Biden are rich and I am not.

And I have a raging case of writer’s block so go read this.

When Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” Communist China called a foul. Down came the tweet and Chinese state television axed two NBA exhibition games. NBA boss Adam Silver promptly announced, “We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.” Silver also barred NBA players then in China from speaking to the media.

For observers far and wide, particularly in embattled Hong Kong, it was a clear exhibition of China’s totalitarianism and a clear case of the NBA cowardly caving to China’s Communist dictatorship.

In the political, entertainment, and even the sports commentariat, many made that charge, but Golden State Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said he had no comment on the “really bizarre international story,” and “a lot of us don’t know what to make of it.” It was a strange response for someone with firsthand knowledge of oppression and violence.

An NBA champion as a player and coach, Steve Kerr is the son of Malcolm Kerr, whose parents Stanley and Elsa arrived in the Middle East in 1919 to join relief efforts that followed the Armenian genocide. As Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee recalled, in the early 1980s Malcolm Kerr left UCLA to become president of the American University of Beirut, “despite increasing political instability within the region.” Then, in 1984, Malcolm Kerr “was shot to death by terrorists outside his office.”

As a writer for ESPN noted, “two Islamic terrorists ambushed Malcolm outside his university office and shot him in the back of the head for the crime of being an American.” When the Islamic terrorists gunned down his father, Steve was only 18 and a freshman at the University of Arizona. Kerr wept through a moment of silence for his father prior to tipoff against archrival Arizona State.

Four years later, as Kerr and his teammates warmed up before a game with that same school, a group of 10-15 people began chanting “PLO! PLO!” The group also chanted, “Your father’s history” and “Why don’t you join the Marines and go back to Beirut?” As Kerr told Tracy Dodds of the Los Angeles Times, it was “pretty disgusting. It’s hard to believe that people would do that.”

Lots of previously unbelievable things are happening these days.

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.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

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Report from Louisiana: An Edwards/Rispone Runoff

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It was a wild night in Louisiana Saturday night.  LSU defeated Florida in Death Valley and John Bel Edwards and Eddie Rispone will face off in five weeks for the runoff election for Louisiana governor.

Edwards finished the night with 46% of the vote while the Republican vote was split between Rispone and Ralph Abraham. Rispone captured 27% and Abraham 23%.  Other contenders in the gubernatorial race were mere blips.

Friday, President Trump visited Lake Charles, LA to lend support for the Republican candidates. He did not endorse either Rispone or Abraham until after the returns came in last night; now he has endorsed Rispone.   Trump, of course, takes credit for getting Rispone into the runoff, and he may well have contributed. Lines to get inside to see Trump in Lake Charles were staggeringly long and people began camping out far in advance of the event.

Most pundits across the state do not see an Edwards re-election as a done deal:

In either scenario, Edwards will have a much tougher time scooping up support from Republican voters than he did in his first election. Edwards’ Conservative-leaning stances that attracted Republicans during his first election could seem more moderate when compared to Rispone’s. Edwards also can’t count on the same wave of support from Republican voters who had become fatigued with their party as they had with Edwards’ predecessor, former Governor Bobby Jindal.

He’s also almost certain to face critiques from Republican officials who held onto seats in Statewide offices after the primary, including one of his harshest critics Jeff Landry. And, he can expect to fight off attacks from the major Republican competitor who failed to beat Rispone to secure the runoff, Ralph Abraham.

Rispone often compares himself to Trump as a self-made businessman:

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Rispone grew up with six people in a one-bathroom house near the plants in blue-collar north Baton Rouge. He and a brother, Jerry, built ISC Constructors to a firm with revenue of $364 million last year.

Though much more soft-spoken and polite than Trump, Rispone upended the Louisiana Republican establishment by running as an outsider willing to blow up the traditional politics and historical governing structure to get things done.

Late Saturday night, Ralph Abraham conceded and endorsed Rispone.

The run off election is November 16.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Planation (LSU Press). Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Dems Confirm my 2016 Religious Freedom Fears

Sheldon: (chasing him down the stairs) Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard, Leonard

Leonard: Yeah, what?

Sheldon: Amy Farrah Fowler has asked me to meet her mother.

Leonard: Yeah.

Sheldon: So? What does that mean?

Leonard: Well, you know how you’re always saying that Amy is a girl who’s your friend, and not your girlfriend?

Sheldon: Uh-huh.

Leonard: You can’t say that anymore

The Big Bang Theory: The Desperation Emanation 2010

Three years ago just after some soul searching and a reassurance from Fr. Frank Pavone that Donald Trump was pro-life I endorsed Mr. Trump just before the GOP convention. That endorsement contained these words:

I suspect I and a lot of the faithful will have to spend a lot of the next 8 years praying, fasting and begging God to help both our country and the world avoid this horrible fate but while spiritual steps to prevent these catastrophes are good and proper temporal steps must also be taken.

And the single best temporal step will be the election of Donald Trump and the breaking of the power of those Americans who have decided their fellow citizens are the enemy.


Again I don’t take this step lightly, I know that there will be times that Donald Trump will disappointment me just as I expected Mitt Romney to disappoint me on social issues and John McCain to disappoint me on immigration and George W Bush who disappointed me on spending and the bank bailouts.


But while Trump will occasionally disappoint me (when he does I’ll call him on it) I am convinced he will neither persecute me nor strip me of my rights for holding my Conservative Catholic beliefs and acting on them.


I am very sorry to say I can not make that same statement about Hillary Clinton, and I’m even sorrier to see the day when I would say this about a presidential candidate.

At the time I wrote these words I suspect a lot of people on the left, on the right, and in the media would have called my fears over religious freedom over the top.

Not anymore

on Thursday, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said he would strip tax-exempt status from any religious organization that supports traditional marriage, defined as one man and one woman. In fact, his position essentially amounts to a government preference for pro-gay marriage religious bodies that likely violates the Establishment Clause.
CNN’s Don Lemon quoted O’Rourke’s policy on LGBT issues, which states: “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but it should not be used to discriminate.”
“Do you think religious institutions — like colleges, churches, charities — should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” Lemon asked.
“Yes,” O’Rourke replied —
to loud applause from the audience.

(emphasis mine)

Beto knows his chance of winning is slipping away and he has decided, as he did on gun confiscation, to go all in by saying aloud what everybody knows the left believes and daring others to hit him for it.

They ducked dodged and weaved which is no surprise are as unlikely to speak out for religious freedom as Steve Kerr is to be wearing a “Free Tibet” or “Free Hongkong” shirt at his next press conference.

The left considers religious Americans their enemy, this has been the case for a long time and is in fact the reason why I left the Democrat party back in the 1990’s

So when the media starts hitting Christians for supporting Trump, point to this stuff and ask them, what do you expect us to do?

Closing thought: Now in fairness to the left, in twenty years their position will change once they are dependent on the Muslim vote, the only part of their coalition that’s growing significantly in the population but of course when that happens I suspect there is going to be only one religion that they will decide is worth protecting.

Sorry Liz and Bernie—For a country to be free and prosperous private property rights must be sacred

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and most other Democratic presidential candidates  proclaim support for either outright socialism or policies that are very much like socialism in nature.  At the very heart of all of these policies is a diminishment of private property rights. 

The founding fathers of the United States understood that the right to acquire property and the right to use that property as wished where two of the most important God-given natural rights, rights that were essential for this nation to be both prosperous and free. That was a frequent topic found in their writing.

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the founding fathers of the United States received a great deal of their education about the essential nature of private property rights from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  Here is a quote from Ch. V, sec. 27.  As you can see from this quote, money earned in the form of wages is one of the most crucial forms of private property.  It was written in 1689 and it is also the work that influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution the most.

Every individual man has a property in his own person.  this is something that nobody else has any right to. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his. So when he takes something from the state that nature has provided and left it in, he mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property. He has removed the item from the common state that nature has placed it in, and through this labour the item has had annexed to it something that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour is unquestionably the property of the labourer, so no other man can have a right to anything the labour is joined to—at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others

This quote from chapter 5 of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith makes it absolutely clear that the money paid to an individual to perform work is the same as the labor itself and both are the property solely of the individual.  Progressives do not understand that at all. 

Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or command.

John Adams had this to say about the importance of private property when he wrote The Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States in1787.

Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

Thomas Jefferson wrote this about property in a letter to Samuel Kercheval

The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management.

In this quote from a letter to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, Thomas Jefferson echoes John Locke.

A right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings.

Milton Friedman had this to say about private property in the interview “Free to Choose”: A Conversation with Milton Friedman

I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual’s natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they’re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of

Here is one last quote on this subject, this one from the essay Will Property Rights Return? written by my favorite author Thomas Sowell

Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.

Report from Louisiana: Does Edwards lose based on early voting?

By:  Pat Austin

ARNAUDVILLE LA – We are traveling this week and find ourselves in Arnaudville, LA, once again; we are about an hour to the west of Baton Rouge and twenty minutes or so north of Lafayette, in Cajun country.

Early voting has ended across the state for the gubernatorial election, as well as other local races, and The Hayride blog has some interesting predictions about John Bel Edwards: he loses.  Really, it’s a very dramatic headline: The Early Voting Numbers Signal John Bel Edwards’ Defeat.  Really?!  Is that premature?

Pundit Jeff Sadow believes Edwards may be in trouble:

Democrats have averaged 39.26 percent total turnout while Republicans have averaged 43.59 percent. In terms of early voting over this span, those means respectively are 8.47 and 10.14. Thus, the ratio for Democrats, is 4.65; for Republicans, it’s 4.35. This shows in recent history that of those who vote Democrats in comparison to Republicans disproportionately don’t vote early, with early votes making up 21.5 percent of their total while for the GOP its early voters comprise 23 percent of that total.

At the same time, the early voting average higher Republican turnout of 1.67 percent is 2.6 times smaller than the average gap in total turnout that favors Republicans by 4.33 percent. With early 10/12/19 voting encompassing 13.16 percent of Democrats and 16.91 percent of Republicans, the gap more than doubled to 3.75.

Using the historical ratios, this means trouble for Democrats. That would imply a 64.68 percent turnout for Democrats and 73.56 for Republicans. Such lofty numbers won’t happen because of the trend to substitute early for election day voting, for which these ratios don’t compensate. However, comparatively these do point to a significant GOP advantage.

I’ve been most worried that a Republican split between Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone would give Edwards an outright win but Sadow (who is smarter than me) does not appear concerned.

And for whatever it’s worth, early voting numbers have been record-breaking across the state, which seems to indicate that it is not just local races pulling people to the polls.

The primary is next weekend, October 12, which is also LSU-Florida game day which could contribute to some of the early voting numbers, but certainly not all. 

As I’ve said often, John Bel Edwards has killed economic growth in this state, and his pathetic attempt to buy teacher votes with a $1,000 annual pay raise is a joke. By the time taxes and insurance come out each month my raise might buy lunch one day at Chick-Fil-A.

At this point, I don’t care who defeats Edwards, just as long as somebody does.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and Her Circle at Melrose Plantation (LSU Press). Follow her on Instagram @patbecker 25 and Twitter @paustin110.

I Did Some Reporting on the Big Stuff (UPDATE)

Voice Dropping Knowledge in the Wilderness

by baldilocks

As we know, when a so-called whistle-blower initiated the uproar about President Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky it seemed to be a signal to Democrats that it was time to begin the impeachment process that most of them have longed for since Election Day in 2016.

President Trump declassified and released the transcript of the conversation, which refuted characterizations or “parodies” of it from major Democratic Party players like Rep. Adam Schiff. Nonetheless, the hue and cry of “Impeach the MotherFather” – to paraphrase Rep. Rashida Tlaib – was heard throughout the land. Why? Because surely it is illegal for a sitting POTUS to ask a foreign head of state to investigate to see if a crime has been committed in the latter’s country. Right?

The outrage got even more shrill when it was presumed that president Trump asked the same thing of Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help investigate the origins of the Russia hoax. (The presumption was in error. It turns out that the Australians reached out to us first on the matter.)

A day or so after this whirlwind started, one of my friends shared a link which pointed to the fact that the United States has a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with Ukraine and, a few seconds later, I discovered that we also have one with Australia – naturally, since Australia is part of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance — and with many other countries.

Of course, I shared this information with my 6000+ followers on Twitter and my 3000+ followers on Facebook. It took a while for other Trump supporters with larger followings to pick up on it, but some did.

I even shared the information with Hillary Clinton, for what it’s worth.

It’s fun to troll and to be telling truth at the same time.

The fact that it was her husband who signed the Ukraine MLAT into law back in 1998 was a bonus that I didn’t hesitate to point out to her.

By the way, other that my friend, I saw no other commentator point out the existence of these treaties before I did.

Just wanted to point that out.

Here’s what I’m doing now: reading John Solomon’s Ukraine papers on Scribd. I think it’s very important for each of us – every interested voter – to see what type of beast we are dealing with. And it’s a rough beast. I’ve been saying some variation of the following of late.

To me, this was instinctive, but, as it turns out, one Glenn Beck seems to have connected all the players in the Ukraine game using his signature blackboard. Well worth your time.

President Trump is poised to spill the gravy.

HECK I FORGOT: Like Hunter Biden, Paul Pelosi, Jr., the son of Speaker Pelosi sits/sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The video is a promo featuring the Speaker herself.

I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

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.

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