The media and their fellow partisan activists have no idea what they’ve unleashed.

Mollie Hemingway

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Jesus Christ per Matthew 10:16-20

I had to work yesterday but I was able to watch most of Dr. Ford’s Testimony and after getting home from work I stayed up to watch Kavanaugh’s opening statement (I listened to 15 minutes of it during my 1st break at work) and watched DiFi’s and Durbin’s and Lindsey Graham before I hit the sack around 4 AM after writing this post.

This was a bad day for the left, let me take it in order.

A Ford not a Lincoln

After watching Dr Ford testify my impression of her is similar to the impression of this policeman after encountering Sheldon Cooper after a break-in

Policeman: Mr. Cooper, there’s nothing
Sheldon: Doctor Cooper.
Policeman: [looking at Leonard] Seriously?
Leonard: Not the kind with access to drugs.

The Big Bang Theory The Zarnecki Incursion 2011

The fact that Dr. Ford is DR Ford amazes me. She came across as one of the most clueless people I’ve ever seen. That being said she seems to completely believe what she is saying but also seems to have a very selective memory, or as she would say a selective Hippocampus, she is absolutely positively positive that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her but seems to be unsure of a lot of basic facts from just a few weeks ago concerning her contact with the Senate on this issue
I thought that the sight of Democrats grandstanding while Mitchel asking the questions for the GOP was trying to ascertain facts would be noticed and at least one leftist media person noticed it:

NBC’s Chuck Todd said that Republicans’ representative at the Senate Judiciary hearing Rachel Mitchell had “done a great exposing Democrats playing games,” and that “Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford was a victim of the Democrats playing politics,” on Thursday after the committee took its second break.

“She’s done a great job of exposing the Democrats of playing games,” Todd said of Mitchell. “I think that she’s made a better case explaining how Democrats sat on this.”

Ford is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her in the 1980s.

“It’s almost as if Dr. Ford was a victim of the Democrats playing politics,” Todd added.

It’s amazing that she seemed not to know that the committee offered to take her testimony in California, it’s almost as if she was kept in the dark by her own team for political reasons.

To me the two really devastating things in her testimony was the bit about flying, which suggested falsehoods from her camp that she was either part and parcel to or kept completely in the dark, to me even worse is her incredible explanation for her friend’s refusal to corroborate her statement. she claims it’s due to illness.


If this was a fact based process she would have been laughed out of the place but because optics are a big part of it that’s not the case. While the image of her often going to her lawyers looks bad to viewers because she seems innocent and clueless she might still play well with some. A lot of networks thought she was hitting it out of the park and predicted trouble for the GOP. Byron York, one of the best in the business said this

He might have been right, the left was all emotion and the GOP all Dukakis like facts. It could have been a problem in terms of optics…

…And then Brett Kavanaugh took the stand, he wasn’t Mike Dukakis at the debates in 88.

Kavanaugh was pissed and he didn’t hold it back, his opening statement was one of the most incredible things I’d ever seen and I guarantee you that after Ford’s testimony a whole lot of America was watching to see what he would say. No amount of script is adequate to describe it You have to see it to get the full force or it.

In my opinion that opening statement alone won him the American people, won him the nomination and might also have won the GOP the 2018 midterms.

He followed that up by demolishing Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin. I’ve yet to watch his exchannges with Hirono, Booker or Harris but if they were anything like the Feinstein or Durbin stuff it was bad news for Democrats all around. It was so bad they even managed to get Lindsey Graham angry.

What’s really amusing is the sudden contrast in how the media both professional and social dealt with his refusal to play the role they envisioned for him I think Byron York put it very well.

But Donald Trump put it best

Kavanaugh won the day and won it strong and based on reporting I’ve seen his performance and the disgraceful of the Democrats (which as I said yesterday only Clarie McCaskill seemed to have anticipated) is not only going to fire up the base for 2018 and beyond it’s going to give pause to any person with a mother, brother or father when it comes to giving these people power for a very long time.

Not counting the witnesses the person who came out looking the best was the lawyer hired by the GOP. Ms. Mitchell was professional , polite and full of substance in her work. I think the Senate would do well to permanently hire her for this function in the future and leave the grandstanding for the campaign trail.

The biggest loser is Dianne Feinstein. Her decision to sit on this letter burned the Democrats and cost them credibility in their call for an investigation, but most importantly for her it might have cost her re-election because in an election where there are two Democrats on the ballot for Senator GOP voter who might have pragmatically voted for her as the lesser of two evils are much more likely to vote for her opponent out of spite.

Finally I want to leave you with this thought that I’ve said before. The entire Democrat/media/leftist playbook here was predicated on the anticipation that either the president would withdraw the nomination in the face of these accusation or the nominee would ask to have his name withdrawn in the face of them and with any other GOP president and with any other nominee I suspect this strategy would have succeeded.

Without Judge Kavanaugh’s courage to stand and fight and without President Trump’s willingness to back him up, the short term result of the votes tomorrow and Saturday and the long term results that will come of it on election day doesn’t happen. AS I put it on twitter

I can’t wait for election day and as for Kavanaugh on the bench…

Had he received a normal confirmation, I suspect Kavanaugh would have been a bit of an establishment squish. I rather doubt that he’ll be that now.

Closing thought: After this what do dems do if/when Ginsburg retires or dies while Trump is in office?

Update:  added biblical quote

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And be careful of what you do ’cause the lie becomes the truth.

– Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean”

If Judge Kavanaugh’s last name were a single syllable, I have no doubt that the sleazy tactics being deployed against him would become their own term, a la “Borking” from Ted Kennedy and others slandering judge Robert Bork when he was nominated in 1987 by Ronald Reagan (“Kavanaughing” just doesn’t have the same ring to it). But I can’t help wondering if the crime the judge is alleged – without any corroborating evidence – to have committed 36 years ago fits too easily into today’s #MeToo narrative.

The left is desperate to have Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination fail, so when they were unable to derail him during the regular Judiciary Committee hearings, they had to go nuclear. So, given the #MeToo climate, they naturally found a way to accuse him of sexual assault. The fact that he has already passed 6 FBI background checks proves that he in no way has done anything even remotely fitting the #MeToo mold as an adult, so their only choice was to go as far back as possible to accuse him of an undisprovable crime at an unspecified time and place when he was 17. And they already have the built-in “believe all women” trope provided by #MeToo.

Am I the only one who thinks that, if this were all happening in 2014 during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, that Dr. Ford would have accused Judge Kavanaugh of having uttered “the ‘N’ word” at a party 36 years ago? That would have been the accusation guaranteed to generate the most outrageous outrage on the left at the time, and would have been just as undisprovable as the sexual assault accusation is now.

When even the left-leaning American Bar Association gives Judge Kavanaugh it’s highest rating of “well qualified,” citing his character and integrity, the opposition has to go low. The definition of “low” always depends on the current SJW fad-of-the-moment, so no one should have been surprised that this scurrilous charge surfaced at the last minute. Let’s see to what new low the left will sink when it’s time for President Trump to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg (approved 97-3). It will depend on whatever has replaced #MeToo by then.

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After very much deliberation I could not decide between the two that stand out the most in my mind so it is a tie.  The first is a veritable heavyweight based on name recognition and percentage of those on the political right that have read at least one of her books.  The other is much less known unless you are a devotee of science fiction.  The first I chose is the one that probably came first to your mind when you read the title of this article, Ayn Rand.  The other is Robert Heinlein.  You might be wondering why I scored them so high as authors who espouse libertarian philosophy in their books.  I’ll let you decide for yourself through quotes from their novels.

Atlas Shrugged is by far Ayn Rand’s most famous work. Here is a speech from the character Francisco d’Anconia which is directed to Bertram Scudder. It would make Milton Friedman and Adam Smith proud.

So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

Here is a quote from Dr. Floyd Ferris to Hank Rearden which has a strong Jeffersonian flavor to it, or perhaps reminiscent of Ludwig Von Mises.  That quote perfectly describe the odious way our government behaves now.

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of lawbreakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.

Here is a speech from Hank Rearden to a panel of judges

Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that ‘the good’ was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violation of the rights of another. If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they believe to be their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it—well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act.

The Fountainhead, which was written before Atlas Shrugged, is also a wonderful novel that is packed with libertarian philosophy.  Here is a speech by Howard Roark, which is the climax of the novel.  It reminds me a lot of this video by Milton Friedman.

Man cannot survive except through the use of his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.

But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.

Robert Heinlein was the author most responsible for my transition from someone that leaned very much to the political left to a libertarian.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is ranked on a lot of websites as the most libertarian novel ever written.  Professor Bernardo de la Paz is the character I most closely identity with from any novel.  Here are four separate quotes through which he defines his philosophy:

A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as “state” and “society” and “government” have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.

I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

Comrades, I beg of you — do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

You have put your finger on the dilemma of all government — and the reason I am an anarchist. The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it contains until it destroys. I was not joking when I told them to dig into their own pouches. It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?

Revolt in 2100 is another Heinlein novel that scores extremely high on the libertarian scale.  Here is my favorite quote

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

The Louisiana Legislature

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Normally, news of a $300 million surplus at the end of the State’s fiscal year would be good news, but here in Louisiana it is prompting questions and accusations amongst the political talking heads.

All summer long Louisiana residents were pummeled with news that our budget was facing a terrible deficit and that this would lead to Medicaid patients being evicted from nursing homes, convicts being released from prison, elimination of the food stamp program, and major cuts to higher education.  We spent over a million dollars to hold three special legislative sessions in which we fought over a sales tax renewal of less than a penny which would supposedly solve all these budget problems.

And now, like a rabbit out of a hat, we have a $300k surplus.

Now, it’s not that we aren’t glad to have this money to spend on worthy projects.  We are.  But by and large, many people feel played.  Manipulated.  How can you be that far off with your fiscal projections?

Governor John Bel Edwards now says that this surplus is double good news because not only do we not have a deficit, but we have a robust economy which sparked this higher than expected revenue and so… voila!  Surplus!

Some aren’t buying it; Louisiana State Senator Conrad Appel:

The way I see it there are two ways to explain this sudden revelation. One is that the governor and his staff were so inept that they could not see that revenues were improving and therefore truly believed in the fiscal cliff nonsense. That would have been bad, as we all trust him to manage a $29 billion business which is the state of Louisiana. If he doesn’t know where the money is, we have a problem.

The other possibility is that he and his people knew perfectly well that there was no fiscal cliff because we were bringing in more tax revenue than we were told. Instead, perhaps to support his well-articulated plan to grow government spending, he chose to ignore the facts and to not tell us that there was no fiscal cliff. That would not just be bad, that to me would be disingenuous and possibly even a violation of his oath of office.

I can think of no other options. We either have terrible fiscal management or we have been purposefully misled.

Even better?

Now Governor Edwards wants to give teachers a $1000 annual pay raise.  (It’s an election year, you know.)

So, it’s either a glass half full or glass half empty situation.  You have a robust economy or you have an inept government.  Or both?

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

This past Tuesday marked 231st anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.  Every year this date should be celebrated by everyone because of the most remarkable nature of that document, which was responsible for this country becoming the freest and wealthiest that ever existed.  Instead the Constitution is held in such ill regard by so many simply because of the indoctrination they received in college, high school, the media, and from friends.  The most common insult hurled at the Constitution is that it is a racist document with the Three-Fifths Compromise as the most damning evidence.  Frederick Douglass debunked that claim back in 1860 when he gave this speech before the Glasgow Emancipation Society.

In this quote he states the purpose of his speech was to refute the false claim that the Constitution is a proslavery document:

The very eloquent lecturer at the City Hall doubtless felt some embarrassment from the fact that he had literally to give the Constitution a pro-slavery interpretation; because upon its face it of itself conveys no such meaning, but a very opposite meaning. He thus sums up what he calls the slaveholding provisions of the Constitution. I quote his own words: — “Article 1, section 9, provides for the continuance of the African slave trade for the 20 years, after the adoption of the Constitution. Art. 4, section 9, provides for the recovery from the other States of fugitive slaves. Art. 1, section 2, gives the slave States a representation of the three-fifths of all the slave population; and Art. 1, section 8, requires the President to use the military, naval, ordnance, and militia resources of the entire country for the suppression of slave insurrection, in the same manner as he would employ them to repel invasion.

In this next quote he discredits the claim that the Three-Fifths Compromise is racist.  He notes that it only applies to slaves, not free blacks, and that is was an incentive for freeing slaves.

It is a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding States; one which deprives those States of two-fifths of their natural basis of representation. A black man in a free State is worth just two-fifths more than a black man in a slave State, as a basis of political power under the Constitution. Therefore, instead of encouraging slavery, the Constitution encourages freedom by giving an increase of “two-fifths” of political power to free over slave States. So much for the three-fifths clause; taking it at is worst, it still leans to freedom, not slavery; for, be it remembered that the Constitution nowhere forbids a coloured man to vote.

Frederick Douglass stated in this quote that the Constitution abolishing the slave trade 20 years after ratification was meant to end slavery. .

Men, at that time, both in England and in America, looked upon the slave trade as the life of slavery. The abolition of the slave trade was supposed to be the certain death of slavery. Cut off the stream, and the pond will dry up, was the common notion at the time.

He also points out that the drafters of the Constitution believed that slavery was a dying institution.  At the time of the drafting of the Constitution slavery was not working economically and was collapsing.  It was the invention of the Cotton Gin that made slavery work economically and extended that despicable institution.  It was not invented until after the ratification of the Constitution.  He notes that abolishing the slave trade would have hastened slavery’s demise.

All regarded slavery as an expiring and doomed system, destined to speedily disappear from the country. But, again, it should be remembered that this very provision, if made to refer to the African slave trade at all, makes the Constitution anti-slavery rather than for slavery; for it says to the slave States, the price you will have to pay for coming into the American Union is, that the slave trade, which you would carry on indefinitely out of the Union, shall be put an end to in twenty years if you come into the Union. Secondly, if it does apply, it expired by its own limitation more than fifty years ago. Thirdly, it is anti-slavery, because it looked to the abolition of slavery rather than to its perpetuity. Fourthly, it showed that the intentions of the framers of the Constitution were good, not bad.

Frederick Douglass answers the claim that the framers of the Constitution wrote a proslavery and racist document that did not extend its benefits and protections to those of color.

But it has been said that Negroes are not included within the benefits sought under this declaration. This is said by the slaveholders in America — it is said by the City Hall orator — but it is not said by the Constitution itself. Its language is “we the people;” not we the white people, not even we the citizens, not we the privileged class, not we the high, not we the low, but we the people; not we the horses, sheep, and swine, and wheel-barrows, but we the people, we the human inhabitants; and, if Negroes are people, they are included in the benefits for which the Constitution of America was ordained and established. But how dare any man who pretends to be a friend to the Negro thus gratuitously concede away what the Negro has a right to claim under the Constitution? Why should such friends invent new arguments to increase the hopelessness of his bondage? This, I undertake to say, as the conclusion of the whole matter, that the constitutionality of slavery can be made out only by disregarding the plain and common-sense reading of the Constitution itself; by discrediting and casting away as worthless the most beneficent rules of legal interpretation; by ruling the Negro outside of these beneficent rules; by claiming that the Constitution does not mean what it says, and that it says what it does not mean; by disregarding the written Constitution, and interpreting it in the light of a secret understanding

The Constitution would not have been completed or ratified without the Three-Fifths Compromise, resulting in either a split into two countries or a break up into many smaller countries.  Would the slaves have fared better?  Frederick Douglass answers that question here:

My argument against the dissolution of the American Union is this: It would place the slave system more exclusively under the control of the slaveholding States, and withdraw it from the power in the Northern States which is opposed to slavery.

Although odious on the surface, you can see from the quote that the Three-Fifths Compromise was in the long run meant to be a positive.

by baldilocks

A special repost in honor of a loved one whose early death was helped along by poor eating habits.

Yes, I can occasionally be caught live in the kitchen. Look quick.

When growing up, my dinner task was making the salad. My mom bought the goods and I prepared them to her exacting specifications. As a result, I am very, shall we say, anal about salads (as I am about most things that I care about).

A clean vegetable is a happy eater. Wash as far down as possible, wash as far up as possible, then, wash ‘possible.’ That maxim goes for many things.

Lettuce: anyone who uses iceberg lettuce in a salad should be shot. (Okay, that’s a little harsh; maybe, er, reeducated.) Use red-leaf, romaine or butter leaf lettuce or some combination thereof. Or spinach.

Croutons and bacon bits are masks for a salad prepared by a lazy salad-maker. If your ingredients are good, fresh and varied, you don’t need those.

Buy the right mushrooms. Get the ones that are closed at the junction between the body and the stem. Don’t buy the big ones that look like they’re more for smoking that for eating. Don’t buy them too brown. Cut the stems off but not so far down as to where you can see the inside of the body.

Use red onions and/or scallions, because they look prettier and taste better than yellow or white onions. Cut most of the flower of the scallions off because they are bland. The root is the good part.

When I’m the only one eating the salad or am sure of my audience, I will put a chopped clove of garlic and a chopped Serrano chili pepper in my salad. (You folks who are not from the south-west part of the US or are not of Mexican descent might not know what a Serrano is. It’s a little, tiny green pepper that is hot. I like hot.)

Two of the ingredients that my mom didn’t require, but I usually use now are: carrots and cucumbers. Yes, peeling them is a pain—and please peel the cucumber—but, boy, do they give great texture and taste to the salad. Split the cuck down the middle, by the way.

Sometimes I will top the salad with canned crab. There are two places here in LA from which I’ve bought the crab: Food for Less and Trader Joe’s. The FFL version is cheaper and the TJ’s version is prettier, but they both taste about the same. I don’t put anything heavier than that in the salad. Chicken, beef and pork are for the main course.

No yellow, orange or white dressings should be used. Hey, if you want to hide the taste of your salad, just tear up some iceberg, chop up a big, fat tomato and pour Thousand Island all over it. Blech. I like a non-obnoxious Caesar or just some olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar.

If you must put some seasoning on your salad, a bit of Mrs. Dash will do the trick; oh, and black pepper.

What did I forget? Tomatoes, of course, are required; cherry types cut in half (if you grow them, you’re blessed); bell pepper—green and chopped.

If you think salads are boring, you’re missing out on one of the great pleasures of eating. Time, attention and varied ingredients are all that are required. Don’t forget to make it beautiful as well. Eating is almost as much about the eye as it is about the tongue.


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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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — One of the unintended consequences of Common Core (or whatever your state’s iteration of Common Core is) has been an attack on the classroom library and independent reading.

In the move to implement a “Tier 1 curriculum,” the first thing to go is anything that does not align with that curriculum.  In Louisiana, a Tier 1 curriculum “exemplifies quality.”  As defined on the Louisiana Believes website, it “meets all non-negotiable criteria and scored the best possible on all indicators of superior quality.”

Louisiana’s version of Common Core is called Louisiana Believes and in ELA our Tier 1 curriculum is Guidebooks 2.0 which was “made by teachers for teachers” and “ensures all students can read, understand, and express their understanding of complex, grade-level texts.”  It began in 2013 when the framework was developed and now in 2018 most parishes are well into implementation of the curriculum.  In my parish we are in year two.

In at least two parishes there have been reports of ELA teachers being asked to remove novels, or anything that is not Tier 1 material, from their rooms: one report was from south Louisiana and the other report came to me from northwest Louisiana.  To protect these teachers I will keep their names and parishes private.  In one parish the teacher was able to strike a compromise with her administration after she provided research and documentation on the benefits of independent reading.

As Donalyn Miller so often makes the case, the research on independent reading “is ubiquitous” and not hard to find.

In defense of these school districts, I think that part of the problem is that we are so new to the implementation of this radically different, scripted curriculum that sometimes administrators and supervisors may not all be on the same page with regard to what is acceptable and what is not.  I can think of no other reason to justify why an administrator might tell a teacher that “independent reading has got to go!” or to remove novels from the classroom.  Sometimes these directives vary within a single district from school to school.

It is just difficult for an ELA teacher to hear that a student can’t read a book; it’s hard to justify that.  And frankly, I don’t know how anyone who calls himself an educator would tell a teacher that students can’t read books.  One of these teachers was told she “is resistant” to the new curriculum; if that doesn’t sound right out of Ray Bradbury I don’t know what does.

In fact, the Louisiana Believes website even states that the vision for students is that “Every day, students in Louisiana should build their knowledge of the world, read meaningful text, express their unique ideas through writing and speaking, and attempt complex problems.”

Given that, I don’t believe that the Louisiana Department of Education is truly against students reading books and so I can’t conceive of why they would want them removed from classrooms, yet I have actually talked to two teachers where this happened.

It is no secret that I have a classroom library and this has not happened to me; my students are reading AND they are participating in the Louisiana Tier 1 curriculum.

I can only hope that there was some misunderstanding on the part of these two teachers  and that the issues have been resolved.

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

Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.  -Robert A. Heinlein

I have always believed that children will live up to our expectations. If we expect them to work hard and succeed, then they will – or at least they will try to. If we don’t expect them to try, then they won’t. I have applied this standard to my own children, of course, but also to every child whom I have coached in youth baseball and in what used to be called Boy Scouting. I’d like to think that it’s working, and actually have objective data to that effect both in the success of my own children and also from feedback I have received from many parents of the children whom I have mentored over the years.

I make my living in a technical field by being the guy who does presentations (among other things), so I know the value of being able to speak in front of an audience. I was struck recently by an article in The Atlantic about a growing movement among some high schoolers as discriminatory and demanding alternative assignments. I’m sure that many will think me insensitive, but my reaction is that these kids should just “suck it up” and do the assignment and they will eventually come to appreciate the value in having done so.

The article focuses initially on children who legitimately have anxiety disorders, and I think that Mary Chastain over at LegalInsurrection does a wonderful job of representing that side of the argument, but even as an anxiety sufferer herself, she concludes that anxiety shouldn’t be an excuse for kids not having to do presentations. Instead, she suggests that the teacher should work with the student and “start off small.” She points out in Shapiro-esque fashion that “the real world doesn’t care about your feelings.”

It is of course important to understand children’s feelings, but only in the context of being able to help the child overcome those feelings to do what is in his or her best interest, which a child is, by definition, not capable of knowing. That’s what parents and teachers are for. A teacher like Kathleen Carver, quoted in the article, who thinks that she needs to cater to her students’ feelings or they won’t like her, is actually handicapping her students as Heinlein says in the quote above.

I once had a player on one of my youth baseball teams. We were in the playoffs and, due to eligibility rules, he was our last remaining pitcher. He had a bad inning where he walked a few batters and gave up a few runs and he came off the mound at the end of the inning in tears. Our team scored, so we were definitely not out of the game, but when it was our turn to take the field again, this boy refused. I listened to him express his feelings about why he didn’t want to pitch and then proceeded to tell him that he didn’t really have a choice. He was our only pitcher and the rest of the team was depending on him to go back out there. He reluctantly agreed, still in tears, and proceeded to walk the first batter he faced. I thought he might break down at that point, but he struck out the next batter and the inning ended with him getting a double play by catching a line drive back to him and doubling the runner off first base. I will never forget the smile on his face as he came off the field and high-fived me.

Does Ms. Carver really think that I should have “responded” to his feelings by letting him sit out?

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The one great failure of those who wrote United States Constitution was their failure to properly restrain the Supreme Court.  They did not foresee that the highest court in the United States would abandon the Constitution as the ultimate basis for all of the rulings they issue.  The framers of the Constitution did not envision that the members of that body of justices would substitute their own political opinions and biases, which are recorded in Supreme Court Precedent, for the actual text of the Constitution and the plain meaning of that document as understood at the time of ratification.

During his confirmation testimony Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated that he would most likely be a Supreme Court Justice that would rely more on the biased and flawed precedent than one of the great originalists like Scalia. Judge Kavanaugh discussed precedent frequently and in great detail during the confirmation hearings.  Here is what I consider the most telling quote about the topic from the hearings, as quoted in this Breitbart article:

The role of precedent is to ensure stability in the law, which is critically important…It’s also to ensure predictability of the law. People who order their affairs around judicial decisions, need to know that the law is predictable.  Whether you’re an individual or business or worker, you need to have predictability, People rely on the decisions of the courts, so reliance interests are critically important to consider … so that people can rely on the decisions.

Precedent also reinforces the impartiality and independence of the judiciary. The people need to know in this country that the judges are independent, and we’re not making decisions based on policy views. Part of that is to understand we’re following a system of precedent … the court, every time someone [new] gets on [the Court], it’s not just bouncing around to do what think is best. It’s what’s the precedent of the Supreme Court is always part of the analysis, an important part.

For 12 years, I’ve been applying precedent of the Supreme Court and of my court. Every day for 12 years, I haven’t been getting up saying, “How can I rewrite the law?” I’ve been getting up for 12 years every day, saying, “Okay, how can I apply this Fourth Amendment precedent to this fact pattern that comes before me?” So precedent is the foundation of our system. It’s part of the stability. It’s ensuring predictability. And it’s just foundational to the Constitution, as Article III [of the Constitution] and Federalist 78 made clear.

It is clear from this quote that Judge Kavanaugh believes that Supreme Court precedent is the bedrock of our constitutional republic.  Is he correct about that?  Let’s consult Federalist 78 which was written by Alexander Hamilton.

It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute…

But in regard to the interfering acts of a superior and subordinate authority, of an original and derivative power, the nature and reason of the thing indicate the converse of that rule as proper to be followed. They teach us that the prior act of a superior ought to be preferred to the subsequent act of an inferior and subordinate authority; and that accordingly, whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.

From this quote it is obvious that the Constitution itself is the foundation of our legal system not the opinions offered by the Justices when they overturn a law.  To be fair to Judge Kavanaugh precedent is mentioned in that Federalist Paper.  Here is the passage:

There is yet a further and a weightier reason for the permanency of the judicial offices, which is deducible from the nature of the qualifications they require. It has been frequently remarked, with great propriety, that a voluminous code of laws is one of the inconveniences necessarily connected with the advantages of a free government. To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them; and it will readily be conceived from the variety of controversies which grow out of the folly and wickedness of mankind, that the records of those precedents must unavoidably swell to a very considerable bulk, and must demand long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them.

Would Alexander Hamilton consider precedent that constantly disregards the actual text of the Constitution and plain meaning as worthy bedrock?  I do not believe he would.  The Supreme Court has erred far too often when reaching decisions and precedents are nothing more than a voluminous record of these failures.  Also the precedents mentioned by Hamilton were never meant to be granted the full force of law, as it is now.  They were just a guide consisting of opinions

James Madison stated quite clearly what the true foundation of constitutional understanding is when he wrote this in a letter from James Madison to Thomas Ritchie

As a guide in expounding and applying the provisions of the Constitution, the debates and incidental decisions of the Convention can have no authoritative character. However desirable it be that they should be preserved as a gratification to the laudable curiosity felt by every people to trace the origin and progress of their political Institutions, & as a source perhaps of some lights on the Science of Govt. the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the authority which it possesses.

Despite his potential over reliance on precedent I believe Judge Kavanaugh will be an adequate Supreme Court Justice.  I believe he will be another Justice in the mold of Justice Roberts rather that a true originalist giant such as Scalia, Gorsuch, and Thomas.  I believe he is infinitely better than anyone Hillary Clinton would have nominated and considerably better than Justice Kennedy.  Hopefully President Trump does better with his next pick,