You know that boom in hiring, investment, manufacturing taking place all over the nation that has resulted in expansion for business and bonus’ for employees everywhere? Well Massachusetts has taken decisive steps to put an end to all that.

On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill titled “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (H.4640). The new law, dubbed the “Grand Bargain,” implements incremental increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage over the next five years, and creates a new paid family and medical leave program in the Commonwealth. A full text of the bill can be found here.

Minimum Wage Increase
The law increases the minimum wage from $11.00 to $15.00 over the course of five years. In 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00. Thereafter, it will continue to increase each year in $0.75 increments until it reaches $15 in 2023. The Grand Bargain also results in a five-year phase out of the requirement of premium pay for hours worked on Sunday

Six months ago if you were a Massachusetts business, you were thinking about how you would use those tax cuts to grow your business, now you are thinking if you have 50 employees you are going to have to make sure you can generate an extra $100,000 next year and $400,000 by 2023 to cover the wage increases for those fifty folks, not to mention the taxes that come along with it.

So while business in other states take advantage of both the Trump boom and the Trump tax cut to expand their production, modernize equipment, bring in new workers, pay bonuses to reward their best workers businesses in Massachusetts are going to have to think twice before taking any steps knowing those low skill workers will add $8000 to the debt side of their ledger each.

And it’s worse than it sounds because while in a one party state like Massachusetts there is absolutely no prospect of this higher minimum wage being reversed, there is always the chance that the Trump boom might be curtailed by a Democrat victory in November of this year or in 2020 and of course as the Trump Tax rates aren’t permanent it’s very possible either a victorious Democrat or a feckless GOP congress will choose to let them die.

Massachusetts voters may have overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton but they had better pay that Donald Trump stays where he is with a GOP congress because once the Trump boom and the Tax cuts end, so will the jobs that this economy has produced and discover that the true minimum wage remains constant at zero.

If you are a young person or someone starting a family the time to get out of this state is now.


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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Is former New Orleans governor Mitch Landrieu going to run for president?  A Landrieu candidacy has been getting a lot of attention of late and if I were a betting person, I’d say he is going to run.

Landrieu is, of course, being coy about it which is to be expected at this early date.

CNN speculates that Landrieu is hoping Joe Biden will run against President Trump in 2020:

When Mitch Landrieu discusses his ideal opponent for President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, he acknowledges it sounds like he’s describing Joe Biden.

“I would like somebody that could restore America’s stature in the world on day one,” the Democratic former New Orleans mayor said in a televised edition of “The Axe Files,” airing Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.

“I would like somebody that knows exactly what they’re doing, because they’ve done that before, that can stabilize and just rebalance the country for four years,” he told CNN’s David Axelrod, who countered that it sounded like Landrieu was describing the former vice president.

“I think I am. Honestly,” Landrieu said. “If I had to pick today, I would — and he could take over tomorrow, and — you know, life would be a lot better for everybody.”

Recent poll results reported at The Hill have Biden leading the pack for the Democrats with Hillary coming in second and Bernie Sanders after her.  Some things never change.

Landrieu would be a dark horse candidate.  His main claim to fame, besides his family name, is his removal of the Confederate monuments in New Orleans on the advice of jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

This created months of protests and problems in New Orleans and while Landrieu was myopically focused on the statues issue, NOLA crime spiraled out of control and complaints were raised about the crumbling infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Politico published a puff piece on Landrieu that is difficult to get through for those of us who disagreed with Landrieu’s portrayal of Americans as barbarians whenever he spoke about the monuments.  The author of the piece, Edward-Isaac Dovere, fawns over what he calls Landrieu’s “Obama-like intellectualism” and praises Landrieu’s intellect and control.

If Landrieu does indeed run in 2020, the monuments issue will certainly be an issue as it most directly ties into our national history; the issue of racism will also be center stage as that is the reason Landrieu cites for their removal.

There are many issues about a Landrieu presidency that would have to be carefully considered.  What position would his sister play in a Landrieu presidency, if any?  How much influence would she bring to her brother’s term?

It’s too early (for me) to speculate too heavily on 2020, but many are already playing the game and Landrieu knows that.  He’s getting out there and with his new book and book tour underway, he has a nice platform to do that.

Perhaps it’s not too early to start doing our research after all.

 

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

by baldilocks

The New Rules In Effect

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air notices some interesting things about a Washington Post editorial.

In 2002, the United States and Canada secured [an] arrangement, known as a “safe third country” agreement. It has worked because Canada is, in fact, a safe third country: Migrants who apply for asylum there are secure, and their cases are fairly adjudicated.

By contrast, Mexico is patently unsuitable as a place of refuge for most migrants, especially those from Central America, who suffer exploitation, violence and sexual assault almost routinely as they make their way north. In a recent report, Doctors Without Borders noted that two-thirds of Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Honduran migrants in Mexico have reported being victims of violence; almost a third of migrant women there had been sexually assaulted. Twelve of the world’s 50 most violent cities are in Mexico. Forcing refugees to seek sanctuary in Mexico would thrust tens of thousands of them into a country with weak law enforcement, a flimsy judicial system, an anemic asylum process and predatory criminal gangs.

(Emphasis belongs to Jazz.)

I think we are all Old Enough To Remember When shouts of RACIST issued forth from the perpetual outrage when it was alleged by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) that President Trump referred to African countries — many of which suffer from the same maladies as Mexico — as sh*tholes.

That epithet perfectly describes these countries … and Mexico.

But we know, of course, that it’s okay to list the various forms of lawlessness — rape, murder, corruption, etc. — that reign in these countries and even okay to call them sh*tholes as long as you are not a Republican and, especially, are not named Donald Trump.

Thinking about old tag lines that could not be used in 2018.

Meanwhile The Run for the BorderTM wages on. Because who wants to live in Hell when Heaven is so close? You’ll even go through a worse Hell to get there.

Someone, however, ought to tell the refugees and illegal aliens about how we Americans reached our present point in history so that, maybe, some might consider making changes in their own lands. Lot of guns are involved, though.

Meanwhile, Wall, please.

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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An ever increasing number of Americans now support an economic and philosophic system that has produced an enormous amount suffering and has a very high death toll.  Socialism is the economic system and it is the direct opposite of the free market system that built the United States into the freest and most economically successful nation ever.  Our steadily decreasing national freedom and prosperity are a direct result of an increasing number of these individuals entering government service at all levels and transitioning our economy from one of free market capitalism to one of socialism.

For about a hundred years there has been a stealthy tug of war between supporters of the free market and supporters of socialism. Those that support socialism have hidden behind the banners of liberalism and progressivism.  Now the masks are off and they proudly announce themselves to be socialists and their numbers are increasing rapidly.  As you can see from this article Poll: Nearly Half Of Millennials Prefer Socialism To Capitalism, by the Federalist, the distribution of socialists is not uniform by age

Nearly half of American millennials (44 percent) would rather live in a socialist society than a capitalist one, according to a report from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) which relied on YouGov polling data. Even so, there’s widespread ignorance among millennials about socialism and communism — only 71 percent of the millennials surveyed could properly identify what communism is and many often conflated the two economic systems.

Walter E. Williams explains why so many millennials support socialism in this Townhall article Capitalism vs. Socialism.

Several recent polls, plus the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, demonstrate that young people prefer socialism to free market capitalism. That, I believe, is a result of their ignorance and indoctrination during their school years, from kindergarten through college. For the most part, neither they nor many of their teachers and professors know what free market capitalism is.

Walter E. Williams notes in the essay “Are Academic Elites Communist?” from August 16 2006 that it is not just academia that is to blame.

Academic leftists, and their media allies, are in agreement with many of the stated goals of communism, such as equal distribution of wealth, income equality and other goals spelled out in Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels’ “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”  Leftist elites love the ideas of communism so much that they are either blind to, or tolerant of, it’s many shortcomings.

This article sheds light on just how biased our colleges and universities have become: Nearly Four In Five College Departments Don’t Employ A Single Republican

To set foot on an American college campus, as anyone who’s spent a picosecond thereabout lately can tell you, is to step through a left-wing looking glass. But a jaw-dropping new study from the National Association of Scholars (NAS) reveals just how deep the rabbit hole goes: among tenure-track college professors at the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts schools, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 10 to 1.

The Townhall article Dancing with Socialism, Ignoring Reality illustrates just how thoroughly the brainwashing of college students has been.

In the United States, surveys show that many Millennials are not merely soft on socialism but openly support it. They think capitalism benefits only the “one percent” and no one else, despite America’s matchless record of upward mobility and prosperity.

Since the 1960s, the media, Hollywood and the education system have presented a warped view of America along with a sugarcoated version of socialism. So, we should not be surprised when we see so many young people fooled by the false promises of redistributive economics.

The Millennials are the main force behind Vermont’s Democratic Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and they are pushing the Democratic Party even further to the Left.

Walter E. Williams discusses why socialism is immoral is this article: “Evil Concealed by Money” from November 19, 2008.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal. Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.

Socialism always fails with devastating results.   Thomas Sowell tells us why in this quote I found in the Acton Institute Powerblog article 6 Quotes: Sowell on economics and ideas.

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. When politicians discover some group that is being vocal about not having as much as they want, the “solution” is to give them more. Where do politicians get this “more”? They rob Peter to pay Paul. After a while, of course, they discover that Peter doesn’t have enough. Bursting with compassion, politicians rush to the rescue. Needless to say, they do not admit that robbing Peter to pay Paul was a dumb idea in the first place. On the contrary, they now rob Tom, Dick, and Harry to help Peter

Are college students informed about socialism’s tragically high body count?  If not they should read this Townhall article Capitalism vs. Socialism by Walter E. Williams.

A much larger and totally ignored question has to do with the brutality of socialism. In the 20th century, the one-party socialist states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the People’s Republic of China were responsible for the murder of 118 million citizens, mostly their own. The tallies were: USSR 62 million, Nazi Germany 21 million and PRC 35 million. No such record of brutality can be found in countries that tend toward free market capitalism.

Norway and other Scandinavian countries are often held up as socialism success stories, but are they really?  No they are not and this article documents the truth:  Norway’s Version of the Resource Curse

I have a Question for all of those in media and elsewhere who continue their perpetual outrage over the Trump administration, the answer of which will put their feelings in their proper perspective.

“It is very easy to find outrage over Trump on TV, on Twitter and other social media in the Newspapers, on almost any college Campus’ and inside the beltway where that is but when you leave these places and listen to people at work or play or dinner, do you hear them obsessing over this administration the way you are?”

I suspect the answer to this question would cause the grief they express on social media to multiply exponentially, which is why I suspect it will not be done anytime soon.

Book donations!

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – As I was thinking about what to share with you this week I gave some deep thought to trashing John Bel Edwards and his tax-raising, money-grabbing administration of our state, and I also thought about listing the myriad reasons why Mitch Landrieu would be a terrible president of our country should he actually run (I think he will run, for the record), but instead I’ve decided to be more positive today and write about philanthropy and the generosity people have in their hearts.

I do a lot of writing on my own blog and in other places about my classroom and my students; it is no secret to anyone that I stand in strong opposition to Common Core which has stripped my sophomore English classroom of novels and implemented a 75% non-fiction reading curriculum.  I firmly believe that my students need to read novels, short stories, poetry, and plays.  They need to be able to get lost in the pages of a novel, to lose track of their world for a bit and vicariously experience the lives of Scout Finch, Daisy Buchanan, Harry Potter,  Ramona Quimby, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Meggie from Inkheart, or even Boy21.

In the spring of this year I polled my students about their reading habits and was dismayed to find that almost none of them had read a book for pleasure since elementary school.  They were very candid about their reading and their feelings about it.  Giving me some small hope, I also learned that many of them enjoyed reading in the past but as they advanced through school and they were channeled into more unpleasant reading chores, they turned against it.  I figured then that maybe I could reignite a love of reading in my students, despite the Common Core mandate that fiction is passé.

So to that end I began my campaign to build a classroom library.  I wrote about it (and my students’ responses) on this blog in May.  My goal was to accumulate 500 high-interest books, YA and classics, by the time school starts on August 6.

I’ve spend the summer painting bookshelves in my classroom and collecting books.  I’ve begged for books on this blog and my own and I’ve combed local thrift stores every week since May.  I now have nearly two hundred books for my library!  It’s not my goal of 500, but it’s not August 6, either.  I’m still going!

The kindness of strangers has overwhelmed me – literally.  I established an Amazon Wish List and people I don’t even know have sent books, many with the most supportive and kind notes included!   I’ve received both new and gently used books from the Wish List and people have boxed up books that would be of interest to teenagers from their own homes and sent to me.  It’s amazing!

As each book comes in, I cover the paperbacks with clear ConTact paper to protect them, log them into a database, and put a book pocket and checkout card in the back.  Book jackets for hardbacks are laminated.  I want these to last a long time.  The books that I’ve never read, I read.  I want to be able to “sell” these books to my kids so I have had to do a lot of catching up on YA fiction.  I’ve read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller who is the goddess of classroom libraries and Readicide by Kelly Gallagher.

Book donations are still trickling in and I hope that as school starts they will pick up again and I can reach my goal of 500 books.  I have a project on Donors Choose that I hope gets funded and I’ve written a couple of grants that I hope come through.

My point here is one of optimism.  I believe people are really good and really want to help when they see a need.  I’ve seen such generosity and philanthropy through this project that it really lifts my heart.  I spent much of last year angry about not being able to share fiction and reading with my students.  They are in tenth grade and naturally have little interest in an unvaried diet of Supreme Court decisions, presidential speeches, and scientific articles which comprise 75% of our curriculum.

This year, I’m excited about returning to my classroom and introducing them to new worlds!  An of course research shows that readers score better on tests which will make my administration happy.  I care less about tests than creating lifelong readers, but it is a necessary evil, and my students do get a sense of pride when they score well.

At any rate, I have about three more weeks of summer and more thrift shops to hit to reach my goal.  My Wish List is here if you’d like to send us a book.  But most of all, remember, people are really good and even though we see a lot of anger and negativity in the world these days, sometimes we need to look past that and find something positive to hold on to!

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation (Oct/’18). Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

by baldilocks

Among the alleged missteps that President Trump made — note the word alleged — during his trip to the United Kingdom, one of them brings up a memory I have about Trump’s predecessor.

Donald Trump sparks fury posing arrogantly in an armchair used by heroic wartime leader Winston Churchill.

Critics slammed Trump for a string of diplomatic blunders and said he wasn’t fit to sit there. (…)

Labour’s Stephen Doughty said: “An image of Donald Trump sitting in Churchill’s seat will stick in the throats of many Brits who would consider Trump not only to be one of the worst presidents in US history but also not even worthy of a comparison with our wartime leader who rescued our nation in its darkest hour.”

“Given Trump’s appalling actions and rhetoric, he doesn’t even deserve to look at a statue of Churchill let alone sit in his seat.”

The outrage is interesting, since I don’t recall any commentary from members of the UK Parliament when then President Barack Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office.

There are many stories about how the bust what treated during President Obama’s terms. First, the story was that the bust was handed back to the Brits. Here, however, the former president says it was placed in the White House Residence — the Treaty Room. That’s more plausible for reasons I will give in a bit.

Back when there was quite a bit of outrage on this side of the pond from the right about Obama’s treatment of the bust, I postulated that he disliked Churchill because of the former prime minister’s role in putting down Kenya’s Mau-Mau Rebellion back when Kenya was a British colony called British East Africa.

The former president and I are both half-Kenyan Luo and since he is inclined to hold grudges especially of the racial variety, I figured out that this was why he hated Churchill. If you ask me, President Obama hates all the Brits. He wasn’t shy about showing his contempt for any of them, from the Queen on down.

But it was only 2009 and we were just beginning to get to know Barack Obama.

In the wake of the bust incident, few in the British press were talking about how the former president was endangering relations between the USA and the UK or about how gauche it was to treat a gift between nations in the manner specified.

Then, last year, it was reported that newly inaugurated President Trump returned the bust to the Oval Office.

So we see that, to the British press, it’s insulting for one president to sit in Winston Churchill’s chair but when another president gives a bust of Churchill an unceremonious heave-ho, it’s no big deal.

This hypocrisy on the part of the British press is certainly no surprise — we see it all the time with our press — but it needed to be pointed out. And what does it mean?

Nothing complicated. President Obama tried to destroy the USA; President Trump is trying to save it. One might also say the same things about both presidents with respect to the West in general.

The British press was and is merely signaling which side it’s on.

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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The right to protest is one of our most important God-given natural rights.   It is enshrined in the right to assemble and the right to petition clauses of the First Amendment.  We have the right to protest for whatever reasons or causes we wish to.  There is only limitation placed on anyone who wishes to protest.  Just as it is stated in the First Amendment, all protesting must be peaceable.   Violence, destruction of property, shutting down roads, mobs using their voices to silence others, and harassing individuals are not peaceable, therefore, they are not valid forms of protest.

So many on the political left have become unhinged, they have abandoned civil discourse and peaceful protesting and replaced it with mob violence and harassment of anyone that either works for or supports President Trump.  This is not just my opinion.  I see articles chronicling this despicable behavior on a daily basis.  Here is how Breitbart News described the current state of progressive political behavior in the article: Left-Wing Hate ‘Rap Sheet’ Reaches 300 Incidents of Violence, Harassment.

Ever since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president, the American left has responded with unhinged vitriol, violent fantasies, and mob attacks — targeting Trump and anyone associated with him. The worst part of this climate of hate is that establishment media — the professionals, the respectable guardians of truth — are purposely fanning the flames.

Like all of our rights, we are free to exercise our right to protest, as we wish, as long as we do not hurt others, or interfere with the rights of others.  Violence against people or their property most definitely is not a valid form of protest, for very obvious reasons.  I know all of us clearly remember the riots that occurred the day of President Trump’s inauguration and the riots that occurred at Berkley in response to Milo speaking there.  Did the mainstream media ever condemn their actions or did they celebrate them as noble protesters?

Everyone has a right to be out in public and enjoy eating at restaurants, free of people getting in their faces and harassing them, no matter who they are, or who they work for.  Individuals harassing others are not protesters, they are thugs.

It was all the rage to shut down roads and block interstates as a form of “protest.”  Blocking roads interferes with the right of everyone to come and go as they please.  It also created very unsafe conditions, especially when highways were blocked.  At least one death was reported when an ambulance was prevented from reaching a hospital in a timely fashion.  The media still insists on labeling these occurrences as protests.  What do they accomplish other than pissing off a lot of people?

A large group of people surrounding an event where individuals are speaking, for the purpose of shutting down the event, and prevent those individuals from speaking, is in no way a protest.  That form of behavior violates the free speech of the speakers and it violates the right of the audience to listen to who, or what, they want to listen to.

There was not one single instance of a tea party rally turning into a riot, tea partiers committing violence, members of the tea party harassing others, or tea partiers silencing others; yet the media absolutely vilified the entire tea party movement.  The media labeled the entire tea party movement racist even though there was no valid evidence supporting those baseless accusations. The media now looks the other way when it comes to left wing violence committed by so called protesters, and praises their bad behavior.

There is a very simple way to show that the entire “living constitution” business for what it is, basically the use of the judiciary to impose laws that the left could never pass and that’s to apply that same principle to other contracts.

Ask yourself:

How you would react if your landlord suddenly decided you had a “living lease” and increased your rent or denied you services accordingly?

How would you react if your insurance company decided you had a “living policy” and redefined “fire” or “theft” or “accident” to deny your claim?

How would you react if your bank decided you had a “living mortgage” and suddenly increased your interest rate or a “living credit card” and unilaterally decided you have to make biweekly rather than monthly payments?

How would you react if your college professor decided you had a “living grade scale” and suddenly your work was no longer passing?

How would you react if you employer decided you had a “living contract” and suddenly you had to work an additional 10 hours a week to qualify for benefits or the definition of “overtime” was suddenly gone?

How would you react if the restaurant you dined in had a “living menu” and redefined what “medium” or “well done” was?

How would you react if your contractors had a “living estimate” and suddenly without notice raised the prices of services or parts without notice or deemed a toilet installed if it wasn’t connected?

How would you react if the IRS decided it had a “living tax code” and you found your refund non-existent because deductions and credits you took when you filled it out were redefined?

The US Constitution is a contract, it is a contract between the states voted on by the states.  It says what it says.  If you don’t like what it says, there are explicit ways to edit it which can be pursued, and if you don’t like the edits you make there are ways to remove those edits (see 18th and 21st amendments).  A “living constitution” is a tyranny of the judiciary which is why the left likes it so much, but they should be wary, because if there is one thing the Trump era has taught the right it’s that the tactics of the left are very effective when used against them.

Or to quote Stephen Green:  “Never agitate for a government power you wouldn’t trust your political opponents to wield — because someday they will.”

The Blue Whale, Catoosa, OK

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I am guilty of sitting around in my insulated world and not tapping into the wanderlust that is deep in my soul.  I am perfectly content to sit at home under the branches of my magnolia tree and read books.  Thankfully, my husband is more proactive and so every so often we get in the car and actually go someplace.

It is seldom anywhere romantic or exotic like Europe; usually it is to the Midwest to see his family in Iowa.  We have just returned from a two thousand mile trip through six states and while it wasn’t Paris, it was just what I needed.

I love getting out and meeting people on the road, hearing their stories, and tapping back into the heart of America.  I spend far too much time on the wrong side of the computer screen.

We drove Route 66 through Oklahoma and, armed with my maps and research, we explored The Mother Road and its roadside attractions.  We located original alignments and near Sapulpa, Oklahoma even found a patch where the asphalt had worn away right down to the original Portland concrete.

Sometimes it’s the little things!

We met a couple there who were doing the same thing; they had done half of Route 66 last year and were back this year to finish it up.  “We thought we could do it in two weeks,” he explained, “but each time we stop and talk to people or look at something, well, two hours have gone by!”

Near Catoosa, Oklahoma where The Blue Whale is, we met a man on a motorcycle who was taking the Mother Road east to west on his bike with his daughter; she learned how to ride just to do the trip with him.

In Baxter Springs, Kansas, where the Rainbow Bridge is, we found the friendliest people of the entire trip.  We talked to a man over breakfast who was originally from Louisiana so we had a lot in common.

This is what is so restorative about our little summer trips to the Midwest: we meet the nicest people, hear the coolest stories, and see the neatest things.  It’s not Paris, it’s not London, it’s America.  Real America, real people, and the roots of who we all are.  The trip restored my faith in us as a country and as a people.  To read the news, we are all angry about something or injured in some way by a monument or a bias.

This isn’t really true.  We are a land of proud people who love their communities and who have the capacity to reach out and be human.  We show kindness and can welcome strangers into our cities and towns.  We take time to talk to each other and find common bonds.  We share stories and meals and we always can appreciate the simple joys and the beauty around us.

Get outside this summer, y’all!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. She is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.