From my friends at Power Line Blog:
On Thursday, Breitbart posted an article about some recent comments made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy while he was visiting Israel with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The article reports:
The California Republican was also asked about the absence of any members of “The Squad” on the trip, which is the foursome of freshman Democrat members led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), which have embraced the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“If you look at it, they did not come on the trip with their colleagues,” McCarthy said. “Secondly, if you look at the antisemitism that has been growing around the world, we haven’t seen something like this since the 1930s, and the actions that they have taken in Congress itself, whereas the Senate passed S-1. It’s the anti-BDS. It’s the stopping of the boycott, divestiture, and sanctions against Israel. That bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly. Chuck Schumer not only voted it, he cosponsored it.”
“But when it came to the House, they couldn’t pass the bill,” he continued. “They moved a resolution, and much of that was to do about this new movement of this new socialist democrat. And look at what Bernie Sanders, look at Kamala Harris, wouldn’t even go to the AIPAC meeting this year inside Washington, unheard of in the process that’s been going forward. There’s a number of Democrats that still stand with Israel, but this new socialist democrat group has a much different belief.”
Antisemitism is becoming acceptable in America because it is being taught on our college campuses. This is nothing new. In 2012, I attended a presentation about antisemitism on our college campuses (article here). After the presentation, which was attended by a small group of people, mostly Jewish, a person who I knew casually came up to me and said that her daughter (she was Jewish) was attending a well-known American university and had encountered antisemitism. The women who spoke to me made the comment that she would have been better off sending her daughter to a Christian college that supported Israel and the Jewish people. That is a truly sad comment.
Yesterday WattsUpWithThat posted an article that puts the claims that July 2019 was the hottest July ever in perspective. I don’t claim to be science oriented, but I can look at pictures and learn from them.
The article included two pictures that tell the story:
For people who actually understand scientific papers, the article refers to an article by Dr. Roy Spencer titled, ” July 2019 Was Not the Warmest on Record.”
The earth’s climate is constantly changing. Some scientists in the 1970’s said we were heading for a global Ice Age; others predicted a period of warming. So far, no scientist has created a computer model that is accurate. The weatherman can’t even tell us if it will rain tomorrow. At any rate, July 2019 was not the warmest July ever.
Every time a criminal or a crazy person shoots people, the Democrats decide that the gun was the problem. They just don’t seem to be able to focus on the person doing the shooting. There is a total disregard for the purpose and history of the Second Amendment.
Townhall posted an article today about some recent comments by a Democrat candidate for President regarding Americans who own guns.
The article reports:
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is one of them and said earlier this week she’s open to putting gun owners who refuse to comply with bogus government “buybacks,” which is simply government confiscation, in prison.
“You don’t want to grandfather in all of the assault weapons all across America. We’d like people to sell them back to the government,” Gillibrand said during an interview with MSNBC. “The point is you don’t want people using assault weapons so the point is ff you’re arrested for using an assault weapon you’re going to be arrested for an aggravated felony. The whole point is when you make it a crime to own an assault weapon then if you are found using it, that would be the issue. It would be part of law enforcement.”
Let’s put this into context. The semi-automatic AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. The left considers it an “assault rifle.” There are more than 20 million of them owned by Americans across the country. Gillibrand wants to turn every single person who has one into a felon and institute a police state for enforcement.
The article also notes that candidate Kamala Harris is also talking about taking away the right of Americans to own guns. This is obviously unconstitutional, but there are some real questions as to whether our courts are following the Constitution. This is a critical time for gun rights in America.
The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest voucher program in the United States. This program began in 1990. The program offers private school vouchers to low-income Milwaukee kids using a lottery system. The article reports that just 341 students participated in the program’s first year. Today, that figure is nearly 30,000 across 126 public schools.
The article reports:
Because it has been running for so long, the MPCP has been widely studied. Past analyses have found that it increases math scores (although not reading), as well as high-school graduation and college enrollment rates. Other voucher experiments have also shown encouraging results: A 2013 study found that Washington, D.C.’s voucher program increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points, while a 2015 analysis of New York’s voucher system saw an increase in college enrollment among students with black mothers.
The authors of the new paper looked at data on students from elementary school through ninth grade who were enrolled in Milwaukee private schools in 2006. They identified 2,727 MPCP students, then used a detailed methodology to “match” them to comparable students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system based on where they lived, their demographic information, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and other controls.
Having constructed their “treatment” and “control” groups, the researchers then looked at how each group faired in relation to pivotal achievement milestones: completing high school, ever enrolling in college, completing at least a year of college, and graduating from college.
The article concludes:
“MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and have more total years in a four-year college than their MPS peers,” the authors write. “We also find evidence that MPCP students are significantly more likely to graduate from college, although that college completion finding is only statistically significant in our sample of students who entered the program in third through eighth grade.”
Specifically, MPCP students who were in ninth grade in 2006 were 6 percentage points more likely than their MPS peers to enroll in a four-year college—46 percent versus 40 percent. MPCP students who were in third through eighth grades were 4 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college, and 3 percentage points more likely to graduate (all effects statistically significant).
These results contribute to what the authors call “a growing body of evaluation results indicating that private school voucher programs positively affect student educational attainment.” They point in particular to a Florida program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the effects of which on graduation are “nearly identical.”
“The collective evidence in this paper indicates that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than a carefully matched comparison group of Milwaukee Public School students,” the authors conclude. “The MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and experience more total years in a four-year college.”
Obviously the children using the vouchers to attend private schools are getting a better education than the students in public schools. I would guess that children involved in the voucher program also have a higher level of parental involvement–one of the keys to success for students. The children involved in the voucher program probably also know that there may be penalties for not doing the work required. I suspect that discipline in the private schools is probably more prevalent than in public schools. Our public schools have become places where children are not held to an academic or behavior standard. The success of the children in the voucher programs is an indication of problems in our public schools.
On Wednesday, CNS News posted an article about the number of border crossings in recent months.
The article reports:
The number of border crossings have dropped by 43 percent since May, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday.
Furthermore, the number of illegal immigrants in custody at border stations has dropped from 20,000 in June to less than 4,000 as of today.
“So those efforts are making progress – 43% reduction in crossings since May. We’re hoping to continue the progress in August. I’ll be going back to Central America next week to try to build on that with El Salvador and Panama and really address this problem as a regional effort,” he told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.
“On the first week of June, we had 20,000 people in custody in border stations. They’re having a difficult time managing that overcrowding. This morning we have less than 4,000, and they’re not staying with us very long. We’re able to repatriate the single adults quickly. The unaccompanied children are going to a better situation with Health and Human Services,” McAleenan said.
Speaking about the recent attacks on ICE facilities across the country, the acting director said, “It does appear to be targeted, and again, as you just noted, this is the fourth incident of violence or an issue at an ICE facility, and our top priority is the safety of our men and women who are out there protecting American communities.
Some Americans are being told that law enforcement is a bad thing. We have seen increased attacks on police as well as border agents. This is an undermining of the things that keep us safe. It is an attempt to bring anarchy to America. We need to educate our children to respect those in law enforcement. Without those who risk their lives when they go to work every day, we would have chaos in this country. We need to remember that.
The mainstream media has been quick to condemn Israel for denying Reps. Rashida Talib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) entry into Israel. Somehow the mainstream media has overlooked some of their actions and statements regarding Israel.
Townhall posted an article today highlighting why the two Representatives were barred from visiting:
Dana Loesch tweeted the following:
Netanyahu defended the decision to deny entry to the two congresswomen, saying the move is in line with a new law that would prevent any supporter of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel from visiting the country.
“The two-member congressional visitation plan shows that their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Both congresswomen voted against a nonbinding resolution last month condemning the so-called BDS movement.
The article concludes:
Oh, and Omar compared BDS to the Boston Tea Party. Tlaib equated the BDS movement’s activities against Israel as akin to a boycott on the Nazi Party. Omar has given the House Democratic leadership serial heartburn for peddling anti-Jewish remarks. She invoked the dual loyalty smear against those who support Israel. Oh, and these women reportedly didn’t even refer to Israel on their itinerary. They called it “Palestine.” So not only are they historically illiterate, they’re making up countries as well. Palestine does not exist. And yes, the Left will foam at the mouth over this. Let them.
Sometimes you just have to bar the door to keep out the troublemakers.
One friend on Facebook commented that the last Democrat debate looked like an auction to see who could give away more of other people’s money. We have a debt problem in America. So far, neither the Democrats or the establishment Republicans have been willing to address Washington’s addiction to spending. However, based on the Democrat debates, the Democrats would increase the debt rapidly. The Republicans are only leading us off the cliff slowly.
The Federalist posted an article today about the Democrat plans to forgive all student loans.
The article reports:
Of all the pandering showcased during Democrats’ attempts to win back the presidency, wiping out student debt ranked at or near the top.
“I believe that education is the future for this country,” socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders barked during the first round of Democratic primary debates, explaining that’s why we must “eliminate student debt and we do that by placing a tax on Wall Street.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke similarly. “I can tell you this,” the Minnesota senator demagogued, “if billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their student loans.”
There can be no serious discussion of this issue, however, in 60-second sound bites. So, beyond the soak-the-rich shtick that shades every Democratic economic debate point, the candidates resorted to two tactics: shock and sob stories.
The article reminds us of some basic reality that reveals the absurdity of the sob stories:
There are many ways to counter these arguments, based on both economics and equity. But it’s hard to counter soundbites with sense, so instead, here are my inquiries for these politicians, the press, and all the students demanding relief from the burdens of their debt: Tell me your sob stories from age 12 on, not what you can’t do now, but what you couldn’t do then. Tell what you had to do then and through college to avoid what is now, to you, crushing student debt.
What time did you get up to deliver papers in junior high? How many hours a week did you work since 14 to save for college? How many toilets did you scrub? How many high school football games did you miss because you were working? What dream college did you forgo to avoid taking out student loans?
Which 8 a.m. class did you take so you could complete your major’s requirements and still work in the afternoon? Which bus line did you take to get to your job because you didn’t borrow to buy a car? What job did you work full-time while completing your MBA at night?
What did you do to afford college? What didn’t you do because of the cost of college? Were you getting tattoos and traveling your way through college? Were you pledging and partying? Did you go to your top-choice university? Maybe an out-of-state public university with higher tuition rates? Which spring break and study abroad destinations did you visit along the way?
The article concludes:
Did you splurge on your fairytale wedding instead of paying down your student loans? What cars did you buy or lease? Where did you live? What electronics did you own? What clothing and other personal expenditures did you have? In short, show me the money and how you spent it!
None of my business? You’re right. Nor is your student debt my business or my problem.
The Democrat loved the Supreme Court before President Trump appointed two Justices. They are concerned now because their allies on the Court are not young, and President Trump is still President despite their best efforts. So, since they can’t seem to get what they want honestly, they are trying to change the rules.
CNS News posted an article today with the headline, “Five Democrats Warn Supreme Court It Could be ‘Restructured;’ Urge It to Drop 2nd Amendment Case.” Wow. Talk about arrogance.
The article reports:
Five Democrat senators have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to stay out of a pending Second Amendment case and warning it that a majority of Americans now believe the “Supreme Court should be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.”
The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, is the first major challenge to gun laws since 2010, the senators said.
According to SCOTUS blog, the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association, representing gun owners who live in the city, are challenging the city’s ban on transferring licensed, unloaded guns anywhere outside city limits — including to a weekend home or to a shooting range.
The lower courts upheld those restrictions, so the gun owners took their case to the Supreme Court.
The article continues:
The senators argue that the National Rifle Association and The Federalist Society have “engineered the case” so the Republican-appointed majority will rule in their favor.
“[C]ourts do not undertake political ‘projects.’ Or at least they should not,” Whitehouse, Hirono, Blumenthal, Durbin, and Gillibrand wrote. “Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills.
“In the cloistered confines of this Court, notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience [on the Court] for their ‘project.’”
Further, the Democrats argue that the gun-transporting restrictions have now been rescinded, making the case moot, yet the plaintiffs “soldier on” with their case.
“The judiciary was not intended to settle hypothetical disagreements,” the brief says. “Rather, the Framers designed Article III courts to adjudicate actual cases and controversies brought by plaintiffs who suffer a real-world harm.”
The Democrats also argue that the Supreme Court is increasingly “political” (now that it has an “engineered” Republican-appointed majority).
“Today, fifty-five percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court is ‘mainly motivated by politics'(up five percent from last year); fifty-nine percent believe the Court is ‘too influenced by politics’; and a majority now believes the ‘Supreme Court should be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics,'” the brief says.
The senators conclude their brief with a warning about “restructuring” the court, an idea advocated by some of the Democrats running for president:
“The Supreme Court is not well,” they wrote. “And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”
Presumably, the court will not be “healed” until a majority of the justices are appointed by Democrats.
When they are out of power, Democrats tend to act like spoiled brats.
The death of Jeffrey Epstein was not the end of the story. Today Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about one of Epstein’s victims filing a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, described as one of Epstein’s enablers.
The article reports::
A new front in the Jeffrey Epstein case opened Wednesday morning, as Epstein accuser Jennifer Araoz filed a lawsuit against his estate, his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell and three unnamed female household staff.
Araoz alleges she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Epstein at his New York City townhouse when she was 14 and 15 years old, including a forcible rape in 2002. She first disclosed her alleged abuse publicly in an exclusive TODAY Show interview with Savannah Guthrie of NBC News on July 10, the same day she filed papers in New York state court saying she intended to sue Epstein.
The complaint Araoz filed Wednesday alleges Maxwell and the other staffers “conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff.”
Meanwhile, The U.K. Daily Mail reported today:
Ghislaine Maxwell, long-time consort of Jeffrey Epstein and the alleged procurer of victims in his underage sex trafficking ring, has been laying low in a New England beach town, DailyMail.com has learned exclusively.
Maxwell, 57, is in a relationship with Scott Borgerson, 43, and has been living with him at his secluded oceanfront property at the end of a long private road in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.
The British socialite has been loath to leave the $3 million mansion, a source told DailyMail.com amid heightened focus on Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators following the convicted pedophile’s apparent suicide on Saturday.
‘She’s become a real homebody, rarely ventures out. She’s the antithesis of the woman who traveled extensively and partied constantly with Epstein,’ said a source familiar with Maxwell’s new life.
Hot Air concludes:
Araoz explains her decision in today’s New York Times to press forward with her civil claims, not just against Epstein’s estate but also against his “adult enablers.” Without them, Epstein could never have succeeded in the scope of his predation, Araoz convincingly argues:
The power structure was stacked against me. His money, influence and connections to important people made me want to hide and stay silent. Those same powerful forces let him hide and evade justice.
That changes, starting now. I want my story to hold Epstein to account and also his recruiters, the workers on his payroll who knew what he was doing and the prominent people around him who helped conceal and perpetuate his sex-trafficking scheme. Their hideous actions victimized me and so many young girls like me. …
Standing up to the entrenched network of power and wealth that surrounded Epstein is scary, but I am no longer afraid. Reliving these experiences is tough, but I’ve learned to be tougher.
I used to feel alone, walking into his mansion with the cameras pointing at me, but now I have the power of the law on my side. I will be seen. I will be heard. I will demand justice.
So will others, especially now that Epstein’s dead and his “power structure” is on the run. Or at least the part of it that we know about at the moment. When other victims start adding some high-profile male names to this “power structure” in court documents, we’ll see how well the justice system works.
We are about to find out if there really is equal justice under the law
The American economy is based on consumerism. Americans buy things and the economy continues. It is a rather delicate balance that can be manipulated for political purposes. We are currently watching an attempt to manipulate that economy for political purposes–President Trump’s strongest positive for re-election is the impact his administration has had on the economy. If the Democrats can ruin the economy, they might have a chance to win the presidency in 2020. After watching their behavior for the past two years, I am not surprised by any tactic they might use. So how are the Democrats and their friends in the media attempting to impact the economy?
The Associated Press reported today:
The threat of a recession doesn’t seem so remote anymore for investors in financial markets.
The yield on the closely watched 10-year Treasury fell so low Wednesday that, for the first time since 2007, it briefly crossed a threshold that has correctly predicted many past recessions. Weak economic data from Germany and China added to recent signals of a global slowdown.
That spooked investors, who responded by dumping stocks, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average into an 800-point skid, its biggest drop of the year. The S&P 500 index dropped nearly 3% as the market erased all of its gains from a rally the day before. Tech stocks and banks led the broad sell-off. Retailers came under especially heavy selling pressure after Macy’s issued a dismal earnings report and cut its full-year forecast.
The article goes on to list things that the writer is convinced are evidence of an imminent recession. But let’s step back a minute. The American economy is cyclical. We have been in a growth spike for the past two years due to tax cuts and deregulation. Those factors are not changing. Unemployment is at historic lows. There are more jobs than workers. There is no evidence of that changing. We might be due for a correction in the stock market, but it’s not time to panic.
This tactic has been used before. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush agreed to a tax bill with the Democrats. The agreement broke his pledge of ‘no new taxes’, but it also did something else. The tax increase on luxury items worked its way through the economy causing a recession. Workers in industries making ‘luxury items’ lost their jobs are sales of these items decreased due to the tax increases. As those workers lost their jobs, they stopped going out to dinner, traveling, and doing the things that people do when economic times are good. People in service industries and tourism lost their jobs. The impact trickled through the economy, and we were in a recession. We were coming out of the recession during the campaign, but the media failed to note that.
In the coming days, watch for a media narrative of ‘the sky is falling’. That narrative will be in play for the next year in order to convince American voters to vote Democrat.
The only way to crash this economy is to panic the public. Large investors in the market with a political agenda can begin that process. The media can fan the flames.
The fundamentals of the American economy are strong. If Americans refuse to play along with a media-created financial panic, all will be well.
Congress has an uncanny talent for taking a bad situation and making it worse. Before they left for August recess, they did just that.
The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday headlined, “Congress Poised to Give Unions a Massive Bailout.”
The article reports:
A new report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. shows that the private union pension crisis is only getting worse, and now Congress is poised to make it worse still.
Not only are many multiemployer pension plans rapidly approaching insolvency, but the situation is so bad that even the pension safety net—the PBGC’s Multiemployer Program—will be bankrupt in just six years, leaving pensioners with mere pennies on the dollar in promised benefits.
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed a bill just before leaving for August recess that will make the situation even worse. Not only would the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397), exacerbate the problem, it would put taxpayers on the hook for potentially $638 billion or more in broken pension promises.
This is the summary of the bill posted at Congress.gov:
Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act of 2019
This bill establishes the Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Department of the Treasury and a related trust fund to make loans to certain multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.
To receive a loan, a plan must be (1) in critical and declining status, including any plan with respect to which a suspension of benefits has been approved; (2) in critical status, have a funded percentage of less than 40%, and have a ratio of active to inactive participants which is less than two to three; or (3) insolvent, if the plan became insolvent after December 16, 2014, and has not been terminated.
Treasury must transfer amounts, which may include proceeds from bonds and other obligations, from the general fund to the trust fund established by this bill as necessary to fund the program. The Pension Rehabilitation Administration may use the funds, without a further appropriation, to make loans, pay principal and interest on obligations, or for administrative and operating expenses.
The bill allows the sponsor of a multiemployer pension plan that is applying for a loan under this bill to also apply to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) for financial assistance if, after receiving the loan, the plan will still become (or remain) insolvent within the 30-year period beginning on the date of the loan.
The bill also appropriates to the PBGC the funds that are necessary to provide the financial assistance required by this bill.
No. In 2010, I wrote about this problem at rightwinggranny. One source of my article was Human Events, which stated:
“EPI has published and advocated what we feel would be an excellent national supplemental retirement plan, the Guaranteed Retirement Account, which was authored by Prof. Teresa Ghilarducci, Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. In a nutshell, the GRA would mandate employer and employee contributions to a federally administered cash balance plan. The combined 5% of payroll contributions would be invested by a Thrift Savings Plan-like entity in the bond and stock markets, with a guaranteed minimum return of 3% beyond inflation. A $600 tax credit would cover the entire 2.5% contribution for workers earning $24,000 or less, and greatly reduce the effective contribution rate for other lower-paid workers. We calculate that at the end of a normal working life, the average worker would accumulate, along with Social Security, enough to assure a 70%replacement rate of pre-retirement income.”
The Daily Signal article concludes:
Under H.R. 397 (which is similar to the Butch Lewis Act already before the Senate), insolvent union pension plans would receive taxpayer dollars to invest in the stock market, as well as loans to cover their broken pension promises.
Risking taxpayer money in the stock market and making loans to insolvent pension plans is reckless and wrong.
And instead of fixing the underlying problems, this bailout-without-reform proposal would incentivize union pension plans to become more underfunded so they could receive taxpayer funds.
That would be particularly unfair, considering that Congress has not even addressed its inability to pay its own Social Security obligations to taxpayers.
Instead of a costly bailout-without-reform, Congress should improve the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s solvency, prevent plans from overpromising and underfunding pensions, and help plans minimize pension reductions across workers.
The current House of Representatives will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible governmental bodies ever elected.
The San Francisco Chronicle posted an article today about facial recognition technology. The technology was developed by Amazon.
The article reports:
San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting has never been arrested, but facial recognition technology developed by Amazon links his image to a jailhouse mugshot.
Ting is one of 26 state legislators who were wrongly identified as suspected criminals using the technology, according to results of a test released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU, said the organization ran its experiment using Amazon’s Rekognition software and screened 120 lawmakers’ images against a database of 25,000 mugshots.
The article concludes:
More than half the 26 California lawmakers who were falsely identified in the ACLU’s experiment are people of color, Ting’s office said. Ting said that makes the technology especially dangerous for African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans.
“This could lead to more false arrests in those particular communities,” he said.
Last year, the ACLU ran a similar experiment using images of members of Congress. It found that Amazon’s program incorrectly matched 28 of them with suspected criminals.
I realize that this technology may have some usefulness after it is improved, but there is an important fact that needs to be acknowledged here. In America a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I am afraid that the use of this technology might shortchange that process. It might be used to recognize a criminal, but I question how it would be used in a court of law.
On August 9th, The New York Times posted an article with the following headline, “The Great American Lawn: How the Dream Was Manufactured.”
The article states:
America’s manicured front lawns represent the pride of homeownership, and the cultivation of community. But the ways we maintain them risk hurting the environment and contributing to climate change.
What? The article then goes on to provide a list of sources you can consult to show how evil your lawn is. Good grief.
The article concludes:
More Lawn Coverage from the Times
The Times’ “Climate Fwd:” newsletter published some tips on how to lessen your lawn care’s environmental impact.
Our Real Estate columnist Ronda Kaysen explained why she’s done mowing her lawn.
If you do mow your lawn, here’s a way to practice meditation as you go.
Finally, as mentioned in the video, here’s The Times’ coverage of former President Theodore Roosevelt mowing his lawn in 1914.
The implication here is that mowing your lawn is the problem. I suspect that the article also cites some of the lawn products people use to control weeds that are considered a problem.
Let’s talk about the good things a lawn provides–a place for the family to play. A well-maintained lawn is less likely to be a home for animals that are harmful to people. In the 1970’s there was a lot of concern about the ‘greenhouse effect.’ The basic theory was that because we have paved so many areas of the world, we were overheating the planet. The suggested cure for that was planting more grass and trees.
I wish these people would make up their minds.
The following video was posted at YouTube today:
I hope what Attorney General Barr says is true. There were obviously many people involved in the escapades of Jeffrey Epstein. All of those people need to go to jail. I am hoping they found enough evidence in Jeffrey Epstein’s safe in New York City to send those people to jail. Human trafficking is a horrible thing. Exploiting young girls is something that should result in jail time. Time will tell if justice will actually be done.
Yahoo News posted a USA Today article about a 14-year-old school child who decided that she was a boy. The story is heartbreaking because the parents tried to provide the help the child needed, and the school undermined them every step of the way.
The article reports:
In April 2016, my then 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was my son. In my attempt to help her, her public school undermined me every step of the way.
Throughout my daughter’s childhood, there were no signs that she wanted to be a boy. She loved stuffed animals, Pocahontas and wearing colorful bathing suits. I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl.
The only difficulty she had was forming and maintaining friendships. We later learned why: She was on the autism spectrum. She was very functional and did well in school, helped by her Individualized Education Program (IEP), a common practice for public school students who need special education.
At her high school, my daughter was approached by a girl who had recently come out at school as transgender. Shortly after meeting her, my daughter declared that she, too, was a boy trapped in a girl’s body and picked out a new masculine name.
The school began treating the girl as a boy and addressing her with masculine pronouns. The parents were unaware of this. When they found out about it, they requested that those in the school call her by her legal name at all times. Their request was ignored–the school continued to address her by a masculine name and masculine pronouns.
The article continues:
We met with the school district’s assistant superintendent, who told us the hands of school personnel are tied and that they had to follow the law. But there was no law, only the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleagues” letter of May 2016 that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students. Just three months later, in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced. And in February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving it to the states to set their own policies.
I also learned that the ACLU has sent threatening letters to schools stating that it is against the law to disclose a student’s gender identity, even to their parents. But this letter appears to misunderstand federal law. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that schools allow parents to “inspect and review” their child’s education records as long as the child is under 18.
The article then reveals the peer pressure in the world of psychology:
We had our daughter evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school district. He told us that it was very clear that our daughter’s sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions, but would only share his thoughts off the record because he feared the potential backlash he would receive. In the report he submitted to us and the school, he did not include these concerns that he would only share in person.
Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the story. I need someone to explain to me how this sort of behavior by schools is in any way helpful to our children.
Welfare was meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Unfortunately we have lost the war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. According to the social work degree center website, in the 1960’s, 22 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2014, 14.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In January 2016, The Daily Signal reported:
First, the War on Poverty has failed to achieve Johnson’s goal: to “strike at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.” Since he declared “unconditional war,” poverty has thumbed its nose at its would-be conquerors.
The official poverty rate has hovered between ten and fifteen percent for 50 years. But that is only a part of the story. Since the 1960s, the institutions that contribute to self-sufficiency—namely, marriage and work—have declined. Today, more than 40 percent of children are born outside marriage; in 1964, only 7 percent were.
…Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, writes that “taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.” It’s time to change course. We need a new strategy against poverty.
The changes in our culture are part of the problem, but there is another increasing problem–people who come to this country to take advantage of our generous welfare system.
Breitbart posted an article today stating:
President Trump is set to save American taxpayers billions of dollars as his administration announces a new rule on Monday that will essentially ban welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently resettling in the United States.
A new regulation set to be published by the Trump administration will ensure that legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using subsidized healthcare services, food stamps, and public housing.
Below is a chart of current welfare expenditures:
I have no problem with having a safety net, but it seems that our priorities are out of order. The first group of people that we should be helping are our veterans. Too many of them come home and need help to get on their feet when they separate from the military. I would like to see that as our first priority in welfare spending.
The article at Breitbart concludes:
Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.
If we don’t get a handle on immigration, we are going to bankrupt America.
The American Thinker posted an article today about presidential candidate Joe Biden that is somewhat troubling. All of us who have watched Vice-President Biden over the years understand that he often says things that are really not appropriate for someone in his position. The press has been very willing to overlook his gaffes, and there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to do so in the future. However, some of the gaffes are getting a bit concerning.
The article reports a recent statement by Vice-President Biden:
“…those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president.” But when they visited Capitol Hill to talk with members of Congress, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.”
The article reminds us:
The kids could not have seen him in the Vice President’s Capitol office – as presiding officer of the Senate – since Biden was no longer the occupant of that office.
Biden fantasied this meeting and presented it as fact in public.
His recent gaffes already are horrendous. “Poor kids are just as bright, just as talented, as white kids” clearly indicates a mind that sees non-white (presumably black) kids as poor and in need of defense of their intellectual capabilities. “We choose truth over facts” plays directly into the progressives’ dismissal of facts as less important than the “higher truth” of the narrative they want to sell. Or who prize being “morally correct” over mere facts, as AOC has done.
But those disturbing comments can be written off as a poor choice of words. Claiming to have met people in circumstances that did not happen is of a different order entirely. It indicates a mind that is not grounded in reality.
I have no idea what the statements about the Parkland kids mean in terms of the former Vice-President’s mental health, but they are disturbing.
On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein, an inmate at Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. There are a lot of questions surrounding these events. There are very few answers available.
The New York Post reported yesterday:
The following account is from a former inmate of the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, where Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive Saturday, and declared dead at a hospital of an apparent suicide. The ex-convict, who spoke to The Post’s Brad Hamilton and Bruce Golding on the condition of anonymity, spent several months in the 9 South special housing unit for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial — like Epstein.
There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.
Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.
You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen.
When you’re on suicide watch, they put you in this white smock, a straight jacket. They know a person cannot be injurious to themselves.
…But it’s my firm belief that Jeffrey Epstein did not commit suicide. It just didn’t happen.
Breitbart reported yesterday:
Rudy Giuliani reacted to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide Saturday morning, asking a series of questions about his death and stating, “Committing suicide on suicide watch doesn’t happen.”
Authorities found the convicted pedophile dead in his cell early Saturday morning, according to several reports.
Epstein committed suicide via hanging, according to reports from the New York Times and ABC News. The Associated Press reported that the “medical examiner’s office in Manhattan confirmed Epstein’s death.”
Many, including Giuliani, have questions.
“What does the word suicide mean in the phrase suicide WATCH? Who was watching? Did they fall asleep? Did the camera malfunction? Was there camera surveillance? Who was he about to implicate?” Giuliani tweeted Saturday.
Yesterday Bernie Kerik, former first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections and former commissioner of the New York (City) Police Department, posted an article at The Hill about the death of Jeffrey Epstein.
Commissioner Kerik notes:
The crime here — in my mind, with what is known at this point — is that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement at all. The government often uses every tool in its power to ensure you never have a fair day’s fight in court, including the use of psychological tools to force you to plead guilty or to force you to cooperate with the government.
Solitary confinement is one of those tools. It is a mechanism to demean, degrade and demoralize a prisoner. The mind-altering seclusion of “solitary” will force a prisoner into a deep depression from which, for some, there is no return.
Only time will tell if that’s what happened with Epstein or if something more sinister occurred.
But one thing already is crystal clear: There are flaws and failures in the U.S. criminal justice system that should disturb all of us. And in Jeffrey Epstein’s case, none of it makes any sense.
Right now we have questions, not answers. Hopefully in the future we will get some answers.
I can’t help but wonder why the movie was made in the first place. Did the producers think this was a good idea?
The article reports:
In a statement, a Universal Pictures spokesperson said “the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film … we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”
Someone needs to sit down with the head of Universal Pictures and explain that there is never a good time to release a film about killing people whose politics you disagree with!
The article further states:
Understandably, initial reaction to the trailer centered on the horrific callousness and immorality of hunting and killing people for their ideologically conservative beliefs. It’s quite jarring to see.
The trailer seemed to be tapping into the same sort of anger and sense of disenfranchisement that many believe led to Trump’s populist rise.
Imagine the protests if the film had taken a different tack and portrayed Trump supporters hunting down supporters of one of the Democratic presidential candidates. The protests would have been justified.
The article concludes:
In the end, those of us with a religious, conservative worldview welcome a civil, respectful and spirited debate with those on the other side, believing that our principles and values will lead to a flourishing and more prosperous world.
The cancelation of the release of “The Hunt” is a step in the right direction. We must all live and work with those we disagree with and try to understand their point of view. Letting our disagreements escalate into violent attacks on one another is neither acceptable nor entertaining.
We have a problem in America with people deciding it is their right to harm people who disagree with them. It is not safe to wear a Make America Great Again hat in some parts of the country. We recently saw journalist Andy Gno severely beaten at a rally in Portland, Oregon. As I have said, I don’t understand why those in charge at Universal decided to make this movie in the first place. I am glad they finally came to their sense and chose not to release it.
From my friends at Power Line Blog:
On Thursday, The Gateway Pundit posted part of an on-air conversation between Sean Hannity and Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.
The article reports the conversation regarding the Russian collusion scandal:
Rudy then went on to describe the international expanse of this illegal operation.
Rudy Giuliani: The whole thing was made up from the very beginning and they sold it to 90% of our media! It’s a tragedy… The dimensions of it you still don’t realize. There’s plenty of evidence of what happened in Ukraine. Plenty of evidence of what happened in UK. In Italy. This was a massive conspiracy!
Sean Hannity: Do you believe, sir. It appears (investigator) John Durham is spending an awful lot of time in Europe.
Rudy Giuliani: I know why he’s spending an awful lot of time in Europe… He’s spending a lot of time investigating Ukraine, Italy, UK and Australia.
Sean Hannity: Was there outsourcing of techniques that are illegal. In other words, did our top intelligence officials, did they outsource spying on American citizens for the purpose of hurting President Donald Trump or candidate Trump or transition to be President Trump? Did they outsource intelligence gathering methods to spy on Americans to circumvent US law and outsource it to even allied countries. Did that happen, sir?
Rudy Giuliani: There is plenty of evidence that it happened, Sean. Plenty of evidence. Some of it documentary, some of it already recorded. And for a year people in Europe have been trying to get this to our FBI. And they have been thwarted and ignored and pushed aside. It was a deliberate effort to cover this up. It didn’t just happen. Even during the Trump administration there was a deliberate effort to cover this up to protect the prior wrongdoing. That’s really sick.
A video of the conversation is included in the article at The Gateway Pundit. What we are learning is that the ‘deep state’ is an international phenomena. Those who support One World Government were very unhappy with the election of President Trump and the British vote on Brexit. We can expect to hear more about efforts to undo both in the very near future.
Yesterday Townhall posted an article about some recent remarks by Elie Mystal on MSNBC Thursday night.
According to Legal Talk Network:
Elie Mystal is the Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline and the Editor-At-Large of Breaking Media. He’s appeared on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, and pretty much any network that will invite him. He’s written editorials for the New York Times, the Daily News, and would make a good character in a Billy Joel song. He graduated from Harvard University in 2000, Harvard Law School in 2003, and was an associate at Debevoise and Plimpton.
Earlier this week Rep. Joaquin Castro in Texas “named and shamed” San Antonio supporters of President Donald J. Trump in what he says was an effort to get these Americans to think twice before being “complicit in white supremacy.” Anybody with common sense understood the move was dangerous, especially coming from a public official, as it could paint a target on these individuals’ backs regardless if the information was already public or not. On MSNBC Thursday night, guest Elie Mystal took the hysteria over supporting President Trump one step further, saying that protesters should form literal mobs outside the SoulCycle and Equinox chairman’s home in the Hamptons due to his support for the commander-in-chief.
“People of color are already targeted under this administration,” Mystal said Thursday night regarding Rep. Castro’s actions. “I have no problem with shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate.”
“I mean I go further, I want pitchforks and torches outside [Stephen Ross’] house in the Hamptons,” Mystal continued. “I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice. There’s no reason why it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood.”
I am amazed that such a well-educated man would say something that stupid. Just for the record, people of color are not being targeted under the Trump administration. First of all, let’s take a detour here to look at some actual facts. President Trump signed the First Step Act into law, a bipartisan measure to give prisoners getting out of jail a chance to find jobs and contribute to their communities. Since 38 percent of prisoners at the state level are people of color, that law will have a positive impact on people of color. Unemployment for people of color is at historic lows under President Trump. Second of all, pitchforks and torches? Really?
Whatever happened to the calls for civility?
On Wednesday, The Washington Times posted an article about the Second Amendment. There has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Amendment, but very little talk about the relationship of the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution.
The article reminds us:
The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled in the past 11 years that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual pre-political liberty. That is the highest category of liberty recognized in the law. It is akin to the freedoms of thought, speech and personality. That means that the court has recognized that the framers did not bestow this right upon us. Rather, they recognized its pre-existence as an extension of our natural human right to self-defense and they forbade government — state and federal — from infringing upon it.
It would be exquisitely unfair, profoundly unconstitutional and historically un-American for the rights of law-abiding folks — “surrender that rifle you own legally and use safely because some other folks have used that same type of weapon criminally” — to be impaired in the name of public safety.
It would also be irrational. A person willing to kill innocents and be killed by the police while doing so surely would have no qualms about violating a state or federal law that prohibited the general ownership of the weapon he was about to use.
With all of this as background, and the country anguishing over the mass deaths of innocents, the feds and the states face a choice between a knee-jerk but popular restriction of some form of gun ownership, and the rational and sound realization that more guns in the hands of those properly trained means less crime and more safety.
Can the government constitutionally outlaw the types of rifles used by the El Paso and Dayton killers? In a word: No. We know that because in the first Supreme Court opinion upholding the individual right to keep and bear arms, the court addressed what kind of arms the Second Amendment protects. The court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individual ownership of weapons one can carry that are of the same degree of sophistication as the bad guys have — or the government has.
The government? Yes, the government. That’s so because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people. If you don’t believe me on this, then read the Declaration of Independence. It justifies violence against the British government because of such thefts.
Governments are the greatest mass killers on the planet. Who can take without alarm any of their threats to emasculate our right to defend our personal liberties?
The Second Amendment is there to protect us from a tyrannical government. Does anyone believe that 90 percent of the people in government would not become tyrants if the population were not armed?
The article concludes:
The president also offered his support for “red flag” laws. These horrific statutes permit police or courts to seize guns from those deemed dangerous. Red flag laws are unconstitutional. The presumption of innocence and the due process requirement of demonstrable fault as a precondition to any punishment or sanction together prohibit the loss of liberty on the basis of what might happen in the future.
In America, we do not punish a person or deprive anyone of liberty on the basis of a fear of what the person might do. When the Soviets used psychiatric testimony to predict criminal behavior, President Ronald Reagan condemned it. Now, the president wants it here.
The United States is not New Zealand, where a national legislature, animated by fear and provoked by tragedy, can impair fundamental liberties by majority vote. In America, neither Congress nor the states can outlaw whatever handguns or rifles they want to outlaw or infringe upon the right to own them.
The government can no more interfere with Second Amendment rights than it can infringe upon any other rights. If this were not so, then no liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.
That’s why we have a Constitution.
A government that prefers an unarmed citizenry is not a government I want to support.
On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It crawled across North Carolina very slowly. A friend described it as being stalked by a turtle. New Bern was particularly hard hit. New Bern is located where the Neuse River and the Trent River come together. East winds pushed water inland up the Neuse and into the Trent River. The water had nowhere to go, and downtown New Bern was under water. Restaurants and businesses were flooded. People lost homes and cars. The Cajun Navy spent the night evacuating people in low-lying areas that had not evacuated. It was a long and scary night. Thank God for the courage of the Cajun Navy.
It’s been almost a year. Some of the businesses have come back. Some haven’t. The Convention Center is still closed and is expected to reopen in October. I read one report that said that they found alligator tracks inside the Convention Center. That would not be surprising. Not all of the downtown hotels are open yet.
But the city is coming back. We will recover. Below is a picture that illustrates that fact:
It is good to see New Bern recovering. We are not fully recovered–there are still houses that have not been repaired, roofs that have not been repaired, and other needs, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The new bear represents that fact!