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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trump Omitted From The 2020 Ballot?

[source]

From Trump could be left off some states’ ballots in 2020 if these bills become law (Washington Post, March 20, 2019, emphases mine):
In refusing to release his tax returns, President Trump bucked decades of tradition and set off a Democrat hunt to obtain them. Now several statehouses are looking at making their release a condition of the 2020 presidential election: Show us your tax returns, or you can’t be on the ballot.

Eighteen states have considered legislation this year that would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to post their tax returns to appear on the ballot during a primary or general election, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Proponents of the bills, such as the one passed by the Washington state Senate this week, say they are aimed at increasing transparency and returning to the “norm” of candidates releasing their financial records. But Democratic lawmakers behind the some of the legislation have admitted they are also very much about Trump, which raises legal and political questions about how far states can — or should — go in regulating who appears on their ballot, especially in a hyperpartisan climate.

In addition to Washington, several other states, including California, Hawaii and New Jersey are considering similar bills....

[...]

...[N]ot all politicians think this kind of legislation is a good idea. In 2017, then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed one bill that made it to his desk, calling it “politics at its worst.” Former California governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, did the same when California’s legislature passed similar measure.

“First, it may not be constitutional,” Brown wrote in his decision. “Second, it sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?”...
Read the rest HERE.

The phrase by hook or by crook comes to mind. So does the word unhinged.

Related? Elizabeth Warren wants to kill the electoral college.

Recommended Reading: Racism Everywhere!

See Even Air Is Racist Now by Jim Treacher (March 12, 2019).

Brief excerpt:
...It's "pollution inequity." White people have a "pollution advantage" because we breathe less pollution than we generate. Every time we go pretty much anywhere or do pretty much anything, we're widening the atmosphere gap. We're creating air disparity. Presumably we owe some sort of oxygen reparations....
Read the rest HERE.

At what point does the very term racism become such a nuisance and so ludicrous that the term no longer has any meaning?

Monday, March 18, 2019

I Alone


Silverfiddle Rant!

Is the US experiencing an Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation?

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?" -- Rabbi Hillel

In Everyman's Talmud, Abraham Cohen sums up the role of the individual in society:
  
"Man was not intended to live alone but as a member of society. He is a unit in the body of humanity, and that fact creates many duties for him with respect to his relationship with his fellow-men. His life is not his own to do with as he pleases. His conduct affects his neighbours as their conduct affects him."

Communism, socialism and all forms of coerced collectivism are a grotesque extremist mockery of this timeless wisdom. 

"Rugged Individualism" stands at the other extreme, routinely espoused by bloviators living in a house serviced by public utilities, who enjoy the freedom to relieve themselves in sanitary conditions that whisk away their excreta, who drive down public roads and who can get their packaged foods offered by grocery stores thanks to all the others around them who form a collective market for the safe delivery and economic purveyance of such goods.

Cult of Me

A non-ideological variant of Rugged Individualism is the virulent Cult of Self propagated through social media and stoked by popular culture.  We're all stars now, living the lifestyles of the rich and beautiful. This is a façade that hides insecurity, existential despair and a sense of disconnected emptiness.  

We live in a cartoon world, so I will avoid cartoon solutions.  Ancient wisdom says cohesive families and communities, bound by shared tradition and mores is the healthiest model, and I agree with that.  But I also left home at seventeen and have returned only to visit.


Ours is a mobile society that moves and adjusts based on the economy, jobs, boom and bust...  We move away from our communities and families, so old people are left to die in isolation, no opportunity to convey their wisdom to their children and grandchildren, who are instead condemned to get their "wisdom" from society's disordered artists, minstrels, and twisted storytellers.

What's wrong with kids today?  Answer: Parents.  Parenting is the most important job on the planet, but we get no training, and by the time we are experts, our children are grown.  But it has always been so.  What's different for us now, is that dislocated parents have lost their coaches.  The grandparents live in another state.  Strength and energy belong to youth; the old are the keepers of wisdom an knowledge.  A healthy family and society benefits from cross-generational cooperation to advance themselves and teach the children while they're at it.

It really does take a village to raise a child, but the disintegration of our communities is well-documented, and again, I blame our mobile society.  It's hard to form a community of diverse people who are all from somewhere else.  Human beings just aren't wired that way.

Pharma may ease the pain temporarily, but we are social creatures not meant to suffer in isolation.  Having a robust family and community around you centers you in something larger than yourself that yet does not overwhelm you, and a good support structure buffers you against the inevitable vagaries of life and also enhances celebration of the good things.

I don't have a pretty bow to tie up the loose ends of this ramble. This is a complex, multi-faceted topic. Sometimes even family and community cannot assuage one's "boredom and a sense of uselessness and inadequacy." 

Maybe it is as simple as this: The further we get from the soil, the further away we are from God and one another.

What say you?

Links:
Yuval Levin - The American Context of Civil Society
Can We Rebuild Community in an Age of Individualism
The Fallacy in the Culture Wars
Have We Reached the Limit of Individualism?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

Composed by the master himself, Johann Sebastian Bach (hat tip to Grouchy Old Cripple):


According to the YouTube blurb (embedded links added):

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"The End of Recycling"

Silverfiddle Rant!
When I was stationed in Germany, recycling there was mandatory and the rules were strict.  Paper went in the large bin that was almost the size of a normal American trash bin, metals and plastics in a smaller bin about the size of a kitchen trash can, and Restmüll (non-recyclable scraps) went to a bin about the size of a bathroom wastebasket.  You had to wash and sort everything.  If you mixed in trash or if a recycle bin contained dirty or stinky recycling, you would be fined, or if you were lucky, the garbage men would simply teach you a lesson by dumping the offending material on your doorstep.

My German friends in the small farming village where I lived would remind me, conspiratorially, that the government wasn't really recycling all that stuff.

When we returned to the states, we voluntarily paid our garbage service more money for a recycling bin, but we were shocked at how loose the rules were.  On a few occasions, to our horror, our kids had thrown garbage into the bins, but nobody at the garbage company even batted an eye.

My wife and I have long suspected US recycling was a scam, but then the free market solution came to me: We were paying other countries to take our dirty, garbage-laden and improperly sorted recycling (those bill envelopes with the plastic window? You are supposed to remove that window before putting the envelope in the paper recycling), and those nations taking our recycling paid slave laborers nickels a day to clean it, and then they sold it on the global market.

China's Not Taking our Crap Anymore

The Guardian calls it a Moment of Reckoning.  China will no longer take our dirty recycling, and most of our recycling other than metals and heavy plastics, are unmarketable, making them no better than garbage.  One municipality was selling recycling for $6 a ton, but now must pay $68 to $125 to get rid of it, and its the same all over.

It will be interesting to see how we deal with this challenge. What do you think?

Links:
Is this the End of Recycling?
'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports

Monday, March 11, 2019

Recommended Reading

See Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet by Michael Shellenberger, Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” and president of Environmental Progress, an independent research and policy organization, and published in Quilette (February 27, 2019). two paragraph of the essay:

...[W]hen it comes to generating power for billions of people, it turns out that producing solar and wind collectors, and spreading them over large areas, has vastly worse impacts on humans and wildlife alike.

[...]

...I think it’s natural that those of us who became active on climate change gravitated toward renewables. They seemed like a way to harmonize human society with the natural world. Collectively, we have been suffering from an appeal-to-nature fallacy no different from the one that leads us to buy products at the supermarket labeled “all natural.” But it’s high time that those of us who appointed ourselves Earth’s guardians should take a second look at the science, and start questioning the impacts of our actions....
Read the entire essay HERE.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Time For Beauty

(For politics, please scroll down)

One of my Facebook finds:

Roman mosaic, Garden scene, fountain wall (detail), 1st century BCE. Pompeii, Italy. Massa Lubrense. National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Ultimate Undoing Of Governance?

[source]

It's easy and apropos to blame politicians, the media, academia, what have you. But is something else behind all this constant conflict?

Please  consider the analysis presented in "The Rise of the Ungovernables" (from Quillette, March 1, 2018, emphases mine):

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Recommended Reading

Now that the dust here in the Old Dominion appears to have settled, please consider this essay by Larry Elder: The Virginia Blackface Follies, which points out the following:
...Nearly 70 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers. The dropout rate in some urban high schools approaches 50 percent. Of those who do graduate, many cannot read or do math at a 12th-grade level.

The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young white men is accidents, such as car accidents. The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young black men is homicide, almost always committed by other young black men....According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, a black child is almost 10 times more likely to be a victim of a gun-related homicide than a white child.

But let's talk about 35-year-old blackface pictures.
Read the entire essay HERE.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Influencing Public Opinion

By Sam Huntington

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” is an axiom with several connotations, an apophenia if you prefer, leading us in different directions while remaining remarkably human.  Humans tend to seek out patterns, which sometimes leads us to false positives. What we may perceive as significant isn’t, and what we think may not matter, does.  Humans are naturally nostalgic; we relate things in the present to experiences of the past.  The above phrase could be voiced to signal our resignation to life’s many cycles.  We may hope for social progress, but the greater our optimism, the more likely we are to be disappointed in social progression. Changes in our lives without foundational consistency would, I suspect, produce a very disordered society; it would be like the sound of one hand clapping.

Lasting social progress takes time.  So much time, in fact, that unless we are paying careful attention, we may not even recognize social changes, whether positive or negative.  As an example, someone growing to maturity in the past twenty or thirty years, who did not experience the violent racism of the Democratic Party in the years before their birth, may not recognize the progress we’ve made since 1950 (which, in my opinion, was largely undone by the presidency of Barack Obama). A young person’s point of reference is confined to what think they know, and that may be entirely predicated on what they’ve been told by leftist educationalists (and parents) pursuing their own peculiar agenda.  Should anyone think that I am speaking now about the leftist brainwashing that is prevalent in our public schools, they’d be correct.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Our Alpha Cat Minxy

(For politics, please scroll down)

For Caturday — and the rest of the weekend...

Like Cameo, Minxy (b. 9-8-2017) is not camera shy:

January 23, 2019

Minxy is a troublemaker. One of her recent escapades, at 5:45 A.M., was knocking off the bowl of dried beans which had been soaking overnight in preparation for ham and bean soup.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Server-gate Deep State?

Astounding, really. Please watch and listen:


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Jussie Smollett Case

[source]
Two links about the jumping onto the bandwagon of racism and homophobia (Celebrity Jussie Smollett is both black and gay):

1) Montage: Watch the Media Uncritically Accept Another Outlandish ‘Hate Crime’

2) Pelosi Deletes Sympathetic Tweet For Jussie Smollett

From Here Are All The Politicians Who Rushed To Judgment On The Smollett ‘Hate Crime’:
Those Democrats included Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and Reps. Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others.

Waters blamed the attack on President Donald Trump....
Read the rest HERE.

Oh, the hysteria to jump in and support politically-correct protected groups!

Below the fold, the interview in which actor Jussie Smollett lashed out against those who doubted his story: