Would you believe?,
before I read the note on the entrance to my apartment building after coming home from work this evening, I kind of forgot about the outdoor pool in the courtyard behind our buildings out back.
I live in the front, so I haven't seen it all winter, and months of negative and freezing temperatures honestly can make you forget luxuries like that! Make it a great weekend; it starts for me today...
I hope you have warm memories of American Memorial Days past, whether recalling your own cherished dead or participating in parades and hometown civic ceremonies to remember those who died in our country's defense.
Happy Memorial Day: I think the dead would want us to be sober and somber, but also to celebrate the sacrifices they all made to make our lives what they are today.
Get out there and live some, with the people you love!
That's my weekend wish for all of you.
Graduating from an Ivy, I cannot figure out what qualifies this person to make political predictions or analysis. He's worse than David Brooks, in the out-of-touch department:
What Trump benefits most from, I suspect, is a more limited sense that things are out of control — a feeling of anxiety about the world that pulses through your TV set or your computer screen but hasn’t yet hit your neighborhood or family or bank account directly.
Exactly the opposite, I'd say...
It's the people who live closest to reality, who are voting Donald Trump.
I'd like to see Mr. Douthat fired, or "bought out", by The Times. Then -- armed with only his Ivy undergrad degree; no further education despite his professed expertise on legal, political and economic issues -- I'd like to see him start looking fresh for a job, as a white man today armed with only his undergrad papers...
I think he'd get it better, then.
This muck is laughable, and it's offensive too.
Who would a terrorist attack on foreign soil benefit most? Seriously? What's the deadliest way you can think of to stop Donald Trump supporters? Come on New York TImes! You are better than that to print this piece...
Where are the thinking editors?
Thus the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., and the entire Syrian refugee crisis were ideal for Trump’s appeal...
If this theory is right, then in the fall campaign Trump would benefit more from economic jitters... He would benefit more from another spate of Islamic State beheadings... and more from a continuing sense of immigration-driven instability in Europe than from, say, a real confrontation with Vladimir Putin over the Baltics.
His ideal summer and fall would feature a new form of chaos with every news cycle: Zika in the summer months, a child migration crisis when the weather cooled, a European capital in lockdown every other week.
None of these imagined crises and scandals are at all implausible.
Thing is: Donald Trump is not running to be the Biggest Loser. He does not need to exploit public school students in bathrooms to build his popularity. He does not need to pretend that the war of Boys v. Girls helps anyone advance in this country. He doesn't think that black youth need to be dragged down with the "education is bad" or the "white people make you people slaves!" narrative is a positive one.
Men like Douthat are sore, because he thought-- as an upstanding husband and father and moderately educated white man -- he was entitled to greater voice in society than he's been able to persuade himself. He's no longer looked to, his types, as experts or leaders or more knowing on worldly issues: he is simply riding the crest created by past white men who performed. Talking out his ass, you might say.
He should go, and be replaced with a fresher voice, someone who is wiser, more experienced, and more knowing about American society. He could always qualify as a consultant somewhere to feed his family, right?
But that’s probably what he needs: not a black swan, you might say, but a flock of gray ones, startling enough to make his fearmongering seem like wisdom, but never quite so frightening that they dissuade voters from taking a flyer on a man who by rights should instill a different, deeper sort of fear.
I fear the sun has set on Ross Douthat's journalism career. That's what I'd fear, were I him today.
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he found the inclusion of Dr. West on the committee “disturbing.”
He said that the presence of other representatives of Mr. Sanders on the platform committee, including Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim who has supported the rights of Palestinians, raised concerns that the party could “adopt positions that could be seen as hostile to Israel.”
“For us, the concern is that it legitimizes and potentially puts into a major party platform” a point of view “that undermines the principles of the Israeli-U.S. relationship that have been bipartisan for decades,” Mr. Hoenlein said.
At the 2012 Democratic convention, delegates booed officials who reinstated in the party platform a recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a view at odds with the United States’ official position that the city’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.
“My concern is that the Democratic platform is not the venue in which to litigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Robert Wexler, a former congressman from Florida and Clinton supporter who served on the platform drafting committee that year.
(Turn and face the strain...)
Don't want to be a richer man
(turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man...
Time may change me,
but you can't trade Time.
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through...
In the past year, the United States has increased the number of spy planes and other surveillance aircraft over Iraq and Syria, as well as the number of targeting specialists assigned to the mission. Hundreds more Special Operations forces are now on the ground in the two countries, sending back valuable information, as are thousands of Iraqi troops and Syrian militia members whom the Americans and their allies are training and advising.
“We do have a much better sense now for what this enemy looks like, how this enemy operates and how they’re structured,” said Col. Steve Warren, the military’s chief spokesman in Baghdad.
There was also intense pressure in the fall from President Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter* to accelerate the campaign, which is now costing $12 million a day.
Seriously, how can this be good for the environment?
Bulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The United States and its allies still drop most of their bombs — nine out of every 10 — on Islamic State fighters, weapons or other targets that pop up on the battlefield. The goal is not only to punish the Islamic State, but also to help Iraqi troops, who announced a push toward Falluja this week, and friendly Syrian militias battling the militants. ...
The Pentagon estimates that the coalition’s land and air operations have reclaimed 45 percent of the territory the Islamic State seized in Iraq in 2014, and 20 percent of what it held in Syria.
I wonder what kind of Change we could make here at home, helping to avoid our own civil wars, if we freed up that $12 million a day, and retrained our bomber boys/fly boys into skilled tradesmen serving at home?
Apprenticeships in something other than bombing or killing. They could always play video games for excitement, no?
“ISIL is suffering financially,” Daniel L. Glaser, a top Treasury official, said this month. “That said, they still have a considerable amount of money.”
IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based organization that tracks terrorist financing, estimates that the group still earns about $56 million a month.
We're throwing good money after bad.
Of course, our soldiers do not intend to relocate. They don't seem too willing to fight to the death to claim Iraqi or Syrian soil. Their fighters will outlast us, so why drain the American treasury for nada?
Game Over, already.
Grow up, boys and learn some useful skills in LIFE?
* Ash Carter, eh? What an ass...
Scott F. Murray, a retired Air Force colonel and veteran of air
campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, who oversaw deliberate target
development from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, said his team
had prepared many valid financial and oil-related targets in early 2015.
But senior commanders refused to approve them, fearing civilian
So the "brains" of these wars are operating out of South Carolina, eh? And we thought George W. Bsuh was bad... Good thing he's still got that black skin to fall back on, or some might be questioning the wisdom of Professor/President Obama, who does not seem to be eager to end these wars on his watch anytime soon...
Malia's off to Harvard,
maybe Sasha can enlist to ... (wait for it) serve her country? I hear it pays well, killer good.
War is stupid... These people are stupid... Your guns mean nothing, in this whole world.
What your $12 million a day is buying:
campaign has averaged about 15 strikes a day in Iraq and Syria since it
started in August 2014, though that figure has gradually risen: There
were 23 strikes a day in April.
contrast, the NATO air war against Libya in 2011 involved about 50
strikes a day in its first two months. The air campaign in Afghanistan
in 2001 averaged 85 daily airstrikes, and the campaign in Iraq in 2003
averaged about 800, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Pray for parity, people everywhere.
Because if it takes someone strong to stand up to bullies and bombs, we are in great need here at home. Thinkers, not killers, will own the future. Same as it ever was.
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Florida sheriff's detectives are investigating a cellphone video purportedly showing a 15-year-old girl having sex with as many as two dozen boys in a public high school bathroom after school.
A school security camera captured 25 boys entering the restroom on May 17, news media outlets reported.
Lee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tony Schall said Tuesday that authorities originally decided not to pursue any criminal charges from the incident.
But Schall said when a cellphone video surfaced and was sent to news outlets and posted online, detectives and the Florida Department of Children and Families decided to investigate further.
Good that the Sheriff's Office was goaded into "investigating further"...
That ain't normal, folks! 24 in one blow? Get her some help already.
I guess it turns out the schools can't raise kids as good as healthy families, afterall? Shame on those officers who first decided to look the other way... I wonder if any of them were in on it.
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it will join the Department of Children and Families in investigating a local sex scandal that is receiving national attention.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said it would not investigate the incident involving a female student having sex with as many as 25 boys in a South Fort Myers High School bathroom.
The sheriff’s office now says it is looking into alleged video and images of the incident being posted to social media.
Questions about the scandal do not end with agencies’ investigations. The unnamed Lee County students have sparked conversations across the country, online and even overseas.
Now that LCSO is involved again, Defense Attorney Lance Dunford warns that criminal charges could be pending.
So far, no students have been charged in connection with the scandal. However, Dunford said teens who distributed the videos or have images from the incident on their phones could face child pornography charges and jail time. It’s a felony, Dunford said.
“It certainly is. You have someone depicted in the video or pictures that is not over the age of 18 she is a minor,” he said. “Parents, talk to your teenagers about these things. This is a big deal.”
It's the cops' initial non-response, not the boys' bad behavior, that should be most concerning... They are supposed to be grown men, authority figures, not enablers.
Sheriffs and Police Captains,
talk to your deputies and officers about ways to distinguish between consenting adult women performing sex acts in private places, and minors in public buildings being used and abused. This is a big deal and I suspect it happens more than we want to let on.* Call it a hunch...
* The "looking the other way" by the cops; not the boys pulling a train in the public high school bathroom...
What Happens After the Drone Strike?
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
The killing of the top Taliban leader in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province will strain U.S.-Pakistani relations, but other effects are less predictable.
Taliban Name New Leader After Confirming Predecessor Died in U.S. Strike
By MUJIB MASHAL
The leadership council of the Afghan militant group elevated Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada to take over after the death of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.
I think what set America apart from other countries for so many years was our Judeo-Christian belief in justice: that no one can just kill their way to success, but that it takes reason and hard work -- and assimilating American values.
When we pretend it is easy, that it is a birthright or something that can be earned via reparations or inheriting from ancestors long since past, we underestimate the strength of the American people living here today. Reason and justice will always beat Might Makes Right, and faith in one's values will overcome any slaughter.
Our enemies understand that too.
Why can't we have a defensive-only foreign policy that recognizes this? Was the latest Taliban leader such an immediate threat to America's national security that we are justified in invading the air space of a sovereign nation to assassinate him?
It will be ... interesting to see how Americans in the future react when other countries use drones here to justify taking out the "baddies" and the assorted collateral.
Our day will come...
You can't put these things back in the box.
Really, who needs justice and trials of reason when we've got the technology to kill at whim, and no second thoughts morally about going where ever we want to use it...
“If we win in California, we are going to go marching into the Democratic convention with a lot of momentum,” Mr. Sanders said. “And if we go marching into the Democratic convention with a lot of momentum, we are going to march out with the Democratic nomination. And if we march out with the Democratic nomination, Donald Trump is toast.”
Whenever Jesus uses the words, “Amen, amen, I say to you”, it pays to take notice. It is obvious that Christ is trying to make a point. But is there a pattern to when the phrase is used? I thought I would see by looking through the Gospel of John.
I found that there are two types of statements Jesus makes when using that phrase; descriptions of key elements of the faith, and prophecies of the future.
These quotes are wonderful for reflection and for memorization, and at least for me, putting them together helped me to see more depth in each of them and to see the unity in Christ’s-and by extension the Church’s-teachings.
Key Elements of the Faith
Christ uses the phrase “Amen, amen I say to you” to highlight some elements of the faith that are critical to our salvation and to eternal life.
The Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”
The Sacrament of the Eucharist
Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Christ’s Relationship to the Father and His Divinity
Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”
The Necessity of Belief in God and in the Word
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
The Necessity of Avoiding Sin
Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.
The Necessity of Keeping All of Christ’s Teachings
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.
The Necessity of Dying to Self
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Christ also described future events.
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
The Persecution and Martyrdom of the Apostles
Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
(Jesus said this while washing the feet of his disciples. He uses this reference later predicting the martyrdom of the apostles.)
Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.
ST. LOUIS -- There's a statue outside the rink here of the player who most influenced a young Wisconsin kid named Joe Pavelski years ago when it came to becoming the type of goal scorer he is today: A player with an incredible ability to redirect pucks for goals or snipe others from the slot on one-timers.
"Brett Hull," the San Jose Sharks captain responded Monday night when I asked him which player he tried to model himself after as a young athlete. "His hands in front of the net were just so good."
"It's incredible," Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said of Pavelski's tipping ability. "You think back to some of the best scorers ever. His ability to get his stick on pucks in the offensive zone, in front of the net, different angles, is as good as anybody I've ever seen.
"But it's a great lesson. He works at it. He works at it every day. He gets Burnsy or one of the other D, gets them to fire 100, 200 pucks. I'll watch him from the boards with the other coaches. He'll get a piece of every single one. It's something that he has worked at.
"It's a great lesson for kids out there that want to play. You have to work at those things to become really good. He's got some God-given ability too. His biggest asset is he works at it."
Go out there, you
and make something
happen today, yourself.
Yes you can!
(If not you, who?
If not know, when?)
What we see happening across the board in politics this year -- American voters speaking out saying: enough selling the country to the highest bidder. Enough selling "birthright" citizenship. Enough taking from the fruits of the American workers to satisfy the endless needs of those who believe themselves endlessly entitled -- is not just the reworking of one political party.
What Donald Trump has done for the Republicans -- making sure the Bush dynasty got the message loud and clear, "Good bye and good luck, the American people are done with your 'leadership'" -- Bernie Sanders and his supporters are doing for Democrats. Whether the Clinton clan, and their supporters, reject this message and think they have the money to "play on" is still up in the air.
What's not uncertain is American's appetite for true change.
I stumbled upon this, looking to see if the widow parable* was included in the Old or New Testament. (New: it's a Jesus parable, Mary, duh!) The storyteller is new, but I tell you... I'd rather read about women like that widow than beneficent owners. Those stories are out there, those people still live, and truth be told -- they're the ones with tales worth telling. Not congratulatory tributes to successful friends. Hth.**
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong — let the reader understand — then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.
“If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
“But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
* The Widow's Offering (Luke 21:1-4)
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. And many rich people put in large amounts. Then one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amounted to a small fraction of a denarius. (A denarius was customarily a day's wage for a laborer; see Matthew 20:2).
Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury. For they all contributed out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
** I never meant any harm to you...
Thinking About Tomorrow...
~ Mac, Fleetfoot.
"When we arrived at the house... I asked the mother to come and identify someone. The moment she saw her, she shouted her name: 'Amina, Amina!' She gave her the biggest hug ever, as if they were going to roll on the ground, we had to stabilise them.
"The mother called the attention of other relations to come out and see what is happening. The girl started comforting the mother, saying: 'Please Mum, take it easy, relax. I never thought I would ever see you again, wipe your tears. God has made it possible for us to see each other again.'
It's nice to read about stabilization, when destabilizing -- at great American taxpayer expense -- seems to be the rule of the day.
Of all the military expenditures, of all the money spent on allegedly liberating people, why couldn't the U.S. military make any progress to return these girls to their homes?
Have we given up on "little missions" of mercy, in our bid to shock and awe the world at our military technology? Are we so busy worrying about who was offended at being offered swimwear at a pool party that we've forgotten about the real women at risk in our shared world?
is "Obama... Out!" going to go down in history the same as "Mission Accomplished" amidst all the laughter with the Washington media, in a world where President Obama apparently is still worshipped despite his lack of action, beyond tweeting a hashtag?
Inquiring minds want to know...
During the April 2014 attack, Boko Haram gunmen arrived in Chibok late at night, then raided the school dormitories and loaded 276 girls on to trucks.
More than 50 managed to escape within hours, mostly by jumping off the lorries and running off into roadside bushes.
A video broadcast by CNN in April this year appeared to show some of the kidnapped schoolgirls alive.
Fifteen girls in black robes were pictured. They said they were being treated well but wanted to be with their families.
The video was allegedly shot on Christmas Day 2015 and some of the girls were identified by their parents.
The Chibok schoolgirls, many of whom are Christian, had previously not been seen since May 2014, when Boko Haram released a video of about 130 of them gathered together reciting the Koran.
The abduction led to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which was supported by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
In again trying to play philosopher-columnist-king,
(someone should tell him it's not a good look on him), he pulled off another doozie today. Seems he's got this idea, at this late date, of getting himself out and about the country (and Cuba!), mixing it up with the American people, all in the hopes of bringing back a story.
LOST HILLS, Calif. — What is the central challenge facing our era? My answer would be: social isolation.Gaps have opened up among partisan tribes, economic classes and races. There has been a loss of social capital, especially for communities down the income scale.
Take, for example, the town of Lost Hills. Lost Hills is a farming town in the Central Valley, 42 miles northwest of Bakersfield. It is not a rich town, but neither is it a desolate one. There are jobs here, thanks to the almond and pistachio processing plants nearby. When you go to the pre-K center and look at the family photos on the wall, you see that most of the families are intact — a mom, a dad and a couple kids standing proudly in front of a small ranch house. Many of these families have been here for decades.
But until recently you didn’t find the community organizations that you’d expect to find in such a place. There’s still no permanent church. Up until now there has been no library and no polling station. The closest police station is 45 miles away. Until recently there were no sidewalks nor many streetlights, so it was too dangerous to go trick-or-treating.
Fortunately, we’re beginning to see the rise of intentional community instigators. If social capital isn’t going to form spontaneously, people and groups will try to jump-start it into existence.
Lost Hills is the home of a promising experiment. The experiment is being led by Lynda Resnick, who, with her husband, Stewart, owns the Wonderful Company, which includes FIJI Water, POM juice and most of the pistachios and almonds you eat. You should know that I’m friends with Lynda and Stewart and am biased in their direction. But what they are doing is still worth learning from.
David got schooled in the comments:
75% of Lost Hills' poor, mostly Latino 2,400 people work for one company, Paramount Farms, the pistachio/almond water-hungry subsidiary of the duplicitously named Wonderful Company LLC, the private corporation owned by billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick that uses 120 billion gallons of water each year, enough to supply San Francisco’s 852,000 residents for a decade.
The Resnicks are the Koch Brothers of both California and Fiji water who work full-time behind the political scenes to ensure their privatized profits are guaranteed full exploitative economic rights over public water rights.
“As a result of the political influence of billionaires who receive taxpayer-subsidized water, California's Dept. of Water Resources functions almost as a subsidiary of the water exporters,” wrote Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.
“Through a series of subsidiary companies, Roll International (Wonderful's old company name) is able to convert California’s water from a public, shared resource into a private asset that can be sold on the market to the highest bidder” and as one of the largest private water brokers in the US, Roll International makes millions in profits off marketing subsidized public water back to the public, wrote journalist Yasha Levine.
This column is completely nuts on every conceivable level.
Mr. Brooks, no one thinks your bias is personal. It's entirely ideological.
Stewart and Lynda Resnick are "flooding" Lost Hills with their charity. But how do they make that money in the first place?
FIJI Water sells water at 300 times the cost of the same product that comes out of your tap. It's an especially useless contribution to the plastic gyres slowly circling the planet's oceans.
"Most of the almonds and pistachios" in this country are grown in California, which has a water crisis. It takes over a gallon of water to grow a single almond. If the Resnicks grow most of California's almonds and pistachios, they're using at least 10% of the state's water. The state government targets individual homeowners who waste water, but it subsidizes wasteful well-connected agribusiness interests like the Resnicks.
Mr. Brooks wants us to believe that if we allow the Resnicks of the world to do whatever they want, their fortunes will save places like Lost Hills. But the aggregate effect of their fortune is still harmful. It might be a good deal for a few individual communities, just as the economic system Mr. Brooks prefers might be a good deal for a few individuals. The rest of us can buy Fiji Water when the public supply runs out.
One, two... we want more!
The central challenge of our era isn’t waiting for some corporation to adopt an American town. It’s to level the playing field so that no one has to get up at 2:45 AM to squeeze in some gym time before they spend the day processing nuts.
David Brooks thinks the answer is for millions of pockets of volunteers to take over the task of rebuilding communities. But it's we the people, not the corporations, who are charged with promoting the general welfare of our nation. The ruse of declaring that corporations are people doesn't change that fact...
And on and on and on and on...
The central challenge facing our era is living wage jobs, David. Everything else that you are deeming helpful and important - community activities, social clubs, religious activities - are difficult for people to focus on and maintain *if they don't have enough money to live on*. This is really not a complicated concept, but you insist on not seeing it.
It's wonderful that your friends are charitable business owners, truly. But let's be honest: if their business wasn't profitable none of those other wonderful things would be happening in the company town. One point of this American experiment was for citizens not to end up needing the charity of the nobility in order for life to be worth living.
We want a government who understands its job is to help create the environment (good schools, medical care, regulations that make the 1% and corporations pay their fair share and protect our natural resources, etc..) so that the "pursuit of happiness" is not dependent on the whim of the factory owner.
Shut up, already... Damn!
Corporate paternalism by another name.
The Resnicks aren't "people and groups" and they aren't "the community": They are a rich family molding a town into their own image and according to their personal values.
There's nothing "promising" about this "experiment". The story is that it's what we've come to: Communities dependent on the beneficence of a rich family.
Tell me who in this house know about the quake?
Slam! Ouch! That was the sound of my head meeting my desk.
Would it be possible for David Brooks to be any more obtuse? I think not. Social isolation is not the problem -- it's a sign of the problem. It's the inevitable result of thirty-plus years of economic terrorism waged upon working people by the 1%ers and those who serve them, mainly Republicans but also corporatist Democrats.
I mean really, really...
The central challenge facing our era is not social isolation. It is the fact that most of the wealth of this country belongs to a very small group of people, and these people show no interest in sharing their good fortune with the rest of us. On the contrary, they work 24 hours a day 7 days a week through lobbyists to FURTHER increase their economic advantage.
But Mr. Brooks will never, despite his amusing trips he is doing to see the real world, admit that we have nothing more than an oligarchy not a democracy.
That oligarchy is our real challenge;that is, how to cut it down to a proper size, so the rest of us can prosper also.
Like much of the country, this rural school of 300 students in seventh through 12th grade where everyone insists there were never any cliques, is divided over the bathroom issue, with the teenagers here carrying out a proxy culture war for their parents and the country.
They should not push this social issue onto the backs of students, some still struggling to figure out who they are and how they fit into a changing society.
If the administration is still evolving on their social policies, why are they pushing this issue down to the school level for the children to sort out?
ADDED: Remember when Ryan White was shunned at his school in Kokomo, Indiana? That was not true of all the local districts, and eventually, he found a welcoming school:
Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS on December 17, 1984. He was one of the first children, one of the first hemophiliacs to come down with AIDS, and it was definitely a time where there was no education and there was hardly any information on AIDS at the time. So I was living in Kokomo, Indiana, and Ryan was attending Western Middle School, and it was something that I really didn't even believe he had. I felt like, "How could he have AIDS?" He was a hemophiliac since birth, and I just felt like "How could he be one of the first ones?" I felt like somehow, in someway, it was going to be something else. I really never really believed he had AIDS for quite a while.
Then we moved to Cicero, Indiana, and there, the community welcomed us. And it was all because a young girl, named Jill Stuart, who was president of the student body, who decided to bring in the medical experts and talk to the kids, and then the kids went home then and educated their parents. So Ryan was welcome, he got to go to school, he got to go proms and dances. He even got a job. It was kind of funny, he came home once after he turned 16 and told me he had a job for the summer. I thought, "Oh my gosh. Who is going to hire you, knowing who you are?" I said, "What are you going be doing," and he said, "I'm working at Maui's Skateboard shop." I said, "Really? What are you going to be doing?" and he said, "I'm going to be putting together skateboards." And I said, "How much are they going to pay you?" and he said "$3.50 an hour." I said, "Ryan, that won't even buy your gas to Indianapolis and back." He said, "Mom, you don't get it. I got a job just like everyone else does." So it was really important to Ryan, to just be one of the kids, and to just fit in. He never bragged or anything about who he was, or what he got to do, he just wanted to be around his friends.
Put the needs of these children first.
Stop playing politics with their social issues and making them pariahs of the community. If they keep looking, surely they will find a better place that allows them to grow up to be someone -- not just a boy, or a girl, but a real person with other interests, goals and achievements outside of how they present outwardly and choose to label their gender.
That's not a bad thing -- fitting in and becoming someone beyond a label.
Pope Francis is criticizing President Obama, and former Sec. of State Clinton, here.
"Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure," he said.
"We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account," the pope said.
"As a Libyan said recently, 'We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty", Francis said in reference to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was deposed and killed in 2011.
Francis has frequently attacked what he calls "cultural colonialism", in which Western countries seek to impose their values on developing ones in return for financial aid.
It's not personal;
it's the performance, stupid.
I suspect the Democratic elites are still too arrogant to listen to common sense, so enthralled with "experience" and all the air-travel miles put in and all.
When the American people bought in to the idea of political change, it turns out they didn't just want a political slogan and change of melanin at the top. They really wanted Change. And they didn't get it.
Instead, we've got President Obama as a two-term war president. Who would have imagined that, back in those hopeful days of 2008?
Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend
and Man has His Pooch
but Without Work,
All Would be Lost.
Jobs: They're Grrreat!
I hope job creation will be a big platform for the next president's administration. Oh, I respect the free market, for sure, and understand the limitations of politics, but I'm not kidding when I say that 85 to 90 percent of the social ills in this country could be alleviated if only jobs were plentiful, people had roles and responsibilities and places to go with others to work with...
What do you do?
Did you exhange, a walk-on part in the war,
for a leading role in a cage?* Did you?
* Did they get you to trade...
your heroes for gold?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange...
a walk-on part in the war,
for a leading role in a cage?
At the outset of the 2016 election, the GOP primary field was nearly as large as that of last weekend’s Kentucky Derby. In total, 17 Republican hopefuls campaigned to win the party’s nomination for president.
Republicans have the candidate who the people decided is our winner from a field of 17 viable contenders. It’s time for all Republicans to mount up and back our nominee.
Here's his reasoning:
You may not like Trump’s style or what he says on Twitter, but this country needs strong executive leadership more today than at almost any point in its history. The world is less secure than ever, and our allies have lost confidence in our ability to lead. The economy is not growing the way it should. The middle class is finding it harder and harder to get by.
In my view, a governor of a state is ideally qualified to be president. A governor is a state’s final decision maker — its chief executive and steward of the public’s money. I felt strongly that someone with that level of CEO experience would be well-trained for the job of president.
It turns out that is exactly what we are getting in Trump. He is a candidate with actual CEO experience, shaped and molded by the commitment and risk of his own money rather than the public’s. He is a CEO success story that exemplifies the American spirit of determination, commitment to cause and business stewardship.
The alternative to Trump being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president is frightening.
For nearly eight years, Republicans have fought tooth and nail against President Obama and his policies. We waged battles over debt, government spending, Obamacare and the Iran nuclear deal — an issue of paramount importance to me personally and to many others around the world.
We gained some victories, but on too many issues Obama achieved his goals, if not necessarily America’s goals. As Republicans, we know that getting a person in the White House with an “R” behind his name is the only way things will get better.
That opportunity still exists. We must not cut off our noses to spite our faces.
If Republicans do not come together in support of Trump, Obama will essentially be granted something the Constitution does not allow — a third term in the name of Hillary Clinton.
I've said before, this election -- the general election -- will be a referendum on President Obama's performance.
Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?
Do you like the direction in which our country is headed?
If so, Hillary wins...
But if not, Trump will win.
My money is riding on Trump: the Democrats have now adopted the (former establishment) Republicans' tactics of trying to use social issues to influence politics.
Today, when they announced that the federal government would mandate school decisions best made at the local government level, they over-reached. I think this move effectively handed the presidential victory to Donald Trump.
And you know something?
I've got a pretty good track record at making accurate predictions...
I'll not double-down on any calls to action anymore, but I know my stuff.
It's all there, on the record too.
Even with taxpayer money coming in the door, Minnesota has been offsetting its expenses by shedding staff and leaving faculty openings unfilled. It has also explored new ways to strengthen graduate employment rates, which are another factor in maintaining its national reputation.
Resisting the temptation to admit more students to bolster tuition receipts, the University of Minnesota, which has one of the nation’s highly ranked law schools, has gone in the opposite direction. It decided to shrink enrollment, and take in less tuition income, to preserve its national standing as a top law school. It did this even as some argued for broader inclusion of students who would fall outside the school’s admissions parameters.
During Mr. Wippman’s tenure, Minnesota has gradually admitted fewer students, shrinking its first-year class to only 174 in the 2015 academic year from more than 250 a few years ago. It offset the sharp loss in tuition income with more public subsidies, which in Minnesota are decided by a Board of Regents.
I don't expect to see any similar moves made by the University of Wisconsin Law School, as our sister state slips further and further in decline with no clear strategy to adjust to today's economic realities.
Law Professor Randy Barnett -- have I mentioned he hails from Calumet City, Illinois? -- is on to something here:
While there is lots of blame to go around, for reasons I will explain tomorrow, I think Chief Justice’s Roberts’ decision in NFIB v Sebelius had an important role to play.
The tax on healthy people -- to provide birth control for well-to-do women like Sandra Fluke -- was upheld in the highest Court in the land, after the legislature passed a middle-of-the-night bill with zero Republican support.
The people who work, and who plan, do not like their choices taken away. If the wealthy in this country wanted to help poor people obtain health care, they should not have placed the bills on the backs of working Americans.
People value choice in their healthcare decisions.
John Roberts let us down, and Donald Trump will rectify his mistakes.
Tomorrow at noon, I am speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People.
As we go forward, we need to know how we got where we are today. That is what Our Republican Constitution is aiming to do, and tomorrow I will update it to take account of the rise of Trump.
You can register to attend the event, or watch the webcast, here.
By contrast, University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse voted for Ted Cruz in Wisconsin's primary. She was part of that "strategic" thinking bloc that was hoping for Ted so they could get Paul.
When will the tenured professors and pundits -- who got so much so wrong -- admit their ignorance and begin listening to the will of the people? Can you teach an old dog new tricks, or do you just sigh and stop contributing to your alma mater until the law faculty is upgraded?
We can handle some resistance,
if our will is a strong one (strong one...)
Say, did I ever mention that I've been called "stubborn" a time or two in my life? "Thank you," I've always replied. In the right circumstances, a little stubbornness in a woman is a good thing. And make no bones about it, plenty of us women are supporting Donald Trump for president. Some of us are even proud to share some of his truth-telling traits. Not easy, especially not in a woman, where so many are taught to go along to get along. To let their husband read and okay their copy before publishing, for example. (Gail Collins: I'm looking at you, lady!)
But call us non-women if you must. Traitors to our gender, if it makes you feel better...
Either way, we know who will help us, and who will lump us all in the same boat and tell us that it falls to us to carry the weight of less fortunate others, willing to weigh down the ship but not able to actively help the situation any.
No thank you.
Sometimes it's just better to jump ship: you can never fully bail out others in an overloaded boat, and if you are a strong swimmer -- and I am -- you do what it takes to survive.
Hillary Clinton is not on my side: we're not playing for the same team, sisterhood aside.
You can't read stories like this, and then go off and laugh all night long. You'd think a community organizer from the South Side would better understand the changes in our country today, and the senseless waste of good lives...
“He was always the first guy to bail and go do homework,” Mr. Lino said. Then he caught his wording and sighed. “I can’t believe I have to say ‘was.’
“He died senselessly, that’s all I can say,” Mr. Micalizzi’s father, John, said, his voice trembling as he spoke from the family’s home in Freehold, N.J., where relatives and friends had gathered to cope with the news. “He was a good kid, studying very hard for his engineering degree. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t love him.”
Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?
Is it worth trying to fix our country, and make real change?
Or is this ... as good as it gets??
The killing was the second time in less than a month that a college student was killed in the area. On April 10, a student at the Newark campus of Rutgers University, Shani Patel, was shot to death in his off-campus apartment on Central Avenue, and his roommate, a recent graduate of the school, was seriously wounded. Marcus Feliz of Newark was charged in the killing.
“You always hear the rumors about crime,” said Mr. Lino, 22, a sophomore studying network security, who said he planned to transfer out of the college. “I figured it was overblown, but now after the shooting last month and this, I’m realizing it’s very real. “The city falsely propagates this idea that Newark is safe again, but they need to put their money where their mouth is. Why wouldn’t there be any security guards? It’s a busy intersection.”
On Monday afternoon, as gray clouds gathered overhead, a group of Tau Kappa Epsilon members embraced one another and shook their heads in disbelief outside their red brick fraternity house, with its large white Greek letters trimmed in red marking the front of the building. On the building’s side hung an enormous American flag. A front window was smashed open next to a sign saying, “Warning premises protected by 24-hour video surveillance.” A faded yellow emergency call box hung next to the front door.
John Micalizzi and Mr. Lino said the house had been broken into recently. They said a man came in and took some cellphones and wallets before fleeing at the sight of a fraternity member.
“With all these other problems,” John Micalizzi said, “I’m scratching my head why they didn’t ramp up security. The students all pay a hefty fee to study there. There’s no explanation for it.”
Peace Through Strength...
and Gravitas (it's really not so funny anymore, when the results of society's inequities can no longer be outrun... and the carnage adds up.)
America needs a foreign policy we can be proud of again...
(Any country can do middle-of-the-night killings off the record, and under cover of darkness; we need a military that understands it's easy to use money and technology to take lives, break and destroy...
That is not America's mission in the world any longer.)
Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, pledged a major buildup of the military, the swift destruction of the Islamic State and the rejection of trade deals and other agreements that he said tied the nation’s hands.
He also pointedly rejected the nation-building of the George W. Bush administration, and reminded his audience that he had opposed the Iraq war.
“America is going to be strong again; America is going to be great again; it’s going to be a friend again,” Mr. Trump declared. “We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy, based on American interests and the shared interests of our allies.”
“The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends and when old friends become allies,” he said. “That’s what we want: We want to bring peace to the world.”
If our nation can rebuild our own economy here at home, we will be stronger than any national military and set a shining example, once again, as to what truly powerful nations can achieve... without destruction, cheating and lying about our collective actions.
This would also help end our new national mantra that Life is Cheap, and the world is but one big Police State where Might Makes Right.
Re “Trump in a Sweep of Eastern States; Clinton Wins in 4” (front page, April 27):
One of the hot topics of the primary elections is whether Donald Trump will win enough delegates to avoid a contested convention. I’m not writing this in support of him or any other candidate, but let me get this straight. If Mr. Trump is just a few votes shy of the 1,237 mark, other candidates actually have a viable chance of securing the nomination at the Republican Convention?
Can we allow a small number of establishment delegates to reverse the decision of the overwhelming majority of Republican voters? While the answers to both questions should be a resounding “No!,” that is exactly what might happen.
Love Mr. Trump or hate him, America and our entire electoral system were founded on the principle of democracy by the people. Barring a virtually impossible comeback by Ted Cruz in the remaining primaries, a Trump loss at a contested convention would undermine everything our great country was built upon, and would mean that the votes of you, me and every other American citizen mean absolutely nothing.
To the Editor:
Re “The Donald Trump Pygmalion Project” (editorial, April 26):
Millions of voters agree with you that Donald Trump is unfit to be president, as do I. Yet Mr. Trump should be commended for having brought to the fore the voices of many millions who feel disenfranchised and disaffected from the current political and economic situation. These voter concerns should be a priority for the next president.
It seems even the "old media" is catching on to the "new Change" underfoot in the country... (When the masses of little people lead, the establishment "leaders" have no choice but to follow.)
“And you know, the system is a bad system. And whether it’s their system or our system. You look at what goes on, but you know, the best way to beat the system is have evenings like this where you get record-setting votes, where you get record setting delegates."
"I use the analogy of the boxer, you know. When the boxer knocks out the other boxer you don’t have to wait around for a decision. So that’s what it is, and that’s what happened tonight and that’s what happened last week in New York, and that’s really what’s been happening throughout.”
“We had some rallies—all over—but we had some rallies in Maryland and Pennsylvania that were absolutely unbelievable. Yesterday in Pennsylvania, we were in an arena that was like Madison Square Garden. They turned away thousands and thousands of people. Unfortunately the press never reports it. They always show my face. They go like this. I said, does anybody ever want to show this arena that’s got tens of thousands of people in it. But they don’t do that, but that’s okay because I’ll at least explain it to you. But we’re gonna have our country back. We’re gonna make America great again.”
You don't have to like him.
But you can't continue to deny him his rightly earned successes...
Americans of all stripes will rightly respond to that mesage.
Trump Beat Expectations Everywhere, Suggesting a Shift
By NATE COHN
Wherever he could squeeze out additional delegates Tuesday, he did, and the nomination seems well within reach.
Donald Trump’s Success Carries Lessons for Democrats, Too
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Both political parties are susceptible to the failures of leadership, tone-deafness and elitism that fueled Mr. Trump’s rise.
Clinton and Trump Are Pulling Away From Rivals
By PATRICK HEALY and JONATHAN MARTIN
The victories by Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton intensified the aura of inevitability around their nomination bids and increased Mr. Trump’s chances of winning enough delegates to avoid a contested Republican convention.