Showing posts with label NationalPolitics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NationalPolitics. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2024

TIL: Why Democrats are Losing

Homeless man in downtown Phoenix

They say, when you're explaining, you're losing. Here I'm going to be explaining what I learned today about why Democrats are losing. That should tell you something about how stupid I am. But here goes anyway.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

TIL: US is Choosing to be Poorer

Source: h/t DALL-E

Donald Trump might be the Xenophobe-in-Chief, but both political parties are moving to the right on immigration. This will have a negative impact on GDP, posing threats to everything from Social Security to housing.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Guns: Adding Insult to Injury

Source: Nationhood Lab

The last few days have seen a confluence of gun tragedy. A shooting death in the church of Joel Osteen ("church" used loosely) in Houston and a shooting death (and 21 wounded) at a Superbowl rally in Kansas City. More and more, mourning for the dead has barely begun before new dead take their place in the headlines.

Friday, January 19, 2024

TIL: The Bestest Good News for our Times

Source: WIRED

Today's bestest good news: Today I Learned that so-called peak carbon emissions may be at hand, thanks to the growth of solar and wind power.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

A Reverie of Hot Vernor's Ginger Ale


Jim Schutze, retired Dallas journalist, still shakes his fist at the sky in Facebook posts. Yesterday's rant caught my attention.

I ordered two twelve packs of Vernon's ginger ale from WalMart.

They said they would send me Vernor's ginger ale. They sent me Canada Dry.

Canada Dry. For Vernor's ginger ale.

OMG. Is this how it is now? I think I'm about done here.

Source: Jim Schutze.

That triggered a long-ago memory.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

One Argument Against Electric Vehicles

Electric car in Amsterdam

I'm feeling optimistic today. I know, my style here usually leans towards the negative, so regular readers who did a spit-take with their morning coffee just now are forgiven. But, this morning I'm believing in American ingenuity, in American can-do spirit, in an expression attributed to Winston Churchill, "Americans will always do the right thing, after they have tried everything else." What am I optimistic about today? Electric vehicles.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Woke Bureaucrats Invade Kentucky Schools

The photo above shows "woke bureaucrats" parachuting into public schools in Kentucky to "hijack our children's future" and teach CRT. Or at least that's what one imaginative candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, Kelly Craft, Donald Trump's own former U.N. ambassador, claims is happening. Watch her television ad yourself. Then watch Tuesday's election results from Kentucky to see if voters are persuaded.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

TIL: Gun Violence in the Deep South

Source: Nationhood Lab

Today I learned something about gun violence. I didn't expect there to be such a marked difference in the rates of gun violence between New York City and the Deep South. And I didn't expect the difference to be in New York City's favor.

What I learned: The death rate from gun violence "varies wildly between regions. Of the larger regions, the Deep South is the most deadly with a smoothed rate of 15.6 per 100,000 residents, followed by Greater Appalachia at 13.5. On the other end of the spectrum, New Netherland – the Dutch-founded area around New York City – has a smoothed rate of just 3.8 per 100,000, a rate less than a quarter that of the Deep South."

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

TIL: Le Wokisme

Source: Ben Hickey.

What can America learn from the French about identity politics? Google defines identity politics as "a tendency for people of a particular religion, ethnic group, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics." The Republican Party claims that describes the Left. The Democratic Party denies it, arguing that their party is not divided by identity but organized by an ideology of diversity, equity, and inclusion of persons of all religions, ethnic groups and social backgrounds. And Americans endlessly argue about it.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

TIL: George Washington Burned New York

Source: Wikipedia

General George Washington ordered the burning of New York City in 1776 after his retreat from the city before the advancing British. Well, that's not exactly historically proven. The headline in The Atlantic article by Daniel Immerwahr is less definitive: "Did George Washington Burn New York?" There's a lot of circumstantial evidence saying he did and he wanted his involvement kept secret.

What Immerwahr does make clear is that total war is a tactic as old as, well, war itself. And the side telling the story always blames the other side for engaging in it, never themselves. And that includes George "I cannot tell a lie" Washington.

Friday, February 17, 2023

TIL: A Servile War

Source: Starz.

This week, I've been exploring various rabbit warrens prompted by Lee Roddy's 1977 book, "Gallant Christian Soldier: Robert E. Lee". First, I examined Lee's purported flawless character. Then I examined Lee's purported military genius. I found both lacking. Today, I want to examine something Lee said in a letter to his wife. I want to thank Lee Roddy for including it in his biography. I learned something from it at least.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

More About Robert E. Lee

Gallant Christian Soldier


Yesterday, a book that caught my eye at the Richardson ISD Council of PTAs Used Book Fair sent me down the rabbit hole in search of the real Robert E. Lee. It's been said that the South lost the shooting war, but won the PR war. Lee's reputation was burnished after the Civil War by advocates of the Lost Cause. Yesterday's book review was of Lee Roddy's 1977 book "Gallant Christian Soldier: Robert E. Lee", an example of the genre that was still going strong a century after Lee's death. Personally, I had long ago rid myself of any belief that slave owner Robert E. Lee had a flawless character, as Roddy maintained in his biography of Lee. But I was still willing to grant that Lee was a masterful strategist and tactician on the battlefield. Today, my explorations down the Lee rabbit hole rid me of that belief as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Has Scientific Progress Stalled?

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Simple answer, no. We're actually on a precipice of world-changing benefits from basic scientific research.

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Profit Motive is the Best

The profit motive is the best. The profit motive is the worst. Hear me out. It's a simple argument. And it's important.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

King Donald the First

The ad from Donald Trump, Jr., says, "My father is the Great MAGA King." It says the hat was "personally designed" by Donald himself. History lesson: since the United States Constitution was adopted in 1789, there has not been any serious movement for another King George III ruling America. Until now, maybe. My first thought was to mock Trump for not knowing American history, but on further thought, the lack of a monarchy in the USA may be what attracts him to the idea of crowning himself king. He's been President. How did that work out for him? Why not try king? His MAGA cult already stormed the Capitol for him once. Why would we think they would hesitate to toss out the Constitution altogether and genuflect to King Donald the First?

Friday, September 30, 2022

TIL: The Best Form of Government

What's the best form of government? Winston Churchill reportedly arrived at the answer from the opposite end of the spectrum. "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." That settles the question. Or does it?

In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik reviews Jedediah Purdy's book, "Two Cheers for Politics: Why Democracy Is Flawed, Frightening-and Our Best Hope."

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

TIL: We Have 50x More Heat Waves than in 1980

By now, we all know that climate and weather are different. Or we should know. But even those who know still talk about the weather wrong. When we experience a heat wave like our current one, instead of blaming climate change, we instead dismiss the weather as simply a chance event, a quirk, something we have no influence over. As the skeptics have long conditioned us to respond, we just say we've always had heat waves. That Dallas summer of 1980 was a real scorcher, right?

Monday, July 4, 2022

The Supreme Court has Gone Rogue

Family Fourth Celebration, Breckinridge Park, Richardson, 2015

The Supreme Court refuses to respect prior rulings by the Court. It has gone rogue. Just this term, it overturned major rulings that were settled law for decades. Rove v. Wade is the obvious one. But the decision to prohibit the EPA from regulating power plants is perhaps even more threatening to our American system because of the legal reasoning behind the decision. The Court based its decision on what's called the nondelegation principle. That holds that Congress cannot delegate its rights to the Executive Branch. Think of all the regulations of the federal government. Almost all of them are set by agencies of the Executive Branch. The agencies were given the authority to create administrative law through laws enacted by Congress. It's this action by Congress that the Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional. If all that is not bad enough, it gets worse.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Civil Dialogue? Sure. And More.

Source: Aero Magazine.

This blog usually focuses on local matters, for which there's too little coverage in the news media. For national affairs, there's plenty of coverage of that elsewhere. My comments aren't needed. But somehow, SCOTUS repealing the Roe v. Wade decision that was the law of the land for fifty years feels different. I can't resist responding to this comment in my Facebook feed: "We as human beings and citizens of this great nation are better together when we have respectful and civil dialogue to discuss the issues." Civil dialogue? Sure. And More.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

TIL: An Old Saying in Police Precincts

In college, I read Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." In it he popularized the term "paradigm shift" for insights that forever change the framework in which we view the world.

An example is Copernicus's upending of the Ptolemaic cosmology with a helio-centric model. Just think: before Copernicus, the term "solar system" didn't even exist. Now it's second nature to all of us. Another example is Einstein's upending of Newtonian gravity with general relativity. Just think: before Einstein, the word spacetime didn't even exist. Now it's...well, still not second nature. Relativity is still impossible to wrap our minds around, even a century after Einstein, but it has fundamentally changed science.

Thomas Kuhn's work had a big impact on my formative thinking. That's maybe too portentous an introduction for what I'm about to say I learned today, but I'll say it anyway. In all the commentary on Uvalde, one comment (actually a Tweetstorm) has the potential of causing a paradigm shift in my worldview of law enforcement and public safety.