Am I The Only One Tired Of Media Lies And Hype

Lessee…what’s goin’ on these days at Long Pond Road.

Neil got his bike fixed…somehow he got a split in his rear tire and you can’t patch the tire, just the tube inside it. So he got a new one and replaced both the tire and tube as well as the Kevlar strip that goes in between the tube and tire to help prevent punctures. He also returned the Cateye bike computer he got…it broke on the 3rd ride so he returned it for a refund. Amazon has received it so he should get a refund to our card shortly. He really only wanted a cadence (pedal rpm) indicator anyway as he’s already got an app on his iPhone named Cyclemeter that is his “bike computer”…so he put a much less expensive cadence sensor on his list for next month’s wedding anniversary.

He smoked 4 boneless country pork ribs on the grill on Tuesday…about 5.5 hours total…and they were mighty good. We had the leftovers last night over some rice and have a little of that left over for lunch one day.

Connie got a revised cantor schedule…Angie the favorite is moving down to Naples and won’t be attending St. Therese any longer so that jumbled up the schedule. We also go back to 4 masses per weekend starting November 1 and with only 4 cantors total that means no more weekends off unless Marge can convince one of the other ladies to join the cantor list. That’s not too likely as most of the sopranos don’t read music at all and all the decent altos are already cantering…the one male cantor hasn’t been here all summer so he may or may not be back for the winter…his wife had a stroke over the summer and their return plans might be up in the air still.

Neil went back to get his contacts adjusted…and he’s made up his mind that he will not be returning to Dr. Buckley again. He originally changed Neil’s prescription but on the way home from getting the trial lenses Neil knew they were wrong. He kept them in for 3 days in case it was an eyes getting used to the new ones thing…no change so he put his old ones back in and called for another appointment to tweak the prescription. Dr. Buckley’s response was to say “we’ll just go back to the old ones rather than try again”…like he couldn’t be bothered to actually do his job. Neil was going to try a different office that’s closer next time anyway so we’ll give the current practice another shot before moving on.

Bingo at the Elks started back up again…1st and 3rd Sunday afternoons. Neil got volunteered to be the bingo caller and the ladies apparently liked his work so far…at least he hasn’t been replaced yet.

Connie got her hair done…so she’s blond again…and her nails done so she’s a happy camper on those fronts. She’s having a down week because of being stuck in the house but hopefully our trip to the lodge this evening for tacos and Show Me The Money (think 3×3 bingo for dummies) will improve her outlook.

Ok…ya know…it’s getting where one almost doesn’t want to look at the news any more…between the SCOTUS nomination, election, corona and BLM stories…all of which are blatantly biased, half true, and only talk about the facts that they like.

First up…Judge Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination. 

According to
this article
…”SCOTUS mail-in voting ruling raises alarm: Democrats may “never win another national election”…but it’s from Salon so naturally the content doesn’t really talk about the headline…but instead rants about how a conservative SCOTUS will endorse voter suppression…but with no evidence or facts. The particular decision the article is about is the 4-4 vote on the PA case about extending the mail in ballot deadline.

Then there’s
this one
…with the headline “GOP-led Senate panel advances Barrett despite Dems’ boycott”…this morning the Senate Judiciary Committee had the scheduled vote on her nomination. The Democrats decided that rather than attend and vote no…they would just boycott the committee meeting and thereby prevent the achievement of a quorum since committee rules (which are set by the committee) say that 2 members of the minority must be present for a quorum. Reading in the article…apparently the boycott thing has been done numerous times by the minority party to try and prevent a quorum…but routinely the majority party has…assuming all majority members are present…changed the rules for this particular hearing to have a quorum. The article doesn’t dispute this fact…and neither does the “anonymous Democratic aide who spoke only on condition of anonymity”…but he/she said “but…but…this rule has never been waived for a SCOTUS nomination”. Maybe so…but so what, I’m sure a lot of the previous boycotts were over judicial nominations.

Next up…election stuff.

So THK tweets this morning

What’s happening tonight? Voter Suppression and violation of the ADA from my birth state. “Election integrity,” my ass. This is literally AL saying they can’t trust THEIR OWN POLL WORKERS to walk from a car to the ballot box without vote tampering. apple.news/AV6M8_IWKRZCBx…

Neil pointed out that this wasn’t voter suppression and that what happened if you read the article
here
…Alabama law neither allows or forbids curbside voting and under the law the Secretary of State in Alabama said that curbside voting (i.e., handing your ballot to a poll worker to go and put it in the box) would not be allowed. Nothing prohibiting the voter from getting out of their car, walking up to the mail in ballot box and putting their ballot in…just that a 3rd party could not do it for the voter. So the Democrats and other voting rights groups filed suit in Federal court and found a friendly left leaning judge who directed that curb side voting would be allowed and further directed that state laws requiring a copy of a photo ID and two witnesses be included with mail in ballots not be followed. By the way…this same judge issued identical orders for the primary back in July…and was overturned by higher courts once already as over reaching his jurisdiction…but that didn’t stop him from issuing them again. SCOTUS yesterday overturned his order and directed that state law be followed and that the state Secretary of State has the authority to interpret state election law.

So…what’s happened is that…as I’m sure you’re aware…there have been been a passle of election related court disputes lately that essentially fall into 2 categories…and lower courts have decided some of the disputes in favor of each of our political parties. The first category is state courts, sometimes affirmed by the state Supreme Court…has determined that state election law should not be followed. None of the election laws were declared unconstitutional under either the state or federal constitution…the decisions essentially said that corona overrides the law. Some of these cases were appealed to the federal courts by the losing political party as violating the federal constitution. The second category is that one or the other of the political parties went directly to the federal courts…and then the losing party appealed until either the Appeals Court or the SCOTUS ruled.

So…what’s the problem with these cases?

Simple…none of them should even be entertained in the slightest…these suits by both sides should have been summarily dismissed. This is what the federal Constitution says on the matter in Article II Section I regarding presidential elections:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Simple and straightforward…state legislatures have the sole power to make election laws for their states except for the presidential election date which…again by the Constitution…is set by the Congress. No federal court, Congress, or administration has any jurisdiction in the manner in which the electors are elected and how the election is to be run…period.

In several of these cases…state courts and/or state supreme courts have directed that the legislature laws not be followed…but again…a state court cannot legally make a decision that overrides the federal constitution…that is simply illegal. In those cases…the appropriate remedy for the losing party in the state is to appeal to the federal courts…which then…and correctly so…rule that the Constitution gives state legislatures, not state courts…the right to set election law.

Moving on…according to
this article
…Mr. Biden’s Social Security plan will “lift 1.4 million out of poverty”. Now on the face of it…that sounds like a good idea until you actually read the article and get the actual facts. Currently, workers only pay social security tax on wages up to $137,000 in salary and after that they don’t pay any more…but this number is indexed to inflation and goes up every year. What Mr. Biden wants to do is to create a donut hole so that incomes between $137,000 and $400,000 are not taxed for social security but the tax kicks back in at a non-inflation-adjusted income level of $400,000…this tax increase is part of the normal liberal demand to make the rich “pay their fair share”. What the article says but headline ignores is that over about 30 years or so this donut hole will disappear and workers will pay social security tax on every dollar of wages. Nothing wrong with that idea in principle…but this is just a sneaky way to increase taxes on all workers without saying you’re doing so. Even worse…the extra income produced which will be 7% in 2021 and up to 16% by 2065…will not be used to extend the lifetime of the Social Security Trust Fund which by current projections will be unable to pay full benefits by 2035 (2040 with his overall plan). Rather…most of the additional income will be used to increase benefits both to low income recipients as well as to the highest income recipients.

Nuts…the Social Security system has an issue…by the late 2030s it will not be bankrupt and only to pay something on the order of 70% of benefits based on annual taxes collected for it. So that means that either benefits get cut across the board (which won’t happen), taxes get raised, or there becomes a means test so that people who invested and saved won’t get the full benefit their contributions over the years earned. The trouble is that Social Security was never intended to be a retiree’s sole income…it was setup to be a supplemental income to your own savings. But given the tendency of most younger people (everybody younger than the baby boomer generation) to spend every dollar they make and ignore savings…Social Security will be all they have. That’s an oversimplification as some young folks do save but by and large they’re depending on the government to finance their retirement. Maybe they should spend less on BMWs, McMansions, and $150 sneakers and clothing with logos…along with maybe being parents to their children first and friends to their children second and saying No sometimes and save some money instead.

I guess ya saw where Jeffrey Toobin…noted Trump hater and liberal…has “stepped away from his responsibilities at CNN” after being suspended by the New Yorker. Seems that he was on a zoom call with staffers from the New Yorker and WNYC radio and decided it was time for a little…let’s call it self pleasuring. Unfortunately…he didn’t bother to turn his video off and the other folks on the meeting were exposed to his antics.

I’m thinking that while on a work related zoom meeting you should…um…do work things and not those other things. 

I’m also thinking that it is gratifying to see that the peccadilloes of progressives aren’t getting swept under the rug like they typically are.

So there was this story in the NY Post this week about Hunter Biden’s emails and funds received by him regarding potential influence peddling while his father was the VP. Most of the WAMM immediately trashed the article as “debunked” and “another failed attempt to discredit Mr. Biden”.

Along with that…a
Fact Check
by USA Today regarding whether or not “Biden leveraged $1B in aid to Ukraine to oust corrupt prosecutor, not to help his son” determined that what Mr. Biden really did was help Ukraine oust this corrupt prosecutor. What the article fails to mention is that while this prosecutor may (or may not, I don’t really think the truth of that has ever been conclusively determined) be corrupt…he was also investigating a company named Burisma for political influence peddling…and that’s the same Burisma that hired Hunter Biden to be on their board of directors despite zero experience in the oil/energy business…and the same Hunter Biden who stated in 2019 that “I would probably not have gotten that job if I had not been the son of the Vice President”. Yeah…nothing to see there.

I have no idea whether any influence peddling was going on…but where there is smoke there might be fire…and much like the House investigated the President it seems like investigating the actions of both Mr. Biden and his son is warranted to figure out what really happened. My personal guess is that unless both the President and Mr. Biden were extraordinarily stupid…they were smart enough to stay on the correct side of the legal/illegal line.

New developments in the Breonna Taylor shooting case in Louisville. Grand Juror #1 has stated…anonymously of course…that “…grand jury didn’t agree fatal shooting was justified”…which indicates that he/she doesn’t know anything about (a) the law or (b) how grand juries work.

As you know…the state AG took over the case from local prosecutors…and as you know only one of the 3 officers was indicted for a crime…and that crime was reckless endangerment since that officer shot into a neighboring apartment occupied by bystanders. Yes…it is true that the state AG did not offer homicide charges to the grand jury for the 3 officers involved…but the AG’s job is not to indict people because the media demands it. His job is to indict people who have actually committed a crime. In this case…and the facts clearly bear this out…Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire on the police…which gives them the legal authority to shoot back. Since they had the legal authority to shoot back…not only were homicide charges not possible but the AG would have been guilty of prosecutorial misconduct if he indicted people who broke no law. He stated at the time that he didn’t like the decision to not charge them…but under the law he had no choice. Once the facts were known…Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend shot first…then if the cops shoot back they are legally justified.

Interesting things found on the net.

So…we think we’re so smart these days and that people back in the day were not so smart. So…who was the first guy who figured out how big the earth was? Turns out it was this fella named Eratosthenes who was a Greek astronomer, geographer, mathematician and librarian…and he figured this out in 240BC. He also invented this mathematical concept known as the Sieve of Eratosthenes…which is a method of finding prime numbers that is still used today. Anyway…he knew that at noon on the Summer Solstice the sun was directly overhead at the site of the city of Aswan and that at the same time and day it was less than right overhead in Alexandria and thus cast a shadow. He concluded that the earth must be round based on that and using his math knowledge figured out what the diameter was. He measured the length of the shadow in Alexandria and using that and the known distance from Alexandria to Aswan figured out that the circumference of the earth was 252,000 stades…and depending on which definition of a stades one uses from classical literature the circumference is 24,663 to 27,967 miles…the actual value is 24,902. 

PoliticalPromises

LongevityIsForSuckers

BearAndMountainLion

This is what the various things in the Solar System look like to scale.

PlanetsToScale

TruthTeenagers

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Constitutional Interpretation

Nothing much new going on here…got a few more nibbles on selling the rig but nothing really yet, weather’s starting to cool and dehumidify a little, and we’re still not going out other than to Mass, pickup groceries, and the Elks Lodge. Neil got drafted to be the Bingo caller for the Ladies of Elks at our lodge…it is the 1st and 3rd Sunday afternoons instead of every week. He’s agreed to not tell stories or jokes that only nuclear submarine people will understand and they’ve agreed he doesn’t have to be an automaton…some levity must happen…and Connie’s agreed to be his cocktail wench during the games.

He smoked a half brisket on the smoker the other day…made up some rub and then smoked at 165 degrees for 5 hours. Taste was phenomenal…nice and pink with bark ‘round the edges…but it was still kind of on the tough side. Further investigation showed that he’s gonna smoke at 220 degrees for 12 hours next time after an overnight marinade to get more tender result. One of the folk he talked to said that cutting it in half would keep it from smoking properly…which doesn’t make much sense to him since the thickness stays the same and only the size gets cut down…otherwise we would be eating smoked brisket for a week…and while Neil has no problem with that Connie does.

Ok…Ima gonna learn ya’s about reading and interpreting the Constitution.

And it’s all their human kid’s (THK henceforth in this post) fault…back earlier in the week he posted the following on twitter.

Originalism is garbage. It says that people in the 18th century know better how to govern than we do now. That’s like saying, “Oh, leeches worked in the 1700s, so they should cure cancer.” The people who wrote the Constitution didn’t believe in originalism, so why should we?

The tweet included a photo of a quote on (I presume) the Jefferson Memorial by President Jefferson that said

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Let’s look at that quote. In it…Jefferson clearly says that institutions including laws and constitutions need to change with the times…but that’s all it says. According to THK…this means that originalists, who are actually more accurately labeled as textualists are wrong in their interpretation of what the Constitution or laws say and that what used to be called “loose constructionism” that liberals use to…for want of a better word…invent new rights that the Constitution doesn’t have in it is the correct method…essentially they believe that the Constitution means whatever I want it to mean and not what it says.

So…let’s examine this a bit further. Nowhere does the strict interpretation of what the Constitution says mean that judges or justices cannot amplify it as things change but rather that they can’t go beyond what it says and invent new rights or meanings beyond a reasonable interpretation. 

Neil responded that if liberals don’t like the Constitution then they should try to change it…THK’s response was that

If enough people believed in the change…. We currently can’t get the President that the majority voted for. It also wouldn’t matter, since originalists feel free to cut down whatever they don’t agree with if they can find the slimmest hint that some dead guy agreed with them.
 

True…the President did not get the majority of the popular vote…but according to the Constitution that is completely and irrevocably irrelevant…who wins the election is determined by the Constitution and in our opinion the invention of the Electoral College to ensure that (back in 1783) NY, MA, and VA didn’t run the country to the detriment of the other 10 states was brilliant. I can think of some ways that it could be improved…but that’s another post.

Saying that the popular vote winner should win and ignoring the rules…well, that’s like saying that in the baseball World Series in 1960 which was won in 7 games by a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by the Pittsburgh Pirates…that the championship should not be awarded to the Pirates who won 4 games to 3 games by the Yankees under the rules but should instead be awarded to the Yankees because they scored the most runs in the 7 games…outscoring the Pirates 55-27 in runs. 

Stupid analogy I know…but ya know…the rules are the rules and the Pirates run…just like in the 2016 Presidential Election…the rules are the rules and the President won.

Anyway…THK kept going down his path to attack the 2nd amendment…which wasn’t what the original discussion was about. He says that the only reason for right to keep and bear arms was because of the militias that states had where everybody was part of the militia and that when the 2nd amendment was ratified there was no national Army and only the militias.

Neil pointed out that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were established in 1775 under the Continental Congress and have been continuously in existence since then…that the Constitution was ratified in 1783 and the 2nd amendment in 1791…both well after the establishment of national armed forces and that hence the militia part was irrelevant and that the right granted was clear…here’s the text of the amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

According to THK…this when strictly read by the words…means that you only have a personal and individual right to arms if you’re part of the militia. Unfortunately…and having confirmed by numerous SCOTUS decisions…he’s wrong. Granted…there have been some limitations on that right passed by Congress and approved (eventually) by SCOTUS…for instance background checks and a (mostly) ban on possession of fully automatic weapons…ya know, the kind that military people have. The completely nonsense term “military style assault rifle” that the left goes on and on about is fundamentally identical to your everyday hunting rifle. Both are semi automatic self loading firearms…which means 1 bullet per trigger pull…which is not what actual military weapons have. But scary looking rifles with folding stocks, bipods, black components, and magazines that stick out of the bottom or side have been deemed clearly and forever to be assault weapons by the WAMM and hence are to be banned…never mind that pesky 2nd amendment thing.

How he concluded that firearm ownership is only a right if you are in the militia is beyond me…I thought that he was raised better than that and actually took civics courses in high school…but either he didn’t or didn’t learn from them.

There was also a bunch of hooey this week in the SCOTUS confirmation hearings about textualism/originalism and how the Constitution (at least according to liberals) needs to be reinterpreted for “today’s modern times”. In an article in the Wall Street Journal this week…about the only non political news source remaining…Justice Scalia’s son had a commentary on how textualists evaluate the constitution. 

Textualism or originalism does not mean that you only interpret the Constitution based on the original intent of the framers. Obviously…the framers knew that things would change, technology would develop and all that…what textualism actually means is that the words mean what they meant to the public at large when they were established…not on the intentions of the framers. In other words…read the words and what they meant to the writers at the time…and that’s what the words mean. That isn’t to say that advances in technology and such cannot be covered…but there has to be justification in what the original words meant rather than just making things up.

In other words…textualism/originalism isn’t garbage…it is just realizing that the words in the Constitution or law are what they are and mean what they mean…and not what you want them to mean but don’t have sufficient popular support to make it through the amendment process.

For example…take abortion. The whole problem with the case in Roe v. Wade wasn’t whether or not abortion should be legal or not…and it still is not the issue. The actual issue is whether the federal government has any say in whether it is legal or not. As you’ll recall if you read the Constitution…it grants certain rights to the Congress, the Executive, the Judicial, and the States and in addition it specifically excludes certain things from being granted to those same groups. Powers and rights not assigned elsewhere remain in the states control as has been confirmed by numerous court decisions.

Since abortion (and likewise gay marriage) aren’t mentioned in the Constitution…a strict reading of the meaning of the words in the document means that those rights fail to the states and hence the federal government and courts do not have any jurisdiction. A liberal majority on the SCOTUS managed to invent a right under Due Process and Right to Privacy in order to legalize both of these. Textualists would leave those decisions to the states…which would mean that some states would ban them, some would allow them in all cases, and some would allow them under varying circumstances or regulations. I’m actually ok with that interpretation…there are many laws and regulations that vary state by state and there is no real difference in whether abortion or gay marriage is legal and whether the age for possession of alcohol is different between some states or whether pot is legal or illegal depending on the state…it’s simply not the federal government’s job to make that determination.

One thing I read about over and over this week during the SCOTUS hearings was how the overturning of Roe v. Wade would. “Invalidate the constitutional right of the woman to choose” but that’s a bunch of hogwash. First off…the woman didn’t get pregnant on her own…so how is it not also a violation of the privacy rights of the father for the abortion to proceed without his consent? Yes…it is the woman that is pregnant…but the man got her that way and if she carries the baby to term he is responsible for child support payments…so shouldn’t he have the right to have a ay in whether the pregnancy proceeds or not? And actually…overturning the SCOTUS case would most definitely not outlaw abortion…it would merely return the issue to the states where it belongs.

Another example…we’ve all read the cases in the news recently where various federal courts and state courts have intervened in the election rules due to the corona virus…to be fair some of these cases have been resolved in the Democrat’s favor and some in the Republican’s favor. The problem is…why do these court cases exist at all.

Federal courts first…Article 2 and the 12th amendment clearly state

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

What it says that it is the state’s responsibility to appoint the electors for President…neither the Congress or the Judiciary have any role in the matter. Given that…how in the hell do these liberal leaning it means what I want it to mean federal judges have any power to direct that state laws passed by the various states and approved by their governors should not be followed. Mail in ballot requirements, absentee ballot requirements, witness requirements, ballot receipt deadlines…all of these and many more are different in different states…which is exactly the intent of the Constitution…each state gets to set their own rules.

State courts…I really don’t see how a state court…even the state supreme court…has the right under either the federal or state constitution to direct that legally passed voting rules not be followed. State courts do have the authority to declare a particular rule or set of rules unconstitutional under the state constitution…but that’s it. They do not have the authority to just say “don’t bother following the law”.

Another example…we keep reading about how “if the Republicans follow this sham process and approve Judge Barrett’s nomination to SCOTUS…every thing remains on the table including establishment of term limits for SCOTUS justices”. 

In the first place…how is it a sham process when in the previous many times that a SCOTUS seat came open in an election year every time the President nominated a replacement…and in those cases where the President and Senate were the same party the nomination was confirmed and when they were not the same they were generally not confirmed. Seems like it isn’t a sham at all…and let’s not forget that even the late Justice Ginsburg said that the President’s term continued into his 4th year in office.

Another example…one of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee this week asked for Judge Barrett’s opinion on whether or not the President has the power to pardon himself and whether he was above the law. Her response was that nobody was above the law and that the question of whether the President can pardon himself has never been litigated and hence she can not give an opinion on the question. When you look at the Constitution on pardon power…it says

…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Nothing in there specifically says whether a President can pardon himself or not…she rightly answered the question posed that there was no legal  determination on the issue yet. That didn’t stop the Senator and the WAMM from proclaiming that she “Refused to say that he cannot pardon himself”. Clearly political spin as what she said was that it wasn’t her decision to make and wouldn’t’ comment on a hypothetical as the case might come before her court some day.

Ya know…I can understand that the Democrats are still pissed off (a) over the Merrick Garland non vote…which personally I think should have had a vote and been not confirmed or confirmed but I can understand why precedent and politics resulted in Senator McConnell’s decision not to have a vote and (b) the fact that the President won even though he lost the irrelevant popular vote. Liberals are trying to essentially end run the Electoral College with the Interstate Popular Vote Compact…but if that gets enough states to take effect there will be several suits over it…first that states aren’t allowed to leave the coalition according to the coalition advocates and second states are prohibited under the Constitution from entering into pacts with other states.

Frankly…I have no idea whether the President can pardon himself…it has never been attempted and hence never been tested legally. Strictly by the words…there is no prohibition against it but then the nobody is above the law idea also has some validity…I personally don’t know of any evidence either way what the words “issue pardons” meant to the people in the 1780s…and in the absence of that it seems like you’re not prohibited from pardoning yourself…although I have to admit that doesn’t sound right. It might be the right moral conclusion that you cannot pardon yourself…but the right moral conclusion and what the Constitution says might be in conflict.

He’s back…at least one of our gators is…although in reality it probably never went anywhere but was just spending most of the time submerged on the bottom to keep cool and only intermittently coming up to breathe. We’ve seen it (Ragnar we think) a couple times in the water and up on the far bank. The weather is starting to cool off for the autumn so I ‘spect we’ll see them more reg’lar now.

D75 5157

Interesting things found on the net.

Judge Barrett actually had a blank notepad at her witness table during her Inquisition…but our friend Bill send this one.

AmyComeyBarrettNotes

For math nerds including DIL Jen.

You may have noticed.

YouMayHaveNoticed1

and

YouMayHaveNoticed2 copy

Who figures this stuff out I wonder?

TimeToRetire

Most definitely true down here in FL.

TurnSignals

Sucks to get old.

SwearForgettingJars

 

GotTheSpider2

World leaders and their dogs…that’s the South Korean President on the lower right.

WorldLeadersWithTheirDog

GrandmaUnfriending

And in the “you had one job” category”

YouHadOneJob00001

YouHadOneJob00002

YouHadOneJob00004

YouHadOneJob00008

YouHadOneJob00009

YouHadOneJob00010

 

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | Leave a comment

And Even More Political BEP

Nothing much new going on. Connie came down with a kidney infection last Sunday so Neil ended up cancelling his Monday morning eye appointment for new contact lens prescription to take her to the urgent care clinic. She got a shot of antibiotics there and some oral ones and is on the mend…still having a few bladder related symptoms similar to those with a UTI but they’re reducing day by day.

She was the cantor for today’s Saturday afternoon Mass…and that’s about all we’ve done in the past week. We did have several inquiries about our rig that’s for sale but no real news to report on that front as yet.

Let’s see…political Bovine End Product (BEP)…although media BEP or liberal BEP is probably more accurate. 

So…apparently the Democratic Senate candidate in NC has been sexting with a consultant…he’s married with children and says he’s really, really sorry but he won’t drop out of the race. My question…where is the outrage from the WAMM over his sexual misconduct? Seems they’re only outraged when folk in the other party are out of line…it’s one of those do as I say, not as I do things I guess.

Beyond that…I’m getting so tired of all the spin and outright lies that the media spouts…and while the conservative media does it as well the vast majority of the major media seems to be liberal so their lies get amplified.

Specifically…the brouhaha over the SCOTUS nomination…all I keep reading is about the McConnell Rule that says no SCOTUS nominations during an election year…despite the fact that isn’t what the man said. I know the media and Democrats keep trumpeting it ad nauseam…but if you actually listen to the whole quote instead of the carefully selected portion the media and Democrats are using…what he said was that same party White House and Senate SCOTUS nominations were confirmed and opposite party ones were not. The numbers vary depending on what time period you choose to analyze…but something on the order of 29 (the maximum number I’ve seen) SCOTUS seats have come open between January 1 of an election year and Inauguration Day in the following year…and 29 times the sitting President has nominated a replacement…and even the recently departed RBG stated that a President’s powers extend into his 4th year in office and that packing the court with additional justices would politicize it even worse than it has become the past 20 years or so. Of those 29…19 were like party nominations and 17 were approved…10 were opposite party and only 2 o those were approved. Them’s the facts…but one would never know it from reading the news.

The worst part…is that most people in America believe the Democratic/liberal/media statement and are convinced that the Republicans are trying to ‘steal’ a SCOTUS seat…even though the Democrats have said that if the situation were reversed they would be doing precisely the same thing…talk about hypocrites.

I’m appalled at how the SCOTUS confirmation process has deteriorated in the past couple of decades…for an awful long time Justices were approved by pretty bipartisan votes in the Senate but ever since Bork things have gone to hell. If you look at the numbers
here
…you’ll see what I mean. Up through and including RBG…the votes are strongly bipartisan as seen from the numbers…because up until lately most Senators believed that if the person was qualified then the President should get his way. Starting with Justice Thomas in 1991 the votes have gotten more and more party line up until Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh which were almost exactly on party line.

Now I realize that the Democrats don’t like Judge Barrett…and I personally think that when Garland was nominated Senator McConnell should have given him a vote…but the problem with that from his point of view is that he likely figured out that enough of his fellow Senators would have agreed with the “he is the President’s choice and is qualified” argument and voted to confirm. Given that would have replaced a conservative justice with a left of center one…I can see how politically he might come to the conclusion not to allow a vote. I think the Democrats would have a point if they were to make that argument…but at the time he was running the Senate so his rules…and he’s still running the Senate so still his rules. That doesn’t negate the discussion above about the lack of truth in news articles and Democratic leadership speeches…but I understand that every politician will always for all time spin whatever the truth is to match what he wants today…and then they’ll not blink an eye at stating the exact opposite opinion tomorrow.

There’s the old story about how you know when a politician is lying…when his lips are moving…and there’s a whole lot of truth in that one.

A few images from our RV life…since we’re not able to get out and get any new ones…these are all from our last summer on the r road in 2019.

Waterfall in eastern Oregon

DSC 1665 Luminar4 edit

Mountain goat.

D75 1962 2

Pronghorn outside Cody WY…remember it’s not an antelope and it’s closest living relative is the giraffe.

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Red Tailed Hawk at the Raptor Rescue Center in Cody. All the birds there are injured or can’t fly and thus can’t be released to the wild. This one has lost it’s eight eye.

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D75 2294 Edit 3 Edit

Peregrine Falcon at the Raptor Center…wing injury prevents flying. Healthy specimens prey on the wing on other birds and stoop (dive) onto their targets in excess of 200 mph (320 kph for our metric oriented readers). National Geographic says that the fastest recorded speed is 242mph/389kph…making it the fastest animal on earth.

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Connie’s favorite moment of the year…the classic Grizzly vs Wolf standoff in Yellowstone NP in WY. A bull bison was killed during a mating season fight over the lady bison nearby a few days before this and the grizzly was camped on it eating his fill for days…the wolves kept sneaking in and grabbing a bite at a time. Unfortunately…it was about over a quarter mile from the road and the rangers wouldn’t let you get any closer. Even with the bird lens this is still a crop to about 20% or 25% of the frame so a lot of the detail in the predators just isn’t there…so it’s not as great a shot as it could have been…but still pretty darned good. Turns out we missed a similar confrontation just this past week…although it was a grizzly vs grizzly standoff but the carcass was an injured elk that the first one dragged into the river and drowned then feasted on it until it was driven off by the larger bear. Lots of people standing there watching both the feasting and the fight…but fortunately it was just about 50 or 60 yards away from the road across the river. Darn…would have been some good shots there.

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Then there’s
this article
…and this one isn’t political…just stupidity. As you may know…currently the folks in Armenia and Azerbaijan are shooting at each other in some sort of border dispute. In the article…there is this image of a resident of Karabakh holding up what he claims is a shell fragment from artillery shelling of the city.

Screen Shot 2020 10 03 at 9 50 41 PM

Unfortunately…I think he’s mistaken for a couple of reasons. First…when an artillery shell explodes it ends up in a whole bunch of little fragments and not big ones like that. Second…the thickness of the piece is pretty thin for an artillery shell. Third…if it was a shell then a fragment that size would weigh up in the 100+ pound range and wouldn’t be easily held up in your hands away from your body. Frankly it looks a lot more like a stove pipe or something but likely not a piece of an artillery shell.

Speaking of the Electoral College…our buddy Gary talked about it on his daily podcast this week and included a couple of interesting observations. 

Few democracies have direct election of their leader by the population…indirect election by voting for Parliamentary candidates or EC electors is the norm. At no point back in the 1780s was direct election of the President proposed by anybody at the Constitutional Convention…because the founding fathers were worried about mob rule and majoritarianism. 

It is true that the EC sometimes elects a President that didn’t win the popular vote…but so what? It’s how the Constitution is written so it would require an amendment to change it. Again…this is too hard for the WAMM…so there’s the National Interstate Vote Compact which would…again…be an end run around the Constitution. The trouble is that 16 states representing 196 EC votes have approved it…and the remaining states are unlikely to do so since it would essentially be giving up their Constitutional rights. Even if it did get to 270 EC votes…it would end up at the SCOTUS for a ruling since the Constitution…yeah, that pesky thing…again says that states cannot enter into compacts with other states without the consent of Congress.

Why can’t we just follow the laws as written.

OK…let’s see what else might be interesting. I got this story from my friend Bill yesterday and thought ya might find it amusing.

A RETIREE’S LAST TRIP TO KROGER’S.

 

Yesterday I was at my local Kroger’s buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Jake, the Wonder Dog, and was in the check-out  line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog. 

What did she think….I had an elephant?

So because I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I  added that I probably shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital  last time, but that I’d lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way  that it works is, to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and  simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was  now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the food poisoned me. I told her no, I stopped to pee on a fire hydrant  and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Kroger’s won’t let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

This just in…

On October 6, 2019…Tyler Moon who lives in Eden Prairie MN was running in the Twin Cities 10 Miler foot race and being a Christian he was running in a T-shirt that said “Jesus Saves” on it. He doesn’t remember much about the face after seeing his wife on the side of the road at about the 1 mile marker but as it turned out the 25 year old experienced a bout of ventricular tachycardia, an irregular heartbeat that caused reduced blood flow at about the 8 mile point in the race…and he ended up collapsing just before the finish line and would have died except for the quick reaction of medical staff at the race including a nurse anesthetist who happened to be watching from the side of the road who was the first to respond. Mr. Moon’s heart stopped and the nurse anesthetist started CPR immediately which kept him alive until the EMTs got there and stabilized hi. Mr. Moon has completely recovered from his ordeal at this point.

And now…cue the theme from “The Twilight Zone” by Rod Serling…the name of the nurse anesthetist who saved Mr. Moon’s life…you guessed it…Jesus Bueno.

Interesting things found on the net.

FlyingOverAfrica

MarbleInAshtray

DeleteYourCookies

CornbreadAintDone

FishAintBiting

NoTofuYet

This isn’t actually a photograph of a leopard and it’s shadow…it is a photograph of a female leopard named Cleopatra and her black panther mate Saaya…he’s actually just a melanistic color variation which occurs in about 11% of leopards across their range. They live in India and have been mated for 4 years.

LeopardAndShadowPanther

OK…see the island in the image here?

UntitledImage

The name of the island is Vulcan Point…which by itself isn’t much. It is located in Crater Lake which is located on Taal Volcano Island which is located in Taal Lake which is located on the island of Luzon which is the main island in the Philippine Islands chain. So…it’s an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.

Or…at least it used to be…but during the eruption of the volcanic Mount Taal in January of 2020 the  inner Crater Lake apparently boiled away or was breached so that the water ran out…no telling when or if the former Crater Lake will get filled again.

An accurate weather map.

AccurateWeatherMap

And finally…a map made by the original poster’s teenage son…note the names of the various stops on the route.

MapMadeByTeenageSonCyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Reality Based Blogging, Travel, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Lies…Misinformation…Political BEP…and Hypocrisy

Yes siree folks…we got it all for ya today. And since nothing has happened since my last post except Neil got his bike fixed the update on life will be pretty short.

A month or so ago his bike started skipping gears when on the largest chain ring (on the crank with the pedals) and the smallest cog (the gear cassette on the rear wheel)…this combination is the highest gear. He tried adjusting it as well as he knows how but had no luck…so today he went down to our local bike shop Paradise Cycle for Greg to take a look at it. Greg had previously replaced the chain, cassette and done a tune up back in May about 800 miles of riding back…so he didn’t figure that either was worn out…and in fact he had measured the chain to see if it was stretched (it wasn’t) and looked at the cog to see if it was excessively worn (didn’t appear to be to him…but he’s not the bike mechanic expert).

Now here in FL…as you know…there aren’t any hills so he typically is in the highest gear combination almost all of the time…his estimate is that of the 800 miles since the replacement all but 10 of them have been in the highest gear. He doesn’t typically downshift unless it’s seriously upwind and mostly doesn’t downshift much even if he stops.

Greg took a test ride and after about 3 pedal strokes said “bad cassette…let’s go in and replace it”. So he did and they got to talking about why it was worn out already. Greg’s answer was that Neil was riding wrong…at his age and fitness level he needs to have a cadence (pedal rpm) of 75-85 per minute and he normally runs in the high 50s. Greg suggested he get a bike computer to help keep track of that and also that Neil shift every couple of minutes to more evenly wear the components…Greg stated that he was rarely in a single gear more than a minute or three and was only in the highest gear (he has the same chain ring size and cassette as Neil so the same gear ratios) going down off of a bridge and downwind.

Neil is going to take the bike computer advice and when he got back and went on today’s ride he did almost 15 miles while keeping the cadence up…although every time he counted it for a minute it was 95-110 so it needs to be dialed back some and shifting whenever he slowed or when there was a gust of wind or he turned down/cross/upwind. That actually made a considerable difference already…his average speed was among the highest he’s done even though it was seriously windy today, he finished the route with his best time for that route by over a minute and a half…and he didn’t feel nearly as fatigued when he was done as he normally does after a 15 miler. He’ll be ordering the computer after I post this and give him the computer back.

That’s it…we’re off to the Elks for Tacos and Show Me The Money tonight and then we have a Mask-erade Dinner at the lodge on Saturday evening.

So…back to the stuff in the post title.

I reckon you saw on the news that the KY Attorney General announced the results of the Grand Jury investigation into the officers who killed Breonna Taylor during the execution of a no-knock warrant a few months back. The officers were not indicted for any crime related to her death as the shooting by the police was justified. One officer was charged with 3 counts of wanton endangerment because some of his rounds went into a neighboring apartment…in other words his gun control was poor.

So Neil and Connie’s human kid had a twitter rant last evening that essentially said…the cops murdered her…qualified immunity was wrong and nobody should be above the law…and that since the Fire Chief can’t start fires and the Postal Inspectors can’t commit mail fraud that police should not be able to murder citizens either.

Whatever.

Like most of his young progressive generation…the actual facts of the case were ignored by him so that he could rant about the police murdering an innocent citizen.

So…what actually happened that night. Here is the timeline as best as I can figure out after taking all of the self serving or incendiary language out of it. I can’t quote a single url for you to go read since it took a half dozen at least to sort it out.

  • Police executed a no-knock warrant on her apartment believing that her ex boyfriend was using it as part of his drug dealing. Now you may agree or disagree with no-knock warrants and I’ll admit there are pros and cons to both allowing and outlawing them…but the no-knock warrant debate isn’t part of the timeline. The fact is that they had a properly prepared, reviewed, and approved no-knock search warrant…and they carried out it’s execution exactly in accordance with procedure.
  • The police were not wearing body cams so there is no actual video or audio of the events when they entered her apartment. This is because Louisville did not require them at the time. Whether they should have been required is again beyond the scope of the timeline…but it is my belief that police should always be required to have them and they should be required to be on unless the cop is in the bathroom or they are in a very limited set of circumstances as defined by (my recommendation) state policy such as notification of next of kin and similar. They should also be reviewed and made publicly available as soon as reasonable after they are made…taking into account that releasing them before an investigation is complete is not a good idea and should not happen.
  • The police state that they knocked and announced their presence before entering. The evidence on this is mixed…some neighbors report they did not and some (including the upstairs one) said they did…and even that bastion of unbiased journalism the NYT agrees that some neighbors heard the announcement…but since eye witness statements are notoriously unreliable it’s impossible to say one way or there other. However…anybody that has ever seen an episode of Cops or any of the other police reality shows knows that cops usually enter in number, loudly, screaming “Police” and “Show me your hands” and “Get on the ground”. So my guess is that is likely that they did announce their presence and identification as police.
  • On entry…for some reason Ms. Taylor got out of bed and went down the hall while her new/current boyfriend saw fit to open fire on the officers from the bedroom. He claims that he thought it was a home invasion…there’s no evidence either way that his statement is either true or false. However…he did open fire, wounded an officer, and failed to determine whether it was an actual home invasion or to identify his target before he opened fire.
  • The cops…after being fired on…returned fire and Ms. Taylor was killed.
  • The subsequent reports were…according to some sources but again nothing specific or firm…vague regarding her injuries but frequently initial reports are reviewed and updated by the involved officers when they are not in the heat of the moment.

That is the actual timeline.

So…the media and Ben Crump immediately jumped on the “Another innocent black murdered by police”…as did all of the young progressive generation. But was there actually a crime committed?

The DA in KY happens to be a black man…so while as an elected Republican AG he might tend to support police…but as a black man he felt duty bound to do as complete an investigation as possible. He apologized during his press conference to her family and stated that he felt great sympathy for their loss…but that the law provides that…the police can shoot back if you shoot at them…and if you choose to endanger your family/girlfriend by starting a gun fight with the police it is not murder if they get shot…it is not manslaughter…it is not negligent homicide or any other crime…it is just a tragic accident for the victim but was caused by the initiation of the gun fight by shooting at the police.

I’m sorry she was shot…but she made a poor decision to leave the bedroom and her boyfriend made a poor decision to open fire. I did not see anyplace whether his gun was legally owned or not. He says he is a legal gun owner and violated no laws by having one in his possession…and he wasn’t charged as such so it is likely that his firearm was legal.

Naturally…the WAMM is righteously outraged because the grand jury and AG…um…followed the law so they rioted and shot two police officers. How dare those establishment systemic racist thugs follow the law. I’m not saying you can’t lobby to have the law changed…but rioting and shooting police doesn’t help your cause one bit.

Moving on…the debate over replacement of Justice Ginsburg.

I realize that opinion pages in newspapers are just that…opinions…but one would think that any reputable newspaper with journalistic integrity and an interest in actual journalism would review the submissions to make sure that they are at least factually accurate but apparently not. Case in point…the Miami Herald. To their credit…when they published there two opinion pieces the other day…they published one on each side of the argument. However, what they failed to do was use that whole journalistic integrity thing to at least keep straight up lies out of them. In addition…when the two pieces were published the pro Democrat one was at the top of the main web page and the pro Republican one was way, way down about 3 or 4 screens.

The Democratic one is headlined “Republican Party lies, cheats, breaks the rules. We really want it running our country?”…and goes to lambast the potential confirmation of a new justice for several reasons. One reason is the “McConnell rule of no vote in an election year”…except unfortunately for them that wasn’t what the man said…what he said was no vote by an opposite party Senate in an election year. It goes on to state that the Republicans are “shredding the norm that these votes are not done”…when in actual fact that statement is a lie. Like party nominations have been routinely approved and opposite party nominations have been routinely disapproved…with the total number of election year nominations at 29 if you go back to 1783 or a smaller number depending on which starting point you choose. The piece goes on to demand that the Democrats “pack the court” if they win the election and Senate despite the fact that neither their Presidential nominee or Justice Ginsburg supported this…and despite the fact that it can’t be done without killing the filibuster…which again their Presidential nominee is against. The filibuster allows the minority party to have some leverage to get compromise legislation. Finally…it states that if the Republicans are not “emphatically crushed” in the election there is a question both as to whether the country will still exist or even if we should have a country.

The Republican one…is not nearly so visceral. It calmly explains the actual facts that the President’s powers extend into the 4th year of his presidency (as noted by Justice Ginsburg) and that the President has nominated a justice 29 out of 29 times it happened in an election year…and that like party ones were mostly approved and opposite party ones were mostly not approved…but that’s politics folks. It also wonders whether the Democrat claims mean that well earned political and numerical advantage has been outlawed…and if so…has anybody told Ms. Pelosi that. 

Both state the positions of their respective side…but only the Democrat one seems outraged…when even some Democrat leaders have stated that “we have no ability to stop this but we would have done the same thing”.

I understand that the Democrats want a liberal justice to replace Justice Ginsburg…and that the Republicans want a conservative one…but sometimes that’s just the way the political cookie crumbles.

So the Democrats are now demanding that the court be packed because “a conservative majority will destroy the country”. Funny how the Republicans say that a liberal majority will do the same…and even funnier is that despite periods of both the country has not been destroyed.

Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court…and a like party House and Senate refused to do it for him. Justice Ginsburg herself said that it would politicize the court even worse than recent confirmation battles already have.

The Democrats counter that nothing in the Constitution requires 9 justices…and in fact there is really no good reason for there to be 9. It should be an odd number so that there’s always a decision and not a hung jury as it were but what about increasing the size?

That might actually be a good idea…but it would have to be done in a way that was fair. Jonathan Turley…who is a law professor at GW University in DC and who has testified numerous times both for both parties over the years has an idea. I googled him and after reading wikipedia and a couple of others he has opinions but they’re mostly pretty center, well justified and researched, and he has favored both Republican and Democrat arguments in the past. His idea goes like this…

Increase the size of the court to (for example) 17 or 19…retaining always the odd number for actual decisions. However, instead of one president appoint another 10 justices…phase this in. He makes some good arguments both for and against expansion…but lays out this process as a fair way to do it should the parties agree. In his idea…each President gets to appoint 2 new justices until after another 5 terms or 20 years we get the new number…that way the likelihood of it looking like a power grab goes away. I would change this to be not 2 per presidential term but two per president…so a president who was reelected would only get to appoint 2 and not 4. This makes it fairer for both parties…if two subsequent presidents of the same party each served 2 terms and another of the same party is elected then one party would appoint all 10…which would be unfair. A requirement that each party would get to appoint 5 might be a good idea…but again this should be spread out so that no particular President or Senate would have an outsized influence on the appointments…and in order to be fair the nominations of the Republican and Democrat nominee in a particular term should be confirmed or denied as a package. The whole idea here is to spread any increase out over time to increase fairness and to ensure that neither party dominates the process.

I’ve not decided whether this is a good idea or not…it really depends on whether the country decides we need a larger court. There would still be a majority one way or the other.

Then there’s Gabe Roth…who wrote
this article in USA Today
…”Supreme Court Term Limits Do Not Require a Constitutional Amendment”. I took a read of this and my first thought was…Did this guy either have a civics course in high school, understand how the government works, or actually read the Constitution…and the answer is no, at least to the last.

He says that Congress can just impose term limits on SCOTUS justices because he says so. He correctly states that in the constitution it says that “judges and justices shall hold their office during good behavior”…and admits that since 1783 this has been interpreted as a lifetime appointment…but he says that isn’t what the Constitution says. He says that term limits on them can be imposed and then after their SCOTUS term limit runs out they can go off and serve as judges on some lower court…and that a judge is a judge and the office is judge so that would be in accordance with the Constitution. If you read the actual words in it…it says that judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their office during good behavior. That seems to differentiate supreme vs inferior court judges and both have office during good behavior. Since SCOTUS justices are appointed to SCOTUS and not as AOFJ (Any Old Federal Judge)…I see no possible way for the Constitution to be interpreted to support his idea. He further states “Remember, judicial life tenure is not handed down by decree from on high. It exists in the United States because a series of 18th century English monarchs, on this and the other side of the Atlantic, were axing jurists whose decisions they objected to. That’s it.” I have no idea whether his statement about the origin of life tenure is correct or not…and didn’t bother looking since it’s irrelevant…but in the US anyway…life tenure is handed down by decree from on high…that pesky document ratified back in 1783 the Constitution. It seems pretty clear to me…but apparently old Gabe is just another disgruntled liberal who wants his way regardless of what the Constitution says. He further justifies his idea by stating that previous justices Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter chose to serve on lower courts after their retirement. However…this actually happened because both had life tenure and chose to work in retirement rather than sit on the veranda and decay…and their decisions in no way support the idea that SCOTUS justices don’t have life tenure.

Moving on…out in Portland…an admittedly right wing organization called The Proud Boys applied for a rally permit which was denied by the Parks Authority because of the CoViD. However…the permits for the counter protester rallies were approved.

Just how in the hell is this legal?

Moving on…down in Florida we have a state constitutional amendment passed by the voters that allows felons to regain voting rights…the exact text of the amendment approved on the 2018 ballot is this

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment Article VI, Section 4. Voting Restoration Amendment This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

Once the amendment was passed…and I actually approve of this change…the legislature passed and the governor signed into law legislation that amplified the “complete all terms of their sentence” part to include any fines or reparations assigned. The logic was that (a) the amendment says “all terms of their sentence” and (b) when the guilty party is sentenced what the judge says is “You are hereby sentenced to confinement/probation/fines/restoration/whatever else they received that that thusly the fines/restoration are part of the sentence. Again…I agree with this…the monetary forfeiture is part of the sentence.

Naturally…the Democrats took exception to this since the majority of the felons in FL are either black or Hispanic (I read this someplace but couldn’t find it again after a brief search) and thus would be more likely to vote Democrat…so they filed suit…and the state Supreme Court agreed that the law and amendment text were consistent and that fines/reparations had to be paid before they were eligible to vote.

So along comes Mr. Bloomberg who spearheaded an effort that raised $20 million to pay the fines and reparations of 32,000 former inmates who had completed their sentence except for the money part. However…the effort and funds specifically state that they can only be used for black or Hispanic former inmates and not felons in general…and I have no idea whether 32,000 is the total number of former felons in the state or just how many they could pay for. I can see two major issues with this.

First…how in the hell is this not racist?

If you specifically will only pay for black or Hispanic former felons…you are discriminating on the basis of race which is racist…and in addition to being racist it is arguably in violation of the 15th amendment which states “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race…”. If white and American Indian former felons are denied this relief isn’t that “being denied the right to vote on account of race”?

I would have been in favor of this idea…if it was equally distributed to all felons…or, if insufficient funds were available for all felons it was apportioned by either racial makeup in the entire population or racial makeup in the former felon population…there are pros and cons both ways but that is another beyond the scope discussion. But clearly this is race based and thus racist.

Then there’s another report…apparently the AG in Florida is investigating whether Mr. Bloomberg and his cronies violated Florida law with their program. Under Florida Law…it is illegal to “offer financial inducement for a vote” and with the clearly racial selective former felon choices who will most likely vote Democrat they may have. In addition to the racial selection criteria…there is a memo from Mr. Bloomberg that specifically talks about “getting more Biden votes from former felons”…so there’s at least the implication of impropriety there.

There’s another one about the released this week report from the Senate on the activities of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter and whether any influence peddling was going on there…ya know, very similar to the supposed influence peddling that the President was impeached over in the whole Ukraine fiasco…but I’ll save that for next time I guess.

Sorry…no images today…cookie crumbles and all that ya know.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Amish repo guys.

AmishRepoGuys

BeefstewAsPassword

Multitasking

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 4 Comments

Update

Well…it’s been 10 days since my last update so’s I guess I oughta catch ya’ll up on happenin’s.

You probably seen on the news about Justice Ginsburg…the notorious SCOTUS associate justice RGB passed away from her cancer. I’m actually surprised that she lived as long as she did.

You probably noticed that within hours the political Bovine End Product or BEP… euphemism for what eventually exit from the south end of a northbound bull started. All sorts of claims, counter claims, threats, counter threats, statements about what would and would not happen…and oh yeah…let’s not forget the unlimited frothing at the mouth from various talking heads and such.

Ima gonna ‘splain all of that to you in just a minute…well, actually probably more than just a minute since I gotta catch up first.

Connie and Neil had Date Nite twice…sushi the first time which was ok but not really spectacular and chicken wings from Hogbody’s last night…which again were ok but not really spectacular either. In the interim…he’s been cookin’ all sorts of outstanding vittles. Haven’t really been out much…we did make a Walmart grocery pickup run as well as a stop at Winn Dixie for Connie to get a few things and produce while Neil got more booze. We also went down to the Elks Lodge on last Thursday evening for tacos and Show Me The Money…which is sort of like bingo for dummies as it only takes 3 cards to win…it costs $5 for each 3 games and she played the first two rounds. Won one game for $15 so she made a profit. Neil talked to the ER (Exalted Ruler…head honcho) about providing photo services for initiations, meetings, and such as Wes who used to do it and his wife moved back to Kentucky. Roger was fine with that and will make sure he knows when he needs to show up and do his thing.

Lessee…what else. That’s about it…Neils eyelid infection is all cleared up and he goes for new contact prescription next Monday. He’s riding every other day mostly. It’s been raining…a lot…but all of the big storms have pretty much bypassed us. Hurricane Sally that eventually made landfall up along the Gulf Coast in LA (lower Alabama ya know) passed over the Keys as just a tropical storm and stayed well offshore from us with max 40something winds. It had a very slow forward speed so we spent most of 2 weekends back stying dry. Once it went by…all was good…the temps have started to abate a little although its still hot. It looks like we’ll be able to cook outside on the grill tomorrow but then we’re getting another storm Thursday and Friday so it will likely be raining again.

Still working on selling the rig…got a couple of nibbles but nothing firm so far.

And…that’s about it as far as the home life goes…so on to Justice Ginsburg.

First up…we respect her dedication to her job and her willingness to…sometimes…actually do what the Constitution says instead of what she wants it to say like most liberals do. We almost universally disagree with her judicial and political philosophy…but she always stuck to her positions and argued passionately for what she thought was right and what she decided the Constitution meant.

Anyway…she passed away last week and almost immediately the recriminations started.

  • Mr. Shumer and his other Democratic Senate and House colleagues demanded that her replacement not be named until after the inauguration of whoever wins the election next January 20s. Their demand was based on the premise that justices should not be approved in an election year so that the people can decide…using the exact (according to Mr. Shumer) words the Mr. McConnell used to “egregiously delay the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the court in 2016.
  • Ms. Pelosi threatened to impeach the President again in order to hold up any replacement.
  • NPR announced that Justice Ginsburg dying words to her daughter were “My fondest hope is that my replacement not be named until after the inauguration”.
  • Mr. Biden said it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to appoint and confirm a new justice now.
  • Mr. Schumer said that it would be a catastrophic error for the Senate to confirm a new justice…and that if one was confirmed the first action of a potentially New Democrat controlled Senate will be to abolish the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices…because it is just intolerable that a conservative majority exist on the court.
  • Various pro abortion organizations have gone on and on about the critical to “women’s reproductive health and rights” because Roe v. Wade might be overturned.
  • “News articles”…and I use that word very loosely as they’re really just articles trying to browbeat Republican Senators into giving the left their way…started talking about the Republican Senators that might vote against a confirmation and those that might be replaced by righteous Democrats in the upcoming election who would vote the right way.

And so on and so on.

OK…as I said we respected her for her work ethic and general sticking to what she believed in but didn’t agree with her politics or judicial philosophy. That gets back to the whole loose versus strict construction of the Constitution. Proponents of the former keep stating that a document written in the 1700s cannot possibly be relevant today and thus modern courts have an obligation to reinterpret it based on the “intent of the founding fathers” but updated with today’s moral, legal, scientific, medical, and various other standards. In other words…those folk…who are almost entirely liberals…say the the Constitution means what we think it means and not what it says. Strict constructionists on the other hand…who are almost entirely conservatives…believe the the Constitution is written in English and pretty understandable English at that…and the it should be read for what it actually says. Along the lines of technical and all those other advancements…strict folk either believe that those determinations should remain with the state as the Constitution prescribes or are obvious from the original text.

For example…strict folk believe that the 2nd amendment right that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged means just that. True…back when it was written muzzle loading muskets were the weapon of choice and today there are semiautomatic rifles and handguns, pistols, shotguns as well as those scary looking “military style assault rifles” that the left decries. Now those weapons are most definitely not assault rifles…they do not fire in full automatic and actually work exactly the same as the brown hunting semiautomatic rifles used for hunting deer or plinking varmints. Loose folk believe the that the 1st amendment on freedom of speech means the women can abort their unborn children or gay folk can get married…but their loose interpretations only apply so far as they apply to things they want and most definitely do not apply to the 2nd amendment. To be fair…the strict folks can be rightfully accused of a lot of the same sins.

We happen to be strict constructionists…but in some cases can actually agree with the liberals on certain things…for instance we don’t agree with gay marriage but they should be allowed to have a civil union with the same rights and protections that a male/female married couple have…it’s just not marriage.

Now politicians…how can you tell when they are lying? Simple…their lips are moving. And politicians will say or do whatever they need to say or do today to advance their demands today with little regard for the fact that last week or last year they said the exact opposite. And if you are a Democrat the press will let you get away with it while if you’re a Republican they will incessantly talk about your different stance today as opposed to before.

So…let’s examine those bulleted items above.

  • Mr. Shumer and his other Democratic Senate and House colleagues demanded that her replacement not be named until after the inauguration of whoever wins the election next January 20s. Their demand was based on the premise that justices should not be approved in an election year so that the people can decide…using the exact (according to Mr. Shumer) words the Mr. McConnell used to “egregiously delay the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the court in 2016.

I’m sure that you’ve all seen the sound bites on TV where Mr. McConnell said “the people should have a vote on the next SCOTUS justice” from 2016 and know the whole Merrick Garland story…but what you’ve seen on the TV just might not be completely accurate. On the Senate floor…what he said was that since at least 1900 no SCOTUS justice has been approved when the President and Senate were the same party but that opposing party nominations were not approved. It is probable…although I can’t tell for sure since the unedited sound bites never made it to the news…that he made this same point in public, interviews, and on TV. Also…at the time he referred to his decision as following the “Biden rule” since Mr. Biden himself said years before that justices should not be confirmed in the last year of a presidential term. But actually…way before Mr. Biden said that…Mr. Shumer told President Bush 18 months before his term ended that the President should not submit any court nominees because they would not be taken up…he said the in 2007.

Mr. Shumer has also flip flopped on the court nominee in an election year as well…in 2016 he was demanding that Mr. Garland be voted on while in 2020 he’s saying that no nominee by this corrupt President should be considered.

So…what’s the real precedent in this case and who does it favor? Amazingly enough…although both sides are guilty of gross hypocrisy over the issue of justices…the actual confirmation process being completed in an election year is heavily in favor of the Republican “same party” guideline.  According to the Wall Street Journal at this
link
…and I think that all will agree that the WSJ is about the only fair and unbiased news organization remaining although they do generally rate as leaning slightly right which isn’t out of order with a center right country…this history of breaking judicial nomination norms started with the Democrats with Robert Bork and Democrats continued with character assassination against nominees by Republican Presidents while Democrat nominees were given fair hearings by Republican Senates and actually received some votes from Republican Senators. The whole fight over whether or not justice nominees could be filibustered…again, started by the Democrats according to the article. 

In another WSJ article
here
…which refers to a National Review article
here
…and yes, I know the National Review is conservative but the WSJ wouldn’t have tarnished their reputation by linking to a non truthful article…there have been 29 open SCOTUS seats during an election year or in the lame duck session following the election. All 29 of those seats received a nomination by the sitting President. 10 of those vacancies had President and Senate of opposite parties…of those only 1 was confirmed and the other 9 were not. Of the remaining 19…15 were confirmed by a sea party Senate and 1 was withdrawn and then resubmitted/confirmed after the nominee was no longer a member of Congress. 

So…looking back…should Mr. McConnell have given Merrick Garland a vote? I have 3 different opinions on this…the what would have been the most right thing to do opinion…a political opinion…and a personal opinion.

To be scrupulously fair…Mr. McConnell should have given him a vote in my opinion…but that’s only a 51/49 decision. I can see why he followed the President but more importantly was the political decision he had to make.

Politically…Mr. McConnell knows that his Senators are much more likely to vote for a Democratic justice nominee than the other way around…and since he knew that…he was sure that enough Republicans would vote to confirm Garland since he was clearly qualified for the job. That would have replaced a firm conservative vote (Scalia) with a moderate liberal…thus handing the majority on the court to the liberals and politically this was the wrong thing to do.

Personally…we believe that without a conservative court to rein in the Democrat liberals…they’ll spend the country into bankruptcy and turn us into a socialist country…and that has never, ever worked.

You know who else thought that Presidential power to appoint extended into the 4th year of his Presidency…and the while the Senate should consider carefully he retained the power to appoint and the Senate to confirm? Why none other than the recently departed Justice Ginsburg…who said that back in 2016 to a law school class. What she actually said was “the President is elected for 4 years, not 3…and his powers extend from the 3rd year into the 4th.

  • Ms. Pelosi threatened to impeach the President again in order to hold up any replacement.

This is a meaningless threat. Once the President makes a nomination then it is up to the Senate to confirm or not…the President no longer has any function in the proceedings. Yes…she could probably ram through another impeachment article as she controls the House…but she would have to have hearings first and then a floor vote before sending it along to the Senate. In that case…the Senate controls the trial and not the House…and Mr. McConnell would likely say “the term ends in weeks, it would take us the long to agree on the rules for the trial and have hearings and that would extend past the end of the term”…and essentially ignore impeachment articles.

  • NPR announced that Justice Ginsburg dying words to her daughter were “My fondest hope is that my replacement not be named until after the inauguration”.

Again…irrelevant. I can guarantee that every judge or justice wants their replacement to have the same judicial philosophy as they did…and the hope for after the inauguration is a hope for a Biden victory. The real problem with that bit of “news” is…did it really happen? NPR reported it as her dying words and then it turned out the it was supposedly said to her granddaughter two days before. Assuming her granddaughter is a liberal like she was…this is clearly designed to try and pressure Republican Senators to do what liberals want. Is there a video or is this just some political stunt? Given the dishonesty of both NPR and most politicians…unless there’s video then I take the truth of this supposed declaration with several grains of salt.

  • Mr. Schumer said that it would be a catastrophic error for the Senate to confirm a new justice…and that if one was confirmed the first action of a potentially New Democrat controlled Senate will be to abolish the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices…because it is just intolerable that a conservative majority exist on the court.

More BEP…they might abolish the filibuster in order to ram liberal legislation through…but at least in the Senate I think cooler heads might prevail since the Senate is supposed to be the more deliberative and compromising body. In fact…even Mr. Biden is on record as getting rid of it would be a bad idea…and to recall the words of Mr. McConnell when the Democrats abolished it for appellate justices but not for SCOTUS justices…be careful what you wish for because you won’t always be in power and it will come back to bite you in the butt.

As to packing the court…this has been tried before and failed. Yes…Congress has the power to change the number of justices but with the filibuster not abolished this has no chance of becoming law…and since again Mr. Biden has said it is a bad idea I would not be surprised to see him veto such a bill.

And they’ve never explained why a conservative majority is such an inherently evil thing while a liberal majority is like manna from heaven…and the court has been liberal majority more than conservative majority since 1783.

You know who else says that doing this would politicize the court far worse than any confirmation fight has to date? Again…the recently departed Justice Ginsburg.

  • Various pro abortion organizations have gone on and on about the critical to “women’s reproductive health and rights” because Roe v. Wade might be overturned.

This is another straw man argument…most liberals think that this case established the right to abortion…when in fact what it actually did was established that states lost control of the process so the it was uniform across the country. Now I realize the abortion is a sensitive topic and might have a post on it at some point…there are several things I’ve always wondered about it? Why didn’t the woman use birth control and not get pregnant in the first place? Why isn’t the permission of the father to be required as well as the permission of the mother…after all she didn’t get pregnant on her own…as far as I know that’s only happened once in the history of the human race? Should all abortions be outlawed or only some? How about when in pregnancy…does the mother have the same right the day before her delivery as she does three weeks after fertilization? When did this become the federal government’s right to decide? All other non mentioned rights go to the states…it says that right in the Constitution…so why don’t we let the individual states figure it out? I understand the thought that a woman in say ID might not have the same rights as one in NY…but I’m not sure how that all ties into a federal right to an abortion or that her rights in ID might be different…after all the drinking age is different in some states…so why isn’t that covered under the “right to privacy”. Hard questions…and I do actually have an opinion on all of them but they’re not relevant to today’s post.

My personal guess…the Senate will start holding hearings and will vote after the election but before the expiration of the current Congress and before the swearing in of a potential Democratic Senator Kelly from Arizona who will naturally fall in lockstep with his party and oppose any nomination by the President. Since the death of Senator McCain…this is a special election and if he wins he will be eligible (assuming the Majority Leader allows it) to be sworn in before the other Senators are sworn in on Jan 6 and thus have a month or so of seniority on them and potentially vote on a justice nominee…but that ain’t gonna happen. Mr. McConnell is a lot of things but stupid isn’t one of them.

The President wants a vote before the election…but politically it seems better to give Senators cover until after the election…if the at risk ones win then they can vote yes confidently and if they lose they can vote yes as a parting shot to help keep the liberals from ruining the country (as conservatives would think).

OK…just one image today…on Neil’s bike ride the other day he spotted 3 Sandhill Cranes…these are about 4-1/2 feet tall and are really loud birds. Like geese and albatrosses…they can’t take off and fly from a standing start…they need to run and flap their wings until they get enough airspeed to generate lift to take off.

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Yeah…I know it ain’t a very good shot…but all he had was his iPhone and he was out of breath from riding…not to mention he thought they would flyaway if he got any closer than the hedge.

Interesting things found on the net…just a few as this is already long and its almost Happy Hour.

DrinkWhenYouWant

I like the way this kid thinks.

EnoughWhippedCreamYet

One very, very smart police officer.

VerySmartCop

This one reminds me of an old Seinfeld joke where they were talking about a woman’s cleavage and Jerry said “It’s like the sun…you just glance at it and then look away.”

BreadIsLikeTheSun

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Another Day…With Not Much Goin’ On

I guess the title really says it all…nothing at all going on round here at Long Pond Road…although to be fair we did have a couple of wildlife sightings and it was warm enough on Friday evening to cook outside on the lanai so mebbe it wasn’t so much of a bust as I thought.

We did have some excitement on Thursday…in Heron’s Glen which is the gated community immediately north and bordering onto Magnolia Landing where we live…a 27 year old woman was ambushed
according to the headline
 by a 10 foot 4 inch gator while she was trimming trees near the lake. What actually happened was she was trimming a tree…wasn’t watching around herself which is a bad idea since this is Florida and gators and snakes are pretty common in the environment…and got too close to the gator which bit her on the leg and then apparently let her go and did not try to eat her as it retreated to the pond nearby. It was subsequently trapped and removed to a gator farm as a nuisance gator…this is only interesting as it was essentially right next door to us. 

Since we have 3 gators most of the time in our pond…nothing really a big deal about this. We do have 2 rules though…we don’t go outside the lanai in the back after dark…and we don’t go into the garage without turning the light on and looking first. There are rattlesnakes in the prairie/swamps around the neighborhood and also cottonmouths…and they are occasionally seen in the neighborhood…so it behooves us to look before we walk just in case the snake came into the garage to escape the head and stay away from the water at night.

A couple other examples of stupidity in the news.

Out in Portland…the mayor…who is also the police commissioner…has ordered the police department not to use tear gas to disperse crowds even if they declare a protest to have become a riot. Since we’re now well over 100 nights in a row with protests, riots, burning of businesses, attacks on both police and police vehicles…I wonder just what in the hell the mayor thinks the police should do to curb the riots…maybe he thinks they should just ask the rioters pretty please to go on home. If I was the chief of police…I would just have to let the riots and destruction continue and not put my officers in danger by sending them out.

Speaking of riots…I read on the news yesterday that…at least according to the WAMM…none of the violence has been perpetuated by the peaceful protesters…it has all been either white supremacists or police that caused all of the violence, burning of businesses, snd attacks on monuments they don’t like…although why police and white supremacists would attack a monument that the BLM hates escapes me.

Out in the PRC…Governor Newsom has declared that climate change is no longer a theory but is a proven, established fact of settled science in CA…since they have a lot of wildfires. The problem is that the governor is full of crap. While heat and drought have probably contributed to the extent of the fires…the mismanagement of fires, woodlands, and the refusal of the state to allow some forest management practices…like controlled burns or allowing fires that do not threaten people or property to burn themselves out rather than putting them out…that have been well proven in other states to minimize the amount of out of control fires and property damage. Forests by their very nature depend on fire to keep the fuel on the forest floor down…and mismanagement of fire policy by the state is certainly a bigger contributor to the current problems out there than climate change.

While it’s clearly true that in the short term (the past 50 years or so) it has gotten warmer…despite the claims of the tree huggers that climate change is settled science…any real scientist knows that there is absolutely no such thing as “settled science”…in the long term it cannot be conclusively shown that the recent increase in temperatures is due to use of fossil fuel by humans, volcanic activity, or just the normal cyclic variance in climate that has happened for hundreds of millions of years. All of the folk that claim this is “settled science” had already made up their minds before they did any research…and they take very, very limited and unknown accuracy data of temperatures 100 million years ago…and fit a curve to match their preconceived notions. The trouble is that there are no unbiased researchers into climate…every one either believes that mankind is solely responsible or that mankind presents a negligible effect and shape their conclusions to match their beliefs.

The simple fact is that we have no real, accurate data to base any conclusions on…and thus any conclusion either way is highly suspect. The second simple fact is that…even if we knew with 100% certainty that human activity was the sole cause of climate change…what would or could we do about it. All of the agreements that are forced onto governments by climate justice warriors require the developed countries like the US to eliminate emissions while China continues building coal power plants by the dozens and countries like Brazil and India are completely exempted from doing anything. Even if the US reduced our emissions to zero…which is scientifically, technically, and economically impossible…emissions by China…who refuses to reduce their emissions…and by the exempted countries would still cause carbon dioxide levels to increase.

Despite this…the WAMM is demanding that we spend trillions of dollars we don’t have in the US to eliminate all fossil fuel use, require only electrical cars, not to use nuclear power, and do everything with solar or wind power. They haven’t explained how we’ll use solar power at night…and they haven’t figured out that we would need trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending to get transmission wires which currently don’t exist from the places in the country where solar and wind make power…all of those flyover states ya know…to their coastal liberal cities. Not to mention…even more trillions of dollars to build the solar and wind plants and legislate scientific progress to make solar work at night. I guess they’ll just have to pass Ms. Warren’s wealth tax through congress…never mind that it would (a) be obviously unconstitutional as that document requires that taxes be distributed according to population and (b) the likelihood that the government could accurately evaluate the wealth of a person who has a privately held business and a lot of artwork annually is basically zero.

Ok…what else.

Oh yeah…we did get a few nice shots this week out back.

First up…a couple of shots taken very near dark one evening of a complete rainbow behind the house. Connie originally saw the dark trees that were still lighted at the top so Neil went out to take a shot for her…and then he noticed the rainbow.

D75 6124

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Yesterday…he spotted this Little Blue Heron across the pond…they’re about 2 feet tall…and got a shot.

D75 6142

D75 6158

Today…as he got finished with his bike ride he spotted a Great Blue Heron across the pond…he passed our street and went down to the clubhouse to cool down from the ride effort and spotted it from the main road through the development as he came back. So he grabbed the camera and snuck around the house to get the image below. Great Blue’s are about 4 feet tall…this one is starting to get breeding plumage so it’s most likely male as they change a lot more than females for the mating season…which for most of the waders is late fall down here in FL. They never get as much or as beautiful plumage as the egrets do but they do get some. I’ll look back and I think I have some photos of them in full mating regalia in the Lightroom catalog that I can post next time along with a side by side of mating and normal plumage.

D75 6165

It looks like the wildlife is starting to come back based on the last week or so…and it has been a bit cooler so maybe we’ll keep seeing more and more of it. Still haven’t seen any of our gators since the water level in the pond came up…we briefly spotted one of them a week or two ago but that’s about it.

One last one…this is a repost of one of our local eagle pair…they’re back at the nest site and getting it prepared for another mating season. One of the two eaglets from last year has left the area but the other is still hanging around…probably the departed one is male and the hanger on female based on typical eagle behavior. 

D75 4770

Interesting things found on the net.

This is funny as an example of political spin…and it’s funny no matter which side of the aisle your political persuasions lie. It’s also not a true story although I’ve used it here as it was sent to me. Snopes.com has evaluated this story as false…but it’s still quite funny.

PoliticalSpin

Next…

RabbitPriestMinister

NavalObservatory

All you need to know about 2020 can be seen on Lucy’s face.

AllYouNeedToKnow

Is this a goat or a bird?

GoatOrBird

CanAnybodyExplainThis

MinorWreck

And finally…I really wonder about the inspiration for this political ad.

StrangePolitaicalAd

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Civics Lesson

OK folks…time for a civics lesson…or…how the US government works as they used to say on Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Readers who are of the same general vintage as Neil and Connie might remember how you took a Civics class in high school and you learned those sorts of things. However…younger folk who suffer from deluded school boards eliminating the requirement to actually learn how the country works might want to listen up and pay ‘ttention so’s ya’ll will know.

Before that though…a quick update on life under quarantine…or day 176 as we sit here on Labor Day 2020.

Last week we had dinner over at our friend’s Frank and Gail…he grilled some really tasty ribs and we had corn on the cob, tater salad, and coleslaw to go along with it…and some munchies before dinner…as well as a brew and some nice wine. After about 3 hours of good food and good company we headed home…since we did that on Thursday night we decided to just skip Date Nite last week. The day before we had dinner with them was the Elks Lodge monthly meeting…we attended and all I can say is that you have to be really bored before any meeting sounds like a good idea. On the bright side…we got word that the lodge will reopen the bar starting this week on Wednesday and that Taco Night on Thursday will start back up as well.

Taco Night on Thursday…well, the precipitated a change in Date Night. We had set it up for Thursday primarily because it was Thursday back in the  day when we were working…which was set up because you didn’t need a restaurant reservation for a Thursday and could just waltz in and have dinner…and having it on Thursday worked for us. However…there’s nothing magic about Thursday at all so we decided to move it to Tuesday night for this week and then Monday night as that doesn’t interfere with anything else on our schedule. Since Connie has to put on a dress and heels for Date Night…we figgered that her getting all dolled up every Thursday night for Tacos was overkill…’sides, we don’t want to go eat tacos every week anyway.

Neil found a great recipe a couple weeks back…garlic rice roasted chicken. What you do is take some leftover rice and mix it with garlic, herbs, and butter…then take a whole chicken and carefully separate the skin from the breast without tearing or removing the skin…then stuff the rice between the skin and the meat and roast it for an hour. The idea is that the rice sort of insulates the breast and keeps it moist until the legs and thighs are done…and also separates the skin from the meat so that the skin gets all nice and crispy…and the luscious schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) from the skin drips down and makes the rice even more delectable than the stuff you already added does.

However…rather than roasting for an hour…he decided to smoke and then roast it on our pellet grill. Two hours at low smoke temp of 165F then upped the temp to 400 for about another 40 minutest or so to get the meat all done and the aforementioned crispy skin and rendered chicken fat goodness.

The recipe then called for setting the bird aside to rest and adding 1/3 cup of sherry vinegar to the drippings to make a pan sauce. Neil thought that this was way too vinegary but did it anyway…and on tasting it determined that he was right after all. So…he added some wine, chicken stock, a couple other spice goodies and a bit of cream and the vinegar was still too strong so in went some honey…after a couple of additions the sauce was just right. Served over the chicken with rice and crispy skin and it was right tasty.

New wildlife sighting this week…here’s a small taste for ya with more details later.

D75 6084

OK…civics lesson starts now.

I keep reading on the interwebs about how it would be terrible and an insult to democracy if the President were to win reelection while failing to win the “national popular vote”. There are a couple of problems with these claims. First off…there is no such thing as a “national popular vote”…that’s not the way that our Presidential elections work. Second off…the US of A…well, we’re not a democracy at all. A democracy is what they did back in the day in Athens Greece where all the voters got together in a meeting and made decisions…which we clearly can’t do with 330+ million residents. Nope…what we have is a federated democratic republic…an association of individual states with rights, responsibilities, and rules for how things work set out in this thing called the Constitution of the United States.

So here’s how the President gets elected…note that nowhere in here do the words “national popular vote” exist.

The founding fathers…well at least the ones that didn’t live in NY, MA, or VA…recognized that those 3 states had about 80% of the population in the entire country and that the needs/wants of heavily populated cities and states were different from those in sparsely populated agricultural states…what the progressive coastal elites call flyover states these days. So…the idea of a national Presidential popular vote election was dismissed and the founding fathers invented the Electoral College or EC. The EC grants one electoral vote for every Representative and one for every Senator and thus ensures that small states have a say in the election of Presidents. Now granted…the EC as setup does give a greater effect on the election for a voter in one of the flyover states than for a voter in the coastal states with large cities…but news flash…that’s the way it was designed. The EC is not perfect…in fact I could think of several ways that it could be improved…but the fact is that the EC and it’s makeup are enshrined in the Constitution…and it would take a Constitutional amendment to change that. Another news flash…the founding fathers actually realized that the Constitution might need changing as time went on and set up a procedure for doing that…but they deliberately made it hard…very hard…so that the Constitution would not be changed lightly.

An amendment takes 2/3 majority vote in both houses of Congress to be proposed…or 2/3 of the state legislatures can pass a law calling for a Constitutional Convention which can then propose amendments. After one is proposed…it must be ratified by 3/4 of the states (currently that’s 38) before taking effect, and the proposed amendment itself can include a time limit for ratification.

So…what’s wrong with this process for amending? Well…it’s hard…that’s the total problem for the progressives. They hate the idea of flyover states having a say in how the country is to be run and want to institute this “national popular vote” to elect the President. The idea is that the coastal large city states which are dominated politically by progressives would then be able to elect the President of their choice…in other words they want to change the rules in their favor.

Now…I’m all in favor of them changing the rules for Presidential elections…but they have to follow the rules on how to change the rules…in other words they need a Constitutional amendment. As discussed above…that just ain’t happening…because it’s too hard.

So…the progressives came up with this thing called the 270 Vote Coalition or something like that where states that join it pledge to award their EC votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote…and if they get 270 EC votes worth of states to join then they get their way without the pesky bother of having to amend the Constitution. States get to choose how to determine their EC votes…but I think a lot of states citizens would be mightily displeased if the candidate that did not win their state were to receive their state’s EC votes. The coalition currently has the votes of states totaling 196 EC votes…essentially all of the Democrat controlled states…16 in total. Fortunately…the likelihood of getting any more is low as the flyover states are unlikely to vote to reduce their effect on national politics. 

Further…the coalition states that once a state is in…they can never leave.

So…is this coalition…it’s actually named the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact…is it actually legal? Depends on who you ask and if it ever came into effect the Supreme Court would have to vote on it…which means that whether strict or loose constructionists are in charge would likely determine the outcome.

On one hand…the Constitution says that each state has the right to determine how it’s electors in the EC are determined and who they are to vote for…under this clause it seems that a state could decide to award it’s EC votes to the mythical “national popular vote” winner.

On the other hand…the Constitution also states that states may not enter into an agreement or compact with another state without the approval of Congress…which would seem to make the Compact illegal.

The entire issue comes down to the fact that progressives want their way and demand that the rules be changed. But it’s too hard to change them the correct way so the compact is just an end run around the Constitution…very similar to the way that the anti gun crowd wants to make an end run around the 2nd amendment by legislating it out of existence. Gee…I wonder if they would also be in favor of legislating the freedom of the press right out of existence…for instance by the passage of legislation along the lines of the Official Secrets Act in the UK where the government can mandate something as an official secret and thus the press and news are legally prohibited from publishing or covering it. I’m guessing they would be not in favor of reducing that right…but like many on the left they pretty much only believe in free speech that they approve of.

So…speaking of this whole “national popular vote” thing which progressives tell us is because President Trump and bush were both elected “illegitimately” since they didn’t win the mythical “national popular vote”…let’s talk about another election where the person elected President failed to win the mythical “national popular vote”. Back in the day…in 1824 to be specific…John Quincy Adams was elected President despite receiving the second highest total of EC votes…he received 84 to Jackson’s 99 and two other candidates received 40 and 38 but no candidate received the 131 required for election. So…the vote went to the House of Representatives where each state gets one vote…not each Representative…and by some political manipulations Adams was elected President. Six states did not have any popular vote for president at the time…the legislature appointed the electors…so the whole “national popular vote” didn’t really apply.

Speaking of “national popular vote”…there was another president who was elected despite receiving less than 40% of the popular votes…although by that time almost all states had popular votes for President…and the guy who won with <40% of the vote was…Abraham Lincoln.

Ok…back to the teaser image way back at the top. It seems over the past couple of weeks that wildlife is starting to return…birds in particular…we spotted this Great Egret the other day and Neil wandered out to get a few photos. Like always…he starts farther away and takes insurance shots as he gets closer…but this time he used a tip from one of his forums to (a) not stare at the animal as you approach it but just glance to the side periodically and (b) don’t walk straight towards the animal but sort of zig zag with periodic stops to prevent startling it into fleeing. He took advantage of the stops to get more insurance shots…especially as he did not have the bird lens on the camera as moving the tripod would be too much movement and would have likely startled it. He ended up with some nice shots including a series as it took off and headed the other side of the pond. It was originally on our side of the pond right behind the corner of our lanai.

You can tell it is a Great Egret and not the similarly size and white Great White Heron (the latter is actually closer to a Great Blue Heron and I won’t try to explain the difference between a heron and an egret)…it’s the legs. Great Egrets have black legs and Great White Herons have yellow greenish legs…both have yellowish beaks. Juvenile Little Blue Herons are also white as are several other egret and heron varieties but those have either size or other distinguishing characteristics.

D75 6092

D75 6093

D75 6094

D75 6099

Interesting things found on the net.

Our friend Bill sent this one along…and I have to tellya there’s a lot of truth in it.

PrivilegedUSA

Younger readers might not get this one.

MeepBeep

This is what a dead vole looks like…or actually it is the impression left behind in the snow by the owl that caused the vole (essentially a mouse) to become dead.

OwlPreyInSnow

4PieceBathingSuit

And finally…another one that has a lot of truth in it.

TimeOutGeneration

Cyas.

 

 

Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Laws…Or Should We Just Have Anarchy

Pretty much situation normal round here…we keep thinking that while we are suffering from a lot of things during the corona like not seeing friends, visiting the Elks, and the like…one thing we aren’t suffering from is having good food. Seems like every meal we pretty much hit it out of the park no matter who’s doing the cooking. Scallops, lamb, crab cakes, steaks, smoked turkey…yeah, we’re really suffering.

Neil ran down to the eye doctor yesterday morning…he’s got an infection in his eyelid so he’s got some antibiotics and some ‘roid drops to put in to ease the swelling and itching. It’s getting better and is pretty minor but I figgered I should update his status since I mentioned it last time.

I’m really disgusted with how people these days seem to think that laws just don’t matter…they’ll sue over them and find a friendly judge to rule in their favor who might be overruled by other courts but in the meantime they get their way. Or we’ll have leaders that issue Executive Orders because it’s just too darned difficult to get Congress or the legislature to actually do their jobs…then depending on your political persuasion either those EOs assume the force of law because they fit your political views or they’re sued over trivia like not getting public comments before the new regulations get published.

Or they loot and burn cities over whatever the injustice of the week is…attacking cops and public buildings and then get all butt-hurt when the cops use force to stop the riot. Many of the injustice of the week things are actually valid…although not always as valid as the rioters claim…and sometimes the cops probably do over react…but then believe it or not when a cop goes to work his primary goal is not to shoot a black guy during his/her tour but to be alive and unharmed at the end of his tour to go home to his/her family.

Anyways…just a few examples from just the past 3 or 4 days in the news…and I’m not even going to include any of the riots.

Now I have a passing familiarity with the Constitution…and it says that states are responsible for the time, place, and manner of holding elections (it specifically talks about Senators, Representatives, and Electors for President but by extension the responsibility goes to all elections) but that Congress may make or alter such regulations.

Let me state up front that there is nothing wrong with voting by absentee ballot…and further there is nothing wrong with voting by mail…assuming the individual state has set their voting rules up this way. It is correct however…that the possibility of voter fraud is higher with voting by mail since most states do not do an adequate job of providing election security. In our opinion…voter ID is a good thing as it ensures that only citizens who are properly registered vote and that they do so only once. We have our Democrats demanding that every vote count and our Republicans who want to ensure that only citizens vote once each…and Democrats stating that voter fraud mostly doesn’t exist. That might even be factually correct…however we should still take precautions to prevent it from happening…just like we take precautions to keep minors from buying alcohol or cigarettes or to ensure that folks with DUI convictions don’t have a valid drivers license…but I’m starting to go down a rathole so back to the point.

States are responsible for voting practices, procedures, and timelines. So down in GA…there’s a law established by the legislature that states that the deadline for receipt of any mailed in ballots is the close of the polls on Election Day. That’s the law…and I’m all in favor of the legislature and governor changing it if they so desire…but it is the law. A group named the New Georgia Project…decided they didn’t like this law so they filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the deadline be extended along with other voting changes including a prepaid postage return envelope, allow third parties to collect and submit ballots, require that invalid ballots be communicated to the voter so that they could fix it even if this was past the deadline, and additional demands. Now it seems to me that…under the Constitution that says the state is responsible for making these determinations that the correct avenue was to have a legislator sympathetic to their cause introduce legislation to change the rules…but nope, they decided to use the federal lawsuit route instead.

Amazingly enough…US District Judge Eleanor Ross actually agreed with them as far as the decline goes but she declined to order most of the changes…instead she merely required that ballots received by 7PM 3 business days later be accepted and not declared invalid as required by state law.

Just who does this judge think she is to substitute her judgement for the requirements in the Constitution? I’m really confused about what authority she thinks she has to over rule the state law on the deadline…she can’t declare the state law unconstitutional since the Constitution leaves the rules completely up to the states…but she decided that this “narrowly tailored remedy” was appropriate because voters “might be disenfranchised if they mailed their ballots too late”. Seems to me that mailing the ballot too late is the voter’s fault and not the state laws fault…but what do I know.

Similarly…down in TX…the state law regarding absentee ballots generally restricts absentee (AKA mail in) ballots to voters over the age of 65, disabled voters, and those that will not be in their county of residence on Election Day. Now one side might not like those rules…but again, under the Constitution the state sets the rules so the rules are what they are and there are legal avenues to getting the rules changed.

However…down in Harris County TX…the election board unilaterally decided to ignore state law and announced that they will be sending a mail in ballot to every registered voter.

Again…who do those people think they are…you don’t just get to decide the law doesn’t apply and ignore it. The state government has sued the county over the plan so I guess we’ll see what happens there as well.

In Atlanta GA; the CDC has issued a “sweeping nationwide ban on evictions due to the corona virus”…that supposedly will reduce the spread of the virus. The problem is…under what legal authority does the CDC which is responsible for disease control have the authority to issue a nationwide ban on evictions…that seems out of the purview of their responsibility. The President did issue an EO back in early August to consider if a temporary halt in evictions would aid in reducing the virus…but considering whether it might help doesn’t seem to give them regulatory authority to issue this order. Again…we’ll have to see what happens here. It might actually be a good idea…but the CDC can only do things they are legally allowed to do and I don’t see how this falls under their bailiwick.

Out in the city of San Francisco…there was a citywide EO in effect that requires that beauty salons, barbershops, and bars remain closed…so that puts a legal requirement that they remain closed…which means no customers allowed. Despite this…Ms. Pelosi decided to have her favorite salon give her a was and blow out earlier this week…and she’s on video in the salon getting her done sans mask…which violates another local guideline that mandates masks in public.

So I ask again…who does she think she is that the law on getting her hair done and wearing a mask doesn’t apply to her? Unfortunately…it’s San Francisco and she’s a liberal from a liberal state so I’m sure that nothing will happen. Her office claims that “she followed the guidelines as given her by the salon”…so essentially she’s blaming the salon and not her willful ignoring of the law.

People need to learn to follow the law…and that they don’t get to unilaterally decide to overrule them…my guess is that the decision in GA will be overturned and the suit against Harris County TX will succeed since the state law is the law…but we’ll see. Ms. Pelosi…she’ll get away with it because she’s important and has to appear on TV. The CDC thing…no idea on that one. The Democrats won’t sue over it since that’s what they want anyway…but whether the CDC can issue such a nationwide order I’m not sure but don’t think so.

One of the websites that Neil checks out frequently is one called digg.com…they aggregate news articles from around the web and are…mostly…not politically biased. One of their ongoing sections aggregates a series of advice/relationship columns…think Ann Landers or Dear Abby and you’ll have the flavor of them. Anyways; from this week’s selections.

  • “Am I a jerk for taking a bath in my neighbor’s apartment without his knowledge”…this person has a key to his neighbors apartment that he was given while his neighbor was out of town on holiday. The key was never returned…so when the neighbor with the key had an “important work presentation” and his shower was broken he used the neighbor’s key to enter and use his bathtub. He brought his own shower gel, shampoo, and rubber duck so he thought it was just fine…and so enjoyed the experience (since he had no tub in his apartment) so that he has continued to go twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday to use his neighbor’s bathtub. Unfortunately…the neighbor died and he didn’t know it until the neighbor’s brother came in and found the tub visitor “naked on the toilet”. I guess the brother freaked out so the tub visitor wanted to know if he’s the asshole for doing this. Advice columnist evaluation…Yes, you are.
  • A person in some sort of middle management position over an employee he calls John (and John happens to be transgender and was formerly known as Sally…note that we don’t believe there’s such a thing as transgender, you are male or female, determined at birth, and can’t change it…although there are a few genetic mutations that result in ambiguous gender. We don’t care if you want to be a woman and dress in men’s clothes or vice versa…but it’s just dress up, putting on make up or cutting your hair doesn’t change gender.)…wonders about a situation he has. Seems that another employee Lizzy transferred into his department…and discovered that Sally is now John…and she insists on using Sally as the name. John has complained to HR about it…who told him she is not harassing him from being trans so she’s not breaking the rules. Lizzy says that she has no problem with trans people but is “using the name he was given at birth out of respect and honor to his mother”. She’s been asked to use John by both John himself and the supervisor…but refuses. So…John has started calling Lizzy Elizabeth instead of her preferred Lizzy…which she hates. She’s complained to him, the supervisor, and half the office about this…John simply replies that he is “using the name she was given at birth out of respect and honor to her mother”…the supervisor’s question (despite the supervisor thinking the situation is hilarious) is whether he should force John to use Lizzy while accepting that she can use Sally. Advice columnist answer…No.
  • And the final one this week…a thirty something straightish (whatever that means) woman who is in an open relationship with a thirty something straight man…an open relationship means that they can date/have sex with others outside other relationship. She further states that both she and the man are in long standing, stable, open marriages…just not to each other. In other words…she and her husband are fooling around with this other woman and her husband with the full knowledge of all 4 of them. Anyway…apparently the other couple is having marriage difficulties…imagine that…and they are undergoing couple’s counseling to determine whether they should stay married and/or cease their open marriage activities. The questioner states that the real problem is that the other wife feels threatened by her…although how she supposedly knows this is not stated. Her question is whether she has a right to demand that she be included in the couples counseling the other couple is having because they will be “talking about her behind her back”. Advice columnist answer…butt out and let them hash out their own marital problems on their own…the fact that you don’t want to “lose the intense relationship she has with the other woman’s husband” is irrelevant.

I had to wonder just what is wrong with these people.

Interesting things found on the net.

FavoriteAnimal

TimeAtWorkVsAtHome

SocialDistancing3

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Exciting Stuff

Well…whether it was exciting really depended on who we’re talking ‘bout.

Connie…son Bryan…DIL Jen…yeah, they were excited.

Neil…not so much.

As I may or may not have mentioned…Neil and Connie got Apple Watches back in the fall when they returned from the 2019 travel season and they really like them. They waited until the 5th generation because it took that long before they decided the features were worth the price. Your watch pairs with your iPhone and allows getting text, email, voice mail, checking the weather…and importantly you can use it for contactless mobile payments with your associated credit card stored in the Apple Wallet app on your phone. None of those features played a factor in the excitement/non-excitement though.

Series 5 of the watch also includes fall detection…and while it’s really too sensitive and introduces some fall detections that aren’t falls like when you clap your hands vigorously or shake water off of them it’s better to be too sensitive than not sensitive enough. The idea is that if it detects what it thinks is a fall you get an alert on your watch where you tell it whether you fell or not and whether you’re OK or not. If not…then it decides you really fell…and importantly if it thinks you’re not moving any longer it takes action to call your emergency contact numbers which you previously entered into the medical alert section on your iPhone…in Neil’s case those numbers are the cell numbers for Connie, Bryan, and Jen.

As I said…that’s the way it is *supposed* to work…and up until yesterday it always worked that way…you periodically get “you might have fallen” alerts on your watch and answer the questions that you’re not unconscious in the ditch or whatever and you go on about your business.

So yesterday morning…Neil was out on a bike ride and maintaining about a 15.something miles an hour pace except for one stop at a light where a truck was turning left in front of him so he momentarily stopped with his foot down…but later reconstruction showed that this was not the cause of the excitement.

He rides up and down US-41 (Cleveland Avenue/Tamiami Trail) routinely and yesterday he headed south down it, turned left and rode one of his standard routes through a subdivision named Suncoast Estates then back out onto Tamiami and headed north towards home. He passed Del Prado where he had turned left to head over into the subdivision with a bit over 3 miles left home. Now he’s familiar with the fall detection feature and there are a half dozen or so places on his various standard routes that tend to activate the fall detection feature as he bumps over a curb or bump in the bike path and he knows to pick his left hand off of the handlebars to prevent a false detection there. However…none of these places are on the east side of Tamiami headed north towards home. And in any event…he received no fall detections on the entire ride…the watch has haptic features so it vibrates on your wrist and also has a distinctive alert tone…neither of which happened.

However…his watch obviously decided that he had fallen, not gotten up, wasn’t moving and was therefor unconscious in the ditch someplace…none of which was actually true. So…it waited the requisite time period and then commenced to calling his emergency contacts several times each. They then used the Find My Friends feature on iOS devices to see where he was and noticed that he was still moving. Then all three of them started calling and texting him…which would normally have sent alerts to his watch in addition to making his phone ring…and those alerts would have vibrated the watch and made even more alert sounds.

None of which happened. He was just cycling along to the end of the ride and as he passed the house he stopped his cycling tracking app, downshifted and did a quick cool down to the end of Long Pond Road and back…at which point Connie runs out of the house telling him that he’s calling everybody. 

He checked his watch…no alerts. Phone…yup…he’s called everybody and they’ve called and texted him but no alerts to the watch and no rings on the phone either.

He’s got no idea why nothing worked as expected this time…but he rebooted watch and iPhone and all is better as he got a fall detection alert this morning when he was making French Toast for breakfast.

He and Neil had a nice date night on Thursday…he ran down and got lobstah bisque and lobstah rolls (warm for him and cold with mayo for Connie) for dinner…and they’e been invited out to eat at some friends one night next week.

Other than that…it’s pretty much same-o same-o ‘round here. He does have some sort of eye thing going on as well that started on Friday…tenderness on the inside lower eyelid next to his nose on the left side. He’s monitoring it and if it’s not better by tomorrow will run down to the eye doctor and get it looked it…could be some sort of tear duct infection or a half dozen other minor things that might need a topical antibiotic to take care of.

And naturally…another day and there’s more stupidity in the news.

First up…ya probably read in the news about the black fellow that was “completely unarmed and was mercilessly gunned down by racist cops up in Kenosha WS…at least that’s the way the WAMM is reporting it. Naturally the riots started that night with multiple shootings, businesses looted and burned, and injuries on both protestor and police sides.

And then…well you actually get a few more facts. Now I’m not saying that this shooting was justified or not yet as the investigation is ongoing. However…there have been a few more facts released in the past few days that tend to cast some doubt on the original WAMM media claims.

  • The cops showed up at the shooting location based on a 911 call by a woman who said he (a) had a restraining order against him, and (b) he was trying to steal her keys and car. Not sure how that woulda worked as his car with his 3 kids in it was outside the house…but he was the subject of the 911 call and the cops that showed up knew that he had an outstanding felony sexual assault warrant active at the time.
  • He was armed…he told the police at the scene that he had a knife and at some point it was out of his pocket since the police drew their weapons and told him to drop the knife…the young local man who videoed the shooting says that he heard the cops tell him to drop the knife…and the knife was eventually found in the floorboard driver side of the car with the kids in it.
  • He fought with the police including putting one of them in a headlock, was tased twice with no effect, and ignored the orders of the cops to stop, put his hands up, and drop the knife…and walked around the front of the car and attempted to getting with a cop pulling on his shirt.
  • He appears in the video to be reaching towards the driver side floorboard area in the car immediately before he was shot.

The investigation is ongoing by the local DA as well as the state DoJ…but it’s clear that there is more to this situation than ‘another unarmed black man gunned down by racist police’. I realize that people are frustrated by the situation and there may or may not be systemic racial profiling by the police…but if you look at things without a predetermined outcome it’s also pretty clear that not following the commands of the police and fighting with them might get you shot. Back in 2007 or so…a black comedian named Chris Rock put out a video entitled. “How not to get your ass kicked by the police”…and there’s a lot of truth in it. I’m not sure if he intended it to be just a comedy routine or if he was using comedy to try and convince young black men to be less confrontational with police encounters…but a lot of what he says in the video is 100 percent on point.

Let’s see…what else is there.

Down here in Florida…they’re getting ready to release
750 million genetically modified male mosquitos
…this is a form of mosquito control since they have been modified so that when they mate with females the resulting mosquito eggs/larvae will not survive to become adult mosquitos. Now remember that male mosquitos do not bite…only females do that…and that this technique has been tried several times before (although not in FL) and proven successful in lowering the mosquito problem. Also remember…that while these particular mosquitos have been genetically modified by scientists…the net result is exactly the same as selective breeding would have gotten you to as you bred them to enhance certain characteristics.

Mind you…the EPA has approved this test based on proven results in earlier uses of the same technology…and mosquitos transmit many diseases not to mention being seriously annoying.

So let’s see what the linked article says about this

  • “With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety”
  • “Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” she added.”
  • The article admits that people in the Florida Keys are fully in support of this test…but notes that a change.org petition against it has over 240,000 signatures as of earlier this week…but it doesn’t mention how many (few I’m sure) of those people actually live in the Keys.
  • People are being used as “guinea pigs” for the “superbug” or “Robo-Frankenstein” mosquito.
  • “The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes will needlessly put Floridians, the environment and endangered species at risk in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dana Perls, food and technology program manager at Friends of the Earth, in Wednesday’s statement.

I really don’t understand the outrage. Mosquitos are a problem, this has been tried and worked before…and the modified males survive several generations to help lower the density. Male offspring mature normally with the modified genes and only females…the ones that bite people and animals and spread disease…are killed by the modification.

Nuts I tellya…nuts.

OK…and I need to say up front that this isn’t a complaint about masks…it’s a complaint about manipulating data for fake headlines.

Out in Kansas…the Democratic governor issued a “masks are required everywhere in the state” order back on July 3. Some counties followed her order precisely…and some did not. Those that didn’t largely justified their decision based on low population, no urban centers, and low case count in their county. Naturally…this pissed the governor off so she had her Department of Health issue a chart this week showing how successful her order was in reducing corona cases in those counties that followed it…here’s the graph as issued by the state.

Now look carefully at this graph…the blue line is the no mask counties and the yellow line is the mask counties. From this graph…one would naturally conclude…which was their precise goal of this misleading graph…that counties that followed the governor’s mask mandate showed a significant decline in cases…right?

Well…actually not right…because if you look carefully you’ll see that there are two different y (vertical) scales on this graph. On the left is the mask scale which goes from 15-25 rolling 7 day average per 100,000 population…while on the right the no mask scale goes from 4-14 using the same horizontal graph lines…and they also carefully selected the starting and ending dates on the x-axis on the graph. Thus…one would conclude that clearly those counties who followed the brilliantly issued mask mandate showed a considerable decline in case rate…and that clearly counties that failed to follow the mandate both did not see any decrease and are actually a higher case rate than in the mask counties.

UntitledImage

Now it’s clear to anybody that understands math and/or charts and/or statistics that if you’re comparing two things…any two things…you have to use the same axis scale on the graph and over a longer time period.

Luckily for us…the Kansas Policy Institute was on the job…recognized the flagrant lie provided by the above graph…and gave us a more accurate graph. Here it is with the same axis used for both mask and non mask counties.

Again…yellow for mask and blue for no masks. As you can see from using unbiased, fair, and mathematically correct graphing techniques…no mask counties and mask counties case rate both increased but no mask counties have a higher overall case rate and although the percentage increases are in the same ballpark visually it’s pretty clear that mask counties have a higher increase.

UntitledImage

Gee…I wonder why the state chose to publish such a clearly biased chart. Probably because an unbiased chart would undercut their contention that the mask mandate was and is a wonderful thing and only those idiot Republican controlled counties are wrong.

The real issue here is…beyond the obviously biased chart…that a mask mandate is not a one size fits all thing. Yes…masks do help prevent an infected you from spreading the corona…and to a lesser extent they protect an uninfected you from being infected when out and about. However…the difference is really an urban verses rural population. In lesser populated places…there will naturally be a lower case rate…and in those places with fewer people and less social interaction with large groups the utility of mandating mask wearing is lessened. Not zeroed out by any means but lessened. The fact that those rural counties tend to be Republican controlled and urban counties tend to be Democrat controlled because of the larger city populations is really irrelevant to the case rate or the wearing/not wearing of masks.

Instead…we get what is clearly a biased graph designed to reinforce the political stance of the governor. I’ll grant you that the Kansas Policy Institute is right of center…but all they did was fairly plot the actual data…the same actual data that the state used to construct the misleading first graph.

What we really need is for our politicians and media to simply stop lying for political gain and…ummm…just tell the truth…ya know, the actual facts without all of the completely BS attempts to spin things to suit their political desires.

Not gonna happen though…as we’ve frequently lamented ‘round these parts all of our politicians of both parties are more interested…well, maybe not all but the vast, vast majority…in making eat other side look bad and getting reelected consumes as close to 100% of their efforts as you can get without actually getting to 100%. Both parties at this point are being run by the idiots on the fringe…despite the fact that those idiots on the fringe stand little chance of winning in any non local election…and despite the fact that most of the population is much closer to the center. Yeah…some are left of center and some are right of center…but largely the population is much more center than fringe. There’s almost no political party left for those of us in the center.

Our upcoming election illustrates…once again…why Neil’s long standing recommendation of having None Of The Above on the ballot…is a simply stupendous idea…and if None wins you have another election and none of the idiots who ran the first time can run in the new election. Unfortunately…that would require constitutional amendments…multiple ones probably…to be enacted and our current two party system is too well entrenched for them to allow citizens to actually vote in an acceptable alternative.

Mike Rowe has another
really interesting column
this week. It’s about a black Republican woman named Kimberly Klacik who lives in Baltimore MD and is running for Congress there. She put out a campaign ad showing her walking through bad neighborhoods in Baltimore saying that the people who run Baltimore don’t care about black lives. She says that the city has been run by Democrats for 53 years and shows what Connie and Neil are familiar with from living there as the problems facing black residents in the city. She cites numerous statistics for her claim…and politics side the ad seems pretty factually dead on with the facts…and that she wants to try and make a difference for her city.

Now I’ll grant you that she’s running for office so she is highlighting the problems she says are attributable to Democrat leadership of her city…but naturally the Democratic Party is all in a tither over this ad. However…instead of politicians attacking her or trying to defend their record…apparently they had their friends in the WAMM at the Baltimore Sun put out a
response
. Do they defend their policies…umm…no. Instead they call her a Trump enabler and accuse her of trying to blunt black voter support for Mr. Biden. She has responded with a
commentary
in the same Baltimore Sun. Her Democratic opponent was kicked out of the NAACP amid allegations of sexual harassment, nepotism and mismanagement…and this is the candidate the Baltimore Sun has endorsed. Her response and positions indicate that she is a moderate mostly center right Republican who is in favor of a lot of the social policies the Democrats want…but I think she’s right in that 53 years of control by the other party have definitely contributed to the terrible situation Baltimore is in.

Go take a look at Mike’s post…as is his norm it’s well researched and while it is clearly an opinion he’s got facts and figures to back up what he recommends…and mostly he is kinda like the guy that says the King has no clothes. He’s only recognizing obvious facts and suggests that it is forcing a long overdue conversation about the rot, corruption, and lack of services in the city…and that after 53 years refusing to have that conversation and trying to figure out a solution is simply guaranteed to perpetuate it for even longer. He doesn’t either endorse or not her candidacy…but he does endorse having the conversation because things will never get better otherwise.

Interesting things found on the net.

So…what’s the easternmost point of the United States? I have to admit that we…like probably 99.99% of the rest of you…thought it was the state of Maine and more specifically West Quoddy Head Lighthouse just south of Lubec which borders the Lubec Narrows with the island of Campobello belonging to Canuckistan to the east.

However…you…like us…would be wrong. Let me show you the actual easternmost point of the US. It is named Semisopochnoi and is the rightmost island in this image.

UntitledImage

So just what…and where…exactly is Semisopochnoi. Looking at the name…which means “having seven hills”…it’s obviously a Russian name which probably gives you a clue where it is. Semisopochnoi is an island in the Aleutian chain about 150 miles to the west of Adak Island and about 700 miles from mainland Alaska and 1000 miles from the main portion of mainland AK. What is unique about Semisopochnoi…as well as the additional half dozen or so islands in the Aleutian chain that are west of it…is that they like across the  180th meridian and their geographical coordinates are eastern longitude. Looking at the 48 contiguous states…they’re all in eastern longitudes as well with Maine being about 66 east…while Semisopochnoi is 179.something east and the beginning of western longitude about 5 miles east of the island. So…when considering actual longitude standards…Semisopochnoi is farther east than Maine is and hence is the easternmost point in the US.

Followup question…how far is it from the easternmost point in the US to the westernmost point? Only about 71 miles as if you head east from Semisopochnoi you cross into western longitude and get to the westernmost point the island of Amitagnik.

I have to admit…we never thought of it this way…but on further review as the replay official says…it is correct.

I found an interesting tidbit that…again on further review…one would agree that this would happen ‘Only in Texas’. Before the recent arrival in the area of hurricane Laura there was naturally your typical run on stores for vital hurricanes supplies like milk, bread, and toilet paper. So naturally the HEB store there (HEB is a grocery chain) started enforcing some limits on how much of these vital supplies an individual could buy…and naturally the local TV station put these limitations up so that folks would know ahead of time.

OnlyInTexas

I have to admit…I’ve lived my entire life without knowing that brisket (thick beef roasts for bbq/smoking) were vital hurricane supplies.

Speaking of riots…

GangViolence

And in the dumbest crook of the week…actually probably the decade at least and maybe the century.

After the recent shooting in Kenosha…the WAMM has the normal series of articles with headlines like “Timeline of the shooting” and “What do we know about this racist cop”. In the latter article…they breathlessly report that he was one of a group of officers who were previously sued right at the top of the article.

About 5 paragraphs later when most people have quit reading…they report the actual facts of the suit. Turns out that an inmate in the local hoosegow filed a handwritten federal civil rights lawsuit against him and another half dozen or so officers for “causing damage to his door”. What actually happened was that the cops broke the door down…because they had a no-knock warrant…which means they are legally allowed to break the door down…and that the results of that warrant were what earned the complainant in the suit a conviction and his being in the hoosegow when he filed his lawsuit. So the cops had a proper warrant to search for evidence, entered as allowed in the warrant, found the evidence they were looking for, and the perp was convicted and sentenced based at least partially one would assume on that evidence.

So naturally…he filed his handwritten federal civil rights lawsuit.

Which was summarily dismissed.

Gee…imagine that. I’m shocked I tellya…shocked.

My buddy Randy has the rights to a domain about idiotic lawsuits…they’re known as Stella Awards based on Stella who…at the age of 79 successfully sued McDonalds in 1992 and was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages (later reduced to just $480K) because she spilled a cup of hot McDonalds coffee in her lap and burned her lady bits. Now McDonalds at the time did serve their coffee hotter than your average coffee stand did so that they would get fewer complaints about their coffee not being hot enough…and while there may have been a lack of notification in writing that their coffee was hotter than normal coffee shops…any moron should know that coffee is hot and shouldn’t be placed in between your legs with the top removed (as I recall) so that it can spill onto your lady bits or man bits. Anyway…no new cases are being accepted but since Randy dropped the site due to it not making him any money to make up for his time and effort in maintaining it he still owns the rights so he’s gradually re-releasing the cases. This week’s case deals with Kathleen Ann McCormick who lived in Wilkes-Barre PA and was an obese smoker who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of coronary artery disease.

Her doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medial Center told her to…amazingly enough…stop smoking, lose weight, and eat a more healthy diet…which naturally she did not do. And then…again, amazingly enough…she had a heart attack which…according to her suit against the VA and her 8 doctors for $1 million…left her a cardiac invalid. According to her…her doctors…with the full and complicit conspiracy of the entire VA and the US government…”did not do enough” to convince her to work to improve her own health…and thus she deserved compensation. The lawsuit was filed back in 2002 and Randy could find no news reports on it here in 2020 except for those that referred to his original post so evidently this suit was also summarily dismissed.

If you want to read more about some of these cases…stellaawards.com will get you to the page where you can sign up for the (approximately) weekly notification of re-released cases. And while you’re at it…thisistrue.com will allow you to sign up for either the free or paid version of This is True…his weekly newsletter of amazing but true stories from the media.

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Boring Stuff

Not much going on the past few days…although it’s really been raining almost every afternoon for going on 2 weeks…but that’s late summer in southern FL I guess.

The hurricanes passed us by. Marco was well to the south over by the Yucatan peninsula as it went into the Gulf and Laura shifted left and passed just south of Cuba, over the Keys east of Key West and on into the Gulf. We had some rain bands from it as it passed yesterday with some occasional heavy rain but winds only got to the mid 20s. Both will hit along the TX/LA coast in a double whammy tonight or tomorrow…but one will just be a tropical storm and the other a minimum hurricane as they come ashore according to the forecast. So they’ll get some rain and wind but overall it should not be too bad…although this morning’s news says Laura might be a category 3 by the time it makes landfall. The media is hyping the danger but looking at the actual Hurricane Center data forecasts a minimum category 3 at best and almost immediately down to tropical storm strength after landfall. Of course…Katrina was supposed to be minimal as well until the last 24 hours before landfall so anything is possible I guess at this point for eventual strength. Once it makes landfall it makes a right turn through AR and then will speedily head east departing the coast near MD only 3+ days after landfall which should minimize the amount of rain and flooding in the mid Atlantic states.

We continue to stay at home with limited outings…Mass on the weekend, takeout pickup for Thursday date nights, grocery pickups from Walmart and produce runs we do ourselves. We keep remarking to ourselves around here that while we’re suffering from a lot of things under the lockdown situation…good eating isn’t one of the things we’re having to do without as we keep making really good meals pretty much every night.

Neil did a bunch of camera stuff this week…mostly a deep cleaning on the sensors on each of our DSLRs. That involves locking the mirror up and the shutter open and then using specially sized single use cleaning swabs and some very volatile cleaning solution to get the gunk off of the glass covering the sensor. I am going to post a couple of the after shots further down…mostly so I’ll have them easily available for review down the line if necessary…there’s nothing really super about any of the images but I was really trying to just check and make sure all of the gunk that was causing spots in the images was gone.

Our new grill and Neil’s new bike shoes/cleats/pedals came in so we’ll probably get all of that set up this morning before the rain starts…

~~musical interlude here as he goes out and does that and Connie replants one of her spider plants that grew an offspring~~ 

OK…we’re back with mixed results. 

  • New grill hooked up and original burn in to get rid of all the leftover manufacturing oils. The automatic piezoelectric lighter didn’t work but that might be (a) because his 20 pound LP tank is almost dead, (b) it had some of the aforementioned leftover manufacturing oil on it so it piezo’ed but didn’t spark, or (c) it’s broke. We are due to go refill our tank tomorrow so we’ll try again before doing any further troubleshooting or complaining to Dickinson Marine who makes this brand of grill…I know we’re not using it in a marine environment but since the whole thing is stainless steel it will hopefully last longer. His buddy Clarke had one he recently replaced that he said came as original equipment with their 1992 Newell so that makes it 30something years old. The old one is out with the garbage for pickup since today just happens to be garbage day.
  • Spider plant transplanted into a new pot…it is still connected back to the parent plant via a stem…kinda like a plant IV bag I guess…that she will cut once the new roots get started.
  • New bike shoes fit perfectly…but the new pedals only had a single (left) pedal in the box, the right one was missing. The box was in a sealed plastic bag and should have had 2 each of pedals, cleats, and mounting bolts but the right pedal was missing. Don’t know if never made it into the box from the Shimano factory, was taken out and the package resealed by somebody along the line who needed a pedal, or taken out for some legitimate purpose and accidentally resealed. The plastic bag didn’t look like it had been resealed so I guess it was either not there from Shimano or whoever needed a pedal was really neat about sealing it back up. In any event…he did the live chat thing with Julia T from REI out in WA and got the confirmation for the replacement order before he disconnected with her. In the interim, he’ll just keep using his previous 2 bolt pedals and basically worn out shoes.

Speaking of bolt pedals…way back before he bought his current Cannondale bike and we went on the road he upgraded his previous bike from the toe basket type of pedals to cleat pedals. Since it was a hybrid bike designed for both on road usage and some off road/gravel usage, when he asked the REI guy what cleats and pedals to buy the tech recommended what he now knows as 2 bolt mountain bike cleats, shoes and pedals. The advantage of 2 bolt ones is that the cleat is metal and hence lasts longer, and the pedal is open so that gravel or dirt won’t get trapped in it. The disadvantage is that a 3 bolt road bike pedal, cleat, and shoe make for more efficient energy transfer. He rides almost exclusively on the road (paved surfaces) even when he had the hybrid bike…but didn’t know enough to get the 3 bolt road bike cleats and pedals at the time. The 3 bolt cleat itself is much larger than the 2 bolt one is…and it has some ability to rotate a few degrees either way without coming unclipped as compared to the 2 bolt one. The much stiffer sole on the new road bike shoes also helps with power transmission from the leg to the pedal crank and he’s told it’s more comfortable for long rides…although even his long rides of about 15 miles would be considered merely a warm up by the serious biker crowd.

OK…a couple of actual images I wanted to share before the “just put them online to find easier later” ones.

A new bird for us…an Eastern Kingbird. He (we think) was sitting on the tree right outside of our lanai and he’s demonstrated that he is pretty skittish so this one was taken through both our glass door out to the lanai and the lanai screening…and he also had his 18-300mm lens on the camera instead of the 150-600mm bird lens so he had to crop a little more than he would wish to…but he wanted to get the shot before the bird left. After he got this one he shifted to the bird lens but it was too late as either he left on his own or saw the reflection of Neil’s movement in the glass. It took us awhile to figure out what it was…when we searched in Peterson based on location and date the drawing showed a small red crest on top of the head and it wasn’t until we read the detailed description that we saw the note that the red crest was rarely seen as it is small. This is the same tree we thought the Shrike pair was nesting in but we haven’t seen either of them in awhile, Neil has searched the tree for a nest, and we don’t hear any chicks peeping so maybe the Shrikes we saw were just passing through.

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Taken on an early morning drive out in NE this past summer…it was foggy and we were out on a birdwatching driving loop thing…didn’t see many birds except for some wild turkeys but we did get a shot of this tree through the fog. It’s got a kind of eerie dust bowl sort of vibe. I’ve previously put in a similar shot that Neil took but he found this one un-imported into Lightroom on Connie’s memory card when he was getting the before and after sensor cleaning images off of it to verify that he had in fact gotten the sensor clean. Turns out that on both of their cameras it took 2 cleanings (and 3 on one of them) to get it clean. The cleaning swabs have a flat piece covered with liquid holding cloth of some sort and exactly match the width of the sensor (you need to get the right size for your camera when you buy them). You are cautioned not to scrub with the swab…just put the cleaning liquid on both sides then start at one side, put pressure on the swab and go once across the sensor, then flip it over and go once back with the other side. This means that you might miss stuff on the first swab and have to do it again. He used about 8 or 10 bucks worth of swabs to get it done but you don’t need to do it real often, maybe annually or so and neither of these have ever been cleaned this way in the 3 and 5 years they’ve had the bodies. Normally he just uses a lens brush and squeeze air bulb to clean them but the really stuck on stuff doesn’t come off that way very well.

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This is Neil’s Nikon D7500 after shot with his 18-300mm lens…you’ve seen this framing of the pond out back before but as I said it’s just for documentation purposes.

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Connie’s Nikon D7100 with 18-55mm lens.

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And a couple more taken by Neil with his 7500 and 150-600mm bird lens to round out the set of post cleaning images and re-verify the autofocus fine adjust tuning for that lens…they are at various focal lengths and focusing distances to verify accurate autofocus.

Our bougainvillea plant out front.

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Mockingbird across the other side of the pond.

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Water plant out in the pond.

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Our neighbor 2 doors to the left has a hummingbird feeder hanging from his tree.

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Interesting things found on the net.

This is the Kjeragbolten rock in Norway. It is a piece of stone about 15 cubic meters that is stuck in a crack suspended over a 948 meter (3,110 feet) vertical drop down to the fjord below. I can most definitely state that crawling out on this is something that Connie will never do…it’s right up there with bungee jumping or leaping out of a perfectly good airplane for her. Neil would hike up and see it…it’s only about a mile and a half from the parking lot so a pretty easy hike…but he would have to look at it before he decided to crawl out on it or not…on google maps it looks like the top is only about 5 feet by 8 feet so I’m thinking probably not. He would take a look at it and get photos but crawling out on it might not be the smartest thing…it’s a long, long way down.

Kjeragbolten Norway 948Meters

Here’s a hint if you ever think about getting yourself or your kids a pair of rabbits for pets/companionship…get them fixed if you do. We’ve all heard the expression “reproduce like rabbits” and this is why.

ReproduceLikeRabbits

 

This guy probably got a ticket…but he’s not wrong and if he fought it in court he would probably win.

GreenVehicles

And a few design/thinking failures.

Indian television show props.

IndianTVProps

This submarine captain.

SubmarineCaptain

An article on how to avoid needless monthly subscription fees…located behind the paywall of needless monthly subscription fees at the Wall Street Journal.

NeedlessMonthlySubscriptions

Whatever city this is had the right idea but their execution was sorely lacking…putting a solar powered streetlight under a highway bridge means that…ummm…it ain’t gonna work very well.

SolarPoweredStreetlight

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Critters, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment