New Apple Hardware

OK…let’s have a post that’s more interesting to read than all the blather about politics, stupid people, lies, and misinformation…Ima gettin’ plain tuckered out about that. As the MD governor said yesterday…”the majority of Americans are exhausted and fed up with politics and feel ignored by the politicians in Washington.” I gotta agree with him.

Nothing new at home…we’re just marking time waiting on the pandemic to be over and life as we know it to resume.

Anyways…let’s talk about Apple and the new hardware that they introduced this week…but in order to really make sense of it you need to have a little history about how we got here.

You’re probably all familiar with how Microsoft “saved” Apple back in 1997 by stepping in when they were “on the brink of bankruptcy” by purchasing $150 million worth of preferred, non-voting Apple stock and agreeing that they would continue to produce Microsoft Office or Macintosh. Unfortunately…the headlines don’t quite reflect reality…at the time Apple still had about $8 billion in cash or about 53 times the cash that Microsoft provided…so Apple wasn’t on the brink of bankruptcy. They were mired in a bunch of bad press about low market share and Microsoft’s support did help stabilize stock prices and consumer confidence. However…even at the lowest…Apple’s market share for personal computers was larger than the market share of BMW, Rolls Royce, and numerous other high value auto makers…none of which were “on the brink of bankruptcy” either. But no matter.

Steve Jobs returned from exile to lead Apple in 1997 and his first major new product was the original iMac…which as you know turned out to be a hit and it’s been followed by others.

There was scuttlebutt for years about Apple making a phone…and numerous luminaries in the phone business, which at the time was used for only making phone calls except for the little bit of web and email abilities that devices like a Blackberry could do…anyway they all said that Apple could not make a phone because they didn’t know anything about the phone business.

Fast forward a bunch of years…and everybody pretty much wants an iPhone…yes, I know they don’t have the majority market share over Android…but market share doesn’t matter. What matters is profit share…and Apple makes the vast majority of profit in the smart phone sector…this is because they intentionally market a high end, well integrated software and hardware device that mostly just works and as most will agree generally provides a higher degree of personal privacy and security than Android or other phone systems.

Then there was the tablet market…which was essentially non existent until Apple introduced the iPad…and you know how that’s turned out.

Ya see…Apple never tries to be first to market with anything. They let others try and watch what works and what doesn’t work…then they use their hardware/software integration magic to make the thing that you actually want to buy. They’ve been doing this for decades…and despite that they’ve been “proudly going out of business since 1984” as a lot of Apple product people have been saying for a long time.

A month or so…they introduced the new iPhone 12 and some upgraded iPad models…which predictably are selling as fast as they can make them.

But…what about the Mac? Apple for the past 10 years or so has been primarily the iPhone company and although Macs were still selling most of their profit came from the iPhone and iPad lines. Not so much this year…Mac sales, in particular laptop sales have had record quarters largely due to the pandemic and people needing to work from home. Neil’s said it for years…Windows is actually not a bad operating system…but for a non techie user without an IT department to support it it is much more difficult to setup, maintain, and use than macOS is…although in the latest iterations usability got better until they got into that whole whatever they did to the user interface with Windows 10. Take a reinstallation for instance. In the first place…you’re very much more likely to need to completely reinstall Windows than macOS to recover from a problem…having to do a complete reinstall on macOS is extremely rare…and if you do reinstall Windows you need to reinstall programs, restore data and all that. On macOS…even a reinstall is trivially easy so that your grandma can do it.

So…over the years since 1984…the Mac has run on 3 different chipsets so far. They started with the Motorola 68000 series chips until Motorola demonstrated that they couldn’t achieve the higher performing chips that more advanced hardware and software needed so back in 1997 Apple transitioned to a chip set named PowerPC…this required a complete rewrite of the operating system but as it turned out Apple had been working on this for years in the lab and the transition was a result.

Fast forward another bunch of years to 2005 and it happened again. The PowerPC consortium had mostly broken up by that time but again failed to deliver faster and more capable chips when needed so that Mac performance was falling behind that of Intel based computers. So…Apple did another processor switch to Intel’s x86 line of processors and those have been powering Apple’s Macintosh hardware ever since.

Note that both of these processor swaps required a complete rewrite of the OS…but that had been happening for years in Apple’s internal labs before the switch happened and both were pretty much a seamless and successful switch.

Stepping outside the Mac lineup for a moment…fairly early in the history of iPhones Apple switched to a processor based on an the ARM instruction set that Apple designed specifically for the iPhone and every year since they’ve introduced an improved version of the A series chip to power the new iPhone (and eventually the iPad) hardware. Fast forward a bunch of years to 2020…and we now have the A14 which powers the latest iPad and iPhone hardware…and this chip is faster and more power efficient than the chipsets powering most laptop computers. Add into that the fact that again Intel is falling behind in their ability to produce chips that are both more powerful to meet the needs of new hardware/software and reduce the die size of the processor sufficiently to decrease power consumption and thereby extend battery life…and for the third time Apple announced last June that the Mac would be transitioning to what they called Apple Silicon…essentially that Apple would switch from Intel x86 processors to an Apple custom designed and fabricated processor.

The advantages of this are obvious…by controlling both hardware and software Apple can design the capabilities of the chip to be exactly what they want them to be instead of what Intel can provide since Apple was only a minor part of the overall Intel chip business. Second…it allowed Apple to switch the Mac to what is called an SoC for “system on a chip”…in other words the entire computer essentially becomes just a single chip instead of the dozens of chips required with non SoC designs. This lowers power requirements all on it’s own, has a bunch of performance advantages, and by allowing smaller motherboards and hence larger batteries in the same sized laptop gives you a double benefit as far as battery life goes.

Since June…there has been a bunch of speculation about what Macs would get the new chips first and Apple committed in June to shipping the first one this year and complete the transition within 2 years…this is the same promise they gave for both previous chipset swaps and both of those were completed in about a year of their 2 year timeline.

At an event last week…we found the answer. Apple announced the M1 chip which powers their first released hardware…they took their A chips from the iPad/iPhone line, beefed them up a bit, added some more chips to the SoC design to do things that laptops need and iPhone/iPad doesn’t need. Then they stuck the new chip into the MacBook Air, the low end MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini…in retrospect this seems the obvious choice as the first M series chip will be the slowest and worst performing M chip they will ever introduce…past history with the A series  tells us that M2, M3, and so on will just grow from here. At the event…Apple also announced that you could order the new hardware the day after the event and it would ship 1 week later.

So…slight fast forward to this week and actual shipping production hardware is in the hands of review folks…and what do we have. Although things are early…all of the reviews have pretty much been spectacular.

Despite these being the low end laptops with the slowest M chip the will ever exist…the new hardware outperforms every other Mac laptop ever and every Mac ever except for the two high end desktops. Battery life is about 50% better than the identical laptop except for processor models they replaced. 

Essentially…all of the reviewers…even those that are not particularly Apple fans…are…wow, these things are fast.

There’s not very much Mac software that’s specifically written for the new processor released yet…so in order to get around that problem Apple shipped a translator capability named Rosetta 2 with the new hardware…Rosetta 2 essentially translates any old Intel programs on the fly into the new ARM based M1 instruction set and then runs the translated code…as anyone familiar with code translation (as opposed to recompilation into new dedicated code) can tell you generally translated code is larger in size and slower to execute than non translated code. Despite this…the translated Intel code runs between 1.5 and 2 times as fast as the original code ran on the replaced Intel machines.

If we were in the market for new hardware…we would be on these like white on rice…but Neil as the head of the IT department says we’re waiting on the M2 and the updated MacBook Pro for his use. He offered Connie one of the new Airs…but she rarely uses her laptop these days as she relies almost exclusively on her iPad for her computer needs…so she said that unless it dies she’s not ready to replace her laptop…although she did put a new iPad on her Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary list as all of those happen between now and the end of the year.

OK…enough of that…Interesting things found on the net.

Everybody thinks the moon is pretty close to earth but when you come down to it the earth is 8,000 miles in diameter and the moon is 250,000 miles away or about 31 earth diameters. To give you a little bit of scale on that…on the far left in the image below is the earth and the far right is the moon with the correct scale for distance. Neglecting gravitational issues which would prevent this from actually happening…you could actually line up all of the other planets between the earth the moon.

FitPlanets

One that might only be of interest to me…the largest submarine the US has built is the Ohio class SSBN the displaces about 18,000 tons antis 560 feet long. The Soviets built one the US designated Typhoon which is about 48,000 tons and 574 feet…it is much wider than the Ohios are. One might wonder just how big a 48,000 ton submarine is…this is one of the best pictures illustrating that…note the sailor sitting on top of the shroud around the port (left side) screw. That’s a seriously big ship…nothing compared to a carrier or supertanker of course but still big.

TyphoonSSBN

SpitOnAHankerchief

CovidExamNotes

SpellingMatters

Pundemic

WhyItIsCalledAPandemic

PeeCleansToilet

HomeSchoolMissedBus

BuiltMyselfADoberman

And the best one of the week.

Deuterostomes

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Technology | Leave a comment

Voter ID Laws

Before getting into the actual post itself…I just wanted to comment on the current brouhaha over the election. 

Yes…it appears that Mr. Biden will be the winner.

No…he hasn’t won yet. That hasn’t stopped him from saying he’s the winner or the media from saying he’s the winner.

Yes…the President is filing various legal challenges…as is his right.

Yes…the GSA has not yet released transition funds to Mr. Biden for his use but the head of the GSA has stated when he is the official winner based on state certified totals she will do so. In 2000…when FL was in dispute…transition funds were not released until early December…so claiming that not releasing them on the 11th of November will cripple the incoming administration seems to be overkill.

What we’re really seeing here…by all sides…is what we used to call “dick moves”. They’re all being difficult just because they can be.

I even saw a claim that because the President hasn’t conceded Mr. Biden can’t get Secret Service protection…although he’s had it ever since he became the presumptive nominee.

Mr. Biden has not yet started receiving classified intelligence briefings…because he’s not the winner yet according to the White House. This will supposedly keep Mr. Biden’s administration from hitting the ground running.

Mr. Biden has labeled the lack of a concession speech as “embarrassing”…I wonder if he feels the same way about Stacey Abrams or Mr. Gore in 2000 as noted in the next paragraph.

I see many outraged WAMM articles about the President not conceding yet…but let me remind you that Stacey Abrams has still not conceded the governor’s race in Georgia from two years ago…and Mr. Gore did not concede in 2000 until after the SCOTUS ruled on his suit over the Florida recount. Will the President ever concede? Who knows…it’s not really required and doesn’t make any difference in the long run. Most losing politicians do concede…but then the President isn’t…and has never been…a politician.

This will all play out folks…whoever lost was going to file lots of legal challenges…if you don’t believe that Mr. Biden would be doing the same thing then I’ve got some swamp land and a bridge to sell you. Despite the claims of…blue wave…this was actually a pretty close election…and assuming that things play out as they seem they will…a Democratic White House and a Republican Senate will be forced to compromise with each other in order to get things done…and in my opinion compromise is a good thing. The whack job progressives like AOC and the whack job far right wingers do not represent anything close to a majority of the people in the country despite all their foot stamping and breath holding until they get their way.

The EC will meet and vote in December and I’m sure that the states will have certified their winners by then…and if legal challenges are still ongoing each state has it’s own way of determining who their electors will vote for…and the Constitution provides for what happens if the EC is unable for whatever reason to choose a President.

So…take a deep breath…remember we’re all Americans…and it will work out however it is going to work out. 

OK…earlier this week THK (their human kid) retweeted the following.

Thread. This is why people asking for voter ID laws are always viewed as suspect. And rightfully so. twitter.com/michaelharriot…

Essentially he retweeted a liberal who has proved…at least according to him (some guy named Michael Harriot)…that the sole reason for voter ID laws is to keep black and brown people from voting.

Neil responded to THK that this was utter bullshit…THK’s response was 

Not everybody drives. Not everybody needs a state ID. Just because it’s easy for you and me to get the proper ID doesn’t mean it’s easy for others.

Rather than have a long debate over twitter since the character limit makes intelligent discourse almost impossible…Neil told THK he would post here and give THK the opportunity to be our very first guest post blogger if THK is interested.

So…before ‘splaining how Harriot has misrepresented facts…let’s talk about why we have laws in the first place.

The purpose of a voter ID law is not to make sure that the person voting is a US citizen…that gets handled by the folks who actually registered him/her to vote…poll workers are mostly volunteers who have neither the training or legal responsibility to verify that a voter is actually a citizen. What presenting your ID at the polls does is a couple of things. First…it makes sure that when you say you’re Joe Schmow of such and such an address…they verify that you actually are Joe Schmow and the you’re on the registered voter list. If not…and if your state allows same day registration…the poll worker allows you to submit a provisional ballot and then they mark you in the voter database as having voted.

That’s it.

The Constitution provides that each and every citizen is allowed to vote and is allowed to vote once and only once…voter ID at the polls helps make sure that you don’t obtain and submit an absentee/mail-in ballot and then go to the polls and vote again. Without ID…you can say you’re anybody, John Smith for instance of such and such different address…and then you can vote twice.

One of the main straw man arguments that liberals make against voter ID is the there are very few instances of voter fraud. In actuality…there are very few instances of proven voter fraud that resulted in indictment/conviction…but the number of convictions says nothing about the actual level of fraud. I’m quite sure that there is fraud in just about every election…and that if the fraudster is any good at it they don’t get caught…but the fact is that nobody knows how much actually happens.

My personal guess is that it’s a lot more than the essentially zero that the Democrats claim and a lot less than the hundreds of thousands that the other side claims…but it’s not negligible. I also think that…for a national election…any fraud doesn’t really change the outcome since most of those races are decided by many thousands of votes. Yes…I know that FL in 2000 was decided by 527 votes…but that’s really an outlier…the closest state in the 2020 election is GA I think which has a margin of 15,000 or so.

So…if proven fraud is low…why do we need a law to make sure fraud doesn’t happen?

Again…the answer is simple. We need these laws for the same reason we need every other law…to prevent some bad outcome from happening by programming the system around it.

Seat belt laws, speed limits, age requirements to buy alcohol or cigarettes…every one of those laws are designed to prevent undesirable consequences. Democrats don’t seem to have any issue with those laws…so why are they against voter ID? Seems to me that if voter ID laws are designed to ensure that only citizens vote and each one only votes once…if you’re against that law perhaps it’s because you want non citizens to vote or voters to vote more than once.

Ya see…the system makes plenty of mistakes. For instance…when Neil was a card carrying uniformed member of Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club…he and Connie retained FL citizenship and voter registration because FL doesn’t have any state income tax. So along comes 1991 when Neil retired from there and got a civilian job up in VA. At that point…they became VA citizens and registered to vote and pay taxes in VA. Nonetheless…for at least 20 years they still got ballots from Palm Beach County here in FL including the much maligned hanging chad ballots from the 2020 election. So…they coulda voted both in VA and FL for years…never did since that’s dishonest but with no check between the states and no voter ID the possibility was there.

According to Democrats…having to have an ID to vote presents an onerous burden…but only on black and brown people. Pink and yellow people don’t seem to have this problem according to Democrats…but those evil Republicans who don’t want black or brown people to vote engineer these laws specifically to vote.

So…let’s consider what else you need an ID for…because one of the arguments against voter ID is that not everybody has one. This isn’t a complete list…I only considered relatively common things.

  • Driving a car
  • Renting a car…although if you don’t have a drivers license then renting a car is probably not an issue
  • Buying cigarettes
  • Buying your medical marijuana
  • Filling out the insurance paperwork for your visit to the health clinic or hospital
  • Buying your Colt 45 Malt Liquor, Ripple, Boones Farm or whatever else you choose to drink
  • Opening a bank account
  • Withdrawing money from your bank account
  • Applying for a credit card
  • Using said credit card…in some places with high crime rates using a card means the merchant will require you to provide ID
  • Applying for a passport
  • Registering vote
  • Getting a job…your employer has to fill out the I-9 form to verify you’re a legal resident or citizen and not an illegal alien
  • Cashing your paycheck from said job…most businesses pay you with a check except for those that mostly employ illegal aliens…and they’re not allowed to vote anyway.
  • Buying the firearm your 2nd amendment right allows you to have
  • Buying ammo for said firearm
  • Getting into a movie rated X or R or whatever the relevant ratings are these days…haven’t been to a movie in so long that I don’t know what they are anymore
  • Proving you’re eligible for the Senior Discount
  • Picking up your prescription from CVS or Rite Aid that your doctor phoned in for you
  • Getting your flu vaccine or CoViD vaccine
  • Getting into the bar for a drink
  • Proving you can legally order that beer with your meal at Waffle House
  • Getting onto a train other than local transit
  • Getting onto an airplane
  • Crossing the border into Mexico or Canuckistan…yes, this only applies to a limited number of the population who might live reasonably close to the border but the number still has to be millions at a minimum…Buffalo NY which is right on the border has over 250,000 by itself.
  • Buying a bus ticket on Greyhound…which if you don’t have a drivers license and need to go 2 states over is a likely choice for transportation there and back.
  • Getting into the casino
  • Buying your lottery ticket…although buying one it might not be required but redeeming a winning one certainly requires an ID as they need to send you a 1099 to document your winnings for your tax return. I don’t buy lottery tickets so have no first hand experience on that one.
  • Filing for unemployment
  • Filing for Social Security benefits…or for that matter welfare or just about any of the other entitlements
  • Visiting your friends in a gated community with entrance security
  • A cop who happens to stop you for any valid reason…refusal to identify yourself to the police is a crime in just about every jurisdiction

Now I haven’t heard a whole bunch of Democrat whining that having to present and ID for the list of things above presents some unreasonable burden for black and brown people…and a great number of black and brown people fall into the categories above…so if they’ve got an ID for whatever it is…they’ve got an ID to vote.

Another argument the Democrats make is that voter ID is too hard. Well…we have it here in FL and I have to tell you it took Neil all of 20 seconds to get his identification verified and proceed on to vote last week. Connie took a couple of minutes because she had trouble making her signature match the one on file…it took 3 tries before the poll worker decided it was close enough and allowed her to proceed. Nonetheless…we were in and out of our precinct in less than 10 minutes…and the line in front of us consisted of exactly…zero…people…nobody. When we voted up in VA before hitting the road and voting absentee through Idaho for most of our RV life…even though there was no official voter ID law in effect the poll worker asked you for an ID to look you up on the voter rolls…and of all the times we voted there neither of us ever remembers any voter saying they didn’t have one. On several occasions our neighbor was the poll worker and she looked us up without asking for ID…but she knew who we were already…the ID request was simply to make finding and verifying your name and address easier for the poll worker.

Down here in FL…you need to present a current and valid photo ID with signature on it…and the following documents are acceptable.

Florida driver’s license
Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
United States passport
Debit or credit card
Military identification
Student identification
Retirement center identification
Neighborhood association identification
Public assistance identification
Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
License to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06
Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county, or a municipality.
If your photo ID does not include your signature, you will be asked to provide another ID

In addition…you have to be a registered voter…and your citizenship in the US is verified by the folks that handled your registration.

That seems like a pretty comprehensive list to me.

In TX…one of the states where the Democrats managed to get the voter ID law blocked this year…the following are acceptable.

TX Drivers license

TX Election ID Certificate

TX Personal ID card

TX Handgun license

US Citizenship certificate with photo

US Military ID card with photo

US Passport

Certified US domestic birth certificate or court admissible birth document

Current utility bill

Bank statement

Government check

Paycheck

Government document with name and address…this includes your Voter Registration Certificate.

Even in NC…another state where they managed to get the law blocked…

NC Driver’s License, Learner’s Permit, or Provisional License
Special Identification card (NC DMV ID Card)
US Passport
US Military Identification card

US Veterans Identification card issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
Tribal enrollment card issued by a federally-recognized tribeTribal enrollment card issued by a NC-recognized tribe, signed by an elected tribal official,
and compliant with G.S. § 163-166.13

Out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator’s identification card (BUT only if the voter
registers to vote in the county within 90 days of the election)

In fact…in just about all of the states that have a voter ID law…the state will provide one at the DMV for a pretty minimal fee…you show up with your birth certificate and they give you an ID that looks pretty much like a drivers license.

So…if we all agree that voting is the most important duty a citizen has…what’s the hard spot with making sure that only citizens vote and they only vote once each. We don’t need to prove that voter fraud exists in order to try and prevent it…any more than we need to prove that minors shouldn’t be able to buy alcohol before trying to prevent it.

Ok…that’s all the arguments for voter ID…so let’s look at a few of the arguments against it…for that we’ll go back to the tweet thread diatribe by the aforementioned Mr. Harriot.

To start…just who is this guy. Well…he is…accordion to wikipedia and his twitter bio…Senior Writer at The Root which is a black oriented online magazine. 

As an aside…why is it not racist for there to be a black oriented online magazine while if there was a white oriented online magazine it would be pilloried by the WAMM and the owners/authors subject to cancelation. According to the interwebs…racism is 

Treating people differently based on their race

Discriminating against people based on their race

So why…if it’s OK to have a “black magazine” would a white one be racist and the black one just fine. I’ve no idea…but I digress from Mr. Harriot’s screed so back to it.

Bold faced stuff is from the screed…the non bold faced stuff after each quote is my analysis

Would you agree to a law that required you to get a blood test every time you used the bathroom? How about a law that required you to slice one millimeter off your penis every time you used ketchup? I bet you’re thinking “But those laws have no point.” EXACTLY

Those laws would be meaningless…but making sure that each and every authorized citizen votes only once does have a point as discussed above…another strawman argument.

Every single large-scale peer reviewed study ever conducted says voter fraud does not exist on a meaningful scale. Dating back to 1982, there have been less than 500 prosecutions. If we multiplied that by the literal billions of votes cast…

As noted above…strawman argument. We don’t need to have proven fraud in order to try and prevent it…any more than we need to prove the need for any other law…laws are to prevent bad outcomes from happening and set consequences if you do those bad things.

Which begs the question, why do voter ID laws exist? To keep Black people from voting

Again…Mr. Harriot presenting “facts” with no evidence. This is pretty much the same as what the WAMM is claiming the President is doing about the current election…look at any news web site and you’ll find dozens or articles claiming he’s doing this.

A federal court said this was the intent of Texas’s voter ID law 

Yes…a single federal judge who is a registered Democrat who just happens to be one of those brown people and appointed by a Democrat President said this…but that doesn’t make it true. 

An entirely different federal court said this about NC’s voter ID law:

Again…a single Democrat judge who happens to be one of those black people and who was appointed by a Democratic President…but again that doesn’t make it true.

Ok…enough of that. As you can see…Mr. Harriot twists the facts to suit his bias…which is that all voter ID laws are inherently racist. I could have gone on with more examples but other than the…probably…correct claims of limited proven fraud there are very few actual facts in his screed.

He did go on about how Alabama’s voter ID law requires an ID issued by the DMV and how immediately after the law was passed the state closed all the DMV offices in black/brown neighborhoods…again, no facts or link to validate that as an actual fact…I briefly looked but only found claims that stated that with no verifiable facts. In fact…Alabama allows 15 different photo IDs to be used to identify the voter as being who he/she says they are. Even if some DMV offices were closed…the news stories I found stated that they were closed as a budgetary move by the state and no verifiable information that this wasn’t correct was presented. However…I agree that it is possible that this was some sort of insidious attempt to keep black and brown people from voting…I find it unlikely that it is true but it is within the realm of possibility.

Oh yeah…forgot to mention his other qualifications from his twitter bio…according to it he is a “board-certified Wypipologist and master race-baiter”. For those of you who…like me…have no idea what a Wypipologist is…it is a black person who studies white people and knows exactly how they think and why they think…so that they can ‘splain it to everybody else.

Yep…right there he admits to being racist so pretty much everything he says is intended to reinforce his views. He’s entitled to his views…but that doesn’t make them correct.

I did take a look at his “news” site or black oriented online magazine or whatever you call it. The Root was founded by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Donald E. Graham in 2008 and since both of those gentlemen have reputable credentials as credible journalists I assume the site started off just fine. However…in 2015 it was sold to Gizmodo Media Group…which seems fine until you notice that Gizmodo is the new name of the Gawker Group which published all sorts of newspapers and magazines that you typically would pick up at the check out stand in the grocery store…no truth or credibility at all and in fact Gawker was sued out of existence as a result of the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit. No matter…they just changed the name to protect the guilty, bought a reputable named magazine, and continued their assault on the good name of actual journalists.

You can take at look at the site of The Root if you want…but you’ll be offended most likely. I did review a bunch of their articles to see if they had anything worthwhile to read…and Mr. Harriot’s twitter bio as a race-baiter is right on target with the drivel the publish.

Now that I’ve talked about why voter ID laws are a good thing…perhaps we ought to consider how to best implement them. Since two individual federal judges have found them discriminatory, instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water how about we improve them to make them work.

We would need a constitutional amendment to really fix the problem because it leaves the selection of electors to the states…it says “legislature” but an opinion from the late RGB interpreted legislature to mean “state government as a whole”. I disagree with that interpretation of the word legislature but until SCOTUS overturns the opinion it remains precedent so I’ll go with it for now.

The problem with leaving federal election law up to the states is that every state does it differently…and one could make an argument that this violates the equal treatment clause in the Constitution. So in my opinion the amendment should specify the minimum set of rules for federal elections. Voter ID should be mandatory except for mail-in ballots and those should require a signature match to ensure that the voter who’s name is on the outer envelope is actually the voter he/she claims to be. A standardized set of documents to be used to register to vote should be established so as to determine citizenship. A second set of standardized documents…longer than that needed to verify citizenship…should be established to determine correct identity at the polls so we know who voted. Thirdly…absentee/mail in ballots should not be counted ahead of time as there’s no way to ensure that a person doesn’t both mail one in and then go to the polls otherwise. Precinct voting lists should be used to eliminate double votes before the mail-in ones are counted. Yes…this would delay the results a bit but in the interest of fair elections it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

It may be true that some people don’t drive but given the relatively extensive list of things you need an ID for presented above…it is unlikely that there are very many people that don’t fall into any of those categories.

Finally…news organizations should be prohibited from calling the results of a race ahead of official announcements by the individual states. I realize this is slightly limiting the “freedom of the press”…but in reality it isn’t any different than the calls by the anti gun crowd to limit the “shall not be infringed”…but it seems that Democrats are only interested in limiting constitutional rights they don’t like. This last one is important because I keep seeing in the news that “Joe Biden is the President-elect”…when in fact he has not achieved that yet. He appears to be the eventual winner and I’m not joining in the President’s claims of fraud…but in the US the news media doesn’t declare the winner. The winner is determined…eventually…by the Electoral College…but the release of certified results by states that result in 270 electoral votes being pledged to him will make him the President-elect. Our opinion is that he will be the winner…but until any recounts are conducted and any legal cases settled declaring him the winner by the media doesn’t make it so.

OK THK…over to you. That’s the argument for voter ID laws and if you send me a rebuttal post I’ll be happy to put it up. However…you need to stick to actual facts and not sensationalism or opinion or strawman arguments. 

Cyas.

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

Ooh-Rah

Today…November 10…is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps…which in our opinion has the highest esprit de corps of any military organization in the US and probably the entire world.

For most of us who served in other branches of the military…we generally refer to ourselves as being former Naval officers or whatever…however as any Marine will tell you…”There is no such thing as a former Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Interesting tidbit to illustrate their dedication to their organization.

Way back when…Neil was in Officer Candidate School up in Newport RI…and back in those days the gate security at every Navy base was provided by Marines. This has since changed and now only those bases with nuclear weapons on the base are generally guarded by Marines while others get mostly active duty sailors assigned to the base garrison or in a few cases rent-a-cops…but I digress from my story.

Back in those days…the Marines at the gate of Navy Base Newport wore a uniform that included a red coat with crossed white straps on the chest and a big silver buckle right in the middle of the X where the straps crossed. Being Marines…this buckle was completely scratch free, fingerprint free, and polished to a degree that the mirror in your bathroom probably provided a worse reflection.

One night…as Neil and some of his buddies were coming back from liberty they stopped at the gate and having had a couple of beers they were a little less inhibited than they otherwise might have been. Neil was in the front passenger seat and the midshipman who was driving asked the Marine at the gate who was probably a Sargent or Staff Sargent whether Marines polished the back side of their belt buckles. The Marine answered “Of course.”…with a slight almost smile and a tone of voice that inferred “why are you asking me such an obvious question?”. Being somewhat less inhibited than normal as previously noted…the driver asked “Why, since nobody can see it?”

The Marine…with a completely dead pan expression on his face…replied…”You wipe your butt, don’t you?”…and we rolled on into the base to head to the rack. Neil coulda swore he heard snickering and laughter as we rolled away…but then Marines are serious folk and surely would never laugh while on guard duty…the Gunny would definitely frown on that.

For those of you who’ve never actually called the headquarters of the USMC…if you did so then you would have gotten their answering machine first with the typical set of options depending on who you needed to talk to. 

If you click on this link…you’ll be able to hear the
USMC Answering Machine Message
.

Another interesting story ‘bout the Marines.

Neil’s father was in the Marines during WWII…but did not make a career out of it.

Way back when…even before Neil was up at Newport…Connie who was dating him at the time came up to Neil’s house for spring break or some break from classes at the University of Miami. At the time…all she knew about his father was that he was a Marine during WWII and was stationed in the South Pacific.

While they were there…he went up into the attic to retrieve something or other for whoever needed it at the time…and Connie followed him up there to see what sort of family heirlooms might be lurking. As part of her poking around…she ran across a Japanese katana…that’s the long killing sword that samurai warriors carried. Here’s a picture of the actual katana she found as it is now in Neil’s possession.

Katana

The reason for the only partial withdrawal is that when a samurai allowed somebody to view his sword he only partially withdrew it from the scabbard…the only time it was fully drawn was just before he hacked you to pieces with it. An interesting point about the katana as oppose to English or French broadswords is that it is a slicing weapon instead of a hacking/chopping weapon. The longsword blade is straight and impacted the enemy (unless he was stabbed with the point) straight on like an ax and required a great deal of force to kill an enemy…as a result the broadsword is long and much heavier than a katana. Slicing weapons on the other hand…like the katana and the scimitar that Middle East soldiers used…slide along the enemy’s body and slice rather than chop. As you all know…slicing produces a wound much easier than chopping…this is why you can get a paper cut if the edge slides along your skin. Thus…a much lighter katana usually does more damage per hit on the enemy…and being lighter you can get in many more attacks before getting tired.

That’s a real one…not one of the reproduction dummies…and it’s mighty sharp despite being going on 75 years old and it was likely a common soldier’s weapon…an officer would have had one with a more highly decorated scabbard.

But again…I digress…so back to the story.

When Connie found the katana she asked where it came from so Neil spun her this story about how his father single handedly repelled a banzai attack on Guam and took it off a dead Japanese solder. She seemed impressed and we went on back to the University of Miami. She then proceeded to tell her friends and family how her boyfriend had a war hero father.

It was many years later when she found out the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.

True…Neil’s father was a Marine and was in the South Pacific during the war but despite his story about the sword he actually acquired the katana during a visit to Japan after the war was over and before he came back to the US. In reality…his father was never in combat although he was trained for it…if you remember the character Radar from the Series MASH…well Neil’s father was essentially Radar for a rear echelon administrative unit.

She’s never forgiven him for it.

The Marine Corps was established on November 10, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress who authorized

That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.

The birthplace of the Corps was the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia where the first Marines enlisted under the first Commandant Samuel Nicholas…although it is possible that there was an earlier recruiting drive at the Conestoga Waggon…a tavern owned by the family of Samuel Nicholas.

To this day…and it’s a point of pride to Marines so that it is one of their sayings…”Every Marine is a rifleman first.” Even those who serve in administrative posts, maintenance groups, or fly planes are trained in infantry tactics and learn to shoot and shoot well…or else they don’t get to be Marines.

Anyway…Happy 245th Birthday to the USMC…Ooh Rah and Semper Fi. Today…as on every other November 10…wherever Marines are there will be an official USMC Birthday Ball…beef is always served and paraded in with bagpipes and all the other hoopla…Neil and Connie have been to numerous of these balls over his years on active duty as Navy folk are generally invited as well since the Marines are officially part of the Navy Department since back in the day they were transported to and from their missions by the Navy. We know…the Marines do know how to party and to this day remain an essential part of our military. No matter how many high altitude bombing missions you execute…and no matter how many cruise missiles you launch from offshore…eventually you have to occupy ground to win the war and that generally means Marines charging up the hill and sticking their bayonets into the enemy…and I’m mighty glad we have those guys on our side.

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Homebody | Leave a comment

It Was Quicker Than I Thought

First up…congratulations to President-elect Biden…he won and although there will be some more ongoing court cases I don’t think they will change the outcome…the President will run into the same issue that Gore ran into years ago in that courts are unlikely to change the outcome.

So…what does the election mean? A few thoughts.

There’s no mandate or blue wave despite what you read in the news. Mr. Biden won the 4 swing states that gave him the 270 EC votes he needs by about 88,000 votes total with those states having about 15 million total votes cast…so he won those states by about 0.6%. While there’s been no final EC count yet due to several uncalled states…he will likely end up with 300-310 EC votes and the President about 230-240. I’m sure that the Democrats will declare the EC vote to be their mandate…but then this is the same EC that they have decried as being unfair and illegitimate for the past 4 years. Popular vote wise…he won by about 4 million with 150 million votes cast for a margin of 2.8% so even the meaningless popular vote doesn’t support mandate or wave claims.

The Democrats will end up losing 8 to 15 seats in the House and will most likely not take control of the Senate…so again…the predicted blue wave didn’t happen. There’s already a whole bunch of internal squabbling in the party over whose fault the results are…most centrist Democrats are blaming the progressive/liberal/Green New Deal crowd which I think is the primary cause but folks like AOC are claiming that it isn’t the progressives fault but rather the poor campaigns run by Democrats that lost.

What I really think is that overall the country really prefers divided government since the USA is mostly a center to center-right country. Having one party in complete control of legislature and executive would just give free reign to the nutcases in each party to implement policies that aren’t mostly center-ish. Control of the Senate in Republican hands will likely force Mr. Biden to have cabinet choices, legislative efforts, and judges that are a lot closer to center than Ms. Harris, Warren, and AOC will demand. That’s a good thing. Control of the Senate will also put the kibosh on idiotic ideas promoted by the far left like court packing and term limits for SCOTUS…which again is a good thing since it would just result in tit for tat counter idiotic ideas when next the Republicans are in charge…and it will also kill the statehood idea for Washington DC and Puerto Rico as those are just Senate packing ideas. DC doesn’t have the land area or tax base to realistically be a state…and Puerto Rico should be given the opportunity to become independent or a state if we’re going to make a decision on them; the referendum which barely passed only had statehood as an option. Me…I think it’s time to let Puerto Rico go independent much like the Philippines did…and rather than statehood for DC they should be assigned to MD as a congressional district and to MD (or VA to split the idea) for Senate voting. Originally, both VA and MD gave parts of their land to become DC…but the capital was only built on the MD side and the VA land returned to VA…that’ why the District is diamond shaped on the eastern side and river shaped on the western side. The issue is that the Constitution says that Senators and Representatives are assigned to states…so it would take a constitutional amendment to achieve this goal…and while amendments are deliberately hard to produce I think an amendment that did this would pass…because it is fair to the voters in DC but doesn’t really give either party a political advantage. It would put one more almost guaranteed House seat in the Democratic column but allowing them to vote for one of the Senate races in both MD and VA seems pretty fair and not politically advantageous to either side to me overall. However…this idea requires common sense and the ability to compromise which are both in scarce supply in our politics these days.

Mr. Biden said yesterday that it’s time to heal…in my idea he should issue a preemptive pardon to the President and should lean on NY to leave it alone as well…both in the interest of moving forward and in the interest of not having his entire term taken up by endless coverage of legal battles…especially as Mr. Biden has skeletons in his closet as well (Hunter Biden and Tara Reid for instance). At this point…it would be almost impossible to seat an unbiased jury for any proceedings against the President…because there aren’t any potential jurors who haven’t already made up their minds.

Let’s not forget my prediction placeholder from back on Aug 19…I’m still not ready to get into detail for that one yet but the thoughts that led me to establish that placeholder are still valid in my mind

I wonder too whether Mr. Biden hasn’t just taken the progressives for a ride. After he clinched the nomination…he said and did a lot of things that sounded progressive…but Really wonder how much he actually believed and would do what he said. He could not have won the election without the support of the far left voters…so he needed to say whatever he needed to say to get them to come out and vote. However…throughout his time in the Senate and as VP…he has a reputation as a negotiator and bipartisan let’s get some of what both sides want…we won’t know until later but I personally think that he will be a lot more that way than the out there with the Green New Deal crowd.

Will he solve the corona? I know he’s made all these grandiose statements about what he will do…but by and large what he’s said he will do is pretty much what the current administration has already been doing…largely public health is more of a state responsibility. Whoever the President is…he can’t order a national mask mandate…it isn’t within his power. I grant you…he will sound a lot more presidential than his predecessor but I’m not convinced that anything material will change. The corona will be with us until (a) we get a vaccine, (b) we reach herd immunity, or (c) it runs through the susceptible population and dies out on it’s own as pandemics (Spanish flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, et. al.) have in the past. That’s really what it will take…and none of the hand waving that “I’ll immediately solve this problem” means anything. What Republican control of the Senate means is that any relief stimulus bill will likely not include extreme bailouts for blue states that have mismanaged their finances and given far too many gold plated pension plans to their workers. I’m happy if NY and CA want to overspend their income and need to raise state taxes to support their welfare pyramids…but states who have been fiscally wiser like FL should not be punished by having our federal taxes bail them out…if NY is out of money then NY needs to raise state income tax or state income somehow.

One thing I believe will happen though. I think the Republicans will to the large extent give Mr. Biden the respect of the office that was so lacking from the other side the last 4 years. Decades ago…once a winner was declared the country got behind him and he was Our President…not the Republican’s or Democrat’s President. Sadly…and to our detriment that is no longer the case…and it seems the past 4 years have been the worst of it. It started during President Obama’s administration…but even though the other side was against him by and large they gave him the respect the office deserved. Round these parts…we will do just that until Mr. Biden demonstrates he is not worthy of it rather than de line to do just because.

Let’s see…what else.

We’re headed off to the Elks tonight for a wine tasting…essentially a nice food spread and a bunch of wine to sample. Most of our wine these days comes in a box…they have improved tremendously over the last decade or so and many of them are quite tasty and last a lot longer than a half consumed bottle does in the fridge.

Neil needs to take Li’l Red off to the Mazda dealer Monday for an oil change…we’ll be in the midst of Tropical Storm Eta being off the Florida Keys but here in North Fort Myers we’ll just see some rain (4-8 inches over Monday and Tuesday) and winds in the 30s with gusts to the upper 40s late Monday evening. Not much of a deal to us although those on the coast might see some localized storm surge as it passes. We’ll be fine we think…we’ll put our blow-around-able stuff from the lanai into the garage today, we have bottled water, a generator, gas for the generator, and plenty of toilet paper and food. From talking to our neighbors…during the past 2 hurricanes that actually made landfall near here in the last decade or so…there was no flooding at all and the neighborhood never lost power since all our lines are underground and the transmission lines aren’t really much susceptible to storm damage due to their height off the ground. It is the intermediate distribution lines that get trashed by falling trees and Magnolia Landing has it’s own substation directly from the feeder lines then underground in the neighborhood. We do need to run down and pick up a few groceries today though…although there’s nothing critical.

We did have a new visitor to the pond out back this week…as the weather has gotten colder up in the Arctic north of Jacksonville we have seen most of our old faves…2 of our 3 gators, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Try-color or Louisiana Heron…but this week we had a female Anhinga. Anhinga are in the same family as cormorants are but are larger…about 15 pound turkey sized plus their neck which as you can see is long and snake like, very similar to the loon. Frequently when swimming Anhinga have their whole body submerged and just their head and neck out of the water. The fawn colored neck and breast is the female as compared to the all black male…both have the black and white checked wing pattern.

D75 6183

D75 6181

D75 6188

D75 6189

Interesting things found on the net.

You may have seen the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” yesterday…this is the annual Georgia-Florida football game that is always played in Jacksonville. Anyways…Georgia lost…badly…which gives them 2 beat down losses for the year and likely puts Florida into the SEC championship game against Alabama in December. In recognition of the outcome of the game…

GANationalChamps GANationalChamps2

The Georgia coach is Kirby Smart…who used to be the defensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama…and while he’s an outstanding defensive guy he really doesn’t know beans about offense and in our opinion doesn’t really know how to be the head coach either.

Our friends sends us a lot of our funny images these days…here are a few regarding 2020 via Cat…

2020BackToTheFuture 2020Wisdom 2020CauseOfDeathCovid 2020Trikini 2020OnePic 2020TPShortage 2020ScentedCandle

And finally…the best of the bunch so far…

2020Mayhem

Cyas.

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

Looks Like I Wuz Right

The Presidential election is a lot closer than we thought. Here’s what we know so far.

The President did way better than any of the state by state polls said.

He won Florida which was supposed to be a Biden win…essentially on the votes of Hispanics and people of color in the eastern population centers according to the news.

The polls were BEP.

There was no Blue Wave…looks like the Republicans will hold the Senate at this point…in the remaining uncalled Senate races the Republican candidate is ahead in all 4…including one with a Democratic incumbent. In the last remaining Senate race…in the open primary in GA the Democrat candidate came in first with 32% and the two Republican candidates have 26% and 20%…the Democrat and the 26% Republican (Senator Loeffler) advance to a runoff in early January. Presumably the 20% that voted for the second Republican candidate (Doug Collins) will vote for Loeffler…so she will likely be favored in the runoff.

Both Presidential candidates have viable paths through the remaining half dozen states to get the 270 EC votes necessary.

The popular vote…simply doesn’t matter…it is…I think irrelevant is the word I’m looking for. Talking about it is…as I said before…saying the Yankees won the 1960 World Series because they scored more total runs than the Pittsburgh Pirates did. Unfortunately…total runs ain’t the way it works…you need to win 4 games and the Pirates won the series 4 games to 3. If progressives don’t like the Electoral College…go ahead and follow the deliberately difficult path to amend the Constitution and change it. The likelihood of that amendment ever getting the 38 states it needs for ratification is pretty low as all of the fly over states in the middle of the country populated by chumps (as Mr. Biden said last weekend) who are clinging to their religion and guns (as Ms. Clinton said 4 years back) are extremely unlikely to agree to give up any voice in Presidential elections. If the popular vote people get their way…the President will be elected by CA, NY, OH, FL, and TX…none of the other states will ever see a campaign stop again. Of course…there’s the 2/3 requirement of either all the states (only 34) or 2/3 of both houses of Congress (67 Senators and 291 Representatives)…either of those is just about as difficult. Yes…I know progressives want to abolish the EC and use popular vote…but unless you can convince a significant majority of the country that the Constitution needs amending it isn’t supposed to happen…this prevents wacko ideas from either side from making it into the Constitution.

And naturally…there are a whole slew of suits and threats of same, requests for recount and other political BEP…along with a great deal of outrage by the WAMM and media.

In the “What were they thinking?” vein.

Ms. Pelosi
said today
that Amy Comey Barrett is “The president is installing an illegitimate Supreme Court justice just one week before the election.”

Out in Oregon…the
liberal morons decriminalized
 *all*drug possession offenses…so yes, now if you’re caught with heroin, cocaine, meth or any other illegal drug you just get a $100 traffic ticket and fine.

And Joy Reid at MSNBC…yes, the same Joy Reid that has made
homophobic remarks
in the past and then claimed that her account was hacked…and yes, the same Joy Reid that said
9/11 was a hoax
…the same Joy Reid that routinely gets away with unacceptable behavior and statements and is amazingly enough still employed…liberalism is better armor than Iron Man…well, she’s at it again.

Today…she labeled Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas as “
Uncle Clarence
”…a clear reference to the racist Uncle Tom character from the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel…and said that it is clear that “Uncle Clarence and Amy Comey Barrett to actually follow the letter of the law?” Actually…I do expect them to do that and rule according to what the Constitution says. 

I can’t find the link again…but one of the WNBA basketball players paid the bail for a person of color who was arrested yesterday for vandalism of a reelection campaign sign for the President. The woman in question was grinning in the photo as she was arrested but the WNBA player paid her bail because I am a black bisexual woman…I understand her pain…and she had every right to destroy that sign.

What are these people thinking?

Nothing new on the home front since yesterday…we’re going down to the Elks Lodge tonight for the meeting and District Deputy visit…one of those show the flag sort of things.

Cyas.

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

Happy Election Day

Or…as Bette Davis once said “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I can’t be the only one tired of both the rampant lying by both sides in today’s election…and I wish that it would be all over after today…but it just won’t.

No matter who the eventual next President is…the other side will likely be rioting…or I guess it would be peaceful demonstrators if the President is reelected or armed right wing anti government militia if he isn’t…at least that’s the way most of the media and WAMM will present it.

In addition…we very likely won’t have a winner today due to counting of absentee/mail-in ballots…and there will be more hue and cry, not to mention dozens of lawsuits filed…over the counting of ballots. I’m guessing that most of these will be filed in federal courts or will eventually make their way there…and I really wish that the SCOTUS would issue some guidance to lower federal courts regarding election laws.

Looking back at the most recent couple dozen cases that made it to federal courts and eventually the SCOTUS…with each side winning some and losing some…I saw an article this week that analyzed not who won and lost but what the decisions actually did…and to me it looks like that article was right. SCOTUS…and Chief Justice Roberts in particular…is attempting to keep the court out of politics. The Chief Justice…in addition to worrying about interpreting the laws and deciding cases…also worries about legacy…or how people will look back on the Roberts court.

Overall…the decisions have pretty much all ruled that states are in charge of election laws and that federal courts have no jurisdiction. This is precisely what the Constitution says in Article II Section 1

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…

This section specifically says that states appoint electors and federal courts or the Congress have no say in the matter.

Further…the decisions have been that state courts have the authority to intervene in election laws. Now to me…that seems wrong as the above Section 1 quote says as the legislature thereof may direct…and by strict reading that means that the state legislatures and specifically not the state courts or state executive branch have this sole power. However…the Chief Justice is pretty much a fan of stare decisis which says that previous court precedents should be respected in adjudicating similar cases…and while I can’t find the right web page again…some years back Justice Ginsburg authored a majority opinion in a case that essentially said that by the word legislature in the above section it really meant state government and not specifically the legislature. She was a loose constructionist…which means that she (and her colleagues) are authorized to interpret the meaning of the words as opposed to just reading what it says. Anyway…I personally disagree with the loose constructionist idea and thinks that the Constitution says what it says…no more and no less…and that legislature means legislature. However…since there is precedent that says it’s the state government then unless SCOTUS overrules the precedent which they did not have enough votes to do after her death and before Justice Barrett was sworn in…that is the precedent and the Chief Justice is enforcing the precedent.

As I said…I don’t think the precedent is right but I can see the reasoning of the court so far. What this means…likely…is that any case that makes it to federal court will be essentially turned back by SCOTUS as “not the federal court’s job” and returned to state jurisdiction where state courts can override the legislature. Again…I don’t think that’s right either…but whatever.

What I’m really going to hate is that…and we know this will be the case…both presidential candidates will launch multiple lawsuits over whatever the results are today. Progressives will scream “every vote must count” at the top of their lungs and conservatives will scream “follow the state election laws on deadlines”. I can really see some validity to both points but…and you heard it here first…the media will inevitably describe these lawsuits differently. Mr. Biden’s suits will be labeled in the media as “heroic defense of democracy, the one person one vote principle, and the opposition to voter suppression”…the President’s will be labeled as “attempts to steal the election” and “a refusal to have a peaceful transfer of power”.

Do we really believe that if the President loses he isn’t going to leave office voluntarily on Jan 20? Of course he will…but I keep seeing articles saying that he won’t leave and will have to be forcefully evicted by the Secret Service or some other unnamed law enforcement personnel…but that’s just a bunch of BEP in my view. Is he going to do everything he can to achieve victory including file lawsuits? Of course he is…but so is the other guy…and let’s call a spade a spade and not try to spin the litigation differently depending on who filed it.

I think it’s going to be very close…and that the polls are off…but that’s just me.

You probably saw the outrage in the media about how the group of Trump supporters in trucks surrounded a Biden campaign bus on the freeway, attempted to force it off the road, and crashed into one of the vehicles in the Biden convoy. Well…I encourage you to go and look at the video. I didn’t see any attempts to force the bus off the road…just a bunch of idiots harassing the other side. The supposed crash…after the video was reviewed by the local law enforcement…well they said that it appears the white vehicle (which was the Biden one) swerved into the black truck (the Trump supporter) which would make it the Biden vehicle’s fault. Neither driver has filed a report or complaint and local law enforcement hasn’t talked to either as of today…but local law enforcement is also not pursuing anything at this point since according to the video the widely media reported attack on the Biden vehicle appeared to be the other way around.

Let’s see…what else is going on. Big Red died last week…wouldn’t start. We had it towed to the dealer and. They’re figuring out what’s up with him…more on that once we know more. The batteries are bad at minimum but he would crank but not start even when we jumped it so there might be something more than that involved. We did get the batteries replaced in Nowheresville, WV in September of 19…but we ended up with cheap batteries from the auto parts store since the Dodge dealer there didn’t have the right ones. They claimed the ones they put in were “the same”…we didn’t really believe that but had no choice in the matter at the time and since they seemed to work fine for the past year had not replaced them with the correct ones.

And up in the state of Virginia…apparently the
law doesn’t matter any more
. In downtown there’s a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond that has a statue of Robert E. Lee on a horse…and naturally the BLM and WAMM want this statue removed because it is “an affront to people of color”. Now I’m not going to argue the merits of having a statue of the man or not…but let’s not forget that the nation’s capital is named after a slave owner and he’s got a really tall obelisk named after him located in a prominent place on the national mall. I’m also not going to argue that racism either exists or no longer exists…frankly there’s a lot of nuance in both that question as well as numerous monuments throughout the country…nor am I going to argue the merits (or not) of reevaluating historical figures based on today’s morals and norms as opposed to those that existed 100 or 200 years ago…because again there’s a lot of nuance in that discussion.

What I am going to argue is that the law…well it’s the law and you don’t get to change it just because.

See…the statue itself was paid for by non-governmental funds, the pedestal it sits on was paid for by non-governmental funds, and the land it stands on was private property as well. Back in 1890…after the statue was installed…it, the pedestal, and the land were deeded over to the state by the original owners…and in the deed issued to the state it specifically says that the pedestal and statue must be maintained by the state “in perpetuity”…that’s what the deed says. The state agreed to maintain the land and statue…period. 

So along comes BLM, George Floyd, the NAACP, and the WAMM…and they decide that they don’t like this statue since it offends them…so the newly elected Democratic governor issues an executive order that it be torn down. Naturally…conservatives didn’t like this and a group of residents along Monument Avenue filed a suit to stop the governor from just ignoring the provisions of the legally executed and agreed to by the state deed. Last week…a state judge ruled that the statue can be removed by gubernatorial order because “enforcing those deeds would be in violation of current public policy” and “the restrictive deeds are not enforceable by this court”.

So…in the state of Virginia…one can have your legal deed overturned because the state doesn’t like it (or you) any more. Doesn’t matter that deeds are legal documents regarding the ownership of property…doesn’t matter what a previous state administration agreed to…if the new guy doesn’t like it…tough, it doesn’t count.

BEP folks.

Interesting things found the net.

Since we changed the clocks back from DST over the past weekend…

I did see one article that claimed that DST was “killing us” as if what time our clocks said has any actual effect on the health and welfare of humans.

StonehengeDST

There’s a lot of truth in this one.

HowToChangeYourClocks

Does everybody remember the first iPhone? This is a picture of it…Apple eventually paid this company to buy the trademark from them.

FirstIPhone

Down in LA (that’s Lower Alabama) where Neil is from…there’s this dish named succotash…this cartoon perfectly captures how disgusting it is.

Succotash

Grilled chicken.

GrilledChicken

New Generation

How your smart watch evaluates your exercise.

GreatRun

This is a Himalayan monal, is the national bird of Nepal…it is a member of the pheasant family…quite a striking bird.

HimalayanMonal

MotherViceGrip

BonelessDonuts

I thought this was interesting. You’ve probably heard of a thing called Pangea…it was a super-continent back that existed from about 335 million to 175 million years ago. All the dry land on earth came together into Pangea before eventually separating due to tectonic plate drift and giving us the continents we have today.

What you might not have known…is that Pangea was just the last super-continent…nobody in our house knew that there had been more than one super-continent back through history…Pangea was actually the last of 10 super-continents that existed on the earth…the earliest one was Vaalbara about 3.6to 2.8 billion years ago through Ur, Arctic, Atlantic, and 6 more of their brethren down through Pangea. Anyway…a cool little tidbit we didn’t know. The shot below shows where current countries was locate on Pangea.

PangeaCountryBoundaries

And finally…

SneakyTree

IveSeenItAll

Cyas.

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

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