67 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-21-17

  1. From last night: Dad (with a little help from me) came up with the single question (algebra word problem) literacy test right before Christmas dinner several years ago. Never one to be reticent, I announced the plan to the entire extended family during dinner. This set off a lively and interesting discussion. My niece, who like Dad is an aeronautical engineer, said nothing, but alternatively glanced at Dad and me with a knowing twinkle in her eye.

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  2. QOD: Is there anything in scripture that indicates God favors democracy, monarchy, oligarchy or other form of government in our current age?

    In a somewhat related matter, Exodus 18 was our Bible Study passage for today.

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  3. God only gave Israel a king, according to 1 Samuel 8, because they demanded one–a marked sign of disrespect. God included a warning, which my husband reminds me of all too often:

    10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king.

    11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them for himself to his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots.

    13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work.

    17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his servants. 18 Then you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you on that day [because you have rejected Him as King].”

    19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 so that we too may be like all the nations [around us], that our king may judge [and govern] us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

    21 Samuel had heard all the words of the people and repeated them [b]to the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their [c]request and appoint a king for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each man to his own city.”

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  4. As SolarPancake said yesterday, Republicans in Congress just can’t get it together.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/american-ceos-send-letter-to-house-kill-the-made-in-america-tax/ar-AAn9RUf?li=BBnbfcL&ocid=U452DHP

    “More than a dozen chief executives from some of the nation’s biggest manufacturing companies called on lawmakers Tuesday to overhaul the corporate tax code and embrace a controversial proposal that would reduce the cost of exports but penalize imports.

    In a letter to House and Senate leadership, they argued that the current tax system penalizes American factory workers and restrains business investment and economic growth. Among the 16 executives who signed the letter are Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing (BA), Jim Umpleby of Caterpillar (CAT), Thomas Kennedy of Raytheon (RTN) and Gregory Hayes of United Technologies (UTX).”
    —————–
    ‘The letter underscores the deep division within the business community as Washington debates the most sweeping changes to the American tax system in more than 30 years.

    The companies backing the letter are part of the newly formed American Made Coalition and would benefit from the proposal championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.”
    ——————

    “The plan faces significant opposition from the retail industry, however, and top executives from Best Buy, Target and Gap, among others, flew to Washington last week to press their case at the White House and on Capitol Hill. They have warned the proposal would raise their costs — and, by extension, prices for consumers. And they have established their own lobbying group, the Coalition for Affordable Products.

    In addition, Ryan’s proposal has received a lukewarm reception in the Senate so far. At least two Republicans, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and David Perdue of Georgia, have come out against it. About half a dozen others have said they have significant concerns about how the system would work in practice, jeopardizing Republicans’ ability to garner the simple majority required for legislation to pass in Senate under budget reconciliation.”

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  5. Looks like the Mexican/South Am. consulates will be crowded for the foreseeable future. And probably an uptick in self-deportations as well.

    These orders should clear up some of the misconceptions about Trump’s illegal immigrant enforcement priorities.

    A lot of people are gonna be unhappy about this.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-government-just-put-out-the-blueprint-for-president-trump%E2%80%99s-immigration-crackdown/ar-AAnaMUB?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “Almost everyone in the US without papers is now a priority for deportation.

    The Department of Homeland Security is officially putting the sweeping executive orders that President Donald Trump signed his first week in office into practice — giving the federal government nearly free rein to arrest, detain and deport unauthorized immigrants wherever it finds them.

    On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued memos to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that provide instructions for implementing two executive orders President Trump signed January 25, regarding immigration enforcement on the US/Mexico border and within the United States.

    Kelly’s memos direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to treat most unauthorized immigrants currently in the US as “priorities” for deportation. They direct the government to dramatically increase its capacity to detain immigrants, and dictate that it should detain nearly all immigrants caught near the US border. They instruct ICE to work aggressively to deputize local law enforcement agents to arrest unauthorized immigrants. And they make it much easier to deport children who come to the US alone to reunite with their parents — and the parents they’re reuniting with.

    Most of the policies laid out in the memos, first signed and issued Friday but later called back for White House approval, won’t change overnight. It’s now the job of agencies, including ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to do another round of interpretation and implementation based off Kelly’s memos.

    But in some cases — such as the direction to broaden “priorities” — the memos are likely to affect what field agents feel empowered to do. And they’re definitely yet another sign to unauthorized immigrants themselves that they should not feel secure in the United States.

    The memos are a fairly straightforward interpretation of the executive orders. They don’t include the more aggressive provisions that were included in a draft version (reported by the AP and posted by Vox on Friday) of the memo on border enforcement, or some of its more inflammatory language. Some of the biggest changes to enforcement policy are likely to come through formal regulation; others (such as a proposal to deputize state National Guard units for immigration enforcement) appear to have been scrapped.”

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  6. Ricky, the only commands Christians are given concerning civic authorities in the New Testament are to honour and obey them, and to pray for them (Romans 13:1-7; I Timothy 2:1-2; I Peter 2:13-17). It has often been pointed out, when a skeptic brings up the fact that Paul’s epistles never condemn slavery, that the Christians were not called upon to change society – they were called upon to be righteous within whatever society, in whatever situation of life they lived (I Corinthians 7:17-24). Christ reassured Pilate that he had no intention of challenging Rome’s rule when he said that his kingdom wasn’t of this world (John 18:36). Pilate clearly didn’t know what to make of Jesus Christ, but he was able to grasp that he wasn’t a political threat, as the Jews had claimed he was. I lived for over a year in a country which was governed by someone who had come to power in a coup, and who was increasingly erratic and unreasonable in his decisions. It was possible to live that quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, for which we are told to pray. It simply meant politics were a forbidden topic to discuss; the leader’s network of informers was widely feared and journalists who were critical of the government either disappeared or died under decidedly suspicious circumstances – the only missionaries known to have been kicked out of the country had been actively critical of the government, which was a foolish thing for a missionary to do. Christianity may coexist with any form of government. We are to expect persecution as followers of Christ, and that persecution may or may not come from the government. In the country I just mentioned, freedom of religion was written into the law and the courts would act to protect those who claimed protection; however, there was little the government could do to protect individuals from persecution by their own family members. Forcible divorce was the most common tactic brought against converts, and since marriages were negotiated by families and divorces were negotiated by families and the village elders, the central branches of the government couldn’t really stop that kind of persecution – it was outside their jurisdiction.

    I always like how the unknown writer of the Epistle to Diognetus, a second century writing of the early church, puts it:

    For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.
    To sum up all in one word—what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world.{Link: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ante-Nicene_Christian_Library/Epistle_to_Diognetus}

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  7. The death of conservatism?

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/02/21/if-fiscal-conservatives-fail-this-year-the-movement-is-essentially-dead/

    “This is one of those conversations which I’m sure nobody wants to have at the dawn of a new GOP controlled administration. While I hate to be the wet blanket at the party, it’s time for a serious discussion about the first Trump budget which will be unveiled in the coming weeks. It would be fun to continue celebrating the administration’s early efforts to improve security, roll back regulations and generally drive the Democrats insane. But if this new era of GOP control is to have any lasting and meaningful legacy Congress is going to have to have a long and serious conversation with the White House on the subject of fiscal conservatism. Rumors are already running wild about the total price tag for some of the Trump administration’s plans and budget hawks are getting understandably nervous. (Politico)

    President Donald Trump wants to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, boost military spending, slash taxes and build a “great wall.” But Republicans on Capitol Hill have one question for him: How the heck will we pay for all of this?”
    —————

    “It’s always best to provide some sugar to help the medicine go down, so congressional leaders should be ready to praise Donald Trump’s early efforts at cost-cutting. The federal hiring freeze, the staffing reductions at Cabinet level agencies and other price slashing measures in the executive branch are all admirable, and the White House deserves praise for these moves. But still, the total savings will probably add up to something in the range of a couple hundred billion dollars if we are lucky. With the federal government preparing to spend upwards of $4 trillion (assuming that no other significant changes are made) that’s still simply not enough to eliminate the deficit and put us on a path toward reducing the national debt.”

    “This means more of the “tough medicine” I’ve mentioned here before. Discretionary spending is simply not a deep enough well to draw from and our current needs for the military mean that defense spending can’t sustain serious reductions without dangerous global consequences. What does this mean? It means that Congress is going to have to tackle the question of changes to entitlement programs. Nobody wants to hear that and the president himself has made populist statements about not touching these programs. Sadly, that’s simply not within the realm of reality anymore.

    Selling the public on this is going to be a daunting task and it may very well cost Republicans heavily in the midterm elections. But you need to ask yourself if this is indeed the hill worth dying on. If you truly believe in fiscal conservatism and grasp the danger the nation faces when our debts reach the point of crippling us then the answer is yes. The GOP has been given a remarkable gift by the voters in the form of control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. If we don’t do this now it’s simply not going to get done and we’re going to be leaving a ruined wasteland to the coming generations.”

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  8. Further evidence….

    http://observer.com/2017/02/republicans-incompetence-donald-trump-obamacare-tax-cuts/

    “On February 8, 2017, Matt Drudge tweeted, “No Obamacare repeal, tax cuts!” and “Republican party should be sued for fraud. NO discussion of tax cuts now.” Drudge was spot on.

    This week, Sen. Rand Paul (my former boss, it should be pointed out) stormed out of a meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan when he heard talk of keeping Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion intact and creating tax credits. Paul worried these tax credits would be a Republican-created entitlement program.

    Unfortunately, the leadership and establishment in the Republican party is incompetent. When you compare the accomplishments of President Barack Obama at the same point in his presidency as President Donald Trump, it shows that Republicans are not doing their job.”

    “Republicans ran on promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and they are falling flat on their faces trying to figure out the “replace” part. Sen. Rand Paul has teamed up with forces in the House Freedom Caucus to introduce a bill to repeal Obamacare and replace with healthcare freedom, including a massive expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and the freedom to purchase healthcare plans across state lines. This is a good option if Republicans feel the need to “replace” Obamacare.

    Additionally, Congress has done nothing to forward the ball on Trump’s plan for a historic reform of the tax code that would include massive tax cuts for average Americans.

    Republican leadership in the House and Senate are thwarting the Trump agenda with their gross incompetence. Drudge was spot on to accuse them of fraud, and Sen. Rand Paul is correct to team up with freedom loving members of the House and Senate to jump start the process of repealing Obamacare. At some point, establishment Republicans need to understand that if they continue to break promises to right-leaning Trump voters, they will hand over power to the Democrats.”
    ——————

    They’re the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight, especially when it involves their promises to voters. But it’s not so much that they can’t, as it is they just won’t.

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  9. Ricky, you are a contrarian even when you don’t need to be. Your grand voting plan would ensure voting rights for all carpenters, machine operators, and a select group of professionals, because most everyone else turns green at the mention of the word “algebra”. People who aren’t given a voice in arbitrary rules that govern their lives usually find a more hands-on way to be heard. The elite would have to stay in their little mote-protected bubbles with the drawbridge raised while the serfs remain at liberty…maybe that’s not such a bad plan after all. Let’s just skip the vote and go straight to pitchforks and staves. I think the Democrats are already one step ahead of us. ;–)

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  10. Now, Debra. Have carpenters and machine operators become the elite? Are they globalists? I’m open to anyone who can improve on Dad’s idea, but I haven’t yet heard of a better proposal.

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  11. Ricky, the problem with your algebra problem is that it assumes that mathematical knowledge is the only sign of intelligence. However, I have observed that those who are good with words are not necessarily good with numbers and vice versa. I, for example, am capable of doing basic math problems, but it is not my strong suit and I doubt I could solve an algebra problem on the spot. Would you say I lacked the intelligence to vote?

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  12. California’s travel ban against anti-LGBT states is keeping athletes from games and students from conferences

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-lgbt-02212017-story.html

    _____________________________________

    UC Davis senior Acacia Keith was excited to present her research on the anti-abortion movement at what would have been her first national conference this spring.

    The Council on Undergraduate Research conference, which showcases work by more than 3,000 undergraduates, is considered a premier opportunity to make an academic mark and network for jobs and graduate programs. UC Davis was going to pay for Keith to travel there.

    But there’s a problem. The conference is being held this year at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. A new California law bans state-funded travel to states that discriminate against the LGBT community. And the California attorney general has listed Tennessee as one of them, along with Kansas, North Carolina and Mississippi.

    At least 18 students at UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Long Beach planned to attend the Memphis conference with their trips paid by the state schools. More than 100 Californians were selected for the April gathering, but Elizabeth Ambos, the council’s executive director, could not say how many attended public universities that are subject to the law.

    … Keith, a political science and religious studies major, has decided not to attend even though she has prepared for the conference for more than nine months. She said her determination to stand against anti-LGBT bias far outweighs her disappointment at forgoing the big opportunity.

    “I don’t want any funding on my behalf from the state, my parents or grandparents to go to a state like Tennessee that discriminates against LGBT people,” she said. “It was a very easy decision to make.”

    But Mark Rivera, a UC Davis senior majoring in religious studies and cognitive science, said he wants to attend if he can find funding. He said it was more important to talk with people with different values than to shun them — especially at a time of such political polarization.

    “The law is a juvenile but well-intended reaction to a real problem,” Rivera said. “Instead of discouraging travel to supposedly backward places, we should encourage travel; otherwise, campuses will become more insular and make the problem worse.” …
    ____________________________________________

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  13. “I have observed that those who are good with words are not necessarily good with numbers and vice versa”

    Yup, thank you.

    My roommate was a “number person,” I was the “word person.”

    Interesting, because I even noticed that it extended to how we referred to freeways — she by the number, me by the name.

    Ricky, I’m afraid you’re slipping into snobbery 😦 Unless it’s all tongue-in-cheek, of course. Sometimes with you I just can’t tell.

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  14. Roscuro, Dad and I were not trying to measure intelligence. We were (somewhat in jest) doing that very thing that Democrats always falsely accuse Republicans of doing. We were trying to exclude large groups of people from voting. Sadly, you are a member of one of those groups.

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  15. Along the same lines as DJ’s 1:13 link:

    This week the nation’s top debate coaches released their recognition of the top collegiate policy debate teams. This exceptional group of sixteen teams receives pre-bids to the National Debate Tournament at the end of March and will have strong potential toward winning the national title in debate at the tournament to be held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Two of the nation’s top teams that made this elite selection are from Berkeley, a campus recently racked by violent demands for the suppression of free speech. Incredibly, Berkeley’s teams and one other team from California who made the cut, will not attend the National Debate Tournament. That is because the state of California has banned all university related personnel from traveling to four states around the nation: Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi, on the specious grounds that these states have all passed “anti-LGBT legislation.” All debate teams from California state schools are practically banned from attending the national debate tournaments being held in the state of Kansas in March…

    The refusal of the State of California to allow some of the nation’s best college debaters to attend the National Debate Tournament in Lawrence, Kansas is a testament to the complete closing of the American mind as it existed in college campuses located in the state. The dogmatic insistence that everyone oppose President Trump or hide in an appropriate fetal position is essentially un-American, antidemocratic, and despotic…

    Debate is among the best remedies for the ideological straitjackets being handed out on campus. The State of California should exempt its universities who take some interest in furthering one of the most essential ingredients for restoring sanity to campuses: Debate.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/02/silencing_debate.html

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  16. Is the reason for excluding large groups of voters so that there would be an increase in the likelihood that a government with which you agreed would be elected? If that is the case, what guarantee would you have that those who could solve such algebra problems would be more likely to support that type of government? I might not be able to solve the algebra problem (might is the operative word), but my second sibling would certainly be able to, since she is the type who is good with numbers, and she and I closely agree on political issues.

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  17. Roscuro,
    1. Yes.
    2. No guarantee, but decades of studying voting patterns tells me this will improve things.
    3. Good. One of my nieces also belongs to a disfavored group but would be allowed to vote in our system.

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  18. DJ, Not slipping. I’ve always been there. I have always thought the US began to decline when the vote was given to men who were not property owners.

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  19. Carpenters and machine operators don’t have time to be elite Ricky. Too busy working jobs that hhaven’t seen real wage increases in years.

    Your QOD is one I have thought about but with no satisfactory answers.

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  20. Ricky, problem is we can’t go back. Being a property owner now means nearly nothing. People in NYC rent. When I lived in Chicago, it made more financial sense to rent at way-below-market rent and save for an eventual house than to waste money on property taxes and upkeep. (One of my colleagues “owned” a home that was probably in worse condition than the one on which I rented the bottom unit. But she paid more in property tax alone than I paid in rent, and I didn’t have to worry about the plumbing or snow removal. In other words, it was a sign of intelligence that I rented in that setting.)

    It would be kinda like deciding Hillary should be president based on getting the larger popular vote–no, the law and the campaign are based on a different standard. If Chas were to now live in a home owned by his son because that’s the best for tax purposes, it would be silly to say he should thereby forfeit his right to vote. Perhaps people who live in nursing homes with little chance that they know much about what is going on beyond their walls should surrender their right to vote–but whether you own property or rent property says nothing today about your level of “investment” in the community, or even your financial wherewithal.

    I think it’s ridiculous to try to “guilt” people into voting whether or not they know anything about the candidates or the issues. I wouldn’t really mind if we had some sort of limit to voting, such as that you couldn’t vote until you were at least 18 and had worked for pay (or in certain volunteer situations) a minimum of two thousand hours, or whatever. But an algebra problem would indeed keep out some very intelligent people and some good citizens. He wasn’t a US citizen anyway . . . but C. S. Lewis wouldn’t have passed such a test. His academic career was remarkable, but he was horrible at math and only got in at Oxford because the math test ended up being waived for those who had fought in the war. He’d already flunked it twice. But I know an autistic boy with virtually no life skills who could pass any math test you give him.

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  21. APotD (Algebra Problem of the Day):

    A train leaves Dallas-Fort Worth at 11:00 p.m., heading north to Fargo, North Dakota, traveling 100 mph. A southbound train from Bismarck, ND to San Antonio, TX leaves at 10 p.m. the same evening.

    1. How fast will the southbound train have to travel for Ricky Weaver to be able to jump off the northbound train, directly onto the southbound train as it passes, just one second before the northbound train crosses the Mason-Dixon Line?

    Answer: Distance, speed and time are irrelevant to solving the problem. Ricky W. would never condescend to get on a train that gets into Yankee territory!

    2. Would the Northerner who authored the above algebra problem (and solved it correctly with its non-numerical answer) be allowed to vote in Ricky W’s America?

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  22. The constant disparaging of certain groups of people, based on where they live, how much money they make, how much they know about algebra, etc., gets old, Ricky.

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  23. I don’t think Dad would mind me modifying the test in his absence. It now has two questions:
    1. The algebra word problem; and
    2. A historical question dealing with Robert E. Lee’s children or Corps Commanders.

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  24. The second question might end up with some unexpectedly qualified people. I don’t know anything about Lee’s children, but I have watched ‘Gods and Generals’ and ‘Gettysburg’, the latter more than once, and thus know the names of several of Lee’s Corps Commanders. Some people study the U.S. Civil War the way others study the Crusades or other interesting series of historical military campaigns.

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  25. Roscuro, When it warms up a little, I’m going to make another pilgrimage to Virginia. There is nothing like touring the battlefields of the Shenandoah Valley while listening to an audio recording of a Douglas Southall Freeman book describing the campaign.

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  26. Roscuro, my memory might be wrong, but it seems as though God indicated that He was eventually going to give them a king, but not yet . . . and He went ahead and gave them one now, with a “you will live to regret this” warning.

    Certainly we aren’t commanded to establish a theocracry. I know some people who are in favor of that, but as far as I know OT Israel was the only nation authorized for that in history. We are to live in whatever rule we are under, obey the authorities, and overall generally pay little attention to the government other than that, it seems to me.

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  27. Ricky,

    Perhaps you haven’t heard, but the winning side writes the history books, and gets to choose the questions on The Test.

    We’ll keep your algebra portion, as a show of reconciliation to you losers in The South.

    The additional question will now be “What is the name of your favorite Yankee Civil War hero?.”

    Since no one in The South appears to have one, they’ll be dumbfounded and leave it blank, thereby disqualifying themselves. This should take care of anyone below the Mason/Dixon Line, as well as public educated folks in Cali, NY, and elsewhere who aren’t taught history any longer.

    This could be fun, and beneficial to the country. 😀

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  28. Old school journalism. It needs to be revived. Dispassionate, fair, and standing “outside,” checking out personal political views at the door when we come to work.

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  29. I think Dad knew he had a clever idea when he came up with the single question algebra literacy test. However, I don’t think he could have imagined how much mileage I would get out of the thing. Whenever things look bleak politically, it has served as a foolproof tool to confound and outrage.

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  30. 6 Arrows 😀 That would be one way to separate the honest people from those who make up things as they go. The honest people would have the correct answer.

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  31. 6 Arrows, I confess that the only thing Dad knew or I know about music is how to move pianos for our wives. We once moved 3 all over Dallas/ Fort Worth in one day in February using a pickup. A hard, chilly job!

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  32. Cheryl, Speaking of C. S. Lewis, my son just finished this book by George Marsden.

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10688.html

    He really liked it. When we get unpacked from the move, I’m going to give him my copy of Fundamentalism and American Culture by Marsden that I read about 30 years ago. He has developed an interest in theology and he and my daughter-in-law will soon start working with the children at church.

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  33. Roscuro, yep. 🙂

    Ricky, you needed the guy along who delivered my piano. He arrived at our house with no helper, and my husband asked him if he wanted any help getting the piano up the three steps to our porch, and the seven steps to our living room.

    The guy answered, “You can hold the door open.” 🙂

    He had it on a dolly until he got inside our front door, then just “walked” the piano, turned on its side, up the stairs and gently got it settled upright in the spot we wanted it.

    Not sure what he would have done if it was a grand, but it was pretty slick to see him accomplish the task single-handedly. I never knew one person could do such a thing. 🙂

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  34. Pretty impressive. My folks stayed 300 miles east of the Pecos until after The War. He must have baptized ’em in the Rio Grande or the Devils River. I don’t think there’s any other water between the Pecos and El Paso.

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  35. The fever is spreading. Everyone getting ready to bolt?

    NC constitution’s ban on secession could be dropped under House bill

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article134037589.html
    __________________________________________

    RALEIGH

    A bill filed Tuesday by a trio of N.C. House Republicans seeks to drop a provision in the state constitution that prohibits secession. …
    __________________________________________

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  36. “Look, we’re big boys. We criticize presidents. They want to criticize us back, that’s fine,” Wallace said Sunday morning on “Fox & Friends.” “But when he said that the fake news media is not my enemy, it’s the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line.”

    The “Fox & Friends” anchors had shown a clip of Trump recounting that past presidents, including Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, had fought with the press. They then asked Wallace whether Trump’s fraught relationship with the media was a big deal.

    In response, Wallace told his colleagues that Jefferson had also once written the following: “And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

    Context was important, Wallace said. All presidents fight with the media, but Trump had taken it a step further in making them out to be “the enemy,” he added. ///

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  37. Both Trump AND the media are untrustworthy. We’re only hacks if we believe just one or the other is so. There’s a profound problem with the media in the U.S., and they’re making things worse by viewing themselves as white nights or Spartans or something.

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  38. The media has wounded itself by not being more willing to self-criticize. But it’s also not a monolith, beware of that broad brush. There remain some good, solid media platforms and reporters doing a tough but commendable job.

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  39. It can be hard, dangerous work. This is obvious overseas, but the press also can put themselves at risk reporting in the States on crime, disasters, etc.

    I agree that on the whole the national press is biased to the left. However, by and large, they haven’t attacked Trump for doing conservative things. They have attacked him for lying, being uninformed, engaging in Twitter Wars with other celebrities, starting fights with our allies, having to be corrected/explained by Pence and the rest of the clean-up squad, etc. On those issues the press has generally been fair and Trump has been hyper-sensitive and defensive.

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  40. I think #nottheenemy is a series of tweets about some of the good journalism and journalists do. Important to remember that, so it doesn’t get lost in all the fierce emotion and resentment.

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  41. I don’t think the press has attacked Trump for those reasons any more than Trump has attacked the press for their consistently lying; instead, it has been their propensity to see themselves as a particular “class.” They think when the 1st Amendment mentions “the press,” it’s referring to professional journalists, and since that’s what they are, they’re “special.” They have the same derangement about themselves as Trump does about himself.

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  42. Well, most of the people I’ve worked with I wouldn’t call deranged … 🙂 I agree, they are mostly liberals — and I agree that they’re going after Trump in a way they didn’t go after Obama. And I’ve been frustrated beyond belief whenever I’ve tried to broach the subject of “subconscious liberal-tilt” with co-workers through the years.

    But good journalism does require training & experience, so dismissing that altogether also is a mistake.

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  43. I do understand that, DJ; again, I’m speaking in shorthand. Since it isn’t the fringes anymore, but once-decent outlets like the NYT regularly publishing false stories, I’m not uncomfortable using the shorthand and assuming people know I don’t mean every individual.

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  44. Obama *prosecuted* journalists. Obama treated journalists like 2nd class citizens, and by extension, the public. Journalists, by and large, didn’t care. I’m not getting into why that might be, but Trump hasn’t done anything worse than Obama did toward the press.

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  45. Agree, but in what other professions does credibility mean as much? Pastor. What else? And it’s fine to make room for some error on the media’s part. How about Trump’s? He had a rally the other day and the media (and a couple people here) made it out to be just more of Trump massaging his ego. Obama had rallies all the time! Never stopped campaigning. Media makes big deal out of his Sweden comment. Bad Trump for his imprecise language; he should know better. That doesn’t mean we should dismiss the point he was making about Sweden’s problem with violent crime.

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