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To My Father, the Farmer, with Love

 

(I wrote this as a gift for Father’s Day when I was about 30. My dad had been diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia several years earlier, and he was doing poorly at the time. He died a year and a half later. I didn’t edit or revise it, so just take it as it was written by a young woman who needed her dad to know how much she loved him, but couldn’t talk about that stuff in person.)

He always wore irrigating boots. The kind that go clear up, right to your belt and snap on—rubber legs. Essential for slogging through wet barley, dragging canvas dams behind, and a shovel balanced casually on his shoulder with the practiced air of a real pro. When it’s your water turn, you push that stream. Day and night and night and day. Even if it is Sunday. The Lord knows how quickly alfalfa can wither with sickly, yellow pale.

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Roberts Court Upholds Free Speech at the Polls. For Now.

 
Minnesotan Andy Cilek wasn’t allowed to vote while wearing a t-shirt that read “Don’t tread on me.”

Last week’s Supreme Court decision striking down a Minnesota law against wearing “political” T-shirts in the polling place might seem a matter of common sense. But that may just be the problem with it. While Chief Justice John Roberts’s ruling is certainly correct, it leaves many questions unanswered — something that, unfortunately, can be said about a lot of his decisions.

The facts of the case were striking: Minnesota’s law prohibited voters from entering polling places wearing shirts, hats, or buttons “designed to influence and impact voting” or to promote “a group with recognizable political views.” These restrictions were so broad that when one justice asked if voters could wear shirts bearing the words of the Second Amendment, the state’s lawyer answered no. What about the First Amendment? Fumbling, the lawyer said that would be okay … probably.

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Federal Black Eye

 

View the original here.

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Gotcha!

 

Almost three months ago, I wrote a little post musing about the damage to some trees in and about the stream by the side of our little rural road, along the route that I take for my daily walks. It’s a delightful setting, a place where I can imagine Ratty and Mole adventuring and Toad decompensating over the smallest things, while Badger wanders around lugubriously trying to pick up all the pieces, sort everyone out, and carry on as normal. I have no doubt Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s cottage is in the undergrowth somewhere, and I think I’ve seen Jeremy Fisher sitting on the bank catching flies with his tongue.

So I was somewhat alarmed to see my little paradise disturbed as the trees were being systematically felled, one by one. I posited beavers as the culprits and wrote a short post, asking for feedback and opinions as to what was going on. With a singular (and spiritedly argumentative but ultimately unconvincing) exception, you all agreed with me that the damage was being caused by beavers.

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Returning the Republican Party to Eisenhower

 

Recently, one of our members mentioned that it was imperative to return the GOP away from its current path and urged a return, not just to the principles of Reaganism, but also to fall further back to the days of Dwight Eisenhower. The University of California-Santa Barbara runs an online archive of political documents pertaining to the history of the American executive called the American Presidency Project. It is an invaluable resource for primary research and it includes the national party platforms for most election years dating back to the 1840 Democratic platform under Martin Van Buren.

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Tricky Dick! Ike Eisenhower rides again!

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You Get What You Measure

 

Years ago, the head of a very large company’s IT department lived by the maxim: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” So, the department’s managers decided to count completed work requests (aka “tickets”) as proxies for progress.

The results were predictable. Suddenly, programmers couldn’t talk to their projects’ database analysts without a ticket. Simple tasks that used to require a single ticket now required five. Management wanted tickets, they got tickets. What they didn’t get was progress.

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To Dad on Father’s Day

 

Every Father’s Day for the last 40-odd years (ever since I moved out of the house) I would call my dad on Father’s Day and wish him a happy Father’s Day; even when we both still lived in Ann Arbor and I was going over later in the day to see him. Over the last few years he would try to call me first to wish me a happy Father’s Day; ater all, I had three sons, and dad thought I had done a great job raising them. We might chat a while about how things were going, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s when I was in Texas and he was in Michigan and long distance charges were a thing.

Since 2002, when I moved back to the Houston area from Palestine, TX and cell phones and national plans made long-distance charges obsolete, I called him every Saturday morning and we reviewed the events of the week. Not the big national events. The small ones in our lives and the lives of our family.

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Whose Side Is the IG On?

 

From reactions across the board, it seems the DOJ Inspector General Report on FBI Investigation of Hillary Clinton is a Rorschach test. We see what we want to see. How can that be? In part, columns by Andrew McCarthy and Mollie Hemingway explain our reactions. The reactions follow from the nature of the writing of the report and suggest we must look elsewhere for solutions.

Do you see this?

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Everyday Hero

 

When a young man has a calling to step up and help others, without pressure or financial reward, he should be recognized and lauded. I want to celebrate Rodney Smith. He serves as a model of selflessness by helping others, just because he can.

Rodney’s journey to help others began in the fall of 2015 when he saw a senior citizen struggling to mow his lawn:

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Conversations with Bill Kristol: Christopher Caldwell on Populism in Europe and the Future of the European Union

 

Christopher Caldwell is a Senior Editor at The Weekly Standard and a leading commentator on European politics. In this Conversation, Caldwell shares his perspective on recent developments in Europe, particularly the surging populist movements that have upended politics in many countries. Caldwell focuses particularly on populist parties and movements in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Hungary—and also analyzes the ramifications for Europe as a whole. Highlighting the effects of mass migration, weak economies, and mounting debt, Caldwell anticipates greater turmoil and significant threats to the European Union in the years ahead.

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A Confession: I Find Fatherhood Sexy

 

I’ve been meaning to write this as a column for some time, but the main place I write such things, the New York Post, has my husband as my editor. He, in no uncertain terms, told me he would not publish an op-ed where I called him and other men sexy, and so, here I am at Ricochet doing it, because he may be my husband, but he is not my editor everywhere.

I’ve been following James Van Der Beek and his wife Kimberly on Instagram for some time. I was an avid Dawson’s Creek viewer as a teenager, but I couldn’t stand his character Dawson. I found him sniveling and entitled and spoiled. The series ended up revolving around a love triangle between Dawson, Pacey (played by Joshua Jackson) and Joey (played by Katie Holmes); and I was very much on Team Pacey. How could I not be? He was strong, he was sensitive, he was kind, he was handsome, he was a fighter. That’s the kind of man every woman should want in their teens and early twenties. But it turned out Van Der Beek is the man I want in my adult life.

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The Problem Isn’t the Appearance of Bias; It’s the Reality of Bias

 

FBI Director Wray’s attempt at assuring the public that he will respond effectively to the IG report had the opposite effect on me.

He pledges to train employees to avoid even the appearance of bias. Who thinks this is a solution, given that the reality of bias that’s been exposed? Would the problem have been avoided if employees like Strzok and Page had been better trained to avoid the appearance of bias? Suppose they had—thanks to good training—refrained from sharing their views in texts and emails? No doubt that would have saved the FBI public embarrassment, but would it have prevented the wrongs the report uncovered from happening? Would the actual effects of their favoritism toward Hilary and animus toward Trump have been averted? (I like Andy McCarthy’s characterization: Kid gloves in the one case and scorched earth in the other.) No.

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Oh Brother, What Has Happened to My Country?

 

Now that it’s official that the FBI was corrupted during the Obama administration, can we safely say that everything Obama touched was made filthy? Some really nasty people were empowered to do some really nasty things because they thought they would never get caught and it feels like they may be right.

Is anyone that matters going to be held accountable? I suspect not, and this is no small thing. And the level of contempt for Trump is still on display. In case anyone missed it, during the Director’s news conference when answering a reporter’s question, he essentially said he didn’t give a damn what the President thought about the Bureau.

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Happy Fathers Day

 

Click here for original.

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About a Refugee

 

Sometimes when I’m feeling ‘down’ and that life isn’t fair, I am moved to think about…

A person with whom I became friends while living at a retirement community here in Oregon. This lady, whom I will call Esther (not her real name), was a Jewish refugee who came to the United States in the 1940s. This is her story as she told it to me:

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Hidden in the IG Report: The Case for the Collusion to Elect Trump is Confirmed

 

Former FBI Director Comey’s concern that collusion contributed to Donald Trump’s election has been established. What was not confirmed until yesterday was the lengths to which he and his FBI assured the election of the man he clearly opposed. He and his cohort colluded overtly, informationally, or by deception to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton and by so doing, elected President Donald J. Trump. Say what you will, but Comey’s July, 2016 dance back and forth on Hillary’s criminal actions and his rewriting the law to extract her from prosecution convinced more than few Americans in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin that enough was enough.

Comey’s effort to embellish his reputation with the late revelation of the Weiner investigation may have served his own campaign to rehab his reputation. It came at a point in the election when Comey thought Clinton would win, thus allowing him a last minute confirmation that his July pardon was just and fair. In fact, it actually hurt her reputation far more than he imagined – so tone deaf is Comey, and his colluders at the FBI.

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Democrat Buffet

 

Original artwork available here.

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Quote of the Day: Sister Nature

 

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshipers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

It’s often said that progressive environmentalism, at least in its most extreme form, is a religion. But instead of worshipping the Creator, its adherents worship the Creation. Their goal is for nature to be utterly pristine, untrammeled, holy. And the role of man/woman/cis-kind is to serve it and sacrifice to it. If we blaspheme Gaia, she will punish us. Repent now or the end is nigh.

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Dictator Trump?

 

I’ve been genuinely puzzled by the assertion on the part of Trump opponents that Trump is a dictator, wants to be a dictator, is like Hitler, is a threat to democracy, and so on. It makes no sense. You’d think that a President who is trying to shrink the size of government would be regarded as exactly the opposite of a wannabe dictator.

But I think I’ve figured out what the confusion is. Liberals think that a President who enacts policies they don’t like, regardless of how legal and above board and constitutional the process is, must be a tyrant. Just because they don’t like the policy.

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In Ireland, the Penal Laws Are Returning Under the Guise of Secular Liberalism

 

The Penal Laws were acts passed during the 17th and 18th century by the Parliament of England and Wales gradually eroded and then viciously reduced the civil liberties of nonconforming Protestants and Catholics in the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. Its most long-lasting and profound effects were felt in Ireland, where the laws were designed to obliterate the dignity of Roman Catholics and reduce beaten, defenseless, and powerless Irish Catholics into a third-class of citizenry. The Penal Laws created a form of apartheid long before South Africa and the American South.

Its difficult to go through the individual Laws, as there were several acts over the centuries beginning in the early 17th century until they gradually were overturned from 1780-1832, but the effects of the rulings or legal discrimination they allowed are most important. The laws applied to all nonconforming Protestants as well, but mainly Catholics faced the full force of the law. Here are some of them:

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