It must be uncomfortable to live in Seattle these days

With the city council overriding the mayor’s veto of their bill making drastic cuts to the Seattle Police Department, and the number of homeless camps increasing all over the city, residents of Seattle may be worrying about the safety of themselves, their homes, and their children.  Especially since for a few years now, Seattle police have been de-emphasizing prosecution of most property crimes in the city, telling citizens to just file a report online.  And they are hearing daily of prolific offenders again being released on little or no bail for additional lawbreaking.

Well, they may be cheered up today, with the announcement by the city that they have hired a new “Street Czar” to offer alternatives to the policing being cut by their city government (who, by the way, they elected).  This new city employee is a gentleman named Andre Taylor, and he has a colorful background.  It seems that his previous occupation was “pimp”, and he had a brother who was “killed by Seattle police in 2016”.  His salary will be $150,000.  Pleasant-looking fellow, isn’t he?

Andre-Taylor

Now, that may not please some Seattle residents, especially those unemployed as a result of government actions against the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  Their city is reducing the presence of police in a city wracked by demonstrations, overrun with homeless camps in city parks, and subject to sometimes-violent riots and looting in the downtown core.

I think if I lived in Seattle today, I might consider moving elsewhere.

He said it better than I could: Guest Writer Henry Racette on the open U.S. Supreme Court seat

He said it better than I could: Guest Writer Henry Racette on the open U.S. Supreme Court seat

Today, we feature another of our Ricochet writers, Henry Racette. Please enjoy and respond to his post on filling the new Supreme Court vacancy brought about by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.

About That Vacancy

Now that the coronavirus crisis is essentially over but for the continuing economic disaster being wrought by various governors and power-drunk state officials, we could do with yet another catastrophe to keep the press enthused through the end of this election year.

The passing this week of Justice Ginsburg will do just fine.

Let me explain why it is right, proper, and essential that the Court be restored to a full complement of nine members prior to the election.

GARLAND v (UNKNOWN)

You’ll hear endless babble about the way Senator McConnell handled the Garland nomination, President Obama’s lame duck nomination that McConnell refused to allow to be voted on by the Senate. People will say it’s hypocritical of the Senate to vote now, when it failed to vote on Obama’s nomination. They’ll argue that it’s a breach of trust with the American people, etc., etc.

That’s all wrong, and here’s why.

It isn’t hypocrisy to treat the two situations differently because the two situations are in fact different. Obama was a lame duck in his last year in office, filling a vacancy (Justice Scalia’s) created in that last year in office, and opposed by a Senate the electorate had handed to the Republicans. Never in U.S. history has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nomination in such circumstances; Senator McConnell wisely chose not to preside over the first Senate to do so.

In contrast, the President and the Senate are of the same party. If the Democrats had taken the Senate in 2018, it would be perfectly reasonable for them to block the President’s next nomination; I would expect nothing less (though I’d hope they didn’t stoop to the character assassination they displayed during the Kavanaugh confirmation). But the American people left the Senate in Republican hands, and I hope that Senate will support the President as he makes yet another excellent appointment.

BUT THE CONSTITUTION!

So ignore the hypocrisy claim. And absolutely scoff at anyone who pretends that there are actually constitutional barriers to a speedy appointment: that’s simply wrong. As an iconic Supreme Court Justice once observed, “there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year.” (In fact, that was Justice Ginsburg herself.) Similarly, there is nothing in the Constitution that says the Senate stops being the Senate in an election year. There are no legal nor Constitutional barriers to a speedy nomination and confirmation.

LAST WISHES

There’s a particularly troubling claim you’ll hear, which is that Justice Ginsburg, in her final days, said the following:
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Let me be very clear. I will say nothing ill of the late Justice, and I applaud her tenacity and strength during what must have been extraordinarily difficult times. It is my hope that she didn’t in fact say what has been attributed to her, because the idea that she would have is repugnant to me and would diminish her in my eyes.

Filling a seat on the Supreme Court is a high honor, a position of service to the American people granted with great ceremony and enormous trust. But the seat is not the property of its occupant to be assigned by him or her to the next candidate, and the late Justice has no more right to determine who occupies it next than I have. I would like to believe that Justice Ginsburg appreciated the dignity of the court and its unique role to uphold the Constitution, and wouldn’t try to subvert the Constitutional provisions for peopling the Court by attempting to impose her own political vision upon her successor. That would be a kind of betrayal — though, in fairness, perhaps one forgivable in an old and critically ill woman.

WHY IT’S NECESSARY

There is no legal, Constitutional, procedural, or moral reason not to quickly confirm a new Supreme Court Justice. There are two practical reasons why it is extraordinarily important that we do appoint a new Supreme Court Justice as quickly as possible.

First, and most importantly, there is already ample reason to expect the 2020 election to be legally challenged regardless of outcome. The Democratic candidate himself has spoken openly, and strangely, of having the support of the military in the event that the election doesn’t appear to go in his favor. Secretary Clinton is on record as advising Vice President Biden that he should not concede, regardless of the electoral outcome. Given this, it is hard to see how a Trump victory will not be challenged in court.

Left-leaning and Democratic think tanks have been “war-gaming” (simulating) various scenarios for challenging the 2020 election results. The most widely published account finds only one electoral outcome that does *not* lead to widespread violence and/or a Constitutional crisis, and that is a landslide Democratic victory. Every other outcome leads to chaos.
Add to this the left’s enthusiasm for mail-in voting, which is inherently less secure than in-person voting and so more susceptible to challenge, and we have been put on notice: if the Democratic candidate doesn’t win, we should expect a Constitutional crisis.

We will need a Supreme Court with an odd number of Justices present. A hung Court unable to resolve a contested outcome of the 2020 election will leave the country in a precarious and dangerous condition: for the first time in history, the transition of power will be uncertain.

That possibility alone demands that we restore the Court to nine members before the election. A failure to do so will be inexcusably reckless, endangering the world’s greatest democracy and its uninterrupted tradition of peaceful transition of power.

The second reason that it is essential that we fill the court is that there are those who fear widespread civil unrest and violence if the Senate does act quickly.

There’s a word for that, for the threat of violence if a particular political demand is not delivered. It’s called terrorism. The United States should not submit to the demands of terrorists, whether they’re foreign or domestic. Anyone who argues that the Senate must not act for fear of triggering a violent backlash is calling for the appeasement and rewarding of domestic terrorists.

To hell with that. We don’t surrender our Constitution because one side isn’t willing to lose with grace. Congressmen are about as spineless a species as one will find, but when given the choice of answering to the mob or answering to the Constitution they’d best not find it a hard decision to make.

ONE LAST THING

Those reasons are more than enough, but there’s one more practical consideration. President Trump has made hundreds of very good judicial appointments. There’s every reason to believe that his next Supreme Court nomination will also be very good. There’s every reason to believe that a Democratic nomination will not be good at all.

People are confused about what “conservative” means when we’re speaking of the Supreme Court. “Conservative” and “liberal” when it comes to the Supreme Court is a bit like “firefighter” and “arsonist” when it comes to house fires. The purpose of the Supreme Court is to interpret and uphold the Constitution. Its purpose isn’t to rewrite the Constitution, to reinvent the Constitution, or to “fix” the Constitution. It isn’t to burn the Constitution down.

“Conservative,” in the context of the Supreme Court, means pro-Constitution. Everyone who values Constitutional governance should support conservative Justices.

Freedom…It’s a beautiful thing!

For the first eleven days of September, Hubby and I drove from our home in Washington State to South Dakota and back.  We went through the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.

The State of Washington has a state-wide “mask mandate”, requiring all open businesses to require all their customers who go inside their establishments to wear a “face covering”.  Effectively, this deputizes all state businesses as enforcers of the Mask Mandate.  A business who allows non-mask-wearing individuals into their premises can lose its license if the state deems it at fault.  No business wants to risk losing its license, so the mandate is fairly well-enforced, everywhere in the state.  Highway rest areas in Washington have signs on the doors of the bathrooms stating that masks are required (rarely or never enforced).  This is manifestly unconstitutional, but has never been challenged in our state.

It was very refreshing, in all the other states we visited, to find either NO mask rules at all (WY, SD, ND, ID), or rules that were not enforced (MT).  We stayed at motels everywhere, of our favorite brand; the Hotel Corporate Office had a mask rule, but I never obeyed it anywhere, even in Montana, and was never challenged.

Once we got to South Dakota, there were never any rules posted.  We went to restaurants for lunch and dinner with our group of up to 14 members, and no one wore a mask, other than the restaurant employees.  Freedom!  We found some stores that required masks inside, and we did comply when visiting Safeway and Walmart stores.  But it was such a relief not to have to worry about where my mask was, and if I would need one.  Many of our members went to the Sturgis Mustang Rally, and no masks were found there.

I can’t believe how wonderful it was, to go through a state and actually be able to see the faces of their people.  Everywhere we went, we saw people wearing masks, and people not wearing masks. It was their choice, not the State’s rule.  Big companies are within their rights to require masks of their customers, but States are way outside theirs to demand all residents wear masks whenever indoors.  As for me, I have always prided myself on being liberated, and incendiary.  I am willing to take my chances on being exposed to the Evil Wuhan Coronavirus (as did our 84-year-old friend we visited in Montana, who did not wear a mask or ask that we wear them).

If I get infected by the virus, then so be it.  If I get very sick, it’s on me.  And if I die of the infection, I can be comforted by the fact that I lived, and died, a Free Person, not cowering under my bed in fear.

Freedom!  It’s a wonderful thing!

In the 1930s, they built a wall.

In the 1930s, in the depths of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration sent crews to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Little Missouri National Grasslands portion, and set them to work building infrastructure.  By the side of the North Dakota highway, there is a turnout with a viewpoint, and a low wall demarcating the limits of the turnout area.   The wall is roughly built, with a poor grade of cement containing many pieces of obvious local stone.

Turnout wall, ND

You can see that the cement holding the stones together has not weathered the years well.

Now, while looking at this wall, I noticed some components that might be very valuable, just incorporated into this wall in a random manner. I focused on one particular piece of material in the wall.

Valuable?

Upon closer inspection, this looked to me like a large piece of petrified wood. In the Eastern part of Washington State, we have a Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, where many old trees have been preserved, their woody portions replaced by stone. In my experience, petrified wood is very rare, and valuable. I looked closer at another of the stones in the wall.

Petrified Wood

Isn’t it remarkable, that you can see the wood-grain, and in the top photo you can tell where the branches of the tree grew out of the trunk? It seems to me that those wall-builders didn’t know what they had, and simply built big chunks of petrified wood into their quite ordinary stone wall on a highway turnout. I wonder if other tourists who stop at this highway turnout bother to look closely at the simple wall built from local stone? I wonder if the National Park Service, who is now responsible for the maintenance of the park, even knows today what they have?

Lens-Artists Challenge #114-Negative Space

As I understand it, Negative Space in a photograph is the space around the subject, not the subject.  The Wide Open Spaces of Montana and North Dakota supplied some excellent subjects on our recent trip across country.

They don’t call Montana Big Sky Country for nothing.

Montana Big Sky

The white barn almost disappears in the Big Sky, under the Big Cloud.  This picture was taken from a moving car, from the passenger-side window.

Then, on our way home, we stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  The park is little-known, but definitely worth a visit if you are in the Northwest part of the state.  In encompasses multiple terrains, from tall bluffs to the winding Little Missouri River Valley.  Many of the structures in the Park date from the 1930s Works Progress Administration.  On a plateau above the meandering river, there is an observation platform/shelter, that forms a perfect frame for a view of the opposite bluffs.

The Little Missouri River wore away the sedimentary rock, leaving the bluffs with their many-colored layers for geologists and photographers to appreciate.  The Negative Space sets off the terrain beautifully.

In another part of the park, the worn-away bluffs have exposed some very intriguing features.  They are aptly-named “Cannonballs”, though not all are spherical like their namesake.  In the photo below, multiple cannonballs emerge from their substrate, and the surface looks like someone poured concrete down the face of the bluff.  What is the subject, and what is the negative space?

What do you think?  Mother Nature is the artist here.  The so-called Cannonballs are accretions of chemicals, assembled by Nature from dripping liquid that is different from the surrounding material.  They are harder than the bluff itself, and appear gradually as the bluff erodes around them.  Below this face, many cannonballs litter the ground, and some are quite large.

Sometimes, negative space can actually be positive, setting off the subjects.

Link to original post.

 

 

Facebook Supports Antifa, the Destroyers

Facebook Supports Antifa, the Destroyers

In violation of its own standards against so-called “hate groups”, Facebook allows Rose City (Portland, OR) Antifa to recruit online, on its platform.  You have, no doubt, seen all the news stories of the violent riots in Portland for the past 100+ days.  Please read the linked article above, and then sever all ties you have with Facebook.

We already know that Facebook supports and listens to the sleazy Southern Poverty Law Center when it deems groups such as the totally non-violent Tea Party and educational site Prager U “hate groups”, because they happen to strenuously disagree with the current Social Justice Warrior philosophy.  It is time to give up Facebook.  Forever.  Your family can find you on your WordPress Blog, can’t they?

Retirement. It’s bittersweet, for me.

Tomorrow, Monday, August 31, will be my last working day at my current job, which I have held for 12-2/3 years.  That’s the longest I have ever worked at any job in my entire working life.  My original goal in life was to work forever, and never retire.  Well, the Wuhan Coronavirus put an end to that goal.  The aerospace industry has been decimated by the travel bans all over the world, and our customers have been pushing out and canceling orders right and left.  And our customers’ customers have been doing the same-dominoes continue to fall on a daily basis.  It has made life at work lately very uncomfortable, and I will be glad not to have to worry about that stuff.

My husband also works in the aerospace industry, and it looks like he will be forced to retire, or get laid off, also within a short time.  We had counted on his working after I retire, as he is younger than I am.  I have been covered under his health insurance, too, and his retirement means I will have to go on Medicare pretty much immediately, something that is very distasteful to me.  Well, as with most things in life, we will get through.  We will have to watch our finances a bit more closely, and I have already been trying to get into the “live poor” mindset.  I did it for many years, and I can do it again.

I have spent the past two weeks training the buyers who will be taking over my responsibilities, and I am constantly reminded of how much I know about the little things of my commodities, and my suppliers.  Who constantly emails with niggling little issues, who always gets back to me right away with quotes, which items are very long lead-time…  I’d almost like to empty the contents of my Tribal Knowledge center in my brain, but the researchers haven’t designed the cables yet for that function.  I know that the people who take over my functions are pretty savvy, and it will not take them long to figure things out.

For the past couple of weeks, my coworkers and suppliers have been celebrating my retirement.  Two weeks ago, my favorite production planner organized a farewell lunch for me, and a couple of other people who are leaving for the same reason I am.

MeAndLy

She is such a bouncy little lady, and she calls me “Mother Goose”.  I think I will miss her more than most of my other work friends.

MeAndEE

This is my other favorite work friend.  He is an Electrical Engineer, and he also plays the violin.  He has taught me so much about the products we make, and how they are put together.  He loves to come by my desk to bother me (but he knows I’m not really bothered).

RetireChick

This is the t-shirt my little lady friend got me.

Last week, I was very surprised to receive a huge bouquet of assorted roses from one of my suppliers.  They are just beautiful, and lasted a long time.

RetirementFlowers

Last Monday, when I came in to work, I found that my desk had been decorated by my boss and a coworker.  I was VERY surprised!

DecoratedDesk

Well, I know for absolute certain, that they will miss me.  A lot.  And I will miss them, but not the company.

This past Friday, they gave a department retirement lunch for me.  The food was great, and my coworkers were supportive.  But there was some of the “bitter” part, which has nothing to do with my job, or my coworkers, or my friends.

EatingRule

How to put a damper on any kind of festivities, from the very beginning!  I have no idea why those people in the picture are smiling.  This kind of thing makes me sad, and angry.  I refuse to be afraid, and socially “distant” from my friends.  Distancing is for enemies, not coworkers or friends.

Distance

Yeah, you can almost talk to each other at lunch, when you are separated by a few feet and wearing a mask.  I did not wear a mask, from the minute I entered the room until it was time to go back to my desk (masks are mandatory in the building whenever you are away from your desk).

Lunch

This shows more of the layout.  Sad.  The lady wheeling in the lunch cart by the door is my boss.  Of course, she is wearing her mask, as always.

On Tuesday, Hubby and I get in the car, and drive to South Dakota for a Ricochet meetup.  As soon as we cross the Idaho border, no state we will travel through has a mask mandate, and I hope to never have to wear one when not mandatory.  I know the hotels we will stay in require them, but I am way looking forward to being able to see my Rico friends’ faces, and see them smile.

I am also looking forward to a more leisurely trip home, with no deadline to get back to work, and no one to answer to except Hubby.  We will be traveling through Idaho, Montana, a little piece of Wyoming, and South Dakota on the way there, and will be going the Northern route through North Dakota on the way back.  We will be able to stop more often to admire scenery, and will be able to spend a bit more time when we visit my supplier in rural North Dakota.  We went through there on our Hillsdale trip in 2010, but this time we will be able to stay longer, and I will be able to take the pictures I missed the first time (the territory around Killdeer is very interesting, and I kicked myself for not taking pictures then).  Stay tuned for a big travelogue post when we get back.

So this week I will be starting an entirely new phase of my life.  It will be exciting and a little frightening, but I know I can handle anything that comes along.  I have my Sweetie to help me, and be a shoulder to cry on if I need one.  I am looking eagerly forward to becoming a Hillsdale Associate, helping the College in any way I can.

Onward to the Next Great Adventure!

Damn You, Jay Inslee.

Damn You, Jay Inslee.

Another notch in your (well, I was going to say gun, but you abhor guns) billy-club.  Congratulations, you have destroyed another small business in Washington State. Another livelihood ruined, lives put in jeopardy by your “Rule by Decree”.  We have to destroy it in order to save it.  You’re lucky that the Sheeple of Washington are more than willing to let you ride roughshod over their lives, in order to “protect” them from the Evil Wuhan Coronavirus.  I feel for the proprietors of the LaConner Sweet Shoppe, who are now forced out of business.  While you sit, secure in your office in Olympia.  Your livelihood and job are in no danger, so it doesn’t matter to you, how many others’ jobs and businesses you destroy.

Well, we are not all Sheeple. It is abhorrent that you make the legitimate small and large businesses in our state do the enforcement for you.  You make THEM require all their customers to don a disguise before entering their establishments.  So if I exercise my God-given right to freedom of association and refuse to cover my face, they are the ones who suffer if I am allowed to.

MaskRules

Welcome?  Masks Required doesn’t sound very welcoming to me.  It says “You and all our customers are Dangerous!  You are by definition Infectious and might Kill us and the rest of the customers in our store!  Max four customers?  Not too welcoming to me.  And then, there’s this:

StateOrder

This has been pretty effective in causing the destruction of Society, for it is not society if we are prevented from seeing our friends’ and neighbors’ faces.  No way of reading lips for deaf citizens either.  Just more destruction.

And you want a third term?  Disgusting!

Will someone tell me how this does not constitute “Inciting Violence”?

Just recently, a member of the US House of Representatives gave a speech.  Ayanna Pressley called for unrest in the streets.  Can someone tell me how this does not constitute inciting violence?  As I recall, President Donald Trump has never called for unrest in the streets, but he sure has drawn such unrest, since even before he took office.

badwords

He said it better than I could…Today’s Quote

I admit that I copied this quote from George Will’s book The Conservative Sensibility, from a friend’s post over on Ricochet.  He (George Will) said this better than I could.

Conservatives’ task is to build a society that nurtures individuals to self-sufficiency, including independence from politics. Now more than ever conservatives need to be focused on this nurturing because the related forces of urbanization and statism are exerting a powerful pull toward an enervating dependency. It is a dependency on large economic entities, and on government, for security. Ultimately, it is dependency on – and addiction to – security as the highest aim of life. This addiction produces, over time, a timid, fearful debased people erecting barriers against a competitive world and aggressively asserting an entitlement mentality, including an entitlement to government protection against uncertainty. This entitlement exacts a steep moral cost. Government that acknowledges such an entitlement becomes a bland Leviathan, administering a soft, kindly, but ultimately corrupting statism of benighted benevolence.

Those units of Government who now control our lives, due to “emergency” declarations over the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, are demonstrating how far this country has declined into the “Enervating Dependency” Mr. Will describes.  Can we stop it?  I wonder.