Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Is John McCain In Death the Most Deadly Serious Bore In Recent History?

IT'S A RHETORICAL QUESTION.  McCain's funeral is starting to feel like a total, mean-spirited bore.  Staged with the usual political preeners and hypocrites.  And without the people who would make it really interesting. Certainly their choice.

I'd rather be at Aretha's fashion-first funeral with her red coffin stilletos and a complete outfit change every few hours. Then there are dozens of pink cadillacs.

Look,  I have nothing against either of these Trump haters.  It's just that it's too bad it might end up defining legacies.

Do you think Vogue will ever feature a cadaver  lying in state on it's cover? With our culture of death,  it wouldn't surprise me.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday, Mockers

 Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.---Proverbs 29:8

INTERNET CULTURE.  We have learned a great deal about mockers, those who scoff at all truth claims and virtue.  Here we see that their work not only harms personal relationships but can stir up a city.---that is undermine an entire social order. Literally, this verse says mockers set a city on fire, agitating people, stirring up skepticism, doubt, division and cynicism. This leads to a breakdown in society, because people who listen to mockers can't really believe or trust in any ideals, noble causes, or moral absolutes.

It could be argued that technology has, in an enhanced way, given mockers a platform to set our society on fire with polarizing, incendiary speech.  Internet culture privileges mockers, whose insults and broadsides are click bait. It disadvantages the kin of civil, respectful, patient and careful back and forth that brings a diverse society together.  The question is----how do we turn away the anger it causes?  That is the challenge for the wise today. Start by not being sucked into  its passions yourself.

Have you found yourself upset by what you read on social media?  Did you get drawn into it? How can you avoid that?

PRAYER:  Lord, many try to stir up my anger---to get my support, money, vote and to buy things.  With your help, I resolve resistance.   Remind me that you are the judge, and I am the judged, yet absolved in Christ.  Let these wondrous truths consume my self-righteous indignation.  Amen

----God's Wisdom for Navigating Life,  Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller


Friday, August 24, 2018

A Long Time Coming, I Say Jeff Sessions Needs to Go


I'VE ALWAYS LIKED JEFF SESSIONS, TWENTY YEARS A U.S. SENATOR FROM AL, BEFORE PRESIDENT TRUMP TAPPED HIM FOR TOP SPOT AT JUSTICE LAST YEAR.  I still like him. He comes across as a fine, morally upstanding, hard-working public servant, not withstanding hilarious  impersonations on SNL.  Among other things,  I like his tough stand on illegal immigration and withdrawal of federal funds from sanctuary cities that violate federal immigration laws.

So it's with sadness  I now conclude Sessions really, really, really needs to go---either through resigning or firing--- from Justice.  Lindsey Graham got it right when he said Sessions will be gone soon after the mid-term elections.

Writing at The Federalist today, Adam Mill defends President Trump's frustration at Sessions  and defends Trump's ongoing criticism:

Trump Is Not Only Right To Criticize Jeff Sessions, It’s His Constitutional Duty

Under Article II of the Constitution, the voters exercise their control over the government through the president.
Recently, an interesting debate erupted on Twitter between Donald Trump (the 45th President of the United States) and his subordinate Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump, who is the head of the executive branch and the boss of Sessions, publicly criticized the Department of Justice, which is not only his right as president, but also his responsibility as the only thin connection tying the ballot box to the DOJ. We should fear a world in which the DOJ, which has the vast power of the FBI and a monopoly over federal prosecutorial authority, does not listen to the voice of its elected master.
Trump said, “I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice department.”  He then complained that Sessions surrendered control by recusing himself from participating in matters important to the president.

Sessions fired back, writing, “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

When our attorney general publicly responds to his boss that he will not “be influenced by political considerations,” one has to wonder whether he means that he feels empowered to ignore the “political consideration” that his boss wants him to manage the DOJ differently. We’re supposed to live in a representative democracy. Under Article II of the Constitution, the voters exercise their control over the government through the president.

Sessions went on to write, “We have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda.” This is a curious statement to be making as a retort to the president’s clear and public statement that he does not believe Sessions is following his wishes.

We should wonder whether this exchange evidences a lack of political control by the voters’ representative over the DOJ. In setting the elected president at the head of the executive branch, the founders were informed by their history, in particular that of the Roman Republic. In 58-50 B.C., Julius Caesar ignored “political considerations” by advancing military campaigns in Gaul for his own glory with little regard to attempts by the Roman Senate to regulate him. In 50 B.C., the Senate feared that Caesar’s success in Gaul might threaten Senate control of Roman Government. Too little, too late, it asserted itself by issuing an order relieving Caesar of command. Caesar instead violated Roman law by crossing the Rubicon and turned his legions against Rome to seize power. Fresh on the minds of the framers of the Constitution would have also been the example of Oliver Cromwell, who took control of England by entering Parliament in 1653 with forty British musketeers and forcefully dissolving it.

Sessions also borrowed a line so often articulated by his Deputy Attorney General, that he is proud of his DOJ for “advancing the rule of law,” which has become code for “resisting the president’s directions.”

Several have observed that the rule of law appears to mean the “rule of two laws,” one for those who oppose Trump and another for those who support him. Paul Manafort might be guilty as sin. But would he have been prosecuted but for his efforts to help Trump? No, according to a very thoughtful piece by K.S. Bruce in Real Clear Life. And the next Manafort trial appears to involve precisely the same thing that Tony Podesta did with no consequence.

As I pointed out in the Federalist, the prosecution against Cohen for “campaign finance violations” appears to be the exact mirror image of what was done on behalf of the Clinton Campaign when Lisa Bloom, the daughter of a Clinton campaign official, arranged or attempted to arrange payments from Clinton donors to women to incentivize them to accuse candidate Trump of sexual misdeeds.
It’s worth revisiting Bre Payton’s list of 16 examples of the left using criminal prosecutions to punish or harass critics and political opponents. While the left repeatedly warns that Trump will prosecute his political enemies, she astutely points out that nearly every prosecution of a political figure in America appears be of an enemy of the left, not Donald Trump.

The DOJ is simply too powerful to allow it to disregard its constitutional master, the president. We should all be concerned when we hear Sessions and others dismiss any need to feel influenced by “political considerations.” When Caesar stopped following the “political considerations” of the Senate, the Roman representative democracy died immediately. Those “political considerations” keep us free.
Adam Mill works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He frequently posts to Adam graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. 

Good piece from Adam Mill.  Now let's watch how quickly after mid-terms Sessions is sent back to Sweet Home Alabama.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Whooper On a Hopper

ONE OF MY FAVORITE FISHERMEN texted me this from Montana.  After the applause and congratulations came the inevitable question---on what?  Then came the inevitable answer----a hopper.  A hopper is a beef tenderloin medallion to a big hungry brown hog like that.  More details will dribble in in the weeks and months ahead. One great fish like that keeps you in good spirits during the darkest days of winter.  Getting a photo, then releasing that big boy back into the river and watching him swim into the deep, is almost as thrilling as bringing him in.

Almost nothing more fun in late August and September.  But there's just too much smoke in that dry, thin western air right now for me.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sunday: A Psalm of David During Persecution and Bullying

ARE YOU BEING TARGETED AND BULLIED BY THE COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION?  The ACLU?  Shunned by Facebook?  Doxxed by CNN? Perhaps there's a Mueller indictment or a fake dossier being put together about you with manufactured allegations?

Here David of the Old Testament pens a psalm and strong prayer for God's help, protection and vindication during the many years King Saul pursues him with the intent to kill him before he becomes God's chosen king over Israel.

This is a powerful imprecatory psalm for those times we feel bullied and harassed without  real cause and can do nothing but  fall on our knees and cry out to God for supernatural help.

PSALM 35:17-28

17How long, Lord, will you look on?
   Rescue me from their ravages,
    my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
    among the throngs I will praise you.
19 Do not let those gloat over me
    who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
    maliciously wink the eye.
20 They do not speak peaceably,
    but devise false accusations
    against those who live quietly in the land.
21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we have seen it.”
22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
    Do not be far from me, Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
    Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
    do not let them gloat over me.
25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
    or say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 May all who gloat over my distress
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
    be clothed with shame and disgrace.
27 May those who delight in my vindication
    shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
    who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
    your praises all day long.
New International Version (NIV)

From OneYearBibleBlog, August 18, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin the Great with Stevie Wonder, Writer and Producer


RESPECT WAS OK, but this was my absolute favorite of her many great hits. Performed with the writer and producer. What a combo! Re, I got a song for you....


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

View From My Morning Hill Walk

I LOVE, LOVE  TO CLIMB HILLS WHEREVER I AM and on the way to wherever I'm going. After returning from Wyoming---with mountains and hill climbs galore---early this year,  I yearned for new hills to explore. There are no mountains closeby.

Lucky for me,  I've found a wonderful hill on the way to Franklin, TN.  It's at the junction of Hwy. 96 and the entrance to the Natchez Trace Parkway.  The on ramp from 96 is terrific for a quick fast walk up and back.  If I have more time,  I can do it several times and consider it a small mountain.  I especially like walking on pavement with little or no traffic. Saw wild turkeys on the way up.

But,  in this heat and humidity......
...... it's got to be early morning or twilight.  Either way, it's fun and efficient light exercise while we wait for this August heat wave to break.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Al Gore Opines On Trump's Environmental Impact


AL GORE WASTED NO TIME LAST WEEKEND SPEAKING IN GREENSBORO, N.C. on behalf of the Poor People's Campaign (environmental devastation on poor people) and his new website The Climate Reality Project to pronounce President Trump's impact on the environment not quite as bad as it could be.  He added that the courts and Congress are keeping Trump somewhat restrained so anything our president does won't take effect immediately.

He opined:
Liberal environmentalists predicted the Trump administration would be a combination of malevolence and incompetence, but so far Trump hasn't had quite as bad an impact as once feared.   Still  a new president in 2020 could wave his wand and keep the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord from becoming official, since Trump's  withdrawal decree will only completely take effect after the next presidential election. 
Well, well, well, not quite as malevolent and incompetent as far.  Coming from Al, that might---might--- be construed as somewhat of a back-handed compliment.  Is he going soft on us?  Or just tired of years and decades of being Chicken Little?  Who knows, but you got to give him a little credit for continuing to fight the good fight he believes in.

So what are the most pressing environmental issues facing us today that conservatives and President Trump might  get behind to ameliorate?    I certainly think there are some and have a few thoughts.

Will be back soon with my opinions on that question.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sunday On Monday: Proverbs Biblical Paradox---Concurrence

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps....A person's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 16:1,9, 20:24)
CONCURRENCE, Modern people reason that either God is in change of history, working everything according to his plan, or we have freedom of choice. But the Bible says both are true at once. Theologians have called this '"concurrence." Jesus death on the cross was foreordained, absolutely certain, yet all the people who killed him were responsible for their actions (Acts 2:23).

The plans of the heart belong to us---they are our responsibility. The way God controls history does not force us to act. Yet all we do---every one of our steps---is part of his plan. This seeming paradox, while impossible to completely fathom, is supremely practical. It gives you enormous incentive to take personal initiative--poor choices will create pain and trouble. And yet, if you do fail, remember that you can't truly mess up your life. God will weave even your failings into his plan for you. 20:24 adds that therefore we should not worry about the fact---as others do---that we can't control our future. It is in God's hands.

Have you grasped this unique biblically balanced view of history, or are you more anxious or more passive than you should be?

PRAYER: Lord you are of eternity and I am of time and that is why I cannot grasp how every detail of history could be under the oontrol of your plan, and yet every human action be free and responsible. Yet they are, and I bow with fear and trembling before the incoomprehensible but wonderful wisdom of this. Amen

God's Wisdom For Navigating Life (Daily Devotions),  Timothy Keller, with Kathy Keller
August 12

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Drought Conditions In Middle Tennessee Are Bringing Down Poplar Leaves In Droves

IN DICKSON COUNTY WHERE I LIVE, we  had a nice little shower Wednesday afternoon. However drought conditions prevail and our state tree, the beautiful tulip poplar, is losing most of its leaves very early this year for lack of water. Not so for the oaks.  Eager to see if this is the case today up on the Cumberland Plateau. Thank goodness it's cooling off a bit.  Does this mean an early fall?


Thursday, August 2, 2018

What Keeps America Great

I ALWAYS GET GOOSE BUMPS WHEN I STAND IN LINE TO VOTE.  Same as when I return to the US from a foreign country and go through customs. There's a magical excitment and gratitude I get during these moments.

Today, the crowd at my voting place in Burns was 'light but steady.'  Poll workers said they expect heavier crowds between 3-7pm.

Voting is a privilege all citizens should feel gratitude for and never take for granted.

We must protect this right of our citizenship and never let anyone who is not a citizen with a valid ID vote, until and unless they are.

We must guard the Rule of Law and  the glorious Constitution with our lives, if need be.  From what I've seen of the radical, immature left over the past few years,  we may have to fight to protect our republic. 

God bless America.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Mess Megan and Harry Made With Megan's Father and How to Fix It

I'M CERTAINLY NO AUTHORITY ON ALL THINGS ROYAL about Megan and Harry---excuse me,  the new duchess and duke of something---who grew up universes apart.  However it does seem to me like some high level faux pas have been made with Thomas Markle, Megan's father---and perhaps other members of her unroyal family--- that need to be mended to the extent possible sooner rather than later. Thomas Markle is not innocent  in all this either though his is the harder row to hoe, as he grapples to cope with the last situation  in the world he must have ever thought he would have to deal with:  having his beloved daughter marry a prince and move to a far away country After his own awful publicity blunders, he now fears losing contact with her completely now and is pulling out the stops in desperation to get her attention.

Some steps taken now could bring Meghan and her father to a better, more loving understanding.   If not,  it could be an increasingly embarrassing  and guilt-provoking situation for years to come.   Thomas clearly wants some assurances and time with his daughter. This awkward situation has the potential to derail Megan's marriage completely over time and become another tragic royal train wreck no matter how infatuated she and Harry are with each other at the moment.

So what can be done to begin to remedy it?  Here are my thoughts for what it's worth:

1)  Meghan could call her dad and arrange a very private meeting with him---one-on-one---at an undisclosed, private location in LA as soon as possible.  She could tell him  if he leaks their plans to the press, the meeting will be called off.  She could also tell Thomas how much she loves and cares for him and appreciates all he's done for her over the years and understands her engagement and marriage to Harry is a very stressful adjustment. Meghan can assure him that he has not lost her and she wants to maintain a relationship with him if they can keep it out of the public eye.  Her dad can assure her he loves her and will keep their relationship private. He could stop talking to the press at all.

2)  Meghan could arrange to bring Harry in to meet her father as soon as she has spent a little time with him.  This could be later in the same day, or the next day of her trip to LA. If this had been done long before the wedding, it would have saved  many hurt feelings .  Meghan may have been so afraid and insecure that if she introduced her fiance to her dad then,  Harry might have turned and bolted, and broken the engagement.  Still, an introduction early on, like between her mother, Doria, and Harry would have gone a long way towards making things less stressful. And less embarrassing.  Thomas was clearly too stressed and out of his element to go to the wedding cold and give her away.

3) Sometimes later, Harry and Meghan could invite Thomas to a very private visit to see them in England.  If things are calmer they could slowly introduce her father to several of the royal family who might be less stressful for him to meet. They could then go from there to plan another get together down the road.

4)  The queen and the palace should stay out of this completely.  It would be a terrible, unwise mistake for them to put themselves and the queen ahead of Meghan's need to connect privately with her father. Putting the queen before and above any and everything else would be a disastrous, sellfish mistake.  Meghan's family is just as important as the royals.

All of this would take some maturity and courage.  And time.  But I strongly advise this before it's too late. Frankly,  I am surprised the queen was not  smart enough to tell Harry to get all this handled about the time of their engagement.