Friday, July 10, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

@DrRickKnabb: We’re racking up Atlantic depressions/storms mainly by feasting on non-tropical land-based origins to get short-lived, weak systems, formation of which is harder to forecast. Models suggest could get another off East Coast next week. None of this is the real hurricane season yet. — […]

@capital_climate: Washington #DCA 2.04" rainfall overnight is a new record for July 7. The old record of 0.93" in 1958 was 1 of only 2 July daily records less than 1". #dcwx #climate — […]

@AFP: Hundreds of people had to leave their homes in a coastal French city to allow explosive experts to deal with a 500-kilogram bomb from World War II[…]

We're inside the line for being extra hot in about a week for several days. #DCwx #VAwx #MDwx[…]

Thursday, July 9, 2020

SCOTUS Updates

.@USSupremeCourt To Hear Case On Sealed Mueller Evidence[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court to hear Trump appeal over Russia report documents[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court takes up Nestle, Cargill appeals over human rights claims[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court sends Indiana abortion cases back to lower courts[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court takes up Germany's appeal in Nazi art dispute[…]

@news_ntd: The #SupremeCourt agreed to consider the #Trump admin’s appeal of a lower court’s decision compelling @TheJusticeDept to give Congress documents from former Special Counsel Robert #Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[…]

@PrivacyPros: "Facebook asks SCOTUS to intervene in privacy lawsuit" (via @DailyDashboard) cc: @MediaPost[…]

@USSupremeCourt: The Fourth Circuit’s judgment—that the robocall restriction’s government-debt exception in 47 U. S. C. §227(b)(1)(A)(iii) violates the First Amendment but is severable from the remainder of the statute—is affirmed. — […]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: Chiafalo v. Washington (19-465) A State may enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee—and the state voters’ choice—for President. — […]

Binding faithless electors (WORLD) — […]

@2Aupdates: New Supreme Court case Zoie v Nebraska (#SCOTUS, 19-1418): Cert petition[…]

@AllianceDefends: BREAKING: US Supreme Court asked to halt NV governor’s rules that treat churches worse than casinos ADF attorneys represent church challenging unbalanced coronavirus restrictions that allow more people to play slots than gather for worship Read more:[…]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, BREYER, KAGAN, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. — […]

@scotusreporter: In first opinion today, Supreme Court says two teachers who wanted to sue their parochial schools employers may not because of the "ministerial exception" protecting religious institutions — […]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (19-431) THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. — […]

@KevinDaleyDC: BREAKING: The Supreme Court upholds the Trump administration's conscience exemptions from the Obamacare birth control mandate in victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Justice Thomas has the Court's opinion. The judgment is 7-2. #SCOTUS[…]

Supreme Court upholds contraceptive exemption (WORLD) — […]

@NRBtoday: SCOTUS Delivers Major Wins for Religious Liberty with Rulings on Our Lady of Guadalupe and Little Sisters of the Poor Cases[…]

Religious schools keep the right to hire for beliefs (WORLD) — […]

Victory for the Little Sisters (WORLD) — […]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: McGirt v. Oklahoma (18-9526) GORSUCH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. — […]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: Trump v. Vance (19-635) ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. KAVANAUGH, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which GORSUCH, J., joined. — […]

@USSupremeCourt: OPINION: Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP (19-715) The courts below did not take adequate account of the significant separation of powers concerns implicated by congressional subpoenas for the President’s information. — […]

@tsspangler: Justice Thomas dissent to tax records: "The subpoena ... here is unprecedented. Never before has a local prosecutor subpoenaed the records of a sitting President. The Court’s decision threatens to impair the functioning of the Presidency" — […]

2019 term concluded: Complete list of 2019 cases, opinions and summaries

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


The name of the restaurant may not be long for this earth, but The Man may survive.
I remember going with my daughter Jennifer to Dixie’s BBQ for lunch. Dixie’s has the best BBQ in western Washington. Ask anyone. It’s official.

The proprietor visits each table and asks, “Have you met ‘The Man’?”

“The Man” is the seriously hot hot sauce for which Dixie’s is famous.

“Lay it on us,” we said.

Within seconds, two women of reasonably professional demeanor were transformed into bleary-eyed, runny-nosed, red-blotched, mascara-streaked, ugly-faced, broken-down, beggin’-for-mercy, cryin’-for-Mama, fixin’-to-die, hiccupping lumps of humanity.

Of humility.

There was no way out but through. Sans dignity.

And if you’ve never heard a grown child of yours whisper, “Help me,” it’s unnerving, let me tell you.

Federal, International Updates

@usbotschaft: The U.S. will continue to stand w/ the freedom-loving people of #HongKong and respond to Beijing’s attacks on freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly, as well as the rule of law. Today marks a sad day for Hong Kong, and for freedom-loving people across China.[…]

"Artificial Flowers, Christmas Decorations, Coal, Footwear, Garments, and Nails are included for forced labor of adults;
"Textiles are included for child labor; and
"Bricks, Cotton, Electronics, Fireworks, and Toys are included for both forced labor of adults and child labor."[…]

@TheJusticeDept: Last month, AG Barr took part in a virtual security ministerial with close partners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. They discussed #COVID19’s impact on global security and agreed to work together to combat threats in areas of mutual interest.[…]

If avoiding #MadeinChina, specific things to avoid and why. #ChildLabor #ForcedLabor #China[…]

@statedeptspox: Great news on entry into force of the #USMCA! This landmark agreement will be a new engine for growth and prosperity to ensure North America remains the most economically dynamic region in the world.[…]

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The greatest need of our nature

God meant to make us know ourselves created for another and a better life, such being in fact the greatest need of our nature.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

@DeptofDefense: China is increasingly a concern for the commander of @USNavyEurope & @NATO's Allied Joint Force Command. Read more why strengthing relationships with our allies & partners across Europe & Africa is more important than ever #partnerships #USNavyAfrica[…]

Trump defends monuments on July Fourth (WORLD) — […]

@markknoller: Pres Trump's schedule this week also includes WH talks and working dinner on Wednesday with Mexican Pres Lopez Obrador. Comes a week after the US/Canada/Mexico trade agreement went into effect replacing NAFTA. — […]

Monday, July 6, 2020

Higher Education Updates

@IndoPac_Info: Spied on. Fired. Publicly shamed. #China’s crackdown on professors reminds many of Mao era Under #XiJinping, the party banned discussion in 2013 of “Western concepts” such as universal values, free press, civil society and the party’s historical errors.[…]

@UPI: More than a dozen British universities face insolvency due to COVID-19, study says[…]

Mark Twain in Ephasus

Ephesus—a town great in all ages of the world—a city familiar to readers of the Bible, and one which was as old as the very hills when the disciples of Christ preached in its streets. It dates back to the shadowy ages of tradition, and was the birthplace of gods renowned in Grecian mythology. …

On a high, steep hill, toward the sea, is a gray ruin of ponderous blocks of marble, wherein, tradition says, St. Paul was imprisoned eighteen centuries ago. From these old walls you have the finest view of the desolate scene where once stood Ephesus, the proudest city of ancient times, and whose Temple of Diana was so noble in design, and so exquisite of workmanship, that it ranked high in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Salute to America

THE PRESIDENT: … Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity. No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.

It was all made possible by the courage of 56 patriots who gathered in Philadelphia 244 years ago and signed the Declaration of Independence. They enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said: “…all men are created equal.”

These immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom. Our Founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights — given [to] us by our Creator in Heaven. And that which God has given us, we will allow no one, ever, to take away — ever.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Weekly Updates

GovTop Report
Pray for Congress
Pray for Medicine
Knowing the Times
Technology Policy
A Virginia Blog

Nature and Resources Updates

After 6/29 we lose daylight faster than 30 seconds per day until mid-September. #WashingtonDC — […]

@DEFCONWSALERTS: Mysterious Spike In Radioactivity Over Northern Europe, Accident At Russian Nuclear Plant Suspected -[…]

@ArmedwScience: Dr. Mark J. Lewis, director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization, spoke with @HudsonInstitute on how being unafraid of failure will be critical to speeding DOD's development of hypersonics.[…]

@fox32news: EYES TO THE SKY: Skywatchers are in for a treat on July 4, when the buck moon, or July full moon, rises in the sky. There will also be a partial lunar eclipse.[…]

Thursday, July 2, 2020

SCOTUS Updates

@kevincorke: In a major victory for the #Trump administration, #SCOTUS ruled that immigrants whose requests for #asylum were rejected can't contest the denials in federal court. Supreme Court Eases Path to Deport Asylum Seekers - WSJ[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court bolsters Trump's power over rapid deportation[…]

@KevinDaleyDC: Just one opinion today from the Supreme Court: the Court sides with the Trump administration in its bid to speed deportations for migrants denied asylum. Justice Alito delivers the opinion, the bottom line judgement is 7-2. #SCOTUS[…]

@ReutersLegal: Supreme Court declines to change Ohio ballot initiatives policy[…]

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Federal, International Updates

@eAsiaMediaHub: .@SecPompeo announced the U.S. has accepted @JosepBorrellF's proposal to create a U.S.-EU Dialogue on China. “I’m excited about this – a new mechanism for discussing the concerns we have about the threat China poses to... our shared democratic ideals."[…]

@FRCdc: A great move by the @StateDept and @SecPompeo! "President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms. Today, we are taking action to do just that." #StandwithHongKong[…]

@StateDept: Today, @JTIP_State released the annual Trafficking in Persons Report. This year’s TIP Report celebrates 20 years of progress and paves the way for advancement in the fight to #EndTrafficking.[…]

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How to measure a mind

Everything animate has a mind measurable by its wants.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

@WhiteHouse: Today, President @realDonaldTrump took action to help ensure that children in America's foster care system receive the support and services they need for a bright future.[…]

@FreeBeacon: Members of the House Freedom Caucus urged federal law enforcement agencies to arrest and punish rioters who are responsible for destruction across the country, including toppling statues and looting businesses.[…]

Monday, June 29, 2020

Higher Education Updates

@chronicle: Academic administrators learned many lessons from the pivot their institutions made to online learning this spring, among them: Faculty need a lot more support to teach online than expected.[…]

@PrayforCongress: @SenateFloor @SenJohnKennedy @SenJohnKennedy's comments on #ConfuciusInstitutes, the Communist Party of China (#CCP), and subsequent @SenateFloor passage of #S939, from the #CongressionalRecord.[…]

@PrayforCongress: @SenateFloor @MarshaBlackburn Senator @MarshaBlackburn comments about #ConfuciusInstitutes in the United States and the Communist Party of China (#CCP), from the #CongressionalRecord: “72 of our Nation's colleges and universities are hosts” to CCP-funded Confucius Institutes.[…]

@PrayforCongress: @SenateFloor @senrobportman @SenRobPortman re: #ConfuciusInstitutes in the US and the Communist Party of China (#CCP), from the #CongressionalRecord: “our @StateDept has attempted to set up something comparable on Chinese university campuses” and “has been unable to do so.”[…]

Mark Twain understood the meaning of church

At one point on their journey, Mark Twain wrote, “I wish to see all the places that's mentioned in the Bible.”

Mark Twain visited “the site of that one of the Seven Apocalyptic Churches of Asia which was located here in the first century of the Christian era; and the grave and the place of martyrdom of the venerable Polycarp, who suffered in Smyrna for his religion some eighteen hundred years ago.”

Friday, June 26, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

@Climatologist49: Hours of daylight on the Summer Solstice.[…]

@nautilusint: Stranded at sea: the crew members trapped on cruise ships - podcast[…]

We've got one more week in #WashingtonDC with daylight change amounts being less than 30 seconds per day.[…]

@USGS: M 7.4 - 11 km SSW of Santa María Zapotitlán, Mexico.[…]

Thursday, June 25, 2020

SCOTUS Updates

DACA survives on technicality (WORLD) — […]

@KevinDaleyDC: The Supreme Court has blocked President Donald Trump's bid to rescind DACA. Chief Justice John Roberts delivers the 5-4 decision. #SCOTUS[…]

@ReutersLegal: U.S. Supreme Court rules against Trump bid to end 'Dreamers' immigrant program[…]

@AP_Courtside: The Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to end legal protections for young immigrants.[…]

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Why we invent

Originally this post was just going to be a book excerpt, and maybe a little commentary at the end. Instead, the book excerpt remains and is followed by my reframing of the underlying issue posed.
A glance at the historical record suggests that something more than just inequality and austerity and outsourcing is contributing to deceleration and stagnation.

• If an unequal society and an entrenched ruling class were sufficient to choke off growth, the industrial revolution would have never gotten off the ground in the first place.

• If soaring fortunes necessarily came at the expense of middle-class incomes, then the 1990s, the last decade of solid growth, would have been the worst recent era for middle-class prosperity rather than the best.

• If correcting neoliberalism with protectionist policies were the path back to another trentes glorieuses, France would be the strongest economy in Europe.

• If correcting neoliberalism with socialism were the golden ticket, Venezuela would be the tiger of Latin America rather than a basket case.

Federal, International Updates

@statedeptspox: With the activation of the Caesar Act sanctions, the U.S. is increasing economic pressure on the Assad regime, its cronies and enablers to stop the war in Syria. Read the full statement from @SecPompeo:[…]

Just so we're clear... Tech companies want #Section230 protection from liability for content posted by their users. and @Google wants to hold companies responsible for content posted by their commenting users.[…]

@FRCdc: At least 20 soldiers and 40 civilians, including a 4-year-old girl, were killed in two attacks claimed by a #BokoHaram faction last Saturday. The trend of extremist violence in #Nigeria continues. @ChristianPost[…]

Efforts to #StandWithHongKong on the @SenateFloor yesterday: #HongKong[…]

@RepMarkGreen: It is now illegal in Tennessee to perform an abortion when a heartbeat can be detected. I'm proud of our State for defending human lives.[…]

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Protests against nothingness

The monuments of the nations are all protests against nothingness after death; so are statues and inscriptions; so is history.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

@markknoller: WH posts text of Executive Order on police reform signed today by Pres Trump.[…]

@POTUS @realDonaldTrump signs executive order on #policereform via @STcom — […]

@AirForce1: Remarks by President Trump in Roundtable Discussion on Fighting for America’s Seniors[…]

Remarks by @POTUS @realDonaldTrump at Signing of an Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities via @WhiteHouse — […]

@Heritage: Today President Trump signed an executive order on police reform — @KayColesJames and @malcolm_john offered this response:[…]

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mark Twain's visit to Russia

At the appointed hour we drove out three miles, and assembled in the handsome garden in front of the Emperor's palace.

We formed a circle under the trees before the door, for there was no one room in the house able to accommodate our three-score persons comfortably, and in a few minutes the imperial family came out bowing and smiling, and stood in our midst. A number of great dignitaries of the Empire, in undress unit forms, came with them. With every bow, his Majesty said a word of welcome.

I copy these speeches. There is character in them—Russian character—which is politeness itself, and the genuine article. The French are polite, but it is often mere ceremonious politeness. A Russian imbues his polite things with a heartiness, both of phrase and expression, that compels belief in their sincerity.

As I was saying, the Czar punctuated his speeches with bows:

“Good morning—I am glad to see you—I am gratified—I am delighted—I am happy to receive you!”

All took off their hats, and the Consul inflicted the address on him. He bore it with unflinching fortitude; then took the rusty-looking document and handed it to some great officer or other, to be filed away among the archives of Russia—in the stove.

He thanked us for the address, and said he was very much pleased to see us, especially as such friendly relations existed between Russia and the United States.

The Empress said the Americans were favorites in Russia, and she hoped the Russians were similarly regarded in America.

Higher Education Updates

@chronicle: "We are where we are as a country because this is what higher education has produced," says @michaelsorrell[…]

@chronicle: Many colleges will mandate that students wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and not hold any large gatherings this fall. One administrator said: "I fear we are asking students to do something impossible."[…]

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Talk Show Recap: Law enforcement reform, coronavirus, immigration, oversight

Preview: Bolton delivers bombshell while US tackles COVID-19, police brutality

Recap: Bolton's book reverberates

Clips on Twitter

A Father who needs no intermediates

God never seemed so actual and so near by; it was as if he were there bending over them or sitting at their side—a Friend whose favors were to be had by the most unceremonious asking—a Father to whom all his children were alike in love--Father, not more of the Jew than of the Gentile—the Universal Father, who needed no intermediates, no rabbis, no priests, no teachers.

The idea that such a God might send mankind a Saviour instead of a king appeared to Ben-Hur in a light not merely new, but so plain that he could almost discern both the greater want of such a gift and its greater consistency with the nature of such a Deity.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Friday, June 19, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

This is the last week of days getting longer each day until December. — […]

@GlobalFishWatch: "Phantom ships" that appear to be sailing in circles off the coast of San Francisco have been discovered by @SkyTruth analyst Bjorn Bergman while examining vessel tracking data. via @hannah__osborne @Newsweek[…]

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Contagious Focus

My tiny high school had twenty-seven boys—farm boys—on the football team.

There had never been a pro athlete from that high school before I got there, and never one since I left. Not one.

Based on the statistics I just showed you of high school players turning pro, how many of those twenty-seven farm boys on my team do you suppose went on to play in the NFL?

Answer: Four.

Four of us played in the NFL for a total of twenty-five years, with two Super Bowl appearances.

That’s a statistical impossibility. That can’t happen. Especially given that there’s never been a history at the school for pro athletes of any kind.

So how do you explain it? Coincidence? Something in the water? Sheer dumb luck?

SCOTUS Updates

@FreeBeacon: The new push to reform police practices will face an early test at the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, as justices decide whether to revisit a rule that protects police officers from lawsuits involving constitutional violations. Via @KevinDaleyDC[…]

Supreme Court sides with LGBT employees (WORLD) — […]

@KevinDaleyDC: Tons doing on this morning's orders list from the Supreme Court. The Court has denied many high-profile appeals, including Trump's challenge to California's sanctuary law; challenges to qualified immunity; and lots of Second Amendment cases. #SCOTUS[…]

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A brief history of electricity

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, theories and experimentation continued, with

the definitive link between the theory of electricity and lightning (1752);

the theory of bioelectromagnetics, which established electricity as the mechanism by which neurons passed signals to the muscles (1791);

the recognition of electromagnetism (1820); and

the invention of the electric motor (1821).

Discovery and invention continued throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth with such developments as the electric battery, the telephone, radiotelegraphy, light bulbs, and rotating magnetic fields.
Source: The Story of Technology by Daniel M. Gerstein

Federal, International Updates

@revmahoney: Mike Pompeo criticises HSBC for backing HK security law. I pray America continues to stand with HK! #StandWithHK[…]

@davidpwhelan: Thank you, @SecPompeo @StateDept, for calling out #Iran, #Russia, and #Venezuela about Americans Tomeu Vadell and the @FreeCitgo6, Baquer and Siamak @FreetheNamazis, #FreeMorad Tahbaz, and my brother, #PaulWhelan. It's time to end hostage diplomacy[…]

@J_Andrew_Boyle: Secretary of State aims for @IntlCrimCourt and hits GTMO:[…]

@Reuters: Washington would not allow Americans to be threatened by ‘a kangaroo court,’ said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after President Trump authorized sanctions against an International Criminal Court investigation into whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan[…]

@State_SCA: As @SecPompeo and @IRF_Ambassador Brownback underscored this week, we welcome the great strides and real progress on religious freedom in Uzbekistan and look forward to more steps to protect religious groups and freedom of religion or belief. #Religiousfreedom[…]

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Weeds of the mind

Suspicions, as we all know, are weeds of the mind which grow of themselves, and most rapidly when least wanted.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

@henryrodgersdc: …economic sanctions on employees of the International Criminal Court for pursuing investigations into U.S. military and intelligence personnel at Russia's behest. My latest with @TocRadio:[…]

Remarks by @POTUS @realDonaldTrump in Roundtable Discussion "with friends of mine and members of the African American community, and we’re going to be talking about law enforcement, education, business, health, and various other things." via @WhiteHouse — […]

Remarks by President Trump During a Roundtable: Restoring, Rebuilding, and Renewing | Dallas, TX[…]

Remarks by President Trump at the 2020 United States Military Academy at West Point Graduation Ceremony[…]

Monday, June 15, 2020

Higher Education Updates

@timeshighered: “Asynchronous teaching methods are capable of improving our ability to offer alternative learning times and communication forms that are more inclusive of our students’ learning styles.”[…]

@Harvard_Law: "Unmute yourself … identify those things that annoyingly keep you silent when your friends or your family or your community need your voice." Watch Professor Ruth Okediji’s 'Last Lecture' to the Class of 2020[…]

@chronicle: Frustrated with the seeming hypocrisy of some colleges’ statements on Black Lives Matter, two friends and black scholars started tweeting about incidents of racial bias in their careers.[…]

Standing where Paul once stood

The full moon was riding high in the cloudless heavens, now. We sauntered carelessly and unthinkingly to the edge of the lofty battlements of the citadel, and looked down—a vision! And such a vision! Athens by moonlight! The prophet that thought the splendors of the New Jerusalem were revealed to him, surely saw this instead! …

To the right was Mars Hill, where the Areopagus sat in ancient times and where St. Paul defined his position, and below was the market-place where he “disputed daily” with the gossip-loving Athenians.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

@JimBridenstine: The cost-saving success of @Commercial_Crew is based on @NASA establishing high-level requirements and letting private companies innovate. For the Artemis Moon base, NASA will establish a cost per ton delivered and once again let private companies innovate.[…]

@elonmusk: @JimBridenstine @Commercial_Crew @NASA Outcome-based contracting with multiple competitors is vastly better than cost-plus (especially if sole-sourced), as the former rewards results and latter rewards waste. Outcome contracting should be applied broadly within government. The difference in results will be incredible. — […]

@SciDiplomacyUSA: A robust and ready Polar Security Cutter fleet supports our national interests, economic strength and scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic region. Here are the steps we're taking to have a U.S. icebreaker fleet ready for our future.[…]

The Mailboxes

College is not just about the things you learn from the curriculum, even the things a college specifically designs itself around.

Memories in college are not just around the friends you have.

Sometimes, even in the midst of the normal routine, things make their way into your life that stick with you for a long time to come.

These things don't have to be complicated or profound—just meaningful.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The question rarely asked of Al Pacino

I asked all the people in classes with me, “Who’s the greatest stage performer of all time?” and they all said, “Al Pacino.”

Obviously, I needed to meet Al Pacino. I just needed to figure out how to make that happen.

A couple of days later, I was having dinner with a friend. Anna Strasberg, Lee Strasberg’s widow, was in the restaurant. My friend knew Anna and introduced me to her. So I did what I do, which is ask questions.

Here’s the widow of the best acting coach in the world—of course I was going to learn whatever I could. How could I be the best? What should I do? What would Lee have told me to do?

Turned out Anna liked me because I asked all these questions about how to improve my acting. It also turned out that Al Pacino is the godfather for her two sons. When I heard that, I immediately asked for an introduction to him. I told Anna that I wanted what Al Pacino had. I wanted to be the best stage actor, so I needed to find out what he did.

Anna agreed to introduce us, which is how I ended up playing touch football in the snow with her two sons and Al Pacino and then went to his house, where he spent three hours breaking down the next fifteen years for me.

SCOTUS Updates

@DukeFirearmsLaw: What's going on with the gun cases? Who really knows, but @JacobCharlesNC outlines some possibilities in this week's SCOTUS Gun Watch.[…]

@FDRLST: Contrary to the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 opinion that cut against religious liberty, it now looks like church health guidelines were subjective.[…]

@BECKETlaw: "In Fulton, the Court should restore the Free Exercise Clause's original public meaning, our national traditions and the Founders' prevailing political philosophy." Read this @Newsweek op-ed from former US AG @EdMeeseIII: @Heritage #SCOTUS #FosteringLove — […]

@richardjwolf: End qualified immunity? Supreme Court's deference to police for 'reasonable' conduct faces scrutiny in wake of brutality cases via @usatoday #SCOTUS — […]

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Identity Capital

Identity capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources that we assemble over time.

These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become a part of who we are.

Federal, International Updates

@LTrails: In Such a Time as This, Let Us Pray . . . -[…]

@IndoPac_Info: June 4, 1989. A day of infamy! We do not forget!!! #Tiananmen31 #TiananmenMassacre #TiananmenSquaremassacre[…]

@demosisto: In the shadow of #NationalSecurityLaw, thousands of #Hongkongers broke barricades and started to assemble in Victoria Park to mourn #TiananmenSquareMassacre.[…]

“Reform advocates have proposed repealing barriers to accountability for problem officers, such as qualified immunity and law enforcement officer bill of rights, and scaling back police militarization.”[…]

@AmbasciataUSA: At the invitation of Italian Foreign Affairs Minister @luigidimaio and of Secretary of State @SecPompeo, the Foreign Ministers of the Global @Coalition met virtually today to reaffirm our shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS. Read the joint communique[…]

@TheJusticeDept: Attorney General William P. Barr's Remarks on Mr. George Floyd and Civil Unrest[…]

@SenateNews: #SenateHearing to examine the crisis in Hong Kong, focusing on a review of United States policy tools, including #S3798, to impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons involved in the erosion of certain obligations of China wrt HK.[…]

@IndoPac_Info: Exclusive: Pompeo to urge stock exchanges globally to tighten rules for #Chinese companies Pompeo warns American investors against 'fraudulent' accounting practices of China-based companies.[…]

Happy Constitution Day to Denmark! @SecPompeo: “The Kingdom of Denmark and the United States are steadfast allies and partners, and we greatly value Denmark as a leader in promoting peace throughout the world” via @StateDept — […]

Remarks by @VP @Mike_Pence in Listening Session with Faith and Community Leaders | Beltsville, MD via @WhiteHouse — […]

China's plan:
Stage 1: military build-up
Stage 2: international influence[…]

@IndoPac_Info: #IndiaChinaStandoff - Alleged video of a #Chinese highway where there are a lot of trailer trucks transporting tanks, armored vehicles, etc to the #Indian border. Definitely a significant build up. Via @shuangyinghe #StandWithIndia[…]

Plans reaching fruition are cause for formal celebration and public acknowledgment of the Lord’s help.” @TheVoiceBible #GTD[…]

@SecPompeo: The Chinese Communist Party’s callous attempts to exploit George Floyd’s tragic death for its own political gain will fail. During the best of times, Beijing ruthlessly imposes communism. Amid the most difficult challenges, the United States secures freedom. — […]

@joshuawongcf: 1/ Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of our anti-extradition bill movement since June. Over the past year, Hongkongers and the world have been bearing witness to the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong, with Beijing tightening its grip over the city’s liberties.[…]

@AUL: We speak with @xan_desanctis this week on “Life, Liberty, and Law" on Planned Parenthood and where "fake news" comes from when reporters behave like activists.[…]

@TomTugendhat: This is a strong statement from a close ally - On China’s Attempted Coercion of the United Kingdom - @StateDept @SecPompeo[…]

Presidential Updates

@AirForce1: Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom[…]

@FDRLST: The entire narrative the media glommed onto in lockstep was that Trump was a monster who tear-gassed peaceful protesters to do something meaningless. None of that was true.[…]

@CCHFreedom: Medicare Opt-Out Update | Listen to Today's HFM audio on CCHF's Homepage:[…]

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The greatest of all arts

From Mark Twain, 120 years ago tonight:
The greatest of all the arts is to write a drama. It is a most difficult thing. It requires the highest talent possible and the rarest gifts. No, there is another talent that ranks with it—for anybody can write a drama—I had four hundred of them—but to get one accepted requires real ability. And I have never had that felicity yet.

But human nature is so constructed, we are so persistent, that when we know that we are born to a thing we do not care what the world thinks about it. We go on exploiting that talent year after year, as I have done. I shall go on writing dramas, and some day the impossible may happen, but I am not looking for it.
Source: Mark Twain Speeches

The greatest of all arts is to know the thing to which you were born.

Monday, June 8, 2020

The most poetical thing from Pompeii

In one of these long Pompeiian halls the skeleton of a man was found, with ten pieces of gold in one hand and a large key in the other. He had seized his money and started toward the door, but the fiery tempest caught him at the very threshold, and he sank down and died. One more minute of precious time would have saved him. …

In one apartment eighteen skeletons were found, all in sitting postures, and blackened places on the walls still mark their shapes and show their attitudes, like shadows. One of them, a woman, still wore upon her skeleton throat a necklace, with her name engraved upon it—JULIE DI DIOMEDE. …

How teaching became a pastime

Contenting himself for the present with the three, he strove to train and educate them for systematic action. For that purpose he carried the officers over into the lava-beds of Trachonitis, and taught them the use of arms, particularly the javelin and sword, and the manoeuvering peculiar to the legionary formation; after which he sent them home as teachers. And soon the training became a pastime of the people.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Higher Education Updates

@chronicle: Some colleges have proposed holding classes outdoors, to prevent coronavirus transmission. It’s “going back to the Greek ideal of academe, which was the olive grove where the philosophers would meet,” one president says.[…]

@eAsiaMediaHub: What are Chinese Communist Party (CCP) motives? This was one of the questions @MariaBartiromo asked @SecPompeo: “This is a CCP that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values.”[…]

@BillGertz: US suspends student and research visas for Chinese nationals linked to CCP and PLA[…]

@chronicle: In response to recent protests, many college presidents have put out statements acknowledging racism in American society — but not within higher ed itself.[…]

“In the moment that #science had seemed poised to achieve its final goal—to develop the much anticipated ‘Theory of Everything’—scientists stumbled. There was one thing that they could not explain. That was the scientist himself.”[…]

Friday, June 5, 2020

My favorite President Reagan story

On the Sunday after we return from our Memorial Day trip to Santa Barbara, James J (Jack) Kilpatrick, the newspaper columnist, invited Nancy and me to his home in Virginia for lunch. The security people gave their okay, and that Sunday afternoon I discovered another of the more enjoyable perquisites of being president.

We lifted off from the South Lawn aboard a Marine helicopter at about noon on a bright, beautiful spring day, and twenty minutes later were landing a couple hundred yards from Jack’s home in rural Virginia. He was waiting to meet us, and on the way to the house he pointed out several men who were busily working in a tent.

“Your fellows have been here all week installing your phones,” he said.

“What do you mean, my fellows?” I asked.

“They told me they work for the White House and wherever you go, you have to be able to talk to anyone in the world—in case there’s an emergency.”

It was the first time I’d heard that. Later, I discovered that even a dinner invitation to a friends home in Washington meant White House phones would have to be installed and operating there when we arrived. But that Sunday morning, it was news to me.

As we walked toward the house, Jack told me more about his conversation with the people from “Signal,” the White House communications agency.

He said he had questioned their boast of being able to reach anyone in the world from the temporary phone set up.

According to Jack, they said: “Okay, name someone.”

Nature and Resources Updates

Remarks by @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @VP @Mike_Pence During Briefing on the 2020 Hurricane Season[…]

@STcom: India warns airlines of locust swarm flight risk[…]

Doug just described the dinosaur stowaways that made their way onto #Dragon for #LaunchAmerica today. That toy on a spacecraft with that name is all very #Job41. — […]

@Space_Station: The @SpaceX #CrewDragon makes five spaceships parked at the station.[…]

@NHC_Atlantic: Today is June 1st and hurricane season is off to a busy start! A disturbance over the Yucatan Peninsula has a high (80%) chance of becoming a tropical depression during the next couple of days when it moves over the Bay of Campeche. More:[…]

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Unmanned aircraft staffing shortage

Artificial intelligence may create new jobs.
Instead of humans competing with AI, they could focus on servicing and leveraging AI.

For example, the replacement of human pilots by drones has eliminated some jobs but created many new opportunities in maintenance, remote control, data analysis, and cybersecurity.

SCOTUS Updates

@JanetMefferd: 2nd church files emergency request with Supreme Court over coronavirus order, citing precedent in 1947 case: “Neither a state nor the Federal Government .. can force nor influence a person to go or remain away from a church against his will.”[…]

@richardjwolf: Legal immunity for police misconduct, under attack from left and right, may get Supreme Court review via @usatoday #SCOTUS — […]

@scotusreporter: Supreme Court considers churches’ demands that states lift pandemic restrictions[…]

Federal, International Updates

An ounce of an admission by the @HKPoliceForce that it’s members should follow the law.[…]

@AP: With numerous precautions in place, some congregants around the country headed for their churches, synagogues and mosques, days after President Trump declared houses of worship essential and asked governors to reopen them.[…]

@WHNSC: (1/2) Brazil is one of our strongest partners in the world. @realDonaldTrump has implemented temporary restrictions on foreign nationals traveling from Brazil for the shared protection of our people from #COVID19, similar to current restrictions with other countries. — […]

@Reuters: Former Hong Kong governor: China's proposed national security law should be on G7 agenda[…]

@CBNNews: In the Chinese government's continuing effort to crush Christianity inside its borders, teachers are now being told to renounce their faith or face the consequences.[…]

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A stretch, not a shrink!

Harvey would always blush when the top players referred to him as “baseball’s best kept secret.” They would lovingly refer to him as “baseball’s shrink.”

But Harvey would laugh in protest and say, “I’m not a shrink. . . . I’m a stretch! I’m trying to get these guys to stretch their minds!”
Source: Coaching the Mental Game by H.A. Dorfman

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

3 keys to Roman supremacy

Roman supremacy in arms lay in three things—submission to discipline, the legionary formation of battle, and a peculiar use of the short sword.

In combat, they never struck or cut; from first to last they thrust—they advanced thrusting, they retired thrusting; and generally their aim was at the foeman's face.
Source: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Presidential Updates

@AAPSonline: "Trump ‘has a point’ on WHO: German Health Minister Jens Spahn told the Financial Times that the U.S. 'does have a point — the WHO needs to reform its governance and accountability. We need to figure out exactly where the money goes.'"[…]

@AEI: The United States should not hesitate to impose a tremendous price for any crackdown in Hong Kong, writes @marcthiessen.[…]

@postpolitics: The Energy 202: Trump administration pauses some oil and gas leasing amid coronavirus pandemic[…]

@joshuawongcf: [Sanction red capital, dual-used tech and white glove companies as the way to send a warning signal to China] 1/ @Reuters and @business Bloomberg just confirmed that the US is likely to sanction China if it approves the hugely controversial bill that damages HK's autonomy. — […]

Monday, June 1, 2020

How to conquer your tour guide

(This guide) marched us through miles of pictures and sculpture in the vast corridors of the Vatican; and through miles of pictures and sculpture in twenty other palaces; he has shown us the great picture in the Sistine Chapel, and frescoes enough to frescoe the heavens—pretty much all done by Michael Angelo.

So with him we have played that game which has vanquished so many guides for us—imbecility and idiotic questions. These creatures never suspect—they have no idea of a sarcasm.

June 2020 Presidential Proclamations

Proclamation on National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, 2020

Proclamation on African-American Music Appreciation Month, 2020

Proclamation on Great Outdoors Month, 2020

Proclamation on National Ocean Month, 2020

Proclamation on National Homeownership Month, 2020

Presidential Launch Viewing

May 30, 2020

Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure

Remarks by President Trump Before Air Force One Departure

Remarks by President Trump After Viewing SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch

Remarks by Vice President Pence at Kennedy Space Center | Cape Canaveral, FL

Remarks by President Trump at Kennedy Space Center

Higher Education Updates

@LTrails: Bad Counsel to a Christian Girl at a Contemplative College -[…]

@timeshighered: UK universities favour blended learning approach for 2020-21: THE snapshot survey finds most institutions will deliver mix of face-to-face and online courses, with social distancing measures in the early planning stages[…]

@timeshighered: UK universities plan to deliver blended teaching models from the autumn in a bid to maintain the “full student experience” as much as possible and prevent students from deferring a year, according to a THE snapshot survey.[…]

@SunnyCheungky: Our students deserve liberty, not detention. #StandWithHongKong[…]

Friday, May 29, 2020

Nature and Resources Updates

40 years ago #MountStHelens[…]

As flying returns, jetmakers seek to quell #coronavirus fears over cabin air via @STcom #COVID19 — […]

@USGSVolcanoes: #40YearsAgo at #MountStHelens: 9:20 AM Seismograph goes wild. Reports of eruption. No response from Johnston. From plane, Don Swanson watches roiling, twisting helix. Clouds pull back enough to see column jets from great hole. Swanson radios—the top of the mountain’s gone! #MSH40[…]

@AP: A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a salvage firm can retrieve the Marconi wireless telegraph machine that broadcast distress calls from the sinking Titanic ocean liner.[…]

@capitalweather: Catastrophic dam failure in Midland, Michigan, along Tittabawassee River, ~110 mi N of Detroit. One dam has failed, another is failing. Predicted water level in Midland 4' higher than 500-yr flood in 1986 via @midlandcountymi. 10k folks being evacuated. Flash flood emergency. 1/2[…]

@capitalweather: NOAA calls for busier than normal Atlantic hurricane season: between 13 to 19 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater:[…]


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