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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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OCTOBER 24-25,  2023

WE HAVE A NEW SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. 

I DUNNO.  THAT JUST DOESN'T SOUND VERY REGAL, DOES IT?  COMPARE PLEASE WITH "WE HAVE A NEW KING" OR "WE HAVE A NEW POPE."  BUT A NEW SPEAKER?  WE YANKS HAVE GOT TO GET OUR ANNOUNCEMENTS IN ORDER, AND GIVE THE CHAP A PROPER TITLE, LIKE "EXALTED HIGH LAWMAKER," IF WE WANT TO PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS.   FROM FOX: 

Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson was elected speaker of the House on Wednesday by a vote of 220-209.

Johnson, 51, who had been a dark horse for the position, was voted the GOP nominee the night before after Republicans plowed through three higher-profile candidates.

The new speaker has only been in politics since 2015 when he was elected to the state House, where he stayed until 2017.

The son of a firefighter, Johnson was elected to Congress in the 2016 election and serves on the House Judiciary and Armed Services Committees.

Johnson is currently in his second term as the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, putting him in a leadership position that largely stays out of the limelight.

The Louisiana Republican — who would be the second Pelican State speaker nominee after the failed bid from House Majority Leader Steve Scalise — previously served one term as the influential Republican Study Committee chairman.

Johnson is an ally of former President Donald Trump and defended him during the Democrat-led House impeachment hearings. He also filed an amicus brief co-signed of 100 House Republicans to support Texas litigation seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He was the Chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee at the time. 

"President Trump called me this morning to let me know how much he appreciates the amicus brief we are filing on behalf of Members of Congress," Johnson posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Dec. 9, 2020. "Indeed, ‘this is the big one!’"

COMMENT:  We don't know that much about him, but he's a solid conservative and a thoughtful speaker.  I have a sense, just watching him today, that he will do well.  The House can now get back to business, and help the GOP win both houses come next November.  Because our country's future depends on it.

October 25,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

OCTOBER 22-23,  2023

THE COLLAPSE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION; ONCE AGAIN, OREGON LEADS THE WAY.  What is it with that state?  It's such a beautiful place, but its politicians have the maturity of 12-year-olds.  From Fox: 

High schoolers in Oregon won't need to demonstrate basic competency in reading, writing or math in order to graduate for at least five more years because, according to education officials, such requirements are unnecessary and disproportionately harm students of color.

"At some point … our diploma is going to end up looking a lot more like a participation prize than an actual certificate that shows that someone actually is prepared to go pursue their best future," former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan told Fox News.

The essential skills requirement has been on pause since the coronavirus pandemic, and last week the Oregon State Board of Education voted unanimously to continue suspending the graduation requirement through the 2027-2028 school year.

Under the requirement, 11th graders had to demonstrate competence in essential subjects through a standardized test or work samples. Students who failed to meet expectations were required to take extra math and writing classes in their senior year — thus missing an elective class — in order to graduate.

Board members said the standards were unnecessary and harmed marginalized students since higher rates of students of color, students with disabilities and students learning English as a second language ended up having to take the extra step to prove they deserved a diploma, The Oregonian reported.

Hundreds of people submitted public comments opposing the move and urging the board to reinstate the standards. Many of the comments were generated from a call to action from Drazan's advocacy group, A New Direction Oregon.

Board Chair Guadalupe Martinez Zapata previously described the opposition as a "campaign of misinformation" and "artistic quality mental acrobatics."

"If only they weren't automatically discredited by the myopic analysis and bigotry that follows them," Martinez Zapata said in a late September meeting, adding that "rhetoric about cultural and social norms being the underlying reason for underperformance on assessments by systemically marginalized students" was reminiscent of "racial superiority arguments."

COMMENT:  Same old story.  Argue for higher standards and you're a racist, a bigot, a fascist, and a capitalist.  What will our country look like in 25 years?  I fear to ask. 

October 23,  2023     Permalink

 

THE DRUMBEAT GETS LOUDER:  We've noted the sense that Washington is holding information that this country is in imminent danger from events in the Mideast.  Now Congress is sounding the same alarm.  We aren't being given details, but I'd take this very seriously.  Our forces could be attacked in the Mideast, or something could happen right here on our own soil.  From Fox: 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday deemed China, Russia and Iran the new "axis of evil" amid wars in Ukraine and Israel, while addressing U.S. funding of allies' responses to those duel conflicts.

In a new sit-down interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Shannon Bream, McConnell, the highest-ranking Senate Republican, agreed with fellow Republican Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul that the $1.5 trillion deficit is "entirely too big." But while Paul remarked last month that the U.S. under the Biden administration was borrowing heavily from China just to send aid to Ukraine, McConnell instead emphasized Sunday that the deficit also expanded during the prior administration under former President Donald Trump. 

"You have to respond to conditions that actually exist that are a threat to the United States. The Iranians are a threat to us as well. And so, this is an emergency. It’s an emergency that we step up and deal with this axis of evil – China, Russia, Iran – because it’s an immediate threat to the United States," McConnell said. 

"In many ways the world is more endangered today than it has been in my lifetime," McConnell said, recalling that unlike when the Berlin Wall fell, the world faces a "big power competition" coinciding with the terrorism threats in the Middle East and culminating in Israel's war against Hamas terrorists.

"The question is, is American going to lead?" McConnell posed to Bream. "I think the Biden administration sent the wrong signal and they had the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think that was like giving a green light to Putin to go into Ukraine. And we see that Iran, principal sponsor of terrorism, sending drones to the Russians and attacking – Hezbollah and in this particular situation, Hamas – attacking the Israelis with drones. So it’s all connected. You can’t separate out one part of it and say we’re only gonna deal with this. It’s all connected." 

COMMENT:  I've heard that now many times, and it's becoming a common notion – that this is the most dangerous period we've seen in many years.  You can feel the tension.  Several news commentators have remarked that this, internationally, is the most crisis-ridden period of their careers.  I've even heard some informed people say that the United States is becoming unstable and weak, and that they're afraid.  And I think I've heard a few young people talk about something other than global warming.

The talk is healthy.  I wish we'd had more of it before World War II, so we were psychologically ready.  But the talk is also blunt.  Something has happened to our politics in the last month.  Foreign and defense policy are taking center stage, and there's a remarkable amount of bipartisan agreement on standing firm against our enemies.  I'm heartened to see some liberals express support for a strong and well-defended America.  Haven't seen that in a long time. 

All citizens should familiarize themselves with the crises we now face simultaneously.  And make sure your children learn the facts from you, and not the teachers unions.

October 23,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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