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 4-5,  2023

THE NEXT BIG GUY?  The governor of Virginia is making waves again.  Will he catch the big one? He has proven deadly in the past, turning Virginia from purple to red.  Some feel he is the man to watch if Trump starts to falter in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  From Fox: 

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is hauling in big bucks ahead of November's closely watched legislative elections in Virginia as the Republican governor aims for total GOP control of the state government.

Youngkin's shattering of fundraising records in the commonwealth is sure to create even more buzz among some in the GOP donor class who want the popular governor to consider a late entry into the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.

Youngkin hauled in $4.4 million in 48 hours this week for his Spirit of Virginia PAC, officials with the group told Fox News. That brings to $7.45 million the amount of money Youngkin has raked in through the group in the final quarter of fundraising ahead of the Nov. 7 elections.

Officials with the PAC highlight that Youngkin's haul is nearly five times greater than the previous fundraising record, which was the $1.6 million then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe raised in 2015.

Youngkin energized Republicans nationwide with his 2021 election victory. That is when he edged out McAuliffe — who was seeking to win back his old job — to become the first GOP nominee in a dozen years to win a gubernatorial election in Virginia, a one-time swing state that has trended Democratic over the past decade.

Republicans also swept the races for lieutenant governor and attorney general, and narrowly captured the majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Youngkin aims to hold the GOP majority in the House and recapture control of the state Senate, where Democrats currently hold a fragile majority. Total Republican control of the state government in Richmond would allow Youngkin to push through his conservative agenda.

COMMENT:  A terrific guy, and a fine governor, and someone who would make a very good president.  However, Trump stands in the way, and Youngkin could very well have his eyes on 2028, when the way will be more clear.

I wouldn't rule him in or out.  I would rule him a man to be watched, very carefully.

October 5, 2023       Permalink 


WHADDAYA KIDDIN' ME?  Am I reading this right, do my glasses deceive me?  Are you tellin' me that the Biden administration wants to build a wall in Texas to keep migrants out?

Y'know, I think it's true.  From Fox: 

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is citing an "acute and immediate need" to waive dozens of federal laws to build a border wall in south Texas where illegal migration has surged. 

It's a sharp contrast to dismissals of the use of such barriers in the early days of the administration.

The agency posted an announcement on the U.S. Federal Register that outlines construction in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, where the administration says there is "high illegal entry." The agency says there have been over 245,000 migrant encounters in the sector this fiscal year.

Mayorkas says he is using his authority provided by Congress to waive 26 federal laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

They should also waive the dumb Cabinet member act.

"There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas pursuant to sections 102(a) and 102(b) of [the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996]," Mayorkas said.

The administration had put a halt to new border wall construction in early 2021, after Biden had promised as a presidential candidate that there would "not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration." The administration said wall construction under the Trump administration was "just one example of the prior administration’s misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration in a safe, orderly and humane way."

However, the construction is funded by the fiscal year 2019 DHS appropriations bill, which specifically funded wall projects in the RGV Sector and which DHS is required to use for its appropriated purpose.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced plans for up to 20 miles of wall in the RGV Sector in June. The administration previously made moves to close gaps and replace gates and says such projects prioritize the completion of activities and projects to address life, safety and operational risks – including the safety of individuals, Border Patrol agents and migrants. 

COMMENT:  Nothing like a presidential election to get even Democratic brains to move.   I'm a bit cynical here though, and wonder if anything will actually be built.  The good guys do have a plan. 
The Dems have every reason to try to stop said plan.

October 5,  2023     Permalink





OCTOBER 2-3,  2023


WASHINGTON (AP) — Former union leader and Democratic insider Laphonza Butler was sworn in as the newest member of the US Senate on Tuesday, replacing California senator Dianne Feinstein after her death and becoming only the third Black female senator in history.  Butler was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, just two days after Feinstein died at her home in Washington. Butler is a longtime fundraiser and strategist in the state’s Democratic circles and was the head of Emily’s List, a national organization that raises money for women candidates who support abortion rights.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Butler was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, who served as the second Black female senator until she resigned in 2021 to join US President Joe Biden in the White House. The first was Democratic senator Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who served one term in the 1990s.   We've made our position on Senator Butler perfectly clear.  She is clearly an identity politics appointment who simply checks off the right boxes and gives cover to Governor Gavin Newsom, who appointed her to fill out the term of Dianne Feinstein, and who would like to run for president.


AFTERMATH OF THE SPEAKER BOMB:  The removal of Kevin McCarthy from the position of speaker of the House, by a vote of the whole House itself, represents the first time in American history that this has been done.  And in New York, former President Donald Trump is on trial, the first time this has happened to a former president.  The atmosphere in the country is bleak.  We seem to be in a painfully destructive phase of our history.  It is often said that democracies last about 250 years.  If we mark the year of our founding as 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was written, we are in year 247.  One feels uneasy.

In the hours since the speaker's removal, we have learned the following:

1.  It took only eight Republicans, joining with all the Democrats, to bring down the speaker.  This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.  Eight Republicans did this.

2.  House Majority Leader Steve Scalise is already making calls asking for support to become speaker.  He is popular among Republicans and must be considered one of the leading contenders for the job.  Republicans will vote next week to try to put a new speaker in place, but the same ugly divisions in the party that we've seen in the anti-McCarthy vote will still be there.

3.  It's being pointed out that a speaker does not have to be a member of the House.  Indeed, it is being reported that several House members have reached out to Donald Trump to see if he'd take the job.  I really don't think he will.   However, if Republicans can find a true person of stature who could unify the party, that might help matters.

4.  There has been almost no talk so far on how the speaker jolt will influence presidential campaigns.  The Republican Party has been exposed as divided in a mean-spirited way.  The party must work as a team to win next year's elections.  A good speaker leading a united party can be enormously helpful, especially in organizing voting and raising cash.  A train wreck of a party will get us nowhere.

More coming.


THE HOUSE:  As you know, the House of Representatives removed Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House today, October 3rd.  We are following this stunning story, and will have more later.  As of now, 5:40 p.m. ET, there are no obvious replacements for McCarthy.  We should note that the speaker does not have to be a member of the House, and I would not be shocked if some "outsider" names are mentioned.  Stand by.

THE SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA, OR AT LEAST VISITED:  The governor of our largest state has brought forth a new senator to replace the late Dianne Feinstein.   And a fine example of Democratic values she is.  She is a woman.  She is black.  She is gay.  She is head of a pro-abortion organization.  She is a trusted adviser to Kamala Harris.  She checks off five – count 'em five – boxes on the Democratic Party wish list.  In that alone she may hold a record worthy of Guinness. 

There is one box she doesn't check.  She doesn't live in California.  But in the elite world of Democrats that matters not.  A mere filling out of a form today made her a registered voter in the state she'll represent, or misrepresent, in the United States Senate.  From Newsweek: 

California Governor Gavin Newsom's pick to replace recently deceased Democratic senator Diane Feinstein has raised eyebrows after it emerged that she resided with her family in Maryland until recently.

Late on Sunday night, his office announced he had chosen Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY's List, which works to elect women in favor of abortion to public office, to fulfill the remainder of the late senator's term. Feinstein died, aged 90, on Thursday following a period of ill health.

"A trusted adviser to [Vice President Kamala] Harris and leader of the nation's largest organization dedicated to electing women, Butler will make history as the first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress," Newsom's office said.

I'm sure the Chinese army is terrified.

California law permits the governor to appoint a senator until the next election, due to take place in 2024. Butler previously worked in California on the presidential campaigns of Harris and Hillary Clinton.

However, questions have been raised over the choice after mention of Butler's residence in Maryland was scrubbed from her biography on the EMILY's List website. Archives of the site show it was still mentioned as recently as September 14, but now appears to have been deleted.

COMMENT:  Whether one agreed with her or not, and I disagreed most of the time, Dianne Feinstein brought great dignity to the title "U.S. senator from California."  She was respected on both sides of the aisle.  One would have thought that the governor of California could find a replacement with the stature needed to succeed Senator Feinstein.   He apparently thought that the Democratic obsession with identity politics was more important.  Checking off the boxes is more important than serving the state and the nation.

Oh, did I mention that there's one other box Senator-designate Butler didn't check off?  California is our largest state, and has the largest economy of any state, larger than many countries,  California dominates our Pacific coast.  We are now involved in a major confrontation with China, and what happens in this struggle will have a dramatic impact on California.  And yet, the new senator has not a single day of experience in foreign policy, defense policy, or economic policy. 

I don't know Ms. Butler.  She may well be a fine and respected woman.  But she has not come close to earning the title "U.S. senator from California."  Her appointment is an insult to the millions of Californians who care little about checking boxes and a great deal about protecting their state and nation. 

October 3,  2023     Permalink





THE DISRUPTER?  Will the unexpected event shake up the Democratic Party?  Probably.  From Reuters: 

(Reuters) - U.S. presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will announce he is running as an independent instead of pursuing his long-shot bid to oust President Joe Biden as the Democratic Party nominee, a shift that could complicate the 2024 election.

Anti-vaccine activist Kennedy, a member of a storied U.S. political dynasty, posted a video on YouTube on Friday asking Americans to join him for a "major announcement" in Philadelphia on Oct. 9.

"I'll be speaking about a sea change in American politics," he said, decrying corruption in "both parties."

"How are we going to win against the established Washington interests?" he asks. "It's not through playing the game" by the current rules, he said.

Kennedy is nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and the son of former U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential bid.

Kennedy said in April he would challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination to run against the Republican nominee, expected to be former President Donald Trump.

Since then, Kennedy has complained that the Democratic Party has "essentially merged into one unit" with the Biden campaign, denying him a fair shot in the nominating contest. Several opinion polls put Biden way ahead of Kennedy in single digit percentages or low double digits.

COMMENT:  Bottom line, if Kennedy actually goes through with this, and runs a full-length campaign, he is likely to get some percentage of the vote, even if it's only four or five percent.  There's always room for a protest vote out there.  Then the question is, where will those votes come from in the general election?  From Biden?  From Trump? From a newly registered pool of voters?

Chances are that Kennedy will take more votes from the Democrats, meaning Biden.  And even a drop of two percent in Biden's vote can cost him some key states in the Electoral College.  You can be sure professional Dems are taking Kennedy seriously, even if he has no real chance of winning.  They will probably try to picture him as a crackpot conspiracy theorist, and that might just work.  It's all speculative at this point.

October 1,  2023     Permalink




SEPTEMBER 28-29,  2023

AS I WAS SAYING...  Yes, I've been gone for most of the last day.  Where was I?  Fighting a flood.  A mighty flood.  Now I understand how Noah felt, although he had two of each kind of animal and I only had four sets of two Energizer double A's.

I'm sure you've seen the flooding in the northeast on television today.

Anyone who listens to Silvio Canto Jr's podcast, where I am a weekly guest, knows that we kid a great deal about bad weather forecasts, especially the ones that predict a major disaster that winds up as a light drizzle.

This morning we in the New York area had something of the reverse.  We got up and heard our Midland emergency radios warn of flash flooding.  Problem is, that's a pretty frequent warning up here, about 25 miles north of New York City.  The flash flood warnings usually apply to small pools of water along major arteries like the Bronx River Parkway.  Nothing much to worry about, but safe-driving practices were called for.

My wife teaches, and usually drives to school herself.  This morning, though, I drove, as I needed the car for some errands.  Neither of us knew what we were about to encounter.   My wife's school was open, despite some heavy rain.  What could go wrong?

Plenty could go wrong.  We still don't understand exactly what happened, but the weather alerts fell behind the actual situation.  We went out on the road to school, but soon hit a huge traffic bottleneck.  Good people got out of their cars to warn those behind that the road was completely flooded.  Fortunately, some of us could turn off to select an alternate route.

The rain got heavier and heavier.  Wipers were running at full speed.  The alternate route was passable, but the danger became obvious.  There is nothing like seeing sheets of water careening down a hill onto a highway.  Now we were feeling fear.  We could barely see through the torrents of rain. 

Finally, we got to school, but I insisted that my wife call inside before stepping out of the car to be sure someone was there.  She got a recording, so she made the short run to the door.  She phoned me to say that, yes, some kids were there, and some teachers as well.

Knowing that my wife was safe, I drove away, but remained utterly baffled that the school was open.  Conditions were dangerous, and schools in our region are very careful with the safety of students and faculty.  I stayed in touch with my wife by cell phone.  

About half an hour later my wife called to say the school would close at
1 p.m., a wise decision.  I drove back, and we drove home together through heavy rains, and serious floods. 

This was not a pleasant experience.  It requires a full investigation of notification and rescue procedures.  We learned that some students were trapped in schools because the buses could not get back through the flooding to pick them up. 

Kennedy airport got eight inches of rain, a record.  I don't know how ambulances got through for emergency runs. 

Incredibly, no deaths have been reported.  But we don't have the latest reports, and more rain is expected. 

Had the region gotten precise reports, with appropriate urgency, 90 minutes earlier, much of the hazard could have been avoided. 

Good night.

September 29,  2023     Permalink


PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA.  Just as we see indications that the country is turning away from wokism, and also welcoming parents back into schools, the commissars of California show that the leftist crackpots are still with us.  It's incredible to believe that this is the state where Ronald Reagan was once governor.  From Fox: 

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Monday new legislation that gives more control to the state government in order to prevent local school districts from banning books, curriculum, or instruction material deemed as inclusive or diverse. 

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond sponsored and pushed for the passage of AB 1078 amid a wave of local school boards adopting policies related to the LGBTQ community. 

"Dangerous trends have emerged recently," Thurmond said in a press release sent on September 15th. "A small group of extremists has sought to divide communities by advancing policies to ban books related to civil rights for communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community, to force school districts to ‘out’ LGBTQ+ students, and to restrict inclusive curriculum. We needed to act quickly and reject these polices." 

The press release also noted how districts would be fined for "has insufficient instructional materials, especially in an attempt to discriminate against students of color or LGBTQ+ students."

AB 1078, also known as "Instructional materials and curriculum: diversity," would authorize a complaint against a school board for having insufficient textbooks or instructional materials as a result of policies being enacted or an omission by a school board. The law will be effective immediately. 

Thurmond's office gave FOX News Digital a couple of examples of "insufficient instructional materials."

"One example of insufficient instructional materials would be including a modern American History textbook that doesn’t even contain information about our last three U.S. Presidents.

"Another example would be removing a section (or pages) from historical textbooks that aim to exclude information about a prominent Civil Rights leader in the LGBTQ+ community," Thurmond's office said. 

The legislation's author, Assemblymember Dr. Corey Jackson, told FOX News Digital that 'insufficient instructions materials" is when school resources "do not adequately align with California's core academic content standards of its curriculum framework."

Jackson added that it can encompass materials that "lack diverse perspectives, fail to represent required subject matter, or do not meet the content and update cycles outlined in the curriculum framework adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE)." 

"It's essential to ensure that instructional materials provide a comprehensive and standards-aligned educational experience for students," Jackson said.

COMMENT:  Read the whole thing.  We can read between the lines.  The law pushes parental influence out of the schools and replaces it with state-run agitprop.  It is the stuff of authoritarianism.  And it has the support of a governor who would like very much to be president. 

We wait for a legal challenge to the law.  If the law survives it will, unfortunately, serve as an example for other blue states to use to crush the parents' movement.

September 28,  2023     Permalink












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