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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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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

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 26-27,  2023

REACTION TO THE DEBATE:  12:40 a.m.:  So the second Republican debate is over.  And what did we get?

Nothing.

The questions from the Fox moderators were fine, but they did not control the session, which often descended into a shouting match.

There were still too many candidates on the stage for an intelligent discussion, so we didn't get an intelligent discussion.

No one had a breakout moment, a moment when members of the audience could say, "That's the one."  Nikki Haley was hoping for such a moment, but it never came.  

Ron DeSantis bettered his performance in the first debate, but, again, no cigar.  Tim Scott tried to break out by attacking is fellow South Carolinian, Nikki Haley, but he simply came off as rude.

A general consensus among pundits was that the winner last night was Donald Trump.  No one successfully challenged him, even though he wasn't even there.

We will now wait for the flash polls to see if anyone moved the needle.  I don't think there will be anything dramatic to report.  It seems that the only thing that will stop Trump's run for the nomination will be a major blunder on his part, or primary voters' revulsion at his legal problems.

And that's that.

September 27, 2023       Permalink

 

Note to readers:  We will of course have commentary on tonight's Republican debate – after the debate and after I've gathered together reactions from people I consider sane. 

A word about the debate:  My own view is that the only thing important about debates at this stage, 14 months before the election, is who wins, who moves the needle the most in the polls.  Few people will remember any quotes or any moments of great oratory.  Indeed, as the election approaches, most of those debating tonight will be gone from TV. 

Thus, the first issue tonight is whether anyone can show the strength and talent to challenge Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.  We shall see.   

 

THE DEATH RATTLE, AGAIN:  One by one, major chains are leaving America's Democratic-run cities.  The criminals are winning.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: 

Target Corp. will shutter nine stores across four states on Oct. 21 because of theft and threats to safety, the company announced Tuesday, the latest — and loudest —example of a retailer exiting urban locations because of crime.

Target said it made the "difficult decision" to close the stores — which include locations in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Seattle, Portland and the San Francisco Bay area — after the Minneapolis-based company determined that theft-preventive measures had proved ineffective. The company said it had tried adding more security, including third-party guards, and using deterrents such as locking up merchandise.

"We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests and contributing to unsustainable business performance," the company said. "We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all."

Target said it would offer the majority of affected employees — though it declined to provide a specific number for those affected — the opportunity to work at other locations.
Target leaders have continued to publicly decry organized retail crime, saying it has seen high levels of it for about a year, and it has hurt the bottom line.

In the spring, Target executives said they expected inventory shrink, attributed in large part to theft and organized retail crime, to reduce the company's profitability by more than $500 million this year compared with last year.

During a call about the company's second-quarter earnings last month, Target CEO Brian Cornell said Target's stores saw a 120% increase in theft involving violence or threats of violence in the first five months of the year.

COMMENT:  Famous names are disappearing from America's cities.  Anyone doing anything about it?  While some Democrats grudgingly admit that "defunding the police" isn't such a great idea, and that crime is a critical problem, many others are sticking with the leftist party line, that criminals are just victims of society, and that it's all Trump's fault.

September 27, 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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