Robert Mueller Delivers Report to Attorney General

 

According to news reports, Robert Mueller has delivered a report to Attorney General Bill Barr. Fox News:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has submitted to Attorney General Bill Barr his long-awaited report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and possible collusion with Trump associates — marking the end of the politically explosive probe and the beginning of a new battle over its contents and implications. Mueller is “not recommending any further indictments,” a senior DOJ official told Fox News.

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Unexpected Gift: The Gifts From Trees

 

When we first got married, my wife and I lived in a one bedroom apartment. A couple of years later, we moved to a new house that was part of a large development mostly built on open farmland. As a result, the only trees we had were those that we planted.

After 25 years, we finally found a “different” type of house in the country and have lived there for the last nineteen years. This house and property were part of a larger farm and is about 3.5 Acres, with about an acre of woods included in the back. As a result, I couldn’t begin to count the number of trees that we “own” – or own us.

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It’s Wrong to Support Jordan Peterson or Buy His Vile Book

 

Whitcoulls, a major New Zealand bookstore chain has curtailed sales of mean, angry white man, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s international best-selling and deceptively entitled self-help book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos because of the recent massacre in Christchurch where 50 Muslims were killed by a crazed individual who stated, among other things, in his pre-massacre manifesto, that he describes himself as an ethno-nationalist, fascist, and an admirer of the current political system in Communist China. He seems to have made no mention of Dr. Peterson, his book, or his many videos…as yet.

As the bookstore chain stated on their website:

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Ichiro Retires

 

A few years ago, Ichiro Suzuki said his goal was to play major league baseball until he was 50. Well, that’s one baseball goal Ichiro won’t attain. Yesterday, March 21, 2019, the 45-year-old told the Mariners that today’s game would be his last. It was a homecoming of sorts for Ichiro, as the Mariners started the season with a two-game set against the Oakland A’s in Tokyo, Japan. Although the Mariners swept the two games, Ichiro went hitless in both games but received a well-deserved standing ovation as he was removed from the second game in the bottom of the eighth. Thus ended one of the most unique careers of all time.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

 

There is a guy named Andrew Yang who is running for president and opposes circumcision. He’s in infamous company since it was Hitler who said: “The Jews have inflicted two wounds on mankind — circumcision on its body and conscience on its soul.”

In the days ahead, you will hear that “just because you oppose circumcision does not mean you hate Jews” as you have heard “just because you oppose Israel does not mean you hate Jews.” Both statements are true if you believe in unicorns.

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The Existential Crisis That Wasn’t

 

This week has been particularly draining; I had a stomach virus hit on Sunday night and here I am on Friday afternoon, still not feeling even 50% better. While I’m normally pretty skilled at juggling a lot of balls; working, homeschooling, keeping my house in somewhat working order with fresh fruit and vegetables… This week it just hasn’t really happened outside of the absolute bare minimum. We skipped a lot of activities because I didn’t feel physically up to them, and my kids have been living off of granola bars. Normally I have at least some (a few minutes a day) downtime between all of these things to have a few minutes of “me” time, but that hasn’t really happened this week. The constant drain of work and home has sapped that totally, and it got me thinking about all the things I want to do on a good week, which this week has certainly not been.

In the homeschool world I occupy, it’s called “Mother Culture” and other moms are learning brush strokes, keeping nature journals, etc. I know two things: I am never going to be that mother, and also, the face that people put on social media is mostly a lie. Their beautiful brushstroke paintings are happening in a madhouse, nobody has their lives together. But they are, it seems, getting something done besides just the grind of work and home. And that’s what I aspire to. I’d like to learn Korean. That’s my vision of “mother culture.”

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Make Them Own It: Part 2

 

Make them own it” was a call to hold the Democratic Party and the left fully accountable for its past and present misdeeds. Continuing to honor Woodrow Wilson, through the Woodrow Wilson Center and places named for him, has become incongruous with claims of justice and righting past wrongs. Indeed, controversy over Wilson’s name on a school in the District of Columbia raises an additional issue of past injustice and present claims for social justice.

Celebrated to this day as a founder of modern progressive government, Woodrow Wilson created the environment within which the Klu Klux Klan reemerged with a vengeance.

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Let the Sun Shine In

 

As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president can and should take, in short order.

Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities

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World Poetry Day: Rhyming and Chiming and the Khmer Metres

 

Today is World Poetry Day and to celebrate the occasion, I am introducing you to Khmer versification. But first, a brief lesson on the Khmer language. The language is part of the Mon-Khmer family. Khmer is a non-tonal and analytic language. Since the language has no inflections, conjunctions or case endings, it is rich in particles and auxiliary words. It is a language that does not need to repeat the subject, object or indication of time, once they have been established. Though in most cases, especially in songs and lyrics, subjects are dropped altogether. Khmer is heavily influenced by Sanskrit, which reached Cambodia along with Hinduism via Indian traders around 5th century BC. The Sanskrit influence is found primarily in the religious, law, science, literature and royal registers. Having said that, the majority of Sanskrit borrowings are more of a style rather than a necessity. This also applies to Pali, the language of Theravada Buddhism, which came into contact with the Khmer language in the late 14th century. After the mid-19th century, the French influence on the language emerged as well.

Khmers have always liked verse and there is a lot to like, at least to the Khmer ear. Native Khmer is very ornate and orotund. Its lexicon offers an abundant wealth of rhyming, chiming and alliterative words. The alliteration sometimes involves more than one syllable and in poetry, they are used to the full. For examples: can cap (capture), srapan srapon (wilted). Sometimes more than four alliterative syllables occur in succession.

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The Bulwark: Walking it Back, Just a Little?

 

Our mutual friend @garyrobbins has called my attention to a change at The Bulwark, one that I think is positive, so I thought I’d give a little bit of credit where a little bit of credit is due. The Bulwark has changed its mission statement. Previously, its “About Us” page described its mission as follows:

Our mission will be to say [that the president of the United States is a serial liar, a narcissist and a bully, a con man who mocks the disabled and women, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old] out loud and encourage others to do so as well.

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Baby, Were You Born Fat Way?

 

My grandma was a fat woman trapped in a thin woman’s body. Or rather, she was a woman for whom thinness required more mortification of the flesh than is usual, eating like an anorexic (they do eat — sometimes) simply to get her BMI down to normal. At times, this meant weeks of her eating nothing but carrot broth. More generally, it meant cooking deliberately unpalatable food (justifying it as “healthier”) for her whole family, to discourage “overeating”. She was also a hypothyroidic woman who came of age in an era when thyroid supplementation was not widely known.

Trouble keeping weight off isn’t the only sign of an underactive thyroid. The other signs — frizzy, thinning hair, the perpetual frog in the throat, catching chills — grandma had those, too. Not that you’d know it when you met her, since she wore a wig and retained just enough foreign accent to dress up her chain-smoker’s growl (in one who never smoked) as the smoldering alto tones of another Marlene Dietrich. My grandma was an elegant lady; built like a brick house even at her thinnest, but trim and sexy, very sporty; the kind of woman who’d pester the local rowing club into admitting women in the morning, then doll herself up for the evening in a dress looking far less shabby than it really was to go out on the town, dancing and pretending to sip fancy cocktails (not really sipping them, though — calories). My grandma had an iron will, not just iron but huge, rolling and inevitable, a steamroller. Her physical beauty was a manifestation of this, winning her several proposals when she was widowed before her time. For grandma, thinness was a moral issue.

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Angel of the Battlefield: An Unexpected Gift

 

As a child, I was addicted to a series of biographies written for children. They were undersized volumes, with a textured blue cover and the name of the featured person written in a kind of script. One of those books told the story of Clara Barton. Her courage, determination, and devotion to the soldiers of the Civil War have stayed with me all these years.

Clara Barton, 1905

When many people think of Clara Barton, they may think of the American Red Cross, which she founded. But the actions that motivated her to pursue that establishment were amazing and admirable. I’d like to share some of that story, especially the unexpected gift she became to the American soldiers of the Civil War and their families.

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Not That Kind of Socialism

 

When people on the right cite to Venezuela as an example of socialist failure, people on the left typically respond, “We don’t mean that kind of socialism, we mean the kind that’s practiced in Scandinavia.” And by that they mean, one presumes, a market-based economy supporting a large welfare state.

But when you look at their candidates’ proposals – the Green New Deal, 70% tax rates, the injection of “stakeholders” into corporate boards, breaking up the big tech firms, more corporate regulation, government control over political speech – their brand of socialism doesn’t look at all Scandinavian. By and large, the Nordic countries have less government regulation over businesses than the United States does today – and that’s before the left has its way with the economy.

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Ten Days To Go….

 

There are less than nine days now until Britain exits the European Union. Many might argue with that as today the Prime Minister will send a letter to the EU requesting an extension to the two-year article 50 countdown, due to expire on March 29. Brexiteers are outraged. However, the events of the last few days should give the most adamant of those Leave voters hope.

After the three votes last week to reject the Withdrawal Agreement for a second time, to also rule out leaving with ‘no-deal’, and to request an extension, nothing appeared to have changed. Mrs May continued her strategy of pressing on for a third vote on what effectively is a treaty that leaves the UK as bound into the EU as ever. The grind was back on with the government line being amplified by even the most Eurosceptic organs of the media.

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“When the Saxon Began to Hate”

 

You may think you recognize the phrase in the post title. You’ll search your memory and think, “Hmm, Kipling?” And you will be close, but not correct. It is an adaptation of a repeated line in Kipling’s 1917 poem The Beginnings:

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late
With long arrears to make good,
When the English began to hate.

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A Cautionary Tale: New Zealand Moves to Ban Semi-Automatic Guns

 

We saw it coming: after the horrific shooting on the mosques in Christchurch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned the public that gun laws would change. The deed has been done.

Today, New Zealand began the process for banning “military style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”

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More Misconceptions About College

 

Now that we’ve all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let’s get some perspective.

While the number of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not increased much. Many students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, drop out before receiving a degree. (They cannot drop out of student loan payments though.)

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Julián and Beto Cage Match

 

Texas has been blessed with having two Democratic presidential candidates representing us in the 2020 race: Julián Castro and Robert “Beto” O’Rourke. As a public service and after extensive research, I am going to present a side by side comparison of the two contenders.

Political Experience

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President Trump Rocks Out with Real Heavy Metal Band

 

The afternoon of 20 March 2019, President Trump rocked out with a group that makes real heavy metal. The event was different from other presidential appearances, but featured many of the same themes. Two themes, American defense revival and energy dominance, stood in stark contrast to news from Germany. In the midst of the prepared remarks, with the usual riffs, President Trump elaborated on his criticism of the politician John McCain, who the appointed Senator from Arizona, Martha McSally, is unconditionally defending, raising questions about her viability or suitability in 2020. President Trump’s visit to the Lima Army Tank Plant was a great political messaging success on several levels.

The setting:

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Lent Part 2: The Triodion

 

In the first part I gave a brief overview of the services of the Orthodox Church that signal that Great Lent is not far off. But these were still basically “regular” services. In the three weeks and four Sundays before Great Lent, however, we enter into a new phase in the liturgy that carries all the way through Great And Holy Pascha (Easter), a phase that departs from the regular service orders and is called the Triodion (the canons chanted during this time originally had but three odes each, hence the term). In the Orthodox Church, this is the most sacred and special time of year, far exceeding Christmas in its significance, and in the physical and spiritual preparation we undergo. 

However, we’re not quite there… yet. There is something of a joke that I heard a priest say. If Lent is a preparation for Pascha, the three weeks beforehand are a preparation for the preparation. There are four rather special services, the first three of which each begin a week of this pre-preparation. First there is the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, then the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, followed by Sunday of the Last Judgement, and concluding with the Sunday of Forgiveness. As I heard another priest put it: these services are like your mother calling out to you to get inside as it’s getting dark.

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