Patterico's Pontifications

4/9/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:26 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I hope you’ve had a good week! Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything you think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

Let’s be very clear: schools will open when teachers’ unions say they can:

It’s been more than a year since schools closed for the COVID-19 virus. Across the country and across the world, schools have opened up, full-time, for students.

But those of us unlucky enough to live in places with powerful teachers unions and, more importantly, weak leadership, have heard excuse after excuse how it’s just not possible here.

Enough. Open the schools.

Stop lying to parents and dangling promises. Just open.

Related

Union leaders/members can mask-up and meet in person for important business but students can’t mask-up and meet in person with their teachers for the really important business of learning???

Second news item

Not so fast there, President Biden:

Biden said, “You go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, and no background check.”

This is overstated. If you go to a gun show and buy a firearm from a federally licensed seller, you will have to pass a background check, just as if you went to a bricks-and-mortar gun store. You would only escape a background check at a gun show if you bought from a seller who isn’t federally licensed.

While the data is incomplete, federally licensed sellers have been found to make up a substantial share, and perhaps a majority, of gun show vendors.

We rate Biden’s statement Mostly False.

Third news item

Why let a crisis go to waste when there’s money to be made off of it:

U.S. Rep. Matt Getz started fundraising off a still unfolding sex scandal that could put him in prison…asked for checks to be sent to the campaign account Friends of Matt Gaetz.

“Here we go again,” the email begins. “Just another media hoax. Do you remember the fake Russia Hoax? Their attempt to frame General (Michael) Flynn? I do… and now they are coming for me.”

“They have smeared my name while creating another partisan witch hunt, all because I dared to stand up to them,” Gaetz wrote.

“I will not back down from the Fake News hacks that want to destroy me and America-First patriots like you. I am more determined than ever to shut down this HOAX, and I am glad to have President Trump on my side.”

“The D.C. Swamp protects its own, and their media puppets are going all-out with fake, salacious stories to try to take me down,” Gaetz wrote. “These are the actions of a corrupt Establishment that is seeking to take out Trump supporters… BUT I WON’T BACK DOWN.”

While the House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the allegations against Gaetz, he’s been busy schmoozing it up with the most gullible gals on earth:

Fourth news item

Succumbing to peer pressure:

President Joe Biden announced Friday he is forming a commission to study possible changes at the Supreme Court, responding to a call from liberals to expand the nine-member bench to blunt former President Donald Trump’s impact on the court.

Biden promised to name the commission as a candidate amid an outcry from Democrats over Trump’s nomination of three Supreme Court justices, including the rapid confirmation of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett just before the election, and a bevy of lower court judges that tilted the federal judiciary to the right.

The push for change at the nation’s highest court, where conservatives now have a 6-3 advantage, has put a squeeze on the White House. Throughout the campaign, Biden hedged when asked whether he supported expanding the court, though he allowed in October that he was “not a fan of court-packing.”

Pre-presidency:

During the primary, Biden was consistent in his opposition to court-packing. He said during a Democratic presidential debate last October that he “would not get into court-packing,” adding, “We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”

He reiterated his position and this rationale when a voter asked him about his position on expanding the court during a town hall in Iowa later in December. He also told the Iowa Starting Line earlier this year that he opposed court-packing because Democrats will “live to rue the day.”

Oh:

Fifth news item

Alabama Amazon warehouse workers says no to forming a union:

The vast majority of votes cast by Amazon’s workers in Bessemer, Ala., were against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in a stinging defeat of the union drive. The final tally showed 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes in favor of the union…The retail union is now filing a legal challenge to the election and charges of unfair labor practices against Amazon. It’s requesting a hearing by the National Labor Relations Board “to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.”

Sixth news item

Just get the vaccine already:

Criminals are looking to cash in on the U.S. immunization push against COVID-19 by selling forgeries of government-issued “vaccination record cards” that show people have been inoculated.

Hundreds of fraudsters are selling blank or forged versions of the cards over ecommerce sites including eBay, Etsy and Shopify, while also running advertisements for the fakes on Facebook, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which uses artificial intelligence to detect online retail scams. And with names such as blankcovidcard.com, such sellers are hardly discreet.

The report says that it’s likely anti-vaxxers are purchasing the cards. They don’t want to get the vaccine but want whatever access a card can provide them (potentially air travel, schools, gyms, churches, etc.) So getting a vaccine to help you stay healthy is bad, but willfully lying and breaking the law to get a fake vaccination card is good???

Seventh news item

Whatever:

Russian and Chinese government officials have recently teamed up to publicly accuse the U.S. of creating biological weapons near their borders and suggesting that Americans are responsible for creating COVID-19.

Speaking to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant on Thursday, Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council secretary, said: “I suggest that you pay attention to the fact that biological laboratories under U.S. control are growing by leaps and bounds all over the world. And—by a strange coincidence—mainly near the Russian and Chinese borders.”… China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Lijian Zhao…tweeted: “The US bio-military activities are not transparent, safe or justified. In Ukraine alone, the US has set up 16 bio-labs. Why does the US need so many labs all over the world? What activities are carried out in those labs, including the one in Fort Detrick?”

Miscellaneous

Primavera (“Spring”) by Sandro Boticelli
springprimavera

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Republican Candidates: Choose Trump or Cut Ties With Him (ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:58 am



[guest post by Dana]

This caught my eye. It’s from a piece about Gov. DeSantis of Florida and the most politically potent path past Trump:

Smart Democrats know their present majority is fragile indeed. Smart Democrats know that the 2020 results were both encouraging (they won, after all) and sobering. The polls promised a greater victory than Biden won, they almost lost the House, and they likely would have lost the Senate but for Trump’s deranged post-election crusade. Smart Democrats know that if Biden stumbles, the GOP’s path to the White House is broad and wide.

At the same time, smart Republicans know that they have their own profound problems. How do you hold an angry base while recapturing suburbanites who were repulsed by the incompetence and corruption of the Trump administration? Perhaps by governing well and fighting hard for a righteous cause. If that’s the playbook, then DeSantis has an early edge—and he’s gained that edge almost entirely on his own, without the meaningful assistance of the GOP leader he may well replace.

Meanwhile, I see that candidates (at least some) are cutting the ties with Trump from the get-go. Michael Wood is running for Congress in a very crowded field for the May 1 special election in Texas. He was just endorsed by the Dallas Morning News, and by Rep. Adam Kinzinger:

I also believe that it’s time for the Republican Party to move past Donald Trump. If we continue to put his interests above our own, we will lose to Democrats for a generation. Like many of you when faced with an increasingly radicalized Democratic Party, I voted for Donald Trump in 2020. However, his actions since election day have forfeited his right to ever lead my party again. We are not the party of conspiracy theories and Q’Anon. We can be again the party of ideas.

And from his campaign website:

The Republican Party has lost its way and now is the time to fight for its renewal. We were once a party of ideas, but we have devolved into a cult of personality. This must end, and Texas must lead the way.

I’m also linking to an interview he did today with an exasperated pro-Trump Mark Davis. Wood, however, held his own rather nicely.

On the flip-side, Marco Rubio was just endorsed by Donald Trump this morning in his reelection bid in Florida:

“It is my honor to give U.S. Senator Marco Rubio my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement. “Marco has been a tireless advocate for the people of Florida, fighting to cut taxes, supporting our Second Amendment, our Military and our Vets, a strong national defense, and all of the forgotten men and women of America.”

Both Rubio and Trump are expected to appear at the Republican National Committee’s spring donor retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., over the weekend.

This is unsurprising for the two peas in a pod:

And as is often the case with the former president, Trump’s support apparently owed in significant part to that Republican having said things about Trump that Trump liked.

After praising Rubio as a champion for his constituents, Trump added, “He also ruled that ‘President Trump was in no way involved with Russia,’ as he presided over the Senate Intelligence Committee on the FAKE Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax.”

This is, to put it gently, a highly oversimplified and misleading review of what the Senate Intelligence Committee report actually found. But it is also one that Rubio played into and has now benefited from, with his campaign pushing out Trump’s endorsement statement.

Republicans will be pressed to make a choice as they make their bids for reelection: cut the ties with Trump and move past the cult of personality, or seek his endorsement (signifying his continuing power and influence over the Republican Party) and maintain the status quo.

–Dana

“Layla” Outro: Stolen

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 8:29 am



You learn something new every day.

If you’ve not heard this before, it’s likely the most amazing thing you will hear all day:

Ignore the vocal line and focus on the piano part and the harmony. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it was stolen for the outro of “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton’s band at the time). It was famously used in “Goodfellas.”

Rita Coolidge has spoken about this.

Coolidge says in her memoir Delta Lady (via the Miami Herald): “We played the song for Eric Clapton in England. I remember sitting at the piano in Olympic Studios while Eric listened to me play it. Jim and I left a cassette of the demo, hoping of course that he might cover it.”

She “largely forgot about it” after that – until she heard Layla after she and [Jim] Gordon had split up. “I was infuriated,” she remembers.

“What they had clearly done was take the song Jim and I had written, jettisoned the lyrics and tacked it to the end of Eric’s song. It was almost the same.”

Coolidge approach Clapton’s manager at the time, Robert Stigwood. But she says she was told: “You’re going to go up against the Robert Stigwood Organisation? Who do you think you are? You’re a girl singer.”

She adds: “There was no way Jim could have forgotten we’d written the song together. And I don’t think Eric could have, either.”

In 2011, Derek And The Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock supported Coolidge’s version of events, saying in an interview: “Jim took the melody from Rita’s song and didn’t give her credit for writing it. Her boyfriend ripped her off. I knew – but nobody would listen to or believe me.”

She could try to sue Gordon, I guess . . . except that he went on to become the police commissioner of Gotham “has been in prison since murdering his mother in a psychotic incident in 1983.” But what if she sued Clapton? Well, if she sued for copyright infringement and it went to trial in L.A., a jury would rule against her as long as Clapton testified and the jury thought he’d throw them a party afterwards as a reward. (Yes, I’m still bitter about the “Stairway to Heaven” verdict.)

Thefts and imitations can be a confounding thing. In the “Stairway to Heaven” case, I have had many people tell me they don’t hear the similarity to “Taurus,” the Spirit song that Led Zeppelin stole. I don’t see how anyone could miss it.

Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit on a 1968 tour — the same year Taurus was released. But Robert Plant testified that he hadn’t heard the song — an obvious lie, in my view — and a star-struck jury bought it. (I never heard whether they got their party. I don’t think they did.)

You can tell I am convinced the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven” was stolen. Yet Rick Beato, who knows his music, has this (in my view totally unconvincing) defense of Led Zeppelin as simply using a common line cliche.

Similarly, I was stunned the day I listened to the end of Dvorak’s “Dumky Trio” and heard the theme to “E.T.”

But when I blogged about that in 2007, I noted that a friend of mine who is a musical expert had advised me to go easy on the criticism of Williams, as borrowing is common in classical music. I am a genuine admirer of John Williams, but I think it’s fair to note that some of his music is clearly derivative of other music (think Darth Vader’s theme and “Mars” from Holst’s “The Planets” (more here) as one of many examples.) But Williams did add a lot of value to the stuff he borrowed from, and is a giant among musicians, in my view.

All that said, Jim Gordon absolutely stole from Rita Coolidge, and she deserves credit.

4/8/2021

Kevin D. Williamson on Fewer Voters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Kevin D. Williamson had a piece at National Review on Tuesday titled Why Not Fewer Voters? Those who actually read the piece quickly learned that it was not a proposal to reduce the number of voters for its own sake, though Williamson would clearly be fine with that. It was, in the main, an argument that voter ID laws, restrictions on ex-felons voting, and similar restrictions involve a tradeoff — but to the extent that they might result in lower voter turnout, that is not necessarily a bad thing in a democratic republic:

Categorically disenfranchising felons has always been, in my view, the intelligent default position, with re-enfranchisement on a case-by-case basis. It is likely that under such a practice some people who ought to be considered rehabilitated would be unjustly excluded. But all eligibility requirements risk excluding somebody who might make a good voter, or a better voter than someone who is eligible. There are plenty of very smart and responsible 16-year-olds who would make better voters than their dim and irresponsible older siblings or their parents. That doesn’t mean we should have 16-year-old voters — I’d be more inclined to raise the voting age to 30 — it means only that categorical decision-making by its nature does not account for certain individual differences.

Similarly, asking for government-issued photo ID at the polls seem to me obviously the right thing to do, even if it would result in some otherwise eligible voters not voting. I’m not convinced that having more voters is a good thing in any case, but, even if I were, that would not be the only good, but only one good competing with other goods, one of which is seeing to it that the eligibility rules on the books are enforced so that elections may be honestly and credibly regulated.

John Scalzi, whose blog I used to read and who I did not realize had become a lazy wokester, took to Twitter to label Williamson’s column “fascist” without further analysis. I called that lazy and hyperbolic, he insulted me, and a good time was had by all. I’ll spare you the details.

In the discussion, one of Scalzi’s fans argued that if felons were treated like adults by the criminal justice system, they should be considered adults for all purposes, including voting. And, of course, any other opinion is fascism. I clarified that he meant that even a currently incarcerated serial child rapist deserves the franchise, and that any contrary opinion is fascism. He agreed. I invited him to humor me by explaining how this is so, according to any definition of fascism recognizable to the average reader. Sadly, he declined. Again, I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow.

But it got me thinking: turning that logic on its head, consider the claim we hear so often from criminal justice “reform” advocates these days, that one’s frontal cortex does not fully develop until age 25. Wouldn’t that be a reason to raise the voting age to 25? I should add that I don’t mean this proposal to be taken seriously; it’s more a jab at those who would largely excuse murders and rapes and torture by 24-year-olds than it is a serious proposal to disenfranchise voters of that age.

Anyway, Williamson has a short piece reacting to the dopey criticism of his original piece, and like the original, it’s worth a read. I don’t know that I subscribe to every aspect of both pieces, but I find them persuasive by and large, and in any event Williamson is a brilliant, provocative, and original thinker and writer.

If you bother to read past the headline, that is.

4/7/2021

United Airlines Trades Safety for Diversity and Social Justice

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Does this seem like a good idea?

Social justice types told me on Twitter that this is not a problem, because it’s just a goal (quota) for the flight academy, not for hires. Everyone still has to pass the test! But my argument is not that people who can’t pass the tests will become pilots. It is that people who are minimally qualified, but not the best qualified, will become pilots. This is a trade-off: safety for social justice. Nothing the social justice warriors say can change that fact, and it makes flying on a United Airlines plane potentially more dangerous.

Being a woman or racial minority by itself is a not criterion that makes you more likely to be a skilled pilot with a strong safety record. If a good old boy system preferencing white males for their race or sex once existed, I am all for doing away with that — but not by preferencing a different race or sex. Race and/or sex should never be qualifications to be a pilot. It does not matter which race or sex you are favoring. Pilots, like brain surgeons and other occupations dealing with health and safety, ought to be peopled by the best qualified folks, period. I consider quotas immoral in all areas, but in these occupations they are dangerous as well.

4/6/2021

Two Yemeni Men On Terror Watchlist Recently Arrested At U.S. Border

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:32 am



[guest post by Dana]

Well, this seems important:

U.S. Border Patrol agents say they have arrested two Yemeni men since the start of 2021 that were identified on a terrorism watch list.

Agents assigned to the El Centro Station said the first arrest came on January 29, at approximately 1:10 a.m., when they arrested a man for illegally entering the United States. Agents apprehended the man approximately three miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry and transported him to the El Centro Processing Center for immigration and criminal history screening.

Agents conducted records checks, which revealed that the man, a 33-year-old illegal alien from Yemen, was on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List as well as on the No-Fly list, according to officials.

Authorities say the second incident occurred on March 30, at approximately 11:30 p.m., when agents assigned to the El Centro Station arrested a man for illegally entering the United States.

The man was apprehended approximately two miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry and transported to the El Centro Processing Center for immigration and criminal history screening, according to Border Patrol.

A background check revealed that the man, a 26-year-old illegal alien from Yemen, was also on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and on the No-Fly list, authorities said. He’s being held in federal custody pending removal.

Note:

A CBP spokesman said in a written statement that it is “very uncommon” for border agents to encounter people suspected of terrorism at U.S. borders, but that the arrests underscore the agency’s “critical” vetting efforts.

–Dana

MLB Expected To Announce All-Star Game Move To Denver (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:26 am



[guest post by Dana]

As you know, MLB made the decision to move pull the All-Star game out of Atlanta after Gov. Kemp signed the new voter law, which President Biden has mischaracterized as “Jim Crow 2″. Now it appears that Colorado’s Coors Field will host the game:

The 2021 MLB All-Star Game is coming to Colorado, a league source confirmed Monday night.

Just days after Major League Baseball decided to move the game out of Atlanta, the source says MLB is expected to officially announce Tuesday morning that the July 13 game will be moved to Denver’s Coors Field.

“We are excited about the possibility of hosting the All-Star Game and are awaiting MLB’s decision,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement released to The Denver Post on Monday night.

Gov. Jared Polis echoed Hancock’s hopeful statements when contacted by The Post.

“Like so many Coloradans, I’m excited and hopeful that Major League Baseball makes the best decision and formally chooses to play the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver,” Polis said in a statement. “It would be good for baseball and good for Colorado.”

Contrast and compare:

Atlanta, Georgia, is 51% black and 40.9% white, U.S. Census data from 2019 showed.

Denver was 80.9% white and 9.8% black in 2019, according to U.S. Census data.

Numerous sources reported that the MLB’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star game could cost black-owned businesses. Nearly 30% of businesses in Atlanta are black-owned, and Georgia will face an estimated lost economic impact of more than $100 million due to the MLB’s boycott of Atlanta, according to the president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism Holly Quinlan.

As a reminder, political activist Stacy Abrams and Sen. Jon Osshoff warned that a boycott of Georgia would kill jobs and ultimately end up hurting mostly the poor and people of color:

“I absolutely oppose and reject any notion of boycotting Georgia,” said Ossoff.

“Don’t boycott corporations over voting rights yet,” Abrams said in an op-ed.

In a pre-emptive strike, Mitch McConnell has “warned” CEOs not to get involved in the Georgia voter law debate:

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at corporate America on Monday, warning CEOs to stay out of the debate over a new voting law in Georgia that has been criticized as restricting votes among minorities and the poor.

In a sign of a growing rift in the decades-old alliance between the conservative party and U.S. corporations, McConnell said: “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”

McConnell warned companies there could be risks for turning on the party, but he did not elaborate.

“Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,” McConnell told a news conference in his home state of Kentucky…

Coca-Cola Co. Chief Executive James Quincey called the law “unacceptable” and a “step backwards.” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said: “The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election.”

Independent reviews have repeatedly shown that voter fraud is rare in the United States, and state and federal probes found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election which the Republican Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Corporate America has long thrown its political muscle behind Republican candidates and officeholders, often funneling more campaign contributions to conservative candidates than Democratic ones.

Meanwhile, other Republicans – including you-know-who – are pushing for Americans to boycott…Major League Baseball.

You can read a comparison of Georgia’s new voting laws and Colorado’s voting laws here.

Batter up!

UPDATE: Five days ago, President Biden on pulling the All-Star game out of Atlanta:

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would “strongly support” moving the MLB All-Star game out of Georgia, citing the state’s controversial new voting law that includes a provision banning volunteers from delivering food or drinks to voters in line.

“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” Biden said to ESPN’s Sage Steele during an interview. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”

Biden was critical of the divisive Georgia voting law…“Look at what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports, and it’s just not right,” Biden said. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia and 40 other states.”

Today, when asked about moving the Masters Golf Tournament out of Georgia, it was a different story:

“I think that’s up the Masters…I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation, or a group, to make.”

Democrats need to decide on their messaging and stick to it. While they seem lockstep in identifying the new Georgia voting law as the “new Jim Crow,” pulling any perennially popular sporting event out of Georgia is either economically harmful to its residents or it isn’t. You don’t get to flip-flop within the span of a few days just because we’re talking about a different event and expect to be taken seriously. Also, if you believe that these so-called “new Jim Crow laws” are unacceptable in Atlanta where the All-Star Game was going to be held, then certainly they are just as unacceptable in Augusta, where the Masters Tournament is due to be held next week.

–Dana

4/5/2021

Happy Birthday to My Mom

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:57 pm



It is her birthday today. We were going to go on a cruise — my sisters, her, and me — when COVID hit. Guess whether we did or not? (Hint: we did not.)

We have set it up again this year, in October. Hopefully it will work out!

Hi

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I was gone last week, on our first vacation in a year. We visited Catalina and Yosemite, and spent a good chunk of yesterday driving back, retrieving dogs, and so forth. I missed putting up an Easter post but will probably put one up later, albeit belated. Anyway, just wanted to say hi, I’m back. I don’t have much else right now. Hope everyone is well.

4/2/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Please feel free to share anything that you think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.

First news item

It was inevitable, and I expect it will continue to happen in other cities and states where the schools remain closed:

A group of parents frustrated by efforts made to date to reopen classrooms in the nation’s second-largest K-12 system is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District and local teachers union.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that LAUSD breached its responsibility to act in the best interest of students by allowing the teachers union to dictate when schools should reopen.

LAUSD, United Teachers Los Angeles and UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz are named as defendants in the complaint.

Second news item

Get your messaging straight, people:

A day after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky suggested people vaccinated against COVID-19 would not become infected with or transmit the disease, the CDC backtracked the comments.

“Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick,” Walensky told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday. “And that it’s not just in the clinical trials, it’s also in real-world data.”

The comments were particularly notable because just two days earlier, Walensky spoke of “impending doom” she was feeling due to cases starting to tick back up. It was something she reiterated to Maddow.

Related:

Third news item

Of course Russia is trying to crush Alexey Navalny. That’s who they are:

The Russian state is making a slow spectacle of crushing Alexey Navalny and his organization. The opposition politician is in prison, serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for “violating his parole” while he recovered from a near-fatal poisoning attack by his own government. Last week, Navalny’s lawyers and his wife, Yulia, said that he has developed health problems for which prison authorities are denying adequate treatment. He is also facing torture by sleep deprivation. (The prison service has denied mistreating Navalny.) On Wednesday, Navalny declared a hunger strike. Meanwhile, Navalny’s allies are planning new demonstrations to demand his release. Dozens of people around Russia are still in jail after being arrested in connection with pro-Navalny demonstrations that took place in January and February. Over the weekend, authorities arrested Yuri Zhdanov, the father of Ivan Zhdanov, who heads Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Related observation and advice:

Fourth news item

Losing his cool:

Here is the minute I finally lost it: Sunday, March 21, at 9:34 p.m.

That’s when my wife and I got an email saying our kids’ New York City public elementary school would be closed yet again. Testing had found two positive COVID-19 cases among nearly 700 students and staff.

It was the fifth time the school had closed since New York reopened schools in the fall. Each time has been the same: First, we get an email that testing has turned up one case. A few days later, we get a second email saying testing has found a second case and the whole school will be closed for a day while health officials investigate.

And then, every time, comes the coup de grâce form letter: “Subject: 10 Day Bldg Closure.” Per New York City policy, two unlinked cases result in the building being shuttered for 10 consecutive days.

Fifth news item

HOW IS THIS NOT A CRISIS OF HEARTBREAKING PROPORTION?:

U.S. Border Patrol officials said agents rescued two young children Tuesday night after smugglers dropped the children from the top of the border wall in a remote area west of El Paso.

A Border Patrol agent operating a camera pointed at a section of the barrier just west of El Paso spotted the two young girls, ages 3 and 5, as they were dropped from the top of the 14 foot wall. Border Patrol released a video showing the smuggler on the wall dangling the children before dropping them one by one. The older girl quickly stands up after she lands on the ground. The younger girl sits for a while before getting on her feet. The individual on the fence also tosses a small bag to U.S. side of the border with the children. The video then shows two men quickly leaving the area on the Mexican side of the barrier.

Sixth news item

Tragedy at the Capitol:

A U.S. Capitol Police officer was killed and another injured after a man drove a car into a security barricade at the Capitol complex on Friday, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said.

The driver was shot after jumping out of the car with a knife and failing to respond to verbal commands and “lunging” at the officers, Pittman said. The suspect was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.

About the suspect:

Law enforcement sources said Green recently lived in Virginia. In postings on social media, he let his friends and family know that the past few years have been “tough” and the past few months “tougher.”

“I am currently now unemployed after I left my job partly due to afflictions, but ultimately, in search of a spiritual journey,” he wrote on his now-deleted Facebook page.

Green’s page featured several recent postings that reference the teachings of the Nation of Islam, a Black separatist movement that does not follow the traditional teachings of Islam, and its leader Louis Farrakhan. Nation of Islam has been classified as a “designated hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of what the SPLC calls “deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders.”

Beautiful spring:

spring

The heart of the Christian faith: crucifixion and resurrection:

“And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him and led Him away to crucify Him.” “And they crucified Him and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.” Matthew 27:28 to 31 and 35.

“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” John 10:17 and 18.

“And they shall scourge Him and put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again.” Luke 18:33.

“And He began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31.

Have a blessed weekend.

–Dana

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