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Forgotten Americans: How Sliced Bread Became The Greatest Thing

 

Inspired by recent posts on American inventors.

http://fiftiesweb.com/tv/red-skelton-3.jpg
(Red Skelton, phrase inventor)

The phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread” denotes any new, convenient and fantastic invention that enters our everyday life. Its origin lies in the 20th century and my favorite first attribution of its use is by comedian Red Skelton telling a Maryland newspaper in 1952 that “television is the greatest thing since sliced bread“.

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Required Reading

 

Powerline’s Scott Johnson has this brief, outstanding summary of the greatest political scandal in our nation’s history up today. This is absolutely required reading.

At the time, I thought Fast & Furious was the greatest political scandal in our history. Getting American law enforcement officers killed with weapons that our own government sold to criminal gangs in a foreign country in an effort to change popular opinion sufficiently to demand that we change the 2nd Amendment of our own Constitution. Holy Toledo.

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Medicare for All Would be a Disaster for All

 

The Democrats running for president are at it again: they are submitting a completely unrealistic proposal for single-payer health insurance and they aren’t sharing the facts. We must get the word out to everyone that we have to stop this proposal that will take us in a catastrophic direction.

The media, of course, will tell everyone that the public loves the idea of single-payer insurance aka, Medicare for All. Although those running for President have several different plans, none of them would be good for this country. But according to one poll, the public supports the idea :

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A Fan Letter to Michael Ramirez

 

Dear Michael,

I’ll apologize from the start if I seem to be gushing in this post. I can’t help myself. I happen to think that you are one of the most brilliant political cartoonists of our time. Maybe the best. And I’m so grateful to have your cartoons on Ricochet.

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American Inventors

 
Edwin Armstrong on the beach with his wife and his portable superheterodyne radio 1923

Yesterday, @richardeaston wrote a post Affirmative Action in Inventions in which he noted that in recent years a black female, Dr. Gladys West, has been given credit for inventions associated with GPS for which the credit belongs to others. I was going to comment on Richard’s post; but, my comment got too long and I think this post can stand on its own.

Unfortunately, I don’t think what Richard found is a one-off honest mistake. Rather, there appears to be a concerted effort to overstate the accomplishments of black Americans in some fields. This becomes apparent when searching various terms using the most popular Internet search engine: Google. For example, searching the term “American Inventors” gives the following result.

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Climate Change Denialism and the Conservative Loss of the Skeptical High Ground

 

I posted a comment on this week’s Ricochet Podcast (Bjorn Lomborg was one of the guests) and someone suggested I turn it into a post. I think that’s a great idea, so here I go.

I am essentially as much of a Climate Change Denier as one can intelligently be. Yes, the Earth’s climate is always changing, slowly, for various reasons, and yes, perhaps it is changing slightly and slowly from human activity. But the current Consensus on Climate Change that is making predictions of what is going to happen to Earth’s Climate in the next 20-100 years, I believe, is radically wrong.

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I’m Barefoot and Hopping Mad

 

I just finished reading the excellent post by @richardeaston on Affirmative Action in Inventions, about the burgeoning movement to rework history. Not by acknowledging that, in many cases, the contributions of minority workers, including women, in scientific and mathematical fields have been overlooked or ignored (which would be a fair statement of the case). But by assigning influence far beyond what such sterling efforts actually merited, even so far as to assert that in some cases the minorities and/or women actually did the inventing themselves, and then that the credit for doing so was stolen from them by (wait for it… ) patriarchal white men who didn’t deserve it.

It seems perfectly timed to go with a far less consequential, and somewhat amusing (as I reflect back on it in tranquility) experience I had yesterday, which seems to me much of a piece, and which I’d like to share.

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The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

 

Democrats have been talking about the need for the next Democrat President to expand the size of the Supreme Court in order to counteract the baleful effects of the Trump appointments.

A Proposal: Trump should himself submit a plan to Congress to expand the size of the Supreme Court. Let’s get the Democrats in Congress on the record as to why expanding the court is a bad idea.

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Quote of the Day: “You Cannot Be Serious”

 

I’m old enough to remember it in real time: the moment on June 22, 1981, when the enfant terrible of men’s tennis had a meltdown in the hallowed grounds of the Championships, Wimbledon, rocking the well-mannered crowd and the horrified announcers to their core. (He’d almost been thrown out earlier in the tournament for having called one of the umpires “the pits of the world.”) Lawn tennis (when you can find it) has not improved since the advent of “Johnny Mac,” at least in this former fan’s opinion — I was always more about the strawberries and cream, and the cream teas, than I ever was about the on-court antics of spoiled and vulgar young men and unnaturally muscular and grunting young women.

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William Barr: Consequential Man

 

William Barr is the new Attorney General. He will likely be the most consequential Attorney General in our lifetime. His investiture comes at a time when it has become apparent that the apparatus of government has been unconstitutionally wielded against a presidential candidate and then sitting president. Powerline today links to a piece from Mark Penn and includes the following quote:

The most egregious anti-democratic actions ever taken by the what can now fairly be called the Deep State are confirmed with the publication of fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s new book detailing how the FBI and Justice Department plotted to remove President Trump from office for firing FBI Director James Comey.

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Affirmative Action in Inventions

 

Last June, I attended my monthly nonfiction writers meeting. Afterward, I spoke to the black gentleman sitting next to me. He mentioned that he’d just found out that a black woman invented GPS. I said that was strange since my father invented it. He chuckled and said that I was holding out on him. I looked it up and a Dr. Gladys West was the person. It appears that she worked on refining satellite orbits and models of the earth. She did valuable work but is one of hundreds or thousands of people at that level. I dismissed it; errors about the origins of GPS are rife and in spite of my extensive writings about it I’m a relatively obscure person.

More recently, the articles about Dr. West have multiplied and an unrelated erroneous documentary about the origins of GPS was released.

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The 411 on the Latest National Emergency

 

President Trump’s declaration, on 15 February 2019, of a “national emergency,” is quite ordinary, the latest in a long line of such declarations going back to President Carter. Far from creating some dangerous precedent, it only reinforces our constitutional order. While it will certainly be challenged in federal court, this may actually be the opportunity to set Article III courts back on their proper path, ending bad behavior by the lowest level, federal district judges.

The Ricochet editors desk posted the entire text of the declaration in Trump Declares National Emergency at the Southern Border. The text is quoted from the White House page, Presidential Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States. C-SPAN has the video and transcript of President Trump’s remarks, followed by some hostile questions on the lawn.

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We Have a Politically Savvy Senator

 

Unfortunately, it is newly elected Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). She just got herself harshly denounced by NARAL for announcing her support for a fellow Arizonan nominated by President Trump to a Federal judgeship. NARAL is upset because nominee Michael Liburdi served for five years as chairman of the Arizona Right to Life PAC:

Sinema said she has known Liburdi for years, and during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing praised him as someone who will be a fair-minded judge.

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The Elephant on the Border

 

As I watch the coverage of President Trump’s efforts to secure the border and Democrat-Republican efforts to thwart any effective form of Border Security*, I’m struck by the fact in the mainstream media, the simple fact that Democrats (and a lot of Republicans) oppose Border Security because they want the uncontrolled migration of cheap labor and loyal Democrat voters from Central America (and, increasingly, Africa and the Middle East) to continue unabated. This is, in fact, the central issue of illegal immigration and opposition to Border Security, but you never hear it brought up on CNN, NBC, ABC, or even Fox News nor on the pages of the New York Times or Washington Post. Why is that?

The pundits obfuscate the issue by talking about “asylum seekers” (without mentioning that migrants can apply for asylum without leaving their home countries, much less illegally rushing the border), but more often, any discussion on the issue is limited to “Trump wants to stop immigration because he is a racist and Democrats oppose a Border Wall because they are not racists.” That is the current intellectual depth of the average network discussion on the topic.

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If We Could Stop Being Good at Math, We are Saved!

 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has discovered a new and exciting way to fund every social program and eliminate all government debt. Follow this example:

  1. Amazon negotiates with NYC to open a large facility.
  2. As an inducement, the state and city governments agree to waive as much as $3 billion in tax revenues.
  3. The deal falls apart.
  4. NY now has an extra $3 billion to spend on needed programs.

Brilliant! In a new public-private nationwide effort, jurisdictions can offer absurd inducements which the targeted company helpfully rejects and all that inducement money is then in the coffers of the state or local government offering the absurd deal.

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Tequila or Bourbon?

 

Okay. So, I was introduced to tequila at the age of 11. To make a long story short, my father, not unreasonably, assumed that one taste of the stuff would inoculate me from any further interest in hard liquor until I was at least in high school.

As it turns out, my ol’ dad does not have the gift of prophecy. Three shots into his experiment, he picked up on the inescapable fact that I loved the stuff — salt, shot, and lime! I have loved tequila ever since, including rather forgettable attempts at finding a good mix of various cocktail combinations with vodka and whiskey known as the “Swirling Maelstrom” that have never quite worked out…

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Breasts

 

Now that I have your attention, I wish to direct it to a split decision handed down today by the 10th Circuit. On equal-protection grounds, the court struck down an ordinance in place in Fort Collins, CO forbidding women from baring their breasts in public except for the purpose of breastfeeding. Ed Whelan at National Review is on the case, and he reports the following:

In his majority opinion (joined by Judge Mary Beck Briscoe), Judge Gregory A. Phillips cites with approval the district court’s objection that the ordinance “perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.” In a classic false dichotomy, Phillips concludes that the city’s “professed interest in protecting children derives not from any morphological differences between men’s and women’s breasts but from negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.” Ditto for “notions of morality” that might underlie the law.

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Turbulence, CDG, and Valentine’s Day

 

Two years ago, I had never even seen an airplane in person. When I made the decision to go abroad for university, though, they became a constant part of my life. I’ve run to six different gates in the space of an hour in Dublin, escaped a crowd of protesters with the help of a French military policeman to almost miss my flight at CDG, and set off more metal detectors with 1 pound coins than a Saudi arms dealer at Logan. Despite these, and much more mundane, experiences, I have a little ritual every time that I board an airplane.

Rationally, I know that air travel is quite safe, and am by no means a nervous flier. I’m perfectly happy to peruse my Bernard Lewis book, or allow a 6’3″, 250-pound Swedish man fall asleep in my lap, in peace. But life is hardly predictable, as dinner in Paris after a lifetime of living hours from any skyscraper testifies. So, each time I’ve settled down into my seat, I take a picture out of the nearest window, and send the same text to my friend:

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Thursday Night TV History: Syndication and Reruns

 

In “Back to the Future”, one resident of Hill Valley, California in 1955 is puzzled by a word that Marty McFly uses. “What’s a rerun?”, she asks. Like much of the film, it’s a witty exaggeration. Television viewers of the mid-Fifties were just beginning to see reruns show up in morning and afternoon TV time slots.

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Trump Declares National Emergency at the Southern Border

 

Fox News reports:

President Trump said Friday he is declaring a national emergency on the southern border, tapping into executive powers in a bid to divert billions toward construction of a wall even as he plans to sign a funding package that includes just $1.4 billion for border security. “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

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Eight Days In May–Rosenstein Did Wear a Wire and Discuss Using the 25th Amendment to Remove the President of the United States

 

I had written a slightly sarcastic post about how it was our civic duty as American citizens to rush out and read the latest book by a member of the Swamp, and how their families could probably use the money in the future when all appeal delays have expired after criminal proceedings have been wrapped up, and then I read Byron York’s piece of this morning, and Powerline’s comment on the same, and saw the book in a whole new light.

I strenuously urge a reading of York’s discussion of the number of suspicions and speculations some of McCabe’s book confirms, such as:

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