10 Things I Learned This Week

new-orleansSince this has to be the making of one of the most asinine eras of American history, from time to time I’m going to list what I learned over the course of seven to 10 business days.

  1. Risk-based screening. I was reminded that word choice is integral to shifting public opinion when I read an update from my Congressman Warren Davidson (OH-8th). Davidson, who noted he had been on Fox & Friends to discuss national security, advised in his newsletter that,

    “It is time for Congress and the President to work together to pass legislation reforming risk-based screening for refugee and other immigration programs.”

    It reminded me of the words by 20th century journalist and satirist H.L. Mencken,

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by an endless series of hobgloblins, most of them imaginary.”

  2. Fast-Track ILC (In Lieu of Conviction). Although an individual who utilizes medication-based therapy to kick a heroin habit has a 70-90 percent chance of relapse — and those who try ‘willpower’ alone tend to relapse with 30 days — my local prosecuting attorney’s office has created a plan to fast track heroin cases so defendants can get treatment instead of jail time. I’ll be following the results of these cases because it feels more like fast-tracking defendants through the system and creating a new crop of felons. (See 13th)
  3. Americans are (still) angry — My Senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, is denying allegations that he refused to allow Democrat constituents to attend a Presidents Day event.
  4. Farmers who supported Trump, may get the shaft. Since I live in a rural, farming region, I found these stories interesting. Some farmers who use immigrant labor were hoping for a status quo approach to deportation since it affects their bottom line. That, of course, is not happening. Farmers who export crops to China or Mexico may also be negatively impacted if relationships between the countries continues to be strained.
  5. The GOP ‘mavericks’ are voting in line with Trump. Talk is cheap and despite the maverick image of GOP heavyweights like John McCain and Rand Paul or even my governor — John Kasich, the image appears to be more hype than reality since they are voting (or in the case of Kasich — meeting) in line with Trump’s agenda.
  6. Boehner says Repeal and Replace won’t happen. Whether you like him or not, former House Speaker John Boehner, at times, can be very direct. With regards to repealing Obamacare he says the GOP is just blowing smoke. It’s not going to happen.
  7. Deportation is fueling private prison profits. Follow the money is the old journalism adage. Big actions often mean big profits for some and such is the case with the drive to rid of the country of the ‘bad dudes.’
  8. Trump travel costs outweigh Obama’s — by a lot. The GOP loved to moan about Obama’s vacations, golfing, etc. Turns out Trump is outperforming the former president in money spent on getaway trips.
  9. Losers go home. Mitch McConnell, the Senator from the state where I was born, Kentucky, is apparently tired of all the protests and demonstrations. He said he is not opposed to obstructionism, but the losers in this election need to get over it, because winners enact the policies and losers go home.
  10. Americans still have a sense of humor. Apparently Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of the president is gaining popularity.
Categories: 8th congressional district, My America, Politics | Leave a comment

‘Orphan Train Rider’ A Great Short Nonfiction Read

orphan-train-riderIf you are looking for a short read (about an hour) on a subject you likely have not heard about — read Orphan Train Rider by Andrea Warren.

The book covers the life of Lee Nailling who rode the train from New York to the ‘West’ (the Midwest) with two of his brothers — after their mother died. The story tells what happened to each of the boys as well as the siblings that were not considered orphans.

Included in the book are data and stats about orphans and how children were generally treated up through the 1920s. For example, in the 1850s, a 7-year-old child could be tried as an adult. This meant that some orphans, like those who had committed petty theft — often to eat, were houses in jails with adults.

Orphan trains ran in the United States beginning in 1854 and the last one departed in 1930. More than 200,000 children were sent to find new homes this way. It represented the largest migration of children in our history.


Categories: American History, Books I have read | Leave a comment

‘Tower’ Tells Story Of First Mass Killing By Gunman On U.S. Soil

It’s a story many Americans do not know — the 1966 mass murder on the University of Texas campus. A gunman climbed up to the top of the University’s signature tower and began shooting down on the students. Shortly after the sniper opened fire, a local TV station had a reporter on the scene — so a lot of the shooting is captured on film. Although film director Keith Maitland uses some of that footage, his decision to use animation to tell the story makes it fresh — and oddly enough — somewhat hopeful.

I won’t review the film to prevent revealing his storytelling method other than to say that the film is built around interviews with victims, bystanders and the officers involved that day. Their words become the backdrop to the shooting that left 14 dead and 31 wounded.  As the roughly hour-long ordeal unfolds, ‘average people’ become real heroes on that hot August day. The action of one young woman is simply astounding.

Although some critics say Maitland tells an incomplete story (warning: review does give movie details) I disagree. I feel Maitland tells a very interesting and engaging story about the event that, unfortunately, ushered in the mass-shooting era that still exists today.

Rated 5 out of 5.

Categories: American History | Leave a comment

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