I Meet Our New Justice . . . He Likes Beer

I had no plans for watching the Kavanaugh hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I had heard about all I needed to know about the president’t nominee for the Supreme Court. And somehow I knew I was going to feel a little dirtier if I spent a day watching the U.S. Senate at work.

But I turned it on early, just after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had been sworn in. Her testimony was riveting as the Republican majority sat off to the side and had a local government sex crimes prosecutor ask all the questions. They apparently didn’t want to risk seeing themselves later in their electoral opponents’ campaign commercials questioning Dr. Ford. They didn’t want to make it too easy for to show them as what they are: white male Republicans with no aptitude for empathy.

I decided to continue watching after lunch and saw our future justice performing most un-judicially for the next three hours. He was angry. He was aggressive. He was rude. He interrupted U.S. Senators. He cried. He told touching stories about his family. He blamed everyone else and took no responsibility for anything. He congratulated himself at every opportunity on how great he is. He had finally mastered the skills of a reality television star. He conducted himself a lot like his new role model, Donald J. Trump.

So much for judicial temperament.

Good luck, America.

What Will It Take?

If the president’s performance today at the press conference in Helsinki isn’t recognized for what it is by Republican leaders, America’s democratic legacy and leadership in the world is seriously at risk.

Where are you Congressman Randy Weber? I have only you to count on to help correct this situation. It’s not as if there is some single mistake or transgression. He has committed numerous “high crimes and misdemeanors” since taking office – and probably some treason and bribery, as well.  Your voters have a decision to make in November.

In my opinion, the highest of his high crimes is his daily violation of his oath of office.

If you feel he abides by this oath, I invite you to comment and leave your argument.

This was a day of shame for all Americans, most especially the ones who voted for him. To those folks, this is a bandwagon you should abandon to save your conscience, your reputation and your self-respect.

 

Madeleine Albright: An Interview in The Guardian

This is one of the most interesting articles I came across today. Madeliene Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State has a new book, Fascism: A Warning. She was interviewed by Andrew Rawnsley of The Guardian. Check out the interview here in The Guardian.

Ms. Albright does not offer us much comfort. From the interview:

“The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad. Some of them are really bad. They’re not to do with Trump; it is the evolution of a number of different trends. All the various problems that we have, they can’t be solved by simple slogans. But it’s easier to listen to some simple slogan.”

Yet simple slogans seemed to be what a significant number of voters responded to in 2016.

Walls Never Work

Duolingo provides free online language courses. I don’t know the people behind Duolingo but they seeme to be moved by a passion that really doesn’t include becoming digital billionaires even though they are in the process of developing one of the most effective and liberating products I have encountered during my years as an internet citizen.

Now they have produced a thirty minute video that places the need for language education in a very human context in our troubled world.

Watch this video, Texans, and you may be moved to take a language course. If you are a native English speaker, I would suggest Spanish. Give it twenty minutes a day without fail. That minimal investment of time will not allow you to become proficient, particularly if you don’t have a person to speak with periodically. But stay after it anyhow. When you do have a chance to use your new language, you will have a real head start.

The people in this video have moved away from wars in their native countries: from Syria to Iraq; from Iraq to Turkey; and Turkey is not the most secure and friendly place these days. They could be moving again. Would you blame anyone for looking toward America as a land of freedom and opportunity? And wouldn’t they be great Americans?

The ability to study new languages has been a key to their survival. Take a look.