A week of misery

street
The swept sidewalk and the stone steps.

I’M ALMOST back to normal after a week of suffering from a cold.

It wasn’t a horrible cold as colds go, but no cold is a good cold. During the past week, I have done virtually nothing but sit it out, which is my approach to colds. My child bride’s approach, on the other hand, is to go to the gym and work out. She’s loca.

During the week, chores piled up. One, which had piled up far longer than a week, was to sweep the sidewalk out on the street. If you don’t sweep your sidewalk, it doesn’t get swept. The municipality does not sweep it. Our town has no street sweeper.

So I swept my sidewalk this morning. It had the usual collection of Styrofoam cups, candy wrappers and whatever else the slobs enjoy tossing out car windows.

Also this morning, I did my daily exercise walk around the nearby plaza. Thursday is market day, so there were stalls selling lots of stuff. I bought broccoli for lunch tomorrow. I have a nice spaghetti recipe that requires broccoli and garlic.

There were about 150 people lined up on the plaza for some reason or another, likely to benefit from some government giveaway.

In a month or so, we’ll start this year’s renovations. One must wait till the monsoon season ends. It used to end in October. Now it ends in November. Cursed climate change!

We need you, Greta Thunberg! Do you speak Spanish?

On the schedule is to paint the wall in the photo and get rid of that garish color we never requested in the first place. It was done a few years back during another series of renovations. I had asked for an adobe color. What I got was reddish-orange.

My attention must have been elsewhere when that paint was applied.

The stone steps rise to that steel door which leads into my child bride’s pastry kitchen, built in 2014. We added that door so the space could be used as a storefront one day. That day has never arrived and, I hope, never will in my lifetime.

Those stone steps are a very popular place for people to sit and rest a spell as they head down the sidewalk, especially kids. And lovers at night.

Thankfully, my head has mostly cleared up and chores are getting done. Scheduled for later today are buying breakfast biscuits in a pastry shop, washing the Honda (not me, a car wash), getting cash from an ATM and sitting at the coffee shop on the downtown plaza with my Kindle* and a nice, hot café Americano negro.

* * * *

* Just started Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of his Presidency which came out this week. It’s stupendous to have honest information about a man who’s turning out to be one of America’s greatest presidents. The author, Doug Wead, is a former adviser to two presidents and served as a special assistant to President George H.W. Bush. His numerous books are known for their primary sources (not partisan rumor).

Trump’s good works

IT IS WELL established that my former field, the news media, has abandoned its primary purpose of providing news in a balanced, fair manner. Sad.

With the occasional exception, and it’s just occasional, of Fox News, about the only reliable source of information about the accomplishments of the Trump Adminstration is the White House newsletter. You can subscribe on the White House website.

To lift your spirits, I have compiled some of Trump’s good works.

Strong jobs market. This from MarketWatch: “Americans still think plenty of jobs are available and companies are offering better pay as they compete for a shrinking pool of available labor, new study by the New York Federal Reserve shows. The Fed study is the latest proof the jobs market continues to sizzle.”

New ImageThe Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the economy has added over 5.5 million jobs since President Trump was elected.

Prison reform. In December 2018, President Trump signed the First Step Act which brings “commonsense criminal justice reform that is helping prisoners get a new lease on life and is making America safer.” Even former Obama staffer Van Jones praised Trump’s “great work” on the issue. If you want details, do an internet search.

Helping women. On April 17, Ivanka Trump, representing the president, spoke at the Women Entrepreneurs Financial Initiative in the Ivory Coast, her last stop of a four-day tour of Africa. The goal of the trip was promoting the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a $50 million project launched by President Trump in February to encourage women’s economic empowerment in developing countries.

Opportunity Zones. On April 18, President Trump brought state and local leaders from both parties together at the White House for a conference on “Opportunity Zones” — a signature piece of his 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Rather than spending more money on yet another government program or Washington bureaucracy, Opportunity Zones offer tax incentives for long-term investment in more than 8,760 low-income communities throughout America.

Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need them the most. The census tracts eligible for the program were chosen by governors, then certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. All told, the program is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment.

Economic boost for Latinos. According to a story in the Washington Examiner, American Latinos have enjoyed their third consecutive year of income growth, and their workplace participation rare has increased. More details available here.

And, of course, black Americans are enjoying their lowest jobless rate in decades.

This is just a small sampling of positive work coming from the Trump Administration, news that is ignored by the news media. Again: Sad.

Beneath a cool, blue sky

two
The grass circle behind is where the cursed peach tree lived.

THE PERSONALITY OF Tom Snyder, who hosted the Tomorrow show late nights on NBC from 1973 to 1982, was once likened to a Harley-Davidson with the throttle stuck wide open.

I often remember that line when I think about my child bride because she’s a high-energy sort who almost never relaxes.

I, on the other hand, am an old Vespa stuck on idle.

An obsession she’s resurrected recently is knitting, and she’s very good at it. I took the above photo yesterday while we were enjoying the midday sun on the new yard patio under clear, blue, cool skies.

She’s making a shawl for a niece, Paula Romina, who’s just shy of 2 years old. My bride promises she’ll later knit a sweater for me. I already have two she’s crafted, one a black wool and one a wine acrylic.

Breakfasts have been ratcheted up a notch in recent weeks, emotion-wise, because she watches (on a Samsung tablet) the 7 a.m. press conference given by our doofus, leftist president. That means she arrives at the table around 8 a.m. in a state of high dudgeon. Daily.

She really loathes the prez, who recently compared himself to Benito Júarez, exhibiting an stunning level of hubris. It would be like Trump comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln.

Being an old Vespa, however, I react in a more leisurely fashion.

* * * *

Life goes on

I went to a dentist here in town yesterday at 5. My usual dentist, since 2014, works in the nearby state capital, but I had an issue between Christmas and New Year’s, and he was on vacation.

So I called a young woman dentist here, and she saw me on Christmas Eve day at noon. The issue was resolved, but a small cavity partially below the gum line in the back was discovered. That’s why I saw her yesterday.

She shares a practice with two brothers. The three have different specialties. Their office looks fairly humble from the street, but once you step inside it’s very modern and large. I would recommend them to anyone in town who doesn’t want to drive to the state capital.

Speaking of which, that’s what we’re doing today, driving to the state capital for shopping. Normally, we do that weekly but, due to the gasoline shortage caused by our new doofus president who thinks he’s a reincarnation of Benito Júarez, it’s only the second trip there this month.

The gasoline crisis has vanished for now. Gas stations are open. They either have no line of cars waiting, or the line is very short.

Lord knows what the ding-a-ling is going to pull next.

10-great-white-egret-in-flight-paulette-thomasReturning to the Hacienda about 6:30, I paused at the archway entrance to the veranda.

There was still a good bit of light — the days are getting longer — and I saw a low-altitude, V-formation of white egrets.

Perhaps if I’d returned to the veranda 30 minutes later, I would have seen our bats depart on their nightly bug hunt. Life goes on.

But not for some of those bugs.

Trump: the Push-Back President

(Today’s guest poster is Andrew Klavan who published this piece on PJ Media. The headline is mine, the Push-Back President. Trump is the first president to reject in public the nincompoop notions of the left, and he makes no bones about it.  He rubs it in their faces and laughs out loud, a fun guy. This is the main cause of the mental illness known as Trump Derangement Syndome.)

* * * *

In general, I’m a free speech purist. I think you should be able to say any damn thing you please. But that doesn’t mean you should be able to say it anywhere and anytime.

I think police should be allowed to remove hecklers who prevent an audience from hearing the speaker they came to hear, or haul away a diner who stands up in a restaurant and starts spewing curses at the Martians in his fillings.

I deplore companies that fire or punish employees for expressing their ideas on their own time, even though it’s legal to do so. But I don’t think those companies have to tolerate such speech in the workplace or when it might reasonably appear to be an expression of the company’s point of view.

That’s why I see no free speech violation, even in spirit, in the NFL’s ruling that players should not disrespect the flag during the National Anthem. The players were taking that action on company time, in company uniform, while doing the company’s business, representing the company and, clearly, hurting the company’s bottom line.

And because I see no violation, I have to agree with the tweet of Vice President Mike Pence that the new rule represents “#winning” for the American people. Here’s why.

The NFL anthem controversy is a prime example of how Donald Trump is doing something of yuge importance that conservatives never think to do, and that intellectual conservatives don’t even seem to understand needs doing. He is challenging — and often changing — the left’s narrative.

The narrative is essentially a set of assumptions so pervasive that people are afraid to oppose them. They think they are alone in disagreeing with those assumptions and they fear they will be deemed immoral by the majority.

For a long time, the left has controlled this narrative by dominating and censoring the means of communication: social media, the news networks, Hollywood and the academies.

The left makes outlandish ideas seem mainstream.

They use these instruments to make outlandish ideas seem mainstream. That America is racist and oppressive. That men and women are interchangeable. That abortion is something other than an atrocity. That capitalism is somehow an evil despite its manifest blessings. And so on.

This technique is enormously powerful and has serious repercussions. Look at Starbucks behaving like a broken prisoner at a Stalinist show trial.

The narrative convinced them that they behaved badly simply for behaving like a business. In ejecting two poorly behaved trespassers, they merely claimed their right to use their private property for profit. But it is private property and profit that gives us Starbucks in the first place. And iPhones and computers and movies and all the rest.

Companies do not make these things for fun and they have no obligation to let you use them for free. If Starbucks were not drowning in left-wing assumptions — the left-wing narrative that capitalism is somehow inherently mean and wrong — they would have stood up for their right to eject unpaying trespassers, and they would have won.

Instead, they have to endure the absolutely absurd accusation that they are somehow racist because the trespassers were black — another nonsensical left-wing assumption. Phooey.

This is why it has been so terribly frustrating for many of us that conservatives have for so long allowed these assumptions to go unchallenged and have even seemed to accept them themselves.

Why did the first President Bush promise a “kinder, gentler” America after the Reagan years? Why did W. Bush call his conservatism “compassionate conservatism”? Aren’t the wealth and freedom provided by conservative governance kind and gentle enough, compassionate enough in themselves? Why were they making apologies for good ideas?

They bought the narrative and lost the country.

Those on the right who continue to hammer the president for being a flawed man should instead be asking themselves: Why did it take such a man to finally start pushing conservative ideas again?

It was because the left had been allowed to define the terms of our decency, and it required a man without much regard for decency to stand up to them and begin to govern by the decent, moral, freedom-giving principles of traditional Americanism.

Among those principles is respect for our flag and the liberties and justice it represents. It should not be the accepted norm that you can insult that flag while the rest of the nation is expected to eat the insult and send you fame and money in return.

New Image

Screw that noise. Donald Trump was right to challenge the narrative. It’s not trivial. It’s important. And the fact that he made his point represents, yes, #winning.