James's blog

The Trump House Elf

From what I can tell about impeachment, the Congress has wide latitude in determining what constitutes an impeachable offense. There's no point getting into the quagmire of legal obfuscation: An impeachable offense is whatever Congress says it is. Which puts the spotlight squarely on the US Senate, and especially Thom Tillis.

A turning point for Dan Forest?

Not every politician was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but Dan Forest was. And for most of his life, his wealth was inconsequential. He kept to himself and did relatively little damage. Even as lieutenant governor, his impact on anything important has been negligible, though teachers might say it's been negative.

But now that Mr. Forest is pressing himself forward to be North Carolina's next governor, his ideas and beliefs matter, as does his character. I don't know him at all. I just know what he says through publicity and on social media. Here's my impression:

My Veterans Day message to Senator Tillis

For the past ten years or so, I've greeted Veterans Day with a barrel full of cringe. The pandering from politicians nearly takes the breath away. It's embarrassing.

This year, the Veterans Day noise has been deafening. From Trump on down to the lowest kind of partisan hack, we're hearing enough happy talk to last a lifetime. Thom Tillis may be the worst, with this Facebook post.

Tuesday news: Be sure you vote today

Back to gerrymandering. Lawmakers back to begin new Congress map (AP reports) -- Legislators are already starting the process of redrawing the state's current congressional map after state judges last week blocked its use because they said there was evidence of likely excessive partisan bias in those districts. The following are members of the committee: Sen. Ralph Hise (co-chair), Sen. Warren Daniel, Sen. Chuck Edwards, Sen. Paul Newton, Sen. Jim Perry, Sen. Dan Blue, Sen. Ben Clark, Sen. Toby Fitch; Rep. David Lewis (co-chair), Rep. Destin Hall (co-chair), Rep. Elmer Floyd, Rep. Ed Goodwin, Rep. Pricey Harrison, Rep. Kelly Hastings, Rep. Robert Reives, Rep. John Torbett, Rep. Harry Warren, and Rep. Shelly Willingham.

How to crush a brand: Toyota's sell out to Trump

I had been planning to buy a new used car this fall, my mind was set on a new Corolla hybrid. And then I read that Toyota had sided with Trump against the state of California on emission standards. My purchase is off.

Toyota has long been a leader in fuel economy and is most likely well-positioned no matter what happens between California and the federal government. The company didn't have to do anything at all, but instead it caved to threats from the Trump administration. It was a stupid move by any measure, and it will cost Toyota dearly. They may have a reputation for quality and efficiency, but now they also have a reputation for folding like a cheap suit. This move has already cost them one sale, and it appears I'm not alone.

Personal reparations

A post from my wife, Jane Brown
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She calls me her “angel,” “Mom,” or “my only friend.” I’ve asked her not to. Sometimes I’m flattered, happy to be an angel for someone. Other times I feel like it’s just part of the con – a way to get to me, a way to get the money she always so desperately needs.

I first met Mary when she was a housekeeper on campus, responsible for part of the building I worked in. She stayed late one morning to apologize for dropping my wooden horse statue out the window. She said she had opened the window to let some air in and accidentally brushed the horse out the window. It splintered on the bricks below.

I appreciated her apology. She didn’t have to own up to that. We learned each other’s names. She had a big smile and a happy sense to her even though I wondered how she made ends meet. The housekeepers had been in a fight for a living wage for years. Mary was just happy to have a job.

Some West Virginia state parks and other sights of interest

Jane and I just got back from a two-week camper van trip to West Virginia, where there are many good state parks, state forests and national parks. They're concentrated around the New River Gorge and the Allegheny mountains. For us, a "good" park means several hiking trails (preferably loops of three miles or less), campground toilets, reasonably flat campsites, and smallish. Extra credit for quiet and dark at night.

The enduring shame of Senator Thom Tillis

A columnist in today's New York Times had this to say:

To the Republican members of the United States Senate:

You have always told us that you believe in the distinctive greatness of the United States of America. “America is different,” as Senator Marco Rubio has said. Ben Sasse likes to say that “America is an idea” — a commitment to universal dignity over brute power. You have also told us that you went into politics to serve a higher purpose. Well, your moment has arrived.

The president of the United States is betraying his oath of office in the most fundamental way, by using the presidency for personal gain at the country’s expense. He has corrupted our foreign policy with grubby attempts to help himself that his own White House staff immediately recognized as improper. He is telling the world that America does not, in fact, stand for any higher ideal. Can you for a moment imagine the icons of your party, like Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower, risking the security of a country threatened by Russia, for the sake of smearing a political rival?

President Trump must go, and you — only you — have the power to make it happen.

What's remarkable about the column is that it mentions a half-dozen Senators by name, Senators who, the columnist hopes, will have a sense of duty to country. Neither North Carolina Senator made the list.

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