Six for Today

A Range of Very Different Topics To Fill Our Basket This Week

First, A Moment to Reflect Upon Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day. This is being published a day after Memorial Day. Hope yours was a meaningful one and that you reflected at least a little on what they day means and the service members who sacrificed it all. Of all our national holidays, this is one of the  most purposeful and thoughtful. I had the opportunity to participate in a local service yesterday; it was a powerful thing to be in the midst of a large group that absolutely understood what this day honors and commemorates.

I came across three excellent, short reads this past week about Memorial Day that I commend to you most highly. It will only take you a few moments to read them. When you do, you will be glad you did – you can thank me later for sharing them with you. If you are pressed for time today, let my blog pass you by and use the few minutes to read these writings. I’ll get over missing you if necessary; I would feel much worse if you missed these. Read away:

Today We Bounce Around Quite A Bit

Now, back to our regular programing.

As I look through my notes for this week, I find that the first six items I thought of interest were all over the map, from personal pleasures to global security issues. No unifying them today, just a random cruise. Hope you find at least some items that ring a bell for you.

Hardware Stores

Among my favorite places in the world are really good hardware stores. I have long found that if I find myself bored or grumpy, walking the aisles of a really good hardware store clears things right up. What makes a good hardware store? A huge variety of tools and supplies, well organized; a staff that has been doing this work forever, one that knows where everything is and likes nothing better than help you figure out a hardware related program.

Also, one that provides popcorn or other snacks for people and treats for dogs. Bonus points if they custom cut lumber, giving the place an aroma of fresh sawdust (if only I could find a cologne with that aroma). I have a hardware store that hits everything on that checklist in my neighborhood that I enjoy visiting.

They just relocated a couple of blocks, so now both the staff and I are learning where everything is. I stop in occasionally just to study the aisles and memorize the new layout. I was known, in the old place, to respond before the staff when a customer walked in and asked where something was located in the store.  Going to take me awhile to get the new site down pat, but I am working it – and having fun while doing it. Who knows what tool I never knew I needed till I see it on the shelf?

Miss USA Missing?

I have not really been following all this, but as I understand it, the current Miss USA recently resigned, near the end of her reign, as did the Miss Teen USA (and her next in line replacement refused to take the title).,I have to admit, I did not know those pageants were still going on. I thought they were yet another thing Trump had sullied in years past.

Isn’t it past time to retire these things?

Court Artists

The ongoing (about to conclude) Trump New York trial has reminded us that many courts do not allow photographs, so court artists provide visuals for news broadcasts and print articles.

I don’t mean to be rude, but I think it fair to say most of these don’t seem to be very good artists. Maybe they do not have enough time for better work, but I have to say that the majority of these renditions I have seen are really terrible. Some of them feature people that are indistinguishable – they do not look much like the person depicted at all.

Is this just a tough task to perform or are these people who “enrolled in art school” by filling out one of those “Are you an artist” forms we used to see on match book covers?

Haley Kisses the Ring

Former SC Governor Nikki Haley folded this past week and said she would vote for Trump. She did not encourage her voters to do the same, but still, she fell in line. Disappointing, but not surprising. Seems to me about as self-serving action as one could take. Politicians often attack each other, then shake hands after the contest.

But how do you call someone dangerous and unhinged, point out how impossibly unsuitable they are, then say that on second thought, you think Biden is more disastrous. If she were made of wood, her nose would be about two feet long about now.

Some speculate that she is like all those others who hope to get back in Trump’s good graces. Others think she might be positioning herself to step in if Trump goes to prison and a substitute candidate is needed. Could be both. The more interesting questions is what do most of those who voted for her do? I do not believe very many would vote for Trump. Whether they would vote for Biden (the smart thing to do) is unclear. At least the Biden campaign is specifically reaching out to them.

The Supreme Court’s SC Ruling

Speaking of South Carolina…. Once again, not a surprise but truly disappointing action by what currently passes for our supreme court. The thinking in this decision goes back to Robert’s earlier opionins, now reinforced and moved futher from decent law by the current majority on this court. The implications for permanent gerrymandering are staggering.

Essentially, they have ruled that there MIGHT be a role for the courts in stopping gerrymandering if it is racially based, but if it is just plain old politics, with one party rigging the system in a state so that the other party never has a chance, well, that is different, and the courts have no role.

This is, of course, BS. First, they have now issued a blank check to strip citizens of their right to vote and if they happen to be minorities, too bad – that is a side effect to this court. Make sure you advertise you are gerrymandering to screw another party, not a race, and you are good to go. Second, this underwrites stealing votes, leaving citizens no hope of relief, and no way to counter abuse of power. Yet another candidate for the worst decision ever made by this court. That list is astonishingly long.

The US Aid Pier for Gaza

The pier that the US is running to get aid to Gaza is catching a lot of grief on several fronts. In fairness, I think most of the negative feedback is misplaced. It is not a be all, end all solution, but it certainly helps. Let’s look at the criticism.

Early protest was raised at how long it would take to get this thing up and running. I admit the timeline first offered – up to six months – did seem excessive. Building and siting a thing like this is not easy, but the timeline seemed excessive to me. Happily, it is in its early operational stages a good deal sooner than projected. Some objected to the cost. I feel your pain, but things like this are really expensive. Not something one can go shopping for to get a better deal.

There are concerns about the exposure to US troops that run this thing. Goodness knows there is a long list of do-bads who would like to hurt the US by hurting our troops. The risk is very real from several elements, but on the hope some appreciable amount of aid can be delivered, this is a worthy risk to put people into at this time.

Lastly, people say it is way too little coming in over the pier, the land routes should be open. It surely is clear the land routes must be opened, but that does not negate the utility of the pier. Sure, it would be great if Biden could force the Israeli’s and the Egyptians to open border check points, but in spite of massive leverage, one cannot assume that we can always force our will on others. Biden could perhaps do more to force the issue, but he does not have a magic wand. Foreign policy is often about choosing from a list of bad choices

I am all for ramping up the pressure in a big way, but to deny the value of the pier, limited as it is, strikes me as wrong. The US Administration is trying everything it can to be helpful (remember the air drops?). Just because something is not THE answer, does not mean it is not AN answer. Take whatever help comes in, don’t denigrate it.

See You Next Week

If events do not drive us otherwise, expect next week to get a list of a dozen things that you may wish to add to yourself.  We’ll see what your list might look like.

Bill Clontz, with fellow soldiers, Vietnam, 1968, 101st Airborne Division

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1 reply to Six for Today

  1. I too have wondered at the court artists from this trial. Thanks for your service as well as all those who have served and especially their families and friends waiting back home for their safe return. Love that photo.The supreme court ruling on SC really scares me. We need to win in November and then expand the court. It seems to be the only way to negate what has been happening. Nikki has always been a sell-out in my estimation so while it wasn’t a complete surprise it was a surprise at how quickly she kiss the ring. I was amazing at how quickly they have built the pier. Thanks Bill.

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