Friday, June 28, 2024

About Biden's Debate Performance

by Rod Williams, June 28, 2024- I watched the presidential debate last night like millions of other people. 

I was looking for two things that I thought could make the debate significant. One, I wondered if Trump could maintain his cool and not look like a raving maniac, a jerk, and a bully. The other thing I was looking for was whether or not Biden could look capable and cognitive. 

I had a low bar for Trump. My evaluation is that Trump seemed almost like a normal person. He performed admirably. He did not engage in wild name calling and he did not rant. He maintained his cool. Trump, of course lied a lot and he failed to answer the questions asked, but he appeared fairly reasonable and in control of his emotions. Trump exceeded my expectations.

For Biden I was looking to see if he seemed aware of where he was and see if he could understand and answer question. I have seen Biden do well in delivering the State of the Union and at some other events, but I have seen him have to be directed in leaving the stage. I have seen his open mouth, shuffling walk, and blank stare. I knew Biden could read a teleprompter in front of a friendly crowd, but I wondered if he could answer questions when in a debate setting.   

As I watched, I saw that Biden was struggling. He looked frail and confused and lost. He had trouble answering questions. Some of his answers made no sense at all. However, I had a low bar for Biden just has I had a low bar for Trump. My evaluation of the debate was that Trump did better than expected and Biden did about as I expected. I thought Trump won the debate but did not think Biden was a total disaster. I did not think Biden performed so below expectations that the debate was game changer. 

I was surprised that Biden's poor performance was such a shock to media personalities and commentators and Democratic politicians. I was surprised that Bidens performance caused such anguish. I am surprised that people were surprised.  I thought they would say he had a less than great performance and move on to attacking Trump. I thought the media and Biden supporters would act as if he did okay. I thought they would continue to excuse and cover for him and act like he is not this senile old man we see. 

I recall when Special Counsel Robert Hur described President Biden as a "sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," and said he would not bring criminal charges against the president over his improper retention of classified documents because he would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during Hur's interview of him, and a jury would not convict him. The liberal media acted as though this was a terrible attack on Biden, a smear, and inappropriate. I thought it reasonable and probably accurate.

I have seen the compilation videos of Biden looking like a senile old man and his confusing statements and his mistakenly identifying world leaders. Liberal media commentators assured us these videos were "cheap fakes," selectively edited to make Biden look bad. White House spokesman, Democratic politicians and the mainstream press have assured up time and time again that the Biden they know is sharp as a tac and knowledgeable and a has a firm grasp of the issues. I didn't believe it. 

I had set such a low bar for Biden, that I was willing to give him points for finding the podium. I expected Biden to perform about like he did. I was not shocked. The reason I think that the liberal establishment is so shocked by Biden's performance last night is that they actually believed their own propaganda. 

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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Pride Month is a Month of Celebrating Domestic Terrorism, says Gary Humble.

by Rod Williams, June 24, 2024- June is "Pride Month." It is an official designation. In June 2000, President Bill Clinton designated June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots and gay activism throughout the years and in 2009 President Barack Obama changed the name to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Now it is usually simply called "Pride Month." 

When I say it is "official," all that means is that the President designated it as such. It really doesn't mean anything. It is more like the President simply said it was a month to observe all things homosexual. Since the President is not a king, his designation of a certain month as a month to observe something carries no more weight than if I designated May as "Rod Williams Appreciation Month." 

There are a lot of "months" that some organizations say is the month for their cause such as National Mentoring Month in January. Some of the months have a designation by Congress and some are designated by the President, and some are just so designated by the organization devoted to that cause.

February is National Heart Month, and it has a Presidential designation. February is also National Bird-Feeding Month, and it was sort of made "official" when a congressman read a declaration declaring it as such into the Congressional Record. You are not required to feed birds during National Bird-Feeding Month.

June in addition to being Pride Month is also African-American Music Appreciation Month. It was so designated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Despite the designation by a president, you are not required to appreciate African-American Music in the month of June. There are dozens and dozens of designations of months to recognize this or that cause. You can see a list published by Wikipedia at this link

I don't celebrate Pride Month. I don't observe it. In fact, I am offended by all of the rainbow washing and having it rammed down my throat. (No pun intended there.) Anyway, I don't like it, and I find it mildly annoying but for the most part I simply ignore it. If I walk into a store and they have a Pride flag draped around a beer display and I had come into the store to buy beer, I will still buy my beer and I would not give the store clerk a hard time about the display. Life is too short to get worked up over it. 

While I do find Pride month somewhat offensive and mildly annoying, I really don't mind if one is gay or not. I have known gay people and worked with them and served them as clients. I would not make a point of offending a person who was gay. If I found the person an interesting person, I could enjoy his company and conversation and could really care less about his sexual orientation. If eating in a restaurant and my waiter is kind of limp-wristed and effeminate, I am not going to tip him any less if the service is good. One's sexual orientation is kind of irrelevant to me. 

On the other hand, I am not going to celebrate one's homosexuality and I don't won't to normalize what is not normal. I would not attend a gay wedding and think that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, but I would not boycott Thanksgiving if a gay cousin brought his same-sex "spouse." I have seen drag queen performances and think they are harmless and not worth trying to ban. If some guy wants to dress up like Dolly Parton or Liza Minnelli and lip sync, what does it hurt? Also, I think it is an overreach for government to tell a bar owner that he must have men-only and women-only restrooms.

When it comes to Pride month, not everyone agrees with my attitude of be annoyed and don't celebrate it, but don't get all bent out of shape over it and try to just ignore it. One who does get bent out of shape is Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands

In a commentary addressing Pride Month, Humble says some things that I can agree with about the general state of American culture. I agree with him when he says decades of feminism have worked to devalue women who assume the roles of homemakers, teachers to their children, and a support to their husbands. I think the pendulum is swinging back somewhat and more women are beginning to appreciate the importance of the role of mother and wife and homemaker and the importance of the family unit.  I am pleased with what I see as a reappreciation of traditional roles. At the same time, I don't criticize a woman who feels she must have a career to feel fulfilled. Also, if a man wants to be the househusband and primary caregiver of the children, that is okay, too. It is none of my business and to each his own. 

When Humble rants about the failure of Christians to stand up to cultural decline, I understand his point of view. I was raised in a fundamentalist Christain household. I understand how a fundamentalist Christian feels when his church approves of homosexuality and even allows gay ministers. I understand the dismay of Christians when the Church no longer condemns sin and normalized deviance. While I would not express myself in the dogmatic terms used by Humble, I understand the fundamentalist Christain mindset. I understand and excuse a lot of strident absolutism. 

Where Humble totally loses me is when he refers to the queer community as "terrorist."  Here are excerpts from the editorial:

Coming into June, now a month celebrating lies, perversion, and debauchery, people of faith have an obligation to reject the month of domestic terrorism called, pride month. Your tolerance is deadly and your silence is nothing short of a refusal to declare the truth to a dying world. You are lukewarm. You are the false teacher that scripture warns about.

It is time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can pass by the queer children’s section and remain shopping at Target, you are the problem. If you cannot quit drinking Starbucks though they are funding free sex changes for their employees, you are the problem. If you go along with the pronouns, DEI training, and pride festivities in your workplace because you cannot risk losing your job, you are the problem. And yes, I said that out loud.

Choose this day whom you will serve. You cannot serve two masters.

He is speaking of course as a Christain, and I understand. I was raised in a Southern Baptist teetotaling household, and my father would not shop at a store that sold beer. If watching Bonanza on TV and Hoss Cartwright walked into a bar and ordered a whiskey, my dad made us change the channel. I understand those who take a strong stand against what they consider sin. 

What is over the top and what I find outrageous and do not understand is referring to Pride month as "the month of domestic terrorism."  If anything, gays are more likely to be the victims of terrorism than the perpetrators of terrorism. Gary Humble needs to get a grip. 

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Metro Nashville Public Schools show Significant TCAP Achievement and EOC Assessment Improvements.

by Rod Williams, June 25, 2024-
Metro Nashville Public Schools have improved since last year. The improvement is across all grade levels and subject areas. That is good news. We may not compare well to Williamson County and some other districts, but according to the most recent TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) test results and EOC (End-of-Course (EOC) assessments, Metro Nashville Public Schools are outperforming the statewide average scores. 

I have not done a deep dive on the data but from prior examinations of data in other years, there are some very poorly performing schools and some very high performing schools in Nashville. There is probably a greater gap between bad and best in Nashville than in a county with a more homogenous demographic. 

I do not know the reason for the improvement. I have witnessed no major changes in policy that would explain it. One factor may be that as Nashville attracts higher income people who move to Nashville, the change in demographics contributes to better educational outcomes. Whatever the explanation, this is welcome news and reason to celebrate.

For the MNPS report on the data follow this link

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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Supreme Court will hear Tennessee's Law Protecting Kids from Irreversible Gender Treatments

By Jon Styf, The Center Square, Jun 24, 2024 -  The U.S. Supreme Court said it plans to take up a case related to Tennessee’s Senate Bill 1, which prohibits gender-affirming surgeries for minors.

A July 2023 ruling from the Sixth District U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the law to take effect.

Now, the appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court after the court granted centiorari Monday.

"We fought hard to defend Tennessee's law protecting kids from irreversible gender treatments and secured a thoughtful and well-reasoned opinion from the Sixth Circuit,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. “I look forward to finishing the fight in the United States Supreme Court. This case will bring much-needed clarity to whether the Constitution contains special protections for gender identity."

The law blocks health care providers from performing gender-affirming surgeries on minors or administering hormones or puberty blockers to minors.

The law went to court after three transgender minors, their parents and a doctor sued several state officials saying the law violates the United States Constitution’s due process and equal protection.

The Campaign for Southern Equality said it believes the case will likely be heard in the fall, with a decision expected by the spring or early summer of 2025.

“This is a high-stakes moment for transgender youth and their families, and we’re glad that trans youth and their families will have their day in court to make the case that the bans are unconstitutional, interfere with private medical decisions, and severely harm families,” Campaign for Southern Equality Director of Impact & Innovation Allison Scott said. “Everyone who needs gender-affirming care should be able to access it affordably, and close to home, and our team will never stop working to make that happen.”

The group estimates 38% of transgender youth in the United States – and 93% of trans youth in Southern states – live in a state that has passed a ban.

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Monday, June 24, 2024

The Ongoing Deluge of Pandemic Unemployment Fraud Cases

By DOMINIC PINO, National Review, June 24, 2024 - ... The Covid pandemic resulted in the creation of new unemployment benefits with eligibility requirements that were not enforced. Now, law enforcement is trying to clean up lawmakers’ mess — still, and could keep doing so for years to come. ... [Congress] disbursed about $5 trillion in the economy with little to no safeguards against fraud. ...

The Department of Labor’s inspector general estimated in February 2023 that at least $191 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits were improper payments. “Improper payments” is an official government category that includes honest mistakes and fraud, but the inspector general acknowledged at the time that much of it was fraud. The Government Accountability Office estimated in September 2023 that one-seventh of all pandemic unemployment aid was taken by fraudsters. An Associated Press investigation from June 2023 estimated the total Covid-relief fraud and waste could be closer to half a trillion dollars. (link)

Rod's Comment: Read the article to see various examples of how people committed fraud. Unfortunately, I doubt either party, no matter who wins the upcoming Presidential election, will have the willpower to continue to prosecute the fraud. The program started under Trump and continued under Biden. Just because the government makes it easy to steal, does not make stealing right. I hope every person who took unemployment benefits illegally is required to make full restitution and those who engaged in large scale fraud should face prison. 

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Sunday, June 23, 2024

GOP Nashville Host Record-Breaking County Party Picnic in the Heart of Davidson County


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