WaterCooler 03/25/2017; Open Thread; Motorcycle Hurdles; Inferiority of Socialism; Jaded; Just One More Annoucement


50 Meter Motorcycle Hurdles:

This is an interesting video showing a deer hurdling a motorcyclist, and it might add another positive argument to the yes side of the column for wearing a skid lid.


Socialism Paper:

This is one of the best reasons that I know of to ignore socialists and work towards the promotion of the free market; it seems that they can never provide enough material to clean the mountains of undesirable substances that they create.


It’s Not All Bad News:


Jade, a nine-year old German Shepherd at the time of this story, was described as possessing an affection for children by the Wildays, her owners, and attribute her finding and saving a newborn baby’s life to that love.


In 2013, Roger Wilday was walking Jade in Stechford’s Marlborough House Community Park in Birmingham England. Jade suddenly sprinted to some bushes, laid down next to a discarded carrier bag, and would not return to her owner. When Roger went to retrieve Jade, he noticed that the carrier bag had moved, and originally thought that the bag contained kittens, but was shocked to instead find a six pound newborn baby. The police arrived and immediately rushed her to the hospital, and according to pediatricians, she was lucky to be found when she was, as further exposure could have been fatal.


Catherine Wilday said of Jade, “…she’s very keen on our [five] grandchildren. Whenever she hears their names she whimpers. She just loves kids.”


The staff at Heartlands Hospital named her after her four legged rescuer, and today the little girl would be three and a half years old, while the rescuer would be twelve. I hope that the younger Jade is a happy toddler doing well, and that the elder Jade is growing old gracefully.


Moment In Time:

Afternoon, March 11, 2011

Minami-Sanrikucho, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan


Takeshi Miura is speaking through the town’s public address system. He is the assistant director of the municipal government’s risk management section; by his side is another town employee, Miki Endo whom he has just relieved from manning the microphone. “A 10-meter tsunami is expected. Please evacuate to higher ground,” was the message that came over the loudspeakers that day, shortly after a 9.0 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. One of their colleagues said, “Takeshi-San, that’s it. Let’s get out and get to the roof.” Miura’s reply, “Let me just make one more announcement.”


Miura and Endo were never seen again.


Within forty minutes of the earthquake, massive waves, some as high as sixty feet smashed into the Tohoku region, killing approximately 18,500, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and causing the evacuation of over 160,000 people. The death toll could have been much higher had it not been for messages broadcast over the warning system.


One of the people heeding the voice of Miura that day, and taking refuge from the expected wall of water, was his wife Hiromi, as earlier Endo’s mother, Mieko, had heard her daughters voice and evacuated the fish farm where she worked. Hiromi had a message for her husband, “Every time I eat a warm meal or sleep in a warm futon, I feel so bad that you can’t. Your voice saved so many people’s lives. You did such a great job.” Likewise, Mieko’s husband Seiki had a message for their daughter, “I want to thank my daughter [for saving so many people] and tell her I’m proud of her. But mostly I just want to see her smile again.”


Six years ago this month, Takeshi and Miki stood their posts instead of fleeing for their lives, in order to give warning to others and give them a chance to save themselves.


The WaterCooler is an open thread, so ease on up, wet your whistle, and speak your piece.


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Judge Gorsuch Is Good, But So What?

Admittedly, I was more than pleasantly surprised when Judge Neil Gorsuch was chosen by President Trump to be his nominee for Supreme Court justice.

Gorsuch was chosen almost a year after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and following an intense and divisive election. The selection was a solid pick and has proven me wrong. Candidate Trump mentioned he would appoint a conservative-leaning justice. I was not convinced he would do such a thing once in office, but was glad, and still am glad, to have been incorrect on this matter.

As expected, the Democrats have tried (and failed) to discover some secret snippet in Judge Gorsuch’s professional past which would disqualify him (in their minds) from being on the Supreme Court. But Gorsuch is an exemplary candidate, as even some on the Left have declared. He may personally be of the conservative mindset, but his judicial history shows one who is measured in his analysis and focused on the rule of law. This won’t stop Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer from leading a filibuster against Gorsuch, though.

Many voters have admitted they reluctantly supported Trump on election day based on the future of the Supreme Court. Now that his exceptional nominee is in front of us, most of us are very pleased. But this should in no way overshadow the many other aspects of Trump’s presidency or cause us to place any sort of broad stamp of approval on both his behavior and his administration.

Wiretapping Claims

Trump took to social media to claim his predecessor had been behind a covert act. As of right now, both he and his representatives have failed to produce any evidence to support these allegations. Kellyanne Conway said there is no evidence, but welcomed an investigation. Director Comey has testified that the FBI looked carefully and found no proof to back up the president’s tweeted claims.

It is reckless for a sitting president to make claims that he is unable to even begin to substantiate, then continue dispensing those claims even after official review. This is unpopular to say in GOP circles, but would we accept the same from the previous president? Absolutely not. We would call for proof and declare “put up, or shut up.” We should not change our response to such serious claims just because Trump has an (R) next to his name, but many have and will continue to do just that.

Unpresidential Behavior & General Gibberish 

The wiretapping drama and discussion surrounding it is just a small fraction of President Trump’s often indecorous behavior. We should demand a better, more coherent leader who doesn’t seek to stir up on social media for his own amusement and/or to fuel the obsession of some rabid supporters. His interview with Time is an perfect example of this behavior. Answers like this? They are worth mocking.

So you don’t feel like Comey’s testimony in any way takes away from the credibility of the tweets you put out, even with the quotes?

No, I have, look. I have articles saying it happened. But you have to take a look at what they, they just went out at a news conference. Devin Nunes had a news conference. I mean I don’t know, I was unable to see it, because I am at meetings, but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times had a front-page story, which they actually reduced, they took it, they took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping. And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens. Look. I predicted a lot of things that took a little of bit of time. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.


The absolute failure of the American Health Care Act is squarely on the shoulders of Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump. The GOP knew that Obamacare had to be tackled. They’ve known this for years. Candidate Trump pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare. He, and the GOP leadership, failed miserably. You cannot separate a president who vows revenge against failing Obamacare from his own failed attempt. Trump ran on several things, and this was one of them.

I do hope that Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed and takes a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. He would be a welcome addition, and certainly an honorable successor to Scalia. This was a great decision on Trump’s part. That can and should be noted. However, it should not give rise to a lax attitude toward other things which flow from this administration.

If a vacant SCOTUS seat had been my only concern, I may have voted for Trump. I didn’t. Looking at the entirety of candidate Trump gave me pause as I considered my options on election day. Viewing everything coming from the president, his team, and those under him in GOP leadership should also give us pause now.

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Trump Appoints Social Conservative To HHS Civil Rights Office And Heads Explode

If a person could overdose on schadenfreude, I’d be stretched out on my office floor in rigor mortis right now.

With zero fanfare, the Trump administration installed Roger Severino as director of HHS’s Office of Civil Rights. This is from his official page at HHS:

Roger Severino is the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Severino served as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Severino was previously chief operations officer and legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

While at Heritage, Severino was a prolific writer and that is what is causing splody-heads. He is a defender of religious liberty. He believes there are only two sexes. Both of which make him anathema to “public health” professionals who generally believe religion is fine as long as you don’t practice it and that any sexual perversion should be honored. Of particular concern is the effort by HHS to impose upon the US health care system the same view of this “transgender” nonsense that Department of Education tried to impose upon our education system. While Education was primarily interested in getting men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms, HHS has focused on bullying all doctors and hospitals into treating transgender individuals as sane and requiring those institutions to do whatever surgical mutilation is necessary to help them live out their delusions. One such case is in the courts right now that would force a Catholic hospital to perform “gender reassignment surgery.”

Trangender fanatics are terrified that Severino will pull the plug on this fraud:

Much to the consternation of LGBT rights supporters, the Trump administration has appointed to head the civil rights division of the Department of Health & Human Services a former staffer with the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation who wrote extensively against the civil rights of transgender people.

“Frankly, it is sick that President Trump would appoint Roger Severino to lead OCR – putting a man who made his career opposing healthcare non-discrimination laws in charge of enforcing those very same protections,” Stachelberg said. “Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied equal treatment to same-sex couples and more than half of private insurance plans explicitly discriminated against transgender patients, with more than a quarter of transgender people reported being denied medical care by a provider. Severino’s writing makes it clear that he wants to take us back to the days when 1 in 4 transgender people was refused medical care outright.”

Among the posts Severino wrote for The Daily Signal, the blog for the Heritage Foundation, were in opposition to LGBT people, especially transgender rights. After the White House came out against a provision in a congressional defense spending package that would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, Severino wrote a post called “Obama Threatens to Veto Military Bill Because It Protects Religious Groups.” After the Pentagon lifted its ban on openly transgender service, Severino wrote a post called “Pentagon’s Transgender Policy Defies Common Sense.”

Severino also defended North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender people from using the restroom in schools and government buildings consistent with their gender identity. Decrying the “unrelenting and coordinated attacks” against the state for enacting the law, Severino criticized former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for filing a federal lawsuit against the measure, which he said amounted to progressives “using government power to coerce everyone, including children, into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology.”

This is a situation where conservatives, regardless of their feelings about Trump, should be cheering. I can’t imagine a President Rubio making an in-you-face appointment like this. I can barely imagine a President Cruz making it. But these sub-cabinet appointments are critical to stopping the progressive agenda before it becomes embedded in the law. But, unfortunately, hate for Trump takes priority over everything else. Because to admit Severino is an excellent choice requires one to admit that Tom Price is an excellent choice. And that requires one to admit that Donald Trump is not a one dimensional buffoon surrounded by Russian agents, which is something a lot of self-described conservatives cannot do without destroying their own worldview.

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SCOTUS Hearing Revealed the Character of Neil Gorsuch AND Senate Democrats

There was a moment during the Neil Gorsuch SCOTUS hearing last week that was more revealing than any other as to the character of the man who will very likely be confirmed, even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is forced by Democrats to change the rules and go nuclear to stop the filibuster.

On the 3rd day of the hearing, after nearly two nine-hour days of sitting at a table being questioned by friendly Republicans and harassed by unfriendly Democrats, Gorsuch displayed a kindness to an attendee of the hearing — likely a staffer of a Senate Judiciary panel member — who let out a sneeze. At the sound, Gorsuch, in the middle of explaining his thoughts on the right to privacy of the terminally ill (as he laid it out in a book he had written on assisted suicide), turned his head toward the itchy-nosed person and said, without breaking stride, “God bless you,” before promptly getting back to the matter at hand.

It was a small thing when compared to all the other memorable moments from the hearing; small enough perhaps that some may feel it not worth noting. There was, after all, a lot going on in that Senate hearing room last week. From Gorsuch’s repeated assertions that he would adhere to the rule of law rather than his own personal opinions when passing judgement from the bench (Senate Dems were determined to paint him a conservative activist but he deftly defeated them at every turn); to the borderline rude and certainly disrespectful lines of questioning from Democrats (the behavior of Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was particularly appalling); to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse’s and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s largely successful attempts at levity (“You just said bigly and I just won $5,” Sasse said at one point); the hearing had it all.

Gorsuch did so well explaining the benefits of textualism and originalism when interpreting precedent and the Constitution — which he called paying deference to the words that are actually on the page, not making up new words to accommodate a political or policy outcome — he left those same Democratic Senators with nothing but weak protestations that Gorsuch was in favor of corporate interests over the “little guy.” It was a non-sequitur, but it was all they had.

And he was so consistent and respectful, that opinion pieces have taken to denying him support, but not blaming him for it. To do otherwise would seem monstrous in the face of the kind of character on display by the Colorado Judge who some say may have learned at the knee of Kennedy, but will likely rule in the vein of Scalia.

But with all that went on last week, Gorsuch’s immediate, and obviously habitual, graciousness to someone who sneezed was a moment worth noting. And here’s why:

This country has just come through arguably one of the most contentious elections it has yet seen. Opposition to Gorsuch is absurd given his bi-partisan support, his qualifications, and his qualities as a man, and yet come it will. If for no other reason, because opposition has become the flavor of politics in recent years. It sells. The Republicans are even being obstructionist and playing opposition to themselves on the healthcare law. Agree with the wisdom of that approach or not, it smacks of a lack of cohesion and a lack of willingness to work together.

So Neil Gorsuch, next Supreme Court Justice, being, for all the other remarkable things he is, a kind man, is a very, very heartening thing to see. And it perhaps signals a move in a better, more collegial direction. After all, united, as the famous words go, is how we stand.

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Steve Bannon Thought He Could Bully the Freedom Caucus. One Member’s Reply Was Awesome.

Everyone on Donald Trump’s team was called in to whip up the votes for the American Health Care Act, which was ultimately pulled from the floor. This includes Steve Bannon, who dealt with the members of the reluctant Freedom Caucus with all the finesse and tact you’d expect.

According to Axios, he walked into the room and said, “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

This type of discussion opener went over as well as you might imagine. One unnamed member of the Freedom Caucus replied with a statement so amazing that I am genuinely shocked this much honesty and frankness still exists in the otherwise largely showy and fake Washington D.C.

“You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Whoever this unnamed Congressman is, I wish to hug him or her, because that is the only acceptable response to someone trying to strong arm you into doing something you know is wrong. Bannon’s attempt was foolish, and it only shows his ability to deal with actual human beings leaves much to be desired.

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