Friday, June 29, 2018

Editor's Notes: About the Archives

It is unclear as to whether glitches in the distribution and dissemination of The District of Calamity posts are due to cyber gremlins or a niggling digital nanny.

Nevertheless, it has become necessary to establish an archive and host on another IP address.  

So all of the District of Calamity postings from 2012-2016 can be accessed at  Use the search button to ferret out key words.

Due to some quirks, some archived pieces are also replicated at so that they may be easily shared on social media. 

Vladimir Lenin on the Media

Vladimir Lenin on the Media

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Poignant Reaction to the Annapolis Shooting

Capital Gazette Reporter Phil Davis gave first hand reaction to the Annapolis shooting

On Applying the Nuclear Option and Comity

Article II Section 2 of the Constitution gives the United States Senate the prerogative to give "Advice and Consent" in confirming Executive Branch nominations, especially the judiciary. For most of the Republic, confirmations of Supreme Court justices were not voted on in a markedly partisan manner. 

The Senate, which liked to consider itself as the world's greatest deliberative body, usually operated in a manner which vetted high court nominees in a conscientiously deferential manner to the President.  For example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been chief counsel of the ACLU and a noted feminist attorney, yet she garnered a 93-3 confirmation vote in 1993. 

Admittedly, this was not always the case. President George H.W. Bush's nominee of Clarence Thomas endured a contentious confirmation hearings  in 1991 which he likened to a "high tech lynching for uppity blacks".  

And  of course the vitriolic attacks on Robert Bork, President Ronald Reagan's 1987 pick to fill a Supreme Court opening, resulted in the verb "to Bork" to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002.  But the adamant opposition from the left stemmed, however peripherally, to nitpicking "flaws" in the nominees.

Much of the comity that the Senate enjoyed was due to Cloture Rule (Senate Rule XXII) which was instituted in 1917.  In order to end debate on a filibuster, three-fifths of Senators (today 60 votes) is required.  Applying that to judicial nominees, Presidents often picked less stridently partisan or controversial candidates, as some Senate Minority votes were needed in order to advance to the confirmation vote.  

Former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) found this 3/5ths Cloture requirement to be inconvenient in his effort to aid President Barack Obama in packing the judiciary (particularly changing the balance in the 4th Circuit, a.k.a. "The Rocket Docket").  Thus, in 2013 Reid exercised "The Nuclear Option" which abrogated Senate Rule XXII for judicial confirmations save Supreme Court nominees. 

 Reid was warned on the Senate floor by then Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that you will regret using the nuclear option.   In the 115th Congress, when Senate Democrats became openly obstructionistic about any nominations made by President Donald Trump, Majority Leader McConnell extended the "nuclear option" to include Supreme Court nominees, which resulted in Neil Gorsuch being confirmed by a 54-45 vote.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy's announced retirement from the Nation's High Court, Democrats have campaigned for the Senate to delay confirmation hearings for the SCOTUS opening until after the 2018 midterm elections.  Their facile rationalization is that Republicans ought to follow the same standard used to deny Merritt Garland a confirmation hearing in 2016 because it was an election year.  Of course, this partisan plea ignores that it was a Presidential election year and had over 70 years of precedent.  In addition, Democrats are not in the majority and they set the agenda. Elections do have consequences.  

So does changing and exploiting rules.  Democrats might have some gravitas to their suggestion to stall SCOTUS confirmation hearing until after the midterms if they were not already slow walking nearly all Trump confirmations.   Senate rules allow for 30 hours of debate on each nominee.  Democrats have been routinely requiring the entire 30 hours of debate, which would mean that President Trump's picks could receive senatorial "advise and consent" in nine years. So the threat that Democrats will further slow walk Senate proceedings in retaliation or to forestall a SCOTUS confirmation vote is meaningless. 

The recalcitrant response of Democrats should be a cue to Majority Leader McConnell on how to react to the diminution of comity in the Senate.  If Democrats are going to slow walk everything in retaliation or retribution for the Senate leadership for exercising their "advice and consent" on Supreme Court nominees in a timely manner, then keep them in session.  McConnell already effectively cancelled the traditional long summer recess so they can meet their budgetary duties. So they get to spend the dog days of summer on Capital Hill and enjoy the swampy weather in the District of Calamity (sic).

But the lack of comity and the need for elected officials to do their job might mean spending more time on Capitol Hill.  Since Democrats seem to relish filibusters and slowing the process down, the Majority Leader should change how filibutsters are treated.  Instead of the failure of a cloture vote resulting in the legislation (or the nomination) being pulled, let the debate continue.  If legislators want to invoke "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and talk until they are hoarse and drop from exhaustion, that is their prerogative.  But just as the nuclear option changed things in unexpected ways, tinkering with the filibuster might have adverse effects on Senate minority rights in the future.

Moreover, so that the Senate is not simply the place where legislation goes to and dies, remain in session through October instead of taking the election break.  From an objective standpoint, they will be doing their jobs (instead of concentrating on getting re-elected).  Politically, this hurts Senate Democrats (as they have 25 of 33 seats up, including 10 in states where Mr. Trump won).  And it might make obstructionism less appealing and allow incumbents to give comity a chance.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Is Mark Warner Intoxicated on Intelligence?

Senator Mark Warner teases big money Democrat donors on inside information about the Mueller Special Counsel investigation

During a Majority Trust Retreat Dinner for the National Democrat Campaign Committee in Martha's Vineyard, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee jested that if you gave him another glass of wine, and he would reveal tantalizing details about the Mueller Special Counsel investigation.

  While this cryptic comment can be passed off as sparkling wit during a wine, brie and rubber chicken fundraiser, this discounts the candor which is afforded to high rolling donors. Rush Limbaugh recalled attending a soiree for big donors to President George W. Bush.  Rush recalled that unlike his cautious, stammering public persona, "W" was entirely a different guy when cameras were not focused on him.  Once assured that the remarks were off the record, Mr. Bush spoke with candor and the President opined without notes for 45 minutes about serious subjects without stuttering. 

Limbaugh insists that teasing big money donors with bogus political bombshells is not done. Deceiving deep pocket donors risks alienating their pocketbooks in the future.  

This may be why President Trump chronicled Warner's supposedly tipsy insinuation.  

Taken at face value, Democrats are colluding with the Special Counsel. In addition, they are relying on precursors of impeachable offenses to base their midterm election campaign.  This could explain why Vanity Fair proclaimed that Mueller could give the GOP an October Surprise. 

If it is the case that Warner has advanced intelligence about the Mueller investigation, why is information on an active case being leaked to a key Democrat?   Is Warner intoxicated with illegal insider intelligence or just intoxicated on power?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Two New Citizen Tigers

Two Detroit Tigers become naturalized citizens at Comerica Park

During a pre-game ceremony at Comerica Park, twenty five people including two Detroit Tigers took their oath of citizenship. 

Leonys Martin Tapanes, a 30 year old Center Fielder, played on the 2009 Cuban National team before defecting while paying in Taiwan.  Martin then signed with Texas Rangers in 2011 and later played for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs.  This is the first year that Martin is playing for the Detroit Tigers.

After the ceremony, Martin mused: 

"I will never forget about my country but it's amazing to be part of the United States.  Being able to do this here at the ballpark, in front of fans, that was really emotional."

Jose Antonio Inglesias Aleman is a 28 year old shortstop, who was in the Cuban National Series in 2008 but defected when the Cuban National team visited Canada in 2009.  He came to America with a pair of shorts, a tee shirt and a dream. Iglesias played for the Boston Red Sox  before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2013. 

Iglesias admitted that adjusting to America has been daunting as he observed:

"It's hard man, you came. You face a new culture, face a new language, facing new food, new everything. Still learning. I've been here ten years and I'm still learning."

One thing Iglesias learned well was to not alienate fans.  He was happy to be a newly naturalized citizen and be able to vote, but he deflected from questions about commenting on President Trump's immigration policies.

Now that they are naturalized citizens, Martin and Iglesias will be able to join the rest of the Tigers on a road trip to Toronto for a series with the Blue Jays. 

It is inspiring to see two immigrants who sought freedom to live their dreams in America who worked within the system and and embrace their new country rather than treat it like a meal ticket.

Trump Tosses Mud at the Thought of Ex Pat Hogs

President Donald Trump has been intent on establishing fair trade for the US. Thus, he has levied tariffs with both allies and "frienamies" alike.  Some of the nations targeted for tariffs have responded with retaliatory tariffs.  

One of the commodities President Trump has chosen to protect is the steel industry. Mr. Trump applied a 25% tariff on imported steel.  This causes the price of many manufactured durable goods to either increase prices or shift customary operating procedures.  This protectionism acts as a hidden tax on American consumers and makes US products less competitive. 

Harley Davidson is an iconic American motorcycle manufacturer which has recently found success in European markets.  The steel tariff raises the prices of  Harley Davidson hogs by about $2,000.  To try to remain competitive, the Milwaukee based company indicated that it would shift production overseas.

This news did not settle well with President Trump, who vowed retaliation on Harley Davidson. 
President Trump Threatens Harley Davidson with high taxes if it shifts production overseas to mitigate tariffs

Since retaliatory tariffs have been implemented by our trading partners, the stock market went on an eight day slide, one day dropping 500 points.

Larry Kudlow
Perhaps Larry Kudlow, Trump's new Director of the National Economic Council, can convince the 45th President that when implementing threats of tariffs for "fair trade", there are unintended consequences to competitive advantage.

Ernest Hemingway on True Nobility

Ernest Hemingway on True Nobility

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bob Corker on Politics

Senator Bob Corker rebukes President Trump's cult like status among fans

Nate Silver on the Singapore Summit

Nate Silver on the Singapore Summit between President Trump and North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un

The Attention Hogg (sic) Laments that "Politics Is All Spectacle and I Hate It"

In the wake of the February 14th mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School, senior David Hogg has become a prominent progressive tool for push for Gun Control. Hogg was a leading figure in the so called March for Our Lives in Washington DC. 

Hogg then parlayed his tragic celebrity into bullying media personalities like Laura Ingraham on social media who questioned his credentials and  chaffed at his simplistic solutions towards the Second Amendment.  The mainstream media then sought to turn it into a feeding frenzy to try to take down a popular conservative voice and further denigrate Fox News.

Of late, Hogg has been involved in organizing die ins at Publix grocery stores because of a supposed linkage between political contributions and Second Amendment advocates.

Hogg opted to take a year off from his education in order to pursue partisan politics.  Hence,  the Attention Hogg (sic) tweet which rails against politics as all spectacle was puzzling. But consider the timing of the tweet. 

Hogg sent this as the group of students was trotted out on stage during the Tony Awards virtue signaling.  Melody Herzfeld, the drama teacher from Parkland High School Drama Teacher who was given an education award and some of her students  performed a (relatively) non-political song from Rent. 

But Hogg was not front and center nor were enough of them wearing March for Our Lives paraphernalia. Hogg may have been miffed that he was not given "equal time" to rally against the NRA.  Moreover, this moment dedicated to the tragedy was upstaged by Robert De Niro  rallying the crowds' rage in the Two Minute Hate

Perhaps Hogg was still stinging about being proverbially spanked about the intersection of his rabble rousing. Hogg made an appearance at the Boston Gay Pride parade, in which he pushed for raising the minimum wage.  When questioned about the matter, Hogg revealed the product of his education.

In lieu of a gap year toiling in the trenches of partisan politics, Hogg ought to have opted to learn English.  Res ipsa loquitur. But considering the content of Hogg's apologia for #Fightfor15, he might want to brush up on logic, political science and learn to better disguise his white privilege. That sort of causality is not going to rally minority voters to the polls for the midterms.

Honestly, Hogg made a bad choice as he should have brushed off campaigning and schooling and immediately jumped into his career of choice: mass communications.   When you are broadcast and hold politically correct beliefs that prevail, you are not held accountable for saying something stupid.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trump Gets Punchy with "Raging Bull" Robert De Niro

On the eve of the US-North Korea Summit in Singapore, actor Robert De Niro used his platform introducing "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen at the Tony Awards to hurl vulgar invectives at President Donald Trump

Although this crude message garnered standing ovations from the elites gathered at Radio City Musical Hall, it further alienated many prospective Trump fans as chronicled in Salena Zito's book "The Great Revolt" (2018).   Liberal operatives in the mainstream media also cringed at De Niro's raging B.S. as the over the top attack bolstered Trump's brand.

Now that the Singapore Summit ended in seeming success, President Trump can turn to domestic detractors and put them in their places in his own inimitable way.  On Air Force One, Trump took to Twitter to troll De Niro using the conceit of playing the punch drunk Jake DeMont from the 1980 Academy Award winning film Raging Bull.

Donald Trump's counter punch to Robert De Niro's Raging Bull

No doubt this will stoke additional enmity from De Niro.  De Niro's had Trump Derangement Syndrome for quite a while. In addition, De Niro seems stuck on character acting like Dirty Grandpa

But a tete-a-tete with De Niro is much like the NFL Take The Knee issue for Mr. Trump.  It is a cultural issue that reaches audiences who may be otherwise apathetic to politics.  The curt counter-punches feeds Trump trolls who itch for politically incorrect imbroglios but is witty enough to also reach red blooded and blue collar voters who recoil at progressive filth.  

The urge to counter-punch is intrinsic for President Trump. But he and his minions need to mind their English when exchanging Low IQ insults.

On Detente with Dictatorships and Double Standards

Senator Marco Rubio on the Singapore Summit and Double Standards

Paul Ryan on the Singapore Summit

House Speaker Paul Ryan on the Singapore Summit

Ben Shapiro on the Singapore Summit

Ben Shapiro on the Singapore Summit with North Korea

Donald Trump on North Korea Real Estate Development

President Donald Trump extols North Korean beaches during Singapore Summit

Dennis Rodman on the Singapore Summit

Dennis Rodman on the Singapore Summit

Friday, June 8, 2018

Charles Krauthammer on Understanding the District of Calamity

Charles Krauthammer, the renowned conservative commentator, has not been seen on Fox News in ten months.  Viewers knew it  was for health reasons.  But today, Krauthammer released a letter to bid all farewell.  It seems that as he was on the verge of recovery from abdominal cancer surgery last October,  the cancer returned and he may only have a few weeks to live.

In this letter, Krauthammer graciously thanked his colleagues, viewers and readers hoping that he played a small role in conversations that help guide our nation's extraordinary destiny.

Honoring Krauthammer's wit and wisdom, it is worth savoring this pearl on how to understand Washington.

Charles Krauthammer on Understanding Washington

Although Krauthammer does not hold religious convictions, it has been a blessing to have him be a thoughtful conservative commentator for decades after initially serving as Vice President Mondale's (D-MN) speechwriter.  

RIP Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain on Humility
Celebrity chef and tv personality Anthony Bourdain, took his own life by hanging himself while on location filming for his CNN show "Parts Unknown" in Paris.  He was 61.

Bourdain was had a checkered past as he worked his way through the New York luxury restaurant scene. Bourdain had to overcome addiction to cocaine, LSD and heroin.  Bourdain quipped that before his first book, Kitchen Confidential, was published in 2000, he was a guy in his 40s who had never paid rent on time, owed ten years of taxes and did not own a piece of furniture. Between his books and food shows, Bourdain's fortunes changed and he amassed a personal wealth of $16 million.

Bourdain's books, Kitchen Confidential (2000) led to a Food TV series A Cooks Tour in 2002 that vaulted him into celebrity chef status.  Bourdain then jumped to the Travel Network for his iconic series No Reservations in 2005, which included a warning for graphic language. 

In 2013, Bourdain began his series "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" which linked culture with cuisine.  The show won the Peabody Award in 2013 as judges noted that Bourdain expanded our palates and horizons in equal measure. 

While Bourdain traveled the world in search of a good meal, he appreciated how Asian American influence was shaping contemporary American cuisine.  Bourdain also noted that the fact that 50% of Toronto's residents are not from Canada gives it strength for interesting food. 

One can intuit that Bourdain agreed with his observations about Italian, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese food culture:  "[They] see food as part of a larger, more essential and pleasurable part of daily life. Not as an experience to be collected or bragged about- or as a ritual like filling up a car - but as something else that gives pleasure, like sex or music, or a good nap in the afternoon." 

Despite his prominence on the culinary circuit, Bourdain was not reticent to criticize fellow celebrity chefs such as Paula Dean, Rachel Ray and Bobby Flay. The Smithsonian dubbed Bourdain a rock star of the culinary world and the Elvis of bad boy chefs.    Notwithstanding that articulated antipathy, many celebrity chefs had no reservations in expressing stunned condolences at Bourdain's passing.

Bourdain did not have reservations about trash talking people outside of chef circles who did not simmer well with him.  Last fall, when asked what he would serve at a prospective North Korea-US Summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, Bourdain blurted out: "Hemlock".  Trump fans got up in arms about this verbal assault instead of understanding it like some of Mr. Trump's barbs -- to take it seriously but not literally. 

Sadly, Bourdain's apparent suicide moots his daydream of retirement: "I'm definitely looking forward to the day when I stop working - if I ever stop working.  I like the idea of kneeling over in my tomato vines in Sardinia or northern Italy." 

Dan Bongino on John Brennan

Dan Bongino on John Brennan