How stupid are Democrats in this election cycle? This stupid.

From Elizabeth Warren:

Right, because ENFORCEABLE BORDERS are the problem in a pandemic situation. Good Lord.

Democrats lately love to cite that Trump proposed cutting funds to the bureaucrats at the Center for Disease Control. In reality, the CDC has deep funds to support combating exactly this situation, which they are already tapping.

Federal agencies sit on billions of dollars, and they do not always fund essential government services. The idea that cutting spending at any given time for any given purpose represents an “existential crisis,” to use the phrase that Democrats use to describe literally anything they disagree with, is bonkers.

The biggest threat the US faces right now is border control – keeping infected and potentially infected people from interacting with the general population. The states with the largest infected populations are those with the least concern for border control. That’s not an accident and this is not rocket science. This is a virus that lives for a very long time on surfaces and inside infected people for a very long time, even after they seem cured. The only way to keep it from infecting the general population is effective quarantines.

Bracketing off the hilarity of the fake Native American calling anyone else on the planet racist, border control is the smartest policy happening right now. Ask all the Europeans who are suddenly worried about Italians roaming anywhere they please and the Vatican calling off services.

If this is not proof that Democrats are so deranged that they would rather see their friends and family die than agree with Trump, I don’t know what is.

The coronavirus crash is bullshit

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but:

  • This is America
  • Donald Trump is president
  • The borders will be closed if they need to be
  • Factories will be cranking out masks and Purell if they need to be
  • China will fall flat off the face of the goddamn Earth if we need them to
  • You will be fine
  • Your kids will be fine
  • American corporations will be fine
  • We aren’t globalists anymore
  • This is a buying opportunity

On that video of a school police officer arresting a six-year-old girl

Florida public schools have seen one controversy after another lately when it comes to school safety.

If I had to name a proximate cause, I’d say it was the school resource officer stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was found to be hiding in the bushes outside the school during a mass shooting. He was armed and on the scene, but declined to do anything to engage the shooter. Officers from another town were the first responders. They immediately ran into the building, but the delay surely meant many more casualties.

There have been two main policy responses to that event.

The first was to adopt legislation that allows school staff to carry firearms.

The second was that school districts across the state have adopted “zero tolerance” policies regarding any perceived threats of violence. Dozens of kids here have been sent to jail with felony charges since then. (It would be interesting to see a Florida total.) Many of these instances were clearly jokes, but the sheriff still hauled them away and charged them. I have no difficulty seeing many of these cases as a form of swatting, either. A kid makes an off-color joke on social media and some frenemy turns them in because they can. The adults who should be more even-minded instead turn it into a firestorm that ruins a kid’s reputation and life. (Seriously, the best thing you can do for your child is keep them off social media.)

The latest outrage is a video that has been released of a school resource officer at a public charter school in Orlando (which has less than 100 kids enrolled, but apparently they struggle to manage even that number) arresting a 6-year-old girl because she allegedly threw a tantrum in her first-grade classroom. He used zip ties to restrain her and put her in the back of his squad car while she pleaded for a second chance. In the video, the officer explained to staffers that he had previously arrested an 8-year-old too.

(Note: While the commentator above points out the race of the child, it is worth noting the officer is also black. I can see how people might try to assimilate this event into national political narratives, but this sort of thing is actually getting to be common in Florida for children of all backgrounds. It’s alarming. Classroom discipline is increasingly being outsourced to police departments, and at younger ages than most would guess.)

A 30-second Google search into the officer’s background reveals the guy is probably mentally disturbed and has been for a very long time:

So the police department looks at this guy’s record and says, hey, let’s station him at an elementary school. What could possibly go wrong?

One could be forgiven for thinking that the whole school resource officer gig (in some places, at least) is sort of like the Catholic Church stashing abusive priests. School resources officers often seem to be problem cops that are just going to wait for their bloated government pensions by scrolling through Facebook in a school parking lot. Don’t expect some Rambo that is going to protect your kid from deranged, aggressively online incels. This is how you get grown men picking on first graders.

Anyway, something to think about as Democrats are pushing candidates who want to go to war over school choice. This is the dysfunctional landscape they think should be mandatory for all children.

Ash Wednesday

You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.

Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?

Anne Carson, The Glass Essay

This is one of my favorite poems, with a line that has pretty much become my mantra: “Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.”

Ash Wednesday

T.S. Eliot

I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

II
Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been
contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each
other,
Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

III

At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man’s mouth drivelling, beyond
repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs’s fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind
over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.

IV
Who walked between the violet and the violet
Whe walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary’s colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary’s colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke
no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

V
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny
the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season,
time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

VI
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

The most beautiful package I have ever received

I love Turkish ceramics and textiles. A few weeks ago, I found the QubiccaHandicraft page on Etsy, which is unbelievable. I ordered a handmade copper tea kettle and sugar bowl.

My package from Istanbul finally arrived today after being hung up in Customs. Half of the box is covered in stamps! Now I know this is totally neurotic, but occasionally I get a package from somewhere interesting and I save the stamps. For a while, I was ordering used books from a guy who would always mail the package from Flagtown, New Jersey and use decades-old collector’s stamps. I kept each of those. (The stamps were worth more than the book he was mailing!) I am going to have to keep this one too.

And this is my new tea pot and sugar bowl. A picture cannot do it justice… It is GORGEOUS. (The sugar bowl is not enormous, I just had it in the foreground when I took the picture.)

FYI, should anyone reading this decide to order one, the base of the tea pot is slightly concave. You would not be able to use it as a proper tea kettle on a glass cook top (only a gas stove). But you could use it as a beautiful tea pot the way you’d use a ceramic pot.

DK's Big Ideas Simply Explained Series: An excellent resource for homeschoolers

Like many children, our daughter absolutely loves DK’s encyclopedias. She can read them for hours at a time. I happened to stumble on their “Big Ideas Simply Explained” series this morning looking for a resource to use for our 4th grade Philosophy and Religion course. I ended up buying a bunch of these because they are so outstanding.

These books are sort of like a survey course in college in that they briefly introduce the major contributors to each subject and their ideas. But the content is explained in such plain language that even young children could follow the discussion.

They have philosophy, sociology, psychology, economic, business, world religions, and many more. It’s an excellent way to raise a culturally literate child.

Beginner's guide to kayaking

I’m mostly putting this on my blog so I will always have easy access to it, but here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to kayaking from Paddling magazine. They pretty much cover any navigation topic you can think of here.

I stayed up late last night reading articles and watching videos about kayaking around alligators. I am less terrified about being around alligators than I am about encountering alligators that have been fed by humans and now expect it. One woman explained that she was paddling at a popular spring and a small-ish alligator tried to climb into her kayak because it wanted to be fed. She bopped it on the head with her paddle and it started hissing at her (not a good sign) but did eventually go away. Why do people do this? Florida is a lush place – alligators do not need your chicken sandwich to survive. All you are going to do is get the creature in trouble with authorities after it is deemed a threat to people.