Friday, October 30, 2015

Links for October 30

Just a few quick links in the forty minutes I have left to read as much of this week's e-mail as possible...

Helping Those Who Helped Us

Troops returned from Afghanistan owing a debt of loyalty to their interpreters.

Sales Pests

I'm sure somebody out there can think of a way to make this company very sorry they've allowed sales pests to harass people like this...

We Need Labels on GMO Foods

I'm also 100% sure that unlabelled GMO corn and rice (modified to be more like wheat, which is poisonous to us) had a lot to do with Grandma Bonnie Peters' and my lowered resistance to this year's cold/flu/whatever. I've not had bronchitis since 1982, but I've had it this month. GBP has had pneumonia. I've been seriously sick as a result of eating the one last brand of rice that hadn't made me sick before last summer, too. GMOs are safe? Reeeally?

It's a Meme!

Or do you prefer the term "blog challenge"?

Wrong Answers

We don't need insurance companies involved in this. We need low-cost, third-party-free ways to help food-intolerant babies get the right sort of food.

Tourist Attractions

Would you visit an island to see just another tourist-trap store? (Groan.) Just another condominium? (Hey, I didn't say you had to answer that.) What about feral horses?

Link Log for October 9-29

Well...I'd hoped to be online again and posting regularly by now, and to have done a lot of other things (paid offers are piling up in the in-box), but I'm not really online yet. I've checked e-mail a few times this month from a public library. Here are some irresistible links that came in. Categories: Bad Ideas, Good Ideas, Poetry.

Bad Ideas

"Habitat exchange." Forget about it.

Good Ideas

If you're going to give something, give for the joy of giving. Admit it. You like to see someone's eyes light up. Nothing wrong with that.

If you crave more chatter in your life and yearn for the sight of more strangers' teeth, you might at least offer something to normal people who don't find the sight of your teeth or the sound of your small talk especially motivating. Why not give them an free money? (When I'm out walking or shopping with a friend, and someone else thinks they might know one of us from somewhere, or has met one of us but wasn't fully vetted for cultural understanding, or just aches for the sound of a human voice to drown out the nastier voices in his head, the legitimate way to solicit a "greeting" is to have something worthwhile to say...e.g. "I think I'm having a heart attack, could you please call 911" or "The bridge up ahead is flooded," or, if it's true, "I'm two and a half years old today!" If you don't have something quite that worthwhile to share, however, the right quality of image of Benjamin Franklin will compensate for the banality of your "news.")


Rare: a new poem by Wendell Berry, posted online.

Speaking of Wendell Berry, this site has "picked his brain" or selected a poetically terse outline of his thoughts from What Are People For:

Morgan Griffith on Pipelines and Byrd Baths

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"Pipelines, Pipelines Everywhere
On October 22, my colleagues and I on the Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan regulations for new and existing power plants.  4 out of 5 witnesses at this hearing said at some point that these are “cap-and-trade”-style regulations.  Previously, Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, insisted the Clean Power Plan was not a cap-and-trade program.

When I questioned the witnesses, I mentioned American Electric Power’s Glen Lyn plant in Giles County, which the Roanoke Times reports shut down “…because of emissions regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” (regulations later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court).  I also noted that Appalachian Power’s Clinch River plant in Russell County will be closed forever.

I then asked witness Raymond L. Gifford, a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, “These power companies are having to make these decisions well in advance, and as the result of that, they are building all kinds of gas pipelines, isn’t that true?  Across the country?”

“Absolutely, they have to,” Mr. Gifford emphatically replied.

In other words, this Administration’s anti-coal policies are resulting in some of these pipelines like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines being proposed throughout the nation.

Byrd Baths and Kabuki Dance

Last week, the House of Representatives with my support passed H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act which, among other things, will repeal major parts of Obamacare, including its slush fund, its individual and employer mandates, the medical device tax, and others.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the reconciliation package will decrease the federal deficit by approximately $130 billion over the next ten years.  The bill would also defund the federal monies going to Planned Parenthood, reinvesting those resources into community health centers to help women get the care they need.  There are fewer Planned Parenthood locations than there are rural health centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers in the Ninth District.

It is now the Senate’s turn.

Last week, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a joint statement in which they lamented that the reconciliation package could go further and repeal Obamacare in full.  I, too, would like it to go further, but the House is sending the Senate what we believe is the best proposal which also is in compliance with the Senate’s complex and sometimes subjective parliamentary rules which looks like a complicated kabuki dance.

“Reconciliation” is a legislative procedure that allows for changes in laws dealing with mandatory spending programs, entitlements, and/or revenues so as to achieve budgetary goals outlined in a budget resolution.  Under this process, only a simple majority of Senators is required for passage.  This means that the legislation cannot be filibustered using the modern filibuster/cloture rules.

But this is Washington, and it’s not as simple as it may initially seem:  because Senators’ right to unlimited debate is restricted, procedures are in place to restrict the legislation’s contents.

The so-called “Byrd Rule” generally requires provisions in a budget reconciliation bill to have a budgetary impact.  Senators may raise procedural objections to provisions thought to be “extraneous,” and the appointed Senate Parliamentarian will decide if the provisions pass the test.

If the objection is sustained, the offending material is removed from the text and called a “Byrd Dropping.”  The Parliamentarian’s decision may be overruled and the text in question may be retained with a super majority of 60 votes.  Legislation that has been picked apart in this process has gone through a “Byrd Bath.”  

This is a convoluted and frustrating process which, in my opinion, was developed to offset some of the negative aspects of the Senate’s current modern filibuster/cloture rule, which requires a super majority of Senators in order to take a vote on any issue.

Accordingly, when crafting this reconciliation legislation (with its various Obamacare repeals), the House worked to see that the bill would not drown in the Byrd Bath.

It is perhaps possible that Senators Lee, Cruz, and Rubio could amend our bill and make it better, and I welcome them to do so.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office via email, please visit my website at  Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Morgan Griffith on Movies

Two movies about our part of the world? Well...sort of. From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith:

Fightin’ Ninth in Film
In recent weeks, two films have given the nation the opportunity to learn some about the Ninth District.

Big Stone Gap, released nationwide on October 9, was shot on location in Wise County.  It is based on the novel set in the 1970s by Adriana Trigiani, a Big Stone Gap native.  Actor Patrick Wilson has family ties to Big Stone Gap as well.  Near the end, the supporting actor suggests visiting the Hob-Nob Drive In, a real-life Gate City family diner still in business, owned by my Emory and Henry fraternity brother Ross Jenkins.

Also in the news is Steven Spielberg-directed Bridge of Spies, which was released nationwide on October 16.  In one of its subplots, Bridge of Spies – set in the Cold War era – tells of pilot Francis Gary Powers, who spent his childhood in Pound before his family moved to Buchanan County.  After graduating from high school and college, Powers joined the Air Force and was recruited by the CIA.

While on a spying mission in 1960, Powers’ U-2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet territory by a Russian missile.  He was captured, interrogated, and held prisoner for two years.

During this time, Powers was put on trial in Moscow.  In Southwest Virginia’s legal circles, it is well known that Powers’ parents obtained the services of Norton attorney Carl McAfee.  According to the Roanoke Times, below McAfee’s office was Powers’ father’s shoe-repair shop.

Bridge of Spies gets its name from the 1962 prisoner swap in which Powers was exchanged for a convicted Russian spy.  The two walked from opposite ends of the Glienicke Bridge – the so-called “Bridge of Spies,” which links Berlin with Potsdam – to freedom.

Not mentioned in the film is Norton resident Kim Mullins.  Ms. Mullins, a local official who is Powers’ second cousin, told the Roanoke Times Powers took her on her first flight.  She is now a licensed pilot, and spearheaded successful local efforts to rename the terminal at the Lonesome Pine Airport in Powers’ honor.

Powers’ son, Gary Powers Jr., told the Roanoke Times, “The Powers family is very honored and humbled that my dad is considered an American hero of the Cold War.”  Mullins tells us she and others are hoping to collect memorabilia for use in an exhibit at the airport.

As always, you can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at

Morgan Griffith on Iran

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

Rogue Iran
President Obama’s bad nuclear deal with Iran entered a new phase on Sunday, October 18, which supporters of the deal are calling “Adoption Day.”  This day is marked 90 days after the deal was endorsed by the United Nations.  While different from full implementation of the deal, as reported by CNN, this “…means that officials from Iran, the United States and other world powers involved in the deal get started turning it into reality.”

In other words, Iran is responsible for beginning to freeze parts of its nuclear program while other nations involved, including the United States, will begin working to terminate sanctions.

The White House touted “Adoption Day,” noting the President’s confidence “…in the extraordinary benefits to our national security and the peace and security of the world.”

I, on the other hand, have many concerns and am opposed to this deal.  Recent actions by Iran have not relieved me of my fears.

For example, as was reported last week by Reuters: “The United States has confirmed that Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, in ‘clear violation’ of a United Nations Security Council ban on ballistic missile tests, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.”

Further, Iranian media reported last week that Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian – who has been jailed in Tehran for more than fourteen months on charges of espionage – was convicted.  As you may recall, when the nuclear deal was announced, I and others were shocked and disappointed to learn Rezaian and other American prisoners being held in Iran were not included in the terms of the deal, instead left by the Administration to languish in Iran.

Rezaian’s trail reportedly took place in secret behind closed doors.  Additionally, despite the protests of many, information has not been provided by Iranian officials as to his verdict or the sentence.  The Washington Post reports Rezaian “potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years.”

While the ink is drying however unfortunately on this deal, Iran continues disregarding most of the international community and acting like a rogue nation.

Considering these and other actions by Iran, I find it difficult to believe officials in Tehran will uphold their side of this bad Obama-driven deal.

Robert Hurt on Budgeting

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):

Since coming to Washington, I have continually fought to get our fiscal house in order and restore common sense to our budgetary policy. While we remain mired in over $18 trillion in debt, we have managed to reverse course over the last five years and have made some progress toward fiscal responsibility.
Last week, the Treasury Department announced that the deficit for fiscal year 2015 fell to an eight-year low – roughly a trillion dollars lower than the deficit was five years ago. This is largely driven by our efforts to restrain spending, and we are actually getting real results. In 2009, our level of federal spending as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 24.4 percent, but over the last three years, we have reduced that ratio to just over 20 percent of GDP.
We actually reduced spending two years in a row – from 2011 to 2013 – for the first time since World War II. We adopted the Budget Control Act, which generated over $2 trillion in savings, and have passed a small measure of entitlement reform for the first time in nearly twenty years. We cut congressional office budgets by 20 percent and banned the use of earmarks – another symptom of the runaway spending culture of past years.
Perhaps most importantly, we have returned to the concept of budgeting and recognize the importance of engaging in the process of crafting such a blueprint. A budget represents one’s priorities and values, but prior to my arrival in Congress, budgeting had fallen to the wayside. We have adopted a budget in the House for each of the last five years, and this year, both the House and Senate passed a joint budget that balances for the first time since 2001. This budget responsibly allocates limited resources while laying out a framework for achieving a balanced budget without imposing new and higher taxes.
We have done all this despite having a President who would like nothing more than to continue borrowing and spending as if there are no consequences for doing so, even though we know that the consequences of this unsustainable path are severe. While we have made some progress, much more work remains to be done given the sheer size of our debt and the staggering amount of unfunded liabilities we owe in the future based on the structure of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other such programs. It will take years of commitment to balance the budget, reform programs on the brink of insolvency, and generate surpluses needed to pay down our debt.
We have opportunities in the final quarter of this year to take another step forward on these challenges if the President is willing to come to the table to negotiate with us on budgetary matters. We must seize these opportunities to advance more reforms that strengthen and preserve vital programs that people have paid into and rely upon.
If we stay the course and maintain our focus on these critical issues, we can avoid leaving our children and grandchildren with a massive debt burden and instead give them a brighter future in a fiscally stable country.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120. "

Friday, October 16, 2015

Robert Hurt on Executive Overreach

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):

In our U.S. Constitution, our Founders meticulously designed three branches of government so that too much power would not be concentrated in any one branch because they understood that if one branch possessed unchecked authority, that power would ultimately diminish the inherent rights of the individual citizen.
Article I of our Constitution created the Congress - the legislative branch - to write the laws; Article II created the office of the President - the executive branch - to faithfully execute the laws made by Congress; and Article III created the U.S. Supreme Court - the judicial branch - to assure that the actions of the Congress and the President are in keeping with our Constitution. Unfortunately, over the last several decades, the combination of two trends - the aggressive expansion of executive authority by the President and the abdication of legislative authority by the Congress - have undermined the Founders’ design and created a direct threat to our representative form of government and ultimately our individual liberty.
Over the years, we have seen Republican and Democratic presidential administrations usurp more and more legislative power through their executive agencies. Likewise, over the years we have witnessed Republican and Democratic Congresses that have not jealously guarded their legislative prerogatives and have ceded more and more legislative power to the White House.
Since I have been in Washington we have witnessed numerous examples executive overreach by the Obama Administration – despite efforts by the Congress to reassert its proper role. So often, it seems that this Administration has ignored the Congress and proceeded to make far-reaching new policy that ultimately jeopardizes our individual right of self-governance.
Just this week, we were reminded of two egregious examples of this disturbing trend.
First, the Department of Justice announced that it will be releasing 6,000 convicted prisoners in the coming weeks before they have served their full sentences imposed by the courts. And while the Administration has cited the overcrowding of federal penitentiaries as the reason for this decision, there are those that question the President’s authority to unilaterally set aside congressionally sanctioned criminal sentences lawfully imposed by a federal court.
In another example, we have seen push by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose its extreme Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule that imposes tremendous costs upon and infringes upon the freedoms of our family farmers. I was pleased to see that the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that the EPA must halt the implementation of this rule pending further constitutional review – indicating that this rule was written in a way that dramatically exceeds the Administration’s authority under the Clean Water Act.
There are many more examples of these trends which illustrate that it is high time that we return to the founding principles set out in our Constitution. As we look to the future we must look for every way to restore to Congress its original power as defined in Article I and, thereby, restore the power of the people.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120."

If You're in Washington...

I am not in Washington. I am at the miserably inadequate public computer center close to my official business address. However:

Monsanto has taken over D.C. The Biotech Bully has Congress considering the DARK Act, the President working on the TPP, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may soon re-register Roundup, despite a recent warning by the World Health Organization that the most widely used herbicide in the world causes cancer in humans.
It’s time to come to D.C. to take our country back!
Can you join Food Democracy Now! and our allies Organic Consumers Association, March Against Monsanto and the Truth in Labeling Coalition in D.C. on Friday October 16th and Saturday October 17th for a #FoodJustice rally planned in coordination with March Against Monsanto and other groups?
Food Justice Rally for GMO Labeling Events in Washington DC - from Congress to the White House  to the EPA

Friday, Oct. 16

March - 3 p.m. to Dusk: Join OCA, March Against Monsanto and allies for a narrated march that will begin and end at Lafayette Park on the Pennsylvania Ave. side of the White House. Stops along the way will include:
The White House to deliver a petition asking President Obama to pledge to veto the DARK Act, H.R. 1599, the bill that would take away states' rights to label GMOs. Bring flashlights to shine a light on the DARK Act.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to protest the Monsanto provision that was included in the fast-track trade promotion authority act, and the U.S. government's efforts to use trade agreements, including the TPP, to overturn laws that label, ban or regulate GMOs and pesticides. Speakers include Margaret Flowers of Flush the TPP.
The U.S. Chamber of Congress to protest the most powerful corporate front group in the U.S. and how this group has  already used the trade negotiations to block laws intended to protect human health from dangerous pesticides.
Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association to protest how Monsanto and its Big Food allies spent $51 million to push H.R. 1599 through the House—more than $185k per vote. (And, that doesn’t even count campaign contributions).
The Environmental Protection Agency (at 5 p.m.) to demand that the agency refuse to reregister Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate). Glyphosate was recently classified as a probable human carcinogen and is also decimating the monarch butterfly population. Speakers include Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America and representatives of Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety. Please dress in bee and butterfly costumes and bring signs shaped as flowers.

Saturday, Oct. 17 on the West Lawn of the Capitol

Education Workshops –10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Stop the DARK Act rally and potluck picnic - 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Speakers will include OCA international director Ronnie Cummins, Steven Druker, author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, Dr. Edward Group of the Global Healing Center,  Anthony Gucciardi of the Natural Society.

The Battle to Win GMO Labeling Has Never Been So Urgent!

This summer, on July 23rd, the House passed H.R. 1599 to strip states of the ability to pass common sense GMO lableing bills by a wide 275 votes for and 150 against the Dark Act. While this summer’s vote in the House was disappointing, the fight is far from over and we need your help in the next 6 weeks to make sure we stop Monsanto’s poison pill in the Senate.
Now that Monsanto and the Biotech industry has passed the Dark Act in one chamber of Congress, all they need to do is pass it in the Senate before it goes to the President's desk to be signed into law - and if that happens, Monsanto is betting they can kill the movement in the United States to hold them accountable.
We understand if you can't attend, but please take a moment to send your Senators a letter telling them how you feel about GMO labeling and Monsanto and the biotech industry's efforts to take away our rights and subvert democracy!
Take a stand! Stop Monsanto's desperate plan to kill states' rights to label GMOs! - Tell your Senators and the President: “I support GMO labeling!” Every voice counts!
This is what happens when we stand up – Together we are unstoppable!
Thank you for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
1. House Vote 462 - House votes to pass H.R.1599 275 to 150, New York Times, July 23, 2015. "

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Monsanto Stock Is Falling

And the team at Food Democracy Now are gloating:

"This week, in a stunning reversal of fortune, the financial press reported that Monsanto is slashing more than 12 percent of its workforce due to weaker than expected sales and profits are down more than 5 percent for the 4th quarter of this year.
According to Reuters, “sales of corn seeds” and GMO traits, Monsanto’s key products fell more than 5%, while sales of their best selling weedkiller Roundup, dropped a whopping 12% in the past 3 months alone.
Right now Monsanto is on the ropes and we need your help today to finish them off. These new developments are the results of all of us pushing in the same direction, taking action together and we can't let up.
Help us raise $100,000 in the next 10 days so we can defeat Monsanto and stop Monsanto's outrageous bill in the Senate! If you donate today, your tax deductible donation will be matched 3 to 1.
In reality, the negative stories about Monsanto’s flawed products are just getting started.
  • In the past 6 weeks, 19 countries in Europe have called for bans on planting GMO crops in their borders in order to protect their own seed and farming heritage.
  • On March 20th of this year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate, the main chemical ingredient in Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup, to be linked to cancer in humans.
Now, Monsanto is getting Congress to pass laws that protect their toxic GMO and chemical products at the expense of the public health and our constitution. This legal assault on our democratic rights is an outrage! But we’re not backing down. We need your help to make sure we can stop H.R. 1599 in the Senate in the next few weeks.
Despite Monsanto’s constant threats, farmers and activists across the country are continuing to fight back.
On July 23rd, the House passed H.R. 1599 to strip states of the ability to pass common sense GMO lableing bills by a wide 275 votes for and 150 against the Dark Act. While this summer’s vote in the House was disappointing, the fight is far from over and we need your help in the next 6 weeks to make sure we stop Monsanto’s poison pill in the Senate.
Right now Monsanto is desperate to hide their untested GMOs in our food because they know Americans don’t want to eat them. The good news is that last year the state of Vermont passed a strong GMO labeling bill and a recent federal court judge ruled in our favor and denied the biotech industry’s efforts to get the lawsuit dismissed.
Already, Monsanto and their corporate front groups are panicking at the idea of having to put simple labels on food products sold in the U.S., even though they already do this in 64 other countries around the world. This Congressional overreach smacks of desperation and the food movement has never had a better chance to expose Monsanto’s corruption of Congress and we need your help to do it!"


They've only made corn and rice deadly poisons for me, and a few million other people. They claim the purpose of this was to make corn and rice better for somebody. Wouldn't you think, if there were any truth in that claim, they'd want that person to be able to find their wonderful products? So the gluten-intolerant minority could just find the corn and rice that are not toxic to us, and the people who can eat glyphosate-drenched GMO corn and rice could go on being such a majority, and so superior and so much more important than we are...

Personally, I think criminalizing all genetic experiments would be a good thing...but in a democracy the only way I can see it happening is, in a work of speculative fiction, after a plague that depopulated whole countries.

The Introvert Posts: Bloggiest of the Blogspot, or Do We Have a Book Proposal?

Readership of my Blogspot recently surged as people from a site I wouldn't normally read came over to read more about the life of a fully self-accepting, if not "militant," introvert. My guess is that they're about half lurkers and half haters from the U.S., and, I don't know if the mix would be similar, from Russia.

Based on what they're reading and bookmarking, here's a short list of the posts that say most about Embracing My Introversion.

First of all, here's my best effort so far to explain my ground rules for expressing dissent not hate:

Attempts to confuse healthy introversion with any disease condition seem dishonest and immoral to me. (In fact, brain scans show that healthy introvert brains show more activity and development in different places than "autistic spectrum disorder" brains, which hypertrophy in dysfunctional ways. Some autistic patients, like Temple Grandin, also happen to be HSP introverts. Others, like Donna Williams, are actually extroverts with a disability that keeps their natural temperament from developing.)

Being an introvert does not mean being a hermit, either, although that's one of the frugal choices I've often made as a penniless widow. In fact, embracing my introversion and working it has sometimes functioned as a social asset.

The key was to give up any attempt to be like, or be liked by, the bullies who harass introverts. That doesn't mean hating them; it means letting them spew hate if they want to disgrace themselves, and celebrating ourselves and one another.

It's always important to emphasize that introversion is a healthy natural trait (or a mix of more than one such trait), a positive desire to spend time doing things we do alone, rather than having anything to do with fear:

Introverts may seem to do some of the same things extroverts do when they're sick, when we're healthy. In fact I note with some amusement that I feel much "more outgoing" when I'm ill.

"Not liking people" is a symptom of overcrowding, or deprivation of solitude...I suspect that's also true for extroverts, just another thing their brains aren't completely wired enough to notice.

But, although introverts naturally enjoy being alone sometimes and being with friends sometimes, and naturally have a solid sense of morality, being around hateful extroverts can corrupt these qualities. The stereotype of the "crusty" senior who turns out to be very kind to some juniors, not others, has a solid base in reality.

The base for introvert social etiquette is respect. Love and intimacy build up gradually over a period of time when people accept the fact that they've not built up love and intimacy. Introverts bond by sharing interests in doing something for which our skills and talents are complementary enough that we work in synergy. When we do bond, we tend to be loyal and committed. (Some introverts are partial to the old words "kith and kin." Your kin are the other descendants of your known physical ancestors, toward whom, as an introvert with a well developed conscience, you feel loyalty. Your kith are the people who aren't your kin but think and feel as you do, toward whom you feel loyalty and, sometimes, passionate love.)

As Jim Babka and friends have discussed at, respect is also the basis for Libertarian politics. However, although introverts have probably felt some attraction to Ayn Rand's ideas, even Nathaniel Branden came to criticize those ideas...

Embracing my introversion did eventually steer me away from regular churchgoing, though not away from being a Christian. (I considered linking, here, a reference to a book in which Joyce Sequichie Hifler mentions sometimes going to church services and sometimes spending her days of rest experiencing "the personal spirituality of the Indian." I self-identify as Irish-American, because a slight majority of my ancestors came from Ireland--mostly in the eighteenth century, as Protestants--and because I inherited a specifically Irish problem gene. Most of my non-Irish ancestors came from England, Scotland, France, or Germany, but at least two belonged to the Cherokee Clan of the Swamp Vegetables, the Ani Godagewi, which explains the name of our Message Squirrel's e-mail account. Godagewi didn't mean "carrot," nor did it mean "reed," although a Scottish ancestor's being called Reid prompted my ancestors to "translate" it into "Reed." It actually referred to plants with edible or medicinal roots. So my roots in the soil around an old Cherokee border settlement run deep. My father's black-haired, either gray- or brown-eyed, either ruddy- or coppery-skinned relatives have been active "Bible Christians," for whom churchgoing was optional, for almost three hundred years. Cherokee culture, like most traditional cultures, encouraged introvert behavior in this and many other ways.)

The social manners of self-accepting introverts can sometimes be confused with the social manners of aristocrats from more "conservative," feudal or semi-feudal countries.

Actually, the hereditary trait that most defines introversion is the long brain stem (LBS) that allows introverts to process thoughts at some length before those thoughts arouse any noticeable emotional reaction.

(Although Barbara Ehrenreich has claimed to test positive for extroversion, and although I suspect that's still based on learned behavior more than the true nature of any really good's her analysis of what's wrong with emotional filtering: )

A question that's been asked, to which Google has presented this web site as an answer, was "Are introverts more right-wing?" Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism contains documentation that introverts should distrust a "progressive" left wing that first tried to "liberate" extroverts from the repression all viable traditional societies had imposed on them, normalize extrovert manners, and reshape introverts...keep in mind that these were the same teachers who believe that if they hit the left hand with the ruler, or tied it to the desk, all children would learn the "right" way to write, with the right hand. Anyway, here's a rumination on how my introversion shaped my choice of candidates at this stage of National Election 2016.

I think all introverts should be able to find some political common ground on issues like privacy:

Over and above other issues, I think all introverts should become conscious of ourselves as introverts and of discrimination against us as introverts. (For example, editors should recognize that things like "It's nice to smile and act friendly even toward strangers" are bigoted: precise counterparts to "I wash my hands each morning, so very clean and white." I'm not particularly attracted to "victim culture," useful though that seems to be for some people faced with such blatantly judgmental stereotypes. Let's just say that, if you want my respect, you can learn to correct the hatespeech. Try "It's regrettable that some people feel a need to demand attention from strangers, but I do, so very very much, please, oh please.")

Essential reading:

Arons, Elaine. The Highly Sensitive Person et seq.:

Laney, Marti Olsen. The Introvert Advantage.

Sowell, Thomas. Late-Talking Boys.

Cain, Susan. Quiet.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Morgan Griffith on Cap and Trade

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"OCTOBER 9, 2015 –
STETSON AND BARTER SYSTEMIn 2009, President Obama’s idea of a cap and trade carbon dioxide (C02) emissions policy passed the House, but failed to pass the Senate. The legislation never became law, and Congress heard public opinion loud and clear in the next elections. In 2010, new members were elected in historic numbers, and many members who voted for the cap and trade scheme lost their seats.

Soon after, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to develop a regulatory program requiring states to create emissions plans, circumventing the legislative process.

(I don’t believe they have legal authority for such a plan under the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d). See “Burning the Constitution,” my column of March 23, 2015.)

As a member who won a seat in Congress in part for my opposition to cap and trade, I was pleased to hear, only two months into my service, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson state, “There is no cap and trade scheme provided for under the Clean Air Act” in response to Rep. Steve Scalise during a February 9, 2011 hearing. She continued, “Sir, what I do know is that we are not planning any cap and trade regulations or standards.”

I was also pleased to read several letters from current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy ratifying that there would be no cap and trade scheme. (August 3, 2011, May 13, 2013, and March 2014)*

On August 3, 2015, however, the EPA came out with their “Proposed Federal Plan for the Clean Power Plan” contrary to assurances to Congress the people’s will would be heard, and the EPA would not, through regulation, propose a back door cap and trade policy. In the plan, EPA has proposed “model trading rules” for the states. Their model trading rules are found in various parts of the plan and one example on pages 42 and 43 of the Summary is:

“The EPA strongly encourages states to consider adopting one of the model trading rules, which are designed to be referenced by states in their rulemakings. Use of the model trading rules by states would help to ensure consistency between and among the state programs, which is useful for the potential operation of a broad trading program that spans multi-state regions or operates on a national scale.”

In my opinion, the EPA’s “model trading rules” are clearly designed to increase the likelihood of regional or national CO2 emissions trading programs, in other words- cap and trade.

On October 7, 2015, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing with Janet McCabe, the EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, about the new proposed regulations. Since the EPA encourages states to pursue emissions trading programs to meet the EPA’s regulatory CO2 mandatory goals, I challenged McCabe to confirm that if the states do not meet mandates, will the EPA come in and implement a federal “trading plan.” I asked for a simple yes or no answer. McCabe refused.

She began playing word games, like my young boys do. It was as if she had been instructed before coming to the hearing to deny their plan was a form of cap and trade.

She did this notwithstanding the plan is clearly, in my opinion, trying to push the various states into multi-state regions or a national cap and trade scheme.

She first claimed she could not answer my question, because the rule was only a proposed rule in draft form. So I clarified: under the proposed rule as drafted, if the states do not comply, will the EPA force a cap and trade program?

Ms. McCabe responded, “EPA has proposed trading programs, a rate-based emission one or a mass-based emission one.”

This does not constitute a yes or no answer, but I believe based on their plan and her statements, it’s clear the goal of the EPA regulations is to impose a back door national cap and trade scheme.

If you limit emissions, you are “capping”. If you also set up a “trading program”, then I cannot comprehend how you are not setting up a cap and trade scheme. I believe the EPA is just refusing to call it cap and trade because that scheme has been so discredited in the minds of the American public.

I believe Ms. McCabe’s attitude is a reflection of the EPA’s policy to call it anything but cap and trade.

But whether or not they call it cap and trade or Stetson and Barter, it’s still the same thing.

Or put another way, a skunk by any other name still smells the same.

Welcome to Washington, where bureaucrats use a word swap to cover their attempts to circumvent Congress and force their overreaching regulations onto an unwilling American people.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
*Letters referenced above:

I. “Administrator Jackson and Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy have stated publicly the agency has no intention of pursuing a cap-and-trade program for GHGs under the Clean Air Act. The agency reaffirms those statements here.”
– August 3, 2011 letter from then-Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy to Chairman Fred Upton. Answer to Question 14.

II. “Both former Administrator Jackson and I have said in the past that the EPA has no intention of pursuing a cap and trade program for greenhouse gases and I continue to stand by those statements.”
–May 15, 2013 letter to Chairman Fred Upton from then-Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy. Answer to Question 1.

III. “[The Clean Power Plan] is not a cap and trade program. It’s not going to be designed like a cap and trade program …This is not an opportunity for us to impose a cap. That’s not what it looks like.”
– Administrator Gina McCarthy in response to Senator Heitkamp at a March 2014 panel. 0:25 in the video."

Where's Priscilla?

Priscilla is absolutely thrilled through and through to report that sponsors are finally pitching in to help me open a workspace that's closer to home, where I'll be able to spend as much or as little time online as I need to spend, without commuting issues. As a result, I expect to be online only intermittently this week.

Here's today's Link Log, such as it is:

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Link Log for October 9

Happy Twitterday! On Twitter I learned a new word, but there was a reason why I didn't know it before and will not be using it on this web site. Since, although I've been stuck here all day, I don't leave hack writing jobs going over the weekend, I've also had time to explore Blogjob. Categories: Animals, Books, Communication, Crafts, Food (Yum), Health, History, Natural Rights, Pictures, Politics, Race, Stories, Travel, Writing.


Documentation: it's only in the U.S. that superstitious people think black cats are unlucky. In the U.K. they think black cats are lucky (and orange ones are not).


Snarky, but a great auction idea: Rand Paul auctions off the autographed copy of her memoir that Hillary Clinton sent to him, along with each of the other Republican presidential candidates.

Books about, this link was not Tweeted by Margaret Atwood, although it mentions her books. Is there such a thing as Toronto topophilia?

And, of course:


Guys, here's how you can avoid being seen as jerks: When a woman is speaking, shut your mouth. Focus on her words--this is going to be on the test. When it's your turn to speak, first show that you heard what the lady said.


Here's a splendid quilt:

Food (Yum) 

How to make a sugar pie:

How to make a fresher, healthier version of Rice-a-Roni...if you can find GMO-free rice and rice pasta.

How to make some beans to go with the rice:

How to make a party festive, without serving alcohol.


Hypnosis is actually less dangerous than Lidocaine...I'm not saying that the school principal was right to hypnotize the students. I am saying that, when we read that a kid came out of the dentist's office, started to drive home, then suddenly got "a strange look on his face" and wrecked the car, we're not reading about the effect of his having been hypnotized in the past, or of his playing violent video games, or of his eating too much junkfood. We're reading about the way some people predictably react to popular anesthetics used at the dentist's office. The commercial media are told to tell people that various pharmaceutical products are safe, and not mention that, if they are safe, it's because people take certain precautions. Like knowing that after a Lidocaine injection some people are going to pass out, and when that happens, they should not be driving cars.


There was a Battle of Blountville. It was more important, historically, than the Battle of Kingsport (which was not yet a city). There was no official Battle of Gate City; there was a Battle of Estilville, as Gate City was then known (not important), and a Battle of Bray (a tiny settlement outside Gate City) that seemed as if it might have been important at the time.

Natural Rights 

The position of this web site is that people have a right to end their own lives, but not to demand that others help them do it. Because, when others are willing to help someone die, their motives will always be suspect.


Have you ever wondered why your neighborhood map looks the way it does?


Publius Huldah and friends in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

Ben Carson tells it like it is:

Here's an interesting study of how the game is played...why opinions that are actually held by a minority can be mistaken for majority opinions, if the minority are vocal enough--or use networking well. (As when people think that society "accepts" same-sex marriage although none of the men we know personally would consider hanging out with a "gay" guy, or Republicans imagine that a party that's backed a "Defense of Marriage Act" can be represented by a serial divorcee like the #BankruptcyBillionnaire ).

This one could become very serious...


"Filed under 'Oy' and 'White People'," indeed.

The Daily Kos also reported a study showing that, when the White people surveyed were asked to picture someone who has one of several names associated with various Black ethnic backgrounds, they pictured big mean gangsters...I know the name game is based on what we remember or half-remember about some person. If "Bill" sounds to you like a name for a large, loud person with flushed, puffy skin and thick grey hair, that's not because you're a bigot; it's because you're remembering Bill Clinton. Many Anglo-Americans' only memory reference points for Black men's names are professional football or basketball players, so I can see where the association with extra-large body types comes in; "Kareem" sounds like the name of a tall man to me too. But "aggressive, violent, dangerous"? Some White people need to get out more. And why does it not surprise me that these White people were specifically recruited from the political left?

Rand Paul gets it right on:


An old folk tale from feudal times...


This was written to be filed under "seniors," but it's applicable to some young travellers too.


A client asked what I know about writing "viral content." Ewww. Ick. Things that don't actually get read and shared a lot, but they strain so hard it hurts to look at the titles? "Five Dog Photos That Will Break Your Heart!!!" "Shocking News: Fruit Is Healthier Than Pop-Tarts!!!" Things I laugh at but never read? "Viral content" is either a judgment made after the fact, or an indication of tackiness. But here's an analysis of why one particular cartoon, in a well-known series by a well-known cartoonist, did go viral.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Link Log for October 6-7

Categories: Animals, Bad News Revisited, Books, Censorship, Christians, Citizens Fight Crime, Electricity, Firearms, Food (Yum), Funny, Good News, Muslims, Phenology Links, Politics, Relationships, Relocation, Writing.


Just another kitten and puppy who've bonded...except that in this case the kitten is a cheetah.

This Smithsonian web page has succumbed to tacky advertising techniques, but if you can put up with that, here's how whale songs print out as sheet music.

Bad News Revisited 

I disagree with Elizabeth Barrette about many things, but in this article I think she's almost completely right. Almost, because her suggestions are further-reaching and less workable than mine, which focusses on the problem. But read hers first, please:

Now...people have been unhappy in reasonable ways, and people have had depression-as-symptom-of-disease, for a long time and all over the world, so why did the U.S. school/stranger massacre problem start in the 1980s? Guns don't cause school shootings. Drugs cause school shootings (even though, at Columbine, one of the shooters was drug-free and was following his drugged buddy's lead). This web site doesn't care for the sloppy assumptions in the write-up below about Christopher Harper Mercer's drug use, either about vaccines or about race, but we have to share, anyway, this part of the evidence. People who walk into a school, church, shopping mall, and start shooting strangers, are on drugs. So are people who lock children "safely" inside a car and shove the car into a lake, who jump out of a car at an intersection and drag another driver out of her car and stomp her to death on the median strip, who crash a bus full of unsuspecting tourists into a cement wall, who aim cars directly at other motorists or pedestrians and hammer down on the gas, who use fertilizer to build bombs and blow up day care centers...and terrorist groups have been feeding drugs to those who carry out their attacks for at least a thousand years. Guns are a variable in the equation; drugs are the constant factor--the equation is "(drugs + human = homicidal maniac) x (weapon available to homicidal maniac) = number of victims." Guns are not the weapon that produces the maximum number of victims. And although (illegal) meth is one of the drugs that make people homicidally insane, some of the others are legal as "prescription medications"...and that's why some corporations, and corporate-owned media, prefer to scream hysterically about the guns (when guns were involved) and ignore the real problem.


John Grisham's finished a new novel:


The position of this web site has always been that the Internet is optional, a luxury. All of us need to be and stay prepared to go back to reading and writing without the'Net.


The Pena-Vegas dance to "Amazing Grace"? I'm the sort of liberal Christian who thinks that's sort of cool.

Citizens Fight Crime 

This web site salutes Gerard Gaumond, even if rabid Humanists, attached to the harmful delusion that trespassers have rights, have failed to thank him for allowing a burglar to surrender and survive. He let the burglar squawk and didn't bash his head in? If the burglar has any relatives who prefer to keep him alive, why aren't they kissing Mr. Gaumond's feet?

Another citizen, Mike Hanson, claims to be fighting corruption. Well, this is what the Internet should be good for. Shine the light. Who's really out of order in Gonzales, Texas?


Solar power should be clean, ethical, and cheap. The technology has reached that stage in California and Arizona. In the Eastern States, people understandably feel just a bit less enthusiasm about investing in solar power, because (a) we don't get enough sunshine to make solar power as profitable as it is in the desert states, and (b) we can't afford to add one more hair's breadth of damage to our already endangered roofs. Will greedhead utility companies work out ways to make solar power a rip-off even for farmers who can afford to dedicate whole fields to solar energy harvesting, or will we legislate ways to keep this new industry private, free-market, and thus an overall benefit for everyone? This web site has seen some hopeful signs but Norb Leahy is seeing some bad ones:


For those who use Disqus socially (I don't) and know that I've posted longish comments on Scott Adams' "gun problem" blog post, Kurt Schlichter's observations are apropos:

(Hat tip, here, to the "curmudgeon" commenter who still types "firearms" because the U.S. Army used to discourage the use of "guns" as a generic term by encouraging the use of this word as slang for a part of the male body. It's taken me a while, and some encouragement from a sponsor, to type "guns." Nice to know that I'm not the only one who remembers "This is my rifle, this is my gun...")

Food (Yum) 

Here's a gluten-free recipes site...From Kristina Stosek's point of view it's mostly good, and from John1282's point of view it may be bad, that people who don't suffer from lifelong genetic gluten intolerance or even from temporary wheat allergies think they want to go gluten-free. Because it's trendy--with well-known Irish-Americans from Chelsea Clinton to Bill O'Reilly, and even non-Irish types like Keith Olbermann, publicizing their gluten intolerance, going gluten-free seems like something rich and famous people do? I think readers of this web site know that there are better things to have in common with rich and famous people than their diseases. No. Everybody can enjoy gluten-free meals, and depending on what their eating habits have otherwise been some gluten-tolerant people may be healthier if they learn to cook and eat gluten-free meals. If you're not physically gluten-intolerant, you don't need to commit to a gluten-free diet in order to enjoy gluten-free foods.

What some people don't realize is that most ordinary foods are naturally gluten-free, unless they're bought in canned or pre-packaged forms from manufacturers who try to reduce costs by dumping in wheat products as fillers. Soup doesn't need thickening with flour unless it's been watered down in the first place. Gluten-free recipes for meat and vegetable dishes tend to be simpler, sometimes even quicker and cheaper recipes. Only in recipes for baked goods does "gluten-free" ever mean "more expensive" or "more elaborate" or "harder to find."

Well, the site linked below contains recipes in both categories. Lots of simple, natural main courses; some elaborate, expensive baked goods too.


How to raise your own spaghetti tree.

Anthea Butler may be a tenured professor, but she just nominated and seconded herself for the Idiot of the Year award. (If you embarrassed yourself on Twitter--like a gorgeous movie star I recently discovered there, who developed an unsexy illness and Twittered about it--you can try to delete Tweets people have seen, or you can just back away and leave your embarrassing Tweets showing, but the best strategy is to Tweet a couple of hundred links to things you want to publicize and bury the embarrassing one. Force those who want to focus on your bad idea to scroll down through screen after screen of better things, y con suerte Twitter-hiccups won't even let them get to the Tweet you buried. Duh. A teacher can't figure that out?) I wasn't aware that U Penn was considered "Ivy League," though it is the home of some good teachers who maintain a world-class, informative-and-funny blog...but it needs to lose the embarrassment that is Butler, fer sherr.

Elizabeth Barrette remembers a great comic strip...In "Peanuts" cartoons, Snoopy the silent but intelligent beagle fantasizes that he's a World War I flying ace and his doghouse is a Sopwith Camel fighter plane. That's why Mother nicknamed the Toyota Corolla my sister and I learned to love to drive "The Sopwith Camel." Thanks for the memories, Elizabeth Barrette! (First link to her blog, second to an Amazon book page that lists her as an author...let's let that Amazon tag-widget earn its keep...)

Good News 

Children want to help other children with cancer, and their families.

Speaking of which, SARK's partner John is doing better:


An Arab-American at World News Daily, name omitted for sufficient reasons, calls out the CAIR organization that have been hassling Dr. Carson. Serious charges are made. This web site is not going to investigate those charges, but is sharing this link in case youall want to investigate them.

Phenology Links

+Barbara Radisavljevic finds a garden growing in a tree:

In South Carolina, after epic floods...

it's "Welcome Back, Sun":


The fun part of this pre-campaign news story includes, but is not limited to, the graphic that shows up on Google +. It's not on the Blaze page itself, so why is it on the Google +? Does your browser show it on the Blaze page? It's a snapshot of Candidate Clinton looking distinctly weird. A lot of us lose facial symmetry as we age, but on someone who's claimed brain damage, this face looks...alarming.


What online comments can teach us about the "emotional labor" in relationships...I'd have to print this out in order to read it, and so probably will you, but some of the comments are interesting.


Mona Andrei reports that changes of address involve some heavy thinking, in Canada. One tip I've shared in a comment on the blog post. Another tip I'll share here: If your eyes are serving you well (you don't need glasses to read or drive) when you die, and you want to pass'em on, there's no need to worry about being buried without eyes. That's what morticians are for. Plastic replacements under closed eyelids preserve the look of peaceful repose on dead faces. If cultural tradition dictates open coffins and relatives lining up to kiss the face, nobody will notice how many organs have been donated.

I mention this because I used to work with a man who was an excellent driver, in any kind of weather, thanks to a donated eye. The colors of his eyes didn't completely match, nor did they work perfectly as a team; the donated eye saw better than the one that had survived the accident. But he's worn glasses mostly for protection for thirty years.


Some successful writers don't outline novels...

...Bringing up this farrago (as distinct from a fandango).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robert Hurt on Iran

From U.S. Representative Robert Hurt (R-VA-5):

"Dear Friend,
Congress has no greater responsibility under Article One of the Constitution than to provide for the defense of our great country. The first duty of our federal government is to guarantee the safety of Americans both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, I believe that Congress failed to live up to this responsibility last month when it was unable to stop the President’s implementation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
In a bipartisan vote, the House defeated the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I was among the Representatives who voted against this agreement, and I was extremely disappointed the Senate voted to filibuster debate on this issue. The Administration was ultimately able to implement this dangerous, unpopular agreement. It is essential that the American people and their Representatives in Congress thoroughly debate every issue, particularly grave issues of national security, and the American people and their representatives in both houses of Congress should have had the opportunity to meaningfully participate in this vital debate.
Iranian leaders clearly remain focused on expanding their nuclear capabilities and are only willing to do the bare minimum to reduce the stringent international economic sanctions that have crippled their economy. The fact of the matter is that the sanctions imposed on Iran were working. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to enhance the necessary sanctions against the Iranian regime and to do everything within our power to prevent Iran from building or acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Last week, in another bipartisan vote, the House passed the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act. This bill would prohibit waiving, suspending, or limiting any sanctions currently in place against Iran until it pays the court-ordered damages it owes to terror victims – something the Obama Administration has glossed over in their effort to make a deal with Iran.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gives American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to sue and collect damages from the states responsible. Despite Iran’s standing as the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, it has yet to pay one penny of these court-ordered damages. I think we can all agree that at the bare minimum, Iran should not reap any benefits until it pays its victims what they are owed.
We live in a dangerous world, but this Administration is far too trusting in those who want to do us harm, seek power through aggression toward our allies, and further destabilize places in turmoil. Look no further than the Iranian regime’s continued hostility toward the U.S. and
Israel or the air strikes Russia launched this week in Syria, which they claimed were targeted at ISIS, but were actually hitting Syrians that oppose the dictatorial Assad regime, including Syrians trained by the U.S. to combat ISIS. It is unrealistic to expect that power-hungry leaders that have dubious track records will be honest brokers in high-stakes negotiations that implicate the safety of both our country and our allies.
Issues of national security are too important to leave to idealism and wishful thinking. We must remain vigilant and resolute to ensure that our top priority is that our nation and allies are kept safe. I will continue to oppose a nuclear Iran and advocate for a foreign policy that promotes peace through strength.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120."