Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Founding Father's Fear: Why Presidential Pardons Worried George Mason

by Nomad

George Mason
The Atlantic posted an article on the following subject the other day and I thought it deserved a little more attention.

"In Order to Form a More Perfect Union"

Back in the summer of 1787, delegates of the Constitutional Convention came together in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution and thereby, address the problems of a weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. There were many vested interests in the crowd of delegates and getting the representatives from each colony to agree was not an easy task. 
The Articles of the Confederation had been written under the threat of war, as a means of uniting the colonies against the threat of British retaliation for the declaration of independence. 
It was, in effect, a contractual agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America a set of clearly written rules for how the states' "league of friendship" would be organized. The Articles had stressed the sovereignty of individual member states, a prerequisite for any agreement. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Seasons Greetings - 2020

by Nomad

Here's wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. There's no denying that this has been a hellish sort of year and I, for one, am glad it is coming to a close. We are still facing a few more grim months ahead of us before things settle down. My Christmas wish for all my friends in the community is that you stay healthy and stay positive and that you will be able to find joy and happiness amid these troubled times. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

How a Long-Forgotten Science Fiction Story from 1962 Imagined the Pandemic of 2020

by Nomad

hile floating aimlessly around the Internet, I stumbled across a science-fiction short story written back in 1962 entitled "Pandemic." Obviously, it's a word we have all come to loathe but I was curious how 1962 imagined the 2020 pandemic.
The writer, Jesse Franklin Bone, imagines the consequences of a lab accident that releases a "virus pneumonic plague" (called Thurston's virus) which threatens to wipe out humanity. At the moment the story begins, the pandemic is in full bloom, laying waste to civilization. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

LIVE: Coverage of the 2020 Presidential Election Night

by Nomad

The moment of truth has finally arrived and with it comes both hope and dread. The question: Will Trump somehow pull off another surprise victory or will there be a much-needed course correction with a Biden win?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

LIVE: The Final Presidential Debate of the 2020 Election

by Nomad

The final presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice-president Joe Biden be held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. This would have been the third in the series but is now only the second following the cancellation of the October 15 debate. Nevertheless, it will mark the last time the two candidates will appear on the same stage before the November 3 election.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

LIVE: ABC News Town Hall in Philadelphia with Presidential Candidate Joe Biden

by Nomad

Former Vice-President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be participating in a town hall held in Philadelphia this evening. As per the town hall format, the event will allow voters to ask questions directly to the candidate.

Monday, October 12, 2020

LIVE: Confirmation Hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Amy Barrett

by Nomad

Today is the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is an American attorney, jurist, and academic who serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Barrett, the mother of seven children and a former law clerk to the late right-wing beacon Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett, now 48, was a finalist for the Supreme Court spot that went to Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Democrats who are in the minority in the Senate allege Barrett's ultra-conservative views on such issues as abortion, same-sex marriage will disrupt the ideological balance of the high court.   

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

LIVE: The 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate

by Nomad

Tonight Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will go head-to-head at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page will be the moderator for the event which will start at 9 p.m. ET ((8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT). The debate will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruption.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

LIVE: The First Trump- Biden 2020 Presidential Debate

by Nomad

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will meet face to face in Cleveland on Tuesday for the first presidential debate. The debate -  the first of three - will start at 6 p.m. Pacific time, (and at 9 p.m. Eastern) on Tuesday. It will last 90 minutes, with no commercial breaks.  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sanity Sunday: COVID CELLO PROJECT- 10 "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber

by Nomad

With just 50 days remaining before the election, we are now entering the nail-biting part of the 2020 presidential election. If America gets lucky, in 129 days, we shall be able to start the long and tiresome process of rebuilding the country.

Meanwhile, the pandemic rages on and is expected to get much worse before peaking sometime in early January. The COVID Cello Project has grown from humble beginnings to its present size of 278 cellists from 29 countries. In this their 10th online concert, the cellists pay respect to all those who have passed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How Covid-19 In South Texas Underscores Republican Apathy for Latino Families

Embed from Getty Images

In the Twitter universe, accusations can be made that can never be properly substantiated. With that in mind, I wanted to share a series of tweets from a nurse in Texas, where medical professionals are struggling with the Covid-19 outbreak.

Serving the lower Rio Grande Valley, Doctor’s Hospital Renaissance (DHR Health) is a 500+ bed general acute care hospital, with a medical staff of over 700 physicians covering 75 specialties, based in Edinburg, Texas. In order to deal with the pandemic, a special facility was contracted and converted from a hospice facility into a Covid unit.

Unfortunately, according to this whistleblower, it soon became apparent that the facility was completely inadequate. Medical staff from outside of the area were appalled at the situation.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Shame of the Nation: The Surge in New Cases of Covid-19 Surpasses Our Worst Fears

by Nomad

The news media is today reporting a third straight day of record-high numbers across the United States with increases in 29 states. With more than 40,000 cases in one day, Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters on Friday:
“We have made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward.” 
Pence added that the US had “slowed the spread” and “flattened the curve”. The country, he declared, can “take some comfort” in the declining numbers of COVID-19-related fatalities. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

With 100,000 Dead, The Cost of Trump's Dithering is Both Undeniable and Indefensible

by Nomad

As the death count from the Coronavirus pandemic in the US exceeds 100,000, we should never forget how President Trump, instead of taking action, attempted repeatedly and consistently to downplay the approaching crisis.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

CoVid-19: The Long Road to Recovery or Rush to Disaster?

by Nomad

Embed from Getty Images

Demonstrators take part in an "American Patriot Rally," organized on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses. - The group is upset with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mandatory closure to curtail Covid-19. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Corona Spring winds on, the questions on the minds of most Americans are "is this push to re-open the US after the outbreak too soon?" and "Will we be needlessly risking  lives solely for economic fears?"

Thursday, April 16, 2020

CoVid-19 Pandemic: The Worst and the Best of Humanity on Display

by Nomad

Protesters, including Republican Senate candidate Melissa Acksion, left, stand outside the Statehouse Atrium where reporters listen during the State of Ohio's Coronavirus response update on Monday, April 13, 2020 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Joshua A. Bickel)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sanity Break: Seven Days Walking by Ludovico Einaudi

by Nomad

We all need some relief from the depressing news.

This week I decided to highlight the work of Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. His album, entitled Seven Days Walking, features Einaudi on piano, Federico Mecozzi on violin and viola, and Redi Hasa on cello.

Released on 19 April 2019. the impressionistic composition was inspired by winter walks in the mountains near Einaudi's Italian home. In the winter of 2018, he walked the same route in the Alps and experienced it differently every time.
A series of meditations based on seven walks on seven different days. (That's something we have somehow taken for granted until the Corona era.)

I hope you find this music calming as we find our own paths through these troubled times.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Covid-19: When the US Became Ground Zero

by Nomad

A grim milestone came and went at the end of this devastating week. On Friday, the coronavirus killed more New Yorkers than the terrorists who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The September 11 attacks killed about 2,700 people in New York state. In contrast, the coronavirus has so far killed 2,935 state residents of all age groups.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Covid-19 Crisis and the Unraveling of a President

by Nomad

Embed from Getty Images

As the Covid-19 crisis deepens, President Trump held another press briefing on Sunday in the Rose Garden and it went pretty much as anybody could have predicted. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Coronavirus Comes to Washington

by Nomad

Embed from Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 22, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Monday, March 16, 2020

CoVid-19: Closures, Lock-downs and Panic Buying Around the World

by Nomad

Around the world, governments have been forced to take drastic measures to slow the spread of the Corona-virus. The graph on the left shows a comparison between the CoVid-19 spread in Italy, the USA and the UK.

As AP reports:
Officials across the country curtailed many elements of American life to fight the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, with health officials recommending that groups of 50 or more don’t get together and a government expert saying a 14-day national shutdown may be needed.
Governors and mayors closed restaurants, bars, and schools as the nation sank deeper into chaos. Travelers returning home from abroad were stuck in line for hours at major airports for screenings, crammed into just the kind of crowded spaces that public health officials have urged people to avoid.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

2020: The Year of the Virus

by Nomad

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the current risk assessment:
  • For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Video of Roger Stone's Deposition Interview Reveals His True Nature

by Nomad

Politico offers this analysis of the deposition interview given last month by former Trump operator and friend, Roger Stone. Stone, as you probably already know, was convicted last fall of lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump's 2016 campaign.
This deposition, given days before Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison, was, in fact, related to six different civil lawsuits Stone is still facing,

As his demeanor demonstrates, Stone was under extreme stress and struggling to contain pent-up fury.
With no judge on hand, Stone was free to tear into his enemies as he did in an earlier era. He could be combative and hard-charging if he wanted. He could even spout vulgarities as he spared with his inquisitor.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Good News Break: Three Heroes Making a Difference

by Nomad

I decided to take a much-needed break from the dire news of the pandemic and the stomach-churning saga of the Trump presidency in order to throw a spotlight on three heroes. Hope you will take a moment to watch the videos and read their stories.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Trump's Acquittal: The Ultimate Triumph of the Imperial Presidency

by Nomad

In 1973, in the throes of the Nixon scandal, author Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. published a book entitled "The Imperial Presidency." in that book, he warned that the office of president of the United States had drifted far from the one envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Less of a servant of the people and into a king without the actual title. He argued that a presidency becomes imperial when it relies on powers well outside those allowed by the Constitution of the United States.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Surveillance, Suppression and Intimidation: Tools for the Super-Rich?

by Nomad

If you haven't found time to read Ronan Farrow's latest book, Catch and Kill, it is certainly worth your time. In fact, it reads more like a John LeCarre spy thriller than a journalist's investigation.
Farrow's book actually deals with the story behind his expose of the allegations against media mogul and accused sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein. He reveals each painful step- from unsubstantiated rumors to firm allegation. To his credit, Mr. Farrow was relentless in seeking out women who privately claimed to have been sexually assaulted.

Yet, Weinstein had powerful friends who were willing to shelter him. And he also lots of tools at his disposal to block journalists and silence accusers. After all, sordid things that Weinstein did was pretty much of an inside secret in Hollywood. According to reports, wealthy Weinstein could afford to pay off his alleged victims (with non-disclosure agreements attached). If that didn't work, there was always the power of threats. According to his alleged victims, he could and would apply tremendous amounts of pressure on uncooperative individuals.
And he did just that... over decades. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

President Trump, the Republican Party and the Parrington Question

by Nomad

Most of you have probably never heard of Vernon Parrington. I know I hadn't until I stumbled upon an interesting quote. That's pretty remarkable because, in our grandparent's time, historian Parrington occupied a special place, particularly among the progressive-minded.

The Parrington Question

This Midwestern educator was also the author of the three-volume Main Currents in American Thought (1927) which went on to win the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for History  As his biography reminds us, for two decades this historical examination and analysis was one of the most influential books for American historians.
Progressive history was a set of related assumptions and attitudes, which inspired the first great flowering of professional American scholarship in history...His progressive interpretation of American history was highly influential in the 1920s and 1930s and helped define modern liberalism in the United States. After receiving overwhelming praise and exerting enormous influence among intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s, Parrington's ideas fell out of fashion before 1950.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

History Has Shown Us the Dangers of a Weak Congress and Where It Leads

by Nomad

When the Democratic-led House of Representatives was attempting to investigate the allegations against President Trump in drawing up articles of impeachment, there was no mistaking contempt the president's and his allies had for Congress.

When Congress called key witnesses to testify, the president ordered them to ignore subpoenas. It was, Trump claimed, a witch hunt. Congress quite rightly pointed out it was simply fulfilling its legitimate, constitutional oversight role.
The House could have issued criminal and civil fines, including jail time. Instead, it allowed the president to block the inquiry with impunity. Wasn't this an unequivocal act of obstruction? No, said the administration, it was an assertion of executive privilege.