Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Beer and Football: Origins Of A Thanksgiving Tradition

This Thanksgiving as millions of Americans settle into a turkey-induced afternoon coma, others will push aside their plates and prepare to partake in that other great American Thanksgiving tradition. The tradition that I speak of is not honoring the memory of the Pilgrims or thanking God for his blessings, although those are also important. The tradition that I speak of is football and beer.

Thanksgiving football games, paired with a cold amber, ale or lager, are a longtime American tradition. In fact, this tradition has its roots in history that predates even the first Thanksgiving turkey. Thanksgiving beer and football goes all the way back to Samoset and Squanto, the Indians who befriended the Pilgrims and taught them how to survive through the harsh New England winters.

On March 16, 1621, an Indian wearing only a loincloth walked into the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, Mass. The book, “The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, tells what happened next.
"Welcome!" he suddenly boomed, in a deep, resonant voice. The Pilgrims were too startled to speak. At length they replied with as much gravity as they could muster: "Welcome."
Their visitor fixed them with a piercing stare. "Have you got any beer?" he asked them in flawless English. If they were surprised before, they were astounded now.
"Beer?" one of them managed.
The Indian nodded.
The Pilgrims looked at one another, then turned back to him. "Our beer is gone. Would you like ... some brandy?"
Again the Indian nodded.

The beer-loving Indian was Samoset, one of the few Indians in the New World who spoke English, having learned the language from English fishermen and explorers who visited the New England coast. Samoset soon returned and introduced the colonists to Squanto, another English-speaking native.

Squanto was alone in the world. He had been captured by Captain George Weymouth about 1605 and taken to England, where he spent about 10 years. After returning to North America, he was captured by another Englishman, Thomas Hunt, and sold into slavery in Spain. He escaped and returned to his home in 1619, only to find that his entire tribe, the Patuxets, had been wiped out by smallpox.

His meeting with the English gave Squanto a reason to live. “These English were like little babes,” according to “The Light and the Glory.” Squanto taught them to plant corn, catch fish and “helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries....”

It was the Pilgrim gratitude to both God and Squanto that inspired the first Thanksgiving feast. The joyous celebration lasted for three days. It is truly miraculous that the Pilgrims, thousands of miles from England, would encounter two Indians who spoke their native language and who would take the time to teach them to survive in their new home.

If beer was present (or at least sought) at the earliest Thanksgiving, football came a little later. President Lincoln declared the first fixed Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 and the first Thanksgiving football game came only six years later.

The Philadelphia Evening Telegraph chronicled a Thanksgiving Day football game in 1869 between the Young America Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club. This game came only six weeks after the Rutgers-Princeton game that is widely considered to be America’s first football game.

Yale and Princeton played Thanksgiving Day games from 1876 through 1881 according to Wikipedia. In 1882, the Intercollegiate Football Association began holding a championship game in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. By the time the NFL was organized in 1920, football was already a Thanksgiving staple.

Thanksgiving is properly a day to reflect on God’s blessings. We are truly fortunate to be heirs to the religious liberty sought by the Pilgrims and to live in this land of plenty. But as you celebrate God’s gifts, don’t feel guilty as you enjoy a football game. And if you want to have a Thanksgiving beer, consider raising your glass to Samoset and Squanto, without whom the story of the Pilgrims might have ended very differently.

Originally published on The Resurgent

FCC To Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is unveiling a proposal to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules. The proposal to roll back the Obama-era regulations will be subject to a vote by commissioners on December 14 per Wired.

Net neutrality essentially means that internet service providers are “common carriers” and must treat all data on the internet the same and not use charge different fees for different users. The principle prevents ISPs from charging more to customers that use large amounts of data and from slowing, or “throttling,” data for heavy users.

Although net neutrality legislation was never passed by Congress, it was implemented through an FCC policy statement in 2005. The Obama Administration implemented more stringent rules in 2015 that classed internet providers as common carriers. Those rules remain in place today.

There have been several real-world applications of the principle. In 2004, the FCC fined Madison River Communications $15,000 for restricting its customers access to Vonage, an internet-based phone company that that competed with Madison River’s own products. In 2009, Comcast slowed uploads to some filesharing sites. Earlier this year, AT&T was still restricting access to Facetime for some users who had not subscribed to the company’s shared data plans despite the net neutrality rules that were already in place.

Proponents of net neutrality worry that repeal of the rules would lead to censorship. “Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to decide who is heard and who isn’t,” says the activist group Free Press. “They’d be able to block websites or content they don’t like or applications that compete with their own offerings.”

“The consequences would be particularly devastating for marginalized communities [sic] media outlets have misrepresented or failed to serve,” Free Press frets. “People of color, the LGBTQ community, indigenous peoples and religious minorities in the United States rely on the open internet to organize, access economic and educational opportunities, and fight back against systemic discrimination.”

There is little evidence to suggest that internet providers would target ethnic groups or political factions, but there is a strong possibility that companies would favor their own products. “Well-established services from deep-pocketed companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft will likely remain widely available,” says Wired. “But net-neutrality advocates argue that smaller companies that don’t have the money to pay for fast lanes could suffer. In other words, protecting net neutrality isn't about saving Netflix, but about saving the next Netflix.”

As with any change in government policy, there are likely to be lawsuits by affected groups that could change or delay implementation of the new policy. The FCC move may also spur Congress to take legislative action. There is bipartisan support for bill that would establish a permanent policy rather than having major changes with each new administration.

Repealing net neutrality rules will not lead to internet censorship, but it will affect some internet users. Consumers who are in areas where there are monopolies for cable and internet service would be particularly vulnerable to restrictive policies of their internet providers.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Keep Politics Away From Thanksgiving Table

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and battle lines are being drawn. GQ says, “It’s your civic duty to ruin Thanksgiving by bringing up Trump.” Meanwhile, my pro-Trump friends are sharing memes that say, “This Thanksgiving don’t forget to remind your liberal family members that Trump is their president.” The Washington Times published a “Trump-era Thanksgiving guide to conservative arguments for your liberal relatives” while Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted a chart that claims the Republican tax bill will raise taxes on the middle class. “Bring this chart to Thanksgiving dinner,” Schumer urged.

Let the cringing begin.

As both sides gird for the skirmish around the Thanksgiving table, a large minority dreads the seemingly inevitable political discussion. An NBC poll found that a third of Americans dread the political talk at the table. Only 20 percent look forward to political turkey talk.

In essence, 20 percent of Americans are trying to drive the discussion at Thanksgiving toward their pet political positions, regardless of whether it ruins Thanksgiving for everyone else. In some cases, ruining Thanksgiving is the goal. My message to these people is to knock it off.

Thanksgiving is not about politics. Unfortunately, our nation and culture are so deeply politicized that not even Thanksgiving dinner is immune. The politicization of Thanksgiving began in earnest last year with a  host of articles about how to survive Thanksgiving in the wake of one the most polarizing and controversial elections in American history.

The past year has not healed wounds from the epic battle of the unpopular candidates. In fact, with the recent explosion of sexual misconduct charges on both sides of the aisle, this year may be worse. It is not a foregone conclusion that this year’s table talk will be rated “G” with topics such as Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Wes Goodman and Al Franken on the table.

Partisans of both sides should be aware that they are not going to sway political views by attacking the deeply-held beliefs of other family members on Thanksgiving. The result of such a strategy would be more likely to persuade other family members that you are… a synonym for a donkey (note that this does not imply a Democrat political affiliation).

As to Senator Schumer’s chart, talk of tax reform in combination with large amounts of turkey and stuffing is not going to make you the life of the Thanksgiving celebration. If you insist on discussing tax rates during or after Thanksgiving dinner, the result will only be to push your family into a turkey-induced food coma that much quicker.

Thanksgiving is about acknowledging the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Whether we are on the right, left or in the middle, we should be able to recognize that, compared to the vast majority of the world, Americans have it really good. Whether you like Donald Trump or not, we are all one-percenters in global terms. Thanksgiving is the time to express gratitude for that.

An appropriate way of observing Thanksgiving would be to celebrate what we have in common with our family members instead of picking at old wounds. Reaching out in friendship is more in keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving than is political sparring over the stuffing. If the Pilgrims and the Indians can come together for a peaceful meal, Republicans and Democrats should be able to do the same.

Do we really not get enough of politics that we can’t declare an informal truce on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas? Is there nothing so sacred in American life that it cannot be tainted with partisan political bickering? This Thanksgiving, let’s resolve to take a break from the poisonous politics of 2017. People who cannot be civil through Thanksgiving dinner should be banished to the kids’ table where they belong.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Monday, November 20, 2017

Border Patrol Agent Killed In Texas Attack

A US Border Patrol agent was killed and another injured Saturday morning in Texas. A press release from US Customs and Border Protection said that Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were “responding to activity” along Interstate 10 near Van Horn, Texas when the second agent reported that both men were injured and in need of assistance. Other Border Patrol agents responded and transported both wounded men to the hospital, where Agent Martinez died of his injuries. The second agent was reported to be in serious condition.

No details were initially given about the incident or who might have been responsible for Agent Martinez’s death. The press release reported that “the Border Patrol’s Special Operations Group and agents from CBP’s Air and Marine Operations are searching the area for potential suspects or witnesses.” CBP also noted that Culberson County, Texas Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Inspector General, and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility were all investigating the incident.

A local CBS affiliate reported that President of the National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd characterized the incident as an attack. Judd, who is also a Border Patrol agent, said that the two agents were tracking a group of illegal aliens when they were attacked with rocks. CBS notes that the report has not been independently verified.

Jeanette Harper, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s El Paso office, did confirm to Fox News that the agents were not shot, saying, “They were not fired upon.”

Van Horn is located in Culberson County in West Texas. It is in the Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector. The mountainous terrain there makes border crossings by illegal aliens difficult.

Rogelio Martinez, 36, was four-year veteran of the Border Patrol. He was a native of El Paso and is survived by his fiancé and son.

President Trump responded to the attack with a tweet, “Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!”

Originally published on The Resurgent

Hillary: People Are 'Misremembering' How I Attacked Bill's Accusers

According to Hillary Clinton, people are “misremembering” her role in attacking the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. The comments came in an interview last week with radio personality Rita Cosby that was part of Mrs. Clinton’s promotional tour for her book, “What Happened.”

Cosby asked the former First Lady if she had any regrets about not being supportive of the women who accused President Clinton and her role in “sort of attacking the victims.”

Clinton responded with a long, meandering answer that never directly addressed the question posed by Cosby, but implied that Bill Clinton’s accusers were all liars. Clinton began by saying that “every situation has to be judged on its own merits,” but that “people are either misremembering or misinterpreting history.”

“Of course, you should give people who make such allegations the benefit of the doubt, that's what our system does,” Clinton said, “but then you have to investigate them.”

“There were allegations that were disproved,” Clinton claimed. “There were allegations that were absolutely contradicted under sworn testimony.”

In reality, the accusations against Bill Clinton are very similar to the accusations against Donald Trump and Roy Moore.  In many cases, sexual harassment and assault accusations are based largely on the testimony of the parties involved with little or no physical evidence.

In the cases of “he said/she said” in which women accused Bill Clinton, Hillary clearly took her husband’s side. Hillary called the women “bimbos” and “trailer trash” and allegedly threatened to destroy their reputations, notes the Daily Wire.

Despite Hillary’s claim that the allegations against Bill Clinton were disproved, the former president did admit to affairs with Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers, two of the women that Hillary Clinton had attacked. In other cases, the truth is still elusive. Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Paula Jones still stand by their stories of sexual assault at that hands of Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband is one more case of sexual hypocrisy. Partisans of both sides are more interested in using abused women as a weapon against their opponents than in helping them find justice. Hillary Clinton is no different. 

Originally published on The Resurgent

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Two Quotes That Show How Much The Parties Value Character

The past week laid bare the deepest motivations of many people in American politics. While both parties claim to be the champions of morality and virtue, people paying attention were disabused of the notion that either party is more concerned with character than votes.

On Friday, Kate Harding, a self-described “feminist and the author of a book on rape culture,” wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post offering a partisan defense of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Harding doesn’t defend Franken’s bad behavior. Instead, she defends his political affiliation.

“It would feel good, momentarily, to see Franken resign and the Democratic governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, appoint a senator who has not (as far as we know) harmed women,” Harding writes. “If I believed for one second that Franken is the only Democrat in the Senate who has done something like this, with or without photographic evidence, I would see that as the best and most appropriate option. But in the world we actually live in, I’m betting that there will be more. And more after that. And they won’t all come from states with Democratic governors and a deep bench of progressive replacements. Some will, if ousted, have their successors chosen by Republicans.”

Yes, you heard that correctly. Harding is openly admitting that the only reason that she doesn’t want to see Franken punished is that it would set a precedent in which other Democrats, ones who might be replaced by Republicans, might also be forced to resign.

Harding’s position is obviously partisan and hypocritical, particularly from a feminist in the party that five years ago claimed that Mitt Romney and Republicans were waging a “war on women.” What is shocking is how blatant Harding’s hypocrisy is. In her world, political affiliation means more than justice for women who were harassed or abused by Democrats. Republicans rightly denounced the political calculations of Democrats like Harding.

But wait, as they say, there’s more!

The very same day, at the same moment that Republicans were denouncing Kate Harding’s hypocrisy, the Republican governor of Alabama was making a remarkably similar statement. “I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions,” Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said on “So that's what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.”

At the same time, Ivey acknowledged that the allegations made against Moore were credible. “I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them,” she said. “The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them.”

Ivey says that she believes in what the Republican Party stands for, but what does the party stand for if it refuses to condemn a man who is credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and harassing numerous others? It seems that what the new Republican Party stands for is electing Republican candidates at all costs.

Republicans and Democrats finally have found something that they can agree on. They both believe that party politics trumps concerns about character. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, the point of agreement found by the two parties will only serve to further divide the country.

Democrats and Republicans stand united in their hypocrisy. Both seem only too willing to compromise their core beliefs in order to support politicians that represent what they purport to hate. Any man who forces himself on a woman would be rightfully condemned by the left… as long he isn’t a Democrat official. The right would be ready to castrate a 30-year-old man who cruised malls trying to pick up teenage girls… as long as he wasn’t a Republican candidate.

In a perfect world, our politicians would be held to a higher standard than the people they govern. In the real world, the two parties excuse their own members by pointing to the bad behavior of those on the other side. It is a race to the bottom in which both sides claim, “Your pervert is worse than ours.” The truth is that when feminists back misogynists and Christians support an alleged child molester, they have already lost, regardless of whether their candidate wins. 

Originally published on The Resurgent

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Roy Moore Was Never A Good Candidate

One year into the Trump revolution it now appears almost certain that a Senate seat in deep-red Alabama is going to end up in the hands of the Democrats. The slim Republican majority will likely be eroded to a single seat, which will effectively put the brakes on the Republican agenda. It’s worth looking back at how the Republican Party got here.

The Alabama Senate race began simply enough. Incumbent Jeff Sessions left to become the attorney general with the full expectation that the governor of Alabama would appoint a Republican to take his place and the state’s conservative voters would rubberstamp the governor’s pick.

Enter Luther Strange. Strange was the state attorney general and was responsible for the investigation of Gov. Robert Bentley. Bentley picked Strange to be the new senator in a move that many Alabamans thought smacked of an insider quid pro quo after impeachment proceedings against the governor were delayed for six months.

Although he was endorsed by President Trump and the majority of the Washington Republicans, the scent of corruption was too great for Strange to overcome. Strange and Moore were the top two finishers in the Republican primary in August. Moore, backed by Steve Bannon and the populist wing of the GOP, went on to defeat Strange in the runoff to become the Republican nominee.

Things went bad for Moore almost immediately. A Fox News poll in October, weeks before the sex scandal broke, showed that Moore was tied with Democrat Doug Jones at 42 percent. The poll was a shock to Alabama Republicans.

In a moment that may turn out to be prophetic, President Trump had argued at a September rally for Luther Strange that “ Roy has a very good chance of not winning in the general election.”

Moore had a long history in Alabama. Twice elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, he had finished neither term. He was removed from the court in 2003 for refusing to comply with a federal court’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state building. In 2015, he was removed again for refusing to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision mandating same-sex marriage. Between his partial terms on the court, Moore mounted two unsuccessful campaigns for governor in 2006 and 2010.

Even before Moore partnered with Steve Bannon to take on Strange, there were warning signs about Moore. The most obvious red flags were Moore’s connections to fringe conspiracy beliefs. Moore debuted as a columnist for World Net Daily, a prominent fake news site, in 2006. One of the columns that Moore authored argued for a religious test for office that would prohibit Muslims from serving in Congress. Moore was also a prominent birther, claiming that Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen as recently as December 2016. In a September 2017 interview with Vox, Moore claimed, “There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country.”

Even before the sexual assault allegations, there were questions about Moore’s character. In 2002, Moore founded the nonprofit legal organization, the Foundation for Moral Law. Moore said in public that he did not take a “regular salary” from the group, but the Washington Post reported that the charity paid Moore a salary of $180,000 per year, which amounted to more than $1 million and was far more than the foundation disclosed on IRS filings.

In 2002, the Montgomery Advertiser hinted that there was an unknown, dark side to Roy Moore. “Some of those who worked with Moore roll their eyes when asked about him but keep their mouths shut,” Todd Kleffman wrote for the Advertiser, “There are plenty of stories to tell, the longtime secretaries, parole officials and lawyers said, but not on the record and not now, while Moore sits atop the state court system and controls its purse strings.”

Jimmy Hedgspeth, the Etowah County DA, said at the time, “If Roy wasn't the chief justice, I'd tell you anything you want to know. I think we have to have respect for the office, even if we don't like the people who hold it.”

Teresa Jones, who worked with Moore at the District Attorney’s office in Gadsden, said in a tweet, “It was common knowledge about Roy's propensity for teenage girls. I'm appalled that these women are being skewered for the truth.” Other locals in Gadsden say that Moore was banned from the mall for harassing teenage girls.

Looking back, there were plenty of warning signs about Roy Moore. If the Washington Post could hear the whispers about Moore and seek out witnesses to his behavior, why couldn’t opposition researchers from other Republican campaigns? Why didn’t Alabama’s party establishment intervene to spare the state the disgrace that it is currently experiencing?

The answer is that the Republican Party is caught up in irrational populist anger. The party’s voters rejected Luther Strange because he was too corrupt and too connected to the party establishment. They rejected Mo Brooks because he was insufficiently subservient to Donald Trump.

In the end, Alabama Republicans violated the basic rule of William F. Buckley to nominate the most conservative candidate who can win. In Roy Moore, Alabama Republicans picked a candidate who was known to have embraced conspiracy theories, who was vulnerable to questions about his business dealings, who had two failed campaigns for statewide office and who, after winning elections, had failed to fulfill his term of office twice. Even without allegations of sexual misconduct, Moore should have been toxic as a candidate.

Originally published on The Resurgent