Bourbon and Sense

...because with Bourbon comes good Sense

October 2022 Bourbon and this week's Talking Sense.

Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Aroma: I swear I smell the port finish; thoe power of suggestion. Otherwise a pleasant aroma.

Taste: The salesman recommended this bottle for its port finish. Taste it on the tip of my tongue.

Appearance: Not keen on this bottle shape - wonder why the distiller chose it. Color of nice, light tawny port

Finish: Port taste to the end. Not a bad way to finish.

Story of: Distilled in Kentucky.

New Conspiracy

UK Elects another Prime Minister

Six weeks after assuming the leadership role, Liz Truss has resigned. The election of her successor is occurring today with three candidates: Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordant, and – you guessed it, Boris Johnson. Ms Truss mini budget was rejected by currency and bond traders who tanked these investments in the market. Add to that, the unfunded tax cuts for the very wealthy, and the Conservatives joined her rejection with the result of the Prime Minister’s resignation. It was that fast.

What is more interesting is that the British Tories, the UK’s Republican party, demonstrated behaviors kin to our American version (except the British Tory manifesto is much more progressive). After the Italian election of a far right-sider for their prime minister, Giorga Meloni, I start to wonder if there isn’t some kind of conspiracy going on except on the right. If it isn’t headquartered in a NJ pizzeria as in the previous theory, my guess is that it is being run out of a Dairy Queen but instead of pedophiles, it’s a bunch of transgenders! Their platform consists of anti-immigration, purity of race, parent’s rights, guns for everyone, rule by dictatorship.

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Ukraine soldiers on

Kamikaze drones made in Iran, are destroying the Ukraine’s power infrastructure. They say they are destroying 85% of the drones but the 15% that make it to their target is sufficient to wreak havoc. It will be effective as winter settles in. What can be done to help the people?.

Who are we to throw stones at the Russians for attacking Ukraine after our history doing the same in Afghanistan and Iraq. We would say we didn’t target civilians in our attack but many died as collateral damage. Are US wars more virtuous than Russian ones? China attacking Taiwan can’t be far behind. It seems like supporting Ukraine with weapons is the best we can do to help.

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British Politics

Between a Rock and Hard Spot

Liz Truss, the UK’s newest Prime Minister, upon assuming office quickly announced a “mini-budget” intended to grow the UK’s economy: she cut taxes for everyone but mostly the very wealthy. Britain’s top rate was 45% at around 150,000 GBP or about 170,000 dollars. Britain’s pound tanked and the International Monetary Fund, the world’s primary bank, decried the move as inflationary and economy killing. So here’s the point of this article, or what I learned: whereas our Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to reduce the money chasing goods, cutting taxes gives more money back to people for them to spend – chasing goods. For improving the economy, this is a good thing; for stopping inflation, it is a bad thing because, supply and demand, demand pushes up prices hence inflation. Britain’s economy has been in the doldrums for most of Boris Johnson’s term, hence the expansion attempted by PM Truss. She recently announced the reinstitution of the top tax rate. Let’s listen to Wednesday’s Parliamentary questions!

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Telegram Burning Up with Trump Harangues

The Lies Continue

Former President Trump continues to rail at everything and everyone. There was a brief respite during the storm hitting Florida, but he is back in full force. I monitor him on Telegram where he says: 1. He was the first to warn about reliance on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines being susceptible to sabotage, 2. how wonderful the stock market did under his term, 3. how he regained a spot in the Forbes 400 wealth ranking, 4. Maggie Haberman’s new book, released today, how it is full of lies although he gave her three interviews, 5. That he is filing a lawsuit against CNN for defamation with other media outlets to follow, and 6. the unfairness of the Mar-a-Lago raid. All of that in the last three days because no one was paying attention to him. I wish he would focus all that energy, smarts, and self-centeredness on something worthwhile.

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Supreme Court Continues Its Move Right

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on Alabama’s redistricting map of voters in a case called Merrill v. Milligan. I think that most of the states look at their voter maps every ten years after a US census to verify that the map is still “fair”. A chapter of the NAACP, some Alabama voters and the Greater Birmingham Ministries sued, “saying the map illegally concentrates black voters into a single district and disperses the remainder throughout the state.” (The New York Post, 10/4/2022) In effect keeping the black power to single district out of seven, when in fact the population in Alabama of black Americans is 27%. The party in power gets to draw the maps and usually does so in a way that favors the party to increase representation in the state at every level: local to federal. Both parties do this.

Alabama’s Attorney General, Edmund LaCour, argued the case before the Supreme Court saying that the map was “drawn up in a lawful, race-neutral manner” whereas the plaintiffs argue it violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The map should be replaced by a “racially gerrymandered plan maximizing the number of majority-minority districts.”

Here comes the fascinating part: the appeals court consisting of three judges, two of whom were appointed by Trump, sided with the plaintiffs to redraw the map. The Supreme Court’s Kavanaugh and Alito stayed (overturned) the lower court’s ruling saying the order to redraw the map was too close to the November elections. Justice John Roberts “joined the liberal wing of the court in their dissent.”

Now what is a liberal to do? Alabama’s philosophy of “race-neutral” seems reasonable except they are hiding their efforts to maintain white supremacy in voting. Eventually, this country will be race-neutral but until then, I think voter maps should reflect the large tranches of population: black, Hispanic, non-Latino (as I answer in surveys). What do you think?

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The Next Conspiracy

Social Media Threatens Us with Civil War

Within hours of the search at Mar-a-Lago, posts on Twitter mentioning “civil war” spiked 3,000 % Other social media sites like Facebook, Reddit, and Telegram also spiked. The increase in the phrase use happened again when President Biden labeled Trump and his MAGA Republicans a threat to the “very foundations of our republic.” Radio programs and podcasts, tracked by companies such as Critical Mention, showed the same spikes in use of the phrase. We missed these warnings for the January 6 insurrection but doubt we will miss it this time as the November elections approach. However, the chatter about using violence is disquieting.

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Opinion Part 1

Has the Left Ruined Education?

First, a couple of stories to illustrate the point. According to the NY Times, an NYU Organic Chemistry professor was terminated because he was too hard on his students. He moved the pedagogy from rote memorization of organic compounds to problem solving. The failure rate went up in his class, which was one of the pre-requisites for medical school admission. I must admit that it was difficult just memorizing all the nomenclature and chemical rules but devoting enough time, I passed it. The professor even offered his students the ability to choose how they wanted to be tested but he said they had forgotten how to study. The students claimed the professor was dismissive of their needs, unfriendly, uncaring. It wasn’t all the students but enough for the school administration to pay attention. They’re talking about tuition after all.

Second story involved two 6 or 7th graders who complained of being bored and announced to class they were going to liven things up and start a fight. Sure enough, they roughhouse after lunch outside of class. The school administration wants to suspend them for fighting, for whatever reason it sets bad precedent, but the parents threaten to sue and take their children out of this school – again a loss of money this time from the State. I understand that parents suing schools, principals, and educators has become commonplace and schools cower before that power.

When I first read, heard, these stories and others, I wondered if the left was ruining our schools with all the talk of wokeness, pupil rights, everyone gets an award and accommodate students for any behavioral and learning disability. Education pedagogy has drastically changed.

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Opinion Part 2

Or Does the Right have Some Responsibility?

For example, the recently elected Republican Governor of, I believe, Virginia won on a platform of parent rights with respect to their children’s education. Ignore the expertise of educators and school administrators with how children are educated – the books they read, the topics they discuss, even decisions on holding back students for poor performance. Instead, parents with no experience are making those decisions for their children. The democratic governor believed in trusting school officials for their expertise. But Republican candidate knew where the votes were and took a position to win votes. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, took the same approach, assume policies that will gain him the most votes even if the policy makes little sense. DeSantis had the same storyline: the parent is always right.

So, it is not just the liberal left to blame in our failing education. There is a lot of blame to go around but will anyone do something about it?

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