Stomping Upon the Terra

Our people are slow to learn the wisdom of sending character instead of talent to Congress. Again and again they have sent a man of great acuteness, a fine scholar, a fine forensic orator, and some master of the brawls has crunched him up in his hands like a bit of paper.
                       – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I first saw Emil Franzi in a political science class in the early 1970s.  He was a guest speaker, covering for Conrad Joyner.  Dr. Joyner held local office, but his goal was Congress and Emil was the brawler to his scholar.  I don’t know if Dr. Joyner prepared a lesson plan, but it was a waste of time if he did.  The lesson was pure, unalloyed Franzi:  blunt, basking in the moment, bereft of political correctness.  It was the first time I saw Emil “stomp upon the terra,” to use Lord Buckley’s phrasing.  Conrad Joyner was gregarious, effervescent and entertaining.  He also wanted to be liked; that was important to him.  Suffice it to say Emil was less concerned about being liked.  While it’s accurate to describe Emil as a “scholar” because of his impressive intellect, he would have preferred “master of the brawls.”  I can’t say I liked him that first day, but I was damn sure impressed by the stomping.


READ MORE HERE  >>>

The Great Global Fart

The third planet from the sun has gas.  I’m not referring to atmospheric gases or natural gas that is fracked out of bedrock.  The Earth’s gas is deep within its bowels, the consequence of a slow-moving digestion over millions of years that converts organic material to methane.  Giant pockets of methane gas lie beneath the oceans and the Arctic ice shelf.  It has quietly leaked from the ocean floor for eons and small amounts of gas have escaped the Arctic shelf.  Recently, the gas leakage in the Arctic has been increasing and the steady rise in global temperatures leading to Arctic melting may release a massive burst of methane in a catastrophic event.  It has happened before.

READ MORE HERE  >>>

Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone

Imagine the federal government decided to devote one and a quarter billion dollars a year to help state educational institutions train teachers.  These are many of the teachers who will spend time with our children, helping them learn the skills they will need to navigate the journey to adulthood.  It’s an important and challenging responsibility that not everybody can perform successfully.  They are charged with our nation’s future, one inquisitive mind at a time.  So, imagine the federal government understands the challenge and decides to help.  Would it not make sense to ensure the dollars dedicated to the process are spent wisely?

READ MORE HERE  >>>

Donald J. Trump, Defendant

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
        –  Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8

Since he was sworn in, Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, based on a plain reading of its text.  That seems clear, but what is less clear is what the consequences will be for the Trump Presidency or, more critically, the future of the American Republic.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause is one of the more arcane provisions of the Constitution, with no meaningful court decisions and few legal opinions addressing it. But Donald Trump, with his various domestic and international business interests and many potential conflicts, is bringing the ancient word “emoluments” into common parlance.  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has sued him in federal court in New York for violating the Clause. 

While other matters, such as firing the FBI Director, dominate the headlines, the CREW lawsuit quietly abides, the pleadings not yet joined, and no motions or discovery requests filed.  However, the lawsuit may tread uncharted Constitutional territory that can shape the Presidency for decades.  Whether we regard the President as a public servant or monarch may be determined by its outcome.

READ MORE HERE  >>>