Gongol.com Archives: July 2019

Brian Gongol

July 19, 2019

News America has never existed outside the world

Sen. Josh Hawley is making a claim that America's "leadership elite" is composed of "cosmopolitans". While his definition of "elite" is utterly nonspecific (and strangely omits, apparently, people like United States Senators), he claims that the "cosmopolitan" identity means a "primary allegiance is to the community of human beings in the entire world, not to a 'specifically American identity'". ■ The Senator makes an overwhelming omission from his observation, though: America's identity started -- literally from its very first moment -- with having a place in the world at large. The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence concludes with the words "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." ■ To have a "cosmopolitan" interest in the world takes nothing away from one's patriotism or sense of Americanism, any more than being an American takes away from one's identity as an Iowan, a Virginian, or a Californian. It means only that Americans know their place up and down the scale of identities -- as humans residing on Earth alongside billions of others, as residents of states, as members of our communities and neighborhoods. Or as people sharing a common language and legal tradition with Australians, Brits, New Zealanders, Canadians, and Irish. Or as people who share religious faiths with others in ways that have no correspondence to political boundaries at all. ■ The notion that real "American" interests have nothing to do with our place in the world is short-sighted and insufferably ahistorical. ■ Consider Federalist Paper No. 63: "An attention to the judgment of other nations is important to every government for two reasons: The one is, that, independently of the merits of any particular plan or measure, it is desirable, on various accounts, that it should appear to other nations as the offspring of a wise and honorable policy; the second is, that in doubtful cases, particularly where the national councils may be warped by some strong passion or momentary interest, the presumed or known opinion of the impartial world may be the best guide that can be followed."

The United States of America Cattle-call Presidential debates don't do us any good

The upcoming CNN debates, with twenty candidates on two nights, is lined up for maximum television spectacle, but it's not going to tell the voting public anything of value. It's spectacle as a substitute for sorting mechanism. Presidential debates should be replaced with timed writing tests. Essay questions, composition books, and a #2 pencil. No advisors. No Internet. Just you and your ability to explain yourself.

Agriculture Agronomist thinks corn harvest will be shrunk by 10% or more

Scott Irwin thinks the harvest could take a hit of 20 bushels per acre due to weather conditions and their consequences. And he may well be right.

News Puerto Ricans are exercising the First Amendment

Large protests against their governmental administration -- peaceable assembly, petition of grievances, and big signs projected on the sides of buildings

Weather and Disasters The dangers of hot cars

The National Weather Service office in Omaha had some social-media fun testing whether they could bake biscuits inside a car sitting in the sun. The biscuits turned out unsatisfactory, but even in the shade, the car hit an internal temperature of 144°.

News Capturing the center isn't optional

Democratic governors are worried that a leftward shift in the party's politics could chase off the middle-of-the-road voters who may get turned off by left-wing rhetoric or who may choose not to show up at all. If the Democrats focus on appeasing the left rather than on winning the center, particularly in the Presidential race, they could lose in 2020 -- or they could limp across the finish line with a small victory...and instantly face four years of a non-stop, full-volume blast of "Trump 2024". Remember: Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms as President, so it's happened before.

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