Trying to Understand The US Constitution

I doubt most Americans have read the Constitution and of those who have, they are unaware of what lay beyond the brief and mostly skeletal document. This article from NPR was written to try to provide some of the thinking that went into the document and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions that surround it. In my view, this, or something like it should be required reading for citizenship.


What is the president actually allowed to do under the U.S. Constitution?

It’s a question that’s come up from time to time at NPR, and when it does, we’ve turned to experts such as Kim Wehle, now a law professor and CBS News legal commentator. Now, she’s written a book about it. It’s called How to Read the Constitution — and Why.

Wehle says that all the debates around the constitutionality of various Trump administration policies inspired her to write the book. She says she originally had a contract to write a book for an academic audience but found herself writing for laypeople.

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A Story About Carpet Knives & A Little Jim Crow

When I was a kid and visiting my aunt and uncle in Columbia, SC during the summers many of the Lincoln Street guys carried folding carpet knives. They had lubricated the hinge and over many openings and closings, limbered it up. The trick was to grab the back of the blade’s edge and with a sharp wrist flip, open the knife for whatever action was intended. I thought it was cool and wanted one of those knives for myself. So, one day I journeyed to uptown Columbia and purchased a carpet knife from a long gone Army Navy store.

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Add One More Commandment to the List

Back in the ’60s I rented an apartment from a Jewish family and from them learned that God didn’t stop with 10 Commandments. According to Jewish teaching, there are actually 613 Commandments. Well, I’d like to add one more to the list, Thou shall not be willfully ignorant.

It appears that people, maybe more than ever, are refusing to educate or inform themselves about what’s going on around them. It’s the old bury your head in the sand concept of what you can’t see can’t harm you. The average Trump zealot is quite guilty of this. They refuse to seek and/or accept independent or conflicting information about Trump and what he has done and is doing. Working Trump stiffs believe Trump’s tax cut, for example, was aimed at helping them while in reality, it gave billions to America’s wealthiest families.

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A Kindred Spirit

I received this from a friend this morning and it touched my heart. The letter’s author and I share many of the same experiences, both growing up convinced our America was perfect, both seeing some of the real world aboard a US Navy ship, and both coming to learn that America wasn’t the utopia we’d believed it to be. We also share the

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A Little Taste of Sam Hopkins

Most music lovers have probably never heard of Sam Hopkins. But call him Lightnin Hopkins and maybe the light bulb switches on. Hopkins was from Texas and before his death in 1982 he became one of the best known of all the early blues pioneers.  He was also one of the most prolific and frequently recorded.

People always reference Robert Johnson’s style of guitar playing as being the best but best is something hard to define. I personally don’t know any blues picker better than Hopkins.

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The Skill & Art of Flintknapping

The first time I heard of flintknapping was in a college course I took on Western American History. Flintknapping, by the way, is the art and craft of making arrowheads and other stone tools.

If you aren’t aware, the hobby of searching for and collecting Native American artifacts is huge and can be practiced in about any area of the United States. It’s a complex topic that involves periods of time, type of materials used, manufacturing techniques, styles, and the trading of information and materials among the many native tribes.

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The Muffuletto From the North

Sometime in the early 1990s my wife, my son, and I were in the French Quarter of New Orleans and finding ourselves hungry we tripped into the closest restaurant to us; a very old place called the Old Absinthe House. As first-time visitors to NOLA, we didn’t have a clue that we had stumbled into one of the oldest and most famous bars in America. The Absinthe was where Andrew Jackson met the pirate Jean Lafitte to ask help in repelling the British invasion of the lower Mississippi and New Orleans. Lafitte agreed and history was made.

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Vetting

VETTING: “Before Trump took office, his transition team vetted dozens of people for potential roles in the administration. That kind of thing leaves a paper trail — one that’s now at least partially public. Axios obtained nearly 100 documents that detail the potential vulnerabilities of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, among lots of others. Many of the “red flags” had to do with negative comments about Trump.” Axios

Horse Manure Stories Involving Krupp, the Kaiser, & My Amish Neighbor

One of my Amish neighbors just opened a harness shop and I was offered a tour. Afterward, I thought he’d be interested in knowing the history of E.L. McClain and his invention of a hinged collar and the manufacturer of collars and horse pads. He said he’d heard that Greenfield’s high school had been built by a millionaire but wasn’t aware of the source of the wealth. We both learned a little something and he sincerely enjoyed the story about McClain’s collars.

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