Three Things You Need to Know – February 19, 2018

A Fatherless Nation

“He looked lost. Absolutely lost.”

That’s the way James Snead described the 19-year-old Florida school shooter, when he saw him up close as he was led inside police headquarters in handcuffs. James Snead and his wife had tried to help the teenager by letting him live with them recently. The shooter’s mother, who adopted him when he was a baby, died last November. His adoptive father died in 2004.

The latest school shooting in Florida is the ultimate nightmare. Our hearts ache for the families of the murdered and injured students. There are no words for this kind of tragedy.

It’s also unreal that we’re calling this “the latest” school shooting.

America is caught in a vicious cycle of tragedy, blame, and division. When something this horrible happens, we scramble to pinpoint blame. It’s our way of trying to make sense of the senseless. It’s the gun. It’s the person. It’s the FBI. Social services. The school district.

We want to prevent this. But no one has all the answers. There’s no single solution. The hard Left sees no issue beyond guns. The hard Right sees no issue beyond gun rights. That leaves a deep canyon of problems in the middle that we refuse to deal with.

Besides being a young male, the Florida shooter has something else in common with almost every single mass shooter in recent years – he grew up without a father. Why aren’t we talking about that? The data is clear about links between fatherless children and violence, suicide, dropping out of school, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Of the deadliest mass shootings in the last fifteen years, nine of them were committed by males under 30-years-old. Seven of those nine came from fatherless homes.

This isn’t to drum up sympathy for the murderers. And obviously, not everyone who grows up without a father has their life ruined, becomes a criminal, or worse. But America has an epidemic of fatherless homes. In 1960, just 5% of American children were born out of wedlock – today it’s over 40%.

Our society is feeling the stress of more than half a century of this epidemic. So many of our children are lost. They have no moral compass, no truth to anchor their souls.

So many of our kids grow up without an identity. They don’t know who they are. In the U.S., genealogy websites are the second-most visited category of sites after pornography. People are desperate to figure out who they are. Many are searching for significance.

Having a father isn’t a guarantee of anything. It’s not a cure-all. We still make our own choices and are responsible for those choices. There are plenty of abusive or absentee fathers. Trying to be a good dad almost seems like a niche thing these days.

Right now, our society is running with the narrative that men are bad. We don’t place cultural value on a masculine influence. We think we’ve evolved beyond the need for fathers; we don’t need them anymore because they’ve done too much damage. Frankly, men haven’t done ourselves any favors with our behavior.

But the unpopular truth is, we need a nuclear family, including a father. The nuclear family is the bedrock of every society. Our bedrock has deep cracks in it.

If you are a father, dig in and do better. If you have the means, reach out and be a father figure to someone without a father.

We can make a bunch of reactionary laws, and that may make us feel better for a while, like we fixed something. But you can’t legislate the deepest needs of the human soul – to be known, accepted, and loved.

Meuller's Indictments

We now know a few of the details on what could possibly be the largest and most successful intelligence operation aimed against our country in decades. The Mueller investigation is FINALLY delivering. This is what we’ve been waiting for, and quite frankly, desperately needed ever since the intelligence community assessment was released to the public over a year ago.

The 37 page indictment names 13 individual Russians and three Russian businesses. The operation involved multiple shell companies in order to mask their actions and hide their funding. Several hundred employees worked round the clock shifts on social media and the internet. In addition to that, several agents were sent to the United States to gather intelligence. In some cases, political rallies were actually organized and promoted thousands of miles away from offices in St Petersburg, Russia.

This could actually be a galvanizing moment in our country. We’ve been attacked by a hostile country, and we now know the names and faces of the people that did it. Unfortunately, we’re far too polarized for that to happen. The left will say, “You see?!! Putin loved Trump and gave him the election!” The right will say, “This proves Trump is innocent! FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS!”

First of all, if anyone actually believes 13 Russians swung the election they’re delusional. Trump won because he appealed to millions of people who have been ignored for years, AND because he ran against the worst candidate in modern history. To say the Russians loved Trump is completely misreading the evidence. Sure they supported his campaign, but they also supported Bernie Sanders AND Jill Stein. Basically, anyone that ran against Hillary was A-OK with the Kremlin.

The Russians wanted us to doubt our government. They wanted chaos. They wanted us to eat each other. It’s sad how polarized our society AND the media has become that we allowed this to happen. Are we THAT easily duped? Friday’s indictment was a critical first step in finding out what happened, but we as a country need to get to work on fixing what it was that made this so easy for the Russians to pull off. Both the right and the left need to come together and heal our society. If we don’t, we’re just setting ourselves up for a bigger attack VERY soon.

Weaponized Social Media

The traffic was unbearable.

Andrew felt like it would take forever to get to the high school.

The police cars and cops dotted every foot of asphalt.

He rolled down the window and held out a picture of his daughter Meadow on his phone to the passing officers—hoping someone would recognize her.

That moment in time was captured and posted to social media.

Most saw a father barely hanging on to the last bit of hope he had that his daughter survived the shooting.

Some just saw his “Trump 2020” shirt.

The reactions were instant.

“I don’t feel sorry for him and F*** trump.”

“Maybe he should have thought twice before voting for #TerroristTrump”

Andrew eventually found Meadow. And it was every parent’s worst nightmare. She was one of the victims of the shooting.

And the comments continued.

“He’s Pro-Trump which means he supports the guy who is responsible for the death of his child.”

How did we get here? Don’t we see how callous we have become?

We live in a world where it is easier to choose cynicism over compassion. Where a snarky remark is more satisfying than a kind word.

Our phones and our computers allow us to safely be our worst selves without consequence.

Both sides are guilty of using the screen as a shield from which we can hurl grenades at our perceived enemies.

Why are some people blind to the despair in Andrew Pollack’s eyes in that picture? Why do they only see his shirt?

It is the sin of pride.

We have become too proud to see past our insignificant differences with each other. If we can’t get past different political opinions, how are we going to get past the big stuff?

We have become so proud that we think we can alter the very fabric of humanity.

Who do we think we are that we can legislate violence out of civilization? It’s a consequence of the gift of free will. It will never go away. We are not God.

It is time to humble ourselves, America. It is obvious that we need humility now more than ever.

MORE 3 THINGS

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.