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Items filtered by date: Sunday, 07 November 2021

The Republican Ascendancy of the 1920s is associated with a return to conservative politics with the presidential administrations of Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

Harding, who was elected president in the election of 1920, initiated an era of conservative government based upon policies that were rooted in constitutional limited government.

Harding was a constitutional conservative who revered the American Founding. He described the Constitution as “the very base of all Americanism, the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ of American liberty, the very temple of equal rights.” Harding was a conservative nationalist who placed the interests of America first.On Nov. 2, 1865, Warren Gamaliel Harding was born in Blooming Grove, Ohio. A conservative in a Republican Party that also had a progressive wing, Harding served in the United States Senate before winning the presidency. He supported President William Howard Taft in the Republican civil war of 1912 that split the GOP when progressives bolted to join former President Theodore Roosevelt in the Bull Moose Party.

In the 1920 presidential election, Harding campaigned on a “return to normalcy,” which translated into an abandonment of the progressive domestic and foreign policies associated with President Woodrow Wilson and a return toward constitutional limited government. He also campaigned on the slogan of “America First.”

Harding, just as with President William McKinley, ran a “front porch” campaign and thousands of people visited his home. At his home, Harding would give speeches and greet visitors. Al Jolson even wrote and performed a song, “Harding You’re the Man for Us,” at the Harding home. Harding won the election in a landslide.

Once in office, Harding rejected the imperial presidency of Wilson and selected several notable leaders including Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, and Charles Evans Hughes, as Secretary of State.

President Harding’s first major challenge was to pull the nation’s economy out of depression at the end of World War I. In the “forgotten depression” of 1920-1921, the nation faced 11.7% unemployment and much economic uncertainty. In the process, the national debt had escalated because of the war, tax rates were extremely high, and government spending was out of control.

The solution that Harding utilized was to restore the economy by stimulating the private sector by reducing regulations and slashing tax rates. The historian Paul Johnson in Modern Times wrote that the short-lived depression was the “last time a major industrial power treated a recession by classic laissez-faire methods…”

As president, Harding believed and advocated for economy in government. Harding called for reduced spending, tax reduction, and paying down the national debt. Reform was brought to the federal budget process with the Budget and Accounting Act. Although the federal government has increased dramatically in size in comparison to Harding’s time in office, he still had to say no to demands to increase spending.

Harding, along with Treasury Secretary Mellon, advocated for a conservative fiscal policy. This included reducing both spending and tax rates. As a result, “federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes fell from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922,” noted Jim Powell, senior fellow with the Cato Institute. Harding also started to chisel away at the national debt.

Harding also appointed pro-business individuals to regulatory agencies and he nominated conservatives to the Supreme Court. Some of President Harding’s Court appointments included Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Justice George Sutherland, both of whom are considered judicial conservatives. Harding also advocated a policy of civil rights and civil liberties for African Americans.He also pushed for and achieved limiting immigration through reform, and he addressed the importance of Americanization and citizenship. In terms of foreign policy, Harding took a more nationalist approach. It is often assumed that Harding was an isolationist, but this is untrue. Harding and Secretary of State Hughes led the Washington Naval Conference, which led to disarmament in the aftermath of WWI.

Harding also placed the interests of America first in terms of trade by supporting the protective tariff. Harding believed that a tariff would benefit and protect American industry, agriculture and labor. “I believe in the protective tariff policy and know we will be calling for its saving Americanism again,” stated President Harding. The Fordney-McCumber tariff was passed as a result.

The Harding economic program, which was continued by President Calvin Coolidge after his death, was responsible for creating the roaring economy of the 1920s. Coolidge would continue to reduce spending, tax rates and pay down the national debt.

President Harding deserves reconsideration just as historians have given President Ulysses S. Grant, whose administration was also marked by scandal. Scandals did occur in Harding’s administration, but he was not personally connected.

Many of the policy challenges that the nation is being confronted with today could be solved by following the principles and polices of President Harding. Harding’s conservative nationalism is an example for today’s policymakers.

President Harding, just as with President Donald Trump, believed in America First and American exceptionalism. As Harding said, we are forever devoted “to safeguard America first, to stabilize America first, to prosper America first, to think of America first, to exalt America first, and to live for and revere America first.”

John Hendrickson
The Center Square

Published in Politics

You can see Fall colors all over Fort Myers Beach – the different-colored license plates from across the nation on cars driven by seasonals and tourists! With visitation rapidly increasing, the iconic Mound House is boosting its hours of operation from three to five days a week, now being open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., though it does close on November 25 & 26 to observe Thanksgiving.

One of Southwest Florida’s most-beloved historic attractions, the Mound House traces its roots to the ancient Calusa of over 2,000 years ago. The Town of Fort Myers Beach operates the Mound House as a museum complex and cultural and environmental learning center that offers numerous educational programs each month, including for kids. The oldest standing structure on Estero Island is at 451 Connecticut Street with overflow parking at 216 Connecticut. Admission is $10 for ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free, with Town residents receiving a 50% discount. The Mound House enforces Social Distancing guidelines at all programs and recommends that all unvaccinated visitors wear masks. For information, reservations, and a monthly programs schedule, call 239-765-0865 or see

FREE “Newton Beach Park Guided Beach Walk”
For all ages every Tuesday and Thursday weather permitting at 9 a.m.; no program on Thursday, November 25, for Thanksgiving.

This twice-weekly free outdoor nature program is different every single time, as the “Guided Beach Walks” have a simple premise – the groups walk roughly a half-mile down the beach and back, discussing whatever you find that particular morning. Meet at the thatched hut closest to the beach, with Social Distancing in place. Bring sunscreen, shoes to get wet, sunglasses, and hat. No reservations necessary; while free, parking is $3-per-hour, with one hour generally enough. Newton Beach Park is mid-island at 4650 Estero Boulevard.

“Garden Tour”
For all ages each November Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday at 10 a.m.; no program on November 25 for Thanksgiving.

Stroll through the Mound House gardens to discover how its unique plants conserve water and protect wildlife, while learning how the Calusa and other Native Americans used them in their daily lives. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission; Mound House members free, with Social Distancing guidelines in place.

“Shell Mound Tour”
For all ages every Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; no programs on Thursday & Friday, November 25 & 26, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

If you dig archaeology, the Mound House’s signature program is for you! Tour the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound led by the interpretive staff as you explore the site’s archaeology to unearth clues about this ancient society. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission; Mound House members free, with Social Distancing guidelines in place.

“Untold Stories Tour”
For adults on Thursdays, November 4, 11 & 18, all at 2 p.m.

The Mound House is the oldest standing structure on Fort Myers Beach, with an intriguing cast of characters who called it home, from farmers to casino owners; scientists to developers! Learn about their individual stories along with a good dose of island history on this guided tour through the Mound House Museum, native gardens, and majestic grounds. Adults $15; Mound House members free.

“Full Moon Kayak Tour”
For ages 12 & up on Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m.

This unique tour offers kayakers the rare opportunity to experience the backwaters of the Estero Bay in the quiet of twilight by the light of the full moon! Participants explore the estuary’s tidal creeks, winding mangroves, and abundant wildlife illuminated by the full moon. Weather permitting and reservations required at; $45-per-person with Mound House members $15. The Mound House provides all paddling equipment with a maximum of 12 people per tour and Social Distancing in place.

“Archaeology: Can You Dig It?”
For all ages on Tuesday, November 23; Wednesday, November 24; and Saturday, November 27, all at 10 a.m.

Learn what it takes to be an archaeologist! Handle real artifacts and discover how archaeologist study past cultures in a program that is perfect for families. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission, with Mound House members free.

For dates and times for the “Cool Calusa Tools,” “Family Fun Kayak Tour,” “Latino History Tour,” & “Mangroves by Kayak Tour” programs, telephone the Mound House at 239-765-0865 or see

Gary Mooney

Published in Outdoor
Sunday, 07 November 2021 20:35

MARVEL and Baseball




Minor League Baseball and Marvel Entertainment announced a promotional three-year partnership at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, home of the “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibit.

Starting next season, the program will feature 96 different Minor League clubs across all four levels hosting one or more super hero theme nights involving popular Marvel characters -- complete with specialized jerseys, of course -- along with other Marvel-themed activities and promotions taking place throughout the games. The deal was facilitated by AthLife, Inc, Marvel’s longtime sports representative

The event series is officially called "Marvel's Defenders of the Diamond" and will also come with its own run of comic books, which will be distributed at participating ballparks. "Co-branded merchandise and other surprises will be unveiled in 2022."

"This partnership is more than about driving attendance -- it's about fans of the Minor Leagues and Marvel getting to experience baseball in a whole other way with Marvel character appearances, Marvel-themed uniforms, social media engagement, storytelling, in-stadium graphics to name just a few," said AthLife, CEO Jon Harris, "Of course, it would not be Marvel if we were not holding some things back, so expect some surprises along the way."

MLB vice president of Minor League business operations Kurt Hunzeker. added “MiLB’s new partnership with Marvel Entertainment brings together two storied brands who create memories that are passed down from generation to generation. The possibilities with this partnership are endless and we look forward to some incredibly creative content, merchandise and promotions."

Marvel has a long history of superhero team-ups, dating back to its first comic book in 1939 that introduced the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner. That began in the comics with the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Guardians of the Galaxy, among many others, and has extended through the Marvel Cinematic Universe that began in 2008 with Tony Stark and Iron Man.

Like any good origin story, this is just the start of fans getting to know Marvel's Defenders of the Diamond. Twists and turns and endless possibilities await both Marvel true believers and Minor League Baseball fans in 2022 and beyond.

"We have only just started exploring the new Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond universe of content," Hunzeker added, "and we cannot wait to explore the endless possibilities and potential integrating Marvel’s award-winning creativity with Minor League Baseball’s award-winning creativity to tell new stories about our players, teams, communities, and most of all our fans, starting with the 2022 season."

“Over the past few years, we have seen the fans of Minor League Baseball truly embrace Marvel-themed games, so having a nearly league-wide partnership will allow us to take creativity and storytelling to the next level,” said Mike Pasciullo, Marvel Entertainment’s Vice President, Product Development and Marketing – Brand, Franchise & Sports. “And it wouldn't be Marvel if we did not have a few major surprises to unveil along the way!”

As part of the wide array of custom content it will create for the new initiative, Marvel will create a “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” comic book for MiLB fans that will be distributed in participating MiLB ballparks throughout the partnership. Co-branded merchandise and other surprises will be unveiled in 2022.

Our local Minor League Team ... Fort Myers Mighty Mussels will be participating in the Marvel partnership.

Fans may visit for the latest information/updates on the “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” series.

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Published in Outdoor
Sunday, 07 November 2021 20:25

Is the 17th Amendment in Danger of Repeal?

Some Constitutional Amendments end up merely clarifying or adjusting elements of governance. Others were transformational. The 17th Amendment joined the latter group.

Article 1, Section 3 of the unamended U.S. Constitution established the method for selecting senators as follows: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof…” The 17th Amendment in 1913 revised the process: “…two Senators from each State, elected by the People thereof…” i.e. directly elected by the people.

Does the Amendment deserve continued support, or should we consider going back to the original process? Am I beating a dead horse by bringing this subject up? Perhaps, but more than any time in our history, today’s politics and governance seems nuanced, conflicted, and subject to examination.

These responsibilities are unique to the Senate: ratifying international treaties and agreements; approving Supreme Court justices and other presidential nominations; and conducting impeachment trials. Considering these unique responsibilities, along with their more familiar bicameral lawmaking duties, begs the question, “Who should be the Senate’s constituents?”

Senators are ultimately accountable to those who select them. The U.S. is a republic, with checks and balances. The Constitution sets up centers of power and influence both among the three Federal branches of government, as well as between the U.S. government and states. This is clarified in the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United

States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Founders set up our government as a republic, which allows for representative governance, rather than a pure democracy. It also features an element of “federalism” in which dual sovereignty is established between the federal government and states. And both are accountable to “we the people.” Superimposed on the three government branches is separation of powers and its inherent “checks and balances.”

The constitution clearly established dual sovereignty federalism. True to that form of governance, the Founders took the opportunity to build on the concept when setting up the selection process for representatives and senators. Members of the house were to be elected directly by the people of their state. Senators were to be selected by the state legislatures. Both represent an obvious bow to the Founders’ concept of dual sovereignty federalism.

Arguments favoring the original process for selecting senators make theoretical sense:

• Promotes federalism, state authority, guarding against federal overreach, and controls size of the federal  government.

• Enhances state sovereignty and influence relative to the federal government.

• Gives states a chair at the table of federal policy making. This is important because individual citizen’s      issues may be different than collective state issues.

• Amplifies the voice of the minority, thereby discouraging a tyranny of the majority.

• Encourages more deliberation (vetting) of potential senators.

• Promotes better legislative decisions because different power bases have to agree.

• Ensures more legislative deliberation than if senators were elected directly, thereby easily swayed by      momentary whims of the electorate.

• Enhances bicameralism, by differentiating senate characteristics from those of the House of Representatives, hopefully becoming more deliberative than the House.
Many arguments in favor of the 17th Amendment are heavily influenced by practicality:

• Prior to the Amendment, there were high levels of hostilities and wrangling surrounding the selection of senators by state legislatures.

• Prior to the Amendment, subtle adjustments of procedures were made to avoid conflicts, and soon the senator selection process resembled a quasi-direct citizen election.

• Direct election reduces the influence of party machines and special interests that some perceive in state legislatures.

• Direct election is intended to reduce the potential for corruption that was perceived prior to the Amendment.

• A directly elected Senator is considered more responsive – i.e. less deliberative.
My respect for the Founders’ objectives would cause my vote to be cast in favor of the unamended original Constitution. But the impracticalities and conflicts that led to the 17th Amendment are real, and the popularity of direct elections, along with the difficulty in getting approval of two-thirds of both houses and three-fourths of state legislatures, argue against the practical reality of any repeal. Attempts to change would be futile.

The 17th Amendment is under no threat of repeal.

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Steve Bakke,
Fort Myers

Published in Politics
Sunday, 07 November 2021 20:20

A New Way of Life

Washington DC is organized crime, working for and with the war, oil, banking, pharmaceutical, insurance, tech and social media industries. Mussolini called this system fascism.

As media distract us with DC intrigues, Antifa, mass shooters and CIA-driven foreign war-sparking decoys, the chieftains of industry laugh at our ignorance and pull celebrities’ puppet strings.

As Trump scratches the surface of the Deep State, Washington DC and these industries run our lives.

Only We the People can fix this; we must first repent, then begin to act tactically and make history by simply doing the chores.

TACTICAL CIVICS™ is a new way of life: ratify the original first right in our Bill of Rights, remove Congress from Washington DC, restore the citizen Grand Jury and constitutional Militia in each state, then take back all we have lost to DC organized crime.

After 60,000 hours’ R&D by 44 volunteers, TACTICAL CIVICS™ is the only full-spectrum solution; like no other organization. Not politics. Just We The People, enforcing the Constitution at last.

Working from our homes and mobile devices, we can do what no other population, including that of Washington DC, can ever do. These essays work through the challenges and opportunities for today’s American remnant, offering a clear path forward.

Published in Politics

The ability to detect and react to the smell of a potential threat is a precondition of our and other mammals' survival. Using a novel technique, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have been able to study what happens in the brain when the central nervous system judges a smell to represent danger. The study, which is published in PNAS, indicates that negative smells associated with unpleasantness or unease are processed earlier than positive smells and trigger a physical avoidance response.

"The human avoidance response to unpleasant smells associated with danger has long been seen as a conscious cognitive process, but our study shows for the first time that it's unconscious and extremely rapid," says the study's first author Behzad Iravani, researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

The olfactory organ takes up about five per cent of the human brain and enables us to distinguish between many million different smells. A large proportion of these smells are associated with a threat to our health and survival, such as that of chemicals and rotten food. Odour signals reach the brain within 100 to 150 milliseconds after being inhaled through the nose.

The survival of all living organisms depends on their ability to avoid danger and seek rewards. In humans, the olfactory sense seems particularly important for detecting and reacting to potentially harmful stimuli.

It has long been a mystery just which neural mechanisms are involved in the conversion of an unpleasant smell into avoidance behaviour in humans. One reason for this is the lack of non-invasive methods of measuring signals from the olfactory bulb, the first part of the rhinencephalon (literally "nose brain") with direct (monosynaptic) connections to the important central parts of the nervous system that helps us detect and remember threatening and dangerous situations and substances.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now developed a method that for the first time has made it possible to measure signals from the human olfactory bulb, which processes smells and in turn can transmits signals to parts of the brain that control movement and avoidance behaviour.

Their results are based on three experiments in which participants were asked to rate their experience of six different smells, some positive, some negative, while the electrophysiological activity of the olfactory bulb when responding to each of the smells was measured.
"It was clear that the bulb reacts specifically and rapidly to negative smells and sends a direct signal to the motor cortex within about 300 ms," says the study's last author Johan

Lundström, associate professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. "The signal causes the person to unconsciously lean back and away from the source of the smell."

He continues: "The results suggest that our sense of smell is important to our ability to detect dangers in our vicinity, and much of this ability is more unconscious than our response to danger mediated by our senses of vision and hearing."

Karolinska Institutet

Published in General/Features
Sunday, 07 November 2021 20:12

Fathers Belong in the Picture

In yet another desperate attempt to sell the public on his failing multitrillion-dollar spending agenda, President Joe Biden released a slideshow Thursday that inadvertently betrays how the modern Democratic Party views the family. And the news isn't good for fathers, mothers, children, communities, or the nation.

In Biden's slideshow, we meet a cartoon "Linda" from Peoria, Illinois. Linda, we are told, is pregnant with her son "Leo," but we are never told where exactly Leo's father is. We see one slide in which Linda and Leo benefit from Biden's direct payments to parents. We see another slide that shows the government helping Linda pay to put Leo in daycare. And we see another slide in which Leo is placed in government-run pre-K. But again, at no point do we see Linda or Leo with the father. It is as if he doesn't exist.

Which is disappointing, because in real life, decades of research have proven what anyone with an ounce of common sense has already known for centuries: Fathers matter.

Not only are married fathers proven to help their own children achieve higher levels of education, get better jobs, and earn more income, but neighborhoods with more fathers in them have proven to have more upward social mobility than those neighborhoods dominated by single mothers.

Neighborhoods with more fathers are also safer than neighborhoods without them. Families with fathers appear to help establish a climate of order that makes entire communities less violent.

That's right -- just the mere presence of more fathers in a neighborhood helps all children in the neighborhood.

Biden's decision to leave fathers out of the sales pitch for his family policy wouldn't be so bad, except that the actual policies in his family policy make it less likely that fathers will be there for their children.

For starters, his extended payments to parents would punish mothers such as Linda who want to marry the fathers of their children. According to the Tax Policy Center, a mother making $19,000 would lose almost $1,000 a year in payments from the government if she were to get married.

A young couple making $25,000 each and wanting to get married before starting a family would also face a $4,000 penalty under Biden's plan. Those penalties would only go up as the family had children. The child care subsidies in Biden's plan contain steep benefit cliffs that would punish couples who seek the stability of marriage.

Democrats often complain that it is the Republicans who push an ideal vision of the American family on an unreceptive public. But the exact opposite is true. The public prefers a family in which the mother and the father are married, the father works full time, and the mother has the option of working full time, part time, or staying home. But the Biden agenda forces a different model on everyone.

First, it punishes all marriages, and then among those couples that are married, it gives far more benefits to the ones that have both spouses working. It gives less to families with a mother who works part time and nothing to families with a mother who chooses to work at home.

Not every family is perfect. Divorce happens. Fathers die. Single mothers work their tails off to make the best of a bad situation. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the very real benefits to children, mothers, and communities of having married fathers in the home. We should definitely NOT be enacting public policy that punishes families that do.

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Published in General/Features

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