Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Mark Small's Blog (836)

Sycamores on the levee chopped down---for what?

   In the pasture, when I was a kid, a Sycamore tree—I will capitalize the name of this great type of tree—stood alone and apart from everything. The tree was old, the darkened bark long before fallen away on parts of the trunk and branches.  The white and gray were exposed.  The huge leaves covered the ground in the fall, but it was pasture land and eventually mulched.  The tree was older than I was (obviously), and I have no clue how old.  The tree was gigantic—as mature Sycamores tend to…


Added by Mark Small on March 13, 2017 at 9:04pm — No Comments

Robo-calls and simple math

  Robo-calls annoy me, but amuse me at rare times.

  One aspect of robo-calls is the development of computers that speak in complete phrases and answer questions.

  The past few months, after the feel came that “HAL” (see “2001: A Space Odyssey”) was on the other end of the line, I have asked, “Are you a computer?”  At first the calls simply ended. The programmers must have adapted, and other people asked questions similar to mine, because the computers began to say something to the…


Added by Mark Small on January 5, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Electors should do their duty---and then we should abandon the electoral college.

   If one wishes to find weaknesses in the position of “originalists”—those who believe we should follow strictly the intentions of those men who drafted the Constitution of the United States in the summer of 1787—the process by which the President is selected is a good place to start.

   There were general premises upon which the Framers seem to have based the principles that guided their construction of the government the Constitution created.  A basic premise was distrust of, and the…


Added by Mark Small on December 13, 2016 at 7:07am — No Comments

Trump was right---the election was rigged, but not in the way Trump said.

   The election is past. The Democratic Party offered, as a candidate for President of the United States, a person who already had staked out a claim to the nomination, through use of long-time connections within the party. The Republican Party “regulars” were reluctant to endorse the individual who won the primary/caucus process as he extolled many views people find abhorrent.

   Both candidates were reported as having the highest “unfavorable” ratings of any two candidates for the…


Added by Mark Small on November 9, 2016 at 7:39am — No Comments

Life goes on with the Chicago Cubs.

  We lived on Arlington Place, in a one-bedroom apartment with a Pullman kitchen—i.e., down-sized appliances arrayed in a line that could be hidden when the louvered doors were pulled across and shut.  On the first floor of the building was an Italian restaurant called Salvatore’s.

  We had moved there after she graduated from Purdue. We were young, broke, and didn’t care. She had a job at one of the exchanges as a runner. I obtained employment at Northwestern University School of Law as…


Added by Mark Small on October 23, 2016 at 6:12am — 1 Comment

Trump(r) test for screening immigrants---you see it here first.

   I was contacted by individuals with no connection to the campaign of Donald Trump® and asked, in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by the Man Who Would Be—Well I’ll Settle for President that he would impose a really strict test on those who would try to enter the United States to draft such a test. The folks in question would have to past a test to ascertain whether those folks understand The Constitution. One reasonably infers Mr. Trump® meant the Constitution of the United States,…


Added by Mark Small on August 16, 2016 at 6:41am — No Comments

If there are no bus fares for one year, where would you go on the bus?

   I have suggested IndyGo, to acculturate the citizens of Indianapolis and Marion County to take mass transit, should:

   1) Increase the number of bus routes to optimize the number of potential riders.  We should have bus routes in areas where the numbers of potential riders is greatest.

   2) Increase the number of buses on those routes so that during peak hours, especially, someone need wait no more than ten minutes for a bus.

   3) Make sure the buses run on time and are…


Added by Mark Small on July 11, 2016 at 6:28am — No Comments

Acculturate people to riding the bus---go one year without charging fares.

   In 1986, when I moved to Marion County to attend law school, I was surprised at the relatively primitive mass transit system.  One had to wait an hour at a stop for a bus.  I had lived in Chicago, where buses were frequent and dependable, fares cheap enough to make driving a car a much-less-preferred option for daily transportation, and everyone rode the bus.  By that I mean there was no stigma to riding the bus.  I rode the 151 Sheridan bus for about a year, from a stop in Lincoln Park a…


Added by Mark Small on July 9, 2016 at 5:58am — No Comments

Alexander Hamilton never claimed ownership over other human beings.

  Andrew Jackson’s image on the twenty-dollar bill soon will be replaced by that of Harriet Tubman. Earlier the push had been to bump Alexander Hamilton’s image from the ten-dollar bill. After all, Hamilton “only” was Secretary of the Treasury, favored a strong central national government, and was partial to the upper class. Some countered that Jackson had horrible policies against indigenous peoples (e.g., many deaths during The Trail of Tears) and claimed ownership over other human beings…


Added by Mark Small on April 22, 2016 at 6:34am — No Comments

Do you think an Indiana GOP-held Congressional seat can be flipped?

  Of 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives—all up for election this year, as members of the House run on a two-year cycle (U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 2—246 are held by members of the Republican Party and 188 by members of the Democratic Party, with one (1) seat currently vacant.  The Democratic Party needs to win thirty (30) seats to gain control of that chamber.  According to the website 270towin, 56 seats are “competitive.  Of those, 38, by my count, are held…


Added by Mark Small on April 5, 2016 at 5:30am — No Comments

April 4: register to vote!

  Today, April 4, 2016, is the deadline if one wishes to vote in the Indiana primary election on May 3, 2016. has links for information on where and how to register.

Added by Mark Small on April 4, 2016 at 5:56am — No Comments

U.S. Senate easily could "flip" to the Democratic Party.

With all the ballyhoo about the races for United States President, some have lost sight of the seats in both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives up for election this fall.

  Republicans hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate.  Two of the seats included amongst the Democratic side of the chamber are held by Independents—Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine—who caucus with the Democratic Party.

  Thirty-four (34) seats in the Senate are up…


Added by Mark Small on April 3, 2016 at 8:14am — No Comments

Processed meats could lead to immortality

  “Pop-up” ads or informative pieces generally annoy me.  Occasionally I read one that enlightens its reader.  This morning I read one such informative piece.  The piece was about “11 Cancer Causing Foods You Eat Every Day.”  One of the foods or, in this instance, a group or category of food, was “processed meats.”  The piece notes: “According to a 13-year study, 1 out of 17 people who ate 160 grams of processed meats died.” If this is true, the converse of the results would be 16 out of 17…


Added by Mark Small on March 27, 2016 at 5:27am — No Comments

College pal Reducio A. Absurdum on Trump, and wall to keep people IN America.

  On the way between the Memorial Student Union where “And Now for Something Completely Different” and wherever it was Freshman year at DePauw that I read “Mother Courage,” I encountered Reducio A. Absurdum. Maybe the setting was a kegger, a social function at DePauw in the 1970’s at which students practiced a Darwinian approach to intellectual improvement through consumption of large quantities of alcohol to kill brain cells that deserved to die, leaving, as survivors, the cells hardy and…


Added by Mark Small on February 26, 2016 at 7:00am — No Comments

Paul Ogden inaccurately views others' jurisprudence

    Once again my friend Paul Ogden has written an inaccurate assessment of the jurisprudence of those with whom he disagrees.  Mr. Ogden prefers the originalism—a term, apparently, he does not like—of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  Any theory by which one construes our Nation’s Constitution, its interplay with statutes, the constitutions of the 46 States and four Commonwealths (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts), their statutes, as well as the various treaties into…


Added by Mark Small on February 17, 2016 at 7:52am — 1 Comment

Folly not to perform an autopsy on the body of Justice Scalia

    The decision of Texas public officials not to perform an autopsy on the body of the late Justice Antonin Scalia is imprudent.

    First, one should realize autopsies are unpleasant for the novice observer, and unpleasant for survivors of the deceased.  I have not witnessed an autopsy in person, but have read quite a few autopsy reports, primarily during work on appeals of homicide convictions. A “Y” is cut into the thorax of the body, the organs examined, and photographs taken.  The…


Added by Mark Small on February 15, 2016 at 7:16am — No Comments

Justice Scalia's death, originalism's invalidity, mortality tables, and the poossibility of a second vacancy.

    With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, many more people seem aware of what Professor Sheila Suess Kennedy had pointed out on February 3, 2016, on her blog, the Supreme Court is the most important issue for voters in the 2016 election.

    The impact of Justice Scalia’s death on the presidential campaign already has been felt and is, and will continue to be, significant.  Senator Mitch McConnell vowed that a nominee of President Obama will not be approved; that the confirmation…


Added by Mark Small on February 14, 2016 at 7:44am — No Comments

October 18: fight evil and the Patriots(r)---wear garlands of garlic to the game.

   Garlic is very healthy and imparts great taste to food.

   Garlic also is feared by vampires.

   Today’s blog is not meant as an appeal to belief in the unnatural. I am a taxpayer. The political leaders of the city in which I live decided long ago to subsidize, with money obtained from our tax dollars, professional sports franchise owners. The National Football League® is a —try not to choke on your food as you read this—not-for-profit corporation. The owners of the 32 franchises…


Added by Mark Small on October 2, 2015 at 6:15am — No Comments

Is Donald Trump a "plant" in the field of GOP candidates?

   If I were made head of the GOP, there are several moves I would push.

   Please realize I am not registered as a person who has voted Republican in any elections. I have voted for some candidates from the “R” party, but the number of those is relatively small. I have found the Democratic Party to have some bad candidates. In some races, in the general election, I have left blank the vote for a particular office. If the candidate of another party is on the ballot, I seriously consider…


Added by Mark Small on September 18, 2015 at 6:21am — No Comments

Best birthday present ever: I do not have Multiple Sclerosis.

   In June, on the morning of my birthday, I had an appointment with a neurologist, at IU Clarian North.  A too-long drive was one of several reasons I had decided to switch neurologists.

   My reality has been shaped, significantly, since January, 1994, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I have blogged previously about the events that led up to the diagnosis. By the second day of what became a nine-day stay in the hospital, I was paralyzed from the waist down. I could not…


Added by Mark Small on September 7, 2015 at 6:10am — No Comments

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