Lazy Sunday XVI: #MAGAWeek2018

This week marks the beginning of #MAGAWeek2019, my celebration of the men, women, and ideas that MADE AMERICA GREAT!  Starting Monday, July 1 and running through Friday, July 5, this year’s #MAGAWeek2019 posts will be SubscribeStar exclusives.  If you want to read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  You’ll also get access to exclusive content every Saturday.

To celebrate #MAGAWeek2019, this edition of Lazy Sunday features the four essays from #MAGAWeek2018.  They pull from my years of teaching and reading American history, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

1.) “George Washington” – The Father of Our Country!  Social justice bleeding hearts and historical revisionists have striven for years to cast Washington and the other Founders as greedy slave owners who wrote a wicked, capitalistic Constitution to preserve their own power.  What a cartoonishly stupid view of American history!  George Washington was an able leader, and demonstrated a trait that the modern Left would do well to learn:  mercy.

2.) “John Quincy Adams” – John Quincy Adams was a terrible president, and suffered from the aloof elitism of our modern coastal elites (he was even staged against the Trump of his time, the populist hero Andrew Jackson).  That said, he was the best Secretary of State this nation ever had (so don’t be too hasty in drawing comparisons between him and Secretary Hillary Clinton).  JQA crafted America’s expansion across the continent with adept skill.  Read all about it in my lengthy biography.

3.) “Thomas Jefferson & The Declaration of Independence” – Jefferson is, other Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and a handful of other Founders, our most important Founding Father.  He wrote the Declaration of Independence, with its lofty ideals of God-given rights and liberty.  He was a Renaissance Man, talented in many areas, and while he harbored a naive support for the French Revolution (and revolutions generally), his philosophic mind bequeathed to the world a document that is a thunderclap for liberty here and abroad.

4.) “Limited Government” – This post largely focused on the Madisonian system of the Constitution.  I fear that we no longer truly live under the constitutional order that Madison and the fifty-four other Framers created, as our insidious Deep State and bureaucratic elite resist the results of elections and despise the very citizens they are charged to serve.  Let us hope the spirit of 1787 will move Americans again to insist upon the restoration of limited government.

Enjoy this look back at our nation’s history, and stay tuned for more #MAGAWeek entries this week!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:


SubscribeStar Saturday: Immigration and Drugs

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

The immigration problem is serious for many reasons that I’ve detailed on this site.  For Europeans and Minnesotans, unassimilable Muslim immigrants present a particularly explosive problem.  The West generally struggles against the elite desire to import cheap labor and hostile foreign cultures, and any talk of border control or deportation is denounced as wicked or inhumane.

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TPP Review: First Half of 2019

It’s been a busy week for yours portly as I’ve been on uncle duty.  The little ones are back to their folks, and TPP is wiping away the baby spittle and Cheerios dust—and, hopefully, getting back on schedule.

This Monday, July 1 will kick off #MAGAWeek2019, which will be a SubscribeStar exclusiveJust subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more to get access to these posts about the men, women, and ideas that made America great [again]!  And don’t forget tomorrow is SubscribeStar Saturday, the day of the week subscribers get a post just for them.

July 1 will also mark the halfway point of this year, so I thought I’d use tonight’s post to do a little looking back.  This post will be the 180th consecutive post, which means I have an entire secondary school academic year’s worth of posts in 2019.  I might should start compiling those into a book—the Portly Manifesto, perhaps?

Regardless, here are the five most viewed posts of 2019 up to this point.  Enjoy!

5.) “Nehemiah and National Renewal” – Not only is this post about Nehemiah, the great leader of the Israelites who coordinated the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s dilapidated walls in the face of overwhelming opposition, a reader favorite; it’s one of my favorites as well.  Nehemiah trusted in God, and when God commanded him to rebuild the walls, Nehemiah did so faithfully.  The parallels with the Trumpean program of building a wall and seeking national renewal are hard to miss.  I also wrote a fairly popular follow-up to this post, which explores the spiritual aspects of Nehemiah more thoroughly.

4.) “Hump Day Hoax” – This post garnered a great deal of attention because I linked to it in the “comments” section of GOPUSA, a conservative news and opinion website.  The site featured a piece on my adopted home town’s mayor, who claimed that the heavy pollen on her car was part of a deliberate hate crime.  You can’t make this stuff up.  In the wake of the Jussie Smollett hoax, it seemed at the time like Her Dishonor the Mayor was grasping for some race-based discrimination fame of her own.  I’m pretty sure my mayor reported the story to Newsweek herself, even though county and State law enforcement confirmed that the mystery substance was, indeed, pollen.  Gesundheit!

3.) “Secession Saturday” – This post explored the totalitarian nature of Leftism, particularly the idea that, should our cold cultural civil war ever turn hot, the Left would never allow for a peaceful separation.  Even though they hate us, part of that hate is due to their unwillingness to let us live our lives as we see fit.  As such, there would never be an amicable parting of ways, because progressives can’t stand for people to disagree with them.

2.) “Gay Totalitarianism” – This piece pulled from—as all of my best posts do—the excellent American Greatness website.  It explored a couple of hoaxes involving gays or lesbians concocting incidents of violence to garner media attention and fawning support, all in the service of pushing an increasingly unhinged queer agenda.  Jussie Smollett’s ability to stage a ridiculously clumsy “hate crime” against himself, then to walk scot-free, shows how being gay, black, and famous serves as a talisman against even criminal prosecution.

1.) “The Desperate Search for Meaning” – The most popular post of this year owes its popularity to clicks from Dalrock’s blog.  I posted the link to it in a comment on one of his pieces, and his superior content and traffic spilled over to this piece, which focused on the antics of a New Age charlatan and her female acolytes.  The posts discusses how people (and, in this context, specifically women) are desperately searching for something deeper than empty materialism, to the point that they will endure abuse and slave-like work conditions for the chance to be close to someone offering spiritual fulfillment, even if it’s counterfeit.

So, there you have it.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog this year.  Here’s hoping I can keep the momentum going.

Happy Fourth of July!


TBT: Third Party Opportunity?

Last night’s first round of Democratic presidential primary debates was what I expected—a contest between largely identical candidates competing to see who could promise each other more free goodies.  Cory Booker came off as a bit light in the loafers, with a bulging lazy eye and a peeved reaction to Robert Francis O’Rourke’s cringe-inducing Spanish (per the rumors that Senator Booker is a closeted homosexual, I thought the look on his face was a mix of annoyance and arousal, but who can say).  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts just came across as an angry scold.  When will Democrats learn that running a nagging woman is not going to win them elections?

Only Tulsi Gabbard, the mega-babe from Hawaii, seemed interesting, but she barely received any screen time.  Then there were cookie-cutter dudes like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Governor John Inslee who just looked the same, not to mention that guy from Ohio.  In fact, the forgettable dude from Ohio got one of the biggest applauses with a quintessentially Trumpian promise to restore manufacturing (never mind that The Donald has already accomplished that).

Tonight we’ll get more of the same, though hopefully entrepreneur and math nerd Andrew Yang will spice things up with Asiatic wonkery.  Otherwise, the only thing to see will be how many racial gaffes Vice President Joe Biden makes (I would love it if he made reference to Yang’s “Asiatic wonkery”).

So far, it all looks like good news for Trump.  Of course, a weak, generic Democratic field might attract some doomed third-party hopefuls.  That’s why for this week’s #TBT, I thought I’d look back to a lengthy piece from 2016 about the structural disadvantages of third party candidates, “Third Party Opportunity?

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The Bull on the Roof

Yesterday was spent teaching History of Conservative Thought, painting a classroom floor, and rushing around the Pee Dee region teaching four music lessons, before finally heading out of town for a few days. Needless to say, there wasn’t any time to get a post ready for this morning.

The news has also been light. The first round of Democratic presidential primary debates is tonight, but who cares other than the candidates?

There was a bit of a diplomatic imbroglio with Iran last week, but did anyone really think war was going to break out? Trump handled it Trumpishly; that is effectively, letting the mullahs sweat it out a bit before giving them an out (and signalling to Iranians that he cares more about their lives than the Ayatollah).

That’s why I’ve been sticking to the history and culture posts lately. There just hasn’t been much to say on politics, because there’s so much good happening. Illegal immigration is still a major problem, but otherwise the only “bad” news is that the economy is still growing, just not as quickly as a year ago.

So, brace yourself for another self-indulgent post (this publication is a blog, after all). While driving last night, I hit a classic rock and talk radio dead zone, so I resorted to public radio. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Summer Reading: The Story of Yankee Whaling

I released the Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019 on my SubscribeStar page a few weeks ago, which features a few books I highly recommend.

After dashing off yesterday’s post on Sunday night, I picked up a little book I’ve had in my private collection for some years now, The Story of Yankee Whaling.  It’s part of the now-defunct American Heritage Junior Library series of history books for young readers, and it’s a charming little volume about the grand adventures and brutal lives of whalers in colonial and nineteenth-century America.

The first edition of the book was published in 1959, but my edition is a slender paperback edition from 1965.  It is rich in primary source documentation, as well as sketches and woodcuts from the high watermark of whaling.  The author is Irwin Shapiro, who worked closely with Edouard A. Stackpole, the then-curator of the Mystic Seaport Marine Historical Association in Mystic, Connecticut.

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Southern Conservatism: John Randolph of Roanoke

MAGA Week 2019 is one week away!  Get ready to celebrate America all week long!  This year, all MAGA Week posts will be exlusive to my SubscribeStar page, so subscribe today!  $1 a month gets you full access to all posts, including new content every Saturday.

As my History of Conservative Thought course rolls on, I’m learning more about the forgotten byways and overgrown, stately ruins of the various branches of conservatism.  Students this week are reading a couple of documents from John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, the two founders of the Federalist Party, and key to the passage of the Constitution.  Hamilton, the author of the bulk of the pro-ratification Federalist Papers, also created the financial system upon which the United States functions today.

Hamilton and Adams have both enjoyed renewed interest in recent years, Hamilton due to the smash Broadway musical about his life, and Adams from a critically-acclaimed HBO series (one that, sadly, takes some unnecessary artistic license with the past).  In the case of Hamilton, American history students are often enthusiastic to get to him in my AP US History course, and Hamilton mega-fans often know more about the first Secretary of Treasury than I do.

But we’re reading a speech from another important figure from American history, albeit one largely forgotten:  John Randolph of Roanoke.

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Lazy Sunday XV: Work

It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but today’s Lazy Sunday is all about work.  I’m writing it amid a very lazy weekend full of loafing and pizza (and scrolling through Milo Yiannopoulos’s exquisite Telegram feed).

The weekend is so lazy because I’ve been working my butt off the past couple of weeks.  My pastor recently wrapped up our Wednesday night study of Nehemiah, and a major point of our last lesson (on Nehemiah 13) was the importance of keeping the Sabbath, for both spiritual and physical reasons.  He pointed out that God designed us to take a day once a week to rest, not out of legalistic adherence to the Law, but for spiritual and physical refreshment.

I’ve definitely been living up to that restful ideal, but I do love to work (namely, I enjoy earning money).  Work is therapeutic in its own way—it can distract from the follies of life—and while it is stressful at times, good work instills one with virtue.

I firmly believe that work is ennobling, and provides a sense of purpose and meaning beyond the obvious financial reasons people work.  Simply giving people money in lieu of work, then, may satisfy material needs, but it creates and encourages dependency, and robs one of an opportunity to grow and learn.

My main goal in working is to retire—I want to have enough squirreled away that I don’t have to work, which would free me up to enjoy work maximally (and to have the flexibility to take time for other pursuits when needed).  That’s why I teach full-time, teach part-time as an adjunct, teach private lessons, play gigs, write songs, and paint classrooms in the summer.  But I don’t think I’ll ever stop working at this point; I’ll just write more and sleep in later.

Of course, if you want to help me reach my retirement goals slightly faster, feel free to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page.  It’s just a buck a month to support my work and gain access to exclusive weekly content.  Consider that a year’s subscription ($12) is about the price of one large pizza, and you won’t get meat sweats from reading my material.

So, all panhandling aside, here are some past works on… work!

  • Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time” – This piece looked at a Rasmussen Number of the Day that claimed that Americans spend 11.5 hours a week in meetings.  What a waste.  I have way too much important stuff to do without some petty tyrant showing off his or her power to make me sit in a crowded room.

    My ironclad rules for meetings:

    • A regularly-scheduled meeting should be no more than 30 minutes
    • A less frequent meeting should an hour, tops, and that’s pushing it
    • If it can be done via e-mail, do it that way (just be prepared to send the e-mail several times to make sure people read it)
  • April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective” – This post was about my getting laid off (well, technically, about finding out my contract was not being renewed) during the height of the Great Recession.  That was probably one of the most formative moments in my adult life, and explains why I fastidiously budget every penny for the day when the economy turns sour again.
  • Painting” – Another self-indulgent post, this one about the subtle joys of painting—no, not the fun, Bob Ross kind of painting, but the painting of rooms.  I spend most of my summers at school, often alone, painting classrooms.  It’s a great way to clear your head (and to listen to podcasts).
  • Hustlin’: Minecraft Camp 2019” – I run a little summer camp every June that involves playing Minecraft with rambunctious young’uns.  It’s surprisingly lucrative:  in four half-days, I earned about double what I will in fifty hours of summer painting and maintenance work (depending on the number of students enrolled).  It’s also a blast, and kids create some amazing stuff in this little sandbox game.

What do you do to earn some extra bucks?  Leave a comment below, then head to my SubscribeStar page to sign up for a monthly subscription.

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Christians Protect Other Faiths

There’s been a debate raging on the Right between David French and Sohrab Ahmari that is ostensibly about civility in the political arena.  What it’s really about is a struggle for who will dominate conservatism:  the plucky culture warriors of the populist, Trumpian Right, or the hand-wringing sellouts of Conservatism, Inc.

That’s a story for another SubscribeStar Saturday, but is relevant to this topic.  Ahmari and other First Things writers signed their names to a manifesto in March detailing their resistance to and struggle against the prevailing liberal-progressive orthodoxy.  In his controversial follow-up piece, “Against David French-ism,” Ahmari soundly rejects hyper-individualism (and the kind of weak-willed ineffectualism of libertarian solutions to political and social problems) and vaguely calls for a state more attuned to Christian principles.

Critics are accusing him of advocating for a Catholic theocracy, which is, of course, completely unworkable in the pluralistic United States.  But I don’t think that’s precisely what Ahmari has in mind (although it’s a bit unclear).  He is correct that the United States was founded to be an implicitly Christian country.

To read more, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or higher.  Surely you want to read how I support such a sweeping claim, yes?