Because we live in a wonderful and interesting time, it is now possible to have your deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analyzed for a couple hundred bucks. DNA molecules, which are embedded in the nuclei of most of the cells in your body, contain the genetic instructions that are responsible for many of your physical attributes. An analysis of your DNA can reveal information about your ethnic and racial ancestry, physical traits, and even your health and the likelihood of developing certain illnesses.

There are several companies that provide DNA analysis services, with most focused solely on ethnic and racial ancestry. Some companies offer a more detailed analysis that also looks at your genetic traits and health. Melissa and I decided to have one of these more in-depth analyses done, and we chose the “Health + Ancestry” package from 23andMe.

The process is pretty simple. You order a testing kit online, and they send it to you. When you receive the kit, you follow the instructions and spit into a tube until you’ve collected the required amount of saliva. You seal the tube shut with the included stabilizer fluid, and mail it back using the included return package. Then you wait. Within a few weeks, you get your reports back, which you can view and download from their web site. And if you’re a nerd like me, you can even download a ZIP file of your genetic code for future reference.

So what did my report reveal? . . . Continued

Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA 1st) and four others were shot this morning at a Republican baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

A single shooter carrying a rifle entered Eugene Simpson Stadium Park and opened fire. Scalise was shot in the hip and was seriously injured, but is in stable condition. Zack Barth, a legislative correspondent for Representative Roger Williams (R-TX 25th), and Matt Mika, Director – Government Relations at Tyson Foods, were also injured. Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Krystal Griner of the Capitol Police, who were serving as Scalise’s security detail, immediately engaged in a gunfight with the attacker and were injured. None of the injuries are believed to be life threatening, although Mika, the most seriously injured, is currently listed in critical condition.

Law enforcement officials have identified the shooter as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. He was shot by police and later died of his injuries.

Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC 3rd) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL 6th), who left the practice early, reported that the shooter asked them whether Republicans or Democrats were playing. They told him that it was a Republican practice. Shortly after Duncan and DeSantis left, Hodgkinson began his attack. Hodgkinson’s social media posts indicate that he was a strong supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. He had recently commented on a Change.org petition, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” [sic]. Sanders strongly condemned the attack and all political violence.

The Republican baseball team was practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, which has been held annually since 1909. It is friendly competition between teams of Republican and Democratic congressmen, and the proceeds benefit charitable organizations. The game is scheduled to be held tomorrow. Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ 2nd) has announced that the game will go on as scheduled.

Somehow it has been two years or so since I’ve posted a bunch of random photos. So here’s a bunch of random photos. Many of these have made an appearance at one point or another on Facebook, but I was long overdue for cross-posting the ones I really like here. Enjoy! . . . Continued

In April and May, Melissa and I traveled to Houston, Texas, and then from there traveled with Melissa’s mom, dad, and brother to Taipei, Taiwan (Republic of China) and Hong Kong (a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China). This was primarily a trip to spend time with Melissa’s extended family, although we also did some of the usual tourist things as well.

This was my (and Melissa’s) first time out of the western hemisphere, so it was kind-of a ‘big deal’ for us. Of course, for Melissa, it was a visit to her ancestral homeland, so it was probably a bigger deal for her than for me! Although I’m at least part English, so I can claim an ancestral connection to Hong Kong . . . sort-of. Hooray for colonialism!

Regardless, we had a good time. Lots of great people and great food. Although the air quality was pretty epically bad and we all got sinus infections. Oh well. I didn’t bring my camera on this trip; I mainly wanted to just enjoy it and soak it up. But of course I did take shots on my phone of things I found interesting, and I’ve included some of those photos below. Enjoy! . . . Continued

Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed by a 54-45 majority in the United States Senate and will become the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Gorsuch was President Donald Trump’s (R) first Supreme Court nominee, and his confirmation ends an unusually lengthy vacancy on the court. Justice Antonin Scalia died of natural causes in February of 2016, and although President Barack Obama (D) nominated Merrick Garland to the seat the following month, the Senate never acted on that nomination. Gorsuch, like Scalia, is generally regarded as a textualist, so his confirmation is unlikely to cause any major shift in the court’s ideological balance.

The U.S. Constitution charges the Senate with providing “advice and consent” on judicial nominations, and it remains an unanswered legal question whether inaction actually fulfills that requirement. Republicans simply never considered the Garland nomination, and Democrats mounted a “filibuster” in an attempt to prevent Gorsuch’s from going to a vote.

Republicans broke the filibuster by invoking the so-called “nuclear option,” a rule change that prohibits senators from obstructing Supreme Court nominations. Democrats made a similar rule change in 2013, but it only applied to cabinet and lower court appointments.

Gorsuch will be sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday.

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.