Saturday, March 31, 2018


Harvey Mansfield, Harvard professor and author of a book called Manliness, is interviewed about the Trump presidency for The Wall Street Journal. Some of his insights are worth your consideration.
“Trump’s manliness is of a raw character, the kind you find, also, in Erdogan and Putin, who are rough and gross and discourteous.”

[Mansfield] returns to the subject of Mr. Trump’s supporters. “They rather like and appreciate his vulgarity and his baseness, his impulsiveness,” he says. “It doesn’t bother them that he’s rich and wears flashy, bright ties.” They think “that this is how they would be if they were rich. Trump is an image of their notion of what money can buy.”

In Mr. Mansfield’s view, Mr. Trump’s success wasn’t a racial reaction to President Obama as much as a backlash in favor of masculinity. Mr. Obama “had the scolding demeanor of a schoolmarm—very much, I think, following the temper of today’s feminists.

[Trump] “doesn’t seem to have the fans abroad that he does here,” Mr. Mansfield says. “But in order for him to be successful outside America, he doesn’t have to have fans. He just has to have people impressed and a little perturbed.”
If Mansfield's assessment is correct, it would seem Stormy Daniels did President Trump a favor by going public. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Saturday Snark

Gleanings from this week’s edition of Steve Hayward’s The Week in Pictures for Power Line, always a treat.

Cartoon of anti-gun activist David Hogg as a ventriloquist dummy sitting on the Democrat donkey’s knee, while the donkey says:
How dare you question this child’s heartfelt words?
Two photos, the first of President Obama, who says:
Nobody can sell more AR-15s than I can
The second of very young looking David Hogg, who says:
Hold my sippy-cup. 
Photo of troops in an armored personnel carrier on a city street. The machine's color Photoshopped™to yellow and a child disembarking from inside added. The photo is captioned:
New school buses in Chicago
Cartoon of Mark Zuckerberg looking askance, facing a whole flock of thumbs-down, captioned:
Photo of Hillary Clinton, captioned:
I Had Sex With Donald Trump Too .... Kinda.
He Screwed Me Out Of My Presidency.
Cartoon of a factory making Easter candy, two people watch a conveyor belt deliver a line of little chocolate men wearing hats and beards. The woman speaks:
You fool! I said chocolate rabbits.
Cartoon of a man looking at the building directory of the Institute of Philosophy. On the floor plan there is a star labeled:
Why are you here?

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Reasonable Accommodation

I know Second Amendment extremists oppose any limitation on firearms. Yet truly automatic weapons - machine guns and other weapons which fire repeatedly with a single trigger pull - are now and have long been illegal in private hands.

The "no automatic weapons" limitation has always seemed reasonable to me. I see no reason not to broaden it slightly to include any alteration to a weapon which has that same effect, including so-called "bump stocks," "gatling triggers" and any other old or new trick to achieve the same effect.

Most Mass Shooters Are Mental links to an Andrew Malcolm column at the Hot Air website. Malcolm reports findings of a study of mass shooters done by the U.S. Secret Service.
The report by the Service’s Threat Assessment Center pored over 28 shootings that killed almost 150 and injured hundreds of others in schools, churches and places of business. It found that more than 75 percent of the perpetrators exhibited unusual advance behavior or communications that raised suspicions among others.

It also found that before the shootings, two-thirds of suspects (64 percent) displayed signs of mental illness such as paranoia and delusions. And in a quarter of the cases the suspects had been hospitalized or under treatment with psychiatric drugs before the deadly assaults. Yet, they remained at large.
As COTTonLINE has repeatedly observed, when our nation stopped warehousing mental patients we agreed perforce for them to live among us. Some of them are extremely dangerous and many more swell our homeless population and defecate in our streets.

We know how to reduce the problem, but lack the will. The Swiss don't let this happen in their tidy country, why should we?

Different Groups, Different Views

Thomas Edsall writes for The New York Times and is a reliable leftist. That said, he sometimes writes things worth reading as he tries to get his facts straight, even if his spin is one you'd rather avoid.

Today he writes, behind the NYT paywall but available free at, about the Democrats' need to appeal to blue-collar whites, who he shows make up the largest voting bloc for Democrats. Edsall also links to a Brookings/PRRI survey report which finds:
54 percent of college-educated whites think that America’s culture and way of life have improved since the 1950s; 62 percent of white working-class Americans think that it has changed for the worse. Sixty-eight percent of working-class whites, but only 47 percent of college-educated whites, believe that the American way of life needs to be protected against foreign influences.

Sixty-six percent of working-class whites, but only 43 percent of college-educated whites, say that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. In a similar vein, 62 percent of working-class whites believe that discrimination against Christians has become as big a problem as discrimination against other groups, a proposition only 38 percent of college educated whites endorse.

By a margin of 52 to 35 percent, college-educated whites affirm that today’s immigrants strengthen our country through their talent and hard work. Conversely, 61 percent of white working-class voters say that immigrants weaken us by taking jobs, housing, and health care. Seventy-one percent of working-class whites think that immigrants mostly hurt the economy by driving down wages, a belief endorsed by only 44 percent of college-educated whites.

Fifty-nine percent of working-class whites believe that we should make a serious effort to deport all illegal immigrants back to their home countries; only 33 percent of college-educated whites agree. Fifty-five percent of working-class whites think we should build a wall along our border with Mexico, while 61 percent of whites with BAs or more think we should not. Majorities of working-class whites believe that we should make the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States illegal and temporarily ban the entrance of non-American Muslims into our country; about two-thirds of college-educated whites oppose each of these proposals.

By a narrow margin of 48 to 46 percent, college-educated whites endorse the view that trade agreements are mostly helpful to the United States because they open up overseas markets while 62 percent of working-class whites believe that they are harmful because they send jobs overseas and drive down wages.
Face it, each of these issues affects the two groups differently, and the groups react to them differently. But as Edsall shows, to win elections Democrats need blue-collar white votes and the party's identity group platform has no appeal to blue-collar white voters.

Democrats find blue-collar whites "deplorable," Trump calls them the salt of the earth. Forget for a moment your personal belief, which characterization do you suppose they prefer?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Follow the Money

Stormy Daniels' attorney has told the press she will be willing to consider an offer to settle the suit. In other words, "justice" isn't her aim, money is what she seeks.

This is an attempt to 'bleed' a wealthy guy who doesn't need more salacious publicity. Her problem at this juncture is that she's already demonstrated that once purchased, her "silence" doesn't stay bought.

That is a bad position from which to begin bargaining. The analogy would be coming to a mortgage lender for a home loan and having the credit rating firms say you're a deadbeat, a recent bankrupt.

Is a Bear Catholic?

Okay, I shamelessly got your attention. I now direct that attention to my real question: "Is the Pope Catholic?"

An article at raises serious questions about his commitment to the Roman Catholic faith. It reports in an interview Pope Francis repudiates material in the catechism concerning the existence of Hell and the punishment of unrepentant sinners' souls.

I believe a substantial argument can be made that Francis is the first out-of-the-closet agnostic Pope. I began to write "atheist" and changed it to agnostic as that word choice reflects an important difference.

An atheist believes there truly is no god while an agnostic says he (or she) doesn't know whether there is a god and isn't much interested either in the question or its answer. There is much in the public statements of Pope Francis which suggests he doesn't much care about whether there is a god or what demands that god makes upon humans.

Pope Francis appears to be much more interested in the penumbrae of liberation theology. That is, in attempts to create something more heavenly (or less hellish) here on Earth in our lifetime, via a variety of kumbaya socialist nostrums. These may have been hot stuff in the barrios of Argentina against a background of Evita-worshipping Peronism, they don't survive scrutiny on the world stage.

Research: the Steps to Success

An excellent Wall Street Journal article explains the "success sequence" - education, work, marriage, children - accomplished in that order. Author Wendy Wang writes:
Tracking a cohort of young adults from their teenage years to early adulthood in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox and I recently tested how well the three success sequence “steps” work among the millennial generation. We found that at ages 28 to 34, 53% of millennials who had failed to complete all three steps were poor. The poverty rate dropped to 31% among millennials who completed high school, 16% among those who had a diploma and a full-time job, and 3% for millennials who also put marriage before the baby carriage. Among childless and unmarried millennials 28 to 34 who followed the education and work steps, the poverty rate was 8%.

In regression models that predict the odds of being in poverty after controlling for a range of background factors—including intelligence, childhood family income, race and ethnicity—the probability of ending up poor was reduced by 60% for millennials who married before having children and by about 90% for millennials who followed all steps of the sequence compared with those who missed all three.

More important, the success sequence benefits young adults from low-income backgrounds. Among young adults who grew up in low-income families, those who followed all three steps had a poverty rate of only 6%, compared with 35% for their peers who missed one or more steps. Eighty percent of those with lower-income backgrounds made it into middle- or upper-income brackets when they followed all three steps, versus only 44% for those who missed one or more steps.
Yep, this is something we've known anecdotally, and now have proof for. Would you be surprised that progressives find the success sequence repulsive and hateful? Neither would I. Their "it's all good" attitude created the current mess.

Economy Booming

Drudge Report links to a Bloomberg article which reports new jobless claims last week dropped to the lowest level since early 1973. For the arithmetically challenged, that was 45 years ago. Some key quotes:
Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 224,500 from the prior week's 225,000.

Applications for jobless benefits below the 300,000 tally are typically considered consistent with a healthy labor market.
Meanwhile Breitbart reports government statistics which show:
USDA data reveals that the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants fell from 42,676,312 in January 2017 when Trump took office to 41,324,904 in December 2017—a decrease of 1,351,408.
In November we'll see a test of James Carville's dictum "It's the economy, stupid!" The economy is clearly booming, which should see incumbent Republicans do well.

On the other hand, good times could lead to Republican voter complacency whereas Democrats are fired up with hating President Trump. We live in interesting times....

Treating Decline

Instapundit links to a Conrad Black article at the New York Sun websiite, and highlights this brilliant quote:
Mr. Trump may have aggravated some of the current nastiness, but his chief offense has been breaking ranks with the bipartisan coalition that produced the only period of absolute and relative decline in American history.
(Metaphor alert) Decline made it possible for Donald Trump to convince America the dyspeptic body politic needed not a soothing antacid tablet but a disruptive enema. Swamp draining, indeed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Recent Darwin Award Nominee

I just saw on TV a woman whose husband was arrested in Iran and held as a spy pleading for the President to free him. It was announced that the husband was there studying something about the Persian culture for his doctoral studies.

Let's be clear. It is near-universally known that Iran views essentially all Americans there as spies, and they may be right about some. What I don't understand is why the U.S. government should jump through hoops trying to extract people who were too stupid to avoid going there.

We should announce a policy of "anybody ill-advised enough to enter Iran without a diplomatic passport is on their own" and mean it. The thoroughly impractical alternative is to flood the country with thousands of oblivious tourists so that detaining any significant percentage of them will bankrupt Iran.

Bye-Ku for Shulkin

With the customary hat tip to WSJ’s James Taranto, its popularizer, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, whom President Trump fired late today. Fox News reports Shulkin - an Obama era holdover - is to be replaced by current Presidential physician Admiral Ronny Jackson, M.D.

Bugger off, Shulkin.
Your Obama stigmata
Were indelible.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Virtue Signalling in Higher Ed.

Reliably left-wing David Leonhardt writes for The New York Times. Today he shares something that gives him heartburn, and helps us explain certain trends we see in higher education staffing. First, see his quote:
The surge in poorer students going to college hasn’t led to any meaningful change in the number of college graduates from poorer backgrounds. Among children born to low-wealth families in the 1970s, 11.3 percent went on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Among the same category of children born in the 1980s, only 11.8 percent did.
Trying to help such students stay in school and actually graduate has led to hiring dozens of non-teaching "administrators" at virtually every college and university. It's their job to hold student hands, deliver pep talks, and generally coach them in how to graduate.

The evidence Leonhardt cites suggests hiring these individuals, while ineffectual, is a way higher ed. institutions virtue signal. It shows the campuses recognize the problem and are spending money trying to solve it - when the poor/minority graduates everyone seeks fail to materialize.

What absolutely nobody wants to hear is that turning these kids into college graduates is a "silk purse from sow's ear" problem. One that is unsolvable with existing methodology and without violating the kids' civil rights.

More on Peruvian Politics

We wrote a couple of days ago about a leadership change in Peru. Today comes a World Politics Review article which explains why that change took place, outside the normal schedule of elections.

Turns out it was corruption on a relatively massive scale, driven by a Brazillian construction firm named Odebrecht which threw around millions like confetti. It would appear everyone in power in Peru in recent cycles was on the take. 

It is the typical Latin American graft and corruption story; what dismissive norte americanos characterize with some justice as “banana republic” behavior.

Storm Clouds

I haven’t written anything much about the Stormy Daniels controversy and was tempted to leave it alone, but then reconsidered. So ... several random thoughts on the subject in no particular order.

Trump is no choir boy. With his involvement in beauty pageants, wrestling, show biz, and with a series of attractive women, three of whom he married and fathered children with, you’d expect there to be women out there with whom he had short-term liaisons. Turns out, you’d be right. Is anyone surprised?

Women who’ve bedded a president can choose to trade on that fact, to capitalize on it, though perhaps most do not. Again, no big surprise.

Wealth, fame and power combined are a powerful aphrodesiac. As New York City’s young, wealthy super developer, Trump had all three in spades. Add in the later-arriving glamor of show biz and he was going to get a bunch of offers only a Mike Pence would turn down. It is safe to say Trump is no Pence, and never was.

Speaking of Pence, if the Daniels allegations were being made of VP Pence, that would be an actual scandal because of his hypocracy if those claims proved to be true. Trump on the other hand is an unvarnished alpha male, and never claimed otherwise, so even spending what are to him trivial sums to hush up attention-seeking former partners is no big deal.

It isn’t a stretch to say I’d have been surprised if former paramours hadn’t put in an appearance, claiming The Donald as a notch on their headboards. Today’s relaxed attitude toward non-marital sex and rejection of slut-shaming made it a near certainty.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Grim Forecast

Writing in the Orange County Register, demographer-turned-pundit Joel Kotkin steps back, takes a long view of world society, and reaches a conclusion that, if you believe it, could make you cry.
To combat what they see as nativism, including any unfashionable attachment to western civilization, the progressives who run Facebook and Google have allied with the politically correct left’s thought police. Kumbaya values will be packaged in schools, the media, the arts and fashion, shaping the views of the next generation while the last America-centric generations die off.

Ultimately the successor to neoliberalism will not be the resurgent nationalism of Steve Bannon’s fantasies but an autocratic one manufactured in Beijing, Manhattan, Silicon Valley and the academy. Largely unappreciated today, we someday may look back at the waning neoliberal era with some nostalgia, lamenting the failure of a noble idea that failed.
And make no mistake, Kotkin is himself a member of "the last America-centric generations." This isn't a conclusion he relishes.

Not So Rosy

We wrote yesterday about Trump signing a bloated “omnibus” spending bill, and compared his actions to those of Reagan and Bush II, going along with Democrat domestic spending to get increases in defense dollars. In the cold, gray light of dawn another comparison occurred to me, one less likely to produce an “Okay, we can live with that” reaction.

Suppose the appropriate comparison is with Bush I saying “Read my lips, no new taxes” and subsequently signing a tax increase. He famously was not reelected for a second term and while the “why” of that loss isn’t entirely clear, going back on his word about taxes is the most often cited explanation.

I’m not bitter enough to describe that second comparison as a “rosy scenario.” A bunch of conservative federal judge appointments are still in the offing.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Better Late Than Never

As we wrote on Feb. 20, the Obama DOE and DOJ coerced schools into not expelling students of color who habitually misbehaved, and not treating them as criminals. This led to the crazy kid shooter at Parkland school being able to pass a background check to buy an assault weapon because he had no police record as such.

The New York Post reports the Trump DOE/DOJ will finally get around to killing the policy this summer, though why it has taken them so long to do so is absolutely unclear and essentially indefensible.
DeVos has met with both critics and supporters of the guidance. She has not said publicly if she will rescind it, other than to say, “We are studying that rule.” But she has rolled back several other Obama regulations and has hired staff lawyers who oppose the lax discipline policy, while cutting $1 million from the budget of the civil-rights office that enforces it.

Federal Education Department officials told the Post the guidance, known as the “2014 Dear Colleague letter,” will be rescinded this year, but only after drafting another rule to replace it. The substitute guidance will make it clear that the government will no longer rely on the disputed legal theory known as “disparate impact,” which Obama investigators used to threaten school districts with discrimination charges.

“Just withdrawing the letter without replacing it with another letter interpreting disparate impact more narrowly would do little” to convince school officials to change their discipline policies back, a senior department official said.
That constitutes a half-assed explanation of the delay, if you're into giving swamp-dwelling bureaucrats the benefit of the doubt.
Which I'm not.

Reversion to the Mean

Writing at the American Thinker, Lloyd Marcus asks, somewhat rhetorically, if California Governor Jerry Brown is mentally ill. My answer: Only if confusing what he’d like to be true of humans with what he knows (or should know) to be true can be so defined.

Many liberals, including Brown, simply cannot accept that humans are, by their lights, so terribly flawed. Doing so would plunge them into the very pit of despair. So they choose somewhat consciously to believe better of us all, by their lights.

Taken to extremes, you see the outcome of such willful self-delusion in Venezuela where a country rich with petroleum reserves cannot feed itself, or even produce much oil. The problem at its base - a refusal to understand how we humans “work,” what makes us tick, what set of incentives (and disincentives) motivate behavior.

What “works” is tough love, rewarding those who produce, in a word, “capitalism.” The Jerry Browns of this world cannot stomach this reality. Oddly, I believe his father Pat had a much better grasp of human nature, and was a far better governor; one in whose shadow son Jerry will forever stand.

Later ... in fairness, I guess I must add that if his son's present behavior is any indicator, Pat Brown was a better governor than he was a father.

Saturday Snark

Power Line’s Steven Hayward is out with his Saturday morning collection of snarky cartoons, captioned photos, and wise-ass posters, what he calls The Week in Pictures. Some favorites described:

A mashed-together photo of Putin and Hillary, he smiling, she looking grim. The caption:
What’s the difference between Hillary and Putin?
Putin can win an election rigged in his favor.
Photos of two bridges, the first Roman, crossing a river valley, in good condition. The second, the bridge in FL that fell on a freeway crushing cars and killing people. The respective captions:
Roman bridge built in 104 a.d.
Feminist bridge built in 2018 a.d.
Photo of an assault rifle, captioned:
It’s because I’m black
Isn’t it?
Photo of an overhead sign indicating the store aisle displays cat food, cat toys, wine, and meals for one, captioned:
Feminist aisle at Walmart?
Photo of an otherwise unclothed Barbie doll, torso nicely covered by four raw shrimp. No caption required.

Peruvian Update

Peru is an unusual Hispanic country. Can you think of another with elected presidents named anything like Fugimori and Kuczynski?

RealClearWorld links to an Andres Oppenheimer column for the Miami Herald. He writes about the resignation of President Kuczynski and the ascension of his VP to office.

Oppenheimer’s real theme is the impact this change will have on Peru’s leadership of an anti-Maduro bloc of Latin nations pressuring an unwilling Venezuela to hold free and fair elections. His conclusion: it won’t help. Kuczynski’s successor Vizcarra has no power base and may call new elections.

A Self-imposed Rule

Most conservatives are bummed about the omnibus spending bill just passed and signed, including us at COTTonLINE. The problem is structural/procedural and has to do with the Senate's self-imposed rule requiring 60 "ayes" to move a bill to a vote.

It is rare that one party in our divided nation has that many seats in the Senate. And it isn't all that common for every last member of one party to toe the "party line" on issues. Current examples of rebels include Rand Paul and John McCain.

I remember both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush decided to sign overstuffed appropriations bills. It was the only way they could get Democrats to go along with the increases in defense spending they believed our nation required to stay safe.

Now Donald Trump has learned the same lesson. It is one virtually every conservative president will face so long as the Senate holds to the 60 vote requirement.

Interestingly, that requirement is one Mitch McConnell could change with 51 Republican votes. He chooses not to do so because he wants bargaining power the next time the GOP is the minority party. If the rule is ever overturned, it is likely gone forever.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Veto in the Offing? No

It is widely reported the Congress has passed a so-called Omnibus spending bill to keep the federal government funded until September. It is also reported the bill gives the minority Democrats too much, and the President too little, in an effort to ensure 60 votes in the Senate. The alternative was a government ‘shut-down’ which is popular with nobody much.

Now I read President Trump tweeted he is considering a veto of the bill as it doesn’t fund his border wall. I hope he does veto it, and keeps vetoing similar efforts until he gets what he considers his minimum acceptable demands covered.

This President has upset a number of apple carts, why not violate the “shutdown” shibboleth too? Just maybe he can force the Senate to legislate by absolute majority, as the House does.

There is no Constitutional provision requiring the Senate to allow the minority party to block legislation, doing so is merely custom. Admittedly, it is a custom in which many find merit, forcing a degree of bipartisanship on Senate-passed bills.

Honestly, it begins to seem too costly and obstructionist to be allowed to continue. I admit to feeling ambivalent about the rule, recognizing we could be less than a year from a change in the Senate majority party.

Later ... Veto threat just that, Trump signed the bill, worse luck. Those of us paying attention aren't happy with him tonight. Those who care about illegal immigration ditto.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bye-Ku for McMaster

With the customary hat tip to WSJ’s James Taranto, its popularizer, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, whom President Trump fired late today. Fox News reports McMaster is to be replaced by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, a noted hawk.
H. R. McMaster
Found Trump won't take direction.
Up next, John Bolton.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring Arrives

At COTTonLINE we try to note the seasonal milestones - the equinoxes and solstices. Today is one of the former, in this case the Vernal or Spring Equinox. It's the day the hours of daylight and darkness each equal 12.

From here until June 21 we will have longer and longer days and shorter and shorter nights. This is, of course, the continuation of a process that began on December 21 of last year.

We call this quarter of the year "Spring." Many experience it very positively, I hope you share that seasonal optimism.

The news reports the northeast is still experiencing winter conditions, blizzards and such. CA is experiencing rain; if the weather guessers are to be believed, several more days of it. Rain is CA's version of "winter" so unseasonal weather all around.

Hang in there, gentle readers, nicer weather is on its way. As always, exactly when is a good question.

Why They Leave, Where They Go links to a Daily Wire article with interesting statistics reflecting California's declining popularity as a place to live and work. Some key points:
There are apparently three prime destinations for the migrating Californians: Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. The census showed that during the period it covered (mid-2016 to mid-2017), 79,000 people moved to Texas, 63,000 moved to Arizona, and 38,000 migrated to Nevada.

The cost of housing appears to be the prime motivator for people to leave the Golden State; according to industry tracker Zumper, five of the top 10 most expensive rental markets in the country are in California. San Francisco is number one; San Jose is third; Los Angeles is sixth; Oakland is seventh, and San Diego is tied for eighth.

The National Association of Realtors and its state association assert that the median price in California for a single-family home is $550,990 compared to the national median price of $247,800.

H.D. Palmer, a finance spokesman for California Governor Jerry Brown, admitted that the state’s top marginal personal income tax rate is the highest in the nation.
'Titanic Captain' Jerry Brown keeps polishing the brass on the sinking state. Meanwhile it's private sector workforce is taking to the lifeboats.

On the present course, CA is headed for a plantation economy of tech/entertainment oligarchs and whiz kids at the top, an overseer class of government workers (LEOs, probation officers, medical folk, 'teachers'), and a mass of mostly immigrant laborers living in colonias.

Existing in parallel, as non-producing consumers, will be clusters of retirees. Like the Americans who choose to live in Mexico or Belize, they will exist beside, but apart from, the society in which they're embedded. If CA is lucky it will end up like Costa Rica, which mostly works. If not, think El Salvador or Puerto Rico which don't.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Toys No Longer Я Us

Lots has been written about the demise of Toys Я Us, which has announced it will close all its stores. What The Washington Post writes about this business failure deserves our attention.
The change in the number of children born in the previous 12 years (and thus sitting right within the Toys R Us demographic), tracks closely with the company’s changing annual revenue.

But it’s nonetheless apparent that Toys R Us’s fortunes rise and fall with the population of its target market.

And that’s why the company’s demise should worry the rest of us. Toys R Us focuses on kids, so it’s feeling the crunch from declining birthrates long before the rest of the economy. But it’s just a matter of time before the trends that toppled the troubled toy maker put the squeeze on businesses that cater to consumers of all ages.
Worry about the drop in births has college administrators scrambling to determine how to serve previously unserved demographics in order to, as we wrote the other day, "keep the doors open and the lights on." It should worry the military, and the car dealership down the street, too.

Tough Love

Columnist John Hawkins blogs for PJ Media, today he is selling seven ugly truths folks need to understand. I've given you the nitty-gritty headlines, he explains each in several paragraphs.
1. The average person cares more about what he eats for lunch than whether you live or die.
2. Life is not and never will be fair.
3. Most people are shallow.
4. The more comfortable you get, the worse your life is going to be.
5. The world will judge you based on what it can get out of you.
6. Nothing in life is permanent.
7. When you die, only a few people will think of you after you're gone.
It is an interesting list, Hawkins makes pretty good arguments for these points. Is he correct? Maybe, I tend to think #4 is situational. It probably makes sense during the career-building part of life.

Try reversing #4, would you accept that the less comfortable you are the better your life is going to be? Didn't think so, I know I wouldn't.

A comfortable retirement, for example, is no bad thing. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the link.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March Showers and Flowers

You've probably seen stuff saying California is back in the drought as this winter season hadn't brought much rain. Well ... it hadn't ... but now it has.

We have had March rains and are scheduled to get more. Our pond is full and so are the neighbors' ponds. See photos at the other DrC's blog.

In case you aren't sure, the late rain is good news and has resulted in serious snowpack in the Sierras. That snow is the real source of our summer and fall water.

Somehow CA manages to overcome the silliness out of Sacra-tomato, and be semi-wonderful much of the time in spite of people's best efforts to screw it up. We're happy to visit CA but wouldn't want to call it "home" these days. Its politics are fantasy-based and toxic.

McCabe, Comey, and Mueller

Law Prof Jonathan Turley writes in The Hill about the impact of statements by recently fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on the activities and future of both former Director Comey and Special Prosecutor Mueller. His treatment isn't brief but he makes some excellent points. Two examples:
McCabe appears to be suggesting that Comey was consulted before the alleged leak to the media on the Clinton investigation. Many of us had speculated that it seemed unlikely McCabe would take such a step without consulting with Comey. Yet, Comey repeatedly stated that he had never leaked nor caused anyone to leak information to the media.

While McCabe lashed out at Trump in his statement, he may have just given Trump the long-sought cover to use his pardon power. If McCabe is not charged, Trump could cite that decision as the basis for pardoning Flynn, as a matter of equity and fairness.
Thus pressuring Mueller to charge McCabe with perjury or lying to the FBI. This story is far from over, it's just the thing to keep our interest all spring and into the summer.

The Democratic Dilemma

It appears Conor Lamb won in PA 18, and he is pro-gun and anti-Pelosi. Democrats like Lamb could win in a lot of districts won in 2016 by Trump. Maybe they could reclaim their majority in the House.

A fair few would be pro-life, which is to say anti-abortion, even more would favor school choice or vouchers; many would be pro-gun. Most would be straight white males. Some might even oppose illegal immigration - shock!

Talk about making a deal with the Devil. The new, larger Democratic Party couldn’t very well espouse “San Francisco” values. It would be far less George McGovern and more Lyndon Johnson.

The leaders of today’s Democratic Party are two hard leftists: Thomas Perez and Keith Ellison. Can the party faithful who elected Perez and Ellison stomach making common cause with so many people whose values they despise?

Would such a truly big tent party stand for much? Would the Bernie bros, La Raza, Antifa, LGBTQ activists and the pussy hats shift to a third party or stay home? These are the dilemmas of big tent politics.

Merkel Murders Europe links to a Michael Walsh column at PJMedia which says forcefully something we’ve been pointing to for years now. Namely, Angela Merkel giving the ‘Saracens’ another chance to conquer Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's disastrous decision to throw open an essentially defenseless western Europe to hordes of military-age males from the Islamic ummah will go down in history as one of Christendom's greatest blunders, either a triumph of wishful childless-feminist thinking or a malevolent act of epic proportions.
When did Europe collectively give Merkel the green light to destroy their culture? I must have missed the plebisite.

If uncharitable, you could argue the Germans earned cultural suicide via the Third Reich. The rest of Europe, where is their culpability? Every country had its despised Quislings but they don’t merit a continent-wide auto de fe.

I see a malignant parallel between Merkel and former President Obama. Both appear to despise the countries they were elected to lead, both worked to diminish their nations. The most rabid supporters of each hate their own societies. An ugly business ....

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday Snickers

Gleanings from Steve Hayward's The Week in Pictures, St. Paddy's Day edition, as it appeared this a.m. at Power Line. He threatens to give us a Stormy Daniels photo, but wimps out.

A two panel cartoon of Vladimir Putin, in panel one he says:
No, no, no. We poison elections in America.
In panel two he says:
We poison people in England.
Cartoon of Democrat Party Headquarters, looking in the storefront window we see Nancy Pelosi (77) addressing Joe Biden (75), Bernie Sanders (76), Steny Hoyer (78), Elizabeth Warren (69), and Chuck Schumer (67), all looking older than dirt. Nancy speaks:
It's simple - we just have to appeal to the youth vote!
Cartoon of CA Gov. Jerry Brown wearing a Mickey Mouse Hat, smoking a cigar and delivering the following Churchillian oratory:
We will fight for our nannies in the Hollywood Hills, and our maids in the Silicon Valley.
We will fight for our gardeners and landscapers on the beaches of Malibu.
We shall never surrender!!
Cartoon of an imagined recruiting poster for Trump's proposed Space Force. You see an eagle wearing an astronaut's helmet and the words (some cartoonists can't spell):
Space Force
Kick some Astroid (sic)
Enlist today!
Cartoon of a stage in a prison, where a prism with guitar sings to an audience of prisms. The Folsom Prism Blues lyric:
I see the light a-comin'
Refractin' round the bend,
I ain't seen a rainbow
Since I don't know when ... 
A Fox News Breaking News headline over a photo of an unhappy Caitlyn, captioned:
Caitlyn Jenner says she was groped by Bruce Jenner for years  
Photoshopped™John McCain, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer as the Three Stooges raising drinks in a toast, no caption is needed.

Reaping the Whirlwind

The academy - our former home - is one of the subjects we follow at COTTonLINE. As comic Arte Johnson often said, in his persona as a WW II German soldier on Laugh In, “ it is verrrrrry interestink ... but not pfunny.”

Steven Hayward, the only academic among the Power Line bloggers, writes about the beginnings of a restructuring coming in academia. Hayward’s thesis:
I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of a de facto divorce of universities, in which the STEM fields and other “practical” disciplines essentially split off from the humanities and social sciences, not to mention the more politicized departments.

At this rate eventually many of our leading research universities will bifurcate into marginal fever swamps of radicalism whose majors will be unfit for employment at Starbucks, and a larger campus dedicated to science and technology education.
And he quotes the following from Inside Higher Ed about the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point:
Programs pegged for closure are American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.
COTTonLINE, since its beginnings eleven years ago, has advocated college students choose majors which lead to careers where there is actual demand. Both of the DrsC taught in programs where our grads were recruited and got jobs.

Choosing anything else is self-indulgent narcissism. Lenders interested in repayment should stop supporting students pursuing non-remunerative majors.

The difficulty is how such hard-headed notions conflict with the politicized need for inclusion and diversity (i.e., non-trivial numbers of Hispanic and Black graduates, regardless of major).

Happy St. Patrick's Day

COTTonLINE wishes all readers, particularly those with actual Irish roots, a Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Contrary to American practices, the real Irish do not normally view this day as an excuse to get roaring drunk.

Wry side note ... many American universities now schedule their spring break, formerly Easter Vacation, so that it includes March 17. They do this to escape any responsibility for binge drinking deaths occasioned by this ethanol-sodden holiday. Think of it as a 'hangover' from the days of in loco parentis (pun fully intended).

Bye-Ku for Andrew McCabe

With the customary hat tip to WSJ’s James Taranto, its popularizer, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whom Attorney General Sessions fired late today.

Shame on you, Andy.
You leak'd like a colander
And lied about it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

FBI's McCabe Fired

Statement of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as reported three hours ago by Fox News. Releasing controversial information on Friday night is classic Washington timing. Sessions' statement:
Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.

After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.

The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, "all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand."
McCabe was no. 2 under James Comey, who Trump fired 10 months ago, triggering the Mueller investigation. He was the "Andy" in whose office political things were discussed which were later referenced in emails between lovers Strozk and Page.

Two things are important to note: first, firing McCabe was the FBI's idea, and second, the person who promoted and supervised him - Comey - bears responsibility for his malfeasance. Trump, of course, is delighted.

Editorial Note

Looks like yesterday's Gateway Pundit leak story was at the very least premature, or maybe just plain wrong. Neither separation has shown up as of close of business today.

Sexual Choices Shaped Evolution

National Review has an article with an intriguing title: "Why Are Men Violent? What Evolution & Society Tell Us." Explaining masculinity, the author concludes:
Humans split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago and have been shaped in large part by what each sex found desirable in the other. Individuals with desirable traits were more likely to pass their genes on to the next generation, so those traits gradually spread through the population. As a result, there is no way to discuss what men are, biologically, without addressing what women choose, sexually.
Though the article doesn't mention it, vice versa is likewise true. Women became what they are because early men pursued females with those characteristics.

While we may not always like what men and women are today, the blame accrues to choices made by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. You have to love the irony.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Heads Up

Gateway Pundit has a leak story that VA Secretary Shulkin and Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly will be fired tomorrow. So far no one else is reporting it, although rumors of the ouster of both have floated in recent days.

We live in interesting times and can count on President Trump to keep them that way ....

Womanizing Presidents

Long time friend Jack wrote asking if we've ever before had a president involved with a porn star, suggesting perhaps Benjamin Harrison. I responded in long form and decided to share some of those thoughts with COTTonLINE readers.

My thoughts about horny presidents run back with some vividness through those I remember, including as a child. FDR was a life-long womanizer, and died in the company of one of his lady friends in GA. Both he and Eleanor came from a stratum of society in which one married for dynastic reasons and found love elsewhere, which both did.

Ike had his Brit driver Kay, Kennedy apparently bonked any willing woman, famously including Marilyn Monroe and a mobster's girlfriend. Johnson was a raunchy dude who Doris Kearns Goodwin seems awfully fond of.

One wonders about Reagan and Peggy Noonan, about G.W.Bush and Dana Perino. Clinton was a notorious horndog, with catholic tastes and semi-poor judgment.

Now we have Trump who has married three supermodels, none of whom badmouth him - can you say that about your exes? Does anybody who is paying attention believe Trump is too pure to take a fling at a friendly lady? Have you checked out how stunning Hope Hicks is?

History suggests, but does not prove, that Washington and Jefferson both had extramarital interests. I rest my case. Womanizing presidents are neither new nor particularly scandalous. What is semi-new is porn stars or prostitutes who are proud of their career choice, willing to de-closet themselves and identify their partners.

We understand presidents and other wealthy or powerful men attract a lot of more-than-casual interest from women, what is that about? It is the dream captured in the Cinderella story, an evergreen favorite. The "marry up" notion that resembles a woman winning the lottery. Moths to a flame where, as #MeToo has noted, many moths are burned. It is a story as old as time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Special Election Blues

It appears Democrat Conor Lamb has eked out a by-a-nose photo finish win in the Pennsylvania district 18 special election. There may still be absentee ballots to count, this remains unclear as I write.

Lamb is a former Marine gun-supporter who says he won’t vote for Pelosi as Party leader in the House. What may have won it for him was being anti-right-to-work (his opponent was pro) in a heavily unionized district in the state’s southwest corner. The people who voted for him are exactly the people Obama said cling to guns and God, and Hillary called “deplorables.”

There is no way to spin this positively for Republicans. In 2016 Trump won the district by 20 points and he recently went to the district to ask their support for Lamb’s Republican opponent Rick Saccone, who ran as a Trump loyalist.

There is a pattern of a President’s party losing House seats in the midterm election following his election. If it happens again in 2018 no one will be much surprised.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Baltic and the Bear

The U.S. Naval Institute’s website examines the defense complexities of an outbreak of hostilities in the Baltic Sea region. Nations most involved include Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia (including Kaliningrad), plus the so-called Baltic Republics: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Norway, Germany and Poland also have skin in the game.

Given the various memberships in the EU and NATO and associated memoranda of understanding, the region’s defense against a possible Russian attack becomes a many-branched decision tree. This article is for the true enthusiast, or someone with roots in the region, it’s not precisely a casual read. Hat tip to RealClearDefense for the link.

Putin’s Popular Support

There are conflicting views of the at-home popularity of Russia’s President Putin. The conventional view is that he is popular with Russians. Jay Nordlinger of National Review wrote recently that claims of his popularity should be seriously discounted or ignored.

For a look at data which sheds light on the issue, see a BBC article with 10 charts which look at how things are going in today’s Russia. On the upside, population growth has resumed, Ikea™ is popular, and private auto ownership - nearly unheard of in Soviet times - now is relatively common, with something like half of Russian households owning a car.

Other positive indicators include a drop in vodka sales, a modest increase in champagne consumption, and a decline in families living below the poverty level. If the Beeb’s numbers are accurate, there are certainly bread-and-butter reasons for Putin’s stewardship being viewed by Russians as positive.

Something that doesn’t show in their charts, but a factor nevertheless, is that however you feel about Putin, he is a Russian patriot, a nationalist. I believe that resonates with many Russians in the same way Trump’s American patriotic nationalism resonates with many Americans.

I do find it passing strange the official British news service would carry this relatively positive article at a time when Britain is angry with Russia over the attempted nerve gas assassination in Salisbury of a Russian defector and his daughter. It is near-universally believed this attack was carried out by Russian government agents with Putins’s tacit or explicit approval.

Bye-Ku for T-Rex

With the customary hat tip to WSJ’s James Taranto, its popularizer, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom President Trump fired today.

Ta-ta to SecState.
You liked the Iran nuke deal,
Tho your boss did not.

Monday, March 12, 2018

We Will Survive

The respected Scientific American journal has an article which argues that while climate change is real, the effects will be far less troublesome than most climate alarmists allege. Technology and adaptation plus the change's gradual onset will enable us to cope without experiencing Armageddon.

Generally speaking, the article seems sound. Another example that occurs to me regards the issue of raising ocean levels. Much of the Netherlands lives two meters below sea level behind dikes and, while vigilant about breaches, gets on with life.

It is unclear why similar measures cannot protect low-lying cities in other developed countries. If the Dutch can make "living below the high tide line" work economically, why can't the Americans or Chinese? Answer: they can, and if necessary will, grumbling all the while.


Perhaps it is worthwhile to restate COTTonLINE's position on climate change. The geological record clearly shows climate changes, and has done so off and on for millennia. The record is replete with ice ages and warm spells. Changes in solar radiation have been implicated in some of these.

Are recent human activities influencing climate change? The evidence for such influence is ambiguous. Unfortunately those who study it benefit professionally and financially if we believe humans pose a threat, and thus cannot be trusted to provide unbiased information and opinion.

What is absolutely clear is that climate changes without human intervention, and there is likely little we can do to influence those naturally occurring changes. We can however cope with whatever comes.

What’s Wrong with “College for All”

Instapundit links to a good New York Post article by economist Bryan Caplan, who takes as his thesis “the 5 worst things about colleges in America.” Here are his five headings:
1. A majority of college students don’t finish on time - and a large minority don’t finish at all.
2. Most of the curriculum is neither socially useful nor personally enjoyable.
3. The “hidden benefits” of college are mostly wishful thinking.\
4. The more education our society has, the more every worker needs to get a job.
5. Thanks to heavy government subsidies and “locked-in syndrome,” our dysfunctional system is built to last.
I have no argument with nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5. No. 3 is accurate as Caplan writes it. However he overlooks a major hidden benefit of college in finding a smart, achievement-oriented spouse.

“Assortative mating” is what it’s called - smart, achieving people marrying other smart, achieving people and having children likely to be smart and achieving. College is a better venue for upscale spouse “shopping” than a bar or gym.

Caplan’s best advice is this:
College major is also a reliable predictor of student success. Degrees in engineering, computer science, finance and economics all pay well, boosting earnings by 60 to 70 percent. Degrees in fine arts, education, English, history and sociology do about half that.

If you struggled through high school, college is a bad bet compared to an entry-level job. You’re better off saving your money and gaining real-world work experience. The same goes for low-paid majors. Unless you’re already made of money, either find a more promising major or don’t go to college.
These are points we’ve noted repeatedly over the years at COTTonLINE.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Meet Dave Ramsey

Politico does a profile of radio self-help guru Dave Ramsey, it is a good read. Ramsey does a call-in manage-your-finances show on 600+ radio stations and is third in listenership after Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity - doggone impressive.

He makes a strong point of encouraging listeners not to rely on politicians to bail out their personal financial situation, and his general notion is correct. Self-discipline starts with you getting control of yourself and your wallet.

On the other hand, economic policies like those Trump has pushed are doing more to create a buoyant job market and rising wages. Neither of those is a detriment to your family's financial situation.

I'm of the opinion that, while nobody else will be responsible for you, who you vote for is also important. It can, in the aggregate, make a difference.

Vote for a candidate who has realistic plans to foster economic growth, not for one who says, or more likely implies, the years of rapid growth are behind us. For a candidate who puts your situation first on his or her agenda, not who worries most about unfortunates in some third world backwater no one has ever heard of. Who prioritizes the needs of Americans ahead of refugees and illegal immigrants.

Canada Suffers Identity Politics Too

Lest you think we Americans are alone out here in the swamp of identity politics, courtesy of our Democrats, take heart. Canada's National Post runs an article which makes clear our frosty friends in the frozen North are suffering from the same ridiculous victimology.

It could be worse there because Canada has been so energetic in rejecting the melting pot of assimilation. Way to go, neighbors, no good deed goes unpunished, eh?


This excellent Ramirez cartoon courtesy of Power Line's John Hinderaker. When the yeomanry flee, all that remains is a feudal society of serfs, lords, and their overseer cadre.

Musk at SXSW: Goin' to Mars

I'm not sure which science fiction author predicted this, I'm tempted to say Robert Heinlein as he's proved prescient about so much. The "this" to which I refer? Elon Musk says he's dead serious about sending people to Mars and back, according to CNBC which, unlike the parent company NBC, is often correct.

My youth was misspent with nose stuck in a never-ending series of science fiction paperbacks. When I finally donated my books to East New Mexico State University - whose library curates a special sci fi collection - the shipment totaled over 800 volumes.

That people would go into space I've taken as a given all my adult life. My hopes went up when the moon walks happened, subsequently have been on hold far too long. In what's left of an already lengthy life, I hope to see a lunar colony and a Mars visitation. I'll settle for part payment on these goals.

Musk is another example of entrepreneurial capitalism getting the big stuff done; committee capitalism is better at minding the store. And yes, we do have an entrepreneurial capitalist as President and stuff is getting done.


Instapundit echoes a Tweet by Allie Beth Stuckey, whose nom de web is Conservative Millennial and who writes something profoundly simple.
If masculinity were truly toxic, then kids growing up without dads would presumably be better off than those who have them. But, they're not: they tend to be more depressed, aggressive & criminal. Truth is: we need more masculinity in society, not less.-->
Masculinity ≠ cave man brutality; femininity ≠ harpy or fainting flower. Done properly the two complement each other, something Asians depict as ☯ representing a harmonious whole. Damn sad more people can’t strike that balance.


Erik Prince in the Seychelles with a Russian? It sounds to me like a response from a game of Clue™? I hear echoes of "Col. Mustard in the library with an ice pick."

You may see reports of a meeting between super-mercenary Erik Prince - founder of Blackwater - and a shady Russian in the Seychelles Islands. A meeting that special prosecutor Robert Mueller supposedly finds “interesting” and potentially relevant.

See what the Washington Examiner’s Byron York writes about this meeting.
The Washington Post reported that Prince traveled to the Indian Ocean islands on Jan. 11, 2017, just nine days before the Trump inauguration. Once there, he attended a "secret meeting" with "a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin," arranged by the United Arab Emirates as part of "an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump."

The core question of the (Mueller) investigation is whether the Trump campaign and Russia colluded to influence the 2016 election. The Seychelles meeting took place on Jan. 11, 2017, more than two months after the election. One thing that is certain is that the participants were not colluding to influence the 2016 election.
On the face of it, another ‘nothingburger.’ You can’t collude today to influence something which already happened yesterday, it has moved from the “might happen” column to the one labeled “history.”

Of course, the classic problem with special prosecutors is their need to justify their existence (and expense). That need causes them to bird-walk into areas not part of their initial investigatory ambit. This could be another example of that unfortunate tendency.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time to Spring Forward

COTTonLINE offers a friendly reminder that tomorrow morning at 2 a.m. (or more logically tonight before you go to bed) it is time to reset the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Your clocks go ahead one hour.

This is the easy one, most digital clocks only go one direction - forward - which is what you need to do tonight. In the Fall, you normally have to go forward 23 hours to reset these electronic marvels back an hour.

I know some dislike DST; others (e.g., FL) like it so much they would stay on it year round. I like the long twilit evenings it gives us in spring, summer, and fall.

College Towns Recent Crime Magnets

The town of Chico, CA, was where the other DrC and I worked for most of 30 years, where the university from which we retired is located. USA Today has a story listing the twenty-five cities where violent crime has increased most drastically in recent years, and little Chico is on that list at no. 19.

The other DrC and I have discussed this and believe there are a couple of causes. Her favorite cause is the city council’s desire to have liberal Chico emulate the crime-friendly policies of San Francisco. The result is a sharp rise in homelessness and its attendant crime.

The council’s members feel embattled because their little blue university town is embedded in a thoroughly red conservative rural district that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress for 30 years. So they overdo it more than a little.


I suspect something different. I noticed that many cities on the list could be described as “university towns.” In addition to Chico, examples include San Angelo, TX, Binghamton, NY, Cedar Falls, IA, Fort Wayne, IN, Des Moines, IA, Albuquerque, NM, Harrisonburg, VA, Logan, UT, Albany, GA, Anchorage, AK, Thibodaux, LA, San Luis Obispo, CA, Gainesville, GA, Sioux Falls, SD, Monroe, LA.

What are the odds that 16 of the 25 cities with the most rapidly increasing crime would be “college towns” and more particularly towns with what, if we’re brutally honest, are second and third tier schools. You don’t see Berkeley or Palo Alto, CA, on the list, or Austin, TX,  or Athens, GA, either.

The campuses in many of these cities came about to educate the GIs or the Baby Boom overflows that the flagship schools couldn’t accomodate. Or, like the campus I worked at, were long-time teachers or tech colleges that elaborated into so-called “comprehensive universities” where the research mission played second fiddle to the teaching mission. As such, they lack the prestige associated with the research mission.

What is there about such campuses which might be a magnet for violent crime? As birth rates dropped, such schools have had to recruit as students individuals they formerly did not accept in order to keep the doors open and the lights on. In particular these are students from population subsets which commit more than their share of our nation’s violent crime.

Actually, most of the increased crime isn’t committed by students, minority or otherwise, but by their friends, relatives, homies, and hangers-on. Students are often the victims, getting robbed of smart phones, laptops, etc. on their way home from the library or a night class, or finding their car broken into or stolen. Non-date rapes happen around campuses too.

Having spent a career teaching in second and third tier schools, I recognized far too many names on that list of 25. It isn’t surprising that the story’s author, a non-academic, didn’t spot this fact. Generally, these are not the world-famous campuses.

It is unlikely chance alone would explain roughly 2/3 of the towns with most rapidly growing violent crime also would be home to second and third tier colleges and universities. Correlation ≠ causation, but the linkage is certainly suspicious.

Unintended Consequences Alert

Breitbart reports Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) is pushing an amendment to the Omnibus spending bill. Its purpose:
To protect healthcare workers who refuse to participate in abortions due to their faith beliefs or moral convictions.
One wonders, will it also protect the right of employers to determine, before making a job offer, if the person will refuse to participate in abortions - procedures which remain legal nationwide? Will it protect the employers' right to reassign existing employees to jobs where their objection to abortion is not an issue, for example moving an OR nurse to Pediatrics or Orthopedics?

In the absence of such protections, imagine a hospital where all operating room personnel have anti-abortion scruples. It will have to turn away such procedures for lack of qualified and willing personnel to perform them. One would be naive to think this wasn't exactly what Rep. Black has in mind.

Hospitals will become quite clever about ferreting out which applicants have such objections and hiring others who don't object. You could think of her amendment as the "don't hire pro-life employees" act.

The article, by the way, infers the existence of a pro-life majority in the U.S. electorate which I don't believe can be substantiated via survey data.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Death Spiral, On-Going

Crazy California takes another swirl around the toilet bowl on its way to the cesspit of history. Demographer-turned-pundit Joel Kotkin is there to describe with horrified fascination the takeover of an already leftist CA Democratic Party by those further left. His deathwatch account appears at City Journal.
California’s current prosperity is largely due to the legacy of Governor Pat Brown, who, a half-century ago, built arguably the world’s best transportation, water, and power systems, and created an incubator for middle-class prosperity. Ironically, the politician most responsible for undermining this achievement has been Pat’s son, Governor Jerry Brown.

Long skeptical of his father’s growth-oriented, pro-suburban policies, Brown the Younger put strong constraints on growth, especially when these efforts concerned the fight against global warming—a quasi-religious crusade. Battling climate change has awakened Brown’s inner authoritarian; he has lauded the “coercive power of the state” and embraced “brainwashing” on climate issues.
And yet, liberal as he’s been, Jerry Brown is too centerist for today’s progressive activists. Like Sen. Diane Feinstein, Jerry is more history than icon among today’s CA tech/glitterati Democrats.

A Nothingburger Claim

"Nothingburger" is a term of art used to indicate a non-story, an empty claim. Such a claim is made in the San Francisco Chronicle, and someone thought enough of it to list it on this afternoon's RealClearPolitics list.

The article is mis-titled "Jeff Sessions suit against California is bad news for Republicans." Once beyond the title you discover the suit might be bad news for CA Republicans who are, as my late father pungently observed, roughly as irrelevant as "tits on a boar." No Republican has a realistic chance at state-wide office in CA's one-party slough of despond.

It could possibly make reelection more difficult for the 14 (of 53) CA Congressional seats currently held by Republicans. I wouldn't even be certain of that; some seats like the one I once called home in far northern CA are red as a beet. Increased Hispanic turnout wouldn't have much impact there.

Nationwide, Sessions' lawsuit will be viewed as a distinct plus by Trump voters who want the wall built, illegal immigration reined in and sanctuary mayors arrested.

If Californians in blue districts don't like the suit, so what? So the Democrat in the district wins 65% of the vote instead of 60% ... either way it's a win, running up your total in districts you already control accomplishes little as Hillary discovered.

An Insider Dishes links to a D.C. Whispers interview with a long-time Congressional staffer, member of a political family going back generations, who remains unnamed and is currently on hiatus. Some of his choicer quotes.
Donald Trump is a political genius. FULL STOP.

All those crucial Midwest swing states are becoming “Trump Country” as he fights to save the Rust Belt. And he did this within weeks of people seeing more money in their paychecks following the Trump tax cuts.

Trump is creating more and more “Trump Democrats” by the hour.

The Establishment wing of the Republican Party is upset because they’ve been doing very well for themselves doing the bidding of their corporate masters. Trump shrugs it off. He holds the line. He keeps winning.

It’s the most remarkable political show I’ve ever seen.
Read the whole interview. Win, lose, or draw, the Trump presidency is on track to be remembered as one of the most consequential of our lifetime.

A Milestone of Sorts

COTTonLINE passed the 400,000 page views milestone sometime in the last couple of days. It's no great shakes, we aren't all that visible.

Actually, not being especially famous is okay, too. It is less pressure to produce 3-4 posts every single day. Some days there's nothing much going on I feel moved to comment on.

I'm just lazy enough not to love pressure. Not for me the "column every week on schedule" rat race. I prefer the "Quaker meeting" norm of speak when you've something to say, or in my case "write" instead of speak.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, gentle readers. It's fun to see what tomorrow will bring.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

TX Votes, Blue "Wave" More a Ripple

Texas Monthly is out today with commentary on yesterday's primary election in that large state. Their headline is as follows:
Democratic Blue Wave Surged But Did Not Look Like a Tsunami
Exactly. I believe there are misconceptions about migration to TX turning the state blue, which is to say Democrat. The theory is that people move to TX because that's where the jobs are, but bring their blue state political preferences with them. I'm certain you could find examples of this but I believe them to be a decided minority.

People who move to TX know it is a red state going in. Those uncomfortable with that cultural shift are, I believe, going elsewhere - perhaps CO - or staying put. If anything, who moves to TX are mostly fed-up members of the GOP minority which exists in the bluest states.

Don't hold your breath waiting for red Texas to turn purple or blue. It may eventually happen, but we aren't there yet.

AG Sessions Sues CA

I have no explanation of why it took so long to happen, but the Trump DOJ has finally filed suit against the State of California's various "sanctuary state" laws. In a nation (like ours) with no limits on internal relocation, control over immigration must be a federal responsibility. States cannot have idiosyncratic immigration policies.

I was, and remain, of the opinion that the Federal Government's right to enforce the supremacy of federal over state law was established by the Civil War.  The Civil War established states cannot nullify federal law with their own laws, as for example South Carolina attempted at that time.

This case will eventually go to the Supreme Court which will, I predict, rule for the U.S. against CA. I suppose CA hopes the legal wrangling will take long enough for them to defy federal immigration officials for the rest of this presidential term. CA may be disappointed in that hope.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

No Real Puzzle

Bloomberg View has an article about declining rates of life insurance coverage. It purports to be puzzled by this trend, although I cannot imagine why. Hat tip to RealClearHealth for the link.

It seems clear to me two trends can account for most of the decline, oddly the article mentions neither. First, there are way fewer stay-at-home moms than formerly. Time was, many married women had never held a serious paying job, one that would support them if widowed. This is much less true today.

Second, among blue-collar people, marriage is becoming relatively less common. Out-of-wedlock children and cohabiting are much more common than formerly. I don't have data in front of me, but I'd wager adults in these circumstances rarely can afford life insurance or feel strongly enough committed to their partner to make the sacrifice life insurance entails.

On the other hand, data from the most recent year suggests wages among the less-than-baccalaureate degree populace are finally rising so perhaps the incidence of insurance purchase will increase.

Crazy CA

Power Line regular Steven Hayward, currently 'enjoying' the California life, writes of its political muddle-headedness.
California in the 1980s set up a commission on “self-esteem,” and today we elect our lunatics to statewide office or send them to Congress, having made California a sanctuary state for lunacy.
I do wish he was wrong, but he's not. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is the poster child for CA lunacy.

Great Phrase Turning

New York Post’s Michael Goodwin writes of the travails of journalists trying to cover the Trump White House.
Covering the Trump White House is like trying to drink water from a gushing fire hose. The volume overwhelms the effort.
No kidding, we have a hyperactive President. Like successful entrepreneurs everywhere, he is hands-on and nonstop. Quite a change from the bland, do-little guys of the previous 16 years.

A brash Noo Yawk City kid, Trump has too much attitude and a chip on his shoulder. Maybe not my idea of a boon companion, but fun to watch as POTUS where “attack dog” works better than “lap dog.”

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Modern Culture as Travesty

Lance Morrow, long-time essayist for Time, writes of the travesty that our culture has become. His column appears in City Journal. He is beyond bemused by current excesses.
Almost everyone, I think, shares the sense that we inhabit an age of travesties; everywhere, there is an atmosphere of travesty.

Leading universities have turned themselves into hybrids of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and Mao’s Red Guards. They have become madrassas of identity politics, given over to dogmatism, indoctrination, the coddling of grievance, and the encouragement and manipulation of neurotic youthful insecurities for the purpose of consolidating political power.

Travesty abhors compromise, scorns moderation, or careful thought; the travestied Left and travestied Right are twins, and converge in the neighborhood of coercion and certitude.

A society cannot go on compounding its travesties indefinitely. We are undoubtedly approaching a crisis in which our travesties—one way or another— will have to resolve themselves, either by committing suicide or burning down the house (which is what travesties and addicts often threaten to do), or by sobering up and going to meetings and learning to behave like serious grownups.
I don’t see a lot in Morrow’s essay with which to disagree. As to his last point, I see cultural suicide as substantially more likely than a revision to adult behavior. I take no joy in this view. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Supremes: Bail for Illegals Not a Right

The Washington Times reports the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5-3 that illegal aliens have no automatic right to bail while awaiting deportation. In so ruling, the Court overruled the leftwing 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which claimed to have found such a right to exist.

The idea that criminals lose the right of freedom is not a new one in American jurisprudence, and illegal aliens are prima facie criminals and flight risks.

Slaughter of Whites - Not Yet

Two weeks ago we wrote of the resignation of South Africa’s President Zuma. Now the Daily Mail (U.K.) has a story about the latest developments in that once-proud country now undergoing retrograde development.
White South African farmers will be removed from their land after a landslide vote in parliament.

The country's constitution is now likely to be amended to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation, following a motion brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema.

It passed by 241 votes for to 83 against after a vote on Tuesday, and the policy was a key factor in new president Cyril Ramaphosa's platform after he took over from Jacob Zuma in February.

Mr Malema said the time for 'reconciliation is over'. 'Now is the time for justice,' News24 reported.

Mr Malema has a long-standing commitment to land confiscation without compensation. In 2016 he told his supporters he was 'not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now'.
South Africa appears to be wading into the same fever swamp that swallowed Zimbabwe a couple of decades ago. Majorities don’t always favor winning strategies, sometimes they settle for revenge.

Expect an escalation of the diaspora of South African whites. Many already work overseas with no intent of ever returning home to live.