Friday, August 31, 2018

ABA: Kavanaugh Gets Top Marks

The Daily Caller reports good news for the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination.
The American Bar Association’s (ABA) standing committee on the judiciary released its evaluation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Friday, awarding him a unanimous “well-qualified” rating.

The “well-qualified” rating is the highest score the ABA attaches to a nominee. Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first nominee to the high court, also received a “well-qualified” score.
His Senate hearing begins Tuesday, immediately after Labor Day. Barring some monumental gaffe, he will be approved and seated in time for the Court's fall term in October.

Fake History

In addition to all the talk about "fake news," there is also "fake history." They've made a film about Neil Armstrong doing the first moon walk, called First Man. The leftists in Hollywood are reported to have omitted the first thing Neil did upon stepping on the moon, namely planting the American flag.

I generally don't like boycotts, this will be an exception. I remember the actual event; as a patriot I won't spend money on this film.

It wouldn't surprise me if they add the flag-planting scene to the widely-distributed copies of the film. If they don't, and you are a patriot, you might want to consider giving it a miss too.

Yes, the Hollywood crowd are propagandists, but they don't like losing money. My choice is to take aim at their bottom line.

Ohr: The FBI Knew ... Before the Fact

Kimberley A. Strassel of The Wall Street Journal has been, along with Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review, my go-to starting lineup in coverage of the Steele dossier, Mueller witch hunt, and DOJ/FBI corruption saga. Today she summarizes the leaked closed-door testimony of Bruce Ohr to Congress.
Congressional sources tell me that Mr. Ohr revealed Tuesday that he verbally warned the FBI that its source had a credibility problem, alerting the bureau to Mr. Steele’s (anti-Trump) leanings and motives. He also informed the bureau that Mrs. Ohr was working for Fusion and contributing to the dossier project.

Mr. Ohr said, moreover, that he delivered this information before the FBI’s first application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant against Trump aide Carter Page, in October 2016. Yet the FBI made no mention of this warning in the application, instead characterizing Mr. Steele as a “reliable” source. Nor does the application note that a senior Justice Department official’s spouse was contributing to the dossier and benefiting financially from a document the FBI was using in an investigation. That matters both because the FBI failed to flag the enormous conflict and because Mr. Steele’s work product potentially wasn’t entirely his own.

No reference to Mr. Ohr—direct or cloaked—can be found in any of the four applications for Page warrants, according to those who have seen them.

“Before yesterday, we thought the FBI and DOJ had not disclosed material facts they were aware of in the FISA application. If Bruce Ohr testified truthfully, we now know that to be the case,” Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas tweeted Wednesday.
Whereas if Ohr did not testify truthfully, he is a felon. Somewhere the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover is turning over in his unquiet grave. The two most recent former FBI Directors - James Comey and Robert Mueller - should take the hit for this malfeasance, if it can be proven.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Mistaken Roots of White Privilege

The Quillette website has an article deconstructing the origination of the concept “white privilege.” Turns out it was proposed by Peggy McIntosh who grew up wealthy and privileged and mistakenly thinks she benefitted solely from being white when family wealth would explain most of her (unearned) advantages.
Even though the lifetime of privilege McIntosh has experienced is almost certainly due to her wealth and not the colour of her skin, she nevertheless found a way to share this irksome burden with the illiterate children of Kentucky coal miners, the hopeless peasants of the Appalachians, poor single mothers struggling to make ends meet on welfare, and the vast majority of whites in the United States and throughout the world who never had the chance to attend Radcliffe or Harvard. She simply reclassified her manifest economic advantage as racial privilege and then dumped this newly discovered original sin onto every person who happens to share her skin color.
Thus, not surfacing a reason to share her fortune with the less fortunate. She wouldn’t want to add fuel to the fires of socialism. Skin color, on the other hand, is pretty much a given, impossible to share with others of your generation.

COTTonLINE does not deny some degree of U.S. societal bias favoring those who appear to have European ancestry. It doesn’t take you far, however, if you’re both white and poor.

Oddly enough, a bias favoring lighter skin color is shared by places like India and China, Japan and Vietnam. It’s not just a Western bias. A list of places where this bias doesn't exist would be much the shorter list.

Thursday Snark

Note to Democrats, from regular Instapundit guest blogger Sarah Hoyt, appropos of the furor over a “don’t monkey it up” comment by Ron DeSantis.
Just a reminder: if you hear dog whistles, you’re the dog.

Minions in Roman Collars

John O’Sullivan writes about the Catholic Church’s priestly problems in National Review. He describes a plausible way the observed situation developed.
They [priests] gradually lost their faith as they went through life and woke up one day to find that they were agnostics who had a decent living in the Church and no prospect in middle age of getting a job of equal worth and satisfaction. It’s an easy thing to do in a post-Christian society.

No doubt their loss of faith was a problem for them, but in a very human way they managed to keep postponing a decision on what to do about it. Maybe they even enjoyed their job, which they defined as a special kind of social worker helping others or, at a more senior level, a special kind of bureaucrat who could use the Church to advance good causes of a secular kind.

Of course, agnostics in clerical garb would find it hard to keep the rules on chastity as age and loneliness wore them down. And if they no longer took the priesthood’s disciplines (or the authority sustaining them) seriously, even if they remained personally chaste, they would find it hard to impose those rules on others. Their loyalty would gradually shift from the Christian faith to the Church as an institution, and their first response to scandal would be to conceal the vice to protect the institution.
Much as Obama era FBI and DOJ executives, who began careers caring about justice, ended up “conceal(ing) the vice to protect the institution.” This primrose path is well-trodden by minions and leaders alike, in all sorts of large organizations.


A personal insight - as a young PhD I spent 22 months consulting in a government agency where two professionals were former Roman Catholic priests. One had married a former nun, the other wed an airline flight attendant.

The second enjoyed the clerical role so much he retrained as an Episcopal padre and did the gig “nights and weekends” while the agency was his bill-paying “day job.” Each, I learned, viewed their priestly role as “a special kind of social worker helping others.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Palin Snub

Power Line's Steve Hayward writes about the McCain family failure to invite to his funeral Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's presidential running mate in 2008. It has even been suggested Palin was asked to stay away, although I'm not certain that is true. Hayward wonders:
Just how can you complain about Trump’s boorish egotism when you decide to shun the person whose career you ruined, and who has been nothing but loyal?
Palin has pointedly never bad mouthed McCain when it was clear she was badly treated by his campaign staff. Her exclusion from the funeral is a classless move by the McCain family, as was asking Obama to speak.

McCain was sui generis. Once the funereal hagiography ends, I'm not sure what party might claim John McCain. It can't realistically be Trump's Republican Party.

Journalistic Suicide

The Daily Caller documents how media sources now writing nice things about the recently deceased Senator John McCain wrote ugly things about him while he lived. This is no surprise to those of us who pay attention.

The legacy media largely follow this policy: the only good Republican is a dead Republican. And then wonder why live Republicans think them degenerate propagandists. They beclown themselves nearly every time they go on air or to press.

A question we might ponder is whether representative government can flourish in the absence of reportage of all sides of the questions facing it. It is still possible to find voices on the right in our media, but one has to make an effort and I fear many don't bother.

Market forces are inexorable, whatever one might wish. Watch as newspapers wither and die, and TV network ratings go flat.

Journalists, it appears, would rather be happy with what they write than have an audience for same. How very odd.

Over time this path leads to the Darwin Award, the unemployment office and an involuntary, and probably unwanted, career change. Next stop: "Do you want fries with that order?"

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Beto's Arrest Record

Ed Driscoll, guest blogging at Instapundit, links to a Houston Chronicle article. It reports the opponent of Sen. Ted Cruz, Democrat Beto O'Rourke, has a criminal record.

O'Rourke's record includes arrests for burglary and DWI. It is likely this dirt will not dissuade many Democrat voters who seem to like criminals, unless they're of the white-collar variety.

Anti-Censorship Regulation Needed

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame does a weekly column at USA Today. His latest deals with the overt political bias of Silicon Valley firms.
Since its 1990s heyday, Silicon Valley has transformed from an unruly collection of aggressive upstarts disrupting existing industries to a flabby collection of near-monopolies, now busy enforcing gentry-liberal norms on their employees and customers. Whether it’s censoring right-leaning political figures, or firing employees who dare say something truthful but politically incorrect, there’s not much of the old startup spirit there.

But worse yet, they exercise tremendous power and require tremendous trust. When you use Facebook or Google (or Twitter, or Amazon, or Netflix) you’re sharing a lot of data with a company that you have to trust won’t abuse that. It’s much harder to trust a company that has decided to aggressively pursue thoughtcrime.
Who knows when your occasionally angry or fanciful online thoughts may be judged by some faceless SJW social media minion to be "thoughtcrime" or worse?

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Google's CEO - Sundar Pichai - has refused to testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the industry's problems with foreign meddling. Analysis: tone deaf.

An Indictment Before God

The Week carries a story about the accusations leveled by an Archbishop against Pope Francis.
On Saturday night a document with the stark heading "Testimony" appeared online. In this dossier Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to the United States, accused the pope of reversing sanctions imposed upon the disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI. He also alleged, among other things, that various curial insiders attempted to hamper Benedict's own internal investigation of McCarrick, that under Francis the cardinal served as a kingmaker who was responsible for the appointments of various eminent bishops who are close allies of the pope, and that all of this was quid pro quo for McCarrick's quiet masterminding of Francis' own election. Viganò ended by calling upon the pope to resign.

It is almost impossible to the overstate the significance of this letter. If Viganò is lying, he is guilty of one of the greatest slanders in the history of the Church. If he is telling the truth, the Eternal City is mired in filth unseen since the days of the Borgias, and Francis is among the worst wretches who has ever besmirched the Chair of Peter.
At the very least, these allegations demand a thorough and entirely transparent response from Rome.  In this case, spin isn't going to suffice. One cannot deny that at least one of the two men - Viganò or Francis - has been a very bad person.

Huntington: Culture Matters

Writing at The American Interest, Francis Fukuyama quotes Samuel Huntington, from the latter’s book Who Are We? on the importance of culture:
Would America be the America it is today if in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it had been settled not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish, or Portuguese Catholics? The answer is no. It would not be America; it would be Quebec, Mexico, or Brazil.
In other words, charmingly colorful and musical, but basically a badly governed corrupt mess of no great import on the world stage.

The Immigrant Dilemma

China has demonstrated an unsettling ability to recruit ethnic Chinese living in the U.S. as spies. A web search would turn up a number of examples, including most recently the individual who worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein in her San Francisco office.

This raises a massively not-PC question. Perhaps President Roosevelt and his Canadian counterpart were right when they interned the ethnic Japanese living in the western U.S. and Canada following Pearl Harbor? Perhaps something similar could happen again? These are issues countries with many immigrants (e.g., Australia, Canada, the U.S.) have to face in perilous times.

We like to forget the anti-German fervor that swept the U.S. during what was then called the Great War, and we now name World War I. Many Schmidts became Smiths and Weinhardts became Vineyards then.

I had occasion to be aware of this earlier revulsion for all things German because the small SoCal town where I grew up was, before 1917, called “Nordhoff” to honor writer Charles Nordhoff. During World War I that Germanic name was changed to “Ojai,” the Indian name of the small valley in which it was located.

Stiff-necked members of the high school board wouldn’t change its name. Thus forty years later I graduated from Nordhoff High School.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Trump's Winning Trade Policy

President Trump has announced the negotiation of a new trade deal with Mexico, to replace the job-killing NAFTA agreement. Fox News says the following of this action:
Trump understood the simple math that countries with which we have trade deficits would have to come to the negotiating table. By definition, we buy more from them than they buy from us, which gives us the power any major consumer has over a seller. These countries also cannot afford to lose access to our $20 trillion economy—the world’s largest.

This victory will lead to others. The leftwing government of Canada, the other member of NAFTA, had refused to negotiate seriously, perhaps believing their friends in the progressive commentariat predicting Trump’s demise.

Canada must now return, hat in hand, for a deal. If not, Trump will advance the deal with Mexico and leave Canada behind.

The European Union and China will also be greatly concerned about the Mexico deal—and more likely to negotiate seriously.
It's nice to have something to grin about on a rainy Monday.

Remembering John McCain

Other than a bye-ku, I’ve not commented on the passing of Senator John McCain. Most media commentary has been positive, and I understand and honor the “don’t speak ill of the dead” norm.

I’ve mulled my reactions to Sen. McCain and find they are mixed. I honor his family naval legacy, his own military service, his suffering as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, and his run for the presidency against Barack Obama. That alone is much more than most people achieve in a long life.

On the other hand, I often found myself opposed to the stands McCain took as a Senator, expecially as he was nominally of my party. Being a “constant contrarian” gets very tiresome after awhile.

Every senator is entitled to an outlier opinion from time to time. IMHO, John McCain overdid “maverick” in much the same way Rand Paul has done.

There you have my “mixed” assessment.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

News Bad, Trump Good

NBC News report the findings of an NBC New/Wall Street Journal poll.
After a week that saw President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman convicted on eight counts of fraud and his former lawyer plead guilty to felony campaign finance charges, the president's job approval rating remains virtually unchanged, new polling from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows.
Talk about showing the legacy media how little influence they have, this should do it.

Bye-Ku for John McCain

Senator John McCain has died, following a bout with cancer. He was 81. We offer a bye-ku or haiku of farewell in his honor, with the customary hat tip to James Taranto, the form’s popularizer.
Adieu, John McCain.
We wish you the fairest winds
And following seas.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pedophile Priests

A whole lot of concern being expressed about sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, which is awful but entirely unsurprising.  Who will be attracted to a career which is supposedly celebate? Exactly the people most likely to commit these crimes.

Men who understand themselves to be pedophiles, many or perhaps most of whom are also gay and have no interest in heterosexual relationships, see no downside in a “celebate” profession. After all, they are going to have to pose as celebate anyway inasmuch as western society doesn’t tolerate overt sex with children. The fact that many priests work with young people as part of their assignment is a further attraction for pedophiles.

People are drawn to occupations which make demands and present opportunities that are congenial, or at least not obnoxious, to them. Church policy makes as little sense as someone recruiting enthusiatic athletes and demanding they act instead like nebbishy bookworms. Or vice versa.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Imagining a Pence Presidency

With all the talk about impeachment, I began thinking about what "life after Trump" might be like. In the extremely unlikely event that Trump is both impeached by a majority of the House and convicted by 2/3 of the Senate, we get President Pence.

Democrats need to think about whether that change would be an improvement from their point of view. Trump merely thinks Democrats are dumb, Pence thinks Democrats are sinful atheists.

Trump blusters, Tweets, complains and gives Democrats offensive nicknames but lets them alone. Pence is more disciplined, I can imagine him talking federal law enforcement into becoming "morality police" a la Saudi Arabia. Perhaps enforcing federal marijuana bans in places where it no longer violates state law. Or court-martialing married members of the military who have affairs.

I have to think Democrats would find President Pence harder to deal with, his ascent to office a step backward. Remember the old adage, "be careful what you wish for?" This situation remains me of that; an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" moment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Registered Foreign Agent of an Oligarch

Jim Hoft, writing at Gateway Pundit, reveals Michael Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis, a Clinton advisor, is also a Registered Foreign Agent for Dmytro Firtash. Firtash is a Ukrainian oligarch who is a friend of Russian President Putin.

Hoft includes a picture of the State Department registration form submitted by the law firm of Davis, Goldberg & Galper. Lanny Davis is a cofounder and partner of that firm.

Remind me, who exactly is supposed to be colluding with the Russians? It seems to mostly be Democrats, doesn't it?

Weird Interspecies Science

National Geographic reports findings of a bone fragment of an individual with a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Hat tip to for the link.
Researchers had long suspected that these two groups of ancient human relatives interbred, finding whiffs of both their genes in ancient and modern human genomes. But no one had ever found the direct offspring from such a pairing.

The Denisovans were a sister group of the Neanderthals, splitting from a common ancestor some 390,000 years ago. They likely lived until around 40,000 years ago, around the time when Neanderthals were also starting to fade away.

Today, around two percent of DNA from most Europeans and Asians is Neanderthal. Hints of Denisovan also remain. Four to six percent of modern Melanesian genomes come from this ancient hominin.

This individual was a first generation interspecies hybrid. The odds of finding a half-and-half humanoid remain were vanishingly small, but it happened.

Polar bears mate with grizzly bears, why wouldn't relatively similar hominids mate? Obviously, they would and did, possibly often.

Trump Supports First Amendment Rights

Brendan Kirby writing at LifeZette, quotes President Trump speaking at last night's rally in West Virginia. Defending First Amendment rights, the President said:
You know, I’d rather have fake news like CNN. I would rather have fake news — it’s true — than have anybody, including liberals, socialists, anything, than have anybody stopped and censored.

We gotta live with it. We gotta get used to it. We gotta live with fake news. There’s too many sources. Every one of us is sort of like a newspaper. You have Twitter. You have whatever you have. Facebook.

You can’t have censorship. You can’t pick one person and say, ‘Well, we don’t like what he’s been saying. He’s out.’ So, we’ll live with fake news. I mean, I hate to say it. But we have no choice. Because that’s by far, the better alternative. We can’t have people saying, ‘censorship.’ Because you know what? It could turn around. It could be them next … We believe in the right of Americans to speak their minds.
Imagine, Bill Maher and Donald Trump in agreement about something! The mind boggles.

This on a day when the most charitable interpretation of the reported Cohen and Manafort legal difficulties suggests the President has been indifferent toward the ethical shortcomings of his minions.

Maher Takes a Lonely Stand

In his Hollywood in Toto blog, Christian Toto approvingly quotes Bill Maher uncharacteristically saying something with which I concur wholeheartedly:
If you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech. That’s free speech for the speech you hate. That’s what free speech means. We’re losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country. If you care about the real American s*** or you don’t. And if you do, it goes for every side. I don’t like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak.
A lot of the time I don’t like what Maher has to say, but I strongly favor his being able to say it uncensored. That’s Bill of Rights originalism in action, protecting unpopular speech (popular speech needs no protection).

NB, conservatives are “supposed to be for free speech” too, and mostly we are. Hat tip to Stephen Green, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the link.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cohen - a More Serious Problem

Coincidentally, today Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen pled guilty (without a trial) to several counts of tax fraud and bank fraud, plus what he claims was an illegal payoff of Stormy Daniels "at the direction of the candidate." It is this last plea that becomes problematic for Trump.

Law prof Jonathan Turley, speaking on the Bret Baier Special Report on Fox News, said whether or not doing so constitutes an illegal campaign contribution is not a settled question. Fox legal analyst Shannon Bream concurred.

For a man to pay a woman to remain silent about an affair is not, per se, illegal. When that man is a candidate, does that otherwise legal payment become a campaign contribution which, if sizable, exceeds the maximum someone can lawfully donate?

If the payment was made with Trump's money, I can't see that it is a campaign contribution as there is no limit on the amount of personal money one can spend running for office. What makes this situation cloudy is that apparently Cohen fronted Trump the payoff money and was repaid later.

Until repaid, did this loan constitute an illegally large campaign contribution? Mueller will argue it did, Trump will argue it did not. To try for a reduced sentence recommendation, Cohen has agreed with Mueller's interpretation. Admitted felons of low character like Cohen do not make especially credible witnesses.

Perhaps Mueller aims to assemble abundant evidence of Trump’s low character as ammunition for an impeachment effort should Democrats retake the House majority in November. Paying off bimbos with whom one had thinly disguised hooker/client interactions is not a hallmark of outstanding character. Employing a sleazy shyster like Cohen suggests the client holds similar scofflaw attitudes, also not a good look.

We live in interesting times. I can imagine a future in which we say of the Trump presidency, as we have said of the Nixon presidency, that he accomplished some very good things but was brought down by his character flaws. That, by the way, is not a prediction, merely a possible scenario.

Manafort Guilty, Trump Not Implicated

Various media outlets are reporting the jury found Paul Manafort guilty on 8 (of 18) charges including filing false tax returns. The jury "hung" on the other 10, and the judge declared a mistrial on those.

The jury took three days of deliberation to reach the verdicts they returned. However, it is likely most of that time was spent arguing about the 10 charges upon which they could not agree.

President Trump says he feels sorry for his former campaign manager, but is not quoted as saying Manafort was innocent. If Manafort in fact was trying to cheat the government (that's you and me) out of taxes he legitimately owed, and got caught, then he needs to do the time.

The misdeeds happened years before he was campaign chairman and had nothing whatsoever to do with Russian collusion. Thus, no pardon is warranted.

The worst you can say of Trump is that he chose a campaign chairman who was effective in the role, but had in times past not always been ethical. However, it is unlikely any background investigation private citizen Trump could have undertaken would have revealed Manafort's tax fiddles.

Manafort's mistake was moving out of the shadows of his former "international man of mystery" role. He knew his tax returns wouldn't bear close scrutiny so the harsh glare of a presidential campaign was the last place he should be.

A Matryoshka Doll Strategy

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has some X-Files fun with the Democrats’ socialist swing.
If you really buy the Russian-collusion theory, then isn’t it plausible that the Russians are using their longstanding influence over the American far-left to push the Democrats that way . . . so as to keep Trump in power? The truth is out there!
Wheels within wheels, plots within plots, calling Mulder and Scully.

Twin Cities Celebrate Eid

Power Line’s Scott Johnson writes about the Eid celebration in the Twin Cities, where Muslims have rented the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium for two days for the event. He mentions in passing the following:
Animals will be sacrificed at an undisclosed location off site in connection with the festivities. Animal sacrifice is apparently still a thing in Islam.
It is indeed a thing. Minnesota Public Radio has the following explanation:
The holiday, which commemorates the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son at the command of God, is known as Eid Al-Adha.

Eid Al-Adha, the second Muslim holiday of the year, comes at the end of the pilgrimage. Its name in Arabic means the "festival of sacrifice." Muslims celebrate by sacrificing animals and donating meat to charity.
The DrsC happened to be in Dakar, Senegal, a few days before Eid several years ago. We noticed many obviously temporary pens filled with sheep scattered around the city.

These pens reminded us of temporary Christmas tree lots in our cities. We asked about it and were told each family who can afford to do so buys a live sheep, takes it home, and ritually slaughters it according the rules of halal.

We sacrifice conifers, they sacrifice sheep, not an exact parallel. I wonder (a) if PETA will protest the ritual killing of sheep, and (b) why the Sierra Club doesn’t protest us cutting poor little trees?

An Exodus of “Nice”? links to an American Greatness article by Karen McQuillan about “Nice Ladies Leaving the Democratic Party.” It’s not a bad read, but I’m not certain it is a particularly new phenomenon. Let me tell you a story.

My dear mother was a lifelong Roosevelt Democrat, scarred as many in her generation were by the Great Depression of the 1930s. My older father was a Southern Democrat, shaped by the lingering legacy of Reconstruction. Both were interested in politics which became a not infrequent dinner table topic.

I once asked her why she was not active in Democratic politics at the local level, since she was interested and voted the party ticket. Her answer will interest you.

She said she knew several women who were active in local Democrat politics and she didn’t like them. The women she liked, she said, were Republicans. I asked for clarification and she merely indicated that she didn’t “talk politics” with her friends, who I later concluded probably believed (incorrectly) mother had no interest in the subject.

Later in life I would replicate her experience, in reverse, as a conservative college prof concealing my political orientation while on a classically liberal campus. And, like her, I tolerated but didn’t like many of my leftist colleagues. Life is full of such ironic twists.

Conclusion: I suspect Democrat activists haven’t been “nice ladies” for some decades. If my mother’s observation was accurate, as she normally was, and her small sample was typical as I expect it was, the phenomenon isn’t at all new.

Trump in His Own Words

Reuters sat down with President Trump for a wide-ranging interview. They asked questions that were neither gotcha nor trivial, and got straightish answers, with not overmuch of his saleman’s spin.

It is a very recent look at the Trump mindset, how he thinks things are going overseas and at home. I believe you’ll find it an interesting, quick read.

The 1Y Solution

Thinking more about my post below entitled The Shrinking Pool, I am reminded of something from my youth that, frankly, isn’t at the top of my consciousness very often. The military “draft” was a very real thing when I was young.

Most men either ended up medically rated 1A meaning fit for military duty, or 4F meaning not fit. Much less known was the rating of 1Y, it said one was fit for non-combat duty and would be drafted only in the event of a global war (like World War II) demanding total mobilization.

A destroyed rotator cuff meant I was rated 1Y. I could be a truck driver or supply clerk, a code breaker or a technician, could do many things as long as they didn’t involve strenuous physical activity which could dislocate my shoulder and literally incapacitate me.

Obviously the military of the Vietnam era believed they could utilize less-than-fit individuals for their many non-combat jobs in the event of an all-out war. Why can’t they do this today?

Perhaps create a parallel rank structure, or issue different uniforms or badges to differentiate “real soldiers” from ‘desk commandos’ or hire them as quasi-civilians subject to military discipline. Come on, people, stop whining, stop wasting fit recruits on desk jobs, and start solving your staffing problem.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Not Yet "Forgotten"

John Hinderaker of Power Line links to an Associated Press article by Steve Peoples, who writes:
The forgotten Republicans — people like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — have been unwilling to sit quietly as Trump steers the GOP away from free trade, fiscal responsibility, consistent foreign policy and civility.

Isolation and political exile have been their rewards. Their diminished roles leave fewer Republican leaders willing to challenge Trump under any circumstances, even in his darkest moments.
"Forgotten" Peoples writes? Darn, I wish Republicans could forget those has-beens, but the AP just won't let us.

One of these days the "forgotten" will paraphrase what Ronald Reagan said of the Democrats, that they didn't leave the party, the party left them. And they'll be correct, we got tired of losing gracefully with them, chose instead to win ugly with you-know-who, and found winning a refreshing change we’ve yet to tire of.

The Shrinking Pool

Writing at The American Conservative, Mark Perry quotes some discouraging statistics about things disqualifying most potential military recruits. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.
Here’s the arithmetic: one in three potential recruits are disqualified from service because they’re overweight, one in four cannot meet minimal educational standards (a high school diploma or GED equivalent), and one in 10 have a criminal history. In plain terms, about 71 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds (the military’s target pool of potential recruits) are disqualified from the minute they enter a recruiting station: that’s 24 million out of 34 million Americans.

Then too, of the pool of remaining potential recruits, only one in eight actually want to join the military, and of that number, fully 30 percent of those who have the requisite high school diploma or GED equivalent fail to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test (the AFQT), which is used to determine math and reading skills.

Let's be clear: young, smart, fit, law-abiding people are likely to choose careers other than the military. So who walks into recruiting stations are mostly people who don't have one or more of those characteristics and therefore have far fewer career alternatives. The article doesn't mention that a history of drug use is disqualifying, but it is.

In times past, the military experimented with a pre-basic "fat farm" camp to get fat recruits slender enough to survive basic training. I don't know how those panned out, probably not well enough.

Seems like good high school athletes who aren't talented enough or large enough to get college scholarships might be a fertile field from which to recruit. They probably are already targeted.

The military could experiment with hiring civilian employees to do a number of tasks now done by uniformed service personnel. Those who fly armed drones into battle zones half way around the world while sitting in portables in Nevada could as well be civilians. Those doing cyber warfare needn't have good eyesight or trim waists to sit at a screen all day hacking. Both of these are basically office jobs.

And finally, we might consider a Foreign Legion of "young, smart, fit, law-abiding people" from third world countries who have at home far fewer opportunities. They might well find enlisting in our military a good career choice leading, at retirement, to a pension and, if desired, U.S. citizenship. The Roman Empire found this useful in staffing its legions.

Weird Dermatological Science has a story about why mosquitoes are more likely to bite some individuals than others. The conclusion is that the variable appears to be the microbiota resident on our skin, and the extremely subtle aromas to which they give rise.

My dear mother, for example was rarely bitten in outdoor locales where my father and I would be targets. My dad, who was devoted to her, liked to tease it was because she had "bad blood." She took no offense, probably pleased as anything to avoid the welts and itching we suffered in those pre-DEET days.

Consumer Reports says Avon's Skin So Soft Bath Oil doesn't work very well as a mosquito repellant, and Avon denies that's an intended usage. If you'd rather avoid DEET, CR suggests trying repellants with Picaridin in the 20-30% concentrations.

Trump's Character

David Horowitz takes to American Greatness to explain his defense of Donald Trump's character. Hat tip to for the link. Horowitz concludes:
Has Trump kept his promises to his supporters? Has he stayed the course he set for himself of making America great again? That loyalty is the character trait that matters most in a leader, and should matter most in any assessment of Trump. He has taken great personal risks and incurred great personal costs. His reputation for example, was pretty good before he ran against Democrats and their media, who fueled an epidemic of hate portraying him as a racist and neo-Nazi.

I’m betting there isn’t another Republican who would not have wilted under these attacks. Who would have had the fortitude to stay the course, and keep his promises. That’s really good character. And it’s presidential.
Analysis: Mostly correct. Know a man (or woman) by the enemies he or she makes. Looking at Trump's repellant enemies, I say he is a diamond in the rough. Far from saintly or cautious, but with excellent instincts.

Doctors Going AWOL

NBC News reports physicians are leaving the profession in substantial numbers, citing overwork and the federally mandated electronic health records (EHRs). If you've noticed your medical provider doing more typing than diagnosing, you aren't imagining things. EHR is the reason.

This doesn't surprise me one bit. The DrsC have had entirely too many doctors bail out of being health providers. True, a couple died, but most did other things. One left private practice to work for a Boston-based insurance company, evaluating the reasonableness of claims. Another quit to become a "hospitalist" who just shows up, puts in his 8 hours and goes home. Yet another left the profession entirely, we suspect a psychotic break or chemical dependency.

Several retired early in disgust at EHR, another provider left private practice to work in our university's student health center for better hours and vacations. We've experienced churning (in CA but not in WY) and don't expect the turnover to stop. Not everything about modern life is an improvement over what went before.

Perfect? No. Great? Certainly.

Instapundit links to a Salena Zito article in the Washington Examiner. She has become the clear voice of the real America, which lives in the great flyover country away from the huge, toxic cities.

Zito riffs on the offhand comment by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that America was never great. After sharing a half dozen charming stories of good people doing nice things for each other, she concludes:
Great is an aspiration — a higher elevation to which you constantly try to take yourself and your countrymen.

And that greatness resides in our people. It's visible in the volunteer firefighters, the Good Samaritans, the compassionate, the people in this country hidden in plain sight that do the right thing not for glory, but out of a sense of duty.

America has never been perfect for all people, but it never stops striving to be that place taking on our shortcomings with protests, church meetings, policy changes and societal upheavals. It often takes too long, it often has setbacks, but at our core, we fundamentally never stop trying.

There is a reason our ancestors immigrated to this country. It was a land that held a promise of opportunity, broad freedoms, and unoppressive government. That's the reason people still want to come here.

Cuomo is wrong. Had he said America's never been perfect, he would’ve been right. But amid our flaws is plenty of greatness. We do great things every day, and we aspire to do more tomorrow.
I had that very thought, though she expresses it better than I could. America is far from perfect but most definitely great, especially when compared to everywhere else.

At our dinner table on the just-ended cruise, was a retired nurse who puts in many unpaid hours a month saving lives as an EMT on a small Texas towns’ volunteer ambulance service. There are many good people like her who do great things because they are able.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Travel Blogging: Coda

Back home in Wyoming: We flew for a total of about 12 hours and finally got home. The air here is smoky from the forest fires, but otherwise pleasant.

This was a nice trip, not too long, not too tiring, and not too fattening. We visited two new-to-us countries - Lithuania and Latvia - and a third location even harder to visit - the geographically noncontiguous Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. What makes the Baltic republics interesting geopolitically is that, if war breaks out in Europe, it will probably be Putin trying to fold these countries back into the Russian orbit.

One of our 2 checked suitcases went astray between Minneapolis-St. Paul and WY. We know it got as far as MSP as we had to get it off the carousel, take it through customs and recheck it.  If it doesn't show up in the next couple of days I'm out a bunch of clothes.

Later ... the suitcase arrived at our door intact and undamaged some 22 hours later, as I expected it would.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

An Iron(ic) Law

Thomas Lifson, writing for American Thinker, pens something profound about the modern Democratic Party, keying off something Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said about the disgusting wave of shootings and killings in his city.
Chicago’s mayor evidently forgot one of the iron laws of the Democratic Party: no members of any victim class can be held responsible for any problems that result from their behavior.
Democrats can believe that if they choose. We “normals” don’t share that belief, of course.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Travel Blogging XI

The Kiel Canal, Germany: As I write this on Saturday local time (ignore the above date and time below), we are slowly transiting the Kiel Canal, and yes, it does have locks. It turns out that like the Suez Canal, here ships pull aside to allow other ships to pass.

The locks exist to prevent storm surges and tidal flows, they do not lift or lower ships appreciably. We entered the canal just north of Kiel, and exited into the Elbe River near its mouth, downstream from Hamburg near Cuxhaven.

What this transit most resembles is cruising the Rhine River: the water is dead calm, the scenery is bucolic and green, paved bicycle paths parallel the canal, and the fields and villages are painfully tidy. What is different is that you do not see ships as big as ours on the Rhine.

Today promises to be a very pleasant daylight crossing of the Cimbrian (or Jutland) peninsula and by this time tomorrow we’ll be ashore and headed for Schiphol airport and our flight home. Later today we pack up our stuff, always a bit of a hassle.

Travel Blogging X

At sea, off southern Sweden: The Baltic Sea supports a lot of ship traffic, we have seldom been out of sight of other ships during this two weeks in the region. In that respect it resembles the eastern coast of Spain or waters around Singapore, both of which are similarly busy.

The seas have been amazingly calm, we’ve rarely felt ship motion, although we happen to at the moment. It’s said the water here is less saline than in the big oceans, which makes a certain sense. The surrounding lands get substantial rains providing fresh water runoff, and the temperatures are cool enough and the humidity high enough that there’s not too much evaporation.

Tomorrow we transit the Kiel Canal, which crosses a peninsula on the northern end of which is Denmark. The canal crosses south of the German border, and we’re told only smallish ships like ours can utilize it. That should be interesting, I’ve no idea whether locks are involved like Panama or if it is a sea level canal like Suez. It is clear no one wanted to spend the money to enlarge it to handle large modern vessels.

This has been a pleasant journey so far; day after tomorrow we disembark and catch a plane back to North America. That will be one of those “longest day” experiences as our jet chases the sun westward around the globe and very nearly keeps up. We land a couple of hours local after we took off many thousand miles earlier, meanwhile gaining back all those hours we lost on the flight to Europe.

I follow the U.S. news cycle as grist for this blog, being over here means being some nine hours ahead of local time in Wyoming, or seven hours ahead of the U.S. east coast. All day long here nothing much is happening in North America which is asleep. The active time for U.S. news here in eastern Europe is the evening, from supper on to bedtime. It seems wrong, somehow, but isn’t.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Travel Blogging IX

Helsinki, Finland:  We’ve been to Helsinki twice before, and really have no great need to go ashore. We ventured out briefly, but came back when we missed the Hop On-Hop Off bus and would have had to wait nearly a half hour for the next. It’s a beautiful day, cool but not cold, sunny and pretty.

It is our last port of call on this cruise, until we return to Amsterdam. We have sea days for the next two and then we fly out Sunday. The Baltic Sea has been very calm the past couple of weeks, likely no seasickness aboard anywhere. I don’t know is if these are typical summer sea conditions here.

If you come to Helsinki, do make a point of visiting the Church of the Rock, It’s built into an old rock quarry which they roofed over and installed a floor, pews and a pipe organ. I’m not the only one who finds its craggy stone interior walls and vaulted ceiling create a very spiritual-feeling space. Having visited it twice on earlier trips, we passed this time.

We saw something very interesting on the short voyage here last early evening from St. Petersburg. The estuary of the Neva River has been sort of dammed with a breakwater and enormous gates at the entrance so it can be shut off from the Baltic. A web search for Neva River flood control will bring up photos of the gates.

The gates exist to prevent a storm surge from heading upstream to St. Petersburg. The Baltic Sea notoriously has almost no tides but St. Petersburg with its canals and channels is very at-risk of flooding.

If you’d like to see photos of the places we’ve toured on this trip, please visit the other DrC’s blog here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Brennan’s Security Clearance Is Kaput

Politico reports the Trump administration has revoked the security clearance of Obama CIA Director John Brennan, who has been strident in his condemnation of Trump foreign policy decisions. This lack of clearance will interfere with Brennan’s opportunities for consulting employment in the years going forward.
The administration is evaluating clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strozk, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose security clearance was deactivated after he was fired earlier this year, and Bruce Ohr, who is still in the Justice Department although he was demoted from associate deputy attorney general.
For several of these people, revoking their clearance is something like turning them into nonentities. I predict they’ll turn into university faculty, an arena where their never-Trump attitudes will be honored.

Travel Blogging VIII

Saint Petersburg, Russia: We went ashore last night to see ballet - Swan Lake - performed at a nice old theater. It wasn’t a premier company but still very competent, nobody takes ballet more seriously than Russians. The orchestra did a decent job of Tchaikovsky, the costumes were first class, it was a nice evening.

The bus ride from the mooring to the theater was interesting and took over a half hour. We drove past the Hermitage museum and several glorious lighted public buildings, one of which somewhat resembled Bernini’s arcing courtyard of columns at the Vatican.

Old St. Petersburg is modeled on Paris, with a few wide waterways thrown in for flavor. Most of the buildings are 3-4 stories high, and have a large footprint. It is relatively clean, relatively maintained, and because most residents use public transport and don’t own cars, the traffic isn’t hideous.

St. Petersburg is as far north as Churchill, Manitoba, on the shores of Hudson Bay; roughly 450 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Midsummer nights are quite short at these latitudes. In August we are too late for the White Nights St. Petersburg is known for, they happen in June and early July.

Nevertheless we saw people sitting on the grass in parks in the dark as we were coming home around 11 p.m. Our guide said people just like being outside when the weather is warm and not wet, so it isn’t just the White Nights thing we had surmised. This far north the “window” for sitting outdoors is realtively short, I’m guessing it will end in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Travel Blogging VII

St. Petersburg, Russia:  This city is relatively new, built by Tsar Peter the Great who wanted a European-looking capital city, and was later called Petrograd in his honor. During Soviet times, it was known as Leningrad.

St. Petersburg was famous for the prolonged siege it withstood during the Nazi invasion. Provisions were brought in by trucks running over the frozen Lake Ladoga, dodging Stukas and artillery. It is home to the tsars’ amazing art collection at a museum called The Hermitage.

We’re here for two days, it is definitely a major cruise port, there are six large ships in port as I write this. Essentially all Baltic cruises stop here, Copenhagen and Helsinki, and most hit yesterday’s port - Tallinn - as well. After that, it gets spotty.

Relatively few ships stop in Stockholm, not sure why. Even fewer visit Latvia or Lithuania, and we were told Kaliningrad gets two ships a year. Imagine the difference between thinking of ships-per-day, as they do here, or ships-per-year as they must in Lithuania or Kaliningrad.

From our mooring we can see the zoomy new Lakhta Center, the tallest building in Europe and future home of Gazprom, the Russian petroleum company. It runs 87 stories tall, some 1516 feet.

We’re seeing a ballet performance this evening, which we did once before when here. More about that later.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Gallup Outs Dems as Socialists

The Gallup polling organization has released new numbers which show a disturbing trend. Hat tip to Breitbart for the link.
For the first time in Gallup's measurement over the past decade, Democrats have a more positive image of socialism than they do of capitalism. Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed materially since 2010, with 57% today having a positive view. The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47% positive this year -- lower than in any of the three previous measures.
On the other hand, Republicans favor capitalism (71%) over socialism (16%) by a large margin. Since capitalism is responsible for our current ebullient economy, having perhaps half the electorate favoring a competing system, which has proven disastrous wherever tried, cannot be good.


I’d like to advance an hypothesis which I have neither the ability nor energy to test. It is this: Democrats who favor socialism over capitalism feel unsuccessful in the current system and think, perhaps correctly, they’ve nothing to lose in trying another. Even if they’re no more successful under socialism, at least those of us presently successful will be less so, which could make their misery less painful to bear.

Another Win for Common Sense

The hits keep on coming. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, touring the fire ravaged West, announces a new Administration policy to actively manage government forests to reduce the fuel load and increase species diversity. See the Washington Times article.

Without disparaging climate change issues, he says forest management is something we know how to do. We have refrained from doing it at the behest of radical (my adjective, not his) environmentalists who see anything humans do as a regrettable environmental disaster.

I’ve seen the National Park Service do this fuel-load reduction in the vicinity of human-built facilities within two national parks in WY, and it makes obvious intuitive sense.

Bye-Ku for Peter Strzok

Various sources report the Deputy Director of the FBI has fired Peter Strzok. One half of the famous lovebird pair of FBI Trump-haters, Strzok was disrespectful in testimony to Congress. His firing was based on negative findings by the DOJ Inspector General.

In honor of this propitious occasion we compose a bye-ku or haiku of farewell for Strzok, with a hat tip to James Taranto, the form’s popularizer.
Peter Strzok, you suck.
You disgraced the Bureau
With overt bias.

Travel Blogging VI

Tallinn, Estonia: This city on the gulf of Finland has become a major cruise ship stop. Also in port today were the following: the Aida Mer, the Costa Magica, another Holland America ship, and two more I couldn’t identify.

There were also several large ferries which could pass for cruise ships if you didn’t see the massive ramp/door on their sterns. The ferries likely run to Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Stockholm, and perhaps to Riga.

Mega-ferries are a big deal in the Baltic, the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean. I suppose Europe supports 50 or more of them. They also run between Britain and Ireland, and across the Channel to France.

We’ve visited Tallinn before, a couple of times, so we didn’t bother going ashore. Now we’re sailing east to St. Petersburg where we’ll arrive tomorrow early and remain for two days, leaving late afternoon the day after tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hungary: No More Gender Studies

Fox News reports the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Orban has decided to shut down “gender studies” courses and majors at Hungarian universities. A government spokesman issued the following judgment:
There is no economic rationale for studies such as these, and so we have reason to presume that it was not created in response to labor market needs, and equally not to furnish students with skills that can be readily and directly converted on the labor market,” he said. It is also questionable to what extent studies with admittedly such low student numbers are economical and sustainable.
I fear there is little chance of the adoption of this practical policy here in the U.S.

Protests Continue

The Washington Times reports NFL players continue to stage protests during the playing of the national anthem at preseason games. While we cannot be certain, it is likely the President will continue to disparage this behavior.

This hostile interplay will motivate Republican voters in November, I’m thinking. And it will tend to reduce interest in NFL games.

Both are positives, from the Republican political perspective. And negatives from the NFL owners’ and TV networks’ points of view, of course.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Travel Blogging V

Riga, Latvia:  Today we visit Riga, the port which is also the capital of this small Baltic country. It is a very serious port indeed, lots of commercial shipping - both bulk and container. Cruising to our mooring spot from when we passed the breakwater took the better part of an hour.

Later ... We learned Riga proper is some 8-9 miles up the Daugava River from the Baltic Sea, “Daugava” translates as “much water.” That makes it a fresh water port, one supposes.

Remnants of the former Soviet occupation persist in some architecture and many monuments to this or that hero of the Soviet Union. Russians make up 25-30% of the Latvian population of 2 million, but may be a majority of Riga residents. Our guide was anti-Russian but kept it mostly on the downlow.

Like Poland, the poor Latvians have spent most of their history occupied by somebody else, most recently the Soviets. The Germans, Swedes, Poles, and even the French also sat on Latvia for a spell. The Latvians were independent between the World Wars and again since 1990 when the USSR died.

The architecture in Riga is heavily art deco with a lot of decoration on building exteriors. It’s a city of 5 & 6 story faux stone buildings interspersed with 2 story wooden buildings. It is reputed to be the largest city among the three so-called “Baltic republics.”

As we knew, Latvia and Lithuania speak old languages in the Indo-European family, whereas Estonia to the north speaks a Finno-Ugric language distantly related to Modern Turkish. Under Soviet occupation everyone of a certain age learned Russian, today’s young people are more likely to learn English.

A Positive Trend

The Daily Caller reports three recent polls - YouGov, Reuters, and IBB/TIPP find the generic ballot gap favoring Dems is shrinking, in one case to zero. This suggests a pro-Republican trend happening at this time, with the caution that much can happen between now and early Nov.

The article says President Trump has endorsed five primary candidates and all have won their races. This indicates his endorsement is valuable in the current environment. Watch for him to use it generously between now and the election.

Travel Blogging IV

Klaipeda, Lithuania:  If you approach Lithuania by ship, it doesn’t bring you to the capital of Vilnius, which is inland. Klaipeda is the port on the Baltic Sea and like Baltiysk, Kaliningrad, it lives behind a barrier island which is treed and seemingly relatively permanent.

These barrier islands effectively create protected ports where no cove or inlet exists, so long as a gap exists so ships can get behind the island. One suspects dredging is required to keep the gaps open.

Lithuania is a pleasant land, forested and green. We learned the name means Place of Rain, and sure enough we were rained upon, briefly but with vigor. Klaipeda is Lithuania’s seaside resort and it being August was crowded with local tourists enjoying the mostly fine weather. If you know CA’s Bay Area, Klaipeda is Lithuania’s version of Santa Cruz or SoCal’s Malibu.

The country is clean, has some nice freeways, seems orderly, and appears to have no homeless or other obviously dysfunctional population. Unlike the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuania doesn’t seem much militarized. Perhaps it should be more so as it lives in a dangerous neighborhood.

We were told the local language has much in common with Sanskrit, which seems far-fetched on its face. For sure it doesn’t seem to share cognates with Latin-based languages or with English.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Travel Blogging III

Kaliningrad Oblast:  We visited this cut-off portion of the Russian state today,, it’s located on the Baltic coastline between Poland and Lithuania. In the Soviet era, westerners couldn’t visit Kaliningrad as it was a super-secret military enclave.

If we’re not the first regular cruise ship to visit Kaliningrad, we’re one of the first. They’re still trying to figure out what to show western tourists.

We saw considerable stocks of pre-positioned military hardware, waiting for troops who may never come, or may arrive, if Putin concludes we don’t have the will to defend our friends in the region: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for starters, add in Poland and Finland, plus the Scandanavian countries - Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

The port where we docked - Baltiysk - is the base for the Russian Baltic fleet, and we saw the usual smallish gray-painted warships. What was very unusual was two propjet-driven, ground effect amphibious vessels plus a Russian version of an LST. All three are designed to put troops on a hostile shore, all three were “parked” where we would see them as we sailed out. I wonder what that means?

In Kaliningrad town, there’s a cathedral which is no longer a church but functions as a concert hall and museum. It has a heck of a pipe organ, a huge tracker that can really thunder. That and an amber museum/sales room were all we were shown.

The Baltic region is where most of the world’s amber is found, it being petrified tree sap of course. They do some amazing art with it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Socialism a Loser Yesterday

Various sources are reporting the four candidates endorsed by Democratic Socialist wunderkind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in yesterday’s Democratic primaries all lost. This is excellent news. It suggests media excitement about her is not reflective of public support.

It further suggests the media is even further out of sync with public opinion than we conservatives thought. That is likewise good news.

Socialism is one of those “if it seems too good to be true, it’s false” deals, it is based on a willful misunderstanding of human nature. “Willful” in the sense that humans are less altruisitic and more selfish than some would hope, particularly in larger aggregations where kinship and shared values are less (or not at all) apparent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Travel Blogging II

Copenhagen, Denmark: We’ve been here before, I didn’t go ashore but the other DrC did. See her pix at, she has the Little Mermaid, a polar bear statue, etc.

Weather has been spectacular since arrival in Amsterdam, especially for this region which isn’t known for warm sunny days. Almost hot, probably is considered hot by the locals. Seas so far very close to dead calm, I’m guessing zero seasickness aboard. I suppose the Baltic is sometimes rough but it’s known for a lack of tides.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Travel Blogging I

Dallas-Fort Worth International:  The DrsC are traveling again. We arose at oh-dark-thirty to fly out of Jackson as the sun was rising. Now we’re killing a couple of hours at American’s Admiral’s Club in Dallas.

We’ll fly from Dallas to Amsterdam overnight where we link up with a cruise ship tomorrow and spend the next two weeks cruising the Baltic. So far, so good. More later as we encounter interesting “stuff.”

Drive a Pickup, Vote for Trump

The Los Angeles Times whines about the President rolling back Obama-imposed future CAFE fuel standards for cars, light trucks, and SUVs, instead freezing them at present levels. Let’s think about why he did this.

Year after year, the single most popular motor vehicle purchased in the U.S. is the Ford F-150 pickup truck. Chrysler and GM sell plenty of “pick’em ups” too. A very high proportion of the non-pickup sales are SUVs many of which are based on light truck designs.

Pickups and SUVs are big, husky vehicles which have plenty of power but don’t get exceptional mileage. Most pickup drivers are Trump voters. What do Trump voters want? To visit his new border wall in their pickup, and The Donald knows it.

More generally, Salesman Donald knows it’s easier to sell people things they already want and like. Don’t be surprised if he backs policies popular with his base. Irritating California’s “greens” is, as they say in Cajun country, pure lagniappe.

Friday, August 3, 2018

An Odd Choice

The New York Times reveals, with its newest editorial board hire - Sarah Jeong, that it chooses to be a paper for whites who believe they deserve to be hated, who feel they truly have earned hatred. In modern parlance, this degree of extremism is called "jumping the shark."

I don't think the guilty are a large enough market segment to support so large a news organization. Time will tell.

The Nation Divided

This Ramirez cartoon is too good not to share. Hat tip to Power Line's John Hinderaker for the image.

It's a wonder the Russians even bother. Who needs them when the Democrats do such a marvelous job of "divide and weaken"?

Jeong Revisited

An article in The American Spectator provides links to a whole series of Sarah Jeong's Tweets projecting hate at, not just white men, but Christians, including her parents, straight women, and the police. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

The New York Times really hired themselves an angry package in this person. They should dump her, not for my sake as I am not a subscriber, but for their own sake. Opinions, if made public, should have consequences.

Why do you think I waited until I retired before beginning a conservative blog? It would have been a millstone around my neck as a professor.

Quote of the Day

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, a panelist speaking on Bret Baier’s Fox NewsSpecial Report, on the subject of the President’s attacks on the press:
Trump did not create distrust of the media; distrust of the media created Trump.
The glaring disconnect between the media’s adulation of President Obama and the frankly pathetic Obama presidency created the opening for candidate Trump to step up and loudly proclaim, in effect, “The Emperor is naked; those who say otherwise are propagandists, not journalists.”

Then when the media dumped on the real accomplishments of the Trump presidency, their status as his enemy became obvious. Quickly his message became distilled down to the irreducable minimum of two syllables: FAKE NEWS.


I’ve wished, when the White House press corps badgers Press Secretary Sanders, she felt she could reply: “I don’t know if the media are the enemy of the people, you can ask them that question. I suspect you won’t much like their answer. I do know many of you treat me, and my boss, as enemies and we deal with you as we would any serious enemies, by counterattacking. You picked this fight, take your lumps and stop whining when you get hit.”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

More on Jeong

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff weighs in on the subject of The New York Times' latest editorial hire - anti-white racist Sarah Jeong. His conclusion doesn't cut The Times much slack, nor is it clear anyone should.
If the Times is fine with hiring an anti-white racist, then we’re entitled to conclude that the Times condones her racism and is, if not “the enemy of the American people,” at least the enemy of American white people.
Many of us had already reached that conclusion.

Weird Metabolic Science

Obesity is a problem not only in North America but increasingly throughout the developed world. One biological factor contributing is the ratio of "bad" white fat to "good" brown fat. Brown fat burns calories to produce warmth.

Columbia Engineering, a publication of Columbia University, reports research which harvested "bad" white fat from individuals, converted it into "good" brown fat outside the body, and reinjected it into the person from which it originally came. Hat tip to RealClearScience for the link.

Because the reinjected fat is from the individual's own body, tissue rejection should be less of an issue. This technique potentially could be a major factor in controlling the weight-gain tendency of those of us who spend many hours a day staring at a screen, instead of exercising. It might also help the chronically cold feel less chilly.


The New York Times has announced they've hired a new editorial board member - Sarah Jeong - who will write from her home in the People's Republic of Portland, OR. Jeong, whose photo suggests she is Asian, repeatedly Tweeted she hates white people.

Several sources, including The Daily Caller and Power Line, have posted Jeong's frequent Tweets to that effect. To be fair, the offensive Tweets all date from 2013 and 2014, I've seen nothing newer.

NYT has responded as follows, in part:
We hired Sarah Jeong because of the exceptional work she has done covering the internet and technology at a range of respected publications.
I don't remember Walt Mossberg writing anything hateful. Of her intemperate Tweets, NYT notes:
She regrets it and The Times does not condone it.
She understands that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable at The Times.
Translation (from swamp-speak): Ambition trumps animosity.
Evaluation: Sophomoric snowflake behavior - not a good look at The Gray Lady.

Not a Monolithic Voting Bloc

The Washington Times reports a counteintuitive polling result.
A recent Harvard/Harris poll recorded a 10-point spike in Hispanic support for Mr. Trump.

Unemployment among Hispanics has fallen to its lowest level in decades, and there’s little doubt that Mr. Trump’s pro-business policies are the reason.

Based on past polls and past voting behavior, about 20-25 percent of Hispanics consistently vote Republican in national elections. By contrast, roughly 45-40 percent vote Democratic. That leaves a “swing” constituency of about 30-35 percent. How they vote depends largely on the quality of the candidates, their leadership abilities and their attitudes toward Hispanics as an ethnic group.
What I know is that Hispanics came here to work and earn a living. The Trump economy’s excellent employment opportunities certainly help them achieve that goal. And those already here don’t benefit by the arrival of more who will compete for the same jobs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Follow Her Reasoning

In response to complaints about gun ownership, blogger Tamara Keel writes the following logical response:
So, you think that there's a bumbling madman in the White House who is Literally Hitler, and that the military is made up of reactionary goons who swear fealty to this guy, and the police of the nation are engaged in a coordinated conspiracy to straight-up murder oppressed minorities...and also those are the only people who should have guns.

Your worldview is wack.
Oh, well, logical consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, isn't it?

Happy 30th, Rush

A variety of sources are reporting today is Rush Limbaugh's 30th anniversary on radio. Widely reported is that President Trump called in, actually got through the screener, and said very nice things to El Rushbo, who responded in kind.

Success is hard to argue with, and nobody has been more successful at talk radio than Limbaugh. His talk show career began to take off in Sacramento at KFBK AM 1530 and he still makes wisecracks about low-rent areas around Sacramento.

KFBK never stopped carrying his show, though he moved first to NYC and then Florida. He's got to love not paying a state income tax in FL.

COTTonLINE wishes Rush a Happy Anniversary, and as many more decades at the "golden EIB microphone" as he chooses to perform. Like the late Paul Harvey, he's an American original, with a unique style.

Require Photo ID to Vote

At a rally in Florida President Trump endorsed requiring those who would vote to show a government-issued photo identification, in most cases a driver's license or passport. Photo ID cards are available for non-drivers, at reasonable cost in most states, from the DMV.

COTTonLINE writes to support making this a requirement in federal elections. If states wish to waive the requirement in local elections, I have no objection. If they wish to make ID cards available free to the poor, that's okay too.

The DrsC agree neither of us would be offended at being asked to show proof of identity to vote. We show ID every time we board a plane, or cash a check, or embark on a cruise ship. Voting is important and evidence suggests voting fraud is not uncommon, if sometimes inadvertent.

Tommy Robinson Update

In late May and early June we wrote about a Brit - Tommy Robinson - who was jailed for trying to draw attention to the trial of a group of Pakistani pimps - a so-called "grooming gang" - who preyed on poor white girls. He wasn’t making noise or inciting violence, just videoing the trial from across the street.

Now Breitbart reports Robinson has been released on bail. The judge, who summarily jailed him for contempt of court, has been rebuked for judicial errors. As an admitted Anglophile, I am pleased.

Being Muslim does not excuse criminal behavior, nor should it shield the accused from media coverage. Some Brits, apparently including the rebuked judge, have taken avoidance of Islamophobia entirely too far. Hat tip to for the link.

Rogue Waves

Fox News reports research at the University of Southhampton into gigantic “rogue waves” as much as 100 ft. tall. It claims they’re likely responsible for the many mysterious sinkings and disappearances in the so-called “Bermuda Triangle.”

Perhaps ... I know very tall rogue waves exist in the Mediterranean Sea. On November 22, 2008, the other DrC and I were waiting to board the Grand Princess in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome.

The Grand Princess had sailed north through the night from Sicily along Italy’s western shore when around midnight she was hit by a rogue wave which stopped her dead in the water and temporarily knocked out her electrical system. Most people were in bed and uninjured. The ship suffered broken windows way up on the pool deck, probably 100 ft. above the waterline, and some water and mechanical damage.

She limped into Civitavecchia several hours late, disembarked most of the passengers, except for those continuing to Ft. Lauderdale, shipped some plywood to replace the broken windows, cleaned up the mess, and we boarded perhaps 4-5 hours late.

We chatted up some of the continuing passengers who experienced the collision with the wave. They found it darned scary, with the power off, the emergency lights on, and the ship not moving.

She sailed early that evening and following stops in Morocco, Senegal, Brazil, and the Caribbean, ended up in Ft. Lauderdale w/o incident. It was a nice repositioning cruise uniquely touching four continents: Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.