Monday, September 30, 2019

Quote of the Day

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, cracking wise about liberal hypocrisy.
Have you noticed how the people who tell us Trump is crazy and has no respect for American institutions keep acting crazy, and showing no respect for American institutions?
Yes ... yes, I have.

Four Theories

If you've been wondering why the Democrats decided to go all in with a weak hand for impeachment, Power Line's Steven Hayward has four theories to consider. You need to read them, but I'll give you a brief idea of each.
1. The Democratic 2020 president field is unbelievably weak. (snip) Hence the impeachment crusade is a hail Mary pass intended not just to whip up the Democratic base, but hopefully drive down Trump’s poll numbers.
2. If the economy holds up, Trump is the strong favorite to be re-elected. Hence the drive of the Democrats and the media to talk us into a recession. (snip) When you’re desperate for some good (bad) news, why not give it a try?
3. This is really about tying up the Senate to prevent Trump from confirming a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
4. This is payback for the Clinton impeachment. (snip) Don’t believe for a moment that the Gollum-like Hillary doesn’t want a rematch with Trump.
Hayward says it likely isn't "pick one" but rather some combination of these reasons. I still think impeachment is political masturbation, public self-pleasuring by Trump-haters who know they won't succeed but find the process orgasmic.

Major Matters

An article at RealClearEducation argues that choice of college major is a key factor in salary both immediately after graduation and later in life. Author Karen Lips tells women that the choices they make will have more influence on their earnings than their gender.

This is a case where the sauce for the goose is equally appropriate for the gander. Picking an in-demand, well-paid major is good advice for fellows too.

Pick a major that pays well and for which there is demand (recruiters coming to campus). Nearly all STEM majors pay well. So do those in Business Administration, the more technical the more lucrative.

There is always demand for public school teachers, at least in part because of turnover. However, teacher pay isn't everywhere a living wage, it depends on the state or district where you teach.

The other DrC tracks public school work conditions. She reports it is rapidly becoming an unattractive career for reasons having nothing to do with pay.

Faking Hate Crimes: It's a Thing

Are most supposed "hate crimes" in fact hoaxes? Or is it only those which get as far as the national news? Here is the latest one, link courtesy of The story is reported by the Associated Press and appears in the New York Post.

An African-American girl,  attending a Christian school in a northern Virginia suburb of DC, last week claimed to have been held down by three white male classmates who cut off her dreadlocks. Today it is reported she has recanted and her family has apologized to the school, the boys, and the community.

There have been so many of these, it's gotten to the point where the first thing one thinks about when someone says "hate crime" is that it is a hoax. The story doesn't speculate on the girl's motive for making this serious accusation; presumably she cut off her own hair.

If you are willing to be depressed, go here to see a list of recent fake hate crimes compiled for The Daily Caller. They list 20+ fakes and admit their list is far from complete.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Black: Trump Wins by 20 in 2020

Conrad Black, aka Baron Black of Crossharbor, is a Canadian-born Brit newspaperman who writes knowledgeably about American politics. His work is often interesting, here appearing in the National Post, a Canadian paper he once owned and for which he still writes. His foreigner’s insight about the U.S. is interesting, you may or may not like it.
The United States is a jungle, and that is its strength and its weakness. It assures an immensely competitive Darwinian society in constant fermentation with high levels of achievement in practically every field, but it also causes inordinately large numbers of people to be ground to powder.

The land of opportunity is the place where anyone can accomplish almost anything, but there is a threadbare safety net and more than 30 million people live in poverty. It has six to 12 times as many incarcerated people as other large, prosperous democracies, including Canada.

Like all jungles, it is run, even if from a little behind the scenes, by the human equivalent of 30-foot constricting snakes and 700-pound cats. Trump’s offence, and his strength, is that he doesn’t make much effort to disguise the fact that he is a fierce, tough and often ruthless alumnus of the very tough schools of American capitalism, entertainment and politics.

The United States, by the standards of most other advanced countries, is garish and corrupt; it’s not what many Americans and most Canadians want, but it is a democracy and Americans can run their country as they please. There has never in human history been anything like the rise of America from three million colonists to overwhelming pre-eminence in the whole world in two long lifetimes (1783-1945).
His conclusion, Trump reelected by 20 points. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Afterthought: Reading his column you discover Black particularly doesn’t like our U.S. criminal justice system. If you then read his Wikipedia entry (scroll down) you discover he was “bitten” by it some years ago and did 42 months “inside.”

He was pardoned by President Trump. Was Black actually guilty of something? I have no idea. What I know is he often writes interesting stuff.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Who Leaves CA: Conservatives, and the Young

Regular readers know the decline and fall of our native California is one story COTTonLINE has followed for over a decade. Today the Los Angeles Times has a story that, while not surprising in content, is somewhat out of the norm for that normally-lefty media outlet.
Just over half of California’s registered voters have considered leaving the state, with soaring housing costs cited as the most common reason for wanting to move, according to a new poll.

Young voters were especially likely to cite unaffordable housing as a reason for leaving, according to the latest latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. But a different group, conservatives, also frequently suggested they wanted to leave — and for a very different reason: They feel alienated from the state’s political culture.

Republicans and conservative voters were nearly three times as likely to have seriously considered moving as their Democratic or liberal counterparts — 40% compared with 14%, the poll found. The conservative voters mentioned taxes and California’s political climate as a reason for leaving more frequently than they cited housing.
If the population of CA becomes overwhelmingly Democrat, the likelihood of elections in which the winner of the national popular vote doesn’t win the presidency will increase. Whether Democrats win CA by one vote or 10 million votes, the state’s electoral college votes for a Dem remain exactly the same.

CA being both an uncongenial residence for conservatives and a high tax burden state were clearly motivations for the DrsC to leave and domicile in WY. And we are personally acquainted with several other emigres with similar motivations.

Travel Blogging

Winnemucca, Nevada: As the dateline reveals, the DrsC are deep into our annual autumnal migration down from the high country to lower (and warmer) climes. Our home in western Wyoming is fantastic in late spring, summer, and early fall.

However, as the year-round residents are fond of telling us, the winters at 6000 ft. are both hard and much too long. An often heard plaint is “Can I go with you?” when we announce we’re about to leave for the winter.

True, our region has a number of winter enthusiasts who love to snowmobile and ski, but it has an equal number who can’t wait for retirement so they too can join the “snowbird” migration to AZ or NV or, less often, CA.

Year-round residents in our part of WY are heavily LDS aka Mormon; and they are great neighbors. A lot of LDS seniors have a winter spot in St. George, UT, or Mesquite, NV, the latter is sometimes known as “Mormon Palm Springs.”

Wednesday we drove across eastern Idaho; the potato harvest is underway and the grain fields are golden. Yesterday we drove south and west across northeastern Nevada. The ragweed is blooming furiously and I’m sniffling with hayfever in consequence.

Tonight we’ll be in Reno, it’s “the biggest little city” no longer. Reno has metastasized, enveloping Sparks and reaching almost as far east as Fernley, south toward Carson City and north beyond the former Stead Air Force base out toward where US 395 crosses into CA.

Tomorrow night we’ll be at our winter place in northern CA, having descended from the chill of high country autumn back into very warm late summer at an elevation of perhaps 300 ft. in the space of 3-4 days. It is a little disorienting.

ERs Too Expensive to Maintain

I like narratives which highlight unintended consequences. Here is yet another, called to our attention by Gail Herriot, a regular contributor at Instapundit. She writes (links in original):
Hospital emergency rooms keep closing. A large part of the reason is that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals with emergency rooms to treat uninsured patients regardless of ability to pay (until they are “stabilized”). Hospitals without emergency rooms don’t have to.

(Alas, EMTALA was a Reagan-era innovation. And the number of emergency rooms has been decreasing ever since. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.)
I suspect enacting EMTALA was collateral damage from that era’s left-right conspiracy to close all mental health facilities and mental hospitals. The left believed in ‘freedom’ to be insane or addicted, and the right wanted to stop “wasting” money warehousing those with broken minds or addictions. I figure EMTALA was to provide “fig leaf” coverage for ODs and psychotic breaks.

Now they live and defecate on our streets. I ask how this outcome is an improvement over what existed when vagrancy was still unlawful?

What happens when you need an ER to save your life, and there isn’t one nearby? Answer: you bleed out en route to a distant ER, so sad.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Threading the Needle

The Daily Mail runs a story about Boris Johnson’s chances of surviving the bind Parliament has put him in by passing the Benn bill. That bill requires him to ask the EU for an extension of the October 31 deadline for the U.K. leaving the EU, something he has sworn not to do.

I imagine him writing a letter with something like the following text.
I am required by act of Parliament to ask you for an extension of the October 31 deadline for the U.K. to leave the EU. Consider this letter to constitute that request.

Please understand that I sincerely hope you will refuse this request and allow the U.K. to leave on 31 October. I have little faith that any agreement you might accede to could muster a majority in Parliament, however long the leaving is delayed.

It is my hope you find the limbo-like current situation as distasteful as do I. It is time the waiting ends and we get on with discovering together the nature of our future relations. These I hope and believe can be amicable and mutually profitable, if configured somewhat differently than at present.

The Right Honorable Boris Johnson,
Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Government. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Analysis of the Ukraine Call

If you’re finding all the claims and counterclaims about the President’s call to his opposite number in Ukraine confusing, you’re in good company. I just read analyses of the released transcript by two Power Line regulars, attorneys both, which conclude (here, here) Trump did nothing illegal or even particularly unusual.

Basically, they conclude Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to assist U.S. investigators looking into alleged corruption and wrongdoing by unnamed Americans in Ukraine.

Zelensky may have known the subject of the investigation was Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. Nothing in the transcript reveals his awareness thereof.

Video exists of Joe Biden bragging about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor fired by Zelensky’s predecessor under threat of withholding U.S. government loan guarantees. That prosecutor was looking into questionable activities of the firm which had hired Hunter Biden on a $3 million, five year contract.

Those who write the real target of this kerfuffle is Joe Biden may turn out to be correct. Getting Biden out of the way could benefit Warren, Sanders, or even a resurgent Hillary.

Friedman: Life After Brexit

In recent years, my go-to “Friedman for foreign affairs” has been George, not Tom. George Friedman writes at a website called Geopolitical Futures. Today he muses about Britain’s future. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

George Friedman is of the opinion that the smart future for Britain lies with the current Five Eyes group. This is Britain, and its former settler colonies - U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Friedman envisions this group being elaborated into a free trade block and general “we work together for common aims” force in world affairs, without loss of individual national sovereignty. I hear echoes of the Anglosphere in this argument and I like it. See his conclusion:
The weight of this group in world affairs would be massive. For the United States, this would be nice to have. For the Canadians, it would be more tense. For the Australians and New Zealanders, it would be business as usual. But nowhere would it be as fraught with tension as in Britain.

Brexit is going to happen, and Britain must imagine what life will be like after its withdrawal. A trade agreement with the United States is the logical and even inevitable step, but one with long-term significance.

A Silver-Lined Cloud

The New York Times’ Peter Baker takes a remarkably balanced view of the President under siege, considering his employer. Here echoed at MSN, Baker admits there is a good chance Trump ends up benefiting from the impeachment attempt, as in fact Bill Clinton did. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

Baker quotes Newt Gingrich, who was Speaker when Clinton was impeached. As Pelosi appears to intend, Gingrich pushed through an impeachment only to see it defeated in the Senate.

The following election, Republicans lost their House majority and Clinton was reelected. Wouldn’t it be ironic if that pattern was repeated here, with Democrats losing their House majority and Trump reelected?

The schadenfreude would reach near-orgasmic proportions. Picture the giddy glee when your evil enemy, with great ceremony, shoots himself in both feet simultaneously, and must be carried off the field of conflict, a bloody wreck. That’s what the Dems hope for, and the GOP is likely to see.

Speaking of “orgasmic,” the Democrats’ obsession with impeachment under conditions where it will go exactly nowhere, is a sort of political masturbation - self-pleasuring behavior of the sort done in public only by the deranged.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Pelosi Caves

Various outlets are reporting Speaker Nancy Pelosi has finally agreed to call the on-going House harassment of President Trump an “impeachment inquiry.” Less clear is what that change means concerning what the various committees do day-to-day.

A simple change in nomenclature is largely irrelevant; galloping toward an impeachment vote is an another matter. Not that a Republican-controlled Senate will vote for it, even if the Dems in the House do.

Anybody want to bet Trump won’t find a way to turn this to his advantage? I’d guess he will, he is a counter-puncher who loves a scrap and tends to win.

A Flaw or a Feature?

LGBTQ activists called for a boycott of Chick-Fil-A because it’s CEO spoke in favor of a traditional definition of marriage. Since that boycott was announced Chick-Fil-A sales have skyrocketed.

Cause and effect? Very possibly. Choosing to go there, instead of the other myriad fast food outlets available, can be a form of subtle protest. Or is it just folks avoiding red meat?

Which raises an interesting question. Is expressing vague opposition to some minor facet of the LGBTQ agenda a winning business strategy? Can it bring those opposed to that agenda to your store in droves? It is no substitute for a good product, of course, which Chick-Fil-A is said to have.

What is the best available surrogate measure of LGBTQ strength, should they announce a boycott of your firm? I’d suggest Mayor Pete B.’s baseline of 7%, represents LGBTQ individuals plus their mothers and a few others. Them you’ll lose, the real question is how many, if any, you gain? Some economist should research this.

Due diligence: I ate at Chick-Fil-A once several years ago. There are none near either of my rural homes.

(More Than) A Ray of Hope links to an Andrew Malcolm article for McClatchy that is, by today’s political analysis standards, almost bizarrely balanced. See his distillation of 2020’s real election question.
Now that they’ve seen Trump in action in office, his daily on-camera and online behavior and his fondness for tumult and insult, will enough voters in just the right places want to extend the real estate magnate’s Washington lease? Or will they, as some polls now indicate, show their dislike for him on the ballot?

Will his fulfilled promises — creating millions of new jobs, enacting tax cuts, crushing the ISIS caliphate, rebuilding the military and slashing regulations, among others — outweigh the simmering unease, distaste and fatigue over his uncommon behavior?
See Malcolm’s conclusion.
During the 2018 midterm year, a Gallup Poll found that only 37% of registered U.S. voters believed Trump deserved a second term, statistical encouragement for those still incapable of accepting the raucous reality of his upset defeat of Hillary Clinton.

But here’s another shocking reality. Despite all the tumult, Trump’s 37% reelect approval in the first midterm year is essentially identical at the identical time to those who said Bill Clinton and Barack Obama deserved a second term. As you may recall, both men succeeded.
No one thought Trump had a chance in 2016 either. Remember your happy surprise that November?

Monday, September 23, 2019


Have you saved for your retirement? Put money in an IRA or 401k or the like? Have a stock portfolio? Any or all of them are at risk in an Elizabeth Warren (or Bernie Sanders) presidency. She favors taxing wealth, and despite what she says now, that means whatever you've saved. If not immediately, eventually.

Why do you suppose almost all the big estates in the U.K. (think Downton Abbey) are owned by the National Trust? Do you think Earl This and Duke That wanted to give them up? No way. The U.K. which has socialized medicine and free university had to tax wealth to pay for them. The big houses and estates were sold for taxes.

You think it couldn't happen here? Democrats are already scheming on your savings. I'm worried that the CA government will grab my CalPERS pension contributions, imagine what mischief the Federals can get up to, with the help of a Democrat-controlled Congress.

The money you saved you earned, it's yours. The government shouldn't 'steal' it with taxes.

Why should the government have a policy that says you were a sucker to save money? That those who didn't save a red cent were the smart ones because they've nothing to lose? Who will be rewarded with free stuff for being spendthrifts during their working years.

Down that miserable road lies a fate like Venezuela and Cuba. Let's be sure we take a different path.

Discovering Nothing Has Changed

Normally left-wing site Axios went to Wisconsin to do a focus group of women who have switch voted in the past. My guess: they didn't much like what they found.
In a small, all-women focus group, some participants suggested President Trump would win on personality if the contest was between him and Warren — and that their doubts about her aren't based on substance.

These were the main takeaways from our Engagious/FPG focus group last week, which included 7 women who flipped from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, and 2 who switched from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton.

The blunt language made it clear that Warren faces the kind of obstacles confronted by many strong leaders who are women.
What a breakthrough! They discovered women don't think much of women-as-leaders. Is this news to anyone over age 25? Ask women (or men) how many of them want to work for a woman boss.


In hindsight, perhaps pundits will eventually conclude the release of tape of Trump saying something about celebrities being able to get away with grabbing star-struck women by the privates was what turned him into another “Teflon president.”

At the time it looked to be a campaign-killer. Later, troll-ugly Harvey Weinstein proved just how regrettably accurate Trump’s observation was. In a counterintuitive way, I suspect it immunized Trump against the nonstop attacks that followed.

We elected Trump knowing him to be no saint, no choirboy. In doing so, we said he was okay, if perhaps not ideal. Winning is important.

We’d tried choirboy Romney four years earlier and the sad-sack loser wimped out. He didn’t have the stones to make it happen in 2012.

Winners win, losers kvetch. Loser Mitt keeps whining like loser Hillary. Don’t you wish both would shut up and go far away?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Living With The Enemy

My dear mother, smart as a whip, lived through the Depression as an adult. She never personally suffered hardship and poverty but clearly had friends and close relatives who did.

Then she lived through World War II and had 3 sibs in the service; none of them died but she knew people who did. Through it all she listened to FDR fireside chats on the radio.

Doing so left her a lifelong Democrat who married a southern Democrat - my dad. He died before the patriotic pro-military southern Democrats all became Republicans during the McGovern era.

By the time I was older and knew enough to formulate the question, I asked her why, given her interest, she wasn’t active in local Democrat politics? Her answer puzzled me then, but does not today.

She replied that she knew a number of women active in local Democrat politics and didn’t like any of them. All the women she liked were Republicans. Wasn’t this awkward I asked? She said she simply showed no interest when they talked politics, never argued with them.

At the time I imagined this would be hard, never guessing that later as an academic I would experience a similar thing in reverse. I was surrounded by Democrats I also didn’t much like and said little about politics at work.

Unlike my mother, there are Democrats I know and like. I can count them on the fingers of one hand. And we never talk politics.

Hypocrisy on Stilts

The Washington Free Beacon reports a campaign event in Iowa.
The organizers of the Iowa Polk County Democratic Party's annual steak fry will be grilling 10,500 steaks and 1,000 vegan burgers on 10 grills, during Saturday's event. Some of the candidates will grill steaks themselves.

Democratic candidates recently participated in a CNN climate town hall, where multiple candidates discussed the importance of reducing meat intake. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called for the U.S. government to create incentives to eat less meat.
The WFB shows Harris, Buttigieg, Sanders, Yang and Booker have spoken approvingly of efforts to reduce meat consumption. In what bizarro world does the reduction of meat eating and grilling 10,000+ steaks on an Iowa afternoon coexist?

Answer: In a Democrat madhouse, of course. These are not serious people.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Travel Blogging

We just spent three nights 'camped' in our RV in Grand Teton National Park. Most of you know GTNP is almost literally "next door" to Yellowstone National Park, so we spent time in both, while leaving the RV at the excellent RV park at Colter Bay.

I have to say this is a tad too late in the season for ideal enjoyment of these parks. We had two nice days and two rainy/snowy days, which falls far short of ideal in my book.

Nights were cold, near freezing and the days none too warm. There were still plenty of people in Yellowstone, although nothing like what you'd have found there 6 weeks ago.

We checked out the new construction in the parts of Yellowstone we traversed from the south entrance up along Yellowstone Lake to Fishing Bridge and thru the Hayden Valley to Canyon. The old, and therefore small and cramped, RV park at Fishing Bridge is being redesigned and rebuilt. There are many new hotel buildings at Canyon Lodge.

We chatted up a Croatian girl scooping ice cream at Canyon, her English was excellent. The parks use a lot of Eastern European kids as seasonal help.

We saw the customary herds of bison which winter in the park and a few elk which need to be heading south to a lower elevation, perhaps the Elk Refuge north of Jackson where the feds feed them each winter. The other DrC has named this handout "welkfare."

The rest of the park is almost exactly as I first saw it in the early 1950s. Ditto the Tetons, change is slow and very incremental in all U.S. national parks. I experience that as a big part of their charm, they remain much the same in a changing world.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Bye-Ku for de Blasio

The Associated Press reports New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is dropping his run for the Democratic nomination for president. With the customary hat tip to James Taranto, it’s popularizer, we offer a de Blasio a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell.

Ciao, Mister Mayor
No presidency for you -
Zero charisma.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

CA Has 47% of Homeless

Instapundit links to a Market Watch report that nearly half of the nation’s half million homeless live in California. I guess we were supposed to be shocked by that, I had another reaction altogether.

We owe CA a debt of gratitude for warehousing so many of our crazies, addicts, and square pegs. Perhaps other states could buy bus tickets for their homeless so CA could host an even greater percentage of the total.

In all honesty, if you had to live rough - in a tent or car - wouldn’t you choose CA for climatic reasons alone. It is not humid, doesn’t rain a lot and rarely freezes along the coastal fringe. The lovely liberals in Sacramento make sure you won’t starve or lack medical care, and recreational pharmaceuticals are widely available, though hardly free.

A Work-Around

Earlier I wrote about the Iran “bind” and I’ve had a second thought about the options available to President Trump. Perhaps he needs to follow the FDR model. What’s that, you ask?

The way FDR got past public opinion against going to war was to keep piling economic sanctions on Japan until they attacked us at Pearl Harbor. This caused public opinion to become orders of magnitude more hawkish. A declaration of war was voted nearly unanimously with no delay.

Presumably the same strategy is available to Trump. He can keep making life hard for Iran, without war, until they snap and overtly kill Americans. Those deaths should cancel most of the anti-war sentiment at home.

The Problem

In a New York Magazine article about Fox News’ pundit Tucker Carlson, the author tries for a distillation of the Carlson philosophy and comes up instead with the pithiest indictment yet of what’s wrong with today’s US.
Rich liberals who don’t care about you are going to invite the entire Third World to come live in your backyard, tax you to pay for it, and call you a fascist if you complain.
Slightly overstated? Certainly. Essentially correct? Absolutely. They also want to shame you for being white, straight, and monogamous. Meanwhile their ecologically disastrous corporate jets clog the ramp at Jackson Hole, perhaps the nation’s most beautiful landing strip.

A Bind

RealClearWorld links to an article in The Guardian which does a good job of laying out the options and dilemmas posed by an Irani attack on a Saudi refinery. It argues that they’ve put Trump in a bind.

If Trump attacks he violates a campaign promise and gets the US into another unpopular-at-home war in the region. If Trump does nothing he looks weak, all locked-and-loaded bark and no bite. I wonder if an old-fashioned blockade is an option?

Sadly, this article sounds about right to me. See what you think.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Poll: Climate Skepticism Widespread

A YouGov poll reported at the website of the Global Warming Policy Forum is headlined:
New Survey: Half of Britons (and Most Europeans) Are Climate Skeptics
A majority of those surveyed in several countries don’t believe “ The climate is changing and human activity is mainly responsible.” And those countries are these: Finland, Germany, France, Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Australia, Oman, Egypt, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Norway.

Basically, that is all of Scandinavia plus the two “powerhouse” countries of Europe, and assorted Asian and Middle East lands as well. Oddly, the USA was the only Western Hemisphere nation surveyed.

Anthropogenic climate change is a hard sell, since the geologic record shows climate change is no new thing. It was happening when we wore skins and lived in caves, and before humans existed too. No surprise it hasn’t stopped.

State of the Horserace

Writing at Power Line, Steven Hayward shares several graphs from a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll looking at who is up and down in the race for the Democrat presidential nomination.

Both Biden and Warren look stronger, Harris is dramatically weaker as is O’Rourke. Everybody else gets maybe a one point gain except Pete B. who really seems plateaued at 7%.

Hayward’s interpretation of the findings, including those on enthusiasm, predicts Warren will eventually win it. At this stage, I’d agree.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

EU Tired of UK?

RealClearWorld links to a Guardian article which argues the other 27 members of the EU want to get Brexit over and done. Is there a wee chance PM Boris might convince one of the 27 to stonewall the request for an extension Parliament has legally bound him to make?

If the Guardian is correct, Boris might not even have to try. And, if true, that is good news. Brexit needs to be concluded so everyone can move on, to wherever they end up going.

About the Refinery Attack links to an Agence France-Presse story about the aerial attack on a big Saudi refinery. AFP quotes an unnamed U.S. official to the effect that the weapons were cruise missiles launched from Iran.

The U.S. is reportedly "gathering evidence" of this to present to the Europeans. I predict the Europeans will dither, and then wimp out en masse, except for the Brits.

Let's define terms. All cruise missiles are drones, that is unmanned planes or UAVs. Cruise missiles carry an explosive and are designed to make a one-way trip to the target. The first crude-but-effective deployed cruise missile was the Germans' V-1 used to bombard England during WW II.

Not all drones are cruise missiles however. Many are designed to accomplish one or more missions, return to base to be serviced, and be flown again, perhaps many times.

Military drones can carry weapons - rockets or bombs - which they deliver on command without (one hopes) crashing. They also are much used for reconnaissance via still or video cameras. Privately owned drones may carry a camera or are flown for sport.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Life Choices Key

Reading a somewhat tedious article about whether social work killed civil society in National Review. I came across an interesting nugget I'd share with you. It's the concept of the "success sequence."
The “success sequence” is a social-science concept that has seen various expressions spanning several decades, but its essential claim is thus: If an individual finishes high school, gets a job, and gets married before having children, he is highly unlikely to live in poverty.

This basic schema has been confirmed by subsequent research, though it’s not without its dissenters, who charge it to be overly reductive and a means of blaming the poor for their poverty.
I'm not young, but what the success sequence asks is only what our parents expected of us when we were growing up. It works too, almost all the time. The article ends with the conclusion of the book being reviewed - Who Killed Civil Society by Howard Husock.
What would . . . renaissance mean for the multibillion-dollar social service state? That would entail returning social work to its roots of friendly visiting: exposing households to the idea that life choices improve life chances, rather than compensating them with services for being victims of an unjust social structure.

MoDo Sees a No No

Once in a great while I link you to a Maureen Down column from the New York Times, here reprinted in the Irish Times so it's out from behind the NYT paywall. Sure, she hates our President, something he makes too easy for his enemies.

On the other hand, her topic today is that, based on what she saw onstage in Houston, the Democrats don't have anyone who can beat him. No kidding ... about either their 'performance' or her reaction thereto. See her conclusion about Houston:
There were a bunch of high-end, professional pols there and yet no one actually won it. Not a good sign. The candidates struggled to alchemise our exhaustion into excitement.

The three hours seemed endless, with two questions hanging over the night: “Can’t anybody here play this game?” and “Will the most beatable candidate in American history win twice?”
My answers to her two questions: No, and Probably.

Mimicking the creepy Mr. Rogers, I ask "Can you say charisma deficit?"

Partisan Spoof

Long-time preretirement colleague/friend Earl sends along a link to the greatest send-up of a Vote Democrat TV ad you’ve ever seen. It is housed on YouTube and is funny/scary/accurate all at the same time.

Imagine a bright, attractive talking head delivering the line with exaggerations and inadvertent slips into what they really mean. The RNC should buy air time to show this. Give it a look-see.


Wall Street Journal and Daily Mail articles flagged on my Apple News app* are reporting SecState Pompeo and the Saudis are both saying that Iran sent the drones which badly damaged the largest Saudi refinery. The strong implication is that the drones were launched from Iran, not by Yemen’s Houthis who claimed responsibility and who are supported by Iran.

It would seem there is a good chance U.S. bombs will be falling on Iran sometime soon. Those most affected by the oil shortage will be the Europeans, I wonder if NATO would sign onto an attack? Probably not.

A new war in the Gulf will certainly qualify as a “black swan” event vis-a-vis U.S. politics. Whatever Trump chooses to do, or not do, count on the gaggle of Democrat would-be challengers to swear he made the wrong choice. This we know a priori, as if seen swirling in a crystal ball.

*It is the nature of this app that I can’t give you a link to the individual articles, sorry.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Not All Suburbs Are Blue

Amy Walter does decent analysis for The Cook Political Report. She also shows up as the ‘token Democrat’ on Bret Baier’s Fox News panel from time to time as well.

Walter has written an “inside baseball” look at Democrat vs. Republican performance in suburban districts. Warning: this article is written for those who love political minutiae. A key finding:
Suburban success for Democrats has come almost exclusively in the areas in and around big cities, like Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit. There have been fewer inroads into suburbs surrounding smaller cities like Cincinnati, Ohio; Spokane, Washington; or Indianapolis, Indiana.

Why? Not surprisingly, the most populous metro areas also have a "disproportionate share of the nation's African-American, Latino, and Asian-American inhabitants."

That diversity has helped to fuel the growth of majority-minority suburban areas. And, Democrats have been winning those suburban districts. There are now almost as many Democratic-held suburban seats that are majority-minority (49) as there are Democratic-held urban seats that are majority-minority (54).
What Walter doesn’t say is that this is another indication that the Democrats rely heavily on non-white demographics and less-than-often-claimed on suburban (white) women. Tribal politics is still very much in evidence, as we’ve noted before.

It is also worth noting that Democrat-touted “reparations” for African-Americans are a wedge issue. If ever passed, tax-paying Hispanics and Asian-Americans whose ancestors had no hand in African enslavement will get to help pay for reparations and cannot feel this income transfer is just. More non-white voters for Trump? Probably.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Brexit Primer

Have you been confused by all the fooforaw around Boris Johnson and Brexit? I just read a quite good step-by-step recounting of how we got to where we are now, at the Arc Digital website. I recommend it to you, with one minor caveat.

My caveat is this, I don’t believe the article’s author does justice to the Northern-Ireland’s-border-with-the-Republic-of-Ireland issue. The Good Friday agreement (mostly) settled the long-running violence between NI Protestants who favor continued association with the United Kingdom, aka Britain, and NI Catholics who much prefer all of the island of Ireland to be ruled from Dublin by the Republic.

That agreement relied on both nations (UK and RI) being EU members with no border controls between them. This meant people could freely move between them, trade across the boundary with no controls, and most of the time ignore the governmental realities.

Leaving the EU, depending on how a border is reinstituted, can be said to effectively break the Good Friday agreement. This may lead to renewed violence.

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Reminder

A Saturday morning ritual for the DrsC is to go to Power Line and check out Steven Hayward's compilation entitled The Week in Pictures. I'll be there later this morning, and I recommend you give it a try.

TWIP is a collection of captioned photos, cartoons, crazy headlines, and the like designed to appeal to a conservative's sense of humor. And check out the comments as well, which can include more witty stuff.

Not that most of us lack reason to like Saturdays, but why not add another reason to your collection?

About Friday, the 13th

I hope y'all survived Friday, the 13th; the DrsC escaped major trauma. Wikipedia says it is mainly thought unlucky in English speaking countries and has only been considered such since sometime in the 1800s.

There are multiple theories of its origin, apparently none of them very well-founded. Non-English speaking cultures consider other days unlucky. We humans are prone to superstition, not a particularly attractive quality.

Question Answered

As reported (with video) by Jim Treacher at PJ Mediaspace cadet Democrat president wannabe Marianne Williamson asks plaintively on a hot mic:
What does it say that the conservatives are nicer to me?
It says you're an embarrassment to fellow Democrats and a non-threatening entertainment to conservatives. You personify Republicans' most gaudy stereotype; they experience you like an over-the-top send-up of a Democrat.

Watch Beto Flip-Flop

The good folks at the Red State website have got Beto O'Rourke dead to rights. Last night at the debate in Houston he said “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

However, Red State has video of O'Rourke as a candidate in Texas running against Ted Cruz for a U.S. Senate seat two years ago. A radio talk host asks him why people shouldn't own AR-15s. You can watch O'Rourke say:
“To be clear they should have them, if you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it, continue to use it responsibly.”
O'Rourke will claim to hold whatever position he thinks will help him get elected. We distrust those who flip-flop because they have no fixed beliefs. We cannot estimate how a flip-flopper will react in the new circumstances that confront every president.

Fortunately O'Rourke appears to have almost no chance of being nominated, much less elected. Hat tip to Stephen Green guest blogging at Instapundit for the link.

Gallup: Mental Health ‘System” Failure

It is nice to know I’m not the only one holding an opinion that seemingly doesn’t translate into relevant government action. The Gallup polling organization reports about gun violence:
The factor Americans blame most today remains failure by the mental health system to identify people who might be a danger to others. Eighty-three percent of U.S. adults say this contributes a great deal or fair amount to mass shootings, about the same as the 80% from six years ago.
There exists nothing you’d recognize as a “mental health system” today. We once had large, well-populated state-run mental hospitals (and almost no homeless).

Now we either imprison dysfunctional individuals as felons - after they’ve done something bad enough and been convicted - or let them live free, often as homeless. Neither is a good choice for people with broken minds or for our society.

A few of the mentally ill become mass murderers. Most are a pain in the backside for society, one way or another. If we can legally quarantine those with communicable illness, why not those whose mental dysfunction precludes minimally acceptable citizenship?

Menu Note

SkyNews, a Brit outfit, reports KFC tried selling healthier food - baked chicken - but no one would buy it. Logically enough, they’ve stopped selling it.

Yet another classic case of tasty food being favored over healthy food. I wonder why that is?

Back to the trusty deep fryer and chicken that tastes good. I like their Popcorn Chicken, when available.


In the aftermath of last night’s too-long debate, and in a sane world, most of the aspirants would bow out gracefully. It is clear at least half have zero chance of becoming their party’s nominee.

And yet that probably won’t yet happen in this less-than-sane world we actually inhabit. Running for the nomination has become a way for some to amp up their name recognition, elbow their way onto the world stage.

I write “for some” as it doesn’t work for everybody who tries it. Take the 2016 Republican field as an example. It worked for Rubio and Carson, not for Jeb Bush and John Kasich, was okay for Cruz but not for Fiorina, yes for Huckabee, no for Christie. In other words, it is a risky strategy with I’d guess more losers than winners, which is largely true for politics in general.

People have speculated Williamson and Gabbard may get TV deals out of this campaign, which at least Williamson would view as a decent payout. Exposure is doing Klobuchar, Yang, Booker, O’Rourke and Castro no favors. The more we see of them, the less we like them.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

For a less sarcastic take on the debate, I find myself agreeing with Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester writing at The Hill.
Neither of the first two debates appeared to yield any sustained changes in the shape of the Democratic presidential field, and the third debate is likely to follow suit.

Biden, Sanders and Warren have largely cemented their positions at the front of the pack, and none of the candidates polling behind them managed to land the kind of critical blow that might threaten their standings in the race.
Yep, three white AARP-eligibles at the head of a party claiming to represent young people and minorities. In what world is that insightful candidate selection? Not this one, surely.

Debate Snark

Stephen Green, “drunkblogging” tonight’s debate. First, cracking wise about Beto O’Rourke.
Looks like Bobby, drives like Ted, speaks Spanish like me ordering fajitas.
And about Kamala Harris:
When Harris says “We need to sell our stuff,” is it wrong just how quickly my mind went to the gutter?
And Green’s conclusion at the end of three too-long hours:
This wasn't a debate. It was an over-long display of huge egos touting small ideas to well-meaning (but sadly misinformed) kids and preening celebrity infotainment newsreaders.

And yet, chances are a large number of American primary voters will make one of these jokers their nominee for the office of President of the United States.

It's a joke; it just isn't a funny one.
The Democratic Party is increasingly an asylum run by its inmates. Trump has left most of them gobsmacked.

Trende’s Trends

I suppose we must take some interest in whom the Democrats will nominate for president in 2020. Looking toward the next ‘debate’ of 10 aspirants which happens tonight, I give you a link to the work of Sean Trende, who does good political analysis for RealClearPolitics.

The “stock-pickers” screen he uses in a crowded field is relatively simple:
My usual “buy/sell/hold” take, which asks whether I think the polling and conventional wisdom overstate or understate the likelihood that the candidate becomes the Democratic nominee.
It’s clear he views those labeled “buy” as undervalued, those labeled “sell” as overvalued, and the “holds” as appropriately valued by the conventional wisdom. Here’s the short version of his predictions, each of which his column explains:
Joe Biden: Sell
Elizabeth Warren: Buy
Bernie Sanders: Hold
Beto O’Rourke: Sell
Kamala Harris: Buy
Everyone else: Hold
Brokered convention: Buy
I’m inclined to disagree with his evaluation of Harris, whom I rate “hold” as she has too often screwed up and had to “clarify.” Otherwise, I’d rate the field pretty much as he’s noted.

BTW, I doubt the DNC will allow a brokered convention. Expect them to do what they did four years ago; put their thumb on the scale to insure the convention is a coronation, not a cage match.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Dem Favorables Down 8%

Mediaite quotes a Pew Research Center poll which finds public attitudes toward the two major parties are identical.
Americans currently hold an unfavorable view of the Democratic party. According to the poll, 45 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Democrats, compared with 52 percent who hold an unfavorable view. Those numbers mirror the Republican party exactly. The GOP also stands at 45-52 in those metrics.
The news in these numbers is this:
Last September, ahead of the 2018 midterms, the numbers told a different story. Fifty-three percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Democrats prior to the election, compared to 42 percent who had an unfavorable opinion.
All it took to torpedo the Dems favorability rating was their covey of presidential aspirants going public with out-of-the-mainstream views. In a downbeat world you take your good news where you find it and, for Republicans, this is good news.

Echos of Evil

Speaking of The New York Times, somebody there Tweeted as follows this morning:
18 years have passed since airplanes took aim and brought down the World Trade Center.
I hear an echo of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) describing the same terrorist event:
CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.
"Airplanes took aim" and "some people did something" - what monstrous mounds of taurine feces! It's not possible to blame planes or "some people" as though planes or people acted randomly.

Islamic terrorists hijacked four planes and killed 3000 people. The perps were 19 assassins acting in concert according to a genocidal plan.

To the NYT's credit, the Tweet was taken down rather quickly. Rep. Omar has never apologized or expressed clear disapproval of the motives of those responsible. Hat tip to Steven Hayward at Power Line for the link.

Good News, Bad Source (Usually)

Columnist Thomas Edsall, who appears in The New York Times, approvingly quotes Penn State political scientist Candis Watts Smith about trends in African-American attitudes. Her work appeared in the Journal of Black Studies five years ago.
There has been a shift in the attitudes of black masses about the extent to which systematic discrimination and prejudice are the primary reasons blacks continue to lag behind whites.

African Americans’ attention has increasingly shifted from structural reasons of black disadvantage (e.g., systematic discrimination in the job or housing markets) to individual-based explanations (e.g., lack of individual motivation; oppositional attitudes to school and learning) of these disparities, especially in the post - civil rights era.
You have to wonder how Thomas Edsall sneaked a column including these optimistic findings into his paper. It seems to run counter to the NYT 1619 obsession. His editor was likely asleep at the switch, and may now be in trouble.

The shift Smith observes is a hopeful one. Hat tip to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line for the link.

Another 9/11 Memory

The other DrC has photos and a very moving remembrance of 9/11 at her blog. I recommend it to you.

Climate Sanity

RealClearPolitics links to a Joel Kotkin article at New Geography about climate change hysteria and the right way to respond to climate changes. Kotkin is normally a voice for sanity in a less-than-sane world, and is certainly that here.
Common sense is really what we need. No amount of virtue-signaling by governments, celebrities, royalty or the media can make up for the fact that virtually all growth in greenhouse gases comes not from the West but from China, easily the world’s champion emitter, India and a host of poorer countries. Driving a Tesla or Prius is not going to change much, and many green-backed policies, such as in Germany and California , have done little, if anything, for the climate, but have succeeded in hurting middle- and working-class people far more than the affluent.

Given these realities, the logical course is to focus an intelligent economically sensible transition to a lower-carbon economy while pushing for resiliency measures to deal with the possible results of higher GHG emissions. Rather than seek to turn people into insect eaters and permanent apartment dwellers, perhaps we should push for measures in the new infrastructure bill before Congress to bolster coastal defenses, underground power lines, improve dams and water systems.

The future belongs not to the most self-righteous but the most adaptable. This is gradually taking root in the policy discussion. After years of opposition, some environmentalists now accept that poorly managed forests in states like California must be trimmed to forestall massive firestorms. Others propose more expenditure on coastal walls, dispersed power systems, desalination plants and better storage of water.
Analysis: true. Let’s get busy making lemonade of the environmental lemons handed us by billions of poor in the third world deservedly clawing their way out of abject poverty.

On a personal note, the DrsC live in an aspen forest, of which we own an acre. We’ve walked the walk by having a crew here the last two days clearing the downed trees and dead wood out of our green and vibrant environment, reducing potential for fire. Managing and protecting the forest we love makes total environmental sense to us.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Two Key Wins

There were two special House elections in North Carolina today. In at least one Democrats believed they had a chance to win and dumped in a boatload of money.

President Trump viewed keeping both seats Republican was worth his effort and went to NC to hold a rally to boost their chances. Fox News reports tonight that both Republican candidates won.

It may not be too big a stretch to claim The Donald has demonstrated "coattails." He appeared to help both Republicans win their seats. Unlike Obama, Trump helps other members of his party win elections.

Traditional Sex Roles Passe?

Instapundit links to an article in The Washington Examiner by feminist Suzanne Venker. She writes something worth considering.
According to a new study from researchers at Cornell University, who examined data on recent marriages and found women’s ideal husband has an average income about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men currently available to single women. These optimal husbands were also 30% more likely to be employed than real single men and 19% more likely to have a college degree.

In other words, American men are no longer educated enough or rich enough to be suitable for marriage.

If traditional sex roles were truly passe, as the culture has insisted for years, women would have no problem finding a husband. If it didn't matter which sex is richer or more educated, women would be perfectly happy in the provider role and would marry any one of the countless men of lesser status who are readily available.
Could this explain why many people are marrying late or not at all? Many experts believe it.

RBG Is Correct, This Time

I don't agree with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about very much, which makes those rare occasions when it happens worth memorializing. One such occurred yesterday, according to a report in The Chicago Sun-Times.

RBG was asked about progressives' desire to do away with the Electoral College. Her response is one with which I agree.
It’s largely a dream because our Constitution is … hard to amend. I know that from experience.
RBG is one hundred percent correct in that assertion. It requires very wide-spread agreement with the proposed change, and even then takes years to accomplish.

By the way, amendment difficulty is a feature of our system, not a flaw. Our Constitution is designed to ride out normal fluctuations in public opinion without itself changing.

Remembering 9/11

Tomorrow we remember a group of Arab Islamists hijacking four loaded passenger planes. Two they flew into the World Trade Center and one the Pentagon. The fourth - brought down by a group of heroic passengers at the cost of their own lives - we believe was headed for the Capitol or White House.

9/11 was Pearl Harbor 2.0, the first time most Americans realized the Long War was more than a neocon obsession. Some 3000 people died that day, something only the 19 hijackers deserved. 9/11 happened 18 years ago in 2001, and is being called "Patriot Day."

I have not forgotten, nor forgiven, those responsible for 9/11 and their supporters.

The DrsC had just returned from an RV trip to the Canadian Rockies on September 10th, 2001, meaning we'd crossed the border on the 9th. Had we stayed in Canada a couple more days we'd have been stuck as border crossings were closed for awhile after the event.

I remember I spent most of the first 24 hours watching TV. Internet hadn't yet become a common news source. Most people who weren't small children at the time remember those days vividly.

Five and a quarter years later I began this blog, which will have its 13th birthday this December. I'm not on Facebook and I don't Tweet. As a retired lecturer who enjoys writing opinion, the blog is my platform of choice.

Bye-Ku for John Bolton

President Trump has fired hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton, with whom he was reported to disagree. Recently Bolton was left out of important meetings. With our customary hat tip to James Taranto, its popularizer, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to Mr. Bolton.
You push'd for more war,
Trump disagreed and you left.
Neocons will grieve.

Election Security

Much talk lately about election security, although little is apparently getting done. The answer is clear, a return to paper ballots and much tighter control over the issuance of absentee ballots.

I am of the opinion all voting machines should be scrapped, and paper ballots reinstated. Paper ballots cannot be "hacked" plus creating false ones takes a lot of time and work, although Mayor Daley's Chicago was apparently willing to make the effort.

I'll make a prediction - what I've proposed won't happen. It's too logical and the opportunities for graft are too few.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Movin’ ... Movin’ ... Movin’

Regular readers know we’re interested in population migrations. The Atlantic reports what’s been happening to our nation’s three largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In a word, they’ve been shrinking.
In 2018, the New York City area lost more than 100,000 people to other cities and suburbs—that’s 277 people leaving every day. The Los Angeles and Chicago areas lost, respectively, 201 and 161 residents each day. It’s quite a change from the post–Great Recession period, when an urban renaissance was supposedly sweeping the country and all three metro areas were experiencing a population boomlet.
Historically, this outflow has been counteracted by foreign immigration, but that inflow has dropped dramatically. Thus, the three great metros are shrinking. And where are those leavers going?
They are mostly moving toward sun and some semblance of affordability. The major Texas metros—Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin—have collectively grown by more than 3 million since 2010. The most popular destinations for movers are now Phoenix, Dallas, and Las Vegas, which welcome more than 100,000 new people each year.
Much of this moving is from high-tax to lower-tax states where a salary goes farther in buying the accouterments of a middle-class lifestyle. For example:
California’s population growth has slowed to its lowest rate in state history. This might have something to do with the recent tax law, which, in capping the state and local deductions, effectively raised the cost of living in these places for the upper-middle class. (The next few years will tell us more about whether high earners are fleeing high-tax metros for the South, as well.)
Classical reference in title (the theme from Rawhide).
Keep movin', movin', movin'
Though they're disapprovin'
Keep them dogies movin'

Sunday, September 8, 2019

DOJ IG Report Awaited

In the next couple of weeks the Department of Justice Inspector General's report has been sort of promised and should be forthcoming. It will focus on the blatantly political activities of various high-level department employees involved in wire-tapping and otherwise hassling the 2016 Trump campaign.

I sincerely hope it isn't the same sort of nothingburger the Mueller report and the IG's work on Comey turned out to be. "Much Ado About Nothing" fairly well describes those disappointments.

An Alternative View

As regular readers know, COTTonLINE is not sold on the idea of climate catastrophe as a done deal, or even as what will happen if draconian measures are not taken. While I don't call climate science "settled" as some others do, as a scientist I admit I could be wrong about what the future holds.

Our species could conceivably be headed for "deep doo-doo," to use Bush 41's famous trope. If it is, a Jonathan Franzen article in The New Yorker takes the most realistic view of that alternative future I've seen.

His title asks the question: "What If We Stopped Pretending?" And the subtitle really lays out his view: "The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit we can't prevent it."

There is essentially zero chance poor people in underdeveloped parts of the world - India, China, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh - will stop using cooking fires, burning fields, and acquiring the petroleum-burning vehicles they desperately want and are quickly getting. Given that, whatever steps our < 5% of the world's population takes are essentially irrelevant.

If Franzen is right and I'm wrong, if end times truly are soon upon us, riding a bike to work won't help. Our preparations should take a much different tack, one based on defending the turf we stand on from marauding hordes of starving people, trekking out from the megacities desperately seeking food.

That formulation brings to mind Kurt Schlichter's trenchant advice:
Right now, if you are watching the news, you have questions about the future. And the answer to all of them is to buy ammo.
I haven't taken that advice myself, perhaps I should.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Weird Dietary Science

The CBS New York website reports research done in Britain concerning vegetarian diets and risk of stroke.
According to a study from the medical journal BMJ, vegetarians had a 20-percent increase in stroke risk than meat eaters.

Lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, suggests that the great stroke risk is due to vegetarian diets often lacking nutrients like vitamin B12.

The study also found that some good news for vegetarians and vegans. They had a 22 percent lower risk for heart disease compared to carnivores. Fish eaters had a 13 percent lower risk of coronary disease than meat eaters.
I think we knew the downside of flesh-eating with respect to heart disease. What is interesting is the upside of flesh-eating with regard to stroke.

One of the problems with correlational studies of this sort is that causation is difficult to establish. Does the diet lead to stroke, or does some third issue lead to both.

In my experience, people in western cultures who forego eating meat and fish often hope to "treat" or ease some self-perceived problem with their own physical or emotional health. An underlying, undiagnosed physical or psychiatric issue could contribute to risk of stroke, directly or via stress.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Perils of Boris

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is certainly having a rough go at trying to get the U.K. out of the EU. A majority of Britons want out, but a majority of the Members of Parliament don’t.

So far, the MPs are frustrating the PM at every turn. Will he be able to pull it off? And at what cost? Only time will tell. His may end up being the shortest tenure ever at 10 Downing Street.

If the Parliament tries to force Johnson to either apply for an extension or accept a disadvantageous deal, I would expect him to defy them, resign, or possibly both. Maybe it won’t come to that, he is a wily sort.

See this Business Insider article for a jargon-free update on the Johnsonian dilemma. It turns out quitting can be his best move.

Meat, It’s What To Eat

What did you have for supper last night? Odds are, most of you answered with some sort of meat, singly or in a stew, casserole, sandwich, or ... I don’t know ... a taco or pizza?

Why do I ask? Because so many of the strange folk running for the Democrat nomination seem to think you need to stop eating much meat. For the sake of the planet, or some other foolishness.

Why do they want you to do that? Because like Chicken Little, they find it politically convenient to claim to believe the sky is falling, and we’re all doomed to an early death by climate catastrophe.

Meanwhile they fly around in their private jets burning tons of fuel to convince you to park your car and take the trolley. What utter hypocritical nonsense, I do hope you’re not being taken in.

Whoever wants to get between me and my next bacon cheeseburger had better come armed, ‘cause I’m likely to be downright waspish. I fully intend to keep driving my diesel pickup, eating a ribeye steak most evenings, and taking a cruise or two each year.

Someday I will die, someday you will too. So will every other human on this planet. But we’re living longer than we ever did, and healthier during that life too. The sky is not falling, the economy is booming. What’s not to like?

Meanwhile, I intend to vote for those who share my taste for living well. I hope you will too. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

CNN Bombs ... Again

All the Democrats running for their party's presidential nomination appear to believe the apocalypse impends, climatically. Each has a trillion dollar plan to deal with this Armageddon-like event.

To showcase those plans, CNN staged a 7 hour "climate town hall" during which they interviewed those Democrat wannabes. The Washington Examiner reports a comparison of the viewship CNN achieved during those 7 hours.
The town hall started at 5:00 p.m. and went until midnight on Wednesday. Fox News was in first place during the seven hour time slot, averaging 2.5 million viewers and MSNBC averaging 1.7 million viewers. CNN only averaged 1.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For the 25-54 age demographic, Fox News also came in first with 418,000 viewers. CNN was in second with 265,000 viewers and MSNBC in third with 246,000.

During prime time, 8-11p.m., Fox News averaged 3.2 million viewers and MSNBC averaged 2.2 million viewers. CNN averaged 1.4 million viewers, but once again came in second for the age demo with 345,000 viewers. Fox News had 530,000 viewers and MSNBC had 315,000.
No surprise. Ho-hum ratings suggest the climate isn't exactly what most people are obsessing about, not even young people who have the most to lose if the climate goes sideways.

Good News, Maybe

Excellent news, if it actually happens. BNNBloomberg reports about plans at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Trump administration is preparing a plan to strip California’s authority to set tougher auto efficiency regulations than the federal government, even while agencies continue finalizing a rollback of national standards, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The matter is still under consideration and no final decision to proceed has been made but is expected in the coming days, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

Under the plan, the Environmental Protection Agency would revoke a waiver granted to California allowing the state to limit vehicle greenhouse gas emissions more stringently than federal rules, as well as the state’s requirement that companies sell electric cars in greater numbers each year, the person said. In addition, the U.S. Transportation Department plans to assert that the California regulations are preempted by federal fuel-economy regulations.
Companies can't afford to make one set of cars for CA and another for the rest of the country. Since CA has 1/8 of the U.S. population, manufacturers also can't afford to give up the CA market.

Thus, when CA makes rules, car companies apply them to the whole country. Basically, the CA tail is wagging the U.S. dog.

CA shouldn't be able to legislate for the entire country, something they've been getting away with for years. It's time the Feds stopped this abuse.

Echoes of World War II

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes for Fox News about the continuing influence of World War II on today's international relations. Memories of that cataclysmic event block nations from acting in the way that pure logic would dictate in the current era.
The United States has had difficulty forming a Pacific alliance of containment against a bellicose China. Australia, the Philippines and Southeast Asian nations fear Chinese aggression. But they also share bitter memories of merciless Japanese imperialism that killed as many as 15 million Chinese — the vast majority of them civilians.

In their minds, our allies know China is the chief threat. But in their hearts, even now they can’t quite forget how their ally Japan once committed genocide throughout the region.
"Throughout the region" is accurate, many occupied Asian nations experienced Japanese terror. Similarly, North Americans remember Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March and other mass cruelties delivered courtesy of Japan. A Japan rearming itself 70 years later can still cause unease.


As we've noted before, most recently in January, 2018, Japan left almost no friends behind in the territories they conquered prior to 1945. Bitter memories of brutal treatment have not been forgiven or forgotten.

The one minor exception, and this only among some of its residents, is Taiwan. The Japanese for their own selfish reasons encouraged Taiwanese to think of their island as a nation, not as an appendage of China.

Comey Prosecution Favored

Power Line links to a Rasmussen Reports poll which finds substantially more people would like to see former FBI Director James Comey prosecuted, than those who don’t want him charged.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters think Comey should be criminally prosecuted for leaking to the media. That’s up from 41% in 2017 but essentially unchanged from April of last year.Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree, while a sizable 18% are undecided.
Assume most of the undecideds aren’t following the story and/or don’t know who Comey is. The balance genuinely find the claims and counterclaims confusing, or don’t wish to reveal their views.

In round numbers, about half think criminal prosecution is warranted, roughly a third think it is not, and the remaining sixth are indifferent. AG Barr either agrees with the third or thinks he’s going to have bigger, easier-to-prove charges to bring against Comey following release of the DOJ IG’s main report later this month.

In the analog idiom of the radio era, stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Two Sides of the Same Coin

RealClearPolitics links to a Quillette article about white privilege, what it is and isn't. The column is long, interesting, and detailed, written by two Ph.D. candidates at the University of Cambridge. I particularly like this quote:
Both white liberals on the far-left and white supremacists on the far-right believe in the superiority of whites. The only difference is that one group sees their superiority as a bad thing while the other does not. White privilege and white supremacy are two sides of the same coin.

Regardless, both interpretations are incorrect for similar reasons. When it comes to differences in group outcomes, the far-left and far-right conflate perception with reality. For neo-Nazis and alt-righters, their supposed superiority lies in their genetics. For those on the far-left, the unjust supremacy of whites is based on systemic discrimination. Both are sorely mistaken.
If you've got maybe an hour, their treatment of the issue is both comprehensive and convincing.


Power Line links to a National Interest article concerning Trump's trade war with the Chinese. Author Gordon G. Chang argues that Trump aims to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies, and that he is making real progress at doing so. Chang writes:
The course of history, in the view of many, is that China will rise to dominate this century. That’s not how the 45th president sees things, however. Trump, unlike his four immediate predecessors, does not seem to be particularly concerned about the welfare of China’s Communist Party. And unlike two—and maybe all three—of his three immediate predecessors, he is not trying to manage American decline.

Trump asserts U.S. power, and to borrow his new slogan, his goal is to “Keep America Great.” Yes, that phrase is vague, but the policy decisions of the Trump administration evidence a goal of frustrating Chinese ambitions across the board.

The free fall worries many and angers policy elites, but an irreversible weakening of a predatory communist state looks like a good thing to everyone else. After all, why should the world help fund a Chinese system that is not compatible with the notions that underpin global commerce?

Market participants never like disruptive policies, but a reordering of global trade is now occurring and that will change history. That, for Donald John Trump, is what winning looks like.
When in 1940-41 FDR took somewhat similar steps toward an on-the-make Japan, the result was Pearl Harbor and our entry into WW II. Do you suppose China wants to go that route? I hope they're smarter than that, but perhaps I give them too much credit.

Bad Management?

Recently, the President blamed problems some firms are having on "bad management" rather than on the tariffs he's imposed during the trade conflict with China. Power Line's Paul Mirengoff doesn't believe it. I agree with Paul's assertion there is a tendency to blame others when things go wrong.

On the other hand, tariffs are merely one example of the "choppy water" managements have to navigate. Let's stipulate that when things are going well, just about any management can look good.

During the first couple of years of Trump's term things went very well indeed; nearly all managements (except bricks-and-mortar retail) looked like winners. You really begin to sort out the good from poor managers when things turn somewhat sour.

Tariffs are one of the ways things turn sour, and it's likely that to some extent Trump is correct. Firms which relied too heavily on production in, or sales to, China are probably having difficulties.

An over-reliance on China is an example of bad management. True especially since Trump while campaigning promised to deal with China's abuses of our relaxed trade policy.

This President actually tries to fulfill his promises. Not hedging against the possibility that he might do what he said he'd do is ... wait for it ... bad management.

Sure Trump wants to blame problems on others. Still, take it from the old Management prof, short-sighted, head-in-sand management is responsible for some of the corporate pain now being experienced.

Inside Journalism

Instapundit links to a Buzzfeed News story indicating that the daughter of Scott Johnson of Power Line, reporter Eliana Johnson, is taking over the editorship of the Washington Free Beacon from its founder, Matthew Continetti.

Johnson moves from a reporting job at Politico. Continetti, a frequent panelist on the Bret Baier Special Report on Fox News, moves to a new role as fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

In researching this, I learned that pro-Trump Continetti is the son-in-law of never-Trump William Kristol, founder of the former Weekly Standard. I imagine holiday dinners in that family have to be tense.

All of this reveals that the world of conservative media could be described as incestuously inbred. I have the feeling I should have spotted this a decade ago.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Farewell to Summer

Yesterday was Labor Day. I'm guessing you feel that now it's past, autumn begins. I have that sense even though I know autumn technically doesn't start until the 21st of the month.

Part of why I feel autumn has arrived is that, at 6300 ft., autumn begins early. Summer here is nearly perfect, but like most wonderful happenings, it's entirely too short.

Summer starts late and ends early. We don't need air conditioning but the sweet spot truly lasts maybe two months tops, maybe a bit less. Late spring and early fall here aren't bad, but they're not summer.

Whatever ... it was great while it lasted.

Women Spymasters

The other DrC and I watched the PBS series Mrs. Wilson over the last two nights. If you get the chance to watch it, you'll find a fascinating true (sort of) story of a couple who meet and marry while working for MI 6 during WW II.

What I want to talk about is a recurring character in various British stories of wartime espionage. It is the typically hardbitten, unsentimental older woman who runs spies for the Brits. There is one such in the Wilson story, named Coleman, played by Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter's film aunt).

There was another in the PBS Foyle's War series, a woman running young women into occupied France for the Jedburgh program, in support of the Resistance.  And I believe there was one portrayed in the original PBS Bletchley Circle series. If memory serves, there was another, sort of, in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Judi Dench as M in several Bond films almost fits the mold.

My question is this: what is this British fascination with tough older women running spies? I'm only familiar with the espionage fiction of the U.S. and Britain, do these archetypal spy-running ladies show up in the same sort of literature elsewhere, say in French, German or Japanese?

I can only think of one example in American spy fiction, Annie's boss Joan Campbell in Covert Affairs. Maybe the recurring, but mostly off-screen and minor, Mary Pat Foley character in Tom Clancy's fiction might qualify too. Truly, it seems to be mostly a Brit obsession.

Later ... It turns out a Vera Atkins may have been the actual person upon whom these characters were based, check out her Wikipedia bio.

Camille Paglia, Interviewed

I invite you to check out an interview with Camille Paglia in The Wall Street Journal. She's interesting on a number of levels, but I particularly liked these comments. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.
“Everything is so easy now,” Ms. Paglia continues. “The stores are so plentifully supplied. You just go in and buy fruits and vegetables from all over the world.” Undergrads, who’ve studied neither economics nor history, “have a sense that this is the way life has always been. Because they’ve never been exposed to history, they have no idea that these are recent attainments that come from a very specific economic system.”

Capitalism, she continues, has “produced this cornucopia around us. But the young seem to believe in having the government run everything, and that the private companies that are doing things for profit around them, and supplying them with goods, will somehow exist forever.”

“While I believe that boom-and-bust capitalism is inherently Darwinian and requires moderate regulation for the long-term greater good,” she says, “I insist that capitalism has produced the glorious emancipation of women.” They can now “support themselves and live on their own, and no longer must humiliatingly depend on father or husband.”
Perhaps the young's dissatisfaction with capitalism is related to the breakdown of the college-degree-leads-to-good-career transactional relationship which worked for their parents and upon which they were urged to rely. The inverse relationship between supply and demand continues to be evident.

Boris and Brexit

British PM Boris Johnson had a one-vote majority in Parliament, and today one of that scant majority quit the Conservative Party, precipitating something more dramatic, if possible. Most sources suggest this loss of majority makes a so-called “snap election” much more likely.

Johnson has indicated he may oust party members who vote against his straight-ahead approach to Brexit. Whether life-long party stalwarts who oppose Brexit will risk excommunication is unclear.

If an election happens, Johnson will need the votes of the large group who voted for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the recent EU elections. Farage has indicated Johnson will have to promise a no-deal exit to gain their votes. Whether Farage is correct or even able to deliver their votes is also unclear.

Heretofore Johnson has been unwilling to commit to no-deal, viewing it as his last ditch alternative to staying in or accepting a bad deal. Much of what is happening in the U.K. is essentially unprecedented. It will be interesting to follow what happens next.


I begin to see parallels in the U.K.'s situation to what happened to our two major parties in the U.S. during the Johnson-Nixon era. During that time both parties became more monolithic.

Conservative southern Democrats became Republicans, making the Democratic "tent" ideologically less broad. In reaction, most northern liberal Republicans became Democrats, with a similar "tent-shrinking" effect.

British Tories could become the party of English nationalists, who were the backbone of the Brexit movement. Anti-Brexit former Tories may gravitate to the Liberal Democrats who are globalist in outlook. I don't see them joining Corbyn's now-bright-pink Labour, which may lose seats to a pro-Brexit party.

A Troika of AARP-Eligibles

Blogger Lawrence Person puts a lot more effort into his Battleswarm than I do into COTTonLINE. He’s done a series of posts called the “Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update” which Stephen Green likes at Instapundit.

In the current edition Person cites the findings of 7 well-thought-of polls, six of these find only three Democrat aspirants poll in double digits: Biden, Warren, and Sanders. In the seventh Harris barely sneaks into the group with 10%.

If you were a betting person, you’d guess one of those three will be the party nominee. Think of it, an old Commie, a not-young fake minority, and a foggy elder from a tiny state. The party that claims to speak for youth and minorities can only come up with a troika of white AARP-eligibles.

Can a successful-but-flamboyant President beat any of those three? Again, a betting person would certainly think so. It isn’t as if any of the three is more “suave” or “polished” than Trump.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Whither New Zealand

Mostly New Zealand manages to stay off our ‘radar.’ It is far away, peaceful, a threat to virtually nobody, and a “big fish” only with respect to the various Polynesian island cultures. Otherwise, it is a pretty, pleasant place to vacation, which the DrsC have enjoyed twice.

Militarily, EnZed opted out of active cooperation with the U.S. thirty-five years ago, in 1984. A resident of the South Island told us disgustedly what passed for their Navy had exactly one small warship.

Today, the RNZN website says they’ve two frigates, plus five patrol boats which fulfill the coast guard enforcement and interdiction role. Allowing for one or more craft being in port for repair and refit, it is a sub-minimal force for a developed first world island nation.

Uniquely, the NZ Coast Guard is a voluntary, non-governmental organization devoted to life-saving much like search and rescue units in the States.

For a look at current NZ thinking about where they fit in the international puzzle of power politics, see a RealClearDefense article on their options. It questions whether being “too far away to bother with” will continue to work in a “China rising” world.