Friday, December 31, 2021

Pro-Filibuster Snark

Count on Ramirez to draw a trenchant cartoon, of a car with two accelerators and no brake. This toon courtesy of Politico

Decoding Liberalspeak

Power Line's Steven Hayward mixes snark with truth and posts a year-end clarification of "what certain terms mean for liberals:"

  • Populism: When the wrong person or cause wins a free election. (Think Brexit and Trump.)
  • Racism: Any opposition to the agenda of the left.
  • Democracy: Any institutional design or voting system that enables the left to get what it wants.

I find these clarifications help when forced, against my will, to listen to Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, Warren, AOC, or Sanders. Not even Democrats will listen to Harris.

Goodbye to 2021

Today we say farewell to the year 2021. On balance it hasn’t been a winner. This hasn’t been a stroll in the sunlit uplands, enjoying a light breeze and gorgeous vistas. It has been more like plodding through a dreary landscape you’d just like to get beyond.

I wish I could see nicer times ahead, but honestly I don’t. The midterm election happens in 2022 and both major parties will claim a victory by the other will be disastrous. Oddly, viewed from the perspective of where each party would like the US to be, a victory by the other is disastrous-ish. 

In other words, brace yourselves for an even more polarized polity. Regardless of who wins, many will be bitterly unhappy with the outcome. And there is no end yet in sight for Covid. With a bit of luck, you may be able to exercise something not unlike the Benedict option and shield yourself and those you care about from the worst of it.

Postscript: Surviving 2021 is not bad, some 800,000 of our peers didn't, with Covid as the (at least "contributing") cause.

Avoid Cruises?

You may have read a report, like this from CBS News, that the Center for Disease Control warns people to avoid taking cruises in the current Covid environment, regardless of one's vaccination status. Perhaps you thought they were being alarmist?

Sorry, they’re not exaggerating. Cruise ships are great places to catch communicable diseases; take it from someone who has almost certainly cruised more than you have. More often than I like, I caught something and spent half the cruise hacking and miserable. And this was before Covid-19.

The other DrC and I lectured on cruise ships for several years, and we’ve since done many cruises as passengers. Our long cruises have included Singapore to Rome, San Diego to, and around, Australia, Tahiti to Ft. Lauderdale, and multiple Pacific crossings. Pre-Covid I’d estimate my chances of getting a shipboard cold or bronchitis being about one cruise in three. At home I rarely get sick. 

This time the CDC is correct. During a plague year, do yourself a favor and don’t cruise. Probably the safest vacation travel you can do, from a disease perspective, is in an RV, eating meals you prepared, and avoiding motels and restaurants. We rarely get ill while RVing; not never but truly rarely.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Not Liking the Answers

The Guardian, a leftwing British paper, asked its readers the following question about Time's Person of the Year. Power Line has the story.

Time Magazine chose billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk – but who would be your choice?
After the question ran for a short time, the paper closed the inquiry down with this opaque comment.
This form has been deactivated and is closed to any further submissions.

No one from the paper has gone on record but the presumption is that most of their respondents were voting for Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. She is currently on the left's sh** list for unapologetically writing biological sex is a real thing. The left views this as being transphobic. 

The Guardian appears to have violated the old prosecutor's rule, never ask a question when you don't know in advance the answer you will get.  I guess they could have tossed the data and reported as winning somebody they actually liked. The fact they didn't suggests they believe their employees would have ratted out that subterfuge.

In Britain, people buy or subscribe to papers the way US cable TV viewers watch cable news, they buy a paper whose politics they like. Why The Guardian's progressive readers would pick Rowling is a mystery to me and probably to the paper's editors. 

The Guardian discovered what Rasmussen Reports learned when they polled about how many genders people believe exist. Three quarters of their US respondents, agreeing with Rowling, said just two.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Maxwell Guilty

The New York Post reports Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of sex trafficking underage victims for Jeffrey Epstein. Now things get really interesting, in the period between conviction and sentencing. 

Assuming the prosecutor is aggressive, this is the time to get Maxwell to turn state's evidence against various prominent co-abusers in return for a reduced sentence. That's assuming the 60 year old Maxwell hopes to get out of prison before dying of old age. 

It is also the time to guard against Maxwell being the recipient of the same 'tender mercy' which Epstein experienced when nobody was looking. Some people, making reference to the Clintons, call it "Arkancide."

Our 2021

At this time of year it is typical for the pundit class, of which I am a very insignificant member, to summarize the year as it ends. I will do a modified, personalized version of this here.

My 2021 began with the CA home we built in 1987 recently sold and in escrow. We had moved into our RV a couple of weeks earlier and continued to occupy it until May. Escrow closed in early February and by early March we were parked in our new winter town in Nevada, hoping to watch our new winter home be built.

Because of material shortages, there wasn't much construction progress to watch, worse luck. By early May the weather in Wyoming had warmed sufficiently for us to head north. Having spent 5+ months in the RV, moving back to an actual house was a nice change.

Summer in WY was both pleasant and productive, although the other DrC dealt with several unpleasant but not serious health challenges. We added forced air HVAC to our WY place, and experienced it as a real upgrade. And friends we'd made in NV sent photos of the progress finally happening on our new house there. 

Gradually the estimated completion date slipped in stages from mid-July to the actual date in early November. We closed on our new place 12 months after we first put down earnest money on it. Thirty-six hours later the other DrC was admitted to the local hospital with a bleeding ulcer, which is serious.

She's better now, but the recuperation will take several months. We had to scrap plans to see family in CA at Christmas, which hindsight shows to be an otherwise sensible move because of Covid. 

From our conservative perspective, the political outlook was improving as 2021 ended. It is possible we will get favorable results in the 2022 midterms.

The new winter home is very nice, we're planning to get some added cabinetry built and backyard landscaping installed. We are gradually getting stuff unpacked and put away. 

As is typical, we brought too much from CA, in spite of getting rid of literally truckloads of stuff before leaving. It is amazing what you accumulate when you own a place for 33 years.

In 2022 we anticipate (hope for?) things to be less chaotic and more comfortable. We might even take a cruise in the fall, if things settle down.

Did You Know?

In an Amac article describing how minority voters, especially minority men, are beginning to vote Republican in substantial numbers, the following quote showed up. I hadn’t seen this particular claim before.

The last Democrat to win the white vote nationally was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, when he won 62% of white votes overall.

It has been a “thing” for half a century that people of color vote Democrat. Somehow, nobody says the obverse, that whites vote Republican. 

Many Hispanics do not feel aggrieved and are beginning to vote for the GOP which believes the US is a good place, a good country, not broken. Hat tip to Stephen Green, posting at Instapundit, for the link.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Bye-Ku for Harry Reid

Former Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has died at age 82, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. To his memory, we offer a bye-ku, a haiku of farewell.

Harry Reid is gone.
His legacy is unclear.
He was no charmer.

No Sale

The Rasmussen Reports polling organization has determined that most Americans do not accept the often-stated view there are more than two genders. 
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 75% of American Adults agree that there are only two genders, male and female. That total includes 63% who Strongly Agree. Eighteen percent (18%) disagree.

It would appear that Democrats are seriously out of step with the electorate on this issue.  

Monday, December 27, 2021

Population Shifts, Charted

Yesterday I wrote about Plague Year Numbers, today Steven Hayward of Power Line has charts which look at demographic changes - plus and minus - for the 50 states plus DC. The charts cover what took place during the 12 months from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

As you would expect, Steve's charts very much support the generalizations drawn by Michael Barone, which were the basis of yesterday's discussion. In the past year, only 2 of the 9 states which levy no personal income taxes also lost population - AK and WA. The net population gain for the 9 state group was just under half a million people, almost entirely at the expense of the other states which do tax income.

Defeats in the Culture War

Eleanor Bartow writes for The Federalist on the topic captured by her title, "13 Happenings in 2021 That I Never Would Have Believed 5 Years Ago." Essentially she bemoans the culture war we are losing. Here are her 13 titles, most self-explanatory.

 1. Men As Women
 2. Blocking Puberty
 3. Drafting Women
 4. Not Prosecuting Crime
 5. Massive Illegal Immigration
 6. Widespread Censorship
 7. Parents Labeled Terrorists
 8. President's Mental Ability Challenged
 9. Asking Athletes for Advice
10. Record Debt and Inflation
11. Covid Restrictions Continue and Some Increase
12. Major Scientific Advances Not Celebrated
13. Losing Our Lead (in space and weaponry)

I honestly disagree with #9, thinking athletes and entertainers have special insights into problems outside their field of specialization is stupid to be sure, but sadly nothing new. Since Covid didn't exist 5 years ago of course you wouldn't have believed anything about it. And since we reward politicians for government spending and punish them for raising taxes, #10 is inevitable, and also not new.

The rest? I agree. 

Dear Newcomer

Musing about the previous post-with-photo, I am reminded of a snarky sign that hung in our WY county services office in a neighboring town. It advised all who entered of the following:

We don’t care how they did it

where you used to live.

A pointed reminder that you came here because you liked here better, so don’t ask us to be like the place you left behind.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Weaponized Nostalgia

A favorite motto from our Wyoming, my apologies for the gloomy day the photo was taken.

Miserable Liberals, Happy Conservatives

Power Line's Steven Hayward, in addition to aggregating humorous content for The Week in Pictures, has a serious side on display in a column with this provocative title, "Liberals Are Miserable People." Hayward cites a Journal of Research in Personality study which finds:

Conservatives score higher than liberals on personality and attitude measures that are traditionally associated with positive adjustment and mental health, including personal agency, positive outlook, transcendent moral beliefs, and generalized belief in fairness. These constructs, in turn, can account for why conservatives are happier than liberals and have declined less in happiness in recent decades.

Conservatives are more satisfied with their lives, in general and in specific domains (e.g., marriage, job, residence), report better mental health and fewer mental and emotional problems, and view social justice in ways that are consistent with binding moral foundations, such as by emphasizing personal agency and equity.

What isn't clear is the direction of causation. Does conservatism cause happiness, or are happy people simply conservative because they have few complaints about the status quo? Long time readers of COTTonLINE know I have argued conservatives are those who have figured out how to make the preexisting conditions "work" and are more or less comfortable.

Plague Year Numbers

Michael Barone has been a student of American electoral politics for most of my adult life and, I expect, for most of his as well. Writing for the Washington Examiner, he shares some interesting statistics, links in the original.

The census estimates confirm reports of people fleeing crowded central cities starting at just about the time of the April 1 census. That’s apparent in the states with the nation’s four largest metropolitan areas: New York’s population declined 365,000 (-1.8%), California’s was down 300,000 (-0.8%) and Illinois’s down 141,000 (-1.1%).

Altogether, 20 states lost population, from high-education Massachusetts (-0.6%) to climate-ideal Hawaii (-0.9%). Both were high-lockdown locales. 

At the other end of that spectrum, percentage growth was highest in the Rocky Mountain West: Idaho (+3.4%), Utah (+2.2%), Montana (+1.8%), and Arizona (+1.7%). And in Texas (+1.3%). That’s a big deal, because it’s the second-largest state, with a population over 29 million. Its 2020-21 population increase was 382,000, accounting for 86% of the national increase.

The 25 states that voted for former President Donald Trump increased their populations by 1,049,000, while the 25 states plus D.C. that voted for President Joe Biden saw their populations fall by 607,000. If you set aside the eight marginal states, which no candidate carried by 5% or more, you find the solid Trump states gaining 694,000 people, the marginal states gaining 544,000, and the solid Biden states losing 796,000.

The nine states with no state income tax ... gained 782,000 people, while the other 41 states plus D.C. lost 340,000.

Barone paints an interesting picture, one we must for now consider a rough draft of what our future will resemble. He extracts the above data from Census Bureau estimates

Saturday, December 25, 2021

White Christmas, Seen from Afar

Up home Wyoming is having a white Christmas, today's high will not go above freezing. In Nevada we are having dry weather in the mid-50s, you'd want a light jacket.

Gentle Christmas Humor

Ed Driscoll posted this at Instapundit, and it reminded me of several other such occurrences.

Other favorites of mine include some which were written by a preacher's kid, many years ago. He (or she?) heard dad preaching every Sunday and misunderstood those sonorous tones. Dad spoke of "the King Eternal" and the kid heard "the kinky turtle." Dad also read the hymn title, "Gladly, the cross I'd bear" and the kid heard "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear." During burials the dad spoke the phrase "and the Holy Ghost" which the kid heard as "in the hole he goes."

I have my own examples as well, my mother-in-law misheard her mother describe a roller coaster as a "cynic grayway." Her mom probably said "scenic railway," an old-fashioned name for coasters. 

My own parents pronounced the words "pin" and "pen" identically, like "two" and "too." It wasn't until I married a phonics teacher that I came to understand they are correctly pronounced differently, and actually learned to do so when I (rarely) make the effort. It still seems stilted to me.

A Hack, Shared

I have a Christmas ‘present’ for you, in the form of a hack which costs you nothing and is worth much. I learned it quite by accident, as I will explain.

Most spam calls these days utilize a mechanism which makes them appear to come from the area code where your phone number suggests you live. And of course they don’t tell you the identity of the caller.

Our cell phones have a northern CA area code, where we no longer have a winter home. Our phone directories contain the numbers of everyone in that area we would want to receive calls from. So when we get a call from the old area code with no name shown, we simply don’t answer the call. 

Translation: we get call screening for free, because our phones reflect an area code where we do not live. My understanding is that your cell provider will give you any area code of your choice. Choose one where you do not live or have friends and any calls from that area will be spam and can be ignored.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas, One and All

COTTonLINE wishes our readers a very Merry Christmas. Be of good cheer and stay healthy as this plague year ends. Be safe on the highways and byways and, if you are flying, any landing from which you can walk away is a good one.

We ordered our Christmas cards in November, they were shipped to our town in early December, and for entirely incomprehensible reasons were sent back to the East Coast vendor with the notice that our post office had never heard of us. The vendor notified us of the cards return this morning. 

This mixup occurred in spite of the fact that the Post Office was putting mail (and occasional packages) with the same address in our P.O. Box nearly every day. 

If you anticipated a Christmas card from the DrsC, it will be along a few days after Christmas. I expect that is when the last minute replacements I bought this afternoon will finally be delivered. 

A Pet Peeve

I am pretty darn sure I’m not the only one who is flummoxed by calling a whole day - this one and another a week from now - “eve.” Eve is short for “evening” meaning when the sun is leaving or gone from the sky.

It is now 9 a.m. in the Pacific Time Zone I call home during the winter and supposedly this is Christmas Eve. It is most certainly the morning of the day before Christmas but very clearly it is no kind of  “eve,” and won’t be until late this afternoon. 

Thanks for reading my ‘grammar police’ rant, I feel better for having shared it with you.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

An Interesting Rumor

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds shares an interesting rumor about Taiwan's intended riposte to a Chinese invasion of their island.

As I understand it, the Taiwanese invasion plan is to blow up the Three Gorges Dam and drown several hundred million Chinese, along with a whole lot of industry and agriculture.

If at all feasible, that sort of doomsday plan could give a Beijing decision-maker considerable pause. 

A Bit of Progress

Moving into a new house - when one half of the couple is currently an invalid - isn't particularly rapid, or elegant. It is, however, what we're living through and we are making progress, albeit slowly.

Today's minor milestone was finally getting our laundry equipment installed and functional. The holdup has been our clothes dryer which had to be converted back from propane to natural gas and of course parts weren't immediately available. 

That conversion happened today and, as a result, we will no longer be going to the coin laundry. I won't miss that particular chore.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Nailing It

Red State's Nick Arama reprints a Elon Musk quote about the evil of being "woke."

At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be cruel, armored in false virtue.

The strange dude really does get it, doesn't he? And see what he said of Sen. Elizabeth "Pocahontas" Warren (D-MA), who erroneously claimed he doesn't pay federal taxes.

If you could die by irony, she would be dead.

Imagine giving an interview to the satirical Babylon Bee. Musk could have a reasonable career writing dialog for SNL. 

Musk is a latter-day polymath. It appears he hopes to found a Mars colony and maybe retire there.

Two Milestones

Today we celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of COTTonLINE. According to the statistics function of Blogspot, this will be post number 12,682, all of which are available in the archive. 

It has been quite a journey. I've literally posted from places around the world. The other DrC, who keeps track, informs me we've visited 122 countries in our travels together, a few of which were before this blog began in 2006.

As someone who lectured to students for nearly 40 years, I was accustomed to having an audience for my thoughts. In retirement, you became my "audience" and I thank you. Let's see if we can make it to 20 years together, shall we? I know I'm game.

Another milestone today, the counter indicates COTTonLINE just passed 3/4 of a million page views, 750,327 to be precise.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

By a Process of Elimination ....

Therefore 13% of the population commits 52% of the nation's crime. Which 13% could that be? Image courtesy of Steven Hayward, posting at Power Line.


He's a cheerful old fraud, isn't he?
Image courtesy of Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit.

How Is Your State Doing?

My state-of-residence - Wyoming - is doing substantially better than average, at 9.2% vs. the national 12.5%. Image courtesy of Steven Hayward, posting at Power Line.

Not a Coincidence

Our winter place is in Nevada near the border with Utah. For daily essentials we buy locally, for larger purchases and decent restaurants we go across the border to Utah.

In NV everyplace requires face masks for Covid. In nearby Utah hardly anybody is masked. NV has a Democrat governor, UT has a Republican governor. Is this correlation a coincidence? Probably not.

Medical decisions appear to have become a matter of partisan politics. Does that make any sense to you? I take it to be an example of partisanship running amok, yet another symptom of what is wrong with our polity.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Welcoming the Solstice

Roughly 24 hours from now, our planet reaches what we call the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It is one of the two points in its 365¼ day trip around the sun at which the axial tilt is maximized, the other occurring in June.

We in the Northern Hemisphere experience tomorrow as the shortest day and longest night of the year. Our friends in the Southern Hemisphere have the opposite experience tomorrow, the longest day and shortest night of the year.

Tomorrow winter officially begins for North America, Europe and Asia, summer begins for those in Argentina and Australia. The farther from the equator one lives, the greater the differences experienced. 

For Singapore - located on the equator - the seasons are no big deal. For near-polar Fairbanks and Ushuaia the solstices are dramatic. Twenty-four hour darkness for one, twenty-four hour daylight for the other.

Decades ago in mid June the DrsC were in Fairbanks, AK, traveling in our little motor home. Just for fun I stepped outside at 1 a.m. and, with much younger eyes, could read a newspaper in the slightly gloomy twilight. The arctic mosquitoes were pretty bad, as I remember, and I didn’t linger.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Bad News from Down South

BBC News reports leftist protest leader Gabriel Boric has won the Chilean presidential runoff election, defeating rightist José Antonio Kast. With just over half the votes counted, Boric was ahead 56% to 45% and Kast has conceded.

Economically strong Chile now begins on a path which leads to the same sort of economic meltdown formerly wealthy Venezuela has experienced under Chavez and Maduro. How far down the path they go remains to be seen.

Latin America has once again demonstrated its characteristic cultural weakness, snatching economic defeat from the jaws of victory. I hypothesize the fault arises in the shared Iberian colonial heritage.

Accurate Observation, Wrong Cause

Instapundit links to a report from The College Fix which indirectly makes fun of claims made by an ethnically Asian professor at North Carolina State University.

KangJae “Jerry” Lee, of NC State’s College of Natural Resources who has a PhD in Park and Tourism Sciences, says the dearth of black Americans in activities such as hiking, fishing and hunting can’t be explained away by cultural differences or income level. “Systemic racism” is the culprit.

Lee said “The issue becomes excruciatingly clear that historical institutional racism has banished people of color from the great outdoors.”

I think Lee is being "woke" while angling for a fat anti-discrimination research grant to "buy himself out of the classroom." He is, however, totally correct that Blacks are underrepresented in the utilization of our National Parks and Forests. However, one does see a few Blacks in these outdoor recreation spots, and nobody hassles them or makes them unwelcome.

In dismissing "cultural differences" Dr. Lee makes a major error; cultural differences totally explain Black underrepresentation in camping and RVing. Non-Blacks don't understand the extent to which Black Americans strive to avoid being accused of "acting White."

Saturday Snark

Images courtesy of Steven Hayward's The Week in Pictures at Power Line.

Friday, December 17, 2021


The Wall Street Journal has gained access to a Comscore study funded by The Washington Post which shows most mainstream media has lost subscribers and viewers since the Trump presidency ended. The WSJ reports:

[WaPo]Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said she was struck by a presentation showing that in one stretch of 2019, nearly all of the 50 most popular articles on the Post’s home page were related to politics, whereas in the same period of 2021, just three of the top 10 were related to politics.

The site had about 66 million monthly unique visitors in October, down 28% from last year. Most major publishers have suffered audience declines from 2020, when national politics and the Covid-19 pandemic lifted readership. Several of the Post’s rivals, including the New York Times, the Journal, Vox Media and CNN, had smaller declines in that time frame, according to the document, which cited data from Comscore. Other politics-focused publications, including the Hill and Politico, had traffic declines greater than the Post’s during that period, according to the document.

When most of your readers are liberals or progressives, and the Democrat president they voted for beclowns himself on a regular basis, their avoidance of political news is most definitely to be expected. That and the fact that their readers are dying off while young people don't much read actual print media, or its online avatar. The title, incidentally, is a portmanteau of schadenfreude and delicious.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The California Death Spiral, continued

Fox News reports new data from California looking at those moving to and from the Golden State. Much has been written about those moving away, this California Policy Lab study emphasizes the drop in those moving to CA.

The study found a 38% decrease in people moving to California at the end of September 2021 compared to the end of March 2020. The study found a 12% increase in residents moving out of state.

The biggest changes were in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was a 45% decrease in entrances from other states to the Bay Area and a 12% increase in residents leaving for other states.

Sacramento County, home to the state’s capital, saw a 33% decrease of people moving in and a 13% increase in people leaving for other states.

California’s total population fell by more than 182,000 in 2020, according to a report by the California Department of Finance released in May.

As a result, it has lost a seat in the House of Representatives, effective with the 2022 midterm election. 

Bad government has demographic consequences. CA is badly governed by a Democrat near-monoculture. 

Junk Science

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports with a straight face the following pseudoscientific nonsense. It turns out statistically that premature births are more likely in neighborhoods where there is the most police activity. 

This is presented as though “overpolicing” is the cause of premature births. The actual cause, of course, is that living in a high crime neighborhood is associated with drug abuse, random gunfire, poverty, bad diet and generally unhealthy lifestyles.

It is the behavior of the inhabitants, mostly inflicted on each other, which brings about a greater-than-average police presence. Police, after all, go where the crime happens, that is their job. 

Living where the crime happens could be shown to correlate with all manner of negative life outcomes. I would guess these include shorter lifespan, higher incidence of STDs and ODs, increased stress and mental illness, truancy, and unemployment. 

Premature births among “birthing people” in high crime areas is no surprise, but the police don’t cause it. They show up because of the unlawful behavior of the residents of those stricken neighborhoods, behavior which is also unhealthy.

Opportunity Window Closing

Several sources, including this one, report it is unlikely that the so-called “Build Back Better” legislation, passed by the House, will be voted on by the Senate anytime soon. The liberal source cited thinks maybe it will happen in March.

It appears increasingly likely that it will never pass the Senate at all. Famously, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is balking, which isn’t too surprising as he represents a state Trump carried in 2020 by a healthy margin. There has also been talk of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) might join him, AZ is another state with an at-best ‘purple’ electorate.

Passing the gigantic spending bill in an election year (2022), when a third of the Senate faces reelection and voters are worried about inflation, seems unlikely to me. It seems it looks that way to many Democrats as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Weird Urological Science

Website carries a Gizmodo article reporting research concerning interspecies organ transplantation into humans.

This week, researchers at New York University announced that they transplanted a pig kidney to a human for the second time with no short-term issues, following their initial success two months earlier.

The kidney wasn’t attached to its normal position in the body, but to blood vessels in the upper leg. It was then covered with a protective shield as the researchers observed it for 54 hours. During those hours, the kidney seemed to function as normal and no signs of rejection from the person’s body were detected.

One major limitation of donated pig organs is that pigs (and many other mammals) naturally produce a sugar called alpha-gal, which humans do not. But the pigs used by the NYU team were genetically engineered by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation, to not produce alpha-gal—in theory making them safe for human use.

Imagine a future where transplantable organs are a byproduct of bacon production. It is a classical win-win situation (for humans). Probably not kosher or halal, however.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021


We moved into our brand-new winter home about 5-6 weeks ago, good friends from UT came down to help us unpack. Two days later the other DrC was hospitalized for three days with a bleeding ulcer. 

Then she came home but was far from healthy, see her description of the situation at her blog, posted yesterday. Over a month later she is much better, but still gets tired easily.

We had planned to be fully moved in and settled by now … no such luck. Her office is still full of boxes as yet unpacked, not all hers but stored there as she can’t use the room anyway. 

We are gradually getting things organized. The living and dining rooms are mostly “there,” ditto the bedroom and my office. The kitchen is usable but needs more work, the garage is far from settled, ditto the pantry. And we literally have made no start whatsoever on her office.

No artwork is hung, the empty boxes continue to pile up, and much awaits the recuperation of our “chief esthetics officer,” aka “the other DrC.” We are kinda, sorta “camping out” in our nice new house. 

To paraphrase her summary of our situation, we are playing the hand we were dealt, and making the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Better days lie ahead.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Poll: Biden Approval Down More

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff summarizes findings from an ABC News/Ipsos poll taking a fine-grained look at voter attitudes toward President Biden's handling of various issues. Some key findings:

Respondents disapprove of Biden’s handling of inflation by a 2-1 ratio (28-57).

On some key issues, Biden’s number aren’t creeping down, they are plummeting. Six weeks ago, he was minus 6 on the economy. Now, he’s minus 16. On crime, he was minus 14 six weeks ago. Now, he’s minus 25.

Meanwhile the White House keeps saying things are great. Talk about being out of touch. 

A Wake Up Call

An Issues & Insights/TIPP poll looked at the degree to which voters of each major party support either the incumbent Dem President or his GOP predecessor as their party’s 2024 nominee.
Trump’s support within the Republican Party is far stronger than Biden’s within the Democratic Party. Among Republicans, 60% said they wanted Trump to run again for president in 2024. In contrast, just 37% of Democrats wanted Biden to run again in three years, a devastating sign of Biden’s weakening support within his own party.

On the other hand, Trump’s support among Republicans was at around 90% before last year’s election. And a comparison of conditions under Trump vs. Biden certainly comes out in Trump’s favor. So what accounts for the drop in Trump’s popularity among Republicans?

Two things come to mind. First, of course, was not winning reelection in 2020. Any incumbent who doesn’t win reelection bears that stigma. 

Second, and in my view more important, is Trump’s refusal to accept he lost the admittedly atypical-in-pandemic reelection effort. I suspect in many eyes being a bad loser is at least somewhat disqualifying. 

Trump needs to force himself to shut up about the 2020 outcome. He should focus on (a) Biden’s failures, and (b) the desirability of reestablishing the good things he had going on while in office, and the completion of the border wall. 

If he does those things he can win renomination and perhaps win back the presidency. Given what we know of Trump’s impulsiveness, the issue is in real doubt.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Bye-ku for Chris Wallace

The Hill reports Chris Wallace, longtime host of Fox News Sunday, has announced he is leaving that show and the Fox News cable network.

Wallace also said he wants "to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in. I’m ready for a new adventure," he added. "And I hope you’ll check it out."

Rumors have him going to CNN, where he might be a better fit in terms of his own politics. However, his “beyond politics” comment seems to suggest perhaps a morning show where they cover everything from show biz to the weather, and don’t emphasize politics.

In COTTonLINE’s “don’t let the doorknob hit you as you leave” tradition, a bye-ku or haiku of farewell for Chris Wallace.

Adieu Chris Wallace.
Red-headed stepchild at Fox,
Always a misfit.

Later … Now it is more than a rumor. See this Tweet announcing Wallace joining a new streaming service called CNN+

I predict this move works no better than Megyn Kelly’s disastrous move to NBC. Do you imagine CNN's few viewers forgiving him for 18 years spent working for “enemy” Fox? Haters gotta hate.

Friday, December 10, 2021

That's Awkward

Perhaps you've seen something about presidential behavior at the Dole memorial in the Capitol rotunda. The claim: it reflects bad blood between POTUS Biden and Veep Harris. 

BizPac Review has video of the actual happening so you can judge for yourselves. What is indisputable is that, as marched in by the Capitol police, Joe Biden ended up adjacent to Vice President Kamala Harris. He then whispers to wife Dr. Jill, after which they exchange places so she, not he, is adjacent to Harris. Following the Biden move, Harris whispers to her husband. As everyone is masked, no lip reading is possible.

All of the foregoing is on the video. What is alleged is that Biden wished to disassociate himself from Harris, either in person or in photos of the event, or both. And that Harris perceives this snub and isn't best pleased. 

Harris' poll numbers are so low they make Biden's less low numbers look not so bad. It is easy to imagine he doesn't want to be associated in the public mind with Harris.

On the other hand, the above conspiracy theory presupposes Joe Biden is sufficiently compos mentis to formulate this concept. Many have claimed otherwise.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Smollett Guilty

The Chicago CBS TV station reports actor Jussie Smollett has been found guilty on 5 of 6 counts in his trial for perpetrating a fake hate crime with himself as the victim. The verdict is not unexpected. While the Smollett example might discourage such wolf-crying, I fear it will not.

As several pundits have observed, the demand for hate crimes far exceeds the supply. This demand encourages fakery by attention-seeking individuals who feel aggrieved but have no actionable incident about which to complain. 

Later: This column documents several examples of made-up ‘hate crimes.’

Poll: Trump Would Beat Biden, Harris, or Buttigieg

Breitbart reports the findings of a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll looking forward to the next presidential matchup in 2024. Here are the key comparisons.

Trump’s largest lead over the three potential Democrat contenders is Buttigieg by 11 percentage points (48 percent to 37 percent).

In a head-to-head matchup against Harris, Trump surpassed Harris by nine points (50 percent to 41 percent).

If Biden were to decide to run for reelection, a decision many Democrats are unsure will occur, Trump holds a three point advantage (48 percent to 45 percent).

Apparently mean Tweets don't look so bad ... in the rear view mirror. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Cheney's Primary Challenge

The Washington Examiner reports the results of a SoCo Strategies poll trying to gauge the impact of a Trump endorsement on elections. It looked at the primary race in Wyoming between incumbent Congresswoman Liz Cheney and the Trump-endorsed primary challenger Harriet Hageman.

The new survey of Republican voters found that Hageman, a GOP activist and Cheyenne land and water rights attorney, leads Cheney, 38%-18%. State Representative Anthony Bouchard is at 12% and 26% are undecided.

If my back-of-the-envelope arithmetic is correct, today at least half of Republicans would vote for someone else. If we assume half the "undecideds" vote for Cheney, she loses. 

Cheney may try to get WY Democrats to cross-register and vote for her, as a way to vote "No" on Trump. I am unsure how that would pan out, probably few would bother.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Weird Gerontological Science

United Press International, aka UPI, reports the findings of two separate studies both of which discover things which are associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. The first finds that taking Viagra, widely prescribed for erectile dysfunction, reduces the likelihood of developing the disease. The second finds that having had cataract surgery reduces the likelihood of Alzheimer's. 

Both studies are correlational and need further research substantiation to determine causation, should any exist. Nevertheless, all such findings are welcome as this disease is no joke. Old age is bad enough without the additional insult of mental deterioration. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Eighty years ago today, on a Sunday morning, the Empire of Japan’s naval aviators attacked the U.S. Naval facility at Pearl Harbor, and sank or damaged most of our Pacific fleet. Something like 2-3000 people were killed in the attack.

What caused a relatively small nation - Japan - to attack a large and powerful nation like the U.S.? The sequence of events is worth remembering. A modernizing Asian nation, Japan sought to acquire an empire like those still held by Britain and France. It did so by invading China, which fought back. 

Western nations regarded this act as unacceptable, viewing China as an ally of sorts, and imposed economic sanctions on Japan. Japan viewed the sanctions as potentially crippling and at minimum as frustrating their aims at building an empire. 

Already on a semi-war footing, as a result of invading China, the military was very powerful in Japan and believed a military response to U.S. sanctions called for. Hence the attack, which proved successful tactically but strategically calamitous for Japan a few years later.


One can imagine a similar scenario playing out over Taiwan, with China. China invades Taiwan, in response the U.S. ceases all trade with China. Facing economic depression or worse, the CCP militarily attacks the U.S. 

At the end of the day, this outcome would probably result in millions dead in both countries. And similarly, China would likely come out worse than the U.S. This scenario seems almost inevitable, and yet massively regrettable nonetheless.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Robert Dole, RIP

Former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) has died at the advanced age of 98. A wounded and partially disabled World War II veteran, Dole spent 27 years in the U.S. Senate and a prior 8 years in the House. In many ways he was his era's Mr. Republican. 

On the other hand, when he ran for president in 1996 against an incumbent President Clinton, he lost big. Clinton won more votes than Dole and third party candidate Ross Perot combined.

NYT Dislikes Zemmour

It was only a matter of time until the New York Times expressed extreme dislike for French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour. It has now happened (behind paywall) and Power Line's John Hinderaker has extensive quotes from their attack and his reactions thereto.

It isn't quite true that anything the NYT favors is automatically bad and anything they hate is automatically good. Not quite, but very nearly so. 

So nearly, in fact, that I experience their attack on Zemmour as an unintentional endorsement of his candidacy. Among other things, the Times writes:

Mr. Zemmour explicitly models himself on Mr. Trump. He rose to notoriety through regular TV appearances, he laces his apocalyptic message with anti-immigrant slurs, he makes the unsayable sayable, he delights in a macho contempt for women, and his slogan might as well be “Make France Great Again.”

As befits a French public figure, Zemmour says it more elegantly than simply MFGA. Nevertheless he appeals to the same widely shared feelings of "You idiots are ruining my beloved country; you need to stop it stat." And the "contempt for women" accusation is simply untrue of both Trump and Zemmour.

Bitter Humor

Conservative humorist P. J. O’Rourke nails it in this observation
Liberals have invented whole college majors -- psychology, sociology and women's studies -- to prove that nothing is anybody's fault.

The best efforts of which still do not excuse the evil done, or the perps thereof, or explain why such individuals should be left free to do more bad stuff to the rest of us.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Continetti Calls a Cusp

The Washington Free Beacon's editor Matthew Continetti looks at the current situation and sees a major inflection point. Is he correct? Key points:

Whether one looks at politics, economics, or the world, one sees a realignment of forces, a shuffling of players off and on the stage, to prepare for the next act in the drama. The Trump presidency seems less like the harbinger of a new beginning than a spectacular climax to a historical epoch. If so, we are living through a sort of denouement, a working through of conflicts left unresolved.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties face the internal challenges of their respective countercultures. The woke neo-socialist left and the national populist right disrupt and polarize, complicating the chances that the electorate will arrive at a non-crazy, common-sense politics of moderate reform and civil peace.

And then, see Continetti's conclusion, which is hardly upbeat.

From the Court to Crimea, the past week offered glimpses of the different world we soon will be inhabiting. Not all the images are comforting. They remind us to temper our expectations, avoid rash judgments, and be modest in our presumptions. Above all, they remind us to think seriously about how best to preserve our traditions of freedom in these strange and darkening times.

The times are indeed fraught. Be wary, stay safe and well. Classical allusion in the title, hat tip to Dr. Seuss.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Editorial Note

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog is my one-and-only presence online. I’m not on Facebook, not on Instagram, and I don’t Tweet. For me, this policy isn’t recent, I’ve never done any of those platforms. 

Sure … I’ve looked at stuff others have posted, but I’ve posted exactly nothing on any such site. For me this blog is the whole enchilada, win or lose. And it’s a labor of love, not a source of revenue, ergo no ads.

I’ve tried to be responsible in my serious content here, except when I share humorous snark. I intend to continue in this vein. To date, nobody has messed with, or censored, what I’ve written.

Coming up later this month, COTTonLINE will celebrate its 15th anniversary. If you’ve come along for the ride, you have my gratitude. All of the 12,000 or so posts are still available in the Archive and a fair few stand the test of time. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Zemmour Announces

In the last few days I’ve written twice about Eric Zemmour. Today comes the news he has formally announced his candidacy for President of France. 

Writing for Power Line, Steven Hayward has a translation of Zemmour’s announcement speech. I’ve read it and it is powerful stuff. I imagine it is what Donald Trump would have said in 2016 had he been a scholar/journalist instead of a developer/tycoon.

Zemmour attacks head on the globalist elites that have allowed France to become something its own people no longer recognize as home. He declares against the EU, and against “wokeism,” as well as his well-known opposition to multiculturalism.

News You Can Use

Paul Caron, Dean of the Law School at Pepperdine University, authors the TaxProfBlog which runs some interesting stuff. Today he has a chart by Dan Mitchell categorizing the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) into five categories, based on whether they tax personal income and, if so, how it is done. 

Mitchell’s five categories are No Income Tax, Flat Tax, Low-Rate Graduated Tax (<5%), Graduated Tax (5-8%), and Class Warfare Graduated Tax (>8%). The percentages represent the state’s top rate for the highest earners. The nine states in the No Tax group are AK, FL, NV, NH, SD, TN, TX, WA, and WY. 

NY is in the class warfare group, FL has no state income tax. Imagine how much money Trump saved when he moved from NY to FL. He likely saved more than all but a few earn before taxes.

They’re Mostly Patriots

COTTonLINE’s favorite analyst of foreign affairs - George Friedman - makes interesting points about the mental gymnastics intelligence analysts must accomplish in order to do their jobs. He uses Russia’s Putin as an example.

Whether Putin is good or evil is a nice conversation to have. But if you want a sense of what he might be thinking, start with the fact that he doesn’t think he is evil and grasp what he is afraid of and confident in. Empathize with him. He is a former KGB officer and a patriot who watched his country collapse and be treated with disdain. Feel the pain he feels and then grasp how intelligent he is. Then it is possible you might catch a glimpse of his next move.

Analysts must bury themselves in the countries and leaders they’re dealing with. It’s their job to know the leader’s mind, and to do that, passages like Matthew 5:44 are essential. Loving your enemy is the means to destroy him. Hating him blinds you to his fundamental strength: the fact that he believes deeply in his virtue. And if you don’t understand the pride and patriotism of someone like Putin, you will never contain him.

In the instance of Putin vs. Ukraine, know that he feels morally responsible for the defense of ethnic Russians who live there. He will support them as the Pakistanis supported the Taliban. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t tell us if he will invade, as he surely wishes to. We must also understand his assessment of the risks to Russia inherent in that act, and how much those will negatively impact his other aims in Europe and beyond. 

Crime Rate Politics

Writing at statistical website FiveThirtyEight, Daniel Cox makes an interesting point about why the increased murder rate probably won’t be a significant factor in the 2022 midterm elections.

Recent trends in geographic polarization have shown that the places experiencing the greatest surge in crime today — cities and inner suburbs, according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life, where I serve as director — are largely Democratic strongholds. In other words, there are simply not that many swing voters living in the areas most affected by rising violence.

Translation: Most of the increase in murders is Blacks shooting Blacks, assaults which Black Americans inexplicably take in stride. Thus Cox is probably correct. OTOH, a spate of carjackings in upscale suburbs, as recently experienced near the Twin Cities, could have real political relevance.

Salvation Army Retreats

An item of concern recently among conservatives is that the Salvation Army, which has had a decent reputation, sent around a controversial “woke” memo. Just The News has part B of the story.

The Salvation Army has withdrawn its controversial "Let's Talk About ... Racism" guide following criticism and donor backlash over the text that asked white supporters of the charity group to deliver "sincere" apologies for their race and the past sins of the Church.

I’ll bet too many potential white donors were telling SA bell-ringers they were offended and would no longer support the church’s charitable works. There is much truth in this adage: “Get woke, go broke.” 

Monday, November 29, 2021

About the Baltic States

I’ve visited the 3 small Baltic nations which were parts of the Soviet Union: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. I like them quite a lot. This year, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the USSR, Reason magazine looks at these three small nations and celebrates their unusual post-USSR success. 

These 3 members of the European Union and NATO (since 2004) are solidly European and western in orientation. The other now-independent former SSRs have done poorly, one way or another. 

If you get the chance, the Baltic states are worth a visit. So is Kaliningrad,  a small bit of Russia wedged between Poland and Lithuania which is as separate from the Russian landmass as Alaska is from the continental U.S.

More on Zemmour

We wrote yesterday about Eric Zemmour, the French historian-turned-politician who opposes the Islamic immigration that has flooded France. Today comes another, more comprehensive view of this man, in the Claremont Review of Books. Hat tip to Power Line for the link. It is a long read, as many CRB articles are, but perhaps worth your time.

Cheney a Swamp Creature

I may winter in sunny Nevada but the politics of Wyoming, where I legally reside and vote, are still very much on my mind. Thus I note the following.

Attorney Harriet Hageman is challenging Liz Cheney for the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s one and only House of Representatives seat. Just The News reports Hageman accuses Cheney of voluntarily leaving her post on the House Natural Resources Committee, the actions of which are of extreme importance to Wyoming. 

Hageman claims, with some justice, that Cheney is more attached to VA where she lives while Congress is in session than to WY which elected her. Rep. Cheney has become a #neverTrump crusader and co-chairs the House Jan. 6 investigation. These actions are not winners in conservative Wyoming, which as JTN observes, voted 70% for Trump. 

The “Greedy Jobs” Explanation

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports research into root causes for the men vs. women pay differential. A woman economics prof at Harvard claims it is the premium paid to what she calls “greedy jobs” that accounts for most of the difference. How does she describe such jobs?

Claudia Goldin, who taught Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, outlines her argument in her new book, Career & Family, which draws on research to show that highly-paid 'greedy jobs' in City law, banking and politics force women to choose between their careers and families once they become mothers.

The term 'greedy job' describes 'a certain type of "beck and call" job, which pays over the odds for extensive travel, unpredictable, inflexible hours and demanding client facetime.'

The capitalized word “City” above is a British term meaning the heart of London which is the economic equivalent of Manhattan in NYC. Goldin adds the following:

The prestige, selectivity and enormous pay checks make this type of job highly desirable for male and female graduates. However, once children come along, it becomes difficult for two parents to maintain their 'greedy' careers.

'Men and women have fairly equal pay trajectories until babies come along,' the article notes. 'Because women tend to marry men a little older, and so ahead of them on the pay scale, it is logical for the wife to step back.'

Another major factor in gender pay differentials is that far fewer women tend to self-select into physically dangerous jobs like construction, first responder (fire-fighting and law enforcement), mining, logging, and the like. Therefore, far fewer women than men are injured or killed at work. Dangerous, dirty jobs - which society needs done - tend to pay more than safer, cleaner occupations.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Zemmour Interviewed

Writing for Spectator World, Freddy Gray documents an interview he conducted with Eric Zemmour, the most interesting person on the political right in France. Zemmour is a likely candidate in the next French presidential election. 

Zemmour is a defender of French uniqueness and an opponent of Muslim immigration into France. As the child of Algerian emigrant parents, he has the well-known “convert’s zeal” for French culture.

His views make him anathema to some, and an unlikely winner of the presidential run-off that is a feature of French elections. He is also the only truly interesting personality in modern French politics. Perhaps you will find many of his views congenial.

Ancient Climate Change

As reported in EurekAlert of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, scientists have shown that climate change wiped out Liangzhu, an advanced Chinese city, some 5000 years ago. Oddly, no SUVs were available to blame for the exceptionally heavy rains that basically flooded it out.

More proof, if any is needed, that climate change is a constant, a feature of life on this planet quite independent of human agency. Fortunately, we humans have proven sufficiently inventive and flexible to cope with it. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit for the link.

Immigration: We Want Little, Get Much

Cato Institute poll, reported in April, found that 77% of Americans want either none (9%) or a low level (68%) of immigration. Only 23% want the high level of immigration we now experience, ‘courtesy’ of President Biden.

The poll also found that substantial majorities of Independents (61%) and Republicans (85%) believe immigration should prioritize “What benefits the United States and its current citizens.” Nearly half (45%) of Democrats share this view. If its current policies are any indication, the White House does not agree.

Do you find yourself wondering how (dare I ask “if”) we elected people as out-of-step with ourselves as the current crop at both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. appear to be? Poor President Sock Puppet blithely mumbles whatever his shadowy, unelected minders put on the prompter scroll, including “end quote.”

Canada’s Elizabeth Warren

The New York Post reports another case of a prominent woman claiming minority status to which she has no biological claim.

Carrie Bourassa, a public health expert who served as scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, was suspended on Nov. 1, five days after the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published a lengthy expose on her background.

Far from being a member of the Métis nation, as she had long claimed, a laborious trace of Bourassa’s family tree revealed that her supposedly indigenous ancestors were in fact immigrant farmers who hailed from Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

One is reminded of Rachel Dolezal and Elizabeth Warren. There have been many other offenders, check Wikipedia’s List of Imposters.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday Sensibility

Steven Hayward, opining at Power Line on the eternal verities of crime and punishment, and the relevance of basic economics thereto.

The root cause of crime is criminals. Increase the incentives for crime (the result of leniency) and you will get more of it. Like everything else in life, incentives matter.

If anything, our society has an under-incarceration problem. We lock up too few criminals, and those for too-short sentences.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday

Beginning today, on the shopping holiday labeled “Black Friday,” it is officially okay to have Christmas decorations on view. They showed up in some retailers nearly a month ago, right after Halloween, but that was considered jumping the gun.

The name - Black Friday - originates from long ago when bookkeepers would write in their ledgers the profits in black ink, and losses in red ink. This became known as Black Friday because it is the day that, enjoying booming pre-Christmas sales, dry goods retail establishments supposedly flip over from a net loss for the year to a net profit. 

It probably was never true for genuinely successful firms - think Walmart or predecessor Kmart. Still the idea of hanging in there until you make a raft of Christmas sales persists and has some validity.

My initial thought was that things might be different in this era of “etail” online sales, but further reflection suggests online sellers have to maintain large, underused warehouses to accommodate the Xmas rush much as Macy’s and Sears did with retail space in years past.

It’s not surprising college students thought the name somehow held racial connotations, doesn’t everything seem to these days? In this instance it doesn’t, and never did.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Lesson Learned

Each year the fellows at Power Line repost a 2009 Thanksgiving rumination by Hillsdale College historian Paul A. Rahe. It looks at the organization of the Plymouth Plantation, their failed experiment with biblically inspired socialism, and the lessons they drew therefrom.

Reading it is surely worth your time, but for those too busy or disinterested in colonial history, herewith a distillation. The colonists discovered seeing a direct (as opposed to indirect or collectivized) connection between one’s labors and one’s own economic well-being was the motivator they needed to move beyond penury and in the direction of plenty. 

Working for “the common good” proved much less productive than working for the good of one’s immediate family. Understanding, and more importantly accepting, this bedrock truth about human nature is what separates so-called “progressives” and the economic realists we currently label “conservatives.” 

Which brings to mind Winston Churchill’s updated version of George Santayana’s aphorism, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Celebrate the Harvest

Today we celebrate our nation’s harvest festival, which we call Thanksgiving Day. However much or little faith shapes our modern lives four hundred years later, it certainly was central in the lives of those religious refugees from Europe who celebrated the first harvest festival in New England. Hence the name.

My wish for you is a day of peace and plenty in the company of good friends and loved relatives. It is traditional, to engage in a bit of gustatory excess, in celebration of another successful harvest season. 

Note well, Christmas is exactly one month from today. Plus the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter are even sooner. Be safe, be well, be happy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Poll: Biden Underwater

The Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll released today finds the following:

41% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Biden’s job performance. Fifty-eight percent (58%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 21% who Strongly Approve of the job Biden is doing and 49% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -28.

Very clearly a lot of Democrats are lukewarm about Biden, as well they might be. In a nation where nearly everyone drives, each visit to the gas pump reminds people of how much worse things have become in the last 10 months. 

Survey: Whites Lie About Race

A survey of 1250 white college students found many lied about their race in applying to schools, the story comes from the website The obvious motive is improving their chances of acceptance and aid at their school-of-choice.

The survey found that 34% of white Americans who’ve applied to college falsely claimed on their applications they’re a racial minority.

The number one reason why applicants faked minority status is to improve their chances of getting accepted (81%). Fifty percent also lied to benefit from minority-focused financial aid.

Nearly half the male students claimed to have lied, while fewer than one-in-five women so claimed. The most common thing to falsely claim is Native American heritage, a la Elizabeth Warren. The story also reports colleges do not ask for proof of race, a good-to-know factoid.

This looks exactly like whites taking advantage of very real, intentional structural racism - “affirmative action” - which favors those who are non-white and non-Asian. Hat tip to The College Fix for the link. 

The data is self-report and some caution is wise in interpreting the findings. I can imagine undergraduate men thinking “I should have lied” and reporting that they did.

Monday, November 22, 2021

I Have a Question

I’ve been thinking about the previous post, and claims made by Tucker Carlson that the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol was, if not instigated, at least made worse by FBI infiltrator/agitators who egged on the protestors. That this happens is clear, apparently being at least somewhat responsible for a foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democrat governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Will Rogers famously said of his commentary, “I only know what I read in the papers.” With a similar caveat that I’m reliant on the reporting of many others, I have a question about government law enforcement personnel urging people to do illegal acts.

Is this something we want our federal or state governments doing? Urging people to break the law and subsequently be arrested, tried, and imprisoned? Don’t we have enough people doing such things on their own, without taxpayer-funded encouragement? 

When undercover police work goes beyond information gathering and becomes agitation or outright instigation, it seems wrong to me. I believe it an inappropriate activity for our government, what we expect from a Stasi or KGB, not the FBI. 

Good Riddance

Another good-news story shows up this morning. Business Insider reports two #neverTrump voices - Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes - featured semi-regularly by Fox News have resigned in protest over the spin in Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 documentary Patriot Purge. I haven’t seen that documentary and take no position on its claims.

Hayes apparently was a college roommate of Bret Baier and both Hayes and Goldberg were principals at conservative publications that repudiated Trump. I denominate the report of their resignations “good news” because I haven’t found the Fox News commentary of Goldberg and Hayes insightful.

Most of us on the right have been able to appreciate the America First policies of Trump while shrugging off his flamboyant impresario’s personal style, which includes him being a sore loser. Obviously some - Hayes and Goldberg among them - cannot accomplish this mental gymnastic. I won’t miss them on Bret Baier’s panel.

Chile Votes

We don’t write about it every week, maybe not every month, but one of the issues COTTonLINE keeps an eye on is the state of our hemisphere. Today comes a good-news Associated Press report from Chile, which nation has mostly been a source of bad-news stories in recent years.

Two onetime outsiders hailing from opposite extremes of the political spectrum received the most votes Sunday in Chile’s presidential election but failed to garner enough support for an outright win, setting up a polarizing runoff in the region’s most advanced economy.

José Antonio Kast, a lawmaker who has a history of defending Chile’s military dictatorship, finished first with 28% of the vote compared to 26% for former student protest leader Gabriel Boric.

Kast, in a victory speech, doubled down on his far right rhetoric, framing the Dec. 19 runoff as a choice between “communism and liberty.” He blasted Boric as a puppet of Chile’s Communist Party — a member of the broad coalition supporting his candidacy — who would pardon “terrorists,” be soft on crime and promote instability in a country that has recently been wracked by protests laying bare deep social divisions.

AP didn’t consider this electoral outcome good news, that evaluation is mine. Interestingly, Chile faces some of the same problems we in the U.S. face.

Kast, 55, from the newly formed Republican Party, emerged from the far right fringe after having won less than 8% of the vote in 2017 as an independent. But he’s been steadily rising in the polls this time with a divisive discourse emphasizing conservative family values as well as attacking migrants — many from Haiti and Venezuela — he blames for crime.

Notice the AP’s bias, “far right fringe” and “divisive discourse” are loaded terms. Chile has intermittently demonstrated the ability to favor free markets and reject the far left, which Boric represents. When Chile has done so, its economy has boomed. 

As a result of which it has, as even AP admits, “the region’s most advanced economy.” We can hope this is one of those times. Also note many of the Haitians at our southern border are repeat-offender economic refugees coming here from Chile.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sauce for the Gander Too

Instapundit - law prof Glenn Reynolds - approvingly shares an interesting Tweet regarding the Rittenhouse verdict.

Sunday Snark

SciFi author Sarah Hoyt, posting at Instapundit a question about President Biden’s recent colonoscopy.

Did they find his brain up there? Because it’s been missing for longer than I’ve been alive.

It would be funnier if it wasn’t sorta true. Off and on we elect some peculiar folk in this great land.

Same View, in Different Words

Apropos of what we wrote yesterday about the vigilante impulse, comes an Instapundit comment which reinforces my point.

If you want more “vigilantes” get rid of the police. Remember, the police aren’t there to protect the populace from criminals. They’re there to protect the criminals from the populace.

It is worth remembering, when the enforcement of decent behavior is left to the populace, the rights of suspected criminals don’t get a lot of respect. Police mostly follow rules which protect those rights; citizen enforcers, not so much. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Placing Blame

A number of progressives who are angry at the Rittenhouse verdict have described the young man as an “armed vigilante.” They have declared that such behavior is always wrong. 

I don’t disagree that the impulse which drove Rittenhouse was probably that of a vigilante. Vigilantism mostly occurs in settings where effective law enforcement is missing in action. 

In the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd, Democrat mayors of many large cities instructed their police forces not to enforce the laws against mob violence, arson, property damage, and looting. The mayors’ apparent belief: the rioters were entitled to break the law because of their felt anger. Our law recognizes no such entitlement, no such holiday from lawful behavior.

With inner cities being burned and looted while police passively watched and did nothing, vigilantism was almost to be expected. Law-abiding people who don’t share the rioters sense of grievance are moved to interfere, to defend property as well as human safety. 

That appears to have been Rittenhouse‘s motive. The blame rightly accrues to Kenosha’s mayor and/or city council for their cowardice in refusing to enforce the laws.

Different Strokes, Indeed

Juan Williams’ job on Fox News is to represent, to the best of his ability, mainstream Democrat thought on issues of the day, along with Mara Liasson and a couple of others he upholds the “blue” end of the network’s “fair and balanced” claim. Recently he stated on-air the following, with regard to the Rittenhouse not-guilty verdict.
If this had been a black teenager who had done this, wow, I think the laws might have treated him a little differently.

Williams didn’t explain, but past experience suggests he meant the Black teen would have been convicted on the same evidence. I disagree.

Let’s take Williams’ hypothetical to its logical conclusion. Let us suppose a Black teen had shot three Black men, with whom he was in violent dispute. We need that extra clarification as all three men Rittenhouse shot were, like himself, white. Now our hypothetical is truly parallel.

And yes, the laws would have treated him differently, although not in the way Williams inferred. It is highly likely the shooter would never have been identified, much less arrested. Witnesses to the shooting, if any could be interviewed, would admit having seen nothing useful.

For sure the media would not have followed the trial. Fatal assaults like the above hypothetical happen every weekend in Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, and a half dozen more large cities. They elicit little-to-no mainstream media interest and few prosecutions. Convictions are rare.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse Cleared

Every news outlet is reporting the jury clearing Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges. The prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the 17 year old acted in other than self-defense. 

Obviously video of the various attacks on and by him played a major part in the outcome. As I write this, there has been no major violence as a reaction to the verdict. Whether that will continue is anybody’s guess.

A New Power Reactor

The Epoch Times reports a firm founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates - TerraPower - will build a liquid sodium cooled NLWR nuclear reactor in the southwestern Wyoming town of Kemmerer. The reactor is described as a “demonstration” which suggests developmental and proof-of-concept work at the site. 

I am somewhat familiar with the Kemmerer area. The region isn’t scenic and it isn’t cultured. It is the county seat of Lincoln County and heretofore its main claim to fame has been as the place where J. C. Penney ran his first dry goods store.

The nearest collection of nuclear physicists reside in Idaho Falls ID and work at Idaho National Laboratory. Idaho Falls is just over 200 miles distant from Kemmerer. 

The nearest university is Utah State in Logan UT, roughly 100 miles away. I suppose for the plant’s blue collar workers, if recruited locally, it will be a good and steady paycheck. I doubt very much that most engineers and scientists will enjoy living in the rural area.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Weird Gerontological/Immunological Science

Researchers at the highly respected Harvard-related Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are beginning a test of a nasal vaccine to counteract Aszheimer’s disease. The New York Post has the story.

The whole getting-old gig is bad enough without going gaga and ending up a babbling vegetable. If this preventive proves feasible it will be amazing.

Imagine everyone growing old while remaining however mentally sharp they were when young instead of increasingly forgetful and foggy. Some are this fortunate now, sadly many are not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Rumor Mill

Stories are circulating this morning about possible White House scheming to dump Kamala Harris as Vice President. The obvious aim is to replace her with someone who has a better shot at being elected a Democrat president some day. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports being given a heads-up to familiarize himself with the Congressional procedures for confirming a new VP if one is appointed. Gateway Pundit has the story, though it isn’t clear how much credence GP or Pergram gives the rumor.

Monica Showalter at American Thinker looks at the same Pergram blurb and theorizes an attempt to move Harris sideways into a Federal judgeship to free up the post for a new appointee. Again, it isn’t clear if Showalter believes this to be more than a rumor. 

Democrats have ample reason to wish to appoint a more plausible Veep, given Biden’s age and infirmity. Which doesn’t automatically make this more than a wish-fulfillment rumor. 

Between now and January of 2023 confirming Harris as a judge would be possible, if no slam dunk. One supposes most Republicans would reflexively vote “No” for both judicial and partisan reasons.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Covid Vax … How Good?

Power Line’s John Hinderaker cites data he believes shows how effective the Covid vaccinations are in preventing death and hospitalization. They come from a site called Healthy Skeptic which he has cited before. HS writes:

While the cumulative case rates of hospitalization and deaths don’t look very different, in older age groups the protective effect of vaccination is very clear and strong. The cumulative rates are unduly influenced by the very large number of cases and low number of hosps and deaths in younger age groups.

For age groups 50 and over, you are at least three times less likely to die if you get infected and you are vaxed than if you get infected and aren’t vaxed. While the hospitalization difference is not quite as great, it is still substantial.

In other words, for us old crocks the shots are a good deal. I’ve had all 3 Modernas, almost zero side effects, and keep crossed fingers as well. As I’ve written before, the Covid shots are like the flu vaccine, they improve your chances of bullet-dodging without any absolute guarantees.

Peace Is the Seeming Exception

Lest you think peace is the international norm, several regional brushfire wars and quasi-wars are simmering below the general level of awareness. Today’s RealClearWorld has two examples: low-level violence in the tensions between Algeria and Morocco over who controls Western Sahara, plus irregular ‘war’ along the borders between Belarus vs. Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Meanwhile, India and Pakistan continue to squabble, and occasionally fight, over the fate of Kashmir. Russia and Turkey back opposites warring sides in Libya and Syria, and China continues to push other bordering countries (Vietnam, Philippines, Japan) out of the South China Sea. 

Yemen is still a shooting war, parts of Syria and Iraq ditto, several Central African countries experience Islamist insurrection and violence, Burma/Myanmar is never exactly peaceful, eastern Ukraine is threatened by a Russian military buildup just across the border, and the Balkans continue to hover just below the outbreak of genocidal violence. 

Plus Brexit seems to have turned up the heat under the tensions in Northern Ireland. One of these days Gaza will resume hostilities with Israel. And Azerbaijan and Armenia have unresolved issues.

The Western Hemisphere is, by comparison, a relatively peaceful place at the moment. Since the Colombian ceasefire, there hasn’t been much political group-on-group warfare, unless you count the gangs shooting at each other in our larger cities and the drug cartels ‘at play’ in Mexico.

Wyoming GOP Dumps Liz Cheney

The Cheyenne Post runs an AP story reporting that the state Republican Party Central Committee has voted to stop recognizing Rep. Liz Cheney as a Republican.

Cheney is now facing at least four Republican opponents in the 2022 primary including Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman, whom Trump has endorsed.

"Liz Cheney stopped recognizing what Wyomingites care about a long time ago. When she launched her war against President Trump, she completely broke with where we are as a state," Hageman said.

The best explanation of Cheney’s behavior is loyalty to her father, Dick Cheney. He was Bush II’s Vice President. 

Trump disses Bush II and, by implication, Dick Cheney. One can hardly expect daughter Liz to passively accept that negative evaluation of her dad, and she doesn’t. 

Regardless, hindsight suggests Trump’s negative assessment of the Bush II/Cheney regime is justified. As I’m a Wyoming voter, and our lightly populated state only gets one Rep., it matters.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Consumer Confidence Craters

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line reports the findings of the latest U. of Michigan consumer confidence index poll. You won’t be surprised to learn confidence is down.

As measured by this index, consumer confidence fell last month to 66.8, down from 71.7 the previous month. The latest number is the lowest in 10 years.

The following observations he quotes from the UM survey.

Half of American families anticipate bringing home smaller incomes after adjusting for inflation next year.

One in four consumers say inflation has led to a reduced standard of living.

Rising prices for homes, vehicles, and durables were reported more frequently than any other time in more than half a century.

What is the political impact of these findings? Paraphrasing the Ghostbusters theme

There's something weird
And it don't look good
Who you gonna blame?

Good News

One stream of recurrent polling is to ask registered voters whether, if the election was held today, they’d vote for a Democrat or Republican for Congress. This is called the “generic ballot” because the identity of the candidate isn’t specified beyond party affiliation. The ABC News/Washington Post Poll has the data.

In the forty years this question has been posed, today Republicans have the highest score they’ve ever attained, at 51%. They lead the Democrats who received only 41%. It is almost another year to the next congressional election, but these numbers have to be cheerful news for the GOP. 

Probably the best way to think about the generic ballot numbers is as a proxy for how the party-in-power is current seen. Registered voters’ view of Democrats - led by Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer - isn’t positive.