Sunday, January 31, 2021

Winner Announced

COTTonLINE announces the winner of this season’s Award for Best Use of Alliteration in a Title. From the online journal American Thinker, an alliterative gem hard to top.

Is karma coming calling for Killer Cuomo?

Gov. Cuomo near single-handedly did serious damage to the reputation of the long-term care industry. Given what’s happened in the last year, imagine trying to coax a frail senior into needed long-term care. 

We have friends in just that situation. We wonder when it will be our turn to be either “coaxer” or “coaxee.” Neither sounds like fun.


That last post may have left the mistaken impression that we agreed with Mr. Alder that CA proved preferable to TX. Such was not my intent.

The things wrong with TX are different in detail from those wrong with CA, certainly. Different in detail but on the whole not as bad. There are drawbacks to any location, I’ve merely itemized what we found not to love about TX. 

In some ways the two places are opposites, CA is a beautiful place badly run by people with crap values. TX is a relatively boring place well run by people with values I respect but only partially share.

When we left TX we moved our primary residence to WY, a beautiful place which is well run by people whose values I mostly share. Roughly 1.5 miles from my house is a sign that declares, “Wyoming - the Way America Used to Be.” There is conservatism, defined in one brief phrase.

In less than a week we will no longer own property in CA, after doing so for 42 years. We’ll come back to CA as tourists, but will no longer leave any asset stake where Sacramento can tax it. Our new winter place will be in small town Nevada.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Living in Texas

The Daily Mail (U.K.) runs a story about an American director of a Japanese firm, a fellow with 7 kids, who moved to Austin, TX, from CA, didn’t like it, and moved back. I found his reasons fairly shallow, but have had somewhat the same experience.

Brett Alder, the man in question, complained TX was a “conservative dystopia,” a “monoculture,” and had terrible weather (compared to CA). He griped about “terrible service,” bad car washes, lack of places to hike, etc. Meh.

The DrsC spent a year in TX and left. There were reasons we don’t especially recommend it, and I’ll share them with you. We lived in the greater Dallas area. For people (us) who like mountains, it was flatter than an empty dining table and about as scenic.

Alder is correct that there is little time when being outdoors is comfortable. Winters, while not brutal, are somewhat colder than CA. Summers are as hot but much more humid which makes them more uncomfortable. So there might be a month in spring and another in fall when a TX patio would be pleasant, the rest of the time you’ll choose to be indoors. 

Texans are superficially friendly people, naturally gracious. Does this mean you’ll make friends easily? Not unless you attend a church regularly. It is common for Texans to find their friends, people they’ll do things with, at church. 

The concept of church and state separation is mostly theoretical in TX, in practice they’re in bed together. If like many moderns you aren’t a regular attendee at church, expect your interactions with Texans to remain “superficially friendly.” I suspect this is true throughout the South, but have only lived in TX. 

If you read the DM article you’ll see Alder put his kids in a private school. Private schools are common for white city and suburban dwellers in TX, a cynic would call them segregation academies. Rural white TX kids are probably still in public schools.

The cost of living is low, the services are adequate, Texas certainly “works” on many levels. It has lots of land, it is bigger than either Spain or France. It looks visually like a California-without-scenery, but many aspects are South. It’s political conservatism didn’t bother us at all. 

A Rorschach Test

Writing for Politico, Michael Kruse claims former President Trump will be a disruptive ex-president, an activist claiming from Mar-a-Lago that he is still the legitimate head of state. Kruse draws analogies with the popes of Avignon who contested leadership of the Catholic Church with their contemporaries in Rome.

Essentially simultaneously, comic-turned-TV-political-pundit Bill Maher is fretting about not liking Trump’s “radio silence.” You can almost hear Maher echoing the cliche from old jungle movies, “I don’t like it, it’s too quiet.”

They can’t both be right, can they? If Trump is active, and if anything he tends to be hyperactive, he is wrong. If he is quiet, that’s wrong too. Ooooh, beware the boogyman. 

It appears Trump is a Rorschach test, what you see is self-referential. Relax guys, Trump will be Trump, 

Evidence suggests he is the party’s current leader; at least a king-maker, perhaps a presidential candidate again. Or maybe he’ll head off in some entirely new direction, he is after all a serial entrepreneur. 

Changing Partners links to a Daniel Greenfield article for FrontPageMag, the title of which is this:

87% of Bureau of Land Management Staffers Quit 
When Trump Told Them to Move to Colorado

Actually, no they didn’t “quit.” If you scroll down you find this quote:

The reorganization plan reestablished the bureau’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo., moved 328 positions out of Interior’s main D.C. office and left 60 jobs in place. 

A total of 287 BLM employees either retired or found other jobs, according to Interior communications director Melissa Schwartz, while 41 people moved to the new office in Colorado.

How did I know this? Several decades ago the Federal Government “borrowed” me from the university, and I spent 2 years in the DC area working as a temp internal consultant for USDA.

While there I learned many federal employees in the DC area consider government agencies to be interchangeable. People move from one agency to another while practicing their particular specialization. For example my immediate boss had worked for the IRS before coming to USDA. I knew people at USDA who had previously worked for the Army, the Forest Service, Treasury, etc.

So, did moving jobs to Grand Junction, CO, cause people to leave Federal service? Some retired, most simply found government jobs elsewhere in the ‘company town’ that is greater DC. 

What did happen was people local to Grand Junction had a shot at jobs that hadn’t existed there before. And it’s likely current federal employees in western CO applied for them, people working for the Forest Service, the Park Service, USDA, etc.

It is the equivalent of former Pontiac or Oldsmobile workers moving to Chevrolet or Buick while continuing with GM. An example of “change partners and dance.”

Friday, January 29, 2021


The DrsC got their first Covid-19 shot today. I was scheduled for it and the other DrC was supposed to be too young, but when we got there they did her too. Their explanation, they’re starting the next younger cohort on Monday and since she was there anyway .... We were especially pleased that the other DrC could get hers without a return trip next week.

We got the Moderna shot, and are due for the second dose in 4 weeks around the end of February. The process was extremely well-organized, very friendly, waiting time a quite reasonable < 10 minutes. They were doing 50 every 15 minutes, and had multiple shot-givers. I was impressed.

When it’s over they give you a CDC card proving you’ve had it, and when you get the second shot that will be marked on the card as well. I’m guessing it won’t be long before one of those cards all filled out will be necessary to fly or cruise with most carriers. I know I’m going to favor carriers which require it.

Credit for the fastest-ever vaccine development has to go to President Trump, as well as the scientists who did the actual work. He made their work possible, cut red tape and promised they’d not lose money doing it. Nothing that has happened since detracts from that gigantic accomplishment.


The other milestone that happened today was we signed all the paperwork to sell our CA home, escrow closes in a week. For roughly the next six months we’ll be down from 2.5 to 1.5 houses. Our RV - basically a small one bedroom apartment on wheels - I count as half a house.

Few Cheney Boosters in Cheyenne

Politico reporter Tara Palmeri went to Cheyenne, WY, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to write about a rally of those opposed to my state’s one-and-only Representative, Liz Cheney. The source of their opposition: Cheney’s recent vote to impeach Donald Trump, about which we wrote here.

When the opportunity arose to fly across the country to see whether a slick-suited, 30-something congressman from Florida could stage a substantial rally in the name of DONALD TRUMP — in the district of a thrice-elected congresswoman with next-level name recognition — I knew I couldn’t resist.

And you know what, MATT GAETZ pulled it off.

On the steps of the Wyoming statehouse Thursday, at least 800 people were chanting “USA! USA!” while the GOP upstart (joined by DONALD TRUMP JR. via phone) blasted the state’s only congresswoman, LIZ CHENEY. It was a pocket-sized crowd compared to an actual Trump rally, but the maskless baby boomers in red MAGA caps emitted that same feverish voltage.

Then Palmeri wandered around Cheyenne talking to people who weren’t at the rally and found a lot of agreement with the anti-Cheney sentiment expressed. Two concluding thoughts from her trip.

Honestly, it was hard to find anyone who would defend Cheney.

If there was any doubt this is still Trump’s Republican Party, my time in Cheyenne dispelled it.

For the least populous state in our Union - which Wyoming is - 800 is a big political crowd. 

Murphy Returns

So ... yesterday the other DrC was driving the Jeep and, sure enough, the stays-on-whenever-driving front passenger-side light was out again. We could take it back to the dealer but apparently the only “fix” they understand is replacing the bulb. 

That might work, if the problem isn’t somehow in the wires bringing power to the bulb. I had a problem like this 20+ years ago and finally had to track down an auto electric shop to fix it. I’m not certain such places still exist in this era of computerized cars.

I’m inclined to ignore the issue, as it doesn’t interfere with drivability, but the memsahib is unhappy with it. Like everybody else who’s been married for almost 50 years knows, her unhappiness must be attended to. More on this later....

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Visit from Murphy

We had a run in with Murphy’s Law today. You know the headlamps that are on whenever you start the vehicle, even in daylight? In our Grand Cherokee we’ve had one out for a month or so, and finally got around to taking it in to be replaced.

We arrived at the appointed time, and were asked which light needed replacing. We explained it was not one of the at-night headlights but rather one of those which effectively are running lights. The service writer objected that he had no idea which to replace, all the lights were working. 

So we apologized and left. Now we’re wondering why the light would be dead for some weeks and then decide to work, an intermittent short somehow “cured” by the rain we’re currently having? That really makes no sense, but we have no better theory.

Miles Law Redux

At Power Line, Ed Driscoll posts two headlines showing once again the truth that is Miles Law, namely that “where you stand depends on where you sit.” The first was posted today: 

Biden Has Signed a Record 21 Executive Orders In Less Than a Week

Whereas the second was stated by Joe Biden in October, 2020, being interviewed by ABC News before the election:

You can't [legislate] by executive order unless you're a dictator. We're a democracy. We need consensus.

So, it was terrible when Trump did it, but fine when Biden does it? COTTonLINE asks, if executive orders made Trump a dictator, don’t they also make Biden a tyrant? Or, put declaratively, if they are okay for Biden, they were okay for Trump.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Filibuster Appears Safe

The existence of the filibuster rule is why laws need the support of 60 Senators to get passed. That supermajority of 60 is required to quash a filibuster and move a bill to a vote. 

It isn’t often one party has 60 seats in the Senate. Thus the existence of the Senate filibuster keeps a bare majority from railroading most extreme measures through the Congress.

Democrats had talked about dumping the rule permitting filibusters, which they could have done with 51 votes. However two Democrat senators from purple states, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have indicated they won’t vote for such a rule change. And President Biden - a former Senator - is reported to share this view.

Thus, the Senate will fall back on the precedent set back in 2001 when this even split last occurred. Apparently, Mitch McConnell has managed to salvage something from the wreckage after all. 

Therefore, Joe Biden can do some things with executive orders. He cannot, however, take actions which require the passage of laws unless several Republican Senators vote with Democrats to enact them. 

If Biden chooses not to enforce existing laws, he can be sued by parties damaged by those choices. In fact, the AG of Texas is reported to be suing about Biden’s decision not to enforce certain laws dealing with illegal immigration and deportation.

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Dystopian Model

Demographer Joel Kotkin has been a major contributor to the discussion of California’s decline. Most recently, he writes for City Journal that Biden and his co-conspirators intend to use CA as the model for where they wish to take the country,

Doing so would be a disaster for the rest of us, since few places have the natural beauty and climate CA uses to draw people there in spite of how badly it is run. And in recent years Kotkin notes, “how badly it is run” seems to be overshadowing its natural assets. 

One supposes the Bidenistas’ rationale is that if the whole country operates on the CA model, there will be no place one can go to escape their regime. Without emigrating, that is. 

I anticipate efforts to ‘Californicate’ the country would be the Democrats’ typical overreach. Overreach normally results in Republicans getting elected in purple states. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Sunday, January 24, 2021


I’ve been musing about the extent to which our two main political parties have not just different but opposite agendas or policy preferences. I asked myself, is it possible that Joe Biden might push for something that Donald Trump pushed for? I came up with one thing only: defeating Covid-19. 

In every other area it appears their approaches, and indeed goals, were opposite. Does this seem logical for a society? That two entirely different sets of goals would each appeal to roughly half the population? What a strange situation in which we find ourselves. 

You’d expect a nation’s major political parties to have different agendas, different emphases, but agree on the general direction of the country. They’d be arguing about how to get there. That doesn’t seem to be our case currently, or indeed recently. 

We’re arguing about the destination, about what kind of country we want to be. The energy in each party is on the fringe ideologically farthest from the other party.

Later ... see what Brendan O’Neill has written at spiked on this subject. He subtitles his column as follows:

The Biden-supporting woke elites pose a graver threat to the American republic than Trump did.

And then he observes: 

The street violence swiftly morphed from anger over a police killing into sustained violent expressions of contempt for the ideals and the very founding of the American republic. That is why the rioting and the cultural elite’s apologism for it are important: because they confirmed that there has been a corrosion of belief in the American project across various sections of American society, including at the very top of it.

Patriotism is in trouble, progressives are the reason. The entire O’Neill column is worth your time and effort. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021


Former President Trump believed enough of the 100 Senators and 435 members of the House would join him in claiming electoral fraud to act to stop it. They did not. 

It appears he overlooked an important aspect of their membership in Congress, one obvious in retrospect. That aspect? Every member of Congress was elected via the current flawed-to-some-degree vote-counting system.

Members of Congress have no personal motive to choose to view it as “broken.” In fact, were it “fixed,” they might have trouble getting reelected. 

If for no other reason, this factor made his effort futile. He should have understood they were all survivors, even beneficiaries, of the existing state-and-local system, and thus have looked elsewhere for support, or better yet, conceded with grace. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Missing the Hauteur

As I write this Joe Biden has been President for roughly 2 work days, and I have to say he hasn’t been a disappointment. So far he is as bad as I expected him to be. 

His executive orders have been uniformly wrong in both general direction and detail. His intended appointments are of people you wouldn’t have in your living room, and his figurehead ‘skills’ are as abysmal as feared. 

In other words, no surprises. Biden is another dreary Democrat, pandering to groups of self-identified losers. However he lacks Obama’s faculty lounge hauteur.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Wrong Lesson Learned

As everyone reading this knows, the mainstream media spent the past four years beating up on an elected President, doing their level best to ensure he was not reelected. Now Axios reports the unintended consequence of those actions.

By the numbers: For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman's annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.
  • 56% of Americans agree with the statement that "Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations."
  • 58% think that "most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public."
  • When Edelman re-polled Americans after the election, the figures had deteriorated even further, with 57% of Democrats trusting the media and only 18% of Republicans.

The mind-boggling part of these findings is that scarcely more than half of Democrats trust the media, when it has told them what they supposedly wanted to hear for four years.


What you see is the result of journalism learning the wrong lesson from Watergate. Particularly from the David-versus-Goliath role of ‘hero’ journalists Woodward and Bernstein in it. 

The correct lesson from Watergate was journalists finding evidence of elected officials violating laws and holding them responsible. The wrong lesson was that since Nixon and his cronies were Republicans, henceforth all of journalism’s investigatory targets would be Republicans. 

Actual wrongdoing has no party or ideological label, there are targets aplenty on both sides. Journalism was once a noble profession, propagandist has never been noble.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hinderaker’s Verdict: The Swamp Won

Power Line’s John Hinderaker does a Trump retrospective and summarizes the last four years. There is much to like, obviously, and some not to like, also obviously. The entire column is a great short history, and I’ll quote for you Hinderaker’s conclusion.

To sum up, I give Trump a B+. He did an excellent job for the American people, and kept his promises to a remarkable degree, given a total lack of cooperation from political rivals. But in the end the Swamp won, and Trump bears some of the blame for his own downfall.

COTTonLINE agrees. 

Taking a Long View

The vast momentum of our ship of state has carried us willy-nilly beyond the Trump administration and into the Biden presidency. I am reminded of lines from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as translated by Edward FitzGerald.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

In the much less poetic current parlance, “it is what it is, get over it.” 

Government is like the weather, there are nice days and days that, one way or another, aren’t great. Off and on, I have spent half my long life with someone I didn’t like in residence in the White House. 

With some care I can probably avoid large negative impacts on my personal life. I have made the choice to refuse to be angry about things like this I cannot control, I invite you to make the same choice.

My nation, of which I am especially fond, may not be so fortunate. About that I am not angry - the wound is self-inflicted - but I am certainly sad. 

Meanwhile the momentum I wrote of will likely enable us to survive yet another unfortunate retrograde hiatus in our national development. The real question is how many of these steps backwards the nation can absorb before the damage is irreversible? The answer, I fear, is something we won’t know until it is too late to recover.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


On President Trump’s last day in office, Rasmussen Reports finds that 51% of likely voters approve of his performance, while 48% disapprove. Some 36% “strongly approve” while 41% “strongly disapprove.”

One way to think about Rasmussen’s numbers is to infer that those who feel strongly either way are more likely to bother to vote than those who harbor no strong feelings. Instapundit observes:

It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the way he's being protrayed as a pariah in the press.

It will suggest to DJT that he’s a viable candidate in 2024, which is probably accurate. He remains, however, a highly polarizing figure about whom 77% harbor “strong” feelings. 

Weird Psychological Science

Guess what ... money can buy happiness! Who knew? Medical Express reports research from the Wharton School (fun factoid: it’s Trump’s alma mater) at University of Pennsylvania that finds, contrary to earlier research, more money is better, regardless of the amounts earned. Researcher Matthew Killingsworth says:

It's a compelling possibility, the idea that money stops mattering above that point, at least for how people actually feel moment to moment. But when I looked across a wide range of income levels, I found that all forms of well-being continued to rise with income. I don't see any sort of kink in the curve, an inflection point where money stops mattering.

We would expect two people earning $25,000 and $50,000, respectively, to have the same difference in well-being as two people earning $100,000 and $200,000, respectively. In other words, proportional differences in income matter the same to everyone.

When you have more money, you have more choices about how to live your life. (snip) Across decisions big and small, having more money gives a person more choices and a greater sense of autonomy.

That’s been my experience too. 


Writing at PJ Media, columnist Stephen Kruiser muses about Trump’s last full day in office.

The overwhelming relief of not having to endure a Hillary Clinton presidency is something that I have been grateful for every day since Trump took the oath of office. It’s also made it all worth it. This great nation really dodged a bullet when Trump stunned the world and banished Granny Maojackets to Chappaqua to spend her days cracking open boxes of Franzia.

After four years of boozy ‘exile,’ Hillary still won’t shut up

Monday, January 18, 2021

The 101st Senator

Trump insider Ric Grenell was interviewed by Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo. Business & Politics Review has written up of much of the content thereof. The focus was what to expect from the incoming Biden administration.

A key Grenell insight is that Kamala Harris is likely to be too busy to be the shadow president, and he picks Susan Rice as Biden’s likely go-to advisor. Grenell said of Rice:

She’s probably extremely happy that Kamala Harris is going to be preoccupied with the Senate, trying to manage 50-50, being the 101st senator, there, and won’t have a lot of time to get into policy issues.

Susan Rice was a disaster for Obama, and will likely prove equally embarrassing for Biden as well. Her track record doesn’t inspire confidence. 

Our Dystopia

Alana Newhouse writes at Tablet about awareness that flowed from a life-altering experience with a newborn child. Her epiphany is embodied in her title: “Everything Is Broken” and she does mean just about everything. 

What follows is her condemnation of just about all the key modern elements of our current society - medicine, education, media, politics, religion, labor policy, the Internet, yadda, yadda. I wish I could tell you I think her aim is faulty, unfortunately I can do no such thing. 

Hers is a profoundly depressing insight, and far too much of it rings true. Skip her column if you’re in a down mood. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021


For Fox News, Deroy Murdock writes an appreciation of all the good things President Trump accomplished in four busy, hectic years. I’ve been paying attention and yet I’ll admit to being impressed with the many items enumerated. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

His has been an extremely consequential presidency. It is too bad Trump proved unable to shake off the election loss. This proved to be one of those exceptional situations in which refusing to give up doesn’t end well for him or for the country.

The Academy as Fifth Column

Some 50 years ago in 1970, an essay in National Review’s 15th anniversary issue looked at the negative effects of the adversarial “academic attitude” on our society. Today Power Line’s Scott Johnson harks back to that essay and quotes major portions of it in a column.

What is surprising is how well it holds up half a century later with, as Johnson notes, the substitution of Black Lives Matter for Black Panthers and Antifa for Students for a Democratic Society. It almost could have been written yesterday. Note how timely this segment feels.

This settled antagonism, this spirit of inner defection, exists in its most concentrated form in the academy (the only American institution, let us note, that is entirely run by liberals, and, not coincidentally, the institution furthest along toward disintegration). But the attitude spreads out beyond the academic foci and affects those who participate in one way or another in what we can very broadly call intellectual culture: the media, the arts, publishing. Madison Avenue and so forth. The key assumption — it may be powerful and aggressive, or muted though still very much there — is that all insight, imagination, refinement, all spirituality even, spring from, or at least are inextricable from, an initial nay-saying to the surrounding society.

Coincidentally, I became a full-time university faculty member that year - 1970 - and in the decades since the situation described has only gotten much worse. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Reminder

About 3 weeks after November’s election I wrote that I wasn’t at all optimistic about challenges to vote counts in various states.

Experience suggests that the election will go forward much as currently reported. It may be fraudulent, as John F. Kennedy’s was when Chicago’s Mayor Daley ‘found’ extra ballots to beat Richard Nixon but it will likely stand.

With the inauguration happening this coming week, it is time to remind you I told you this was what would happen. It is important to avoid confusing what you’d like to occur with what you expect to take place. In fact, when you really want an outcome, it is important to be extra cautious in expecting it to eventuate. 

Experience teaches us Murphy works overtime.

Status Report

The DrsC are in California until (a) our home sale finalizes in early February and (b) the weather improves elsewhere, likely to be early March. With relatively bad Covid numbers and a very sluggish immunization roll-out, CA isn’t much fun currently and that leaves us marking time and bored. 

The Covid lockdown has caused me to come to grips with just how much going out to restaurants 2-3 times a week is a big part of the fun of retirement. Now that we can’t go, it leaves a hole in our lives.

Staying home most of the time would be bad enough in a home, in an RV it is darned confining. We’re in the “tin box” until mid-April at the earliest. We don’t have all the TV or culinary options here we had in our home and it is sort of like living in quarantine in a cruise ship cabin, bearable but not fun. Still, it’s what we need to do.

Fox News Under Scrutiny

Both the Fox News election night coverage and the lame Chris Wallace performance as debate moderator riled Trump supporters, the net’s main audience. Ratings have been off, recently they were beaten by both MSNBC and CNN - something that hadn’t happened for years.

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker writes that the Murdochs, father and son, are unhappy with the performance of Fox News and plan to take a more direct role in its direction. Audience loss has a direct impact on profitability, so their concern is warranted.

Continuing to deliver programming Trump voters want to watch is what will restore Fox News viewership. It is also what will cause swamp dwellers to continue to socially shun the families of its leaders. 

One supposes the shunning is hard to deal with, not being on the A List with the families of other media moguls. The Murdochs need to solve this problem, find good people who can handle the social opprobrium associated with backing the opposition. My suggestion, follow the Howard Hughes model.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bipartisan Consensus: We’re “Falling Apart”

Not a lot of optimism concerning the health of our nation reflected in a new poll done by Axios/Ipsos and reported by the Washington Times. Hat tip to for the link.

“Fourth-fifths of Americans — both Republicans and Democrats — say America is falling apart,” Axios said in an analysis of the poll, which was conducted Monday through Wednesday. 

32% of U.S. adults “strongly agree that America is falling apart”; 41% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 29% of Democrats agree.

47% overall “somewhat agree” with the statement; 42% of Republicans, 48% of independents and 49% of Democrats agree.

Adding those overall figures together, 79% of Americans believe “falling apart” is at least a “somewhat“ realistic description of what’s happening. In round numbers, that’s 4 Americans out of 5. Bummer.

New Information Appears

It has taken a week or more but we are beginning to learn of left-wing agitators identified as among those who assaulted the Capitol. And we are hearing of arrests of same.

I know only what someone who reads several public news sources knows, nothing more. Given that limitation, do I believe the whole thing was a false flag operation? No, I don’t. 

In my opinion it was a potentially explosive situation made worse by malicious agitation motivated by a desire to create a black eye for MAGA folks. Might the incursion have happened without their ‘assistance?’ Possibly, perhaps even probably, there is no way to know.

While the left’s outrage looks less credible because BLM and Antifa radicals were present, it in no way excuses the actual Trump supporters who entered the Capitol. They were wrong to do so and will suffer the consequences. 

Many thousands who came to DC, it appears, did nothing unlawful and remained outside protesting peacefully as is their constitutional right. If as it appears they accomplished nothing, they also caused no harm by showing up and voicing their opinion, having their say. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Good News, Sort of ....

Another piece of good news has surfaced. United Press International reports research findings from the American Cancer Society.

Deaths from cancer in the United States fell 31% between 1991 and 2018.

However, the report estimates that this year, nearly 1.9 million people will be diagnosed cancer and more than 600,000 will die from the disease.

Cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in the United States, even though an estimated 3.2 million deaths have been averted from since 1991 thanks to reductions in smoking, earlier diagnosis and enhanced treatment, according to the report.

Everybody dies from something eventually, but cancer deaths tend to be among the most uncomfortable ways for it to happen. Less cancer is better, although as we live longer the risk of dementia escalates. This end-of-life business isn’t a lot of laughs.

House Cheney Holds a Grudge

President Trump hasn’t publicly obsessed about the shortcomings of the Bush-Cheney eight years. He has, however, been clear he was not impressed with their hawkish policies and modest accomplishments. 

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised the Bush and Cheney families have noticed his lack of respect, and held grudges. Now Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s one-and-only Representative and Chair of the House Republican Conference, has spoken in favor of Trump’s second-and-current impeachment. 

Our two WY Republican Senators have made no such pronouncements, nor has our Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis who was Cheney’s predecessor representative. As a Wyoming voter, my sense is that in supporting impeachment Liz Cheney speaks for House Cheney, not for Wyoming’s Republicans who elected her. 

Just saying ... this is her version of leaving a horse head in Trump’s bed, very much part of a blood feud between House Cheney and the upstart House Trump. Hat tips to Frank Herbert’s Dune and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones for the feuding great houses concept.

Later ... Cheney’s support of impeachment is an example of John Kass’s politics becoming personal, never a good thing.

Later still ... the Wyoming Republican Party has written to let Rep. Cheney know what they’re hearing from the people who recently reelected her. It is far from positive or supportive. 

Go here to see their statement. I’d guess she will have a primary challenger backed by the state organization in 2022.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


In these trying times, good news is a beacon in the darkness. Mirabile dictu, I have good news for my conservative readership. Variety reports the following about cable news network CNN.

CNN Airport, a long-running out-of-home media operation that became an integral part of the traveling experience for people flying ... is shutting down, the victim of shifts in consumer behavior. 

CNN said the operation, which aired a mix of news from CNN and snippets from other WarnerMedia networks in 58 different airports in the U.S., would close as of March 31.

People are watching their own screens - ignoring the CNN monitors - behavior that advertisers noticed. Consequently advertisers spent their ad budgets elsewhere. Bad news for CNN is good news for conservatives who seldom found their views respected on CNN.


When President Trump decided to leave implementation and enforcement of the various Covid measures up to state governors, it was a recognition of the different conditions extant in different states. It also had the (probably) unintended consequence of enabling various Democrat governors to take actions which left them looking either foolish or downright evil.

Can anyone argue that governors Whitmer, Cuomo, or Newsom have done themselves any political good at the national level as a result? I think it unlikely. On the other hand, Republicans DeSantis, Abbott and Noem appear to have increased their stature on the national stage. 

Whither Trump?

The always interesting Conrad Black writes at American Greatness about the question on many minds now: whither Donald John Trump? Not “whether,” “wither” nor “weather” but in fact whither, meaning “to what place or state.” Plainly put, what is his future, where does he go from here?

Black’s conclusion:

Trump remains by far the largest faction-head in American politics. He has done himself serious damage but it is not necessarily irreparable. (snip) If he learns anything from all this (and learning from his own mistakes hasn’t been his strong suit), he may be around for awhile yet. The idea that Washington will just go back to where it was before he arrived really is nonsense.

The causes Trump championed - populism, America first, immigration control - aren’t going away. They have legs, even if Trump proves too damaged to be their messenger henceforth. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Monday, January 11, 2021


When I wrote a couple of days ago that last minute impeachment was unlikely, I fear I did not make clear that what I believed unlikely was the Senate voting for it. It clearly appears that the Pelosi-run House will vote to impeach Trump again, presumably on Wednesday.

However, McConnell has made clear it will not come to the Senate floor for a vote prior to Trump leaving office. Schumer intends for the new 50-50 Senate, where he will preside, to take it up even though such action is Constitutionally questionable. 

If red-hot hate is enough to push it through, it is a done deal. What happens then is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it will be up to the Supremes to decide if a person no longer in office can be impeached and if so, what practical effect this quixotic action might have.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Worst Wurst

They say it takes one to know one.  The Associated Press reports as follows:

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol to the Nazis and called President Donald Trump a failed leader who “will go down in history as the worst president ever.”

As someone who lived through Swarzenegger’s tenure as Governor of CA, I’d say he’s something of an expert in worsts (wursts?). Schwarzenegger was perhaps the worst CA governor in my lifetime. And the recent competition for that dubious ‘honor’ has been fierce. 

Elected as a supposed Republican, the Governator proved a veritable poster boy for RINOs. When he should have waged a veto war with the Democrat-dominated legislature, he basically rolled over and played dead. We’d have been better off staying with his predecessor, Gray Davis, which is pathetic since Davis was recalled.

The McConnell Viewpoint

There are those on the right who appreciate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and those who don’t. I’m in the former camp, I believe he’s done a good job under difficult circumstances. 

During the rioting at the Capitol this past week, he gave two speeches on the Senate floor. The excellent Selena Zito has written approvingly for the Washington Examiner quoting much of what McConnell said in those trying hours. 

Presuming you are willing to give McConnell a hearing, I recommend her brief report to you. I find in his words essentially nothing with which to quarrel.

Good Point

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes a column entitled:

Final Trump Report Card: Lasting accomplishments fouled by his personality

Instapundit links to it, and posts this caveat:

The problem is, without his personality, could he have withstood the media pressure to win in 2016, and not fold afterward? Mitt Romney, say, certainly lacks the strength to withstand the pressure, and for that matter to win at all.

Given our owned-by-Democrats media environment, can a Republican win and get anything done if he isn’t an abrasive, chip-on-shoulder ‘Nu Yawk’ kind of guy? The polite Bushes, father and son, proved ineffectual. 

The other DrC liked to say “Trump is a bully, but he’s my bully.” If he was occasionally embarrassing, I valued his infuriating people whose policies and personas I dislike - think Pelosi, Schumer and Clinton. He made them apoplectic, a laudable service.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Thinking Mazda

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds writes some positive words about Mazda. I believe they reflect his experience with the marque.

My one brush with Mazda was the purchase of a Ford Probe. If you unscrewed a small Ford nameplate on the rocker cover, underneath it said “Mazda” as the drivetrain was of that brand. 

I have owned 2 other Ford cars and 3 Ford trucks and the only lemon-ish experience I had with any was the Mazda-based first generation Probe. It was plagued with problems large (transmission) and small (power window failure). If these were Ford’s fault, they were an aberration in my history with the blue oval. Thus I’m inclined to blame Mazda. 

I will admit when the Probe was operating properly, it was a very pleasant little car to drive, fast and smooth. I recollect one day I drove it solo 500 miles down the length of CA and enjoyed the ride.

What is Mazda’s problem? Reynolds opines:

The Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo offers a hell of a lot of car for the money.

In my opinion, Mazda tries harder to offer extra “goodies” at a price point than they do to make sure what they offer works reliably. This is something we also encountered on a Montana RV back in the early 2000s. 

It turns out unreliable goodies aren’t truly good. Both Montana and Probe were traded in early as their underlying unreliability became manifest.

Trump Fatigue

 Last October 1, I wrote the following:

Reality TV star Trump somehow makes every story about himself. I suspect if he loses his bid for reelection, we will write that the voters grew tired of him.

More so than before, to me those words seem prophetic. Donald Trump won substantially more votes than he did in 2016, his opponent appears to have won even more than Trump. I am inclined to blame “Trump fatigue” for the larger-than-expected vote for boring Joe Biden. 

In show biz parlance the phenomenon is called “overexposure.” It appears too many voters experienced it, while another not-quite-as-large group did not. 

As I noted then, the equally egotistical Obama was easier to ignore. I believe this was because media stories about him were positive and upbeat. Positive isn’t newsworthy in our news cycle; conflict, scandal and tragedy rate headlines. Of these, Trump had more than his share.

Last Minute Impeachment Unlikely links to a Hot Air piece by Ed Morrissey which explains why President Trump won’t be impeached before his term of office ends on January 20. The explanation comes courtesy of a Mitch McConnell memo explaining the realities of senatorial procedure.

That combined with House procedure means if it happens at all, it will happen after he is no longer in office. No one is certain the Constitution even allows for the impeachment of a private citizen, which Donald J. Trump will be as of the afternoon of January 20 of this year. Apparently it has never happened and, if one was a betting person, one would bet against it happening this time.

Friday, January 8, 2021


Democrats found nothing to condemn about Antifa and BLM riots in Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere this past summer. Now all of a sudden they find much to criticize about the pro-Trump violence in DC at the Capitol. 

Their complaints would be a whole lot more believable if they were equally critical of all protest violence, not merely that in support of politics with which they disagree. Personally, I find all political violence equally reprehensible, on both sides, regardless of whose viewpoint is being supported or opposed. Down that road lies tyranny.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Spot-On Parody

Stephen Green, posting at Instapundit, links to a Washington Free Beacon parody of a Kamala Harris childhood recollection. Enjoy:

I remember sitting in a large group at the coloring station. A few of the kids were talking about their mommies and daddies, but everyone went quiet when I started to cry. The teacher rushed over to see what was wrong. Honestly I didn't even know. "She'll be fine," the teacher assured my classmates. Suddenly it hit me. "Pwonouns," I blurted out between sobs. "Gin-doored pwonouns." My parents had to come pick me up. "What's the matter?" they asked, looking concerned. "Twans wives," I said, no longer crying. "Twans wives matter."

Our Veep-elect has a vivid, inventive imagination unshackled to the truth. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

We Disapprove

The election this past November was more hinky than usual, and they’re normally less than clean. Nevertheless, it is the opinion of this small-time op-ed writer that the rioting and violence at the Capitol today is entirely unjustified and wrong. 

While COTTonLINE has normally supported President Trump, his actions in fostering what happened today are reprehensible, basically inexcusable. It isn’t how we Americans do politics. It has a third world vibe we don’t need or want. 

Donald Trump doesn’t handle defeat well, that’s been obvious since early November. Today he finally jumped the shark, went from crank to rabble-rouser. In the process, he very likely destroyed his ability to be influential in the coming years.

It is time for the Trump Administration to “go gentle into that good night.” The rage Dylan Thomas called for is inappropriate in this context.

Weird Oregon

Oregon has decided to set aside funds to help Black-owned businesses injured by the Covid-19 epidemic shutdown and consequent lack of business. Apparently the New York Times has written an attempt to justify this reverse discrimination. 

Attorney Paul Mirengoff of Power Line takes exception to this example of race-based favoritism, calling it unconstitutional. I believe he is correct. 

Georgia Disappoints

Georgia voted yesterday and, while the results are not yet final, one race has been called for Democrat Warnock, and in the other, Democrat Ossoff is ahead and will probably win. Thus, the Senate will likely be split exactly 50-50 and Vice President Harris will vote to break ties. 

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will be majority leader, replacing Mitch McConnell. Expect bad things (and bad judges) as a result of razor-thin party line votes. Except that the filibuster still exists, at least until the Senate votes 51-50 to repeal it, which its rules do permit. 

Historically, the Senate requires 60 votes to pass most legislation, and it has been rare that one party has that many. Thus its main function has been to prevent the more extreme ideas of each party from becoming law.

How this will play out in the days ahead remains to be seen. We will watch with interest as it unfolds, and comment on the interesting bits. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Plagiarism Twins

Grandpa Badfinger (Kurt Schlichter’s term), aka Joe Asterisk (Stephen Green’s label), is well-known for decades ago plagiarizing a speech by British pol Neil Kinnock. Now his running mate, Kamala Harris, has apparently been telling people something from a Martin Luther King, Jr. interview in fact happened to her. 

We’re going to have to call Biden and Harris “the plagiarism twins.” From the care I take in referencing anything I borrow or quote, you know how negatively I (and most academics) view plagiarism - very much so. These are not people you’d trust to run a second hand shop, much less your government.

Georgia Votes Today

The Georgia runoff election which will decide the identity of their two U.S. Senators concludes today, with early voting happening since mid-December. Given the current narrow GOP edge in senate seats, this election will also decide which party has a majority in the Senate.

What’s at stake? If Republicans continue to have a Senate majority, they will be able to block most Democrat-issue legislation, leaving us with the proverbial gridlock. Government will be funded with so-called continuing resolutions, but new initiatives of any sort will go nowhere. And few nominated judges will be confirmed. From a Republican perspective, given a Democrat in the White House, this is the best we can hope for - basically damage-control.

If the Democrats win both GA seats, expect their razor-thin majority to pass a variety of laws and confirm leftist judges. It is under these conditions we will get to experience the actual Joe Asterisk agenda, presupposing such a thing actually exists.

In some ways, what happens today in Georgia is more important than what happened in early November nationwide. By this time tomorrow, we should have some idea of where the next two years will take us as a nation.  We are likely to survive either outcome, but most people who follow politics have a clear preference.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Trusting the Constitution

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line posts Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) statement of why he will not oppose the approval of state-certified electoral college votes when they come before the Senate. He writes, in part:

The Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states—not Congress. They entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College—not Congress. And they entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts—not Congress. Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states.

I find his statement logical and based in law. You may find his explanation persuasive. N.B., Although we share a family name, Sen. Cotton is of no known relation.

It’s Raining ....

California famously gets little-to-no rain from May through October, and darn little in November and April. In spite of this, most of CA is not quite a desert. Technically, it has a “savannah” climate.

The answer to this riddle is that it rains in midwinter, some years more so than others. This is one of the “more so” winters, since early December it has rained 2-3 times a week, mostly not hard or for hours on end, but significantly, more than a shower. 

Up in the Sierras winter precipitation results in snowpack, which spends the spring melting, feeding the rivers that wind down into the big CA central valleys - the Feather, the American, the Kern. Back in the halcyon days when the Sierra Club didn’t have such sway, all these were dammed for flood control, power generation and summer irrigation.

Now hydroelectric generation is supposed to be an evil concept, inhibiting so-called “wild rivers.” What total horse-pucky. Hydro power is the best renewable, non-polluting, tap-it-when-you-need-it power in existence. We should be doing much more of it.

The winter rains are also why CA turns the calendar on end, being green when the rest of the country is brown, and vice versa. Our wild plants here are adapted to do their growing in the months between January and April, when our hillsides are green and our usual temperatures aren’t cold enough to kill plants. By June everything not irrigated is golden/brown except the evergreen oaks which have their own unique adaptation to our boom-and-bust growing cycle.

I notice I’ve been writing “our” but will have to adjust to writing “their” as relatively soon I will have no foothold in CA. If everything goes according to plan, effective sometime in early February we will no longer own property in CA. It is sad, one supposes, but needful. CA is a nice place badly screwed up by its residents. It’s time to be elsewhere.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Roots of Brexit

Brendan O’Neill, editor of spiked, has written that the main conflict over Brexit was not between the U.K. and the EU, but rather a sort of cold civil war between the classes in Britain. Before reading what he believes happened, it is important to keep in mind that Brits are obsessed with social class distinctions and that obsession undoubtedly underlies his analysis.

The strange, unconvincing devotion to the EU that exists in significant sections of the political and chattering classes is directly proportionate to these people’s antagonism towards the idea of the wisdom of the crowd. It suggests that the ‘European issue’ is fundamentally a projection of a national tension — in this case of Britain’s own historically unresolved battle over democracy and power.

The EU is largely a projection — a hugely influential projection which over the years has assumed real, tangible and increasingly independent power, but a projection nonetheless. It is a projection of various national governments’ desire to do politics away from their electorates. It is a projection of our own elites’ preference for rule by experts over rule by the masses. It is a projection of one of the central ideological beliefs of the liberal establishments of late 20th-century Britain and other European countries — that this interconnected, troubled world is far too difficult to be understood or dealt with at the local, democratic level.

I believe his analysis applies to the U.S. as well. Substitute “Democrats” for the pro-EU Remain forces, and “Trump-era Republicans” for the Brexit-loving Leavers and see if you’d find much to argue with ... I don’t. 

COTTonLINE’s Birthday

My life was quietly hectic in the days leading up to Christmas, much work and many hard decisions about which long-time possessions to keep and move to a new home, which to give away, and which to discard as junk. I’m not complaining, I volunteered for the assignment and could have chosen to forego the entire experience.

However, because of the headlong rush to get a dwelling of 33 years ready for the market, I overlooked noting the 14th anniversary of COTTonLINE which fell on Dec. 22. In the lack of significant public events that traditionally characterizes this year-end holiday period, I now have time to remedy that oversight.

When one has had a ready-made audience and platform, as I had for 30 years in academia, the absence of that outlet for one’s opinions and observations leaves a hole in one’s life. COTTonLINE has remedied that lack. 

Thank you for coming along for the adventure, the ups and downs we’ve chronicled. We hope to continue this blog into the coming years, how many more is up to forces not under my control.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cultural Side Note

In the Northern California region where I taught and still have a winter home, you cannot go out on New Years Day and buy canned black-eyed peas to have with the day’s supper. The supermarkets are open but the shelves are sold out of black-eyed peas, as I learned to my sorrow this afternoon.

Eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day is a custom among a significant group of North Americans, many of them with southern roots. Doing so is supposed to bring the eater good luck during the year. I doubt many believe the superstition but follow the tradition because it is like turkey on Thanksgiving, just what one does.

If you find some, they are nasty - taste like cardboard - heated up straight out of the can. They need bacon grease, plus onion and garlic powder and even so can be an acquired taste, albeit one I like. 

I know of this custom but apparently people who make stocking decisions for markets don’t. Getting a couple of extra cases for the year end would make sense, just like stocking up on canned pumpkin or cranberry sauce. Go figure....

Ciao, 2021

Instapundit greets this new, and hopefully better, year with some snark:

If Democrats hated minorities and wanted them trapped, sad, and dead, they wouldn’t have to change any of their policies 

And then, to prove he isn’t merely being hyperbolic, he quotes this Wall Street Journal headline:

New York City’s Shooting Surge Hit Black and Hispanic Communities Hardest

Question: who needs well-funded police most? Answer: the law-abiding majorities of Blacks and Hispanics who need protection from the nefarious and evil folk who live among them. It is well-documented that most victims of Black and Hispanic crime are ... their Black and Hispanic neighbors.