Saturday, July 31, 2021

Capital Obsessions

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff writes some things concerning the obsessions of former President Trump and Speaker Pelosi that I want to share with you. To me they tend to ring true.

Apparently, Trump wants more attention on the election. Pelosi wants more attention on January 6, 2021 and the period leading up to it.

Most Americans want more attention on the present and future, and most rational Republicans want more attention on Joe Biden’s presidency. But Trump can’t get past the 2020 election and Pelosi wants to divert attention from Biden.

My hunch is that both obsessions are losing propositions. Pelosi and her caucus won’t be able to avoid defeat in 2022 by harping on early January 2021. And if Trump seeks the GOP nomination in 2024, harping on the 2020 election, assuming he’s still doing so, will hinder his campaign.

Both Trump and Pelosi have made their points, Trump's that the election was somewhat hinky, and Pelosi's that folks shouldn't mob the capitol. Continuing to harp on these points makes the 'harpists' look bad, makes them boring.

Both should be focused on our national future, what we need and what should be done. Neither seems to want to do that, suggesting both are people of the past who need to step aside.

5 Bug Out Destinations

Where to go to survive a collapse of human civilization, or alternatively where you are most likely to survive one if already there. The Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) looked at these related questions and identified five places - all islands - where you have a better chance of surviving. See the article at ZME Science, hat tip to RealClearScience for the link.

If you guessed New Zealand was their number one choice, you'd be correct. It is essentially at the end of the earth, has a variety of climates, a first world level civilization, somewhat socialist politics (no plus), and isn't overpopulated. 

I suspect New Zealand's primary advantages are that (a) it is too far away to be successfully invaded by low tech post-apocalyptic folk sailing repurposed, ramshackle cargo ships and (b) there are no targets there anyone would waste a nuke on. Don't knock it, both are huge advantages. 

The problem with New Zealand is getting there after the balloon goes up. Ocean-spanning flights will probably be the first to end when their pilots refuse to leave NZ and fly back home to chaos.

The other four locations are Iceland, Ireland, the U.K., and the southern Australian island of Tasmania. I see real problems with the U.K. and Ireland being too close to the European mainland. Both, however, have well-established first world infrastructure and industry plus reasonably stable governments. 

Tasmania shares many characteristics with New Zealand, but may have too little manufacturing capability to independently maintain a civilized lifestyle. That leaves Iceland, which has the distinct advantages of distance, geothermal heating and darn good fishing grounds, but little manufacturing and a climate not conducive to growing crops.

I'm not clear how the scholars figure these civilizations can sustain themselves minus imported petroleum. Only the U.K. has an indigenous (offshore) oil supply. Going back to coal, wood and steam isn't impossible, and peat one supposes, but no modern society can function without motor vehicles and aircraft, neither of which runs on solid fuel. 

A Partially Baked Idea

Instapundit links to a The College Fix article with this headline:

‘Health misinformation’ should be a federal crime, First Amendment law professor says

I love it when somebody proposes a regulation or law that will have obvious unintended consequences, like this one. Let's imagine this had become law prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, what would have happened differently.

For starters people like Fauci, Birx and Walensky would have made many fewer pronouncements, and those made would have been so hedged around with qualifications and caveats as to make them essentially useless. How would people have dealt with "We don't know yet, we'll have to see what happens" answers? Would this have been preferable to what occurred? I'm sure, after the fact, many would say "yes."

When the pandemic first started people were scared and needed reassurance, even if they weren't always correct answers as seen in the merciless gaze of hindsight. For people like me, and I hope my readers, who are comfortable with "what we know so far," it would have been fine. 

I'm not certain that qualified answers would have worked for most folks. Had the proposed law been in place, there would have been no "this is the truth" responses from government or academic sources. Do we really want to make it a crime to sound positive and reassuring?

Science is always finding new answers, which often modify or contradict the old answers. How would statements about health issues be known to be "misinformation?" Imagine convicting someone who is later exonerated by later, better research findings. Or the reverse, where someone is not convicted and later findings show they were wrong and should have been guilty?

The geologist who first proposed the continental drift hypothesis was viewed as a total crackpot for decades; plate tectonics as it's now called is today's mainstream belief. I conclude there is no practical way to make "health misinformation" a federal crime, it is another in a long series of partially-baked ideas.

Saturday Snark

This chart courtesy of Steve Hayward's The Week in Pictures, at Power Line.

Intentional Exaggeration?

Close to half of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, roughly 150 million of us. We vaccinated folk are now being urged to wear masks, mostly because it protects those who are not vaccinated from any virus we spew.

It appears those making policy believe, with some reason, that many of the vaccinated don’t much care about protecting those who have chosen to be not vaccinated. Which means the policy makers have an incentive to try to convince us that we vaccinated folk can still catch Covid-19, so we’ll mask up.

Bottom line - I suspect the CDC and others in government of intentionally exaggerating the frequency of so-called “break-through” symptomatic infections among the vaccinated. It seems the most parsimonious explanation of the very mixed messages that we’ve gotten from Fauci, Biden, and Walensky.

On the other hand, the decision by the Israeli government to begin giving booster third shots to their elderly, and perhaps to others, suggests maybe the danger is real. Claims and counterclaims, it is hard to know what to believe.

Let me be clear, I don’t have “truth,” whatever that turns out to be. These are hunches, guesses made from incomplete information and some insight into human motivation.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Colonial Nostalgia

Instapundit links to an article in The Gleaner, Jamaica's newspaper, written by a local pastor. He reports that almost twice as many Jamaicans wish the island was still a British colony, rather than the independent nation that it is. Some 49% preferred colonial status vs. 27% who like the current status best, according to a poll commissioned by the paper. Apparently 24% had no opinion.

It appears the article's author is both surprised and appalled at these numbers. I am neither. Actually I suspect such feelings are relatively widespread among the citizens of former colonies which became independent following World War II.

Colonial governments in the 1800s were no prize, often corrupt, racist and brutal. By the time the Second World War started, most colonial administrators had become no worse than the European governments they represented, genuinely trying to help the colonies function and prosper. 

At the time European governments gave their Third World colonies independence in the late 1940s, most were better governed than the typical now-independent former colony is governed today. No wonder the citizens of former colonies remember that things were once better than they are now, mostly that is an accurate appraisal.

Is it likely independent Haiti, for example, is better governed or happier than French Martinique or Guadeloupe? Few would agree.

A Policy Suggestion

I was reading an article at The New Republic, a lefty source I seldom check, because it had an intriguing premise. It was that what’s happening with our military presence in Iraq is truly not an end to our “combat" role there but merely a rebranding of that role to one of “training and advising.” 

The author argues that the number of our troops there won’t diminish, but their role will be differently described, while changing almost not at all in terms of day-to-day activities. Probably true, and not especially important.

This led me to think about our role in Afghanistan and places like it, places that are now, and for the foreseeable future will be, essentially ungovernable hotbeds of angry tribal folk - people likely to harbor violent anti-Americanism. 

Both Trump and Biden have wanted to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan because they believed correctly that “we couldn’t win.” Win being defined as establishing a stable representative government of non-troublemakers. 

I ask you to consider that winning is the wrong U.S. goal in such places. How various tribal peoples (mis)govern themselves isn’t our problem, and we’ve proved we are not adept at nation-building. 

The correct U.S. goal is to maintain conditions in these locales such that the locals cannot meaningfully organize to make trouble for the U.S. homeland. This will often involve covertly helping tribes battle each other to a standstill, it’s a balancing act like that Britain played across the Channel in Europe for many decades. 

Indeed it is the role the U.S. played in Afghanistan when the Soviets were there in force. Our mistake was to then replace the Russians as occupiers, to try to make a modern nation of it.

We could model the CIA’s activities in these backwaters like those of the British “politicals” in the Indian subcontinent pre-1948. British agents would work behind the scenes with rajahs, warlords and satraps to keep the locals focused on fighting each other, instead of fighting the Brits. 

This is a cynical, brutal business, best done in the shadows with no publicity. Probably the best current practitioner of this arcane intervention is the ISI in Pakistan. It is the Pakistani version of the CIA/DIA, and could give Machiavelli lessons in playing both sides against the middle.

A Reasonable Question

This is the cover of today's New York Post. The statistics - well presented there graphically - resemble the numbers I've seen elsewhere and reported here. Doesn't it make you wonder why those of us who are vaccinated should worry?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Blame the G.I. Bill

Kay Heimowitz writes about degree inflation for City Journal, and does a mostly thorough job. A key quote is this pithy observation.

Degree inflation widens the nation’s class divide.

Oddly, in an otherwise comprehensive discussion going back to the days when a high school diploma was somewhat rare, she leaves out a major force in degree inflation - the G.I. Bill. Perhaps she thought criticizing it was a bridge too far, it can be a bit of a sacred cow in our society. Let me remedy her omission.

As World War II drew toward an end, politicians and economists began to worry about the nearly inevitable recession/depression that tended to follow wars. They pictured literally hundreds of thousands of young men, and a few women, swapping their uniforms for civvies and looking for jobs. 

Their concern was that the job vacancies would not increase as quickly as would the supply of people needing them. What could be done to slow the near-avalanche of job seekers following war's end as the military shrank back to peacetime staffing levels and ex-soldiers and sailors became unemployed.

The answer they came up with was the G.I. Bill, let's send 'em to college and by the time they get out the economy will have caught up, the politicians thought. Incidentally, they were right, it worked but had an unintended consequence.

Meantime the young men in the military had spent something like 1-4 years growing up, experiencing a blue-collar job called "enlisted man," and many jumped at the chance to do something better.

The new college graduates began flooding the job market in 1947-50. Personnel Departments (as Human Resources was then known) began to raise the bar for entry level jobs. 

Why would they do this? They faced a tall stack of job applications, and a need to winnow these down to a manageable number to consider seriously. Tossing out everyone without a college degree was not only practical, it could be justified to top management as hiring a smarter, more educated work force. 

New high school graduates looked at the competition, a raft of ex-GIs with degrees, and decided they too needed to go to college just to be competitive in the job market. And that was the beginning of how we got to where we are today, where you basically need a masters degree (or higher) to have any edge.

About the Vaccines

Let’s think about why the Covid-19 vaccines are still called “experimental.” It is clear that a switch to “approved” status would help many reluctant holdouts get vaccinated and that would be a good thing.

So why is the FDA dragging its feet? Why has the approval process for vaccines normally taken quite a few years? It isn’t my field of expertise, but I presume the reason is that there is concern unfortunate sequelae will show up after several years (or decades?) have passed. 

Millions have taken the new-tech mRNA vaccines, but because of their newness nobody took them long enough ago to answer the question of long-term unintended consequences. And the people at FDA who declare approval are unwilling to get out ahead of the data and potentially be shown to be horribly wrong several years from now.

The other DrC and I took the vaccines knowing there could be nasty surprises lurking somewhere in the future. Why would we do this? Because we’re old and therefore two things were true: (a) the old are most at risk from Covid-19, and (b) we’re less likely to live long enough to experience “long term” consequences. 

It is estimated something like 89% of the elderly have had the shots. From where we oldsters sit, surviving the corona virus and living a healthy 5-10 more years is our best bet. We aren’t going to have babies, we aren’t worrying about how we’ll fare 30 years from now. And we understand the cost-benefit equation looks different to the young who have to consider both of those eventualities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Capitol Police

The Capitol Police are currently testifying before the Jan. 6 House committee, which committee is made up entirely of Trump haters. The 'Cap cops' claim they were terrified on Jan. 6. Are these officers real police or are they uniformed rent-a-cops, resembling mall security? 

Do they investigate gang shootings and gristly murders and rapes? Are they often in physical confrontations with repeat offenders who've decided to avoid going back to jail or die trying? Do they often deal with drug overdoses? No, no, and no.

It is unlikely they encounter any of these unpleasant, potentially dangerous situations. I'd argue they are basically building security with badges who on Jan. 6 suddenly found themselves dealing with unruly and angry people and were scared spit-less because they aren't accustomed to real tac-squad police work. They were scared of a rowdy crowd with no guns.

If they have any self-awareness, they ought to be embarrassed and ashamed. And what was going on with them holding open doors for the demonstrators?

Afterthought: To be fair, the Capitol Police didn’t know the demonstrators had no guns, and perhaps assuming they had them was prudent.

For What It's Worth

Futurists' prognostications of what the world will look like a decade or more in advance are always fun to look at, think about, and evaluate. While they are virtually always wrong in major ways, and we should be happy that is so, they are still intriguing. 

I think of them as plotless science fiction. Effectively they are imagined documentaries whereas sci. fi. is short stories and novels set in an imagined future.

All of the above by way of introducing a link to a projection of what the world will resemble geopolitically in the year 2040, some 19 years from now. It comes to us courtesy of Geopolitical Futures where George Friedman often publishes good insights.

GPF predicts a Japan stronger than China, a smaller and weaker EU, and a resurgence of Poland and Turkey. And the U.S.?

One fact that will not change is the United States’ position as the sole global power. Over the next 19 years, it will adopt a new strategy to maintain power at the lowest possible cost. This strategy will resemble isolationism, in that the U.S. will not be drawn into regional military conflicts in any significant capacity.

That right there is some sunny optimism. I sure hope GPF is correct. 

Vaccination Is Successful

ABC News has obtained an internal CDC document which shows how rare so-called “breakthrough” cases of Covid-19 infection among the fully vaccinated are. They report the following:

With more than 156 million Americans fully vaccinated, nationwide, approximately 153,000 symptomatic breakthrough cases are estimated to have occurred as of last week, representing approximately 0.098% of those fully vaccinated, according to an unpublished internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document obtained by ABC News. These estimates reflect only the adult population and do not include asymptomatic breakthrough infections.

Translation: If you are fully vaccinated against it, your likelihood of actually getting sick from Covid-19 is roughly 1 in 1000. And hospitalization is much more rare still, something like 6 in 100,000.

If you accept these figures as accurate, being vaccinated certainly looks like a bet you should take. If you believe the government is lying, as it sometimes does, or is wrong, as it sometimes is, I understand your skepticism even if I don’t share it. With nearly half the population fully vaccinated, if those were dying left and right we’d certainly know about it, it couldn’t be covered up.

Reading between the lines, some number of the fully vaccinated apparently “get” Covid-19 but have few or no symptoms. These are only rarely diagnosed if they are, for some extraneous reason, tested. Presumably they could still transmit the disease to others without suffering its effects themselves. This will be used as a justification for requiring us to wear masks even though vaccinated.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Benefits Prolong Unemployment

Daily Wire website reports the findings of a Morning Consult poll seeking to determine how many of those on enhanced unemployment compensation had turned down jobs to stay unemployed.

13% — roughly one in eight — said that they had refused job offers while unemployed because they “receive enough money from unemployment insurance without having to work.” Others said that child care obligations, worries over COVID-19, and a lack of job flexibility limited their willingness to take new positions.

Because 14.1 million adults were collecting benefits at the time of the survey, Morning Consult calculated that roughly 1.8 million Americans turned down jobs due to the handouts.

Isn't it odd no Democrats believe these findings are even possible? One supposes Ds believe everyone on the dole is a for-sure Democrat voter, and they may be correct. Hat tip to Stephen Green at Instapundit for the link.

Trend Line Downslope

Byron York, a frequent panelist on Bret Baier's Fox News show, writes for the Washington Examiner about recent Gallup poll numbers which show President Biden's popularity declining rather abruptly in the last three months, especially with Independents. York also cites an ABC/Ipsos poll which finds pessimism about the nation's future is up a significant amount. York concludes:

Many Democrats (are) urging Biden to hurry up and push his agenda through Congress as quickly as possible, before his ratings decline more. The president is politically weaker today than he was three months ago, and he will likely be weaker still three months from now.

If Mitch McConnell can hold the fort for a few months more, the worst then could be behind us. Imagine if you were a Democrat concerned whether POTUS can keep it together for 3.5 more years. "Worried" wouldn't begin to describe your feelings. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.


RealClearWorld links to a Financial Times column by a rascal named Janan Ganesh. He writes about the few places in the world where one can be an expatriate and leave behind various ... um ... shortcomings in one's past life. If you know expats, or have been one yourself however briefly, you'll enjoy what he's written.

The chance to forget oneself, to disappear in plain sight, is a freedom too. The mystery is where to find it in future.

The sun is setting, for now, on a certain kind of nomad’s idyll. In Hong Kong, reabsorption into China is the issue. In Singapore, it is the pandemic and a new commitment to the nation’s “core”. Even the United Arab Emirates, facing disease and domestic unemployment, has shooed out legion expats.

The year the DrsC spent teaching on Guam, a very multicultural U.S. territory, we encountered plenty of the expat breed. I remember us both remarking how many of them would have trouble fitting in back in the States. 

The local Chamorros' and other Asians' partial understanding of stateside norms was loose enough to permit expats a degree of "eccentric" behavior. We're talking behavior that, in the mid-1980s, would not have passed muster in Des Moines or Denver.

Ganesh needn't worry, new expat havens will open up on the fringes of the Third World. I suspect some are already operating in Mexico and Costa Rica, Belize and the French Caribbean.

Dissing the Illusions

RealClearPolitics links to a column at Medium by a John Ellis where he takes up four illusions many hold about today's U.S. politics. He sets out to demolish each of the four and does a reasonable job.

What are the four political views Ellis believes are illusions? 

  1. Biden is not too old.
  2. Harris "has what it takes."
  3. Trump is done.
  4. Trump can't win.

He adds that beyond Biden and Harris, the Democrats have no "bench," no obvious candidate. I find myself largely in agreement with his negative characterizations. Ellis is a former columnist for the Boston Globe and a long-time political analyst. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Poll: We Are Pessimistic

An ABC/Ipsos poll of Americans' attitudes toward the direction of the country and its future has just been redone, a similar one was done about 3 months ago. John Hinderaker of Power Line quotes the Ipsos poll report.

A majority — 55% — of the public say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the roughly one-third (36%) that said the same in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published May 2. In the early May survey, Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic by a 28-percentage point margin. Optimism is now under water by 10 points. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, fewer than half — 45% — now report feeling optimistic about the way things are going, a significant drop from about two-thirds (64%) in the May poll.

As Hinderaker notes, Republicans should be able to weaponize this pessimism to their advantage in the 2022 midterm elections. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021


I’m not much interested in pro football, rooting for one’s town or city doesn’t excite me. I have enjoyed college football, especially the three years I lived in Eugene, OR, and could watch PAC 10 ball for free as a student. However none of those U of O games etched itself into my memory like a game my undergrad alma mater played against Stanford. 

My undergrad college was San Jose State, and if you know South Bay geography, Stanford is 20 miles north of the SJSU campus off US101. In those long-ago days Stanford would schedule what amounted to a warm-up game with San Jose, played in their stadium, and normally clobber us. 

Stanford was in the PAC 10 and we played as independents. However, during my time at SJS there was one beautiful October afternoon in 1960 when we beat Stanford on their home field, and tore down their goalposts. 

I remember vividly a battered and bloody fraternity boy staggering up our side of the bleachers clutching a 4 foot length of broken goalpost to his chest and grinning like a madman. I wonder whatever happened to that trophy? I imagine it ended up mounted over the fireplace in a fraternity house that no longer exists.

What got me thinking about San Jose State football was I looked at a pre-season ranking some college football fan compiled and he ranked SJS 43rd in the nation, higher than Stanford, UCLA and Berkeley. Can this be right? If so, things have sure changed since I was an undergraduate there. Go, Spartans! 

Floods in Germany

This photo is from Steven Hayward's The Week in Pictures at Power Line. You can ignore the caption, it is accurate enough but most of it doesn't relate to the flooding.

When people tell you Germany never floods, they're dead wrong. The locals have kept track of flood high water marks more or less forever, labeled with the year. 

Don't let people tell you this flooding is climate change. Check out those dates going back at least 200 years. The other DrC and I have seen these marks on buildings in little towns all along the Rhine and Main rivers, they're no joke. 

In the years before trains and cars, it was handy to be right by the river for water borne transport. In recent decades it is also valuable for tourism as river cruises are quite popular - we've done several. 

Germans live with the occasional flood, clean up the mess, rebuild if necessary, and continue to live by the river. It's like the attitude Floridians have about hurricanes, they're a hassle but tolerable.

Another Old Car

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a “thing” that is done here in the mountain west, parking a restored old car out in front of your business to get attention, maybe even to get people to stop and gawk at it. Mostly I’d seen it in western WY, but my latest example is in eastern ID, which is our next door neighbor.

In this case it is a restored Edsel posed attached to an Airstream trailer, being used to advertise an RV park in the Swan Valley area of eastern Idaho. The other DrC has photos at her blog here. As you might gather, the DrsC enjoy these examples of automotive nostalgia.

For decades we would share our photos of old cars with our friend Earl, a former university colleague, who’d retired to Florida. He loved to tinker with and customize interesting old cars, his ‘stable’ included a pre-war Graham, updated with V-8 engine and AC, an MG coupe with a small block V-8, a Studebaker Avanti and an Oldsmobile Toronado. Earl died recently, seeing the Edsel we both thought “Earl would have enjoyed these photos.”

We’re beginning to experience something my dear 90+ year old mother would complain about. She’d outlived most of her friends, which she experienced as a decidedly mixed blessing. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Another White House Misstatement

The website Issues & Insights takes issue with the White House claim that Republicans are the ones refusing to get the Covid vaccine. The article makes the point that it is largely minorities and the young who have refused. They further identify most of the anti-vax influencers as being on the left. 

This is the same point the Kaiser Family Foundation poll made after surveying the politics of the unvaccinated. It should be remembered that Republican President Trump pushed the development of multiple vaccines, and urged their emergency approval in a ‘full court press’ not unlike the Manhattan Project. 

It is fair to say that conservatives have defended citizens’ rights to refuse the vaccines if they choose to try for the apocryphal Darwin Award. Occasionally our libertarian values surface.

Weed and Psychosis

The New York Post reports a study from Denmark that finds schizophrenia associated with use of cannabis. I would caution that the study appears to be correlational, although the write-up attempts to see causation.

Correlations does not establish causation, it is as likely that those with damaged minds find weed more attractive as it is that use of weed can bring on schizophrenia. All we know for sure is that it appears that to a greater-than-random-chance extent the two coexist in Danish individuals.

I am inclined to believe, without specific scientific proof, that much persistent use of street drugs is individuals with damaged minds self-medicating. These individuals are mostly unaware, I believe, of the underlying reason they keep doing drugs.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Believe the Science

Well, guess what? Humans aren't the only killer ape! Scientists observing chimpanzees in the wild saw a group of them attack five adult gorillas plus an infant, driving off the adults while capturing, killing and eating the infant gorilla. 

The New York Post has the story which was originally reported in the journal Nature. Inasmuch as our nearest modern relative among primates is the chimpanzee, apparently both we and the chimps inherited our omnivorous nature.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Demand Exceeds Supply

The government's demand for examples of white supremacy and rightwing extremism is greater than the natural supply. Apparently the FBI helps create both using our tax dollars and government employees. 

That's the conclusion Paul Mirengoff reaches, writing at Power Line. It appears the FBI instigated the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, the non-FBI plotters of which were subsequently arrested and held for trial. 

An argument can be made that no plot would have occurred in the absence of FBI encouragement and instigation. If this isn't unlawful, it should be.

Greater Idaho?

Writing at The Federalist, Tristan Justice looks carefully at the separatist movement in Eastern Oregon and Northern California. Several rural counties in each state would like to secede and join Idaho, a reliably rural and Republican jurisdiction.

These counties have a legitimate complaint; in each case the values they hold and the people they represent are ignored, if not abhorred, by the dominant Democrats in their respective state capitals. The article makes an interesting point about conservative counties not bothering to enforce state laws of which their populace does not approve. One wonders how far this sort of "cafeteria enforcement" can go before a confrontation occurs.

I know this to be a legitimate issue, the rural CA county I called home for three decades reliably elected Republicans to represent it in Sacramento and DC. Much of the time it did no good, especially in Sacramento. It probably did harm when the state government divvied up resources, I doubt we got our share of the revenue.

Poll: Students Favor Race Blind Admissions

College Pulse surveyed 2000 college students across the U.S. about several topics, including how they felt about colleges using applicant's race as a factor in admissions. Power Line's Paul Mirengoff reports the findings.

67 percent of college students strongly support “race blind” admissions. Another 18 percent “somewhat support” such admissions. This leaves only 15 percent who oppose race blind admissions. Of that group, only 5 percent strongly oppose them.

The survey defines race blind admissions as meaning that “colleges and universities would not be able to take a student’s race or ethnicity into account in their admissions decisions.”

Among Blacks surveyed, 75 percent support race blind admissions, either strongly or somewhat. Only 10 percent said they strongly oppose this.

Aren't the young supposed to be progressives? These results question that assumption. Maybe they've figured out they should ignore their profs' political biases. 

The Strange Cases of OR and OH

More thoughts about who is moving from and to which states. When the same state appears on United's most-moving-in list, and U-Haul's most-moving-out list, or vice versa, something strange is happening.

Oregon is on United's most-moved-to list and on U-Haul's most-moved-away-from list. Meanwhile Ohio is on U-Haul's most-moved-to list and on United's most-moved-away-from list.

If my thesis is correct - that United moves and U-Haul moves represent households from different social classes or strata - what would we conclude? That the affluent are moving to Oregon while the less affluent are moving away from Oregon. Similarly, the more affluent are leaving Ohio while the less affluent are moving to Ohio.

I can make sense of the Oregon numbers. People selling homes in CA are getting very large prices for same, leaving them somewhat affluent. As they move to OR they bid up home prices in OR, which tends to drive the less affluent to move elsewhere. 

Perhaps the reverse is happening in Ohio, people who can afford to do so are leaving. The empty dwellings they leave behind are depressing home prices or rents so the less affluent can afford to live there. Of this scenario I am less certain.

Explaining Trump

Writing at The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg states a provocative thesis.

A socially healthy society would probably never have elected Trump in the first place.

Because it is the NYT, you know to the extent she is right, it is for the wrong reasons. She blames social malaise a la Jimmy Carter, basically the existential loneliness.

My alternative thesis: Our unhealthy society's two dominant political parties kept giving people political choices that were too much Tweedledum and Tweedledee (e.g., Bush vs. Gore; Romney vs. Obama). People sensed these establishment figures didn't understand or care about their problems and were unlikely to effect the needed changes.

Groping about for a candidate with solutions they believed in, one who wasn't "Mr. Establishment," Trump supporters took to him in the same way homeless psychotics take street drugs ... in desperation. His MAGA mantra was a promise to return to a society in which they were comfortable, before it became so woke and weird, before they became superfluous when their jobs were exported to the Third World. 

Trump supporters knew he didn't live their problems, but he understood and sympathized with their grievances. If the society's movers and shakers hadn't ignored their plight so completely and for so long, a Trump candidacy likely would have seemed a bridge too far, too strange. But ignored it they did, and Trump was nominated, elected, and almost reelected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Needful Cynicism

Antique snark, courtesy of Eric Hoffer's The Temper of Our Time (1967).

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.

That largely describes the degeneration of MLK's civil rights movement to Jesse Jackson's corporate protection business to Ibram Kendi's CRT racket.

Comparing the Two Lists

Just for fun, let's compare the "top 10" lists for United and U-Haul, the states each reports had the most folks moving there. I've starred (*) the four states which appear on both lists, they are AZ, FL, NC, and TN.


  1. Idaho 
  2. South Carolina 
  3. Oregon 
  4. South Dakota 
  5. Arizona *
  6. North Carolina * 
  7. Tennessee *
  8. Alabama 
  9. Florida *
  10. Arkansas
  1. Tennessee (12)*
  2. Texas (2)
  3. Florida (1)*
  4. Ohio (7)
  5. Arizona (20)*
  6. Colorado (42)
  7. Missouri (13)
  8. Nevada (24)
  9. North Carolina (3)*
  10. Georgia (16)
Now let's compare the bottom ten from each list, the states which may have lost the most households. In this case there is more agreement, seven starred states appear on both lists: NJ, NY, IL, CT, CA, MA, and MD.

  1. New Jersey *
  2. New York *
  3. Illinois*
  4. Connecticut *
  5. California * 
  6. Kansas 
  7. North Dakota 
  8. Massachusetts *
  9. Ohio 
  10. Maryland *
  1.  Pennsylvania (46) 
  2.  New York (43) *
  3.  Connecticut (34) *
  4.  Louisiana (40) 
  5.  Oregon (29) 
  6.  Maryland (45) *
  7.  Massachusetts (47) *
  8.  New Jersey (44) *
  9.  Illinois (50) *
  10.  California (49) *
Why is there so little agreement on the states with the most move-ins and much greater agreement on the states with the most move-outs? If we assume that the United list and the U-Haul list represent different social strata, different social/economic classes, it suggests people at all levels are leaving certain states but not necessarily heading to the same destination states. 

The U-Haul Data on Moves

U-Haul tracks and reports one-way truck rentals to and from each state. Apparently their belief is that moves involving a rental trailer are insignificant demographically, and perhaps they are correct.

U-Haul calculates the number of truck arrivals minus the number of departures and comes up with a value that ranges from substantially positive to substantially negative. These are then ranked from most positive to most negative. 

Here are the 49 states to which one can drive, plus the District of Columbia, ranked by this criteria; U-Haul includes Alaska whereas United Van Lines does not. The number in parentheses shows the state's ranking last year.

  1. Tennessee (12) 
  2. Texas (2) 
  3. Florida (1) 
  4. Ohio (7) 
  5. Arizona (20) 
  6. Colorado (42) 
  7. Missouri (13) 
  8. Nevada (24) 
  9. North Carolina (3) 
  10. Georgia (16) 
  11. Arkansas (23) 
  12. Indiana (9) 
  13. Wisconsin (41) 
  14. Oklahoma (14) 
  15. South Carolina (4) 
  16. West Virginia (22) 
  17. Utah (8) 
  18. Kentucky (37) 
  19. Montana (26) 
  20. Minnesota (15) 
  21. Kansas (18) 
  22. Alabama (6) 
  23. New Hampshire (31) 
  24. Iowa (30) 
  25. South Dakota (28) 
  26. Vermont (10) 
  27. Delaware (21) 
  28. Virginia (39) 
  29. Maine (33) 
  30. Idaho (11) 
  31. Mississippi (25) 
  32. Nebraska (19) 
  33. Wyoming (27) 
  34. Alaska (17) 
  35. Rhode Island (35) 
  36. Washington (5) 
  37. North Dakota (32) 
  38. Washington, D.C. (38) 
  39. New Mexico (36) 
  40. Michigan (48) 
  41. Pennsylvania (46) 
  42. New York (43) 
  43. Connecticut (34) 
  44. Louisiana (40) 
  45. Oregon (29) 
  46. Maryland (45) 
  47. Massachusetts (47) 
  48. New Jersey (44) 
  49. Illinois (50) 
  50. California (49)

Thinking About Mobility

Let's think about the data from United Van Lines summarized in the previous post. California was a big loser in the west, and the winners from that were OR, ID, AZ, and to a lesser extent, NV. WY and WA. 

In mid-nation, the big losers were IL and OH, plus several northeastern states lost big: NY, NJ, CT, MA, and MD. The gainers out of this were FL, NC, SC, TN, AR, and AL. Even though United doesn't list TX, we certainly hear it has been a major gainer as well, perhaps the U-Haul data will show it.

Some of this movement was pushed along by urban dwellers wanting space as a result of the Covid plague, or deciding to work from home in another state, or both. Some people sought a lower cost of living, lower state and local taxes, or both. And some were motivated by skyrocketing home prices near the large cities.

Cities proved to be dangerous places when contagion was a life-and-death issue. The increase of violent crime in large cities must also have been a factor. And some of the movement was motivated by Democrats and Republicans sorting themselves out into regions with similar values, into red and blue bubbles.

Internal Population Movement

Every year United Van Lines reports the inbound and outbound moves of its customers from and to each of the 48 contiguous states. For 2020 here are the top 10 states for inbound moves, ranked highest to lowest:

  1. Idaho 
  2. South Carolina 
  3. Oregon 
  4. South Dakota 
  5. Arizona 
  6. North Carolina 
  7. Tennessee 
  8. Alabama 
  9. Florida 
  10. Arkansas
United also shows three more states meeting their criteria for "high inbound." Those are Wyoming, Vermont, and Delaware, which should be viewed as numbers 11-13, though not necessarily in that order.

How about the outbound states, those which lost population? Here are their top 10 for 2020:
  1. New Jersey 
  2. New York 
  3. Illinois 
  4. Connecticut 
  5. California 
  6. Kansas 
  7. North Dakota 
  8. Massachusetts 
  9. Ohio 
  10. Maryland
N.B. Hiring a mover is not inexpensive, the moves aggregated here were paid for by people who could afford the substantial cost or by an employer moving an employee from one location to another. To better understand total population flows, these data should be considered in tandem with the data reported by U-Haul for truck and trailer rentals which appeal to those with limited means.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Plane as Petri dish

Last Tuesday I wrote the only things I was still cautious about concerning Covid-19 were “flying and cruising.” You’ll recollect I said I’d experienced both as sources of contagion before the pandemic began. I guess I’d add riding in a car with strangers to that list, except I rarely do that.

Color me not surprised that several members of the group of 50+ Texas Democrat state legislators who fled to Washington on chartered planes (see above) have subsequently tested positive for Covid. The count stands at 5 as I write this. 

Planes resemble flying Petri dishes, passengers end up rebreathing air other passengers have exhaled. There isn’t any way to avoid it unfortunately, and the photo suggests they weren’t trying very hard.

Later ... the Covid count is now up to 6.

Understanding Dr. Fauci

Your doctor tells you what you really should do - lose weight, eat healthily, exercise. You agree to his/her face and then ignore the advice, don’t you? 

Imagine how frustrated that leaves your primary care physician when it happens day after day with patient after patient. Now imagine that your doctors, or doctors with that same frustrating experience, work for the Federal Government and have considerable influence over national policy.

Can you see how their frustration might motivate them to favor heavy handed policies that infringe your civil rights in an attempt to force you to live a life “healthier” than the one you choose? After all, they are doing it for your own good. They really do know more about how you should live than you do. 

Is the fact you don’t want to follow their good advice even relevant? If you believe in civil rights and personal autonomy, as I do, our desires do matter. Their expertise entitles them to give us advice. When advice becomes government mandate, they have crossed an ethical line. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Thinking about Vehicles

This past week the DrsC drove 550 miles on Wednesday and another 550 on Friday, much of it at posted legal speeds of 80 mph. Then, at lunch today we were talking about how that would not have been possible in an electric vehicle. Their batteries simply don't have the range.

I can see city dwellers having an electric vehicle to commute in, if their commute isn't too far. And their trips to the market, etc. tend to be brief as well. But with the emphasis on unreliable wind and solar power one couldn't be certain of getting a charge. Will employers be relaxed about this excuse for not showing up?

Those of us who live in rural areas aren't going to find electric vehicles practical, our distances are too great. And what about all the people who, during the recent pandemic, purchased RVs, or like us have had one for decades? I can't see pulling an RV with an electric car or truck.

Apparently there are people in Canada agitating for the abolition of pickup trucks, at least for regular people like us who don't need them for their employment. Good luck with that in the U.S., pickups are our biggest selling models of privately owned vehicles. Mine is my favorite set of wheels, I'll bet that is true for literally millions of voters, most of us deeply "deplorable."

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Bolton on Afghanistan

Former national security advisor John Bolton, the hawk with a bushy mustache, argues the U.S. did not lose the war in Afghanistan. He is certainly correct that U.S. forces were not defeated on the battlefield.

It is probably more accurate to say we failed at nation building, got tired of the attempt, and decided to stop trying. Once nation building was off the table, staying no longer made sense unless we were prepared to garrison the country essentially forever. 

U.S. Presidents of both parties have decided staying indefinitely is a non-starter. Hindsight may or may not support that decision. We have permanent garrisons in S. Korea, Japan, Germany, the U.K., Spain and Italy, but none of those are under attack.

It is possible we'll have to return briefly to punish whoever is running Afghanistan if they once again harbor anti-U.S. activists. Or the Taliban may decide they'd rather govern their nation in peace and leave us alone, as the North Koreans and Vietnamese have mostly done. I think this would suit Americans and perhaps many Afghans.

Vaccine Politics

CNN Politics reports the findings of a Kaiser Family Foundation poll concerning resistance to the Covid-19 vaccine. Anti-vaxxers have been falsely stereotyped as Republicans, the poll found a "clear majority" are not. I can't imagine CNN likes these finding much, as the network has been rabidly anti-Trump. 

The most recent Kaiser poll helps illustrate that the vaccine hesitant group doesn't really lean Republican. Just 20% of the group called themselves Republican with an additional 19% being independents who leaned Republican. The clear majority (61%) were not Republicans (41% said they were Democrats or Democratic leaning independents and 20% were either pure independents or undesignated).

It turns out the largest group of the "vaccine hesitant" were Democrats and those who lean Democrat. It is likely many of the 20% pure independents rarely or never vote. 

I am pleased to see these findings, and not particularly surprised either. GOP voters skew older and us "oldsters" were at greatest danger from the corona virus. So it is sensible that most of us - I infer 80% - got our two shots and, with luck, will live to vote R another day.


On Thursday I wrote that bees make socialism work, but humans generally don’t outside the biological family. This morning I dredged up some remembered lore about bees and had the following insight.

All of the bees in a hive are truly a biological family, the queen’s daughters and sons. So perhaps take-it-for-granted altruism is an immediate family phenomenon. Relatively few of us humans really feel the whole “family of man” thing. 

As an apex predator over most of our range, we recognize other humans as a main threat. This can interfere with concerns for the welfare of the entire human populace. There is survival value in concern for one’s biological family.

Saturday Snark

The best snark is truth so bitter if you didn’t laugh you’d cry. Essayist Don Surber weighs in with the following prime example, and credit for the link goes to Instapundit.

In just 5 months, Biden has pushed the Misery Index from 8.06 to 11.3. He is entering the Jimmy Carter Zone.

For those who don’t remember, the Misery Index is computed by adding the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation. The two components immiserate different segments of the electorate. 

Unemployment hurts those out of jobs and those paying taxes to support them. Inflation hurts primarily those with cash savings and that segment of the employed whose wages rise less quickly than do prices.

Jimmy Carter is the "disaster Democrat" other Democrats are compared to when they screw up. Likewise, Herbert Hoover was the "disaster Republican" hapless Republicans were compared to for several decades in the mid-twentieth century.

Adios Afghanistan

Power Line’s Steven Hayward writes a valedictory for our twenty years pacification effort in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. As you might imagine, it isn’t upbeat.

The only strategy that might have conceivably worked would have been the ancient one: kill the Taliban and their allied tribespeople in very large numbers. That’s called “genocide” these days, and as such would never be considered.

The brutally practical Romans knew how to incorporate unwilling tribespeople into the empire. They’d kill all the men and sell the women and children into slavery. This destroyed the cultural network which supported rebellion, produced marketable byproducts, and left land free for occupation.

Conclusion: As we are unwilling to follow the often-successful Roman model, we should avoid making the otherwise futile attempt. 

The Four Cs

All politics is messy and complicated. Nowhere is this trope more true than in Latin America.

As described by a couple of interested onlookers for Foreign Policy, modern politics in Peru is positively Byzantine. In slang terms, it is a zoo, has been a zoo for some years, and looks even worse going forward. 

If the fate of that Andean nation interests you, as it does me, this article will be discouraging. It exemplifies the region’s tendency to default into the four Cs of corruption, cronyism, and class conflict.

Friday, July 16, 2021

About January 6

Democrats and a few misguided Republicans who've claimed the January 6 incursion at the Capitol was an insurrection are engaging in serious hyperbole. Actually, a modest number of people unhappy with election security were obnoxious and rude to the political establishment, nothing more.

In our notoriously gun-happy culture, any serious insurrection would include lots of firearms and shooting. Whereas the only shooting that occurred was an over-zealous Capitol police officer who fatally shot the unarmed Ashli Babbitt. 

It's likely the rioters hoped to instigate what we've learned to call a "color revolution" as these have tended to be largely nonviolent. Quite obviously, nothing of the sort ensued. Like most who hope for a popular uprising, they greatly overestimated the popularity of their cause and the willingness of those who agreed with them to go to the streets in any sustained way. As many such attempts do, it fizzled.

What they did was unlawful, they understood this and went ahead anyway. Enforcing the existing laws and assessing the existing penalties should be a sufficient punishment. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Diabetics at High Risk

United Press International reports something like 40% of those who died from Covid-19 were sufferers of diabetes. Which make diabetes perhaps the leading high-risk comorbidity.

The risk of hospitalization and death related to COVID-19 (is) six to 12 times higher in people with diabetes.

That diabetes was implicated in up to 40% of COVID-19 deaths is particularly staggering if you consider only 10% of the U.S. population suffers from the condition.

Diabetes is a threat to life and health in many unfortunate ways, Covid being only the latest. I wonder if gene splicing might eventually produce an actual cure for diabetes? Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Travel Blogging

We are briefly down in Nevada visiting the winter house being built for us here atop a small mesa. We’re hoping for an escrow close in mid-September, but with the Covid craziness, things could slip. 

The style is Spanish colonial - stucco and tile roof, neither of which has yet been installed. The tile is stacked atop the roof and will be installed sometime soon.

Although we’ve built three new houses, only one had a tile roof.  I learned something today about tile I hadn’t known. They stack the tile on the roof and leave it there for a week or two so the building adjusts to its heavy weight.

If they didn’t do that, before doing the interior sheet rock, the settling might cause cracks. It makes sense, but I don’t remember if that was done at our former home with tile roof. Probably it was, that one was built 34 years ago. 

We learned something interesting today, from our backyard we can see mountains in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. In other words, we are getting another place with a BIG view. The place in CA we sold earlier this year I also had a big view, but it was not multi-state.

The temperature here today was a balmy 107℉, pretty much standard for this time of year. Really hot days may go to 117℉. You can see why this is a “winter” house, why we’ll want to be gone around May 1 and not return until maybe October 1. 

We’ve met two couples who year-round here, their summer coping strategy involves not going out much in the afternoon. Five a.m. is when they take a walk or do anything strenuous. 

For many “snowbirds” this is a “winter nest” to escape the snows back home. That is our plan, so long as health and stamina permits.

Tying Socialism to Coercion

Instapundit reprints a Hannah Cox Tweet with the following wisdom:
If "democratic socialists" were honest about their policies, they'd point to places where they're actually in practce - like Cuba.

They don't because everyone would be terrified. People are starving there, they can't get basic medicines.

COTTonLINE adds that socialism doesn’t intentionally produce starvation and medicine shortages, those are not governmental policies or aims. Rather they are the unintended consequences of socialism’s refusal to acknowledge the fact of basic human motivation. 

What fact? Selfishness is a stronger, more reliable human motivation than altruism, especially outside the ambit of the biological family. Wishing this were not so has been repeatedly demonstrated to lack the power to make it untrue. Capitalism understands this, socialism does not; indeed it cannot since it relies on the weak reed of altruism.

Socialism’s continuing appeal is it’s claim we selfish humans can be better, more altruistic, than in fact most of us are willing or able to be. It appeals to idealists, is scorned by realists. Bees are willing to sacrifice for the good of the hive, humans - not so much. Which is why socialism relies on imperfect coercion.

A Blizzard of Bad News

Writing at City Journal, demographers Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox drill down on the exodus from California, who is leaving and what it means. Some key quotes:

The outmigration does not seem to have reached a peak. Roughly half of state residents, according to a 2019 UC Berkeley poll, have considered leaving. In Los Angeles, according to a USC survey, 10 percent plan to move out this year.

The comforting tale that only the old, bitter, and uneducated are moving out simply does not withstand scrutiny. (snip) About 77 percent of the increase came among those in their prime earning years of 35 to 64.

Nor is it primarily an exodus of the poor driving the trend. (snip) Indeed, 38 percent of the increase came among the over-$100,000 category.

Somewhere in the blizzard of bad news for CA, there is a snowflake with the DrsC’s names on it. We look back, more in sorrow than in anger, on the excellence that existed and was frittered away via bad public decisions. In the years between can-do Gov. Pat Brown and his can’t-do son Gov. Jerry Brown, CA lost its way.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

These ‘United’ States links to a Daily Mail (U.K.) article which does a poor job of explaining survey findings concerning respondent willingness or interest in the concept of regions of the U.S. seceding to become independent nations. The findings of the Bright Line Watch survey with respect to secession are disturbing enough without the DM confusing them. I’ll try to explain.

The pollsters divided the country into five hypothetical regional groups as follows:

Pacific: California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Alaska 
Mountain: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico 
South: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee 
Heartland: Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska 
Northeast: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia
You could argue with their methodology as they tried for geographical compactness rather than ideological homogeneity. For example, Alaska’s politics are more like those of the Mountain states whereas New Mexico and Colorado now tend to vote like the Pacific or Northeast states.
As in the previous survey, levels of expressed support for secession are arrestingly high, with 37% of respondents overall indicating willingness to secede. Within each region, the dominant partisan group is most supportive of secession. Republicans are most secessionist in the South and Mountain regions whereas it is Democrats on the West Coast and in the Northeast.

These patterns are consistent from our January/February survey, but the changes since then are troubling. Our previous survey was fielded just weeks after the January 6 uprising. By this summer, we anticipated, political tempers may have cooled — not necessarily as a result of any great reconciliation but perhaps from sheer exhaustion.

Yet rather than support for secession diminishing over the past six months, as we expected, it rose in every region and among nearly every partisan group. The jump is most dramatic where support was already highest (and has the greatest historical precedent) — among Republicans in the South, where secession support leapt from 50% in January/February to 66% in June.

If you are looking at trend lines, the trend is toward more, not less, polarization. More sense of political opponents as “the other” instead of as colleagues with whom we disagree. The same forces that took the U.K. out of the EU are pulling at the ties which bind these ‘United’ States together. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tuesday Snark

Satiric headlines at The Babylon Bee:

Democrat Governors Afraid Cuban Desire For Freedom Could Spread To The U.S.

Other States Look To Texas For Advice On How To Get Democrats To Leave

Sadly not much chance of that in blue states, they can relax. 

Summers Sees Inflation

Economist Larry Summers, President Clinton's Treasury Secretary, is worried about the inflationary impact of President Biden's spending. Politico reports:

The former Treasury secretary has been warning since February that President Joe Biden’s big-spending agenda was creating the risk of an inflation spike this year, potentially cutting into the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government said Tuesday the consumer price index rose 5.4 percent in June from the same month last year, the biggest jump since 2008, as costs for everything from used cars and trucks to restaurant meals and hotel stays continued to soar. It marked the second straight month of sharply higher prices. June prices also unexpectedly rose 0.9 percent from May, undercutting the argument that the price increases only look bad in comparison to last year, when the pandemic was raging.

And Biden wants to spend another three trillion on "infrastructure." Watch the purchasing power of your dollars shrink and shrink again.

Design to Emulate

The hot weather we've been experiencing has reminded me of a tourist experience the other DrC and I had in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), where it is almost always hot and humid. One landmark there is the former South Vietnamese presidential palace, now a museum of the war that ended the separation of North and South Vietnam.

As a museum it is decent, what is really spectacular is its architecture. The building stays cool inside without being tightly enclosed or air conditioned. Its location in a parklike setting with mature trees doesn't hurt, but it is tall enough to stand head and shoulders above the trees and it simply isn't hot. The grounds outside were hot and muggy, the building was not, and it wasn't air conditioned, it didn't even have a lot of fans.

I don't know who gets the design credit. Probably a French architect or civil engineer. Somebody did an amazing job of tropical design. 

If the western United States is going to live with blistering summers for the foreseeable future, the secrets of that building should be ferreted out and applied to new construction here in the west and across the south. We'd save a lot of money, need less electricity, and be much more comfortable. 

Later … I was wrong, the prize winning architect was Ngô Viết Thụ, obviously a Vietnamese and a master of tropical design.

A Covid Valedictory

Stephen Green who blogs at Instapundit links to a New York Magazine article which concludes with the following interesting observation about Covid-19.

All told, 80 percent of American deaths have been among those 65 and above. According to the White House, 90 percent of American seniors are now fully vaccinated. Which means that while more cases are likely and some amount of hospitalization and death, as well, vaccines have eliminated the overwhelming share of American mortality risk, with the disease now circulating almost exclusively among people who can endure it much, much better — kids especially. 

It's time to get on with our lives, occupations and entertainments. Advice, by the way, that I'm not only giving, but also taking for the most part. The only activities of which I'm still leery are flying and cruising, both I experienced as contagion risks before Covid.

Monday, July 12, 2021

China a Major Polluter

The Hill reports on the urban sources of greenhouse carbon gases.

Just 25 cities comprise more than half of greenhouse gas emissions from a sample of 167 urban centers, according to research published Monday in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities.

The researchers found that 25 cities accounted for 52 percent of the sample’s emissions. All but three of the 25 — Moscow, Istanbul and Tokyo — were located in China, including major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.

Twenty-two of the world's 25 most polluting cities are in China. Will our tree-hugging greens boycott Chinese goods and picket the Chinese embassy? Unlikely, that's much too logical.

Cuba in the News

Multiple news sources are reporting relatively wide-spread demonstrations and perhaps rioting in Cuba, people are in the streets demanding freedom. Once the government would have been able to suppress the news of these disturbances. Not now, cell phone video is showing up on the Internet. 

It would be serious irony if Cubans revolt against socialism at the same time the Bolivians, Peruvians and perhaps Chileans vote for it. Latin Americans thrash about politically, trying both leftist and rightist governments, frustrated I’m sure that whatever they try doesn’t produce the sort of largely comfortable, mostly safe lives first world nations take for granted.

I have a hunch Latin America’s underlying problem is the Iberian colonial culture they inherited. That same culture held back Spain and Portugal for decades until they were finally able to mostly move past it, in the 1970s.

The multiculturalist’s insistence that all cultures are equally praiseworthy is simply wrong, some while colorful are toxic to varying degrees. In spite of this handicap, COTTonLINE wishes the Cuban people good fortune in their struggle to shake off the Communist yoke.

Sunday, July 11, 2021


Several businesses in western WY park a restored old car or truck outside their establishment to attract attention. And long time readers may remember I described Afton's nostalgic Red Baron drive-in six years ago. 

The other DrC has at her blog photos of a customized 1952 Chevrolet 2-door hardtop which is parked outside the Red Baron drive-in. It is new this year.

Talk about your trips down memory lane, this is one for me. My first car was a 1950 Chevrolet 2-door hardtop, a shabbier twin of the one pictured minus the customization which, in my late teens, I could not afford. 

To this day I believe that is a nice piece of bodywork, a harmonious design. Mechanically, it wasn't much. An inline 6 cylinder OHV engine moved it along but without much exciting acceleration. Mine at least had a 3 speed standard transmission, the 2 speed Chevy automatics of that era were real slugs. 

The aftermarket side mirrors on the car in her photos remind me that in the early 1950s side mirrors were not standard. You bought them at Pep Boys, installed them yourself and hoped they didn't vibrate.

Later … Apparently this is a way to restore an old car and write off the cost as advertising expense for your business. What fun!

Insight or Not?

I just had an insight that is either semi-profound, or a hot flash of silliness, I’m not sure which. Thinking about Tucker Carlson (mentioned below), it occurred to me that he is this generation’s George Will. 

The fact that the two don’t agree actually adds credence to that insight. This is a different time, they should hold different views. I guess what I’m saying is their roles in their respective eras are similar - the articulate gadfly on the political right.

The obvious riposte: when one starts drawing parallels like this one, he or she has probably lived too long. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A Conspiracy Theory

RealClearPolitics normally doesn't link to off-the-wall stuff, and yet ... they've linked to a post by a Darryl Cooper who Tweets as MartyrMade. Cooper writes at Thread Reader why, in his estimation, so many Trump supporters believe the election was stolen. 

I will say what Cooper writes is plausible, in the same way Michael Anton's Flight 93 essay was plausible several years ago. I don't know if I buy what he's selling; he builds a good argument but that doesn't make it automatically either true or untrue. 

Cooper posits a set of collusive arrangements existing ("the Regime") which I don't want to believe exists, in spite of the evidence he cites which suggests it might. Others have called it "the Uniparty." Maybe you'll find it persuasive, maybe you won't, but do give him a chance to convince you.

Later ... The Right Scoop has video showing Fox News' Tucker Carlson last night read a substantial portion of Cooper's argument aloud on his program, and gave him credit for authoring it. To be sure, Carlson is a polemicist but in endorsing Cooper's claims he lifts them above the level of an Internet hit piece and gives them some credence. 

The Origin of CRT

Some allege it was a law school; but no matter, higher ed is to blame. This satirical snark courtesy of Steven Hayward's The Week in Pictures at Power Line.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Two Barone Insights

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff links to a Michael Barone article which says some interesting things about the two major parties ignoring the signals the "marketplace" of voters has sent them. Both parties have suffered therefrom.

Democrats have been allowing players with adolescent mindsets to determine their policies, and Republicans have been embracing a leader with adolescent behavior control problems. It's time for the parties to grow up and pay attention to the signals and cues voters are sending them in the political marketplace.

I believe Barone has two interesting political insights. As we've commented before, Trump's policies were mostly great but his execution of them was uneven.

Looking Beyond

RealClearWorld links to three articles today to which I’d draw your attention, each described briefly below.

First, Leonid Bershidsky writes for Bloomberg about why both the Soviets and the U.S. failed in Afghanistan. Here’s a key thought:

No matter what your values, no matter how much time you spend or how many soldiers you lose, no matter whether you’re on the winning or the losing side in geopolitical battles, what you’ll leave behind in Afghanistan is scenes of looting, a weak regime too dependent on your support and unlikely to hold out much longer, tough local fighters who feel vindicated for years of hardship, and gloating Pakistani generals across the border. Another constant: Afghanistan’s flourishing opiate industry, which neither the Soviets nor the Americans could undermine.

Second, Andres Oppenheimer writes for the Miami Herald about Peru’s new leftist President-elect Pedro Castillo. Some are saying Castillo wants to be another leftist autocrat like Venezuela's Chavez.

Castillo vows to call a referendum to convene a constitutional assembly — something that most constitutional lawyers say would be unconstitutional. People who have talked with Castillo’s close aides in recent days tell me that the referendum is one of the issues he considers non-negotiable, and that he is determined to carry it out. 
And third, George Friedman writes at Geopolitical Futures that we shouldn’t be surprised if a Chinese naval/missile base shows up in Cuba.

Widow’s Peaks

In the photos of their governors, you’ll see where I got the title for this post. Governors DeSantis (R-FL) and Newsom (D-CA) each has a widow’s peak hairline, though it is more pronounced on DeSantis. That and warm winters are what the states have in common. 

Writing for the New York Post, Kyle Smith contrasts the two states and finds, not surprisingly, that Florida epitomizes good government policy whereas California models everything that bites. And people voting with their feet have validated that judgment.

I am fully aware that between the two, CA has better weather, and is more scenic and more geographically diverse. But in terms of common-sense governance, FL wins hands down, and that ends up being more important to peoples’ lives. The column provides chapter-and-verse on the differences, it’s worth reading.

On a personal note, the homeless encampments despoiling the parks of our NorCal university town were what finally convinced the other DrC it was time for two native Californians to cut our remaining ties to the state. We no longer have any “footprint” in California, if we visit it will be as tourists passing through.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Evil Bipartisanship

Writing for the New York Post, Sohrab Ahmari cites the wisdom of former NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton while commenting about our national malaise.

At some point, the United States lost the will or desire to care for the most vulnerable. The Reaganite right abdicated the poorest in the name of budget-cutting, the progressive left to vindicate the “autonomy” of the addicted and unwell.

The long-term solution is a recovery of a sane and genuine politics of solidarity, a recognition that some of our fellow citizens need more help, help they may not always accept or appreciate without a degree of humane coercion and, yes, sufficient and smart funding.

I give his wise counsel, with which I agree, the same odds of success I'd give a snowball in hell. I can't count how many times I've written bemoaning the politically motivated death of our mental hospitals.


Facing hacking ransomware attacks on various businesses, pipelines, credit card companies, and governmental units, our government appears toothless. And I ponder what might a government be able to do in these circumstances?

Imagine the target was Israel instead of the United States. What would Israel do? My guess, send a Mossad Kidon hit team into Russia to put slow-acting poison in the hackers' tea. After 25-30 of them died slowly and painfully, it is likely Israel would suffer no further attacks.  

Maybe Israel would be willing to do the job for us on a contractual basis, in exchange for a few F-35s? Man up, Joe.

Wyoming Trivia

I find it fascinating that 116 U.S. counties have more population than the entire state of Wyoming. WY is 10th largest state in acreage, but has the least population. The desirable result ... low population density.

WY is still the sort of place where, a couple of days ago, the other DrC was invited to watch a friend's 12 year old son do artificial insemination (AI) on a cow. It involved him shoving his gloved arm up the cow's backside. You won't see that in Beverly Hills or Palm Beach.

Note: If the map as displayed is too small to read, you can access it here.

A 45 Retrospective

Writing at American Greatness, which as the name implies is normally 110% pro-Trump, Angelo Codevilla takes a nuanced look at Donald Trump, what he stood for, what he was able to actually accomplish, and his failings which were considerable. 

Codevilla finds much to praise about Trump, much to criticize and it's likely you won't agree with everything he writes. And yet, as we think about who to support for the GOP nomination in 2024, we need to be looking for someone who supports the Trump-style program of populist nationalism, but will do a better job of actually running the government and make fewer unforced errors.

Why, for example, didn't Trump immediately fire every political appointee in government? Why didn't he spot Fauci as a four-flusher much earlier? Why did he make claims he couldn't prove about the 2020 election? But not go after Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Bezos, et al., when he still had time to make their lives miserable?

Codevilla doesn't say so but I wonder if Trump didn't view what he'd done in getting elected as being the same as a hostile takeover in business. In a hostile takeover, employees of the old firm are often willing to switch allegiance to the new firm or the "new-broom" CEO. 

Note to Trump: the policy level in government doesn't work like that. Political appointees aren't indifferent to who runs their government. Allegiances are often based in ideologies to which people have long-term emotional commitments. Leaving appointees of the prior administration in place is an unforced error.

The Shooter of Ashli B.?

A RealClearInvestigations article names the probable shooter of Ashli Babbitt - a Lieutenant Michael L. Byrd who is commander of the House Chamber section of the Capitol Police. It includes a photo of a masked man holding a gun who is alleged to be Byrd, an African-American. 

The article explains in very thorough detail why the Capitol Police are not required to release the name. It adds that normal police forces are required to reveal officers’ names in fatal shootings.

One has to wonder why the death of George Floyd at the hands of police was a big deal and the death of unarmed Ashli Babbitt under similar circumstances was not. Both were doing things they should not have been doing, in both cases the police overreacted, fatally. 

It is hard to avoid concluding White Lives Don’t Matter is the unstated-but-real policy of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, to whom the Capitol Police report.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

A SciFi Idea

Here is an idea for a science fiction short story, available gratis to whoever would like to run with it. It was stimulated by the post below, the developed world's falling fertility, and the recent UFO report that didn't offer much hope for ETs visiting. 

Perhaps the reason we have not been contacted by some spacefaring intelligent species is because, as technology progresses, intelligent species get control of their fertility and eventually die out from individual unwillingness to reproduce. This happens before multi-lightyear spacefaring becomes a practical reality.

You'd think they'd invent uterine replicators and techno-creches to produce the needed replacement individuals. Perhaps that avenue is esthetically or ethically distasteful, not biologically feasible or, if bio-feasible, does not produce successful individuals.


Two Michigan State U. psychology profs did a survey to determine just how prevalent not wanting children might be. Their findings appear at The Conversation, an MSU publication. Hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.

The researchers intentionally separated those who do not want children - the child-free - from those who can't have children - the childless - and those who want children in the future, but haven't had them yet. To qualify as child-free, respondents had to answer "no" to all three of these questions.
  • Do you have, or have you ever had, any biological or adopted children? 
  • Do you plan to have any biological or adopted children in the future? 
  • Do you wish you had or could have biological or adopted children?
In a sample of 1000 Michigan adults, 27% answered "no" to all three questions. The researchers believe this is a larger cohort than was previously thought to exist. It could help explain why birth rates are declining throughout the developed world and beyond.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Former Cop Wins NYC Mayoral Primary

Eric Adams, a Black former NYPD captain, has won the Democrat primary, and therefore is likely to win the race for NYC mayor. What remains to be seen is whether he will take the city back to the proactive "broken windows" policing that held down crime under mayors Bloomberg and Giuliani.

Given the ranked choice system in place, he ended up winning by a narrow margin, just over 8000 votes or 1%. A Bloomberg story has this insight about Adams:

During his campaign, Adams pledged support for a modified version of stop-and-frisk -- which has disproportionately affected Black men -- and said he would restore a plainclothes police unit tasked with confiscating illegal weapons that was disbanded after complaints it used excessive force. Police reform, he said, would come through his leadership of the department and better training rather than taking away money from the police force.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging away from "defund the police" and toward "law and order" - one can hope. As mayor, De Blasio has been a dumpster fire.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Covid Shots

I believe everyone in the U.S. who wanted it has gotten at least one Covid-19 vaccination, if not two. The shots have cost nothing beyond the effort to show up and bare your arm. As old folk the DrsC got theirs in February, before some others were eligible. Thank you, President Trump.

Choices have (or should have) consequences. Quite a number of people have chosen not to get the shots. Somehow the media asks me to care about those unvaccinated people getting sick from the Delta variant. I refuse, they made a choice and will live with (or die from) the consequences of that choice.

Who Is Radical?

Power Line's Steven Hayward has a column entitled "Liberalism's Endless Aggression Against America." If that sounds like what you're experiencing, go read it here. I recommend it.

Progressives are troubled, unhappy people insistent that we experience their unhappiness too, and determined to make it happen. I say "Rain on them, hard."

Poll: The Young Not Proud of America

This morning comes a poll asking if we are proud to be Americans, published by Issues & Insights and done by the TIPP polling organization. In a spooky coincidence, it relates to the “cohort change” post immediately below, which I filed yesterday.

TIPP sliced the data in many different groups by gender, ethnicity, age, politics, urban vs. rural, etc. In every group except one, a majority said they were either very or extremely proud to be Americans. 

The not-so-proud group was young people in the 18-24 age cohort, of whom only 36% were very or extremely proud of our nation. If the “cohorts don’t change their beliefs” hypothesis Robert Putnam propounds is correct, this bunch will be trouble going forward.

OTOH, arguing that we do change as we age is the wisdom in the trope “if you aren’t a socialist at 20 you have no heart, if you aren’t conservative at 30 you have no head.” It’s a quote variously attributed to Churchill, Disraeli, George Bernard Shaw, and others but its actual origin is unknown, lost in the mists of centuries. 

The “change with age” trope describes my own political evolution. I was raised in an FDR/Democrat household and became conservative in my late 20s and early 30s. Reading Irving Kristol’s op-ed essays in the 1970s Wall Street Journal was a definite contributing factor.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Cohort Change

Tanner Greer writes at a blog called The Scholar's Stage. His most recent topic is summarized in the phrase "culture wars are long wars." He makes several interesting points.

Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, (is) an investigation of changing social capital, social norms, and social trust in U.S. over the 20th century. Putnam isolates many different reasons for these changes, but in the chapter “Generation to Generation,” he describes most of them as effects of cohort change.

Cultures do not change when people replace old ideas with new ones; cultures change when people with new ideas replace the people with old ones.

Values must be forged. Utopias must be imagined. Ideas must be tailored for mass intellectual appeal. Paths to communicate these ideals must be cleared. The inevitable shall happen: old orthodoxies shall go stale and brittle. New crises shall discredit them in their brittleness. Then the well-placed culture warrior will have both the arguments and the networks needed to inspire the rising generation. That generation will learn how their fathers and mothers created the mess they are now in. Gradually, then suddenly, our people will turn to the light. This is a long process, but a true one. This is the proven path of the culture warrior.

I find his reasoning scary in its persuasiveness, perhaps you do as well. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Independence Day

Today we celebrate our nation’s independence, and the talented and brave individuals who risked their lives and fortunes to make it so. Ironically, all they wanted were the rights to which they were accustomed as Englishmen, rights which England would not extend to them as colonials. 

While that was their grievance, they ended up accomplishing something far greater. Something so great that all these many decades later it continues to be a magnet drawing people to our shores. 

The DrsC have sailed the seven seas and visited every continent, most repeatedly. There is no nation, of the 100+ we’ve visited, we would rather call “home.”

Happy birthday to these United States of America.