Sunday, October 31, 2021

The New Dune, Reviewed

Today we actually went to a theater to see a film, our first since the Covid epidemic hit nearly 2 years ago. Our nephew had called gushing about the new version of Dune, saying we had to see it. So we did, in a nearly deserted theater. The “social distancing” was excellent. The film, less so.

I am not unhappy I saw the retelling of the familiar Dune story, but this version will not be my favorite depiction of Frank Herbert’s Game-of-Thrones-in-space. I rank it lower than both the original and the made-for-TV miniseries versions.

The casting was uneven and very PC, the young man playing Paul lacked gravitas, whereas the woman playing his mother did a decent job but appeared too young to have a son Paul’s age. Momoa was good as Duncan Idaho and the man playing the Duke was good too. Some of the visuals were well imagined and executed, and I liked the ‘thopters’ based on dragonflies.

I had planned to buy a CD of this version but will wait for part 2 to be made and buy the two as a set when the price goes down. It is part of the Dune canon, but for me a lesser part.

Minor quibbles: it was visually dark and the actors mumbled too much. One review I read had an observation I wish were original with me (but isn’t). It said the Fremen all appeared to be people of color and that makes Paul just another “white savior” showing up to liberate them.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Afghan Failure Analysis

Looking back at the failure-to-fight of the Afghan defense force trained and supplied by the U.S. is an important step for our military to take, for it is clear we did a crap job of it. Writing at Modern War Institute, an Air Force officer identifies a number of things we did wrong, although he is weaker about proposing alternatives that might have worked, had they been tried.

One key area of failure is trying to get third world people to become born-again Americans without moving them permanently to America, where it is hard enough. In situ it is essentially impossible for most locals. As the old saw about trying to teach a pig to sing has it, “You won’t succeed but you’ll irritate the pig.” 

Afghans appeared to have viewed the U.S. backed army almost entirely as an opportunity for graft, and not much more. A recent story about a son of the former Afghan defense minister buying a Beverly Hills mansion for $20 million (i.e., money stolen from us) makes this point vividly.

Failure to understand the local culture, and to either co-opt it, or work in ways that made sense to locals and leveraged the strengths of their culture seem relevant. For example, forming ethnically homogeneous units in a multi-ethnic society like Afghanistan violates American norms but is essentially the only thing that will work there. Tribalism isn’t easy for us to grasp, but is their entire way of life.

We could do worse than copy approaches the Brits found useful in 19th century colonial India. These included so-called “politicals” working with local war lords and leaders, forming units with local troops and non-coms led by Brit officers, etc. The Indian Army which resulted is today one of the more successful elements of that society.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Eleventh Hour Progress (?) Report, Part Two

We learned today our new appliances are still, to some degree, in limbo. The contractor hopes to have them by a week from today. We are somewhat less sanguine. 

We may have to extend our stay in the RV park, as we have a working refrigerator and range in the coach. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a disappointment. 

Intelligence Insight Lacking

The Wall Street Journal reports four U.S. intelligence agencies failed to understand that the Afghan government we were supporting would collapse so quickly. Which obviously reveals all of them believed it would collapse eventually, just not this fast.

My question is the following: If we knew the Afghan government would collapse, wasn’t it also obvious to the Afghanis? And if they knew it would eventually collapse, why would they bother with a prolonged losing fight when they could negotiate an immediate surrender under advantageous terms? 

The Afghan government found themselves holding a losing hand. Effectively, they negotiated a plea bargain and got a lighter “sentence” as a consequence. 

The only circumstances under which it was to the Afghani government’s advantage to fight on was if they had a good chance of winning long term. This reasonable chance nobody - either us or them - believed they had.

Hindsight suggests Alamo-style die-for-the-cause heroics aren’t in the Afghani playbook, and our “intelligence” agencies should have foreseen this. “Should have” but didn’t; people ought to lose jobs over these foresight failures. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Good News from VA

Fox News polling shows Youngkin ahead of McAuliffe in the Virginia governor race, among likely voters.

McAuliffe receives 45 percent to Youngkin’s 53 percent in a new Fox News survey of Virginia likely voters. Youngkin’s eight-point advantage is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error. That’s a big shift from two weeks ago, when McAuliffe was ahead by five, 51-46 percent.

Among the larger pool of registered voters, it’s a one-point race: McAuliffe 47 percent vs. Youngkin 48 percent. Two weeks ago, McAuliffe led among registered voters by 11 points, 52-41 percent.

I like the trend. We should know who won a week from now. 

Eleventh Hour Progress Report

I write this Thursday afternoon and the new house is supposed to be complete Monday morning early. Much of the house is complete, clean and beautiful this afternoon, but we still do not have kitchen appliances and a range hood. 

I presume the builders’ minions don’t work weekends so they have the balance of today and tomorrow to get things into “deliverable” shape as of Monday morning. We hear they sometimes “borrow” appliances from the models to temporarily equip otherwise complete homes until the new appliances arrive and can be installed.

The other DrC observes that a house with no appliances would have been livable in the early 1800s, but is not now. We have furniture deliveries scheduled in the next two weeks so a delay at this juncture will be extremely inconvenient, to say the least. 

Getting this house is a process we initiated over eleven months ago. As the monkey said of his tail when he backed into the lawnmower, “It won’t be long now.”

Obama Misreads the Room

Power Line’s John Hinderaker quotes the findings of a Rasmussen Reports poll which looked at whether former president Obama was correct to call parental concerns over Critical Race Theory and transgenderism in public schools “phony trumped-up culture wars.” How did Americans respond?

A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports and Human Events finds that 76% of American Adults are concerned that public schools may be promoting controversial beliefs and attitudes, including 58% who say they are Very Concerned. Only 21% are not concerned about schools promoting controversial beliefs.

Only 28% of whites, 23% of blacks and 25% of other minorities believe parental concerns about transgenderism and CRT in public schools are phony issues.

It appears the former president misreads public opinion yet again. Maybe the neighbors on Martha’s Vineyard are out of step?

Thursday Snark

Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff writes about an Iranian-backed militia launching a drone attack on a U.S. base in Syria, and bragging about it. His observation of our non-response is to the point.

Iran has taken the measure of Joe Biden. I assume China has, as well.

Biden measures small.

Taiwan needs to worry; Tehran doesn’t. 

Oh Oh, It’s D’Oh

Writing for RealClearPolitics, scholar Charles Lipson does a topic-by-topic takedown of the Biden-in-office record over the past nine months. What he documents is a slow-motion train wreck for our country. See his conclusion.
What worries the White House now is more than the gaffes, confusion, failed policies, and sinking poll numbers. It is the public’s growing conviction that Biden is simply not up to the job. As his policies crash and burn, he refuses to change directions or acknowledge he is pursuing a divisive agenda far different from the one he ran on. As questions mount, he dispatches aides to parry them while he remains incommunicado.

It is not a happy picture. President Biden has squandered the public’s trust and morphed from his carefully constructed image as Good Ol' Scranton Joe into something closer to a fumbling, incompetent cartoon character: D’Oh Biden.

I hope Biden’s 81 million voters - most still alive - are enjoying the absence of mean Tweets. There hasn’t been much else to recommend the failed-by-any-standard Biden presidency. 

It is an echo of the Carter years, where we elected the anti-Nixon and he proved a disaster. Biden was elected as the anti-Trump and the results are similarly bad. How many times can our poor, suffering nation withstand learning this hard lesson? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Progress Report

Our new winter home is supposed to be complete next Monday, less than a week away as I write this. We were able to walk through the house today and as of mid afternoon we had no kitchen appliances - range, ovens, refrigerator, dish washer - and no range hood.

Everything else looks ready for us to move in. There will be small touch up things we’ll find, I am sure. We’ll do a “punch list” as it is called, and they’ll fix them.

We had worried that the truck was too tall to get into the garage. We were able to drive it in today and it had maybe 3” of  overhead clearance to spare. That is a relief.

Last night we caught the tail end of a big rainstorm that soaked California, and got 0.2 of an inch of rain here. Today, there are hardly any puddles. 

We will need to live here for some months to learn the weather patterns. Significant rain will be rare, I am certain. Nobody installs rain gutters on eaves.

Weird Biochemical Science

In the 1950s two scientists named Miller and Urey did an experiment that showed that basic chemicals - water, ammonia, hydrogen and methane - in a glass container exposed to electric sparks will form life-precursor proteins. They argued it was plausible life began out of naturally occurring processes resembling those in their experiment.

Recently, scientists wondered if the Miller-Urey glass containers (made of silicates) played a catalytic role in the outcomes they documented. They demonstrated that the glass is important and observed that silicate-rich rocks were common on the early earth, and likely on other planets as well. 

Possible implications include an increased likelihood that life exists on many worlds, rather than a few.

The Wrong Focus

I believe you’d agree Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary - economist Larry Summers - is no conservative. He is quoted as saying the following by the Washington Times.

We have a generation of central bankers who are defining themselves by their wokeness. They’re defining themselves by how socially concerned they are. We’re in more danger than we’ve been during my career of losing control of inflation in the U.S.

The Fed essentially has one responsibility - controlling inflation - and they’ve lost sight of it. Be worried, be very worried. 

Lower Density Living Preferred

The director of domestic policy for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, an avowed urbanist by personal preference, writes for RealClearPolicy that he, and those like him are the exception. This paragraph sums up what the data shows.

Americans of all stripes, including young people, have long preferred suburban to urban living despite the prevailing (mis)conception in the media, but the twin crises of Covid and urban unrest in 2020 have clearly accentuated Americans’ desire to leave denser places. Not only have Americans continued apace in their usual migration from cities to suburbs, they also now aspire to live in towns and hinterlands more than one might expect.

The following represents what is new, and/or unexpected about the new findings on preferences for where people wish they lived.

With the exception of rural areas, a majority of people wish they lived somewhere else, and their preferences are almost always for smaller, less-dense places.

See the conclusion reached by the author who for himself prefers urban living.

For policymakers interested in how geography and demographics intersect in America at the moment, it is indisputable that the appeal of less density is ascendant, which is in turn driven by basic concerns such as safety and cost of living. Narratives about cities that many of us wish were true, simply aren’t.

As one of those who prefers rural/small town living, I found his data and conclusions both interesting and affirming. 

Monday, October 25, 2021


Writing at American Compass, Michael Brendan Dougherty does a long screed on “safetyism” which he defines as follows:

America’s shift toward a culture in which the sacred value of safety trumps other practical and moral considerations (snip) has led to child-rearing practices that “prepare the road for the child” rather than “preparing the child for the road.” Instead of building character we build massive bureaucracies to deal with all the complaints that we’ve taught young people to emit at the first sign of discomfort, which they conflate with peril.

Dougherty strongly infers the cause of this phenomenon is the decline in our nation of shared religious beliefs. He actually could be correct about that. If one believes our life here and now is all there is, then defending and hanging onto it with might and main makes considerable sense.

The article gets a bit long and stuffy but there are good ideas hidden in all that verbiage if you can stick it out to the end. I conclude the only people who can safely speak (and write) their minds today are those who, like me, are out of the education and job market for good, in other words, retirees. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021


Richard Fernandez, who writes the Belmont Club column for PJ Media, Tweets as Wretchardthecat and characterizes the “woke” movement as follows:

The reason woke demands are so outrageous is because they are meant to break your will and doubt your sanity. The objective is gaslighting not persuasion.

In this, they remind us older folk of the “nonnegotiable demands” campus radicals would present to university administrators back in the riotous 1960s. Same outrageousness, same goal. 

Persuasion was never the aim. Sadly, those selfsame radicals now run (and thus ruin) the universities. 

Weird Archeological Science

Science Alert reports humans have had significant impact on the physical environment for millennia, since well before any planned agriculture began. Satellite photos show this happened.

Humans have been producing "distinct, detectable and unprecedented transformations of Earth's environments" since foraging societies first emerged in the Late Pleistocene.

The “Late Pleistocene” ended over 11,000 years ago. Environmentalists need to be realistic, we humans aren’t going to suddenly have zero impact on the planet, not even close.

Weird Metabolic Science

Medical Express reports Israeli research that holds promise for long-term treatment of Type 2 diabetes. The finding, demonstrated in mice, involved reengineering muscle cells from the affected individual so they grab and metabolize large amounts of sugar from the blood. These cells were then implanted back into the mouse tummy where they pulled the sugar levels down to normal and kept them there for months.

Currently around 34 million Americans, just over 1 in 10, suffer from diabetes, 90% of them from type 2 diabetes. An effective treatment—and one that is a one-time treatment rather than daily medication—could significantly improve both quality of life and life expectancy of those who have diabetes. The same method could also be used to treat various enzyme deficiency disorders.

As Instapundit is fond of writing, faster please. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Another Dune

The latest film version of Dune debuted yesterday in theaters and on HBO Max. I did not see it yesterday but will eventually see and review it. I own a much-played DVD of the original Dune film and, unlike the critics, I like it very much. I also own the TV mini-series and like it as well. Eventually I will own the current film.

I suppose I liked the original Dune film because I had read the Frank Herbert novel and David Lynch gave me amazing visuals to go with my knowledge of the plot and characters. It isn’t clear if the film “worked” for those who’d not read the book. I remember explaining various scenes to the other DrC who has not read Herbert’s very long novel.

Whatever … the spice must flow.

Officially … Not An Insurrection

For all the wild-eye claims by Nancy Pelosi and others that the Capitol demonstrators on Jan 6 were engaged in an “insurrection,” it appears that is not the case. Town Hall Tweets video of the interaction between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Attorney General Merrill Garland along with this transcription.

Rep. @LouieGohmertTX1: "Has any defendant involved in the January 6th events been charged with insurrection?"
AG GARLAND: "I don't believe so."
GOHMERT: "Well that is the word most used by Democrats here on Capitol Hill."

The protestors were rowdy and disorderly and very likely trespassing in and vandalizing what is mistakenly called “the Peoples’ House.” But an insurrection or revolution? Be serious, it was nothing of the sort. 

Supply Chain Woes

Instapundit has posted a link to the following Tweet stream which offers an explanation of the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. As I understand the argument, the bottleneck is getting empty containers off the chassis where they are being stored so the chassis can be used to move full containers out of the port. You need to go read the description of the problem and the author’s proposed solutions.

If it was up to me I’d rent 300 acres of Mojave desert, and have the empties towed out there and stacked six high where it will bother nobody and hurt nothing. This would free the chassis to haul full containers away from the ports and make room for more containers to be unloaded from ships.

What the Tweet author doesn’t say is that every time a ship of full containers is unloaded, it should be reloaded with empties and sent on its way. Somebody needs to determine why this isn’t happening routinely. If every ship which unloads then takes away a similar number of empties clogging of the terminal should not occur.

Is this the whole story? I have no first hand knowledge and provide no guarantees. It does sound like a part of the story. Go here to see Wall Street Journal video of the SoCal ports and their congestion.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Guess Who?

The well-known leader of a major nation recently said the following things, as reported by John Hinderaker at Power Line who quotes the Telegraph as his source. As you read this, try to guess who said it.

The incessant emphasis on race pushes people further apart whereas the true fighters for civic rights tried to eliminate those differences. Fighting racism is a necessary and noble thing but the new cancel culture turns it into reverse descrimination, reverse racism.

People who dare to say men and women still exist as a biological fact are almost ostracised. Not to mention the simply monstrous fact that children today are taught from a young age that a boy can easily become a girl and the other way round.

Have you guessed the speaker’s identity yet? Please try. The answer is Vladimir Putin, who reportedly made the above comments:

In a speech at the Valdai Discussion club in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Friday Snark

Stephen Kruiser, posting his Morning Briefing at PJ Media, cracks wise about both VA politics and gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

In recent years, the Land of Jefferson has become a fetid stinkbed of leftism, thanks largely to the number of residents who live very nice lives by sucking the federal teat.

Terry McAuliffe is still hanging around, fulfilling his duties as the unkillable cockroach of the Democratic Party.

Gotta love put-downs that good. After Black people, Federal civil servants and contract personnel are maybe the most reliable Democrat-voting groups in the nation. Northern VA is overrun with these minions, who “vote their pocketbooks.”

Thursday, October 21, 2021

U.S. Funded Corona Virus Research in China

The New York Post leads a story with the following choice quote:
The National Institutes of Health has stunningly admitted to funding gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at China’s Wuhan lab — despite Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly insisting to Congress that no such thing happened.

In a letter to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday, a top NIH official blamed EcoHealth Alliance — the New York City-based nonprofit that has funneled US funds to the Wuhan lab — for not being transparent about the work it was doing.

Is anyone surprised by this admission? Anyone who has been following the Covid story? One hopes not.  Many owe Sen. Rand Paul an apology, as he’s been telling us this for weeks.

Zuck Bucks

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist has a new book out, entitled Rigged and subtitled How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections. Power Line’s John Hinderaker summarizes a key point she made in a speech to his Center of the American Experiment’s annual dinner. It is a theme she expands upon in the new book.
One of the critical factors in 2020 was Zuck Bucks, Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment of more than $400,000,000 to help elect Democrats by substituting a corps of Democratic Party activists for the civic officials that were nominally in charge of elections in key blue counties, like–for example–Fulton County, Georgia. One of the most remarkable stories in Mollie’s book comes from Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Zuckerberg-funded left-wing activists took over the election to the point where the local official who was supposed to be in charge gave up, and resigned shortly before Election Day.

Perhaps Joe Biden owes his election victory to the unelected Mark Zuckerberg’s very deep pockets and to his minions’ dishonesty. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


We finished our semi-annual migration today, and are in residence in small-town Nevada. We left freezing nights, a bit of snow, and chilly days in WY at 6000+ feet and arrived at shirtsleeve days and cool-but-not-cold nights at 1900 feet. 

The driving distance was just over 600 miles, all but 80 of it more or less due south. We visited friends and did some shopping along the way which made an easy two day trip into a much easier four day trip.

We went to our new home to walk through it this afternoon, and were very pleased. It isn’t finished as it still needs kitchen appliances and electrical odds and ends. But we are generally happy with what we saw and believe it can be finished on schedule in very early November, about two weeks from now. Fingers crossed.

SoCal Ports Are Inefficient

Reuters reports that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are two of the least efficient ports in the world, ranking 328 and 333 out of a total of 351 container ports worldwide. So when you think about the supply chain congestion, keep those abysmal ratings in mind.

Based on long residence in California I’d guess the fault lies mostly with the ILWU longshore unions, founded and nurtured by Communist Harry Bridges back in the 1930s. Some of the fault lies with the CA pollution control wallahs who do their level best to make everything in SoCal twice as hard, costly and irritating as it could otherwise be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Trump Ego

I understand Donald Trump doesn’t like the results of the 2020 election, that it was hinkey in a number of ways, and in a number of places. Probably the oddest thing was that Trump got more votes than any presidential candidate in U.S. history and yet Biden, without campaigning, supposedly got even more.

Forget rehashing that outcome, it is fait accompli: Biden is president and there was and is little appetite for arguing about it. If Trump can’t get past that speed bump and focus on the future, he will be a deadweight to the Republican Party. 

As of this writing, it appears he can’t let go of the last election, and is likely to be a problem going forward. That is sad inasmuch as he was a good president, who took the country in good directions. 

His ego, his sense that he was wronged and it must be made right or else, has become a problem for the Republican Party, not so much in 2022 but more so in 2024. I hope, for his sake and ours, that he can move on and focus on the future.

If there are people he will listen to, and accept advice from, they need to be telling him to let 2020 go, at least in his public utterances.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Poll: Youngkin in Slight Lead in VA

By scheduling it’s governor race in an odd-numbered year when most of the nation isn’t voting, Virginia gains the race outsize importance nationally. It is a nice way to achieve clout without undue effort.

The Trafalgar Group poll of the Virginia governor’s race, where early voting is underway, shows that the Republican challenger Youngkin has pulled into a slight lead over Democrat incumbent McAuliffe. The trend line has been moving in Youngkin’s direction for several weeks. 

The numbers are 48.4% for Youngkin and 47.5% for McAuliffe, effectively a dead heat. McAuliffe started out several percentage points ahead, and has declined slowly but steadily. He has made some gaffes that didn’t help. 

For an interesting view of the race, check out Salena Zito’s article in the Washington Examiner. She specializes in reporting about the grassroots.

Editorial Note

For the next several days posting at COTTonLINE will be somewhat sparse. We will be engaged in our semi-annual migration to a warmer clime. We are closing down our main home and headed south to the eastern edge of the Mojave.

Once there shirtsleeve weather will be the norm for most of the next several months, while our home in WY resides in the “deep freeze.” Our new NV winter place is promised to us in early November. Via some phone video by a neighbor, it is nearing completion. Between now and then we will be living in our RV, which is no great hardship.

Given supply chain problems and Covid, the winter place has taken almost a year to create. As you can imagine, we’re excited to move into our new house and get it settled. We have many projects to complete to make that happen.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Misdiagnosis links to a Conservative Treehouse article by the pseudonymous Sundance. That individual reports on what he claims is the real cause of the supply chain backup - California’s pollution regulations which make easily half the diesel trucks on the American road ineligible to pick up containers at CA ports. 

It is further claimed that the huge shippers like Amazon and Walmart have known about this and shifted much cargo to non-CA ports on the gulf or east coasts. The extra distance plus Panama Canal fees has jacked up shipping costs as it ties up ships longer and burns more fuel to move the same amount of cargo from Asia to the U.S.

If this claim is accurate, waiving the pollution requirement would be what would unclog the ports of  L.A. and Long Beach. Of course, President Biden hasn’t suggested doing that, and likely won’t, as the Greens in his coalition would go nuts. 

Another solution would be to admit the problem, identify all the newish trucks eligible to operate in SoCal, do whatever is required to route them there, and move the goods off the docks where they’ve piled up. This would require wartime-like Herculean measures - effectively nationalizing the nation’s heavy trucks and violating the rights of many truck owners - which nobody wants to attempt in peacetime. 

The Washington result is feel-good half measures, metaphorically a Band Aid applied where surgery is what’s indicated. “Let’s go, Brandon,” anyone?

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Down, Down....

The Washington Examiner has the results of a Zogby poll published today which looked at public attitudes toward President Biden.

“Our latest polling shows President Biden with a 36% positive job performance rating (excellent-15% and good-21% combined), while his negative rating is 61% (fair-19% and poor-42% combined),” pollster Jonathan Zogby of Zogby Analytics told us.

Women voters are abandoning ship. Biden needs to improve his polling numbers with women or Democratic leaders risk losing the 2022 midterm election,” said Zogby.

The Biden Administration is circling the drain in what appears to be a tightening spiral. 

What Holds a Nation Together?

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes about the split that occurred in the Roman Empire, peacefully becoming eventually two separate countries, one headquartered in Rome that, a little over 100 years later, fell apart. The other headquartered in Constantinople that lasted almost another 1000 years before being overrun by the Ottoman Turks.

Hanson then imagines red and blue America doing a similar split. He observes that the factors which enabled the Byzantines to last so long are similar to characteristics of red America, whereas blue America more nearly resembles the Roman half along these same dimensions. It is an interesting speculation and VDH writes it well.

Here We Go Again

Long-time readers know a hobbyhorse of mine is the misuse of correlational studies to claim causation. I have repeatedly harped that if A and B are correlated, all we know is that they tend to occur together. We do not know whether A causes B, B causes A, or some unspecified variable (or combination of variables) C causes both A and B. 

RealClearInvestigations comes up with another example of this misuse and abuse of correlational findings. Management consulting firm McKinsey did a correlational study of women and minorities on corporate boards and firm profitability. We know about the study because it found the two were positively correlated, the PC answer. McKinsey claimed to have shown having such board members led to more profits.

RealClearInvestigations has looked at these findings and identified a suspicion that, if anything, success led to hiring women and minority board members, rather than such board members leading to success. I am inclined to agree with their suspicion while freely admitting that the McKinsey data tell us only that the two occur together, nothing about causation. 

In the absence of better proof than McKinsey presents, I like Instapundit’s trope that firms which “Go woke, go broke.” An alternative explanation is that firms with ample profits often engage in non-essential activities that make their top managements “look good” in the eyes of those whose approval they seek. Economists refer to this as utilizing “organizational slack” for non-essential “feel good” activities.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Ashli Babbitt - Unarmed and (Probably) Unthreatening

Documents from the DC Metropolitan police appear to show that the Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt had no reason to do so, and knew more or less immediately he’d screwed up. Fox News has the story.

A Capitol Police sergeant, whose name is redacted, described seeing Babbitt climbing through a broken window, but did not witness her holding a weapon, according to a portion of the documents received by Judicial Watch.

"Sergeant [redacted] observed a white, female protester was climbing through an opened area where the glass pane had been knocked out. He heard a gunshot and this female fell backwards through the opening. The crowd on the other side of the barricaded east doors, began to step back and some put their hands in the air. Sergeant [redacted] observed Lieutenant Byrd step back just after hearing the gunshot. He did not see anything in the female protester’s hands prior to the gunshot," the Internal Affairs Division report stated.

So it appears the only person actually killed at the Capitol on January 6 - Ashli Babbitt - was shot by Lieutenant Byrd while climbing unarmed through a broken window. One cannot be very threatening while climbing through a broken window. Judicial Watch got the DC documents through an FOIA request.

I fail to understand how Lieutenant Byrd was exonerated by his organization, when no other officer fired his service weapon. Those who call this demonstration an "insurrection" are hallucinating; it was a somewhat rowdy crowd, more boisterous than anything else and probably guilty of no more than criminal trespass and minor vandalism. BLM and Antifa would be embarrassed to stage a protest this passive.

Stagflation Alert

The Washington Examiner reports relatively poor U.S. economic news.

Consumer prices rose 5.4% for the year ending September, according to a report by the Department of Labor released Wednesday, the highest pace of inflation since 2008.

[According to] Greg McBride, Bankrate senior analyst. "Food and shelter increases together contributed more than half of the seasonally adjusted increase in the CPI. With home prices soaring and rents surging, this may just be the tip of the iceberg."

The most recent jobs report was a major letdown. The economy added just 194,000 new jobs in September as the delta variant curbed business — far short of consensus forecasts of 473,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate is now at 4.8%, well above what it was prior to the health crisis.

Another inflationary data point is the following from the Daily Mail (U.K.):

Millions of retirees will see a significant boost to their Social Security checks next year after the Biden administration gave its cost of living adjustment (COLA) the most significant boost in nearly 40 years to keep up with rising inflation.

The Social Security Administration has not raised benefits so drastically year-over-year since 1982.

This combination of stagnant employment news with inflation increasing rapidly is what is termed "stagflation." It is very ugly stuff because what is usually done to curb inflation makes unemployment worse, while what is done to curb unemployment makes inflation worse. 

About the Supply Chain

Our supply chain isn’t doing what it should. We keep hearing, and reading, that there is a shortage of truck drivers. One estimate I saw was 60,000 more drivers needed. 

There are trucks parked that should be moving containers of goods across the country. If those trucks had drivers, they could unclog the docks where the containers come ashore. 

Microeconomics suggests how you get more truck drivers, it isn’t rocket science. You pay higher wages, provide better benefits, and arrange work schedules to make driving less punishing. 

Is a shortage of people with the appropriate commercial driver license an issue? Offer to pay candidates to do driver school if they agree to work for you for X months after graduation and licensing.

Will it cost more? Yes, it will. Can you pass those costs along in an inflationary period? Certainly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Harsh Truth

An afterthought concerning Joe Biden reading his TV presentations off a “face-on monitor,” about which we commented a couple of days ago. Seemingly all successful (i.e., elected) politicians believe they are excellent at off-the-cuff commentary, at winging it. 

The harsh truth: most are better when they read prepared remarks. A few like Senator Kennedy (R-LA) do excellent wisecracks, which may be spontaneous but may also be preplanned and remembered for later use.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Aztec Auto-de-Fe'

Image courtesy of Power Line's Columbus Day in Pictures.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Tomorrow is Columbus Day

Tomorrow, depending on your proclivities, you might celebrate Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day. If the latter, then presumably you view the arrival of people of European descent here in the Americas as an unmitigated disaster.

If you hold such a view, the only logically consistent, moral thing for you to do is to move back to the land of your forefathers, be that land in Europe, Asia, or Africa. Staying here is perpetuating what you believe is an atrocity, continuing to rub salt in the wound.

You may choose to view our nation as an embarrassment, I do not. Neither do the hundreds of thousands who illegally cross our border every year in search of a better life. 

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day is the equivalent of celebrating the Confederate States of America. In each case you are celebrating the losing side in a battle for dominance.

I intend to continue to honor Christopher Columbus, a brave and intrepid explorer and navigator. In his own way, he was as gutsy as our astronauts, and he did it without the benefit of much science.

A Minor Contretemps Explained

There has been some back and forth about why President Biden used a set in the Executive Office Building instead of a room in the White House. Stephen Miller, formerly a Trump advisor, explains in a Tweet the technological reason why, and it makes sense.

The reason Biden uses this bizarre virtual set for televised meetings—and not an actual room like East Room, Cabinet, Oval, Roosevelt, Sit Room, etc.—is because it allows him to read a script directly from a face-on monitor (& w/out teleprompter glass that can be seen on camera).

Biden can look straight at the camera, make eye contact, and read his script, like news anchors do. In years past Miller has seen this TV setup. It's likely this technology isn't highly portable. 

BTW, I have no problem with Biden reading his TV talks. He'll be more linear that way and avoid the worst gaffes. Trump was better when he read his speeches as well.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

A Peculiar Parallel

Image courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures.
Of the two, Biden said it to vastly more people. Full disclosure: the DrsC are vaccinated, voluntarily.


Image courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures.

Saturday Snark

Image courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures.
In the DrsC's former profession, we take an extremely negative view of plagiarism.

Friday, October 8, 2021

High Altitude Autumn

The other DrC has pretty photos of the autumn leaves here in the western Wyoming Rockies at her blog. Mostly aspens, maybe a few poplars, cottonwoods, and the odd Rocky Mountain maple. 

We snow birds will be leaving in just over a week, and not a moment too soon, either. Our nights are beginning to go below freezing.

Trump One-on-One

The other DrC and I have commented to each other that we've mostly liked what Donald Trump stood for, what he advocated. On the other hand, we weren't at all sure we'd like him as an acquaintance or friend. 

I just read Mollie Hemingway's impressions from a series of three interviews totaling 5 hours she conducted with him at Mar-a-Lago, in which she mostly avoids disclosing his views. I've got to say she paints a different picture of Trump, the person, as opposed to Trump, the public figure. She writes:

Fred Barnes once commented about how weird it was to interview Trump, because he’s far more genteel in person than he is in public. Usually politicians kiss babies and are saccharine sweet in public, but revert to their natural state in less public situations. Trump is something different. He’s the same guy on and off stage, but much kinder in smaller groups.

He’s profane, yes, and full of insults. But he even goes off the record to praise individuals, as he did with several frequent objects of his scorn. And he’d go off the record to criticize individuals he praised publicly. He dished excellent gossip, which I’m not at liberty to share. He was even an incisive critic of public officials’ rhetoric, noting Gov. Mario Cuomo’s overuse of language related to stars and suns.

In future I won't be so quick to say I'm not sure I'd like Trump in person. He wouldn't be the only person who is different when the spotlight is turned off. Hemingway's article shows another side of "The Donald."

We're in Unknown Territory

Power Line's Paul Mirengoff both quotes at some length from a David Leonhardt New York Times column, and expands on its basic point that we really don't have a thorough understanding of the Covid-19 virus and how it spreads. I believe I've made the same point here on occasion.

People beat up on the federal authorities for their changing recommendations. I understand the public frustration but realistically no one has been through a flare up of this particular disease before. 

We demand answers from the feds and because they are supposed to know, they make their best guess. They base it on how prior viral diseases have spread and sickened. Covid has had some tricks up its sleeve, things it does differently than earlier viral outbreaks.

Unlike the academics the federal "experts" probably were before entering government, the feds don't hedge their recommendations around with qualifiers. They leave out "the maybes, the we thinks and the more research is needed" because the public doesn't want to hear "this is what we think, but we may be wrong, consider it our best guess." 

The public wants answers. An epidemiologist's best guess isn't bad advice, but it is a guess. More data comes in, the advice changes and we get frustrated. 

We need to remember this mantra: a new disease = uncertain outcomes and treatment protocols. Mistakes will happen, minds will change, and hindsight will show missed opportunities. It is nobody's fault, but some may be scapegoated.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Thursday Snark

 Headline in The Babylon Bee, a satirical online site.

Aides Quickly Drag President Away As He Tries To Join In ‘F*** Joe Biden’ Chant

It has almost gotten this bad, hasn't it? 

A Post-Urban Era?

Extremely prolific pundit Joel Kotkin writes at Tablet about the reluctance of former office workers who've been working at home during the pandemic to return to the office. Here is a key paragraph.

The rise of remote work drives these trends. Today, perhaps 42% of the 165 million-strong U.S. labor force is working from home full time, up from 5.7% in 2019. When the pandemic ends, that number will probably drop, but one study, based on surveys of more than 30,000 employees, projects that 20% of the U.S. workforce will still work from home post-COVID.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was higher than 20%. This isn't a great time to be invested in office-type downtown buildings. 

If downtowns become semi-vacant, deterioration will follow and the rest will leave. Imagine empty office blocks turned into homeless crash pads with garbage, gross moldy mattresses and discarded needles. 

Add to this the Soros-funded progressive DAs unwilling to prosecute crime and you've got an urban recipe for disaster. At some point the police will refuse to enter and it becomes the dystopian province of gangs and nihilist crazies, people like Firefly's reavers. 


We last reported a Quinnipiac University poll on September 15, when Biden's approval rating was 42%. The New York Post has the findings of a new poll by that organization.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows just 38 percent of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing, down from 42 percent in the same poll three weeks ago and 50 percent approval in mid-February.

The poll puts Biden underwater on his handling of every major issue.

"Underwater" is political slang meaning "more disapprove than approve." Borrowing the styling of Mr. Rogers, "Can you say 'death spiral'?" Trump starting to look pretty good in the rearview mirror?

Thinking About China

My favorite foreign affairs columnist, George Friedman, writes in Geopolitical Futures that he is optimistic about our experience of China’s role in world affairs going forward. He believes their economic problems will slow them down for the next few years and almost certainly keep them from going to war. 

I am always suspicious of westerners who claim to understand China. I’m not too sure even the Chinese understand it. 

I am less certain than he. Friedman doesn’t seem to think countries with internal issues go to war to distract and unify their citizens, Probably they shouldn’t, which doesn’t mean they don’t. 

Friedman’s argument is well-reasoned but is, after all, an outsider’s analysis. See what you think.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

VDH: Why He Left NR

RealClearPolitics has the text of a Tucker Carlson interview with the uber-prolific Victor Davis Hanson about why he left the National Review, after writing for them for 20 years. Some key VDH quotes about the folk at NR:

A lot of them felt it was their duty as Republican establishmentarians to tell the world they didn't approve of Donald Trump's tweets or his crudity. My message was always: But, it's good for the middle class.

I think there's an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room. And it's more about a culture than it is an ideology.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don't think they were. I don't think they wanted to be.

VDH's heart is in the right place. COTTonLINE shares his (and Trump's) pro-middle class values. 

Hanson's line "more about a culture than it is an ideology" really describes never-Trumpers like George Will, Steve Hayes and Bill Kristol. It's my hope they continue to molder in obscurity.

Weird Gerentological Science

A study in mice with the symptoms of Alzheimer's found the cancer drug Axitinib was efficacious in improving their condition, MedicalXpress has the story.

The drug, Axitinib, inhibits the growth of new blood vessels in the brain—a feature shared by both cancer tumors and Alzheimer's disease, but this hallmark represents a new target for Alzheimer's therapies.

Mice with Alzheimer's disease that underwent the therapy not only exhibited a reduction in blood vessels and other Alzheimer's markers in their brains, they also performed remarkably well in tests designed to measure learning and memory.

As Instapundit, who provided the link, likes to urge about such research, faster please. This just begs for someone to try off-label use with an Alzheimer's patient in the early stages. Or how about a similar patient who has cancer? Assuming Axitinib isn't often fatal, what would they have to lose?

Afterword: The other DrC tells me mouse brains are a particularly good research analog for human brains as both develop along similar paths. She knows more about the science of brain development than I.

It Was a Lab Leak

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, scientists Richard Muller and Steven Quay examine the evidence and conclude the following about the Covid-19 virus. Hat tip to Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics for the link.

Based on the scientific evidence alone, an unbiased jury would be convinced that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus escaped after being created in a laboratory using accelerated evolution (a k a gain of function) and gene splicing on the backbone of a bat coronavirus. Using standard statistical methods, we can quantify the likelihood of the lab-leak hypothesis compared with that of zoonosis. The odds enormously favor a lab leak, far more significantly than the 99% confidence usually required for a revolutionary scientific discovery.

For the non-academic reader, that last sentence means the odds are much better than 99 out of 100 that a lab leak was the source. Meaning, if China insists no lab leak occurred, the burden of proving that remote possibility is on them.


Power Line's Paul Mirengoff writes something important, to which too little attention is being paid.
The world is a dangerous place. Clueless doesn’t cut it in a U.S. president. Biden’s cluelessness makes the world all the more dangerous.

China's Xi is trying to become another Chairman Mao, complete with a cult of personality. Meanwhile we have an over-the-hill President who needs to rest a lot. 

When in public Biden behaves like he's the sock puppet of shadowy unelected figures on the White House staff. Those are puppeteers I trust much less than the late Shari Lewis. 

I fear for our country.

The Liz Cheney Denouement

It's time for an update on a story important to those of us calling Wyoming home; the effort to oust our quisling Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Writing in Spectator World, Chilton Williamson, Jr. points out she has little support in the state. 

Cheney has gone 100% orange man bad in a state that was 70% orange man great - not a winning bet. She is about as popular in WY as former President Ashraf Ghani is with the Taliban - he fled, I expect her to eventually do the same.

Cheney says she's a candidate for reelection but we'll only know for sure after the deadline for filing has passed. My guess is she's decided to make DC her permanent home and work for some Neo-con Bushie think tank. I can imagine Biden appointing her to some advisory boards and falsely claiming bipartisanship.

If she runs and the state repudiates her, as I expect it will, do you suppose her dad - former Vice President Dick Cheney - will move out of state? He currently lives in a Jackson suburb in appropriately enough the only Democratic county in Wyoming.

Monday, October 4, 2021

State Option Has Worked

Rereading the previous post, an analogy occurred to me that may help those questioning the feasibility of federalism. The analogy is the relationship Nevada some years ago had to the adjacent states. 

Gambling, including on sports, was legal in Nevada and the bars could, if they chose, stay open 24/7. Most counties except Washoe (Reno) and Clark (Las Vegas) had legal brothels, some still do. Instant marriages and quickie 6-week divorces were a Nevada speciality. None of that was true in the adjacent states or indeed anywhere else in the nation.

The other states tolerated Nevada's libertarian policies and even benefitted from them to some extent. Having these "services" available in Nevada reduced the pressure demand would have exerted to have these same things legally available at home. Now many states have some of what Nevada had back then, except the legal brothels and permissive liquor laws.

Agitation to force Nevada to conform to the policies in effect in most states was not effective. It wasn't until the Indian casino movement happened that most other states got gambling. 

My point from this is that the nation tolerated outlier Nevada having laws and policies quite different than other states for several decades. If red states want to have different policies than blue states, why couldn't that work as well. 

As we Californians once did in Nevada, red state denizens seeking something not available at home (e.g., abortion) could visit or move to a nearby blue state. Conversely, blue state denizens wanting to own and carry a gun could move to a red state. 

With "state option" people could choose to live in a state with laws they find reasonable. They could still visit or vacation in states with different laws so long as they obeyed those while there. 

Afterthought: There is a good science fiction/future history novel (or series) in the idea of extreme federalism, where states have very different laws and consequently extremely different lifestyles. I offer it free to whoever has the energy and imagination to write it. It should be fun both to write and to read.

Good Interview, Misleading Title

Emma Green interviews Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams concerning that conservative group’s goals and aims. She lets him tell Claremont’s story honestly while asking some probing - not entirely friendly - questions.

I’d like to think Green didn’t write the title The Atlantic gave the interview, “The Conservatives Dreading - And Preparing for - Civil War.” I read the article looking for the content the title implies and never found it.

I found a sense that the nation is seriously divided about its proper path, and a strong hope that a robust federalism will permit different state choices within it. You can infer a resignation that - if federalism fails to accommodate our differences - a separation into red and blue nations might peacefully eventuate. 

Nowhere do I see any expression by Williams of interest in, or preparation for - “civil war.” We’ve been down that road, in the 1860s, and I hope we learned our lesson.

I conclude the Claremont Institute is the intellectual incubator of modern conservatism, ironically housed in one of the bluest states - CA. I hypothesize the title reflects modern progressivism’s Karen-like unwillingness to allow conservatives to go their own way in their own spaces.

Sunday, October 3, 2021


This is our new winter place. Imagine it without the red and yellow striped box, and with desert-style xeriscape added. The window you see will be in my office.

The view from our living room. As we are atop a mesa, no one can build behind us to block the panorama.

The Question


Image courtesy of Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Strange Genes

From the Comments section of The Week in Pictures, at Power Line (scroll down), the following observations concerning the so-called "shaman" arrested for arson in CA. She'd graduated from Cal Tech, the notional employer of Big Bang Theory characters Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj.

First, a regular with the screen name Mt Geoff-Debbie writes as follows. 
A significant number of STEM geniuses -- verifiable geniuses -- are "on the spectrum" and may have some whacked-out ideas to go with their genius. 
To which Hdwjunkie replies: 
This is very true. I worked in the software industry for almost 40 years. It's amazing how many people on the spectrum work in software. And the other little secret is that, as a group, the offspring of people that couple up in this environment are also often on the spectrum.

I personally know a family with three generations in STEM; "On the spectrum" should be their family motto. The family demonstrates very clearly autism is heritable - it's no "little secret."

Homeschooling Grows

Writing at American Thinker, Steven Whitson describes what the 2020 Census and subsequent surveys have found concerning the prevalence of homeschooling. Hat tip to for the link. Some key quotes:

In October 2020, 11.1% of 22–23 million U.S. households reported being full-time homeschoolers, without any enrollment in a public or private school. Besides Alaska, which reported 27.5% of households dedicated to full-time homeschool, Oklahoma led all states at 20.1%. Other notable states included Florida at 18.1%, Vermont at 16.9%, Georgia at 16.0%, and Tennessee and Arizona at 13.0%.

What has been surprising is that many of these students did not re-enroll for the 2021–2022 school year.(snip)The number of homeschool kids grew from 11.1% in 2020 to 16.5% in May 2021.

All colleges and universities, including the Ivy League, accept homeschooled students and homeschooled students have traditionally performed better in college than public- and private-school students.

The public schools did a reasonable job when I was a kid too many years ago. In recent decades they have gotten a very bad reputation, sadly much of it deserved. I predict the trend to parents utilizing other-than-public education will continue and perhaps accelerate.

Friday, October 1, 2021

They Went Home

Politico has a headline vis-a-vis the attempt by verrrrry slender Democrat majorities to pass two gigantic spending bills, one focused on actual infrastructure, the other on boondoggle giveaway programs. The headline and the subhead pretty much tell the story on a Friday night.

'It’s not a success': Dems head home after infrastructure stalemate 
Frustrated lawmakers worry their failure to deliver either a deal on a social spending bill or an infrastructure vote could have lasting consequences.

There is at least a chance they will never get their act together. It reminds me of a famous Will Rogers quote.

I'm not a member of any organized political party…. I'm a Democrat.

Really Good News

Several sources are reporting Merck and a partner named Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have developed an anti-viral pill - Molnupiravir - that dramatically improves the survival chances of Covid-19 patients. John Hinderaker at Power Line has a nice write-up which notes the London Times reports:

On seeing the results the US Food and Drug Administration recommended stopping the trial and applying for an emergency use authorisation for the drug immediately.

This could be very big, very important. As Instapundit is fond of writing: Faster, please.

Poll: Majority Say Biden Should Resign

Rasmussen Reports asked likely voters three questions. First, do you think we should have left 2500 troops in Afghanistan? Second, do you believe Biden told the truth that he heard no such recommendation from the generals? Third, do you believe Biden should take responsibility for his actions and resign? John Hinderaker at Power Line has the details

Majorities agreed with the first question, and disagreed with the second. On the third question, the findings were these.

A majority of 55 percent strongly (41 percent) or somewhat (14 percent) agree he must resign. Only 39 percent somewhat (10 percent) or strongly (29 percent) disagree.

It isn't at all clear Vice President Kamala Harris would be any improvement over Joe Biden. I'm not sure how I'd answer that third question. Joe at least doesn’t cackle at inappropriate moments, but he does whisper, which is très weird.

Polarization Intensifies

The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia has a reasonably good track record, and their recent poll findings are somewhat shocking. The Daily Mail (U.K.) has the story.

52% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree with the statement: 'The situation is such that I would favor [Blue/Red] states seceding from the union to form their own separate country.' Twenty-five percent of Trump voters strongly agree. Meanwhile, 41% of Biden voters at least somewhat agree with the sentiment, while 18% strongly agree.

We Americans aren't liking members of the other party very much these days either.

Over 75% of voters on both sides agreed with the statement: 'I believe that Americans who strongly support the [OPP_PARTY] have become a clear and present danger to the American way of life.' Seventy-five percent of Biden voters at least somewhat agreed with the statement, as did 78% of Trump voters.

The poll has additional findings you may find interesting, or perhaps frightening. 

How Two Beats 48

About the intraparty struggle outlined in the previous post, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the following:
Two senators cannot be allowed to defeat what 48 senators and 210 House members want. 

Of course, when 50 Republicans plan to vote with those two senators, 48 senators cannot defeat them, and that is what is causing the holdup. One supposes the Democratic Party could revoke the membership of the two, who might become Independents or even Republicans. 

I imagine Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema quoting Ronald Reagan, who famously said this of changing parties.

I didn't leave the Democratic party, the Democratic Party left me.

I like to think, had he lived long enough, my father - a lifelong Southern Democrat - would have agreed with Reagan. 

A Tent Too Big?

Democrats are having difficulty getting the left and centrist segments of their party to agree on two huge spending bills. This is one of those battles where you really wish both sides could lose ... badly. 

Mirable dictu, that wished for outcome is actually possible, if not terribly likely. The centrist group wants real infrastructure spending on roads, bridges, flood control. The left wants spending on people, lots of 'free' stuff, the welfare state on steroids. The left threatens to not vote for the infrastructure bill unless the rest of the Dems vote for their giveaway programs. Golly, I hope the left hang tough, so neither bill passes.

Alas, it appears a few Republicans will vote for the infrastructure bill, maybe enough to pass it in spite of the left's boycott. One could wish they weren't so eager to "bring home the bacon" to their districts. 

Let's keep our fingers crossed while we watch the opposition fight among themselves.

Bad News

The Federalist reports the following bad news from the Federal Reserve Board.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy costs, soared to a 30-year high in August.

The measure increased 0.3 percent for the month and was up 3.6 percent from last year in its steepest climb since May 1991, a trend suggesting that the pandemic’s inflationary pressures, catalyzed by massive government spending, supply chain bottlenecks and surging demand, are not correcting as quickly as some economists anticipated.

With the more volatile staple categories of food and energy factored back in, PCE prices increased 0.4 percent for the month and 4.3 percent year over year, the highest hike since January 1991, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday.

This is a good time to be holding "things" whose value will go up with inflation: residential and farm property, precious metals, stocks, art, even autos. It is a bad time to be holding cash and cash-denominated instruments like CDs. Commercial property may also be iffy.