Saturday, December 31, 2022

Adios to 2022

We have reached the last day of 2022, and not a moment too soon. For those of us who follow politics this has been a bad year regardless of the party you call “home.”

Republicans had a disappointing midterm election result, while Democrats lost control of the House and will spend the next two years doing something other than legislating. The Biden administration has not covered themselves with glory, and both Biden and former President Trump have largely been embarrassments. 

Overseas some good things happened, through no “fault” of our diplomats. Russia continued to fail in their attempt to swallow Ukraine and China managed some world class “foot shooting” with the zero Covid policies. Both nations end the year in worse shape than they started it. On the other hand, our southern border continues to suffer from Biden’s malign neglect.

Militant political Islam has had no large victories this year, which is a plus. And Iran has been having anti-hijab riots.  NATO has shown more sticking power and cohesiveness than its history had led one to expect. 

Here and in other developed parts of the world there is some evidence that the “woke” movement is wearing out its welcome, but its attacks on conventional morality continue unabated.

To adapt a metaphor I like, we’ve seen a few robins, but Spring is still out of reach.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Hippies Growing Old

Yesterday the DrsC took a drive down the PCH (aka US 101) to Ventura, to do some shopping and to enjoy the coastal scenery. Growing up nearby, I spent a fair amount of time in Ventura as a young man. 

My while-in-college summer job was there, and it was mostly where we’d go to catch a film or a meal. In recent decades I’ve not much frequented the town, maybe a brief visit 1-2 times a year. 

It has changed of course - grown and the population mix is new. What I noticed yesterday while shopping in the early afternoon was a demographic I haven’t much associated with Ventura. Namely superannuated hippies. 

There were more old counterculture types than I’d ever seen there. Picture a lot of long, stringy gray hair on both genders, and matching beards on the guys. 

One slender old dear wore a floor length black gown with a spread eagle embroidered across the shoulders, showing rather too much flaccid cleavage. Think “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark” in her late 70s, with hair gone gray and no makeup. She and her guy, both all in black, looked like “Goths out to pasture.”

I saw a whole bunch of voters on which Gavin Newsom can certainly count, if they aren’t too high to focus. Parts of CA begin to resemble a foreign country; yesterday in Ventura brought home that reality.

Later … as if to prove my point, check out this piece of CA crazy.

Later still … this from The Babylon Bee, which advice is both snarky and largely accurate.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Wrong Kind of Visibility

Instapundit republishes a tweet by something called “the Bradford File,” whatever or whoever that may be. The irony it contains is world class.

Pete Buttigieg is so awful at his job people actually 
know who the Sec. of Transportation is.

A common supposition is that Buttigieg is using his current job as a platform from which to once again run for president. How doing a crap job in one position qualifies you for another in the minds of voters remains unclear. 

Rethinking Mitch McConnell

Mostly Kurt Schlichter writes biting put-downs of the GOP’s enemies, and they’re funny the way the late Don Rickles was funny. Today he takes up a serious subject - the mixed bag that is Mitch McConnell.

Schlichter argues that Mitch was formerly, on balance, good for the Republican Party. I agree. He concludes that, for whatever reason, the good Mitch accomplishes no longer outweighs the not-good for which he’s responsible. Again, I agree. 

It is time for Mitch to retire; getting him to do so won’t be easy or pleasant. The column’s conclusion is classic Schlichter:

Mitch is too old, too unpopular, too angry, and increasingly too ineffective to be the senior Republican elected official. It’s time for the Murder Turtle to withdraw into his shell.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Dems Dead in Wyoming

You've seen me write about how very Republican Wyoming is today, how Democrats sometimes don’t run a candidate against the Republican for state office. Don’t take my word for it, see a discussion of the D’s lousy turnout in southwestern Wyoming.

Intriguingly, the “green” policies of the national Democrats aren’t terribly popular among WY union members whose livelihoods depend directly or indirectly on coal and oil extraction. Imagine that, how predictable.

The D party Poobah quoted as expecting WY Republicans to tear each other to shreds is dreaming. He needs to revisit the votes Liz Cheney didn’t get in last August’s Republican primary. 

If you added the few votes for Cheney to those for the state’s Democrats you aren’t close to a majority. In our state the GOPe is a toothless “tabby.”

Exodus Continues

The Wall Street Journal cites interesting statistics about the continuing wave of people moving from high-tax blue states to low-tax red states. Some examples:

California (343,230), New York (299,557) and Illinois (141,656) lost the most residents to other states, but New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Louisiana were also big losers.

Florida drew the most newcomers (318,855), followed by Texas (230,961), North Carolina (99,796), South Carolina (84,030), Tennessee (81,646), Georgia (81,406) and Arizona (70,984).

One new trend is the migration from the Pacific Northwest.

Both Oregon and Washington experienced net outmigration this past year, a reversal of earlier trends. Meanwhile, blue Colorado’s growth slowed appreciably.

In addition to taxation and climate, less business regulation is a factor drawing employers to the red states. To some extent the economic migration is “moving where the jobs are.”

Paradoxically, the movement to red states has made reelection easier for blue state politicians whose majorities become larger as Republican voters leave their states.

The Great Sort continues, with no end currently in sight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022


It appears somebody or some group is killing off Russia’s oligarchs. The latest supposedly fell out of a window. The list of those who’ve died is relatively long, and the deaths mostly sound suspicious.

Those are deaths of the people with sufficient resources and clout to potentially challenge Putin, if the public mood should ever seem to make that feasible. A failure to succeed in Ukraine could be the trigger.

If you ask who had means, motive, and opportunity to terminate this entire group, you find the list is quite short. It turns out Russia isn’t a safe place to be visibly wealthy.

Monday, December 26, 2022


Instapundit links to a Breitbart article reporting data from the Financial Times (behind paywall). Breitbart writes:

The Dow Jones Media Titans index, which tracks the performance of 30 of the world’s biggest media companies, shed 40 percent this year, with its total market value declining from $1.35 trillion to $808 billion, according to a Financial Times report.

If you do the math, Hollywood lost a half trillion dollars in market capitalization. It is enough to give you a warm feeling; rich, ultra-woke media types taking a beating. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

Boxing Day

In the U.K. and many parts of its former empire, the day after Christmas is known as “Boxing Day.” Unrelated to pugilism, the name derives from boxing up left-overs from the Christmas feast to give to the servants, sharing the largesse.

Today it is primarily a day to pursue the after-Christmas sales as retailers attempt to move their leftover holiday merchandise by cutting prices. If that is your aim, I wish you fabulous bargains. 

In decades past we’ve bought the next year’s Christmas cards on this day - half price or less - as such cards are timeless. Lately, we’ve done custom cards via an Internet provider.

Swiss Sanity

Zero Hedge links to an Associated Press article which reports Swiss authorities have rejected the idea of a third option, in addition to male and female, on government forms.

The Swiss government on Wednesday rejected the idea of introducing a third gender option or no-gender option for official records, a position which differs from that of some neighboring countries. 

“The social preconditions for the introduction of a third gender or for a general waiver of the gender entry in the civil registry currently are not there,” it said.

The Swiss have been going their own way for centuries, clear that they need not follow the crowd. The DrsC spent the better part of a month there seven years ago; we found it a very pleasant, beautiful place that doesn’t much accommodate “outliers.”

Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Varied Roots of Christmas

Writing for The Spectator (U.K.), historian Francis Young puts today’s Christmas celebration into the context of history. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit for the link. See his conclusion.

So, is Christmas pagan? In the sense that Christmas is a festival that retains, in most cultures, elements of pre-Christian midwinter festivities, the answer can be yes – provided we’re prepared to use the word ‘pagan’ in quite a loose way. (snip) But perhaps the most important point is that Christmas has never been solely a religious festival – even if Christmas is not pagan, Christmas has always contained a strong element of the profane.

Whatever … I have always liked it a lot, especially the music and decorations. Merry Christmas to one and all.

Dave Barry’s 2022 in Review

Each year at this time Dave Barry comes forward with a comedic tongue-in-cheek summary of the year’s main news events and other nine-day wonders. Barry is an equal-opportunity offender of the sensibilities of just about every party, group, and tradition. 

Here is his latest, courtesy of a relatively “local to where I write this” paper, San Luis Obispo’s The Tribune. It was so sourced by Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit, as it is not behind a paywall.

Why Peru Isn’t ‘Working’

The current political difficulty in Peru is a story COTTonLINE has been following. A U.S. News & World Report analysis, echoed at, goes a fair way to explaining how things arrived at their current state.

It describes Peruvian politics as “fragmented” and their two-step run-off system of presidential elections as a way of electing the candidate who is “least hated” rather than a person with significant support or ability. The country has had six presidents in the last six years, in part a reflection of the collapse of the “commodities boom” in 2013 and ensuing economic difficulties. 

The latest news from Peru has its Congress moving the next presidential election two years closer to a 2024 date, and AMLO’s Mexico offering asylum to the currently imprisoned former President Castillo and to his family who took refuge in their embassy.

My view: Countries so highly fragmented politically seem to do marginally better with a parliamentary/prime minister system. Fragmented countries which try to directly elect an executive president suffer the problems with which Peru now struggles. 

The often-prolonged negotiations leading to coalition parliamentary governments, while tedious, yield some policy direction in an already-fragmented country such as Israel, Italy or Peru. At minimum they require factions to understand and grudgingly accept the compromises joining the in-power coalition will necessitate. Unlike presidents of fragmented countries, PMs mostly have enough votes in Congress to govern.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Our Merry Christmas Wish

Dear Readers, all day today is known as Christmas Eve, a rather typical terminology inflation. Some families do their main celebration tonight, others wait for tomorrow morning. 

My own family is scattered across the western U.S. and makes no effort to convene. The other DrC‘s kin,  with whom we celebrate, are clustered in central CA from the Bay Area to the Sierra foothills. We actually did our get-together last Saturday. 

I wasn’t involved in the decision-making but I suspect the date was chosen as a scheduling compromise. Whenever, and with whomever you meet to celebrate the Season, have a happy and joyous event and avoid arguing about politics.

The DrsC wish you a Merry Christmas, a loving family, a groaning table laden with treats, and decent weather to ease the travel involved in gathering. Be safe and well.

Why We Support Ukraine

I haven’t written much about whether the U.S. should spend billions helping the Ukrainians defend their country against Russian invasion. I suppose it was because I didn’t think there was much question. Here is my “take” on the situation.

Ukraine was minding its own business, threatening nobody, when Russia invaded with the clear purpose of erasing their nationhood and making Russians (or corpses) of its inhabitants. How this differed from Hitler invading Poland is for someone else to explain, I don’t see it.

By land area Russia is already the world’s largest nation, and they covet more. Ukraine is large as European nations go but a small fraction of Russia’s size and population. 

But the Ukes were defending their homeland, and the Ruskies were fighting on foreign soil for an idea only some of them gave a fig for. Thus the runaway victory Putin expected didn’t happen, the Rus bogged down and the angry Ukes cut them up.

Still, it’s plucky David fighting a massive but not-too-bright Goliath. Since Ukraine, unlike David, has no way to deliver a killing blow, in a long fight with no outside aid Ukraine/David 2.0 gets ground down and loses.

All they ask of us is money and arms, mostly the latter. If we give them arms we turn around and rebuild our stocks and that stimulates our defense contractor economy. We send no Americans to die there wearing our uniforms, any who go are private volunteers who knew the risks. 

Is Ukraine corrupt? It certainly had that prewar reputation and was bribing the Biden family. Is wartime Ukraine corrupt? Probably no more than other countries; defending the nation appears relatively popular even to Ukes who might otherwise be crooks.

There isn’t a whole lot in The Atlantic with which I agree. That said, much of the Anne Applebaum column on what the world would resemble if we’d not supported Ukraine looks plausible.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Sheep Dipped

I recently learned a new term, or more accurately, a new meaning for a term I had long known in a very different context (agriculture). The term is “sheep dipped.” 

Its meaning as a term of art in the intelligence field is taking someone with a formal role in the military or FBI and creating for them a new identity in the private sector where they continue to function sub rosa on the government’s behalf while accruing govenment benefits.

You can find a formal definition of the term here and here. Speculations about recent uses including the placement of FBI agents inside Twitter and other Internet firms exist here and here.

I’m okay with its use in international intelligence operations, much less than okay with its use domestically.

Local Beauty

While the rest of the country is coping with a super bad winter storm, here in SoCal we are enjoying the scenery the other DrC has captured in photos. She took these this a.m. while walking and posted them at her blog. 

We are CA natives now domiciled in two other states. That takes nothing away from my belief that CA is uniquely gifted in terms of beauty, climate, and geographic variety. What it no longer has is governance that makes any rational sense. As Joni Mitchell sang in “Big Yellow Taxi,”

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

So we’re vacationing here for a midwinter month, but no longer call the state home. Just passin’ thru, doncha know?

More Dangerous Than Combat

Instapundit links to a UPI story reporting med school research chronicled in JAMA Network Open.

Young men living in certain high-violence ZIP codes in Chicago and Philadelphia run a greater risk of firearm death than military personnel who served in recent U.S. wars, according to findings published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Young men in Chicago's most violent ZIP code were more than three times as likely to experience gun-related death compared to soldiers sent to Afghanistan, the researchers found, while those in Philadelphia's most violent area were nearly twice as likely to be shot to death.

Black and Hispanic men represented 96% of those who were fatally shot, and 97% of those injured in a shooting, according to the report.

About these findings, Reynolds had the following comment:

See, this kind of gives away the game, undercutting the usual argument that it’s the availability of guns that’s responsible. Of course, we’ve known this for years, it’s just been too inconvenient to The Narrative to talk about it.

By “The Narrative” Reynolds means the typical wrong-headed Bidenesque rant about guns being the problem. The problem is a violent culture among certain sub-populations in the U.S. which have attained “victim” status and therefore cannot be criticized by the woke.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Putin’s Bad Bet

Austin Bay writes on matters military for Creators’ Syndicate and his essays are often linked to by the guys at Power Line. Today he writes about what he calls “Putin’s Latest Bad Bet: Strategic Bombing.” He reviews the history of strategic bombing, see his conclusion.

Putin bets cold, hungry and bombing-terrorized Ukrainians will surrender, even if the British, Germans, Japanese, Ethiopians, et al. did not.

I think that’s a bad bet.

Bay reaches the same conclusion as George Friedman, which I related here

VDH: Universities Committing Suicide

Real Clear Politics has a jeremiad by historian Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution who tackles the question “Are Universities Doomed?” His conclusion is that they well may be exactly that.

Indoctrination has replaced critical thinking, administrators have replaced faculty, catering to victim groups has replaced meritorious admissions, and in the student body women have replaced men. None of these trends, he argues, is likely to help universities survive.

As individuals who spent their working lives in universities, the DrsC are happy we worked in an earlier era and retired before the current situation got so negative. Neither of us believes we’d be happy in the current academic environment, which has become rancid.

A Note from Reagan Country

As I write this, Dec. 21 just past into history and we are officially in the three months designated as “winter.” Mostly it has felt like winter for nearly three weeks.

Our valley in western WY already looks via WYDOT webcam like somewhere on Alaska’s North Slope. The area we recently visited in NorCal was wintry in its own way, no snow but definitely coat weather. And driving down CA’s great Central Valley the fog was continuous and daytime temps were maxing at about 39℉ of damp cold.

Now we’re in a coastal valley area just northwest of Santa Barbara where we’ll spend the next month. Nights will get chilly, maybe even drop below freezing once or twice, but most afternoons will be pleasant. 

We went out to do laundry and buy groceries this p.m. and I was in short sleeves until the sun sank below the mountains. Then the ocean breeze meant I wanted a light jacket. 

This was the country Ron Reagan loved. The area is scenic and fun, a flock of wild turkeys were nearby as we checked in yesterday, and we saw a herd of nearly 20 deer maybe three miles from where our RV is parked. One year we saw a small bear not far from here. Seeing a bear was super unusual, coyotes are more common.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Air War Feels Good, Does Little More

My current favorite analyst of diplomatic and strategic matters - George Friedman - writes at Geopolitical Futures. His topic today is a summary of why the Russian air attack, largely by drones, on Ukraine infrastructure is unlikely to be decisive.

He breaks no new ground, but his column is a good summary of the successes and mostly failures such bombing has racked up. It turns out that beating up the civilian population from the air tends to stiffen the public will to resist.

The main strength of bombing civilian targets is that it helps the attacker’s people feel better to be inflicting pain and suffering on the enemy, which pain and suffering are quite real. There isn’t a lot of evidence that such attacks contribute to victory. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Saluting the Solstice

Sometime either tonight or tomorrow night will be the longest night of the year. Tomorrow will see the Winter Solstice when, north of the equator, the sun shows up latest, and leaves earliest. 

It is a day humans have been marking for millennia, the day after which the sun makes its “comeback” and the days grow longer. It begins a process that will continue until June 21, the longest day (and shortest night) of the year and the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is probably no coincidence that major religious holidays occur around this date. Religions tend to adopt earlier festivals and make them their own. I expect there will be a celebration at Stonehenge and four days later we celebrate Christmas.

Scott Adams Snark

Dilbert creator and notorious conservative Scott Adams Tweets the following severely sarcastic commentary which I like a lot. Hat tip to Instapundit for posting it.

The Jan6th Committee reminds America that we can never again allow a small band of unarmed protesters to conquer the largest military power in the history of human civilization by sauntering through the Capitol rotunda and taking selfies.

We were so close to losing everything.

Talk about unserious revolutionaries, the Jan. 6 crowd were the lamest bunch I can imagine. 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Fusion Confusion

Those of you who consult Power Line and/or Instapundit know that photovoltaic solar and wind power are weak reeds upon which to build clean energy independence. The evidence for this view is strong. 

The New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets are noting that fusion power, if it becomes effective, could be the way forward to reducing dependence on carbon-based fuels. It produces no radioactive waste and no carbon dioxide. 

We are still decades from achieving practical fusion power in quantity, if in fact it ever becomes a thing. In the meantime we need to make our carbon-based systems cleaner and more efficient and this we are doing

It is premature to try to convert all our autos to electric power. We need to produce the power first.

Diplomacy Reimagined

Writing at Project Syndicate, long-time diplomat Richard Haass offers ten lessons from recent history. I list them for your enjoyment, if that is the word, minus his justification for each, which explanations I invite you to consult. 

There is a lot of mea culpa in these lessons. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

First, war between countries, thought by more than a few academics to be obsolete, is anything but.
Second, the idea that economic interdependence constitutes a bulwark against war, because no party would have an interest in disrupting mutually beneficial trade and investment ties, is no longer tenable.
Third, integration, which has animated decades of Western policy toward China, has also failed.
Fourth, economic sanctions, in many instances the instrument of choice for the West and its partners when responding to a government’s violations of human rights or overseas aggression, rarely deliver meaningful changes in behavior.
Fifth, the phrase “international community” needs to be retired. There isn’t one.
Sixth, democracies obviously face their share of challenges, but the problems authoritarian systems face may be even greater.
Seventh, the potential for the internet to empower individuals to challenge governments is far greater in democracies than in closed systems.
Eighth, there is still a West (a term based more on shared values than geography), and alliances remain a critical instrument to promote order.
Ninth, US leadership continues to be essential.
Lastly, we must be modest about what we can know.

In case you haven’t followed diplomacy, Haass has just debunked many views diplomats have sworn by over the last several decades. It isn’t quite like a Pope saying “Who knew? Christ was merely a wise man.” but it is darned close.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Peru Update

 A week ago we wrote about political turmoil in Peru with the arrest of President Castillo and installation of Vice President Boluarte by its Congress. At the time we noted a smooth transition was unlikely. 

Sadly, that prediction has been fulfilled. Reuters reports somewhat widespread unrest with some deaths as a reaction to the Congressional action. 

The report suggests those unhappy with the decision are mostly the indigenous and the copper miners, perhaps overlapping groups. Another way of characterizing it would be as “class warfare,” not a particularly new thing in Peru.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Right Question, Unanswered

President Joe Biden is quoted by Politico as recently rhetorically asking allies: “You think I don’t know how f*cking old I am?" I’m sure he does know his calendar age, we all do.

The real question is whether his deteriorating condition permits him self awareness of how much ability and situational awareness he has lost. The answer is “probably not.” It tends to be the sort of thing we try to deny as we age.

Suffering from no blinders, the rest of us know and are embarrassed for him, and for our country.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

We’re On The Move … Again

Postings at COTTonLINE may be thin for a few days as we are doing some travel-to-see-family-at-Christmas. This involves taking the RV out for a visit to Northern California followed by a month in the coastal CA wine country northwest of Santa Barbara. The other DrC has a photo of our rig at her blog.

This is the 50th year the other DrC and I have owned and traveled in RVs. We bought our first, a small class C motorhome, in July, 1972, and took it on a shakedown trip to southern Oregon and Crater Lake NP. We kept the first RV over 10 years,

Since then we’ve owned a series of five 5th wheel trailers pulled by pickup trucks, the last of which we are in now. In our RVs we’ve traveled all over North America: 49 U.S. states, 9 Canadian provinces, plus one territory (the Yukon). 

Besides travel, we’ve also lived in the trailers while we had new homes built. RVing gets harder as we get older and one of these years we’ll stop, but that will be a sad day for us. The wonders we’ve seen and the memories we’ve made are beyond description.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Wartime Humor

My high school graduating class (late 1950s) has a web master who circulates various fun stuff to the 60 or so (out of 100) of us who still live. This brief, salty story showed up today.

A Russian soldier ran up to a nun. Out of breath he asked, “Please, may I hide under your skirt, I'll explain later.”
The nun agreed. A moment later, two military police ran up and asked: “Sister, have you seen a soldier?”
The nun replied, “He went that way.”
After the military police ran off, the soldier crawled out from under her skirt and said, “I can' thank you enough, Sister, You see, I don't want to go to Ukraine.”
The nun said, “I understand completely.”
The soldier added, “I hope I'm not rude, but you have a great pair of legs!”
The nun replied, “If you had looked a little higher, you would've seen a great pair of balls too. I don't want to go to Ukraine, either."

Many of us felt this way about going to ‘Nam. I can name at least one child, born to a classmate, whose timing, if not actual existence, was due to draft-avoidance.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday Snark

All images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures, and its Comments section.
(Saturday Snark will be on hiatus for the next month or so.)

Climates Change

The Guardian (U.K.) reports a study done by scholars in Denmark and the U.K. which found the following very interesting science.

Two-million-year-old DNA from northern Greenland has revealed that the region was once home to mastodons, lemmings and geese, offering unprecedented insights into how climate change can shape ecosystems.

The breakthrough in ancient DNA analysis pushes back the DNA record by 1m years to a time when the Arctic region was 11-19C warmer than the present day. The analysis reveals that the northern peninsula of Greenland, now a polar desert, once featured boreal forests of poplar and birch trees teeming with wildlife.

Climates change, and they've been doing it without human assistance for a million years or more. No SUVs, no coal-fired generation plants, probably no humans at all, just the solar system and good, old Gaia doing what they do because that's the way nature functions.

Much more recently the glacier ice was probably a mile thick near our place in Wyoming, now long gone of course. Climates change, involving natural forces immeasurably greater than anything humans can muster or influence. 

What distinguishes our species is our adaptability to wildly divergent conditions; compare the relatively low tech environmental adaptations of the Inuit and the bedouin Arab. What we humans need to do is use our prodigious ingenuity to figure out ways to cope with what comes, be it heat or cold, flood or drought. 

It is what we do.

Friday, December 9, 2022

The Prisoner Swap Pander

The Biden White House had an imprisoned Russian arms dealer to swap for an American prisoner held in Russia. The choices apparently were drug-using WNBA player Brittney Griner, who is Black, LGBTQ+, and on record as not caring much for our country, or former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan accused of espionage which charge our government says is false.

I imagine the Bidenistas asking themselves which group is a more reliable support of the Democratic Party: (a) the Marines or (b) African-Americans and the sexually unconventional? Their answer appears clear. 

The twofer Ms. Griner got the nod, the Marine continues to languish in prison. I call that a straight-out political pander, and one with which I'll wager most Americans do not agree. 

Our ruling elite are pond scum who despise us. The least we can do is return the favor; perhaps we can think of ways to make their lives miserable.

Afterthought: The Russians also got a twofer. They got their arms dealer and they made President Biden even more unpopular with Americans, especially so with American service personnel.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Thinking About a Ukraine Exit

There has been some interest in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine with the U.S. as an interested partner of Ukraine since we are bankrolling their war. George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures writes about peace talks generally, and what's involved in these particular circumstances. His conclusion will give you a flavor of his views.

It is this mutual fear of failure that drives each to a negotiated settlement, however contemptible and belligerent that process will be. The opening gut check is followed by an emerging reality of how much you can play and how much your enemy can play, two variables that are considered every day by leaders and soldiers alike. Unthinkable concessions then become thinkable. The hazier this is, the more each side will be frightened that they will suddenly break.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants an independent Ukraine, Vladimir Putin wants to be president of Russia, and the U.S. wants to end the war without American casualties. None is as confident as he appears.

I'd add that the U.S. also doesn't want to throw billions at the problem indefinitely. If I had to guess, I'd predict that if a truce is achieved, Russia will get to keep Crimea and have to give up the rest. Whether Russia's hawks will allow Putin to survive such a deal, in office or out, is unclear.


Someday I may write an essay on the problems faced by nations which were once dominant forces in the world but are that no longer. I might call it the "weren't you formerly someone important?" issue. 

Major players in such a discussion would be Russia, Islam, France, and Britain, each formerly dominant. When enough time passes, as it seems to have with Italy (Rome), Spain, and Portugal, the angst appears to become attenuated.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

We Did Not Consent

Steven Hayward at Power Line reminds us of the wisdom of political scientist John Marini who understood in 2016 why Trump appealed to so many everyday Americans. It's long, but there is a lot of wisdom packed therein.

It is possible that the Trump phenomenon cannot be understood merely by trying to make sense of Trump himself. Rather, it is the seriousness of the need for Trump that must be understood in order to make sense of his candidacy. Those most likely to be receptive of Trump are those who believe America is in the midst of a great crisis in terms of its economy, its chaotic civil society, its political corruption, and its inability to defend any kind of tradition—or a way of life derived from any kind of tradition—because of the transformation of its culture by the intellectual elites.

This sweeping cultural transformation occurred almost completely outside the political process of mobilizing public opinion and political majorities. The American people themselves did not participate or consent to the wholesale undermining of their way of life, which government and the bureaucracy helped to facilitate by undermining those institutions of civil society that were dependent upon a public defense of the old morality. This great crisis has created the need for a Trump, or someone like Trump, and only those who recognize it as a crisis can be receptive to his candidacy.

Marini describes the felt need for a "Culture Warrior in Chief." Hayward believes today's "someone like Trump" is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. I believe it is possible DeSantis is that guy.

Instability in Peru

A bit over a year ago Peru elected an indigenous rural schoolteacher - Pedro Castillo - as its new president. He has been a disaster in office. 

Most recently he tried to dissolve congress and call for new elections. This dramatic step the constitution did not empower him to take. 

The attempt unified the congress against him and he has been arrested. They elected the Vice President Dina Boluarte as the nation's new President and the first woman to hold that office. 

People who wish Peru well, in which number I count myself, will hope she can develop an inclusive government that can function and develop popular support. The odds of that happening are frankly not very good.


On this day in 1941, on an early Sunday morning and without warning, naval aviators from the Empire of Japan bombed, torpedoed, and strafed the island of Oahu in Hawaii, focusing on our Navy base at Pearl Harbor and the Army Air Base at Hickam Field. Thousands were killed, several major ships sunk at their moorings, and more were damaged. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt memorably called it “a day that will live in infamy” as he declared the U.S. to be at war with Japan. Soon thereafter Germany, an ally of Japan, also declared itself to be at war with the U.S. and we found ourselves involved in a war that had been ongoing for two years.

Most who were alive then are alive no longer, and the few who remain were mostly children then, as I was. I don’t remember the war starting, but do have memories of events prior to its end, including rationing, blackout curtains, and the death of FDR.

For most now living the attacks on September 11 are their only memories of our nation under attack. The past recedes, and eventually is forgotten, so be it.

Consent of the Governed

The people of two totalitarian nations have been engaging in protests recently: in Iran the issue concerns the oppressive religious police and in China it concerns the oppressive Covid quarantines. In both cases there is at least some evidence here and here that the governments are backing down. 

This is further proof, if any is needed, that even repressive governments exist with the tacit consent of the governed and at some level recognize that fact. It is a lesson one hopes Russia’s Putin is healthy enough to understand as he pursues an increasingly unpopular-at-home war in Ukraine.

It is a strength of elected governments that the consent of the governed is explicitly sought and periodically calibrated, however imperfectly, via elections. Thus, in places with elected governments it is normal for people to lose power without losing their lives in the bargain, something not often possible in totalitarian regimes. 

Georgia Postmortem

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air does a take down of the GOP loss last night in Georgia. I think he has it pretty close to right. 

The Cliff Notes version of what Morrissey writes is that celebrity candidates don’t fare especially well, and that Trump’s focus on the unfairness of his loss in 2020 is turning off voters. He adds that candidates, like Walker, who’ve supported Trump’s “I wuz robbed” claim were hurt by doing so.


I think maybe Georgia's Republican Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan had it right. The Warnock vs. Walker choices were not sterling.

Describing the runoff election, he said, "I had two candidates that I just couldn’t find anything that made sense for me to put my vote behind, and so I walked out of that ballot box showing up to vote but not voting for either one of them."

Tuesday, December 6, 2022


Women mostly do their best to appear as young adults, regardless of their actual age. Meaning, girls try to appear older and older women try with varying success to appear younger. So be it, the behavior is widespread.

Which makes the presentation-of-self of White House press spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre seem, at best, unusual. She seems to present as a precocious child, talkative, intelligent, but pre-adolescent and naive. 

She reminds me of Hermione Granger in the first couple of Harry Potter films. Am I the only person who has this perception? Isn’t this an unusual role model for a woman in the public eye?

Georgia on My Mind

Today the runoff election for senator concludes in Georgia, early voting has been happening. Neither Warnock nor Walker got over 50% in November as there was a third party candidate on that ballot who got a few votes. 

A month ago Democrat Warnock got a few more votes than Walker. GA experienced considerable unusual ticket splitting last month, Republican Gov. Kemp won reelection handily. He has been out campaigning for Walker. 

Democrats are assured of control in the Senate no matter who wins, but given the independence of Sens. Sinema and Manchin, today’s outcome still has practical consequences. Perhaps we will know the outcome tonight, something we once took for granted but no longer seem able to do.

Trump and the Constitution

Former President Donald Trump isn’t known for precise statements, his style includes considerable hyperbole and bloviation. That’s who he is, how he rolls. 

Now there is much consternation and excessive concern about his comments vis-a-vis the Constitution. Here is what he actually posted on his Truth Social platform, as reported by Power Line. 
So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great "Founders" did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

Most of those expressing horror at his words take it to mean Trump wants to throw out the Constitution. His words can be read that way. 

His words can also be read as the “Massive Fraud” let its perpetrators effectively terminate “ all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” And that his final sentence says what they have done clearly does not comport with the Founders’ intentions.

I will admit I read his words as his inartful defense of the Constitution, not a demand to ignore that document. Which doesn’t mean I agree with his demand for a new election or his own installation. 

The election was hinkey, possibly rigged, but them’s the breaks. He should have anticipated an all-out effort to throw the election and prepared for it, but he didn’t. We go on, even if he can’t.

Monday, December 5, 2022


The Supreme Court will soon hear a case - 303 Creative v. Elenis - which forces them to directly confront an issue they sidestepped in an earlier case of a wedding cake baker who refused to bake cakes for same sex weddings. 

Writing at Law & Liberty blog, Notre Dame law prof Sherif Girgis makes an interesting point relative to the case.

If it’s hurtful to imply that same-sex unions aren’t marital, it’s hurtful to imply that traditional Christian—and Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu—convictions on marriage are bigoted. So free societies tolerate the expression of painful ideas. The First Amendment guards your right to speak or stay silent on their basis.

I find that equivalency persuasive in a clearly pluralistic society, which ours is to a degree greater than most. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Summer of '42, Revisited

The other DrC and I rewatched The Summer of '42 last night. It is an amazingly good low-budget film that came out in 1971, the year we married. It shows up occasionally on cable channels that play old films, I recommend it.

Guys, if that film doesn't make you squirm a little, I'll be surprised. It is adolescent "coming of age" from the porn-not-widely-available era distilled down to the gut-wrenching basics. 

Jennifer O'Neill was a great beauty, and a decent actress, the adolescent boys do a credible job too,. The only true adult with a speaking part - the Nantucket druggist - manages to wring every drop of angst out of his cameo role. The lush title theme music by Michel Legrand won an Oscar.

It turns out the script and novel based on the script were semi-autobiographical. Decades later author Herman Raucher was actually contacted by the gal the script names "Dorothy" who was concerned she had taken advantage of the 15 year old Hermie. Ironically, he'd always thought he'd taken advantage of her.

Go figure. Men and women have been misunderstanding each others' feelings (and motives) essentially forever.

Sunday Snark

Image courtesy of RealClearPolitics' Cartoons of the Week.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Saturday Snark

All images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures, or of its Comments section.

Friday, December 2, 2022

It Works Both Ways

Girls kissing frogs who then turn into princes are legendary. Someone should have told Meghan Markle that there are times when kissing a prince can turn him into a frog. 

This less-celebrated process can sometimes take years, as it did with Prince Andrew. Other times it takes only months, as happened with Prince Harry.


Rogue Waves

ABC News reports via that a rogue wave damaged the Viking Polaris expedition ship in the Drake Passage south of Ushuaia, Argentina, breaking windows, killing one passenger and injuring four more in non-life-threatening ways. The ship was returning from a voyage to the Antarctic peninsula.

The Drake Passage - 500 miles of open sea between Cape Horn and Antarctica - is some of the roughest water on the planet. The DrsC made that trip some years ago and we had an injury happen to a fellow passenger as well. 

In rough water, she fell and broke her elbow. The ship’s doctor sedated her and strapped it up, and we diverted to a Chilean Air Force base on King George Island where she and her husband were flown out to a hospital in Punta Arenas. We learned later the air ambulance flight cost them $15,000, covered by required travel insurance.


Speaking of rogue waves, the Grand Princess was hit by a rogue wave sailing northward off the west coast of Italy en route to Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. This happened in the latter part of November, 2008, at around 1 a.m. 

The wave broke windows up on the Lido deck, nearly 100 ft. above the waterline. We were ashore waiting to board her in Civitavecchia and we boarded several hours later than scheduled as they were doing some quick repairs. 

We talked to people who were continuing from one cruise to the next and they reported the rogue wave was quite an experience. The wave basically left the ship dead in the water for nearly an hour until the crew could get the power up and running again, with the result that the Grand arrived late to Civitavecchia.

Friday Snark

All images courtesy of POLITICO's The Nation's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.


The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner and don’t see a realistic way out. Dementia Joe and Shallow Kamala present a dilemma. Joe is cycling in and out of touch with reality, see excruciating video of him with visiting French President Macron. 

The process is sad enough when only people who care about you see it and are embarrassed for you, and maybe for themselves. It’s the brain fog symptoms of old age done on a national stage with TV cameras rolling. 

If Joe had a Veep anybody thought was an improvement, it would be Amendment 25 in a heartbeat.  But Harris has demonstrated that she isn’t up to the job and, more to the point, probably couldn’t win the 2024 election if she inherited the office. So Democrats carry on with the Weekend at Bernie’s charade while we all cringe and hope nothing demanding actual presidential leadership occurs.

Biden says he intends to run in 2024. Gov. Gavin Newsom of CA says he won’t challenge Biden for the 2024 nomination, which means he recognizes political reality. Both decisions can always be revisited if, for whatever reason, Biden doesn’t seek a second term. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Question Is Obvious, the Answer Is Not

Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter states the obvious question to pose concerning whether to be serious about a Gov. Ron DeSantis GOP presidential nomination in 2024.

Can he show that the people he loses by not being Trump are going to be outnumbered by the people he gains by not being Trump?

That is very much what our decision boils down to, isn’t it? Did the white collar suburbs go for Biden because they buy the whole woke/CRT crock-of-crap, or did they just vote against Trump? 

I’d like to believe the answer is “against Trump” but I have to admit I am unsure.  Is Florida an outlier or does it point the way to a national win?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"Great Sort" Progress Report

Writing at PJ Media, Mark Tapscott describes data from a survey done by Trafalgar Group asking likely voters whether they (a) had moved, or (b) had made plans to move, to a region with politics more resembling their own. For those who report having already moved, the numbers are these:

4.1 percent of Independents say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
4.4 percent of Republicans say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
1.1 percent of Democrats say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.

Those who had not yet moved but report planning to do so, the numbers are:

9.6 percent of Independents say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
10.4 percent of Republicans say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
2.1 percent of Democrats say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.

Meaning red states get redder, and blue states get bluer. Trafalgar doesn't use the term "independent" but calls these likely voters "no party/other."

If you are an Independent, do you move to a purple state? From the similarities, I'd judge self-identified Independents are "shy" Republicans, wouldn't you?

Afterthought: Not certain where the DrsC fit into this matrix. We recently moved our vacation home to “a region that aligns more closely with … personal beliefs” but our legal residence remains conservative Wyoming where it has been for nearly 20 years.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A First Step

Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, has ordered the city police and fire departments to do something long needed but even longer resisted. Fox News reports as follows:

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD, FDNY, and other city agencies will start forcing homeless people who are determined to be suffering a "mental health crisis" off the streets and out of the subway system. They will be taken to a hospital for evaluation even if they refuse to go on their own.

"It is appropriate to use this process when a person refuses voluntary assistance and it appears that they are suffering from mental illness and are a danger to themselves due to an inability to meet their basic needs," Adams said.

I presume this policy will be tested in the courts for legality, and I hope it will be found to be constitutionally acceptable. It could be a first step in the long overdue reinstitutionalization of the addicted and mentally ill. 

Ken Kesey be damned.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Weird Virological Science

Instapundit links to an Ars Technica article about the suspected role of the Epstein-Barr virus in causing multiple sclerosis in a very few of those infected by it. The virus also causes mononucleosis in adolescents who haven’t been previously infected. 

It turns out that in a group of military members who’d never been infected when they entered the service, those subsequently infected were 20-30 times more likely to develop MS than those who were not infected as adults. Since, however, most of us were infected as children and most so infected don’t develop MS, other factors are undoubtedly involved.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Mixed Blessing

At the height of his popularity, Donald Trump was always a mixed blessing. He advocated a more popular strain of conservatism and dissed the obvious lefty losers - all of that was very positive. On the other hand, he was also a bully and a braggart, and had an ego the size of Texas - not so positive.

If he’d married a string of three supermodels, he’d also had children by them and appeared to love and be loved by those kids - more positives. On the other hand, while married he’d also had various liaisons with Playboy models and strippers that were basically one-night or weekend stands - again, not so positive.

He’d made a great deal of money in real estate development and building, and kept enough of it to be genuinely wealthy - again positive. On the other hand, he’d also started more failed businesses than successful ones, typical of entrepreneurs but not entirely positive because the start-ups that failed hurt some others along the way.

He’d been successful in show business, in what is facetiously called “reality TV,” and that was okay. He’d also been involved in professional wrestling which is definitely show business posing as athletics, not so okay.

In 2016, Trump was a mixed blessing, but a blessing on balance. He took us beyond the failed corporatist GOP of George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and John McCain - an excellent policy change and one long overdue. 

However, once elected some of his Covid policies didn’t look great in the rear view mirror, and his failure to anticipate the shenanigans associated with the 2020 election and his petulant reaction to losing that election have tipped the balance for a lot of us.

Now it is easy enough to imagine a 2024 GOP presidential candidate who espouses Trump’s populist/nationalist policies without dragging behind him- or herself all of the Trump baggage. And perhaps one who understands how to get things done in the public sector, never a Trump strength. 

It is time to sincerely thank Trump for what he accomplished, including the originalist judges nominated, and ask him to accept senior statesman status. He needs to leave the governing to younger Republicans. 

If Trump is the party’s nominee in 2024, I’ll vote for him as the lesser of two evils (2 weevils?). Sadly, doing so will not be a new experience for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Saturday Snark

An oldie worth repeating

Quite a haul this week; all images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures and its Comments section.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Why This Friday Is Black

Do you know why this Friday-after-Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday?” Unlike most things with the label “black,” it has nothing to do with race and racism.

It dates back to the days when bookkeeping was done with quill pens. When a business was operating at a loss they used red ink to signal that state. When the business was earning a profit the ink used was black. 

Historically Christmas shopping begins in earnest on the day after Thanksgiving. Many retail businesses do a substantial fraction of their total year’s sales in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Black Friday got its name because, in retailing, that was the day your store began to move from operating at a loss (in the red) into operating at a profit (in the black) for the year. 

The so-called “Christmas sales season” was and perhaps still is the key to retail profitability, and it now spills over into online sales. Retail establishments are scaled to cope with the anticipated Christmas rush. Most of the year, they are larger than their day-to-day business would require.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Asked and Answered

 Instapundit Glenn Reynolds rhetorically asks:

Why is higher education such a cesspit of hate and sexism?

Dr. Henry Kissinger has the sarcastic answer:

The reason that university politics is so vicious is because stakes are so small.

Quote of the Day

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds airing a jaundiced view:

The press is largely made up of garbage people who cheerfully operate as partisan hacks.

Back in the day, you would have been hard pressed to guess David Broder’s political party preference. He was the real deal - a journalist and no hack. I suppose we must indict Woodward and Bernstein for turning journalism into a leftist ghetto.

Accepting Human Nature

Thanksgiving, we are reminded, began with a group of religious refugees trying to make a life in what would later become the Boston area. Writing at the New York Post, John Stossel reminds us that upon arriving in 1620 the Pilgrims tried socialism, really wanted it to work, and it darned near killed them. 

After they gave up on collectivism and went over to private property, they began to make a living and actually have some things for which to be thankful. By the time one of my ancestors arrived in the area some 13 years later it was only an unpleasant memory.

Most of us, most of the time, are unwilling to view humanity as “our family” and act selflessly in the best interests thereof, regardless of our personal outcomes. Every year, while remembering the Pilgrims, we need to relearn the lesson that socialism is based on a mistaken idea of human nature and therefore doesn’t produce abundance. 

Private property and individual initiative are based on an accurate view of human nature and do produce abundance. One of the enduring mysteries is why idealists keep rejecting the realistic view of human nature, preferring one that often works in a family but rarely, and then only briefly, in a larger enterprise. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Very Colorful

Image originally appeared in The European Conservative, and was reprinted at Power Line by Steve Hayward.

Food For Thought

Image courtesy of Power Line.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, our national harvest festival. We celebrate the various bits of good fortune we've experienced over the past year. Traditions include a pig-out meal with extended family, and pro football on TV. Tomorrow the DrsC will follow none of those traditions except for the thankfulness.

We have no nearby family, and will travel to do the large family gathering 3-4 weeks from now in the Christmas season. So tomorrow we plan to do some serious cooking, making a lot of what cookbooks call braciole. 

The other DrC's Sicilian ancestors called the dish (in English phonics as nobody wrote it down) "sausa setti." We will eat a few of these for supper and freeze most to transport to CA to share with the extended family at Xmas.

We have plenty for which to be thankful. Our health is better than it was a year ago, our new winter home is getting finishing touches with outstanding landscaping and, this afternoon, our ceiling fans will be installed. 

We've finally unpacked most of the boxes, and identified some additional stuff we should have tossed instead of moving. Finally, it is snowing today in western Wyoming so we've NV sunshine and shirtsleeves weather to be thankful for.

The DrsC wish you all a happy fall harvest festival, with good food, good company and, in the absence of abject gluttony, good digestion. 

New Yorker Plays Catch Up

Almost two weeks ago I wrote the following:
What a mess if in 2024 the nominees are Biden and Trump. Neither is the actual preference of his party but both could end up getting the nod.

Yesterday The New Yorker writes the following:

The election of 2024 might come down to exactly the same choice as the election of 2020: Biden versus Trump. The American public appears to dread a rematch between its two oldest Presidents, and both of them are viewed unfavorably by a majority of the public. In one survey this fall, just six per cent of voters wanted another Biden-Trump face-off. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It might even be one of the likeliest scenarios.

To be clear, author Susan Glasser goes on to indicate that what looks likely at this point has every chance of not happening. After all, in 2016 the frontrunners for the Republican nomination all faded away while Trump came from behind.

My perception: Republicans have a great "bench" of other people I wouldn't mind seeing as president. I'd list Mike Pompeo, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Tom Cotton, for starters. I can't come up with a similar list for Democrats although some might argue for Gavin Newsom.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

When You’ve Lost Salena Zito….

Salena Zito writes for the Washington Examiner, her beat is the back roads of the rust belt. Today she writes of Donald Trump losing his hold on the blue collar people for whom nobody spoke, until he did.

She quotes with approval the following:

Bruce Haynes, a South Carolina native and conservative strategist, said there are 900 ways to say it. “When the concept of Trump was that he stood for the grievances of the voters, they were for him," he said. "At some point, it stopped being about the voters, and it started being about his own personal grievances. And that is when he started losing voters."

There is another piece of this that is pretty difficult for him, said Haynes. “A lot of the ethos of Trump was built around winning, but now he’s being accused by some of having a pretty substantial losing streak," he said.

“He used to say 'they,' now he says 'me,'” said Haynes, “That's where he's lost people — he stood for them, and now he's perceived as standing for himself.”
My opinion: That’s a pretty darn good insight. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Birth and Death of a Non-Event

The current headline at Politico is "U.S. Lawmakers to Foreign Allies: Midterm Results Show Our Democracy Is Safe." As though the issue was ever in doubt? What nonsense.

Even if the prophesied "red wave" had actually occurred, our democracy was still safe. I know, many people, mostly Democrats, lied to you that our democracy was in danger. It wasn't, it isn't, and there is little sign it will be in the foreseeable future.

With the caveat that our governmental form is not, technically, a "democracy" but a representative republic, we'd need to see more than a pack of unarmed yahoos misbehaving at the capitol for our governmental form to be endangered. We'd also need to see more than the orderly changing of nameplates on Congressional offices. 

What truly was at risk was "rule by Democrats;" which is not the definition of "democracy" even if Democrats would ask you to believe it is. 

Weird Metabolic Science

Instapundit links to a Science Alert article about why we gain back weight lost on a diet. I will paraphrase one interesting finding.

We humans walk around in a body designed by evolution to survive in conditions of food scarcity. Our bodies are programmed to eat a lot when food is available because stored fat can help us survive the lean times, like winter and early spring before the new crops come in. 

Modern agriculture and technology mean many of us no longer experience food scarcity, but rather its obverse, food abundance. Evolution - being a slow process - hasn’t caught up with our changed circumstances and isn’t likely to do so within the lifetime of anyone now alive.

In our modern lives food is almost always present, or nearby and available. Controlling our weight in the face of food abundance means fighting our instinctual programming to eat whenever food is available. The hopeful finding, while tentative, is this.

As you lose weight, your brain reduces your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories), making you subtly more efficient. The reality is, if there are two people of identical weight, one weight stable and the other having just lost weight, the latter will have to eat less food to remain the same weight.

It turns out that a hormone secreted from fat called leptin is largely responsible for this. One of leptin's key roles is to let the brain know how much fat you are carrying. The more fat you have, the more leptin is produced. So when you lose weight, your brain senses the corresponding drop in leptin.

What is exciting is that scientists have shown that if you administer just enough leptin to fool your brain into thinking you haven't lost any weight, then many of these weight-loss-related changes are mitigated. There is no treatment based on these findings yet – but watch this space.

Imagine if you could diet down to your preferred weight and then take a daily leptin pill to keep from gaining it all back. Now that would be something fine, sez I, who have been plump essentially forever. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Different Slant

Writing for Politico, Seth Masket makes a point I haven't seen elsewhere explaining the atypical outcome of the recent election. He concludes:

Republicans are understandably disappointed by the election outcome this year. But one of the core reasons is they secured a huge policy win, one that they’ve advocated for nearly half a century. And despite those self-imposed headwinds, Republicans still took the House, albeit narrowly. If that’s the cost, the GOP arguably got a good deal.

The "huge policy win" he refers to is the Dobbs SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The red wave outcome we expected would still have left Joe Biden as President in place to veto Republican policy initiatives. From that perspective, the lesser outcome we got isn't bad. 

Saturday Snark

A good haul this week.
Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures.