Sunday, July 31, 2022

German Gas Shortage

Germany made a decision to become dependent on Russian natural gas, piped in via the NordStream pipelines. Their Green Party insisted on a reduction in burning coal and running nuclear reactors to generate electricity, and the German government caved.

One presumes the Germans reasoned that Russia would become as dependent on German euros as Germany was on Russian gas. Given a healthy market economy and representative government in both countries, that might have proven to be the case.

However, the Russian economy isn't exactly a market economy, beset as it is by oligarchs. And Putin isn't a freely elected official, chosen in a competitive marketplace of candidates and ideas. Putin is more-or-less "president for life" and at his behest, the Russian army attacked Ukraine. With NATO, Germany has supported Ukraine.

Echoing the motto of the Starks from Game of Thrones: Winter is coming. Germany is worrying about Russia cutting off their gas supply. With a shortage of gas, or maybe a shutoff, things will get uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous for Germans. 

Once again Germany will live with the consequences of its unfortunate choices. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel was a particularly unfortunate choice who pursued many wrong-headed policies, not just reliance on Russian gas.

Homicidal Maniacs

The New York Post has an excellent article about so-called "civil liberties" groups opposing forced medication of violent mentally ill individuals who are allowed to roam at will. Such individuals, acting out their delusions, kill or maim innocent bystanders with some frequency. Examples from NYC are given.

As regular readers know, we believe our society's failure to care for, and warehouse, the delusional mentally ill is a major policy failure. And it's a failure whose fault lies with both left and right.

The left doesn't want to "interfere" with the freedom of people to be "as zany as they choose to be." The right doesn't want to spend the enormous sums necessary to get the delusional into inpatient treatment. 

Neither side seems capable of imagining some middle ground where, for such broken individuals, a condition of limited liberty is predicated on non-optional, supervised-and-scheduled medication dosing. The alternative for those who will not or cannot comply: a long-term loss of personal freedom.

Our safety requires nothing less.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Our Local Story, Revisited

The Federalist sent their western correspondent to Wyoming to talk to my fellow residents about our Congresswoman Liz Cheney (RINO-WY) who seeks reelection. Unsurprisingly, he didn't find many Cheney supporters to interview.

In the two western WY counties where I spend most of my late spring-summer-early fall, I have seen exactly 2 Cheney signs and literally hundreds of Harriet Hageman signs, she's Cheney's main GOP competitor. Dick Cheney was liked here and Liz will probably get a double handful of votes from those who consider her father a friend.

Nobody much thinks she has a chance at renomination in Wyoming's Republican primary. And she's delusional if she thinks she has a shot at a presidential nomination from either party

Pelosi's Dems consider Cheney a useful quisling and the MAGA GOP sees her as a traitor. Her best bet is a panelist slot on MSNBC where she can be their never-Trump faux Republican. I'm not the only one who holds this view:

Image courtesy of The Week in Pictures at Power Line.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Real Problem, Maybe Wrong Treatment

I've been wondering when someone would have the courage to write skeptically about the sudden interest in, and advocacy for, transexual individuals. I'm not particularly surprised to find John Hinderaker of Power Line has done so. 

When an individual looks at his or her body and concludes that somehow they've been given the wrong "plumbing" or gender, logically there is problem at one end of their body. That end is the one with eyes and ears, not the end with sex-specific physiology. 

The problem is in their head; whatever 'wiring' people get mentally to go along with their chromosomes (either XX or XY) is, in that individual, malfunctioning. I'm certain the condition is uncomfortable. I believe the sufferers want help.

We aren't good at helping delusional individuals perceive the world as it is. At most, psychiatry manages to enable clients to more-or-less function with an on-going chemical assist. 

At this point, medical 'help' for transexuals consists of rather crudely "whittling" on their physiology to make it kinda, sorta conform to their delusional mental image. There is no changing the XX or XY of our cells.

We don't have a lot of "ten years later" success stories for sex change surgery, or for puberty blocking for that matter. We do see quite a few stories of individuals who had the surgery and later regretted it. Perhaps we should take a pause to evaluate how best to help individuals with this uncomfortable condition.

Thursday, July 28, 2022


Instapundit Glenn Reynolds also writes a weekly column for the New York Post. Today he writes about Americans' lack of trust in many of our national institutions.

A recent University of Chicago Institute of Politics poll found that a majority of Americans think that the government is “corrupt and rigged against people like me.”

Why do people feel that way? Well, that’s a real poser, but I’m going to offer a suggestion: They feel that way because they’ve noticed that the government is corrupt and rigged against people like them.

With the DOJ, FBI and CIA more or less openly playing hardball politics and a President whose immediate family appears to be in the pocket of ChiCom interests, "corrupt and rigged" is a logical, data-based conclusion for Americans to draw.

Recession … It’s Official

Reuters reports the U.S. economy experienced a second quarter of economic shrinkage, carries the story.

The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter, with consumer spending growing at its slowest pace in two years and business spending declining.

While the second straight quarterly decline in gross domestic product reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday largely reflected a more moderate pace of inventory accumulation by businesses due to ongoing shortages of motor vehicles, the economic profile was weak, with exports as the only bright spot.

Gross domestic product fell at a 0.9% annualized rate last quarter, the government said in its advance estimate of GDP.

The Bidenistas will try to confuse the issue, don’t be fooled. When a nation’s economy contracts for two quarters in a row, that economy is in recession. That very simply is the definition of a recession - a period of non-transient, non-catastrophic-but-unpleasant economic decline. Catastrophic decline is called a depression.

For the sake of those who are of employment age, let us hope the recession is neither severe nor long-lasting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

A Research Question

NBC News and various other outlets are reporting some percentage of people who've had Covid-19 and lost their sense of smell still suffer at least part of the loss a year later. Sense of taste, which is related to smell, is also involved.

This has me wondering whether these individuals lose weight because (a) they experience less of the scent/flavor "reward" that comes with eating and drinking tasty things and (b) therefore eat less? It stands to reason that if food tastes flat you'll be less motivated to take that next bite, and the one after that.

The alternative hypothesis is that as persons with less scent/flavor perception gets less reward per bite, they'll eat more bites to get the same total positive experience. They would therefore gain weight. 

My gut says the first hypothesis is correct. Will someone study this please?

A Second Shoe Drops

On Sunday we gave you a heads-up about a Fed funds rate increase coming today. It has arrived, as Forbes reports:

At the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting, the Federal Open Markets Committee said Wednesday afternoon it voted unanimously to raise the federal funds rate (the rate at which commercial banks borrow and lend reserves) by 75 basis points, for a second time in a row, to a target range of 2.25% to 2.5%.

You should interpret this action as the Federal Reserve Bank being quite concerned to slow the current high rate of inflation. Let's hope they can damp the inflation without causing a recession, but don't count on that difficult-to-achieve sequence of events. 

Another source reports bank repos of recently purchased autos are on the rise, which tends to be a leading indicator of recession. You'll know it is serious when home prices begin to fall, hints of which may have already happened in some markets.

Dealing with Addiction

Writing for RealClearInvestigations, Leighton Woodhouse details the sad story of a man whose young adult son was addicted to drugs and eventually died as various medical and rehab places didn't do everything possible to save him. Seen from the parents' perspective, it is hard not to sympathize.

So I ask myself, why did the various hospitals and clinics the lad came into contact with treat him perfunctorily? Obviously I don't know for sure but I suspect the answer is buried in some of the following suppositions.

Had the young man been the first drug addict they'd ever treated, they might have done more. Sad experience has shown many such places that most addicts cannot be turned around and detoxed more than briefly. After many failures the clinics end up going through the motions, convinced doing more is futile.

There is no place to send addicts unless they volunteer, and few do. Even then, there are probably too few beds and a waiting list for the few volunteers for rehab/detox. While waiting, they go back on drugs.

The young man was also described as psychotic in addition to his addiction, and the write-up tries to blame the psychosis on the drugs. Perhaps so, but I suspect it is equally likely that the drugs were his self-help attempt to medicate for the psychosis, to ease or suppress his mental pain and confusion.

I sometimes wonder if Washington's policy-making swamp-dwellers don't very privately view the fentanyl deaths as a kind of self-administered final solution for screwed up people. They would not admit holding such a view, but I infer its existence from their policy choices.

Consumer Confidence Down

 The Daily Caller reports the following from The Conference Board:

Consumer confidence declined for the third straight month in June, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The Consumer Confidence Survey “details consumer attitudes, buying intentions, vacation plans, and consumer expectations for inflation, stock prices, and interest rates,” according to The Conference Board, a non-profit business research group.

The survey, conducted by the technology company Toluna and based on an online sample, currently stands at 95.7, down 2.7 points from 98.4 in June.

Of course, this bad news has negative political consequences for the Democrats, perceived to be “in charge.”

Sunday, July 24, 2022

A Trifecta Plus One

Politico, which leans left, but doesn't lie much, writes the following about the upcoming news of our economy, all in the next week (emphases added).

Consumer confidence numbers (which currently stink) hit on Tuesday. A Federal Reserve meeting and decision on interest rates, coupled with a press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, follows up on Wednesday

The first reading on second quarter economic growth drops on Thursday. And the latest numbers on our vexing run of historically high consumer price inflation close out the monster run of data on Friday. In a note to clients today, analysts at Deutsche Bank suggested the flood of information will “leave you breathless.”

It is likely to be mostly bad news for the beleaguered Biden administration while providing talking points for Republicans running in November. The folks who bragged Nobel economist Milton Friedman was no longer running the show have demonstrated their ignorance.

The results of which ignorance we now get to 'enjoy.' Meanwhile Kipling's Gods of the Copybook Headings smile knowingly.

Hydroelectric Generation Is Best

People continue to argue over the feasibility of wind and photovoltaic solar power generation. Most of the evidence I've seen says they produce little power, do so at unrealistically high cost, and provide power only intermittently.  

The real solar power that is reliable, renewable, and storable without vast battery farms is hydroelectric power generation. It is solar because sunlight evaporates water which becomes clouds, produces rain and snow which accumulate as water in mountain reservoirs, and can be released through generation turbines as and when needed to generate electric power. 

Obviously drought is a problem for hydroelectric power, but is less common than the nights, cloudy days, and calm no-wind periods which plague wind and solar. Unlike fossil fuel and nuclear power, hydroelectric produces no toxic or otherwise problematic byproducts and its storage reservoirs provide lakes for recreation.

Most of my long life I've resided within a dozen or so miles of one or another hydroelectric reservoir and invariably found them to be fine 'neighbors.'

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Saturday Snark

Coming soon to a highway near you.
Image courtesy of the Comments section of The Week in Pictures 
at Power Line.

Friday, July 22, 2022

A Prediction and A Problem

Writing for the Jewish World Review, long-time political analyst Michael Barone asks and answers the question “How inevitable is a third consecutive nomination of Donald Trump?” You’ll find his answer interesting:

Can Ron DeSantis win a one-on-one race against Donald Trump? Current polling tells me the answer is, sure he could.

Unfortunately, Barone doesn’t deal with the prediction, made elsewhere, that if Trump failed to secure a nomination which he sought, he would torpedo the candidacy of whoever did win the nomination. Not for Trump the famous Reagan Eleventh Commandment - “speak ill of no Republican.” 

He would deliver himself of a stream of his well-known name-calling put-downs and second guessing. The legacy media would be only too happy to publicize these attacks. 

Even many of his friends and supporters will allow that Trump’s primary loyalty is to himself, not to the GOP. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Grasping at Straws

I find this insight more than reasonable, with globalism dead, what is next? Richard Fernandez, whose blog is the Belmont Club at PJ Media, Tweets as wretchardthecat. I found the Tweet at an Instapundit post by Ed Driscoll.

Trump Damaged?

Politico today runs an article claiming the Jan. 6 investigation committee is, after all, damaging former president Donald Trump’s reputation. They attribute this damage to the drip, drip, drip of negative news about what went down that day.

I’m no noted expert on such matters and perhaps they are correct. Or maybe people are just tired of hearing about the whole thing which is now, in the fast-paced world of politics, ancient history.

To the extent to which I have any political perception, I attribute Trump’s waning clout to his refusal to stop saying “I wuz robbed” and instead talk about Biden’s failures and how those compare unfavorably with his own successes. And of course about where he believes we should be headed going forward. 

The key comparison is not Trump vs Biden, but rather Trump vs DeSantis. Trump is talking about the past whereas DeSantis is busy in Florida making the Republican future happen. Plus he is decades younger - Trump needs to up his game.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

What Is Left Unsaid

The New York Times writes a nice long article about problems the military is having with recruiting, echoed here beyond the paywall by Yahoo News. It is well-written, reader-friendly, and tries to explain the difficulty using economic and demographic issues, which no doubt play a part in difficulties with filling quotas.

I read all the way to the bottom, and nowhere did author Philipps mention that the military's efforts to be sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ persons might be a major turnoff to the young blue collar men who have traditionally filled the enlisted ranks. These tend to be socially conservative.

Gosh, I guess that issue doesn't fit the NYT's narrative stream. Other sources report military families are telling their kids to look elsewhere for careers.

Two Days Later ... Instapundit Glenn Reynolds writes a column for the New York Post which makes these same points, in greater detail.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Home Truth

An academic named Freddie deBoer writes at Substack about how kids perform in school. 

The brute reality is that most kids slot themselves into academic ability bands early in life and stay there throughout schooling. We have a certain natural level of performance, gravitate towards it early on, and are likely to remain in that band relative to peers until our education ends. (snip) Most everybody stays in about the same place relative to peers over academic careers. The consequences of this are immense, as it is this relative position, not learning itself, which is rewarded economically and socially in our society.

Say what you will about eugenics; today's conventional wisdom is that it is hateful and evil. As a society, for five thousand years China has given the high performers deBoer writes about preferred places in society where they have better access to nutrition, healthier environments, and occupations that are less physically risky. As a result the children of those so chosen have had better chances of survival.

It is not surprising that today ethnic Chinese average higher scores on IQ tests than any other group. As a society they have been breeding for this trait for thousands of years. Maybe the eugenics was intentional, perhaps it wasn't. In any event, the result is as indicated. I'm not certain why nobody talks about this. (full disclosure - I am not Asian)

Afterthought: Natural selection (evolution) works.

The Local Race, a Deep Dive

The Washington Examiner's chief political correspondent Byron York does a whole column on the Liz Cheney campaign to retain the Republican nomination for Wyoming's only Congressional seat. York cites a Casper Star Tribune poll which finds Cheney's main competitor - Harriet Hageman - ahead 52% to Cheney's 30%. Why? A bit of history is in order:

Cheney's family roots in Wyoming go back generations. But, as CNN noted in 2013, Cheney herself "was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Virginia's DC suburbs before attending college in Colorado and law school in Illinois ... She spent most of her career working in the nation's capital before moving to Wyoming last year."

As York notes, Wyoming Republicans weren't amused when she tried to unseat our Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY). Cheney looked like a carpetbagger then and our people let her know it. 

Now as she collaborates with Nancy Pelosi she acts like a carpetbagger. We are not amused, it is clear with whom her sympathies lie.

It appears that yes, Liz Cheney is toast. But just remember, when news coverage of her race focuses on Trump, Trump, Trump, Cheney's problems in Wyoming started well before Donald Trump became a serious political force. Recent events have just brought those long-standing problems back to the fore.

Our primary occurs on August 16, so we'll know her WY fate soon. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Saturday Snark

Have you noticed that Branco draws Donald Trump's face looking like Christopher Walken? I don't see the resemblance. Image courtesy of the comments section on The Week in Pictures at Power Line, which isn't on hiatus after all.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Home on the Range

Someone with the screen name "" likes to play with data provided by USDA Quickstats. Here is a map Davis created showing which counties have more livestock than people.

My preference is to live where there are more cattle than people. Range cattle are quite nice neighbors, for 33 years in CA we shared a fence line with 300 acres of winter pasture (do avoid feedlots). Hat tip to the other DrC for the link.

A Nice Visualization

Source is Visual Capitalist where you can find interesting details. It is a great way to get a sense of the relative size of various nations' economies. 
It doesn't show per-capita economic strength. China's economy is nearly the size of ours, but they have more than three times the population. Considering Singapore is roughly the size of a U.S. county, it is a very wealthy place. Hat tip to the other DrC for the link.

A Dilemma Described

Writing for New York magazine, and echoed outside their paywall by, Jonathan Chait observes the interesting dilemma confronting the Democrats. He notes two interesting things:

The wealthy hold a disproportionate influence on the elite in both parties, pulling Democrats to the left of their voters on social issues, and Republicans to the right of their voters on economic issues.

Stripped of their ability to run on taxing the rich, Democrats lose the backbone of their populist connection to Americans of modest means. The party’s long-term political crisis is rooted in the defections of its non-college-educated voters: The white working class has fled, and now the non-white working class is beginning to drift away, too. The party is being trapped in a worldview shaped by the cultural priorities of its college-educated elite.

Meanwhile, as I wrote Wednesday, enrollments in higher education have dropped by over a million in the last two years. That decline will be reflected in fewer "college-educated" potential Democrats going forward. 

Comments concerning the proximity of rocks to hard places seem appropriate at this juncture, do they not?

Kotkin: Idle Hands

The hyper-productive and frequently interesting Joel Kotkin writes at Unherd about the trend across developed nations of young people dropping out of both politics and the workforce. It is even a problem in China and Japan.

Today, an estimated one-third of America’s working-age males are not working.

A recent analysis of Federal Reserve data shows that young Americans with a college degree today earn about as much as their Boomer grandparents without degrees did at the same age. Upwards of 40% of recent college graduates have jobs that don’t require a degree at all. In 2018, half of all college grads made under $30,000 annually, and another recent study suggests that most underemployed graduates remain that way permanently.

This prospect — of governments providing their citizens with unearned lucre to boost consumption — would seem a natural fit for a population that is unmotivated and often lacks useful skills. Rather than working, people can live in subsidised apartments and spend their time feeding their cats, losing themselves in the emerging metaverse, drinking, and smoking pot as they grow old without ever starting a family.

Marxists and social democrats, whatever their flaws, traditionally celebrated work. They did not envision a a stagnant, oligarchic society that would come to resemble the last centuries of the Roman Empire or Qing dynasty China. As author Aaron Renn suggests, societies where income transfers have become a way of life tend to be bad for their members.

We see this new, ugly reality emerging as unemployment rates, employment rates, and birth rates decline. Increasing numbers neither work nor look for work. 

To which I’d add, where do all the fentanyl deaths come from? The only place you’d get fentanyl is street drugs. Do they use drugs because they’ve given up, can’t stand their own pointlessness?

I’ve known families where access to funds-earned-by-parent basically destroyed adult children’s lives. It is the phenomenon described above happening within a family, and a horrid example of unintended consequences. 

We do healthy, adult, working-age people no favors when we make it possible for them to live without working. People with that much free time and lack of structure get into trouble.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Dobbs May Not Be the Trigger

On Monday I wrote that we might see what I called "cultural migrants" moving from red to blue states in order that they might achieve legal protection for what I called their "personal proclivities." I remain convinced that could at some point happen.

However, today comes an article in The Atlantic, echoed at, which argues that the Dobbs decision alone probably won't trigger such moves. Some of the key points made:

How heavily will American liberals weigh a possible future need against quality of life in the here and now? On the whole, left-leaning states have higher costs of living than right-leaning ones.

Although abortion is a common medical procedure, most women will never have one. But all women will need to keep up with the cost of living for wherever they choose to live.

On the other hand, if the new SCOTUS conservative super-majority picks up Justice Thomas' challenge to overturn other "protections" the Warren and Burger courts perceived as implied by the Constitution, you could still see some cultural migration occur. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

College Enrollment Down

RealClearEducation runs a story about enrollment declines in higher education - that's basically everything from podunk community colleges to Harvard.

College enrollment had been falling by about 1% each year for a decade before the pandemic, but COVID-19 accelerated that trend. In the past two years, more than 1 million students have walked away from higher education.

Actually, this is probably a good thing. Lots of jobs don't really require the skills learned in college but are being filled by graduates who then don't earn enough to repay their student loans. This was a trend started by the GI Bill following the World War II demobilization. 

There was concern that the flood of GIs leaving the service would create overwhelming unemployment and a consequent depression. Hence the government instituted the GI Bill to fund their further education (and keep them out of the workforce for 1-4 years. 

Employers decided to begin requiring a college degree for jobs for which a high school diploma previously sufficed, because there was a big supply of degreed grads. This behavior sent a signal to those still in high school that a college degree was now needed to compete in the job market.

Things were probably better when college graduates were either (a) damn smart or (b) extremely hard working. Either characteristic recommended them to employers, who need both traits. And in those days most degrees led to some kind of employment.

The development of the so-called "studies" degrees - Women's Studies, Native American Studies, Hispanic Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Environment Studies, etc. - has been a scam perpetrated by college administrators as a way to add advocates for various "victim" groups to the faculty. This was necessitated by the need to meet the de facto quotas which no one admits exist.

Euro Falls Below Dollar Parity

A dollar will buy you a euro, for the first time in nearly 20 years. At one point today you could buy 10,000 euros for $9998. 

I’m accustomed to thinking a euro will cost me perhaps $1.30 when I travel in Europe. What does this mean economically? Reuters comments:

The likes of sterling and the yen have also slid this year, partly because of more aggressive U.S. rate hikes have boosted the dollar's appeal and also as global recession fears have sent investors flocking to the safe-haven dollar.

Translation: The expectation of inflation in Europe is greater than in the U.S., and those with money would rather hold dollars. Interruptions of Russian oil and gas as a result of sanctions imposed because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are undoubtedly a factor.

Implication: European (or Canadian) travel could be a relative bargain this summer, get your Covid booster shot before going.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Hinderaker on Teacher Unions

Power Line's John Hinderaker blames teacher unions for many of the difficulties our young people are having post-pandemic. See what he writes:

The public is finally beginning to realize that teachers’ unions, far from being advocates for our children, are their worst enemies. The teachers’ unions should be publicly shamed, teachers should drop out of them, and voters should select school board candidates who pledge to oppose the teachers’ unions, not to slavishly follow their orders, as has usually been the case in many states.

Not just at the K-12 level either, those in higher education are nearly as bad. As a Management professor I refused to join the union representing faculty, and was required to pay an in-lieu "representation fee." 

From this I believe they took funds to donate to the campaigns of Democrats whom I did not support. Bitter much? Believe it.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Our Local Soap Opera

I call it a tossup, they're both toast. The WY primary is held Aug. 16, 2022, so the crush is just over a month away. Image courtesy of the July 12, 2022,

The Big Sort, 2.0?

The recent Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court, overturning Roe v. Wade, is likely to accelerate the internal migration of Americans. Heretofore, much of the migration to low tax red states has been driven by economics. Both individuals and companies tend to prefer a lower tax burden, let's call them "economic migrants."

I wonder if Dobbs and perhaps future SCOTUS actions overturning certain of the more imaginative interpretations by the Warren and Burger courts might cause migration in the other direction, to blue states? These people we might call "cultural migrants." Those would be seeking state legal protections for their personal proclivities which red states might choose not to protect, or even to outlaw.

Assuming an increased degree of federalism, we could end up with two quite different Americas, as people continue to sort themselves out. As noted earlier, the times we live in are interesting.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Comparing CA and FL

Writing at The American Spectator, Debra J. Saunders observes CA Gov. Newsom's TV ad criticizing FL policies and urging people to move to CA. She finds the ad's idea risible. 

Comparing the government policies in FL and CA, she sees little to like in those of CA, much to like in those of FL. And she concludes:

It’s a pipe dream to think Americans would prefer California, which is losing people, to the Sunshine State, which has been gaining residents.

Given the way both states are currently being run, she is of course correct. And yet, as a CA native who has visited FL roughly a dozen times, if you can ignore the government policies of each, CA comes out totally ahead.

Both have warm weather, but CA's low humidity is much more comfortable day to day. FL is humid, flat, often swampy, and has hungry alligators, horrendous thunderstorms, and hurricanes. 

CA has great variety: big mountains, marvelous farm land, beautiful beaches, large forests, deserts, and multiple national parks. In a weekend you could literally ski one day and surf the next without leaving the state. 

One way FL truly excels, the oceans that fringe it are much warmer than the chilly Pacific along the CA coast. CA surfers often wear wet suits.

FL is an okay place well-managed whereas CA is a spectacular place badly managed. Currently for most people FL's sensible management outweighs the natural endowments of CA. 

FL is gaining residents, CA is losing them. One exception: CA is the more comfortable place to "live rough" and it continues to gain homeless residents.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Saturday Snark

Our WY coal is from open pit mining, dug by guys operating huge machines above ground.
This would be funnier if it did not accurately describe the "woke" perspective. Both images courtesy of Steven Hayward's The Week in Pictures at Power Line, which will be on hiatus for the next month.

Bye-ku for Psaki

Writing the previous bye-ku reminded me I’d forgotten to compose one for former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Herewith I remedy that oversight.

Clarifying Joe’s

Elder drivel was a pslog, 

Poor, psad Jen Psaki.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Bye-ku for Boris

In our usual tradition, we write a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - for Boris Johnson who is stepping down as head of the Tory Party in the U.K. and therefore as Prime Minister.

A one-hit wonder,

Brexit your sole legacy,

Mad, zany Boris.

Evil Ingenuity

Good luck with banning firearms. This assassin just murdered former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe using a homemade "zip gun," seen at lower right. Image source: Daily Mail (U.K.).

Irregular Warfare Explained

Writing at Small Wars Journal, two authors analyze how weaker forces can and do win wars of liberation against apparently stronger opponents. Their focus is on what is happening currently in Ukraine, but they bring n examples from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The first thing they identify is the stronger force misunderstanding the motives of the apparently weaker force, believing winning “hearts and minds” is possible when it mostly is not. 

At its essence, guerrilla war boils down to a weak actor gaining a temporary force advantage in tactical situations in which they can “get in, destroy the enemy, seize some useful gear, and get out” before the opponent can bring sufficient counterforce to bear. This is accomplished in part because of “home-field advantage,” meaning the Ukrainians know the terrain (both rural and urban) better than the Russians.

It helps if the supposedly stronger attacking force (in this case Russia) has a corrupt military leadership diverting armaments budget to their own pockets in various creative ways. A final excellent point they make is this one.

A final important element in cases where the weak win wars: superior leadership. Leaders are effective to the degree they are like their followers. No other world leader represents their people more than President Volodymyr Zelensky does for Ukrainians. 
His self-shot videos from the streets of Kyiv convey commitment and loyalty to the cause. Zelensky wears military-green t-shirts, he looks exhausted, all the while he and his family remain in harm’s way. He illustrates everything that it means to be Ukrainian right now.

Camped in the snow at Valley Forge, George Washington shared his men's hardships. He too had a supposedly weaker force. Like the U.S. in Afghanistan, eventually the Brits got tired and went home. Which leaves us with the question of what it will take for the Russians to "get tired and go home" as they too did in Afghanistan?

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Gallup: These Gloomy Times

For several days I've seen reports of a new Gallup survey of public confidence in various public "institutions." I've held off commenting as those write-ups were opaque and hard to decipher. 

Now Steven Hayward of Power Line has a clear, easy to grasp presentation of the findings, which he posts before going overseas for a vacation lasting several weeks (a major advantage of academia I remember with fondness). If the chart is too small, go to Hayward's column where it is clear:

In literally no institution did the confidence level increase. Confidence dropped in 15 of 16 institutions surveyed, the exception was organized labor which hasn't been much in the news in the past year. 

Big losers were "the presidency" and "the U.S. Supreme Court." Most others lost about 5%. These aren't optimistic times; other surveys show high percentages believe our nation is on the "wrong track."

A Recommendation

Bob McManus, in an excellent column for the New York Post, considers the gangbanger-as-gunslinger issue and the crazy loner shooter issue as two sides of the same bent coin. That "coin" being the reluctance to incarcerate criminals and coercively treat demonstrated madness and addiction. 

Our society currently manifests both of these related failures-of-judgment. His relatively brief column is worth reading.

My only concern about "coercively treated madness" is that, in a society as ideologically split as ours, one side might decide to treat all on the other side as deranged and lock up half the country.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Population Movements During COVID

The other DrC gave me a link to an Axios story which includes an interactive map showing the growth (or shrinkage) figures for each U.S. county during the Covid-19 epidemic. The map is color coded for degree of growth (green) or shrinkage (purplish). 

I can't reproduce the map here, its interactive nature means it is backed up by a ton of data. If you're interested the link above will take you to it. With some careful mouse work, I managed to locate each of the counties the DrsC have lived in over the last 20 years. Some have grown, some shrunk.

Scanning the entire map, what stands out is the growth in the mountain West (ID, MT, UT, NV, CO) plus Texas and the southeast (from TN to FL). Axios attributes the shifts to the work-from-home movement given a big boost by Covid. 

Many big urban areas were losers, not a surprise. They were Covid hotspots during the worst of the epidemic. Riding public transportation and high-rise elevators is like sharing a toothbrush with Typhoid Mary.

Mass Shootings

Another mass shooting, this time in a Chicago suburb, at a Fourth of July parade. Once again an examination of the shooter's web presence reveals him to be a weird duck loner who has posted his weirdness for all to see. 

There seems to be a pattern of such demonstrably kinked individuals deciding to take revenge on society. Nearly all of them have sent relatively clear signals online indicating they dream of or plan awful actions.

I suspect the very existence and anonymity of the web encourages people to explore "super-hero/super-villain" versions of self. This exploration leads some to become emboldened to try out those imaginings in person.

Has anybody done a survey of online postings to see how many potential mass murderers we may have in our midst? I wonder what percentage ever get around to carrying out their lovingly imagined dastardly deeds?

Doesn't it make sense for some organization to fund studying this phenomenon? Make an attempt to decipher the signals that suggest when they get serious about turning their imagined suicide death cult into reality? 

I believe it would be possible to create AI to look for patterns of postings, key terms or ideas, and identify the really bent people for follow-up, for live investigators to "red flag" them for non-ownership of guns, maybe even for treatment.

Afterthought: Yet another "known wolf" killer.

Monday, July 4, 2022


Over 50 years ago today the other DrC and I had our first date. We watched East Bay Fourth of July fireworks followed, if I remember correctly, by pie and coffee. 

We celebrate this anniversary, if we are in the U.S., by watching fireworks wherever we are. It's a marvelous tradition.

Honoring The Glorious Fourth

In honor of this Independence Day, Instapundit echoes a Karol Markowicz Tweet:

I think of America-haters as very shallow people. No depth. Not worldly. Intellectually weak. Privileged.

COTTonLINE concurs completely. 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Looking Ahead

Forbes reports poll findings that are a wow:

Just 29% of Americans want President Joe Biden to run for re-election while 39% want former President Donald Trump to run in 2024, according to a poll released Friday by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and Harris Insight and Analytics.

 Meanwhile, a recent Emerson College poll finds:

The national survey shows Trump leading Biden 44 percent to 39 percent in a head-to-head match-up, while another 12 percent of voters say they plan to vote for someone else.

For purposes of discussion, let's presume both are more-or-less accurate reflections of the national mood. What should we conclude?

  • Both Biden and Trump are popular with less than half the electorate.
  • Both are at an age Brits sarcastically call "waiting for God."
  • Biden is less popular than Trump, but their match-up - should it occur - will be a contest between two individuals neither of whom is popular with anything like a majority of the voters.
  • Understanding these numbers, both parties should nominate individuals with less baggage and a more positive image with voters.

In spite of the above, for different reasons neither party is likely to nominate someone other than those two gentlemen. The Democrats' logical second choice - Harris - is less popular than Biden. CA Gov. Gavin Newsom might be a possible, but imagine the optics of Democrats refusing to nominate a woman of color.

If Trump wants the nomination and doesn't get it, he will likely do his level best to torpedo the candidacy of whoever is nominated. The only way the GOP gets to nominate likely alternative FL Gov. DeSantis is if Trump chooses not to run. This I'll believe when I hear him say it in public, on the record, followed by an endorsement of DeSantis. Don't hold your breath awaiting this event.

My tentative conclusion: With the caveat that 2 years is an eternity in politics and barring a heavenly intervention, we will see a match-up of Trump and Biden in 2024. 

It certainly won't be the first time realistic people will choose to vote for the least bad candidate. I've rather made a habit of doing so.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Saturday Snark

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

Friday, July 1, 2022

More About Gas Prices

About the previous post, one of the issues is a shortage of refining capacity. The CEO of Chevron has said the last significant new oil refinery built in the U.S. was in the 1970s, 1976 to be precise. He added that there may never be another built, obviously reflecting the environmentalists’ desire to wean us off of fossil fuels.

During the pandemic when gasoline demand was lower, some refineries were repurposed to produce bio-diesel from vegetable oils and no longer refine petroleum. Now as demand for gasoline and diesel has risen to pre-pandemic levels we lack refining capacity to produce all we need. 

An economist will tell you that today’s higher prices are the logical way to trim petroleum demand, even though the process is painful. They call this “price rationing” and it forces people to make decisions about where they live, shop, and recreate which, in the medium run result in less fuel being purchased. 

Higher fuel prices will also reduce demand for other products and services as discretionary funds are diverted to essential fuel purchases. This will contribute to the predicted recession’s higher unemployment and reduced economic activity.

I personally know of one small business - a retiree hauling decorative bark for landscaping - who quit as a result of higher diesel prices making the business no longer profitable. Multiply that by thousands and you get a recession.