Monday, December 4, 2023

Brrrrr

Reuters reports the following news which will delight the global warming fantasists among you. My immediate thought: better there than here.

Temperatures in parts of Siberia plummeted to minus 56 degrees Celsius (minus 69 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday while blizzards blanketed Moscow in record snowfall and disrupted flights as winter weather swept across Russia.

Meanwhile, up home in WY the stage is set for a white Christmas (see below), while here on the eastern edge of the Mojave it is still shirtsleeves at midday, and a light jacket in late afternoon. 

Migratory birds aren't all that dumb.

Assimilation Is Essential

Interesting quote, attributed to tech pioneer Marc Andreessen.
The most serious problem in any organization is the one that cannot be discussed.

Reacting to that concept, and writing at Substack, Arnold Kling notes:

The political elites do not want to discuss the issue of how to handle large-scale migration of people from the global South to the global North. Underlying this is an unwillingness to discuss cultural differences between the WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) and the rest. And an unwillingness to favor the former over the latter. Consequently, these leaders face populist revolts, surprising them with Donald Trump, Brexit, Geert Wilders, and the Irish anti-immigrant riot.

People outside the progressive elites can see with our own eyes that immigrants from the global South into Western Europe are not assimilating. Right-wing intellectuals use expressions like “invasion” or “great replacement.” But their fears are not allowed to be discussed in polite company.

The Democratic left does not want to champion assimilation, because doing so would concede the conservative proposition that our culture is in some respects superior and worth assimilating into.

Kling leaves out of his list of successful anti-immigrant pols Giorgia Meloni and Viktor Orban.

COTTonLINE believes: Not all cultures are created equal. If you move to my country you adopt my culture's major outlines and values, full stop. 

Weird Aging Science

Instapundit links to a very odd study done in Australia, and perhaps Britain. The issue is the extent to which various factors contribute to biological aging, defined thus. Note British spelling of "aging."

Biological ageing refers to cumulative damage to the body’s tissues and cells, irrespective of chronological age.

And the researchers summarize their findings thusly.

Our findings demonstrate that housing circumstances have a significant impact on biological ageing, even more so than other important social determinants, such as unemployment, for example, and therefore health impacts should be an important consideration shaping housing policies.

Reporting on the study, the NY Post adds:

The research found renting had worse effects on biological age than being unemployed (adding 1.4 weeks per year), obesity (adding 1 week per year), or being a former smoker (adding about 1.1 weeks).

University of Adelaide Professor of Housing Research Emma Baker said private renting added “about two-and-a-half weeks of aging” per year to a person’s biological clock, compared to those who own their homes.

In fact, private rental is the really interesting thing here, because social renters, for some reason, don’t seem to have that effect,” Professor Baker told the ABC News Daily podcast.

"Social renters" refers to people living in public housing.

I need to caution readers that correlation ≠ causation. When two factors occur together one of them may cause the other, or perhaps a third, unmentioned factor causes both. Regular readers have seen this caveat before.

It is likely something else is causing both being a renter and the health deficit implied in "biological aging." Very possibly poverty or personal factors like marginal employability, mental problems or a criminal record. We know racial discrimination wasn't involved as all participants were of European stock.  

Bye-Ku for Burgum

It is widely reported that ND Gov. Doug Burgum has suspended (i.e., ended) his effort to attain the GOP presidential nomination for 2024. As is our COTTonLINE custom, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to Gov. Burgum.

Bye-bye Doug Burgum.
Deep pockets were not enough,
Your shtick did not click.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Cheney Irrelevancy

 Headline in Politico.

Liz Cheney would rather see Democrats win in 2024.

Of course she would, what's that old chestnut about a woman scorned? On a happier note, it is certain she won't be winning anything in 2024. 

We don't miss her in Wyoming, where she was more visitor than resident. When her name pops up now, the feeling is "There was a time when you were somebody."

Hat tip to Robert Ludlum for the title styling.

UAW Sides with Hamas

Politico reports the United Auto Workers labor union has called for a ceasefire in Gaza. UAW president Shawn Fain posted at X, the former Twitter as follows:

I am proud that the UAW International Union is calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. From opposing fascism in WWII to mobilizing against apartheid South Africa and the CONTRA war, the @UAW has consistently stood for justice across the globe.

He lumps Israel in with Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, and Nicaraguan anti-Communists. It's not an analogy many Americans would make. 

Certainly not one President Biden shares. Biden openly sided with the UAW recently during their strike, this is a rude way to repay his support.

On the other hand, The Hill adds this to their reporting on the story.

Detroit, the UAW’s strongest base, is home to one of the largest populations of Muslim and Arab Americans in the country, headlined by Dearborn, Mich., home to Ford.

My cynical take: there aren't a lot of Jews assembling cars. 

Our Pinochet?

Writing for the Washington Post, and weirdly out from behind their paywall, Robert Kagan writes a long opinion piece on why the probabilities are great that Donald J. Trump will be America’s Augusto Pinochet (see above). Kagan imagines that all the tipping points go Trump’s way, which is possible but hasn’t been the case so far. 

What Kagan leaves out is that, at 78, Trump is unlikely to live long enough to enjoy it. Plus I don’t see Trump having the steely self-discipline necessary to pull it off, he is more self-indulgent.

Truly, if you want to read the plot for a novel of how the U.S. gets, and somewhat enjoys, Trump as dictator, Kagan has laid one out. Will it play out as he imagines? Probably not. We’ll see what unfolds. 

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Coincidence"

What are the odds two cartoonists would imagine Gavin Newsom as The Joker, Batman's nemesis? I posted one in Saturday Snark. This one is from today's Lucianne.com

Being Real About Aging

I am three years older than Joe Biden. I am still reasonably alert mentally, as I believe this blog demonstrates. But I promise you three years ago you wouldn't have wanted me as your President, and I wouldn't have taken the job, had it been offered. 

He tries to fake stamina, so do I sometimes, without a zillion TV cameras pointed at me. He doesn't succeed and I suspect I don't either. We've put a lot of miles on these old bodies and they aren't as able as they were.

I forget a name or a fact I've known nearly all my life now and then. Out of the public eye, it doesn't much embarrass me. I feel for him doing it with millions of people watching and recording his lapses and frailty, and commenting on it. 

Being president is a tough job done in the glare of public scrutiny. The stress and unrelenting schedule visibly ages those who do the job fully. Look at photos of eight year presidents before and after, the job takes a serious toll. It's a toll a guy or gal in their 50s or 60s can handle, the game is definitely worth the candle at those ages. 

Don't give the job to an obviously failing octogenarian. Be skeptical about doing so with a still together late septuagenarian. 

Saturday Snark



Dead ringer.

Yummy bugs.


Some former colleagues.



Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures
and its Comments section.

Immigration Attitudes

What do Americans think about levels of immigration into the U.S.? Steven Hayward of Power Line has the Gallup polling data going back 23 years. 

The chart below shows that for the last 23 years more Americans were dissatisfied and wanted immigration decreased (the top line) than those who wanted it to stay the same or increase. During the Trump administration the number seeking decrease lessens significantly, and is now back up near its high.

Liberal Parents a Problem

Breitbart reports a Gallup study, done with the Institute for Family Studies which finds this.

"Being raised by liberal parents is a much larger risk factor for mental health problems in adolescence than being raised in a low-income household with parents who did not attend college,” wrote the brief’s author, Jonathan Rothwell, the principal economist at Gallup and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. 

“Children of conservative parents score significantly better on mental health using either a comprehensive measure of mental health based on several items, or just asking either parent or adolescents to summarize their mental health on a 1-5 scale. The gap is large,” Rothwell continued.

I suppose you're thinking liberal parents do a worse job of raising kids, and in truth they may. However, it is likely a much more significant factor is genetics. 

Liberals have been shown to be more likely to have mental problems. The children of those with mental problems are more likely to also have such problems. Environment may be a factor, genetics is a bigger factor. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Friday Snark


People enjoy it too much.


Images courtesy of Politico's Nation's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Musk Mess

The following is from an editorial in the Washington Free Beacon. It is part of their defense of Elon Musk against a charge of anti-semitism.

Jewish organizations spent millions of dollars supporting Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, and many other faddish hotbeds of bigotry. They did so because they believed that by standing with anyone who claimed to be oppressed, they could prove themselves to be allies and progressives in good standing. 

The strategy has failed miserably, with many of those same progressive organizations now openly supporting Hamas.

Cuddling up to those who turn out to be enemies, and snubbing those who are in fact friends has mostly typified progressive Jewry. Friends of Israel have watched this process, clicked our tongues, and wished it were otherwise. 

Lesson learned: The oppressed are often quite open to oppressing others.  

Newsom's In-law Problem

An interesting procedural note has emerged from last night's DeSantis/Newsom debate. The two governors had agreed, during a commercial break, to an extension of the "festivities" beyond the scheduled 90 minutes. And then, according to NBC News ...

Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, came into the debate room on at least two occasions to raise some objections.

She also made her way to the stage during the break after the candidates agreed to extend the debate and put an end to it.

A fifth source on the ground, unaffiliated with either campaign, confirmed that Siebel Newsom ended the debate on her husband's behalf, saying, "We're done."

One of Siebel Newsom's complaints centered around DeSantis' mention of her father. DeSantis claimed that he told him he moved from California to Florida because it was better governed.

Fact check: Fox News reports

Kenneth F. Siebel Jr. and Judith A. Siebel, parents of Newsom's wife Jennifer Siebel and longtime California residents, became Florida residents in 2020 after purchasing a $3.3 million Naples home in March of that year, records show. 

Newsom's in-laws ... officially became registered voters in the Sunshine State as of June 2020. Kenneth Siebel is a registered Republican while Judith Siebel has no party affiliation.

I presume DeSantis described Mr. Siebel's feelings accurately. Party affiliation is a matter of public record in most states. 

Hey, Over Here, Look at Me

Chris Cuomo was with ABC in the 2000s and a big deal talking head on CNN for 8 years, during some of which his brother Andrew was Governor of New York. Both Cuomo brothers were sons of former NY Governor Mario Cuomo and, like him, Democrats. Chris pushed Democratic themes and story lines at CNN. 

Then both Cuomo brothers became anathema and lost their jobs, Andrew for sexually harassing women and shoving Covid cases into nursing homes, likely causing many deaths among a population most of whom were, in any case, “waiting for God.” 

Chris lost his bully pulpit at CNN because he aided his brother in ways deemed journalistically inappropriate. And just maybe, when Andrew was no longer the Gov., Chris wasn’t as useful.

Since that happened in 2021 Chris has been comparatively out of the public eye, a former somebody. That is a tough transition to make. 

Now comes word that Chris said he is “open” to supporting Trump, has voted for Republicans before, and is unhappy with Biden’s administration. Here at Red State you see he thinks we’re worse off than under Trump - as who doesn’t - and for all his personal foibles, Trump did it better.

A cynic would respond, “Isn’t it amazing what a onetime celebrity will do or say to regain the limelight? The attention is addictive.”

The Father-in-Law

 A quick story from the Newsom/DeSantis debate tonight. Here it is from Red State via a DeSantis X.

I was talking to a fella who had made the move from California to Florida. He was telling me that Florida’s much better governed, safer, better budget, lower taxes. Then he paused and said ‘by the way, I’m Gavin Newsom’s father-in-law.’

Red State's Bonchie who posted the X adds this epitaph.

I'm pretty sure Christmas dinner is going to be awkward this year.

 

On another note, Newsom told DeSantis one thing they had in common was neither would the nominee in 2024, according to Fox. That is a guess, not a fact. 

What Newsom and DeSantis truly have in common is that neither will be the nominee unless, one way or another, fate takes the president, the former president, or both out of the running. At their ages and with their legal complications, such is a distinct possibility. And that possibility is why tonight's debate was interesting.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Positive Indicator

We have to take our good news where we find it, this tiny ray of sunshine is in a report that MSNBC is cancelling a weekend show I've never seen by someone named Mehdi Hasan. Apparently he'd been expressing anti-Israel views, not surprising for a Shia Muslim

The report adds he still works for the cable news outlet, but no longer has his own show. Someone leaked the info to the New York Post. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Thursday Snark

For conservatives, these four are the most interesting politicians on the planet. Hair hasn't much to do with it. 
Odd how women can wear their hair in wildly different ways w/o comment, guys can't. Image courtesy of Politico.

Hypocrisy

Headline at the TaxProf website:

Jeff Bezos will save billions in taxes by moving to Miami.

Reaction of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds:

His newspaper likes Biden but his wallet prefers DeSantis.
Loving the hypocrisy. Florida is one of several states imposing no state income tax, the others presently include AK, NV, SD, TN, TX, and WY. NH will join that group in 2027, and WA only taxes a small number of high earners, which would obviously include earners like Bezos. 

Full disclosure: Our summer residence is in WY and winter residence is in NV, two states with no state income tax. This is no accident.

Kissinger Dies

Dr. Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon's Secretary of State, has died at age 100. He lived so long he outlived his fame, which for decades was considerable. 

There is a lesson there for those who wish to seek it. Perhaps the lesson is only relevant for the very few who actually accrue some fame to begin with. 

That select group does not include this website's founding editor and primary contributor.

Geography Matters

"Mr. Chart" at Power Line - Steven Hayward - has a bar chart that looks at the impact of state restrictions on abortion following the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Apparently the only states included were those which passed legislation following Dobbs or had on-the-books legislation that took effect when Dobbs was announced, some 13 states in total.

For each state the bar has two parts, that on the left represents the increase in births, that on the right represents the reduction in number of abortions done in that state. I got interested in the relative proportions of the two components of the bars. Be aware that total length of bar is somewhat proportional to state population, TX has a lot of folks, while WV and SD have few.

Why, for example, did a reasonable reduction in abortions produce almost no increase in births in South Dakota, Missouri, Idaho, and Arkansas? A substantially larger ratio of births to foregone abortions in Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana? 

My hypothesis is that the greater distance a pregnant woman had to travel to reach a state with easy abortion access the less likely she was to drive or be driven there to have an abortion. When a state was relatively far from states not listed in the chart, more births seemed to occur, relative to abortions foregone. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Friedman’s Latest on Gaza

The New York Times’ Tom Friedman has probably spent more time thinking about, traveling in, and talking with the leaders of the Middle East, and Israel in particular than any other journalist. As a consequence of which he thinks about it in a more fine-grained detail than most. 

His columns on the region are those of a mensch. His work on other topics rates a “meh.” Friedman has a good one today on Israel/Gaza that you can access for free*. He argues there are three “wars” going on there simultaneously, and makes some good points.

—————

*How for free? At a website called “DYNUZ” from Armenia that publishes NYT and other stuff out from behind paywalls. I suppose it is a “pirate” site but darned handy for those of us who choose to make no money from our sites and can’t write off Times online subscriptions as business expenses. 

Armenia inhabits the shadowy world between Russia and the west. In Internet terms DYNUZ could be based anywhere the long arm of lawsuits can’t practically reach.

Making a List ….

Lucianne.com links indirectly to a Vice post of a list of “100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color.” Matt Vespa at Townhall claims it has been around for a few years. He wasn’t clear whether or not it was satirical. 

I read a fair few of the 100 and am pretty certain it was not satirical in origin. It seems to be a collection of hostile POC reactions to whites’ very clumsy efforts to relate, to be friendly and inclusive, efforts which have had the opposite effect and were perceived as belittling and “othering.” Or to whites being themselves unselfconsciously.

Taken seriously, it makes interracial relations feel a bit like juggling vials of nitroglycerin, if you drop one you’ll blow your foot off. In day to day life, who - POC or white - needs that kind of tension added to the stresses of ordinary life? 

The original list could as easily, and more accurately, been titled, “100 Reasons People of All Races Tend to Self-Segregate,” which of course they do. Note recent demands for POC-only “safe space” dorms at universities. Note also urban residential ethnic clustering patterns: Chinatowns, Armenian and Greek neighborhoods, barios, black neighborhoods.

Birds of a feather do, in fact, flock together. Left to their own devices, so do people.

A Quick Answer

Fox News headline, hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

United Nations set to call on Americans to reduce meat consumption

My response is to call on the UN to increase meat consumption, short form below: 

Bite Me

Tuesday Snark

Image courtesy of Lucianne.com, 11-29-2023.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

It's the Fans, Stupid

Yesterday I wrote Trump seemed "more the show biz impresario than the CEO which he also is." Writing at Slate, Ben Jacobs observes that Trump rallies aren't even much about politics, they more closely resemble concert gigs. 

Jacobs interviews several attendees at a rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Most have attended several of his rallies, bought merchandise, waited in long lines to get in, the whole "fan" shtick.

He’s turned his campaign events into something that has more in common with a Bruce Springsteen concert than a Harry Truman whistle-stop tour.

Even when Trump’s political fortunes were at their lowest ebb after he left office, he still had a base devoted to him, not so much for his politics but for his personality and what that personality represents.

For all the efforts of his rivals to displace him from the lead, all the television ads devoted to touting their virtues, and the constant stream of court cases and legal documents outlining Trump’s failings, he has one advantage they just can’t touch.

Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley have partisans. Donald Trump has fans.

Less enamored members of the press who've attended several agree he mostly does a medley of his "greatest hits," with some local color added. Fans who've attended several Trump rallies accept these just as Rolling Stones fans accept one more rendition of "Satisfaction." Hat tip to "Ragin' Cajun" James Carville for the title.

CA vs. FL Gas Prices

Time for another episode in the continuing saga comparing CA and FL policies. AAA chart courtesy of Power Line. As usual, the comparison comes out "advantage Florida" with an almost $2 difference.

This one honors Thursday night's debate between governors Newsom and DeSantis, on Fox News at 9 pm Eastern and 6 pm Pacific times, moderated by Sean Hannity. Set your video recorder and watch at leisure, sans commercials.

Econ 101

President Biden keeps talking about how "inflation is down" as though that should make you feel really good about the economy, but it doesn't work. Economics is boring - bear with me while I make clear what he is saying, how it is a little bit true but misleading.

The "inflation" he's talking about is the rate (speed) at which prices are rising. When he says inflation is down, he means prices aren't rising as fast as they were, which is likely true. 

Prices were rising damn fast, now they are rising more slowly. But they aren't dropping to pre-inflation levels. Prices are too high and still rising, albeit more slowly. 

The pain you feel at the pump and at the grocery checkout line from high prices is still bad and still getting worse, somewhat more slowly than before. Housing (rent and home prices) is up a lot too.

Is what Biden claims is happening good? Certainly, but it isn't going to fix what's bothering you - high prices. Those high prices you hate ... you are probably stuck with. 

The exception is gasoline which as a commodity, can experience price declines in times when supply exceeds demand. When was the last time groceries or rent got cheaper? You know they didn't, ever.

Biden is stuck with "a pig of an economy" and he's busily putting lipstick on it. Odd how nobody wants to kiss its ugly snout.

Carrot Ineffective, Stick Too Risky

We’ve written about falling birth rates throughout the developed world, rates are below replacement (2.1 per woman) in places as widely scattered as South Korea, China, Russia, all of Europe, most of North America, much of South America, etc. This article at Vox looks at various efforts governments have taken to encourage their people to have more children, including subsidies of various sorts, none of which have worked.

Obvious things governments could do would be to ban import, production, distribution and sale of birth control drugs and products. Banning Internet pornography would help too. There is evidence that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade has resulted in an additional 32,000 births (i.e., 32,000 fewer abortions).

Why haven’t governments done much to ban alternatives to sexual activity, or to preventing conception? Probably because they see how much hostile political activism Dobbs has aroused from otherwise apathetic voters. 

Banning birth control products would be politically risky, at least in nations with elected governments. Even nations like China or Russia with non-elected governments know they need the continuing-if-sometimes-grudging consent of the governed.

—————

I wonder if we’ve never met a star-faring race of aliens because intelligent species develop technology to control reproduction which becomes widespread before they develop immortality or a star drive? Hence they go extinct? 

If this hypothesis turns out to be correct, call it a corollary of Cotton’s Law, briefly stated as "Paradoxically, species intelligence eventually brings about species extinction."

Trump Current Favorite

The felicitously named Sean Trende does political trend analysis for RealClearPoliitics. Today he declares that, as it stands now, Trump must be declared the clear favorite to beat Biden. Really … no kidding.

Having declared it, Trende sets out to prove it to skeptics and does a darned good job. Good, that is, unless you hold the view all opinion polling is pseudo-science, the equivalent of reading tea leaves. In most polls Trump is farther ahead of his opponent than he has ever been in any race.

It isn’t as if one of these gentlemen is an unknown, untried commodity, we’ve experienced both as president. Our country had a better time with Trump in the White House, than we’ve had with Biden on the beach in Delaware. Which means the polling should come out exactly as it has done, with most voting their perceived self-interest.

Obviously this far from Election Day much can change in the interim.

History Rhyming

Power Line's Steve Hayward reacts to the unrest in the NYC schools where students persecuted a Jewish teacher. He invokes both scholarly and historical perspective, and concludes by sharing insights from Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind

Bloom claimed "Contemporary America was "a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic." Hayward updates Bloom 36 years later, by adding.

The irony here is that it is hard to say whether his invocation of Disney should be taken lightheartedly as Bloom meant it then, or deadly seriously, given the significance of Disney’s wokery as a sign of our republic’s perilous condition. It’s later than you think.

The least ambiguous invocation of the Weimar zeitgeist to which most living Americans have been exposed is the 1972 Liza Minnelli film Cabaret. The male lead played by Michael York cops to being bisexual and Joel Grey's nightclub emcee is somewhere in the rarified reaches of LGBTQxyz. Plus anti-semitism is a definite theme. 

The other DrC remarked last week how much the current era remind her of that film. I could only agree. Maybe those who see Nazi-like extremists behind every rock are seeing clearly. As Mark Twain quipped, "History doesn't repeat, but it often rhymes."

Monday, November 27, 2023

A Conversation

The Wall Street Journal's Gerard Baker imagines a serious conversation between a MAGA hat Trump supporter and a fleece vest never-Trump conservative. He lets each one have their say uninterrupted, which wouldn't happen in real life. It's a good read, and best of all, not behind the paywall.

Darned if they don't each make many good points, there wasn't much either said I disagreed with. I suppose I end up where I began. As a Republican first and foremost; one who prefers Ron DeSantis in the primary but will almost certainly vote for Trump if nominated by the Party.

If as expected the race ends up being Biden vs. Trump - two known quantities - it should be no contest. In spite of Covid, which wasn't either's fault, the years under Trump were better years than those under Biden, for 70-80% of us anyway. So I'll choose the better option and hope for not too much craziness from the egomaniac-in-chief.

A Remnant Speaks

Wyoming's Governor Mark Gordon is reported to have advocated carbon capture as a way for WY to go "carbon neutral." He didn't do it at home in WY, but in a meeting at (snerk) Harvard .

Mainstream Wyoming Republicans aren't believers in faddish climate anxiety. Gordon is term limited out of office in 2026, which perhaps explains his candid pandering to eastern progressives.

Gordon has always been something of a RHINO. He comes from eastern old money, gone west to buy a hobby ranch. 

It's likely he is a remnant of the Cheney-Simpson clique that once dominated the state GOP.

Friday Snark, 3 Days Late

I had to do a web search to find Friday's Politico collection of political cartoons. For reasons unknown, the link didn't appear on their homepage.





Images courtesy of Politico's Nation's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.

The Prognosticator’s Dilemma

When an attorney is also a retired colonel and writes political commentary while channeling Mark Twain, you’ve got Kurt Schlichter. Kurt doesn’t kill it every time, who does? When he’s on his game he is both funny and on-target, and today he’s very much on his game.

First his key point and the challenge he faces.

Trump can’t possibly win, and Biden is certain to lose. But someone has to win, and it will not be that RFK weirdo.

How do you handicap a race where both candidates have insurmountable handicaps?

Why Trump can’t win.

Here’s the big reason: About 53% of American voters hate him. They shouldn’t.

Trump offends them to the core of their being. Being aesthetically offended by a politician is as silly as being devoted to one – your relationship with a politician should be entirely transactional – but it is also a fact that some people are.

Kurt’s “big reason” is truly about social class. Though wealthy, Trump openly indulges blue collar tastes (wrestling, beauty pageants, trophy wives and hookers). He generally “lives large,” more the show biz impresario than the CEO which he also is. For many his image makes him ineligible as a role model - which some expect our presidents to be.

 Why Biden can’t win.

First, he’s a terrible president. The economy sucks. The border sucks. We’re on the verge of new wars Trump would never have let happen. People are sick of him. 

Next year is not going to get better for Biden. The economy will get worse. The border will get worse. Some Third World potentates will doubtlessly pull some shenanigans.

Plus he appears to have been the paid agent of one or more foreign governments while in office. Thus the prognosticator’s dilemma. 

The voters’ impressions of Trump and Biden are seared into their consciousness. Those are not going to change. They are fixed, and for the majority, they are distinctly negative. That’s the problem. Neither candidate can win, and both are inevitably going to lose.

Except, of course, one of them will win anyway. And half of us will view whoever wins as an illegitimate disaster.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Age-Restricted Communities

Instapundit links to a New York Times article available outside the NYT paywall, on the subject of whether age-restricted communities are a better choice for seniors. If you've been thinking about the option, it isn't a bad read. 

Apparently there's been little research on the subject. Let me share our experience.

The other DrC and I started living in a Nevada 55+ community during the cold half of the year, beginning a couple of years ago. We continue to consider Wyoming home and spend the warm half of the year there.

We have lived in apartments, and houses in small town suburban neighborhoods, rural acreage, and resort-oriented communities. Our new winter place is in one of the latter, it has its own golf course with clubhouse, recreation center, pool, tennis courts, etc. 

Our neighborhood is new, but the development has existed for roughly 16 years, and new neighborhoods are still being built. Our neighbors all moved in within the last 3 years and are from CA, IA, CO, NV, etc. 

Most are completely retired, a few still work from home, and a couple have found gigs locally just to keep busy. Essentially all are comfortable financially, but I believe none are seriously wealthy. 

As "snowbirds" who live here only half year, the DrsC are the exception in our immediate neighborhood of perhaps 12-15 houses. For most this is their new year-round home.

Do we like it? In a word, "Yes." The is the most neighborly place we've lived in 52 years. Most recently, there was a big gathering for Thanksgiving dinner, and birthday parties tend to metastasize into neighborhood gatherings. The other DrC has a new bestie (besides me) and I like her husband. People pop into each other's homes, go out for meals, etc.

We are all successful people, most long married, with similar values, even if not all are Republicans. The outliers are a gay couple, an interracial couple, and a widower, but all get along with no tension of which I'm aware. Some golf, many walk dogs, at this age everybody has medical issues, grandkids are discussed. We have a lot in common. 

Grounds for Hope

Last Wednesday I wrote that maybe there is hope we've turned a political corner. Today Roger Kimball writes in American Greatness that he is seeing some of the same signs, and adds more recent ones.

Kimball cites the election of Milei in Argentina, Wilders in the Netherlands, and William Cogswell, elected Republican mayor of Charleston, the first since 1877, meaning since Reconstruction ended. The meaning he draws?

The Zeitgeist would seem to be awake and on the move. What is it waking from? I agree with those who say it is waking from wokeness.

To "wokeness" Kimball adds immigration and cultural issues upstream therefrom. And he concludes as follows:

F[gures like Milei, Wilders, and William Cogswell, the new Republican mayor of Charleston, show that a counter-narrative is brewing. Will it prevail over the dominant “progressive” dispensation? No one knows for sure. I take the panic sweeping like a tsunami through the fetid corridors of the Left as a good sign. They are worried, which means that the rest of us have grounds for hope.

Meaning it's time to put our collective shoulder to the wheel, and give a mighty shove. 

NYPD in Decline

Much is being made of a New York Post story about NYPD cops retiring or leaving the force. They write:

A total of 2,516 NYPD cops have left so far this year, the fourth highest number in the past decade and 43% more than the 1,750 who hightailed it in 2018, before the pandemic and crime spikes hit the city, NYPD pension data show.

This isn’t the scary statistic. In a force of roughly 30,000 you’d expect 1500 to retire each year because they have their 20 years in. 

Like the military, policing is a physically demanding job for which most seniors are ill suited. Being able to physically restrain violent young perps is a key part of the job description, if not an everyday activity for every officer.  The scary statistic is this: 

The number of cops quitting before they reach the 20 years required to receive their full pensions also skyrocketed from 509 in 2020 to 1,040 so far this year — an alarming 104% increase, the data show.

One supposes many of those will continue in the occupation in another jurisdiction. One which actually supports its LEOs and imprisons those they arrest, likely smaller and more conservative towns.

Another issue of concern is because of the expense associated with too many illegal immigrants and NYCs “sanctuary” self-designation, Mayor Adams has had to cancel the next five police academy classes. The result, few or no replacements in the academy “pipeline” for the next 2.5 years.

There are sovereign countries with militaries smaller, less well armed, and less essential, than NYPD. Presumably they face fewer challenges.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Better for America?

From The Wall Street Journal, a Holman Jenkins, Jr. column thinking broadly about the presidential election happening a year from now. See his conclusion:

On Nov. 30, when California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom debates Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Fox, voters will get a taste of the election that tens of millions of them, uninfluenced by the unpragmatic vaporings of pundits desperate to fill space, know in their hearts would be better for America.

Were it not for the Byzantine workings of our political party system, a DeSantis vs. Newsom election would be a wonderful test of how Americans would prefer to have our government act. It would compare side-by-side the quite different Florida and California models.

Having "voted with my feet" against CA, my preference is clear.

Saturday Snark








Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures
and its Comments section.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Today's Rebels

For The Spectator, novelist Lionel Shriver compares today's young rebels who celebrate Hamas to his earlier generation of rebels in their bell-bottoms and beads. His bottom line: we were about love, they are about hate. See his conclusion:

Note not merely what activists assert, but which emotions infuse the message. This latest iteration of Elvis Costello’s “peace, love and understanding” is bleak. It’s a hostile, vicious, dismal and destructive gestalt with no vision of some resplendent new world that will rise from the ashes. Relishing the beheading of babies fits right in.

Brrr. That's cold enough to be accurate. Full disclosure: I didn't much like his flower children either, but while stoned silly they were smiling at least some of the time, and aspired to utopia. The current crop have more of a Hitler Youth vibe. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Editorial Note

My usual source for Friday Snark, Politico, has dropped the ball. Their every Friday feature, “The Nation’s Cartoonists on the Week in Politics” has made no appearance. Perhaps the minion who winnows the submissions has suffered a mishap? Perhaps overeaten at yesterday’s banquet?

Perhaps there will be a belated appearance tomorrow. Or maybe next week ….

Whence Victim Status

Gerard Laval is a Washington attorney and author. Writing for Washington Times, he asks: “Why Do Progressives Never Consider Jews Victims?” And he explains.

Jews are the only group in Western societies who, in spite of recurrent oppression and discrimination, are seemingly deprived of the right to be viewed as victims, even when they very clearly have incurred all of the indignities and suffering that should be more than adequate for being bestowed that status.

Yeah, no. How about Asians? They don’t get victim status either. What do the two groups have in common? Relative success in first world societies. Ergo, no victim status in progressives’ eyes. 

Is that fair? Not especially, but progressives think so. The progressive mantra: you gotta be perceived a failure to secure victim status; the more ways you are a loser, the more victim cred you gain.

It’s why gays and lesbians don’t have as much victim street cred as they once did. Vice squads don’t bust them anymore, and many who’re very successful people have “come out.” They’ve been “normalized,” perceived as successful.

I predict Hispanics will be the next group to lose victim status. Those here legally are doing very well, muchas gracias. They’re now over a quarter of the enrollment at the state university from which the DrsC retired.

In a very real sense the way progressives dole out victim status is redistributionism ad absurdum. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link. [The colloquialism “yeah, no” used above is an abbreviation for, “I see what you’re saying but I disagree.”]

Reality Bites

There is some good news from a source which, for obvious reasons, doesn’t often dwell on good news. Breitbart reports that NBC’s business news cable channel CNBC will no longer have staff dedicated to reporting climate news. The story is attributed to a laid-off former climate desk staff member.

There are still “Chicken Littles” and Thundering Greta out there crying “the sky is falling, the planet faces heat death.” A lot fewer are listening as the years pass and the predicted immanent catastrophes fail to materialize, one after another.

—————

We’ll state COTTonLINE’s position one more time, for those who’ve joined us recently. Climates do change, have clearly done so forever without human intervention, and will do so in the future. We humans are just along for the ride.

Believing that puny human interventions of the sort we are capable of can move the climate in any direction is pure hubris. The forces we can bring to bear, when compared to the vast daily solar input, are minuscule, in fact insignificant. Tiny variations in solar output are overwhelmingly more determinative with respect to climate.

Consider that 70+ percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, where we have almost no lasting impact. Substantial parts of the balance are polar or deserts where few humans dwell. Our impact on this planet is minor and localized.

I visualize humanity as colonies of fleas scattered across the tough hide of an elephant named Gaia. We imagine incorrectly that our doings much influence her behavior or direct her progress. Occasionally Gaia sits down or sneezes and a colony - think Pompeii or Lahaina - is destroyed.

At most, like nomadic peoples, we befoul an area until it becomes unpleasant. Then we move elsewhere. Over a few centuries, Gaia reclaims the place we left behind. 

Once stood fabled pharaonic Egypt, Babylon, Troy or Carthage, each became a tel, a mound of dirt. It was ever thus, the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

"Turks distrust and dislike" the US

Here's an interesting quote buried in a Politico article about suspected Turkish efforts to purchase influence with New York City mayor Eric Adams. The author is Steven A. Cook, a foreign affairs scholar particularly interested in the nation of Turkey.

The United States, which despite being a NATO ally and committed to Turkey’s defense, political elites in Ankara and an overwhelming number of Turks distrust and dislike.

Something to keep in mind when planning your next overseas vacation or cruise. Turkey's political elites and "an overwhelming number of Turks distrust and dislike" our country. Plus they bribe our pols.

There are many interesting and beautiful places on this globe to visit. Why spend your money and place yourself at potential risk in Turkey? 

I've been to Turkey 2-3 times about which I'm not sorry, but I won't go again. Ephesus is very biblical, recall Paul the Apostle's letter to the Ephesians. 

On the other hand, Istanbul is an old, dense, historical city in a world of old, dense historical cities. I wouldn't put it in my top 5.

Speaking of Eric Adams, why would a woman wait 30 years to accuse a man of sexual assault? I'm no fan of Adams but this seems hinkey. 

Turkey Day Snark

Power Line's Steve Hayward has posted a special Thanksgiving Day in Pictures, and here are my gleanings from it and the Comments section.

Jill has an admirer.





For the Star Wars fans.

Arkancide?


Thanksgiving Day

Agriculture is somewhat a hit-or-miss affair, celebrating when the cycle is over for the year makes sense. Thus, for a nation to have a harvest festival is not especially unique or memorable. 

In the US we call our festival Thanksgiving Day and celebrate it on the fourth Thursday in November. If you are in the US sitting comfortably, digesting a feast that was redolent of the autumn harvest, are in reasonable health, and your location is neither hospital nor prison, you have much for which to be thankful.

Thankfulness is appropriate whether you thank a God to whom you owe gratitude, thank Fortune and Good Luck, or thank yourself for earning a comfortable place in the contemporary scheme of things.

----------

You may be simultaneously aware that you had more for which to be thankful four years ago. Know that a year from now our collective situation is likely to be less good than it is today.

Try to capture the resentment you feel about the shortfall. File that resentment away to use in 11 months when you vote. I know I shall. 

Is Islam Violent?

David P. Goldman, who writes as “Spengler” for Asia Times, has wide interests including demographics, economics and comparative religion. Here for Law & Liberty he considers the question “Is Islam a Violent Religion?” He poses the question thusly.

Most practice of Islam is emphatically not violent, but most religious violence is perpetrated by Muslims in the name of religion. Violence is not a necessary characteristic of Islam as a religion, but it is evidently a susceptibility. Is there something about Islam as a religion that predisposes its believers toward terrorism?

A preeminent Catholic scholar of Islam and former advisor to Benedict XVI, Fr. Samir Khalid Samir, S.J., observe: "Many Westerners fear Islam as a “religion of violence.” Muslims often call simultaneously for tolerance and understanding as well as for violence and aggression. In fact, both options are present in the Qur’an and the Sunna. These are two legitimate manners—two distinct ways to interpret, to understand, and to live Islam. It is up to the individual Muslim to decide what he wants Islam to be."

Goldman concludes with this somber summary. 

Large parts of the Muslim world feel that modernity has passed them by, or even worse, that integration into modern life would destroy Muslim identity. The deadly combination of the sacral—the sacrifice of the individual in service of Allah—and the existential will continue to nourish the likes of ISIS, Hamas, and other monsters of the ancient world that intrude into modern life.
Evidence suggests Goldman may have framed the issue correctly. Hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Good News on the Wind

The AP is reporting notorious right-winger Geert Wilders may be the next prime minister of the Netherlands. This according to exit polling.

His win is unexpected and reflects public dissatisfaction with the government's mismanagement of immigration, especially that of Islamics. His party doubled their seats in the 150 member parliament.

Wilders' values probably are similar to those of new conservative Italian premier Giorgia Meloni. He has been congratulated by Viktor Urban of Hungary, perhaps Europe's most successful leader on the right.

I wonder to what extent the warfare in Ukraine and Gaza influences these elections in nearby countries. Change is on the wind in the EU, as in Argentina. 

The Milei Milieu, etc.

Power Line's Steve Hayward found some visuals and quotes about the new president of Argentina - Javier Milei - to share.







Unrelated to President-elect Milei, a sign of apology by the American Academy of Religion for holding their meeting in Texas.


Maybe a reason many Americans are moving to Texas?

Maybe There Is Hope?

 I know, I know, don't count unhatched chickens, one robin doesn't foretell spring, et dang cetera. Nevertheless I keep getting hints we may have started turning a corner on the CRT and woke nonsense.

There is the sense the universities realized they'd jumped the shark supporting Hamas and have begun to be less out there with their progressiveness. Having billionaire donors threaten to withhold endowments helped too.

Some mainstream/legacy media news outlets have noticed the president's age-related infirmities and actually mentioned them on-air or in print.

I keep wondering when the teachers' unions will figure out they've overdone selfishness at the expense of our children and lower standards at the expense of our nation, and moderate their craziness. 

I'd like to think tomorrow we can at least be thankful for a scintilla of hope for the future of this great, but grievously hobbled land. Have a peaceful and caloric Thanksgiving Day.

The Death of a Fad

Well … that didn’t take long to peak and die. 

In the early summer I wrote a brief spate of posts (here, here, and here) about environmental, social, and governance or ESG scores. I focused on the pernicious effect the “conscientious capitalism” movement was having on firms like Budweiser, Target and Disney.

Today Power Line quotes the Wall Street Journal’s epitaph for this unfortunate “virtue signaling luxury fad,” original behind WSJ paywall.
Wall Street rushed to embrace sustainable investing just a few years ago. Now it is quietly closing funds or scrubbing their names after disappointing returns that have investors cashing out billions.

The about-face comes after tightened regulatory oversight, higher interest rates that have slammed clean-energy stocks and a backlash that has made environmental, social and corporate-governance investing a political target.

The third quarter was the first time more sustainable funds liquidated or removed ESG criteria from their investment practices than were added, according to Morningstar. That is a reversal from not that long ago, when companies were rebranding faltering funds to cash in on the billions of dollars flowing into sustainable investment products.

Note classical allusion in my title above. 

EVs Are a Niche Product

Gasoline powered golf carts exist, but electric carts dominate the market. Why? Because electrics have proven more practical on golf courses and in adjacent residential developments like, for example, the various Sun City enclaves where many homes include a golf cart garage. Bottom line, they have found a niche and consequently prospered.

The problem with electric automobiles is that they are trying but failing to be practical non-niche products - general purpose automobiles. In this role they are not practical, consequently not prospering, and likely never will.

As we have argued, they are properly thought of as elaborate, even luxury golf carts masquerading as automobiles. EVs are practical almost exclusively for individuals who (a) own a garage in which a charger can be installed, (b) only use this particular vehicle locally (within 50 miles), in most cases (c) also own a hydrocarbon fueled vehicle, and (d) wish to spend significant resources to virtue signal. 

A market can theoretically exist for a modest number of TVs produced by one or two manufacturers. Trying to make the entire market for cars an EV market will be like trying to teach a pig to sing: unsuccessful and frustrating for both teacher and pig. 

Markets like CA which wish to put a legislative ‘thumb’ on the EV side of the scales could legislate lower EV registration fees, close-in parking spaces reserved for EVs and permit EVs in HOV lanes to create additional incentives for EV ownership. But they’d better get busy building nuclear power generation plants in order to not overload the electric grid.

When Green Turns Brown

Instapundit links to a Fox News story on the troubles besetting “green energy.” Both wind energy and electric vehicles are hurting.

Offshore wind projects are struggling to secure financing and stay on track. The biggest blow came last month, when the world’s largest offshore wind developer ├śrsted canceled two major projects off the New Jersey coastline, taking the wind right out of Gov. Phil Murphy’s green energy sails. ├śrsted is also suspending work on offshore projects in Maryland and Delaware.

According to BloombergNEF, at least half of U.S. wind contracts have or are at risk of being terminated. The causes are typically due to skyrocketing inflation, high interest rates, choked supply chains and financial troubles.

The EV market is also losing steam. Sales are slumping and manufacturers are scaling back on production. Ford Motor Company stands to lose $4.5 billion on its EV business for 2023 and will be delaying many of their EV investments.

General Motors said it was restructuring EV goals, Honda shelved plans to develop affordable EVs with GM, and Hertz said it will slow their rate of purchasing them due to high repair costs. Elon Musk is even considering putting off plans for a $1 billion plant in Mexico.

Most, if not all, manufacturers are reporting major losses per EV sold. Ford lost $62,000 per vehicle in the third quarter; one luxury electric vehicle company lost an astounding $430,000. Countless others are losing tens of thousands of dollars per vehicle, quarter after quarter.

No surprises here for regular readers. We’ve been expecting this, haven’t we?