Monday, January 30, 2023

Fooling Around links to a Monica Showalter column at American Thinker. Her topic today is the prevalence of marital infidelity at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where it supposedly is a firing offense. If you enjoy relatively well-documented gossip about people in high places, this column could be for you. 

I write "supposedly" because it appears to be somewhat common among the higher-ups in the bureau. Such shenanigans need to cease forthwith in an agency where a security clearance is mandatory. This is not prudery but because it makes the straying agent susceptible to blackmail and coercion.

On the other hand, those who alleged the man who attacked Paul Pelosi was actually there for a gay assignation need to apologize. The video shows the attacker breaking a window with his hammer to gain access. That would be highly unconventional 'courting behavior' even in outre' San Francisco.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Storing Our Toy

Having come home to NV a week ago after spending the last 6 weeks in our RV in CA, we finally got the trailer cleaned up and ready to store until we take it to WY in May. The other DrC has a photo of the rather tight storage slot I managed to back it into Friday, taking it slow and carefully. 

For a guy who was never a teamster, I'm not too bad at backing the trailer. I do prefer pull-thru campsites, however covered storage seems to never be pull-thru, too costly one supposes.

We hope to take the RV cross-country this summer to Tennessee. If we do so, it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our first cross-country RV trip, one that took us from CA to Key West, FL, Washington DC, and back. 

A young woman the other DrC mentored will graduate from a Family Nurse Practitioner program in Nashville in August and we'd like to attend the ceremony. While in TN we will probably go farther east to see friends in the Knoxville area and western NC.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Review: Wednesday

The DrsC have begun watching Wednesday, the eponymously named series on Netflix. It is fun, a sort of amalgam of Stranger Things and Harry Potter, with a bit of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children added for "flavor."

Wednesday, of course, is the Addams family's pigtailed daughter, so named because supposedly Wednesday's child is full of woe. She is played appealingly by an young Hispanic actress and accompanied by the disembodied hand, Thing. We meet her parents - Morticia and Gomez - briefly in the first episode, as they bring her to their old school, Nevermore Academy. 

The headmistress is an over-the-top Lady Gaga lookalike, and a shapeshifter, played by Gwendoline Christie, who did Brianna of Tarth in Game of Thrones. As headmistress her character could hardly be more unlike Brianna, an outstanding way to demonstrate acting versatility. A troupe of young acting talent believably fills out the various school roles: roommate, bully, prom queen, nerd, lovable doofus, etc.

If you've liked the film and two TV series mentioned above - as we did - you could like the series Wednesday. As a mentor of mine was fond of saying, "it works the same line of country."

Saturday Snark

Took me a minute or two to "see" this one.

Something for Star Wars fans.

The crisper, where veggies go to die.

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

Friday, January 27, 2023

A Fourth Term

Mitt Romney's niece Ronna McDaniels just won a fourth term as chair of the Republican National Committee. The vote wasn't particularly close, she got 111 votes, California attorney Harmeet Dhillon got 51, and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell got 5. 

This was a win for Donald Trump who had supported McDaniels, and a loss for Ron DeSantis who supported Dhillon. Those who get to vote for the chair are the party stalwarts, people who've spent the better part of a lifetime being active in Republican Party affairs and are elected to the RNC by the party in each state.

I was inclined to agree with DeSantis that new blood at the RNC was needed, given the party's ho-hum performance at the last midterm when a red wave was predicted but materialized only in Florida. Obviously two-thirds of the apparatchik electorate thought otherwise. 

Most of us don't become party activists, don't make the party the organizing principle of our lives. The people who just reelected McDaniel have done exactly that. In their state they are Mr. or Ms. Republican.

The activists of both major parties are not particularly in tune with the grass roots for whom being a Republican or Democrat is like rooting for the local NFL team. Something done one afternoon while spending the rest of the week getting on with life.

Friday Snark

Both images courtesy of Politico's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

MBTs for Ukraine

It is reported widely that the U.S. and certain EU allies will be providing main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine. Given how little use the Russians got out of their tanks, I am not certain the German Panther and U.S. Abrams tanks will make much difference. Perhaps their value may be primarily symbolic.

The otherwise admired turbine-powered Abrams is a notorious "gas hog" which gets terrible mileage and needs refueling too often. U.S. technicians don't plan to go to Ukraine to service the Abrams; training locals to fight and maintain them isn't something done in a couple of weeks. If the diesel-powered Panther follows normal German practice, it will be over-engineered but perhaps effective. 

I've been wondering why the Ukes haven't cannibalized the many abandoned Russian tanks to put together a good sized unit of working weaponry? Supposedly many were dumped because they ran out of fuel, and should be nearly ready to go, even modestly supplied with ammunition.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Need for Clarity

Various sources are reporting that the FDA is considering a policy of annual Covid shots much like the annual influenza shots. Considering the similarities in the two viral diseases this makes a certain sense. The DrsC have gotten annual flu shots for decades, with reasonable-if-not-perfect results.

I’d like to have more clarity around the “sudden death following Covid shots” issue before we jump into duplicating this routine for Covid. Clearly some of this is coincidence, but some may be causative. 

Refusing to be open about this situation only makes us more suspicious. I don’t want to be ‘holding my breath’ every fall following a Covid shot. We need studies and some sense of risk rates following immunizations.

It’s Karma Time

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat pro-Trump Republicans, appointed by Minority Leader McCarthy, on the Jan. 6 committee. She replaced them with two anti-Trump Republicans - Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger - neither of whom now serves in Congress.

Now Speaker Kevin McCarthy has refused to return Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to the House Intelligence Committee upon which they formerly served, alleging their lack of “integrity.” And it is rumored he will not return Ilhan Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for similar reasons.

Democrats never figure others will use against them ploys they originate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did the same thing to former Leader Harry Reid, over confirming judges.

Karma is a wonderful thing. Being able to skewer your opponent, using a tactic he or she invented, must be one of life’s purest pleasures. 

This is exactly why Sens. Sinema and Manchin won’t vote to drop the filibuster rule. They understand some year soon the Democrats will be a Senate minority and it will then protect their interests to have the filibuster rule in place, as it now protects Republicans.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Saturday Snark, a Day Late

All images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures, and the Comments section thereof.

Sunshine Going to Waste

The DrsC spent parts of the last two days driving across the Mojave Desert - mile after mile after mile of empty, barren land. In the deserts of the Southwest there are thousands of square miles of unattractive land that nobody uses for anything, nor are they likely to do so. 

I suspect most of this land is owned by the federal government. It being desert, the area gets nearly daily big doses of … you guessed it … sunshine. While batteries are impractical, if we could figure out an efficient way to store the power so generated for use at night and on the few cloudy days, covering significant acreage with solar panels could be useful. Some of this has already been done.

Yes, there are some hardy critters that call it home: rodents, lizards, snakes and turtles plus some few predators which feed on same. At least some of these will enjoy the shade photovoltaic panels provide. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

The DM Steps In It

The Daily Mail (U.K.) is often a source for U.S. news our media doesn’t print. But sometimes they print something that’s non-news, and here is an example. See the headline.

Ivana Trump's will revealed: Socialite left $1.1 million Miami condo and her dog Tiger to former nanny and NOTHING for Donald - while Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric get the remainder of her $34 million estate

And yes, that is awfully long for a headline. It looks more like a summary paragraph, but the DM does these long ones on occasion. 

My quibble is with the idea that an ex-wife would ever leave significant assets to an ex-husband, even if they are on non-angry terms. Maybe in the dynastic U.K.? I doubt it. 

What is wrong with a wealthy widow leaving her estate mostly to her adult children, with a nice dollop to a beloved nanny who will take care of a beloved dog? Why would she leave $$ to a wealthier ex-husband who doesn’t need it? She wouldn’t and she didn’t. It’s a non-story in my eyes, very much dog bites man.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Moving On

The other DrC has some pretty pictures at her blog, taken yesterday, showing how much the recent rains in CA have filled the reservoir where we’ve spent the last month with our RV parked nearby. We’ve had a good time, enjoyed the green and the rain neither of which we see much in arid Nevada.

If the above sounds like a valedictory, it is. Today we pull up stakes (figuratively) and head to NV. Actually, the process of leaving is more one of reconfiguring the RV for travel, disconnecting umbilicals and reconnecting the RV to the pickup truck. This sounds complicated but with practice takes maybe half an hour to accomplish. 

Today’s drive will take perhaps 5 hours, nearly half of it on two lane roads. All of tomorrow’s drive will be on Interstate 15, and that will see us to our winter home in the desert.

As Roy Rogers often said, “Happy Trails.”

Thursday, January 19, 2023

About the Supremes’ Leak

It is widely reported today that the Supreme Court has released the report of their top cop, the Marshall, concerning the leak to Politico of a rough draft of the Dobbs decision that subsequently overturned Roe v. Wade. The report says the Court’s investigators were unable to determine the identity of the leaker.

This isn’t good news. The investigators as much as say it was a SCOTUS employee or justice who did the deed. The announcement means SCOTUS goes forward knowing it cannot trust its people to maintain confidentiality.

The leaker is probably still in the building, and may leak again. The report suggests whoever did the leak was extremely careful not to leave a trail. It sounds like espionage-level steps were employed to disguise the sources, I’m imagining burner phones and dead drops.

The result will likely be imposition of new, onerous security measures that will make working there less attractive than formerly. Access to documents, printers, and places where a memory stick can be plugged in will likely be controlled much more stringently than was the case before the leak. 

Does anybody want to raise the question of why those who use information they know is stolen cannot be prosecuted for abetting theft? Maybe this will cause the Justices to reconsider the issue?

Sporadic Wet Years Normal in CA

I’m wondering if someone at the Los Angeles Times has had an epiphany? After being reliably left-wing for a decade or more, I’ve suddenly seen two of their articles doing more-or-less straight reporting … way to go, people.

Also echoed outside LAT’s paywall at, this latest reports the big rain storms CA has experienced this month were … wait for it … normal CA weather. Really, they are not evidence of climate change. 

As a CA native I know this to be true from my own experience instate. Rain here is a boom and bust experience, unlike coastal OR and WA where it is a drizzle-all-winter-every-year experience. Most years in CA are largely dry, but we get a wet one periodically. This is one of those.

When rainy winters occur, we need to be prepared to capture and store a lot of the excess water for use later, in drier years. This kind of multi-year planning ahead is exactly what our political system doesn’t do very well. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Two Models: CA and FL

Instapundit links to a Los Angeles Times article reprinted outside the LAT paywall at Its topic is a comparison of the programs of CA Governor Newsom and FL Governor DeSantis. 

Reynolds believes the column is too favorable to Newsom. I read it and mostly disagree as I found it to be relatively balanced for a normally left-leaning outlet like LAT.

One claim the column makes with which I’d quibble is that people don’t move from a place where their politics, and hence culture, is in a decided minority. Their argument is that jobs prevent doing this. 

Actually, it turns out that employers like red state policies and tend to move operations there. When jobs move to red states it creates opportunities for like-minded people to follow the jobs. 

The article emphasizes CA and FL have a number of non-political similarities, including beaches, warm weather, theme parks, serious agriculture, and urban sprawl. That makes a comparison of the two political models more relevant as there is less non-political “stuff” confusing the choice.

The article’s thesis is that at some future point - 2024 or 2028 - Americans will be challenged to pick which model they find more appealing as the two governors square off head-to-head in the presidential race. With the caveat that much can change between now and then, I’d call that a likely outcome. 

To date, neither governor has demonstrated much crowd-stirring personal charisma. However the Biden and Bush presidencies have demonstrated there is no absolute requirement for presidential charisma or, sadly, competence.

Davos Snark

Ed Driscoll posts on Power Line a Tweet by Jack Posobiec; the text is brief and very on the nose.

I hear there are hundreds of prostitutes showing up in Davos this week.

And maybe even some sex workers, too.

I believe we can be certain there will be plenty of both.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Poor Will Decide

The website Red State has serious text excerpts from the anti-woke position taken by Russian emigre Konstantin Kisin in an Oxford Union debate on the topic “Resolved: Has Woke Culture Gone Too Far?” as well as a link to a YouTube video of his speech. I believe the most important point Kisin made is this one.

[Climate Change will be decided] by poor people in Asia and Latin America who don’t care about saving the planet—because they’re poor.

One-hundred-and-twenty million people in China do not have enough food. That means their immune system is breaking down because they do not have enough food.

Where do you think Climate Change ranks in Xi Jinping’s list of priorities?

You’re not going to get these people to stay poor. You’re not going to get them to not want to be richer.

Kisin is correct in these statements. And the situation in India is worse than China. He adds the only possible solution is ….

To make scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create the clean energy that is not only clean, but cheap.

Let’s hope his clean, cheap energy is even possible. 

Suspicious Timing

Posting at Instapundit, Stephen Green links to some interesting speculation at Lawrence Person’s BattleSwarm Blog.

With midterms safely past, news about the classified documents (which was known in advance of the midterms) was allowed to leak out, indicating that whoever arranged Slow Joe’s greased-skid path to the White House has lost confidence in his ability not to screw things up so badly that Democrats get slaughtered in 2024. And this despite the decided unpopularity both of VP Kamala Harris and backup catspaw Pete Buttigieg. My working theory is that the same people who installed Biden will try to install Gavin Newsom in 2024.

Newsom’s agenda, on display in California, is even worse than Biden’s agenda. There is no effective opposition in CA, where state level politics are monopolized by Ds. The resulting woke policies go a long ways toward explaining the outmigration the once-Golden State currently suffers.

Monday, January 16, 2023

The CA Rainstorms

One of the news sites I visit regularly carries this story on the California rainstorms and quotes some CA official calling them “among the most deadly disasters in our history.” In the aggregate, this is probably technically correct, if also highly misleading.

I have spent the past month in CA, a week north and the rest south, have lived through all of the rain in an RV, which makes me a “reporter” of sorts onsite.  Most folks here were at most inconvenienced a bit by road closures and the unaccustomed lack of sunshine. 

Some mountain pass roads that suffer from rock slides are closed, but that happens with some frequency in wet years. Some areas that have experienced a burn off in the past couple of years may have some erosion and some damage to homes built too close to normally dry barrancas. 

The story claims the storms have “killed at least 19 people.” That sounds like a lot, until you realize that CA contains about 1 in 8 Americans which is nearly 40 million. That makes your typical Californian’s odds of storm death at roughly 1 out of 2 million. I’d guess most years that many die from falling down.

As I’ve noted here before, I grew up on the edge of Los Padres National Forest. We experienced a “forest” fire (brushfire, mostly) every 3-4 years. 

The press was forever printing that our town burned down, panicking our relatives who lived elsewhere who would call to see if we were still alive. The worst of the fires never got within several miles of our house or indeed most houses in the valley. 

Journalists then and now live by the motto “if it bleeds, it leads.” They try to make everything look worse than it is because it hypes viewership.

They mostly don’t make stuff up, they just select the worst images they can find and infer those are typical, without actually saying so. They’ll show you a real storm-damaged house or drowned car and omit showing the the dozens farther down the block which are intact. Face it, undamaged property and uninjured people are not a “story,” they’re just daily life.

Later … Steven Hayward at Power Line has a chart showing CA rainfall totals for the last 100+ years. Annual rainfall is highly variable but there is no obvious trend line.

Coming Around

A quick search of this blog shows for at least 8 years I have been nagging CA policy-makers to build more reservoirs to store more runoff in the occasional wet winter. An article at POLITICO suggests at least some of the state’s Democrat supermajority may finally be taking the idea seriously.

We need to get over the idea that we can live in this world without modifying it to make it work better for us. That’s only true if we choose to live like an Amazonian tribe, doing the hunter-gatherer shtick. It is abundantly clear their lifestyle isn’t one most of us prefer.

The area where for 50 years I lived in California’s great Central Valley formerly flooded every spring. Dams on the Sacramento, American and Feather rivers made that flooding stop, plus provided irrigation water, hydroelectric power, and recreational opportunities. It’s hard to argue they shouldn’t have been built.

Let us once again emulate the industrious beaver and build dams, build more dams, and store more water. If some rivers no longer “run free,” and they won’t, it is a trade-off we can accept.

Sunday, January 15, 2023


Power Line’s Scott Johnson muses about the Biden documents stashed in various places, including a garage, and writes this indictment.
There is nothing funny about Joe Biden. Every day he remains in office he does incalculable damage to the country. The Biden matter is likely the least of it. He has dissolved our southern border, prioritized the climate madness, furthered the woke insanity, weakened our military, promoted a gusher of federal spending, and so on. His administration is shoddy and destructive. He is personally corrupt. Yet the vision of Biden passing judgment on himself is hilarious.

What’s “hilarious” is Biden - on camera - condemning in no uncertain terms Trump for retaining classified documents. Out of his own mouth, he insists retaining documents is indefensible. Damn, don’t you love it when a villain shoots himself in the foot?

Implicit Bias

Wilfred Reilly is a political science professor at an HBCU. He writes at Tablet the following insight.

Within my field—the academic social sciences—a 2006 survey found that about 18% of all faculty members identified as Marxists, another 24% as radicals, and 20%-21% as activists. In contrast, perhaps 5% of American soft-scientists are conservatives. In an environment this politically slanted, the odds are good that many shifts of focus attributed to new theory or empirical data—and indeed many overall social science conclusions—are largely the products of ideology.

Reilly‘s more general point is captured in the title, “How Political Bias Explains Everything.” He makes a good argument. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Dysfunction Junction

Writing at American Greatness, Larry Sand provides a relatively comprehensive enumeration of what could be called “California Crazy.” He describes the wretched policy choices made by the overwhelmingly Democrat government of the state. 

As Sand notes, the result is families Kurt Schlichter calls “normals” leaving the state in record numbers. The migrants move to places which, though less blessed by nature, are better governed.

Although Sand doesn’t mention it, the Covid-fueled shift to working at home has greatly facilitated such moves. Among the dozen or so households in our brand-new 55+ seniors neighborhood in Nevada are 2-4 individuals who moved there from elsewhere and continue to work from home for their employer located out of state. Nevada’s status as a no-state-income-tax haven was likely part of what influenced their choice.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Marriage Gap

Writing for the American Enterprise Institute, Ruy Teixeira and colleagues look at the “marriage gap” in voting profiles, comparing it to the “gender gap.” They argue the two interact

Married men are most likely to vote Republican, followed by married women. They are followed by unmarried men who are slightly more likely to vote Republican than Democrat. On the other hand, unmarried women vote Democrat by about 2 to 1. 

What isn’t mentioned by Teixeira et al. is how the class issue interacts with this data. The upper classes are more likely to be married, but also more likely to be college grads - both of these are facts. We are told by various pundits the married are more likely to vote Republican but also told college grads are more likely to vote Democrat. 

Something doesn’t make sense here. Without the data in front of me, I can’t begin to speculate how that apparent conflict in claims can be resolved. 

It seems likely somebody has analyzed it wrong, doesn’t it? Or that the relationships between marriage and education level versus voting are less straightforward than has been claimed.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Gallup: Republicans Outnumber Democrats

The Washington Examiner reports the findings of a recent Gallup poll asking Americans their political preferences.

For the first time in decades, more people identify as Republicans than Democrats, a striking change that bolsters polls showing that the United States is a moderate-conservative nation.

In the latest massive Gallup survey of 10,000 adults, 45% identified as Republicans and 44% as Democrats. That’s a tiny edge for sure, but it’s the first time the GOP has had the lead since former President George H.W. Bush launched the Gulf War in 1991.

For several years the Ds have been too radical for most Americans, and the polling finally reflects that fact. Ds have cemented the impression their party speaks exclusively for life’s various losers. Most Americans are convinced they personally are not losers.

Plus in his public appearances poor old Joe Biden - the nominal D leader - hasn’t inspired confidence. Instead he’s left the impression he isn’t up to the admittedly tough job to which he was elected.

This information will possibly encourage retirements among D senators (and maybe House members) elected from red or purple states.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Superior Snark

Writing at National Review, Jim Geraghty looks at the performance in office of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has recently been in the news, and quips as follows.

U.S. secretaries of transportation are a bit like brake lines, offensive lines, and power lines — you only pay much attention to them when they don’t work.

In which case Pete B’s recent publicity is correctly viewed as notoriety.  


Instapundit links to a Washington Free Beacon article which makes fun of Pete Buttigieg’s Transportation Department. It recently has twice dropped the ball with regard to air travel. WFB alleges that instead DOT has focused on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) matters.

No kidding. Buttigieg is a smart “out” gay who wants to be involved in national politics. If he is even slightly realistic, he understands his sexual orientation is a drag on his electoral ambitions. Put him in charge of a federal agency and then be surprised when he emphasizes DEI issues? I don’t think so. 

It didn’t take the bureaucrats at DOT 5 minutes to figure out what sort of proposals would get favorable reception in the Secretary’s office. It’s sad (but not surprising) that we don’t have a DOT Secretary who has transportation as his number one issue.

Good luck next time you fly….

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Marcos Meets Xi

My foreign policy guy - George Friedman - takes a look at the map of Asia and concludes that there is a heck of an incentive for China to cut a deal with the Philippines for basing rights. The issue is continued freedom of navigation to and from China to the world. 

Of course China has such access now. The issue is whether at some point in a future conflict the U.S. might effectively blockade the Chinese coastal ports, shutting off their export market and crippling the Chinese economy. 

If China had military base rights in the Philippines, a blockade would be very difficult to achieve. This creates an enormous incentive for Philippine leadership to play off U.S. and Chinese interests against each other to see which wealthy country will deliver the larger package of “incentives” to poor Manila.

Of course, the role of the Philippines as a former U.S. colony complicates these relationships, in both positive and negative directions. A substantial number of Filipinos live happily in the U.S., probably not true of China.

Boredom Killer

I recently read a Boston Globe opinion piece which waxes rhapsodic about audiobooks. “That doesn’t sound like you” I can imagine regular COTTonLINE readers thinking - no politics, no foreign affairs.

Something I’ve mentioned here is that the DrsC live in semi-remote places throughout the year. I probably haven’t mentioned that most years it is three different semi-remote places. 

Getting from one to another SRP necessitates roughly 11 four hour drives per year, done in groups of 2 or 3 days. Plus, when you live in a SRP a couple of times a month you have to make a 1-2 hour drive to get to serious shopping, a medical specialist or an airport. 

Bottom line: we do a lot of longish drives in a year, and we find listening to music puts us to sleep - which is dangerous. Our solution, and one I’d recommend to you is audiobooks. 

As the opinion column notes, being read to is one of life’s not-guilty pleasures, one you can enjoy while doing something else. Listening and driving, or listening and walking which the other DrC likes, is both feasible and pleasant. 

If you need to talk or take a call, the book is easily paused and waits with limitless patience till you can resume listening. We like fiction, but other things are available. Give it a try.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Bipartisan Good News

Fox News reports something I believe patriots will evaluate as exceptionally good news. See what happened.
House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday joined forces and voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new committee to examine U.S. strategic competition with China, after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared on the House floor that neither Republicans nor Democrats trust China anymore.

The House voted, 365-65, in favor of creating the committee, which was supported by every Republican and more than two-thirds of the House Democrat caucus.

The mission of the committee, which was proposed by McCarthy, is to "investigate and submit policy recommendations on the status of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States."

In recent years the only bipartisan things getting much support were pay raises for congress folk. I don’t suppose this will be popular in Beijing. 

I hope it signals at least a partial return to the policy that partisanship ends at the water’s edge. The world is a dangerous place; there are forces including the CCP who wish us ill and strive to bring it about.

Public School Enrollments - Rising and Falling

Another way of looking at “the Big Sort” is presented in map form at Axios. The map shows what has happened to public school enrollments in 48 of the 50 states (LA, VA not reporting) during the period 2009 - 2020. 

States in the northeast and rust belt have mostly been losers (except MD and DE), as have 4 of the 5 Pacific coast states (CA, OR, AK, HI). The big gainers have been in the mountain and prairie west (except NM and MO). The southeast is a mixed bag, all gainers except MS and AL.

The pandemic hit, and public schools were subjected to state and local guidelines. Many of them flip-flopped on virtual versus in-person learning. Widespread teacher and staff shortages exacerbated the problem. Students rapidly fell behind. That pushed frustrated parents to pull their kids out. As a result, private schools and charter schools gained students. The number of homeschooled students doubled to about 5 million.

Weird Thermal Science

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (once known to locals as “the RadLab”) have found a new way to produce refrigeration, and possibly heating as well. They call the method “ionocaloric cooling" and it apparently produces more cooling with less electricity usage than other methods. The findings are reported in ScienceAlert. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link. The researchers write:

No one has successfully developed an alternative solution that makes stuff cold, works efficiently, is safe, and doesn't hurt the environment. We think the ionocaloric cycle has the potential to meet all those goals if realized appropriately.

As Instapundit is fond of admonishing, “faster, please.” 

Monday, January 9, 2023

Trade Sanctions Flop

Supposedly the European Union is angry with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, and has imposed trade sanctions. If you suspect sanctions have little effect, you are correct.

Power Line posts a chart by Eurostat sourced from which shows that 19 of the 26 EU nations for which data is available traded more with Russia in 2022 than in 2021. Malta was left off the list. For eight of the nineteen, last year’s trade with Russia was more than double the prior year trade. 

Tell me again how these “tough” trade sanctions are hurting the Russian economy, I can’t quite see it. 

A Desire Named Streetcar and A Criminal Waste

Power Line’s Steven Hayward cracking wise on the left’s love affair with public transit, which incidentally continues to experience reduced ridership and funding difficulties. Hayward quips:

Mass transit—the holy grail of urban progressivism (Quest for the Holy Rail, as I sometimes put it, or, A Desire Named Streetcar)—is struggling right now.

Concerning the heavy rains we’re experiencing in California right now, for you’ll recollect the DrsC are visiting and Hayward lives near Berkeley, he quotes the following from The Wall Street Journal (behind paywall):

California voters passed a $7.5 billion bond measure in 2012 to help build new storage facilities and make other water improvements. The state approved some of that money in 2018 to help build the Sites Reservoir, 75 miles northwest of Sacramento, which would hold enough runoff from wet years like this to meet the needs of roughly nine million people for a year. But the project has been mired in regulatory delays.

There’s that straitjacket I wrote about yesterday, “regulatory delays” imposed to please the Sierra Club. Meanwhile millions of acre feet of clean rainwater which CA could put to good use run off into the Pacific Ocean and are lost.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Families, Schools, Churches, Neighborhoods

Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit, links to a Christopher F. Rufo column at City Journal which argues there is significant movement by those on the right in building a “conservative counterculture.”

[The] old counterculture has become the dominant culture, having been absorbed into the bureaucracies of universities, schools, government, and now major corporations. The left-wing culture no longer carries a critique; it is the status quo.

The solution to left-wing cultural dominance is ... to rebuild the structures that provide the basis for healthy, integrated human development: families, schools, churches, neighborhoods. Though few have noticed, this is already happening. A “Quiet Right” is patiently, and nearly invisibly, building a viable counterculture.

Echoing something I wrote recently, Rufo spots a couple of “robins,” which may presage the arrival of a conservative “Spring.” It is worth noting that Gov. DeSantis (R-FL) recently appointed Rufo (and four other conservatives) to the board of governors of a Florida state college, a “robin” if ever I saw one.

Rx: Build Reservoirs

CA has plenty of dry years but with some frequency has a wet winter with plenty of rain, this CA winter is a wet one.  A website called Ars Technica runs an article entitled:

How California could save up its rain to ease future droughts

The article has a few fancy ideas but really doesn’t adequately emphasize the main one: build dams in canyons

CA has loads of mountains. The Sierras of course are legendary, but I grew up in the shadow of Coast Range mountains and they are no joke either. Those mountains start just north of LA and run with a few breaks all the way up the coast to Oregon. They are quite large, and hundreds of potential reservoir sites are unused along the coast and in the Sierras.

It has been years, maybe decades since CA built a new reservoir. Resistance to building reservoirs is pushed by the Sierra Club and other environmentalist organizations. 

An evil coalition of those wanting to preserve scrub-covered canyons in their current ‘pristine’ form and those who don’t want to spend money on infrastructure when it is more useful “buying votes” keeps CA from building the storage needed to stop wasting rainfall runoff into the Pacific. 

Somehow we’ve moved from having a government that could and did solve problems to a place where anybody can block almost any government initiative they oppose, which means most of them. My mental image is of a giant wearing a straitjacket, of his own construction, voluntarily donned. 

I have much nostalgia for the Gov. Pat Brown era when CA had a can-do government. It has become a beautiful place so hobbled by a can’t-do government its people are fleeing. The CA situation is bleeping pathetic.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Moves: Reds Gain, Blues Lose

Zero Hedge links to a U-Haul study which looks at the roughly 2 million one way interstate rentals they made in 2022. Each year they publish this information which is a decent indication of where people are moving to and from.

Texas is the No. 1 growth state for the second consecutive year and the fifth time since 2016. Florida, which ranks second, has been a top-three growth state seven years in a row.

South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, Ohio and Idaho round out the top 10 growth states. Virginia and Alabama are the biggest risers, climbing 26 spots from their respective 2021 rankings. New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and California are the bottom five states for growth in 2022.

In that last sentence, read “bottom states for growth” as “negative growth” meaning losing households moving elsewhere. I believe the U-Haul index is a purer measure of Americans “voting with their feet” than the numbers released by the moving van companies like United

Most of those renting trucks pay for their own moves. A substantial proportion of those using a moving company have their move paid for by an employer. Van moves reflects the employer’s choice of destination more so than that of the employee.

Weird Materials Science

The MIT News journal of recent scientific findings reports that two thousand years later, materials scientists have finally figured out how the Romans made concrete that was (and still is) more durable than what we are able to make today. The Roman concrete literally “heals” cracks that form and does so automatically.

It appears the Romans added quicklime to the mixture instead of lime-mixed-with-water known as “slaked lime.” Perhaps we can do likewise and reap the benefits the ancient Romans got from their super strong concrete, some of which continues to last and be functional to this day.

You have to wonder what other technologies the ancients had that remain lost. Perhaps the “Greek fire” weapon that burst into flame upon exposure to air? How could the ancients have compounded and used that? Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Fighting Over Rules

Kevin McCarthy inches closer to the votes needed to become Speaker of the House. The holdouts who changed sides have gotten in return rule changes which may move “the peoples’ chamber” back toward being the deliberative body the framers intended it to be.

I would like to see the federal government adopt a balanced budget policy, with limited exceptions. We cannot keep borrowing money and living on credit indefinitely. Plus the so-called “omnibus” bills which no one has the time to read before passing are abominations.

The real question is whether McCarthy has to give away so much power to get the job that the job is no longer worth having. That was the situation which ended us up with the worthless Paul Ryan as Speaker, who did basically nothing for several years. He was tolerated because no one else wanted the job.

Later … McCarthy finally got the votes he needed to win the Speakership on the 15th ballot. A handful of the holdouts were convinced to vote “present” instead of for another candidate, thus lowering the number of votes required to win the post. (Posted at 9:45 p.m PST)

Looking Back at Jan. 6

Two years ago today a group of unarmed Trump supporters misbehaved at the U.S. capitol. Mostly it was trespass and vandalism, plus frank voyeurism. They were unhappy with the results of an election held under difficult and unprecedented conditions, and the high-handed actions of state election officials.

If you claim it was an insurrection - I do not - it was the most pathetic excuse for one imaginable. It was people venting their anger and frustration. The only shots fired were by the Capitol Police and claims of several deaths among the defenders were similar to the claims of many of the deaths blamed on Covid, coincidences politically attributed. 

One thing is clear, Democrats are never going to let it go. It has become the “bloody shirt” (classical reference) they will wave till they die. 

I note the anniversary only to add that in the annals of unrest of the period - 2020 - Jan. 6 was small potatoes. No buildings were burned, no stores looted, and some number of those involved were covert federal provocateurs and shills. Directly or indirectly, intentionally or otherwise, the then-Speaker appears to have acted in ways that made it worse.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

An Empty Threat

About the Speaker impasse detailed in the previous post, Steven Hayward of Power Line has a comment that may be relevant.

The impasse over selecting the next Speaker of the House will end very soon for a simple reason: since no members can be officially sworn in until there is a Speaker, it means none of them can draw a paycheck. That will tend to concentrate the mind of many House members.

I doubt he’s correct. A paycheck delayed a few days shouldn’t mean much to these guys, gals and whatevers, They mostly manage to get rich while in office and they don’t do it from their federal paychecks. 

The twenty or so holdouts are ideologues of one stripe or another. That motive tends to make mundane matters like paying the rent pale into insignificance.

Plus, long term nobody will actually lose any money. Like federal employees during a so-called “government shutdown” they’ll eventually get every penny even if it is delayed a week or two.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Speaker Deadlock

The current tempest in the Washington teapot is the apparent inability of the slender Republican majority in the House of Representatives to elect a Speaker to replace Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the front runner but he has fallen short of the 218 votes needed to win the post. 

Some 20 GOP House members have consistently, over six different ballots so far, voted for someone else. Meanwhile slightly over 200 voted for McCarthy. Neither number seems to budge, and we are treated to the inelegant spectacle of the party’s tail wagging the dog. 

Digging deeper, at least 80 House Republicans are viewed as McCarthy loyalists, who will vote for no other so long as he continues to allow his name to be put forward. He appears to believe he will eventually wear the opponents down, and shows no sign of withdrawing from the ballot. 

As others have noted, a Republican majority in the House can do little except block legislation when the Senate and Presidency are held by the other party. Thus, we have the situation similar to that belittled by Henry Kissinger in his description of academic politics, which he described as vicious “because the stakes are so low.”

You could argue this deadlock occurs because House Republicans really have no important work to accomplish beyond voting “no” on whatever the Democrat-controlled Senate passes. Since nothing much important is at stake, why not pummel the party leader the 20 hardliners believe is an insufficiently militant pushover?

Gallup: Americans Are Pessimistic

The Gallup survey organization asked a representative panel of Americans for their predictions for the coming year - 2023. Unsurprisingly, on 12 of 13 dimensions, majorities believe things will get worse.

In the area of economic outcomes, taxes, prosperity, federal deficits, stock markets, price levels, and employment levels are all expected to become worse. That is, taxes, deficits, and prices are all seen as going higher. While prosperity, stock markets, and employment are all expected to be lower.

In political/societal affairs, political conflict, crime rates, and labor strikes are all expected to grow. And in international affairs, conflict is expected to grow as is China’s power while the power of both America and Russia is expected to decline.

Gallup concludes that only for this last item, an expected decline of Russia’s power and influence, are predictions positive for our country’s interests. As the year 2023 begins, we Americans have an almost entirely gloomy outlook. Don’t be surprised if that prophesy becomes self-fulfilling.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Data on the Big Sort

Steven Hayward, posting at Power Line, has lists of states gaining and losing population in the last fiscal year. As you might imagine Democrat-run blue states are losers and Republican-run red states are gainers. The data are confounded to some extent because they reflect absolute numbers and obviously tend to be dominated by large states.

Therefore Steve’s PL colleague John Hinderaker, who in retirement heads a think tank, had a statistician rank states by per capita loss or gain which produces a somewhat different list, also shown. It is difficult to argue with the results of Americans “voting with their feet,” moving where government policies are more to their liking. And of course, the growth in working from home gives such moves a boost.

Remembering ….

This morning I am remembering living through the great blizzard of 1969 in Eugene, Oregon. Not sure exactly why now, maybe because it happened in January.

Over a weekend in late January 37+ inches of snow fell on a city that normally doesn’t get that much snow in a decade. The city had no snow removal equipment but did what they could with a couple of front-end loaders. 

Everything basically ground to a halt for several days; the university shut down and we all hunkered in place. I remember hearing that people who needed to go to the hospital were transported by snowmobile. My housemates and I lived a couple of blocks from a market and we got groceries on foot. 

Later in the week when I tried to drive my VW beetle - typical grad student wheels at the time - it got high centered on a ridge of hard snow/ice. I needed a tow by a very exasperated guy with a 4wd pickup to get unstuck.

Good News x 2

A new year is beginning, and at least some prognosticators (see prior post) are making very tough, downbeat predictions. On the other hand, as Joe Hoft at Gateway Pundit writes, at the very least we begin the year with two pieces of very good news.

As of today, Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Liz Cheney no longer represents Wyoming (or any other constituency) in that chamber. Maybe it’s all downhill from here, maybe not. At least two good things have already happened.

The only prediction I will make for 2023 is that what comes will be worth following with interest. Rereading the previous sentence, I am reminded of an old curse alleged to be of Chinese origin, “May you live in interesting times.” We do.

A Lot Like Hell

And the prize for the most pessimistic set of predictions for 2023 goes to … wait for it … Theodore Roosevelt Malloch writing at American Greatness. There is a tendency to think the AG venue is “owned” by Trump supporters. However, check out his political prediction.

The presidential primaries on both sides are going to be a blood fest. Biden will run based on his fake bio and he will have a half-dozen challengers, all trying to unseat him, as senile and inept. In the end, he will fold, and the Cackler, Kamala Harris, will be crowned queen as a happy compromise. Obama backs her, remember?

On the Republican side, Trump is fading faster than Santa after Christmas. The base may still, wink, wink, “support” him. But they have had enough, NFT trading cards and all. There are probably just short of a dozen challengers gearing up to take him on this year—some of whom were his lieutenants. Ron DeSantis will win the primaries and be the Republican nominee in 2024.

You get the real downer flavor of  Malloch’s predictions with this concluding thought:

Unfortunately, I don’t see any Great Awakening in 2023, even if it is sorely needed. 2023 will be a lot like Hell or one of the lower levels on Dante’s ladder.

I plan to retreat from the worst of 2023 as I avoid big cities and the craziness of the rat race. Hat tip to Power Line for the link. 

About Ukraine

RealClearDefense has an analysis by Seth Cropsey of the motives and goals of both sides in the Russia-Ukraine war. It is one of the best I have seen, perhaps a “must read.”

Cropsey describes Russian aims in a way that explains why Putin acted as he did, and why he is unlikely to quit anytime soon. Ditto for those of Ukraine, which is also unlikely to quit. He believes the weak actors in the conflict are Germany, France, and possibly the U.S.

His conclusion is that Crimea is the real prize that both sides desperately need. He argues NATO needs to provide the arms necessary for Ukraine to meaningfully threaten to retake Crimea, if not to actually do so. And he describes why a Russia that includes what is now Ukraine becomes a global power center of nearly equal weight to China and the U.S., something it is worth our while to prevent.

Monday, January 2, 2023

A Velvet Divorce?

Instapundit links to a report at the Legal Insurrection website concerning the progress made by the conservatives in eastern and southern Oregon who wish to secede from liberal OR and become part of conservative Idaho. So far 11 counties have voted to make the move, and a twelfth has scheduled a vote on it. 

Normally such efforts are stymied by the opposition of a state’s majorities. That may not happen in this case, for an interesting reason. As you read the following, be aware that “northwestern Oregon” is where most of the state’s Democrat majority lives and the largest cities are located.

A January 2022 SurveyUSA poll showed that 68% of northwestern Oregon voters thought that the Oregon Legislature should hold hearings on the idea, and only 20% opposed.

The poll also found that a mere three percent of such voters think keeping eastern and southern Oregon in the state is worth the cost. The movement estimates the cost at $500 per northwestern Oregonian wage earner annually.

If the secession movement should succeed - a remote possibility at this juncture - I can imagine eastern Washington wishing to follow suit. If that should succeed as well, the resulting “super Idaho” would be a very large state. What’s unclear is whether Idaho wants to pick up the costs OR would shed.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year

While I’ve got the blogger open on my lap, let me wish COTTonLINE readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year in 2023. We’re all a year older and that, for us past our prime, isn’t entirely a good thing. 

On the other hand, that we’re still here to grouse about aging means we’re survivors, which is very much a good thing. Let’s take a moment to remember, mostly with fondness, those who didn’t make it this far.

Carpe diem - seize the day. Heck, carpe annum - seize the year.


There is something about this time of year that moves the commentariat to ponder weighty issues. The resulting columns sometimes make interesting reading.

John Hinderaker, the first among equals at Power Line, makes a prediction that federalism - the relation between the states and the national government - will be an issue much in the news going forward. The entire column is worth your time, his conclusion will give you a sense of where his thoughts lead.

There are strong reasons for the states to re-assert their sovereignty, and, given how poorly our national government is performing, that can only be a good thing. Perhaps the prospect of disunion will concentrate the minds of the political class in Washington. Or perhaps disunion will become a reality, maybe sooner than we can now imagine.

CA, where I am vacationing, appears all too ready to go its own peculiar way. I can’t imagine much of the mountain west (except CO) wanting to go along for that very woke ride.