Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Default Defeated

The House of Representatives has passed the compromise debt ceiling raise bill worked out by President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. The vote was 314 to 117. 

Hard line conservatives and equally hard line progressives voted against the bill for opposite reasons. A centrist bipartisan majority approved it roughly 2 to 1. 

People wondered if Kevin McCarthy would be a strong speaker as it took many ballots to elect him. Tonight it appears he will be exactly that.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill in time to forestall a government default, and the President's signature is a given.

NASA: UFO/UAP Sightings Are Real links to a Reuters/Daily Mail article reporting the following story.

Unidentified metallic orb UFOs have been spotted 'all over the world', a Pentagon chief admitted today during NASA's first-ever public hearing into the phenomenon.

Physicist Dr Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Pentagon's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), said: "We see these ['metallic orbs'] all over the world, and we see these making very interesting apparent maneuvers."

You may remember a week ago I described Glenn Reynolds musing about whether our world is real or whether we perhaps live in an elaborate simulation. I find this Reuters story relates to Reynolds' simulation hypothesis.

There are, it seems, metallic orbs zooming around our skies, performing maneuvers which our understanding of science suggests cannot possibly occur. Perhaps the Occam's Razor explanation is that the orbs are tools of who or whatever is running the simulation. 

If so, are they making observations, 'adjusting' the givens to test some unimagined theory of the simulation's founder, or merely trying to evoke our reaction to unexplained phenomena? Alternatively, maybe angels actually resemble metallic spheres. 

Whatever, it is fun to speculate as to the nature and origins of UFOs or UAPs.

There Is Good News

RealClearPolicy has an article with this intriguing title: Why Are We So Gloomy? Actually, very little of the article deals with that question. Here is the best they can come up with.

We have evolved to look out for danger. That was the best way to survive when the world was much more threatening.

One study recently found, for a headline of average length, “each additional negative word increased the click-through rate by 2.3%.” And so, in a race to the bottom, all media coverage got much darker over the last two decades.

We are literally scaring ourselves to death, with rates of anxiety, depression and even suicide rising in some parts of the world. 

Most of the article lists the many ways in which life on this planet has gotten better. Inflation-adjusted income has risen dramatically, Homicide rates, deaths from wars and natural catastrophes have dropped. Rates of extreme poverty have declined, as has infant mortality. Education and literacy rates have climbed.  Even the environment has experienced improvements.

The author concludes:

To maintain your mental composure and to keep matters in perspective, follow the trendlines, not the headlines. You will discover that the world is in a much better shape than it appears. You will be more cheerful and, most importantly, accurately informed.

Not bad advice, that. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Drones Hit Moscow

It is widely reported that drones attributed to Ukraine attacked a wealthy suburb of Moscow earlier today. There was some property damage and a few injuries. Of course Russian drones have been attacking Kiev off and on for over a year. 

The U.S. has been scrupulous in demanding Ukraine not attack Russia with arms supplied by us. There is nothing stopping Ukraine from using weapon systems it has developed and built to undertake such attacks, something it obviously wants to do.

Russia calls these attacks "terrorist activity." I am of the opinion Russian attacks on Ukraine are of a similar nature, either both are terrorism or neither is. 

Russia is a bully and much smaller Ukraine is a victim trying hard, and with some success, to fight back. I favor the underdog.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Paging Howard Wolowitz

Apple News links to an article at concerning an issue seldom discussed. Namely, relieving oneself in space, in free fall. It turns out we humans are very reliant on gravity to take various bodily wastes away from our bodies.

Futurism chronicles the problems astronauts and space tourists have had with waste elimination. 

Never forget, for instance, a noisesome incident during the 1969 Apollo 10 mission, when the crew were forced to contend with a horrible situation extremely far from Earth.

"Give me a napkin quick," commander Tom Stafford said, according to the official NASA transcript. "There's a turd floating through the air." 

I'm reminded of sometime astronaut Howard Wolowitz, fictional engineer/inventor of the space toilet, who tried a pre-lauch test on earth using his mother's brisket, It deposited said brisket on the ceiling. 

Is life imitating art, or vice versa?

History a Dying Field

RealClearScience has a historical article about an Austrian physician who in 1917 treated late-stage syphilis by giving his patients malaria. It worked to some degree in half his patients, curing roughly a quarter of them and helping another quarter. The curative agent, which won him a Nobel Prize in medicine, was the high fever triggered by the malaria. 

What puzzles me is that the author never mentions that syphilis sufferers had long treated the disease by soaking in hot springs or baking in saunas which create some of the same physiological conditions as a high fever, without the bacterial sequelae.

Seasonal Musings

To many people, the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays bookend the summer. Technically, they are “close but no cigar.” Officially, summer begins with the solstice on June 21, and ends with the fall equinox on September 21. 

Here in the Rockies, what you’d actually recognize as summer without looking at the calendar is basically July and August. Short, but sweeter than wine with long, warm days and low humidity. Spring ends late and fall begins early at 6000 ft.

Right now we’re experiencing what the other DrC calls “white day.” It is when the various understory plants in our aspen forest all bloom white and it only lasts 2-3 days. She says it is early this year, it more often happens in early June.

To Greener Pastures

An organization named Build Remote assists firms with the process of having employees work from remote locations. They’ve created a list of 62 firms with over 100 employees which have moved their headquarters out of California during the period 2020-2023, and the states to which they’ve moved.

Some are big names you’ve been aware of for decades, some are more obscure. They’ve moved to Texas, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arizona, and even to Montana. Here are some I know: Kelly-Moore Paints, McAfee, Chevron Oil, Tesla, Kaiser Aluminum, Edelbrock Group, Charles Schwab, Oracle, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Pabst Brewing, and NortonLifeLock.

The bloom is definitely off California’s rose. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit for the link.

Memorial Day

Today we honor those many men, and a few women, who have died serving in the various branches of the U.S. military. However much we may regret the fact, nations require defending and that defense costs the lives of mostly young, healthy people. 

In truth, every day we spend more or less at peace enjoying one of the world’s best standards of living and widest range of political freedoms is a tribute to those brave young people who lost their lives defending our polity. We are forever in their debt.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Agreement Reached ... Supposedly

It appears we won't have a federal debt crisis after all. We are told President Biden and Speaker McCarthy have reached a compromise both can support, however reluctantly.

What remains is for the resulting compromise to be passed by both houses of Congress. That will likely happen with some of the most ideologically driven members of both parties voting "no."

Apparently some limitations on spending were included, as well as work requirements for welfare, but not for Medicaid. If both sides are unsatisfied with the outcome, then our form of government has functioned as it was intended to do.

Chances are we'll get to live through it again in a couple of years, alas.

Belated Saturday Snark

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

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Red Guard in the Rockies

It is widely reported that the Colorado Education Association - the state teachers' union - has passed a resolution with the following wording.

The CEA believes that capitalism inherently exploits children, public schools, land, labor, and resources. Capitalism is in opposition to fully addressing systemic racism (the school to prison pipeline), climate change, patriarchy (gender and LGBTQ disparities), education inequality, and income inequality.

I cannot believe a majority of Coloradans share this belief. If you live in Colorado and have school-age kids, sending them to public schools may be tantamount to parental malpractice, perhaps even child abuse. And of course, most of those at or below a median income cannot afford an alternative to the public schools.

All They Have Left

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute. In it, author Logan Hall writes about the ties between Donald J. Trump and the people in flyover America.

They’ve become even more alienated and disgusted by the Washington establishment than they were in 2016. In their eyes, there’s no better way to show disdain for the ruling elite than casting their lot with Trump. That was their motivation eight years ago, and that’s the motivation now.

Diehard support for the former president, in many cases, is symbolic. It’s an act of defiance. It’s the biggest middle finger Forgotten Americans can give to a system they believe has failed them. And maybe that symbolism is all they feel they have left.

Personally, I prefer winning to expressing my grievances. However, I understand how good it feels to express one's utter loathing. 

Bailing Out

Scanning this morning, I see two items definitely worth noting in our “decline and fall of California” track. First, SFGate reports via that The Gap’s large Old Navy store on Market St. in downtown San Francisco is closing.

It’s the latest San Francisco retailer to announce its departure, joining a list of businesses that includes Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Anthropologie, Coco Republic and grocery chain Whole Foods.

The second item involved giant insurer State Farm. The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports as follows.

America's biggest home insurance company has announced it will no longer insure houses in California, saying that the risk from wildfires was too great and the cost of rebuilding too high. State Farm, the nation's biggest car and home insurer by premium volume, said existing customers would not be affected. But from Saturday, no new home insurance policies will be issued. The company will continue offering auto insurance.

State Farm's move follows the decision last year by American International Group to end the insurance policies taken out on thousands of expensive properties. The group notified their high-net-worth clients in California that their policies would not renew.

At some point the CA death spiral becomes irreversible. Echoing the impatient children in the back seat, I ask “Are we there yet?”

Friday, May 26, 2023

Missing Highs

While rereading the post below about Jordan Neely, it occurred to me that I should write something about why so-called "community treatment" of mental illness doesn't work. Community treatment centers are supposed to prescribe and manage meds to keep the insane more or less under control without necessitating their incarceration.

The problem is that those being "medicated" for mental illness often don't like how they feel while medicated. A bipolar (formerly called manic-depressive) friend described missing the manic highs while taking his lithium. How he felt when medicated was dull, sort of blah. He didn't miss the suicidal lows, but oh, those highs were exciting, he said he felt invincible, like he had superpowers. 

When the outpatient mentally ill stop taking their meds because they don't like how they feel, we get to "enjoy" their erratic behavior. Some of us don't survive those encounters, or end up with PTSD.


Afterthought: Much of our homeless problem exists because mentally ill people prefer the apparently pleasant effects of street drugs to the dulling effects of Rx meds for their conditions. Perhaps we should provide drugs similar to street drugs in our inpatient facilities, drugs the mentally ill would enjoy, something like Huxley's Soma?

The Jordan Neely Problem

At his Substack site, Glenn Loury interviews John McWhorter about "the Jordan Neely Problem." Both Loury and McWhorter are African American academics. They go through the whole "mental illness isn't his fault" thing and the "subway riders deserve to be abused" number in some detail.

Surprisingly, they come out the far side thinking the subway riders don't deserve to be abused, threatened, and sometimes killed by crazy people. It is a decent, thoughtful treatment of a touchy subject. My complaint is that they waltz around, but never mention the need to separate the insane from society, utilizing involuntary commitment. 

Law prof Glenn Reynolds is fond of reminding us that the police exist to protect criminals from the summary justice of vigilantism. What Daniel Penny did was made necessary by society's abdication of responsibility for protecting the insane.

Possible Bullet-Dodging

Let me share with you a sentence from a New York Post editorial about the choices in the 2024 presidential race.

Ron DeSantis’ entry into the 2024 race for the White House offers a fighting chance for America to dodge a Donald Trump versus Joe Biden rematch that almost nobody (except Trump and Biden) craves: According to most polls, this punch-drunk nation just wants to move on.

The rest of the editorial isn't bad either. 

Friday Snark

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

The Fauci Factor

If Ron DeSantis is going to defeat Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, he will have to identify things President Trump did poorly and explain what should have been done. Trump's most serious failing was not understanding that Democrats were rigging the 2020 election process and moving heaven and earth to counter-rig it. 

Trump's second most serious failing was his inability to coerce the federal bureaucracy - civilian and military - to do what he asked of them. Both of these failures are "inside baseball" issues, difficult to explain to voters.

What DeSantis can explain to voters is Trump's putting Dr. Anthony Fauci in charge of our national response to the Covid-19 epidemic. We all saw Trump on TV with Fauci and Birx night after night, it is hard for him to deny or obfuscate their role.

Fauci pushed the nationwide lock-down when most of those who were made seriously ill or died from the disease were old and already suffering from one or more substantial health issues. And both Trump and Fauci exaggerated the benefits of the experimental mRNA vaccines.

The economic and educational deficits caused by the lock-downs were big and long-lasting. Trump didn't foresee those impacts, or minimized them. Don't be surprised if DeSantis uses these lapses against Trump.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Thursday Snark

Image courtesy of Power Line.

Gowdy Interviews DeSantis

I just watched the interview of Gov. Ron DeSantis conducted by Fox News' Trey Gowdy, which was taped later on the same night he announced his candidacy for president. Gowdy did a good job, and so did DeSantis.

The interview lasts some 18 minutes and is worth your time. Unlike his earlier audio-only effort with Musk on Twitter, there are no distracting technical glitches on his Fox interview posted to YouTube.

I particularly liked his answer to Gowdy's question of how he will handle derogatory nicknames and insults. He said basically it comes with the territory and, compared to how much many have suffered, is no big deal. 

Without ever mentioning Trump, DeSantis made sure to tell viewers his was a blue collar background and he earned everything he got. The record seems to bear out that claim.

I totally liked his values on immigration and the wall, the need to bring critical manufacturing home, and stop the pedophile grooming of children. 

Do yourself a favor and watch this interview. DeSantis doesn't have Trump's show biz flair, but he is no embarrassment like the current POTUS. Actually he reminds me of a good CEO, which is what I'd like all our presidents to be.

Staying Interesting

Who knew? Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has deep thoughts, thoughts worthy of a philosopher. It is these, among others, that he shares with us on his Substack site. Today he considers the possibility (probability?) that we and everything we can sense are all elements in a vastly elaborate simulation.

It turns out that viewing our universe as a simulation is very like the Biblical Intelligent Design model. All that differs is the supposed nature of the designer/creator/entity who designed the simulation. What does Reynolds conclude?

If we’re real, we just exist. If we’re simulated, we exist only so long as the simulation runs. And since, presumably, the simulation will run only so long as whoever is running it finds it useful or interesting, if we’re living in a simulation, it behooves us to be interesting.

if we’re in a simulation set up for the entertainment of some sort of superintelligent aliens, or super-advanced humans, we want to be like a long-running telenovela — action-packed with conflict, betrayal, disguises, sudden reverses of fortune and so on.

And if that’s the case, then humanity is doing pretty damn well, and all the nastiness and disorderliness and conflict that generally upset me about human life aren’t actually bugs — they’re features! By keeping things entertaining, they’re actually keeping humanity going. So there’s your takeaway.

Stay interesting, my friends.

In case you haven't twigged to it, Reynolds and I share a fondness for speculative fiction.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Good News Reports

Power Line's Steven Hayward has two good news stories to share. The first is that the Sierra Club is laying off somewhere north of 12% of their workforce.

The second good new story is that Planned Parenthood is laying off workers too.

Union officials speaking on behalf of Planned Parenthood staffers say that they have been told to prepare for layoffs of anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of the national organization, which amounts to roughly 80 people.

Hayward cynically concludes thusly.

I bet both the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood are privately hoping for a Republican president in 2024, because fundraising always goes up for lefty groups when a Republican is in office.

The Turquoisie

Regular readers know COTTonLINE has taken a more-than-dim view of California's current trajectory and prospects. Writing for Tablet, Walter Russell Mead sees a way for CA to work through its manifold problems with the help of a Republican Party that sides with the state's poor and immigrants. 

That party would favor development of water projects and power generation via reducing interference by greens and NIMBYites. It would encourage home ownership and making the American dream attainable by all.

Along the way, Mead coins a new term for those blocking development and growth in CA, calling them the "turquoisie," an obvious play on the term "bourgeoisie." He explains the turquoisie as being:

The upper- and upper-middle-class coalition of conventional blue model progressive ideologues and green climate activists who unite around anti-growth policies.

Mead's column is lengthy, but his argument has historic merit and could conceivably succeed. I remain a skeptic but CA's remaining, disillusioned Republicans might as well give Mead's Rx a try, as I see no other path forward for them.

If they fail, the alternative is a future CA like that portrayed in the sci fi film Elysium, minus the orbital Beverly Hills.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Destroy the Left

That teller of hard conservative truths - Kurt Schlichter - is at it again for This time his topic is the GOP primary race. First, know his assumptions.

The enemy hates us, and it is dead serious about converting its hatred into policy. (snip) This is a cold war where we become serfs if we don’t win. (snip) The enemy holds every major institution; if you are worried about collateral damage to the institutions that seek to enslave us – or worse – then you don’t have the stones to flatten them and their current occupants. And that’s what we need to do.

After surveying the field of announced and expected candidates for the GOP nomination, here is what Schlichter concludes. 

Here’s the reality – this is a race between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, who is widely-expected to make it official soon. There’s no one else in the Octagon.

This race is not about policy because that’s been decided. Our policy is to destroy the left.

The GOP’s decision in 2024 is solely over the identity of the general who will take command. Will it be the cold, calculating, ruthlessly effective RDS, or the unstoppable juggernaut – well, except for ridiculous tangents to call Rosie O’Donnell “Horseface” –that is Donald Trump? Both will rain down destruction upon our enemies – Ron the precision Hellfire and Don the massive MOAB.

The real difference between the two is electability – that is, who is most likely to win in the general election?

Schlichter concludes DeSantis has a better chance of being elected but adds he will vote for whichever of the two is nominated. That's my current view too. His reference to "the Octagon" is from mixed martial arts, their version of a boxing ring.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Irony Time

A number of sources report the NAACP has issued a "travel advisory" cautioning its members and friends not to travel to Florida. It alleges Florida is unwelcoming to African Americans, People of Color, and LGBTQ individuals.

The Daily Wire reports as follows.
The NAACP Board of Directors issued a statement on Saturday warning black Americans that the state of Florida was not a safe place for them and included an official “travel advisory” calling the state “openly hostile” – but the board’s chairman, Leon Russell, apparently lives in Florida himself.

Plus Power Line has a photo of the organization's vice chair Karen Boykin-Towns vacationing in Clearwater, FL. 

Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler responded thus.

True leadership is being willing to do what you ask others to do… time to step up and MOVE.
If you think our state is so bad, the @FloridaGOP will help with moving costs.

It would seem FL isn't so bad for BIPOCs after all. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023


The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin writes a gloomy prognosis about the GOP’s chances to win the 2024 presidential race. And be clear, he is on our side, not a secret Democrat. Nevertheless, he writes:

I have concluded that, as it stands, the GOP can’t win with Trump, and can’t win without him.

Of the majority of Americans who might vote GOP for cultural or economic reasons, Goodwin believes too many have already made up their minds not to vote for Trump and too many more to vote only for Trump. Translation: Trump can’t get a majority but many of his core supporters won’t vote for another Republican. 

I’ve had many of the same misgivings myself. See what you think of Goodwin’s reasoning.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Saturday Snark

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

Friday, May 19, 2023

Friday Snark

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wednesday Snark

Image courtesy of, dated 18 May 2023.
(note time zone difference)

Metastatic Urbanism

Let me share with you some excerpts of a recent Kurt Schlichter column on our festering big cities, I'm thinking of San Francisco, but the others are no better.

The Democrat cities are urine-soaked hellholes that reek of pot where criminals stalk unmolested while the full fury of what is supposed to be the law hangs over the head of any citizen who dares do something about it, and that’s good. The idiots who live there voted for turning their urban landscapes into petri dishes of social pathologies, and they should enjoy the full benefits of their decisions.

We normal people should avoid these socialist wastelands and elect legislators to Congress who will starve them of the federal funds that enable their decline. In red states, our legislators should wage warfare on the blue tumors in their midst lest they metastasize outside the city limits. 

Us normal people can’t help the cities and their moron populations because they don’t want to help themselves.

That's vintage Schlichter, as unsubtle and direct as a gut punch followed by a knee in the groin. He's right, of course.

An Expensive Lesson

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has the following headline today.

Bud Light resorts to giving its beer away for FREE: Embattled brand is mocked for offering $20 rebate on unsold cases worth just $19.98 as Dylan Mulvaney backlash causes yet another sales drop

Yes, the DM is known for long, detailed headlines. Believe it or not I actually saw a diner at an adjacent table order a Bud Light Sunday. The other DrC teased him about it. His bottle didn't have the offending picture on it.

Talk about not knowing your customer base. Do you suppose 'Tranheuser' Busch has learned their lesson? The firm will need luck to survive this monumental misstep.

Afterthought: the sighting of the Bud Light drinker was in Jackson, the sort of place Kurt Schlichter (see above) calls a "blue tumor" in otherwise red Wyoming.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Resurrecting Machine Politics

Do you wonder why the Red Wave predicted in the 2022 midterm election did not occur? And are you a true politics maven? What follows presumes you answered “yes” to both questions.

RealClearPolitics has a long, fine-grained analysis that reaches a conclusion answering the first question. Spoiler alert: there are no easy answers, but here is James E. Campbell’s conclusion.

The last-minute nosedive of Republican fortunes was not about a change in the grand fundamentals of democratic elections. It was not about national conditions or issues, or about candidate quality or internal party divisions, and not about either Biden or Trump. The expectations of a Republican wave reflected public opinion, but their surprising fall from those expectations was not about public opinion at all. It was about the campaign system – the combined elements of mobilization-friendly and early mail-in balloting, large campaign organizations to gather the votes, and an enormous amount of money, all coming together for one party focused on a number of politically important races in competitive states. In many ways, it might be characterized as a 21st century incarnation of the machine politics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Republicans in 2022 were caught flat-footed in securing reasonable limits to easy/early mail-in voting and were badly outspent by Democrats who used the rules and their resources for rounding up enough votes in the right places to block the red wave.

Campbell also believes Democrats were able to get people not included in the much-polled category “likely voters” to nevertheless vote, and such low-information, low-likelihood individuals voted heavily for Democrats. Thus he explains why the polling failed to predict the vote in 8 key states he identifies as the “breakwater” to the predicted Red Wave.

John Durham Reports

The big news in the last 24 hours is the release of Special Counsel John Durham’s report - nearly four years in the making - on who was responsible for the hoax that falsely claimed a relationship between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. Durham found the guilt was shared among the Clinton campaign which instigated and paid for it, the FBI and DOJ whose support gave it unwarranted ‘legitimacy’, and the media’s eagerness to propound the obviously false story.

Implied as a ‘co-conspirator’ is Trump, and his well-documented inability to resist the charms of whatever attractive female happened to be in his vicinity. This characteristic he obviously shared with FDR, JFK, MLK, and WJC, and other powerful if less famous men. That power is a notorious aphrodisiac has been known for millennia.

To find a mainstream media unit to cite on this story, I have to go abroad to the Daily Mail (U.K.). U.S. legacy media was nearly all complicit in the hoax, and won a couple of Pulitzers for their eager gullibility. As such, their current failure-to-report is a continuation of unabashed journalistic malpractice.

Monday, May 15, 2023

SF: Half ‘Glee’, Half Zombie Movie

In the past comedian Dave Chappelle has called San Francisco his second home. In a recent set there at the Masonic auditorium he expressed exasperation with the city, as reported by and Hollywood in Toto.

He was bummed by the homelessness, said he watched a guy take a dump outside an Indian restaurant where he had gone to eat. His quotes:

What the f—k happened to this place?
[It has become] half 'Glee,' half zombie movie.
Y’all [n-words] need a Batman.

I’ll take his word for it, I avoid the place. 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Thanks, Mom

I write to wish all of our readers a Happy Mothers Day. Whether or not we are a mother, or even could be, we all had a mother and I’m betting most of us are much the better for her love and guidance.

Neither of the DrsC had a sweet, doting mother. Our moms were smart, hard working women who made certain we had what we needed, did what we ought to do (most of the time), and turned out to be successful. Both were marked by the Great Depression which they were old enough to experience first-hand. 

They loved us but were not demonstrative, weren’t big huggers, at least after we got out of diapers. We both loved our moms, but we also admired their evident skills that in both cases went well beyond housekeeping and mothering.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Saturday Snark

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

Friday, May 12, 2023

Chile Update

I liked Chile, although their cuisine did not impress me. Oddly, I could write exactly the same evaluation for Costa Rica. Argentina is another story, food wise.

For a change, the news from Chile is now trending positive after electing a leftist who became president 14 months ago. See the recent news from The Guardian (U.K.).

Chile’s far right has won an emphatic victory in a vote to select the committee that will rewrite its dictatorship-era constitution, after José Antonio Kast’s Republican party secured 22 of its 50 seats in a major blow to the progressive president Gabriel Boric.

Chile’s left had secured only 17 places on the council, meaning it would be unable to veto rightwing changes. Another rightwing coalition won 11 seats.

Moves to rewrite Chile’s Pinochet-era constitution began in 2020, when nearly 80% of citizens voted to revamp the charter following huge street protests and unrest the previous year. However, a progressive new draft was rejected by a clear majority last September, forcing politicians to return to the drawing board and for a new constitutional council to be elected.

"Far right" is The Guardian's leftwing bias showing. As the most prosperous country in Latin America, Chileans have a lot to lose in going hard left. Apparently that reality struck home in Sunday's election. 

Although few will admit it, Pinochet attained (and retained) power because a great many Chileans supported him. Chile owes its current prosperity to his economic program which reflected Milton Friedman's themes.

Friday Snark

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

Cracking Wise

Instapundit takes a sarcastic view of the current ethos in this comment.

If women were choosing AI “men” over the real thing, it would be presented as evidence that there’s something wrong with men. I predict that if men choose AI “women” over the real thing it will be presented as . . . evidence that there’s something wrong with men.

It sure does feel like that sometimes…. 

The Baltics Support Ukraine

Professor Thomas Albert Howard holds a chair in Christian Ethics and here writes for Law & Liberty about the three small Baltic republics: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. His overview is more history than current events, although he reports the strong support they’ve given Ukraine in its fight against Russian domination.

The three Baltic republics together have an area equal in size to Nebraska. Their coastal location and proximity to Western Europe give them an importance beyond their diminutive size. As Howard notes, they’ve been conquered by many different power players - most recently the Soviets, then the Nazis, followed by the Soviets - and still they persist, currently thrive, and vigorously oppose Russian domination.

Pakistani Update

Pakistan is a country we’d rather not think about, having been described somewhat accurately as “an army that has a country, more so than a country that has an army.” The various ethnic groups which populate Pakistan have in common only two things: Islam and their opposition to India. History suggests that is barely enough to hold the nation very uncomfortably together.

Current internal unrest and political violence there demands a look in as taken here by Al Jazeera. What is found is predictable … Pakistan continues to be a mess of angry people with shifting alliances and wheels-within-wheels power struggles. Briefly: Pakistan equals snafu. Let’s leave them to their shared misery for another few years. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Trump on CNN

It seems everyone with a column and an opinion has weighed in on the Trump town hall on CNN. Actually I'd guess CNN got what it wanted ... what it hasn't had much of lately: viewers. Of course progressives, including those who work at CNN, are furious that he was given a platform.

Trump's superpower is he attracts eyeballs, he makes news, he knows how to make the story about himself, and like it or hate it, he is really skilled. Give him a microphone, a camera, and an outlet on which to post the result and he will drum up an audience. He is a performer and he loves the spotlight.

He lives rent-free in the heads of both progressives and conservatives, though for different reasons. In spite of their dislike, the media can't resist covering him while the most powerful way they could oppose him is to act like he doesn't exist. But he attracts eyeballs and clicks and the media live for those because viewership drives advertising rates. 

The irony of their inability to ignore him is massive.

Producing the Exact Opposite

Elizabeth Weil writes about the urban decay that befouls San Francisco for Curbed, and does a fair job of communicating how bad it has become. Here are a couple of samples.

The Blick security guard kept texting me videos. He needed someone to see what he was seeing out there, on his patch of Market Street, between Fifth and Sixth. Did I know how the black markets worked? Had I walked down Market Street at night? Did I know that some of the street addicts were rotting, literally: their decomposing flesh attracting flies. The Anthropologie, where he used to work, announced it would close.

Everywhere you looked, you saw it billboarded: The social contract had ruptured, and we’d ceased to believe we could fix it. The city often seemed to operate like an incompetent parent, confusing compassion and permissiveness, unable to maintain boundaries, producing the exact opposite result of what it claimed to want.

Progressives voters decide who runs SF and they share with President Biden a key characteristic. It was identified by President Obama who famously said "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up." SF voters have well and truly done precisely that to the City also known as Baghdad by the Bay.

The DOJ’s Political Agenda

Writing for PJ Media, Stephen Kruiser compares the DOJ approaches to apparent misdeeds by presidential son Hunter Biden and Congressman George Santos.

The blinding speed with which the feds were able to investigate Santos stands in stark contrast to the snail’s pace of the Hunter Biden investigation. It’s almost as if the DOJ is motivated solely by a political agenda.

Yah think? This unequal treatment has been obvious for well over a year.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Will or Won’t He?

Last night Hugh Hewitt was on Bret Baier’s Fox News Special Report panel, and I watched him say the following about President Biden’s political future.

I’m expecting an LBJ ’68 exit sometime next year,” Hewitt said.
“You are?” Baier asked.
“Yes,” he [Hewitt] said. “I don’t think he [Biden] can do it. I don’t think his wife is going to let him do it and his friends certainly should be counseling him not to do it.”
Reacting to this interplay, Stephen Green who posts at Instapundit writes the following.
I think Hewitt might be underestimating the callousness of the cabal that installed Biden in the first place, and particularly Jill Biden.

To which I’d add, underestimating the extent to which all senators believe they see a future president in the mirror while brushing their teeth. Old Joe is currently living his dream, he’s got the brass ring. If he screws up occasionally, it isn’t clear he cares much. Plus his hand picked DOJ leaves him and his crooked family alone, he can't give that up.

Bottom line: I’ll believe a Biden claim “I won’t run” when I see (a) him say it, and (b) multiple trusted sources report it so I know it’s not a deep fake.


Prolific commenter on current affairs Joel Kotkin writes for Spiked about his reaction to the recent coronation of King Charles III. He views it as another milestone in the decline of the Anglosphere, by which he means Britain, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

He sees the new king as a representative of the drive toward Net Zero carbon emissions that, according to Kotkin, is being pushed in all five of the above nations.
The newly crowned Charlies III is a perfect sovereign for a culture primed for decline. Charles is the model of a modern plutocrat. He has inherited a huge and growing fortune, including nearly $10 billion in real-estate assets, and he holds the ‘correct’ eco-friendly views on how his subjects should live. Although many among the elites consider his green politics to be ‘enlightened’, Charles’s worldview is fundamentally backward-looking or, I would even suggest, neo-feudalist.

Charles views industrial capitalism as a scourge upon the Earth. He promotes a new kind of noblesse oblige centred on concern for the natural world and for social harmony.

After building a gloomy picture of the state of the Anglosphere countries, Kotkin concludes:

Ultimately, the Anglosphere is increasingly moving towards neo-feudalism. Meritocracy – for centuries a key means to upward mobility for both natives and immigrants – is being rejected in universities and throughout the professions. Worryingly, as Pamela Paul notes in the New York Times, this approach is also being pushed in our elite scientific organisations. This is despite meritocracy being “the most effective way to ensure high quality science and greater equity”, she says.

Who to blame? The World Economic Forum, mostly associated in our minds with its annual meetings at Davos, Switzerland, is a primary culprit. If that elitist bunch isn’t neo-feudalist and high on noblesse oblige, nobody is. 

Apache Snow

I like a good play on words as much as anyone, and I heard a good one yesterday. Someone described the snow surrounding our WY place as "Apache" snow, meaning a patch here and a patch there. 

You can see photos showing the remnants of a long winter at the other DrC's website. Our timing in arrival here was just about perfect. 

CA’s Ruined Public Schools

Writing for City Journal, retired teacher Larry Sand chronicles the truly dismal state of public K-12 education in California, which I know from personal experience was once exemplary. He fairly places most of the blame on teachers unions. Hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.

One particularly revealing set of LAUSD statistics he cites is from the Los Angeles Times, a paper whose politics are progressive and hence pro-public school.

>In math, 73% of 11th-graders earned A’s, Bs, and Cs. Tests scores showed only 19% met grade-level standards.
>For eighth-graders, 79% earned A’s, Bs and Cs in math. Test scores showed 23% met grade-level standards.
>In English, 85% of sixth-graders earned A’s, Bs and Cs, while 40% met grade-level standards.
>For seventh-graders, 82% earned A’s, Bs and Cs in English. Test scores showed 43% met standards.

Further proof, if any is needed, that progressives can ruin almost anything they take over. I’m reminded of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds’ slightly hyperbolic assessment that sending your children to today’s public schools constitutes child abuse and parental malpractice.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Woke Revolutionaries

Victor Davis Hanson is both a historian and a prolific author writing about current affairs from a historian's perspective. COTTonLINE has cited his work many times.

Today he writes for American Greatness comparing today's woke revolutionaries to the Girondins, Montagnards, and Jacobins of the French Revolution. He sees former progressives becoming targets of even more radical leftists. 

We have not descended to the guillotine yet, but we are getting there with online cancel culture, doxxing, deplatforming, boycotts, mandatory diversity statements, indoctrination training, ostracism for an incorrect word, and violence redefined as activism.

The French Revolution ended when a bloody fratricidal mess that couldn't go on, didn't go on. VDH believes (or perhaps hopes) he sees the beginnings of such a correction in our society. Join me in hoping his foresight is clear-eyed and acute.

Sunday, May 7, 2023


City Journal has an article dealing with the homeless problem, its headline is misleadingly limited to Georgia while the article talks about policies across the nation. The author sees some movement in a positive direction happening, in Georgia to be sure but elsewhere as well, predominantly in red states with Republican governors and legislatures.

It also does a good job of creating awareness of what it ironically calls the Homeless Industrial Complex, made up of people who make their living providing support for the homeless. Paradoxically, more homeless people is what keeps this group funded, so they have no incentive to reduce or eliminate homelessness.

Poll: Either Trump or DeSantis Beats Biden

Gateway Pundit does a lengthy and detailed description of the results of a WaPo/ABC News political poll. It includes an extensive quote from the WaPo story which is behind a paywall. Some high points follow.

Trump beats Biden 49% to 42%, DeSantis beats Biden 48% to 41%.

Who has done a better job of handling the economy so far? Trump 54%, Biden 36%

Republicans asked who they’d vote for in a GOP primary? Trump 51%, DeSantis 25%, with all others in single digits.

You will enjoy the WaPo headline:

Biden trails Trump, sees slipping approval rating, Post-ABC poll finds

Friday, May 5, 2023

En Route

I write this post in a Salt Lake City suburb, we are overnighting here with friends en route to Wyoming where we will be at home tomorrow. We left NV in shirtsleeves and by the time we first traded drivers near Cedar City we needed jackets.

A couple of the passes on I-15 go up to 6000 ft. Utah’s mountains still have plenty of snow cover, particularly higher up. On the drive north we saw temps as low as the 40s, with wind and a bit of misting rain. 

We were just about done with spring in NV and will get to experience it again in WY. For a pair with some hay fever allergies, going through the spring blooming season twice is, at best, a mixed blessing. 

Side note for travelers: if you are headed through SLC on I-15, and don’t plan to stop, by all means use the I-215 bypass. It takes you around downtown with quite a bit less traffic on relatively new highway, it’s nice.

My usual Friday and Saturday Snark posts will be posted on Sunday, if I get the desktop computer set up. Luckily the single hour time zone change between NV and WY engenders no jet lag. Coming back from Budapest we had more than enough of that, which I experienced as generalized malaise, similar to a mild hangover.

Sunday addendum: We woke up this morning in western WY to see a light snow fall happening outside our windows. It didn’t stick, yesterday afternoon was somewhat warm. 

Our property has mounds of snow scattered through the forest, and nothing has leafed out yet. Spring will be late this year. A herd of eight deer were here to welcome us yesterday afternoon. They aren't pets, we don't feed them but do like watching them.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Involuntary Commitment

A mentally ill black man with a long rap sheet and an outstanding felony warrant - Jordan Neely - boarded a NYC subway car and began to rant and assault passengers. After trying to reason with him a former Marine put Neely in a choke hold and subdued him, with the aid of two other male passengers. When authorities arrived they found Neely had died, whether from being subdued or from a drug overdose is unclear. AOC called it murder, as did others. The former Marine was released.

Writing in response to this, Stephen Eide writes for City Journal that the death shows flaws in our mental-health system. Reprinting the CJ column, the New York Post headlines it in a more descriptive way.

Jordan Neely tragedy shows the vital need for involuntary commitment

It is refreshing to see sources I respect beginning to talk about an issue COTTonLINE has harped on for years, feeling lonely in my concerns. A quick search shows the first time we wrote about our national failure to incarcerate and treat mental illness was in 2007, when this blog was less than a half year old.  

A Quote for Today

Writing at The Hill, Joseph Bosch quotes Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky who identifies the reason Putin ordered Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

All this war that you are waging — you, Russia — it is not the war with NATO, as your propagandists lie. It is not for something historical. It’s for one person to remain in power until the end of his life.

And of course that “one person” is Vladimir Putin. 

Made for Each Other, Literally

Law prof and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds is now doing long-form Substack essays on issues of interest to him and, he hopes, to others as well. Today he combines his long time interest in science fiction with the widespread concerns being expressed about artificial intelligence.

What results is a disquisition elaborating on his earlier insight that rather than be dictatorial, the dangerous AI robots perhaps will be cute, attractive, even sexy. Reynolds imagines that if eventually we each may have a robot companion to stave off the existential loneliness and difficulties of getting along with a spouse. The paradoxical result? Our species may consequently be doomed. 

Reynolds links to a NSFW Vanity Fair illustrated article about custom made sex dolls which don't as yet include AI. Be warned, its photos could easily be mistaken for pornography.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Urban Decay

The other DrC grew up in the Bay Area, and remembers getting dressed in go-to-church clothes to shop in San Francisco with her similarly dressed-up mother. We're talking hat, gloves, and shined shoes dressed up. 

I was a college undergraduate nearby in those years, and had much the same feeling about SF. In both cases that's first person history. 

In those long-ago days more often than not people anywhere in northern California meant San Francisco if they said "the City." Columnist Herb Caen made a good living gossiping about its society and times for the Chronicle, playing the role of fawning gigolo to the City's dowager.

The City as-it-was felt more or less "eternal." It was not. Bad management can destroy nearly anything and has come perilously close to destroying SF.

The latest news, Nordstrom's is closing its two stores in San Francisco. Not long ago, we learned Whole Foods was doing the same to a nearly new store there. Writing about all of this decline, the New York Post reports:

The Westfield Mall’s Nordstrom will be closed by the end of August and the Nordstrom Rack on Market Street’s final day will be July 1, the San Francisco Business Journal reported.

There have been numerous instances of businesses struggling to deal with the high crime in the west coast city.

Twenty retailers have shut down stores in San Francisco’s Union Square since 2020, the San Francisco Standard reported.

None of this needed to happen; it occurred because bad policies were promoted and followed. It is only a slight exaggeration to say the City is committing suicide; SF's voters have proven to be its it’s mortal, if unwitting, enemies.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023


We all passed a milestone of sorts yesterday, the year 2023 is one-third gone. Those four months passed quickly in some respects, slowly in others.

The next third is in many respects, my favorite. It includes late spring and most of summer. The days start early, and last late into what would otherwise be evening. We will spend most of it in the high country of western Wyoming, the place where we feel most "at home." 

The process of sorting through the accumulations of a half century of RVing continues. We have much stuff to throw away, give away, and store away. 

I estimate we are perhaps 2/3 done with this vexing process which is now far enough along to get the car back into the garage alongside the truck. This is important here on the edge of the Mojave as it is already hitting 100℉ and will only get hotter.

Afterthought: I just remembered friends in grad school, from Minnesota and the Dakotas, reciting the following doggerel.

Hey, hey, the first of May.
Outdoor sex begins today.

As a native Californian I found this somewhat beyond my experience.

The Blinken Dodge

Benjamin Hall is a handsome Brit who did foreign affairs for Fox News, was grievously wounded early in the Ukraine war, has recovered (minus a leg and the other foot), and is now back at work. Last night I saw his interview with SecState Antony Blinken on Bret Baier’s Special Report.

Hall asked the SecState about allegations that Blinken, as an official in the Biden election campaign, was involved in the infamous letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials claiming the Hunter Biden laptop story had “all the earmarks of Russian disinformation.” Contrary to allegations made by some signatories, Blinken told Hall he had no involvement. At this point, it is sort of “he said, she said.”

In the process of answering, Blinken claimed in his current office he does not do politics, which is perhaps narrowly technically correct, but misleading  and irrelevant to Hall’s question. For he was asked about Blinken's actions in a former position - in the Biden campaign - where his role was essentially pure politics. It was a clever bit of misdirection by Blinken.

Power Line’s Scott Johnson shares allegations Blinken has lied about his involvement with Hunter Biden “in sworn testimony to Congress,” a federal felony, if proven. Of course Biden appointee Attorney General Merrick Garland will not pursue the matter.

I believe we have to consider the possibility that Joe Biden is running for reelection because his continuing in office is the only way to keep members of his family and entourage out of prison. Alas, my poor country.

Monday, May 1, 2023

The Carlson Dilemma

Elizabeth Stauffer, a new contributor at Power Line, shares a Megyn Kelly report that Tucker Carlson is still "employed by Fox News" where he reportedly earns $20 million per year on a contract that runs through 2024. This was substantiated by the news site 19FortyFive.

Ergo, he currently has "no broadcasts scheduled." Stauffer writes:

Does this mean that Fox plans to silence Tucker’s voice for the next year and eight months – the period leading up to arguably the most consequential election in American history? Will the network keep him on the payroll for the remainder of his contract to prevent him from finding another platform? After shelling out $787.5 million to settle the Dominion lawsuit, will Fox spend another $33 million just to muzzle Carlson ahead of the 2024 election? No one knows.

Supposedly, Carlson and Fox have to "negotiate" his exit, whatever that means. Clearly a non-compete clause is lurking somewhere, likely in his current contract. 

The Recruiting Problem

Writing for The Spectator World, retired US Navy Captain Hung Cao makes some powerful points about why our military is having trouble recruiting.

Young Americans don’t join the Army to fight climate change, that is a job for scientists and engineers. They don’t join to root out domestic extremists, that is a job for law enforcement. And they don’t join to obsess over gender, sexual orientation and skin color, that is a job for weird humanities professors.

The fundamental problem with progressives is that they replace things that work with things that don’t. We are witnessing that in real time. Unfortunately for Americans of all political stripes, our national defense is the one thing that must work.

Analysis: Correct in all respects, especially the part about humanities professors being weird. The despicable people forcing DEI on the military are mostly sure our nation is not worthy of defense.