Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Fauci Fallacy

In an essay at The Pipeline, Power line's Steven Hayward shows how government's claims to be "science-based" are exactly wrong.

The evidence mounts that virtually none of our scientific establishment can be trusted—certainly none that has any connection to or dependence on government funding. Government agencies based on their supposed technical expertise claim that they practice “evidence-based policy making,” but the truth is the reverse: we live in an age where governments practice policy-based evidence-making.

Making up 'facts' to support the conclusions with which you started. It is many things, none of them are properly called science. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

An Unsympathetic Eye Views Feinstein

Posting at Power Line, recent addition Lloyd Billingsley documents the many ways in which the late Sen. Feinstein was a lobbyist for China and the CCP.  There were plenty of them. 

Plus one of her staffers spent 20 years simultaneously working for her and spying for China, and he was more than the "driver" that was widely claimed. Feinstein also profited from her Chinese connections in financial ways.

And we also need to remember that she was formerly mayor of San Francisco, at least some of its decline happening during her tenure. Her career was scarcely blemish-free.

Saturday Snark

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

Friday, September 29, 2023

More Friday Snark

Image courtesy of, dated 9/30/23.

A Comparison

Power Line's guy who does charts - Steven Hayward - has a good one to share. He introduces it thus:

Here’s why elite colleges have to discriminate against Asians and in favor of blacks and hispanics so heavily. 

As a sometime student of statistics I see two overlapping bell curves with substantially different midpoints. There are no whites represented here, only "people of color." Which makes it hard to argue this is "white supremacy" in action. Hayward concludes:
Naturally, our failed education establishment will claim the SAT is racist. Like the College Board that designs the test is full of closet Confederates.

Friday Snark

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

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Debate Afterthoughts

Nearly 24 hours later a couple of thoughts-upon-further-reflection concerning what did and did not happen in Simi last night. First, while some of the 7 onstage at the Reagan Library may have improved their position, nobody in any meaningful way challenged Trump's role as the absolute front-runner for the nomination. And it wasn't for lack of trying.

Absent a health catastrophe (at age 77 certainly possible), a felony conviction, or an unforeseeable black swan event like a plane crash, Trump will be the Republican nominee. Moreover, the people on that stage know this, and are competing to be next-in-line if he somehow falls.

Second, the amount of crosstalk and talking over other speakers made the proceedings in Simi difficult and unpleasant to listen to, and didn't improve my attitude toward those so engaged. I wasn't impressed with the moderators, Baier and McCallum did a better job on debate #1. 

Varney and company force-fed questions to individuals in an almost gotcha fashion. They kept throwing out new ones without insisting debaters answer the previous one when they went off on tangents of their own choosing.

Writing at Red State, the pseudonymous Bonchie described the 'charm' of debate number two thusly:

The overall production hovered somewhere between a dumpster fire and testicle cancer.

Fox Business hasn't gotten many kudos for this effort. 

Honoring An Outlier

Finally someone in the commentariat liked Tim Scott blaming the Great Society for the deplorable state of the black family. Liz Peek of Fox News writes of Scott:

His best moment was his assertion that Black Americans survived slavery and poll taxes but had been seriously harmed by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which put too many on welfare and broke up Black families.

If only one source was going to note with favor the wide airing being given an important truth that conflicts with the establishment narrative, wouldn’t you know Fox News would be that source? I know some conservatives are critical of Fox but really, it is so much better than the rest in spite of occasional lapses like the early AZ call.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Waiting for God ... or a Conviction

We watched tonight's second GOP debate at the Reagan Library in Simi, CA. I will probably have more reactions later. My first impression was that the seven people interrupted and talked over each other so much listening was difficult.

The other DrC and I agreed the most memorable thing said tonight was Sen. Tim Scott's clear statement that the lamentable disintegration of the black family was the result of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and subsequent programs of similar ilk which replaced the husband in most black households with a government check. Most honest analysis done in the last 20 years has found this indictment to be true. 

All post-debate analysis and commentary I've looked at so far totally ignored Scott's claim, didn't even bother to debunk it. I appreciate the difficulty; in their eyes Scott said something awful, but criticizing it is knocking a black man. Best to act as if you didn't notice like polite folks do when someone farts.

All of the 7 had memorized little pat speeches embodying things most Republicans implicitly believe, and they tended to put them forward almost regardless of the question asked. Therefore we heard much with which we agreed from everyone onstage. 

Any one of the 7 would likely be preferable to Joe Biden, none of them are losers. I believe DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and Haley had good nights, Scott and Christie less so, Pence is from an earlier era and proud of it, but his time is past while Burgum's time has yet to arrive.

Christie had the best put-down of the evening, attacking Donald Trump for ducking the debate, calling him "Donald Duck." It was about time someone gave Trump an ugly nickname. Trump gives others put-down nicknames, now it's his turn to get one.

Ilia Calderón, an anchor for Univision, didn't win any Republican friends with questions reflecting Latin American misconceptions about the US.

Writing at Politico, Steven Shepard summed up the two debates so far with the following quip.

Nothing that happened in the first two debates — or any subsequent ones, for that matter — will weaken Trump. What the debates will do is clarify the field of candidates other than Trump, in the event he does become vulnerable.

Analysis: Probably correct, hence my title. 

Hot Potato Passed

It is reported that the troubled U.S. GI - Travis King - who escaped into North Korea has been handed over to U.S. authorities via China. I presume he will be shipped home in irons, and subsequently found too unstable to stand trial.

Had he behaved himself he probably could have made a decent life there as their racially advantageous spokesperson. It seemed likely he might be released when the Norks discovered he was too troubled to make a useful propaganda tool for the DPRK, as his inability to control impulses has been evident. 

So the DPRK passed the "hot potato" back to us to deal with.


Sometimes a collection of random circumstances makes a particular post at COTTonLINE well nigh inevitable. The last 24 hours have done that, and the result follows.

Yesterday I wrote a post praising skilled labor and those who do it. After writing it, the four smoke alarms in our 23 year old house began to go off, something they had not done before. There was no fire or other source of smoke but, just to be certain we replaced their back-up 9 volt batteries. That did not solve the problem and we concluded we needed new alarms installed.

We called an electrician who'd done work for us, he was busy out of town but referred us to a local man who agreed to come over and install new alarms. He came and did the job, and was accompanied by his son, 11.

The other DrC who early in her career taught youngsters his age before doing her PhD, asked him if he had a day off from school. No, it turned out he is homeschooled. Apparently part of his homeschooling involves following dad around and being an electrician's helper, which he did quietly and without fuss. If he continues to do so, he will end up with a trade at which he can make a living.

This morning comes a link at RealClearPolicy to an article in Reason entitled "The lockdowns made homeschooling more diverse." It's main point is that prior to Covid homeschoolers were mostly adherents of fundamentalist religious groups who didn't want their children indoctrinated with secular dogma. A new survey shows:

The new data indicate that parents have a wide range of reasons for deciding to homeschool their children and that COVID-era school closures played a major role in inspiring many parents to pull their children out of the traditional educational system.

According to the poll, which was conducted by the (Washington) Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, three-quarters of homeschooling parents said that they chose to homeschool due to "concern about the school environment." Around two-thirds also agreed that providing "moral instruction" as well as "dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools" also motivated their departure from traditional schooling.

According to research from the Urban Institute, homeschooling increased by 30 percent between the 2019–20 and 2021–22 school years. Nationally, over 5 percent of school-age children are now estimated to be homeschooled.

While many parents were anxious to get their children back into school, some found they liked having their kids at home.

Imagine that. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tuesday Snark

Image courtesy of Sarah Hoyt, posting at Instapundit.

Praising Those Who Do Skilled Labor

I don’t often read something I then recommend to you as a “must read.” This morning I ran across one such, courtesy of RealClearPolicy which provided the link. It is entitled “For the Roofers” and appears in Claremont Institute’s publication The American Mind.

Author Alexander Riley is a sociology prof who appreciates skilled trades work and workers. He writes well in service of making a point about how civilization relies on tough, smart men cheerfully doing hard, sometimes dangerous physical work. Of tradesmen he writes:

The culture we currently live in has turned a good deal of its attention to attacking and denigrating such men, disparaging their character and the work they do, insulting them as a class and accusing them of the vilest crimes, insinuating that they are capable of nothing that could not be done better by women.

Many of the people doing this denigrating and suggesting that perhaps we would be better off without such men have not spent a moment reflecting on what impossible burdens that would create for the critics.

Feminism seeks the extinction of that kind of man. And preserving him will require opposition to feminism. It really is that simple.

The DrsC have had built three new homes and a large steel barn. We enjoyed watching the process and knowing the carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, masons and other tradespeople who did this complicated, difficult, and sometimes dangerous work on our behalf. As I recollect, only one of the workers was a woman, the wife of the electrician on our last build, she worked alongside him, pulling wire and installing. 

The hands-on contractor who built our last two homes later was framing someone else’s roof, fell, hurt his back, and was disabled thereafter. Risks like this were taken on literally every house you see, and we often take for granted those who face them on our behalf. 

The DrsC have been proud to call an electrician and a plumber friends. One of our regrets leaving CA was leaving behind our plumber, electrician, gardener and weed and pest guy, all of whom had repeatedly done work for us over the years.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Frost Tonight

The temperature tonight is supposed to drop to 30℉, we have a short growing season in our mountain valley. A growing season is normally thought of as the number of days between the last freezing temperature in spring and the first freezing temperature in autumn. 

Our farmers grow mainly irrigated fodder (hay, alfalfa) and some grain. They normally get two cuttings per summer. Some fodder is trucked elsewhere for sale, and some is bought by the state to feed elk, in a process the other DrC calls with a smirk, "welkfare." 

Our ranchers raise lots of cattle, a few sheep and more horses to all of which they feed the fodder. Many of the horses are owned by hunting outfitters for both riding and packing. 

There was once a lot of dairying here but most have switched to so-called "cow-calf" operations raising meat animals. The unrelenting nature of running a dairy - milking twice a day, 7 days a week - makes other ag endeavors more attractive.

Polls, Polls

Two polls released over the weekend have intriguing results. One by the Washington Post and ABC News found Trump defeating Biden 52 % to 42%. WaPo was so unhappy with this outcome they labeled their own poll an “outlier,” which it in fact may be.

The second poll from NBC News found Trump tied with Biden, both at 46%, but also found Nikki Haley beating Biden 46% to 41%. 

Byron York, who reports for the Washington Examiner, notes over a year before an election polls don’t predict who will eventually win, but they do show current public attitudes.

What is indisputable is that Joe Biden is in trouble with the voters.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Snark

Image courtesy of, 9/24/2023.

The Green Obsession

For a couple of decades Germany has been the economic powerhouse of the EU, and now it isn't. So what is going on in Deutschland to cause such a collapse? The immediate problem is politics and the underlying issue is the Greens.

"Politics" because with five major parties, and a parlimentary system, coalitions are often essential. The second largest of the five parties - the AfD - is seriously conservative (some say "far right"), and the other four parties have sworn not to ally with it. 

This refusal brought the Greens into government when Merkel stepped down and her CDU could not muster a majority coalition. Since the Greens care mostly about the environment, the only coalition they will remain in is one that follows their lead on environmental issues. Thus post-Merkel Germany has adopted green policies that, with the Ukraine war, have seriously hurt their economy.

Power Line's John Hinderaker has a good column on the subject. What crashed is the German manufacturing sector, formerly a major strength. He quotes the London Times. (links in original):

Germany’s historically vital manufacturing sector has stalled amid a slowdown in global export demand and a sharp rise in energy prices. Its underperformance has increased the risk of Europe’s economic growth engine slipping back into recession and dragging the rest of the bloc with it.

To which Hinderaker adds:

That “sharp rise in energy prices” is due to the fact that Germany has gone “green,” investing countless billions in wind and solar energy while shutting down its nuclear power plants, and in the meantime relying on Russian natural gas. That strategy is yielding economic catastrophe.

And he notes The Telegraph opines:

The war in Ukraine meant that the Russian gas had to be turned off, and given the ridiculously self indulgent decision to close its nuclear plants Germany only managed to avoid blackouts by paying eyewatering prices for energy on the global market. Factories are already closing because they can’t afford power.

They ended up buying electric power from France where it is mostly generated by the nuclear plants Germans despise. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Great Headline

The New York Post ran the following headline, which needs no explanation.

The Post tried eating at NYC’s finest restaurants dressed like Sen. John Fetterman — see how it went.

How it went: Their reporter was refused entry, of course. 

Saturday Snark

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

Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Snark

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

Newsom's New Feudalism

Ruy Teixeira has been writing about changes remodeling the Democrat Party, his perspective is bottom-up. He complains about the Democrats abandoning the working classes' economic interests while becoming too avant garde socially for their somewhat conservative tastes. We have linked to several of his weekly columns.

Now Joel Kotkin, another prolific author, writes about CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is a scion of old CA money, including the Getty family. Newsom is often talked about as an alternative to Joe Biden should old age elbow Biden out of the presidential race one way or another.

In focusing on Newsom, Kotkin looks at the same changes Teixeira writes about, only from the top down. He concludes:

Whether under Newsom, Harris, or some similarly culturally-aligned friend to the tech elite, gentry progressivism seems destined to dominate the Democratic Party, serving the interests of the upper classes while winning over the poor with redistributed wealth.

Think of Newsom, his family and extremely wealthy supporters as being like the plantation owners in the old South. In this 'dramatization' the blue collar workers are the slaves, and the public employees are the overseer class, being neither slave nor owner. 

In a nutshell, that scenario is Kotkin's view of where CA is headed and where the Democrats want to take the rest of the country. Let's make sure they don't succeed in bring about a "new feudalism." Worse luck, I don't have a forelock to tug.

The Winds of (Civil) War

Writing in Military Strategy Magazine, British professor David Betz says the conditions in western societies are ripe for civil war. I am not enough of a student of civil wars to know if he is correct, but his argument is well made. See his article and make your own judgment.

It is not simply that the conditions are present in the West; it is, rather, that the conditions are nearing the ideal. The relative wealth, social stability and related lack of demographic factionalism, plus the perception of the ability of normal politics to solve problems that once made the West seem immune to civil war are now no longer valid. In fact, in each of these categories the direction of pull is towards civil conflict.

The tools of revolt in the form of various appurtenances of modern life are just lying around, knowledge of how to employ them is widespread, targets are obvious and undefended, and more and more formerly regular citizens seem minded to take the shot.

Betz believes the main sides of this civil war, if it comes, will be between urban vs. rural groups. I hope he is wrong about the likelihood it will happen, but his urban vs. rural polarity is real enough. Hat tip to RealClearDefense for the link.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Welcoming Autumn

The previous post deals with the physics of the seasons. This post deals with what we experience here in the Wyoming Rockies roughly 1.2 miles above sea level. It began feeling like autumn here roughly on September 1, some three weeks early. 

Because of the altitude, we can count on only two months of summer, though we sometimes get an extra week or two. July and August are reliably shirt sleeve weather, warm though rarely hot. 

June and September are a mixture of nice and not-so-nice days, pleasant enough but a light jacket is sometimes essential for comfort. We always hope for some "Indian" summer, and normally get a few days. Today is rainy and cool, we've had more rain than usual this summer.

The forest understory, consisting of berry plants, was the first to turn yellow and begin dropping leaves. About 5-6 days ago the mountain maples on the slopes began to turn a range of colors from orange to bluish red, very pretty. 

The aspens are holding out this fall, most are still somewhat green. All their leaves will eventually turn a uniform, pale yellow and the contrast against the conifers' deep green is striking. 

When we first saw this property roughly 25 years ago it was this time of year. We walked into the forest and the ground was covered with fallen leaves. It was spectacular and we bought it even though we owned a home 7 miles north.  The other DrC has a photo taken from our back deck at her blog.

Most of the summer tourists are gone, and hunting season is happening. Every trip to the store features guys in head-to-toe camo, stocking up. The outfitters have their hunting camps set up in the national forests and the riding and pack animals are ready to go. 

The electrician who wired our house did wiring 10 months of the year and guided dudes on hunts the other 2 months. He claimed to make about the same money from each of his two jobs.

Added Friday: Today there is snow falling on the mountaintops a mile or two to the east. None yet on the valley floor where we are, we're getting it as rain.

Empire Realpolitik

Writing at The American Conservative, historian Sumantra Maitra muses about lessons the U.S. can learn from the experiences of the British Empire as he reviews a new book, The Wandering Army: Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War, by Huw J. Davies. Maitra writes:

The British did not acquire an empire through martial strength alone. It succeeded through realpolitik, the intelligent application of “divide and rule,” and propping up proxies and letting foreign footsoldiers do the bulk of the fighting. These are lessons America still needs to learn.

Time was, every nawab and rajah in India had a British "political" as an adviser. The political was a cross between a diplomat and a military attache with espionage on the side. As I understand it, politicals gave no orders but their advice was often followed.

The one time we did follow this path, when we helped the mujaheddin kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan, it worked very well and cost us relatively little. 

Astrophysics 101

Depending on which source you reference, the autumnal equinox occurs this evening or early tomorrow morning an hour or two into the new day. Let’s think about what this means in astrophysical terms.

The earth’s orbit around the sun represents a circle, think of it as a circle drawn on a sheet of paper or plane. The center of that circle is the sun. You might imagine the earth’s axis, the line upon which it rotates, was perpendicular to the plane but it is not.

The axis is tilted approximately 23.4 degrees off perpendicular and that tilt is what gives us seasons. Winter is when our northern half of the globe is tilted away from the sun, Summer when it is tilted toward the sun.

The spring and autumn equinoxes are when the north and south poles are both the same distance from the sun. In other words, when the sun’s light is shining down vertically upon the equator and the periods of light and darkness are each 12 hours in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Thus, tomorrow will be the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. In our northern hemisphere the days will get shorter and shorter until, three months from now, the North Pole will be at its farthest from the sun. That will be the winter solstice, and winter will officially begin.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

It Is High Time

Power Line's Steven Hayward reports Ibram X. Kendi's race-baiting Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University is laying off 40 percent of its staff, citing lack of donations. One of those being laid off, BU professor Phillipe Copeland, has written the following:

Too much of higher education responded to the so-called “racial reckoning” with theatre, therapy, and marketing masquerading as institutional commitment.

Hayward responds from within academia:

I completely agree that these “black studies/anti-racism” programs are academic obscenities. And it has long been apparent to me that most academics, even—maybe especially liberals ones—know the various radical “studies” departments are unserious and second rate, and blacks and other minorities thrown this bone know it, and it fuels their rage even further.

It is ironic being hired as window-dressing to protect the institutional core from external (and internal) criticism tends to leave many of those individuals angry and bitter. Perhaps eventually we can drop the charade?

Trolling for Trypophobics

 Trypophobia … definition from Wikipedia.

Trypophobia is an aversion to the sight of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps. It is not officially recognized as a mental disorder, but may be diagnosed as a specific phobia if excessive fear and distress occur. Most affected people experience mainly disgust when they see trypophobic imagery.

I have noticed a whole series of online ads using pictures designed to trigger those with trypophobia. These mostly featuring bumps on human flesh. 

The photos appear to have been created by glueing pinto or black beans onto people’s faces, feet, or hands. I haven’t cared enough to determine what they’re selling, something to do with a skin ailment one supposes. 

It is an interesting, sick use of imagery to “hook” those with phobias. I personally find the practice repulsive, an attempt to harness compulsions for commercial gain. Morally, it is about on a par with putting crazy people’s erratic behavior on commercial display for the amusement of those with low tastes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Coping with Inflation

Illusory Bidenomics to the contrary notwithstanding, inflationary times are upon us. Prices are rising, mostly faster than wages, and the dollar buys less every year. 

What is the age-old wisdom for coping with inflation? Own assets with resale value, the value of which will escalate. Preferably things which don’t lose value with age or use, land being a prime example. Don't hold large pots of cash or cash-equivalent instruments which will lose value, and deflate.

Green Policies → Increased Fatalities

Power Line's Steven Hayward notes:

Many more people die from cold winter weather every year than during summer heat waves.

Then he posts a quote from The Economist, otherwise behind their paywall. It makes an interesting point about governments with green agendas doing things which have the effect of raising energy costs.

High energy prices can cost lives. They discourage people from heating their homes properly, and living in cold conditions raises the risk of cardiac and respiratory problems. In November The Economist predicted that expensive power might result in between 22,000 and 138,000 deaths during a mild winter. Unfortunately, we appear to have been correct.

To assess how deaths last winter compare to previous ones we have used a common measure of mortality: excess deaths. Comparing actual deaths with the number we might expect given mortality in the same weeks of 2015-19, we found that deaths across Europe were higher than expected. Across 28 European countries we investigated, there were 149,000 excess deaths between November 2022 and February 2023, equivalent to a 7.8% increase. . . If electricity last winter had cost the same as it did in 2020, our model would have expected 68,000 fewer deaths across Europe, a decline of 3.6%.

Reasonably priced electricity saves lives, something the greens ignore. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Progressive Dogmas Fail

Stephen Green posts a Joel Kotkin quote at Instapundit that I’d share with you, the original is unfortunately behind a paywall.

America’s urban woes aren’t limited to the West Coast, of course. But the decline there has generally been steeper than elsewhere. Why? How did such golden cities get so tarnished, so quickly?

Unlike in the tragic case of the Midwest, the answer is not reliance on declining industries: tech, space, entertainment continue to show promise and could propel growth for decades. Instead, the damage has been remarkably self-inflicted, reflecting the reckless growth of a set of progressive dogmas, tough on police and permissive toward criminals and vagrants while imposing ever more burdens on what is left of the middle class.

Analysis: Unfortunately, accurate.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Predicting Happiness

Yesterday we wrote about the advantages growing up in an intact family with one's mother and father. Today comes an article about how people who are married are substantially happier, on average, than those not married.

A strong marriage is actually "the number one predictor of happiness in America today," says Brad Wilcox, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia and a fellow at the Institute for Family Studies.

"What we see in the research is that both men and women who are married are almost twice as likely to be happy compared to their fellow Americans who are not married," he told FOX News Digital.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings have been proved right once again. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Stepfathers No Help

At City Journal, Kay S. Hymowitz reviews a new book by economist Melissa Kearney entitled The Two Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind. Hymowitz opines the scholarly economics in this book probably makes it a tough slog for non-economists.

On the other hand, the book makes a strong argument for the importance of traditional marriage - living together with one's mother and father - in the subsequent success or failure of the child. 

It’s not because it breaks new ground. Kearney’s book is a summary and synthesis—first-rate summary and synthesis, to be sure—of decades of research on the benefits of a childhood spent with both parents.

The average child growing up in single-parent homes is at a disadvantage compared with their two-parent peers. On the most concrete level, single mothers have less money and time to devote to their children, and they are at higher risk of poverty and welfare dependence. On a societal level, the rise of single-parent homes has increased and entrenched both economic and social inequality.

Boys, in particular, are more likely to have academic and behavioral problems without their fathers in the house, and, statistically speaking, the presence of a stepfather doesn’t make their futures look any rosier.

In the early decades of the transformation of the family, single mothers were likely to have been divorced, but by the 1980s, the majority of single mothers had never married in the first place.

Whatever advantages increased spending on government benefits might provide for low-income children, they do not begin to compensate for differences in family structure. (skip) “We should be clear-eyed about the reality,” Kearney writes. “Parents affect their children’s lives and shape their outcomes in ways that government cannot fully make up for.”

Those who make the above observations or arguments are often accused of blaming the victims. The weight of the research presented in this book tends to argue otherwise. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Saturday Snark

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

Belated Friday Snark

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

Friday, September 15, 2023

59 and Counting

We rarely cite material from The Nation, but here is an exception from Steve Phillips whose topic is how Democrats can win more white votes. I bet you didn’t know the following.

Many people are surprised to learn that Lyndon Johnson was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win the white vote (in 1964). After he signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, no Democratic nominee has won the majority-white vote again. Ever. (Jimmy Carter came the closest, winning 48 percent in 1976.)

Next year, assuming the trend continues, no Democrat will have won a majority of the white votes for president in sixty years. No wonder Democrats have put all their eggs in the "victim groups" basket.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Media is Dying

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, being interviewed, on the current state of journalism in this country, with particular reference to the so-called "mainstream media."

The press is in such an amazing, huge decline everywhere. The mainstream media is dying. They really can’t change and it’s why they don’t care.

On behalf of an ideology, journalists are proudly committing career suicide. Somewhere Rev. Jim Jones smiles approvingly. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll posting at Instapundit for the link.


Democrat candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates Susanna Gibson posted video of she and her husband engaging in sex on an Internet site and solicited "tips" (cash donations) from viewers "for a good cause." When this bit of raunchy "entrepreneurship" became more widely known, she complained about her privacy being invaded

What privacy? What invasion? She does the 21st century version of standing naked on her front porch, and gets mad when neighbors call each other to take a look at the spectacle she has provided

If the voters in her VA district want to elect a porn actress to represent them in the House of Delegates, they should by all means do so, knowingly. It would appear she fears awareness of her side gig will dissuade some voters. Can you imagine that?

One would hope this individual has attempted the proverbial "bridge too far." In today's America, I wish I were more certain she had crossed a widely shared red line.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Romney Won't Run Again

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has announced he will not run for another term. His present term ends in January of 2025. 

Romney has been an unabashed member of the GOPe group typified by George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Paul Ryan, Mike Pence and, more often than not, Mitch McConnell. As a Republican who got elected governor of true blue Massachusetts, you know he was a squish.

As such Romney is seriously out of step with the current, populist GOP ideology espoused by most of those currently running for the GOP presidential nomination. Atypically, he indicated to a reporter that he supported the House should-we-impeach investigation of Biden family corruption.

I daresay he views his 2012 nomination to run for president as his career high point, even though he lost to Obama . I would tend to view his management of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics as his finest hour. He appears to have done a genuinely good job of managing it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

A Putin Prediction

Writing for The Hill, Alexander J. Motyl - a political scientist specializing in Russia and Ukraine at Rutgers - thinks Putin has screwed up too thoroughly to survive in office. He concludes:

When Putin goes, the political system of which he is the linchpin will collapse amidst a vicious power struggle. And when the system goes and chaos reigns, the incentive for Chechens, Bashkirs, Dagestanis, Tatars, Yakuts, and many others to save their skins by seceding will prove enormous. They need not leave simultaneously. It’ll be sufficient for one of them to get the ball rolling, as did Soviet Lithuania in 1989.

And since the systemically dysfunctional Russian Federation increasingly resembles the systemically dysfunctional Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s collapse is becoming, thanks to the mastermind Putin, unavoidable.

I believe Motyl  is correct about the chaos to expect when Putin leaves office. You will, however, have noted that Motyl blithely sidesteps the key question of how long before that exit will occur. Next year is a vastly different proposition than next decade.

Gaia ... Wiser Than We Thought

An atom of hydrogen and an atom of oxygen bonded together as a hydroxyl radical (OH) is important in our atmosphere. Nature reports:

The hydroxyl (OH) radical is the key oxidant in the global atmosphere as it controls the concentrations of toxic gases like carbon monoxide and climate relevant gases like methane. In some regions, oxidation by chlorine (Cl) radical is also important, and in the stratosphere both OH and Cl radicals impact ozone.

More recently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports as follows: 

Recent studies suggest that reactions that do not usually occur in bulk solution can occur spontaneously in small water droplets, possibly due to the naturally formed electric field at the air–water interface. We explore the atmospheric significance of this process by demonstrating efficient spontaneous production of interfacial hydroxyl radicals (OH) from aqueous droplets under ambient conditions. This interfacial OH production does not involve precursors or catalysts, such as light or heat, and is likely the largest aqueous OH source in atmospheric droplets at nighttime. The ubiquity of aqueous aerosols and cloud droplets and their possibly strong OH-producing capability suggests that we have to rethink atmospheric multiphase oxidation chemistry.

A less technical treatment aimed at interested laypersons like me (and I assume you) describes it as the atmosphere cleaning itself up,  getting rid of pollution. I conclude climate alarmists need to dial back their hysteria. Hat tip to Stephen Green, posting at Instapundit, for the link.

A Blatant Plug

The other DrC is our family photographer. Back in the early days of retirement when we lectured on cruise ships, she did a seminar she joked should be called "How to use the digital camera your grandkids bought you." 

If she did it today, it would be called "Taking good pictures with your phone." All of which is a come-on to encourage you to view several great photos of our corner of WY. They are from last week when she and a girlfriend spent a long weekend in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

She captured early autumn scenery and wildlife pictures of two of the world's most beautiful places. Enjoy.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Remembering a Long War Setback

The Long War between Islam and the West began roughly a thousand years ago. It has flared up from time to time and gone quiet from time to time. Don't kid yourself, it has not ended. This is a lull, not a truce.

What happened 22 years ago today at the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania was another of its flare-ups, one noted for its spectacular nature and near-instantaneous large loss of life. 

There are those who understand this, and those who choose not to admit it to themselves. On this sad anniversary, understand and remember.

I Blame Kia/Hyundai

Power Line's Steven Hayward has a chart showing a recent doubling in car thefts in Chicago, with fully half those stolen Kias and Hyundais. Apparently somebody figured out an easy way to bypass their locks and put the how-to on TikTok. Now "youths" in Chi town boost these brands for joyrides.

Hayward makes fun of the cities which want to blame the car companies, instead of arresting and jailing the perps. Cities are gonna do what cities do, which nowadays is mostly pamper criminals. If you live in or visit a city, you are responsible for putting yourself in harm's way.

If I owned a Kia or Hyundai I would expect this issue to trigger a recall with a dealer-installed fix, at the manufacturer's expense. They designed and built cars with faulty security and they should pay to fix the problem.

Weird Fertility Science

Would you believe the National Highway Safety Administration is interfering with birth rates in our great nation? The following abstract is from the SSRN site, and isn’t brand new, dated in 2020 and updated in 2021. The authors are a couple of business school profs, if you can credit it.

Since 1977, U.S. states have passed laws steadily raising the age for which a child must ride in a car safety seat. These laws significantly raise the cost of having a third child, as many regular-sized cars cannot fit three child seats in the back.

Using census data and state-year variation in laws, we estimate that when women have two children of ages requiring mandated car seats, they have a lower annual probability of giving birth by 0.73 percentage points. Consistent with a causal channel, this effect is limited to third child births, is concentrated in households with access to a car, and is larger when a male is present (when both front seats are likely to be occupied).

We estimate that these laws prevented only 57 car crash fatalities of children nationwide in 2017. Simultaneously, they led to a permanent reduction of approximately 8,000 births in the same year, and 145,000 fewer births since 1980, with 90% of this decline being since 2000.

Talk about unintended consequences … wow! Like everybody else my age we never sat in a car safety seat and survived the experience without trauma. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Poll: Youth Favor US Troops to Ukraine, the Economy Sucks

Writing at Power Line (not the only venue for her work) Elizabeth Stauffer reports the findings of a CBS/YouGov poll that posed some interesting questions. The first such asked whether the responder favored sending U.S. troops to defend Ukraine.

A CBS News/YouGov poll found that 48% of adults under the age of 30 support sending U.S. troops to defend Ukraine. (snip) The numbers drop off sharply among older age groups. Among those between the ages of 30 and 44, the total falls to 28%; among those between 45 and 64, 17%; and for those over 65, 8%.

Stauffer has further cross tabs by political orientation and sex,  I wonder what the under 30s would say to resuming the military draft? Few are enlisting.

Those respondents registered as Democrats were asked about  their "enthusiasm" for having Kamala Harris on the ticket.

Thirty percent said they were enthusiastic, 54% satisfied, and 16% replied they were “dissatisfied” or “angry.” (snip) In August 2020, the numbers were 58%, 34%, and 8%, respectively. CBS notes that, unsurprisingly, black Democrats have the most enthusiasm for Harris.

Finally, respondents were asked about the economy. 

Five percent of participants believe the economy is doing “very well” and another 23% thinks it’s doing “somewhat well,” compared to 34% who think it’s “somewhat bad” and 38% who believe it’s “very bad.”

Translation: Roughly 1 in 4 said it was doing somewhat or very well; 3 out of 4 said it is somewhat or very bad. Bideenomics is the Bud Light of economic policies -- not many buyers.

Weird Bariatric Science

For those of us who have dined too well, I have very good news. Instapundit links to a study reported at MedicalXpress which found that there isn't any significant loss of longevity associated with being somewhat overweight. 

The life expectancy among overweight people—those with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9—wasn't generally shorter than for people in the normal BMI range, controlling for factors such as age and whether they smoked.

In fact, a 2013 paper—which analyzed nearly 100 studies that included more than 2.8 million people—found that being overweight slightly reduced mortality risk. (the life expectancy among overweight people—those with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9—wasn't generally shorter than for people in the normal BMI range, controlling for factors such as age and whether they smoked.

In fact, a 2013 paper—which analyzed nearly 100 studies that included more than 2.8 million people—found that being overweight slightly reduced mortality risk. (That wasn't the case for those considered obese, with a BMI at or above 30.)

Apropos of the above, I'd share with you a funny incident in my past. Some decades ago a rail thin physician was nagging me to lose weight. He asked me, "You don't know anyone overweight who has lived to be old, do you?" I replied, "Only my parents, they died at 84 and 93." His rueful reply was, "You will probably live to be old and fat." 

Indeed I have. Be of good cheer, you may do it too.

About Wearing Masks

I had hoped there was no need to write about wearing breathing masks ever again. Alas cheri, it was not to be. Here we are again, arguing over face masks.

Do I believe masks do much to filter the air we breathe? In a word, no. It is possible to make such masks, people who work with dangerous chemicals or spray paint wear them but they make the wearer look like a space alien, require maintenance, and are expensive.

Do I believe Covid masks keep us from spraying micro droplets of saliva and whatever viruses happen to be present in our mouths around the area we find ourselves in? Emphatically, I do.

If everybody who feels at all like they might have a cold, allergy, or flu would wear masks when around others, I believe it would reduce the transmission of respiratory infections generally, not just Covid. The masks would catch the spray of which we are unaware, but all of us produce pretty much whenever we open our mouths.

I can almost hear you thinking, "I do no such thing, I would know if I did." Heck, until Covid came along I would have totes agreed with you. You may well ask, how did I learn of the microspray? That is an extremely short story I will now share with you.

Early in the first Covid era, while most wore cloth or paper masks, some few including the other DrC wore transparent plastic face shields. She got one for me too, and I wore it some when out to the store or to get the mail.

I'd take it off when back in my car, bring it home, and ignore it until I went out again. She did likewise. Then, when getting ready to go out the next time I'd pick it up and be grossed out by all the tiny dried spots of spittle on the inside of the clear mask. 

There were dozens of them, right in front of my mouth, small but not microscopic, large enough to probably settle to the floor within a few feet. The other DrC had an identical experience with her mask. We'd get out the Windex, clean off the shields and put them on.

If the two of us, a couple of PhDs, spray micro droplets of saliva as we talk, mouth breathe around allergies, and generally live, it is highly probable you do too and like us were (or still are) unaware of doing so.

There, I've told you more than you wanted to know about what cloth/paper masks do and don't do. I hope I didn't spoil your appetite for lunch.

The “Public Health Menace” Scam

The latest power grab by an elected Democrat is the Governor of New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham claiming lawful guns in the hands of her law-abiding citizens constitute a “public health menace.” In the wake of public outrage over a child being shot, she has banned lawful carry in the Albuquerque area. 

I presume eventually the federal courts will tell her the Second Amendment has no exception for public anti-gun sentiment. In the meantime, she has disarmed the law-abiding while doing nothing about guns in the hands of scofflaws. That imbalance is sure to work out well, I don't think.

How long before First Amendment protected speech which some find offensive becomes a “public health menace” banned for fear of hurt feelings? Perhaps some Governor will declare a Trump candidacy a “public health menace” and ban it? Thank heavens for an originalist SCOTUS to slap down such overreach.

Afterthought: I believe we’ve largely concluded the Centers for Disease Control truly has become a public health menace. It so far remains unbanned.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

A Genius Move

I don't know that you can fairly call Texas Governor Abbott a genius, but the term certainly applies to his policy decision to bus thousands of willing illegal immigrants to New York City, Chicago, and other sky blue "sanctuary" cities. It was a genius way to make his problems, their problems too.

The illegal immigrants have no green cards, many speak limited or no English, and are not permitted to find work. The sanctuary cities have to feed and somehow house them, put their kids in school, and provide some sort of minimal health care,. 

This takes city tax money otherwise earmarked for things the city actually wants to do. And it is at a time when city sales tax revenues are down as former commuters stay home to work, leaving office space vacant and urban lunch spots and retailers hurting for customers.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Democrat mayors are nagging their Democrat President to do something to help them out. It won't be long before they blame him for the influx. Meanwhile President Biden looks the other way, figurative fingers in his ears, saying "la la la I can't hear you." 

This is a scenario worthy of a legendary Republican schemer like Karl Rove, who may in fact have suggested it. It has a Saul Alinsky flavor too. In any event, TX Governor Greg Abbott gets the credit, richly deserved. 


The flood of immigrants to our southern border is similarly motivated as the population surges of the various gold rushes of the 1800s. Economic migrants hoping to change their luck and strike it rich, pick up and go where the supposed bonanza is located. 

I'd guess that most of this current batch will have no better luck than all but a few of the forty-niners who headed west; they at least enjoyed CA's better weather. A tent in the Chicago or NYC winter won't be fun, especially for migrants from the tropics.

Saturday Snark

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