Thursday, February 29, 2024

February 29

I can't let today pass without commenting on its unusual nature. February 29 occurs only once every four years, more or less. We live on the Gregorian calendar, the actual occurance of these extra days follows this rule
An astronomical year lasts slightly less than 365 1/4 days. (snip) Each leap year has 366 days instead of 365. This extra leap day occurs in each year that is a multiple of 4, except for years evenly divisible by 100 but not by 400.

As a result of which we manage to keep the seasons in sync with the calendar, the purpose of making adjustments to the calendar. 

Right-to-Work ⇨ Job Growth

Power Line's charts guy - Steve Hayward - has a good one today. He writes, "Here’s the data on the rates of job growth in right-to-work versus compulsory union states."

"Right-to-work" means you cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of new or continued employment, even if the workers where you work have chosen to be represented by a union.

The rate of job growth in RTW states is more than double that in non-RTW states. For obvious reasons employers prefer to do business in RTW states where unions are less powerful.

Beaton Thanks Trump

Glenn K. Beaton, the sage of Aspen, writes columns worth reading, today’s especially so. He characterizes it as an apology to Donald Trump. 

His basic point, Trump didn’t have to take all the grief he is getting, most billionaires don’t bother and live gilded lives. See Beaton’s conclusion, and then go read the whole column.

Trump and I have different lives, different personalities, different styles, different bank accounts, and different sizes. But whatever his failings, I admire and respect him for putting at stake his life and fortune for the country I love. Thank you for that, Mr. President.

Amen to that. Trump is what you get when a serial entrepreneur is also a serious patriot. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

McConnell to Relinquish Leadership

The Daily Mail reports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 82, will step down from the leadership in November, while continuing to serve as a senator. He has been the "longest serving senate leader in American history."

I endorse the judgment of his Republican peers that his service has been in the nation's interest. The Supreme Court's conservative majority can be laid at his doorstep, no small accomplishment.

Father time remains undefeated. I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues will remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership.

Fare thee well, Senator. live long and prosper.

Later ... Power Line identifies Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) as one of those who might succeed McConnell as leader of the Senate's Republicans and also, for now, majority leader. I wouldn't mind my home state guy being leader.

2024 a Referendum

Presidential re-election campaigns are normally a referendum on the performance of the incumbent. This one is no exception. 

Normally, however, the challenger has to convince voters he (or someday she) would do as POTUS a better job than the incumbent. This year’s challenger doesn’t face that hurdle. 

We have four years of data about a Trump presidency and he did a better job as POTUS. That makes this a tough sell for Biden and his handlers.

The Michigan Primary

The Michigan primary happened today. Trump won handily with nearly 70% of the GOP vote. Biden also won, but nearly 100,000 Democrats voted  "uncommitted" which basically was the anti-Biden, pro-Hamas vote. 

If these "uncommitted" Ds sit out the November ballot, Biden probably loses Michigan. If they vote for Trump, it is a rout. Data from RealClearPolitics.

Next Tuesday - March 5 - will be Super Tuesday, when a whole bunch of states and territories hold primaries. There's a good chance one or both of the major party leading candidates will have enough delegates to ensure nomination a week from today.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Poll: Trump Making Gains

The charts guy at Power Line - Steve Hayward - has a pictorial representation of findings from YouGov polling compiled by Pew Research. It looks at how Trump did in 2016 and how he is polling now.

Trump has lost a little ground with men, but more than made up for it with women. He has made substantial gains with Black and Hispanic voters, and is polling better with college grads and those with some college. It would be amazing if he got half the college grad voters on his side, which this chart shows could happen.

Figuring out most of us were better off in the pre-Covid Trump years than in the post-Covid Biden years isn't rocket science. That is particularly true for POC voters, as reflected in the gains shown above.

No Takers

Israel and Hamas don’t agree on much, obviously. One glaring exception is the two state solution, neither side has any use for the two state outcome. 

Both sides recognize they are locked in a death match, which can have only one winner, with the loser left dead on the field of battle. 

Who does want a two state solution? Nearly everyone else. The so-called “Palestinians” are a people with whom nobody wants to share their country, not Arabs, not Israelis, not Westerners, nobody.

The two Arab countries which have taken in Palestinian refugees - Lebanon and Jordan - have had much grief with them. Palestinians need their own country but nobody wants to share a border with them. As neighbors, they are as popular as a wasp nest. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

One in Three Torn Down?

Nearly two weeks ago I wrote about high vacancy levels in tall office towers. Today comes a Fortune article, echoed at, pursuing the same themes. In it Fred Cordova of Corion Enterprises opines as follows: 

There will be bifurcation... The product in a good location with a good, safe environment will recover. And then you've got another group that will somehow hang in there and get reset in pricing.

You have others that are basically worth nothing - the D class. Those just have to be torn down. That's probably at least 30% of all offices in the country.

As we noted earlier, not all office space can economically be converted to dwelling space that meets building code requirements. Two choices: (a) water down the codes, or (b) knock down the buildings to reclaim the real estate.

We Owe Ukraine

When the Soviet Union broke up, one of the SSRs of which it was supposedly a Union was Ukraine. A substantial portion of the USSR’s nukes were located in Ukraine. 

Not wanting the world to get another nuclear weapons power, NATO and the US convinced newly independent Ukraine to give its nukes to Russia. As a “sweetener” for the deal, we promised Ukraine to protect them from nuclear powers (Russia, obviously). 

Francis P. Sempa argues, for RealClearDefense that we owe Ukraine nothing. It is unclear whether he ignores our promise made in the early 1990s, or whether in fact he is unaware of it. He is, of course, correct that if we choose not to honor our promise there is little Ukraine can do about it.

Reneging on our promise would be ill-received in places like South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Israel to which we have made similar commitments.  

Sunday, February 25, 2024

A Sunday Drive

We took a Sunday drive to a local attraction today, called Valley of Fire State Park. It is near both Lake Mead and the town of Overton. 

We are familiar with the red rock formations in Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. These are different. I expect photos the other DrC took will show up on her blog, link here

Imagine a Swiss cheese version of red sandstone, with naturally occurring holes varying from the size of your fist to big enough to hide in. Add in jaggedness such that it truly does, in places, look like frozen flame. I saw saucer shaped formations that looked like Kirk's Enterprise crash-landed.

It is roughly 40 highway miles northeast of Las Vegas off I-15, an easy drive. Someone might run tours, but private car may be the only way to access it. 

Afterthought: We saw a spectacular sunset on the way home, see that photo here.  Do click to enlarge, it is a knockout.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Trump Wins Easily in SC

RealClearPolitics reports tonight Donald Trump has won the South Carolina GOP primary. He defeated Nikki Haley by 59.8% to 39.5%, with 99% of the vote counted. 

If you've been paying attention, you know SC is Haley's home state, one where she earlier had two generally successful terms as governor. You also know tonight's outcome is no surprise, the polling was accurate.

Politico breaks out the demographics:

A majority of every age demographic picked Trump over Haley. Men and women both backed Trump. Voters across all income ranges backed him, and he only narrowly lost college graduates while dominating among those without a college degree.

I expect Haley to continue campaigning at least through Super Tuesday. However I now expect Trump to pivot to general election mode and focus his attacks on Joe Biden. 

For a skinny old man, Biden makes a fat target. His shortcomings are many and grievous while his pluses are few.

Saturday Snark

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

The Great Sort, Revisited

Nomadic tribes everywhere have evolved a practical approach to the environment. They live in a favored spot until they cause it to become polluted and nasty. They then strike the tents and move to a new unspoiled locale, leaving time, sunshine, and weather to clean up the old one. The modern version of this behavior is less self-healing.

Power Line’s John Hinderaker muses about people fleeing blue state messes. Many are moving as Republicans to red states. This much is known.

When liberals flee blue state messes, do they go to less messy blue states? He isn’t certain that actually happens.

The Great Sort is under way, as normal people move to red states and liberals move to blue states. (That last is hypothetical and hasn’t actually been observed.) 

The bottom line is that the Great Sort continues to benefit Red America. The question is, to what extent is the out-migration of normals locking liberalism into the blue states?

I have two observations. First, when people who vote against you leave in greater numbers than those who vote for you, how can that be other than a political gift, even if it is an economic minus?

Second, and this is admittedly anecdotal, my conservative relatives who live in western Colorado are quite unhappy at all the bright blue liberals who’ve come to CO and turned it into a safe state for Democrats. My kin live in the ranching part of the state that still votes GOP but the urban centers along the front range outvote them on statewide offices - governor, both senators all Ds.

I expect OR and WA have had similar blue-hued internal immigration from CA. Progressives may feel sorry for the homeless but don’t want the homeless camped in their neighborhood.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Snark

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

Win, Lose - Both Bad

Writing for Asia Times, a paper based in Hong Kong, Renaud Foucart makes an interesting argument. It is his contention that Russia can neither afford to win nor to lose the war in Ukraine.

A British economist, Foucart argues that Russia is too poor to afford the cost of rebuilding Ukraine if they win, and are likely to disintegrate if they lose. The only thing they can afford to do is continue the war.

The problem I have with his argument is that a winning Russia might choose to not rebuild Ukraine. They might leave it in a shambles as an object lesson for any others who might consider fighting Russia. 

The holodomor - a man-made famine Russia caused in Ukraine - suggests failure-to-rebuild is a genocide-lite option Russia might implement. Russian values, after all, are not first-world, European values.

The Veep Stakes

Writing for the Washington Times, former governor Scott Walker argues Trump’s next VP pick should be a governor. Governors do have executive experience, a plus. There are a couple of women governors on his “possibles” list - Huckabee Sanders and Noem. 

However Trump’s last VP pick - Mike Pence - was a former successful GOP governor. Trump didn’t end up being very happy with Pence so I’m not sure how that suggestion will be received. Governors are accustomed to a degree of independence, while I expect Trump values loyalty.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

EVs on Back Burner

Politico, and other sites, are reporting as follows with regard to Federal efforts to force us to buy Electric Vehicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency is leaning toward approving a compromise regulation on car and truck pollution that could slow the initial pace of the required cuts compared with a draft proposal the administration released last year, the three people said. The change could mean that for the rest of this decade, electric vehicle sales would climb more incrementally than EPA had originally projected.

But the cuts — and expected EV sales — would accelerate after 2030. By 2032, more than two-thirds of new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. would be electric, just as the agency had projected last year.

This gives Republicans a good shot at dumping the entire effort, if only they can find a way to agree on anything. Actually, both parties are very divided now. Republicans are divided on military aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Democrats are divided on support for Israel. 

These are Heinlein's crazy years. There's always something upon which an interested observer (me, and many others) can comment.

It may be eventually be possible to produce affordable, practical, safe EVs with the ability to go 500 miles before recharging. Also motels with a reliable, affordable charging station for each room. 

It is worth remembering how long it took to make gasoline powered cars reliable enough to use as we do today. It didn't happen overnight, it took decades.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Truth to Power

Here is something you need to see, reposted at Gateway Pundit, but originally from the National Border Patrol Council, their union, addressed to President Biden.

Dear Joe, 

You OWN this catastrophic disaster at the border – lock, stock and barrel. You created it. You nursed it along. You encouraged it. You facilitated it. It’s all yours. Don’t run from it now like a coward.
The BP agents you’ve thrown under the bus.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Tuesday Snark

 The satiric Babylon Bee relates the following.

At a secret meeting of high-ranking party leadership, Democrats expressed grave concern that President Joe Biden may be too old to complete their party's mission of the utter destruction of the country.

"There's certainly a danger that the country will still be standing when President Biden leaves office," said Jaime Harrison, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "He's made a lot of progress in just one term in office, and we know a second term would be more than enough time to wipe the United States out of existence… but it looks like Joe's just not going to make it."

After considering alternatives like Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom, Democrats unanimously agreed that keeping Biden in office after his death would give them the best chance of achieving their ultimate goal.

Not much of an exaggeration here.

Biden's McJobs

Joe Biden keeps harping on about Bidenomics, how great it's doing creating jobs. Ah, yes, but what kind of jobs? Jobs in the private sector that create wealth, and pay taxes so government can pay its bills too? Not so much.

The chart, from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data and posted at Power Line, shows that Health Care, Government, and Leisure and Hospitality make up the lion's share of the new jobs. None of them create wealth. 

You have to wonder how many "hospitality" jobs are in fast food or cleaning rooms in hotels? This looks like a lot of part-time and low skill jobs those doing them won't view as careers. It's even true for quite a few low-level hospital and nursing home jobs.

Joel Kotkin concludes
Government, social assistance, and healthcare account for 56 percent of the 2.8 million net new jobs over the past year, notes the Wall Street Journal, and for nearly all employment gains in blue states such as New York and Illinois. Professionals concentrated in government and largely public funded health programs have benefited mightily under Biden.

Whither Haley?

Nikki Haley made a major “state of the race” speech today in Greenville, SC. In it she disposed of the idea she will drop out, the idea she wants to be vice president, and ridiculed the idea she was campaigning for 2028. She claims she will stay in till the last vote is cast, and I mostly believe her. 

I believe she will leave her name on primary ballots across this land, I believe she will actively campaign as long as she can raise money, and I believe she would turn down the VP slot if offered. 

I’m less certain about her protestations vis-a-vis 2028. And I think she believes she has a chance in 2024 if the lawfare aimed at Trump results in a raft of felony convictions prior to the GOP convention. 

With no insider information whatsoever, I’m betting Haley thinks that she still has a shot at both 2024 and 2028. It requires either that something catastrophic happen to Trump before the election, or that he lose that election to Biden. She figures she comes out ahead in either of those scenarios. 

If Trump is the nominee, wins in 2024, and does okay for four years, she is toast. His successor will be a Trump clone and Nikki Haley will be as irrelevant as Liz Cheney is now.

Monday, February 19, 2024

A Spasm of Realism

I almost never cite The New Republic and mostly avoid anything written by Michael Tomasky. Today is a rare exception, only the third time in 17 years. One supposes Biden's disastrous poll numbers are what has brought Tomasky up short.

Here is the subhead to his column, which isn't a bad brief abstract of his argument.

For liberals and Democrats, Trump’s presidency was a moral hellscape. But swing voters have a very different view. Accepting this is absolutely vital.

Tomasky describes the liberal "bubble" inside which he and fellow Democrats live, and then moves on to those who are neither progressive nor in the MAGA "bubble."

I’m talking about the people in between. They’re the people who’ll decide this election. And this election year, those of us inside our bubble need to go put our heads inside theirs. Because where they live, incredible as this may seem to you and me, the Trump years were good, and he was a pretty capable president.

For these voters, Donald Trump is not a moral monster. He’s just not. He’s embarrassing. He’s a little wild with his rhetoric at times. They wouldn’t necessarily want their sons to be like him. But they think he ran the country pretty well. It may be hard to believe, but this opinion is widely shared.

Tomasky gets that voters in the middle don't share progressives' twin obsessions with racism and sexism. What I noticed is that he compares Trump's performance with Obama's but only rarely with Biden's, probably because the latter has been a shambles.

However, a comparison of Biden and Trump is what will likely face voters in November. More years of Trump or more of Biden. That isn't a tough choice for Joe and Jane Sixpack.

Let It Snow

Western Wyoming finally got some serious snow, and may get more. I have two exposures from the same web cam. The first photo below is the "snow pole" on Jan. 11 as posted here then. The second photo is that same pole today.

Look at that snow pack. The aspens will stay beautifully green through another mostly dry summer. 

I'm guessing maybe 32" of snow. Our driveway will need plowing out for our arrival in early May.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Saturday Snark

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

An Old Memory Resurfaces

Here's another of those "in the shower" thoughts. When I was young too many decades ago, there were monthly magazines that catered to the ladies who presided over our homes. 

As a bright kid who burned through reading material too fast, I spent some time perusing those. I wasn't the target audience, but they were there and I was bored. What I'm musing about today was the unusual ads for Breck shampoo.

The women in most magazine ads were somewhere in the cute-pretty-beautiful range. Not so in the Breck ads. They featured what I remember as oil paintings of normal, nothing special women with beautiful hair. 

I concluded it had to be a conscious choice. Pitching the product to women who knew they'd never be a great beauty, but maybe could have very nice looking hair. 

I thought it odd then, and still do today, though I'll admit I hadn't mused about it for decades. All these years later, I wonder if the "pitch" worked? I suppose I'll never know. I do know it didn't catch on with advertisers generally.

An Internet search turns up the fact that quite a few of the women so pictured were female relatives of Dr. John Breck, the firm's founder. He could pay them a nice honorarium for posing, write it off as a business expense, and they'd end up with a flattering portrait. Something other than pure profit motive had to be involved.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Highly Ironic

Someone named Will Chamberlain X'ed a highly ironic comment on the current scene, and Instapundit Reynolds has echoed it on his site. Here is the text:

Between the United States and Russia, one country just arbitrarily seized the assets of an oligarch opposed to the regime, and is trying to jail him.

The other country is Russia.

By those standards Biden isn't so very different than Putin, n'est-ce pas.

Friday Snark

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

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Quiet Flows the Virgin

A river that runs through a desert is a rare and wondrous thing. Life clusters along its banks and thrives in the warm sun. 

The most famous example of this is the Nile running nearly due north through arid Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. One of the world's original civilizations bloomed along its banks, and left to us monuments at which we still wonder. The Tigris and Euphrates are other well known examples.

Our winter place is near where eastern Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and southwestern Utah all meet. The area is desert for certain. And yet, a river runs through it, the Virgin River. 

The Virgin is fed by snowmelt in the high mountains of Utah, it carved the fantastic canyon that is Zion National Park, spawned the boomtown that is Saint George, and carved another amazing but less-known canyon in Arizona down which today I-15 runs. 

The Virgin was a stop on the old Spanish trail from New Mexico to California, then it watered the crops of the Mormon farmers who settled our region. Today it waters the 7 or so golf courses which entertain our retirees, and eventually it empties into Lake Mead.

The Virgin is no Nile, by most standards hardly more than an often muddy stream, but it made this particular desert area habitable. That makes it very nearly a miracle.

Hat tip to Mikhail Sholokhov for the title, and to the other DrC for the photo, taken in Zion Canyon.

Karma Time

Here's a John Nolte quote (scroll down) at Breitbart News that I resonate with, maybe you will too.

Urban America is not my problem. Urban voters are getting what they voted for, and if they want to burn it all down, burn it all down. Living filth does not affect me. And none of this is anyone’s fault but the voters. It’s a shame, sure. But life’s too short to stress over what I can’t control.

A cynic would say urban voters are getting what they voted for, and as Mencken noted, "getting it good and hard." It's karma time, bro (or sis).

Haunted Towers

Business Times reports on the oversupply of office space in America’s big city downtown cores. Values are down dramatically as the work-from-home movement really begins to seem permanent. 

People got a taste of work-from-home during Covid, and they loved it. Nobody missed the hours of commute time and expense. Many loved the more relaxed child care situation, reduced wardrobe costs, etc. And many learned they could be as productive as before, or even more so, when the lost commute time was regained.

One guesses bosses miss being able to surveil their workers at work. Automated keystroke monitors aren’t quite the same experience. Apparently some bosses have demanded a return to the office and heard “hell no” coming back at them, loud and clear. 

Eventually those empty towers will be converted to some use, but exactly what use isn’t clear. Preliminary surveys suggest the cost to convert to dwellings may be higher than the cost to demolish and rebuild as purpose-built apartment blocks. If that doesn’t pencil out, perhaps they will be abandoned and eventually stand like the ruins at Chaco or Mesa Verde, monuments to a life that exists no longer. 

Our population is declining, I activate my science fiction honed imagination and picture a pastoral society living in small hamlets and rural settings, connected seamlessly by electronics while automated factories produce what is required and route it to where people choose to live. Not in my lifetime, that is for sure. 

Maybe what we are seeing is the beginning of a trend which explains why we’ve never been visited (as far as we’re aware) by spacefaring creatures. At some point intelligent creatures stop the endless striving and hustling and never get around to true spacefaring, but become happy hobbits in the shire.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Putin Prefers Biden reports Russian president Vladimir Putin prefers Biden to Trump as the US president. Standing in Putin's shoes that's the choice I'd have made.

“[Biden] is a more experienced, predictable person. He is a politician of the old school. But we will work with any leader of the United States, who is trusted by the American people,” Putin said in an interview on broadcaster Rossiya 1 TV when asked to choose between the two.

“Mr. Putin should stay out of America’s elections,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates.

Imagine that, a President who doesn't want Putin's endorsement. I prefer a US president viewed by Putin as harder to work with.

Another Unintended Consequence

There is a saying attributed to novelist Robert Heinlein that contains considerable wisdom. He puts it in the mouth of a recurring Heinlein character, Lazarus Long.

Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

I was reminded of that saying by the following reseach done in Canada and reported in the Toronto Sun.

A critical examination of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training programs suggests they often make racism in the workplace worse, according to a report by David Haskell, an associate professor of digital media and journalism at Wilfrid Laurier University.

DEI instruction has been shown to increase prejudice and activate bigotry among participants by bringing existing stereotypes to the top of their minds, or by implanting new biases they had not previously held …

“Simply put, numerous studies show that when DEI-type workshop leaders instruct participants to suppress their biases — be they existing or newly implanted — many will cling to them more tightly and mentally generate additional justifications for their presence.”

A likely result of mandatory DEI training is to increase employee dislike of those imposing the requirement, those delivering the training, and those the training is designed to protect. Voila, you've annoyed the pig and made worse the very things you'd hoped to make better.

Doing What Is Necessary to Succeed

Writing for Hot Air, David Strom takes up a topic particularly appropriate on St. Valentine’s Day, how the elites say marriage is optional and not for everybody, but don’t behave that way themselves.

Unlike many things the Elite do to harm people, I don't think this is intentionally done to harm others. I think they genuinely believe that imposing bourgeois values on others is wrong. It is pushing "White culture" on others, even other White people. They feel guilty for their success and hence deprecate the behaviors that got them there. It is wrong to lecture others to behave in a civilized fashion.

This would be all well and good (no, it wouldn't, actually) if they didn't insist that everybody should benefit from civilization without being civilized. It doesn't work that way. To succeed in life, one must do what is necessary to succeed.

If you don't want to see your kids wind up poor or in jail, then stay married. It is the best insurance against it.

All this from the review of a new book, Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization, by Brad Wilcox. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Trump and NATO

Peter Bergen, writing for CNN, claims Donald Trump is very serious about pulling the U.S. out of NATO. At least the headline writer thinks so. I disagree.

Has Trump been angry at countries which let us pay for their defense? Certainly. Does he want them to spend minimum 2% of GDP on defense, as they’ve agreed they will do? Again, certainly. Does he want to send a clear signal that if another NATO country isn’t serious about its defense, there is no particular reason the US should be? Of course.

The exception, of course, is Canada. We share a 3000 mile undefended border and we can’t very well let them become a Chinese satellite, even though they only spend about 1.3% of GDP on defense. They truly do have us over a barrel, with no good options. I’m sure Trump would agree.

My own belief is that Trump is trying to bully NATO members into carrying their fair share of the load, and he’s had some success in that direction. I hope he gets the chance to continue this noble work.

John Hinderaker has a good quote from NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on this very matter.

We have to listen and take note of the following: the criticism that we hear is not primarily about Nato. It’s about Nato Allies not spending enough. And that’s a valid point… European Allies and Canada have to spend more, because we haven’t seen fair burden-sharing in the Alliance.

Precisely. With Putin raising hell, do you expect any members to bail out? I don't, and that most especially includes a Trump-led US.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

Today we celebrate romantic love, the magic pair-bonding thing. The other DrC and I got engaged on this day some 53 years ago, it is one of the special days we celebrate. Another is the 4th of July, which is the anniversary of our first date. We watched fireworks then and most years since.

I hope you have had the good fortune we’ve had, to marry your best friend and never look back. We’ve supported each other through grad school, indulged a shared love of travel, and had a great time just hanging out together. And the adventure continues. 

Just today we made a winter visit to Zion National Park, a day trip. It is as spectacular today as it was when we saw it as children tagging along with our parents. Part of the magic of national parks is that - decade after decade - they don’t change much, the natural wonders persist. 

We do less walking than we once did, old creaky bones, you know. We’re getting to the point where we have to consider each visit now could be our last to a favorite haunt, and that is a sad but realistic thought.

Hug your special someone today and be glad you’ve someone to share your life with.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Poll: CA Unpopular

KTLA5 reports a Los Angeles Times survey (behind paywall) which found that some 48% of Republicans believe California is "not really American." Plus 2/3 of those surveyed believed "the state's impact on the country has been a net negative." An official of the polling firm summarized their findings thus. 
If you are a more conservative American, you basically do not like California.

Analysis: True.  Hat tip to Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit, for the link.

Afterthought:  I love California the place - the beaches, mountains, verdant valleys, the climate. I don’t like what it has become as a result of human activity. 

Bottom line, I like the place, not its people, not its culture, certainly not its politics. It is a gorgeous place, once idyllic, now despoiled. That, dear reader, is a damned shame.

Parenthood Falsely Claimed

Writing at PJ Media, Matt Margolis cites a fund raising letter sent out over the signature of "Dr." Jill Biden, and the "attack" she mentions is the report on Joe's mishandling of classified material authored by Robert Hur.

I hope you can imagine how it felt to read that attack -- not just as Joe's wife, but as Beau's mother. I don't know what this Special Counsel was trying to achieve. 

Except of course Jill Biden was not Beau's mother. Joe's first wife, who died in a car accident, was Beau's mother. The entire Biden clan seems unacquainted with the concept of "truth."

Mayorkas Impeached

Tonight history of a sort was made in Washington, DC. For the first time ever, Congress impeached a Cabinet Secretary - Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary. The vote was 214 to 213, three Republicans and all 210 Democrats voted "no." 

Certainly it is true that the Senate, controlled by Mayorkas' party, will not convict him, may not even deign to notice the impeachment. However, Power Line's John Hinderaker writes something true about this action.

Mayorkas is in one sense a scapegoat: he is the instrument of, not the source of, Joe Biden’s open border policies. It is Biden who really should be in the dock, for violations of federal law as well as his constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Rather than faithfully executing our immigration laws, Biden has actively undermined and flouted them. So, yes–Joe Biden deserves to be impeached. But for now, we will settle for Mayorkas.

The Secretary might argue he was following presidential orders, but the "Nuremberg defense" won't work. Willful refusal to carry out immigration law seems treasonous, at least to me. Faced with a presidential order to disregard our laws, the only moral choice is resignation in protest.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Trans Shooter

 Report from Fox News:

Police in Houston, Texas have identified the shooter who opened fire at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church on Sunday as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, Fox News has confirmed. Moreno, who has a lengthy criminal record and was born as a man – Jeffrey Escalante – from El Salvador, was killed after off-duty police officers at the church responded to the incident.
Haven't there been several transexual shooter incidents in the last several months? This one was accompanied by a child who was wounded in the gunfire, and may not live.

Transsexualism appears to be a potentially dangerous condition whose sufferers need inpatient treatment. 

Later ... On the other hand, this report claims the person was a biological woman who sometimes used male aliases. Either way, gender confusion is suggested.

Can He Finish Term One?

The Washington Post's Marc Thiessen sums up the current view (scroll down) of President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.

We’re now beyond concern about whether Biden is fit to serve a second term; we should be concerned about whether he is fit to finish his first.

FLOTUS Jill Biden is channeling FLOTUS Edith Wilson at present. Columnist John Kass calls Biden "a meat puppet" without cracking a smile.

Second Thoughts

On Saturday I wrote about the Hur report on Biden’s mishandling of classified material, and I noted, “Not that it matters, but Robert Hur is of Korean parentage.” I’ve had second thoughts about whether my conclusion of immateriality was valid.

In truth, it might matter. As the CIA country profile of “Korea, South” comments with respect to religion, “Protestant 19.7%, Buddhist 15.5%, Catholic 7.9%, none 56.9% (2015 est.), note: many people also carry on at least some Confucian traditions and practices."

Confucianism is not precisely a religion but is very much an ethical system of beliefs. A solid part of those is respect for, and care of, elders. I observed these while living in Asia.

Hur’s report finds Biden guilty of mishandling classified materials but treats the elderly perp with extreme gentleness. Doing so could be viewed as more Confucian than strictly speaking American. 

Perhaps Robert Hur’s Korean ancestry could be relevant in understanding his conclusions concerning “a nice, forgetful old man” who happens to be POTUS. Hur’s judgment that a jury of Biden’s American peers wouldn’t convict him could well have been influenced by Confucian precepts those jurors mostly wouldn’t share.

Psychologists call this process of assuming others will feel as you do "projection" and it often occurs.

Sunday, February 11, 2024


Wrapping up an overview of l'affair Elderly Biden for Financial Times, Edward Luce writes a very wry conclusion.

Mark Twain is said to have quipped: “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Unfortunately for Biden, US voters do seem to mind. 
Can any honest person blame them?

A Poison Pill Named “Kamala”

CEOs in business trying to forestall hostile takeovers sometimes put in place weird contractual stuff that only happens if it looks like a hostile is gunning for control of their company. This “stuff” is generically called “a poison pill.” 

We’re starting to see more articles like this one ruminating about the peculiar role of Vice President Kamala Harris in our current politics. How long before someone hits on the idea that the ideal VP pick is someone nobody wants as president and calls it something cute like “doing a Kamala” or “the Kamala gambit?”

Consider how different the current political discourse would be if Joseph B. had chosen as VP someone widely viewed as presidential timber. Easing Joe into full (as opposed to the current partial) retirement would seem so much more feasible.

Trump selecting Marjorie Taylor Green as his VP might buy him the same sort of “insurance” Kamala has provided for Biden. MTG is viewed as a “loose deck gun,” someone most wouldn’t want occupying the Oval Office. Avoiding that would require keeping Big Don in said office.

Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s poison pill, MTG or equivalent could be Donald Trump’s.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Fun with Demographics

The eight maps below were originally posted by James Woods at X. I got them reposted by the pseudonymous "rockindubya," likely a TX A&M alum, at the Comments section of Power Line's The Week in Pictures

I consider their provenance "iffy" but they were simply too interesting not to feature and comment on.

As Woods notes, the divide by sex is dramatic. It turns out that men and women want different things from their government. 

There are lots of college-educated whites who favor Republicans (lower left corner), this I didn't expect. The main stream media would have you believe otherwise. 

Journalists are mostly college-educated, Democrat-favoring whites and would like to believe others with their education share their ideology. However, in the Mountain West, the Bible Belt, the Deep South, the Rust Belt, and the Plains States, majorities of college-educated whites favor Republicans.

Saturday Snark

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