Arthur the Centurion

An implausible theory, says the Spectator. But the border country hosting it certainly has an interesting history.
The debatable land in question is the thin wedge of territory between England and Scotland on the west coast which, for a period in the late Middle Ages, was officially declared as lawless by the parliaments of each country. The resulting piece of English legislation contains a quite magnificent disclaimer:
All Englishmen and Scottishmen are and shall be free to rob, burn, spoil, slay, murder and destroy, all and every such person and persons, their bodies, property, goods and livestock… without any redress to be made for same.
As Robb comments dryly, ‘by all accounts they availed themselves of the privilege’.
It's these Border Country folk who later, following an adventure in the Stewart plantationing of Ulster, become the "Scots-Irish" so momentous in American history.

My husband's work

My husband, as I may have mentioned, spends much of his time working on Civil War games, the old-fashioned kind with paper maps and cardboard counters. I don't often understand a great deal of what goes into one of these things, so I enjoyed reading this interview with the fellow he works most closely with. As the article points out, the author tried to get an interview with Greg but was referred to his developer, Bill. Greg's clear message was, "I don't do interviews." Luckily Bill gives a great interview and understands the game design process inside and out. Bill is an interesting guy, who has come and stayed with us here twice. He and Greg stay in close contact by phone and email.


The Year of the Dog

My father was born in the Year of the Dog. He would have been 72. The Chinese cycle is 12 years long, so when it's your year, your age will be divisible by 12 that year.

I am a Tiger, myself.

Communist Spies in Western Governments

They're not always fake news.

Not Doing This "Debate" Today

I think we've all made up our mind about gun control, mass shootings, etc. I haven't got anything new to say on the subject, and there's no reason to repeat myself when 15 years of previous responses are available in the archives. Only tyrannies disarm their populations. Free men are the best defense of a free state. You get bad things sometimes in both free states and tyrannies, but the bad things in tyrannies are worse; and the freedom is worth defending for its own sake. I won't stop believing any of that.

Also, though, I realized as I saw this debate spiraling up again last night that the fight is really over. We won.

There are only 8 states that are not 'shall-issue' states for concealed carry permits. That means there are 42 states whose legislatures believe that the right to keep and bear arms must be respected, barring a clear and obvious disability such as a felony conviction or involuntary hospitalization for mental health reasons. It takes only 34 states to call a Constitutional Convention, and only 38 to ratify new Constitutional amendments proposed by such a convention.

They don't realize it who live in coastal enclaves, but they've lost this fight. Even if they should manage to pass a restrictive Federal law, there are enough state legislatures out there simply to remove the issue from Federal authority. "No law shall be passed by Congress respecting the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms; no Federal agency may regulate the possession of arms by citizens. All such authority is reserved to the states, or to the People."

The best presidential poll

Scott ("Dilbert") Adams argued last month that President Trump enjoys the highest presidential rating ever, using small-business optimism as a proxy: 
Big businesses can do fine with a president who promotes policies that favor big corporations, even if the rest of the country is suffering. But when small business owners are feeling good about the economy, that means the president is doing a more bottoms-up job of getting things right. President Trump has focused on bottoms-up economics from the start, meaning jobs and lessened regulations. Apparently that is working.

Louder for the people in the back

Stolen shamelessly from Ace:

In the article, Larry Correia (sci-fi author and pretty nice guy in person according to people I know) savagely fisks an idiot "social justice reporter" who sneers at the idea that poor people can save money and eat healthier by cooking rather than eating fast food.  Larry (quite correctly) points out that it is staggeringly obvious that this reporter has neither ever been truly poor, nor ever really had to shop in stores like Dollar General or Buy Lots (nor likely, in my opinion, would be caught dead doing so).

When I was a kid, my parents were wealthier by a good deal than my father's parents ever were, but never were sure they could afford to put shoes on all four of their children at the same time.  Fast food was a rare treat, and yet they still managed to cook meals every night of my life.  Why?  Because that was how you fed a family of six without much money.  Had they fed us fast food every night, I'm sure that they wouldn't have been able to afford shoes for us.

Personally, I'll admit, for many years I didn't want to come home after a long day's work and cook dinner, and I fully confess that it was a poor economic choice.  I have since mended my ways and my meager bank account shows the benefits of doing so.  And Larry is dead on, one doesn't need a full spice rack or vast array of utensils and pans in which to fix a good meal.  Most of my cooking is done out of my favorite skillet and using a single knife and cutting board.  And while I have a nice skillet, knife, and cutting board, I could go out to Walmart right now and purchase replacements for less than $20 (I just looked it up on the Walmart website).  That's the same cost as a two-four person dinner at most every fast food place.  So, as Larry suggested, skip a meal at KFC and have bologna sandwiches that night, and suddenly you can afford all to tools you need to cook (and yes, you can absolutely brown ground beef with no utensil other than a fork, I have done it myself).

A Good Interview

I endorse AVI's reading: this interview is worth your time.

Cascade Music

Waylon Jennings had the sound. The cascade is a bluegrass technique, though, made famous by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Here's a guy who has the sense of it.

So now that you know what to look for, here are the masters.

Unfortunately, the most famous incarnation is this tune. It was composed by the masters, but ended up in a stereotype that suggested this wasn't a high form of art. It was supposed to be something some simple-minded genetic defect could do without effort.

I met James Dickey once, long ago when I was young. He was a night fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater in World War II. For that cause I will forgive him everything, even this, but bear in mind that it was a significant slander.

Watch Earl Scruggs do "Foggy Mountain," years later, with the young men and children he's taught to follow in his footsteps. He gives about 42 seconds of embarrassed introduction. You can skip it, if you don't want to hear what it meant to him to find students who really cared about his art.

Good question

Is “budget” the right word when the plan is to spend all the money and then some, forever?

The Army Gets Back to Basics

Following a survey of commanders, the Army is re-instituting some traditional features in Basic.

The Media Loves North Korea

This is a simple product of hatred for the Trump administration, I suppose, but it has led to glowing coverage for the most tyrannical regime on earth. The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and NBC are the leading contenders for the dishonor of most devout praise.

Jeff Jacoby provides some needed bracing. Uncle Jimbo, too. Get it together, American press. The DPRK's leadership are totalitarian monsters.

Communists are the Best Catholics?

Last week we heard that the Vatican had decided to allow the Communists to appoint bishops. This week, we get these statements:
“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” a senior Vatican official has said.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, praised the Communist state as “extraordinary”, saying: “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs”. Instead, there is a “positive national conscience”.

The bishop told the Spanish-language edition of Vatican Insider that in China “the economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, something Americans themselves would say.”... [he] said that, as opposed to those who follow “liberal thought”, the Chinese are working for the greater good of the planet.
The Decree Against Communism is still in effect, but the drift in the direction of renouncing it seems pronounced of late.

First Things on the Alt-Right and Christianity

An interesting exploration of the philosophy behind the so-called 'alt-right.' Philosophy is an ancient discipline, and there is always more to know.

Organized Crime?

The Teamsters Union gets set to fight US immigration agents. Mostly this is within the law -- they're training to know their maximal rights in resisting warrants of various kinds -- but these numbers are striking. (Not the Teamsters. The Teamsters are not striking.)
[T]he organization — which covers a variety of fields, including airlines, truckers, dairy farmers and more — also has a sizable share of immigrant workers, roughly a third, 40,000.

After what happened to Garcia — one of many recent forced deportations — worry ran through Teamster shops, Miranda said....

Spinelli paid particular attention because many of his members — immigrants who work at a Long Island dairy farm — were profoundly shaken when federal agents raided nearly 100 7-Eleven stores last month in a search for undocumented workers.

“We deliver all the dairy to all the 7-Eleven stores in the city — you can imagine how scared some of these guys are,” he said.
Surely this is an indication that the third of Teamsters who are immigrants includes a lot of unlawful immigrants? How far can the union go in organized efforts to prevent enforcement of the law before it is a criminal conspiracy to aid and abet the violation of immigration laws? Lawyers among you are invited to reply. I assume that legal rights are legal rights no matter what, but this seems like a clear-cut case of trying to (as they say on the Left) 'obstruct justice.' I suppose it's legal to obstruct justice as long as you do no more than insist upon your rights.

And it sounds as if the law is itself a part of the conspiracy to avoid enforcement: "Employers also have the right to three days’ notice if the feds instigate what’s known as an I-9 probe — basically, a review of employees’ working papers, Cortés said."