Rest In Peace, Ennio Morricone

He has been featured here so many times, the best thing to do may be to link to an archive search.

What a glorious legacy he leaves behind.

Rest in Peace Charlie Daniels

A sad farewell to one of the few remaining greats of the old days.

He's remembered as a Red White and Blue Conservative, but like many people he aged into that. My favorite of his songs is this one, in which he is still a longhaired singer with an uncertain relationship to the rednecks he lives among.

Good (non-COVID) medical news

DNA tests aren't just for heredity and risk factors now.  A blood sample can yield a zillion fragments of damaged DNA bases with reliable signatures for many types of very early--treatable--cancer.  The WSJ is behind a paywall, but this Google link takes you to an article entitled "Cancer Screening Leaps Forward."

AT Pipeline Canceled

Duke and Dominion Energy claimed their 600 mile pipeline along or under the Appalachian Trail would protect the natural heritage of the area. Having observed the end results of their previous projects, I can agree that they can be coherent with natural beauty in some ways, but certainly not that they leave unchanged the sense of being in a wilderness. 

They won at SCOTUS, so this decision is a choice the companies are making themselves. I wonder why they would make such a huge decision following a long, vigorous, successful, and expensive defense. Perhaps partly they decided that the government would not be able to protect their investments from sabotage; or would not be willing to do. 

Ymar’s Post

For Monday.

Don't trust vaccine, vaccine is asshoe

I suppose Africa could develop its own, much safer vaccine.

Malice or incompetence?

As so often with journalists, it's hard to tell.
Does anyone have *any clue* what Trump was rambling about during his insane Mount Rushmore speech (as dark a speech as any American president has ever given)? If someone is trying to tear down statues of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, I haven't heard a d*** thing about it.
I'd almost be willing to bet my sister, for example, hasn't heard a d*** thing about it. The cloak of silence is powerful.  The Upton Sinclair quotation nails it:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
I notice that Seth Abramson inserted the requisite descriptor "dark," but I hope someone warns him he left out "divisive."  That's no way to stay off the tumbrel.

Cancelling the wrong stuff

From Ed Driscoll:
When cancel culture comes for FDR, will the New Deal also be cancelled as well?
Related: Ross Douthat on The Ghost of Woodrow Wilson: Just as “Jefferson’s memorial wasn’t built to celebrate his slaveholding, [Princeton’s] Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs wasn’t named for Wilson to honor him for being a segregationist…the school will remain his school, whatever name gets slapped upon it, so long as it pursues the projects of enlightened progressive administration and global superpowerdom. Obviously there are people, right and left, who would prefer that one or both of those projects be abandoned. But they aren’t likely to be running the renamed school. Instead, it will continue to be run by 21st-century Wilsonians — who will now act as if their worldview sprang from nowhere, that its progenitor did not exist, effectively repudiating their benefactor while accepting his inheritance.”
My husband wants to know when we can expect the income tax to go away.

Not Even Slightly Fake News

”Americans Excited To Celebrate Their Liberty While Confined To Their Homes By The Government.”
“I sure am glad I live in a free country," said one man in California as he checked his phone to see what the current unilateral mandates by his governor would allow him to do this year....

Guidelines released by governors across the country so far include the following:

Launching fireworks inside
Barbecuing inside
Watching fireworks on YouTube since they're probably illegal in your state anyway
Whispering "God Bless America" so as not to upset your neighbors
Wearing a mask while inside your home to muffle any patriotic songs or statements
Forgoing hamburgers and hot dogs in favor of more sustainable food products like bugs and tofu
Sitting in silence and contemplating how much you hate America

Ymar’s Post


Climate Change: Also Racist

This one we should have been expecting.

Classical Music: Also Racist

Apparently there are no limits.

The Elite Eats Its Own

An article at American Mind suggests that we are just watching a street-fight among the elite's children, over the future of our nation, to which none of us are admitted.
A new study by Pew research says only 1/6 of the protesters are Black. Four out of five are Democrats. This is not the poor working class fighting for a livable wage. It’s an act of performance art staged and underwritten by our nation’s elite, in the tradition of Woodstock or Occupy Wall Street.... This is a generational fight within our ruling elite class. For decades, the elites have taught their children that America is a bad place. It’s an evil country, they say: To be patriotic is to be ignorant about America’s many sins. Be woke, the upper classes bark at their kids! Open your eyes to all that is wrong with the U.S. and its history.

America’s elites are scrambling to find ways to show they’re on the side of the oppressed so that they, too, can be considered victims.... One writer put it this way: This is a revolution that comforts the comfortable.
But it's almost Independence Day, and I'm not feeling it. I love my country -- not my government, but definitely my country -- and I'm not willing to give it up. I'm willing to run up the black flag, but not quite ready to give up the red, white, and blue one.

A Continuing Theme at the Hall-

Fake News Today?

BB:  New bodyguard hired for Epstein mistress.
Following the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell for sex abuse charges, the FBI is taking no chances in keeping her safe while she awaits trial. Sparing no expense, the FBI has hired top-notch Italian bodyguard Hiluigi Clintonelli.... Thanks to the particularly glowing reviews from high-profile individuals such as President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, all federal prison security checks were waived for Hiluigi....

Clintonelli also connected all camera feeds to her personal server to ensure that all recorded video was properly secured.
Do we want to run a death pool on how long this woman lasts in our prisons?


An essay.

Alert business owner

The police came pretty fast, but the business owner did a great job in the meantime.

Cyberpunk 2020

Since we are on the subject, and the year, here's an appropriate tune.

"Give me a reason to be... a woman." "I just want to be a woman." "It's all I wanna be, a woman."

Well you know, I can help you with that. I have an oath to respect, but I can make you feel like a woman. I know how to be a man.

More Mazzy

You probably missed them. Almost everyone did. She wipes her eyes at the end of that set, because it still moves her however often she's played it before.

This one was the one they had that was closet to a hit.

Speaking of Woodstock

Parts of it really do look appealing, even from this vantage. Yes, let us all go riding on horses with pretty girls (or the opposite, for those of you who prefer), singing songs in the country.

It's not hard to see how it took hold.

A Proposal for Republicans

I've always thought of myself as a Democrat, though my wing of the party -- the originals -- is largely dead. Republicans haven't been much good except for Reagan, not in office; some of them were good in uniform. But it's a difficult time, and perhaps reform is possible.

It's a three point plan.

1) Insist on absolute equality under the law: everyone has exactly and only the same rights. "A colorblind meritocracy."

2) Defend freedom of speech, and not just in terms of the First Amendment but broadly. "Americans have the absolute right to tell the truth."

3) Serve the interests of normal, ordinary people.

Number three is an interesting one; Jimbo has been bending my ear about it for years. It's true that as early as Woodstock -- earlier, I suppose, since the easy reference implies it had been in common usage -- it was ordinary for the American left to define themselves as "freaks." They've marched through a mainstreaming of a lot of what used to be considered freakish behavior: drugs, especially marijuana; radical feminism -- just last week the SCUM manifesto was in the news again; homosexuality, which is now as normal as being a married couple of any kind; currently they're running up on the rocks of the transgender problem, which is a thorny one because it is objectionable to both the feminists and the kind of gays who really did want to be accepted as ordinary married folks.

What if you just wanted to be a cowboy? Or just a guy who raised his family -- you know, the kind of family you produced naturally, with a real man and a real woman bringing forth ordinary children? Maybe you adhere to one of the ancient faiths that don't support all this freakishness, of which there are some several?

I personally have a soft spot for the freaks; I don't dislike them. They probably aren't the right people to have power, though, if indeed anyone is. The best thing is to reduce the incidence of power so that people are left minding their own business by default -- and if they choose freakish business, well, that's theirs and not mine.

Still I think there's something to be said for the proposal of defending normality, though it's a slippery philosophical project and needs limits. It's good to have left/right limits and freedom to maneuver at will between them; it's not good to have any sort of crushing conformity. The project to make people mind their business leads to room for the freaks, but also for the ordinary people who just want to do what they learned from their ancestors. Just let 'em be. They know what they're doing; they're doing the thing that worked for a thousand generations. They'll be all right.

The freaks probably won't be, frankly, because they're running against the received lessons of generations. But that's their lookout. If we can just get them to the place where they stop butting into everyone else's business, they can go run their hazards as they please.

A Tough Press Conference

Joe Biden has some admirers.

Don't Scare the Horses

As the younger generation loses our cultural metaphors from the old cowboy days, they lose a great store of practical wisdom. Also, sometimes they meet real horses.

Ymar's Post

Wednesday. It is Wednesday, isn't it?

Happy Canada Day to Our Friendly Neighbors

Canada has been a pretty good neighbor, and so to them I wish them a happy Canada Day.  I must confess that  I rather like their national anthem, and having heard it many times as a hockey fan, know it pretty well,

I did not know much about the history of New Foundland- that it was not originally part of Canada, but it's own Dominion of the Crown.  It raised a battalion to fight in WWI in the British Army, and that battalion, the St. Johns Regiment, had the misfortune to be part of the British 29th Division at Beaumont-Hamel, and in the battle of the Somme, suffered 80% casualties, essentially destroying the Regiment.

Thanks to Fr. Brad Sweet, I also found out about the memorial to their ill fated destiny in that battle, and as a fan of good monuments, am sharing it here with you- After the war, and thanks largely to Lieutenant Colonel Tom Nangle, the former Roman Catholic Priest of the regiment, a tribute to their courage was erected at the site of the battle- The Beaumont-Hamel New Foundland Memorial- 
It consists of a bronze Caribou rising proudly up off a prominence of New Foundland Granite and native New Foundland plants, overlooking the battlefield where they paid such a heavy price.

Clearly not the happiest event in Canadian history, but one that marks their valor, and thanks to the memorial, their fine aesthetics.

Protesting is Good For You

We've all noted the ways in which ordinary activities like visiting the beach, attending funerals or religious services, and dining in restaurants have been banned by executive orders as too dangerous; but protests have been allowed to occur in intense, crowded spaces for days at a time. Now the scientists would like you to know that not only are protests not risky for spreading viruses, they actually seem to slow the spread.
“We think that what’s going on is it’s the people who are not going to protest are staying away,” said Andrew Friedson, the CU-Denver professor who is one of the paper’s co-authors. “The overall effect for the entire city is more social distancing because people are avoiding the protests.”
Well, I'm certainly not going down to any of the protests, so maybe there's something to that.

Another Birthday

Dr. Thomas Sowell is 90 today.

Talking About the Queen Again

Mount Rushmore attacks the week of Independence Day? You guys on the left are feeling froggy, aren't you?

Happy Birthday, Ma'am

I honestly had no idea that Olivia de Havilland was still alive, but she is: 104 today. I think of her opposite Errol Flynn, who has been dead since before I was born.

8.3 Million More Guns

The June sales boost gun sales since the pandemic started to record-breaking levels.

"A Caste System"

Today's entry at the NYT makes a claim that is so ridiculous that I'm having trouble deciding where to begin addressing what's wrong with it.
A caste system is an artificial construction, a fixed and embedded ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of ancestry and often immutable traits, traits that would be neutral in the abstract but are ascribed life-and-death meaning in a hierarchy favoring the dominant caste, whose forebears designed it. A caste system uses rigid, often arbitrary boundaries to keep the ranks apart, distinct from one another and in their assigned places.

Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out. The lingering, millenniums-long caste system of India. The tragically accelerated, chilling and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States. Each version relied on stigmatizing those deemed inferior to justify the dehumanization necessary to keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom and to rationalize the protocols of enforcement. A caste system endures because it is often justified as divine will, originating from sacred text or the presumed laws of nature, reinforced throughout the culture and passed down through the generations.
The Indian caste system can be sensibly discussed in terms of 'throughout human history,' since it occupies something like the same scope. Nazi Germany was only around for a few years. The Nazi system wasn't a caste system anyway; it aimed to eliminate even Germans who had less-than-ideal traits (by the lights of the government). As Hannah Arendt's work on totalitarianism points out, the Nazi system was gearing up to purify Germans through eugenics just as soon as it finished eliminating Jews.

The United States, far from having a centuries-stable system, has passed through a number of systems in its relatively brief history: from fully legal slavery (which was still not a racial caste, since blacks could be free and own slaves); to Jim Crow (never evenly applied across states or regions); to informal prejudices against which specific legal barriers were erected; to the current system, which in fact aims to promote minorities and is currently bent sideways trying to figure out how to fix the remaining racial inequalities. Currently "the protocols of enforcement" are aimed especially at people who speak ideas that can be deemed racist, which will rapidly cost them their jobs, their advertisers, their homes, their friends, and so forth.

The author Isabel Wilkerson, by the way, is "a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal."

That's what I call a dining hall

College Hall in Westminster Abbey, built in the 1370s, is said to be the longest continuously used dining hall in London.  According to what is now usually called a "doubtful tradition," the long chestnut tables were built from wood salvaged from the wreck of the Spanish Armada.  Students at the Westminster School still take their meals there, presumably observing a standard of behavior that would forbid leaving their chewing gum on the underside of the tables. As early as the 16th century, diners aged 18 or more were fined a shilling if they called their companions "foole knave or any other contumelius or slanderus worde."

Gangster Rap

I suppose it's worth an introduction, in case some of you aren't familiar with the personalities active in the current debate.

The rapper in the last piece was Ice-T. This guy is Ice Cube. He was after Jake Tapper the other day, but Tapper is nobody compared to him.

This video is entirely covered by a language warning, but I provide it in case any of you really don't know who this guy is. BLM crawls after his opinon for a reason.

That guy at the far right of the diagram is Dr. Dre. He's hugely important too, for reasons many of you might not know. He was the driving figure in the mid-1990s gangster rap scene.

I imagine you've seen things like this.

The original of which is Dr. Dre's work:

Just an introduction, for those of you who care to know.

Capitalists vs. Antifa

You know who is committed to capitalism? The Crips.

Pretty much any street gang. They sell protection, after all. Other things, too.

A Silver Afternoon

The finest band of the 1990s, singing far from their best song.

They were heartbreaking, when everyone else was swaggering. The culture chose to follow the swagger. In the fullness of time they will receive their reward; but not yet. We are still very far from ready for them.

Fake News Today

While Americans celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues, and merrymaking, Democrats celebrate Dependence Day by staying inside and weeping over all the freedom going on outside. The celebrations conclude with the reading of the Communist Manifesto and the singing of "Imagine".
H/t BB, of course. Their news isn't really fake anymore, though, is it?

"It's like Twitter in real life"

"Fifty shades of whey"--language warning.

Motorcycle Song

In honor of the young man who drove all the way back out to let me know he'd secured me a wrecker, a song by Arlo Guthrie. He looked a lot like this, except he had a mustache like D'Artagnan.

An Afternoon On, and Off, a Motorcycle

It seems like I just replaced the clutch cable on that bike, and I was just about to lubricate it again -- I bought a new bottle of cable lube on Saturday. But the clutch gets a lot of work in these mountains, and I see now that it has been almost two years since the last time I replaced it. So it is not too surprising that it snapped today while on a very remote road in Transylvania County. In the right country you don't even need a functional clutch to operate a motorcycle, but in the mountains the extra control it provides can easily be the measure of life or death.

Truly, for a mishap, it could not have gone better. The cable did not snap while traveling through twisty mountain roads, but just as I was re-starting the bike from a stop by Fork Creek above its confluence with the West Fork of the French Broad River. (The latter river's name always makes me think of Paint Your Wagon.) There was thus not even a moment of danger, just several hours of inconvenience. But what a place to be inconvenienced! There was no rain today, blue skies, a pleasant breeze, and dappled shade by the water. Unsurprisingly among such good fortune, I even found a four-leaf clover.

What I did not have was a cell phone signal. After a long time, a fellow passed by and allowed that he would call a wrecker once he got somewhere where his phone would work. Two hours later no wrecker had appeared, but two sets of bikers had stopped to check on me. The first set took my wife's number and promised to call her to let her know where I was, although I knew she wouldn't get the message until she got off work. The second set left me some water, which was a good thing to have in late June.

Finally in the third hour a fellow who looked like a young Arlo Guthrie but with a Musketeer mustache stopped his van to ask me if I needed help. I told him I was beginning to doubt that a wrecker had been called, and asked him to please try as soon as he got somewhere he could make a call. He was as good as his word, and in fact drove all the way back out there to tell me that he'd done it and that the wrecker would be by in forty minutes or so. Eventually it was, just as he said.

I had plenty of time to reflect on how smart it would be to carry a spare clutch cable in my saddlebags. I could easily have fixed the bike with the tools I carry on it if I'd had a spare. It wouldn't have taken five minutes. I shall do that from now on. Live and learn.

As we were headed up the mountains toward my house, I saw a blue truck go by that looked familiar. "That there," I said to the wrecker driver, "is my wife come looking for me." Sure enough it was. She said the bikers had left her a voice mail telling her which road I was on, but not exactly where, so she'd been driving around asking people if they'd seen me.

"You mean the scary looking guy with the braided beard and big muscles?" one group of young men replied.

"Yes, that's definitely him."

"Well, he's down by Fork Creek. I didn't stop to ask if he needed any help because he just seemed like he was relaxing by his bike."

As indeed I was, dear reader. Indeed I was.

Betrayed Again

Chief Justice Roberts turns out to be another of these establishment Republicans who pretended to want to repeal Obamacare until they had the power, then found ways to fail at doing it still. Only he has a lifetime appointment, so he doesn't have to pretend anymore.

We still have a 5-4 left-wing court.

Oh, Yale

This is funny. From the New Haven Independent, a call for Yale to change its name:

Slavery is as inseparable from Elihu as these paintings depict. Such a namesake is a liability for Yale the institution. By that I mean a billion-dollar brand, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, an affiliated college in Singapore, and a huge healthcare network. This “open secret” is a ticking timebomb. It is about to go off.

#CancelYale trended this past week on social media, having started as a trolling of liberal elites by conservative influencers.

One example: “For an institution that prides itself on its so called progressivism, why has Yale not yet distanced itself from its namesake - a notorious slave trader?!”

To Yale’s chagrin, they have a point. It must be difficult to take a cold, hard look in the mirror when your face is covered in blood.

The icing on the cake is all of the discussion of the author's own white privilege, a call to be on the right side of history, etc. And then the poll on what Yale's new name should be. Nice touch.

Death of a Rebel

One of the best motorcycle enthusiast sites of late has been The Aging Rebel. He fell and died recently, I gather. Sic transit gloria mundi; requiescat in pace.

Ymar's Post

Of a Monday.

The Translations are a Nice Touch

A stupid book that I have seen enthusiastically recommended by non-stupid white females with college educations (and graduate school ones at that) gets a brutal but deserved review.

It's quite hard throughout, but running the academic jargon through Google Translate was a punishing move.
DiAngelo’s writing style is pure pain. The lexicon favored by intersectional theorists of this type is built around the same principles as Orwell’s Newspeak: it banishes ambiguity, nuance, and feeling and structures itself around sterile word pairs, like racist and antiracist, platform and deplatform, center and silence, that reduce all thinking to a series of binary choices.... [they] make ugly verbs out of ugly nouns and ugly nouns out of ugly verbs (there are countless permutations on centering and privileging alone). In a world where only a few ideas are considered important, redundancy is encouraged, e.g. “To be less white is to break with white silence and white solidarity, to stop privileging the comfort of white people,” or “Ruth Frankenberg, a premier white scholar in the field of whiteness, describes whiteness as multidimensional…”

DiAngelo writes like a person who was put in timeout as a child for speaking clearly. “When there is disequilibrium in the habitus — when social cues are unfamiliar and/or when they challenge our capital — we use strategies to regain our balance,” she says (“People taken out of their comfort zones find ways to deal,” according to Google Translate).
This is a common flaw to a lot of these critical theories. You have to invest a lot of time and energy into learning the code, which is just a subset of the time and energy you have to spend learning the overarching system of interpretation. Along the way you probably have spent so much time and energy in just trying to learn the mode of interpretation that you have missed the fact that the problems the system alleges to uncover are actually baked into the mode of analysis.

Meanwhile, you've invested so much time and energy into it, it seems awful to just declare it dumb and walk away. But sunk costs are sunk, here as elsewhere. The wisest thing to do is to walk away rather than throwing good money after bad. Yet, here, there is so much social pressure; so much pressure to conform, to go along, to show that you are one of the good gals.

The courageous thing is to not.

I like Barr

I admire his professional performance as well as his skill in responding to hostile questions.  He knows why he does what he does, and he remains rational under fire.

Sometimes a judge gets one right

Woke Woodstock?  Go for it.  Jewish funeral?  Not so fast.

Goal posts on skids

The anxiety level in my county has jumped significantly, though I'm still not quite able to see a big change in objective danger.  Two articles today, one in Spectator and one by Avik Roy, put their finger on my frustration in reading about 20 headlines a day on the uptick in cases in June (say, what happened in June?), which is that reports focus almost exclusively on new cases.  Of course there are going to be more new reported cases if we test a lot more.  What we need to know is, are we getting more hospitalizations?  In particular, are we getting more serious hospitalizations, more ICU impact, enough hospital and ICU impact to overwhelm our medical facilities?  Ultimately, more deaths? Not only do the press reports avoid these issues, preferring to blame Republican governors for forcing people at gunpoint to crowd up against each other in bars and churches, but I'm finding it harder and harder to find good data anywhere on the burden on hospital resources.  Texas hospitalization rates are up, but why wouldn't they be, given that we made people delay elective procedures for several months?  A good number of all the people who show up for knee surgery will also test positive for COVID.  Is that what they're counting?  It's impossible to tell from any of the data sources I've been able to find.

The Spectator article does try:
There are no crises in hospital capacity anywhere in the country. Nursing homes, meat-packing plants, and prisons remain the main sources of new infections. Half the states are seeing cases decline or hold steady. Case counts are affected by more testing; the positive infection rate captured by testing is declining. The current caseload is younger, which is a good thing. The more people who have been infected and who recover, the more herd immunity is created.
Mind you. I'm not 100% persuaded this is a fair picture overall. For one thing, deaths lag case reports--but deaths lag serious hospitalizations a lot less, so I'd rather hear about the latter. Also, overall U.S. rates may obscure an impending problem in a particular area, such as the state that's nearest and dearest to me.

Still, for the last several months, there's been a very weird inability to keep our eyes on the original ball: hunkering down while the virus works its way through the population--something we never seriously imagined we could prevent--while protecting the people at highest risk and avoiding high-tech medical service crunches of the sort that initially terrified us in reports from Italy.

Somewhere along the way, people seem to have gotten the idea, first, that we could make the virus go poof! if we locked down long enough, and second, that we can really lock the economy down indefinitely.


I normally enjoy the New York Post, but this is off-base:  "Democrats in Congress just doomed police reform."  There's no reason for the United States Congress to be involved in any "police reform" except as concerns federal police agencies like the FBI, which admittedly could use some work.  If a local police force work needs work, state and local officials should be taking care of it, unless we want to see results every bit an inspiring as those that resulted from federal reform of public schools.

The underlying red/blue political argument I do get, of course.

OK, now they're just having fun up there

Drones tire of keeping noses to grindstone, strike blow for freedom, teach themselves acrobatics.  Soon they'll be skateboarding instead of looking for jobs.

This just in

Groundbreaking research:
With beauty being a valuable commodity in our society, it's no surprise that women might use it to their advantage when competition heats up.
But only when competition heats up, mind you, which is why they found the phenomenon more pronounced in areas of "gender income inequality."  Get rid of the competition, and everything becomes a reimagined paradise.

Have they considered taxing the rich?

Grizzly Bear Blues

Corb Lund's new album got some of my time today.

Here's a fun song for anyone who might spend part of the weekend with a glass of something.

The young lady singing with him is Jaida Dreyer, if you liked her voice. She's a little too Nashville for me, but she knows her tradition; and she turns out a powerful song now and then.

Compensating the choir unseen

I prefer to think of them as differently vital.  What could better qualify someone as vibrantly alive, helping to weave the exciting human tapestry, than cashing a government check?

We need to reimagine what it means to be among the living, and every other part of society.  I'll begin by denouncing my own part in othering the dead and failing to center their voices.

Ymar’s Post

Friday. All metaphysical commentary goes here.

Drums, drums in the deep

A Balrog stirs.  Or maybe Chthulhu, the results aren't in yet.

Orcs are just Misunderstood

Because of course, Dungeons & Dragons is taking steps to fight racial bias against orcs and dark elves.
Wizards also pledged to take a more nuanced approach with the way it portrays the drow, a race of dark-skinned elves that are depicted as evil, cave-dwelling murderers.... Wizards says it will try to present these races as “just as morally and culturally complex as other peoples” in both the RPG game and its various works of fiction. It also pledged to loosen up the RPG game’s rules around racial bonuses, which previously deemed certain species to be stronger, smarter or more agile than others.

“This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with capabilities all their own,” the company said in its statement.
That's going to make for exciting campaigns, the struggle of good against evil... light against dark, no that one clearly won't do... hm, strong versus weak is right out, because no one is 'really' weak (whatever their Strength score)... 'woke versus unwoke' is too close to 'good against evil'... well, the story's conflict will be, hm, how about 'us against the guys from down the street we just don't like'?


Good news sometimes comes if you wait long enough.

The New National Anthem: "Imagine" by John Lennon

Honestly, if they don't understand why that's a terrible idea, I don't know where to start explaining it.

Getting Warmer

The President keeps using this word, heretofore unfairly, but his opponents are drifting more and more in the direction of making him right.

Strzok had a big mouth

Well, metaphorically. He was way too explicit in his notes and texts, and inexplicably careless about destroying them. He must have felt completely invulnerable.

Muscular dialoguing

From HotAir via Maggie's Farm: another "mostly peaceful" demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin, last night that started with a guy haranguing restaurant patrons saying "I'm disturbing the peace and I've got a bat" (with "Black Lives Matter" helpfully painted on it), followed by his (resisted) arrest, followed by a riot that included beating up a state senator and leaving him on the ground. Also from Maggie's Farm: but we were protected from violence when Twitter censored a dangerous Trump tweet. I'm so old, I can remember when we were being lectured about over-reacting to "non-violent" riots because they only destroyed property, which can recover, unlike bodies. It could be worse. We could be fishing dozens of bodies out of storm drains. Maybe we will be soon, if we keep trying to pretend that violence isn't violence, or that the real violence is silence, or whatever new drivel is being peddled with every new day.

Cleaning up the blood

We watched an old episode of "House" last night, which makes me a doctor, right? The patient had some kind of autoimmune inflammatory problem, so at one point they treated her with plasmapheresis, describing it as a way to filter out excessive ... I don't know, immuno-particle thingies in her blood. That made me wonder if anyone's using that for COVID cytokine storms.

A search for "COVID and plasmapheresis" mostly gets you stories about convalescent serum, which is finally getting going on a significant scale now that there are more recovered COVID patients worldwide.href="">This article suggests that convalescent serum might work even better if plasmapheresis were first used to strain out the excess immuno-stuff, so score one for the House screenwriters. There was a wild, wild story in my local newspaper about the 24-year-old son of a woman I know slightly. Her son came down with COVID back in March, in a sudden and catastrophic form. He seems to have been in ordinarily robust health, just unlucky enough to suffer a vicious immune over-reaction. You can read about it here if you want the gory details, but the short version is that in 3 months in an Austin hospital, where he seems to have received excellent care, he had just about everything done to him that can possibly be done to someone who ultimately survives: medically induced coma, heart-lung machine, dialysis, treatment for septic shock, treatment for a lung abscess, pneumothorax, and collapsed lung, 7 weeks of intubation, tracheostomy, and feeding tubes. One of the things they tried was convalescent serum, the first trial in that hospital. Whether that also included the "coffee filter" aspect of plasmapheresis isn't clear.

I'm also not sure whether they tried dexamethasone, either (the article mentioned "experimental drug to try and treat the cytokine storm"), but that's getting some interest lately, too. We don't hate it yet, because the Bad Man hasn't recommended it.

The New York Times is already cautioning us that it may not be all it's cracked up to be in 100% of cases, so don't start getting optimistic about COVID, the economy, or society, because the important thing is DOOM.

Ymar’s Post

Forgotten yesterday, but here today.

Carts and horses

From Ace: "Old-fashioned virtues like honesty, gentleness, respect, kindness, forbearance, and self-control are not important in a woke environment." The new idea, he says, is that all that matters is the wokeness level. I'd argue that wokeness--however threadbare the concept has become--is not irrelevant to virtue, it's just being applied backwards. The important thing is the traditional virtues. Wokeness comes in when we face the challenge of living up to our virtues even in a conflict with someone from an outgroup, which might be someone with a different race, sex, political philosophy, etc. You don't become a more honest, just, or kind person by self-flagellation over the crimes of your ancestors, or dramatic indulgence in guilt over your previous advantages in life, or stoning un-woke pariahs. You do it by keeping in mind your basic duties even to people who are alien to you in some annoying way. You do it by setting a good example and standing up for people who are being victimized. I mean actually victimized in a particular situation, not per se victimized according to some kind of definition published in a magazine. Unjust situations aren't all that hard to find; we don't need thought police to drum them up for us in our daily lives.

Andy McCarthy: Rule of Law Collapsing

I agree, and have said as much myself; but read his analysis. I do take exception to this line:
Suddenly, Brooks assaulted the police, stole the Taser from one officer and used it on them to help free himself. As he fled, he shot the Taser at the pursuing Rolfe from a little over a yard away, barely missing Rolfe’s head. Rolfe returned fire, striking Rolfe in the back. The police desperately tried to save Brooks with CPR, but he died.
Unless they were able to stop the bleeding from the gunshot wound, I would have phrased that "The police vigorously applied CPR to a gunshot wound patient, significantly contributing to his death." You're just pumping the blood out onto the street at that point.

Did the police know that? Did they have the capacity to stop the bleeding before trying to restart the heart? Was this an attempt to ensure he didn't survive, or an attempt to save him? Those are the sort of questions a trial might well sort out.

However, felony murder (as I've written here before) is an absurd charge, and almost certainly prosecutorial misconduct in this case (and other recent cases). I read it as at minimum an attempt to avoid having to prove the case before a jury by coercing a plea bargain; at worst, an attempt to use the lives of these officers to sway an election, as a kind of blood sacrifice to the demons guiding the mob.

Segregation Leader Joe Biden

So say historians.

JUSTICE Act Wobbly

Sen. Tim Scott's police reform bill just failed to muster the 60 Senate votes needed to proceed to a real vote. Mitch McConnell is using parliamentary procedures to get a second round attempt at getting it past the filibuster.

As has become usual, the motive is not to attain a compromise that nevertheless advances the ball; it's to prevent progress so you have something to complain about.

The Wokal Hoax

Quillette published a variation on the Sokal Squared hoax designed to see just how crazy wokeness really is.
In order to find out how willing liberal Americans are to jettison the country’s cultural identity, I decided, on May 7th, to ask what I thought were outlandish questions—almost to the point of inflicting a Sokal Squared-style hoax on survey respondents. The answers I received amazed me. I then repeated the exercise on June 15th, after the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests to see whether things had gotten even crazier. It turns out they have.

After the preface, “To what extent do you think that the following should be done to address structural barriers to race and gender equality in America,” I presented 16 statements that an amalgamated sample of 870 American respondents could agree or disagree with. The sample is not representative of the American population—I used the Amazon Mechanical Turk and Prolific Academic survey platforms that thousands of academics use. Respondents on these platforms lean young, liberal, and white. But as this is precisely the group I wished to study, this is not a major limitation. Indeed, I have removed conservatives and centrists to focus only on liberals. Liberals are defined as those who rate themselves as a one “very liberal” or two “liberal” on a five-point scale from “very liberal” to “very conservative.” The liberal sample, consisting of 414 people, was 86 percent white and 53 percent male. Forty percent of liberals identified as “very liberal” and the other 60 percent as just “liberal.”
Topline findings: 70% of his supermajority-white liberals want a new Constitution (79% of 'very liberal's). 44% want Mount Rushmore "respectfully" destroyed (58% of 'very'). Several of the outlandish proposals have majority support, and even more among 'very's.

The smallest level of support came in for a truly extraordinary proposal: 15/17% would like America to abandon English and adopt another language as its national standard -- and not a living language, but a constructed artificial one "forged from the immigrant and Native linguistic diversity of this country’s past." That's more than one in eight who are willing to jettison our entire literary cultural heritage in favor of a language in which no works of literature have ever been written, because that language does not exist.

Arms & the Citizen

My sense is that your duty as a citizen, which includes militia service -- service you should be thinking about as a likely reality in the near future -- suggests that you should own an AR-15 platform in 5.56mm NATO.  That is the rifle that will allow you to interoperate most effectively with regular and National Guard forces, while tying into their supply chains as necessary.  Plus, they have innumerable experts who can train you as opportunity arises if you are not fully trained on the weapon yourself.

Colonel Kurt wrote a longer piece.  He recommends a minimal three-gun setup, with the AR-15 filling the rifle role.

Uh-Oh Barack & Biden

Speaking of Flynn, newly released handwritten notes say Obama personally ordered an investigation by “the right people” and Biden brought up the Logan Act. This looks like a political hit job on the incoming NSA, directed by the President himself — and after the Crossfire Razor investigation showed Flynn not guilty of illicit Russia connections, and while Comey was declaring that the call with the ambassador looked legitimate.

UPDATE: More from The Federalist.

Flynn Case Ordered Dismissed

Appeals court rules no more shenanigans. I expect there might be at least one more, though.

A Shame on our Nation

Another statue:
A few weeks ago, Tadeusz Kościuszko’s monument was vandalized. President @AndrzejDuda begins his visit in #WashingtonDC by paying tribute to a proponent for the abolition of slavery, a distinguished son of #Poland, and hero of the American Revolution. We remember your sacrifice!
They have a right to wonder why we have let the name of their beloved son be slandered.

Statues of the World, Unite

Recent destructions include:

Hans Christian Heg, a Norwegian immigrant who spent almost his whole adult life as an anti-slavery activist, and who was also a Union officer that died at Chickamagua at age 33.

Lady Forward, a symbolic sculpture of progress made by a female sculptor in the 1890s, during the early phase of the suffrage movement in the US. (Or, if you prefer, "the symbolic gatekeeper of an almost all white capitol that legislates in racism" whose destruction shows "the extent of white fragility".)

Planned destructions include:

* The Emancipation Memorial, erected after the Civil War solely with donations from freed slaves; Frederick Douglass gave the keynote address at its dedication.

This last one is interesting both for the gall of the protesters in putting their opinions before actual freed slaves and Douglass himself, but also because they announced their intent to demolish it days in advance.  They're going to come for it on Thursday at 7 PM local time.  That means that (a) it's an obvious trap, and also (b) they can't pretend that the selection of this statute was a mistake made in the heat of the moment.

What sort of a trap?  That's an interesting question.  Probably they are hoping to draw an aggressive response they can film and then use as propaganda against the government.  However, if I were preparing the government response, I would take care to surveil the site for snipers and the placement of IEDs targeting responders.

You could also steal a march by arresting these people today; they've publicly confessed to conspiracy to destroy public property.

Arms & White Samite Update

After three go-rounds and multiple print proofs, I think the paperback is correct at last. (If any of you should find a printing error, please let me know because I can correct it.) The cover has been adjusted again, and it seems good enough to be re-issued for publication.

So if you wanted one, here it is.

Daily bafflegab report

The best I've found so far today is in an ABC report on the Seattle Mayor's announced plans to work together with others to de-escalate and implement community wishes and expand our consciousness and like wow man:
Durkan said she has met with community leaders, local organizations, protesters, businesses and residents in recent weeks, and there will be continued dialogue on how to reimagine policing itself as well as "every other component of our society."
"Racism is a living, breathing organism," she said. "It permeates our society in so many ways, and we can only undo racism and begin to undo the trauma and injustice by really centering the voices of the people who are affected."
I had a pretty good dose yesterday, too, in a county commissioners meeting in which an inordinate amount of time was spent discussing subcommittees and action plans devoted to the mystery of what they like to call "entrepreneurship incubation."

These people wouldn't know a business plan if it ate them for breakfast. They've heard of a business start-up before, and they think that something must stand between a stalwart would-be local "home-grown" business entrepreneur and fabulous success, followed by buying a home, raising a family, and paying a lot of local taxes. They gather that what most such hopeful young idealists lack is something called "cash," a/k/a what bloodsucking capitalists call capital. They aren't in a position to give startups any cash, because sadly the local tax structure is such that an Economic Development sales tax slot was previously eaten by some other sales tax, and they've hit the ceiling on that. They know ad valorem tax abatements probably won't fly. What to do?

They're going down the usual road: appoint sub-committees to chase grants for business incubation. I must say, they have an extremely firm grip on where the grant money is and how to advance relentlessly toward putting their hands on it: talk about community needs and workforce development and leveraging strengths and light, clean industry and diversification and resilience. What they don't seem to understand is that an entrepreneur has a product to sell, to people who want it and have money to spare from other wants to spend on it, and a business plan for how to finance production and sales until he can turn a "profit" (eek), plus an iron determination to work himself half to death pulling the whole thing off.

When real people with capital to invest see a structure like this, they sometimes write checks in return for a share of the potential future profits. It's called capital. The county doesn't have any, and neither do any of the sub-committees. They're not even going to grab the grant money and use it as capital; all the money will go for studies and salaries of indispensable chairmen and directors to study business incubation.

But at least they didn't spend the meeting talking about centering voices and having continued dialogue on how to reimagine business incubation and every other aspect of our society.


This story about destroying Jesus and Mary statues and stained glass windows has actually been developing for a good part of a week to my certain knowledge; I was watching a woman argue that Christianity's use in colonialism meant that Christianity itself was impossibly wrapped up in white supremacy. Shaun King is at least only interested in destroying 'white Jesus' (and Mary, and priceless artworks dating back many centuries). That woman wanted to eliminate Christianity per se for practitioners' crimes against wokeness.

There remains an open question about whether we shall be allowed to convert to a more acceptable faith, perhaps one of the gay-and-trans-friendly versions of Islam, certainly not Orthodox Judaism; or whether, as in Communist China, we are required to become Scientific Atheists in order to maintain our social credit.

If you are interested in social credit. Maybe it's not the kind of treasure that's really worth having.

Well You Shouldn't, Obviously

Reason: "The CIA Can't Protect Its Own Hacking Tools. Why Should We Trust Government Privacy and Security Proposals?"

A Hammer and Sickle, You Say?

Communists are taking off the mask, I see. In North Carolina, even.

"Social Science" and Racism

A test with the imprimatur of the University of Maryland and UC Santa Barbara, which purports to help you reveal your racism to yourself, is a better example of why these 'social science' field are frauds.

Let us count the ways.

1) Scientific tests should seek to eliminate all but one variable; you control the rest so you can be clear on what has changed. This test, instead, varies its language in ways that muddy what it is measuring, e.g., asking about 'it is offensive' only some of the time, and 'it is okay to...' on other occasions.

2) That ambiguity is made much worse by the fact that 'okay' is an almost endlessly ambiguous word. It can mean anything from "yes" to "I understand" to "enough already!" to "I will do that," and many other things besides. So when you ask people to what degree they agree that 'it is okay to... X' you need to spell out what kind of 'okay' you mean.

For example, is it okay to insult a President? Well, it's legal, unless you are a serving military member; it may be morally permissible even where it isn't legal, in cases where the President may really deserve the words; it may be virtuous even where it isn't legal. Or do you mean that it's 'okay' in the sense of being socially acceptable? It is highly acceptable to insult the current president in some crowds, but completely unacceptable to insult the previous one in similar terms.

3) When they ask about what is offensive, there is no objective fact of the matter about that. People get offended, and people are different. Is the question whether I think a thing is or ought to be offensive, or whether I think that there are people somewhere in my society who would be offended (or that they ought to be, or ought not to be)? If the test cannot avoid these ambiguities, how could it pretend to be offering an apples-to-apples comparison across the responses of different readers? The readers may well have thought they were answering meaningfully different questions.

4) We begin to unravel the real purpose of the exam when we realize that answering "no opinion" counts against you every time. Having no opinion is always treated as evidence of racism. The only answers that won't count against you are the extreme ones -- double thumbs up or double thumbs down -- provided you select the correct one of those options.

5) This is not a test of racism, in other words, but a test of your knowledge of the content of an ideology. You might have no opinion about a question because you haven't thought about it before; that wouldn't be evidence one way or the other about your internal racism. What you are being tested on is having developed the right opinions, and knowing to express them as strongly as possible when asked for them.

6) In that sense the test involves the sort of demand for successful mind-reading one sometimes encounters in bad emotional relationships: if you didn't know this was a problem, that is a proof that you're wrong because you should have picked up on it. If you didn't know what I meant when I said something ambiguous, that is proof that you aren't thinking about this the right way. You should have known what I meant.

7) Finally, a lot of the questions are about fictional cases, where presumably the moral stakes are a lot lower. These cases are run into the same index as cases that affect actual human beings, as if there were an equivalence between real and pretend cases.

Yet in spite of all of this, the test is very proud of itself and its team.
Why Use This Test?
1. Free....

2. Validity and reliability. Empirical testing and factor analysis has shown the validity of the Racism Test. The evidence has been published in scientific journals and has good scientific validity.

3. Based on peer-reviewed research. The present test is based on peer-reviewed research, as published in notable scientific journals and conducted by professional researchers at the University of Maryland and University of California Santa Barbara.

4. Statistical controls. Test scores are logged into an anonymized database. Statistical analysis of the test is conducted to ensure maximum accuracy and validity of the test scores.

5. Made by professionals. The authors of this free online test are certified in the use of numerous psychological tests and have worked professionally with personality and psychological testing.
The fraud is bigger than the test; the real fraud is that these people have been taught to think of what they are doing here as valid, reliable, professional work. They're the real victims; probably they each paid tens of thousands of dollars into this fraudulent scheme. They'll be paying off that debt for decades, and look where it got them.

SlateStar Down

The New York Times brought about the destruction of one of the great blogs.
The second reason is more prosaic: some people want to kill me or ruin my life, and I would prefer not to make it too easy. I’ve received various death threats. I had someone on an anti-psychiatry subreddit put out a bounty for any information that could take me down (the mods deleted the post quickly, which I am grateful for). I’ve had dissatisfied blog readers call my work pretending to be dissatisfied patients in order to get me fired. And I recently learned that someone on SSC got SWATted in a way that they link to using their real name on the blog. I live with ten housemates including a three-year-old and an infant, and I would prefer this not happen to me or to them. Although I realize I accept some risk of this just by writing a blog with imperfect anonymity, getting doxxed on national news would take it to another level.

When I expressed these fears to the reporter, he said that it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that. After considering my options, I decided on the one you see now. If there’s no blog, there’s no story.
That is most disappointing. We are in a moment in which great works of art, and here the humanities, are destroyed by mobs (or in this case a reasonable fear of the mob). The Times should be ashamed of its role here, insofar as they are capable of shame.

Do Not Trouble the Ghost of Andrew Jackson

Protesters / insurgents tonight met up with a stronger response than they were expecting. The President is idly mentioning that this targeting of Federal monuments is a serious felony, which you might not have realized from the last few weeks.

I read that the Old Guard hopefully issued bayonets and ammunition when this first started. Andrew Jackson would approve.

REH Was Right Part CXXVIII

Norway’s first Viking Age could have been 3,000 years ago.

Ymar's Post

First post in the summertime, astrologically.

Happy Toxic Masculinity Awareness Day

Via BB, of course.

Hendersonville on a Fathers’ Day

It’s a strange year.

But a man can still get a quiet pint. 

The audience as instrument

Bobby McFerrin riffs on the Tom Hanks floor-piano toy scene, while instructing us on the pentatonic scale.

Tesla in Texas

Some weeks back, Elon Musk threatened to move at least some Tesla manufacturing operations to Texas, having lost patience with the California COVID program.  He's reported to be well advanced in negotiations for a site in Austin that might add 5,000 local jobs.  As usual, there's a bidding war, perhaps pitting Austin against Tulsa, Oklahoma, for tax concessions.

I'm not generally a big fan of buying business with personalized tax breaks, but this article mentioned a concession that might make the usual tawdry bargain worth it:  Musk is devoted to the "direct sale" model, while Texas is still wed to the dealer-protection racket.  Musk would demand an exemption from that law, if not an outright appeal.  Get that camel's nose right under the tent, I say, and start shoving.

Also, it would be fun to watch Austin progressives try to reconcile their conflicting views about Musk--job creator!  Gay!  Hostility to COVID submission! Non-approved social views!  Rich guy!--not to mention their approval of "clean" cars and suspicion of factories.

This should be interesting

Yesterday police tried to answer a call in the Seattle Open-Air Faculty Lounge about a shooting that killed one and put another in the hospital in critical condition, but they're turned back by a mob.

Today, I see flag-waving bikers are headed for our newest experiment in brotherly love and tolerance here in the Amerika.

Cancel Yale

Not quite a petition, but a serious point (more or less).

Flavortown, Ohio

A petition.

Midwest cuisine must have gotten a lot better than I remember if that's even a serious discussion.


Grant Falls

I thought it would take longer to get to “Ulysses Grant, slaveowner.”

Fluidity, part two


"The image does not reflect our values" is a handy way to justify acts of symbolic extirpation of whatever group happens to be in the crosshairs on a given day, without having to explain any tortured so-called reasoning.  In the beginning of an iconoclastic movement, people make at least a token effort to explain that an image is stereotyped or otherwise insulting.  Now all that's necessary is to mutter "image" and "values," then destroy the thing while giving the stink-eye to whoever is presumed to have been associated with erecting it in the first place, or perhaps to anyone who objects or even acts befuddled about the rationale for its destruction.

It's important to conduct these ritual destructions quite often, according to increasingly bewildering standards, in order to keep everyone off balance and remind them who makes the rules.

The DACA decision makes no sense

I've read it now, and I've read the dissent.  The majority opinion is baffling.  The dissent is written in an English I can understand and seems to be making straightforward points.


If you happen to be one of the very many Americans who have never even heard of this holiday before, here's a writeup explaining it. It's a pretty obscure holiday until this year; although I've been aware of it since 1992, when I moved to Atlanta for school and encountered it there, I've gone several years at a stretch without hearing or seeing it mentioned.

Still, this year may be the year it becomes mainstream among Americans.


From a Scottish community group.

Good Treasons

George Washington's statute was destroyed in Portland last night, a logical development of the current effort to purge America of America.  Allahpundit writes:
Some of the skepticism about removing Confederate tributes is due to southern cultural pride but I suspect most of it outside the south springs from the understandable fear that lefties who come after Robert E. Lee today will come after George Washington tomorrow. A statue of Thomas Jefferson was toppled just a few days ago in Oregon, in fact. If the left insists on bundling the Founding Fathers together with the Confederate leadership and making racism, including slaveholding, the disqualifying factor in honoring influential Americans of the past then the public will feel it has no choice but to protect that entire bundle. We’re not giving up Washington and Jefferson, period. But if treason against the United States is the disqualifying factor then the Confederates can be unbundled and discarded.
If these people can’t or won’t distinguish between a monument to someone *despite* their view of slavery and a monument to someone *because of* their view of slavery then the righteous cause of purging the country of tributes to degenerate traitors will derail.
The problem he isn't grappling with is that Washington and Lee weren't just alike in having slaves; or in fighting for a system that preserved slavery; or in being Virginians; or in being generals of armies. They're also alike in being secessionists, i.e., traitors from the perspective of the governments they fought against.
This nation came out of a long tradition of beneficial treason, good treason, treason in the name of the best of the human condition. It was born of the tradition that fought King John at Runnymede and compelled from him the Great Charter of Liberties, Manga Carta Libertatum. It is out of the tradition that produced the Declaration of Arbroath in Scotland, in defiance of yet another tyrannical English king, which stated that "It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself." The Scottish national motto was Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, which means, "No One Touches Me With Impunity," or if you like, "No One Messes With Me Without Getting Hurt." That sentiment was also given in Scotland, as later in Alabama, in the words of John 20:17: Noli Me Tangere, usually translated "Touch Me Not," but also:

The values of this new nation are rooted in the principle of rebellion against authority. They are the values of a people who do what they think is right, and will hand you your heads if you try to force them to kneel to your judgment instead of their own. The Founders considered the philosophy of the Greeks. They considered the history of the Romans. They took stock of their reflections on the righteous judgment of God. Then they pledged their fortunes and their lives, and their sacred honor, and did what they had decided was right without fear.
Rooting out treason won't save America, because America as a project began in treason. What is important is to distinguish the good treasons from the bad ones. The good ones are the ones that advance the cause of natural right and human liberty; the bad ones are the ones that seek to violate natural rights, as the Marxists do but as the Confederates also did, or human liberty, as the Marxists think they don't but really do, and as the Confederates certainly did.

Washington and Jefferson were on the right side, almost. Lee's side was wrong. Yet that still isn't the right view of Lee, and it could be that the right view can't be had at this hour. Lee fought for Virginia to keep it from being destroyed. Sheridan's burning of the Shenandoah Valley is a practical example of what Lee feared, which fears caused Lee to take up arms to protect his home. Perhaps Lee was wrong there too; if he had taken command of the Union forces, as offered, he might have been better able to protect Virginia from men like Sheridan and Sherman. He was, as he has often been charged, too Napoleonic in his understanding of war; Sherman and Sheridan fought the way the Russians fought Napoleon, only they got to lay waste to the land of their enemies rather than their own. Lee never thought to do likewise to Pennsylvania or points north, to his moral credit but his strategic loss.

The North won because it was willing to do things that are now formal war crimes, war crimes they repeated against the Lakota and Cheyenne -- indeed, the same men repeated them. They repeated them against the Apache and others. Once Washington is purged for his embrace of slavery, they'll come from Lincoln and Grant. They'll come for Sherman and Sheridan. They'll come for the whole roster of the late 19th century for its brutality against the Native Americans, and also against the labor unions. And then they'll come for the 20th century too.

This whole project is a sort of treason itself, as a matter of fact. It's a levying of war against America by destroying everything that ever was America. There will never be a rock strong enough to hold against this tide, because America is and always was made up of human beings -- and human beings do wrong, all of us do. No one has clean hands.

We have to learn to live with that. The ones who are setting themselves up as judges of their ancestors won't have clean hands either; they too will rule with fire and war, as indeed they have already begun to do where they have managed to gain a foothold. There is no future of natural right and flourishing human liberty on the other side of their victory, should they gain it. There is only the show we have seen so many times before.

Ymar's Post

For Friday, close to the solstice.

Local Currency to Help Citizens and Save Small Businesses?

Tenino, WA, is printing its own currency to help local businesses. The town set aside $10,000 to back their local currency and are issuing it as a form of welfare for townspeople having trouble making ends meet during the pandemic. A key point is, only local businesses accept the currency. So, it helps two demographics.

Apparently, a lot of towns did something like this during the Great Depression. The article has an interesting history of the phenomenon.

Dropping like flies

Turns out COVID doesn't know how to tell why you're in a crowd after all

Houston protestors are starting to report COVID cases now.  Newsweek's approach is priceless:  starting with the brave declaration of one sufferer that she doesn't regret her courageous stand for an instant, and continuing with the Houston Mayor's explanation that it's too soon to blame the protests for the new outbreak, because the Texas governor "packed people into bars and restaurants."

The only thing they left out was some sniffing over the bitter clingers who plan to attend the Bad Man's Tulsa rally.

Wild Atlanta

The Atlanta police in zones 3, 4, 5, and 6 are not at work tonight. That’s the core of the city, minus only a couple of rich Republican zones in the north.

Guess we will know more tomorrow about how much the city needs them.  Fire dispatch is down too, reportedly.

Fake News Today

BB: “Activists Fight Racism By Driving All People Of Color Out Of Pop Culture.”

DB: “Military COIN experts claim they can stop protests in just 17 years.”

Another Felony Murder Charge in Georgia

This time against the officer who killed Rayshard Brooks. I stand by my earlier assessment of felony murder as a tactic by prosecutors hoping to avoid a trial. However, there is a twist in this case. The D.A. is a Democrat in a runoff election, and thus has a powerful incentive to charge aggressively in order to ensure the Democratic primary base in that heavily-black district will vote to re-elect him.

Going for a capital charge has a potentially huge downside if the officer defends himself rather than pleading to avoid the death penalty. You almost certainly can't convict an officer who shot a suspect while carrying out an arrest against a subject who had violently resisted for the underlying felony, without which you can't convict on the capital crime either. If these elevated charges go down in court, the Atlanta Police will face another riot.

Does the jury then convict to avoid the riots, and send an officer of the law to his death? That would be unprecedented in my lifetime, but so is much that we are seeing today.

Don't Know Much About History

As the comments point out, this comes on the heels of Tim Kaine declaring -- on the floor of the US Senate -- that the United States invented slavery, which is itself of a piece with the argument that the states had invented 'marriage' by passing laws to regulate the immemorial practice.

Destruction and Desecration of Statues

This is not our first rodeo, so I have a developed position on destroying statues:  I'm always against it.  I don't care who put the statue up, and I don't care why.  Preservation of art is a worthwhile project even if only for future historians, who will want to be able to encounter the art and examine the expression of values by ancestors they no longer otherwise know how to approach.  The Taliban was wrong, ISIS was wrong, and we're wrong to be doing it now.

I can appreciate efforts to 'recontextualize' statues, for example by putting up plaques that explain what you take to be the problems with their depiction.  That's useful to future historians as well as current citizens, and it deepens the discussion across the generations about what the right values are.

Extreme cases may even permit the relocation of statutes from highly public places to museums or warehouses.  Removing Nazi statues certainly may be justified; removing horrid modern art to make way for works of genuine beauty certainly is.  Even these things should not be destroyed, though, at least not works of art that entail actual working and/or actual art.

Just as there are extreme cases that may justify removal, though, there are also paradigm cases in which desecration or destruction is especially wrong.  The cause of human liberty was advanced a long way by Robert the Bruce and the Declaration of Arbroath, as has been frequently remarked here; and as far as I know, there is with the Bruce no admixture of tyranny (as there is, in the case of slave-owning, with Jefferson or Washington, two of Bruce's few near-peers in the cause of human liberty).  The argument that his heart being taken on Crusade after his death was the mark of some sort of racist bias versus Muslims is ridiculous.  "Race" wasn't a concept important to the 14th century; religion was, and the Muslims were waging war just as hotly on the Christians as vice versa.

It may be hard to say where to draw the line, but it wherever it is right to draw it is somewhere safely distant from Robert the Bruce.

Oh the Humanities

Trauma from George Floyd's death will result in students receiving higher grades... at Oxford.

Ymar's Post


Father’s Day

It’s almost here, for any of you so fortunate as to still have living fathers.

Blues Didgeridoo

When "Kill him!" turns to "Run!"

You've got to pick your victims carefully.

Congratulations to West Point

They have graduated their first Sikh female cadet. Normally these “first!” stories don’t interest me, but I am glad to see the military availing itself of the opportunity represented by Sikh culture.
“My grandfather was an armor officer in the Indian army, so I grew up hearing about tanks and his recollection of fighting in the mountains of northern India," Narang told Task & Purpose. “Everything he told me grew my interest in the military … he embedded that culture of service and giving back to your country.”
That is the kind of thing I wish more Americans of all stripes felt.

Treat it as an unplanned donation

Or an attack of undocumented shoppers.

Someone is going to have to sit these children down and teach them some of life's long words.

Progressives and the Guillotine

A retrospective.


Just for Fun

Biological Sex & SCOTUS

Interesting logic at work here from Gorsuch.
"An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex," Gorsuch writes. "Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
That's really plausible; the only issue is that mere statutory law should not be able to override constitutional protections for religious liberty. An Orthodox/Catholic/Muslim employer who declines to employ gays because they don't wish to provide material support their spouse is acting according to an ancient religious doctrine in each case. They're not motivated by mere animus, but by an attempt to live according to orthodoxies that are being declared illegal here -- exactly what Amendment One forbids.

The author of the piece has another bit of logic to advance.
To be clear, the court could deliver one of greatest legal protections for gay and transgender workers specifically because it acknowledges a fact deemed heretical by the most vocal woke activists: Namely that biological sex is real.

For years, the wokes have attempted to cancel everyone from right-wing trolls to liberal scientists for pointing out that biological sex is a scientific reality, one that specifically validates gay and transgender folks as a distinct class. And now the court has decided that because of that distinction, they're a protected class.... This is a victory for gay and transgender people, and hopefully one that puts to bed this hysterical canard that acknowledging the reality of biological sex is somehow hateful or dangerous toward transgender folks.

Emergency Lockdown

It is clearly a mistake to have given the government the idea that it can order people into house arrest for their own protection any time it decides to issue an emergency.
Shelter in Place

At the request of Lower Makefield Township Police Department, all residents requested to shelter in place due to a black bear sighting. Specifically the Yardley Hunt Development residents. If sighted please call 911 immediately. The Game Commission is en route.

— Lower Makefield (@LMTPD) June 14, 2020
First of all, black bears are really not very dangerous at all. If treated with respect, they will generally not harm anyone and will move along in their own good time.

Second, what is the legal mechanism for issuing lockdown orders to the community via Twitter? All Americans do not use Twitter; I wouldn't use it myself if I weren't required to do so. It's a poisonous hole of a website that any reasonable person would be wise to avoid. If one should encounter police, could one be arrested for violating a Twitter order? Is there some other mechanism for issuing these orders? Is there an adequate lawful basis for allowing the police to constrict basic rights on their own, without consulting even the governor, let alone the legislature?

Third, I hope the bear had a nice romp through the empty town streets.