I'll be away overseas for a week or so. Keep the faith.

Scott Pruitt strikes again

The man environmentalists love to hate has instituted the un-heard-of rule that EPA regulations must be based on public data.  Is there no end to the science-bashing by Trump appointees?

Curling and Cars

I am only showing this video ...

because it makes this one funnier ...

although I do have to feel bad for the folks caught in that.

Crimean Tom

Today, Wikipedia's "Did you know ..." section mentioned a hero of the Crimean War. From the full entry on Crimean Tom:

During the Crimean War British and French forces captured Sevastopol from the Russians on 9 September 1855 after an almost year-long siege. Lieutenant William Gair of the 6th Dragoon Guards, who was seconded to the Field Train Department as a deputy assistant commissary, led patrols to search the cellars of buildings for supplies. Gair noticed a cat, covered in dust and grime, that was sat on top of a pile of rubbish between two injured people. The cat, unperturbed by the surrounding commotion, allowed himself to be picked up by Gair. The cat, estimated to have been 8 years old when found, had survived within the city throughout the siege. 
Gair took the cat back to his quarters and he lived and ate with a group of British officers who initially named him Tom and later Crimean Tom or Sevastopol Tom. The occupying armies were struggling to find supplies, especially of food, in a city much-deprived by the year-long siege. It is said that the officers noticed how fat Tom was getting and realised he must have been feeding off a good supply of mice nearby. Knowing that the mice may have been themselves feeding off hidden Russian supplies they followed Tom to an area cut off by rubble. Here, they found a storeroom with food supplies that helped to save British and French soldiers from starvation. Tom later led the officers to several smaller caches of supplies near the city docks.

St. Patrick's Day Movie Recommendations

So the family has decided that we are to stay in this evening and watch a movie.
I'm well equipped with Guinness and Tullamore Dew, and my lovely Mrs. has prepared some fine corned beef.
I can think of a few obvious suggestions for St. Paddy's Day movies- The Quiet Man for instance, but I think I'd get vetoed on that one.

I suspect you all might have some suggestions...


With Dems like this . . . .

If the Democrats take back the House or Senate with Democrats like Conor Lamb, what will the House and Senate look like?
[W]ill Democrats run moderates who demand Nancy Pelosi resign and who hail their Second Amendment cred in other races this year, all of whom refuse to criticize Donald Trump? Will they even run one more challenger who follows the Lamb pattern? Not terribly likely, which is why Lamb’s win may not mean much at all seven months down the road.
On the other hand,
[L]et’s not pretend he was basically a Righty. He opposes the tax cuts, supports Big Labor, opposes Obamacare repeal, opposes mainstream abortion restrictions (despite his pro-life song and dance), and is strongly opposed to entitlement reform. He’ll be a fairly reliable vote for the Democrats on most issues, even if he was strategic about playing up certain cultural differences.

Sleazy FBI agents

This kind of thing really does not look good.
Newly discovered text messages obtained by The Federalist reveal two key federal law enforcement officials conspired to meet with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge who presided over the federal case against Michael Flynn. The judge, Rudolph Contreras, was recused from handling the case just days after accepting the guilty plea of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.
The text messages about Contreras between controversial Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who was kicked off Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, were deliberately hidden from Congress, multiple congressional investigators told The Federalist. In the messages, Page and Strzok, who are rumored to have been engaged in an illicit romantic affair, discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how to leverage that relationship in ongoing counterintelligence matters.
“Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]!” Page excitedly texted Strzok on July 25, 2016. “Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.”
“I did,” Strzok responded. “I need to get together with him.”
“[He] said he’d gotten on a month or two ago at a graduation party we were both at.”
Contreras was appointed to the top surveillance court on May 19, 2016, federal records show.
The pair even schemed about how to set up a cocktail or dinner party just so Contreras, Strzok, and Page could speak without arousing suspicion that they were colluding. Strzok expressed concern that a one-on-one meeting between the two men might require Contreras’ recusal from matters in which Strzok was involved.
“[REDACTED] suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting,” Strzok told Page. “I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party.”
“Have to come up with some other work people cover for action,” Strzok added.

Review: Birra Etrusca

Dogfish Head brewery, in partnership with Birra del Borgo and Baladin, and biomolecular archeologist Patrick McGovern, have produced a reproduction of an ancient ale from the 8th century B.C. This, as far as they can tell, is what people in Italy drank before the arrival of wine.

It may be hard to imagine Italy before wine, which is itself of great antiquity. Indeed wine itself is at least eight thousand years old. However, it did not exist everywhere eight thousand years ago, and it is currently thought to have been spread into the Mediterranean regions of Europe by the Phoenicians. By the time of Homer, of course, wine was already a mental fixture in southern Europe.

The drink is refreshing, fruity in character. It features hazelnut flour as well as wheat (of heirloom varieties, they note, although I doubt any of our heirloom wheats are as old as the beverage they're aiming at here). It draws additional sugars for fermentation from honey and pomegranates, plus other fruits.

If you come across a bottle, and you're interested in exploring ancient things, it's worth a try.


My meter is pegged.

From The Blaze:


Eric Hines

The Hazards of Listening to Children

What they lack in worldly experience, they do not make up for in knowledge of history.

H/t: 5Bravo.

Leaders and the led

Arthur Herman on "Why Tillerson Had to Go":
Trump thought he was getting a lion in Tillerson. Instead, he was getting a Saint Bernard. Like the breed, Tillerson may be large and imposing at first glance; but he is no fighter, least of all against the bureaucratic mentality that permeates the U.S. State Department.
Here we can stipulate a third point. Virtually every secretary of state since Cordell Hull has suffered one of two fates. Either he or she becomes the president’s representative to the bureaucracy — and when necessary the ruthless enforcer of the chief executive’s will in Foggy Bottom — or he or she becomes the bureaucracy’s representative to the president, and assumes the role of bringing the State Department’s views to the chief executive’s attention — even at times serving as an advocate of those views.


More than one profile, really. Scientific American gives this one:
According to a growing number of scientific studies, the kind of man who stockpiles weapons or applies for a concealed-carry license meets a very specific profile.

These are men who are anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market, and beset by racial fears. They tend to be less educated. For the most part, they don’t appear to be religious—and, suggests one study, faith seems to reduce their attachment to guns. In fact, stockpiling guns seems to be a symptom of a much deeper crisis in meaning and purpose in their lives.
But there's another profile that these men fit: they're particularly good citizens.
Crime rates involving gun owners with carry licenses have consistently been about 0.02% of all carry permit holders since Florida’s right-to-carry law started in 1988.... People with concealed carry licenses are:

5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public
13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses than the general public
Its as if they respect the rights of others -- in spite of all those alleged crises of meaning and stuff.

Better "17s"

A public school teacher of my long acquaintance posed this the other day. I didn't understand the "17" reference until today, but the 'protests' made a lot of the 17 because that was the number of people killed while police on the scene absolutely refused to do their jobs and stop murders in progress.

Unlike the 'protests,' here are some things students could do that might actually make a difference.

That's all probably too hard. Virtue signalling is easier, especially when the path has been paved for you by adult organizers.

Reason Magazine: "No."

Today, all across the country, adults who oppose the 2nd Amendment are herding school children out before cameras to pose with signs suggesting that the students oppose gun rights. Reason magazine has a thoughtful answer.
Where this lands us is that even if today's protesters get their way and legislators vote to impose restrictions on gun ownership and self-defense, that doesn't mean that those of us who value those rights will change our conduct. Statutes aren't like the law of gravity—we get to choose whether we're going to abide by them, or else actively oppose them and sabotage their enforcement....

The track record on disobeying such laws is very clear. Residents of Connecticut and New York defied requirements that they register their so-called "assault weapons." Gun owners in Colorado ignored mandates that they pass all their person-to-person sales through the background check system. Even the French and Germans flip the bird to laws that gun-haters can only dream of imposing in the United States, owning millions of illegal firearms that supporters of restrictions wish they didn't have.

Exercising your liberty in total contradiction to restrictive laws is a good thing, by the way. Nothing limits the power of the state like the outer boundaries of people's willingness to do what they're told. ...

I don't begrudge today's protesters their right to voice their opinions, even as they call for restrictions on my own rights. Their rights to free speech and free assembly are, after all, among the rights that aren't subject to popular opinion or debate. I even wish them good weather and a pleasant experience.

But they need to be aware that, just as I would never try to impose limits on their liberty, I and people like me will never submit to the restrictions that they demand.
The same people in favor of gun confiscation argue that immigration laws shouldn't be enforced by local police because the consequent refusal to talk to police will make policing that community impossible.

Forest Clan

A Finnish band whose name thus translates sings a drinking song.

How's Your Hearing?

A sociologist talks to rural voters for eight years. His results?
Robert Wuthnow
They believe that Washington really does have power over their lives. They recognize that the federal government controls vast resources, and they feel threatened if they perceive Washington’s interest being directed more toward urban areas than rural areas, or toward immigrants more than non-immigrants, or toward minority populations instead of the traditional white Anglo population.

Sean Illing
But that’s just racism and cultural resentment, and calling it a manifestation of some deeper anxiety doesn’t alter that fact.

Robert Wuthnow
I don’t disagree with that.


Sean Illing
I’m still struggling to understand what exactly these people mean when they complain about the “moral decline” of America. At one point, you interview a woman who complains about the country’s “moral decline” and then cites, as evidence, the fact that she can’t spank her children without “the government” intervening. Am I supposed to take this seriously?

Robert Wuthnow
It’s an interesting question. What does it mean for us to take that seriously?


Sean Illing
Which is why I’d argue that the divide between rural and urban America is becoming unbridgeable. We can talk all we like about the sanctity of these small communities and the traditional values that hold them together, but, as you say, many of the people who live in these places hold racist views and support racist candidates and we can’t accommodate that.

Robert Wuthnow
Yes, this is one of the most difficult aspects of the discussion we’re now having about morality in America. What counts as moral varies so much from place to place. In the South, for example, you have clergy who are vehement about abortion or homosexuality, and they preach this in the pulpits every Sunday. But then they turn a blind eye to policies that hurt the poor or discriminate against minorities.

Sean Illing
I know a lot of people who don’t live in rural America are tired of being told they need to understand all these resentments.
I'd have thought you'd have had to have worked harder at something before it tired you out.

Sounds like they've got their candidate for 2020 all lined up, though. She, at least, sees the world just the very same way that they do.