I'm no Democrat, apart from being a Democrat

This is about like saying, "I'm no Communist, but I advocate seizing all the means of production by force." True, it's intellectual lunacy, but that doesn't matter, because Trump.

Put the Whole Government on Vacation

Amid all these supply chain disruptions, it was just noticed today that the Secretary of Transportation has been on vacation for two months. 

We'd be better off if they'd all take indefinite maternity leave just like him. 

If you'd like answers, try this.


It's a strange world, but sometimes good things happen.


"Permanent Emergency Powers"

Australia has hit upon the winning idea of disqualifying legislators over COVID mandates, "giving Labor a majority in both houses of parliament, allowing them to pass proposed permanent emergency powers."

That's Australia. Here in North Carolina, they're about to disqualify Republican-appointed justices on the state supreme court -- NOT over COVID excuses -- in order to overturn a constitutional amendment requiring Voter ID. 

We are getting to the point that there's no pretense, only power plays. 

No one wants to hear it

Kurt Schlichter looks forward to a GOP primary battle in 2024. He assumes it may be with Mike Pompeo, whom he likes well enough in a (yawn) way, but he'd prefer Trump if his President in Exile can run the right campaign:
Trump has to work out some kinks in his delivery. As Byron York observed, at a recent rally he had the crowd rocking when he was roasting President * over his myriad failures, from the border to Afghanistan to inflation and beyond. Yet, when Trump started going on and on about 2020 in excruciating detail, the rally got off to a flying stop.

The Closer

We watched and enjoyed "The Closer." It's a little startling to see Netflix show some spine about this. "People can and should disagree with one another, but canceling speech is not an argument."

An Eldritch Tale

Once upon a time there was a college of wizards who strove for light and knowledge. Unbeknownst to them, however, their most trusted body of elders were swayed by love of wealth and power into the service of ancient, dark gods. 

For years the college heard dark rumors of graduate students being exploited, forced to work for poverty wages while taking on massive student loans. They heard about students mortgaging their futures to gamble on being one of ten thousand chosen for a tenure-track job. They watched those students work for free for years, producing journal articles for free in the hope of bolstering their chances at one of those rare jobs. 

The tenured wizards watched with dismay, too, as most of their students failed and ended up in adjunct or lecturer positions that held no hope of rising to the security or pay they themselves knew. A scant few managed to obtain positions on the tenure track, but even these lucky few sacrificed years more in unpaid service and free labor producing 'peer-reviewed' scholarship in hopes of finally gaining tenure.

All the while, however great their discomfort, the tenured wizardry let the wicked cabal feast upon the blood of the young and the weak. They kept their own safety around them like a cloak, sorrowing for their students but defending their own gain.

And then one day, it turned out that the blood feasts had brought unspeakable power to the wicked circle at the core of the college. That was the day they proved strong enough to feast upon the tenured, too. 

Least This Complaint is Real

Our Lieutenant Governor is a pretty cool guy, but he shares the conservative black community’s idea about trans*\gay stuff. Normally attempts to cancel conservatives are spun sugar, but this guy is definitely clear about his thoughts.
“I’m saying this now, and I’ve been saying it, and I don’t care who likes it: Those issues have no place in a school,” Robinson said at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, N.C. “There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality — any of that filth.”

This is much harsher than my own opinion about homosexuality at least, but it is the traditional understanding— indeed it would have been an unexceptional thing for a man to say, even a politician, when I was young. Critics say that it now represents an unacceptable proof of discrimination, even hate speech. 

He’s an elected official, so you could say that the voters will decide what is acceptable. One might say instead that political officers ought not to hate or discriminate; but I notice that standard is never applied to those who hate conservatives. 

I suppose I care a lot more about his robust defense of gun rights than his opinion of sexual minorities. I can see how a gay man might be alarmed, though. 

Straw men

As this Washington Examiner article notes, it's hard enough to reach a compromise when you have some idea what your opponent wants:
A 2018 study asked 2,100 adults to identify what they believed about a wide range of political issues and then asked them to estimate what people in the other political party believed about those same issues.
The study found that centrists and those not interested in politics did much better at estimating what the other party believed than politically involved partisans. But while a person’s level of education made no difference when Republicans estimated what Democrats believe, the more time Democrats spent in school, the worse they did at identifying what Republicans believed. Democrats with a high school degree did worse than those without. Democrats with a college degree did worse than high school graduates. And Democrats with a graduate degree did worst of all.
It seems that the longer liberals stay walled off in communities dominated by their own kind, which is exactly what higher education has become, the worse they are at understanding and empathizing with those who hold other views.
Censoring all the unclean thoughts comes with a price.

Report on Post-Vaccination Peri/Myocarditis Side Effect

This is a presentation by a cardiology fellow on the issue of pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardial sack around the heart) and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart tissue itself) following COVID-19 vaccination.

I've set it to start when he discusses the wider conclusions and implications. The first roughly 10 minutes are a detailed discussion of two patients who suffered these side effect.

TL; DL (too long; didn't listen):

This side effect is mostly seen in male (76%) patients aged 12-29 (57%). Out of 52 million people vaccinated in that age group, there have been 1,226 reports of this side effect. It's not nothing, but it's pretty rare.

Now that's a press secretary

Selective trust

Grim's post about the Ships of Tarshish reminded me of the excellent Orthosphere site, where I found this useful guide to selective trust and distrust of experts. I can scarcely remember a time in my life when so many people were leaning on me to believe them uncritically, and with so little demonstrated justification. Meanwhile, people who think I should take their journalism seriously are doing their best to hide a fairly big story about a growing trend toward general strike. Could these people finally have jumped the shark?

Blackstrap Molasses

Mentioned in the recent recipe, blackstrap has a long history of recommendation as a health food. 

Not Working Your Service Job is Terrorism

This is getting a little predictable

Beware the Ships of Tarshish

A very nice post at the Orthosphere.

CNN: American Forces in Fallujah were Murderers

It’s par for the course these days, as contemporary left-leaning media continue to play out their Vietnam-redux fantasy. They even mention Vietnam, while quoting only servicemen who describe the battle as a source of shame and moral concern. 

Yale: Official Commitments to Academic Freedom Don't Represent Who We Are as a University

'We're more of a woke kind of place, really.' 

"What are Yale’s promises worth? If we are to believe its lawyers in court a few weeks ago, they’re not worth that fancy paper the Woodward report is printed on."

The princess and the pea

"Come and get me, copper!" I guess we're talking about psychic violence, because otherwise I can't make much sense of allegations of terrorism against soccer moms who raise their voices at school board meetings.
So [in] this crazy time that we’re living in, I can’t even believe it’s happening, you really learn who’s willing to put their boots on your neck, given the opportunity. And when this is all over, we all need to remember who those people were, because we can’t trust them anymore.
Our local schools are nothing to write home about, but the school board doesn't have jackbooted goons on it, either.

Grim's Barbecue Sauce

Tonight I'm making pulled pork and smoked chicken for my guests, the pork being a Boston butt seared on the grill and then slow cooked overnight in the crock pot. I like barbecue as a meal for traveling guests (at least those who are not ethical vegetarians -- I'm not quite sure what I'll feed her yet) because it can enhance the touring experience. Barbecue is a food with many regional sauce variations, and some cooking variations, so you can show outsiders both what the barbecue is like here and what it is like in various regions nearby.

I secured the local barbecue sauce from the firefighter who makes it for the annual VFD fundraiser barbecue. It's more vinegar-based than I like myself, but it is locally very popular. Across the border in South Carolina they make a mustard-based sauce, and across the border in Tennessee they make a ketchup-based sauce.

I grew up in the Great State of Georgia, though, so I make a Georgia-style sauce that is spicy and slightly sweet. I thought some of you might like to try it. I never measure anything, so measurements are somewhat guesswork -- if you make it yourself add more of whatever you think you'd like more of, and less if you'd like less of it.

Grim's Barbecue Sauce

1 can (8 oz) tomato paste
Several cups brewed black coffee
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chipotle powder (a smaller amount of cayenne would be more typical for a Georgia sauce, but the larger quantity of chipotle adds to the smoky flavor)
1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
1 tsp chili powder (or just ancho chili powder)
1 tsp black pepper
Small shot, Apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste

Scrape the tomato paste out of the can and into a warm (not hot) cast iron pan (or you can do it in a crockpot on low heat). Dissolve the tomato paste in hot black coffee. When I'm doing it, I use French roasted coffee, make more coffee than usual that morning, and leave it to cook down for hours until it is very strong. Dissolve sugar and molasses into this mixture, tasting to ensure it is sweet enough but not sweeter than you'd like. (You might try dividing the tablespoon into three teaspoons if you'd like a not-very-sweet sauce, and adding one of each until it's where you want it. As I said, I'm only guessing about how much I use anyway.)

After you get the sweetness where you want it, add the spices, adjusting as you like until it suits your particular preference.

Cook over low heat until the sugars caramelize, adding more brewed black coffee as necessary to thin it so it doesn't burn. You can also thin it with more apple cider vinegar if you think you'd enjoy a brighter, more acidic flavor. Once the sugars are caramelized properly, you can allow it to thicken. Remove from heat and serve. 

Alternatively, you can double the recipe and cook it all together with the meat in the crock pot. That will give it a much meatier flavor as the sauce will absorb the juices from the pork. 

UPDATE: I often add oregano or sage to it once it boils, especially if they're in season.

Childproof caps

I never thought I'd come to enjoy Matt Taibbi so much. 

This was the beginning of an era in which editors became convinced that all earth’s problems derived from populations failing to accept reports as Talmudic law. It couldn’t be people were just tuning out papers for a hundred different reasons, including sheer boredom. It had to be that their traditional work product was just too damned subtle. The only way to avoid the certain evil of audiences engaging in unsupervised pondering over information was to eliminate all possibility of subtext, through a new communication style that was 100% literal and didactic. Everyone would get the same news and also be instructed, often mid-sentence, on how to respond.

Sleepwalking into disaster

Ezra devotes a great deal of this very interesting political analysis of pollster-strategist David Shor to bemoaning the fact that Democrats are pushing policies that voters should love but in fact hate, and to evaluating competing strategies for finding a way of talking about unpopular policies so that voters see the light and fall in line.  Failing that, to hiding the Dems views on toxic subjects.  Sadly, voters sometimes resist falling in line and even, horrifyingly, find out what Dems really are like to do and therefore vote for the bad people on the right.

Shor’s critics [including Michael Podhorzer, the longtime political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.] argue that he’s too focused on the popularity of what Democrats say, rather than the enthusiasm it can unleash. When pressed, Podhorzer called this theory “viralism” and pointed to Trump as an example of what it can see that popularism cannot. “A lot of things Trump did were grossly unpopular but got him enormous turnout and support from the evangelical community,” Podhorzer said. “Polling is blind to that. Politics isn’t just saying a thing at people who’re evaluating it rationally. It’s about creating energy. Policy positions don’t create energy.”
Podhorzer also pointed to Biden: “He’s done much more than I thought he’d be able to do. All the things he’s doing are popular. And yet he’s underwater.”
I'm not sure how to account for Podhorzer's belief that "all the things Biden's doing are popular," unless he means that they're popular with his buddies. The polls have been brutal lately across the entire board, from COVID strategy to Afghanistan to taxing and spending to the border to Biden's character and mental decline. In any case, Dem strategists betray a strange disconnect from the idea that they are accountable to voters, tending instead to view themselves as doctors who need to slip us a mickey so they can undertake massive reconstructive surgery that we'll thank them for later.
What does create energy, Podhorzer thinks, is fear of the other side. His view is that Democrats’ best chance, even now, is to mobilize their base against Trump and everything he represents. “The challenge in 2022 is to convince people that they’re again voting on whether or not the country is going in a Trumpist direction,” he said.
What he doesn't see, presumably, is the kind of fear his own party creates in its opponents, though he and his friends will speak casually about how much conservative Hispanics turn from blue to red because they fear job destruction, border chaos, and socialism.
This is an argument Shor is happy to have. “I think the conventional wisdom has swung too far toward believing policy isn’t important,” he said. He agrees that enthusiasm matters, but it has to be enthusiasm for a message that doesn’t alienate the undecided. “A lot of politics is about what you talk about,” he told me. You should sort your ideas, he said, by popularity. “Start at the top, and work your way down to find something that excites people. But I think that what actually happens is people sort by excitement first. And the problem is the things that are most exciting to activists and journalists are politically toxic.”
This can read as an affront to those who want to use politics to change Americans’ positions on those issues. “The job of a good message isn’t to say what’s popular but to make popular what needs to be said,” Shenker-Osorio told me.


 I wonder if there were any energy policies we might have been pursuing that could have avoided some of this trouble?

A "global energy crisis caused by weather" is one way to put it, if you want to obscure the fact that the weather in question is cold, while still beating this drum: "Further complicating the picture is mounting pressure on governments to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy as world leaders prepare for a critical climate summit in November."

Just keep digging that hole.

Maricopa County: Yes, We Deleted Election Data

This hearing is lawyerly but brutal. The congressman gets them to admit that they deleted the data ("but we archived it") and did not turn over subpoenaed data to the audit ("because they did not subpoena our archives, only our servers"). It turns out, though, that the data was deleted after the subpoenas arrived.

Then he gets them to intimate that this 'archiving' of data is just standard practice due to the needs of clearing out space on servers for the next election. "Can you explain, then," he asks only after giving them all this rope, "why the records from earlier elections are still present?"


On Scots

An anonymous commenter left a link to an interesting article on the Scots language. I love linguistic history, and Scotland and things Scottish, so it was well-placed here. There is, however, an important omission in the history as presented.
Scots arrived in what is now Scotland sometime around the sixth century. Before then, Scotland wasn’t called Scotland, and wasn’t unified in any real way, least of all linguistically. It was less a kingdom than an area encompassing several different kingdoms, each of which would have thought itself sovereign—the Picts, the Gaels, the Britons, even some Norsemen. In the northern reaches, including the island chains of the Orkneys and the Shetlands, a version of Norwegian was spoken. In the west, it was a Gaelic language, related to Irish Gaelic. In the southwest, the people spoke a Brythonic language, in the same family as Welsh. The northeasterners spoke Pictish, which is one of the great mysterious extinct languages of Europe; nobody really knows anything about what it was.
The Anglian people, who were Germanic, started moving northward through England from the end of the Roman Empire’s influence in England in the fourth century. By the sixth, they started moving up through the northern reaches of England and into the southern parts of Scotland. Scotland and England always had a pretty firm border, with some forbidding hills and land separating the two parts of the island. But the Anglians came through, and as they had in England, began to spread a version of their own Germanic language throughout southern Scotland.

There was no differentiation between the language spoken in Scotland and England at the time; the Scots called their language “Inglis” for almost a thousand years. But the first major break between what is now Scots and what is now English came with the Norman Conquest in the mid-11th century, when the Norman French invaded England....

Norman French began to change English in England, altering spellings and pronunciations and tenses. But the Normans never bothered to cross the border and formally invade Scotland, so Scots never incorporated all that Norman stuff. It would have been a pretty tough trip over land, and the Normans may not have viewed Scotland as a valuable enough prize. Scotland was always poorer than England, which had a robust taxation system and thus an awful lot of money for the taking.

“When the languages started to diverge, Scots preserved a lot of old English sounds and words that died out in standard English,” says Kay. 

Now if that were true, Scots would be nearly as incomprehensible to Modern English speakers as Old English and significantly moreso than Middle English. Middle English is the form of English that resulted after the Norman Conquest changed the language of the English court to French, so that the common people began of necessity to adapt to a lot of French sounds, words, and concepts. In fact the bulk of Modern English's words are Romance words that came into the language through the Anglo-French lords who followed the Norman conquest, though the most common used words are old Germanic words from the original language. 

In fact, Scots is at least as easy to comprehend as a modern English speaker as is Middle English -- probably rather moreso. There are two reasons why this is true. 

First, the account omits the English conquest of Scotland by Edward I "Longshanks," and second, it omits that the nobility of Scotland was even prior to that Anglo-Scottish and intermarried with the Anglo-Normans. Thus, even in the north the Scots language was being influenced by French in parallel with the southern English. As a result, Scots is more like Middle English than Old English both in vocabulary and in difficulty of cross-comprehension with Modern English. 

Scotland benefitted from this familiarity with French in several respects over the centuries. It gave outlaw Scottish lords a place to go during the long War of Independence, and a place to which they could appeal for support. After the Scottish victory under Robert the Bruce, Scotland and France developed warm ties and trade relations. In the Hundred Years War, they were frequently allied against the English.

The English did later try to suppress Scottish culture, as the article goes on to suggest; and yet the French ties remained. The Jacobites who supported the kings who went south to rule over England were eventually to appeal to the French much as their ancestors had done in Robert the Bruce's day, and after their final defeat at Culloden it was to France that Bonnie Prince Charlie fled. 

In any case Scots is a good language to learn, as it helps the mind to be able to stretch into allied languages. Here is an introduction.

Clear as mud

I usually like to put the effort into teasing apart the confusing accounts of U.S. Congressional parliamentary squabbles, but I've about had it with the "bipartisan" $1.5T Spendapalooza Classic vs. the "Build Back Bolshevik" $3.5T(-ish) Spendapalooza on Stilts, and the daily drama over whether one can be done without the other, or whether the national monetary system will crash if we don't do both, or if we don't raise the debt ceiling, adopt more continuing spending resolutions, or pack the Supreme Court, or admit ten new states, or abolish the Electoral College, or put the final stake through the heart of the filibuster. These people have all lost their minds.

HotAir ran a piece that explains a bit about whatever today's possible world-saving pseudo-deal may be. My simplistic take, all I could figure out before exasperation set in, is: reconciliation is a way to get out from under the filibuster without actually abolishing the filibuster. We can do only one (?) reconciliation gambit per year. Reconciliation is unattractive, however, because if you pretend something is a budget bill, people can try to attach endless amendments to it, and U.S. Senators have to vote on each amendment, without any ability to pretend they don't know what their positions are or what's in the bill. Also, it eats up time and patience, hence its nickname Vote-a-Rama. That is, it's OK to eat up the common people's time and patience, but for Vote-a-Rama the Senators actually have to sit through it and cast all those tiresome votes in person when they have better things to do.

So Mitch McConnell agreed to some kind of deadline extension, but threatened to drag the Senate through Vote-a-Rama later, whereas the Democrats have no intention to doing any such thing now or later. In the meantime, we still don't know whether the Dems can resolve their internal dissent long enough to salvage one bad bill, Classic, as the risk of losing their shot at an even worse one, Stilts, absent which no agenda worth having can possibly be shoved down the country's throat before they're all ejected bodily from office. As usual, it's all the GOP's fault for failing to support the Dems' dreams of a perfect world.