NYC Celebrates Abortion

New York just passed a new law permitting elective abortion all the way up to birth. Although abortion is allegedly justified on the grounds that the woman should have control over her own body, this allows the mother to kill an infant who could survive perfectly well if simply removed from her body.

Naturally, New York decided to celebrate. They lit One World Trade Center up in pink to mark the occasion.

Fitting, when you think about it. It's mostly the girl babies who get aborted.

House Passes Package to Fund Govt -- Except DHS

So Trump's proposal is funding the government, plus a wall and extra border enforcement; the apparent counter proposal is funding the government, but leave DHS out. Maybe they'll get something in another bill.

Compromise sure sounds like it's right around the corner, eh?

Curious Kalashnikov

TS reports that in Texas this week, a man was attacked by 5 home-invaders with rifles. He returned fire with his own AK, killing 3.
“A neighbor who lives nearby said he was on his porch with his baby when two men showed up with large rifles,” KHOU writes. “That neighbor says he ran inside his home and took cover. He said he believes the men were at the home to rob his neighbor, however he says he does not know what they were after. He said he doesn’t know his neighbor’s name and only calls him ‘Flaco’.”
Good shooting, "Flaco," but I think maybe we all have some questions about why five guys with rifles came after you so close to the Mexican border. That suggests there might be a bigger problem that needs addressing.

Shutdown to Close Federal Courts

Most criminal offenses are state-level, and many Federal laws are nonsense regulations that would be better unenforced, repealed, or barred. Still, this will certainly delay the resolution of some important work.

Justice delayed is justice denied, they say. Of course, injustice delayed is injustice denied by an exactly similar argument.

Famous Old Norse Names in Runes

You may have wondered what they'd look like, and these are done in the correct runic script.



Many thanks as always to Dr. Crawford.

DD-214

There has been some question about the stature of the alleged "Vietnam Veteran" from the weekend. This guy dug up his service record. Or so he says; but he runs an outfit that looks legit to me. My old friend "Tiny" Robinson used to do the same thing many years ago, under the name of "AuthentiSEAL," and the guy's basic claims about how SEAL status can be checked sound all correct to me. He was also positively reviewed by The Washingtonian.

So my guess is that this DD-214 will check out.

Sexual Assault at the Women's March

It was carried out in broad daylight, on video, in front of dozens of police officers -- but since the offender was a woman and the man was wearing a MAGA hat, no arrests or prosecutions are forthcoming. The woman even flatly agreed, on tape, that she was guilty of sexual assault.

Of interest to me, though, is the response the man gives. He points out that this is proof of tremendous privilege enjoyed by women -- that she can commit what she recognizes is a sexual crime, in front of the police, and know with smug confidence that she won't be arrested. When he points this fact out, however, she smiles and nods in a way that suggests not agreement, but mockery of the very idea whose truth she has just demonstrated.

Of course men are the ones with privilege. Everyone knows that. No one knows anything else.

Free Exchange of Ideas

So there's a story about a teaching assistant at the University of Georgia's philosophy department. I've drunk some beers with this guy. He's not going to kill anybody. He is forwarding some explosive ideas, but that's what a philosophy department is for.
“Some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom,” the TA said. He further claimed that to suggest otherwise is “ahistorical and dangerously naive.”
The point he is making here is one that probably most people agree with, if it is framed instead: "Chattel slavery of blacks in North America probably would not have ended if the North had not defeated the South in the American Civil War." I used to think otherwise, but I realize that I had been persuaded by a teacher with a basically Marxist frame of social analysis. The argument I found persuasive, when I was younger, was that the changing from an agrarian to an industrial capital model would make chattel slavery undesirable as a social form, in favor of having a class of free labor that you could pay only as long as you needed them and then fire or lay off as soon as you didn't. In retrospect, I don't think that's necessary; chattel slavers could have rented out slaves to industry on a piecework basis and still made out OK. Besides, the Confederacy's long-term plan was definitely built around institutionalizing race-based slavery.

So, OK: at least at one moment in history, it was necessary to kill (a lot of) white people in order that black people should be freed. Is that still true? Well, that's the point at which the discussion would become interesting (and worth ordering another round of beers to discuss). It would be nice to think it wasn't true, especially since it was me or mine you'd probably be thinking should be killed. But if you do think it is true, I'd like to know it. I'd like to understand the idea, if only for the purpose of constructing a better defense against it.

We are in a dangerous time, and I think we can see that the racializing angle of the Left is having a perilous effect on our politics. Even so, philosophy departments exist precisely to talk through ideas that are for one reason or another dangerous. Which ideas these are -- Darwinism, evolution, philosophy of race, feminism, Marxism -- that changes from one generation to another. But this is the place for them, whatever they are.

"Abortion Rights Under Threat From SCOTUS"

Maybe if there were a stronger basis for the idea that abortion was (or could be) a "right" than SCOTUS rulings, you wouldn't be in this position. What only SCOTUS gives, SCOTUS can take away.

The March for Life this weekend appears to have produced some very significant fireworks. It's been interesting to see the mob turn on minors, and then -- when all the positive claims fell apart -- decide that it was sufficient that the kids were at the March for Life. Or wearing MAGA hats. Whatever: dox them! beat them! (Or chop them up.)

In a way this was the second running of the Kavanaugh fiasco, where felt empathy for the alleged victims completely overwhelmed any interest in the question of the actual guilt or innocence of the accused. Not shockingly, it's really over the very same issue at its foundation.

But there's also a general point to be made about the perils of empathy. Empathy is linked to unreasoning aggression against those who stand accused of harming the empathetic victims -- or even, as the study found, those who are just bystanders to the empathetic victim's alleged suffering.
There is a history of this sort of thing. Lynchings in the American South were often sparked by stories of white women who were assaulted by blacks, and anti-Semitic attacks prior to the Holocaust were often motivated by tales of Jews preying on innocent German children. Who isn’t enraged by someone who hurts a child?

Similar sentiments are used to start wars.
I keep hearing people say that America needs more empathy, but I think we really need a lot less of it. Stop feeling, start thinking.

SCOTUS Lifts Injuction on Trump, Transgenders in Military

This is a big deal because it means medical outs for a fair number of people that the Obama administration admitted, or allowed to remain in the military after they declared their status. Lower courts had held that these folks shouldn't be forced out until and unless the final court ruling was that it was right and proper for the Commander in Chief to discriminate in this way.

I've always held that 'the needs of the service' is the right standard in all of these cases, and that the application of discrimination law was an error. The rights one has as a citizen are properly pre-political in some cases, e.g., natural rights; others are civic rights that come about as a result of your having the status of being a member of this polity at this time and not that one at that time. Even for the pre-political rights, and definitely for the civic rights, the realization of those rights as enforceable realities depends upon the establishment and defense of a polity that will do the practical work of enforcing them. Thus, the work of the military has priority over the question. First, we have to keep a military that will defend the space in the world in which the polity exists; within that space, we can enforce rights both natural and civic.

If it turns out that the military needed to be all male again to be effective at that task, then we should make it all male again. If it happened that an all female force was required to make the space in the world and defend it from all comers, then we should do that. If it turned out it needed exactly 10% women for particular functions, that would be the right choice. If we need transgenders in the service for some particular cause, then we should permit them to serve in the role according to the needs of the force.

Should a demographic, or an excessive percentage of a demographic, actually prove harmful to the needs of the force then it should be culled. It's nothing personal. It's just that we have to defend the space within the world in order for any of the other rights to be practically realizable. We are not doing a great job of defending our space right now; I would guess that in my lifetime, or shortly after, large parts of what is now the United States will depart the union because of just this issue of letting the space go undefended. We need to stop messing around with this stuff.

And as for Europe, well...

No Friends on the Left

Sen. Harris is not well-loved by the Jacobin left.

*Sigh*

OMB says there will be no reduction in force.

Ouroboros

I’m writing on the train leaving Washington, D.C. following a normal weekend in the nation’s capital which hosted tens of thousands of activists who interrupted traffic flows and traipsed around town shouting slogans at no one in particular under the mistaken impression that their actions would somehow cause the narrative of history to turn in their favor.

They traveled here. They made signs. They walked and walked. They screamed and yelled. They gave speeches to each other. But so far as I could tell this morning, nothing changed because of their efforts.

Hawkins Misses a Shot

John Hawkins has a post that got an Insta-link about masculinity coming under attack. Most of what he has to say is right, more or less. However, there's one place where he misses something important.
The very traits that the APA says are so harmful -- “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression” -- are the same traits that built the entire world. If anything, saying that 98 percent of the great industrialists, scientists, generals, inventors, heroes, and leaders have been men with traditional masculine values is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Who created the Constitution? Who won every war America has ever fought? Who put men on the moon? Who built the internet you’re reading this article on? Men with traditional masculine values.
Read charitably, it's certainly true that 98% of the people 'who put men on the moon' were men. But it's not true that they all were. One of the most crucial roles was filled by Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated moonshot trajectories without a computer.

Honor is due to the honorable, and she is among them.

Houthi "Rebels" Kidnap, Torture Women

Iran's men in Yemen, if you're trying to remember who a "Houthi" might be.

Press Credibility


I've written this elsewhere, and perhaps I've nibbled at it here, too, but—prompted by one of Grim's comments in a thread below concerning NLMSM integrity—I'm offering this in full.

If the NLMSM hopes to gain any measure of credibility at all, it must do some things, and it must do them satisfactorily in the minds of observers and consumers of the NLMSM's output.

  1.  a journalist must identify at least some of his sources, rather than hanging the thesis of his article exclusively on the claims of anonymous sources
  2.  if an anonymous source refuses to be identified, the journalist must show with concrete, measurable evidence two things
          a.     the source actually exists 
          b.     why the source should be believed, given that by speaking publicly, even in anonymously, he's likely violating his terms of employment if not his oath of office

      3. if the journalist is representing the anonymous source as a whistleblower, the journalist must provide concrete, measurable evidence that the source has used up all of his employer's internal whistleblowing channels before he decided to leak to the journalist.

All of this must be done in the opening paragraph(s) of his piece, even ahead of the Who, What, Where, When that used to form the lede (but seems to no longer).

And the largest question of all:

      4. The press used to have a standard that required two on-the-record sources to corroborate the claims of a journalist's anonymous sources. The journalist's editor must explain why he's chosen to walk away from that standard of integrity.


Eric Hines

Providence

The Dems aren't getting their semi-auto ban through Congress right now, but they might in the future. It's blatantly unconstitutional: the AR-15 is the most protected firearm under both Heller and Miller. Still, they mean to do it whether it's constitutional or not.

So why not build a non-semiautomatic AR?



The trigger pull is cocking the weapon, or so it appears; if so, it's no more semi-auto than a traditional revolver.

"Church of Sol"

A weather forecaster finds a new faith.

Jerry Reed, Bros and Sisters

Not a bad bit for a Friday night.



That old man sitting next to him is Marty Robbins. You might not recognize him because you think he should be dressed like a cowboy. But listen to the voice.

About twenty years earlier, he sounded like this.

What voters care about

It ain't the environment, the economy, or any of the things Pelosi wishes it was.  They're worried about lack of leadership in government, and immigration.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Takes a Stand

She refuses to march with the Washington Women's March this year:

I am not alone. Teresa Shook, who launched the movement with her viral Facebook post, has publicly called for the co-chairs to resign, writing that Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory "have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform” of the march.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, EMILY’s List and the Democratic National Committee I once led are among the groups distancing themselves from the national event. The Washington State Women’s March rebuked the national group, noting its leaders’ failure to “apologize for their anti-Semitic stance.” 

I applaud Schultz for her stand and am glad to see others on the left doing the same.

The Society of Classical Poets

Ran across this outfit by accident and thought some here might enjoy it. I signed up for email and get one poem a day.

The Society’s mission is to preserve humankind’s artistic traditions; to reestablish poetry as one of the most widely appreciated forms of literature, communication, and entertainment; to increase appreciation of centuries of rhyming or metered poetry; to support poets who apply classical techniques in modern poetry through publication and performance opportunities and awards; and to aid in language arts education that imbues high moral fiber and good character.

A couple of favorites:

And last year they had a rhyming riddle contest, which sounds like fun. Looks like they have some other kinds of contests as well.

Here's their poetic forms page full of "how to write ..." links, and they have a riddle page as well.

Where's That Masculinity When You Need It?

A UK feminist who was sexually assaulted on a train is very angry -- not at her attacker, but at two men who didn't step up to help her out.
Cincik told The Daily Mail she her attacker was not to blame, but two “white middle class” men instead who allegedly failed to help her during the assault.

The fashion chief executive was attacked by a tall Muslim on a busy Underground train, but blamed two British men who moved to other seats and left her alone to defend herself....

“He was about six foot [2 metres] and around 30 to 35-years-old and he started just screaming. He was screaming and shouting at me and saying things like ‘I am going to f****** kick you’ then he did actually kick me.”

She said she did not blame the migrant but “remained more angry with those white middle class men who left me to it. As fathers, husbands and sons they should be ashamed of themselves”.

She accused them of being “cowards”.
Oh, so it's 'fathers, husbands and sons' who should be shamed as 'cowards' when they don't step up? Well, that's the sort of thing I might say. My philosophical apparatus would support that approach.

Of course, I might also have something to say about a culture that led to assaults like this -- and to a culture that unmanned itself in the face of such assaults. You have to take the bad with the good, ma'am.

Defy Federal Courts!

There's an argument to be made here. It was Andrew Jackson's argument. Hammer goes farther, asserting that the power to be the final hand on Constitutional questions actually only dates back to the 1950s.
In 1958, in a little-known opinion known as Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court quietly effected its most nakedly self-aggrandizing power grab ever. In Cooper, for the very first time, the Supreme Court pronounced itself to be the sole and final binding arbiter of constitutional disputes. The Cooper Court said:
In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous Court, referring to the Constitution as "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation," declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison ... that "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." This decision declared the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this Court and the Country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system.
Marbury, of course, stands for nothing even remotely resembling the judicial supremacist sentiment the Cooper Court affixed to it. As Michael Stokes Paulsen has persuasively argued, Marbury instead stands not for judicial supremacy but for constitutional supremacy: That is, each of the three branches has an independent and binding fealty to interpret and abide by the Constitution, as it sees fit, in line with its own carefully delineated constitutional duties and powers. As Josh Blackman noted last year, the Cooper Court's radical claims amounted to "unprecedented assertions of judicial power."
The argument against is that the court systems is serving as a "cooling off" period for Presidential power -- one that, thanks to Trump and McConnell's success in promoting conservative judges, could be more effective against the next progressive President if it is allowed to stand now. Break it today, and it'll definitely be broken tomorrow. Abide by it now, and there's a chance it'll still be in place to restrain the next bad president.

"Retoxify Masculinity!"

There's thinking outside the box, and then there's Col. Kurt.
We need more masculinity, and the more toxic the social justice warriors think it is, the better....

Much as I advocate global warming, I am a strong proponent of toxic masculinity. It’s also known as “masculinity.”

Risk-taking.

Ferociousness.

Independence.

These are the qualities the SJWs want to wring out of us. Why? Because these are the qualities they cannot overcome. They want us weak, passive and obedient. That’s how they get power.... Don’t be fooled by the “toxic” qualifier – all masculinity is toxic to these human weebles. What they call “toxic” is really the essence of freedom. It’s toxic all right, but to their goals, not ours. Masculinity means freedom from them and the puffy, non-binary utopia they dreamed up because that’s the only world in which such losers could be anything more than a sorry punchline....

When some thug who didn’t get the memo about hugging is breaking down the door to get you, do you want some neckbeard sissy with a disposable Gillette standing by your side, or a toxic male with a 12-gauge Mossberg loaded with buckshot racking in a shell?...

Don’t let it happen.

Buy guns.

Drink beer.

And tell the SJWs to go to hell.

Dinosaurs

The only problem with being a dinosaur is there ain't no future in it. But there is one hell of a past. Now what you need to do is act like the mighty Tyrannosaurus and leave deep prints.

-Ironhead Haynes
For anybody feeling that way today, just remember it's the way things always are. Waylon Jennings gave that speech twenty years ago. For Hank Williams, Jr., it was the disco era.

Inconceivable!



UPDATE: Related.
"...if there were a permanent cessation of a quarter of federal activity, the result would be trillions worth of extra resources for private actors to put to work."

Redefining the Essential Workers

The Trump administration sure looks like it might be settling in for a long wait. Maybe they really are going to gut the bureaucracy -- now that they know which parts of it they don't really want anyway.

Measurement

Maggie's Farm reported today the death of John Bogle, who started the first index fund in 1976 to test the proposition that money managers could beat throwing darts at a dartboard. Bogle's skeptics at the time adopted the classic "stands to reason" thinking in assuring investors that of course money managers could beat the average consistently.  Bogle insisted on checking.

The Sense of the Senate

Sen. Ben Sasse just stole a march on his colleagues Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to Federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates clause 3 of article VI of the Constitution of the United States, which establishes that Senators "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support th[e] Constitiution," and "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The resolution passed without objection.

Reminding them of their oath was a very nice touch. Well done.

The Jihadist Threat from... FORSYTH COUNTY, GEORGIA?!?

Hasher Jallal Taheb sounds like the least-competent terrorist ever. He had never fired a gun, but intended to hit the West Wing with a rocket launcher he didn't actually have. He did find a helpful friend who said he'd help him out, naturally a Federal agent. (Anyone who offers to help you buy a rocket launcher, grenades, or a machine-gun without going through the proper licensing procedures is a Federal agent. Take it to the bank.)

He is said to be a man of Cumming, Georgia, which is the county seat of Forsyth County. That's where I grew up.

The place has changed a bit, these last few years.

Here's a story of the old days, when the last thing you'd have ever found in Forsyth County was a jihadi. It wasn't pure: you might have found a Klansman, and you certainly could find the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

Jihad, though, that's new.

Well, it was getting too crowded for me twenty years ago, what with Atlanta's population expanding into it. I expect that's what brought the jihad, too.

UPDATE: The NYT runs an editorial today called "There's Nothing Wrong With Open Borders." But of course that's nonsense; today's story shows that open borders pose challenges, at least, even when they're between different parts of America. Heck, even when they're between different parts of Georgia. Freedom of movement is a wonderful thing, but let's be honest about the challenges and problems associated with it.

Dissolve the FBI

I really like the way American Greatness is thinking big.
There may be one solution that preserves the patriotic agents who are protecting the nation while helping drain the Beltway swamp: dissolve the FBI, fire all the senior political operators still in the Hoover Building, and make the 56 FBI field offices across the nation—where the real agents work—the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigations division of the Department of Homeland Security.

This way we may prevent the next palace coup.
We are in a time in which significant reforms are needed.

"Cultural Marxism"

As is often the case, much depends on how one defines a phrase.
As a term of art, “cultural Marxism” has been in circulation for some time, and in recent years it has become a staple of outlets like Quillette. An article published there last summer, by the cultural studies graduate student Galen Watts, described it as a “social theory” holding “that culture (ideas, religious beliefs, values, etc.) is in the last instance determined by one’s position in a class or social hierarchy.” In other words, cultural Marxism is the belief that our tastes and preferences—the books we read and the museums we visit—are determined by our racial, gender, and economic positions.
That is definitely not what I mean when I use the term.

"Cultural Marxism," as I use the term, means the application of a specific move within Marxist analysis to culture. That specific move is the one Marx makes in asserting that all of human history, culture, society, and so on can be explained by the struggle between oppressor and oppressed. In true Marxism, this division is made between economic classes: those who own the means of production, and those who are forced (in one way or another) to work for those owners. Exactly how that struggle works changes as the mode of production change: Marx's analysis is that feudalism arose from agricultural means of production, with some lords and others serfs. The inadequacy of this explanation even to the historic institution of European serfdom, which is substantially different from the various sorts of outright slavery that existed elsewhere, should be a warning that the model is too simplistic even when applied exactly as intended by its original author.

Cultural Marxists apply the basic model of explaining reality in terms of an oppression struggle to something besides economic class. Usually it has been sex and race; lately it has been "gender." Many of these Cultural Marxists have been teaching in the academy, and their students likewise are trained to believe that you can account for Medieval history in terms of these categories of oppression just as readily as you can modern or contemporary history. The Patriarchy is eternal, and White People are awful even before they know about 'being white.'

As such I don't think it's in any way deterministic. People are taught to be Marxists, cultural or otherwise. They might have been taught better; they might yet learn how foolish their teachers have been.

I do think that it's a problem, indeed a very serious problem, but it's not the problem the deterministic model implies. If it were, the only solution would be to get rid of the people from the wrong groups (or at least exclude them from power). Because the problem is a creation of teaching, however, educational and experiential solutions are possible. There's no reason to think in terms of exclusion, let alone elimination.

Note, however, that the conclusion that we must be thinking in terms of exclusion or elimination does follow from their model for what the phrase means. If you let them define the terms, copping to a concern about the effects of "Cultural Marxism" in society is equivalent to copping to a desire for oppression or even genocide. The fact that they are teaching this may help to explain the hysterical reactions students of Cultural Marxism produce when they are brought face to face with a critic, even for an single evening's lecture at a campus venue.

A Jew Rejects Identity Politics

Are Jews white, white passing, or “people of color” (POC)? Dare Jews claim suffering or must we acknowledge privilege? Are we victims of racism or do we uphold racist systems? Do we support Israel or do we see it as evil? The language is wrong. The dichotomy is forced. It is a test we Jews cannot pass and remain true to ourselves....

I reject this attempt to pit Jews against one another, to divide us by color, and force allegiances based on made up values and newfangled language.

I reject all of this.

And I refuse to be told Zionism is racism, that supporting Israel means supporting oppression. I refuse to be saddled with other people’s sins, to let others define our story. We have a history, we have a present and if we want a future, we cannot let it be denied.
Good for you. Some of the rest of us can't pass the test either, although that's mostly because the test was drawn up to exclude us.

Still, how right this is: "I reject this attempt to pit [us] against one another, to divide us by color, and force allegiances based on made up values and newfangled language... to be saddled with other people's sins, to let others define our story... history... present... and if we want a future[.]"

No More Gun Control

Mark Overstreet at The Federalist writes against two bills the Democratic Party is pushing.

What's Best in (Western) Life

A writer asks after the Saudi teenager who defected to Canada and obtained asylum there, after she eats bacon for the first time:
Is eating bacon and drinking Starbucks freedom? Is that what's best about western lifestyle?
No, of course not. Bacon is good, of course, but...

Hey...

I wasn't aware of this. The odds of it being a clever trap are, sadly, small; but if the right people become aware of it, it might become so even if it wasn't planned that way.
In only five more days of the already "longest government shutdown in history" (25 days and counting, as of today), a heretofore obscure threshold will be reached, enabling permanent layoffs of bureaucrats furloughed 30 days or more.

Don't believe me that federal bureaucrats can be laid off? Well, in bureaucratese, a layoff is called a RIF – a Reduction in Force – and of course, it comes with a slew of civil service protections. But, if the guidelines are followed, bureaucrats can be laid off – as in no more job.