Better than the way we had

We don't need the ladies cryin' 'cause the story's sad.

Another blow to warmenisticals

I hope this isn't going to interfere with Al Gore's retirement planning.


The "Les Mis" flash mob gag has spread so wide you can find dozens of YouTube examples.  They don't always have great voices, and when they do, sometimes the gag doesn't quite work, or the sound quality is bad.  This one in Polish really works, and who needs the words, anyway, after the darn thing was on Broadway for 20 years and just won Oscars in movie form?

This is a good twist.

I could be made completely happy by someone pulling a flash mob on me.

Sad song part deux

Those of you who've had quite enough shape-note music from me lately ought not to click on this one.

Just so everyone will know, I'd like that performed at my funeral.  So if I die, get right to work learning all four parts.

Here's one much more cheerful:

The Brotherhood of Volunteers

My father sends:

"Texas brothers standing guard over the fallen in West."

This is how it was of old. Do you remember how much attention the Greeks before Troy, or the Trojans themselves, gave to guarding the bodies of their fallen? These are the opening lines of the Iliad: "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures[.]"

But not if we watched, and held the field, that honor might be done to them instead. That was the force of the last chapters of the Iliad, when Priam came to beg Achilles for the right to bury his son, and when that burial was done with all honor. Do we remember these things? Perhaps it does not matter that we remember, so long as we still do.

Suspect in custody.

That's it, 7:45 Central.

Sad songs

The news has me down.

I recognize many faces in that crowd.  The fellow in the middle in one-quarter view is Gaylon Powell, a good friend and a mainstay of Sacred Harp in Texas for decades.

God of my life, look gently down, 
Behold the pain I feel; 
But I am dumb before Thy throne, 
Nor dare dispute Thy will. 

 I’m but a sojourner below, 
As all my fathers were; 
May I be well prepared to go, 
When I the summons hear. 

But if my life be spared awhile, 
Before my last remove, 
Thy praise shall be my business still,
And I’ll declare Thy love.

                           --Isaac Watts, 1719

No mealy mouth here

When was the last time you heard such a cogent and devastating speech from an American politician?

Warm welcomes

In what one commentator at Maggie's Farm correctly identifies as "the therapeutic approach to evil," NPR ran radio interviews this morning with Cambridge deep-thinkers explaining that "this is what happens when we're not welcoming enough to immigrants."  As another commenter mused, it's interesting to imagine what would have happened if the MSM had been able to fulfill their fond dreams of pinning this thing on a Tea Partier.  "This is what happens when we're not welcoming enough to conservatives?"

"Reports of my death. . . ."

What happens to a Reuters staffer who inadvertently publishes a decidedly unflattering canned obituary about an unimaginably wealthy, ruthless political operative . . . just a bit before the fellow is quite dead and harmless?

Plant safety

Almost as soon as the news hit about the explosion in West, Texas, reports agreed that anhydrous ammonia was involved, and I began hearing how dangerous it is to let water get near the stuff.  Here is a very brief CNN interview explaining that a plant of this sort generally is considered very safe, but apparently there was a small fire, then firehoses, then . . . .

Not using firehoses near the anhydrous ammonia tanks doesn't seem to have been part of the emergency plan for the plant or the town.  There are reports that the EPA was unhappy with the place in 2006, but it was a minor problem about having an emergency plan on file that was quickly remedied to the EPA's satisfaction.  OSHA hasn't been onsite since 1985.

The plant is nestled among homes, schools, and a nursing home, but it originally was out in the country.  The very small town grew up around it in apparent ignorance of the danger.  The head of the local EMS reports that he was conducting some kind of training at the nursing home the night of the explosion.  Although he didn't explain exactly what he feared might happen, somehow he got the idea he'd better move the residents to the far side of the building, which he'd just about finished doing when the plant blew.  Even so, the roof came down on them.  He looked pretty beat up on camera, and couldn't account for most of his personnel.

I'm familiar with the 1947 Texas City blast, naturally, growing up in Houston, but was surprised to read about a worse one in Halifax, Canada, in 1917, which leveled two-and-a-half square kilometers.  Two thousand people were killed, including many spectators who were lined up on the haborfront watching a fire in a munitions ship stuffed with TNT.  The ship had been struck in harbor by a Belgian relief vessel.

Rituals bind

I like the way the crowd took over from the professional singer, with his encouragement.  (The anthem is after the pop-music photo montage, at about 1:30.)

Those bombers must have felt like germs with a whole body's white blood cells after them.  At least one probably still does.

H/t HotAir.

The Tupelo Mississippi Flash

If you'd written a movie in which the terrorist attempting to assassinate government officials was an Elvis impersonator, you'd have been accused of some heavy-handed, improbable stuff.

Even Quentin Tarantino only went as far as this (Tarantino warning for language and violence):

Oh, well. Here's a lighter video on topic.

Baseball: 65-0 in Three Innings

Apparently it's possible to score 65 runs in three innings, if they last so long that the game has to be called on account of encroaching darkness (because your team can't get any outs!).

I understand this is a video feed from the game:

Bad explosion

A fertilizer plant has blown up in Waco.  No reason to suggest it was deliberate, but it's very bad--many square blocks "leveled."

The Smell of Gunsmoke in the Evening

Bad day at Black Rock for gun control bills in the Senate.

Some appropriate music:

The Neuro

That's a New Euro, or perhaps a Northern Euro.  They're going to need one soon.

In "The Wreck of the Euro" (hey, that would make a good song), Walter Russell Mead points out:
Politicians in Europe thought they were living in a post-historical period in which mistakes didn’t really matter all that much.
But mistakes that involve lying to ourselves by diddling a currency always matter eventually.  It's very much like Richard Feynman's caution in a different context:
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
A currency has many functions, but its primary one is a credible promise.  Lying destroys its value, though the harm sometimes is delayed until enough people are disillusioned.

H/t Maggie's Farm.

Anyone With A Wife Will Understand This Video

Edie Brickell & Steve Martin Collaborate

NPR has a report about, as well as an opportunity to listen to, a new album by the above-named artists. Steve Martin is actually quite a banjo player, as we have known since he turned up to play with Earl Skruggs. Not just anyone could have pulled that off!

As for Edie Brikell, I hadn't thought of her in years. I do remember her, though.

If that is the frame, it sounds like an odd pairing. I've only listened to the first track so far, but it appears they've made it work surprisingly well. I'm always surprised to hear someone from Hollywood reference the South in their songs in a way that shows a kind of feel for the place.


I don't want to say much about Boston until there are facts to discuss, but I do agree with PowerLine here. It is good to see citizens doing a citizen's duty, spontaneously rising to the challenge of helping one another. This is part of what keeps us free.

Emails, I Get Emails

I don't know how I get on so many email lists. I try and try to keep off them, but somehow I keep getting more and more emails from political action groups of all kinds. In a way it's been educational. You learn that all sides to our present conflict tend to think of their supporters as suckers... er, as easily swayed by conspiracy theories. They must be highly effective to be so common as political rhetoric.

Once in a while, though, a real conspiracy is uncovered!
Is Pope Francis Laying The Groundwork For A One World Religion?
It turns out, he really is.

States are Better, Red States Better Still

The most interesting thing here isn't the one showing the abysmal rating for the Federal government, which has more than deserved the current disgust of the American people. It's the state rating charts.

Compare the numbers of satisfied and unsatisfied Democrats living in states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors, and vice versa. It appears clear that satisfaction is higher under Republican leadership right now -- not surprising given that Republican-led states are outperforming others in improving the incomes of their citizens as well as being a good place to start a business.

State budgets in Red states are also beginning to get under control, due to large cuts in public sector payrolls -- which, given that means a reduction of public-sector jobs, increases the degree of admiration you might have for the fact that these states have also been increasing citizens' incomes. I'm not sure that is warranted, though, because Red States also show higher food-stamp usage, which may mean that they are pushing off some of their budgetary concerns onto the Federal taxpayers. Still, insofar as they can foster higher private sector job growth, finding jobs for those formerly-public-sector workers, there's hope that such food stamp usage is merely a symptom of necessary budget cuts, and not a permanent feature of these state-level economies.

Things journalists should know

The worm is turning:
If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch.
"Things journalists should know," according to this article, include the useful couplet:
(1) The scary scenarios are based on models; and
(2) The models don't work.
Useful fact number three is that the "97%" consensus figure often thrown out in AGW debate resulted from an online survey of 10,257 earth scientists conducted by two researchers, to which 3,146 scientists replied, of which the responses of 77 were considered valid for inclusion.

My own informal survey yielded a 98% consensus in favor of my views.  So I have that going for me.

Steyn on Baroness Thatcher

I thought this was a particularly excellent bit from Mr. Steyn's remarks:
Some years ago, I found myself standing next to her at dusk in the window of a country house in the English East Midlands, not far from where she grew up. We stared through the lead diamond mullions at a perfect scene of ancient rural tranquility — lawns, the “ha-ha” (an English horticultural innovation), and the fields and hedgerows beyond, looking much as it would have done half a millennium earlier. Mrs. T asked me about my corner of New Hampshire (90 percent wooded and semi-wilderness) and then said that what she loved about the English countryside was that man had improved on nature: “England’s green and pleasant land” looked better because the English had been there. For anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
Americans have a different attitude about this, but possibly because we have failed to improve on nature in so many cases. Georgia was entirely stripped of its forests during the post-Civil War era by the colonial cotton monoculture that was imposed upon it by the banks and politicians who became so important in that era. To have gotten back the 'wooded and semi-wilderness' is an achievement, one that has restored a beauty long lost. From John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt to our love of National Forests and Wilderness areas, in many cases we tend to think of nature as being incapable of improvement by human hands.

On the other hand, then Dr. Hanson has written movingly about how California had once been like Ms. Thatcher's England, and how it is dying from a refusal to maintain the dams and innovations that allowed the state to flourish from Mexico to its northern border. In the Dustbowl regions, man destroyed and man restored, but not by allowing nature to resume: rather, by learning to plant trees in such a way as to allow for farming without the loss of the topsoil. In California today as in the Dustbowl of old, the failure to maintain the gardens leads to a loss of beauty and strength.

The English have a wilderness tradition too, of course. Dr. Corrine J. Saunders wrote an excellent book on the forest in Medieval romance, which she convincingly links to the Biblical desert tradition: the Wild as a place of hermitage, of testing and spiritual renewal. That is also a good thing, and a necessary thing. But perhaps they understood gardens better than we do.

For Cassandra