Creative taxi destruction

Are municipal taxi authorities protecting riders or cronies?

For Cassandra

To inspire her rehab efforts.  I watch these guys dancing and sometimes all I can think is "OWWW," as I imagine tendons being abruptly ripped from bones.  When they recover to an upright position from a split, they look as if they were on strings.   How do they do that?

What beautiful, liquid movements.

H/t Ace via Maggie's Farm.


The AFSCME was so offended when the United Negro College Fund accepted a generous donation from the evil Koch brothers that it cut all ties with the organization.  I was ready to double my congratulations to the UNCF when I realized all the union was really doing was to withdraw some scholarship funding, but we can always hope that they'll react the same way to other impure organizations by letting them become non-union shops.

Hammock progress

DL Sly brought to my attention a hammock hazard I hadn't fully considered:

Luckily my hammock design is a very tight weave.  I've finished the main body now and am working on the side fringes.


The Kurds continue to take care of business in the face of increasing collapse in Baghdad.  I really hope this works out for them and that they can defend whatever turn out to be their borders when the dust settles.  Developments like these show how important it is to keep an eye on local systems for handling the essential functions of civilization, even as we experiment with larger, regional systems of coordination.

If this be treason

MSNBC Michael Dyson indulged himself in a bit of pundit-foolery by complaining that talk of impeaching Obama is "treasonous."  Impeachment talk may be misguided, it may be politically stupid, it may be lot of other terrible things, but it can't possibly be treasonous.  It's roughly equivalent to arguing that planning to vote against an incumbent in a re-election contest is treasonous.

But it hasn't been so many centuries since our forebears lived under a very similar rule:  the government is so central to the continuance of our lives that any attempt to oppose or even shame it is treason.  It's a far more dangerous habit of thought than Dyson realizes.  We've gone to considerable trouble in this country to separate the man from the office, because the cult of personality in power is a dangerous road to take, precisely because of its strong emotional appeal in times of high anxiety and desire for order.

Friday Night AMV

Nobunaga. Hideoyoshi. Tokagawa. Heh.

This is sort of like The American Civil war with Giant robots and lasers and stuff. Robert E. Lee riding Traveler through the sky on rockets. Sam Grant shooting lasers and fireballs from his cigars.

Off to the Wild

I will be gone for a few days, perhaps a week.

This should be interesting

Several House members have just filed a resolution to direct the sergeant-at-arms to arrest Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress.

The Coolest

I like Kickstarter.  This guy is raising money for a cooler with a built-in blender, handheld device recharger, music system, and lot of other gizmos.

Battle of Northampton

Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of Northampton in the Wars of the Roses. This battle was a significant York victory, resulting in the capture of King Henry VI. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, led the forces that captured Henry on this day. Warwick would five years later join with Henry's wife -- Queen Margret -- in restoring the king to the throne.

On a related subject, I came across a book by Christina Hardyment titled Malory: The Knight Who Became Arthur's Chronicler. Sir Thomas Malory, in addition to writing Le Morte Darthur, was a partisan of Warwick's during the wars.

Ms. Hardyment has compiled a substantial book! My sense of the historians' opinions has always been that not much could be said for certain about Sir Thomas Malory, not even exactly who he was. This book undertakes to prove that reading quite false. I had thought Ms. Hardyment must be a professional historian given her careful readings especially of English medieval law, but she seems not to be. She has a degree in history but not a doctorate, and is a journalist rather than a practicing historian.

Well done, ma'am.

Border spending

Does the President think "border security" means letting everyone over the border and then finding the money to feed, house, and transport them to other locations within the U.S.?  No wonder he'll have trouble getting a few more billion dollars.

(1) Wide-open borders.
(2) Welfare state.

Pick one.

Catholicism and capitalism

From a 1999 article by Michael Novak, dredged up by AEI in a retrospective of Wall Street Journal pieces on its 125th birthday:
The people of the high Middle Ages (1100-1300) were agog with wonder at great mechanical clocks, new forms of gears for windmills and water mills, improvements in wagons and carts, shoulder harnesses for beasts of burden, the ocean-going ship rudder, eyeglasses and magnifying glasses, iron smelting and ironwork, stone cutting and new architectural principles. So many new types of machines were invented and put to use by 1300 that historian Jean Gimpel wrote a book in 1976 called "The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages."
Without the growth of capitalism, however, such technological discoveries would have been idle novelties. They would seldom have been put in the hands of ordinary human beings through swift and easy exchange. They would not have been studied and rapidly copied and improved by eager competitors. All this was made possible by freedom for enterprise, markets and competition -- and that in turn was provided by the Catholic Church.
The church owned nearly a third of all the land of Europe. To administer those vast holdings, it established a continentwide system of canon law that tied together multiple jurisdictions of empire, nation, barony, bishopric, religious order, chartered city, guild, confraternity, merchants, entrepreneurs, traders, etc. It also provided local and regional administrative bureaucracies of arbitrators, jurists, negotiators and judges, along with an international language, "canon law Latin."
Even the new emphasis on clerical celibacy played an important capitalist role. Its clean separation between office and person in the church broke the traditional tie between family and property that had been fostered by feudalism and its carefully plotted marriages. It also provided Europe with an extraordinarily highly motivated, literate, specialized and mobile labor force.
The Cistercians, who eschewed the aristocratic and sedentary ways of the Benedictines and consequently broke farther away from feudalism, became famous as entrepreneurs. They mastered rational cost accounting, plowed all profits back into new ventures, and moved capital around from one venue to another, cutting losses where necessary, and pursuing new opportunities when feasible. They dominated iron production in central France and wool production (for export) in England. They were cheerful and energetic. "They had," Mr. Collins writes, "the Protestant ethic without Protestantism."

Losing the peace

Bill Whittle.

Eric Blair Is Holding Out On Us

This is your home state, is it not?
According to the criminal complaint, Chad Workman told police that Tyson took out a sword in a bamboo case....

Workman grabbed some nearby barbecue equipment – a grill brush/spatula that he used to defend himself.

“I’m thinking, what am I going to do?” he said. “The only thing I grabbed is a spatula.”

Tyson allegedly took the sword out of its case and struck Chad Workman.

Workman says he had to get a dozen stitches and was beaten pretty badly. However, he said he had one shot and he took it.

“Once across the head,” Workman said. “That’s all it took.”

He says God brought him through and in this case, the brush is mightier than the sword.
Well, that's what George Silver said.
Set two unskillful men together at the rapier and dagger, being valiant, and you shall see, that once in two bouts there shall either one or both of them be hurt. Then set two skillful men together, being valiant at the rapier and dagger, and they shall do the like. Then set a skillful rapier and dagger man, the best that can be had, and valiant man having no skill together at rapier & dagger, and once in two bouts upon my credit in all the experience I have in fight, the unskillful man, do the other what he can for his life for the contrary, shall hurt him, and most commonly if it were in continuance of fight, you shall see the unskillful man to have the advantage. And if I should choose a valiant man for service of the prince, or to take part with me or any friend of mine in a good quarrel, I would chose the unskillful man, because unencumbered with false fights, because such a man stands free in his valor with strength and agility of body, freely takes the benefit of nature, fights most brave, by loosing no opportunity, either soundly to hurt his enemy, or defend himself.
Sometimes you can get too fancy. Always bet on the man with the scars on his knuckles, even if he's armed with a barbecue brush.

Dying Ideas

A host of scholars and scientists discuss their favorite candidate for a (usually scientific) theory that should be abandoned. Some of them are ideas we talk about here from time to time.

Opacity and unaccountability

When a charitable organization starts talking about trade secrets, it may be time to find another charity to support.  The Red Cross has begun to pick up the depressing habits of governments.  I wonder whether it's possible for any useful charity work to get done by a very large organization.  The advantages of scale and coordination may simply be swamped by the evils of arrogance and disconnection.

Oil boom

Texas and North Dakota now produce nearly half of all the oil in the United States, and would rank number five worldwide if they were a single country.  Guess who would shut down all this production if he could possibly figure out how.  One reason he can't figure out how is that none of it is happening on federal land, which is a good reason to think carefully about how much federal land there is.

CDRUSSOUTHCOM on Border Security

Marine Corps General John Kelly leads the combatant command tasked with providing military resources -- among other missions -- to border security along our southern border. He addressed Congress to complain, and to warn.
“In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in the hemisphere with the associated drug and [undocumented immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly told Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”


Kelly said that budgets cuts are “severely degrading” the military’s ability to defend southern approaches to the U.S border. Last year, he said, his task force was unable to act on nearly 75 percent of illicit trafficking events.
Who's to blame? Well...
The Democratic coalition wants increased funding and resources for SOUTHCOM and the State Department’s Central American Regional Security Initiative. For fiscal 2015, the Obama administration requested $130 million for the program, which covers seven countries, but that ask is a decrease of $30 million from the current year, the senators noted. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has said an additional $161.5 million will be provided for CARSI programs to “respond to the region’s most pressing security and governance challenges” – but the administration has made no mention of additional resources for the U.S. military....

Many Republicans who have effectively blocked reform efforts blame Obama, saying his “amnesty” immigration policies have incentivized the mass migration from Central America. In a letter dated June 20, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called on the president to send the National Guard to the border. On Monday, freshman Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, introduced legislation to stop all aid to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Some of the problem is the usual problem: an inability to agree on what policies are right, especially in terms of admitting massive numbers of new immigrants (or waving away the fact that millions and millions are already here). The administration wants to increase foreign aid to the failing states as a mechanism for helping resolve the crisis; the Republicans in Congress want to eliminate that aid as a forcing mechanism to drive foreign action. The administration here as elsewhere has a preference for civilian resources, such as police and State department aid programs, over military action. The Republican response, to secure the border with National Guard forces while eliminating this foreign aid, is 100% opposed to the President's preferred strategy.

One might wonder if the Republicans in Congress really oppose mass immigration at all, given their frequent and repeated noises about amnesty; whereas there is no reason to doubt that the President has political reasons to favor the idea. In any case, their intense opposition is one of the most effective political strategies possible for preventing an effective response.

Beer music

Apropos of Grim's interest in beer, I wonder if these guys are available to perform at wedding receptions?  (Don't worry:  despite the name of the site, it's all SFW.)

H/t my neighbors.