Captain Tagon is my Kind of Guy

There's a maxim in there somewhere.

Unfree Labor

Searching for the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” one that can “provide you with all the advantages” of domestic workers, but with “offshore prices”? Try prison labor!

That’s the message of Unicor, also known as Federal Prison Industries, a government-owned corporation that employs federal workers for as little as 23 cents an hour to manufacture military uniforms, furniture, electronics and other products.
Well, plus free room and board.

Yeoman Farmers

Kevin Williamson makes a point I agree with, though he credits it to Hayek instead of Jefferson.
Independent contractor? Quelle horreur!

F. A. Hayek worried (presciently, as it turns out) that the two faces of dependency—as public ward or as hireling—would encourage certain undesirable mental and political habits, a kind of deep-set servility born of the delegation of basic responsibilities from the individual and the family to large bureaucracies, public or private. The Company Man and the Obamaphone Lady have more in common than you’d think.
It's best to own one's own means of production. That way, you have the maximum ability to live with genuine liberty.

The Administration's Priorities for the Army

The headline says something important, although if you were paying attention you already knew it because Gen. Odierno said in 2013 that fighting sexual assault should be the "primary mission" of the Army. That would be most perfectly done by disbanding the Army, which would result in a 100% decrease in sexual assault within the service.

So it's interesting that the #2 priority is... shrinking the Army. This is described in terms of "balance" and "skillful transition," but explicitly it is about "declining budgets." (The other most effective thing we could do -- eliminating units in which people who are sexually attracted to each other serve together -- is a non-starter for this administration, which is running as hard as it can in the opposite direction for its last two years.)

It's curious that, with Middle East on fire, our Army's top two priorities are these two. But if we intend to pass the problem off to Iran by helping them expand their regional hegemony and erect their nuclear umbrella, I suppose we won't need an Army capable of going to the Middle East with any superior force. If we go at all, it'll be as partners with Iran. Indeed, in Iraq, that's already the role we are playing.

Iran "Deal" Grows Murkier

Iran releases its own fact sheet, claiming it will operate 10,000 centrifuges including in its underground bunker at Fordow.

The Virgin Mary Consoles Eve

From a church in Mississippi, I gather.

N'Awlins Got This Covered

May Have Been The Losing Side

Not convinced it wasn't the Viking one.

Results from a quiz:
Harald Hardrada (The vikings)

You would fight for Harald Hardrada, the King of Norway, who is sometimes known as the “last Viking ruler.” You believe ambition and strength are excellent leadership qualities, and you value a vision of expansion and growth. Unfortunately, Harald will not achieve the level of power you think he should. He will be defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge in September 1066.


Elizabeth Price Foley has a long post at Instapundit about the coming end to bans on prostitution and polygamy. Really, once you've legalized gay "marriage," you've already gone well beyond polygamy: any sort of union between reproductive couples/triples/whatever is less a violation of the principle of marriage than what you've already approved. There's no longer any reason to mind consensual unions between men and horses, if that's what they really want. We can wash our hands of it, once "gay marriage" is approved: go that far, and there is nothing beyond the Pale.

The funny thing is that all this is being done in the name of "equality." But as Foley recognizes, equality is the least likely result:
And the mother in me (which is inherently conservative) –with a teenage daughter– gets a little worried when I think of a world in which prostitution and polygamy are legal. The times, they are a-changin.’
Polygamy and prostitution are fine, as long as you don't care that much about your daughters.

I'm Sure This Is In There Somewhere


What genius decided this was a good idea?

Congress May Still Have a Foreign Policy Role After All

Unanimous vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to restrain the White House from pursuing the Iran deal without coming to Congress.

A Response To Tex's Priest

'You shall all get the same public shaming as that pizza place.'

I find it endlessly amusing that shame is the weapon of choice here. The whole force of this argument is that somehow gays are being made to feel as if they are shameful by being "denied" marriage or, now that SCOTUS seems prepared to set aside the laws and constitutions of a majority of states to help them overcome this shame, wedding cakes on demand. For a majority to use its size and voice to make a minority feel ashamed is such a positive evil that the world must be turned on its head to avoid it.

And if you don't agree, we'll show up en mass to shame you freaks.

A Corrupt Politician Runs For President

The advantages of being Hillary Clinton in the presidential race just starting are these:

1) Everyone knows you to be a corrupt, manipulative deceiver who is motivated solely by your own interest, and knows you so well that absolutely nothing you can do or say will surprise anyone. No scandal can derail you, because no one expects any better from you.

2) This corruption is a positive recommendation to the richest and most influential political factors: large banks, multinational corporations, and big Labor. They will be delighted to have a President whose administration can always be bought when there's a difficulty.

3) You stand astride a Democratic National Committee that will not dare to cross you. The nomination, at least, is yours unless your health should decline so suddenly that you cannot plausibly serve as President. It is "your turn," everyone agrees, and no one who might credibly challenge you is preparing to do so.

The disadvantages are these:

A) No actual citizens want you to be President.

(i) The true Left does not believe in you.

(ii) The Right doesn't like you either.

(iii) The moderate center tends to want honest, effective government at relatively low tax rates. No one thinks you will provide any of that: the corruption of Clintonworld is infamous, the ineffectiveness of the State Department under your leadership compellingly obvious, the failure of your signature health care proposals your other most famous 'achievement,' and your readiness to raise taxes assumed.

B) Machines can get votes lined up in spite of zero enthusiasm, but that only gets you the bluest states. You've got to be competitive in states where machines such as labor unions are much weaker, such as Florida.

So you'll have plenty of money, given (2), and an easy path to the nomination, given (3). You'll thus have tons of cash to focus on the general election, and you'll be running against a Republican who will be weakened by the primary -- with any luck, some of his flaws will have been exposed for your attack dogs.

Still, you've got to get people to show up and pull the lever for you. No one really wants to. The worst part of being 'inevitable' is that your forthcoming Presidency is seen as a sort of chore even by Democrats. Maybe it's just something they have to do, but it's not something they are at all looking forward to doing.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in the end, that lack of enthusiasm is enough to prove her undoing.


We got about three inches of rain just before dawn today.  Not only was March was one of the area's wettest months ever, but April is turning out wet as well.  Though it's not a great time of year for it from the point of view of farmers, who are trying to get out into the fields, the rest of us are happy about it; it's an emphatic end to several years of worrying drought.  At times like this a second cistern would come in awfully handy.  As it is, our pond is finally coming back after several years of experiencing the prairie half of its "prairie wetland" mode.  The noise from the frogs is deafening.  Lately you can hardly walk anywhere without scaring up a little cloud of pea-sized froglets, little guys who've only barely lost their tails.  The frog population may be keeping down the mosquito population; at least the mosquitos aren't bad yet.

For several years the drought discouraged us from putting much effort into the garden, which, as the NPH puts it, has been "fallow."  We've reclaimed a good bit of it from the wilderness now, so we have thriving eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers though we essentially missed the winter crop of greens this year.  Soon it will be too hot to plant much of anything new, so we'll concentrate on finishing up the weeding and mulching.

This morning we got a series of klaxon warnings on the cellphone telling us to avoid flood areas.  Those warnings always crack me up:  in an almost totally flat area, what isn't a flood area?  In any case, flood doesn't mean a great deal when the water doesn't have any noticeable flow to it.  A three-inch rain can hardly cause serious problems.  When we were first moving down here, there was a five-month period one fall in which 55 inches of rain fell.  Even that was inconvenient rather than dangerous; the water table was practically at the surface, so no useful digging could get done, and constructive projects were a challenge.  At one point the heavily mulched surface of the ground in the brush around our house felt like walking on a waterbed.  When heavy machinery punched through the mulch, that was an end to purposeful movement.

When the lightning stops and it gets a little lighter outside, I'm looking forward to walking down and seeing a vastly increased pond.

North Dakota, Socialist Paradise

Well, it's an interesting argument, anyway.
In the early twentieth century, agriculture-dominated North Dakota was swept by a populist agrarian movement borne of farmers sick of watching bankers and railroad bosses take advantage of their work and run amok with their savings. That agrarian movement produced two entities that are still flourishing over 100 years later – a state-owned grain mill, which has become the largest grain mill in the United States, and a public bank that ensured North Dakota would be unaffected by the recession of 2008 that rocked the other 49 states and the rest of the world.... The bank didn’t engage in the risky derivatives trading that crashed the rest of the financial sector in the late 2000s, and its executives are state employees that earn a respectable but not excessive salary, and are thus not incentivized to make high-risk bets with deposits to enrich themselves.
Jacksonians generally hate state banks, but it's hard to argue with the 115 year record of success by the grain mill. It's the largest in the country, but not a monopoly as you might suspect: it grinds only 10% of the grain in North Dakota.

Civil disagreement

Father Z has a good idea for businesses targeted for their beliefs and threatened with boycotts if they don't cater gay weddings:  agree enthusiastically to take the business, and explain to your clients that all the proceeds of your work for the event will be donated to a conservative cause.  If your employees' t-shirts say as much, even better.

H/t Bookworm Room.

Whisky and Beer

A paradox of life in the South: we have the fewest number of breweries by state, but by far the largest and best American whisky producers. What explains it?
Around the nation, big beer producers contribute to the campaigns of politicians who will support policies that discourage competition from local upstarts—for example, taxes on breweries and laws that prevent breweries from selling their kegs directly to consumers (instead of through a distributor). But what's unique about the South is that there's a voting bloc—the Baptists—whose moral stance against alcohol happens to align with large producers' desires to keep new competitors from getting started in the business.
So micro-brew is becoming increasingly popular, and only in the South can big breweries effectively smash their competition by using government to restrict people from entering the field of competition. Micro-whisky isn't much an issue as yet, but if it became one, it might follow the same pattern. Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey would then be a kind of historical accident; you might see a similar pattern of distribution to micro-breweries, just because they'd find it easier in non-Baptist states to get the laws changed to make their business legal.

It's an interesting theory. The South does have some microbreweries, including several good ones not too far from me. I'm a fan of the Highland Brewing Company's Oatmeal Porter, and Terrapin Brewery's Hopsecutioner IPA . North Carolina's beer culture is starting to flourish, at least in the mountain west. As for Terrapin, it has a brand new competitor in downtown Athens, Georgia: a brewery called Creature Comforts that is set up in an old tire shop.

UPDATE: So this video of New Yorkers trying moonshine reminds me that there has been a trend of fake moonshine drinks that have been approved around the South the last few years. I've never tried any of them, for two reasons.

1) I hate attempts by the soft to create tourist versions of the South. The last time I passed through Pigeon Forge on the way to the Smoky Mountains, I stopped at a place called The Iron Boar Saloon, billing itself "Best Biker Bar in Pigeon Forge." The bartender looked horrified when I walked into the place. It was all stucco and Yuppies in khaki shorts.

2) I've had enough real moonshine that I don't feel any special nostalgia for it. That stuff will wreck you. I only consent to drink it when a friend has made it, will have his feelings hurt if I don't try it, and I'm settled in for the night and not going anywhere at all before morning. This usually happens around a campsite, as the stuff doubles as a very effective fuel for beer-can alcohol stoves.

Still, the video is amusing -- especially when, after several tourist versions, they finally produce the real stuff at the end. Ninety percent pure, baby.

ISIS Sex Slave Trade

A Documentary.

Yeah, Yeah

You've heard the old joke about double negatives versus double affirmatives. But how about "No, totally"? Its structure suggests that you mean to affirm the negative to the strongest possible degree -- in fact, it means the exact opposite.

Against the Shaving of Beards

Some visual persuasion. Obviously there's a third kind of person without a beard -- a serving member of the US military, with a few exceptions for folks like Sikhs and Special Forces. Still, once you get to the numbered arguments, there's something interesting going on.

There's A Point To Be Made Here

Prompted by host George Stephanopoulous to name “the most promising Republican candidate not in the race yet,”... a smirking [William] Kristol suggested the former vice president.

“If they get to nominate Hillary Clinton, why don’t we get to nominate Dick Cheney? I mean, he has a much… he has a much better record,” Kistol said as the entire panel burst into laughter.
I'm pretty sure we all know why that's not a serious suggestion, but it is true that he has a better record. If you hate Dick Cheney, you hate him for something he did. If you hate Hillary Clinton, it's probably not because you were injured by one of her accomplishments.

Polio anniversary

The first effective polio vaccine was developed just before I was born, but the disease stubbornly persists in a few chaotic corners of the world that, often for good reason, distrust Western medicine.

The effort is so old that it began to be publicized back when you could find work hand-painting billboards: