This is kind of a strange project but -- let's face it -- lots of things about linguistics are strange. Tolkien used to invent whole languages more or less for fun. This is a variation of that, except it's aimed at trying to see what Modern English would be like if it were 100% Germanic rather than involving so many Romance loan-words.

It's just for fun, but we were discussing how Germanic English is (mostly, if you measure its Germanic-ness by the frequency with which Germanic-rooted words are used in speech or writing; not very, if you measure by the percentage of all English words that have Germanic roots). So here's a bit of fun.

Big Strong Man

I remember when the words to this song went: "Well, he used to work here as a doorman / Now he's gonna fight George Foreman!"

But notice that it references the Lusitania. This is an old song, by American standards.


The first two Marines to be punished for the Marines United scandal are, as expected, enlisted personnel. Just to add insult to injury:
The Marines ultimately were sent to NJP because of derogatory comments made about one of their more senior enlisted leaders, officials said, but the comments were discovered through investigation into inappropriate comments about women.
Headline reference here, for those who don't know the term.

DB: "World Begs U.S. To Use Military Force in Syria So They Can Bitch About It Later"

The article is actually from 2015, but it remains so very current.

Ever wonder why those kids are SO keen on free college?

I came across this on my Facebook feed this morning, and it's too precious not to share:
Got an email from my professor, asking why I didn't turn in last night's assignment:
My answer, "I have been in school since 2008, have a bachelor's degree, and now 5 AA's, and have been taking classes because I cannot afford to pay the loans, and no, I do not qualify for loan forgiveness.
I felt that my current work with the class has been correct according to the book, and my grades reflect that, so I decided to get some sleep because I am sick instead of turning in the non-graded exercise" 
Her reply: "Your work is excellent, I hope you feel better and I look forward to reading your next assignment."
Leaving aside how proud she is of what is (in essence) writing an excuse the professor bought, what struck me here is that we have someone who decided around 2012 to avoid paying back a debt she owed by racking up even more debt.  Given that, I think it's safe to say none of her degrees are in Economics.

I mean, how foolish can one be?  She's not just managed to turn 4 years of debt into 9, but she's also really hurt her own employability by showing no professional work experience for the past decade.


It was this day 1320 that the Declaration of Arbroath was signed.
[Robert the Bruce, and not Edward like the Pope thought], too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
That's nothing but America talking, four hundred fifty-six years before she had the name.

Good To Hear Things Are Improving So Rapidly

I mean, it's only been 100 days, and they really did have quite a shock.
“I absolutely despise these people,” one woman tweeted at me after I interviewed Trump voters. “Truly the worst of humanity. To hell with every one of them.”...

I wrote my last column from Oklahoma, highlighting voters who had supported Trump and now find that he wants to cut programs that had helped them. One woman had recovered from a rape with the help of a women’s center that stands to lose funding, another said that she would sit home and die without a job program facing cutbacks, and so on. Yet every one of them was still behind Trump — and that infuriated my readers.

“I’m just going to say it,” tweeted Bridgette. “I hate these people. They are stupid and selfish. Screw them. Lose your jobs, sit home and die.”

Another: “ALL Trump voters are racist and deplorable. They’ll never vote Democratic. We should never pander to the Trumpites. We’re not a party for racists.”
Sooner or later, somebody's going to have to figure out how to show respect. The problem is, as bikers know, you've got to show respect to get respect. Or, as the Irish put it, "Many's the time a man's mouth has broken his nose."


Speaking of bikers and matters of interest to this page, the new "Sons of Anarchy" spinoff has recruited one of the Range 15 crew!

I'll be interested to see how much of the Range 15 style makes it into the series (or if the character, like the actor, is a 75th Ranger vet).

Sure Would Be a Good Time for a Deal with Russia

You know what would make a baseline for a good deal? That one that Blackwater founder Erik Prince was supposed to have passed the outline of to the Russians in the Seychelles recently. Back off support for Iran, help us in Syria, you can largely pick Assad's replacement, keep the naval base, and we'll start work on loosening those sanctions you hate so much.

It'd be easy and sensible for both nations to make such an agreement, except right now any Trump administration official who tried it would be painted as a TRAITOR TRAITOR RUSSIA TRAITOR!

Too bad, because it might save millions of lives. Certainly it might help those poor people in Syria, who as of yesterday I was told we were supposed to care about and take responsibility for.


Noam Chomsky says some unkind things about Democrat theories on Russia and Trump.

Of course, Chomsky's kind of a pinko from the old days -- can we say 'pinko' on the air? -- so maybe it's not too surprising to find him on this side.

Thursday night Russian Gothbilly?

I say Gothbilly because the song is originally a goth-rock classic from the '80s.

But I never imagined it like this:

Original here:

Nunes Down, Gowdy Up

The entry of the Ethics Committee into an investigation into Nunes means that he can't oversee work on the Russia investigation -- although, at this point, I think we've learned enough to know that nothing important is going to come out of that investigation anyway.

Nunes says the charges against him are baseless politicking. Well, handling classified information is -- or should be -- a serious matter. Still, I'm not sure what he's supposed to have done wrong. The main thing people seemed upset about is that he informed the President before his fellow Congressmen. That can't have been an unauthorized disclosure unless the President 'didn't need to know' that he had been targeted for surveillance. I would think that would be hard to establish even if there were a formal court procedure; it's certain to come to nothing given that the Ethics committee has "not set up a special subcommittee to handle the matter and are under no requirement to issue any findings related to their investigation."

So much for that. Is there something else he's supposed to have done wrong that might actually produce some results, or was getting him to step down the only result anyone cared about?

In any case, I note that Trey Gowdy is in a sense elevated by Nunes' removal. I will be surprised if that leads to an improved outcome from the Democrats' perspective, but they called the ball.

The Filibuster Wanes

At some point, either we or whoever succeeds us is going to have to establish new ways of treating opposition opinions with respect. Such respect enables people with deep disagreements to reason together to better ends.

At the moment, however, everyone is rushing in the other direction. I expect some deep pain will be necessary to convince them of the wisdom of a better way. For now, enjoy the fireworks.

Jante Law

Danes tend to believe in something called Jante Law, which has 10 rules all around the idea of accepting the average.... Jante persists in the culture in every way and, according to Ourhouseinaarhus, even affects the school system. There is no competitive school system, no advanced programs for gifted learners. The schools must all be equal, and the students must help each other rather than vie for 'the best.' There are no rewards program, no trophies for the students who graded better. As the blogger commented, the Danish children learn early on about Jante.

The laws themselves are simple. They all encourage the idea that you are average, and that's just fine.

1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
8. You’re not to laugh at us.
9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
There's an American version of this, but it's a little different in its purpose.

Big stick?

Secretary of State Tillerson's brief comment:
North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.

Knight versus Soldier versus Firefighter: The Obstacle Course

It looks like the soldier and the firefighter are really a soldier and a firefighter (Swiss, in both cases), whereas the 'knight' is a martial artist. That may have had an impact on the final results, although they track the weight of the gear very closely.

Jim Webb's Piece on Women in Combat

The piece on USAF leadership reminds me to point you toward Jim Webb's long form piece from 1979, in case you didn't go back and read it while reading the commentary about the controversy it provoked. If you didn't read it because you were wanting to avoid a display of misogyny, you can stop worrying about that. The piece says little about women, most of it complimentary and supportive of equality except in combat roles -- he mentions, for example, his support for Thatcher and for a female President.

What the piece is really about is what it took to graduate from Annapolis and survive as a Marine Platoon Leader in Vietnam. It serves as a reminder of how much uglier war gets than what we have seen in the long years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were often ugly enough. Yet there is no guarantee that future wars will not look like the one he describes, for those who can stand to read the description.

That is coupled with a call for a much more punishing regime of training than the one we employ now, more punishing even than the one he observed in 1979. He is clear on how the brutality of the plebe year he experienced at Annapolis carried him through the worst parts of Vietnam. In addition to that, the brutality of that training doubtless kept many a young man who wouldn't have survived the strains of war out of the critical role of battlefield leadership. That's another hard matter, one that I do not see on the field of ideas today: I gather that the idea of psychologically brutal training is still considered acceptable for certain special operations roles, but otherwise is taken to be an abuse of the young Americans who volunteer for military service.

The Elites All Know Each Other

Just another regular reminder of how small the circles are.
Where it all gets somewhat ridiculous is when CNN’s Jim Sciutto tweeted the following:
Just in: "The idea that Ambassador Rice improperly sought the identities of Americans is false." – person close to Rice tells me

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 3, 2017
For the record, Jim Sciutto worked in the Obama administration. It is a fact not mentioned in Sciutto’s CNN biography, but it certainly should be....

Before Sciutto worked at the White House, he worked at ABC. Do you know who he worked with at ABC? Ian Officer Cameron. Do you know who’s married to Cameron? Susan Rice.
So he's a guy who worked with Rice for Obama, after he worked with her husband, and now works for CNN reporting on Rice and probably quoting her husband. Got it.

A Fighter Pilot Goes BOOM

We don't talk about the Air Force a lot around here, but they're having a real retention problem with their pilots right now. Partly it's because the airlines are hitting mandatory forced retirement dates, and need to hire qualified pilots bad -- so they're putting up big money for anyone who will sign.

But it's not all about that.
You took one of the few jobs left in the world that kids hang posters of on their walls, and you made it so damn miserable that thousands of guys like me are calling it quits. And the worst part is, you have no idea HOW you made it miserable, and even less of an idea how to fix it. You are focusing on the second and third order effects, but not the root cause.

Boss, you were a fighter pilot. You were trained for years in how to identify the root cause. I know you have the ability to dig past the airlines, ops tempo, queep, and other reasons you’re currently focusing on, and find the DFP. I know that you know what it is, I just don’t think you have the stones to call it out in public and do something about it, so I’m pulling the handles.

Yes, life in my Air Force has gotten tough. But the real reason I’m leaving boss, the heart of the issue is this. I’m a leader, I always have been. People follow me because I’m good in the Air, I have a strong act in the bar, and I give a shit about the people that work for me. And because I’m a true leader, I will never lead in this Air Force. Instead, the guys that are leading in my place, and in the place of all of the others like me, are boot-licking, risk-averse, yes men who have spent an entire career being faithful followers and couldn’t lead a 2 ship to the end of the runway. They’ve been rewarded their entire careers for being non-confrontational, making only safe decisions, punishing downhill and protecting uphill, and most importantly, being loyal to the bad leaders above them.
There's a lot more. The obscene song lyric quoted at the end, by the way, is from a Dos Gringos song called "Has Anybody Seen My Wingman?"

Actually, it's one of the cleaner Dos Gringos songs.

So Much for "Russian Collusion"

If this story is accurate, there was no back channel between Russia and Trump's people before 11 January. The meeting described here was to set one up, in order to begin exploring possibilities -- and not to execute pre-existing plans.
The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions....

The Seychelles meeting was deemed productive by the UAE and Russia, but the idea of arranging additional meetings between Prince and Putin’s associates was dropped, officials said. Even unofficial contacts between Trump and Putin associates had become too politically risky, officials said.
So: there was a single, exploratory meeting; held months after the election; with all follow-up abandoned due to the political heat.

That'll about do it for the legendary Russian Conspiracy. If these details hold up, there's nothing to find.

UPDATE: Rolling Stone's Taibbi: 'Seriously, guys, this Russia stuff is sounding deranged.'

Democrats Continue to Feud Over Clinton Loss

Who was at fault? Not "deplorables," says Bernie Sanders.

Not millennial feminists, says the New Republic.
In the end, millennial voters, both male and female, were cool to Clinton for a host of reasons. If she was unable to muster their full-throated support, the blame lies with her, not them. Feminism rests on the basis that women should be judged for their worth, but Bordo instead assumes that Hillary Clinton, by virtue of her gender, should have been spared the critical gaze of young women. And that’s sexist.
Let me offer a mild edit that will clarify the issue:

"Feminism rests on the basis that women should be judged for their worth... and Hillary Clinton was."

Georgia DOT Has No Plans to Take Responsibility for Disaster

A rather brutal assessment, but well deserved.

Willa Cather

I downloaded an Audible version of "Death Comes for the Archbishop" recently, to listen to while I drive, paint, re-grout tile, or garden.  Why have I never read Willa Cather before now?  It's just wonderful.  Free, too, among Audible's collection of classics.  The title character is sent by the Vatican around 1850 to shepherd the newly American-owned territory of New Mexico.  What a pleasure it is to read an unsnarky though unsentimental treatment of missionary Catholicism--and the protagonist isn't even a depressed drunk, for a change.  Cather's narrative voice appeals to me deeply.

In 'Honor' of Liberty Chance C*****

For a friend, lost for many years but brought to mind but recently.

Also, because it's right. Honor holds the world together.

Stress Toy

Why Not Imagine Your Opponents?

Stephen King is as good as imagining as most, I suppose. Why bother encountering your opponents when you can just make them up?

Nobody cared about national security in terms of her abuse of Top Secret information in her emails; nobody cared about Benghazi. But they did care about racism, yo:
Felicia Gagnon Most of my customers at the Washateria were for him, so I decided I was, too. It wasn’t just going along with the crowd, either. He always had an answer for everything, and he took no shit. Also, he wants to keep the illegals out. My job isn’t much, but it pays the rent. What if some illegal comes along and tells Mr Griffin – he’s the owner – that she’ll do my job for half the salary? Would that be fair?

Andrea Sparks It wouldn’t, it absolutely wouldn’t. And I admired him for a comeback he made to Clinton in, I think it was their first debate. She said he paid no taxes, and Trump came right back, said: “That makes me smart.” I knew right then I was going to vote for him, because taxes are killers. That’s why no one from the middle class can really get ahead. They tax you to death. I am making a little bit of money, but I’d be making a lot more if they didn’t tax me so badly, and why do they do it? To pay welfare for the illegals Felicia was talking about. The beaners, the darkies and the camel-jockeys. I would never say that if I wasn’t full of this truth serum stuff, but I’m glad I did. It’s a relief. I don’t want to be a racist, it’s not how I was raised, but they make you be one. I work hard for what I’ve got, from nine in the morning until midnight, sometimes until one in the morning. And what happens? The government takes the sweat from my brow and gives it to the foreigners. Who shoot it into their arms with dope the drug mules bring up from Mexico.

Barker Amen to that, sister.
I have literally never heard anyone say "beaners," "darkies," or "camel-jockeys" except on television. And I live in a very white, very rural part of Georgia. I grew up in a part of Georgia that was ethnically cleaned twice! (Once in the 1820s, and again in 1912). If this kind of racism still existed, I'd run into it.

I did once encounter a guy running a gun shop in Gainesville who responded to my incredulity about his proposed prices by saying that they were the "Paco price," and then offering me a better deal (which, though reasonable, I was too offended to take). That was in the early 1990s, which was also the last time I heard anyone voice an objection to interracial dating or marriage. Even then, I remember how much it bothered me that it bothered him.

It's a different world, but not all of us live in it.


Here is a lady who has earned her right to criticize that which she has chosen to criticize. People sure hate her for it, but if anyone can have a right to a dissident opinion, who but her has a better claim?

Ft. Hood Shooter Going On Hunger Strike

Gee, I sure hope this gets him all the justice he deserves.

Fruit of a Poisonous Earth

I don't get by Ace of Spades all that often, except on Sunday mornings -- I like to spend such mornings playing through the problems in their weekly chess thread.

Dropping by there today, I see at the top of the page a discussion of "intersectionality." Only, really, there's a simpler explanation.
Intersectionality At Its Best (Or Worst): Angela Davis Speech Is sponsored By "Students For Justice In Palestine," "The GW Black Student Union," And "The GW Feminist Student Union"

You have to hand it to good old Angela Davis; she is quite inclusive in her vicious Marxist politics. She'll take money from anyone on the Left if it pays for another opportunity to spout her racist, anti-Semitic, anti-American pseudo-philosophy.
The true key to understanding this is the word "Marxist." It's not that this represents a coming-together of disparate movements. It's that all of these "critical studies" organizations are Marxist in their essential thought structure.

That's not to say that there's no non-Marxist way to talk about the black experience in America, or justice issues around as-yet unresolved areas of prejudice and mistreatment. Similarly with feminism; similarly with Palestine. No, what I mean is that the modes of thinking about the world that these groups endorse are all variations of Marxism.

Essentially, these theories work like this:

1) Divide the world into a class of oppressors and a class of the oppressed.

2) Explain everything in terms of that relationship.

3) Some will learn to play this game with you: praise them as having attained the enlightenment to see the secret truth ("New Soviet Men" / "Woke").

4) Others will resist. Damn them either as members of the oppressor class, who of course are refusing to admit the truth as it would require them to give up the privileges extracted by oppression; or, if they do not fit the oppressor class model, as people who are so deeply enslaved by the oppressors that they cannot see the truth ("False Consciousness" / "Not Woke").

It looks simplistic when you write it out like that, but endless volumes have been churned out on this basic model.

For true Marxism, the model makes a kind of sense. Marx was a materialist. Since nothing is real except the material, economics takes on a special significance as it describes the systems by which material goods are produced and distributed. It makes sense to describe all of human history in terms of a clash over economics, because economics controls the material and the material is all there is.

It's less convincing as an extended metaphor, which is how it appears in the so-called Critical Studies. Still, you'll find some who really believe that all of human history is completely explainable in terms of the oppression of Group X by Group Y.

In any case, there's nothing strange about Davis speaking to all of these groups at once, and drawing on all of their resources. It's not much of a trick for a Marxist to unify these threads, as they all grow from Marxism's earth.

China Follows Ataturk

The Chinese government has taken a page from 1920s Turkey in its treatment of Islam.
China has banned wearing veils as part of a major crackdown on what it sees as religious extremism in the western province of Xinjiang.

The measure, which comes into effect Saturday, also bans "abnormal" beards and names, as well as other "extremist signs." Forcing others to wear veils is also forbidden.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk took this same tactic in his modernizing reforms in Turkey, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Word War I. Ataturk himself mostly banned male demonstrations of Islamic heritage, but his successors decided it was necessary to impose restrictions on women, as well, as Islam began to reassert itself in the 1970s. Women in Turkey only regained the right to wear the veil in 2013, as the increasingly-Islamist government of Erdogan came to power.

I say "regained the right to wear," but I recognize that this formulation is controversial. The idea that there is a free-expression, freedom-of-religion right here is the ordinary American way of thinking about it, but it is not necessarily the way the parties to the conflict think about it. For some, especially the hard-core Islamists, there is not a right but a duty for women to wear the veil.

For others, including the modernizers, the veil has to be viewed as an intrinsic part of an oppressive system. There is no difference between "allowing" the veil, in this view, and "forcing" the veil. That is, not every woman who wears a veil she is "allowed" to wear will be forced to wear it, but many will be, and you can't really tell the difference between them. That being the case, there's no question of respecting a right to wear the veil. There's only a question of forcing some women not to wear it, or allowing other women to be forced to wear it.

A female friend from Turkey tells me that she thinks Americans really don't grasp the issue very well, as we tend to insist on seeing things through the lens of rights for religious minorities. That tends to blind Americans to how oppressive Islam can become in states where it is not a minority. If the state doesn't step in to act as a counterweight to this powerful religion in Turkey, even women from secular families like her own will ultimately end up being constrained by it. Ataturk's reforms served to force people to keep their religion private, and only something like that reform program was strong enough to effect this.

In the case of Xinjiang, China, the American will be even more inclined to see things through the lens of protecting a religious minority. Muslims are a majority in Xinjiang, but a tiny minority within the context of China as a whole. They have no power in national government to speak of, and it is clear that the Chinese view them as a speedbump on the way to Chinese glory. Even the name of the province, "Xinjiang," means "New Frontier." The intent of the Chinese majority is to roll over this area, to subjugate or even to replace this culture. If there is any case in which the American view seems to be validated by the facts, it is this one.

There is one final note to Ataturk's story. In 1928, Muslims who were deeply alarmed at his reform project gathered in nearby Egypt to form a new organization designed to reverse his 'modernizing' and to restore Islam to the central place in their society. Led by Hassan al-Banna, this group became known as The Muslim Brotherhood. Their history is probably known to most of you. China's Xinjiang province borders the contested region of Kashmir and therefore Pakistan, Tajikistan, and via the Wakhan corridor, Afghanistan. The region is already infested with similar movements, and has proven beyond the capacity of any nation-state to control. Nor can China easily advance into that region without alarming nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

This likely won't be the last time you hear of this.