Separation of powers

At last, some clear thinking on the rule of law from Andrew McCarthy:
If lawmakers believe the president is abusing his power by firing good public servants arbitrarily, they can impeach the president. Or they can try to bend the president into better behavior by cutting off funding, refusing to confirm nominees, or holding oversight hearings that embarrass the administration. Congress has these powerful political tools. But it does not have legal means to usurp the president’s constitutional power. Those powers do not come from Congress. They come from Article II. The Constitution cannot be amended by a mere statute or a regulation. Congress may not enact a law that purports to place conditions on the president’s power to dismiss subordinates who exercise his powers.

Comey's goals

Per Powerline, a clip from Comey's interview with George Stephanopoulos.  Comey freely acknowledges that he never told President Trump that the Steele Dossier was funded by Clinton's campaign.  It wasn't important for Comey's goals, he says, which were simply to let Trump know that the FBI had this information. You have to admire an administrator for keeping such a tight focus on his own organization's welfare, at a time when it would have been easy to be distracted by principles of honesty or justice, or the broader good of the nation.

Comey is oddly un-self-conscious.  I have the idea that if you charged him with amorality, he wouldn't take offense but would only gaze at you in mild blankness, wondering what you were getting at.

A Kinda Frightening CIA Blunder

Christopher Harper over at Da Tech Guy lists a few CIA blunders. This one was kinda frightening to me:

My all-time favorite happened in Lebanon.

The pro-Iranian group Hezbollah identified numerous CIA operatives by staking out a Pizza Hut in Beirut. How did Hezbollah figure out that the CIA was meeting with double agents and informants at Pizza Hut? The CIA decided to use the code word “pizza” when communicating with agents.

The code literally meant to meet at a pizza joint for pizza! Ten agents had their identity revealed, and numerous other informants were discovered—some of whom were executed. The CIA was left essentially blind in Lebanon for several months, having to pull the agents out, because agents were lazy and uncreative with their tradecraft.

I don't regularly read Da Tech Guy, and I don't know if this story is true. An ABC report seems to confirm it, though.

Days of Our Lives

Does it strike anyone else as strange that we're watching a for-real national saga in which the President is being prosecuted by a man who is best friends with the star witness in the case against the President, while that star witness has just started profiting off a book tour that will be more successful insofar as the prosecution seems serious? Doesn't that seem like an ethical issue to anyone? As far as I can tell, the main concern (even among members of the President's party) is protecting the investigation.

Shifts in the Night

Is Paul Ryan's departure the end of the 'one party that acts as if it were two'? Possibly, but it'll be costly.

The Democratic party has gone hard left since the defeat of Clinton; the capacity to move hard on ideology is realized because they are at a low point in terms of holding statewide or national office. They have nothing much to lose, so they can say what they want.

Is it worth the exchange? No, in the case of the Democrats: socialism is bad. What about in the case of an America-first party?

For Douglas

Since he was so happy to hear hockey talk in the Hall, here you go.


A small problem for that vision of the future in which California is the model for the whole United States. What if people would rather be free?

Disney Princesses & Abortion

A very sad piece by a woman who worked for Disney as a "princess," who did in fact have an abortion. I forward it because she ends up endorsing a thought that Chesterton also endorses, and that I reflect on myself from time to time: that the old fairy tales are reliable.
The stories little girls need to continue to hear are already exemplified in the fairy tales that teach us about goodness and truth. It has always been the witches plotting to confuse the princesses, attempting to lure them away from their noble pursuits ... Cinderella, battling through unplanned circumstances as an orphan in the fire before being transformed into a sparkly princess and future queen, is a story that brings hope and teaches us about true empowerment. It’s a story of making something beautiful out of the life surprises that threaten to burn us.

Cinderella’s crown represents victory over the lies of evil women that told us we were dirty girls destined to sit in the cinders rather than future monarchs destined to rule. Princess fairy tales have lasted ages and teach women about goodness, mercy, kindness, power, perseverance, and strength in a world trying to whistle songs of death past little ears.
I think you're forbidden to suggest that there are "evil women" in the world, or that they bear responsibility for the harms caused by their words. But it is a prominent feature of the old stories, for what are doubtlessly wicked and patriarchal reasons.

Jacksonian Foreign Policy

An interview with one David Reaboi, a former member of the "New York city avant garde" jazz scene, until he was present at 9/11. Present at the creation, as it were. His insights on foreign policy thought on the right are worth hearing.

Wretchard on Governance

Read it all.

Update on British Self-Defense Case

From no less than Kim du Toit, we learn that the police have decided not to prosecute the elderly man who successfully defended himself from home invasion. However, the police are also not doing much to protect him against apparent revenge attempts by the career criminal relatives of the dead invader.
So in defending himself from two murderous intruders, he now has to live his life cowering behind boarded-up windows, in fear of reprisal from the dead asshole’s relatives; because while the Britcops are very efficient in arresting the law-abiding, they’re completely incompetent when it comes to protecting them. And of course, there is no way in hell Our Hero is ever going to be allowed to own a shotgun to protect himself....

So when our local would-be gun controllers confiscators talk about “reasonable U.K.-style gun laws”, please note that this would be one of the outcomes for us law-abiding folks.

Viking Sunstones

A detailed article on the subject of the legendary stones.
The team simulated 3600 voyages taken during the spring equinox, the presumed start of the open seas travel season, and the summer solstice, the longest day of the northern year....

When navigators took readings every 4 hours, their ships reached Greenland between 32% and 59% of the time. Readings every 5 or 6 hours meant the ship had a dramatically poorer chance of making landfall. But for voyages on which the seafarers took sunstone readings at intervals of 3 hours or less, ships made landfall between 92% and 100% of the time, the researchers report today in Royal Society Open Science. In addition to the frequency of readings, key to a successful journey was using the sunstone for an equal number of morning and afternoon readings, the researchers say. (That’s because morning readings can cause a ship to veer too far northward and afternoon readings can cause it to veer too far southward, sometimes missing Greenland altogether.)

Crowder Does Enjoy Driving


An idea isn't necessarily bad just because the person who came up with it is rich or privileged in certain ways. However, there is a valid criticism when -- as here -- the idea's plausibility depends on the very access to wealth or privilege that isn't always present for others.

There is another issue around the analogy between police and maids. I imagine the police wouldn't appreciate being analogized to maids for the rich, but they do sometimes speak of 'cleaning up the streets.' They don't mean this literally, in terms of sweeping the sidewalk. They mean they are arresting and throwing people into prison, so that those people -- in the analogy, the trash -- are not on the streets anymore. Who are those people who are analogically 'trash'? Not the rich!

So the issue isn't just that the suggestion is 'have the maid do it' when not everyone can afford a maid. Another issue is that not everyone can rely on the maid to think of them as one of her clients.

Of course, one could counter-argue that no one would benefit from a good maid as much as those who currently find themselves surrounded by trash. Surely that's true, as long as the maid is reliable in discerning the trash from the clients who need help with the cleaning.

Fact-checking the fact-checking

Well, this is very meta, but seems a useful tool.  Real Clear Politics analyzes the methods of a number of fact-checking organizations such as Politifact and Snopes.

A New Model for Sportswriting

There's some promise here.
When I worked at, we had to write these “Why the [TEAM NAME] will win the Stanley Cup” pieces before every postseason that were just nightmares, especially when you didn’t believe what you were writing... We were guaranteed to get 15 of 16 of these stories wrong every spring yet we did them anyway.

Six years later, I’ve found the perfect antidote to that insufferable optimism—telling you why your team isn’t going to win the Cup. I’m guaranteed to get 15 of 16 correct! You can’t beat those odds!
I don't know much about the current state of hockey, but the model he's hit upon is clearly valid.

A voice and a heart

From a Gutenberg project I'm working on, this excerpt from Browning's An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Karshish, an Arab Physician, "the startled utterance of the Syrian contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth":
"... think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-great were the All-loving too!
So through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying: "O heart I made, a heart beats here!"

The NRA and Race

It's a point we've featured here before, but it's worth hearing it again.

The NRA, from its very beginnings, took seriously the issue of black Americans' right to defend themselves with firearms. The worst that can be said about them is that they could do more, for example in cases like Philando Castile's; but that wish for more happens in a context in which very few are doing anything to protect their rights at all. Many, in fact, are doing the best they can to strip their rights away.

Nonsense, Mr. Khan

"There is never a reason to carry a knife"? The knife is one of the most universal tools in human history. There are hundreds of reasons to carry a knife, which is why everyone everywhere has typically done so.

Self-defense is a valid reason, for that matter. The collapse of order in your city, Mr. Khan, is a more than adequate reason by itself. But for goodness sake, don't try to sell me on "never." I carry a knife everywhere, and I find it endlessly useful. Other people who have neglected to carry a knife very regularly ask to borrow mine.

Why don't you try establishing a civilization in which you don't have to ban ordinary useful tools in order to have peace and good order? The British used to know how to do that.

Middle-Earth Announces Heavy Tariffs On Narnian Imports

MINAS TIRITH, GONDOR—Kicking off a major trade war between the two kingdoms, the Middle-Earth Trade Federation has announced heavy tariffs on the import of Narnian steel, sending the stock market into a freefall Thursday...

Bee Stings Google for Easter

Google Pays Respect to Jesus's Empty Tomb with Empty Homepage

Happy Dance

Speaking of MercyMe ...

I had a teacher once who told me, "I can't sing worth anything, but I can sure make a joyful noise."