Mountain Heritage Day

Today was the 44th Mountain Heritage Day at Western Carolina University. There were wagon trains led by Belgians or mules, tractors, three music stages featuring traditional music, and a full scale arts and crafts festival. Some of the latter included custom iron and knives, but also beading and woodworking. If you're ever in that part of the world for a future one, consider stopping by.

One of the events was shape note singing.

Bluegrass was a favorite.

Clogging, which was performed as well as other forms of traditional mountain dancing.

It was a welcome escape. Crazy is on the internet; ride out into America, and it's still sane and nice.

Something else that might work.

Or maybe not.  Ian Millhiser is just spitballing here:
Tell me again why we shouldn't confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep, and where they work until they stop being complicit in the destruction of our democracy.
I'll bet all of you can come up with the answer that eludes him.

That might work

From Powerline's "The Week in Pictures":  "Trump should nominate Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court, so he can finally get an investigation of her started."

I Embrace Beer

This is actually not the Clancy Brothers, in spite of the video, but the Dubliners. But let all that go; drink up, mates. May the wicked like us find forgiveness, and the wicked like them find justice. Or even better: God forgive us all, though none of us deserves it.


An Aussie tune.


I particularly like this song because every single claim it makes is wrong. Beer long predates tea; it's not made of hops, which are a late addition for flavor; and the rest of it too is nonsense.

But it's fun.

Let's Be Sure To Baby Those Women

"How to talk to the women in your life right now."
Let me tell you: it's a lot. And it makes functioning on a baseline level difficult. You may have noticed that the women in your life have been particularly unhappy over the past two weeks as this news cycle reared its ugly head: we have been showing up late to work, giving you surly looks, loudly complaining about "men", et cetera. These are coping mechanisms. And perhaps you, a thoughtful and potentially kind-hearted person, want to know how to better support your non-male friends and colleagues. This is a very good instinct! We appreciate it. Here is some advice on how to do that...
Showing up late for work is of course perfectly excusable if you're... upset? Right. Because you're not a real professional. You're a woman. We should be glad you deigned to come in to work at all, given how difficult all this is for you.

My guess is that teaching people that they're rightly treated as frail, or fragile, makes them worse people. Teach them they need to deal with the stuff life throws at them, and that they shouldn't expect it to be fair. That's how you build resilient people. People who don't show up late for work just because they're angry about something else.

Professionals. Killers. The kind of people who make the world heel to them, rather than running late to appointments. Five minutes early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable because it's disrespectful.

A new civil rights crisis

I can't be sure, but I think this author is serious:
The profile of an early voter tends to be more partisan, older and well educated. Early voters are also motivated and organized, which stands to reason since there are many steps involved, particularly with absentee voting; one must obtain the ballot in advance, fill it out correctly and mail it back on time.
These tend not to be the strongest traits of millennial voters. Fairfax County, Va., government recently surveyed the voting behavior of its summer interns, and discovered that a major obstacle to mailing in ballots was not knowing how to get a postage stamp. (For some millennials, mailing anything is a new experience.)
In addition, “college students are busy and the slightest hurdle can prevent them from mailing back a ballot,” said Lisa Connors, a public affairs officer with Fairfax County. She added, “Having a book of stamps or mailing anything is an old-fashioned concept.”
In many states, ballots now include return postage, so the completed ballot is automatically sent to election officials, who will reimburse the Postal Service for the expense. But this assumes millennials know about mailboxes.

Better Dead Than Red

Communists plot violence in the USA. Not even in hiding -- on Twitter.

A Start, Perhaps

The Pope defrocks a priest at the center of scandals.
Pope Francis has defrocked a Chilean priest who was a central character in the global sex abuse scandal rocking his papacy, invoking his “supreme” authority to stiffen an earlier sentence because of the “exceptional amount of damage” the priest’s crimes had caused.

In a statement Friday, the Vatican said Francis had laicized 88-year-old Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was originally sanctioned in 2011 to live a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for having sexually abused minors in the upscale Santiago parish he ran.

The Vatican said Francis was doing so for “the good of the church.”

“It is without doubt an exceptional measure, but Karadima’s grave crimes have caused exceptional damage in Chile,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

The “penance and prayer” sanction has been the Vatican’s punishment of choice for elderly priests convicted of raping and molesting children. It has long been criticized by victims as too soft and essentially an all-expenses-paid retirement, and Karadima’s whistleblowers had pressed for it to be toughened.

This Is Perfectly Healthy

"They complain that even when they give them gender-neutral toys, the boys immediately rush for the trucks."

As you would expect, the radio interview is totally in favor of feminism, but can't help but admit that the relationship has been poisoned. "Some feminists envision a world without men." "I was forced to conclude that feminism had failed mothers and sons." It ends up endorsing a kind of cross-dressing dance therapy, because of course life itself is so traumatic that therapy is necessary for everything and dance therapy is obviously the right way to bring up your son. (Also cross-dressing, clearly. You think I'm joking about the content of the interview, but I'm not at all joking. This is their idea for fixing things.)

The Most Unexpected Hero

Lindsey Graham, lion of the Senate.

I have to admit that this is not the one I would have expected to shine brightest today or any day. But here we are. Well done, Senator.


Who is more likely to be victimized by teen dating violence? If you’re quick to think it’s girls, new data shows you’re wrong. In a surprising twist, recently published research indicates boys are more likely to report being victims of dating violence committed by partners who hit, slap or push them.

Researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) conducted a longitudinal study of dating violence. While reports of physical abuse went down over time, they say there is a troubling gender-related trend.

Five percent of teens reported physical abuse from their dating partners in 2013, down from 6 percent in 2003. But in the last year, 5.8 percent of boys reported dating violence compared to 4.2 percent of girls.

“It could be that it’s still socially acceptable for girls to hit or slap boys in dating relationships,” says lead author Catherine Shaffer, a PhD student with SFU, in a release. “This has been found in studies of adolescents in other countries as well.”
I'm surprised it's that small a difference (and encouraged that the figures make it close to 95% of relationships that do without such violence). My sense is that girls are indeed taught that it's socially acceptable to slap boys, and women often continue to believe that it's appropriate to slap men for certain things even in adulthood. Perhaps they just don't usually choose to date the boys they have to slap.

In any case, most of this "violence" is pretty mild, and a lot of it is defensive (and therefore really appropriate, not just 'felt to be appropriate'). The inability to distinguish between legitimate violence and illegitimate violence is a problem with our current society. Much violence is socially beneficial, or we wouldn't maintain police forces nor prisons nor armies.

The NRA Speaks


Midterm elections are traditionally brutal for the party in power. What if this November, however, is as atypical as November 2016?
Trump is a singularly energetic campaigner. His efforts this year will likely move more Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to the polls. Seeing large arenas overflowing with animated Trump-supporters is probably a drag on Democrats. His simple message at these rallies is perfect: things are going well, but the Democrats will take it all away and stop any further progress, so we need more Republicans in Congress.
Re widely publicized negative job-approval ratings for President Trump:
Factors such as the Bradley/Wilder Effect and the "job performance" vs. "handling" question might each count for 5% or more by themselves. If the above factors average just 1% each, the approval picture for Trump changes dramatically, and the GOP's election prospects change dramatically.
[Real Clear Politics's] polling average for the direction of the country is at a five-year high and has been steadily rising for the last year. The peak under Obama was in June of 2009, with 45.8% of those polled saying the country was moving in the right direction. Two years later, Obama bottomed at 17%. On election day 2016, it was 31%. Today it stands at 41%. Because of Trump's unprecedented commitment to keeping his campaign promises, for the first time in a generation, Republicans have a chance to vote with great enthusiasm. They should ignore the polls and do so.
It is my fervent hope that the American electorate is disgusted with the dumpster-fire known as The Resistance and will show up at the polls to do something about it. And that goes double for the next primaries affecting any Senators who wobble on this nomination.

"Some" Irked by Superstar Haley?

Well, not me, pal. I like it when she does her thing. Trump is good at a certain kind of rhetoric, but it's not the only kind. Haley's much easier to take seriously (or even literally). She seems fearless and determined. We've rarely had such a good advocate.


From Jim Geraghty in the National Review, wondering how a general indictment of the toxic sex culture at Yale Law School plays out to its logical conclusion:
If, in an effort to get Kavanaugh, the left wants to retroactively declare that Yale University and its law school are and always were some sort of teeming cesspool of abuse and exploitation and elitist unaccountability . . . go ahead, fellas. Of course, a declaration like that spurs some questions about what the likes of Booker and Blumenthal saw and did when they were there. If this “institutional culture” of harassment and protecting the powerful was so deeply ingrained and so pervasive in the school for so long, how could those men somehow emerge with clear consciences? How could they themselves remain silent about it for so long?
There are a lot of Yale Law School graduates in the highest ranks of the progressive legal world — no doubt all of them should face the same suspicions. Were they complicit in continuing or even promoting and strengthening an exploitational culture?
If the aftermath of this whole angry mess is that Yale Law School has a permanent cloud over it, and everyone who went there is regarded with newfound suspicion . . . which side of the political divide do you think is going to pay the higher price?
When you try to indict a man by indicting the culture around him, you end up indicting a lot of other people in the process.
Every time I'm in a jury pool, I see people struggling with the need to abide by difficult evidentiary rules designed to keep verdicts from depending on the kind of thinking that runs: "I don't know if there's any actual proof, but that's less important than the fact that this seems like the kind of thing a guy from his kind of neighborhood would do."

Providing Protection

At The Federalist, Melissa Danford writes about her fears for her husband and sons.
My husband is in the military, so I am no stranger to a culture of double standards, but until now we thought it was more isolated. In the military it is common knowledge, whether senior leaders will acknowledge it or not, that a mere accusation of sexual harassment or assault, proven or not, is enough to end a man’s career....

All indications now are that too many in our society have abandoned the idea that all people, men and women, are innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt through due process. Instead people want a guilty until proven innocent standard for men accused of sexual assault. People think mere accusations, made without evidence and decades after the fact, should result in intrusive and embarrassing investigations simply because a woman made them.... Likewise, many seem to think that men and women should be judged by different standards. This is the opposite of equality before the law. Without equality before the law, how can we say the law rules and not men (or women)? As we make this turn toward “believe women” regardless of a trial or presence of proof, our society will only get worse.

Many also seem willing to abandon all statutes of limitation and questions of jurisdiction.
She mentions the military's zero tolerance of accusations of sexual misconduct, but that is probably not the proximate precursor to what we are seeing right now. I would argue that the Title IX kangaroo courts the Obama administration set up at universities served as a model and training ground for this. They normalized extrajudicial handling of such accusations with none of the normal protections or standards of evidence.

Double the Pleasure

A new study suggests that there are twice as many illegal aliens in America as previously believed.

AVI: Irony

If you had told me while I was in college in 1971 that a few decades later, a US Supreme Court justice was going to be questioned hard on whether there was too much sex and alcohol at his high school, I would have been petrified that the conservatives had somehow achieved total power, possibly by violence, and were imposing some sort of Puritan standards of a type later fictionalised in The Handmaid's Tale.
These are strange days.

Well, This Will Be A Fun Week

Rosenstein resigns, leaving a Trump appointee in charge of the Mueller investigation. The matter that men are not supposed to discuss has gotten psychotic. Trump is at the UN, talking DPRK nukes and national sovereignty. Also, this week is the end of the fiscal year, so government bureaucrats who have unspent money have to do something with it or lose it.

Should be quite an interesting few days for those of us who have to deal with the government.

UPDATE: The Rosenstein report was apparently false; for now he remains in place.