Press Credibility

I've written this elsewhere, and perhaps I've nibbled at it here, too, but—prompted by one of Grim's comments in a thread below concerning NLMSM integrity—I'm offering this in full.

If the NLMSM hopes to gain any measure of credibility at all, it must do some things, and it must do them satisfactorily in the minds of observers and consumers of the NLMSM's output.

  1.  a journalist must identify at least some of his sources, rather than hanging the thesis of his article exclusively on the claims of anonymous sources
  2.  if an anonymous source refuses to be identified, the journalist must show with concrete, measurable evidence two things
          a.     the source actually exists 
          b.     why the source should be believed, given that by speaking publicly, even in anonymously, he's likely violating his terms of employment if not his oath of office

      3. if the journalist is representing the anonymous source as a whistleblower, the journalist must provide concrete, measurable evidence that the source has used up all of his employer's internal whistleblowing channels before he decided to leak to the journalist.

All of this must be done in the opening paragraph(s) of his piece, even ahead of the Who, What, Where, When that used to form the lede (but seems to no longer).

And the largest question of all:

      4. The press used to have a standard that required two on-the-record sources to corroborate the claims of a journalist's anonymous sources. The journalist's editor must explain why he's chosen to walk away from that standard of integrity.

Eric Hines


The Dems aren't getting their semi-auto ban through Congress right now, but they might in the future. It's blatantly unconstitutional: the AR-15 is the most protected firearm under both Heller and Miller. Still, they mean to do it whether it's constitutional or not.

So why not build a non-semiautomatic AR?

The trigger pull is cocking the weapon, or so it appears; if so, it's no more semi-auto than a traditional revolver.

"Church of Sol"

A weather forecaster finds a new faith.

Jerry Reed, Bros and Sisters

Not a bad bit for a Friday night.

That old man sitting next to him is Marty Robbins. You might not recognize him because you think he should be dressed like a cowboy. But listen to the voice.

About twenty years earlier, he sounded like this.

What voters care about

It ain't the environment, the economy, or any of the things Pelosi wishes it was.  They're worried about lack of leadership in government, and immigration.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Takes a Stand

She refuses to march with the Washington Women's March this year:

I am not alone. Teresa Shook, who launched the movement with her viral Facebook post, has publicly called for the co-chairs to resign, writing that Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory "have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform” of the march.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, EMILY’s List and the Democratic National Committee I once led are among the groups distancing themselves from the national event. The Washington State Women’s March rebuked the national group, noting its leaders’ failure to “apologize for their anti-Semitic stance.” 

I applaud Schultz for her stand and am glad to see others on the left doing the same.

The Society of Classical Poets

Ran across this outfit by accident and thought some here might enjoy it. I signed up for email and get one poem a day.

The Society’s mission is to preserve humankind’s artistic traditions; to reestablish poetry as one of the most widely appreciated forms of literature, communication, and entertainment; to increase appreciation of centuries of rhyming or metered poetry; to support poets who apply classical techniques in modern poetry through publication and performance opportunities and awards; and to aid in language arts education that imbues high moral fiber and good character.

A couple of favorites:

And last year they had a rhyming riddle contest, which sounds like fun. Looks like they have some other kinds of contests as well.

Here's their poetic forms page full of "how to write ..." links, and they have a riddle page as well.

Where's That Masculinity When You Need It?

A UK feminist who was sexually assaulted on a train is very angry -- not at her attacker, but at two men who didn't step up to help her out.
Cincik told The Daily Mail she her attacker was not to blame, but two “white middle class” men instead who allegedly failed to help her during the assault.

The fashion chief executive was attacked by a tall Muslim on a busy Underground train, but blamed two British men who moved to other seats and left her alone to defend herself....

“He was about six foot [2 metres] and around 30 to 35-years-old and he started just screaming. He was screaming and shouting at me and saying things like ‘I am going to f****** kick you’ then he did actually kick me.”

She said she did not blame the migrant but “remained more angry with those white middle class men who left me to it. As fathers, husbands and sons they should be ashamed of themselves”.

She accused them of being “cowards”.
Oh, so it's 'fathers, husbands and sons' who should be shamed as 'cowards' when they don't step up? Well, that's the sort of thing I might say. My philosophical apparatus would support that approach.

Of course, I might also have something to say about a culture that led to assaults like this -- and to a culture that unmanned itself in the face of such assaults. You have to take the bad with the good, ma'am.

Defy Federal Courts!

There's an argument to be made here. It was Andrew Jackson's argument. Hammer goes farther, asserting that the power to be the final hand on Constitutional questions actually only dates back to the 1950s.
In 1958, in a little-known opinion known as Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court quietly effected its most nakedly self-aggrandizing power grab ever. In Cooper, for the very first time, the Supreme Court pronounced itself to be the sole and final binding arbiter of constitutional disputes. The Cooper Court said:
In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous Court, referring to the Constitution as "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation," declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison ... that "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." This decision declared the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this Court and the Country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system.
Marbury, of course, stands for nothing even remotely resembling the judicial supremacist sentiment the Cooper Court affixed to it. As Michael Stokes Paulsen has persuasively argued, Marbury instead stands not for judicial supremacy but for constitutional supremacy: That is, each of the three branches has an independent and binding fealty to interpret and abide by the Constitution, as it sees fit, in line with its own carefully delineated constitutional duties and powers. As Josh Blackman noted last year, the Cooper Court's radical claims amounted to "unprecedented assertions of judicial power."
The argument against is that the court systems is serving as a "cooling off" period for Presidential power -- one that, thanks to Trump and McConnell's success in promoting conservative judges, could be more effective against the next progressive President if it is allowed to stand now. Break it today, and it'll definitely be broken tomorrow. Abide by it now, and there's a chance it'll still be in place to restrain the next bad president.

"Retoxify Masculinity!"

There's thinking outside the box, and then there's Col. Kurt.
We need more masculinity, and the more toxic the social justice warriors think it is, the better....

Much as I advocate global warming, I am a strong proponent of toxic masculinity. It’s also known as “masculinity.”




These are the qualities the SJWs want to wring out of us. Why? Because these are the qualities they cannot overcome. They want us weak, passive and obedient. That’s how they get power.... Don’t be fooled by the “toxic” qualifier – all masculinity is toxic to these human weebles. What they call “toxic” is really the essence of freedom. It’s toxic all right, but to their goals, not ours. Masculinity means freedom from them and the puffy, non-binary utopia they dreamed up because that’s the only world in which such losers could be anything more than a sorry punchline....

When some thug who didn’t get the memo about hugging is breaking down the door to get you, do you want some neckbeard sissy with a disposable Gillette standing by your side, or a toxic male with a 12-gauge Mossberg loaded with buckshot racking in a shell?...

Don’t let it happen.

Buy guns.

Drink beer.

And tell the SJWs to go to hell.


The only problem with being a dinosaur is there ain't no future in it. But there is one hell of a past. Now what you need to do is act like the mighty Tyrannosaurus and leave deep prints.

-Ironhead Haynes
For anybody feeling that way today, just remember it's the way things always are. Waylon Jennings gave that speech twenty years ago. For Hank Williams, Jr., it was the disco era.


UPDATE: Related.
"...if there were a permanent cessation of a quarter of federal activity, the result would be trillions worth of extra resources for private actors to put to work."

Redefining the Essential Workers

The Trump administration sure looks like it might be settling in for a long wait. Maybe they really are going to gut the bureaucracy -- now that they know which parts of it they don't really want anyway.


Maggie's Farm reported today the death of John Bogle, who started the first index fund in 1976 to test the proposition that money managers could beat throwing darts at a dartboard. Bogle's skeptics at the time adopted the classic "stands to reason" thinking in assuring investors that of course money managers could beat the average consistently.  Bogle insisted on checking.

The Sense of the Senate

Sen. Ben Sasse just stole a march on his colleagues Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to Federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates clause 3 of article VI of the Constitution of the United States, which establishes that Senators "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support th[e] Constitiution," and "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The resolution passed without objection.

Reminding them of their oath was a very nice touch. Well done.

The Jihadist Threat from... FORSYTH COUNTY, GEORGIA?!?

Hasher Jallal Taheb sounds like the least-competent terrorist ever. He had never fired a gun, but intended to hit the West Wing with a rocket launcher he didn't actually have. He did find a helpful friend who said he'd help him out, naturally a Federal agent. (Anyone who offers to help you buy a rocket launcher, grenades, or a machine-gun without going through the proper licensing procedures is a Federal agent. Take it to the bank.)

He is said to be a man of Cumming, Georgia, which is the county seat of Forsyth County. That's where I grew up.

The place has changed a bit, these last few years.

Here's a story of the old days, when the last thing you'd have ever found in Forsyth County was a jihadi. It wasn't pure: you might have found a Klansman, and you certainly could find the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

Jihad, though, that's new.

Well, it was getting too crowded for me twenty years ago, what with Atlanta's population expanding into it. I expect that's what brought the jihad, too.

UPDATE: The NYT runs an editorial today called "There's Nothing Wrong With Open Borders." But of course that's nonsense; today's story shows that open borders pose challenges, at least, even when they're between different parts of America. Heck, even when they're between different parts of Georgia. Freedom of movement is a wonderful thing, but let's be honest about the challenges and problems associated with it.

Dissolve the FBI

I really like the way American Greatness is thinking big.
There may be one solution that preserves the patriotic agents who are protecting the nation while helping drain the Beltway swamp: dissolve the FBI, fire all the senior political operators still in the Hoover Building, and make the 56 FBI field offices across the nation—where the real agents work—the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigations division of the Department of Homeland Security.

This way we may prevent the next palace coup.
We are in a time in which significant reforms are needed.

"Cultural Marxism"

As is often the case, much depends on how one defines a phrase.
As a term of art, “cultural Marxism” has been in circulation for some time, and in recent years it has become a staple of outlets like Quillette. An article published there last summer, by the cultural studies graduate student Galen Watts, described it as a “social theory” holding “that culture (ideas, religious beliefs, values, etc.) is in the last instance determined by one’s position in a class or social hierarchy.” In other words, cultural Marxism is the belief that our tastes and preferences—the books we read and the museums we visit—are determined by our racial, gender, and economic positions.
That is definitely not what I mean when I use the term.

"Cultural Marxism," as I use the term, means the application of a specific move within Marxist analysis to culture. That specific move is the one Marx makes in asserting that all of human history, culture, society, and so on can be explained by the struggle between oppressor and oppressed. In true Marxism, this division is made between economic classes: those who own the means of production, and those who are forced (in one way or another) to work for those owners. Exactly how that struggle works changes as the mode of production change: Marx's analysis is that feudalism arose from agricultural means of production, with some lords and others serfs. The inadequacy of this explanation even to the historic institution of European serfdom, which is substantially different from the various sorts of outright slavery that existed elsewhere, should be a warning that the model is too simplistic even when applied exactly as intended by its original author.

Cultural Marxists apply the basic model of explaining reality in terms of an oppression struggle to something besides economic class. Usually it has been sex and race; lately it has been "gender." Many of these Cultural Marxists have been teaching in the academy, and their students likewise are trained to believe that you can account for Medieval history in terms of these categories of oppression just as readily as you can modern or contemporary history. The Patriarchy is eternal, and White People are awful even before they know about 'being white.'

As such I don't think it's in any way deterministic. People are taught to be Marxists, cultural or otherwise. They might have been taught better; they might yet learn how foolish their teachers have been.

I do think that it's a problem, indeed a very serious problem, but it's not the problem the deterministic model implies. If it were, the only solution would be to get rid of the people from the wrong groups (or at least exclude them from power). Because the problem is a creation of teaching, however, educational and experiential solutions are possible. There's no reason to think in terms of exclusion, let alone elimination.

Note, however, that the conclusion that we must be thinking in terms of exclusion or elimination does follow from their model for what the phrase means. If you let them define the terms, copping to a concern about the effects of "Cultural Marxism" in society is equivalent to copping to a desire for oppression or even genocide. The fact that they are teaching this may help to explain the hysterical reactions students of Cultural Marxism produce when they are brought face to face with a critic, even for an single evening's lecture at a campus venue.

A Jew Rejects Identity Politics

Are Jews white, white passing, or “people of color” (POC)? Dare Jews claim suffering or must we acknowledge privilege? Are we victims of racism or do we uphold racist systems? Do we support Israel or do we see it as evil? The language is wrong. The dichotomy is forced. It is a test we Jews cannot pass and remain true to ourselves....

I reject this attempt to pit Jews against one another, to divide us by color, and force allegiances based on made up values and newfangled language.

I reject all of this.

And I refuse to be told Zionism is racism, that supporting Israel means supporting oppression. I refuse to be saddled with other people’s sins, to let others define our story. We have a history, we have a present and if we want a future, we cannot let it be denied.
Good for you. Some of the rest of us can't pass the test either, although that's mostly because the test was drawn up to exclude us.

Still, how right this is: "I reject this attempt to pit [us] against one another, to divide us by color, and force allegiances based on made up values and newfangled language... to be saddled with other people's sins, to let others define our story... history... present... and if we want a future[.]"

No More Gun Control

Mark Overstreet at The Federalist writes against two bills the Democratic Party is pushing.

What's Best in (Western) Life

A writer asks after the Saudi teenager who defected to Canada and obtained asylum there, after she eats bacon for the first time:
Is eating bacon and drinking Starbucks freedom? Is that what's best about western lifestyle?
No, of course not. Bacon is good, of course, but...


I wasn't aware of this. The odds of it being a clever trap are, sadly, small; but if the right people become aware of it, it might become so even if it wasn't planned that way.
In only five more days of the already "longest government shutdown in history" (25 days and counting, as of today), a heretofore obscure threshold will be reached, enabling permanent layoffs of bureaucrats furloughed 30 days or more.

Don't believe me that federal bureaucrats can be laid off? Well, in bureaucratese, a layoff is called a RIF – a Reduction in Force – and of course, it comes with a slew of civil service protections. But, if the guidelines are followed, bureaucrats can be laid off – as in no more job.

Wretchard Asks, "What if It's Intentional?"

“He is going to discourage so many people in the next generation from ever going to work in Washington or working as a civil servant. Why in the hell should you go work in this craziness?”
You make a good point there. Fewer people should work for the government.


Some advice from an expert.

This decluttering thing must be a real phenomenon since even I've heard of it. My circle includes a number of people who are roundly outraged about the suggestion that you shouldn't have more than thirty books, and only those which 'spark joy.' (The philosophers in particular are put out with the idea that you shouldn't own books that should provoke serious thoughts but not joy, such as histories of totalitarianism or meditations on genocide.) I'm guessing you will all get the popular culture if I do, since I am about as removed from the stuff as it is possible to be without eliminating electricity or the internet.

Speaking My Language

A senior official writes with advice to the President on the shutdown:
...lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.


Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function...

Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.
Time to shrink the state.

Against American Football

American Football [is] a game of collisions and brute force that requires an entire chest of drawers of padding and equipment and a storm trooper helmet. More than a few professional football players will not even let their children participate in it. Everybody hates it.

Except the race of barbaric persons known collectively as Americans.
Spoiler: the author is in fact an American. Specifically, he's one of those white American males trying desperately to differentiate himself from the rest of 'them' that VDH was discussing.

Really, it's a classic of the genre.

...And Then I Lie To Myself For A While

It's OK, because it's 'meditation.' From a piece on morning routines:
Then I do some meditation, where I might recite some mantras. One of them is "all of my relationships are harmonious and full of love," which is good if you are working with difficult clients.
In the wintertime like it is now, I wake up and go downstairs. I put some coffee on, then I split some wood to rekindle the fire. Then I rekindle the fire.

Then I drink some strong black coffee. I might have a glass of water first, if I'm feeling dry. I go to work usually about the time the wife is starting in on the coffee.

In the summertime, it's just the coffee.

What Does 'Authentic' Mean Anyway?

VDH writes:
One common denominator, however, seems to govern today’s endless search for some sort of authenticity: a careerist effort to separate oneself from the assumed dominate and victimizing majority of white heterosexual and often Christian males.
Even before we got to the present moment, I always wondered what the 'authenticity' debate was really about. It seems to be an attempt to define yourself by adopting someone else's categories. A country music singer who wanted to be successful might well say that he was "an authentic cowboy," or in any case present himself as such, as if Roy Rogers hadn't already mocked that concept way back in 1943.

That song came from "King of the Cowboys," which was a classic example of Roy Rogers' particular approach to the genre. It wasn't an 1880s "Wild West" bit, it was set in its own present day. Are they cowboys? Well, yeah, in a way: "The Old Bar X is a barbecue."

In another way they were quite self-consciously performing an iconic role, for reasons of their own. Roy Rogers was definitely Roy Rogers. He had his own unique style and manner even within the context of the 'cowboy' genre of the 1940s-1960s. How much he was like the cowboy of the open range days was a question that amused even him. How much were any of them "authentic" cowboys?

You might think this is less applicable to whether or not one is 'authentically' a member of an ethnic group or a sexual minority, but I'm not sure. Really people are individuals, like Roy Rogers was. Membership in social groups is to some degree performative, just as playing a cowboy on the screen was. What does it mean to be "black," for example? Barack Obama was from a white family on his mother's side, even a cousin of George Washington's. On his father's side, well, his father was from Kenya in that generation. The whole thing we think of as 'the black experience' -- the Western passage, the heritage of slavery, Jim Crow, the long economic oppression in American cities -- neither side of his family experienced that. His father had some claim on a similar heritage of being oppressed by the British within Africa, and of course he had black skin. But what we normally think of as 'black American' experience had no role in Obama's heritage. Yet he performed as 'the first black American president,' and was accepted as quite authentically so by everyone.

At this point we've started to let people make performative exceptions even to their physical sex, and are treating the performance as more authentic than the genetics. What could authenticity mean in such a context?

It's got to mean that, like Roy Rogers, you're delivering a great performance. Which is to say that the word is a kind of contradiction in terms as we currently use it; to be authentic is to be great at constructing and presenting yourself as something. It's artifice, it's artificial, and yet the word we use for it has exactly the opposite connotation.