To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns

We attended a Burns Night supper this evening.

Robbie Burns

That’s a haggis, in case you’ve never actually seen one. Note that the supper did not serve a choice of beer or wine or whisky. All three were served together

To Fight Discrimination, Discrimination

On race and sex, but also national origin.
Wall Street's biggest underwriter of initial public offerings in the U.S. will no longer take a company public in the U.S. and Europe if it lacks a director who is either female or diverse. Asia is not yet included in the firm’s new policy.
Soft bigotry of low expectations, that last.

Le quatrième pouvoir, c'est moi

Lots of good links from Maggie's Farm this morning. Here's one about Laura Ingraham's report that the New York Times quashed a story about a White House meeting on the eve of Trump's inauguration, involving Eric Ciaramella and Ukrainian officials, and addressing the problem of Hunter Biden's Burisma connections.

Ingraham asked the NYT why they quashed the story. The answer was, in effect, we did it because it's what we do.

That's me, "fringe thinker"

Somebody better shut me down.
“YouTube, Reddit and Facebook have allowed fringe thinkers to bypass traditional gatekeepers and reach millions of people directly.”
I'm shocked to learn that conservative argument "gets clicks by generating fear and outrage, not by appealing to reason." That would never happen on the left.

I like the term "anti-establishment conservative content." These days it turns out I get to be conservative and anti-establishment at the same time, a childhood dream fulfilled. This one's good, too:
Senior CNN Reporter Oliver Darcy says citizens resist his reporting because they “just won’t digest facts.”
You can believe me, because I never lie, and I'm always right!

A monopoly on charity

The usual response by command-and-control monopolists to the anxiety that they'll be outcompeted by the private sector:
The same journalist who wrote the recent Time cover story also authored a book savaging philanthropy as “an elite charade” that does more harm than good, a tool of injustice in a rigged system, a means of suppressing dissent, a way of disguising merciless taking by appearing to give back. He attributes to donors every imaginable motive -- vanity, cynical reputation laundering, undemocratic manipulation, drop-in-the-bucket cheapness -- except altruism and good faith. For these fashionable arguments the work was anointed a “book of the year” by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and NPR.
Other critics make the same arguments. Philanthropic giving is “an undemocratic exercise of power” which should be wielded only by the state, says Stanford’s resident philanthropy academic. Even well-intentioned charitable efforts must be shut down, say the new activists, because they undercut the revenue and authority of the federal government. Powerful interests ranging from elite media to Democrats running for president insist that only government officials should be allowed to improve public welfare and reform society.

Sky Eyes

It is a surprising fact that, if you go up to the right height, roads and human construction become obviously visible though they may be thousands of years old. Though they may, in fact, be completely invisible if you are walking the land, from above you can see clearly where once men scarred the earth.

For example, spy satellites have recently discovered an older city than any on record — a city long forgotten. Robert E. Howard was right.

The buzz

The Bee reports on Schiff anxiety:
"When the Founders wrote that founding document thing, they never imagined there would be electoral outcomes that Democrats did not agree with."
Democrats also said they even have hard evidence that the 2016 election was compromised by Republicans voting for Trump.

That's something you don't hear very often

Something described as a "grinding" facility in NW Houston blew up early this morning, damaging houses in a surprisingly large radius.  Two deaths have been reported, apparently from right at the blast site.

Watching the local news coverage, I was struck by three things.  First, police and firefighter representatives are completely comfortable switching back and forth between fluent English and Spanish.  Second, the warning to potential looters was fierce and completely believable, including the advice to consider what happened to Harvey looters (a 20-year sentence, in one case).  Finally, residents were gently encouraged to search their yards and roofs for body parts.  That's a first for me.

The blast showed up clearly on weather radar, a signal covering several square miles.  Here's a shot from a front-porch security camera that was far enough away to require a couple of seconds for the shock wave to hit.

"I dreamed I saw Kurt Schlichter last night...."

[T]urn your anger into votes. The gunfascists got into power because far too many of you thought, “Oh, we’ve had Democrats in power in Virginia before and it’s no big deal.” Okay, wrong. The Democrats today are not the Democrats of yesterday.
And, as he advises, watch out for wusses in the Republican primaries, too.

Paid your own loans back? You're a chump

PowerLine reports candidate Warren's "Joe the Plumber" moment.
The Hill notes that the man cited his friend who makes more money than he does and, instead of paying off his loans, bought a car and went on expensive vacations.
“I saved my money,” the man said. “He made more than I did. I worked a double shift, worked extra … so you’re laughing at me.”
Warren's riposte was devastating:
“No I’m not,” Warren responded.

Iran's Failure

Jim Hanson (formerly "Uncle Jimbo" of BLACKFIVE fame) has a piece on the failure of Iran to extend itself across the Levant.  Their strategic situation has become much worse thanks to the Trump administration, even apart from the Suleimani killing.

A Peaceful Insurgency

Colonel Kurt on the way forward in Virginia.

Conservative Democracy

A defense at First Things.

Hail, RE Howard!

Today was his birthday. Let’s re-up Joel’s essay on his Conan stories as American mythology.

ANTIFA Did Make it Out to the VA March

And they were doing good work there, even. Recognizing a famous Holocaust denier, they challenged him and kept him from blending in and seeming acceptable.

I think it’s nice that we can come together on opposing tyrants like this dude, and that other dude in blackface or the Klan outfit.

The Definition of Tyranny

D29 left an interesting article in the comments below. It's an argument that much of what the regulatory state does is beyond unconstitutional, it's anti-constitutional. This is because it undoes the constitutional design of separation of powers, instead concentrating the three functions of government in the hands of unelected agencies like the Federal Trade Commission.

It's worth a read.

No More Peaceful Transfers of Power

Rep. Schiff confesses that there will be no acceptance that Trump "fairly" won the election later this year by members of his party.

What's stopping them from nominating someone besides Biden, if this Ukraine stuff is really such a big damage to Biden? There are plenty of other candidates, and no votes have yet been cast. There's no reason any of this Biden/Ukraine stuff should affect the November election at all. Run Bernie instead. Run Tulsi. Heck, run Yang. At least if he's called upon to defend America as President, he knows how to throw a fair axe.

Speaking of Tulsi, be sure to read her complaint suing Hillary Clinton for defamation. I suppose they won't be able to run her in November because of her questionable suicide.

Top vs. Bottom

A review.
That exposes Levin’s deep misunderstanding of today’s populism. It is not antinomian, it just wants laws to be made by legislatures, not executives, judges, or (worst of all) unaccountable bureaucrats. It is not mistrustful of all authority, just those authorities that have made themselves unaccountable to the very laws and bylaws they wield against others.

And it is not fundamentally cynical, just distrustful of elites with overgrown senses of entitlement and superiority.
Levin also misunderstands the culture war to which he frequently refers. He views the culture war as an epic struggle between partisans of the Left and Right that has knocked valuable institutions off the rails. Journalism, politics, academia, professional societies, religions: these institutions and others have been “deformed...into the contours of the broader culture war” to their detriment, and ours.

But institutions are not innocent bystanders in this war. They are the warriors. It is political parties, the media, corporations, and universities that have created, expanded, and sustained the culture war against tradition, evolved practice, received wisdom, and common sense. Today’s culture war is less a struggle between Left and Right than a war of Top against Bottom.

From the endless annals of weakly based scientific truisms

Radiation exposure is the worst thing that ever happened, only apparently not really.  Wildlife near the truly awful Chernobyl disaster does surprisingly well, as does wildlife near the Fukushima evacuation zone.
What should we take from all this? That humans are more detrimental to animals' survival than nuclear radiation?
Not to mention human abandonment of their own pet animals.  And let me put in a word for the devastating impact of human poverty on both wild and domestic animals and, indeed, nature in general.  We're focusing on the wrong enemy here, as we so often do.

A sidenote on the subject of anti-science:  the level of public debate on vaccines is discouraging.  No wonder we have Michael Mann and Greta Thunberg.

Woke schtick?

Now, is this fair?  Freddy Gray argues in the Spectator that the super-trendy progressives he encounters in public life turn out to be reasonable people in private interactions--in fact, that they are exploiting a persona for gig income, as an outrageous comic might do.

I have no doubt that there's a lot of this going around, the PC version of televangelist Jim Bakker, no more real than Chewbacca.  But is it really true of most coworkers who obsessively share woke memes on social media?  Are they only adopting protective coloration to avoid being pecked to death at the office, or do they believe that stuff?

Whether the beliefs are thoroughly examined at held at the deepest level I can't say, but I'd guess people in general--people outside show biz, at least--mean a good bit of what they say.  To suggest that they're all faking, and congratulating them for being sensible in their private views, seems more of a gratuitous insult.

That must have ruffled some feathers

The President's non-impeachment speech yesterday to the Davoisie:
This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good embrace the possibilities of tomorrow we must reject the perennial profits of doom and their warnings about the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers...they want to see us do badly, but we won't let that happen. They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s and the end of oil in the 1990s. These alarmists always demand the same thing - absolute power to dominate transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty. America will always be the proud, strong and unyielding bastion of freedom.

Cowboy Poetics

Colorado's having a Cowboy Poetry festival. The one older lady is singing a tune that was ironic even when Georgia native Johnny Mercer wrote it in the 1930s. It's all about how he's 'an old cowhand' in a world in which that's lost at least its original meaning: a cowboy who never saw a cow, who learned his cowboy songs from the radio, where the old Bar-X is a barbecue.

Roy Rogers made it famous, though, while rescuing all that for the next generation. It was huge in the 1950s, and still going in the 1970s. Time may come again.

Warning Order: Time to Prepare for Burns Night

It's the 25th, which is Saturday.

If you'd like that in less accented English, try this one.

My favorite of his works is, of course, Scots Wha Hae.
'Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gory bed,
Or tae victorie.

'Now's the day, an now's the hour:
See the front o battle lour,
See approach proud Edward's power –
Chains and Slaverie.

'Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn an flee.

'Wha, for Scotland's king and law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or Freeman fa,
Let him on wi me.

'By Oppression's woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free.

'Lay the proud usurpers low,
Tyrants fall in every foe,
Liberty's in every blow! –
Let us do or dee.
This is the moment that ends Braveheart, with Robert the Bruce giving an appeal to a poem not yet written.

It's a terrible movie in so many ways. It knows nothing about the customs or costumes, tactics or weapons; the Battle of Stirling Bridge lacks a bridge, and the Battle of Bannockburn lacks the Bannockburn. They got everything wrong, except the one thing that matters most.

“Criminal-Like Behavior”?

Don’t give them any ideas, Dershowitz.

I don’t find the argument strong. Treason and bribery aren’t “criminal-like,” they are crimes. The law is too complex and all-entwining as it is. If they’d been patient and careful, they would have found some crime. As their own manager admitted today, however, they were worried it wouldn’t happen before the election.

Congress makes the law. If they didn’t get around to making a law against whatever it is they don’t like, that’s on them. Goodness knows they have made enough other frivolous laws, in addition to the perfectly good ones we inherited.

UPDATE: The Devil you say!

If you're going to San Francisco

Be sure not to leave anything in your car.  "Inside Edition" journalists left bait on back seats with surveillance devices:
The “Inside Edition” crew used its tracker to find the thieves. They confronted the duo as they entered a train station.
* * *
Eventually, the man abandoned the [tracking] speaker. “Inside Edition” then tracked the stolen purse to a garbage can.
But while all of this was going on, thieves broke into the crew’s car and stole the camera equipment. As a result, five million people won’t see either theft, and “Inside Edition” is out thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
San Francisco has a new prosecutor, Chesa Boudin. His parents are murderers and he was raised by the notorious radicals (and criminals) Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Price Controls: Good or Bad?

Bernie Sanders was just today renewing his call for 'nationwide rent control,' but for some reason it was a negative for Mayor Pete.
Pressed by Times editorial board member Binyamin Appelbaum about his work for a Canadian grocery chain that was fixing bread prices, Buttigieg was defensive in a way he hasn’t been for much of the campaign, uttering a swear (“bullshit”). Appelbaum’s dead-voiced rejoinder—“You worked for a company that was fixing bread prices”—forced Buttigieg to make the distinction that he merely consulted for the company and never, you know, actually fixed the prices.
I understand why I think it's a bad idea to fix the prices of bread, exceptis excipiendis, but what's the issue for the New York Times? The price was fixed too high? Above zero?

Good Job, Virginia

Today's "Lobby Day" rally by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, joined by at least ten thousand others, was peaceful and patriotic.

Hopefully the message was received.

UPDATE: BB: Tragedy when no violence in occurs at rally.

I hope they've got food-tasters

The Bee is getting a little too close for comfort.
We must look to socialism, where wealth isn't created just to be distributed unevenly, but rather isn't created at all.

Bad Day for Warren

NYT endorses her... and also fourth-tier Klobuchar.

UPDATE: New Republic says it's a 'charade' that was 'undermined' by the dual endorsement. Don't you make things better if you undermine a charade? Apparently not.

Tasks for the next generation of biologists

I wish I'd had this guy for a college professor.

I often tout his books, and wish he'd write more of them.  He's a very talented popularizer.

Economic raving

Everything would be great if only the government could take over the economy and make it rational:
Last year, the S+P 500 rose by 29%, the NASDAQ by 35%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 22%. Middle-class Americans are increasingly reliant on their 401(k)s and pensions to live comfortably during retirement. Millions of other Americans depend on college-savings funds to help pay for their kids' educations. And even those without a stock portfolio benefit from a vibrant market, which generates profits that are invested in hiring, innovation and salaries while helping move money from unprofitable sectors to more profitable ones.
This chaotic churning of money turns off technocrats. Rather than taking the view that the growing economy is a messy but neutral marketplace where ingenuity and opportunity can create comfort and wealth, they see it as a giant pile of money that should be "invested" in massive, state-mandated social engineering projects. As far as I can tell, both Sanders and Warren are interested in effectively nationalizing large chunks of the health care and energy sectors.
And yet the media continue to cover the Democratic primary debates where such ideas are the currency of the realm as if they were completely normal.


Northam reminded everyone that Virginia is his state, his choice, and that it's not a state full of American citizens with God-given rights unless he declares it to be so.
He was frightened, however, to learn that Virginians own guns and can defend themselves if threatened by callous governments, unlike unborn babies.