Great News

 Thanks to the Army, I've had the MMR vaccine at least three times.  I should be solid. 

Next Best Thing

Here's a Hank Jr. tune.


I said he wasn't around for the Outlaw Country heyday of the early 70s, but this is 1967 so I guess he put out some stuff in the old days too. He was very young, though, compared to the legends of the genre. Like Arlo Guthrie at Woodstock; just about the same age, in fact.

God and the Military

No offense, Reverend, but I've known a fair number of chaplains who would disagree with you here. In fact I own two military-issued Bibles, complete with unit insignia printed on the cover. 

There's some tension between Mt. 6:24, the apparent source for this admonition, and Mt. 22:21 (or the parallel Luke verse) about rendering unto Caesar.  You can't serve two masters; but perhaps you can serve one at a time. 

Alternatively, you can adopt the traditional answer (for Catholics and Muslims alike, as it happens, although they differ on important details) that the leader of the military has a kind of divinely-appointed duty:  to protect the weak, uphold the law, ensure the peace, and so forth. Thus, service to one is a kind of service to the other. 

Theories: A Quick Ranking

 There are a number of theories about the election, not all of them equally good. Some should be discarded at once; others merit investigation.

Here is a quick sketch of a view. Feel free to opine in the comments about others, or about why you do or don't agree with my list.


"Scorecard"/"Hammer" theories. These are nonsense. 

Auditing Georgia's absentee signatures. The President keeps talking about this. It's a great idea in principle, but in practice it's impossible because they set up the system to separate the envelope signatures from the ballots and discard the signed envelopes. There's no way to audit this aspect of the election, just as they intended, the scoundrels.

Take Seriously:

Dominion. This one has robust bipartisan support, at least if you abstract from the current moment and look at recent years. It drew a great deal of hostile coverage from the media, including from PBS; Elizabeth Warren was hotly opposed to it. Also, Wretchard thinks the system is fundamentally insecure, and he's a tech-centric guy and one of the smartest writers out there. 

Georgia uses Dominion for the non-absentee votes, by the way, which means it ought to be a bipartisan issue even in the current moment. The Democrats would like to win the January 5 Senate runoffs, and how can they have confidence that the vote will be fair in a Republican-held state with a Republican governor and Secretary of State, and no less a governor than Kemp, whom they already regard as a chief voter fraud agent?

3 AM Election Drops: There were apparently several of these, all massively to 100% in favor of Biden, often in numbers sufficient to overcome Trump election-night margins. So too similar stories of corruption attested-to in sworn affidavits by people who were there to know what they saw.

Wild Turnout: Turnout was high this election, but some places it was far higher than in others. That is worth a look.

Joe-Only Ballots: These look a lot like fakery. Who stands in line, or goes to the trouble to apply for a ballot, and then votes in only one race? One goofball, ok, but 95,000 of them in a single state?

Statistical Evidence: Trump won all but one bellweather county; he won Florida and Ohio and North Carolina; the Republicans won all 27 'toss-up' Congressional races. He increased his vote count by 10 million, doubled his percentage of the black vote, and increased among Latinos strongly enough to win Florida and the border of Texas on the strength of their votes. Democrats almost lost the House of Representatives and are skin-of-their-teeth in having a Republican Senate too. 

That kind of thing suggests Republicans had a really good year. Trump is personally hated by many, but not generally by Republicans. Supposedly Biden won on the strength of turnout -- but Trump had people standing in freezing weather, in a pandemic, for massive rallies every city he went to. If the story is to be believed, Biden had no coat-tails for a guy who drove the biggest turnout ever; Trump had coat-tails, but no coat.

Just a running list of thoughts for now. Feel free to add, or try to subtract.

The Cleverlys?

"Walk Like an Egyptian" bluegrass style

PoMo Vampires

The ZOOM-recorded meltdown in which a Wayne County Ruling Party canvassing board operative soft-doxxed the children of two unruly board members ("nice kids, wouldn't want to see anything happen to them") calls to mind this excerpt from Richard Bledsoe's Remodern America:
Postmodernists compensate for the lack of a genuine inner life by showing off what they think is expected of them. Postmodernists pretend to feel whatever their situational ethics informs them is the politically correct way to feel. Their stance is perpetual posturing.
In this delusional state, they misname their ravenous appetite for domination as “pragmatism.” Their version of pragmatism basically means they get their way, always. Yet their position is essentially one of weakness. Having no substance of their own, they are reduced to living vampire-like, trying to suck resources and obedience out of society, while offering nothing useful in return.
It’s hard to get normal people to cooperate with this hunger, since Postmodernists are fundamentally bottomless maws in desperate need of validation. There is no end to their demands. But the Postmodernists have a strategy for petty tyranny so simple it’s known to two year olds; they whip their unregulated emotions into what they hope is an intimidating frenzy.
Imagine a moral and intellectual bankruptcy so profound you can achieve your political goals only by branding your enemies' children as racist for the purpose of calling down mob violence on them.

Hank Jr. At the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is an establishment in Jackson, Wyoming. I was there once in 2015. It has barstools made out of saddles, and a lot of relics on display. It also has quite a history of hosting Outlaw Country greats -- note the Waylon and Willie cards in the displays below.

Tomorrow night, it will host Hank Williams, Jr. for his second show there. The first one was in 1980. It's already too late to get tickets for the small live show, even if you happen to be in Jackson Hole, but you can livestream it tomorrow evening here.

Hank Jr. is seventy-one this year, a little too young to have been part of the musical movement's heyday in the 1970s. Fortunately, though, he's still around.

Gjellestad Dig

 Smithsonian magazine has an update on the dig in Norway into the Viking-age elite.


I started off May buying a brand new thumper.  This is where I'm at today.  Have it kitted out for back-country camping.  It's been one fun year.    


The author of xkcd celebrates an important anniversary. 

Irony and Antifa

 Talking with another friend, who is Antifa-aligned, she was ranting about this weekend's Trump marches in D.C. She characterized them as offensive because of the claimed focus by some of them on trying to destroy the makeshift BLM memorial fence (or, as the Trump protesters phrased it, 'clean up litter on public property').

"I confronted them and told them they were bad guests," she said. "Can you imagine coming into someone's town and destroying their memorials to the dead?"

"Are you kidding me?" I said, taken aback. "Going to people's towns and destroying their statutes and memorials is what your people have been doing for a year!"

"Those had white supremacist ties."

"Ulysses Grant?"

"That one shouldn't have happened, and we confronted the people who took it down afterwards to explain."

"Abraham Lincoln?" 

I didn't get anywhere with this conversation, as it was apparently impossible to convey that her outrage was completely parallel to their own. She thinks of their heroes as white supremacists, justifying the destruction of their statues; they think of the pictures on that fence as a collection of mostly criminals. 

In fact they are mostly criminals, just as in fact many of the statues depict people who held slaves in their lifetimes. Neither side can see that the other side isn't trying to honor the bad parts, but the exemplary aspects of the person's life. It's impossible to find a human being to honor who didn't do anything that is unworthy. It's rare to find one worthy of any kind of honor. Yet it is important -- it is necessary -- that we show honor to those who are worthy of it.

As Malcolm Reynolds put it, "It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind son of a bitch or another. Ain’t about you... It’s about what they need."

"How Dare You Suggest Election Fraud?"

 I can attest that I'm seeing left-leaning contacts on Facebook discussing these sorts of plans for getting people to 'move' to Georgia temporarily to vote in the Senate runoffs. It'd be easier to accept that they'd never countenance an attack on the sanctity of our elections if they didn't plan it right in front of us.

Those darn effective messages

Florida Democrats are unhappy with party messaging.
“Given the fact every Hispanic voter is either directly or [has] indirectly gone through their own experience as a victim of a socialist or communist regime, the potency around the branding of a political party as the second coming of socialism or communism in the United States is very effective,” Miami-based pollster Fernand Amandi said.
. . .
“Donald Trump did not make any bones about what he was running on and voters here said they wanted more of that,” said Raymond Paultre, a consultant aligned with The Alliance, a loosely aligned collection of progressive Florida donors. “That is disheartening.”
. . .
Centrists, who traditionally have made up the party’s base of power in Florida, say a lurch to the left will decisively doom the party’s chances of taking the governor’s mansion in 2022.
. . .
“I’m not a f---ing socialist,” Pizzo later said in an interview. “My life is a manifestation of the American dream. I believe in free markets.”
Maybe you belong to the wrong party?

Truth doesn't work, let's try something else

I couldn't even bring myself to read a Salon article entitled "Enough with "both sides"! Faux-neutral journalism is no way to fight the truth-deniers."

Unity or homogeneity?

Back when racial politics stumbled on the idea of solidarity among all "people of color," they were probably onto something. It's not a terrible idea to try to find common ground with all the different people who feel left out of the game. That was before the idea morphed into the absurd notion that any organizer was wise to pretend to himself that all people of color naturally had the same view of the "system" that by definition disrespects and excludes them, and that they would vote as a bloc no matter how crazy the organizer's platform got. It's not a package deal. They're entitled to unbundle the suite. They'll probably keep unbundling it even if you accuse them of racism or treason for leaving the reservation.

A Kolakovic moment

From "A Quiet Totalitarian Movement" by Rod Dreher:
In 1943, a Croatian priest named Tomislav Kolakovic escaped the Gestapo, and took refuge in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Father Kolakovic began teaching in the Catholic university there, and told his students that after the Germans were defeated, the Soviets would rule their country. The Communists would come after the Church, he said — and he meant to get the young people ready for resistance, while they still had the freedom to strategize.
Slovak bishops chastised Father Kolakovic, saying that he was being alarmist. The priest didn’t listen to them. He knew the Communist mind, because he had studied it to prepare for missionary work in the Soviet Union. Father Kolakovic’s young followers came together in cells scattered across the country to pray, to discuss what was happening in their country, and to lay out plans of action. His method was a simple one: See, Judge, Act. That is, open your eyes to what is really happening in your country, come together to discern the meaning, and what you are all called to do to respond to it — then do it.
In 1948, Czech Communists staged a putsch. Shortly after, they began to persecute the Church, just as Father Kolakovic, who had expelled from the country two years earlier, had prophesied. The network the visionary priest built became the backbone of the underground church, and the only meaningful opposition to totalitarianism for the next forty years.

And so it begins

 And so it begins; the pushing of "reasonable" gun control.  Reading through those bills, I don't find any of that reasonable.  Thankfully democrats did not make any gains in the pro-2nd Amendment Texas legislature.  Even worse, for them, the 2021 legislative session will feature redistricting, which will not happen again until 2031. 

Maybe we can finally get rid of Queen Sheila.

Art I Sec 8 Clauses 2 & 5

 A US Senator actually said out loud that he opposes a FED nominee because he's afraid she might give control of the money supply to Congress.

Game theory and the "Chump Effect"

Society ignores the Chump Effect at its peril.

Is the "Socialist" tag unfair?

I didn't follow the Florida races closely, so I have no idea whether the press or the Republicans callously misrepresented Donna Shalala, as Bill Scher asserts.
Shalala made an unforced error when she called herself in an October TV interview a “pragmatic socialist,” which her opponent gleefully used in a late attack ad. Shalala clearly misspoke; in the same interview she said, “I’m as far from being a socialist as anyone that you’ll ever meet. I’m a capitalist.” But while it was disingenuous for her opponent to use the truncated clip, if Shalala had a deeper connection with her district, the attack wouldn’t have stuck so easily.
Still, if I'd heard Shalala make both those statements, it would take more than the press or her opponent being fair to her to make me think she could be trusted in office. One or the other, if not both, has to be a lie or pandering, if not both.

It's a Mystery

Gun control support drops sharply to 4 year low, Gallup finds. "Whyever would that be?" asks Hot Air.

Source on Differential Cities

I've seen this claim on social media that Biden underperformed Clinton's 2016 numbers everywhere but a few swing state cities, but here's an actual source for it. The source is Richard Baris of Big Data Poll. He's cited by another writer cited by this writer. It's hard to track things back given all the noise around this stuff.

It's not that nice kind of socialism

I picked this up from HotAir, but as far as I can tell it's a snippet from the New York Times, which I won't link to. Still, if it is the NYT, someone's hearing something he'd rather not hear:
The “average white person,” Mr. Gonzalez added, may associate socialism with Nordic countries, but to Asian and Hispanic migrants it recalls despotic “left-wing regimes.”…
To make matters worse, that Nordic "socialism" took a hard U-turn on the socialism thing some time back, which is why they still have an economy.

The Fury of the Fatherless

From First Things:
Like Edmund in King Lear, who despised his half-brother Edgar, these disinherited young are beyond furious. Like Edmund, too, they resent and envy their fellows born to an ordered paternity, those with secure attachments to family and faith and country.
That last point is critical. Their resentment is why the triply dispossessed tear down statues not only of Confederates, but of Founding Fathers and town fathers and city fathers and anything else that looks like a father, period. It is why we see generational vituperation toward the Baby Boomers, like the diss of “OK, Boomer” and the epithet “Karen.” It is why bands of what might be called “chosen protest families” disrupt actual family meals. It is why BLM disrupts bedroom communities late at night, where real, non-chosen families are otherwise at peace.

The stink of fear

It's not exactly Atticus Finch, is it?
Why go all-out, launching a boycott campaign targeting Jones Day, and doxxing lawyers, if the whole thing is futile? If Trump can't win, then conservatives are just wasting money that won't be spent on protecting the Senate majority in Georgia?

Winning over the unindoctrinated

David Shor draws lessons from the 2020 election results and concludes that it doesn't look good for credentialed progressives for the next 10 years:
But if we can’t reduce the structural biases that have appeared in the last ten years by changing the rules of the game, we will have to make the hard choice of changing our party so that we can appeal to these non-college-educated voters who are turning against us.
. . .
Turnout was up, but it was up for both parties. According to Nate Cohn’s estimates, Black turnout was probably up by around 8 percent, but non-Black turnout was up by something like 15 to 20 percent. So we had the highest-turnout election in a century, and despite that, we still only won because a bunch of people switched their votes in our direction.
Well, a bunch of people switched a bunch of people's votes in his direction, but the question is, were they the same people?
So the median voter in the presidential election is about 50 years old, watches about six hours of TV a day, and mostly gets their news from mainstream sources. And that means that, if you want to influence what this person believes, you’re probably not going to get them at the door or even through a paid message. They’re going to form their opinions based on how the media reports on and characterizes the parties.
Luckily, that generally works like a charm for the Party of Highly Intelligent College Types, but there is a dark undercurrent of doubt:
I think the reality now is that whenever any elected Democrat goes out and says something that’s unpopular, unless the rest of the party very forcefully pushes back — in a way that I think is actually very rare within the Democratic Party currently — every Democrat will face an electoral penalty. And that’s awkward. . . . I think that the only option that we have is to move toward the median voter. And I think that really comes down to embracing the popular parts of our agenda and making sure that no one in our party is vocally embracing unpopular things. I know that sounds reactionary.
The upshot:
And we also still have a chance to limit how much we need to compromise by winning in Georgia and then passing sweeping structural reforms. But if we don’t, then the reality is that the median voter who gets to determine Senate control is going to remain a non-college-educated 55-year-old in a pretty Republican state who voted for Donald Trump. Probably twice. That’s who we’ll need to win over in order to govern.
Good luck with that, unless you start lying a lot more effectively. And sure enough:
When you think through the optimization problem of, “How do we enact the most left-wing legislation possible without running over these trip wires that will make the public turn against us,” one part of it is that there are things that poll badly but are low salience. . . . And then there are also a lot of accounting gimmicks that are very promising. I will point out that we actually did finance a very large section of the ACA by nationalizing the entire student-loan industry.
Apparently these lies have been successfully market-tested on the Smart Credentialed demographic.

I always thought I got a decent education--but my alma mater wasn't like this when I was there.