Yale: Official Commitments to Academic Freedom Don't Represent Who We Are as a University

'We're more of a woke kind of place, really.' 

"What are Yale’s promises worth? If we are to believe its lawyers in court a few weeks ago, they’re not worth that fancy paper the Woodward report is printed on."

The princess and the pea

"Come and get me, copper!" I guess we're talking about psychic violence, because otherwise I can't make much sense of allegations of terrorism against soccer moms who raise their voices at school board meetings.
So [in] this crazy time that we’re living in, I can’t even believe it’s happening, you really learn who’s willing to put their boots on your neck, given the opportunity. And when this is all over, we all need to remember who those people were, because we can’t trust them anymore.
Our local schools are nothing to write home about, but the school board doesn't have jackbooted goons on it, either.

Grim's Barbecue Sauce

Tonight I'm making pulled pork and smoked chicken for my guests, the pork being a Boston butt seared on the grill and then slow cooked overnight in the crock pot. I like barbecue as a meal for traveling guests (at least those who are not ethical vegetarians -- I'm not quite sure what I'll feed her yet) because it can enhance the touring experience. Barbecue is a food with many regional sauce variations, and some cooking variations, so you can show outsiders both what the barbecue is like here and what it is like in various regions nearby.

I secured the local barbecue sauce from the firefighter who makes it for the annual VFD fundraiser barbecue. It's more vinegar-based than I like myself, but it is locally very popular. Across the border in South Carolina they make a mustard-based sauce, and across the border in Tennessee they make a ketchup-based sauce.

I grew up in the Great State of Georgia, though, so I make a Georgia-style sauce that is spicy and slightly sweet. I thought some of you might like to try it. I never measure anything, so measurements are somewhat guesswork -- if you make it yourself add more of whatever you think you'd like more of, and less if you'd like less of it.

Grim's Barbecue Sauce

1 can (8 oz) tomato paste
Several cups brewed black coffee
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chipotle powder (a smaller amount of cayenne would be more typical for a Georgia sauce, but the larger quantity of chipotle adds to the smoky flavor)
1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
1 tsp chili powder (or just ancho chili powder)
1 tsp black pepper
Small shot, Apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste

Scrape the tomato paste out of the can and into a warm (not hot) cast iron pan (or you can do it in a crockpot on low heat). Dissolve the tomato paste in hot black coffee. When I'm doing it, I use French roasted coffee, make more coffee than usual that morning, and leave it to cook down for hours until it is very strong. Dissolve sugar and molasses into this mixture, tasting to ensure it is sweet enough but not sweeter than you'd like. (You might try dividing the tablespoon into three teaspoons if you'd like a not-very-sweet sauce, and adding one of each until it's where you want it. As I said, I'm only guessing about how much I use anyway.)

After you get the sweetness where you want it, add the spices, adjusting as you like until it suits your particular preference.

Cook over low heat until the sugars caramelize, adding more brewed black coffee as necessary to thin it so it doesn't burn. You can also thin it with more apple cider vinegar if you think you'd enjoy a brighter, more acidic flavor. Once the sugars are caramelized properly, you can allow it to thicken. Remove from heat and serve. 

Alternatively, you can double the recipe and cook it all together with the meat in the crock pot. That will give it a much meatier flavor as the sauce will absorb the juices from the pork. 

UPDATE: I often add oregano or sage to it once it boils, especially if they're in season.

Childproof caps

I never thought I'd come to enjoy Matt Taibbi so much. 

This was the beginning of an era in which editors became convinced that all earth’s problems derived from populations failing to accept reports as Talmudic law. It couldn’t be people were just tuning out papers for a hundred different reasons, including sheer boredom. It had to be that their traditional work product was just too damned subtle. The only way to avoid the certain evil of audiences engaging in unsupervised pondering over information was to eliminate all possibility of subtext, through a new communication style that was 100% literal and didactic. Everyone would get the same news and also be instructed, often mid-sentence, on how to respond.

Sleepwalking into disaster

Ezra devotes a great deal of this very interesting political analysis of pollster-strategist David Shor to bemoaning the fact that Democrats are pushing policies that voters should love but in fact hate, and to evaluating competing strategies for finding a way of talking about unpopular policies so that voters see the light and fall in line.  Failing that, to hiding the Dems views on toxic subjects.  Sadly, voters sometimes resist falling in line and even, horrifyingly, find out what Dems really are like to do and therefore vote for the bad people on the right.

Shor’s critics [including Michael Podhorzer, the longtime political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.] argue that he’s too focused on the popularity of what Democrats say, rather than the enthusiasm it can unleash. When pressed, Podhorzer called this theory “viralism” and pointed to Trump as an example of what it can see that popularism cannot. “A lot of things Trump did were grossly unpopular but got him enormous turnout and support from the evangelical community,” Podhorzer said. “Polling is blind to that. Politics isn’t just saying a thing at people who’re evaluating it rationally. It’s about creating energy. Policy positions don’t create energy.”
Podhorzer also pointed to Biden: “He’s done much more than I thought he’d be able to do. All the things he’s doing are popular. And yet he’s underwater.”
I'm not sure how to account for Podhorzer's belief that "all the things Biden's doing are popular," unless he means that they're popular with his buddies. The polls have been brutal lately across the entire board, from COVID strategy to Afghanistan to taxing and spending to the border to Biden's character and mental decline. In any case, Dem strategists betray a strange disconnect from the idea that they are accountable to voters, tending instead to view themselves as doctors who need to slip us a mickey so they can undertake massive reconstructive surgery that we'll thank them for later.
What does create energy, Podhorzer thinks, is fear of the other side. His view is that Democrats’ best chance, even now, is to mobilize their base against Trump and everything he represents. “The challenge in 2022 is to convince people that they’re again voting on whether or not the country is going in a Trumpist direction,” he said.
What he doesn't see, presumably, is the kind of fear his own party creates in its opponents, though he and his friends will speak casually about how much conservative Hispanics turn from blue to red because they fear job destruction, border chaos, and socialism.
This is an argument Shor is happy to have. “I think the conventional wisdom has swung too far toward believing policy isn’t important,” he said. He agrees that enthusiasm matters, but it has to be enthusiasm for a message that doesn’t alienate the undecided. “A lot of politics is about what you talk about,” he told me. You should sort your ideas, he said, by popularity. “Start at the top, and work your way down to find something that excites people. But I think that what actually happens is people sort by excitement first. And the problem is the things that are most exciting to activists and journalists are politically toxic.”
This can read as an affront to those who want to use politics to change Americans’ positions on those issues. “The job of a good message isn’t to say what’s popular but to make popular what needs to be said,” Shenker-Osorio told me.


 I wonder if there were any energy policies we might have been pursuing that could have avoided some of this trouble?

A "global energy crisis caused by weather" is one way to put it, if you want to obscure the fact that the weather in question is cold, while still beating this drum: "Further complicating the picture is mounting pressure on governments to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy as world leaders prepare for a critical climate summit in November."

Just keep digging that hole.

Maricopa County: Yes, We Deleted Election Data

This hearing is lawyerly but brutal. The congressman gets them to admit that they deleted the data ("but we archived it") and did not turn over subpoenaed data to the audit ("because they did not subpoena our archives, only our servers"). It turns out, though, that the data was deleted after the subpoenas arrived.

Then he gets them to intimate that this 'archiving' of data is just standard practice due to the needs of clearing out space on servers for the next election. "Can you explain, then," he asks only after giving them all this rope, "why the records from earlier elections are still present?"


On Scots

An anonymous commenter left a link to an interesting article on the Scots language. I love linguistic history, and Scotland and things Scottish, so it was well-placed here. There is, however, an important omission in the history as presented.
Scots arrived in what is now Scotland sometime around the sixth century. Before then, Scotland wasn’t called Scotland, and wasn’t unified in any real way, least of all linguistically. It was less a kingdom than an area encompassing several different kingdoms, each of which would have thought itself sovereign—the Picts, the Gaels, the Britons, even some Norsemen. In the northern reaches, including the island chains of the Orkneys and the Shetlands, a version of Norwegian was spoken. In the west, it was a Gaelic language, related to Irish Gaelic. In the southwest, the people spoke a Brythonic language, in the same family as Welsh. The northeasterners spoke Pictish, which is one of the great mysterious extinct languages of Europe; nobody really knows anything about what it was.
The Anglian people, who were Germanic, started moving northward through England from the end of the Roman Empire’s influence in England in the fourth century. By the sixth, they started moving up through the northern reaches of England and into the southern parts of Scotland. Scotland and England always had a pretty firm border, with some forbidding hills and land separating the two parts of the island. But the Anglians came through, and as they had in England, began to spread a version of their own Germanic language throughout southern Scotland.

There was no differentiation between the language spoken in Scotland and England at the time; the Scots called their language “Inglis” for almost a thousand years. But the first major break between what is now Scots and what is now English came with the Norman Conquest in the mid-11th century, when the Norman French invaded England....

Norman French began to change English in England, altering spellings and pronunciations and tenses. But the Normans never bothered to cross the border and formally invade Scotland, so Scots never incorporated all that Norman stuff. It would have been a pretty tough trip over land, and the Normans may not have viewed Scotland as a valuable enough prize. Scotland was always poorer than England, which had a robust taxation system and thus an awful lot of money for the taking.

“When the languages started to diverge, Scots preserved a lot of old English sounds and words that died out in standard English,” says Kay. 

Now if that were true, Scots would be nearly as incomprehensible to Modern English speakers as Old English and significantly moreso than Middle English. Middle English is the form of English that resulted after the Norman Conquest changed the language of the English court to French, so that the common people began of necessity to adapt to a lot of French sounds, words, and concepts. In fact the bulk of Modern English's words are Romance words that came into the language through the Anglo-French lords who followed the Norman conquest, though the most common used words are old Germanic words from the original language. 

In fact, Scots is at least as easy to comprehend as a modern English speaker as is Middle English -- probably rather moreso. There are two reasons why this is true. 

First, the account omits the English conquest of Scotland by Edward I "Longshanks," and second, it omits that the nobility of Scotland was even prior to that Anglo-Scottish and intermarried with the Anglo-Normans. Thus, even in the north the Scots language was being influenced by French in parallel with the southern English. As a result, Scots is more like Middle English than Old English both in vocabulary and in difficulty of cross-comprehension with Modern English. 

Scotland benefitted from this familiarity with French in several respects over the centuries. It gave outlaw Scottish lords a place to go during the long War of Independence, and a place to which they could appeal for support. After the Scottish victory under Robert the Bruce, Scotland and France developed warm ties and trade relations. In the Hundred Years War, they were frequently allied against the English.

The English did later try to suppress Scottish culture, as the article goes on to suggest; and yet the French ties remained. The Jacobites who supported the kings who went south to rule over England were eventually to appeal to the French much as their ancestors had done in Robert the Bruce's day, and after their final defeat at Culloden it was to France that Bonnie Prince Charlie fled. 

In any case Scots is a good language to learn, as it helps the mind to be able to stretch into allied languages. Here is an introduction.

Clear as mud

I usually like to put the effort into teasing apart the confusing accounts of U.S. Congressional parliamentary squabbles, but I've about had it with the "bipartisan" $1.5T Spendapalooza Classic vs. the "Build Back Bolshevik" $3.5T(-ish) Spendapalooza on Stilts, and the daily drama over whether one can be done without the other, or whether the national monetary system will crash if we don't do both, or if we don't raise the debt ceiling, adopt more continuing spending resolutions, or pack the Supreme Court, or admit ten new states, or abolish the Electoral College, or put the final stake through the heart of the filibuster. These people have all lost their minds.

HotAir ran a piece that explains a bit about whatever today's possible world-saving pseudo-deal may be. My simplistic take, all I could figure out before exasperation set in, is: reconciliation is a way to get out from under the filibuster without actually abolishing the filibuster. We can do only one (?) reconciliation gambit per year. Reconciliation is unattractive, however, because if you pretend something is a budget bill, people can try to attach endless amendments to it, and U.S. Senators have to vote on each amendment, without any ability to pretend they don't know what their positions are or what's in the bill. Also, it eats up time and patience, hence its nickname Vote-a-Rama. That is, it's OK to eat up the common people's time and patience, but for Vote-a-Rama the Senators actually have to sit through it and cast all those tiresome votes in person when they have better things to do.

So Mitch McConnell agreed to some kind of deadline extension, but threatened to drag the Senate through Vote-a-Rama later, whereas the Democrats have no intention to doing any such thing now or later. In the meantime, we still don't know whether the Dems can resolve their internal dissent long enough to salvage one bad bill, Classic, as the risk of losing their shot at an even worse one, Stilts, absent which no agenda worth having can possibly be shoved down the country's throat before they're all ejected bodily from office. As usual, it's all the GOP's fault for failing to support the Dems' dreams of a perfect world.

Locust Update

The first night I fed our guests protein-plus pasta, topped with home-canned sauces made from my garden. One of the sauces was a rich sausage sauce, partly Italian sausage and partly Andouille. Of course their daughter is an ethical vegetarian -- isn't everyone her age? -- and so separate elements of meals have to be prepared for her. She is nevertheless the least irritating member of the family, so it's fine. I made a sweet basil and tomato sauce that was meatless just by good fortune, so that was easily done the first night. 

The second night I decided to do cowboy cooking. They went off to Asheville with my wife, so I had a quiet day to prepare. I had not intended to make chili, because these people are from Indiana. My wife asked if I was going to make chili, in fact, and I said, "Of course not. These Indiana people can't eat my chili." 

"That's true," she replied at once. 

Nevertheless while they were off for the day I realized I had some hamburger that was getting old, so I decided to make chili for myself for lunch. Since I had it on hand, then, I offered it at supper as well. 

When I do cowboy or 'chuck wagon' cooking, the rule is that everything has to be the kind of thing you could either carry on a chuck wagon or source along the trail. You can incorporate some fresh peppers, since you could pick peppers on the trail, and fresh onions travel well in a chuck wagon. Of course you could kill a steer or pluck some trout out of a stream. Butter travels well if packed in flour, as does bacon. Otherwise everything has to be dry goods: dried peppers and chilies, spices, powdered buttermilk biscuits, dried beans, and so forth. 

So I ended up serving a bone-in chuck roast, cowboy beans, bacon, biscuits, trout for the ethical vegetarian (who will eat fish 'because it isn't raised in horrible factory farms'), and chili because I had it. 

Served all of this, my brother-in-law immediately asked, "Is there some sort of sauce for the meat?" 

"Yes," I said pleasantly. "There's this chili con carne I made. You probably won't want to eat it straight, but it would be an excellent dipping sauce for the meat." 

(That meat was delicious plain, but there's no accounting for bad taste.)

So he dipped his beef in the chili, and shortly thereafter commenced to making gasping sounds and drinking lots of water. Still, I'll give him credit -- he kept going back and trying it again, even though each time he went on about how it had a lot of bite and burn ("About seven seconds in"). 

My wife told me that after I left the room for the evening he allowed that it was the best chili he'd ever tasted, even though he couldn't really eat it. I notice he didn't bring his family by for dinner tonight, though. 

Modeling human action is hard

Powerline linked to an article that tries to think sensibly about what kinds of lockdowns do more good than harm, and why predictive lockdown models failed so miserably.

Still More Truckin' Songs

In the most famous of them all, the truck-driving singer proclaims, "I could have a lot of women, but I'm not like some of the guys." Red Sovine was singing about being one of those guys.

That tune -- which you may recognize from Sesame Street -- is not the original tune for the Motorcycle Song, but Arlo adopted it in some later renditions. (You can scroll back in this video if you want to hear amusing stories.)

Dick Curless sang about being 'one of those guys' too.

I guess there's a sense in which truckers were like the sailors of an earlier era, with 'a wife in every port.' There are a lot of songs about that too.

Still moving in the right direction

Believe These Scientists?

Project Veritas nails Pfizer with multiple interviews from their scientists. Short findings: the vaccines are not as effective as natural immunity; the money is so huge as to be corrupting to the culture in Pfizer; and vax-induced heart attacks are a big enough concern that they're conducting an internal study that might result in the vaccine being pulled from the market. 

FBI Ordered to Mobilize Against Parents

 Oppose critical race theory? You’re a terrorist. 

Oz loses it

New South Wales's government rattles itself to pieces.
In the United States, we tend to think of the Aussies as rugged individualists with little tolerance for government oppression. In that sense, we probably see some similarities between our two peoples. But as one Aussie analyst recently quipped during the evening news, the problem isn’t that Australia is peopled by folks who are the descendants of criminals and prisoners. The problem is that it’s being ruled by the descendants of jailors.

Hamstringing your own IQ

Thoughts about reality testing, or what I would call the ostensible crime of "sowing seeds of doubt," from Jonathan Haidt at Persuasion:
In 1859, John Stuart Mill laid out the case that we need critics to make us smarter, and that we should have no confidence in our beliefs until we have exposed them to intense challenge and have considered alternative views:
[T]he only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner. The steady habit of correcting and completing his own opinion by collating it with those of others, so far from causing doubt and hesitation in carrying it into practice, is the only stable foundation for a just reliance on it.
* * * 
By abolishing the right to question, a monomaniacal group condemns itself to holding beliefs that are never tested, verified, or improved. We might even say that monomaniacal groups are likely to be wrong on most of their factual beliefs and their diagnoses of the problems that concern them. And if they are wrong on basic facts and diagnoses, then whatever reforms they propose to an institution are more likely to backfire than to achieve the goals of the reformers.

Maintaining a healthy skepticism is not the same as nihilism.  We can remain open to information and ideas even while adopting temporary, tentative conclusions that aid whatever decisions cannot rightfully be postponed.  There will even be times when a potentially temporary conclusion seems so obvious that we feel entitled, not only to adopt it for our own behavior, but to impose it on others by force.  On those occasions, however, our willingness to tolerate seeds of doubt in ourselves and others is heightened, not relieved.  As compelling as is our duty to use discernment and judgment in reaching conclusions that guide our own behavior, we'd better be all that much more rigorous in our discernment and judgment about people to whom we delegate power, or whose crusades we enlist in, because when we act in concert, we multiply both our power and our blameworthiness if we get it wrong.

We should be fastidious in action and the use of force, but generous in entertaining new data and counterintuitive notions.  What I'm seeing increasingly in my country's culture is the opposite:  careless abandon in imposing wild new schemes of mandatory behavior or commandeering of resources, combined with rigid control over the discussion and dissemination of contrarian ideas and puzzling information.

Rank Betrayal by the 82nd Airborne Commander

The 82nd is a storied unit, and one of the front line forces of the United States because of their rapid deployment capability. They take pride in this difficult duty, and as an Airborne unit their members are authorized distinctive maroon berets. 

Most recently they were rapidly deployed to Kabul to shore up the airhead at HKIA during the military collapse in Afghanistan. For the most part these paratroopers behaved honorably during a difficult and sudden duty. 

During the last hours of the evacuation, according to troops under his command and as documented by photographs and witness statements, Donahue ordered all of the passengers aboard a C-17 transport plane to disembark so he could have a souvenir loaded onto the plane. That souvenir, or “war trophy,” was an inoperable Taliban-owned Toyota Hilux with a fully operational Russian ZU-23 anti-aircraft autocannon mounted in the bed. Once the Hilux was loaded passengers were allowed back on the plane, but, of course, there wasn’t room for all of them. According to troops on the scene, at least 50 people and perhaps as many as 100 people were left at Kabul to make room for the Hilux.

It is believed that many of those left behind have been or will be killed by the Taliban, in part because of information allegedly provided to Taliban commanders by Donahue himself....

One military intelligence source, who requested anonymity, told RedState:
“Some of those on the last planes out were key HUMINT assets. At least 50, likely as many as 100 were left behind after being removed from the flight. But the 50 were bonafide personnel that should have been evacuated. They will likely never be heard from again. The Taliban was given literally everything that would prevent any of those people from hiding or escape and evasion, and we know that there are a lot of ‘disappearings’ going on.”

Nor was that the only failure that the RedState report reveals. The commander did not apparently obey US laws governing war trophies. 

He also failed to destroy sensitive equipment left behind, which can be reverse engineered by the Chinese military now operating in Afghanistan.  Learning to defeat this counter-rocket-and-mortar technology endangers every ship in the US navy, should the Chinese go to war with us. 

So far no accountability has occurred for senior leaders, though; only for the one guy brave enough to put his rank on the line and demand it. He's still in jail. Several Congressmen have demanded his release, so far fruitlessly.

The Fall of Númenor

I saw this at Dad29's place, and it's quite an essay. I won't excerpt it, but I will add that the king who captured Sauron and was later ensnared by him was Ar-Pharazôn the Golden. Probably there are few enough of us who would know that off the top of our heads.

Sent by a Friend

I did verify that these articles are real; you can read them (clockwise from top left) here, here, here, and here.

An Impeachable Offense

Dishonorably discharging those who have served honorably is malfeasance as Commander in Chief. This is a disgrace; forcing out servicemembers who won't take the vaccine is one thing, but treating them as felons and denying them the benefits they have earned at war is monstrous. 
Potential consequences for non-compliance with Pentagon vaccine mandate are dire, including loss of eligibility for a range of important benefits, opportunities, honors and rights. A United States Marine corporal who served in Afghanistan during Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Southern Vigilance is facing dishonorable discharge for refusing to take the COVID-19 shots as required by the secretary of defense. 

Having been diagnosed with two heart conditions, arrhythmia and right bundle branch blockage, taking an experimental drug with unknown long-term side effects isn't a medical option for him, he says, especially since the shots have already been proven to cause blood clots and heart inflammation. However, he was informed that the only medical waiver he could receive was if he was diagnosed with congenital heart failure. 

In terms of correlation-not-causation, anecdotal evidence, my blood pressure has shot from 120/80 before the vax into ranges that are causing the nurse practitioner I recently sought out for a physical to demand that I start taking medication. There's no obvious other explanation for why my blood pressure would shoot up tens of points on both scales in months; but if clots are thickening my blood, I might have all kinds of medical problems resulting from it. You can't ask a guy with known heart conditions to take the thing if a previously healthy guy like me develops serious conditions at least correlated with it and with no obvious other cause. 

Likewise, in the UK there is a mysterious rise in heart attacks from blocked arteries. Correlation, not proven causation; but that doesn't make people less dead. 

Using the weapon of dishonorable discharges -- a species worse than 'bad conduct' or 'other than honorable' discharges -- is evil and wrong. This guy deserves an honorable discharge, even if you parted ways with him on this contentious issue. Other case may be otherwise, but 'dishonorable' is almost certainly out of order. It denies you civil rights, including the right to own or bear arms. It's another weapon our enemies in our own government are using against all of us, any of us whom they can.