Diversity is Our Greatest Weakness

The United States Marine Corps, which just got its ass handed to it by the British Royal Marines in a major wargame, has decided that the biggest problem facing it is a lack of diversity.

Now there's nothing wrong with losing a wargame, even catastrophically. That can mean that you have an opportunity to learn something about a weakness you hadn't suspected or noticed. That can only happen, however, if you are focused on learning those lessons. Combat effectiveness is what matters; this stuff is at best a distraction, and can become a poison. 

It's All Anyone Wants to Talk About

The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and its JAMA network of other periodicals have published about 950 articles on race, racism, and racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in the past five years – about a third appearing in just the past year.

Isn't there a named medical condition whereby one becomes obsessed with something, to the exclusion of legitimately urgent matters? Allegedly there was a pandemic going on last year, but they found time for hundreds of articles about this stuff instead.  

"Now I Know Why You've Got So Many Rock Walls in this Country"

The quote is from The Quiet Man, but New England also has a lot of stone walls
WALK INTO A PATCH OF forest in New England, and chances are you will—almost literally—stumble across a stone wall....  estimates [are] that there are more than 100,000 miles of old, disused stone walls out there, or enough to circle the globe four times.

Who would build a stone wall, let alone hundreds of thousands of miles of them, in the middle of the forest? No one. 

Rather, they were built around farms that have fallen back into forest.

The supply of stone seemed endless. A field would be cleared in the autumn, and there would be a whole new crop of stones in the spring. This is due to a process known as “frost heave.” As deforested soils freeze and thaw, stones shift and migrate to the surface. “People in the Northeast thought that the devil had put them there,” says Susan Allport, author of the book Sermons in Stone: The Stone Walls of New England and New York. “They just kept coming.”

This is also true here. There are a lot of rock walls on the mountain, where once there were cattle pastures. Now there is forest again, with a few groves of old apple trees marking where once someone's home stood.

Though the population continues to climb, we are over a demographic cliff in much of the world as birth rates drop below replacement levels. China, for example, is likely to have fewer people than the United States by the end of the century.  It will be interesting, for those who come after, to wander in the renewed wilderness where once were farms -- neighborhoods -- cities. 

This racism stuff is hard

Maybe I need to get my hearing checked, because I'm having trouble detecting the dog whistles.

Fifth Circuit stays the vax mandate

States have extensive public health powers. It's less clear that the feds do, and even less clear that OSHA has the power to enforce a vaccination mandate, let alone the particular mandate the White House came up with. This is not a final ruling, however, and no matter how clearly it expresses the views of a 3-judge panel, we don't know yet how it will fare en banc or in the Supreme Court.

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Tex mentioned him in passing in a post below, which is a good enough reason to have a song. 

That does sound like a problem

The Biden DOJ has opened an "environmental justice" investigation of Alabama wastewater treatment policies with an alleged "disparate impact" on racial groups, under the authority of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just one thing:

In Alexander v. Sandoval, a 2001 case, the Supreme Court noted that interpreting Title VI to cover unintentional discrimination is in “considerable tension” with the fact that the Title VI statute itself “prohibits only intentional discrimination.”
I mean, if you're going to get technical. "Disparate impact" analysis once seemed like a good idea: it sometimes flushed out superficially race-neutral policies that were secretly operated to mistreat particular skin colors, generally as demonstrated by smoking-gun admissions on paper or tape. Now that the fashion needle has shifted back to overtly racist quotas and exclusions, but with the colors reversed in order to create the impression that this is progress, it's probably time to admit that "disparate impact" analysis no longer makes sense. Applied honestly, it would prohibit affirmative action and its unholy racist progeny.

Gyndyr cryme

Ammo Grrl tells us that Margaret Atwood is the latest target of Twittercide--or as AG puts it, "The moving finger Tweets, and having Twit, moves on."  During the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings I noticed a weird tendency for "Blessed be the fruit" to pop up in social media comments, an apparent reference to the even weirder theory that Justice Barrett was a member of a secret society seeking to put American wymyn in the Western equivalent of burqas.  Anyway, Ms. Atwood, now 81 years old, managed to outlive her hipness and has been shoved out on an ice floe of wokery for some misgenderizing thought crime or another.  AG's conclusion:

Who will be next? Maybe start a Twitter war with Texan Ray Wylie Hubbard, who wrote “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” when he should have written “Up Against the Wall, Neck of Color Birthing Person with a Cervix.” Just FYI, Ray Wylie’s 75th birthday is tomorrow! You gotta love a guy whose autobiography is called A Life…Well, Lived.

Lawless law enforcement

It's not shocking that a journalist who specializes in infiltrating corrupt organizations in disguise would consult with its lawyers about how to avoid being prosecuted afterwards because someone dreams up a theory under which they were "lying to law enforcement."

It is shocking that law enforcement would gin up a thin excuse to raid the journalists' files, leak the raid to the NYT after instructing the target to keep quiet, then leak privileged attorney-client communications to the NYT while a judge was busy issuing an order to make them stop snooping until their First-Amendment-shredding witch-hunt could be properly supervised.

When you add the context that the pretext for the raid was concern over how someone got hold of a diary that the journalist declined to publish a year ago for lack of proof that it was genuine, which the journalist attempted to return to the purported author's counsel but was refused, and which the journalist then turned over to law enforcement, the story is even more alarming.  Did I mention that the purported author is the President's daughter?  Nothing to see here.

When progressives report dirt, the news is the dirt no matter what criminal behavior was involved in getting it, or in manufacturing and then spreading it through government channels.  When conservatives report dirt, the news is any wild-eyed theory someone can imagine about how the process by which they got it might have been improper.  With every passing year, the public reports a lower trust in the press, and they're not enchanted with the White House, either.

On Veterans Day, though, journalists reminded us that they are the real heroes.

A Veteran's Day Song

Of John Paul Jones.

A fresh take

 Yes, it seems unhinged, but this is actually the argument from 538:

For many white GOP voters, anti-Black views don’t seem to get in the way of supporting a Black Republican.
It takes a while to explain it, but when that's done, it's still incomprehensible. Just trust us, it means you're a racist.

I'm struggling toward an insight, though.  It's . . . almost as if a white GOP voter were considering the policy positions of a candidate instead of the color of his skin.  But that's crazy talk.  Only a racist would think that way.

I thought that might be what he was up to

The prosecutor was weirdly focused yesterday on exactly how Rittenhouse got his hands on the rifle on the day of the shootings. He asked all kinds of questions about whether the rifle had been locked up, where it was stored, how he knew where it was, and so on. It seemed to have so little bearing on charges against Rittenhouse, other than to undermine the state's inexplicable "carrying a gun across state lines" charge, that I began to wonder whether he was setting up charges against third parties. Sure enough, today multiple charges have been filed against Dominic Black, 19-year-old the brother-like friend who bought the rifle and agreed to hold it for Rittenhouse until he was of legal age.

If you want to read something truly insane that reflects the same philosophy the Rittenhouse prosecutor is busy shoveling at the jury, try this NBC Think piece, which sees the whole problem as people "picking up guns they shouldn't have":
The truth is that too many white Americans probably see themselves in Rittenhouse — afraid of anyone, whether white or of color, who wants to live in a more equitable country — even if some don’t want to say so out loud.
So it turns out that what the riots were about: helping us live in a more equitable country. Only an evil white American could fear for his life if people advocating for a more equitable country cornered him alone during a riot and tried to kill him.

I say give it a try

It's bound to help in the midterms, D operatives. Go for it.
“We need to spend trillions more to reduce inflation” is an … interesting perspective, one that’ll be popular with Biden’s progressive base and no one else. If we take his advice and the newly passed spending package doesn’t ease inflation, I assume the left’s recommendation will be to pass a few trillion more on top of that and see if that does it. I wonder, though, if Sleepy Joe is privately hoping that the Manchin blocks the reconciliation bill, sparing him and his party the consequences from further upward pressure on prices.

Through the looking glass

 I've been calling the Rittenhouse prosecution Kafkaesque, but Power Line's take is on point, too:

George Floyd found himself being choked by a police officer because he tried to pass counterfeit currency and then violently resisted arrest. At the officer’s trial, Floyd’s criminal behavior didn’t matter in assessing the officer’s conduct once he had Floyd under control.
Why, then, does it matter how Rittenhouse got to the point where he had to shoot the three guys who threatened him with lethal force? He’s not being tried for trespassing on a riot.
It strikes me that with this trial (but not only with this trial), we are through the looking glass. Let’s hope the Rittenhouse jury helps pull us back to the right side of it.
That's it, right there. The prosecution's theory is felony trespass on the good kind of riot.

A Beautiful Woman

Not just physically, either. That's a fine and beautiful sentiment. 

Governments fail sometimes. That's ok. Citizens step up, because it all really belongs to us. A government that fails can be replaced, by citizens. If you don't like that, governments, don't fail. 

Veterans' Day

I especially extend greetings to those of you who fought in Afghanistan, so ignobly abandoned this year. It has been long obvious that our strategy in Afghanistan was fatally flawed, but that does not excuse the reckless and heedless way in which the retreat was managed. It could have been better, and it is not your fault that it was not.

Yet wherever you fought, and however it ended, remember Conan's prayer. When next we fight, let it be in a great cause and for a good end. Fortuna audaces iuvat.

That about sums it up

Ace's succinct summary is exactly what I this afternoon.  My mouth hung open throughout:

This series of questions:
Rosenbaum only chased you and tried to take your gun.
The guy who kicked you only stomped you in your face.
Huber only hit you in the head with a skateboard used as a club.
And now: Grosskreutz only pointed a handgun at you.
You had an AR-15 and should have just absorbed all these attacks because it is the only Real Weapon at the scene.
He actually said, Jump-Kick guy only used one foot, not a weapon.

Part of the argument was, and I am not making this up though I'm paraphrasing, "You had a sling on your rifle, so what did you care if some guy who earlier threatened to kill you if he got you alone came up and tried to wrestle it away from you?  What's the worst that could happen?" Followed up by, "After you shot him, why didn't you stay and render first aid?" Well, because a mob chanting "get him" was starting to close in on me.  "So you're saying you didn't care?"

Earlier: "Before Rosenbaum ambushed you, why were you running down the street in the first place?" Um, I got a call asking me to go help put out a fire there that the rioters had just started. "Yes, but what was your hurry?" It was like the old joke, "Where's the fire?" At one point, if I understood correctly, the prosecutor was blaming Rittenhouse for antagonizing the rioters by putting out their fires. Who did he think he was, "taking it upon himself" to put out fires instead of calling 911?  Rittenhouse never blew up; he was simply dumbfounded, seemingly unable to understand how anyone could even ask these things.  What is an 18-year-old thinking about the madhouse he has been plunged into, where rioters aren't initiating altercations, it's the citizens who spoil their fun by putting out their virtuous fires?

If you've ever watched a courtroom drama on TV and thought, "Oh, come on. People don't really get to say things like that," you were wrong.

Just before the lunch break, the defense threatened to file a motion for a mistrial with prejudice to retrial, on the ground of the prosecutor's bad faith in trying to sneak in two different kinds of excluded evidence and argument. The prosecutor tried to argue that somehow under the circumstances he had acted in good faith. The judge snapped, "I don't believe you." Nevertheless, the judge hasn't ruled on the motion. Apparently the trial will resume next Monday.

Happy Birthday, Marines

Feast and celebrate. You’ve earned it. 

Burn the witch

Winsome Sears is nothing but a white supremacist tool of the patriarchy.  She thinks her own actions have something to do with the way her life turns out, which is an insult to aspiring victims everywhere:

I am a heartbeat away from the governorship, in case anything happens to the governor. How are you going to tell me I am a victim? And I didn’t do anything special to get here, except stay in school and study. I took advantage of the opportunities available here in America.




Via TexasGirl https://twitter.com/PatriotSkyrific/status/1458076574788489221?s=20

Eric Hines

I ain't noways woke

The new wokeness:  stop saying "woke."  They figured out it wasn't polling well.  It's one of them dang wedge issues that the GOP drives between them and their former voters, which if you think about it is very unfair and not nice, also a dogwhistle.

I remember in mid-2020 when they figured out riots weren't polling well.  Abruptly, riots disappeared from the news, if not immediately from the streets.  Well, riots going away is never a bad thing, even if they're mostly peaceful.

You know what else doesn't poll well?  Enabling voter fraud.  I realize there's no such thing as voter fraud.

New park

This is exciting: an enormous ranch that includes much of the Guadalupe Delta is going under conservation, to be a state park at some point. It's 17,000 acres, which is over 26 square miles. It includes the old site of Indianola, the 19th century settlement that was wiped off the face of the earth by two catastrophic hurricanes. Indianola was just north of what is now Port O'Connor.

For context, the red dot in the map below is us, and the dark green shows existing wildlife conservation areas, including the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (whooping crane refuge) and parkland along the barrier islands.

This is the way I like to see it done. The family that owned the huge Powderhorn Ranch voluntarily sold it at a below-market price to a consortium of donors. Lots of the money did come from the BP oilspill guilt money. The spill frankly didn't hurt us down here, but the settlement has been very, very good to our part of the coast.

Anyway, this didn't get done because a lot of people got used to the Powderhorn Ranch being wild and started imagining that they had the right to force the owners to leave it undeveloped. It got done because the owners made a gift of their own bounty, because they preferred to see it wild than to make a fortune developing it. Not that much of it was what you would call prime development land, but the inland part, near State Highway 35, might have been someday.

Here is what the beautiful swamp looks like, in a still from this good short video:

Tex’s Point

Prosecutors actually facepalm over today’s testimony. 

Clintons all the way down

I continue my hunt for stories that make sense of the mind-numbingly wheels-within-wheels developments in the Russia hoax, especially with the recent arrest of Igor Danchenko. From now on the Steele Dossier should be known as the Clinton Dossier, though the NYT Dossier might be as good. This Powerline report is good, as is the National Review summary it links to. In conclusion,
Although we have become inured to it, the degradation and corruption of the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Justice should retain the ability to shock. The transformation of the press into the eager tool of these agencies for the rankest of purposes must be included in reckoning the deep meaning of the Danchenko case . . . .
Seriously, they want to topple a U.S. President, and the go-to guy is named Igor? Who writes these B-list scripts?


I've spent the last few hours watching testimony in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I'm starting to wonder whether the defense will make a successful motion for a directed verdict at the close of the state's case. Once self-defense is alleged, it is the state's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one or more of the four exceptions to the self-defense doctrine applies. Not only is it hard to imagine a reasonable jury getting beyond a reasonable doubt on any of them, I'm not sure I can see that the state has put on even a scintilla of evidence. The state's witnesses are if anything supporting the defense's case. It makes you wonder if the state was unable to find any rioters willing to testify, from among the rag-tag, hostile, erratic group caught on the Daily Caller's video that night. Instead, the prosecutor is stuck with witnesses who are at worst neutral to Rittenhouse, if not positively sympathetic. To make matters worse, they have detailed memories, they know what they saw and what the basis is for their perceptions and judgments, and they come across as highly credible. All it will take is one sensible juror with a backbone to end this nightmare for Rittenhouse. The defendant appears to have been lucky enough to draw a judge with good sense and a strong grasp of the rules of evidence.