We’re the Apex Predators

 That bear was headed for the hills. 

The Government is Worse than Useless

Parents with guns would have solved this a lot faster, and would have saved some of their children doing so. Possibly some of them might have died trying to save their children; any parent worth the name would.

More grist for the thriller mill

A large underwater laboratory has abruptly disappeared from the sea floor.


I still don't think this will make much difference at all -- and at first glance I read this as him preparing to slap the nervous bird rather than him graciously granting it freedom -- but here's hoping something comes of it. 

The West Hunter blog guy (G. Cochran?) has gotten a little strange over the years. Still, he posts interesting things every couple of months. Today's post, if not entirely persuasive to the non-paranoid among us, would at least make a terrific premise for a thriller. He mentions something that most science fiction writers noticed in the 1940s, and that my father confirmed to me from his own experience, which is that people who paid attention to these things were quite aware of the likely significance of the sudden radio silence in the early 1940s in the field of nuclear fission research publication. As I recall, the U.S. authorities actually interrogated some science fiction writers and other civilians about where they were getting their ideas. They were able to point out persuasively that it was hard to miss the sudden disappearance from public life of nearly everyone in the field.

Cochran's theory is that we were naive back then. Instead of an abrupt cessation of research publication, we should have reduced the output gradually, replacing it with word salad and irreproducible results, just like . . . hmmmm.

We All Seem to Agree that Courage is Lacking today- So What Do We Do?

 The subject of courage is one modern society hardly talks about- at least in traditional terms- and waters down to utter meaninglessness when it does (by design).

So how to address this?  One fellow seems to have made a start at it, and it seems interesting.

I think his analysis of the problem and how it's related to "safetyism" seems to me to be on the money:

He seems well on the right track.

He also seems to understand the importance of Horsemanship in the process-

Let us hope his dream of establishing an "Academy of Chivalry" by 2030 becomes manifest.  It can't happen soon enough for our society.

What he needs now are benefactors, hopefully he can find some.

Rain, Rain

Go away. 

We’ve had one call after another up here. Trees are falling left and right. Roofs punched through by trees.  Flash floods, warnings of floods, watches for floods. 

Supposedly it’ll stop tomorrow. 

Aristotle on Storytelling

A new translation of the Poetics aims to show contemporary writers that Aristotle still has a lot to offer their craft.

Dragon of Death

It's a cool name, anyway. " Scientists have uncovered the remains of one of the largest pterosaurs on record, researchers announced in a study published Tuesday in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research."

Another Shooting

There's nothing new here, so there's nothing new to say. The shooter was, again, a crazy person known to police. This is true approximately 100% of the time. The obvious solution is to empower the police to go after unstable people, but the police work for a government that nobody trusts enough to do that. Neither engaged political faction, at least: the right correctly fears that red-flag laws would be applied politically, subjecting ordinary people to SWAT raids aimed at disarming them; the left is pushing for laws to remove police from schools because they don't trust the police either. 

So we end up debating things that are obvious non-starters, like banning the most popular rifle in America -- clearly protected by the Heller interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (see section II) -- in order to 'make it harder' for crazy people to get guns by making it harder for everyone to get guns. There's no political support sufficient for that, and a Supreme Court majority that would reject it; and it would create far greater violence trying to effect it in the teeth of political resistance than could possibly be avoided by it. 

In addition, even if it were successfully done it would subject Americans to the same kind of criminal violence as Mexicans or Brazilians from cartels and other organized crime. Brazil and Mexico, big multi-ethnic American states, are much better analogs for the USA than the European nations people like to cite. The same cartels operate here as there. They terrorize Mexico's citizens because they are disarmed, not because they are weaker people than Americans. They terrorize their police into accepting bribes in lieu of death because the police are isolated and alone, rather than being supported by a large armed populace. We're able to hold all this in check as well as we do because of our broad, deep capacity to resist organized criminal violence. 

So we're not going to do the practical thing that nobody trusts the government nor the police to do; and we're not going to do the impossible thing that would be foolish anyway. Therefore, we have to accept that this kind of thing is going to happen once in a while. There's nothing to be done about it within the realm of the possible, and politics is the art of the possible. 

Punching Down

The NYT has a job opening:
A recent Times job listing asks for applicants to cover “personalities,” news outlets, and “online communities” of the “right-wing media ecosystem that now serves many conservative Americans who no longer rely on the mainstream media to inform themselves.” 

Where a regular reporter might cover “subjects” or come prepared with a rolodex of “sources,” The Times notes in a telling choice of words that the ideal candidate for its new opening will already have a “robust list of reporting targets.”

'Corporate giants with deep political ties to our government's intelligence/surveillance community seek spy to infiltrate and report on suspicious fellow citizens.' Great.

Bison Born in Wanuskewin

In Saskatchewan, Canada, a bison has been born on Wanuskewin land for the first time since 1876. More are expect to follow as part of a reintroduction program.


Chinese "re-education" facilities are overcrowded in what they are pleased to call their 'new frontier.' 

450 Buses

Texas has been busing illegal immigrants to D.C. in an attempt to pressure the government to stop leaving the border wide open. The governor, Greg Abbot, has apparently decided to up his game.
‘And we’re up to our 45th bus now, when you add a zero to that, I think Washington D.C. is going to soon find out they’re dealing with the same consequences as we’re dealing with,’ Abbott proposed.
This is not actually working as intended, though perhaps the increased numbers will force the government to take a hand in it. So far, the government and the pro-immigration NGOs -- Catholic and other churches especially -- have largely ignored this effort, and left these people to be sorted out by small-scale activist groups on the ground. These activists have been housing and feeding the migrants long enough to find out where they have family already in the USA, and then buying them Greyhound bus tickets back to wherever they want to be. Their stay in DC is short, and they end up wherever they wanted to go.

Abbot is putting a lot of pressure on these "mutual aid" activist groups, however, both organizational and financial. An increase in scale of this sort is likely to break their capacity to handle the migrants in this way. Either the actual government or the bigger NGOs will have to start playing, which may begin to have the effect Abbot intends.

War and Taiwan

CDR Salamander says that war isn't necessarily inevitable, but the need to prepare for one is -- especially if we want to avoid one.

The Viking Fighting Man


In the comments to AVI's latest, I present the lyrics to a song by an old friend of mine.

Feeling the fury of parents

The NASB has given itself a good scare. Not only has it watched mad wokiness drag down a stunning number of candidates over the last six or seven months, it lost about 40% of its members (and revenues, more to the point) in the furious reaction to its collaborating with the White House to sic the federal judicial system on uppity parents. Some of the NASB members, it seems, didn't appreciate the blowback from its characterizing parents as domestic terrorists for having the effrontery to speak up at school board meetings. Parents should be seen to drop off the bums on seats, not heard.

The NASB official who seemed to have the chummiest relationship with White House staff was given the ax early. NASB then followed up with an outside audit that established two valuable points: the White House's fingerprints were all over this disgraceful episode, and the NASB board itself can make a case that it was cut out of the loop by a rogue official who's now been safely defenestrated. Whether or not the latter claim is true, the NASB certainly making some very different policy noices these days:
The organization said it was implementing several actions based on the review’s findings. These include amending its constitution to confine its advocacy to “a united, nonpartisan national movement.”
The NSBA also said it would adopt a resolution that opposes federal intrusion and expansion of executive authority by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies in the absence of authorizing legislation.
Soccer moms vote. I doubt this travesty contributed as much to President Biden's amazing slide in the polls as the Afghanistan debacle, inflation, or the empty shelves where infant formula should be, but any professional political advisor can read the tea leaves in the many elections that have swung against educrats on school boards and in state houses.

That's a good one

Apparently Lara Logan's fall from woke grace is complete. The NYT put together together one of those "should we have guess our neighbor was a terrorist? He always seemed so polite" pieces with this absolute howler:
More than half a dozen journalists and executives who worked with Ms. Logan at “60 Minutes,” most of whom spoke anonymously to discuss private interactions with her, said she sometimes revealed political leanings that made them question whether she could objectively cover the Obama administration’s military and foreign policy moves. She appeared increasingly conservative in her politics over the years, they said, and more outspoken about her suspicions of the White House’s motives and war strategy.
The horror. The horror.

As ithers see us

Every day I read the oddest descriptions of people with political beliefs more or less like mine. The Guardian has posted a screed from "labor reporter" Hamilton Nolan decrying the signs that yet another evil billionaire is taking an interest in politics, in this case Jeff Bezos, who recently reacted irritably to the White House's theory that inflation can be tamed by increasing taxes on the rich. Nolan clearly agrees with the White House on this rather than with Bezos, since he casually proposes that "Bezos could mitigate inflation’s damage by giving his own employees a raise." There's no limit to the absurd pronouncements on inflation's causes and cures by people who think that largesse from the state or employers will be anti-inflationary. Nor is it surprising that Nolan instinctively concludes, from an observation that stimulus checks can lead to inflation that harms people most who have the least income, that anyone who notices and decries the inflation must have wanted people who needed stimulus checks to starve to death in their jobless lockdowns.

So far, then, this is standard stuff--it's awful when rich guys espouse conservative or even moderate political views, because we want them all to act like George Soros--but I bring it up because of his caricature of the traditional parties, in which the Republicans are only slightly more insidious than the centrist Democrats. He refers to "the classic rich-guy belief that nobody poorer than himself should be in charge." Could he be aware at all that the classic rich-guy belief is probably that nobody other than himself, poorer or otherwise, should be in charge of his own wealth? Otherwise, classic rich guys these days throw their political influence solidly behind not only Democratic initiatives but solidly progressive ones.

"The big-picture impact" of a Bezos political sally, Nolan fears,
would be to add a huge weight to the neoliberal side of the party’s scale, a powerful force trying to tilt the party away from its recent tiptoes towards progressivism, and towards the vision of the Democrats as the sober new corporate-friendly counterweight to the psycho Maga capture of the Republicans.
The mad dash toward a list of politically toxic positions within the Democratic party over the last few years appears to him in the guise of some timid tiptoes towards correct thinking. I assume this is because he focuses almost exclusively on "labor" issues instead of the pink-haired screaming agenda, but in the face of polls establishing that voters are riveted on inflation and the economy as the mid-terms approach, I'm not sure converting a tiptoe toward Marxism to a full-throated mob charge is the winning formula he hopes for. Again, though, my purpose here wasn't so much to ridicule his views as to highlight how odd are his views about his opponents.

Union-busting, in Nolan's view,is
a great example of what could be the new vision of the Democrats: not the slick operators trying to arbitrage corporate campaign donations, but rather the party of labor, the party ready to take seriously its own rhetoric about the dangers of rising economic inequality. The Democratic response to the rise of crazies on the right does not need to be to simply try to woo Republican donors away; instead, the Democrats can become the actual populists, the ones who side with working people against the power of capital. (The Republican version of populism, which mostly means “being prepared to wear a John Deere ballcap while you say racist things”, pales in comparison.)
In these phrases, along with the view of "the psycho Maga capture of the Republicans," should I see myself? I'm accustomed neither to John Deer ballcaps nor racist pronouncements. Who knows what the word Maga stirs up in hearts like these? Could it possibly have anything to do with what a real Trump supporter values about him? When I speak, can someone like Nolan hear anything but "racist, racist, racist," even when as far as I can tell I'm nowhere near anything of the sort?

Nolan's problem, in part, is that working people aren't buying his line. Possibly they no longer react well to framing the struggle of working people against the elites in terms of labor vs. capital. Increasingly they see their elite opponents as pointy-headed Marxists in faculty lounges and supercilious newsrooms.

In the meantime, though I'd love to see someone with Bezos's resources become an asset on the philosophical Right, it seems like a long shot.

Where does pressure to change come from?

In the Washington Examiner, Kimberley Ross argues that conservatives should not simply abandon public schools, because if they remove their voices, there will be no more pressure on public schools to improve. What she misses is the enormous pressure that naturally results from parents having a real choice--not just parents who can afford to pay school taxes and private tuition, too, but parents whose access to charter schools, private schools, or homeschooling depends as a practical matter on relief from the double tax burden in the form of vouchers.

As things stand now, it's nice to think that parents can "have a voice" in the average public school system, but too often it's about as effective as the voice of prison inmates. The warden isn't all that worried about their views. Their dissatisfaction isn't threatening his livelihood. Nor is it threatening the pipeline of cash from the taxpayers to the teachers' unions to the pro-public-school-nonsense politicians.

Things would change fast if parents could vote with their feet and the school tax dollars followed the students. We'd have a completely different discussion about how hard it was to achieve reasonable results in reading and arithmetic on a budget, and how difficult it is to ensure students' basic physical safety, not to mention an orderly classroom in which lessons are rarely disrupted by fistfights with the teacher. Most of us know perfectly well these basic standards are achievable in the real world; the only way for public-school champions to avoid knowing it is to eliminate all that inconvenient competition, with its unfair practices of solving the basic problems parents care about on a rational budget. Meanwhile, the public schools spend more and more every year to accomplish less and less because, as Lily Tomlin used to say, "We don't care. We don't have to."

Knee jerks

Elie Mystal is a nut, but I'll grant him that we can explain certain failures of the Constitution only by the benighted views society took of certain issues in the 18th century:
Democrats are being urged by their “thought leaders” to pump it up: recent headline in Politico: “Democrats Should Be Less Boring; To avoid a midterm wipeout, the party should focus less on dry policy issues and more on eliciting an emotional reaction.” And in the meantime, lefty activists are drinking ever higher-proof rum rations. For instance, The Nation magazine’s Elie Mystal took excess to new levels of wretchedness when he said on MSNBC:
The Founding Fathers didn’t recognize abortion as a fundamental right because the Founding Fathers were racist, misogynist jerkfaces who didn’t believe that women had any rights at all!
I wouldn't call the Founding Fathers racist misogynist jerkfaces, but I'd allow that their view of the humanity of women and black people needed work. Nonsense like the 1620 Project aside, you can't read 18th-century accounts of anything without receiving shocks: casual anti-Semitism, casual assumptions that black people were subhuman, casual assumptions that women were chattels.

Okay, so it's not stunning that the original Constitution didn't reflect many modern changes to these views. On the other hand, the Constitution didn't leave us helpless to correct any flaws we might come to see in the couple of centuries after it was adopted. It contains within itself an orderly procedure for amendment, which we've used dozens of times successfully, usually even without a war for impetus.

How much better off would we be if instead of relying on rogue Justices or defiant legislatures or deranged protesters, we simply got to work on amending the Constitution when we discover we have a national consensus in favor of the upgrade?

A dilemma for pro-abortion zealots, however, is that they don't have the national consensus they pretend to have. At most they have a strong majority in favor of butting out of the abortion decision very, very early in gestation. They have only a small minority in support of abortion on demand through the last nanosecond before birth, if not after.