Requiem for a Bear

Bear hunting season does not start until mid-October, but the bear hunters can’t stand to leave the bears in peace except when killing them. All summer long, though they’re forbidden to hunt, they get up here and run their packs of hounds at the bears for the sheer joy of terrorism. 

Today there must have been a dozen or more hunting trucks, each with a cage filled with hounds up on the mountain. The packs push down from the Blue Ridge Parkway to harry the bears into what is traditionally called Bearpen Gap, currently known as Sugar Creek Gap. Supposedly this is to train the dogs; it’s really just an excuse to engage in hunting out of season. 

At Balsam Lake today a bunch of dogs chased a bear into the lake, where they tore off its ears and fought it until it drowned. Federal Forest Service officers eventually came to recover the bear’s body. The poor thing was living free in the forest this morning; tonight it has been killed in terror and pain, and not even for food as it was out of season. They just ran it for fun, and now it is dead for no better reason than their amusement. 

A 9th Circuit Dissent

Following the recent Supreme Court Bruen decision affirming gun rights, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded a decision on Hawaii's 'may [or may not] issue' law for reconsideration by the district court. There was a noteworthy dissent pointing out that there is very clear guidance on the point, and they might simply have directed that the law was plainly unconstitutional. Instead, they are dragging out a lawsuit that has already been going on for ten years.

This is very courteously worded, including the thunderous final section. It is firm and clear without the requirement of discourtesy, strong in its reasoning and even stronger in conviction.

Cop Recruited Oath Keepers on J6 to Save Other Cops

And apparently they did just that. This is, actually, what I would have expected from what I knew of the Oath Keepers as an organization before January 6th.



Sleep With No Doors Open

There’s a lot of training in the Fire Service; I often spend weekends or weeknights in classes and courses. Some of it is challenging and rewarding; some of it is not. Occasionally it’s just PowerPoint presentations or training videos we are required to watch. These rarely interest. 

This little training video might actually be of use to some of you, however. 

'A Sheepherder came and put up a Fence...'

'I saw him one day, but I ain't seen him since.'

This site is heavily paywalled, but you can get the sense of the article. Apparently the old rancher/sheepherder wars are still ongoing way out West.


We are familiar with 'sanctuary cities' and even 'sanctuary states,' where local or state governments refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration policy in order to avoid accidentally enforcing Federal immigration law. Now, under the Biden administration, the Federal government's police agencies will stop cooperating with each other in service of the non-enforcement of our laws.

The U.S. Marshals Service is drafting a sanctuary policy that would limit the agency’s ability to hold illegal immigrants for pickup by ICE... Under the policy, marshals would not be able to hold illegal immigrants for pickup by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the say-so of an immigration warrant, or “detainer” request.... the person is to be released even if ICE has asked for a hold.

Officials said the policy is still in draft form, though The Times knows of one jurisdiction in Florida where it has already been implemented[.]

Remember this the next time you hear talk from the administration about how important 'the rule of law' is to them. 

Marine Corps Hymn a la Jerry Lee Lewis

This is from the Sun Records days and indeed from 1956, making it one of his first recordings. This is before the scandals that would plague him later, and long before the wild comeback occasioned by his 1964 Live at the Star Club recording.

It's lightweight, playful, but I offer it anyway for the Devil Dogs in the audience.


 The Big Bang didn't happen.

In the flood of technical astronomical papers published online since July 12, the authors report again and again that the images show surprisingly many galaxies... One paper’s title begins with the candid exclamation: “Panic!”

Why do the JWST’s images inspire panic among cosmologists? And what theory’s predictions are they contradicting? The papers don’t actually say. The truth that these papers don’t report is that the hypothesis that the JWST’s images are blatantly and repeatedly contradicting is the Big Bang Hypothesis that the universe began 14 billion years ago in an incredibly hot, dense state and has been expanding ever since. Since that hypothesis has been defended for decades as unquestionable truth by the vast majority of cosmological theorists, the new data is causing these theorists to panic. “Right now I find myself lying awake at three in the morning,” says Alison Kirkpatrick, an astronomer at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, “and wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong.”

Don't feel too bad. Even Aristotle turned out to be basically wrong about physics, in spite of being the most important physicist of all time. And Newton, and, well, everyone else. You still made a valuable contribution in error, because we can still learn a lot by studying why it was reasonable to think as Aristotle did (and it was -- empirically verifiable, even!). That helps us understand how we progress. 

A Positive Word About the FBI

There is a lot of merited criticism about the FBI, but there are also occasionally good stories from the field offices especially. 

141 adult victims of human trafficking, 84 minor victims of child sex trafficking and 37 missing children were located, during the initiative conducted during the first two weeks of August. Officials said the average age of the children was 15-year-old, and the youngest victim was age 11. 

Now the FBI here was the coordinating leadership branch of a state, local, and Federal effort; I imagine, though I do not know, that the local police did a lot of the actual legwork in locating these victims. Hopefully in the absence of the FBI, local police still could and still would do such things.

Still, the FBI deserves a kind word for its role here. Human trafficking was and is evil, and it is a very positive thing to see victims rescued. 

Seeking Tenure

I did not myself even try to apply for tenure track jobs in academia, coming not from Yale but from UGA. There would have been no point for someone even less attuned to this sort of conversation than the author, coming from a less prestigious (but actually better in philosophy, I think) school.
“I know where I stand ideologically!” the young man next to me burst out. “I am a marxist with a small m.” He was pounced upon by two or three of the women. “But Marxism has nothing to say about feminist issues!” one of them said. “That is why I am a marxist with a small m!” he replied. The professor smiled benignly; her pupils were apt. I cowered beneath the table (metaphorically), understanding immediately that, like a dissenter in a marxist (small m or large) regime, I would need to speak my true beliefs behind closed doors, and only to those I could trust.
Marxism actually had a lot to say about feminist issues; they were at the forefront of Communist revolutionary thought, precisely as a way of bringing women out of the family and into the state. Marxist revolutionary groups frequently had female leadership, and prominently so as a recruiting mechanism for would-be radicals (both to recruit fiery young women who might agree with them, and also young men who wanted to meet fiery young women). Now, once a Communist government actually came to power, women always ended up being pushed out of the positions of real power: but as long as there was a revolution to win, young women with berets and Kalashnikovs were in high demand, and there was a lot of talk about the need for equality between the sexes.

Women of the IRA

New Peoples' Army Women

Viet Cong Woman

So, both, "I reject Marxism, in spite of its occasional good point which I'm happy to recognize and pursue in better ways," and also, "I also reject feminism, likewise in spite of occasional good points I'm happy to pursue in other ways," with a side order of, "Also, you don't know what you're talking about anyway." 

Yes, I would do quite poorly at winning tenure. 

Platitudes in Mathematics

The author and his wife are both philosophers and friends. She works in that branch of contemporary metaphysics that is very interested in formal logic; he works, as you will see, in philosophy of math. This begins with an interesting question: "continuous" was not defined in a thoroughgoing way until the 19th century, but it has been a useful concept since antiquity and -- moreover -- many formal proofs were adequately established before the definition. How is that possible?

Along the way he raises another question: how can one come to a justified belief in mathematics? Now he is speaking of pure mathematics, which is to say the mathematics that exists in the mind alone: whether or not it applies to circular objects in the world, or how imperfectly, the geometry of circles as an idea has a kind of logic to it. What he wants to defend is the idea that it is somehow already all there, and all you are doing is deducing what else you know from what you already know. 

Some of you may find it pleasurable to work through this argument. If you don't, pass on; philosophy of math is not, in my experience, one of the things in life that grows on you.

This... You Can Trust

The Riddle of Steel is joined, strangely, by the Mystery of the Rosary.

Preserving Five Viking Ships

Private foundations have pledged enough to preserve the five ships at Roskilde. 

'Viper' Garland

I wonder if Attorney General Merrick Garland will be flattered or annoyed by this nickname?
Democratic strategist James Carville has a message for people who are doubting Merrick Garland: Just wait. 

"I mean, remember Merrick Garland is like a pit viper. He prosecuted the Oklahoma City bomber case, the Unabomber case, the Olympic bomber case."
The Olympic bomber case? That's news to me. I'd like to hear more about Garland's role in that, because the part affecting Richard Jewell was one of the most disgraceful acts in the history of Federal law enforcement. I did not see Garland's name in any of the relevant Wikipedia articles, which may mean that it's been scrubbed; but exactly what role did he play, I wonder?

As for the OKC bombing, there have been dire mutterings about it for years -- backed up by some apparently legitimate government documents: the source here is conspiracy-minded, but it's hard not to suspect one when you've got a document from the government asserting that the matter "should not be put to paper." Just yesterday I read that Garland had refused to approve a warrant in the Unabomber case, which might be evidence in his favor: I appreciate signs that a man is careful and not inclined to empower the government's agents without clarity. A fellow I know and respect found his treatment of the recent political violence from Antifa to be disqualifying, but one can make a similar argument here also. Maybe it's good not to rush too far ahead of the evidence.

Here's the Washington Post on the OKC bombing and Garland, for a mainstream media view. One way or the other, we'll be hearing a lot more about 'Viper' Garland in the coming weeks. 

Carville himself is from an older tradition of Democratic politics in which hard-edged nicknames were preferred. Hunter S. Thompson referred to him as a "hired gun" in his book about Bill Clinton's election, Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie. Their continued close friendship suggests that Carville was flattered.