World's Strongest Man

Speaking of strength sports, and Strongman in particular, the WSM competition is going on right now in Myrtle Beach. The same Strongman friend who sent the picture told me that he knows the American competitor, who used to rep 750-pound deadlifts in sessions lasting as long as three hours. That puts his 1RM north of a half a ton, and indicates a lot of conditioning as well. 

I know one of the competitors who didn't make the final cut but just narrowly missed it, Marcus Crowder. I never competed against him because we are in different divisions as well as different weight classes. I am in the Masters division, meaning 'old' not 'great'; he is, obviously, in the open division. Likewise, I compete in what Strongman considers the Middleweight division, although it would be Heavyweight in boxing or pretty much any other sport. Crowder is a Super Heavyweight.

He is very strong, and if he's not in the finals this year, likely as not he will be one of these days. 

Good luck to all, and may injuries be avoided in spite of the limit-pushing seeking of excellence.

In Praise of Tulsi Gabbard

American Greatness is making the argument for Tulsi Gabbard as a running mate. I'm sure everyone here knows what they think of her already, good and bad.

I will say this for her, though: when she ran for the Democratic nomination, suddenly she found herself deployed as a serving military officer just when it would derail her campaign, and she never once complained about it. She went and did her duty honorably, and made no attempt to avoid it.

A lot of observers, including myself, thought the sudden call-up to deploy looked like a motivated favor by the brass to remove her from the race after she brutally derailed Kamala Harris' campaign in the first debate. Washington insiders get payoffs like that, because sitting Senators have a lot to say about military appropriations. 

I don't like Tulsi's position on gun control (she has at least rhetorically seemed in favor of it) nor her support for Assad in Syria (although that is tempered by an understandable desire to limit the instability in the Middle East, and a generalized opposition to us getting into more wars). I do like many other things about her. 

Honor, though, is always the main thing. She has shown that she has this quality, and I don't know of another politician today that I would say that about. 

UPDATE: I see she has a new book out, which suggests that she may have been thinking about timing it’s release with this moment. So maybe she is interested in the job. 

Marine Sets World Record in Deadlift

This story's headline surprised me. The deadlift is one of the big, compound lifts that involves a lot of muscle groups. Marines, however, are held to strict BMI standards, and as such will tend to have less muscle mass than other competitive deadlifters at their same height who are unencumbered by BMI. 

Part of the mystery evaporated when the story explained that the record was for a particular weight class, which means that the muscle mass differential was somewhat controlled. More of it evaporated when it turned out to be a female Marine. Women normally have higher fat in their body complex, so if this female Marine had managed to get lean and muscular they would have a little more play in their BMI than would a male Marine. 

But then I read that the deadlifting world record was broken by 40 pounds. That's extraordinary. The interview explains that “Honestly, it kind of felt kind of weightless,” she said. “It was not easy, but not the strain I thought it would be.” 

I did not really notice at first that the interview was only granted on the condition that this female Marine not be named. I did ask around my Strongman community if anyone had heard anything about it. One of them had a photo. 

I'll put it after the jump.

The Spirit of '76

You've heard of the North Carolina frat boys who rushed to hold up the American flag to keep it off the ground until it could be re-hoisted. They were pelted by the anti-American, pro-Hamas mob as they strove to keep our flag from falling. The story reminds me of that of Sergeant Jasper, a famous figure from the American Revolution, who made his fame securing the flag of a newly independent South Carolina that fell under fire; and who died securing the American flag also under fire. Fortunately the fire at UNC was not deadly, but there is a parallel in the spirit. 

Giving a sense of how the public feels about all of this, an effort to raise money to throw them a proper fraternity party is closing on half a million dollars. A right-wing-themed beer company is promising to provide free beer, so that will leave quite a budget for the other aspects of the party. (Perhaps they might wisely use some of it to retire any student loans they've undertaken.) 

The event reminds me of an old Doonesbury cartoon from the Reagan era, where one of the old radicals went to a college campus only to find himself among frat boys with no sympathy for "pinkos." The radicals have returned, but the frat boys are still there like always.

The Spirit of '68

An article linked by Instapundit reminds me of something I once knew but had long forgotten.
The most powerful and influential form of radicalism in the Western world today has no real name in the United States. It does in France, or at least its adherents do: les soixante-huitards, “the ‘68ers.”

The reference is to a series of riots, very similar in form and complaint against the United States and the West, that swept the Western world in 1968. In one of those moments that reminds of the remark that history repeats itself 'the first time as tragedy, the second as farce,' this year's Democratic National Convention will also be in Chicago, allowing a repeat of the 1968 protests of that same event in that same city by those of that same ideology.

That event ended with police crackdowns that the media boldly criticized and bravely put on camera for the whole world to see, only to be disappointed when it turned out that the American world broadly approved of police crackdowns on these radicals.

The American national news media, whose correspondents had been among the victims of police brutality at the convention, were at the forefront of criticism of the Chicago police. According to journalist Barbara Ehrenreich: "In a rare moment of collective courage, the editors of all the nation's major newspapers telegrammed a strong protest to Mayor Daley." National NBC newscaster Chet Huntley announced to the nation on the evening news that "'the news profession in this city is now under assault by the Chicago police'."

However, to the surprise of the news media, and many of the people who had witnessed the Chicago "police riot", the general public did not take their side. "Polls taken immediately after the convention showed that the majority of Americans — 56 percent — sympathized with the police, not with the bloodied demonstrators or the press." A poll taken for the New York Times "showed an 'overwhelming' majority respondents supported the police in Chicago." CBS reported that 10 times as many people had written to them disapproving of their coverage of the events as had written in approval." Dailey himself received "scores of letters", praising him and especially attacking the press and demonstrators.

One aftereffect of this "backlash", was soul-searching by the "media class" who "spent the next few years" in "almost reverent" examination of the white working class/middle class, mostly non-coastal strata of population dubbed "the silent majority" (by soon-to-be-president Richard Nixon) and "Middle America".

Trump stands in the place of Richard Nixon this year, which is part of the farce; although he'd really like to be Reagan, and to reprise the 1980s, which he would do in a farcical way. The historical rhyme is clear enough, however, even if it's only a near-rhyme.

This is CNN

Seventy Democrats to only 21 Republicans voted against a bill to oppose Antisemitism. So who did CNN make the face of the story? And now it’s a story about Republican antisemitism. 

Never Thought I’d Say This…

…but Roll Tide

UPDATE: That was the Crimson Tide; whereas at the Harvard Crimson, the most normal thing was the streaking

Requiescat in Pace Duane Eddy

Lukas Nelson

A nice tribute.

The Survivor

The Cathedral of May

Welcome to the warm time of the year. 

Glory is the Reward


The motto of the Scottish Clan Robertson (also known by their Gaelic name, "Donnachaidh," which means "Duncan" and refers to another family in the clan) is Virtutis Gloria Merces. This is usually translated as "Glory is the reward of valor." However, a more obvious and literal translation is "Glory is the reward of virtue." As an essay that Dad29 linked today points out, both translations are proper.

Opening with a meditation on the film "Act of Valor," which was put together by Navy SEALs and combat veterans of the Global War on Terror, the essay eventually turns to concepts of Aristotelian ethics as filtered through Romans like Tacitus and later Christians like Thomas Aquinas. I think that many of you will find that you enjoy reading it. 

It does raise the point that the Roman influence really wants to cash this "virtue" talk in terms of "manliness." That's not true in the Greek, where the term is arete and means "excellence." There's no suggestion that this is an especially manly quality, or linked to manliness, even though all the same virtues are under consideration. That is if anything a difficulty today, as young feminists may be inclined to dismiss this ethical school out of the sense that it has nothing to say to them, and perhaps holds them in disdain. In fact, everyone needs courage and self-mastery, justice and practical wisdom. Those aren't qualities that can afford to be lost in translation.

One might ask why glory should be the reward of virtue. Why not self-satisfaction, or peace of mind? Aristotle opens by saying that the ends of ethics -- i.e. the study and pursuit of virtue -- shouldn't be honor, of which glory is a form. This is because people can be unjust, and not bestow honors upon you even if you deserve them. Something more personal -- your own flourishing and happiness -- is what he thinks you should be seeking through virtuous behavior. 

Yet for those who attain what Aristotle calls the capstone of virtue, honor is the chief concern: not in the sense of 'what people happen to honor,' but 'what is most worthy of honor.' He does not care what other people tell him is most worthy, but what his own reason and discernment do. To do what is most worthy of honor, using your virtues to excel in its performance, is the highest sort of work and demands the highest sort of person. 

And that, of course, is glorious.

More on EVs

I talked about the EV issue we were discussing yesterday with a buddy of mine who builds electric motorcycles. He's long thought that EVs were very plausible for the trucking industry, and would enjoy wider adoption. Here's what he said about the current situation.
Yeah. Botched rollout across the board. All the world wanted was a small electric pickup truck for tooling around town, but nooooo, they had to exclusively build insane luxury EVs instead.

I think after my [electric] tractor is done I'm going to start looking for a donor small pickup for an EV swap and build the only vehicle I will ever need. Maybe a Chevy LUV or Nissan Hardbody if I can find either. Both of those are the perfect size and indestructible.

The plug-in hybrid is the best design for consumers in my opinion. Toyota was right about that. From a government policy perspective I'd have done a tiered push where there'd have been a rebate for all EVs under a reasonable weight class to incentivize non insane designs, and I'd give half the amount for a plug in hybrid rebate. That way people are still going in the direction you want with adoption but you're not accidentally incentivizing only options that are worse for the environment than small gas cars and not boxing people into only EV if the current tech doesn't work for them.

Obama or Biden should have bit the bullet and committed to resources to building charging networks if they wanted this to work. Instead they did the neoliberal thing and tried to get private businesses to handle it for them. You know, because that worked so well with Obamacare and with tax prep and with...

It's true that Obamacare tried to preserve private insurance, sort of, rather than going to a full-scale socialized medical system. I don't think it worked very well, although I have my doubts that the US bureaucracy could do any better with a socialist medical system. Maybe some places can do it well, but as we've seen with the VA -- where the class of people who use the system enjoy significant public honor over what ordinary citizens do -- our government just can't do it well.  



Hard Times for EVs

Like a lot of towns, the nearby town of Waynesville has mounting capital needs. They are considering a tax increase to cover them, but also asking for voluntary budget concessions
[Police] Chief David Adams said he’d be willing to give up some of his department’s equipment requests — Sutton said he wouldn’t allow the police department to go without new body armor — in exchange for a 3% COLA and so other departments could get some of their needs fulfilled. At the top of Adams’ cut list was the proposed electric vehicle. 
So, "We'll give up our new electric vehicle in return for a raise." 

Other departments were eager to give up their electric vehicles in return for nothing at all.
Elizabeth Teague said the same about a proposed electric vehicle for the planning department — it’s not completely necessary.

There's an understatement. 

Still, these two concessions alone will save close to three hundred thousand dollars. Not 'save Waynesville,' save Ford

Ford Motor Company reported a whopping $132,000 loss on each electric vehicle (EV) sold during the first three months of 2024, amassing a $1.3 billion loss.

 Coincidentally, it will also save Waynesville a smaller amount of money.

History & Tradition

The purpose of any institution is to preserve traditions. That might not be obvious today, when so many institutions have been corrupted by the progressive ideology, so that they are actively undermining traditions. However, the only reason to set up an institution of any kind is because you have something you like that you want to see carried forward. 

All that's going on with the current corruption is that the 'thing they like' is the permanent revolution, which they are trying to make even more permanent by embedding it into institutions. That's what institutions do, and it's why a revolutionary movement must either seize control of the existing ones, replace them, drive them out, or destroy them. You can consider how during the Reformation, the English royalty sought to drive out the Catholics and replace them with their own bishops and church; or how in the French Revolution, the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic movements were part and parcel of the whole "Year One" business. The institutions are the enemy of revolution unless they are seized by the revolution.

For that reason, the NYT is really worried about this whole "History & Tradition" mode of inquiry that is gaining traction in the US courts with conservative jurists. They open with what they take to be a sympathetic example: the rejection of a student-run drag show on campus.
[T]he president of West Texas A&M, Walter Wendler, announced in March 2023 that he was barring the event from campus. In a statement on his personal website, Wendler called drag shows “derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.” Spectrum WT sued, arguing that Wendler’s decision to cancel the show was a “textbook” example of discriminating against speech based on viewpoint.

Legally speaking, Spectrum WT had a strong case. Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects speech on public university campuses, “no matter how offensive” and despite “conventions of decency....” 

But the lawsuit landed on the docket of Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee [who] had a new tool, supplied by the Supreme Court. Known as the “history and tradition” test, the legal standard has been recently adopted by the court’s conservative majority to allow judges to set aside modern developments in the law to restore the precedents of the distant past....

In March, the Supreme Court rejected the student group’s request to hold a second annual drag show on campus. Kacsmaryk’s decision is now pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Also unresolved is a larger question: How much will the scope of American liberty change as conservative judges impose the past on the present?
Again, though, the point of institutions -- including the law, including constitutions like our own -- is to impose the past on the present (and the future). The reason you create a constitution is to say to the future, "These standards are so important that they must be upheld, even as things change, unless there is sufficient agreement on changing them that you can do it through the constitutional process." The point of institutions like churches is to say, "These truths are eternal, and as years and ages roll along, they need to be remembered and included." 

Now, on the question of where the 'History & Traditions' of the United States fall on this particular issue, I think you could make different arguments. We have a strong history of supporting free speech and expression; and, actually, both drag shows and the very similar institution of minstrel shows originate in the United States, and have enjoyed long-term popularity. Minstrel shows aren't done anymore, but there's no formal prohibition of them: they've just fallen out of cultural favor, as people have come to accept that an actor of one race making fun of exaggerated caricatures of another race is unacceptable. 

For now, the same judgment hasn't been made about drag shows even though the argument against them is parallel: such shows entail an actor of one sex making fun of exaggerated caricatures of the other sex. Yet in fact, female megastars like Beyoncé  (locally of "Jolene" remake fame, although I imagine her actual fans would say that was the least of her fame) have adopted personae and language that is drawn heavily from drag (e.g., "Slay, Queen!" and all that bit). 

On the other hand, one could state that America has also had a long set of 'time and place' requirements that allowed such things to occur without destabilizing the general culture's sense of public morals. Both of these arguments are defensible, and making defensible arguments about how to resolve a dispute is what the courts ostensibly exist to do.

The NYT raises other things later that probably concern it more, like the effect of "History & Tradition" on their long-desired project of disarming America. Still, probably what really upsets them the most is restoring earlier America and earlier Americans to a kind of position of power, giving our ancestors a say in what comes next. To this, I must remind them of Chesterton's dictum: Tradition is the democracy of the dead. The opinions of those who came before us, and who did so much to build all that we have inherited, deserve to be at least considered in deciding how we proceed with what they gave us.


Cherie Currie, the singer for the 70s supergroup The Runaways, has decided that she's not into the whole Democratic Party thing anymore. She joins Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols in having made the move.

There have long been questions about how right-wing punk rock always was, though. As Rancid guitarist and independent punk rocker Lars Frederiksen (of Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards) puts it, "Just because I dress like this/ doesn't mean I'm a Communist." 

Poor Baby

My dog Conan found a rattlesnake tonight. I didn’t see the snake, but the wounds from the fangs are too wide for a copperhead and we don’t have moccasins on the mountain. Timber rattlers we definitely have. 

Antivenin is expensive! But he’s my dog. 


The morning finds him alive and capable of standing and moving short distances under his own power. He’s drinking and shows no initial signs of organ failure or wound sepsis. He let me bathe the wounds, and the swelling is already beginning to subside. I hope that he is going to be fine in a little while; he is both young and strong. 


We did lose a chicken last night, because we were off at the vet instead of home to lock them up in their coop safely and their guard dog wasn't there either. This morning one of them was dead outside the door. A chicken for a dog is a good trade, but it underlines his value as a member of the family.

Grownup is as grownup does

A teachable moment at an otherwise apparently education-free university. The always interesting Jazz Shaw at HotAir notes that Columbia students are slowly waking to the fact that arrests aren't all cachet.
[T]he students are fearful that their arrest records and suspensions will "follow them into their adult lives." Based on their recent actions, I realize that we're not dealing with the fastest set of tractors on the farm here, but I have a news flash for these rioters. Nearly every one of you is at least 18 years old and some of the juniors and seniors are in their twenties. You are already in your "adult life," despite the fact that you're not acting in a very mature fashion.
* * *
As of this morning, [the Columbia students'] encampments are still in place and the university is still "negotiating" with them. This is precisely the type of "education" that they shouldn't be receiving. The school is teaching them that they can get away with violating the law without consequences under the guise of free speech. All freedoms have limitations when they begin adversely affecting others. It's a harsh lesson, but it's one that these rioters need to be taught.