Understanding Agriculture

This guy doesn't:
Suppose a supermarket stocks chickens in units of 1,000. If you buy two or three chickens every month, and then stop, you probably won't cause them to stock 1,000 less. But you might if the supermarket is just at the threshold between order sizes. That will likely only happen about 1 in 1,000 times you buy chicken — but when you do, you save 1,000 chickens.
That's right, you will save a thousand chickens. The farm will just continue to feed them, and they'll live out their lives in poultry bliss because of your virtuous decision not to buy a chicken.

No, they won't. If they can't sell them to the grocery store, they'll sell them to the rendering plant. If you don't eat them, your dog will eat them in his dog food, or they'll be used to make glue.

What may happen if enough people stop eating chicken is that fewer chickens will ever be born. It would be very odd to describe this as "saving" a chicken: there will never have been a chicken to save.

If you want to reform factory agriculture, fine. I like farm fresh eggs that come from free range chickens, and that's mostly what we eat -- a friend of the wife's has a whole bunch of them. I agree that, in general, we should try to structure our relationship with animals in a way that is humane and respects the animal's nature.

But come on. Before you set out to reform an industry, at least learn how it works.

"Sometimes, If Someone Delivers Before..."

In this latest video, the Planned Parenthood doctor explains that they can get intact organs on those occasions when the baby is delivered before the abortion could be carried out. That one is going to be fun to explain. I assume the defense will be that the doctor was only talking about stillbirths, as otherwise you mean that you delivered the baby alive, killed it, and then dissected it. It doesn't sound like that is what she's talking about, though: I'm not sure how to understand her follow-on comments about Planned Parenthood's intentions if she's talking about a child that is already dead. It makes perfect sense if "the procedure" is an abortion, in which case the child was alive.

This video underscores my suspicion, developed in response to Elise's comments below, that the real intent here was to catch PP in lawbreaking (here the Infant Born Alive Act) and it just turned out to be viscerally horrifying. The structure of the video comes across as strange, as the thing they're trying to prove isn't the takeaway for the viewer.

Clinton Emails Had Lots of Classified Data, From 5 Different Intelligence Agencies Including NSA

No one thinks she's going to be made to suffer formal legal penalties. She is obviously above the law. But there's law, and then there's bureaucracy. So a question for all of you keeping score at home: Will Hillary Clinton lose her security clearance?

Her clearance is doubtless inactive because she has been out of the government for a while, but it is doubtless a clearance of the highest level: TS/SCI, for Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmentalized Information. It happens that I know quite a bit about what is involved in obtaining and maintaining such a clearance. There is not a doubt in my mind that any normal person found to have passed classified information through their un-secure private email would be stripped of their clearance that afternoon, and would probably never be adjudicated eligible again.

There is no formal requirement that someone standing for President has to be eligible for a security clearance, of course. She will still be given access to anything at all in spite of being ineligible. Further, Mrs. Clinton is at the end of her public career: if she is not elected President, she will not serve in any other capacity.

Thus, there is no reason not to enforce standards in the usual way. Does anyone think that will happen?

Army Updates Divorce Policy

Everything that is not forbidden is mandatory.

It's the Duffel Blog, the Onion of the military.

Are you a pile of goop? Period.

It's getting harder to differentiate who is and who isn't. Ed Morrissey argues that we should quit focusing on whether Planned Parenthood's organ sales produced a profit:
Planned Parenthood wants to keep the debate on these points to deflect from the real debate — the nature of abortion itself, and the deliberate minimization in language that has allowed it. Abortion defenders claim that the procedure does not terminate life, and that it has no more moral meaning than excising a tumor or a cyst, a "clump of cells" in the most common construction. On Twitter, a young actor in Hollywood offered a more crude assessment this week. "A pile of goop should not have more rights than a human being," Lucas Neff tweeted, "period."
* * *
The true danger to Planned Parenthood and the entire industry is the exposure of their hypocrisy. The two positions of "clumps of cells" and negotiating over human organs from abortions are mutually exclusive. One cannot extract human organs from "a pile of goop," or from tumors or undifferentiated "clumps of cells." Human organs come from human beings, and the only way to harvest them from unborn human beings is to kill them first. The videos cut through all of the misdirection, all of the antiseptic generalities used in defense of abortion, to expose its true nature — and that's what has Planned Parenthood panicked over the videos.

70th Anniversary of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Of the crew of about 1200, only 900 survived the initial sinking. Before they were rescued four days after the sinking, another 600 would die of exposure, dehydration, and shark attacks. Most Americans only know about this because of the movie Jaws, where Quint describes the ordeal of the sailors and Marines who survived the initial sinking. But because it was described in a movie, most people assume it is a work of fiction.

It was not.

I encourage everyone to watch the following video and hear the first hand account of a survivor of the USS Indianapolis.

Quit arguing

Kurt Schlichter says it's time to stop wasting your breath on gun-control advocates who are arguing in bad faith:
Put simply, liberal elitists don’t like the fact that, at the end of the day, an armed citizenry can tell them, “No.”

Thanks for bringing that up

Now that you mention it, the Michigan Supreme Court says, not only are private unions prohibited from forcing workers to join and pay dues, the state civil service commission similarly has no business requiring government employees to pay public union dues:
In 2012 Michigan passed a right-to work statute that lets workers decide whether to join a union and thus pay union dues. The United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents 17,000 state workers, brought a lawsuit claiming the law doesn’t apply to its members because their employment terms are set by the Michigan Civil Service Commission.
Bad call. The Civil Service Commission had long held that, while public employees could opt out of the union, they had to pay union fees. On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the commission had no such constitutional authority “to compel civil service employees to make involuntary financial contributions.”
That comes under the legal heading of "sorry I filed that lawsuit in the first place."
Union membership has plummeted in Wisconsin and Indiana since similar worker freedom was allowed. The largest state teachers union in Wisconsin has lost more than half of its 40,000 members in four years.
Did I forget to mention, Scott Walker for president?

How To Tell If You Are In An Old English Poem

A practical guide.


So I got notified of my health insurance cost increase for next year. I still have one of those 'grandfathered' plans, and last year it went up by twenty-plus percent in cost. This year, it's going up in price by nearly a quarter. This is not a "Cadillac" plan. I have to pay ten grand out of pocket before it covers anything. The only reason to maintain it versus an Obamacare plan is that it has a real network: almost anyone around is on the network. If you get hurt or sick, you can get care anywhere around. If I switched to Zero-care, good luck finding anyone who will see you for anything at all.

Sure has been nice, this ride into "Affordable Care." I'm sure I'm not the only one who has really enjoyed it. The major effect for me is that I'm now paying hundreds of dollars a month more for the same insurance.

Lost sons returned--actually, not

Update:  my mistake, or rather Ace's--that was a link to a 2005 article about two other boys who were found after being missing on the water for six days.  Sadly, still no word on this week's boys.

I wouldn't have given a plugged nickel for the chances of these two teenagers, who have been missing off the coast of South Carolina for six days.  Their boat was found a couple of days ago, with no sign of the boys.  The initial report doesn't explain how they got separated from the boat, but, incredibly, both boys are alive and doing pretty well.
Their neighbor Joe Namath had been helping fund the search-and-rescue effort.

The Sword in the Stone

King Arthur is supposed to have lived in or around AD 500. However, the legend of the sword in the stone does not originate with him. It was attached to the Arthurian tradition perhaps in the 12th century -- this site credits Robert de Boron, and Wikipedia seems to agree -- some decades after Geoffrey of Monmouth's famous history revived Arthur as a figure explaining why a set of kings from the continent could reasonably claim to be the legitimate royalty over the British Isles. Arthur had ruled both in Brittany and in Britain, by tradition, and the Norman kings would go on to claim the right to rule over the whole territory comprising his legendary kingdom.

The sword in the stone is usually supposed to be related to the Volsung saga in Norse. In that saga, Odin drives a magic sword into a tree as a gift for the man who can remove it. Only Sigmund is able to free it. This sword later breaks, and its shards are re-forged by his son (with assistance from a magic dwarf). The resulting sword, Gram, is the sword Sigurd uses to kill the dragon. This sword is the clear predecessor for Tolkien's Narsil/Anduril, the sword that was broken. The story of Gram is not completely unlike the Arthurian story, with a divinely-given sword, the freeing of which results in a test, and which later breaks and must be replaced. In Malory, the sword in the stone breaks in a fight with king Pellinore, from which Arthur is only rescued by Merlin's intervention. Merlin then takes Arthur and introduces him to the Lady of the Lake, who grants him Excalibur. However, in earlier versions of the story, Excalibur and the sword in the stone are the same sword.

I remind you of all of this to pass on another possible origin for the sword in the stone story, via D29. The timing is just about right. It will have happened some decades before Robert de Boron's poetry.
The legendary sword in the stone still stands in Italy. While connected to Arthurian legend and British history, this Sword in the Stone is associated with a Catholic saint. Visitors can see it in the Montesiepi chapel, near Saint Galgano Abbey in Chiusdino, in Tuscany.

The legend surrounds the story of brave knight Galgano Guidotti, who was born in 1148 near Chiusdino. After spending his youth as a brave knight, Galgano decided to follow the words of Jesus in 1180 and retired as a hermit near his hometown.

Galgano is said to have stuck his sword onto a rock in order to use it as a cross for his prayers. One year later Galgano died, and in 1185 Pope Lucius the 3rd declared him a saint.

After Galgano's death, according to legend, countless people have tried to steal the sword. In the chapel you can see what are said to be the mummified hands of a thief that tried to remove the sword and was then suddenly slaughtered by wild wolves.

The sword was believed to be a fake for years. However, recent studies examined the sword and the hands, and the dating results as well as metal and style of the sword all are consistent with the late 1100s, early 1200s. This lends credence that the story on which the English sword and the stone is based on originated with Guidotti in Italy.
A video of the sword and the stone, around which was later built an abbey, can be seen here.

Michael Bay Is Making A Movie About Benghazi

It will be very interesting to see how this is portrayed, and what repercussions it might have for the Clinton campaign. Will it shy away from the question of her responsibility? Will it try to make it look like she couldn't have done anything? That's my suspicion, but if not, then it could be explosive.

Here's the movie's website, but there's not much but the trailer there now.

Jurisdiction Stripping

Sounds kinda dirty, but Adam Freedman over at National Review claims it's the answer to the USSC overstepping itself on the same sex marriage issue, and federal courts, too, for that matter. What is it?

... it involves nothing more than Congress’s exercising its constitutional authority to define the limits of federal judicial power. The idea of using Congress to rein in activist judges is not new; in fact, it was once advocated by a young lawyer in the Reagan administration named John Roberts. ... 
Congress should listen to the young John Roberts and abolish the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court — and all federal courts — over cases involving state laws defining marriage. At the moment, such legislation would require a two-thirds majority to overcome President Obama’s inevitable veto. But come January 20, 2017, if there is a Republican in the White House, jurisdiction-stripping legislation could become a reality. Every GOP presidential candidate should commit to signing such a bill the moment it crosses his or her desk. The jurisdiction of federal courts is almost entirely a matter of congressional discretion. The Constitution creates only one court — the Supreme Court — and then gives Congress the power to “ordain and establish” lower federal courts as it sees fit. Since Congress has no obligation to create lower federal courts in the first place, it has every right to limit the jurisdiction of those courts it chooses to create.
As for the Supreme Court, its appellate jurisdiction — that is, its ability to review lower-court decisions — is subject to “such Exceptions, and . . . such Regulations as Congress shall make.” ...
Historically, Supreme Court jurisdiction was far more limited than it is today. Until 1889, the Supreme Court could not hear appeals in federal criminal cases. Until 1914, the Court had no right to review state-court decisions striking down state laws or upholding federal law. Essentially, state courts had the last word unless they struck down a federal law or denied the applicability of a federal right.

In the end, it only throws the ball back into the states' court, but it's an interesting idea. Is it a realistic one?

Well, That's Interesting

Among reasons not to drink Mountain Dew:
11. It’ll Dissolve a Mouse
Recently there was a law suit involving a mouse that was found in a can of mountain dew, and PepsiCo’s legal defense suggested that the consumer planter the mouse. They did this by admitting that a mouse left in a can of mountain dew for the period of time that the mouse was supposedly in the can the consumer purchased would have completely dissolved.
This claim appears to check out. Of course, your stomach lining is strong.

Greetings, Denizens of the European Union!

I am informed by our generous hosts at Blogger/Google that you have passed a law mandating that we inform you about our use of cookies, and possibly obtain your consent. If you are coming in from an EU country (or visit an EU-hosted version of this site) you should see an appropriate notice automatically courtesy of our hosts.

I'm not actually sure what cookies Google and or Blogger use on this site. You can consent to them or not, as you prefer. Be aware, however, that as an American I reject any suggestion that I have a duty to obey your laws.

We are a free people. We make our own laws. Keep yours to yourselves.

If this notice constitutes a hate crime in your jurisdiction, please note that this is just too bad.

You Can't Mock This Stuff

If this was a joke, what would you say differently?
The guide also discourages the use of “mothering” or “fathering,” so as to “avoid gendering a non-gendered activity.”
It's amazing. Instead of saying "healthy," say "non-disabled," but don't then say "disabled"!

What on earth are they trying to teach our children?

Strange I've Not Heard Of This Before

Washington state has a law called "mutual combat," which allows people to engage in freely engaged fisticuffs if supervised by a police officer. This sounds like just the sort of thing I've long advocated. I can't seem to find much data on how it's worked out, though, which probably means that it hasn't been a total disaster.

An Old Folk Song About That Coward Robert Ford

From The Long Riders, a traditional folk song about Jesse James. Outlaw songs tend to romanticize the hero, but Robert Ford deserves his infamy.

Vote for the Socialist?

I'm certainly not planning on it, but I'll say this for Sen. Sanders: he has a refreshing habit deflating rather than hiding behind buzzwords.
Ezra Klein
I want to make a turn to foreign policy. Is there a particular foreign policy school of thought you ascribe to? Do you describe yourself as a realist or a democratic socialist?

Bernie Sanders
I don't know what that means. I trust we're all realists.

Ezra Klein
I'm not sure we are.

Bernie Sanders
I don't know what that word means.


Ezra Klein
Do you view yourself as a Zionist?

Bernie Sanders
A Zionist? What does that mean? Want to define what the word is?
I think it's fair to say that, having read this interview, you will know what Bernie Sanders really thinks about everything. I applaud him for that, even where I think he is badly wrong in his thinking. Honesty and directness are the hallmarks of a healthy democracy. We ought to share out views openly and clearly, debate them vigorously, and then choose. Lies and deceit are not befitting in the leadership of a free people. Indeed, it becomes questionable how free any democratic choice can be when its leadership habitually deceives about their intentions.


The Vatican Library has been digitizing its collection, making many beautiful works from throughout the 2000 year history of the Church available to view. Among these are incunabula, that is, printed works from the earliest period of printing. Given our recent discussion of the early history of printing, I thought some of you might enjoy looking at them.

You can visit that section directly through this link.

The Third Planned Parenthood Video

An interview with one of their doctors, who fainted the first time she was asked to do what they had hired her to do. “I thought I was going to be just drawing blood, not procuring tissue from aborted fetuses,” she says.

Beware if you aren't ready for similar sights. "Toward the end, though, an undercover camera catches the horrifying reality of organ harvesting. The hands and feat of dismembered fetuses are clearly visible."

Impossible thrust

That EM propulsion system  that appears to defy the law of conservation of momentum doesn't seem to be going away.  I'm hoping someone (James?) can chime in.

Huckabee: No, Really, Genocide

'You're talking about killing the Jews in Israel. Or, at least, the Iranians are sure talking about it.'

He could be wrong, but there's the very great danger that he might be right. I mean, we all saw the thing the Supreme Leader sent out that has a silhouette of Obama holding a gun to his own head. What's suicidal about war with Iran? Nothing, unless they have access to nuclear weapons.

By the way, we don't know what we promised as a condition of this deal, as no American was allowed to see it. And since neither the main deal nor the side deals treat the Bushehr heavy water reactor, we still haven't seen the terms. We have absolutely no idea what we're agreeing to.


Let's throw this one down for tonight. Freddie King.

Planning to Carry More Often?

Instapundit has a good reason to direct you to Amazon, and if you like those holsters by all means buy through him.

But if you want something a little better, allow me to recommend Mernickle. They can hook you up with an heirloom.

Famous Men and Their Motorcycles

A meditation from the Art of Manliness.

Those IGs Are the Heroes of this Story

I'm beginning to understand why the administration is so concerned to cut them off at the knees.

Analysis from Hot Air. An IRS love song from Remy.

Tour de France

Congratulations to the winner, in what one news source is calling "the single most dominant performance in the 112-year history of the event."

The World is Upside Down

The President has given the green light to Turkey's bombing of the Kurds, the only effective resistance to ISIS in Iraq except for the Iranian-backed Shia militias. US and British veteran volunteers are fighting alongside the Kurds, and will now be at risk of being killed by NATO bombs.

Why? Turkey was just struck by a major ISIS bombing attack this week. Of course, it struck the secular opposition party, not the ruling Islamist party.

"The Most Important Battle You've Probably Never Heard Of"

Well, the headline was written for the general public, not denizens of the Hall! The date was eight hundred years ago today, and the battle was Bouvines:
"Without Bouvines there is no Magna Carta, and all the British and American law that stems from that. It's a muddy field, the armies are small, but everything depends on the struggle. It's one of the climactic moments of European history."

Cowboy Mounted Shooting

Ed Driscoll at InstaPundit has published a couple of photos of a mounted shooting competition. This is a fun sport, although you should take it with a grain of salt. The .45s in this competition are loaded with wax for safety reasons, and it disintegrates under the pressure of the explosive gas created by the cartridge going off. That's why, in the second shot, you see what appear to be rays of light going off in many directions: they are bits of burning wax flying through the air. As you can see, they don't go all that far before burning up and falling out of the air. That means it's safe to shoot guns in the arena with spectators all around you -- as long as they are more than a few feet away, there's no danger to them.

However, it also means that the revolver is acting more like a shotgun than like a revolver being fed traditional solid bullets. The accuracy of the riders is thus somewhat difficult to judge. Would they have hit the balloon if they'd been firing lead flat nose rounds? Maybe! It's still a lot of fun.

What's the Worst Problem in Human Thought?

Overconfidence, says Daniel Kahneman. Stereotyping is unavoidable in spite of its tragic nature:
“Think of it this way. A form of stereotyping is involved in understanding the world. So I have a stereotype of a table, I have a stereotype of chairs. Now when you start having stereotypes of social groups, it’s the human mind at work. It’s not a different mind. It’s what you need to get around in the world.” You can slow down and become aware of this, Kahneman believes, but the underlying mechanism isn’t going to change.
Not that he's in favor of it: the article goes on to relate his experience as a victim of the Holocaust. But compared to overconfidence, stereotyping is at least mostly useful most of the time. It's absolutely necessary to understanding the world, even though it leads us to error now and then.

It's an issue we discuss here from time to time. It's what I mean when I talk about physical reality being analogical rather than logical. If "human" was a logical object, you could make claims about a human that would be absolutely certain to hold for any human. It turns out that you can't do this with logical certainty: even claims that hold almost all the time ("a human being has two eyes," "a human being is either male or female," "a human being will have exactly one parent of each sex") turn out to admit of exceptions. We are blindsided by the exceptions because we think of the category as logical, but it's really a stereotype -- or, as I prefer to explain it, the members of the category are members by a relationship of analogy. It's not that they really belong to a hard, logical category. It's that we've found ways in which they seem to be alike, and have made analogies between them in our minds.

Recognizing that should do something to undermine the problem of overconfidence, as you suddenly become aware that much of your understanding of the world is built on shaky ground. It is characteristic of analogies that they always fail. Sooner or later, your analogies will break.

By the way, his examples are interesting because tables and chairs are artifacts rather than naturally occurring things like human beings. With artifacts, you really can make at least some logical claims because they were created by a human mind for a particular purpose. You can say with certainty that "any artifact that is a table will be potentially be capable of holding objects up off the floor or ground" because that's what a table is. These are actually the best case scenario for stereotypes about physical objects that hold universally.

In Fairness, the Evidence Strongly Supports Their Belief

Rand Paul: "Clintons think they live above the law."

Filial Piety

For reasons I won't go into, I was looking back at some old posts about my father and grandfather. There's one in particular I'd like to bring forward.

The Ides of March.

Much of this was written way back in 2004. I was a better writer, then. Things have become clouded that were once clear. It is good to revisit the old days when skies were bright.

Against Genocide

Mike Huckabee apparently thinks he's found the unifying characteristic of foreign and domestic policy.
"This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal.


"The fact that [Planned Parenthood is] getting between $500-540 million of taxpayer money is really a disgrace. It is disgusting to fund an organization like Planned Parenthood that chops up babies and sells the parts like parts to a Buick. America needs to come to grips with a 42-year nightmare of taking babies from their mother’s womb. This needs to come to an end."
An Evangelical mother I know sent me a graphic the other day that asserts that, if you kept a moment of silence for every American baby killed by abortion since Roe, you would be silent for over a hundred years. If "moment" means "minute," that's true even with the five year old data from the link. America's population would not necessarily be fifty-seven million greater since we could easily have cut into that by not opening the floodgates of immigration. It would be substantially more black and less Latino, though, as without abortion the black population would be 36% larger than it is. Around a third of black babies are aborted at their mothers' own choice, albeit a choice frequently made under the duress of poverty.

Justice Ginsburg said that "at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion." The author didn't follow up to ask which populations those were, but we can see the results fairly plainly. Huckabee's language is explosive, but there's a valid point buried where he's digging.

UPDATE: Huckabee says he really means it on the dangers of genocide in Israel.

You Might As Well

Headline: "CIA Mulls Pulling US Spies Out Of China After Massive OPM Hack Likely Compromised American Identities."

Sexual Orientation and Free Will

In "How Choice and Emotion Can Influence Sexual Orientation," Ronald Pisaturo argues against biological and social determinism and for free will as the determiner of sexual orientation. He takes a position that bears some resemblance to an argument I've seen here before, one of Grim's, I think, that we express free will not always in the moment, but in habits. That is, there is no moment when someone makes a conscious decision to be homosexual or heterosexual, but that these orientations are the culminations of many decisions over many years.

It is particularly interesting to me because he argues that heterosexuality is also a choice (or, a long series of choices). In the past, I have simply assumed heterosexuality was the norm and there was no need for a choice, but Pisaturo's argument here intrigues me and I will have to think about it.

In any case, it is an argument I am highly susceptible to, so I invite anyone who is interested to read and poke holes in it, or say whatever else you'd like to say about it.

That's Exactly the Problem

“Planned Parenthood has broken no laws," Cecile Richards, the president of the non-profit, said on "This Week."
UPDATE: Wonderful.

Near Miss in Austin

Apparently your immigration from California is posing the same kind of problem for Texas that migration to Atlanta has posed for Georgia these last thirty years. The Austin city council almost voted to ban... barbecue smoke.
Austin City Council members passed a preliminary plan in April to put restrictions on smoke from barbeque restaurants. Some Austin residents complain of the barbecue smoke saying they can’t enjoy their homes they purchased before some of these restaurants moved in.

The city council’s current proposal will require... at least $100,000 in extra investments for most barbecue restaurants as they will be forced to buy extra smokers along with severely expensive diffusers, and in some cases will have to lease or purchase more property.


It is effectively a ban on barbecue restaurants in a town known for its barbecue.
How do you ban barbecue in Texas, any more than in the South? And what kind of person complains about the smell of barbecue smoke? I'm not sure there's a more wonderful smell on God's green earth than barbecue smoke.

The Great American Road in Fiction

Something we learn in perusing this beautiful map of the great American travel fiction: no one has ever written a great road novel about passing through Arkansas. That's an artifact of how the genre is constructed: Lonesome Dove has a story arc that starts there, but it was excluded as apparently too much a work of fiction and too little a fictionalized account of an actual journey that the author took (e.g. On the Road, which was included and certainly could not be omitted from the genre).

Also, apropos of the last post, it doesn't appear that any of them are about Route 66, "The Mother Road." The iconic "Chicago to Los Angeles" route has apparently never prompted a great travel novel of this particular genre. The Grapes of Wrath is, I suppose, like Lonesome Dove too removed from the parameters of the genre. But I'd have expected one from the glory years of the Mother Road, when Bugs Bunny could joke about 'taking a left turn at Albuquerque' and Snoopy could have a brother in Needles and everyone reading a newspaper from coast to coast would know what they were talking about.

A Honky Tonk Band Blocking the Door of a Route 66 Barbecue Joint

If you're planning a trip, they're the "Pulled Pork Pickers" and the joint is Pappy's Place in Springfield, Missouri.

I love how they take charge of making sure the door gets closed as people pass in and out.

"Cheer up, boys!"

I wish I could find this on YouTube, but all I have is a transcript from a 1976 SNL skit with Kris Kristofferson and Chevy Chase, "Waiting for Pardo":
Bill: Is he comin'? 
Bob: I don't think so. 
Bill: Have you ever seen him? 
Bob: No. Nobody has. 
Bill: Well, how do you know he exists? 
Bob: What? 
Bill: How do you know he exists? 
Bob: I've heard him. 
Bill: Where? On game shows? 
Bob: Yes. "Jeopardy." 
Bill: We can't wait much longer. 
Bob: We don't have much time. 
Don Pardo: Yes, you do, boys! 'Cause here's good news! [iris to an image of wristwatches in deep space - the brand of watch is IMMANUEL KANT OF GERMANY] Space and time are empirically real but transcendentally ideal, Bill! Yours from Immanuel Kant -- where Time and Space work hand-in-hand for you! [dissolve back to the tramps
Bill: What's it like? 
Bob: What? 
Bill: The face of Pardo. 
Bob: It's been said that it's very beautiful. 
Bill: Yes. 
Bob: Though no one's ever seen it. 
Bill: Let's look for it. [Bob looks inside a boot that he carries while Bill looks skyward at the sound of Don Pardo's Olympian voice
Don Pardo: Keep looking, boys! [iris to an image of luggage - brand name: Spinoza] 'Cause all things which are, are in themselves, or in another thing, Bill! Another quality idea from Spinoza! [dissolve back to the tramps
Bob: [off his boot] Well, he's not in here. 
Bill: [off his shoe] Not in here either. 
Bob: [tries to put on Bill's shoe] It's a struggle. 
Bill: Puttin' on your shoe? 
Bob: No, puttin' on yours. 
Bill: [puts his hat on his foot] I think we're losing this game. 
Don Pardo: No way, big fella! [iris to an image of fine jewelry - brand name: MARX OF LONDON] The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains! Workers of the world unite, Bob! From "Das Kapital" by Marx! Back to you, Bill! [dissolve back to the tramps]  
Bob: Tell me ... you like my T-shirt? 
Bill: I have one. 
Bob: Bloomingdale's? 
Bill: Macy's. 
Bob: Let's just ... keep waiting. 
Don Pardo: And you'll be glad you did, you lucky devils, you! [iris to image of cruise ships with the words 5 DAYS 6 NIGHTS - I CHING TO HONG KONG] Because, from the fabulous Book of Changes, comes success! It furthers one to cross the great water! Perseverance furthers, Bill! From the good folks at I Ching! 
Bill: He must be very smart. 
Don Pardo: I think, therefore I am, Bill! [dissolve to image of men's designer slacks and the Eiffel Tower - brand name: René Descartes of Paris] Something to think about from René Descartes of Paris! [dissolve back to the tramps
Bob: Knock knock. 
Bill: Who's there? 
Bob: Bob. 
Bill: Knock knock. 
Bob: Who's there? 
Bill: Bill. 
Bob: One hundred bottles of beer on the wall ... 
Bill: One hundred bottles of beer ... 
Bob: If one of those bottles should happen to fall ... 
Bill and Bob: Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall ... 
Don Pardo: And while you're waiting for Pardo, have a nice day, Bill! [dissolve to image of a smiley face underneath which is the name of Rod McKuen] Loosely based on a concept by Rod McKuen. 
Bob: Ninety-eight bottles of beer on the wall ... 
Bill: Ninety-eight bottles of beer ... 
Bob: If one of those bottles should happen to fall ... [stage darkens]


We've had great music all week, but very secular and sometimes hard hitting stuff. Now, on Friday night when the rest of the world is going wild, let's have Bach.

Inspired by a discussion at AVI's.

Availability Heuristic

So, a lot of people I know (almost universally white, millennial, left-leaning) are following the Black Lives Matter movement with some real intensity. I don't object to that. It's raising some serious questions that we ought to address. I wonder, though, if there isn't a distortion beginning to appear arising from the intense focus on black people killed by police to the exclusion of other data.

According to USA Today, police kill black Americans about twice a week, which is to say around 100 times a year. But last year, 68 police died in the line of duty. Now there were about 38,929,319 blacks in America last year, whereas the United States has about 120,000 police. So even if you eliminate deaths of police from non-violent causes, the death rate of police from violence is much higher than the death rate of black Americans from police.

But the point is that we're not paying attention to the same information. Everyone who is concerned about the Black Lives Matter movement are focused on the one data set, rather intensely to the exclusion of others. You can be reasonably sure that most police officers hear about it when a brother officer is shot or killed in the line of duty. The world looks very different to these two sets of people who keep coming into violent conflict.

I've talked in the past about how the police treat me as a threat, but they're not wrong to do so. I'm a very dangerous man. I bear them no ill will, and so in point of fact they are not in peril with me, but they have no way of knowing that until I show it to them. Given what they do know -- the availability heuristic operating on all those stories of officer deaths in the line of duty -- their actions are not irrational. Once they've had the benefit of seeing how I interact with them, they've almost always been very helpful (sometimes even when I was really at fault).

We have to get over this hump to fix the problem. Officers are probably being overly aggressive because they are thinking about a subset of information that suggests that interactions with the public (and perhaps especially with black members of the public) are more dangerous than they really are. But members of the public are also overreacting, because they don't see the degree to which peace officers are bearing a substantially higher cost in loss of life and exposure to violence. Both perspectives make sense on their terms, but neither one is complete.

Just a thought.

The Challenge of Equal Female Success Absolutely Requires...

...treating women like women and not men, says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox in the Harvard Business Review. Who is Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, you might ask? HBR will be happy to tell you. "Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is CEO of 20-first, one of the world’s leading gender consulting firms, and author of Seven Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business."

Given how extremely vague the suggestions in the article are, I take it that she wrote the piece largely to scare up business for herself. Businesses (like everyone) are scrambling to show that they are taking positive steps to promote diversity, especially on matters of sex and race (though not East Asian races). Here she's telling you that everything the industry's been doing is wrong, and that if you want to show you're really serious, you should take her unspecified advice. She doesn't even have a position on whether the differences she's promising to help you transcend are innate or not. Good luck applying what you learned in this article.

If you'd like specified advice, no problem: she has a "leading gender consulting firm" ready to sell you as much consulting as you can pay for. You'll learn how to treat women differently, so as to encourage them to be successful. Her standard of measure is zero-sum -- the percentage of partners by sex in major firms -- so presumably the changes brought about by this consulting are going to come at the expense of the men you employ. So how do you avoid sex discrimination lawsuits? Insisting on disparate impact standards as the measure of fairness? You're going to have explicitly different treatment by sex designed to discriminate in favor of one sex.

"Like St. Peter, he said it three times."

Inspectors General at Work

So those IGs that the Obama administration officially moved to handicap yesterday seem to be moving on then-Secretary Clinton's illegal use of email. The inspector general for the intelligence community has found four instances of improperly marked, classified information transmitted on her private server.

Now, the IG only got to review a "limited selection" of her emails because, as you know, she destroyed the rest of them before turning the 'archive' over to State. (In a hard copy format that is difficult to search, at that.) So what we have here are the ones that her team didn't find and filter out -- presumably because the information wasn't properly marked as classified, which means they didn't know to pull it.

We know that she will pay no political price for this within the party, which is still moving to nominate her with all reckless speed. How unexpected and hopeful to think that the law might actually be enforced upon this most well-connected of persons. It would have the effect of a miracle, restoring faith in a system of law that has for so long been incapable of restraining the politically connected.

UPDATE: Hope fades quickly. The Department of Justice denies that it received any requests for a criminal inquiry, and is merely entertaining a request to look into what damage may have been caused by the disclosure of classified information.

Why Don't We Just Ship Them Some Nuclear Weapons?

A guy with some relevant experience writes about yesterday's new information.
The hearing produced a new bombshell: In its investigation of Iran’s past nuclear-weapons-related work, the IAEA will rely on Iran to collect samples at its Parchin military base and other locations. As a former intelligence analyst experienced in the collection of environmental samples for investigations of weapons of mass destruction, I found this allegation impossible to believe when I heard Senator James Risch (R., Idaho) make it yesterday morning.
I like Sen. Risch's take: "Even the NFL wouldn’t go along with this."


The good old boys in Jackson Hole are rooting for the bison.

Interesting Proposition

A self described "traditional right" critic of Gen. Dunford's says that non-state actors are the real threat, and that we should seek alliance with any tyranny who will help us control them.
Russia has no troops in Mexico or Canada, nor is she considering sending arms to the Taliban, ISIS, Mexican drug cartels, or anyone else we are fighting. Just who is the threat to whom here? Most fundamentally–and I am going to write this in big letters–THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!

The main threat to the United States is not any other state. The main threat is spreading statelessness and the Fourth Generation elements that fill the resulting space. What the U.S. and the international sate system need is an alliance of all states against non-state forces. The two allies we need most, the only two strong enough to do us some good, are China and Russia. The only way Russia would be likely to become a threat to us is if the Russian state were to disintegrate. That was a real possibility under President Yeltsin. President Putin’s great achievement has been strengthening the Russian state. For that, we should thank him.
What about Iran, which has been assisting non-state actors to fight us in Afghanistan and, especially, in Iraq? Maybe our new Russian and Chinese friends can help pressure them to play nice? Not apparently:
We may be able to destroy most Iranian nuclear facilities. But we cannot destroy the knowledge Iran has, knowledge which would enable them to rebuild quickly. After such an attack, Iran would unquestionalbly move to build a bomb, something it is not doing now. And Iran would respond on the ground using allied Shiite militias to round up all the American troops in Iraq and probably attacking those in Afghanistan as well, with plenty of help from Afghans.
I suppose this leaves us with isolationism, and yet he seems very concerned about preparing for threats from non-state actors. If non-state actors like Mexican cartels are the real danger, shouldn't we deal harshly with states like Iran that empower those actors and use them as proxies?

I Really Like This Concept

The Buzzfeed videos where people eat foods from the other side of the world are funny. Even funnier are the videos where people eat commercial versions of the food they have made their whole lives. Here are some soft-spoken women who do their best to hide their disappointment with the food.

IAEA to Trust Iran. Really, Really Trust Iran.

In other words, if nuclear inspectors get a hot tip that Iran is conducting (or conducted in the past) atomic-bomb work at a secret site, they don’t get to go to the site themselves and take samples from the soil, the walls, etc, to see if there’s uranium present. They get their samples … from Iran. That’s like drug-testing a junkie by asking him to bring a sample from home.

Is that what this deal commits us to?
Kerry's answer: It's classified.

Fraud Investigations are the Enemy of All That's Good & Right

So I intuit.
The Obama administration formally announced inspectors general will have to be granted permission by their agency heads to gain access to grand jury, wiretap and fair credit information – an action that severely limits the watchdogs oversight capabilities, independence, and power to uncover fraud.
Well, it's not as if fraud or corruption of Federal government agencies is a problem.

What is a Citizen?

The Obama administration has decided to alter the oath of citizenship.
Effective July 21, 2015, new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance. Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law. A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection.
Conscientious objectors are still required to perform noncombatant service, and they are still subject to the duty to bear arms when required by law -- it's just that the law doesn't require them to bear arms so long as they serve in other capacities. Presumably that is going to be true for newly arrived immigrants as well.

But this is to ask, again, what is going on with citizenship? Citizenship is ultimately a mutual defense pact. We maintain our liberty by defending the liberty of our fellows, who defend ours in return. That's how we hold a space in the world in which to make real our vision of a just society.

Someone who won't participate in that is not properly a citizen. Under the 14th Amendment, if they were born here they have a legal right to be considered a citizen and treated as one. Yet they are violating the more basic nature of the bargain. Before there was a 14th Amendment, before there was a Constitution, before there could be a country needing a Constitution, people had to come together and pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the mutual defense of each other and their liberties.

That's what it is really all about. If you have an objection to defending America's vision of liberty, don't apply for citizenship.

How to Make a Medieval Crossbow

You'll watch the first part, and think, "Oh, sure, chisel, chisel, stock removal from a piece of wood." But hang with it, and enjoy the metal forging and assembly.

The thing is a monster. A hundred seventy-five pound draw. With the right bolt and angle of impact, that thing will punch through modern steel.


In keeping with the blues theme from last night, a contemporary band called Husky Burnette rockin' out hard enough to make the PBR signs tremble.

That pump reminds me of one of my favorite bands ever, the Humpabillies, here doing a blend of Johnny Cash and Motörhead. It's far from their best -- they did a slamming version of Waylon Jennings' "Mental Revenge" -- but it's what I can find online.