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  • Censorship Week

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on January 14th, 2021 (All posts by )

    This week has seen a sharp jump in censorship. The most obvious is the ban of President Trump from Twitter. I never joined Twitter but it did give the president a way around the “Legacy Media” which was uniformly hostile. Fox News was a partial exception but that is limited to a few hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

    Trump was not the only one to be censored. An alternative to Twitter was Parler, a similar site that promised an alternative. It was quickly canceled by Amazon Web Services, which is the money making arm of Bezos’ empire. The reason given was the usual “violation of standards,” which means “We disagree with your politics.”

    Thousands of Trump supporters have been banned or deplatformed by the militant left, or in a few instances, the NeverTrump right. I have been suspended by Facebook for using the term “Russia Hoax.” Obviously, the political left is determined to oust anyone who questions the election result. This is more typical of Fascist and authoritarian regimes, like Turkey or China. Since we have an incoming regime aligned with China, this is not much of a surprise.

    What was a bit unusual was the same censorship by the NeverTrump right. I quit and rejoined the blog Ricochet several times. The first was a squabble over evolution. I discussed it at the time.

    Subsequently, I joined again, encouraged by a friend. I quit again, when suspended for using the term “TDS” and then rejoined again. My friend has subsequently quit himself. I had noticed a distinct NeverTrump tone, which has diminished as Trump’s presidency has been successful. What did not diminish is the NeverTrump sentiments of the administrators. Today, I received the email below.

    “Dear MichaelKennedy,

    Your Ricochet account has been suspended for 7 days, during which time you will be unable to post or comment. When you joined Ricochet, you agreed to abide by the Code of Conduct. In the last month you have racked up the following violations.

    You have a habit of insulting members who you disagree with as “Vichy Republicans”.

    https://ricochet.com/857597/senator-tom-cottons-statement/#comment-5109752
    https://ricochet.com/857165/good-for-nick-sandmann/comment-page-2/#comment-5108696
    Perhaps you didn’t realize that this was offensive. But in the following comment a moderator warned people in this thread that it is not acceptable.

    https://ricochet.com/857165/good-for-nick-sandmann/comment-page-2/#comment-5108759
    Rather than acknowledging that warning or letting it pass without comment, you argued your case.

    https://ricochet.com/857165/good-for-nick-sandmann/comment-page-2/#comment-5109503
    Then you continue your defiance in this comment.

    https://ricochet.com/857165/good-for-nick-sandmann/comment-page-3/#comment-5110322
    Then you whip it out again here.

    https://ricochet.com/867992/rep-jim-jordan-to-seek-ouster-of-rep-liz-cheney-from-leadership-position/comment-page-2/#comment-5155010
    Here’s another example of your incivility.

    https://ricochet.com/864572/a-withdrawal/comment-page-4/#comment-5146865
    D.A. Venters has been arguing in good faith and you issued the following insult. “Arsonist in a field of straw men again. Go away. Maybe Democrats would have you.”

    A moderator redacted part of that and in this comment,

    https://ricochet.com/867992/rep-jim-jordan-to-seek-ouster-of-rep-liz-cheney-from-leadership-position/comment-page-2/#comment-5155061
    Regards,

    The Ricochet Moderators”

    Since I consider the administrators, at least those who have posted their opinions, Vichy Republicans, I am not surprised they are upset. I consider those who represent themselves as Republicans and then join the opposition/enemy when a battle is lost or in doubt to be similar to the members of the French government that joined the Nazis when France lost the war in 1940. Some of those Ricochet members that I “insulted” had announced they were voting for Biden, others have supported the sham impeachment.

    Anyway, I quit for the third and last time.

    I should add that I do not like the current version of WordPress. I could not get it to publish this post on my blog.

    

     

    Posted in Blogging, Civil Society, Conservatism, Internet, Trump | 30 Comments »

    Only on Bended Knee Should You Address Us

    Posted by Ginny on January 14th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Our betters on the left can’t seem to distinguish between reading 1984 as dystopia or guidebook. That doesn’t mean they didn’t learn something, though more probably from the communism that so rightly disturbed Orwell.

    Hannity can be irritating, but today his response to the impeachment seemed correct – that he (and the right in general) were not invested, interested in the impeachment. It seemed little different from every other political subversion of Trump’s presidency. And with only days left, it also seems silly. The left’s apparent motives are, nonetheless, maddening. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Americas, Big Government, Current Events, Politics, Trump | 32 Comments »

    Feudalism in America?

    Posted by David Foster on January 13th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Veronika Kyrylenko believes that we may be headed for a new era of feudalism in this country. I don’t completely agree with her analysis, but it’s a thought-provoking piece.

    See also my 2018 post Coupling, which makes the point that the expansion of connectivity–geographically and otherwise–has downsides as well as upsides. The downsides may well lead individuals to seek security and protection, even at the cost of autonomy and freedom.

     

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Society, USA | 34 Comments »

    The Times That Try Men’s Souls

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on January 13th, 2021 (All posts by )

    The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Thomas Paine, The Crisis No. I – December 1776

     Frankly, it’s a time which try women’s souls, as well – not just being disenfranchised en masse, but having the Establishment News Presstitutes and the Tech Oligarchs gag all mention of conservative simmering unhappiness and discontent in the major media, and chopping off access to social media for designated so-called ‘thought criminals’ in response to a relatively benign – that is, relatively benign in comparison to what has been going on all year in cities that are prog strongholds – a massive protest at the US Capitol. I’m fairly certain that the ruling political oligarchs had the snot scared out of them last Wednesday, when protestors overran the Capitol building. Here’s my tiny violin to play “My Heart Bleeds For You”, and my dainty Victorian lace-trimmed linen handkerchief to sop up the tears. (And BTW, one of those protesters was shot, fatally, by … well, er, someone, whose’ identity is yet unknown, prompting the observation that if he were a regular policeman and shot a protester of color in a prog-run city he would have his identity instantly spread all over the Presstitute Media, along with his home address, his spouses’ employer and the name of the school that his kids attended. But never mind…) Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Current Events, Internet, Leftism, Media | 29 Comments »

    Smashing the State

    Posted by Jay Manifold on January 9th, 2021 (All posts by )

    There won’t be any surprises in this one for anyone who knows me at all well, but I’ll try to at least make it entertaining.

    My very first lasting memory of a news event with political content took place on the afternoon of Sunday 21 January 1968. A B-52 with four hydrogen bombs aboard took off from Thule AFB and crashed somewhere in the Arctic, location unknown.
    Ten days later, the Tet Offensive began.
    Nine weeks and one day after that, Dr King was assassinated.
    Nine weeks less one day after that, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.
    Twelve weeks to the day after that, I first saw real human blood shed live on television via cameras above the intersection of Michigan and Balbo as the Chicago police attacked demonstrators during the Democratic National Convention.

    I was eight years old.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Book Notes, Chicagoania, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, COVID-19, Current Events, Health Care, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Libertarianism, Management, Personal Narrative, Political Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society, Terrorism, USA | 42 Comments »

    Marching to the Beat of Pretty Much the Same Drummer

    Posted by Dan from Madison on January 8th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Quite the week out there in DC. Meanwhile, back in flyover country, things seem somewhat, well, the same. Let us unpack a few things.

    I am in the HVAC business, the owner of a distributor. Business is good. Since it is Winter and it is cold, we are firmly into the H of HVAC. Heating products are selling briskly. Customers coming in the door seem to be acting as they always have. Outside of a little water cooler talk about the riots in DC, the employees seem to be acting exactly the same. In fact, if I didn’t know about the riots, this could be pretty much any week in any January.

    But…social media and all that. While waiting for some cream cheese to come to room temperature for a key lime pie I am making (the pie is completely inauthentic and made with Persian lime juice to boot) I decided to look at a few news sites and scroll twitter a bit and then write this post. What a cesspool social media is. Lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and rage and fury.

    I see that the same benefit of a few “bad actors” won’t be applied to this riot like all of the other ones over the Summer. Hey that’s not fair! Sorry I laughed out loud while I typed that. We know. We get it. Too bad everyone couldn’t have gotten their panties in a bunch when the idiots were trashing the Federal Courthouse in Portland (they still are from what I hear) or any of a number of other federal, state and municipal buildings, as well as billions of dollars of private property – some of which literally went up in smoke.

    I saw some video of the cop in the Capitol blowing that poor woman away. Looks bad. Will be interesting to see how he is treated.

    Lots of calls for Trump to resign, get 25th amendmented, impeached and all that. I haven’t actually had time to hear exactly what he said, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t “hey thanks to all of you for coming, now get your asses up to the Capitol and trash that thing”.

    I have to go to work tomorrow to get some things done that I couldn’t attack during the week. I plan on keeping off of social media as usual, and letting the screamers scream. I won’t hear them.

    Will this event go down in the annals of history and be one of those “I remember where I was when” moments? I don’t think so. I could be wrong. I have a pie to make.

     

    Posted in Current Events | 37 Comments »

    What happened Wednesday?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on January 8th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Roy Says:
    January 7th, 2021 at 10:23 pm
    Mike, does there exist a way to prove your observation about Antifa cadre and about cops helping them specifically up the stairs? I know that we’re not supposed to trust our instincts nor our lying eyes, but…

    We will probably never get proof as the evidence will be swept away as quickly as evidence of vote fraud has been swept away. This operation was designed to harm Trump’s ability to influence policy in the next four years and to discredit him with the gullible who have not already become Democrats.

    Here is one account from eyewitnesses.

    According to the website “wildprotest.com,” the original plan was to gather at the Whitehouse Ellipse from 9am to 12pm, then gather at the North lawn of the Capitol building at 1 pm. As you may well know, not only did it not happen this way, but the aforementioned website went blank. Did they take it down to make it harder for Trump supporters to show that storming the building was never part of the initial plan?

    This account is from an attendee who witnessed some of the events but not inside the capitol.

    My group boarded a D.C. Metro train at 10:30am. Upon arrival to the next station, I saw three young white men board the train with dark clothes and skeleton face masks. My immediate concern was that these were Antifa thugs who would give us trouble as soon as they saw us get off the train with our signs. As I watched them from the corner of my eye, I noticed that one of them wore a cape with the American Revolution snake “Join or die.” Were these Trump supporters? Something did not seem quite right. As the train approached our destination, other rally participants started to fill our coach and we arrived at the Ellipse with no incident.

    It seemed a typical Trump rally.

    The main difference that struck me as unusual during this rally (apart from the three young men who boarded the train) was the frequent smell of marijuana.

    We were present during much of the President’s speech, but since we could not hear it clearly, we walked to the National Mall in search of a bathroom. We found a public restroom on the mall with two lines of over 50 people. We then proceeded to walk down the Mall towards the Capitol building in search of porta-potties and found one with a line of about 20-30 people. Our wait was only 20 minutes, but it was overflowing, and I felt very bad for the women in our group. During the previous rally there had been many portable toilets on the Mall. This lack of facilities was anticipated because we were advised in one list serve to wear diapers. I had the impression the D.C. mayor wanted to make it less comfortable for us.

    There is more, a lot more. You will have to search for it, though.

    Here is another account from the NY Post.

    At least two known Antifa members were spotted among the throngs of pro-Trump protesters at the Capitol on Wednesday, a law enforcement source told The Post.

    The Antifa members disguised themselves with pro-Trump clothing to join in the DC rioting, said the sources, who spotted the infiltrators while monitoring video coverage from the Capitol.

    The infiltrators were recognized due to their participation in New York City demonstrations, and were believed to have joined in the rioting so that Trump would get blamed, the source said.

    Here is another known Antifa/BLM terrorist.

    I expect there was a cadre of up to 100 Antifa terrorists and they used the same tactics we have seen since Minneapolis in June. They do the window breaking and encourage others, black looters in Minneapolis, Trump overenthusiastic supporters in DC, to follow their lead.

    It was a successful op. Someone should have anticipated this but Trump staffers are too busy abandoning ship. I have read of “hundreds” of arrests coming. Who wants to bet that they will all be the Trump people and Antifa will get clean away?

     

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Current Events, Elections, Law Enforcement, Politics, Trump | 46 Comments »

    The Twilight Zone

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on January 5th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Well, it appears that the mullahcracy in Iran is still steamed over the death of their military mastermind Quassam Soleimani, the chief of so-called Quds Force – sort of the Iranian SS, I have always thought. On the one-year anniversary of that momentous drone-zap (a consummation quite overdue in my opinion) the president of Iran directly threatened the life of President Trump. Talk is cheap, and Iranian threats of dire revenge are the equivalent of those teeny and nearly worthless Spanish 1-peseta coins, which were struck from aluminum in the early 1990s, about the size of a child’s fingernail and looked like nothing so much as doll money. But still … the militant Muslims of Iran are certainly dedicated and determined sufficiently to have racked up any number of lesser-known and less-protected hits, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was something more than just tough talk for the benefit of their domestic audience and fans of Islamic mayhem in other countries. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Conservatism, Current Events, History, International Affairs, Iran, Media, Middle East, Trump | 81 Comments »

    Book Review: Year of Consent, by Kendell Foster Crossen

    Posted by David Foster on January 5th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Year of Consent, by Kendell Foster Crossen

    —-

    This is a pulp SF novel from 1954, which has uncomfortable relevance to our present era.

    The story is set in the then-future year of 1990.  The United States is still nominally a democracy, but the real power lies with the social engineers…sophisticated advertising & PR men…who use psychological methods to persuade people that they really want what they are supposed to want.  (Prefiguring “nudging”)  The social engineers are aided in their tasks by a giant computer called Sociac (500,000 vacuum tubes! 860,000 relays!) and colloquially known as ‘Herbie.’  The political system now in place is called Democratic Rule by Consent.  While the US still has a President, he is a figurehead and the administration of the country is actually done by the General Manager of the United States….who himself serves at the pleasure of the social engineers.  The social engineers work in a department called ‘Communications’, which most people believe is limited to such benign tasks as keeping the telephones and the television stations in operation.  Actually, its main function is the carrying out of influence operations.

    One approach involves the publishing of novels which are fictional, but carry implicit social and/or political messages…via, for example, the beliefs and affiliations of the bad guys versus the good guys. Even the structure of novels is managed for messaging reasons: romance-story plots should not be boy gets girl…loses girl…gets girl back, but rather boy gets girl, loses girl, gets different girl who is really right for him.

    Some methods are more direct, although their real objectives are not stated.  One such objective is population control: If the fertility rate is running a little low, advertising is ramped up for a pill called Glamorenes, which are said to create the “rounded, glamorous figure of a TV star…remember–it’s Glamorenes for glamor.”  Actually, the real function of Glamorenes, which is top secret, is to increase a woman’s sex drive and expand the fertility window.  On the other hand, if the birth rate is running too high, the ad emphasis switches to Slimettes for women and Vigorone for men, both of which have a contraceptive effect.  The book’s protagonist, Gerald Leeds, is one of the few who is in on the secret, and when he hears a Glamorenes ad, he realizes that this is the real reason why his girlfriend, Nancy, has been acting especially affectionate lately.

    Few people, even at the highest levels of government, realize just how powerful the Communications Department really is.  “Even the biggest wheels only know part of it.  They think the Communications Administrative Department exists to help them–and not the other way around.”

    The computer known as Sociac (‘Herby’) accumulates vast amounts of data on individuals, including such things as shopping, dining, and vacation preferences. “Thus, when the administration wanted to make a new move, they knew exactly how to condition the people so that it would be backed. Or they knew exactly what sort of man to put up to win a popular election.” Telephone calls are tapped, but are rarely listened to directly by government agents; rather, they are fed directly to “a calculator” (perhaps a front-end to Herbie) and added to “the huge stock of intimate knowledge about the people.”

    Those individuals who resist the conditioning and are found to hold unapproved opinions–or find themselves to hold unapproved opinions–are said to have “communications blocks,” and good citizens will act on their own to request treatment for such blocks. The first level of treatment is the Psychotherapy Calculator, an interactive system which will help the patient change any objectionable opinions and behavior.  But in some cases, the PC determines that stronger methods are necessary, and in those cases, the patient is referred for a lobotomy.  The escorting of patients for mandatory psychotherapy and lobotomy procedures is done by a white-uniformed police force known as the Clinic Squad.

    Citizens are, of course, expected to report any instances of unapproved beliefs or actions.  When the protagonist’s girlfriend Nancy overhears one of her colleagues expressing sympathy for a man who is in serious trouble, she reports the girl immediately. (“For the moment I disliked Nancy,” says Gerald.  “Then I felt sorry for her.”)  Nancy herself is concerned that there may be something wrong with her, and has considered reporting herself for voluntary automated psychotherapy.  “If I did have (something wrong with her), I’d want to be purged of it quickly before it could make me do something awful like that poor Mr Shell”…Gerald notes that her hand was shaking as she lifted her glass to finish the drink.

    Gerald, the protagonist, works within the Communications Department…unknown to his superiors, he is a member of a resistance organization which aims to overthrow the existing system of government and to restore individual liberty. He must feign agreement when his immediate boss talks about how wonderful the system is and how misguided are those who oppose it:

    Never has there been more freedom anywhere than in America today.  We’ve done away with police and even prisons.  Crime has been almost wiped out since we recognized it as a social disease.  We’ve done away with poverty. There are fewer restrictions on people than ever before in the history of mankind.  For the first time they’re really free.

    Gerald reflects:

    Even if it hadn’t been dangerous, I wouldn’t have argued with him.  He believed what he was saying. His faith was the faith of a Torquemada backed by science.  There was no way to make him see that the social engineers had taken away only one freedom, but that it was the ultimate freedom–the right to choose.  Everything…was decided for them and then they were conditioned to want it.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Advertising, Big Government, Book Notes, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, Russia, Tech, USA | 16 Comments »

    You Can’t Handle The Truth

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on January 3rd, 2021 (All posts by )

    The new sermon series at church is going to be “You Can’t Handle the Truth,” focusing on Daniel. That’s a nice convergence for me after just seeing the Max McLean production of The Great Divorce and just finishing Till We Have Faces. Of all Lewis’s works, those may be the two where that lesson is strongest.  It is in fact a common theme of Lewis’s throughout his works, that there are truths we do not wish to be true, but refusing to accept them keeps us from God.  If that seems unkind or condemning on his part, know that his works are often autobiographical, and the excuses he puts into the mouths of characters are ones he has used himself. 

    James’s comment about the holy being both dark and light is like that for me.  I am not attracted to the earthy, hidden, primitive parts of Christianity like eating the god or imagining the witness of the dead watching us. Even singing as a necessity I think I might rebel against, as I would prefer that music just be an entertainment. I would stay with the idea portion of the faith if I could, of things to contemplate and discuss.  But Lewis taught me decades ago to beware of that as a thin, incomplete faith – we are not wired as cerebrally as we pretend, and mystery is a tunnel, not a swamp.

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    Ways of Knowing

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on January 3rd, 2021 (All posts by )

    I would like to start by thanking Mike Kennedy for his observations over the last months. We all bring some knowledge to the pandemic, but he brings a good deal more. I think he has been properly cautious in interpreting information as it has emerged and even more cautious in offering advice, even though he might be tempted. It has been a reminder to me throughout not to pretend I know more than I do and not leap to conclusions. If he can refrain from pronouncements, how much more should I refrain, eh? Saying this, I admit my memory might be inaccurate. Mike may have made all sorts of knuckleheaded predictions and offered cockamamie theories over the last ten months and I just forgot them. Yet I think my overall impression has been correct, and I am grateful.
    ****

    When my oldest was a small boy, he took it into his head that not fastening our seat belts would cause us to get into an accident. He had clearly picked up associations we had made between the concepts of accident and seat-belt.  The distinction between “in case we get into an accident” and “because we’ll get into an accident” is not easy when you’re three or four. No real harm done at the time.  He fastened his seat belt willingly and we didn’t think he’d graduate from highschool with that misapprehension.

    There are a lot of theories and descriptions of the various ways people come to think they know things and what they trust.  They are not mutually exclusive.  We all trust our own experience while attaching some importance to what we hear happens to others.  We all have authorities we trust, but also trust our own ideas and reasoning. We also have opinions about what other people trust in ways of knowing. We particularly dislike it when those benighted other folks trust the wrong authorities or exhibit poor reasoning.  We also mix categories. In the long sorry state of CoVid commentary, we have had lots of complaints about people trusting “experts,” always in sneer quotes, yet our solution is nearly always that they instead believe…different experts.  Ones that we like better.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 40 Comments »

    New Year’s Eve, 2020/21

    Posted by David Foster on December 31st, 2020 (All posts by )

    A thought from the late and very great Neptunus Lex:

    “I’ve often wished that you could split at each important choice in life. Go both ways, each time a fork in the road came up. Compare notes at the end, those of us that made it to the clearing at the end of the path. Tell it all over a tumbler of smokey, single malt.”

     

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Holidays | 36 Comments »

    Welcome Wagon – Progress Note II

    Posted by TM Lutas on December 31st, 2020 (All posts by )

    I’m currently soliciting for source material and authors to write material for the Welcome Wagon on Quora. You can see that here.

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »

    Streaming Note: What Killed Michael Brown?

    Posted by Ginny on December 31st, 2020 (All posts by )

    We’re pretty cheap, so it took a celebratory night (46 years of fairly amiable tolerance of one another) to splurge on Prime’s “stream for pay” documentary: Shelby Steele’s What Killed Michael Brown?. We’d seen reviews* that sounded interesting. Steele’s voice and perspective define the film; it is directed by his son, Eli. It is polished, its music, use of historical footage smooth.

    He interviews citizens from Ferguson, he compiles a brief but clear description of that fatal afternoon, uses clips of George Stephanopoulos’ interview of Darren Wilson. He notes Holder’s arrival in Ferguson after the shooting, the response of residents to his statements. A repeated presence is Al Sharpton, who seems to represent those who force incidents into patterns presented as “poetic truth” – prejudged, premade narratives that ignore the shifts in culture (and reality) over a hundred years. While the central focus is the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, it interweaves personal narrative to quietly honor the strength and integrity of his father’s choices. He traces his parents’ lives (we see the Kentucky community in which his father was born in 1900 and from which he joined the great northern migration as an orphaned boy at 14; by emphasizing the house ownership rate in the black communities of his youth and showing houses his parents bought in the forties and fifties in Chicago, he tells us much about a culture and a time, about the incremental nature but powerful force of economic liberty and responsibility). Less of his own life is described, but, born in 1946, he lived through the transition: he came of age in the Great Society era: we hear LBJ, we see the projects when as a young man he worked in St. Louis, and we see them implode.

    But the touchstone for him lies in his parents’ choices: their civil rights activism reflected their values in the forties and fifties as were their hard-won and steady movement toward a secure home. He returns to the self-made man, a concept central to his father’s life as it had been to Frederick Douglass, two generations before. His argument, characteristic of a Hoover scholar, is familiar, if subtle, personal and complex. His father was not helpless, but the Great Society assumed helplessness; that assumption was destructive but accepting it was also a choice and also destructive. Steele seems intent on communicating what he has learned over a long lifetime, wisdom and appreciation that connects his father, his own maturation, and the present to the importance of making one’s self, accepting agency. (* Links of reviews below fold.)
    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Americas, Biography, Current Events, History, Video | 7 Comments »

    4284 Characters

    Posted by David Foster on December 29th, 2020 (All posts by )

    A description of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and how it works.

    Source code for a vaccine?  Well, as Glenn Reynolds likes to say, this is the 21st century.

     

    Posted in Health Care, Medicine, Science, Tech | 23 Comments »

    Anchorites

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on December 29th, 2020 (All posts by )

    We are commanded by our so-called experts in this age of the Chinese Corona Crud, to live the enclosed life as a sort of secular anchorite, walled into our little singular cells, supplied by regular deliveries passed in through one narrow passage to the outside, and to spend our days contemplating the televised media worship of the narrative du jour through the window into the shrine of our authoritative masters. Or at least, those who call themselves our masters, although I am certain that’s not the term which they use for themselves. ‘Experts’, ‘scientists’ ‘elected* leaders’ – that’s probably how they term themselves, commanding us to stay at home, eschew social gatherings (although violent BLMAntifa protests are perfectly OK), church services, seeing a movie, getting sit-down dinner inside a restaurant, walking in a public park, hanging out on a beach … all through fear of the rampaging and almost-always-fatal Chinese Corona Crud. To add insult to the injury, those political leaders, to a man, woman and whatever, don’t seem to feel any need to observe their own dictates; traveling freely to their vacation homes, meeting up for holidays with family, going out to supper with friends to the French Laundry, getting haircuts, and omitting the wear of what I’ve begun to call the FFD (the F**king Face Diaper). Really, it’s as if they are getting their jollies out of flaunting their authority and privilege in our FFD’d faces. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Civil Society, Current Events, Predictions, USA | 33 Comments »

    Random Pic

    Posted by Jonathan on December 28th, 2020 (All posts by )

     

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    Christmas 2020

    Posted by David Foster on December 24th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Newgrange is an ancient structure in Ireland so constructed that the sun, at the exact time of the winter solstice, shines directly down a long corridor and illuminates the inner chamber. More about Newgrange here and here.

    Grim has an Arthurian passage about the Solstice.

    Don Sensing has thoughts astronomical, historical, and theological about the Star of Bethlehem.

    Vienna Boys Choir, from Maggie’s Farm

    Snowflakes and snow crystals, from Cal Tech. Lots of great photos

    In the bleak midwinter, from King’s College Cambridge

    The first radio broadcast of voice and music took place on Christmas Eve, 1906. (although there is debate about the historical veracity of this story)

    An air traffic control version of  The Night Before Christmas.

    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, sung by Enya

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    A Christmas-appropriate poem from Rudyard Kipling

    I was curious as to what the oldest Christmas carol might be:  this Billboard article suggests some possibilities.

    The story of electric Christmas tree lights

    Mona Charen, who is Jewish, wonders  what’s going on with the Christians?

    The 2017 Christmas season, in combination with the Churchill movie Darkest Hour, reminded me something written by the French author Georges Bernanos:  A Tale for Children.

    Here’s a passage I’ve always liked from Thomas Pynchon’s great novel Gravity’s Rainbow.  The setting: it is the grim winter of 1944, just before Christmas. The military situation in Europe is not good, and WWII seems as if it will never end. London is under attack by V-2 rockets and V-1 cruise missiles (as they would be called today.) Roger and Jessica, two of the main characters, are driving in a rural area in England and come upon a church where carols are being sung. They decide to go inside.

    Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Christianity, History, Holidays, Miscellaneous, Music, Poetry | 5 Comments »

    Things Politicians Like: Alternate Covid Care Facilities

    Posted by Dan from Madison on December 22nd, 2020 (All posts by )

    When the books are written about Covid and 2020, I hope to buy the one that lists everything that was dumb and wrong. I feel that at the top of the list would be the lust for politicians to show that they are “doing something” with the alternate care facilities.

    This whole thing started with Cuomo and the big ass boat that parked in New York harbor, that ended up treating a hilariously low total of 182 patients before (I assume) the Navy said “f this”. I think New York also did the Javits Center and that also shut down pretty quickly. I still remember laughing at Cuomo when he was all but crying “we need fohty tousand ventuhlatuhs”. Of course, we now know that most of the people on ventuhlatuhs were getting their lungs blown up, but I digress.

    Governor “you all stay home but myself and my family can do whatever they want during Covid” Pritzker of Illinois and Chicago Mayor Lori “lockdown for you, unless you are blowing up the city or going to a Joe Biden rally” Lightfoot gave each other a high five (figuratively) when they opened up McCormick Place to see Covid patients. A cool $81 million to treat 38 patients. That’s $2,131,578.95 each.

    Recently the governor of Wisconsin, “one term” Tony Evers opened up an Alternate Care Facility outside of Milwaukee, at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. I have been watching the patient count there – you can too, right here. From Saturday to Sunday, there was an insane increase of 20% (!!!) of patients. While this sounds menacing, we went from five to six in reality (see, I can do covid pOrn just as good as the media). Since then we have had a FIFTY percent reduction in patients at that facility, from six down to three. I would assume that this place will also shut down fairly soon. But good on the docs and nurses there, I am sure they are catching up on some reading, knitting and whatever else they haven’t been able to get to as of late.

     

    Posted in COVID-19 | 20 Comments »

    New Cousin

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on December 21st, 2020 (All posts by )

    Finding new relatives that no one in the family talked about or perhaps even knew about is one of the risks/joys/adventures of having a DNA test done.  I have a new relative, just a little younger than me, positioned somewhere between first and second cousin. She was a closed adoption in Ellsworth, ME in 1958.  Only two other listed relatives on her paternal side, both quite remote. She messaged me on Ancestry.com.  People are quite tentative about this, with good reason.  Folks don’t want to hear about extra babies born who were hushed up at the time.  I think I have mentioned before that we have that situation with our adopted nephew/fifth son.  His mother was a closed adoption in 1967.  He has a very close DNA match that we have narrowed down to be his grandmother’s sister. We asked her for details and received the reply that no women in her family had a baby in Cambridge in that year.  They were all in California the whole time.  So we still don’t know, though another match on that line might tell us which girl went away to “summer camp” that year.

    It is uncomfortable.  It became clear that this new cousin must be a child of one of my grandparents or one of their siblings. On that side, my grandfather had four brothers and my grandmother was an only child, so I assumed at first that that side was more likely.  But the centiMorgans of the common relatives did not come close to matching.  We concluded at first that my grandfather must also be her grandfather, with an unknown son born around 1920 or so.  As Ellsworth is across the bay from Nova Scotia, that made some sense.  So…Grampa…he is long gone, died in 1983.  I knew him a bit and it did bother me just a touch.  I worried it might bother some other people more.  What to do?  What to say? How do you ask such questions without giving away the suspicions?

    The woman is working with Search Angels, which helps people locate birth parents.  I spoke with them trying to narrow the places and dates, but it still didn’t add up.  I don’t have a huge number of DNA matches on that side but I have some, but she was not showing up as connected to them at all.  Which is impossible. We cast about until the person (from San Diego) mentioned that it must still be him because he had lived in Westford and her distant connections were from Leominster (he mispronounced it) which was so nearby. Ah, that was the key.  It wasn’t my grandfather from Nova Scotia at all, it was his first wife, from Leominster, whose family had been in that area (Fitchburg, Shirley) for generations. She died youngish in 1952 and I never knew her. I actually had a hard time talking him into that, but it made sense to me. So she had a child before marrying Carl, who was a very silent person.  I never heard him mention her.  Or much of anything else, actually. I don’t know if he even knew about the boy.

    That boy in turn was the father of my cousin, born two states and 300 miles away, so she has two mysteries to solve to place herself in the genetic world accurately. I hope to meet her after all this avoidance of contact is over. My father had a half-brother he never knew about, and I have a half-first-cousin I just learned about, and it is time to close the circle.

     

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 19 Comments »

    What will Trump do after January 20, 2021 ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on December 18th, 2020 (All posts by )

    It is quite unlikely that the election fraud can be reversed before Biden is sworn in. I don’t expect any of the nonsense the left has been predicting if that occurs. Trump will leave office peacefully but will not attend the “inauguration,” which will probably be “virtual” anyway.

    What will he do next ? He is the titular head of the Republican Party, and the choice of 98% of the 75 million voters who supported him. He got 10 million additional votes this year compared to 2016.

    Here is one observation.;

    Trump may or may not purposely dominate the political scene in the background as Teddy Roosevelt did from 1909 – 1912 and then run again in 2024, but I argue that Trumpism will dominate the scene for a long time to come, and that any successful GOP presidential nominee will need to be a Trumpist. I go further, in fact, and believe the shuffling of the issue map and the realignment of voting coalitions are as substantial as FDR and the New Deal—and it took FDR four terms to effect that change.

    I don’t see Trump running again in 2024. He will be as old as Biden is now and, while he is a good deal healthier than Biden is, the party will need new blood to carry on. What then?

    This does not seem realistic.

    “I received a call from President Trump last week. We chatted about the election briefly [and] he made it clear that he wasn’t giving up on fighting for a second term,” said Eric Bolling, a Sinclair host and friend of the Trump family who appeared on Trump’s reality TV show years ago. “I mentioned to him that I believe whatever happens with the legal fights, he would emerge as the biggest media personality on the planet. Trump has a clear opportunity to be a media mega-personality post-presidency.” 

    “I think an Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice revival would be a humongous hit,” Bolling added. “This iteration would be ratings gold for whomever is fortunate enough to get the reboot.”

    That is the least likely possibility, in my opinion.

    What else?

    I’d rather see Trump get involved with something like Newsmax or just generally working to increase the conservative footprint in news media. Since Fox News has become sort of like the Justice Roberts of the news world, there’s a very real opportunity to capture a very large and underserved audience. And with the tech monopolists brazenly practicing story suppression for the Dems, it’s more important than ever.

    That is a thought. How about this ?

    In my opinion Trump should get together with someone like Vince McMahon and invest in something like Parler, expand the platform to take on twitter and facebook simultaneously. I’d bet taking them down a peg or two would be two would be very satisfying to him, and it would be a huge platform if it worked.

    There is a good chance that he will be blocked on Twitter after he leaves office, although Twitter would be foolish to do so financially. Parler is an alternative, as iWe is an alternative to Facebook. I have joined both but not used them significantly. I never joined Twitter and have used Facebook mostly for baby pictures and the like.

    Would he stay in the hotel business ? His kids have been running much of that the past five years and , while some like Ivanka might have political ambitions, I don’t see him getting back into development. My personal opinion is that the consequences of the virus and the insane reaction by Democrat Mayors and Governors have killed many cities. New York City is bleeding emigrants.

    It will be interesting to see if he chooses to supervise the transition of the GOP from a corporate, Chamber of Commerce, party to a populist one. I think that is coming and he is the likely one to lead it. Third parties do not do well in our binary system. The old Republican Party, and many of its stalwarts, like Mitch McConnell, seem out of date, if not beholden to China. Ross Perot and Sarah Palin were warnings ignored. The Tea Party was an attempt that failed because they (we) lacked leadership. Obama went after the Tea Party with every department of the federal government weaponized. It resembled the assault on Trump the past four years in intensity and motive.

    What if the country starts to separate? If the leftist radicals behind Biden try to enact their agenda, their real agenda, we could see a cold Civil War. They would be foolish to pick a hot one with the segment of the population that is comprised of most military veterans and which owns 350 million guns. A book written about such a peaceful separation is “America 3.0”

    The analysis of American history is worth the price of the book and the time to read it. I wish the recommendations for recovery were more likely to be adopted. There are some excellent points about future trends, as in medicine for example. I like some of the suggestions for defense policy. The whole thing is a nice exercise in predicting the future. I just wish it would happen that way. I previously reviewed George Friedman’s  The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century . I think I like this one better and highly recommend it.

    I was not optimistic about their suggestions in 2013 but then world has changed markedly since then. We could end up with a country that has blue crusts on each coast. The rest solid red. Chicago is a blue island that is failing. Maybe Canada would take them.

     

    Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Trump | 74 Comments »

    Whom Do You Trust?

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on December 16th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Who are you? What do you want? Where are you going? Whom do you serve – and whom do you trust?! – TV Series Crusade

    I’m an American, of mostly Anglo-English descent, who mostly wants to be left alone to pursue happiness and a modicum of fame as a writer of historical or comic fiction. Frankly, if I am going anywhere, it’s slightly crazy, and as for whom I serve, my family, good friends and close neighbors, more or less in that order. As for whom I trust …

    Not as many as I once did. One by one by one, the people and institutions which I once assumed to be competent, honest, and worthy of my trust and respect have revealed themselves to be corrupt, shallow, incompetent, partisan and cynical users of those ordinary American citizens like me. Read the rest of this entry »

     

    Posted in Americas, Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Conservatism, Current Events, Leftism, Society, Tea Party, Trump | 128 Comments »

    Undeceptions Series

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on December 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    C.S.Lewis wrote about self-deception throughout his career. It was his belief that the illusions we embraced did not only damage us spiritually, but impaired our ability to reason. Under the influence of personally convenient myths, we gradually can no longer even know simple things. Ideas which appear at first glance to be intellectual errors are revealed under examination to be something more emotional, more spiritual, more psychological. When I first began reading him I recognised not only the errors of others, but very quickly, favorite little theories of mine that were exploded in a minute under the force of his logic. His logic is a force, yes. Not always pleasant, but often profitable. In my twenties I considered it a challenge to my courage whether I would pick up another of his books.

    Enjoyable, though. Fun, even, and quite quotable. You can use him to expose the ideas of others even if you have an ability to dart sideways yourself.

    Not everyone here is a fan of Lewis, so I have no intention of cluttering up the front page here with a series of essays on him. However, I do link to the whole group for those who have interest.

    1. Undeceptions 

    2. Undeceptions II – Biographical Notes 

    3. Self-Deception 

    4. Undeceptions III 

    5. Undeceptions IV – The Ransom Trilogy and The Great Divorce

    6. Undeceptions V 

    7. Undeceptions VI – Till We Have Faces 

    8. That Hideous Strength.  Not actually part of the series but added in for convenience

    9. Self-Deception Anecdote. A later addition.

     

    Posted in Human Behavior | 4 Comments »

    Auto Sellers Inventory Question

    Posted by Dan from Madison on December 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    I drive an Acura MDX and the dealership keeps sending me emails begging me to take a 2020 at a super duper deal. I am patiently waiting for the 2021 version to come out as it has many improvements, supposedly. I drive by the dealership on the way home and they have a LOT of 2020’s in their lot. Does anyone reading this know if the dealership actually owns that inventory or if it is consignment? Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of aging, expensive cars sitting around.

     

    Posted in Business | 8 Comments »

    Random Pic

    Posted by Jonathan on December 11th, 2020 (All posts by )

    train running on time with full color coordination

     

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »