Archive for the 'General' Category

Sorry about that

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Big oops! It looks like we should not have linked to Charles Laughton.

One side or the other, once again

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Roger Kimball: “our best hope of preventing this from happening again is to make an example of those who, smitten with the delicious sensation of their own virtue, did their best to”…

Time for the jailers to go to jail.

The choice couldn’t be clearer

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

One side is Omar and AOC. Yikes! The other side is discussed by Chris Christie, not our favorite guy, but he’s on the money this time. Speaking of money, we can’t watch the last half hour of Trading Places without getting the creeps, just a bit. We went to Windows on the World quite a lot. BTW, what was going on in 1974?

Yup. Which side are you on? couldn’t be clearer.

The Crucible, Part III

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

The first part is the Salem witch trials. The second part (mistakenly) are the days of MacCarthyism (yawn – see Venona). The third part is today, where you might be Roger Scruton or get beaten for wearing the wrong hat, cuz you’re a hateful evil witch who should be burned at the stake (or steak!).

Update: Scruton responds by thinking. The nerve of that guy!

Kavanaugh and Roberts — and Barrett?

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

We read this at PL: “John Roberts and the court’s newest member, Brett Kavanaugh, have voted in tandem on nearly every case that’s come before them since Kavanaugh joined the court in October. They’ve been more likely to side with the court’s liberal justices than its other conservatives.”

Paul adds: “it looks like Trump is batting .500 on Supreme Court Justices. That’s the traditional Republican success rate, but it’s not good enough. Perhaps we’ll see a better, more reliably conservative version of Kavanaugh as time goes on. That’s not usually how it works, however. It usually works the other way around.” Ok then we thought at the time.

We took a snooze and upon waking, had a completely different perspective: he’s making it a tiny bit easier for the next justice to be confirmed, and it is entirely a plan. He’s the new moderate Kennedy in his joining the left side in decisions, so picking anyone is ok. Even Barrett:

“When Notre Dame law professor and possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, her affiliation with a religious group called People of Praise raised red flags. It was some sort of cult, they implied. Senator Dianne Feinstein famously reproved the nominee by intoning that ‘the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern’.

“As for Barrett herself, it seems that she lives her faith. She and her husband have seven children including one with special needs and two adopted from Haiti. Her former colleagues on the Notre Dame law-school faculty, many of whom have disagreements with Barrett, unanimously endorsed her nomination to the Circuit Court, describing her as ‘brilliant’ and also ‘generous’ and ‘warm.’ They wrote: ‘She possesses in abundance all of the other qualities that shape extraordinary jurists: discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity’.”

Religious? 7 kids? Trump likes? Another Catholic? What about Roe v. Wade, and AGW and LGBTQIA?

When Justice CNN RBG retires, Barrett will get the Kavanaugh treatment from the Congressional and media leftists. As bad as that will be, if Kavanaugh were adjudicating today as the new Antonin Scalia, Barrett would become the new conservative vote absolutely unacceptable to the left. Kavanaugh is doing the only thing that can help Barrett out, even if it’s relatively minor in the overall scheme of things.

Correct again

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

This is how we characterized the self-righteous Comey a year ago, and now we find that his colleagues in the FBI called him James Cardinal Comey. Yup, that’s a bingo!

Funniest TV show ever

Friday, April 12th, 2019

No, it’s not the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but they’re going cuckoo on Sanctuary, Sanctuary! TC does some diagnosis but it’s not necessary. The reality TV guy is so funny.

Update: it isn’t just TV. We’re among the half dozen Americans who really like pretty much all of what this guy does on twitter.

Update 2: the D leaders are really really creepy.

The Godfather, Part 100, China edition

Friday, April 12th, 2019

WSJ:

Chen Quanguo, the official directing China’s clampdown in its restive Xinjiang region, has emerged as a pioneer of aggressive policing techniques—setting the tone for the country’s shift toward harsher, technology-driven authoritarian rule.

As Communist Party chief for Xinjiang for the past 2½ years, Mr. Chen has created a policing regime unmatched in scale and sophistication. He brought some of his techniques from earlier provincial posts, including in Tibet, and expanded them with new technology and tactics.

He installed thousands of high-tech police stations throughout Xinjiang and tapped big data to enforce order and monitor citizens. Police use hand-held devices to scan photos, messages and other data in residents’ mobile phones, searching for sensitive material. Many ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are forced into camps to undergo political indoctrination, aimed at assimilating them with the country’s Han Chinese majority.

China’s treatment of Uighurs has drawn an international outcry. At the same time, some of Mr. Chen’s methods have filtered to other parts of the country, amid President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reassert Communist Party dominance over Chinese society.

In an aggressive attempt at social engineering, Xinjiang authorities have run more than a million people—chiefly Uighurs—through re-education camps, according to academics and activists. Former detainees say they were forced to watch videos about Mr. Xi and the Communist Party, sing patriotic songs and denounce Islam.

Chinese officials have called these camps vocational-training centers that boost local employment and combat extremism, while denying alleged rights abuses in these facilities.

Mr. Chen has also sent more than a million party members and government workers—mostly ethnic Han Chinese—to live with Uighurs and other minorities for weeklong stays in homes, where they monitor families and recommend whom to detain.

Xinjiang authorities have pursued the collection of biometric data, including blood samples, from all residents between the ages of 12 and 65, turning the region of 24 million people into a leader in nationwide efforts to build DNA databases.

Mr. Chen’s security strategies aren’t likely to be replicated in full across China, where officials aren’t similarly confronted with acute religious and ethnic strife. Even so, police have traveled to Xinjiang for study tours and 90-day training exchanges. Other regions have adopted the upgraded police stations and picked up the use of devices that extract data from mobile phones.

So who do you put up against this? The Bozo, The Parping AOC, The Three Delicate Rhodes Scholars, The Reparations Patrol? The tactile nuker? These clowns couldn’t last season one on Gilligan’s Island, let alone against a real Luca Brasi.

Old joke update

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

What’s black and white and red all over? Um, the NYT, Google, Twitter? (For a different take, try Disney.)

Partial explanation? — Dorsey, 42, explained that he eats just one meal every day at dinnertime between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Experts typically recommended three solid meals per day or six smaller meals throughout the day. Dorsey’s dishes usually consist of a protein (chicken, steak or fish) with vegetables (salad, spinach, asparagus or Brussels sprouts). Dorsey completely fasts from Friday evening to Sunday and only drinks water throughout these days.

Doomsday machine

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

(1) Hilarity boom! (2) a Bozo who disses US friends? (3) a non-three term candidate very concerned about parping? (4) a silly fellow? (5-6-7) One Rhodes Scholar, another Rhodes Scholar, or another Rhodes Scholar, the last being just for fun.

Doomsday machine indeed. Adding the new #1 to the list makes this idiocy a potential Kubrick movie.

Reality is nasty – Waaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Marathon – 2:01 versus 2:15. Tennis serves – 263 versus 220. Baseball pitching – 105 versus 69. Reality: gone. Navratilova: gone. Reality in Congress: gone for 234 out of 235 D’s.

Making mountains out of 2 non-existent molehills

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

(a) Out of 1000 molecules of air, how many are CO2? Answer ZERO, as we say all the time. (b) Out of 1000 human beings, how many are not XX or XY? Answer ZERO as well.

Since life today in the US is so much longer, richer, more peaceful and comfortable than any other time in human history, people have to whip up ZERO-type problems into catastrophic crises for some reason or other. (a) Thus the planet only has 12 years left before destruction. (b) Thus the nutty wailing about so-called transgenderism – hey, snip this or that, you’re still XX or XY. In both cases, it’s really that simple.

We’d like to take a moment to give credit for ability to count to ZERO to Jim Morrison, whose song’s long version playing over and over in our head helped us out in a math test.

The royal government chickens are coming home to roost, big time

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Barr:

I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016 and a lot has already been investigated by the office of the Inspector General. But one of the things I want to do is pull everything together from the various investigations that have gone on. I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now.

Note that “no specific evidence that I would cite right now” does not mean no evidence, since it is entirely qualified by the “citing right now” part of the sentence. Heads are going to roll, big time, at the highest levels of civil service and elected officials. Oh, you think we are exaggerating what’s about to take place? Please pause and consider page one of a UK newspaper:

FBI agents investigating the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster learned that a dressing down by Hillary Clinton in front of staff triggered his suicide. Independent counsel Ken Starr had omitted the finding in his FBI report but has finally admitted it to investigative journalist Ronald Kessler. Hillary attacked and humiliated Foster in front of other White House aides a week before he took his own life on July 20, 1993. “Hillary put him down really, really bad in a pretty good-size meeting. She told him he would always be a little hick town lawyer who was obviously not ready for the big time,” former FBI agent Coy Copeland told Kessler.

1993 eh? Vince Foster eh? FBI agent eh? A lot of people have been waiting a long time for the royal government chickens to come home to roost. Stay tuned.

Stuff

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

The last minute of the second video here is very funny. Have a listen. On the other hand, the first minute of this video is something else, maybe because some people did something. We agree with RLS on Barr, who needs a serious security detail.

Also: another human species discovered in the Jerry Gallo cave. Oops, we meant Callao, not Gallo.

More brilliance

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Some guy: “If we allow farmers to earn a profit in what they grow, if we allow them to contribute their fair share in combatting Climate Change by growing cover crops, allowing the technologies that invest in precision tilling and farming, capturing more of that carbon out of the air is another way in which they can make a profit.” Our nickname for him is quite appropriate.

Wake us up in 12 years

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Panic! “Since 1961, the world has lost 10.6 trillion tons of ice and snow, the study reported. Melted, that’s enough to cover the lower 48 U.S. states in about 4 feet of water. Man-made climate change, aka global warming, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).”

Responses: (1) wake us up in 12 years to see if the earth still exists. (2) CO2 is ZERO ZERO ZERO. (3) Why hasn’t there been any change in sea level since 1961 that would “cover the lower 48 U.S. states in about 4 feet of water.” Puh-leeze, get off that high horse.

Update on Rhodes Scholars and others

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

We were just talking about Rhodes Scholars. Why do they still use that name? As a youngster, we knew some folks who had a Rhodesian Ridgeback as a pet. Shouldn’t it be a Zimbwabwean Zula or some such?

Xi and some others

Monday, April 8th, 2019

FA:

Xi’s accomplishments to date are undeniable. His efforts to consolidate institutional power paid off in March 2018, when he successfully maneuvered to eliminate the two-term limit on the presidency, ensuring that he could continue to hold three of the country’s most powerful positions — CCP general secretary, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and president — through at least 2027, if not beyond. His anticorruption campaign also continued to gain steam: in 2018, 621,000 officials were punished, a marked increase over the 527,000 detained in 2017.

And dozens of universities have raced to establish new institutes and departments devoted to the study of Xi Jinping thought, a 14-point manifesto that includes the inviolability of CCP leadership, the rule of law, enhanced national security, and socialism with Chinese characteristics, among other broad commitments.

Under Xi’s leadership, the party now has eyes everywhere — literally. As many as 200 million surveillance cameras have already been installed in an effort to reduce crime and control social unrest. The surveillance technology will also play an essential role in the 2020 national rollout of the country’s social credit system, which will evaluate people’s political and economic trustworthiness and reward and punish them accordingly. The CCP has now established party committees within nearly 70% of all private enterprises and joint ventures, in order to ensure that the businesses advance the interests of the state.

Beijing has also succeeded in constraining outside influences: thanks to a law passed two years ago, for example, the number of foreign nongovernmental organizations operating in China has fallen from more than 7,000 to just over 400. And “Made in China 2025” — China’s plan to protect its domestic firms from foreign competition in ten areas of critical cutting-edge technology — is well under way. The Sichuan provincial government, for example, has stipulated that for 15 types of medical devices, hospitals will be reimbursed only for procedures that use Chinese-manufactured devices.

Xi’s efforts to establish greater control at home have been matched by equally dramatic moves to assert control over areas China considers its sovereign territory. Xi has militarized seven artificial features in the South China Sea, and in January 2019, a Chinese naval official suggested that China might “further fortify” the islets if it feels threatened. As Beijing negotiates a South China Sea code of conduct with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it seeks to exclude non-ASEAN or Chinese multinationals from oil exploration and to bar foreign powers from conducting military drills, unless agreed to by all signatories.

Meanwhile, Xi has increased the mainland’s political and economic control over Hong Kong, banning a pro-independence political party, calling on the Hong Kong media to resist pressure from “external forces” to criticize or challenge Beijing, and constructing a rail terminal on Hong Kong territory, which includes a customs check by China for travel to the mainland.

Xi has also adopted a range of coercive economic and political policies toward Taiwan, including reducing the number of mainland tourists to the island, successfully persuading multinationals not to recognize Taiwan as a separate entity, and convincing five countries to switch their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the mainland, to try to advance his sovereignty claims. The Belt and Road Initiative — Xi’s grand-scale connectivity plan — now extends beyond Asia, Europe, and Africa to include Latin America. A little more than a year ago, the People’s Liberation Army set up a logistics base in Djibouti, and in private conversations, Chinese military officials acknowledge that scores more could follow.

Even as China expands its hard infrastructure — ports, railroads, highways, and pipelines — it has become an increasingly essential player in the technology sphere. Brands such as Alibaba, Lenovo, and Huawei have gone global, and more are on the horizon. A book by the Chinese tech guru Kai-Fu Lee proclaims that China will inevitably dominate in artificial intelligence — unsurprisingly, the book has become an international bestseller. Although Lee’s prediction may yet fall short, China is laying the foundation for AI leadership: two-thirds of the world’s investment in AI is in China, and China already boasts a commanding presence in areas such as drone and facial recognition technologies.

Also:

Zhang gave conflicting accounts of why she came to Mar-a-Lago on March 30, at one point saying she had been invited to attend a social event, according to an affidavit filed by a U.S. Secret Service agent. But she was found to be carrying several electronic devices, including a thumb-drive containing “malicious malware,” the Secret Service said. a search of her hotel room uncovered more than $8,000 in cash, as well as a “signal-detector” device used to reveal hidden cameras.

Xi is a seriously nasty tough cookie. Who is best to deal with him? (1) a mayor? (2) a fellow not holding any office who doesn’t like Israel? (3) a rep in Congress very concerned about parping cows? (4) a silly fellow? (5) The mayor is a Rhodes Scholar, so how about another Rhodes Scholar, or another Rhodes Scholar? Or maybe someone else? Choose carefully!

We’re doomed, DOOMED – for the billionth time

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

New Yorker:

“There are always a lot of reasons why people migrate,” Yarsinio Palacios, an expert on forestry in Guatemala, told me. “Maybe a family member is sick. Maybe they are trying to make up for losses from the previous year. But in every situation, it has something to do with climate change.”

In 2014, a group of agronomists and scientists, working on an initiative called Climate, Nature, and Communities of Guatemala, produced a report that cautioned lawmakers about the region’s susceptibility to a new threat. The highlands region, they wrote, “was the most vulnerable area in the country to climate change.”

Almost half a year’s worth of precipitation might fall in a single week, which would flood the soil and destroy crops. Grain and vegetable harvests that once produced enough food to feed a family for close to a year now lasted less than five months. “Inattention to these issues,” the report’s authors wrote, can drive “more migration to the United States” and “put at grave risk the already deteriorating viability of the country.”

In the distance, about ten thousand feet above sea level, was a belt of craggy peaks. At these heights, the impact of a changing climate was especially dire: increasing aridity was exacerbating an already limited water supply. By the side of a road near the hamlet of La Capellania, groups of women carted piles of laundry, in wheelbarrows and in baskets balanced on their heads, to small drainage ditches where they washed their families’ clothes with bars of soap, scrubbing the articles clean on flattened stones. They had set out with flashlights before dawn, wearing hats and jackets to withstand the freezing temperatures; the earlier the women arrived, the less likely it was that the water would be full of suds from prior use.

In another hamlet, Agua Alegre, fresh water for cooking and drinking was only available from a small communal tap. Some sixty families lived in the houses nearby, and long lines formed as the women filled plastic jugs to carry away. Five years ago, when local authorities started rationing the supply, residents were told that they could draw water at any time they wanted, but only on certain days of the week during the summer; three years ago, the schedule was limited to specific hours on consecutive days. Now water is only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays

“Extreme poverty may be the primary reason people leave,” Edwin Castellanos, a climate scientist at the Universidad del Valle, told me. “But climate change is intensifying all the existing factors.”

Yeah, right. They have GDP per capita that’s 5% of that in the US, but it’s climate change that’s “intensifying” things. HT: AT Gee, Americans on average have twenty times (20x) the income of Guatemalans but it’s the weather that’s sending these paupers north? How brilliant is that?

Fun update: here are 13 federal agencies where you can fire a lot of people.

Some guy Joe

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

A little background on Joe:

Joe served as Secretary of State. He previously served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to that, Joe served as congressman from Kansas’ 4th District. He served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee and House Select Benghazi Committee. Prior to his service in Congress, Joe founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade. He later became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company.

Joe graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division. After leaving active duty, Joe graduated from Harvard Law School, having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

And what has Joe done:

Joe participates in an administration that has the best record in freeing American hostages. In just over two years, we have secured the release of 20 people, including at least 17 Americans, from foreign captivity. The most recent was in February, when Danny Burch, an American engineer at a Yemeni oil company, was freed after being held by unidentified captors since September 2017. Others liberated from captivity include Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was released by Turkey; Otto Warmbier, Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-duk, released by North Korea; American aid worker Aya Hijazi and her husband, previously held by Egypt; UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, and Texas business executive Sandy Phan-Gillis, released by China; Caitlan Coleman, her husband and their three children, released by the Taliban; Sabrina de Sousa, a former CIA officer, released by Portugal; and Mormon missionaries Joshua and Thamy Holt, released by Venezuela.

Grand prize to Joe (oops, his name is Mike): get disinvited from dinner. What a great country. Hey, give an award to AOC or Bozo, since he’s really clued in – sieg heil and all that.