The forces against free speech are at again! Whether or not you’ve heard of NewsGuard or the Global Disinformation Index, rest assured that they’re intently interested in where you get your information. Joining Peter, Rob and James today is David DesRoisers, Publisher of, whose scrupulously down-the-middle site was flagged by the groups above as a ‘disinformation site,’ and has lost a great many advertisers as a result. David’s here to remind us of the threats institutions like these are to a free press and a free society. (Plus, he’s inviting you to the inaugural Samizdat Prize Gala!)

The guys also have thoughts CPAC and Google Gemini.

On Tragedies Ancient and Current


There are two basic forms of Greek tragedy. The first is a man confronted with two moral imperatives that conflict with each other. Agamemnon, when he returned from Troy, was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra. That left his son Orestes with a real problem: to honor his father by avenging his murder he has to kill his mother. (As the story goes he does, then gets hounded by the furies for the sin of kinslaying. I think there’s a trial at the end where Athena ultimately absolves him. It’s been a while since I’ve read up on these things.)

The other form of tragedy is hubris that leads to nemesis. There was a satyr, I forget his name, who carved a wonderful double flute out of some bones. He bragged that he was the greatest musician who ever lived. Then Apollo jump right up on a hickory stump and said, “Boy, let me tell you what.” There’s a contest. The way I heard it Apollo won because he was able to turn his lyre upside down and still play it, while the satyr couldn’t get any sound blowing on the wrong end of his flutes. I don’t recall what happened to the satyr, but I can tell you he didn’t win no golden fiddle.

Finding a Safe Harbor in Our Collective Storm


This last weekend, my sister was visiting from overseas. She shared a story with me (and about me) that I’d long since forgotten… perhaps for obvious reasons. When I was a child, I apparently had an affinity for sticking forks in electrical outlets. I remember my mother freaking out once when I once stuck a coat hanger in an electrical socket, but I had long since forgotten that electrocuting myself had been an ongoing habit. When my sister had asked the child me why I was sticking forks in electrical outlets I apparently responded, “Because I like how it feels.”

Today, I can hardly imagine ‘liking how it feels’ and yet trying to imagine it tells me so much about who I am today and who I should be tomorrow.

Police Power And Intimidation


When you study Constitutional Law you come across the term “police power” early on. It is a term that refers, in neutral terms, to the coercive potential of the State to control the life, liberty and property of any human being. The neutrality of that term is important; it exists, it is real, but when operating within Constitutional boundaries it is seen as a net good and necessary to the operation of a society characterized as having “ordered liberty“.

“When operating within Constitutional boundaries” is the key phrase. “Constitutional boundaries” has two attributes — the legal and the vernacular. In the legal sense, any State conduct a Court (up to the United States Supreme Court) will countenance falls within “Constitutional boundaries”. In the vernacular sense, it is our internal, culturally informed sense of the correct relationship between the State exercising police power and the individual whom the State seeks to deprive of life, liberty or property, that determines our own beliefs regarding “Constitutional boundaries.” Thus it is that people raised in different places and different times have a variance in their internal assessments of the proper exercise of police power.

Fake It Until You Make It?


You cannot learn how to play the violin by reading a book, no matter how insightful and brilliant that book might be, or how much we might study. Much of life requires an actual lived experience. Child Protective Services notwithstanding, nobody can understand parenting unless they have actually raised children. Marriage is unfathomable unless you have actually experienced marriage, though even the experience of marriage may not be enough to lead to understanding!

Experience thus builds us up: if we are nice to people, even and especially if it is not in our character or consistent with our mood, then we actually change ourselves. Studies have shown that people who choose to smile, end up being happier. Looking on the bright side and acting accordingly, changes us, and it also affects the world around us. Acting in accordance with something leads us to believing, at some level, in that thing.

7.2 million illegal aliens under Biden > Population of 36 individual states


Here’s the article from which the title of this thread derives:

And here are the 36 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

When you invite too many foxes into the henhouse, pretty soon you run out of chickens – and the goose laying the golden egg.

There are too many foxes now – in prosecutor’s offices, in the regulatory agencies and in the media – and we’re calling them out.

Donald Trump is set for another smashing victory on Saturday, this time against his lone challenger in her own state of South Carolina. But Nikki Haley’s announced that she won’t stay down. Charleston Post and Courier Political Editor Schuyler Kropf joins to conduct a close examination of the campaigns. Plus, Henry considers Team Haley’s post-South Carolina strategy, and he makes a quick trip up to North Carolina where a new candidate named Fred Von Canon is eager to introduce himself.

Navajo County and Navajo Nation Policing


As a police officer in Oregon, I could make an arrest anywhere in the State of Oregon, with the exceptions of tribal lands, Federal buildings and Federal parks.

There was a reciprocal chase policy with the State of Washington and California. If the chase of a frequent flyer began in Oregon, I could pursue the subject into Washington. I would let Washington law enforcement lead the chase once I crossed the border. I made one such arrest after a chase ended in Washington. There was no extradition hearing required and I took my frequent flyer back to Oregon and booking in the Multnomah County Jail.

The Patriarch


It was the Fall of my senior year in high school. Football season. Homecoming. As was custom, each 1st period class would nominate (from within it) both a homecoming king and homecoming queen.  In the days to follow, all nominees would be pooled, and a final court of 5 boys and 5 girls would be chosen with one each eventually emerging (via popular vote) to be the king and queen respectively.

Who and when the protocol came into being, no one knew.  Nevertheless, everyone from the principal to the freshest frosh understood it; it had been orchestrated to perfection for decades (as evidenced by old black & white photos tacked to corkboard in the back of display cases behind gold and silver trophies, lining the hallway leading to the gym).

Gaza and the Elusive Cease-Fire


The political gap between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Biden has never been wider. The Israelis have cleaned out most of the tunnels and fortifications in the north of Gaza, perhaps with less military resistance than they had expected at the beginning. One recent tally put Israeli military casualties at 574 as of February 18. In sharp contrast, the Palestinian death toll reported by the Gaza Health Ministry was just under 30,000, including some 12,300 children and 8,400 women as of that same date. Now the war moves into its final stages of the assault on Rafah at the southern end of Gaza, where more than a million Palestinian refugees are in the line of fire. Virtually all 2.3 million Gazans have been displaced since the Israeli attacks after October 7. The Israelis have now broken through at Khan Younis’s Nasser Medical Complex in a determined push to rout Hamas. Palestinian deaths and displacements have increased the political pressure on Israel.

In the short run, Biden has proposed a six-week cease-fire in order to work out, first, a release for hostages as part of a pathway to peace, with an eye toward a long-term, two-state solution. Elsewhere, the leader of the British Labor party, Keir Starmer, has called for a “lasting cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas, with no conditions attached. Both of these proposals are seriously out of line on three issues: hostage release, a cease-fire, and a two-state solution.

The Diner: Thursday topics


As always, I’m open for suggestions. Especially on topics about which I know absolutely nothing and have to vamp and show my own ignorance.

Also a possible topic: most undersung, under appreciated little piece of technology we use today. I have some ideas.

I Might be Losing My Mind


When they buzzed me into the locked facility, I asked the staff person to help me identify the person I was to visit. The brightly lit room was mostly quiet except for the TV playing on the wall. I had only spent time with one other dementia patient as a hospice volunteer, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As the staff person pointed her out, I walked over to the table where she sat with three other women, and smiled. In her direct way, she asked, “Who are you?” I explained I was a hospice volunteer and I was there to meet her and spend time with her once a week. I asked her if that was okay with her, and if I recollect correctly, she shrugged her shoulders.

Over the next several weeks, I spent time trying to find out more about her, her childhood (which dementia patients sometimes remember well) and the kinds of foods she liked. She had grown up in a New York Italian family, so it wasn’t hard to guess some of the meals they had.

Jeff discusses the evolution of the U.S. healthcare system since the late 19th Century with Dr. Lauren Hall of the Rochester Institute of Technology. At issue are the surprising, and disheartening, unintended consequences of changes in technology and policy that have yielded the high-cost, low-efficiency and in some ways even lower-effectiveness “system” Americans face today.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

The Inevitable War


The world is being riven into two opposing camps. While some might see the distinction as between democracies and dictatorship, the reality is more complex. While the mechanisms can be skewed, Putin, Hamas, and even the somewhat meaningless Iranian president, did win elections. After all, even dictatorships wrap themselves in the cloth of democratic legitimacy. No, the dividing line between the warring parties is far simpler. It is a line between the Glory Seekers and the Pleasure Seekers.

The Glory Seekers are those countries and religious movements that are trying to recreate a glorious past (or fulfill the prophecy of a glorious future). China’s ever greater Greater China Dream is a part of recovering their proper place in the world. Russia claims ownership to Ukraine on the basis of shared roots, Ukrainians be damned. Persia lays claim to the Middle East and Turkey is making its historical moves from Libya to Syria – and beyond. For their part, Sunni Islamists pursue a futuristic vision of a truly global domination.

Alexei Navalny


I wanted to write something meaningful about Navalny. It was that the Gulag seems to still be alive and well in the USSR… I mean Russia. Bari Weiss wrote what I wanted to write so much better than I ever could, so I thought I would just link to it here.  I am especially moved by this passage:

In our world of cynicism and cowardice, it often doesn’t seem so simple. But Navalny’s life—a life lived in truth—and his death—a death for the sake of truth—gives the lie to the moral confusion all around us.

This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Prof. Albert Cheng of the University of Arkansas and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson interview UK University of Warwick Prof. Benjamin Smith. Prof. Benjamin Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade provides insights into various aspects of the Mexican drug trade, including its historical context and the evolution of illicit drug products over time. He discusses key cartels and their methods, the impact of the drug trade on Mexico’s murder rates, the immense financial scale of the trade, its effect on Mexico and the U.S., and the challenges law enforcement face in combating it. Smith explores the relationship among Mexican cartels, other foreign countries, and the illicit drug market in the U.S. He closes with a reading from his book, The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade.

Life, Death, & Psychology


Group therapy in psychology.

In conversation with a psychology major at public university, I found out that students study numbers not narratives. Here’s what I mean. When I asked the student what their major focus of study in psychology was, she said, “We study data, polling, and how people feel.” I was a bit perplexed. I asked if they ever discussed the great questions of life that everyone asks, such as, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose in life?” “What is the source of my knowledge?!” “What is the standard for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?” She said she had not heard those questions in her psychology major. My eyes went wide in disbelief. These questions, along with others, are some of the most primary concerns for every human person. I asked one last question. “You said that in your classes your focus is on numbers, on data, on the assessment of quantitative analysis.” She shook her head up and down. “So, in psychology – the science of how humans think and behave – you don’t investigate qualitative, conversational research, or read the stories of human behavior, or consider the narratives of people’s lives, or ponder answers to basic concerns that everyone faces?” The look on the young student’s face said it all. She realized that what it meant to be human was being left out of her studies. She was considering scientific numbers without social narratives.

Becoming a Military Dog Handler – Mid-’80s Edition Part 2


(Disclaimer: The training, etc., I discuss in this post was the norm in the mid-1980s, nearly 40 years ago. I would be surprised if a lot of this didn’t change. So if anyone wants to say, “They don’t do it that way now,” yeah, I know. I’m not talking about now though.)

(Part 1 can be found here:

“They Won’t Get Away With This!”


The Citizen Free Press headline screams “Alina Habba [Trump’s Attorney]— They won’t get away with this.” The link is to an appearance by Habba on the Fox News Hannity show. I didn’t bother to watch, I assume it is “blah blah blah appeal blah blah blah constitutional rights blah blah blah this will not stand…” Don’t get me wrong, I am very much against what lawfare is doing to President Trump and our citizens generally. It’s just the question growing in my mind about whether or not “they” will, in actuality, get away with it.

When I was a teenager there was this kid who went around bullying younger kids at our smallish church school. When I saw him doing so in front of me I told him to stop. He then shoved the kid one more time for good measure and turned to me saying, “What are you going to do about it?” I punched him in the face. 

The Tabernacle & Modern Monuments


In the aftermath of Oct 7th, Israelis have not only been going to war, we have been building monuments. Sometimes these monuments are just an empty plastic chair in the lobby of an office building. Sometimes, they are complete Kibbutzim – not yet rebuilt – where people can see and immortalize what occurred on that day.

Of course, the sharing of experiences through stories, videos and other mediums has also been common – but there is something fundamentally distinct about a physical monument. It requires an investment and acquires a sort of permanence that other media lack.

Nixon: Shafted. Can You Dig It?


It was March 31, 1973, two months after Richard Nixon’s second inauguration, after the biggest reelection victory in history. The American Film Institute’s very first Lifetime Achievement Award live broadcast, honoring greatest of all time American director, John Ford, took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the very place where Nixon famously said “Gentlemen, you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”. That was only ten years before. Now, what a difference. Nixon, at the dais, was basking in glory. The guests of honor were former POWs in full dress uniform, filling the best tables, applauding as John Ford gave a speech about the power of movies, the responsibilities of Hollywood, and the honor of having had the co-workers that he’d had over a half century. Then the president presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

At the climax of his speech, John Ford said that when he heard the POWs were coming home, “I said a prayer, a simple prayer, not an original one but one that is one spoken in millions of American homes today. God bless Richard Nixon.” And what amounts to the supreme ruling council of Hollywood rose to its feet in a standing ovation, acknowledging the seemingly final triumph of their longtime cultural opponent. Can you imagine? It really happened

Joe Selvaggi talks with Marc Joffe, a state policy analyst at the Cato Institute, about his research on Medicaid’s cost and size. They explore how Massachusetts can control spending growth while protecting other priorities.