American Playboy 


September 2017. My wife and I saw the news that Hugh Hefner had died at the age of 91. We both had Hef stories, mostly about visits to the mansion or Hollywood-related events. We reminisced about having a private view of a controversial public figure. There’d be days of Hefner stories on the web, countered by attacks and a dismissive, “he was a dinosaur who outlived his times” tone in prestige media.

The magazine, which certainly changed mass attitudes towards acceptable levels of female nudity and sex in general, lived long enough to have seen its readership decimated by the internet making that type of subject matter free. In that one regard, Playboy is not much different than Time or Newsweek; it’s still a worldwide brand, but it’s no longer a moneymaking magazine empire. Within mere weeks of Hugh M. Hefner’s death, #metoo would enter the culture with hurricane force; from a cynic’s or even a friend’s point of view, Hef’s exit timing was frankly lucky.

This week:

  • Trump wants “Green Card” diplomas
  • The first Biden-Trump debate of 2024 is this Thursday
  • Billionaire slavery in Switzerland (NY Times/France 24)
  • Upcoming SCOTUS decisions (60 Minutes)
  • We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave… (CBS This Morning)

51 Whores Who Sold Their Honor– Incomparable John Kass on “The Letter”


Calling them by that name is an insult to whores the world over.

There are very few columnists whose writings I admire and deeply respect, of whom I make a real effort not to miss a single word they publish as I learn valuable lessons and insights from every one of them. Included — only a small sampling — in this group of the last journalists of the Old School tradition would certainly be Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, Mark Steyn, Mollie Hemingway, and several of her colleagues at The Federalist. In the top echelon of this seemingly ever-shrinking honor society, an endangered species if ever there was one, is John Kass, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, now the publisher of

His work is, as the title suggests, incomparable. His style ranges from the hard-hitting type of investigative reporting one would expect from a reporter who spent most of his life telling the story of Chicago corruption, to poignant, heart-wrenching, touching, contemplative, and searching stories, such as one of his most famous columns, his Christmas column, “O Holy Night,” first published years ago and updated annually. It is simply beautiful and highly recommended.

What’s the Hurry, Joe?


Many people have speculated about the date selected for the first Presidential debate. Many questions have been raised about having it before the candidates are formally selected at their respective conventions, of having the debates so early in the season, and since Biden chose the date, how influential he was in agreeing to the debate and choosing the date.

I suspect that Biden knows — as do his managers and Dr. Jill — that hiding out and avoiding Trump would work against him. His poll numbers are a disaster, although I can’t figure out why Biden fails in every category in a Fox News poll, except in his overall governance. What’s that about?

Quote of the Day – Consent of the Governed


. . . you can do everything with bayonets except sit on them. If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get consent of the ruled.  – Aldous Huxley

There are multiple variants to this quote. It is often ascribed to an interchange between Napoleon and Talleyrand when the former told his foreign minister, “You can do anything with a bayonet,” and Talleyrand responded, “Yes, sire, except sit on them.” Talleyrand pointed out a throne made of bayonets had to be sat upon very carefully.  What had been created by force could easily collapse.

Robicheaux’s World Through Clete’s Eyes


James Lee Burke has written two dozen books about Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux. Present in most is Robicheaux’s former partner and friend Cletus Purcel. A former Marine, onetime New Orleans cop, and ex-Central American mercenary, Purcel returned to Louisiana and set up as a private investigator with offices in New Orleans and Dave’s New Iberia.

Clete is the twenty-fourth Dave Robicheaux novel by Burke. It differs from the earlier books because Clete Purcel is the point-of-view character, not Dave Robicheaux. It is also a chronological throwback in the series. It is set in the late 1990s shortly after the death of Robicheaux’s third wife, Bootsie, when Robicheaux’s adopted daughter Alifer is off to college for the first time.

Clete is fond of Cadillac convertibles, some of which he rebuilds. This included a 1959 Eldorado which he restored to cherry condition. He took it to Eddy’s carwash for cleaning and detailing, picking it up four days later. Two days after that he awakens at home to the sounds of his car being torn apart by three men.

The First ELINT Satellite GRAB was Launched on 6/22/1960


The photo-reconnaissance satellites such as Corona are much better known than the early ELINT satellites which detected Soviet radars. Gary Powers had been shot down less than two months prior to the launch of GRAB, and President Eisenhower had to specifically approve each time it was turned on looking into Soviet territory. I talk regularly with Pete Wilhelm who worked on it. It had a declassified component SOLRAD and the secret GRAB in the same satellite.

Graduating From a Different School


There are a lot of colleges and universities that confer degrees. Some degrees are useful, and some are not. Some schools and their students are considered elite. “Elite” is a title that many individuals and institutions claim, but naming yourself elite does not make it so.

The National Motor Lifeboat School located in Ilwaco, WA at the mouth of the Columbia River Bar is not Harvard, but its students are elite. The Advanced Helicopter Rescue School, located in Astoria, OR, at the Columbia River Bar is another elite school.

My Experience with a Tesla


I have been a car junkie for my entire life. As a child, I sat in our family’s MG roadster and cried as someone who was buying it was on the way to our house to pick it up.  Virtually every car I owned was a stick shift, and as my years progressed, my cars got better. I have owned BMW 740 series, Mercedes AMG sedans, and two Golf GTIs.  My cars generally don’t last to 3 years of ownership.  6 years ago, I bought a Tesla Model S.  I did not buy it to save the planet, I bought it because I got to drive a friend’s Model S for a day. 

They are a blast to drive, as an electric motor can deliver maximum torque as soon as it starts spinning. No shifting of gears to get up to maximum torque, no shifting ever.  With regenerative braking, you don’t need to downshift as you enter corners.  Lift your foot off the accelerator and mountain and curving roads become fun.  Our house already had Solar panels, so I have never had to pay for gas, as 99% of my charging is done at home. When I purchased the car it came with free supercharging for the duration of my ownership.

Tax Tips


No, I am not disagreeing with Trump. And no, this is not a post on how to increase your refund. Or on how to make out like Timothy Geithner a bandit with TurboTax.  It’s a little more general.

First, I am all for Trump’s suggestion to not tax tips. That should garner him some votes in Las Vegas. I grew up outside of Las Vegas during the Rat Pack days and begrudge no one untaxed income: taxi drivers, concierges, waiters and waitresses, shoe shine kids, blackjack dealers, doormen, room service personnel, rest room attendants, bartenders, ushers, coatroom attendants, security guards, desk clerks, masseuses, escorts. Whatever. (All write-offs for business expenses, of course).  Especially in Vegas where a lot of money gets thrown around.

Compliance, Hmm?


I’ve known for most of my life that I was different from most members of the groups of people with whom I was associated. I have been able to identify a few factors that clearly demonstrate that. Being introverted is one. Testing high for intelligence is another.

I was born before WWII and reared in Georgia, schooled in a racially segregated public system, in a culture still exhibiting the features of racial prejudices being preserved by the Democrat Party, almost an exclusive political party environment there until the 1960s. I had left Georgia by then and had an opportunity to meet individuals of different political persuasions. As I matured I developed an interest in the foundation of the American Republic and events during the years of its formation.

One Small Step


Last night, in a marathon board meeting in which many things were discussed, my small school district passed a resolution to direct our superintendent to address the lack of fairness in high school sporting competitions.  Recently a biological male won a women’s state competition in running. This impacted young women within our community, and, rightly, parents were livid.

Statewide competitions are organized and governed by the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association).  The WIAA is a quasi-government organization subject to its own rules and bylaws as well as state and federal law.  The process to address this within WIAA is to propose an amendment to those bylaws.  There is a lot of energy across the state to address the issue.  Even some folks on the left don’t agree that this should be allowed, given the unfair advantage a biological boy has when competing in girls’ sports.

Somewhat Dank


Jackfruit tree, via Wikimedia Commons

The priests at our church are from Kochin, India. At some point in our friendship, they mentioned that they loved jackfruit. I was somewhat taken aback because the only time I had encountered jackfruit was in Africa, where chimpanzees fight over it. I didn’t mention that to my priests.

Our tragically foolish border policy


We know exactly the cause of our disastrous immigration crisis. It was us. We voters have only ourselves to blame.

Biden didn’t even try to deceive us on this one. In the 2020 presidential debates, he vowed “on day one” to reverse Trump’s immigration policies. He promised to provide free healthcare to illegal aliens.

James is heading off on his annual sojourn but takes emough time to stop in and sit at his familar place at the long, boomarang-patterned Formica counter and talk a little Fourth of July and things that go BOOOOM in the night.

Victor Davis Hanson is back! He joins Rob and Steve Hayward to discuss his latest must-read, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation. Aside from the cheery discussion on civilization obliteration, the trio finds their way into digressions spanning the cameos of great men in the Old Testament to the spectacular blunders of the modern era. Is there any hope to be found in this eleventh hour? Tune in to find out.

– Audio from this week’s podcast: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says clips of a deteriorating Joe Biden are “cheap fake videos.”

Quote of the Day: Delusion


A delusion is something that people believe in despite a total lack of evidence. —Richard Dawkins

I’m urging all my millennial peers and the young people coming up behind us to look for signs and symptoms of them being in a Democrat-induced delusion. Don’t confuse the dream state of the socialists with any sort of reality. If you spot any signs of this politically terminal affliction within yourself, please seek help. —Charlie Kirk

City Water Hacked? Don’t Call 911


911 went down yesterday for two hours statewide. The state was in a panic. I received many messages via IAR (I Am Responding app for first responders). There were local numbers that nobody knew. My wife would have become dispatch if it went on any longer. Everyone calls her when they hear sirens.

You would have thought that would have made national news. (Or at least a little more coverage than that little boy Dylan Mulvaney breaking a nail). I knew instantly when it happened. I monitored national and local news. Nothing. I couldn’t even find a Boston channel with ‘Breaking Coverage’.

Now the response is, “Nothing to see here, move along.” It’s not hacking. Okay, I don’t believe you. In fact, my instinct tells me that whatever the media says, it’s usually the opposite.

Feliz Solomon (Wall Street Journal)

We have all sorts of scams on tap this week – including the president’s re-election campaign.

Eating your own dog food


Or, maybe, renewing your own prescription.

In the software business, there is an expression: “Eating your own dog food.” It refers to using the product that you are developing and trying to sell. For example, there is a Czech company — JetBrains — which makes a series of software development tools. I can guarantee that these tools are used in the development of their products. The rationale is that finding your own problems is much better than having them found by customers.