Civil War, A Review

 

So, we went and saw Civil War Saturday. A ton of hype about this film and I was cautiously optimistic that it would be an interesting story with dramatic elements and a message that, hopefully, wasn’t wokist claptrap.

To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I won’t spoil the movie, because what you’ve seen in the previews is pretty much the entire movie. There is no explanation for the conflict, no reason why the states are still acting as units, nor why California and Texas are allies while Oklahoma and Oregon as on the same side. In a way that isn’t important. Trying to come up with a semi-logical story around the reason for a conflict isn’t as important as what the story could be…assuming it’s a good story. I mean, I rather enjoy The Purge series of movies. They don’t make any sense, but are fun movies that have interesting characters such that you care what happens to them.

Shouldn’t Jews Know Better?

 

I can understand how a genuine pacifist could so strongly deplore the inherent tragedy of war that the reasons for its prosecution are deemed unworthy and a generic sympathy for civilians caught in the middle is natural for all.  What is harder to understand is how people purportedly motivated by such sentiments readily dismiss culpability for the horrific, inhumane acts of Oct 7 in which brutal civilian casualties were not incidental to a military objective but entirely intentional.

The woke moral framework is a strange beast.

The calm before the storm

 

From IBM

That enormous piece of equipment is a 5MB hard drive in 1956.  Produced by IBM, it was a technological marvel of its day.  That chip in my hand below is a 1TB SSD card for my computer.  For those keeping score at home, my SSD card holds not twice as much data, and not three times as much data – no, it holds 209,715 times as much data, and I can lift it with my fingers rather than a forklift.  And my SSD card uses A LOT less electricity, as well.  And is much faster and much more reliable.  If you were to stack 209,715 of those IBM hard drives to store the same amount of data as my chip, that stack would be nearly 300 miles tall.  My chip is more convenient.

Does Iran Know What It’s Doing?

 

I wonder who’s running the show in Iran? Who’s running the show in the U.S.? Iran’s attack on Israel is the oddest combination of actions and comments that I think I’ve ever seen.

First, they alerted their neighbors that they were going to attack Israel. But some of those countries were probably delighted to have advance warning, such as Jordan, who fought against the Iranians when they sent their drones and missiles.

FBI Still Covering for Whitey Bulger

 

The Boston Herald is appealing the FBI’s refusal to release records related to Whitey Bulger. The Bureau claims there are ongoing related investigations. Bulger died in 2018 and had been convicted for over thirty felonies including eleven murders in 2013. His longtime associate Flemmi is serving a life sentence.  Bulger evaded capture for 16 years on the FBI Most Wanted lList, a duration that many suspected was an indication of the Bureau’s preference that the extent of their corrupt involvement not come to light.  He was 81 when finally captured in California. 

Given the Bureau’s scandalous history regarding Bulger, we have every right to be skeptical about the existence of an ongoing related investigation of any kind after all this time. Perhaps they are pretending to investigate one of Whitey’s murders they missed.

When the Government Hunts You

 

Castro Hume is the Academy Award winning screenwriter of the hit “Stars So Bright.” That was five years ago. Celebrity acclaim and alcohol put his brilliant career in a tailspin. He is a has-been.

Seeing Red: A Novel by T. M. Doran opens with a newly-sober Hume determined to regain his career and his screenwriting brilliance. He starts by returning to the scene of his first great triumph, Trillium, a rural town built as the set of “Stars So Bright.” Preserved in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, it is a tourist attraction.

The book is set in the near-future, in an alternate, darker version of the world and United States. Resources are scarce. The government is far more controlling. Individuals deemed a burden to the state are issued Extraordinary Designation Cards: Red Cards. They are denied health care, education, and other government benefits. They are encouraged to euthanize themselves. Aiding them is illegal.

Ownership and Mastery

 

The video below is of my 14-year-old grandson. For the last several weekends, he and I have worked together to turn a pile of miscellaneous detached parts into a running go-kart. This is the moment we first fired it up and let it rip.

I suggested to him a few months ago that we do this project, and I confess I was completely riddled with ulterior motives. Besides merely wanting to hang out with him, I wanted him to gain experience working with hand tools. I wanted him to feel the exhilaration of working on something for an extended period of time, needing to learn entirely new concepts to succeed, and then to have the exhilaration of success after working on something hard. I wanted him to learn a little bit about mechanics. And I wanted to amplify his already noticeable attraction to embodied work. I wanted to stoke the fire of excitement and deep satisfaction that emerges when, having applied newly acquired knowledge, things finally begin to work as you originally imagined. That first time he pressed on the throttle and the torque converter really engaged and started turning the rear axle…well…it was a magical moment for both of us.

Jewish – and Civilizational – Mojo

 

Jews in the 20th century were dynamos. Jews were major players in Hollywood, in the worlds of finance and law, hard sciences and soft.  Jews were hard working, risk-taking, and deeply ambitious. Indeed, in the ruins of the Holocaust was born three generations of hungry, hard-driving people, people who helped make every country they lived in far richer and more successful. (I often offer that the countries that, it is suggested, are “run by the Jews” are far better off than those without Jews.) And indeed, Jews sought to understand what Judaism is – there was a mass movement from the 1970s through the 1990s of Jews “returning,” of finding meaning and purpose in the core of the religion.

But over the past 2-3 decades, all of that has been in decline. Schools that used to send the majority of their graduating classes to the finest institutions, now send a handful, at best. The societal boredom and ennui that has led to the current navel-gazing idiocy has also infected the Jews of America (and even Israel), leading to a lot more hedonistic narcissism, and a lot less purpose and meaning.

Counterattack?

 

I do not support a counterattack on Iran. Last night was a catastrophe for the Ayatollahs. They lost major face in terms of their display of military power. It was a ridiculous display of impotence. >300 missiles, ballistic missiles and drones – each celebrated with wall art as a demonstration of Iran’s ability burn Israeli cities and crush the Israeli military and they hit a single base and hurt a single child.

This is showing that they *can’t* issue a direct attack. Their allies just got left out to dry.

Beth and Andrew speak with researcher Mia Hughes, author of the WPATH report that exposed the insanity of transgender medicine worldwide. Hughes gives us an overview of the organization, World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and explains why they became so influential globally on transgender issues. She discusses some of the key findings of her report including the lack of informed consent, and the immense damage caused to children by cross-sex hormones and body mutilating surgeries.

Mia Hughes is an Ottawa-based British journalist and researcher for Michael Shellenberger’s nonprofit Environmental Progress. Hughes has three children and before becoming a journalist she was a stay-at-home mother.

Iran Launches Direct Assault on Israel

 

A wave of drones and ballistic missiles have been launched from Iran to Israel Saturday night, marking a new phase in the wider Middle East conflict. While Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp has been behind many attacks against Israel, tonight is the first instance of a direct assault from the territory of the Islamic Republic against the Jewish State.

The extent of the attack is not yet clear. The New York Times reports that more than 200 drones and missiles have been launched in the retaliatory strike—a response to the deadly strike on an Iranian embassy in Syria.

Quote of the Day – Funerals

 

I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. – Mark Twain

I occasionally think of this quote after the death of a fitting individual.  That does not mean someone with whom I strongly disagree – nor even someone I dislike. I reserve it for the truly despicable, those whose actions go beyond foolish into the depraved.

The Diner is open.

Went all the way to Mexico last week just to watch a man die.

Doves

 

Thanks to a universal culture of paganism and violence, G-d has destroyed the world in an apocalyptic flood. A single boat, crammed with survivors, bobs along on top of the waves.

This is no pleasure cruise. There are no promenades or portholes. Indeed, there is but one window, and it only looks upward. Nobody knows what is going on. In that boat, layered within the smells of animals, their food and their waste, the air is thick with fear and doubt.

Letting Down Our Friends

 

Yesterday the prime minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, spoke to a joint session of Congress. It’s a remarkable fact, given the history, that today Japan is one of our closest and most reliable allies, and its people among the most pro-American in the world. (Kishida’s family is from Hiroshima.)

During his remarks, Kishida reminded the U.S. of its history of being a champion of freedom and democracy in the world:

Important Safety Tips

 

My new set of noise-cancelling headphones arrived yesterday.  I bought them for when neutral observer is watching a Great Courses lecture on her computer and has the volume turned ALL THE WAY UP because she isn’t wearing her hearing aids.

Anyway, I examined the outside of the box, and noticed the following safety tips (brief discussion following each one):

On Secession (or maybe disaffiliation)

 

At this point, most people would agree that the political divide in this country is wider than it’s been since about the Civil War. It has led to various people proposing some form of “great divorce,” where the US breaks up into several more compatible nations. It’s a bit like Federalism on steroids, where we formally break up.

A recent Reddit thread contained one such proposal:

James Lileks is back in the house, ladies and gentlemen! And speaking of houses, Jack Ryan joins the podcast to explain his war against the National Association of Realtors. (Pre-order your copy of the book he’s co-authored: Bringing Adam Smith into the American Home: A Case Against Home Ownership.) Yes, you read that title correctly. Along with his fight against the “real estate cartel,” Jack has his doubts that home ownership is the right move for all Americans.

Plus, the reunited Ricochet boys recall how the O.J. Simpson trial changed America, and they fight fire alarms and wrangle with manly chores.

A Day to Remember

 

April 10, 2024 was the 112th anniversary of the day that the British passenger and mail-carrying ocean liner RMS Titanic slipped her surly mooring bonds in the English port of Southampton and set sail on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.

In her honor, and on that date, I embarked on an excursion I don’t undertake much anymore, unless under protest: I gritted my teeth, girded my loins, screwed my courage to the sticking place, and drove to Pittsburgh.  My destination, on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, was the Carnegie Science Center.  It’s almost adjacent to Heinz Field (which is now called something else), and is at the center of a rats’ nest of narrow roads, twisty alleys, and one way streets that confound any GPS system I’ve ever had the misfortune of using.  The last time I was in the vicinity, which was a couple of years ago for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit (which was great, BTW), I spent about twenty minutes going round and round in circles afterwards, before I got myself pointed in the right direction, or at least in a direction I recognized and from which I could figure out how to get home. (To be perfectly clear, it’s not the absolute worst rats’ nest of narrow roads, twisty alleys, and one-way streets I’ve ever been in, in my life, but it’s up there in the top two. What makes it better than the other is that, at least in Pittsbugh, the directional signs are posted in a language, and a script, that I can read and understand. Other than that, there’s not much to choose between them.)

The New Racists Detest “Color-Blindness”

 

The notion of color-blindness derives from the principle that moral persons of conscience  should disregard race in judging their fellow human beings. It is a sincere aspiration but not necessarily meant as a description of reality. It was once considered a non-controversial  mainstay of the American ethos. 

No longer. The term “color-blind” has become an object of scorn among America’s elite. The usual crowd directing our national groupthink has determined that proclaiming color-blindness is intentionally deceptive, simply a cheap cover for racism. 

Chicken Lemon Grits: a Fast Recipe for a Cold and Rainy Day

 

Chicken Lemon Grits

Ingredients

1/2 stick (4 T) butter
2 cups of chicken stock (or equivalent with bouillon)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of grits (hominy or yellow corn or other)
Salt (maybe)

Procedure

In a large enough sauce pan, melt the butter, add the chicken stock and lemon juice and bring it to boil. Slowly stir in grits. Depending on whether the butter or stock is salted, it may need a little salt. Simmer for about five minutes or until desired thickness stirring often. Let it cool a bit unless you like molten materials in your mouth. Enjoy.

Quote of the Day: Enthusiasm

 

I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together. Queen Elizabeth II

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. Adam Smith

Getting the Timeline Wrong

 

Anachronisms occur when a film or TV show that’s set in the past makes a mistake, and includes things that couldn’t have existed yet in the time when the story is set. Some are insignificant, visible only to a tiny number of history buffs and specialists. Others are face-palm blatant, like someone carelessly leaving a Starbucks cup in the background of a scene in Game of Thrones. Errors like that can hurt the suspension of disbelief. HBO wasn’t amused. A few people lost their jobs over that.

General George S. Patton liked Packards. But it’s not possible for him to have ridden in the postwar car we briefly see on the streets of wartime London in Patton. It’s not a big error, though I can tell you there was an uneasy murmur even from 1970 audiences, who were old enough to detect that something was slightly wrong.

Elon Musk makes the battle for free speech international to the halls of Brazil’s Supreme Court (Ordem e Progresso!) while an editor at National Public Radio in Washington laments the fall of the free press at home.

And former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker returns to put a 2040 deadline on the ticking time bomb that is the National Debt of the United States.

Beyond the Polls listeners are all about the little details, and this week Henry’s joined by Jacob Rubashkin, Deputy Editor at a premiere nonpartisan political analysis outfit, Inside Elections. They take us through a trip across the country to dig into the approaching Senate primaries in West Virginia & Maryland, along with House primaries in Pennsylvania’s 12th, Indiana 5, Maryland 3, Oregon 5, and the Republican runoff in Texas 23.

Plus, with the fight over abortion heating up, pushing politicians to take concrete positions, Henry takes us through the approaches partisans should consider to move the needle in their direction. And, boy oh boy, we have quite an ad to discuss this week!