Mike Pompeo began the Trump era as an opponent of the future 45th president. But by the time Donald Trump exited the White House in January 2021, the former CIA director and former Secretary of State had emerged as perhaps his most trusted Cabinet official.

In this episode, Pompeo talks Afghanistan; discusses his experience in the Trump administration, sounds off on the former president’s impact on the Republican Party; and addresses the question of how Trump’s plans for a 2024 bid might impact his own presidential ambitions.

Russell Moore’s Evangelical Imaginarium


I posted what follows on my own blog site. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as it relates primarily to the growing cultural and theological fault lines within American evangelicalism. I’m pretty sure the fracturing that is currently taking place there is not confined to evangelicalism per se, so maybe this will have some interest to a few outside the evangelical sphere.

Dr. Russell Moore gave a talk at a Plough Magazine event. The transcript is posted here. I take exception to Dr. Moore’s remarks. In part because he puts his thumb on the scales in support of progressivism. But, more importantly, he does so in a way that lacks forthrightness and transparency. I’ve seen his kind of movie before, and I find it both oily and uncompelling.

Quote of the Day: September Song


File:Leaf leaves branch maple autumn nightshot studio.jpgOh, it’s a long, long while
From May to December,
And the days grow short
When you reach September….

Well, here we are again.  Almost at the autumnal equinox (which happens this year on September 22), that time of year when the Sun hangs directly above the equator and day and night (which have been getting–respectively–shorter and longer since June’s solstice day) are of equal length.

It’s all downhill from here.  We’ll have fewer and fewer hours of daylight, and more and more darkness, until the third week of December, and then–light will come again.

What a Real Opposition Party Would Do


This is great stuff. I won’t post the whole article, of course, because you need to give them the clicks. But, this is my favorite bit:

No excuses, no quarter. I don’t care if it’s difficult. It is the business of leaders to lead, not to hide or fiddle or pshaw away existential threats like all these while their cities and country burn. If Republicans can’t do difficult things for the sake of a country in peril, they don’t deserve to be in office.

The Culture’s Guide to Cancelling Me


Once upon a time, political priors were no match for a great comedy – funny was funny. Today many great jokes elicit an anxious over-the-shoulder glance to ensure that the culture’s tastemakers – or your firm’s 22-year-old social media intern – don’t disapprove. Rolling with it is a thing of the past.

No longer is a comic’s greatest fear having his sitcom but his entire career – canceled.  With airlines, sports teams, and soft drink manufacturers climbing over one another to bow before the Woke Mob, what is a corporate event planner to do? She must now not only ensure the comedian she hires is funny (or even funny and clean) but also has the correct views.

This means scouring the internet for comedian’s social media posts, blogs, columns, affiliations, and more: all in search of something which might be disqualifying, like that hilarious five-minute bit of yours about how men can’t get pregnant.

The Jaded Wisdom of Travis McGee


“I am wary of a lot of other things, such as plastic credit cards, payroll deductions, insurance programs, retirement benefits, savings accounts, Green Stamps, time clocks, newspapers, mortgages, sermons, miracle fabrics, deodorants, check lists, time payments, political parties, lending libraries, television, actresses, junior chambers of commerce, pageants, progress, and manifest destiny. I am wary of the whole dreary deadening structured mess we have built into such a glittering top-heavy structure that there is nothing left to see but the glitter, and the brute routines of maintaining it.” The Deep Blue Good-By

”There is only one way to make people talk more than they care to. Listen. Listen with hungry earnest attention to every word. In the intensity of your attention, make little nods of agreement, little sounds of approval. You can’t fake it. You have to really listen. In a posture of gratitude. And it is such a rare and startling experience for them, such a boon to ego, such a gratification of self, to find a genuine listener, that they want to prolong the experience. And the only way to do that is to keep talking. A good listener is far more rare than an adequate lover.” Nightmare in Pink

The Charles C.W. Cooke Newsletter


Hi everyone,

Scott Immergut, he of the Blue Yeti microphone and benevolent kingship Ricochet.com, has kindly offered to let me tell everyone here about my new weekly newsletter. It’s free — hurrah — and I send it out every week, on Saturday mornings. It includes a round-up of everything I’ve done during the previous week, as well as the rotating music, television, restaurant, and tech sections from my old newsletter, Café Americano.

Unintended Consequences of Unintended Consequences…of Intended Consequences


Powerline blog alerts us to an impending food crisis in Great Britain and other disruptions in Europe arising from “green” policies: WILL “GREEN” ENERGY DESTROY EUROPE? Who knew getting rid of CO2 could starve people?!

Ignoring the details of this particular crisis there is a larger point about the hubris of political leaders to believe they can organize life into abundance. As Adam Smith observed over two centuries ago, life organizes itself around rules extant at the creation. Mankind, when properly understanding those rules, can affect things in beneficial ways for society, but cannot interfere with the operation of those rules to force alternative outcomes without suffering adverse consequences.

The announced easing of travel restrictions between the US and citizens of the UK get us going – but our producer, “Evil Brian,” isn’t sweating it because James will still need the double-jab to show up at his front door.

On the international front they cover (or stumble through) the Canadian Parliamentary election, the AUKUS security deal, and whether James is contaminating Toby’s “brand” by making people think he’s an anti-vaxxer.

What if College Football Is Not a ‘Superspreader?’


There has yet to be an actual COVID-19 superspreader event. The Sturgis biker rallies, the 2020 Thanksgiving homeward migrations, the evil open beaches in Florida did not create even a ripple. COVID infections have risen and fallen in seasonality waves of nearly identical size and duration across large regions no matter who is governor or what NPIs were imposed or when they were imposed or lifted or whether and when people were permitted to gather.

Saturday, there were enormous unmasked crowds at college football games. Of particular interest could be Penn State’s big win over Auburn in front of over 100,000 unmasked fans (20,000 students) from all over Pennsylvania and elsewhere. (Penn St is always one of the top five college programs in home attendance.) The stadium is in the center of a populous state. It may be COVID’s last chance for a superspreader event in the mid-Atlantic.

COVID-19 has a dim future because increasing acquired immunity plus resistance provided by vaccines are together rapidly building herd immunity or its functional equivalent. This winter’s flu season will almost certainly be a last hurrah before the bug recedes into an endemic annoyance. And the last chance for an anomalous, actual superspreader peak would appear to be right now through mid-October.

Vaccines and Remembrance of Things Past


Pew polling indicates that about 40% of African Americans are vaccine-hesitant or resistant.  These individuals cite various reasons for their hesitancy, among which are discomfort regarding how quickly the vaccines were developed and how limited the testing of the vaccines was before they were authorized, on an emergency basis, for use. Many are concerned about possible side effects. Reasonable concerns. The FDA has yet to release its risk-benefit analysis of the Pfizer vaccine despite full approval of the vaccine. Such a circumstance is contrary to all prior FDA practice, adding to concern about the vaccines.

Joe Biden’s imposition of mandates, and anger at those unvaccinated, jogged my memory regarding events that occurred around the time I started Medical School almost 50 years ago. I started Medical School at UCLA in 1973. At that time genetic screening for various genetic disorders was a hot topic. In Southern California with, at the time, the largest Jewish population (Ashkenazi Jews are particularly afflicted with Tay Sachs) on the planet outside of Tel Aviv, prenatal screening for Tay Sachs was de rigeur. If a child was born with Tay Sachs, (an untreatable, incurable recessive genetic disorder that resulted in the birth of a perfectly healthy baby that, nevertheless underwent deterioration and decline over months to a couple of years and died), a medical malpractice suit for “wrongful life” was sure to follow.

A Lost War: A Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson and H. R. McMaster on Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future


General H. R. McMaster and military historian Victor Davis Hanson are both senior fellows at the Hoover Institution. In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, they discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end. McMaster and Hanson debate what worked and what failed, how social issues in the United States may have influenced our mission in Afghanistan and our decision to leave, and whether or not the United States should have continued to maintain a presence instead of leaving in a matter of weeks, abandoning thousands of Afghans loyal to the US mission there (as well as an unknown number of US citizens) after 20 years of military operations in the country.

Are the Culture Wars Over? Have We Lost?


ChorusMany people look around our culture and society and see utter destruction. They see grade-schoolers being taught that the gay-sex drug PrEP is just peachy. They see kids being taught there is this thing called anal sex. Seventh graders in my local school system hear it 22 times—not 21, not 23, 22 times in a single year. It is for safety reasons, you dolt.

Kids can access the hardest of hard-core porn on the iPhones that they ought not to have. Most of what they are watching is prosecutable under federal law that has been adjudicated by the Supreme Court; but no one has done anything like that since the Reagan Administration.

In your place of employment, they are passing around gay propaganda; and there is nothing you can do about it. A lady who works for Alaska Airlines was canned because she asked if it was a good idea for her company to so vigorously support the Equality Act which will have the effect of making Christians second class citizens.

Why Are Hospitals Supposedly Struggling?


I’m genuinely curious about something that the media are reporting but (of course) only superficially. As usual, there are questions no one seems to be asking.

We all remember how, in the spring of 2020, we went into lockdown to “flatten the curve,” essentially a desperate attempt to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Whether the lockdown had any effect or not, the feared crisis didn’t happen; hospitals were busy, even very busy, but never beyond their ability to cope.

The Best and the Worst of Interrupting Yourself


You know how it is: You’re saying something, but before you can finish saying it you think of something else you have to say, and it seems important, so you say it immediately, interrupting yourself.  Maybe you forgot what you were saying entirely. Or maybe you decided it didn’t matter. Or maybe you thought you could come back to it.  Maybe you did come back to it, but maybe not.

I know I do that.  I think just about everyone does.

ACF on Cinema Post-9/11


So after the World Trade Center podcast, I bring you a wide-ranging conversation with my friend Telly Davidson on movies and TV after 9/11, on the effects of catastrophe and war on Hollywood, or rather on the American mind, so far as its reflected in and affected by storytelling. We talk about the way superhero fantasy became the official way of showing young Americans what 9/11 meant, the way TV turned to espionage stories like 24 and then Homeland, which are evocative of the Bush and Obama administrations respectively, and what went wrong with the various attempts to tell America what the nation had gone through and what the nation was going to do.

Lying by Omission or It’s What They Don’t Say that Counts


No one will argue that the surge of illegal aliens at the southern border is a disaster. And in the face of Joe Biden’s trying to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine to American citizens, he’s giving the migrants a pass. Especially interesting to me was\ the presentation of the data (or the lack of transparent data) for assessing whether the influx of illegal aliens (who are not mandated to receive the vaccine) is a problem for the country. The Delta variant in particular is especially contagious. But regarding the unvaccinated migrants, no one seems to care.

So I have been parsing articles that ridicule or understate the spread of Covid-19 by migrants. And as long as we are flooded with migrants, I believe we should be very concerned about the spread of the disease. I’d like to share what I’m learning from those people who prefer to play down the presence of Covid-19 in the illegal alien population, the lack of testing, and the lack of vaccinations. Remember, these people are free to travel wherever they wish or are being sent all over the country without notifying governors in advance.

The illegals are demonstrating “vaccine hesitancy” when offered the vaccine, even though Covid-19 cases are surging in the detention centers:

Best Star Spangled Banner Performance: Diana Ross


Diana Ross was the first pop star to perform the national anthem at a Super Bowl, and her 1982 performance set a standard not yet surpassed at any professional sports venue. From high school to professional sports events, Americans have long started these secular public rites with our national anthem. The NFL had long leaned on college marching bands and choruses, but broke from tradition with a pop star actually past the peak of her genre. Diana Ross, Motown royalty, rose to the occasion in Detroit’s Silverdome Stadium, setting the standard for future performers.

There are three basic rules for a good national anthem vocal performance:

Play the Board, Not the Player


Maintaining perspective requires a daily and sometimes hourly commitment. I fly recognizance missions over the daily newsfeeds, in the morning checking for anything significant that might have happened overnight. And at the end of the day checking to see if the clutter has dissipated, or at least organized itself into more readily defined groups of patterned strategies and/or tactics.

The one axiom of problem-solving is that you can’t solve a problem until you understand what it is and why it became a problem in the first place. I must admit, making sense of what’s going on right now, let alone anticipating where it might lead, has been nearly impossible.

And it’s by design.

Quote of the Day: Plans


“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ― Woody Allen

I am working on a book. (I know, I always am.) It is due in mid-October. The week before last, everything came together. I wrote 19,000 words in seven days. What makes that more remarkable was I did that on top of working 40 hours at a day job. Good stuff, too.  I still had the captions and the plate dialog to write, plus the instructions to the artist and map makers and a few other things, but with the main body of the text done, I was actually ahead of schedule. I could get it done on time. Maybe early.

3,380,272 Future Ex-Californians


3,380,272 is the number of “yes” votes to change course in California. Sadly that was only 36% of the total vote. So California has democratically decided to become more and more autocratic, race critical, and socialist. 3,380,272 voters tried to save their state, but now most assuredly know that the state is doomed. Rational people will leave. Gavin Newsom was already “U-Haul employee of the Year 2020” and stands to successfully defend his title in 2021. 


A Fresh Take on an Old Classic


Daniel Carter is a London copper. It is today’s London, but a London inhabited by clans of underground monsters. They run criminal rackets: the Frankenstein Clan, with its surgeries, the seductive Vampire Clan, the drug-dealing Clan of Mummies and the Werewolf Clan, who serve as hit men and enforcers.

“Jekyll & Hyde Inc.,” a fantasy novel by Simon R. Green, opens with Carter, his partner, and two fellow cops raiding a Frankenstein chop shop. Their attempt to break up the illicit den where victims are cut up for transplant organs goes badly. One is killed, two others vanish in the building’s ruins and Carter is left crippled.

Carter is also suspended. The raid was supposedly unauthorized. The commissioner who organized and authorized it also disappeared. Carter’s career is in ruins, he is in constant pain, and his family has rejected him. Then his vanished partner appears. He has been absorbed into the underground, involuntarily turned into a vampire. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley, he appears to offer Carter a chance at redemption – or perhaps more accurately revenge.

Ayaan speaks with LTG H.R. McMaster about foreign policy challenges and threats, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the recent purging of members from military boards. 

LTG H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He serves as the Japan Chair at the Hudson Institute and Chairman of the Center for Political and Military Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy.

Personal Data Collection


I was setting up an online account for our fire department’s Costco account this morning. After I had created my user name and password, I was asked in an email to verify my account, and a pop-up window told me they used a third-party service to identify people.

Each question was multiple choice. The first question asked was the color of a motorcycle I purchased in 2015 (and still own). The second was in what state did I live in from 1970 to 1975; the third gave the name of the street where my wife and I lived in our senior year of college (1981-82), and asked me to select the city.  I think it asked a fourth question which I have forgotten.

I assume this data is likely sourced from credit reporting places, but it still amazes me how quickly it could access these details. After all, we didn’t have any credit cards when we were in college, I paid cash for the motorcycle, and from ’70 to ’75 I was a middle and high schooler. Of course, once it’s in the database it’s virtually instantly accessible.