“Everyone in the entertainment business works hard. Except agents, obviously.” So says Rob this week, as he describes the differences between writing and directing, with a few nods to actors (and their overacting): Being a writer teaches you how to be alone. But being a director teaches you how to be with people. So maybe, actually, being a director is the harder job? Also, what’s the best way for an actor to play a drunk person? We won’t spoil it here, but it hinges on on not being yourself.

You’re Never too Young to be a Constitutional Scholar


As I’ve told you all many times … I got to be an elementary school teacher for a couple of decades. Twenty years ago, I applied for and was selected to attend a weeklong seminar for elementary teachers about the Constitution. It was sponsored by the Center for Civic Education and held at James Madison University, in Virginia. We had field trips to Washington DC and his home, Montpelier, where we got to have a discussion with a James Madison “reenactor” about this wonderful document. This was the first year the Center held a seminar for elementary teachers. Normally, this was a high school teachers’ event. What a great time I had!!

Back then, my district used the book by E.D. Hirsch “What Your 4th Grader Needs to Know” as the basis for our elementary Social Studies and Science curriculum. Each grade level had their version. In 4th grade, we learned about the American Revolution from its roots in the Magna Carta right on through until the Constitution was written and ratified. It was such a fascinating thing to teach.  Anyone who thinks that a nine-year-old isn’t able to understand this material just needs to work with them for a while. They are the perfect age to learn about what is fair, what is unfair, how to create a system that maintains personal rights while protecting the rights of others.

The House of Mirrors


There is an excellent conversation going on regarding the post @unsk ‘s post, Tucker Carlson: Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage: Who is behind it? The problem of course is not one thing, it is a series of things: who did it? what did they think they would get from it? who did they want people/governments to think did it? what comes next?

“What comes next?” is of course the most important question and is entirely distinguishable from “Who did it?”

Quote of the Day: Does Forgiving Always Mean Forgetting?


Over the last couple of years, I’ve followed the Twitter account of Jennifer Michelle Greenberg. She’s a Christian woman who grew up in an abusive home. Her father claimed to be a Christian but abused Jennifer physically, sexually, and emotionally. She experienced churches that would ignore or minimize abuse. She now works to help survivors of abuse and help churches to deal with such issues Biblically.

I just finished her book Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse. I found these definitions helpful. She has dealt with people who demand that abusers must be forgiven (7 x 70) and allowed to remain in one’s life. I found her distinction between two kinds of forgiveness helpful:

I’ve found it helpful to define two modes of forgiveness: Boundaried Forgiveness and Reconciled Forgiveness.

Today, Rob Long presents the idea that anyone who puts on a little play, bangs on an instrument or talks into a microphone for money can say they’re in entertainment. But a true show business professional — hello, Harry Styles! — is hard to find these days, because the kind of people drawn to the industry are often much like baby actors — moody, mercurial, hard to reason with, yet also adorable. So when a fussy infant is faced with the prospect of being replaced by a cutting-edge robot on set, as witnessed by Rob, can they step up to the challenge?

Tracking Hurricane Ian


This may too early a start for the latest hurricane bearing down on Florida, but the last time we had a major threat of a hurricane that hit some of the state pretty hard, one of our Rico members put up a post so that the many Floridians who were impacted could regularly update us (assuming they could get online).

Get ‘Edjicated’ and Save Yourself Some Money


A university, or a college education is expensive. There is nothing wrong with a “good” liberal arts education. I’m not talking about a philosophy department that features Angela Davis, or the latest new shiny platitudes.

As Lord Acton said: “Nothing is more irritating than the discovery of the pedigree of ideas.”

The king welcomes Matthew Peterson, the cofounder of New Founding, a commercial and cultural union for the American people. Matt is also President of the Firebrand Super PAC, Publisher of RETURN, and has a great new podcast you can find here. Before all this, he founded The American Mind, which rapidly became influential among select political, tech, and media figures since its start in 2018.

Jon then discusses some international news including Giorgia Meloni’s big win in Italy and the strange damage done to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. Subscribe to the King of Stuff Spotify playlist featuring picks from the show. This week, Jon recommends “Change with the Sun” by Italian trio Soviet Soviet.

When the FBI Shows Up at Your Door . . .


Why would the FBI come to your house?

There are a number of possible reasons.  They range from the possibility that they are looking for someone who does not live there anymore, to looking for information about another person, to looking to interview a target or even make an arrest. Perhaps you were at home, and the FBI agent has told you some things about your connection to the investigation and you are wondering if you can take the agent’s statements at face value. Or, perhaps you have already agreed to speak with federal agents, and you are wondering if you have made a grievous error.

…and Just Like That, the Nord Stream Pipelines Went Kaboom!


Last night, the twin pipelines supplying Russian natural gas to Germany blew up.  Specifically, they were both breached below the surface of the Baltic Sea, near Danish and Swedish territorial waters.  Almost certainly sabotage, based both on the time coincidence, and a Swedish seismologist’s estimate that at least 100kg of explosive was used.

This sabotage was not a trivial exercise.  It would presumably require a ROV, large underwater drone and/or a submarine to place the charges accurately.  There’s a limited supply of such equipment and expertise. And it would likely require a large enough team that it will eventually leak, even if there’s no obvious forensic information to be gathered.

Beware the Whig Left


Despite what you’ve been told, the American left is not composed of people who hate the country and want to see its institutions burned to the ground in an orgy of rage. Oh, sure, those people exist — but they’re not the whole left. Not even most of the left. Nor are they, on their own, all that dangerous, since burn-it-down-style radicalism inevitably runs up against the natural human desire for peace and order. (Even in Seattle, CHAZ could last only so long.) No, the great majority of Americans who identify with the left belong to a different faction: the whigs.

When I say “whig,” I’m not talking about powdered faux hair or the Democratic Party’s long-lost rival or British parliamentary politics. I’m talking about those Americans — and there are many of them — who take a whiggish view of the country’s history. Such people consider themselves patriotic. They hang red, white, and blue flags from their porches. They watch fireworks shows and march in July 4 parades. They swoon at the sight of military regalia. They flock to old battlefields and can rattle off facts about Benjamin Franklin and the Constitutional Convention. They also believe that Elizabeth Warren is the fullest expression of the Lincolnian spirit and that gas-powered cars must be abolished, lest life on Earth end.

Quote of the Day: Taking Aimless


“Sometimes being aimless helps you discover where to aim.” — Russ Roberts

All the talk these days about frivolous college studies has me remembering some of my endeavors at the University of California, Santa Barbara, 1977-1981, that would make me question the academic and career seriousness of a kid doing so today.

When Reality Is Optional: Mage and Post-modernism


“The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.”– John Derbyshire

I am starting to think that every social ‘science’ can either be understood through tabletop RPGs or Russian Literature. Mage: The Ascension is a tabletop RPG that explains the post-modernism and current Wokeism by describing a fictional universe of magic. 

Perhaps the most fascinating things about Mage: The Ascension is its take on science and the technology that utilizes it. Apparently, reality in the Mage universe isn’t static and neither are physical laws. Much of reality, if not all of it is as debatable as what gender you are on a university campus. Regular people are referred to as sleepers and conventional physics are whatever sleepers think it is. Mages are people who realize that an intense application of will can alter the rules of reality. So your cellphone doesn’t work because it followers the natural rules of the physical universe. It works because people agree that the engineers and tech geeks know what they are talking about. Mages are like shamans or voodoo doctors who can ask spirits to make your sword stronger in battle or to make your crops grow with vigor.

With Winter Coming, 20 Million Americans Are Behind on their Utility Bills.


A favorite polling firm is TIPP Insights, which has been conducting public opinion surveys such as the IBD/TIPP poll for about 30 years. I follow their work closely. Their polling of the 2016 presidential election (Trump v. Hillary) was spot on.

This weekend, they published the results of a new survey that should scare incumbent Democratic officeholders on the ballot on November 8th, at least the ones (all of them in Congress) who voted to hose the economy with over $5 trillion in inflationary spending over the past two years and are still at it (and that’s not counting the trillions spent during the pandemic when the Trump Administration shut down the economy). Our money supply (M2) has grown more than 40 percent since February 2020. Even most Democrats blame Biden’s policies for runaway inflation. Yelling “Donald Trump!” and “Abortion!” and other shiny objects isn’t going to save them.

A Simple Way to Help Kids Recover from Covid School Closures


Last week in the Wall Street Journal, one of their columnists who rarely appears elsewhere did a short, very interesting op-ed column.  The columnist is Meghan Cox Gurdon, their reviewer of children’s books.  As long as I have been reading and enjoying her columns, she has supported and encouraged reading aloud to children from an early age.  Well, it turns out that reading aloud to your kids is an excellent way of improving their reading comprehension, which so many public school kids missed in the past two years.  She cited a study showing that measures of reading skill improved when the kids had been read aloud to.

The results were astounding.  Morale and test results soared.  Children who hated English lessons, who had experienced literature as daunting and indigestible, were practically running into the classroom to find out what was going to happen next in the stories.  Seventeen of the educators used the word “joy” to describe their own experiences of this unorthodox teaching method.  When the children were given reading-comprehension tests afterward, average readers had made 8.5 months of progress while poorer students had made 16 months of progress.  As the study authors observed: “Simply reading challenging, complex novels aloud and at a fast pace in each lesson repositioned ‘poorer readers’ as ‘good readers’, giving them a more engaged uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period”.

Losing My Religion


No, I’m not turning away from my faith in Jesus, which began when I reached the ripe old age of 36, back in early 2004. The religion that I’m losing is the American religion that might be called “We Won The War.”

This may be a troubling post for some of you.  I’m pretty confident that I would have found it very troubling and offensive, myself, about five to ten years ago. I’d appreciate a critique of these thoughts.

‘Same-Sex Couple’ Does Not Equal ‘Two-Sex Couple’


Same-sex “marriage” is in discussion again, as the US Senate seems intent on forcing the issue further down the throats of resistant Americans. There are multiple arguments for why same-sex couples do not qualify for “marriage.” My primary argument is that same-sex couples cannot produce children.

Marriage is socially and legally recognized for couples of two sexes because such a couple may, even is likely to, create new life, i.e., produce children. Those children blend the two families from which the couple came into a new branch on the tree of humanity and perpetuate that blend far into the future. Throughout history and across cultures, it has been and is the expectation of children that drives marriage. “Romance” or “erotic love” are very late additions to the long and broad history of marriage, and not particularly central to why marriage exists.

Meloni, Mussolini, and the Media


Whenever Italy elects a right-of-center Prime Minister, the international press labels them a fascist and links them to Mussolini (coincidentally, the only Italian PM they’ve heard of). What was true for Silvio Berlusconi and Mario Draghi is true of their latest PM, Giorgia Meloni, elected over the weekend. To wit:

The De-Bidenification of America


As the American left rapidly mutates into fascism (and I use that term literally) we need to face the fact that we do have a “systemic” problem and it ain’t racism. Do we need to be prepared to do to the left what they continue to do to us in education, law enforcement, and social and entertainment media?  How can we affect a de-Bidenification of America and still honor the values that define conservatism?

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, party officials, including the SA and SS, were given de facto police power to root out political enemies. In Biden’s America, party members (tech lords and DEI commissars) can de-platform, defund, fire, and otherwise silence dissent to an astonishing degree. The Biden administration had sought to place that delegated power under express government direction with a “disinformation czar” who could more formally empower those practices. Fortunately, the residual respect for the First Amendment was still strong enough to cause outrage.  (That the “czar” was an utterly ridiculous woman was also a blessing.)

The Dangers of Moral Therapeutic Deism


Yesterday, Pope Francis tweeted that we must “learn from the meekness of plants” in dealing with the ecosystem and environment. To wit:

The FDA and the Greatest Grift


Safe and effective are terms that should not be debatable but here we are. Recently the FDA has approved the use of the reformulated MRNA vaccines, which they are calling bivalent vaccines. These new versions have been modified to contain a more omicron-specific antibody. Since they are using the same manufacturing process, the powers at be feel comfortable pushing ahead with this product despite a lack of human trials.

Strangely enough after approval of the new versions, word came down that the older versions could no longer be given legally as a booster; which is quite the pivot. Availability of the new products has been haphazard; we quickly used all the Moderna that we were given and had only Pfizer for a while. Most patients who desire it have no problem mixing and matching after all the products are so similar that Moderna is currently suing Pfizer for patent infringement.

Rushing another product to market while stating there is no time for trials certainly raises a few eyebrows. Clearly you would not need to reformulate it if any of the original claims held up. The vaccine narrative has shifted from the ironclad “you cannot get Covid if you are vaccinated” to the arguable “well, trust me, it would have been worse without it.” The most disturbing part of this entire fiasco is that we have given millions of doses of an experimental product and have no control to compare the results to. Even in the trials, the threat of the virus was deemed so high that it was unethical to even continue the control group. From a research perspective, it is impossible to explain how great this sin was, and it will keep graduate students busy for a long time to come.

Update: At 5:30pm BST (12:30 EDT) this evening, PayPal notified Toby that it has restored all three of the accounts it cancelled a couple of weeks ago – the accounts for the Daily Sceptic, the Free Speech Union and his personal account. In all three cases, the email read as follows:

We have continued to review the information provided in connection with your account and we take seriously the input from our customers and stakeholders. Based on these ongoing reviews, we have made the decision to reinstate your account. You should now be able to use your account in the normal way. We sincerely appreciate your business and offer our apologies for any inconvenience this disruption in service may have caused.

Constitutional Amendment Film Fest


If one should have a movie theater in the District of Columbia, why wouldn’t you have a Film Festival to salute each of the Amendments to the United States Constitution?

I guess one reason why you wouldn’t is that you might lose money on the run, but other than that…

I have slated a film for each amendment of the constitution and admit some picks are better than others. Feel free to suggest substitutes. Who knows? Various amendments might be the subject of Movie Fight Clubs someday. But for now, here’s what I got…

And She’s Still Not Done: Once Again, The Queen Goes Above and Beyond


You’ve got to hand it to the late Queen.  Not only did she manage to die in Scotland, giving the Palace an opportunity to drive her past thousands of loyal and respectful Scots to Edinburgh for a lie-in at which thousands of people queued up to view her casket, and then past thousands more as she was driven to the airport for the flight home (The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon–who represents the Scottish Nationalists–must have been regurgitating her haggis the whole time); she also died on one of the rare occasions that Harry and Meghan were actually in England, thereby side-stepping the inevitable “will they fly to the UK from California–Will Meghan go with?” circus that would otherwise have occurred over the course of days and distracted from the main event.

Now for the best part: Today’s Telegraph headline: Coverage of the Queen’s death led to drop in funding for Democrats, New York Times says.

September is a pivotal month for political parties as they gear up for a poll in which the fate of both houses of Congress hangs in the balance.

SF Bicycle Coalition Broadens to Include Bicycle Thieves


…And bad drivers. Because equity and racism, The Post Millennial reports.

I have bicycled in San Francisco for longer than the average hipster has been alive.  I started when there was no infrastructure or consideration for bikes whatsoever and eagerly supported the SF Bicycle Coalition in their successful efforts to lobby and make biking safer and practical. Every time I rode, my primary concern was to avoid getting hit by a car, and the secondary concern was to avoid getting it stolen. The second concern stayed with me constantly, as I have had three bikes stolen from my house in two burglaries.