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!

O.J. Simpson Dies at 76

 

The Simpson family has announced the passing of Orenthal James Simpson, the superstar running back whose position as an all-American hero shifted dramatically after being charged with the murder of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, nearly 30 years ago.

At the University of Southern California, Simpson was a two-time unanimous All-American; establishing the single-season rushing record in 1968, finishing with 1,709 yards. He won the Heisman Trophy that year and would be selected first in the 1969 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. “Juice” would go on to being named MVP in 1973 after being the first to break the 2,000 rushing-yard threshold, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Autocrat-in-Chief

 

Apparently, Joe Biden has no problem ripping off the American people as he is trying to recruit new voters, by trying once again to revive the student loan forgiveness program. It hasn’t occurred to him that the American people will be paying the bill, or he just doesn’t care. More than that outcome, citizens may finally realize that they are being charged for a bill that they never incurred, and may decide not to vote for Biden in November for this unfairness.

Why do I say that? Couple this travesty with all the other lies and misrepresentations of Biden that the people have tolerated. Also, it will be hard to hide the fact that several states are fighting this use of taxpayers’ money:

A Look at Life Aboard a US Submarine

 

I was seven years old when my dad left the Navy. He served in the Submarine Service as an enlisted sailor in WWII. After the war he earned a university degree and was offered an officer’s commission. As the Navy began to transition to nuclear submarines, he did not have a science degree so he transferred to the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence).

When he left his last submarine, he was the only officer on that boat that had experienced submarine combat. 

The Dead Hand Of Rent Control

 

Normally, the public takes little notice when the United States Supreme Court refuses to review a decision from the lower courts. That was, however, not the case in connection with 74 Pinehurst (2023), which allowed to stand the misnamed Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The act was passed by the progressive forces in the New York State legislature to tighten the squeeze on landlords throughout New York City. Its key provisions all cut in one direction, which is to entrench and expand the city’s 1969 rent stabilization law (RSL), under which landlord rents are regulated as if they were public utilities whose rent increases are in the first instance pegged to state-determined increases in cost.

More specifically, the 2019 act reduces the freedom of landlords to evict tenants at the end of a lease or to impose rent increases both to cover costs and to capture the gain in market values of their properties. At one time, high-value rent control units were subject to “vacancy decontrol” when rents reached a certain level. In addition, the permissible level of rent control increases was sharply curtailed on those apartments that were renting, as many in New York City were, below the existing RSL cap, such that the current rent became the new rent cap, even for units whose rents were reduced during COVID, and the rent increases that once allowed for capital improvements were all sharply cut. There were no offsetting adjustments made in favor of the landlords. The price crunch was so palpable that even as early as October 2022, sixty thousand RSL units were empty, close to twofold the level of a year prior.

The Ohio Deadline

 

The state of Ohio has an obscure law, stipulating that in order to be on the ballot in Ohio, a presidential candidate must be certified 90 days before the election. This year that would be Aug 7. The Democrat National Convention this year is not until Aug 19. Meaning the Joe Biden candidacy will miss the Ohio deadline by 2 weeks.

From Fox News:

This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts University of Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Dr. Jocelyn Chadwick interview renowned poet and Boston University professor, Robert Pinsky. He discusses his memoir Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet; the enduring influence of sacred texts like the Psalms; and the wide cultural significance of classic poets like Homer and Shakespeare. Through his book Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry, he shares his views on the vital role of poetry in shaping a vibrant American democracy. Pinsky also talks about the power of poetry in inspiring social change, the importance of reading poetry aloud, and the timeless wisdom embedded in classic poetry, like his translation of Dante’s Inferno. In closing, Pinsky reads his poem “Shirt.”

Bottom Line on the Global Warming Hoax

 

The climate is always changing and has been since the earth developed an atmosphere.

We are currently in a mild century old warming period, although there has been negligible warming during the last 15 years. The Northern Hemisphere has experienced about 0.74±0.18°C over the period 1906–2019.

Jonathan Haidt’s The Anxious Generation: How to Win Back Our Kids

 

Every so often, a book is published that causes a huge societal shift – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin made abolition a widespread movement in pre-Civil War America; Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring jumpstarted the contemporary environmental movement (for better or worse). I hope that Jonathan Haidt’s The Anxious Generation creates a mass movement against the tech and social media giants that have been targeting Gen Z and younger: people born after 1995.

Quote of the Day: April 9, 2024

 

“Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.”
-Roger Scruton

I miss Roger Scruton. There’s not much I can add to this, except to note that we seem to be destroying our collective assets at an alarming rate. In recent news, President Biden is “forgiving” the student loans of 23 million borrowers. Set aside the dollar amount and its effect on the economy – does no one in his administration consider the moral hazard this creates?

A Ridiculous Young Man

 

Every recent immigrant and their offspring declare the superiority of American law and culture with every breath they take, with every moment they remain.  There is no Soviet-like wall preventing departure.  Immigrant community Muslims in America bear witness to the undeniable superiority of American life and freedoms simply by (a) remaining and (b) enjoying opportunities and rights that do not exist in Shariah-shaped cultures.

Is there some programmed psychological barrier that prevents Muslim reflection, cultural self-appraisal, and needed reform? The bizarre need to deny the sheer atrocity of Oct 7 indicates a shared cognitive war against inconvenient facts and the warped realities of Palestinian culture and the peculiarities of Arab national fantasy life.

Cleveland is Shadowed by the Moon. It’s Nothing to Brag About, But We’ll Take it!

 

For those of you not lucky enough to be in the path of celestial events, I will give you a little tour of what a Total Eclipse of the sun was like today.

I’ve had some crude amateur experience photographing a partial eclipse of the sun that occurred in Cleveland in August of 2017.  I didn’t know a thing about photographing the sun or moon but I gave it a go back then, using an improvised camera filter made out of discarded 4×5 transparency film.  (I am one of those nearly extinct species who uses a “real” camera these days.)  This time around I tried using those cheapo dorky-looking Solar Eclipse glasses attached with duct tape as a camera filter.  It worked out pretty well.

Reaction to the Withdrawal – Part I

 

In business there is a fundamental concept called the ‘sunk cost fallacy.’ The idea is simple: when you assess what to do in the future, make sure not to be blinded by the costs of the past. Those costs have been sunk already, and they can’t figure into your calculus. Otherwise, you’d just be wasting good money in pursuit of what is already lost.

In war, there is an echo of the same concept. We say, “If we don’t do X, then all those men would have died for nothing.” If we held true to the mathematical reality of the sunk cost fallacy it would be smarter to say, “Let’s ignore all those boys who died already, and focus on what we can achieve from this point forward.”