Remember – Biden Was Always a Plant


The Biden administration has always been a Potemkin construct, a sham.  Every single person knows that he is simply mentally unfit, and everybody has known it since before the laughable election.  Some people lie about this because he’s their guy — they won’t admit it — but they know nonetheless.  Always did.

And this installation of a bumbling incompetent is not an accident.  Biden is prima facie in charge of nothing, therefore somebody else is, or somebodies else are.  I lean toward the latter.  There is indeed a conspiracy, it’s just not a well-organized one.  This whole thing is a tremendous exercise in the government becoming unaccountable.  People throughout government, media, and the actual Democrat party apparatus knew this, and willfully worked to install this marionette — each striving to get their hands on a string.

Regrets, We’ve Had a Few


Twitter is a toxic waste dump. Twitter ranks with socialism, genocide, mustard gas, and soy hot dogs among the worst things ever invented by humankind. We can all agree to that. But sometimes, with the rarity of a genuinely funny SNL sketch, there is a pony under that massive pile of horse manure. And this post and comments about missed opportunities is such a pony.

In high school I went to a sleepover and the girl I liked climbed into bed with me and she started tickling me and I was like ‘hahaha okay well time for bed’ and I think about that twice every 5 minutes.

Marlin: Funeral for a Friend


I’d known him through middle school, high school, and college. Now Marlin was dead.

He was smart. With a friend from middle school, he shared an interest in astronomy, producing a newsletter (Stargazing Monthly) and eventually building a telescope and observatory on the property of one of our schools. When the time came, he chose to attend Biola University in La Mirada (Blah Mirada, to Marlin), majoring in psychology.

Omicron and Me


Well, it finally happened.  Two years on, inexorably and inevitably, I caught the ‘rona.  It’s hardly surprising, really, since I have been going about my business, carefully, but pretty much normally from the start, as have most of my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my own little corner of the world.  I had both the original Pfizer shots, late last Spring.  I’m not “boosted,” as I don’t subscribe to the idea that showing up every few months for another shot will do anything other than–over the course of time–make me even more susceptible to new variants increasingly clever enough to evade them.

And anyway, I heard Dr. Fauci say that–sooner or later–everyone would get Omicron.  So there.

I’m 67 years old.  I’m in pretty good health, although I could stand to lose just a few pounds.  I don’t have any of the commonly cited co-morbidities, and other than a diagnosis of early sarcoid in my lungs and lymph nodes over 30 years ago (which is monitored and buys me an annual chest CT scan to look at problem areas), I’m the picture of what the Victorians used to call “rude health.”

Basic Fact: The Texas Synagogue


The hostages ran away from the hostage-taker. They saved themselves. “‘First of all, we escaped. We weren’t released or freed,” said Cohen, who was one of four people in the synagogue for services that many other Congregation Beth Israel members were watching online.'” Then the FBI stormed the building, and shot the bad guy dead.

So how come the press reports it differently?

The Impossible Dream of Merging Homeland Security with Reality


I’ve never understood the airport security thing since 9-11.  They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.  People, for example, like the Texas synagogue terrorist, who had a history of criminal behavior, mental illness, and anti-Semitism.  But Muslim terrorists killed thousands of people with box-cutters, so now I have to take my shoes off to get on an airplane?  I’m a 53-year-old Lutheran from Ohio, not a 23-year-old Muslim from Pakistan.  What do my shoes have to do with national security?  An article in The New York Post touched on this yesterday:

American travelers put up with a vast amount of security theater: millions of man-hours lost each year to unpredictably long TSA lines; intrusive pat-downs; the whole take-off-your-shoes-and-belt rigamarole. Yet the vast security apparatus can’t screen out a mentally ill Muslim extremist?

Americans need to demand that our Homeland Security apparatus be completely redesigned.  They should be looking for people, not weapons.  Which will be difficult politically, because a lot of those people (although not all) will be Muslims.  But saving lives can be difficult.  Regardless, the first thing we need to do is recognize the existence of reality.  We need to agree that what we’re doing right now makes no sense whatsoever.  Let’s start there.  Perhaps this latest synagogue attack will start the discussion.

The Second Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.


The first assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was a national tragedy, but his assassin succeeded only in killing the man. The idea King lived and ultimately died for, most beautifully captured in his famous wish, his dream that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” survived him. Ideas are not killed by bullets.

Ideas are killed by other ideas.

Rules for Political Discourse


Al’s Rules for Political Discussion

Personally, I have been appalled by the level of intellectual honesty in today’s political discussion. Cable news and social media have a big influence in driving discussions that everyday people engage in. I have asked myself what value I get from discussions that I have been a part of. Answer is not much. So, I have thought about this and would like to share a set of rules I am following whenever I become involved in such discussions. Here are my rules.

Composite photo: Shutterstock and Axiom Strategies.

Fresh off the win for his client in the Virginia’s Governor race, Republican strategist and campaign manager Jeff Roe sits down with David Drucker to talk about turning the Commonwealth from +10 Biden to +2 Youngkin, and looks forward to the next two election cycles.

Poland Prepares for War


The Polish government has set a goal of becoming the largest military force in Western Europe. Hard lessons were learned in WWII with the German and Russian occupation of Poland. The Russian occupation ended in the 1990s.

The Russian seizure of Crimea and the current threat to Ukraine has Poland worried. Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic States are worried as well. Norway, the Baltic States, and Poland are members of NATO. Sweden has a mutual military assistance pact with the United States. US armed forces, including the US Air Force, conduct training exercises with Finland’s armed forces.

Joe and I Don’t Understand


I don’t understand.  I’ve never had patients send me links to podcasts about high blood pressure or gastroparesis, but with COVID, it’s every day.  I’ve never been threatened by insurance companies that if I use a certain drug to treat a certain disease, they will remove me from their plans.  I’ve never been threatened by the CDC that I could lose my medical license if I don’t repeat whatever it is they’re saying today.  This is so odd.  I really don’t get it.

Joe Rogan must be thinking the same thing.  Some group has demanded that Spotify no longer carry Mr. Rogan’s podcasts (which average 11 million listeners EACH), with a letter which includes the following passage:

The episode has been criticized for promoting baseless conspiracy theories and the JRE has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals.

Quote of the Day: The Times We Live In


“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

My favorite book series of all time is the Lord of the Rings. When I was young, I did not realize the power of these works. As an adult, I can see the Christian element that flows through these books. What is amazing is that this passage is written by a man who watched his friends die in WWI.

Vaccine? No, Not Really.


The jab is a vaccine, or at least that’s what it’s called, but it really isn’t.  It is not a vaccine as vaccines were once understood.  It is an invasive genetic delivery therapy and consists of an injected mixture containing nanocarbon fibers, lipids, and strands of mRNA designed specifically to reprogram a cell’s DNA, its genes, and its purpose.  Instead of say, assembling within a scaffold of proteins designed to contract on command (example: muscle cell), the former muscle cell is reprogrammed by the mRNA to give up its duties and madly make COVID spike proteins until it burns out.

mRNA must work quickly or it breaks down.  It cannot enter a cell on its own.  Enter dense lipids, to protect the mRNA, and carbon nanoparticles to penetrate cell walls and allow the mRNA to enter a cell.  The manufactured spike proteins leak out of the now compromised cell and drift though the circulatory and lymphatic systems, until they locate an ACE2 receptor on the surface of cell and bind with it.  In theory, this would close a pathway for a potential COVID cell infection.  In addition, these circulating spike proteins will eventually be recognized by your immune system as invasive and will prompt an antibody response to neutralize them.  These same antibodies would respond to actual proteins on a COVID spike, effectively neutralizing any COVID viruses post-exposure.

Historically, vaccines for viral infections have been incredibly effective.  Small pox?  Eradicated.  Polio?  Virtually eliminated.  Chickenpox, the mumps, the measles, rubella, whooping cough?  Gone.  In the public mind, viral vaccinations are miraculous.  So, when this new mRNA technology was elevated to “vaccine” status, the CDC and NIH effectively tapped into the public’s vaccine goodwill.  But this new “vaccine” wasn’t a vaccine at all.  It was gene therapy, both unproven and unapproved.  The definition change is an old-fashioned bait and switch.

Has the US Become an Oligarchy?


No one who watches politics has any doubt that Joe Biden is barely, if at all, running the country. That fact has been true from the beginning of his presidency, and probably long before. Many of us are assuming that Ron Klain with several cohorts in the administration are the ones in charge, making the shocking and ill-conceived decisions for Biden; Biden is just a figurehead. Let me explain why we have effectively, if not formally, become an oligarchy, and the implications of that structure.

Here’s a definition of an oligarchy:

The Time When Life Changed: Jan. 17, 1970


January 17, 1970, was a big day. Maybe it was my biggest day. It was the day I was born. My mother was at her baby shower. That was when she went into labor with me. That night, on a cold night, I came into the world. It was quite the change for me. Today does not look like it will be as big a day. I am taking my son to the dentist. We don’t have any big plans. I have not even scheduled myself to be off. (I used to get the Monday closest off for MLK day as a government employee, now if I don’t work, I don’t get paid!) There is nothing earth-shattering about one more circuit around the sun for one Bryan G. Stephens.

Still, we celebrate birthdays, and we celebrate our orbits. Each birthday I look back on how I have changed over the last year. This year things changed dramatically when, after being hired for a brand new job, 60 days in the place was shut down. After losing four jobs in less than three years due to corporate maneuvers, I had enough. In April of last year, I started my private practice as a mental health therapist. I applied to be on insurance panels and signed up for online connections. Thanks to the wuflu, teletherapy has become the new normal so I could start work immediately out of my home. I started renting office space one day a week with a local psychiatric practice. I thought I would be at more than one day a week, but the demand for face-to-face is just not there. So, for the first time in my life, I am working four days a week at home. Physically, working at home has meant too much access to the pantry, something I am working on. Mentally, it has been great. Not only can I see five or six clients in a day, I have been able to teach my daughter to drive. I see more of my teenagers than my wife does these days, something I treasure.

Michigan Democrats: ‘All Your Children Are Belong to Us’


Hey, you know how some people refer to public schools as “government schools” and say that their mission isn’t really education, but social indoctrination and enforcing social conformity? And how other people say, “That’s kook talk. Get away from me, you kook! With your crazy kook talk.” Well, the Democrat Party of Michigan has firmly weighed in on the side of the kooks.

In this week’s London Calling, James and Toby argue about whether the global pandemic is over (Toby thinks it is, while James thinks it’s a false dawn) and discuss the Johnny-come-latelies who claim to have been lockdown sceptics all along. They compare them to repentant Communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

They also worry that it may be all over for their old friend Boris (well, James isn’t that worried) and what is going to offered up to satisfy the Tory base in “Operation Save Big Dog,” whether that puts the television license back on the table. And if the BBC is such great value for the money why doesn’t it become a subscription service?

Meet Bishop Anselm


Bishop Anselm of Canterbury is another awesome philosopher I like, and another one the learning of whom I’ve made easy for you through a new series of YouTube/Rumble videos. And, for those who want to read a few paragraphs instead of watching a video of a philosophy nerd talking, here are four pointers on Anselm.

First, the point of Anselm’s book, the Proslogion, is fides quaerens intellectum, “faith seeking understanding.” This is a more succinct version of Augustine’s idea that “Unless you believe, you will not understand” and a bunch of Augustiney epistemology and theology that goes with it.

Trust comes first, understanding later. We don’t understand in order to believe, but vice versa.

Senate Democrats Back Putin, Reject Cruz’s Nord Stream Sanctions Bill


This post’s title corrects the misleading headline on Roll Call, “Senate Democrats back Biden, reject Cruz’s Nord Stream sanctions bill.” To be perfectly clear, the Democrat(ic Socialists) have backed Moscow except for a brief interlude from Truman’s through LBJ’s presidency. The play-acting for the past five years was a cynical sham. The Democrats are green-lighting Putin taking control of at least Ukraine by force or threat of force, cynically pretending to support an after-the-fact set of sanctions not worth the paper or the global warming gasses emitted on the Senate floor.

See Power Line, “The Russian Bear, On the March” for an annotated summary of links. Directly, Sweden is very concerned about Putin’s larger intentions in the region, sending troops to a strategic island:

In an unusual move, Sweden deployed armoured combat vehicles and armed soldiers to patrol streets on the island of Gotland on Friday in response to increased “Russian activity” in the region, the military said.
Some 10 armoured combat vehicles and dozens of armed personnel could be seen patrolling the small port town of Visby on the strategically-located island.

Masks For Thee But Not For Me: Cruise Ship Edition


Readers may recall the jarring images of maskless political elites such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney attending last year’s Met Gala as The Help stood by dutifully breathing up against pieces of fabric.

Some in the cruise and cruise-commentary world, far from seeking an escape from the reinforcement of such class divisions, find comfort in embracing them. Cynical as I am, I was surprised to learn that a cruise line would require a fully-vaccinated crew member to don a mask while working alone on the open decks of a ship even as passengers a few feet away enjoy the ineffable feeling of their lungs filling with fresh ocean air.

But such, it seems is the case.

Tale of Tamiflu


Practicing pharmacy over the years you start to get a feel for what works and what does not.  Feedback is constant both welcome and otherwise.  Some drugs just seem to work for a wide range of people. Amoxicillin, cefdinir, and azithromycin are just a few of our greatest hits from behind the counter.  On the opposite side, we have drugs that despite approval and mass marketing never really seemed to take off.  Tamiflu is a great example.

It was hailed and marketed as a cure for the flu and there was a point due to demand, I would spend an inordinate amount of time opening capsules to compound it into a suspension for younger patients when the commercial product would go on backorder.  Despite dispensing a lot of it, the rave reviews never seemed to follow and it would be prescribed less and less.  The most loaded question in healthcare is how was your day and I recall once quipping to another pharmacist “just another day padding Roche’s bottom line, how about you?”

Real Power: Volcano Puts Human Power in Perspective


Hat tip Power Line blog for pointing to an excellent eight-minute video on the massive volcanic eruption in Tonga. Tonga is a nation of islands, administratively organized into five groups. The northernmost group includes two small islands, Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai, that are really the surface evidence of a large volcano. They mark two points on the rim of the caldera. The latest and largest eruption in a very long time was captured on a Japanese and an American satellite, as well as by live phone video before the collapse of international communications. This eruption resulted in measurable increased water on the continental U.S. West Coast, with surges of 1 to 2 feet over 5,000 miles away from the source. The longer-term effect, depending on just how much ash is ejected high into the atmosphere, may be global temperature change for a year or more.

Steven Hayward at Power Line pointed out the potential physical and political/cultural effect:

24 Hours to Hell and Back


Gordon Ramsay may be a master chef, but he greatly overrates his own expertise in helping struggling businesses recover. The tragedy is that no one wins in these encounters, and he demonstrates the delusions that emerge from his arrogance.

Ramsay is known for his nasty temper as a master chef, although he shows his ability to charm people in another show as he travels internationally to learn the cuisine of other countries. The irony is that in that show he allows at least a week to pick up the basic knowledge and techniques of that country.

But a few years ago, he decided that he could also rescue troubled restaurants with the expertise he’d acquired in running his own businesses and creating successful menus. I was spared watching this most recent production, “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” until recently; apparently the producers decide season by season whether to renew his contract.

A Stranger’s Obituary


My wife likes to read obituaries. Seems a little ghoulish to me, but sometimes we find out about the passing of old friends or neighbors and get a chance to go pay our respects. More often, though, she is just reading about dead strangers. Every now and then she sees a life that sounds inspiring and shares it with me. Recently she showed me the obituary of a man from town named Iulian Pop who passed away at age 83.

An excerpt from the obituary reads: