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.

The Hopes of a Mother to Her Son

 

See the source imageI remember when you were born — a tiny, ruddy-faced newborn. As I sat in the hospital bed cradling you, your hand would reach out and five delicate fingers instinctively wrapped around one of mine. And we brought you home and you were ours, not yet a part of the outside world — our perfect secret, bundled tight in a swaddle, safe and asleep. A brand-new life in a used crib and a home overflowing with awe, exhaustion, and love.

Somewhere between the last violet streaks of sunlight and the sliver of the rising moon, I would take you for walks around the neighborhood. Up and down the big hill and past the old school and fields where you’d crane to see the bigger kids playing ball and your sandy-gold whisps of hair would curl and tussle about in the breeze. It wouldn’t be long before you’d be among them, joining the chorus of shrieks and hollers, running furiously with the others to keep up or chase or get away.

But for now, we go past them, through the woods, and past the turnoff of the dirt road to the little pond. You’d skip rocks and the dark ripples would meet your feet at the water’s edge, then I’d see the light of the stars reflected in your eyes as you chased fireflies in the clearing, and I couldn’t remember my life without you or why God blessed me with such a priceless gift.

The FBI Robs a Bank

 

Well, not technically a bank, but the utter lack of principle is the same. US Private Vaults was a private safety deposit box business in Beverly Hills, CA. An FBI agent “suspected” that its owners were involved in laundering drug money (an allegation that was never proven in court, by the way). On that basis, the FBI moved in and seized every lockbox on the site – most of which belonged to people who were not dealing drugs or laundering drug money.

Agents took photos and videos of pay stubs, password lists, credit cards, a prenuptial agreement, immigration and vaccination records, bank statements, heirlooms and a will, court records show. In one box, agents found cremated human remains.

Ramen-Noodle Republicans

 

Republicans have a chance to speak to normals this 2022 in a way they haven’t or wanted to in a very long time. Normal people have thought of the Republican Party as effete, only for the rich, not prone to listening to the problems of people who haven’t donated a few ducats into the war chest for rubber chicken.

Inflation has hit families in the wallet when it comes to groceries. But, it’s also hit those of us without families. A few voices in conservative media have begged Republicans to go into dark-blue territory and just ask for their vote. This is the year.

FBI SWAT: The Most Miserable Job

 

Imagine being an FBI SWAT team member today. Can you really feel proud? You signed up (possibly motivated by the TV presentations of heroism) to take down the violent terrorists and menacers of the most vulnerable among us. And now you are being used to intimidate and “send a message” mafia-style.

How else to explain the many recent no-knock raids and arrests? The latest story is the arrest of Mark Houck in Philadelphia. Yes, he is charged with a federal crime of pushing a 72-year-old volunteer who was escorting a Planned Parenthood worker to the ground, twice. Accusations, of course, are not proof. And Mr. Houck has yet to have an opportunity to present his evidence of innocence or justification. And he may be guilty, I don’t know.

Alo-ha!

 

Yes, Southwest Airlines may have pursued this adventure of giving their passengers free ukuleles and the instrument covers for the publicity it would garner. Guitar Center provided the ukuleles and a free lesson, too. And yes, there were people annoyed with the disturbance of their precious time on the jet.

But in a world where people take themselves far too seriously and have lost their ability to be playful, I think it was just the right strategy.

The ‘Big One’ and the Pacific Northwest

 

At odd intervals, I ponder the Cascadian Subduction Zone.

This is a 600-mile-long geological fault in the earth’s fractured crust that lies along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, extending from northern California all the way to Vancouver. The CSZ is a type of fault well-known for causing extraordinarily destructive, 9.0+  megathrust earthquakes. Because the fault lies under a pile of salty H2O, the quake itself will be followed by a huge, catastrophic tsunami. In emergency-prep circles, this one-two punch is known as “The Big One” and … oh yeah. It’s both inevitable and overdue.

Meet FBI Agent Steve Friend

 

This week, you may have missed this blockbuster story by Miranda Devine in the New York Post. It’s labeled as “opinion,” but it reads more like a report from an investigative reporter, which she is. If half of what former FBI agent Steven Friend alleges is true, the top of the FBI is indeed a corrupt place, and its cancer has spread to field offices.

After Miranda, author of “Laptop from Hell,” originally broke the Hunter Biden laptop story in October 2020 – just before the election – fifty former intelligence agency heads and experts rushed to exclaim, “Russian disinformation.” Facebook, other social media sites, and major news outlets rushed to censor it. Twitter suspended the New York Post’s account. Each signatory has jettisoned their credibility, if not their integrity.

A New Look at Colditz

 

Colditz was a World War II prisoner-of-war camp run by Germany. It was the place incorrigible escapers and special political prisoners were sent. It is one of the best-known German POW camps, thanks to one escapee, P. R. Reid. Postwar, he wrote a book about his exploits, giving birth to a genre of escape literature about Colditz castle.

“Prisoners of the Castle: An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz, the Nazis’ Fortress Prison,” by Ben MacIntyre is the latest edition to the canon. MacIntyre takes a fresh look at the castle adding new research to previously published sources. Can anything be added to the story? The answer is yes.

Time has distanced us from the events at Colditz during World War II. The participants are all dead. The Iron Curtain, which separated those writing about the story from where the story took place, has fallen, allowing free Western access to Colditz castle. MacIntyre takes advantage of all of this to provide an unparalleled look at what happened.

This Isn’t a Win

 

We do not need to revert the IRS to its pre-87,000 agents status. We need to destroy the IRS. The IRS has no place in our society. Its methods make a mockery of the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Its body of laws that it enforces is so voluminous and intricate that it can make a case out of virtually any balance sheet in the country if it wanted to.

Quote of the Day: The Economy and Government Mismanagement

 

“The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.” – Milton Friedman

We are going to see a repeat of this over the next year or two.  We are headed for recession, and possibly depression (although no one will call it that) even if the Republicans take over control of both houses of Congress next year. Part of that is due to existing inflation. But an even larger part will be due to government mismanagement.

Say Her Name: Allison “Allie” Rice. Another Senseless Execution in a Third-World Democrat-Run City

 

‘When you hear the words from the policeman saying, “she’s with the coroner now, she didn’t make it.” It’s the most devastating words you can ever hear.’

That city, Baton Rouge, LA, just happens to have been our home for almost 45 years before we moved to the Florida Panhandle four years ago. Thus, writing this is more than a little bittersweet—painful for the loss of a beautiful young woman with a very promising life ahead of her, cut off execution-style by street animals (please don’t insult me by telling me they are humans, not animals), for the unimaginable pain her family must be going through, and sadness at what our former hometown has turned into under the “enlightened” “leadership” of a Democrat Mayor and Administration who are returned to office repeatedly by the votes of “Dead Baton Rouge,” about which more below.