On today’s show, we talk to Jake Sherman, the Politico Playbook writer who has a new book called “The Hill To Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump’s America.” He examines the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency and some of the biggest moments in Washington.

We also share your letters and an inspiring story about a college athlete who has chosen hope over despair despite a serious leg injury.

Men, Women, and Emotions


Knowing that men and women are different does not prevent me from taking issue with the simplistic contrasts floating around in our culture: women share their trials to vent, while men want to fix things; men are task-oriented, while women are people-oriented; men talk to give information, while women gab to feel connected. Both sexes laughingly accept these descriptions, but I think further examination warrants refinement of our understanding. Even when there is a degree of truth in distinguishing between men and women this way, clinging too firmly to rough categories can prevent us from truly understanding one another. Also—dare I say it—sometimes descriptions like this give mature, capable women far too little credit.

Take, for example, the cultural idea that women are emotional creatures, while men are more likely to operate from logic. At first glance, this makes sense. When we draw conclusions from what we observe, we often see women more vulnerable to tears, expressions of affection, and talk about true feelings. In latter years, we’ve been more open about discussing how hormones can affect women’s behavior. On the other hand, we often see men thriving in careers that demand cool logic—programming, engineering, architecture. Men like facts, as opposed to emphasizing feelings.

Giving My Kids Trust Issues


My wife and I when we were dating – 30 years ago, at a college formal.

My wife and I are about the same height. I’m 6’2”, and she’s 6’1”. I didn’t know it at the time, but when we got married, she swore to herself that she would never weigh more than me. Well, when she was late in pregnancy with our first child, it started getting a little close, apparently. Again, this is all unbeknownst to me. Anyway, she started buying my favorite ice cream, making sausage gravy and biscuits without me even asking, and at supper time cheerfully suggesting, “Why don’t you have pizza and beer for supper! I think there’s a game on! Why not?” Being male, I didn’t really give all this a lot of deep thought, except to think, “Golly, this is swell!”

Yes, There Is a Crisis on the Border


Regardless of what you’re not hearing from the mainstream media, and regardless of what you’re hearing from some politicians there is a crisis on the border. Here is some local news from Arizona.

More troops are going to be sent to the border. Troops that may be assigned patrol duties should be armed, and patrolling with a Border Patrol agent. Armed means carrying a loaded weapon that’s ready to use if need be. The coyotes in the video are carrying AK-47s. I wonder if they were purchased at Obama & Holder Sporting Goods.

Food and Drink Post: The Right Tool For the Job


When it comes to cooking and my kitchen, I’m not really a fan of single-purpose tools. So I almost never feel impelled to investigate the “strawberry huller ” (just use a pointy knife); or the “condiment gun” (doesn’t most ketchup and mustard come in plastic squirt bottles already?); or the “carrot sharpener” (Wait. What?); or the “cookie dipr” (shown at right); or any other silly “let’s solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist” sort of appliance. (I’ve found it’s possible to avoid consideration, and even knowledge, of most of these items just by ignoring as many of those “As Seen on TV!” advertisements and aisles in the kitchen stores, as I can).

Nevertheless, I do on occasion discover a useful little implement that does one particular job better than anything else possibly could. Such a tool is my ceramic ginger grater. I have no idea why it only has 2.5 stars in the Amazon reviews. It’s a lovely thing. Stipulate that I love fresh ginger and that I have, over the years, grated my fingers down to stumps, and the ginger to a stringy mess that could not be used in the recipe, because all the tough, hairy fibers, not to mention the … umm … blood, overwhelmed the small amount of it that I’d actually managed to grate successfully. Followed by the cleanup issues, involving scrubbing, picking, and more bloody fingers, as I tried to rid the murderously sharp metal grater of the residual ginger bits.

This tool grates the ginger, and not my fingers, to a nice moist pulp. And the “stringy hairys” are left behind in a handful whose juice can be squeezed out into the mixture and then discarded. What’s not to like? Nothing, IMHO.

Forgotten Debates


With all the focus on current issues, I was reminded recently that it is possible to lose focus on the timeless debates, that might not have a true answer but must be considered in order to have perspective on where we’ve come from to where we’re going.

I’m speaking, of course, on the ancient struggle between “Great Taste” and “Less Filling.” Now, I can’t say which is the correct perspective, nor would I presume to tell other people what they should think. What I can do is provide information on how great thinkers of the past considered the question, and thereby perhaps help others gain insight on the question.



There’s a ratings strategy in television called counterprogramming. The idea is to offer the viewing public a stark alternative to what’s offered by your competition. Is there a popular drama on another network? Then move your popular comedies to the same time slot. Is the opposition appealing to men with sports programming? Then find a show that appeals to women.

There’s a version of this that’s played in politics and it’s used by both sides. If Bill Clinton is seen as a draft dodger, then the temptation is to counter with a genuine war hero in Bob Dole. If George W. Bush has a questionable record as a reservist in the Texas Air National Guard, then you offer up a Vietnam veteran in John Kerry, even if his own service is questionable (both during and after the war.)

The Third Shift Detective: The Case of The Double Dealing Diva


As many of the denizens of the PIT know, I write a web comic called The Third Shift Detective. The art is bad, the writing is worse, and the handwriting is deplorable. It has been suggested (@garymcvey) that I do a animatic video version. Now that is a lot of work. However, what requires less work is just narrating the images. So here is the first story arc of the series. Later ones will have more polish and possibly better art and writing.

Paranormal Communications


Having read the book by Bishop James Pike, The Other Side, about his experiences of paranormal phenomena following his son’s death by drug overdose in 1966, it inspired me to write this paper. I feel I need to be in some communication with someone who knows about these matters.

I had for some years been investigating various religions in search of some deeper meaning of my life. I won’t go into detail here, but my life had been a mess. I have undergone psychiatric therapy and finally came to the conclusion that my life was what I made it. As a mature woman, I can no longer blame others for negative actions.

Quote of the Day: The Perils of Intelligence


“There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.” – Thomas Sowell

This phenomena is one I call the “smartest person in the room” paradox. Really smart people so generally out-think and out-perform those around them (especially in fields requiring intellectual activity) that over time they begin to fall into the trap of believing themselves omniscient. Given a complete set of facts they generally come up with the best solution.

Mueller Went Beyond Scope: Sue to Get Back Excess?


It’s been reported that the Mueller intifada against Trump cost about $35M. Yet he knew that there was no collusion by December 2017 and should have wrapped up the investigation then per its scope. Shouldn’t the GAO or the DOJ go after him for all reimbursements after that point? It’s a classic case of a consultant going over budget or beyond scope. Rod Rosenstein should also be asked about this. He was supposed to be monitoring the investigation.

There frequently is a stated goal versus the real goal of an activity. If Mueller’s purpose was not to investigate Trump, but rather to delay investigation into the illegal activities of the intelligence agencies in 2015-6, then the longer the better. The US has become an unusual banana republic where the losers of an election persecute the winners. George Papadopoulos said on the Byron York podcast that one of the people arresting him said, “This is what happens to supporters of Trump.” Even NTers should be disturbed by this.

Ego Tripping on the Backs of Minorities


It’s wealthy white people who tend to be the most “woke.” They see themselves as the “white savior” — as Atticus Finch. But as someone once said, if you’re going to be St. George, you first need a dragon.

To be Atticus Finch, you need a racist society that routinely lynches blacks. So, in their self-narratives, America must become that society. Atticus Finch also needs a Tom Robinson – noble, oppressed, and helpless in the face of an evil society. So, in the woke progressive’s self-narrative, minorities must be without agency, requiring white saviors to act on their behalf.

All this would be no more than a bit of harmless self-delusion if white progressives kept their self-narratives to themselves.  But, to become heroes in their own eyes, they must be heroes in the eyes of the world. So, they must tell minorities that they are helpless. That the system is rigged against them and that they cannot make their lives better by their own actions. To the extent that white progressives are believed, lives are destroyed. White progressives are exploiting minorities for their own ego trips.

Tom Turkey Gets His MoJo


Before we lived out here in the boonies, we didn’t really pay much attention to turkeys. They did not exist in Sausalito, although they would have been much preferred over tourists. They did, however, exist in many other areas of Marin. Except for realizing these funny miniature ostrich-style birds were actually adolescent turkeys, I didn’t pay much attention to them.

Here in Lake County, with some 2,000 acres of open space as our backyard, we had a full flock of turkeys that came by our place every day for several years. Then they decided to go elsewhere. But one of their adolescent toms decided to make this his place.

As an adolescent tom matures, he looks a lot like a hen. They live a solitary and forlorn life. No fully mature adult male will let the younger turkey dudes hang with the females in his flock, or with the younger birds.

Is This Cruel and Unusual Punishment?


I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this week. Here are some sentences describing someone’s imprisonment.

  • Alone in his cell, he isn’t permitted to leave (on weekends) for the 30 minutes of fresh air he gets on weekdays.
  • The lights burn 24 hours a day.
  • He can’t wear a watch and sometimes finds himself disoriented.
  • Authorities state this is “normal treatment.”
  • He has been interrogated for up to five hours a day, with no lawyer present.
  • Prosecutors can sometimes harangue suspects who choose to remain silent for ten hours a day.
  • The person is forced to sign statements in a foreign language that he cannot read.
  • Family members are not allowed to visit.
  • The cell has a window, but it is very deep in the wall and the prisoner cannot see out.
  • Prisoner is allowed a shower twice a week (three times a week in summer). Cold water is all he gets from the tap in his cell.

So, what do you think of this punishment being meted out, to a person imprisoned for a non-violent, financial crime? It sounds cruel and unusual to me, especially for a person charged with a white-collar crime, who has not yet had his day in court. He has not been convicted, or even tried, for this crime. He is being treated like a violent criminal, subject to conditions often found in high-security prisons.

The Logos of Chris Rock


Viktor Frankl liked to quote Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Frankl believed that a great deal of the failings of people and societies was due to the loss of meaning in our lives. Something more important than us, that gave us a reason to continue to live the best life we could – a glorious, righteous struggle against long odds that gives one an easy answer to the eternal question, “Why am I here?”

Frankl observed, “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” He said that more than 50 years ago. I think that our world of social media, video games, drug abuse, and sexual chaos would horrify Dr. Frankl. But I also think that he would be very curious to see how people would respond to being placed in a state of such material wealth and spiritual poverty. I think that Nietzsche and Frankl would be particularly fascinated by Chris Rock.

Mr. Rock is an American comedian who has made an incredibly lucrative career out of being black. He can be very funny at times, but so much of his schtick is based on race that it’s hard to imagine what he would joke about if he weren’t black. This creates an obvious problem: If it’s such a hardship being black, then how did he get so rich by being black? I think this is one reason his routine hammers the discrimination against blacks so much. Without that, then why are we laughing at these jokes? But I think there’s more to it than that. And I humbly suggest that Nietzsche and Frankl would likely agree.

She Votes as Well


I consider myself a well informed, relativity intelligent voter with an understanding of issues. At 74 years young, I have seen a lot of climate. In my opinion, the climate isn’t changing but the weather does constantly. That is what weather does. A deviation from the mean is not a catastrophe. The same can be said for CO2 levels. CO2 is arguably the most important item for sustainability of human life. Of course, water could be as important.

I had a discussion with one of my neighbors. She appears to be a normal person. The discussion was non-political and it stayed that way. It started something like this:

Which World Leaders, Joe?


Biden is claiming world leaders have been urging him to run to save the world.

“I get calls from people all over the world. World leaders are calling me, and they’re almost begging me to do this, to save the country, save the world”

A Good Samaritan in Blue: A Story of the Battle of Port Gibson, May 1, 1863


The soldiers who fought in the Civil War were left with many memories of the conflict. They had good memories and bad memories, but some of the most vivid concerned the unexpected kindnesses displayed by those who had no reason to be kind at all.

Such is the case in this story, written by Edmond Talbot, a corporal in the “Lake Rebels,” Company E, 6th Mississippi Infantry. On May 1, 1863, the 6th Mississippi was engaged in a bloody fight near the Magnolia Church during the battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi. Talbot was wounded in the action, and it was his experience as a casualty that led him to write to the Atlanta Constitution. His letter was published in the November 1, 1891 edition of the paper.  

What’s Wrong With This Picture?


This screenshot is from The New York Times website on April 25, 2019. It was nestled among other stories. So, how do you think this lede got by the brain of the person who posted it alongside this photograph? Really?

You are looking at the school principal. Look at her. Now read the last sentence of the summary, intended to induce you to click and read more. “The dress code has been criticized as racist and elitist.” Roll that around your tongue. Swish to get all the flavor notes.

Consider the description of the clothing banned. Does it really describe poor white garb, rather than poor black or Latino? Think for just a moment.

Caught in a Woke Romance


“May I hold your hand?”

He’d been going with her for a couple of months now, but familiarity doesn’t imply consent, and so he was as usual careful to ask her permission before initiating any sort of intimate contact. For a brief moment, he felt the old relief that she chose to go with the conventional pronouns, but he manfully shoved aside such a transphobic thought.

Driving to Brazil


I’ve listened to @jameslileks‘ ruminations on his daughter’s departure to Brazil with a slight sense of dread. Gnat is a year or two older than my eldest, so his commentary over the years has given me a preview of what to expect. Today, I had my own “daughter in Brazil” moment.

After picking up the kid from high school this afternoon, I let her practice driving on the way home. Just then, a song kicked in from my 7,500-plus list in iTunes shuffle. The song I would use to rock her to sleep as a baby:

Every so often, we dispense with the guests and just let the hosts riff on whatever comes to their minds. That’s what we did for this week’s show, as Peter, Rob, and James jam about Joe Biden entering the race, the politics of impeachment, the new found popularity of socialism, including Medicare For All and cancelling student loans (in certain sectors of the culture), and finally, Rob’s (somewhat sad) impending departure from Venice, CA.

Music from this week’s show: California by Lenny Kravitz

Marie and Pierre Curie: A Love Story


When I think of the name Curie, I automatically think of Marie Curie, the incredibly bright and industrious woman who discovered the nature and uses of uranium. She is especially recognized for being the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize. (The Nobel Committee first wanted to give the prizes only to her husband, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel, but Pierre insisted the Marie also be recognized.) Her husband’s insistence that she be included was typical of the kind of love, partnership and respect this couple shared:

By the summer of 1898, Marie’s husband Pierre had become as excited about her discoveries as Marie herself. He asked Marie if he could cooperate with her scientifically, and she welcomed him. By this time, they had a one-year old daughter Irene. Amazingly, 37 years later, Irene Curie herself would win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

‘My husband and I were so closely united by our affection and our common work that we passed nearly all of our time together.’