Free-Market Donald


Donald Trump was the most free-market-oriented president we’ve had since Ronald Reagan, and the economy showed it. Probably because of his rhetoric, many people don’t know about the Donald’s free-market proclivities. The people that don’t know about it seem to fall into two major categories:

  1. Ardent Trump supporters.
  2. Ardent Trump haters.

Protectionism prevents President Trump from being a free-market purist, but he was more marketed oriented than his four predecessors. Some, though not all, of that protectionism was justified for strategic and moral reasons.

It was the free-market side of his policies that made the economy roar. Rich, poor, corporations, workers, and people of all races benefitted. Not to mention all 37 genders. Of course, the Left will reverse it all in the name of Compassion.

It is heart-breaking to see Trump’s strongest supporters reject the free market.

Exhibit A is Tucker Carlson. Tucker has many virtues, particularly his Limbaugh-esque ability to highlight the Left’s absurdities.  Tucker is an asset to conservatism, but he’s out to lunch on economics. I’m grateful it was Trump, and not Tucker, managing economic policy during the Trump years. Another example is Pedro Gonzales, who writes for American Greatness. Mr.  Gonzales likes to blame all kinds of things on the free market, including the Texas power outages.

Many Republican Trump-haters see themselves as free-market supporters. Some are, but many supported Bush’s re-regulation of the economy and the bailouts he did at the end. They couldn’t distinguish between capitalism and crony capitalism.

And then there’s the oleaginous Mr. Romney … Where do I begin?

There will be many debates about what aspects of Trumpism we should keep. Willingness to fight back should be at the top of the list, and support for free markets should near the top.

Free market concepts might not get us elected, but their abandonment will get us un-elected. People respond to results, and screwing up the economy is always bad politics, especially for conservatives.

The Perfect Perfect Game


Hope Trautwein struck out all 21 batters Sunday in a 3-0 University of North Texas win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff yesterday. She struck out 21 batters two other times in her career, but this appears to be the first 21 strike-out perfect game in NCAA Women’s Softball history. Hope played high school softball in Pflugerville, an Austin suburb to its northeast.

I thought this was a welcome bit of fresh air amidst the MLB’s campaign to alienate most of its audience. (I would have cross-posted this in the National Pastime Group, but our group focuses on baseball, and we baseball nuts can be a bit conservative about the game’s boundaries.)

The Diversity Circus Continues Merrily Onward … and Downward


Although we’re considered to be part of America’s rust belt, the state of Ohio can still be justifiably proud of its system of colleges and universities; both public and private.  Of course, the top dog is THE Ohio State University with a student enrollment of over 60,000 (both undergraduate and graduate).

However, there are a large number of lesser-known schools with academic programs that rival those in any section of the country.  Included are schools such as Otterbein, Case Western Reserve, Wittenberg, and Denison (where one of Ricochet’s most prolific writers matriculated).  If you Google “Ohio Colleges and Universities”, you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about.

One of those universities is Miami of Ohio, located in Oxford, about 40 miles northwest of Cincinnati.  Frequently, the university is referred to as the “Cradle of Coaches” since a number of well-known football coaches such as Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, and Sid Gillman started out there.  (Oh, there was also a guy by the name of Schembechler who coached there, but, in Ohio, we don’t mention him all that much.)  However, there’s much more to Miami than football; the university also has a solid academic curriculum; or used to.

Last Saturday, I noticed a headline in the local newspaper, “Miami U. won’t require ACT, SAT scores for fall 2022 admissions”.  And, amazingly enough, there was also an opinion piece in the same issue of the newspaper entitled, “Removing college testing barriers will increase student diversity”.

The writer of the opinion piece is the Dean of the Ohio University College of Education.  In the piece, readers were advised that “For too long, standardized testing has been overused and misused in ways that either knowingly or inadvertently set up structures akin to institutional and structural inequities.  Structural inequities consist of laws, rules or official policies in a society that result in and support a continued unfair advantage to some people – deep patterns of socioeconomic inequalities and disadvantage due to socioeconomic class or (wait for it!) racism“.

And what will be the new criteria for those who wish to enter the hallowed halls of academia?  Well, it is to be composed of high school GPA (which, in this age of grade inflation, means very little), application essays (which can be written by someone else), personal statements and letters of recommendation (which can be written by God-knows-who), “talent” (???), and “personal background” (now I’m starting to get a clearer picture).

In other words, the new admissions process will become a subjective mishmash in which some of the less qualified candidates will be granted admission and some of the more qualified will be headed to the Acme School of Truck Driving.  Merit and scholarship?  Ah, just more dog whistles for White Supremacy.

Now, we’ve all known people who aced their SATs and couldn’t find their butts with both hands in a room full of mirrors.  Conversely, we’ve known some folks who didn’t do so well on their tests yet went on to highly successful college and professional careers.  However, that does not mean that the tests should be discarded as one of the prime indicators of a would-be student’s chance of success.

So what’s at work here?  Is this rejection of testing a tacit admission that our high schools are nothing more than dullard factories?

Perhaps.  However, it appears to me that this is something we already know; this concept known as diversity is little more than a giant crock.  And, it is time to discard, forever, the useless trope that “our strength lies in our diversity”.  It is now time to realize that our true strength will lie in a diverse population that possesses competence.

April Showers Bring Unfinished Tales


The above is an unfinished illustration that I was working on a while back for my story serial Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (under the putative title of Said a Whiting to a Snail well, we’re already safely Through the Looking Glass, so what’s to lose?). The operative word here being ‘unfinished’.

Earlier this morning, it snowed properly for a good hour or so (April brings showers of snow – see, you knew I’d bring it back to the monthly theme), which in my corner of the world is a bit unusual these days, sadly – and it got me to thinking about unfinished projects, things I’d like to do, and things of that kind.

And thus I turned back to this one in my sketchbook (edited here to make it a little clearer) and thought, Hmm (or words to that effect), it really is time I got on with this …

Some things may need to be kept under lock and key till they’re ready – but sometimes, if you don’t share something in some form, it just sort of quietly ends up going nowhere. So, on that principle, I decided to share with you my little secret illustration – but don’t tell anybody, all right? It’s just between you, me, and the World Wide Web.

But what about you, though, kind reader? What unfinished tales or projects might you be harbouring?

Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me – these other fellers I’m not so sure about, but— I jest, I jest!

Well, slightly.

But, as the Whiting said to the Snail, ‘Will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?’

Quote of the Day: ’60 Minutes’ and Mitch McConnell on the GA Voting Law


For today’s quote, I thought I would include the 60 Minutes cut of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent statement regarding the Georgia election law:

We are witnessing voting procedures worse than Jim Crow or “Jim Crow on steroids,” the horrific racist brutality of segregation. Election Day hours were changed and the opportunities to cast a ballot in early voting were fewer than the law requires.

After objections from McConnell’s office, producers at CBS’s 60 Minutes clarified that they had edited the quotation for clarity and stood by their reporting. McConnell’s office provided the text of his actual statement which is reproduced below.

We are witnessing a coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people.

The President has claimed repeatedly that state-level debates over voting procedures are worse than Jim Crow or ‘Jim Crow on steroids.’ Nobody actually believes this. Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation. But there’s an old cynical saying that ‘history is just the set of lies agreed upon.’ And a host of powerful people and institutions apparently think they stand to benefit from parroting this big lie.

The Washington Post has repeatedly debunked White House lies about legislation in Georgia: ‘In reality, Election Day hours were not changed and the opportunities to cast a ballot in early voting were expanded.’ Plenty of Democrat-run states allow fewer days of early voting than the new Georgia law requires. More than 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Democrats and a supermajority of independents, favor commonsense voter I.D. requirements; even so, Georgia will accept alternatives to driver’s licenses to verify absentee voters. All the facts disprove the big lie.

Trump vs. Carter vs. George H.W. Bush


Three presidents in my lifetime were elected to one term but were not re-elected. I will leave out questions of voting fraud in 2020. My recollection is that both Carter and HW quickly became political nonentities. The Reagan administration did not fear a Carter comeback in 1984 and the same was true for Clinton and HW. Yet Trump is much discussed even though he’s much older than the other two former presidents. The Media, Democrats (yup, there’s not much difference) and NTers continue to be obsessed with him. Perhaps the reason is that Trump, pre-Covid, was a very successful president. The same could not be said for the other two. The Iran hostage crisis hurt Carter but his economic record was poor throughout his presidency. Bush alienated his base by breaking his “no new taxes” promise. The military victory in Kuwait faded rapidly when a recession hit.

The Biden presidency looks like it will be a catastrophic failure. His VP is likely to succeed him soon. Harris flamed out quickly as a candidate and has shown no particular political skills. The kudos she will get as the first female president will only carry her so far. We can’t know what physical condition Trump will be in three years from now, but he’s likely to be a kingmaker if he chooses not to run. That was not the case with Carter or HW. So Trump remains a major political force. It’s possible that three years from now even major non Bill Kristol NTers will agree that they miss him.

A Mess in Minneapolis, Again


Rioting in Minneapolis, again, after a police shooting.  I have no idea of the details (other than it was during a traffic stop) but look at this statement from the governor:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted he was “closely monitoring the situation” and “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

Holy moly.  Let’s encourage a race war, governor. Are these people insane?

It’s Not Jim Crow


The outrage from Democrats and Republicans (for different reasons) regarding the changes to Georgia’s voting laws is just plain pathetic. Although it’s tempting to ignore them, the arguments from both sides are misleading, incomplete, and dangerous. And more of these laws are being passed and proposed by other states to bring integrity and fairness to the voting laws.

The Federal government is doing everything in its power to wrest away the power to define elections that have been governed by the states, and Republicans have to stop making vague and general protests about the accusations, denying the incorrectness of the criticisms and, and state why the new laws will actually benefit all peoples, black, white, and other races.

We must overcome the hyperbolic language of the Left from dominating the conversation and educate the public. We also must acknowledge that we have allowed our schools to deprive our children of a legitimate education about the history of race, particularly in the areas of voting rights and elections; these are the people who will influence how we move forward into the elections of the future. I propose that we briefly review the origin of “Jim Crow Laws,” limit our discussion to their application to elections, and then identify how to enlighten the public about the efficacy and appropriateness of the election changes we anticipate.

The phrase was first seen in 1800s:

The phrase ‘Jim Crow Law’ can be found as early as 1892 in the title of a New York Times article about Louisiana requiring segregated railroad cars. The origin of the phrase ‘Jim Crow’ has often been attributed to ‘Jump Jim Crow,’ a song-and-dance caricature of black people performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface, which first surfaced in 1828 and was used to satirize Andrew Jackson’s populist policies. As a result of Rice’s fame, ‘Jim Crow’ by 1838 had become a pejorative expression meaning “Negro. When southern legislatures passed laws of racial segregation directed against” black people at the end of the 19th century, these statutes became known as Jim Crow laws.

Although Jim Crow laws were ubiquitous in the South, it’s helpful to maintain a clear focus on the effect of those laws on voting rights for blacks. Multiple states made repeated efforts to disenfranchise black voters:

Democrats passed laws to make voter registration and electoral rules more restrictive, with the result that political participation by most black people and many poor white people began to decrease. Between 1890 and 1910, ten of the eleven former Confederate states, starting with Mississippi, passed new constitutions or amendments that effectively disenfranchised most black people and tens of thousands of poor white people through a combination of poll taxes, literacy and comprehension tests, and residency and record-keeping requirements.

Every southern State had its own specific requirements, and although the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed, it was largely ineffective. Finally, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “ended legally sanctioned barriers to voting for all federal, state and local elections. It also provided for federal oversight and monitoring of counties with historically low minority voter turnout.”

*     *     *     *     *

Given that history of elections, let’s look at the results of minorities registering to vote and voting in elections in 2020:

The number of Black Americans eligible to vote for president has reached a record 30 million in 2020, with more than one-third living in nine of the nation’s most competitive states– Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – a higher share than the 29% of all U.S. eligible voters who live in these states. Nationwide, Black eligible voters now make up 12.5% of the U.S. electorate, up from 11.5% in 2000.

Rather than protesting about lack of access to voting, blacks were voting in record numbers:

For this year’s [2020] upcoming presidential election, a recent Pew Research Center Survey found that 63% of Black registered voters are extremely motivated to vote. Furthermore, among those who support Joe Biden, over a third (35%) said that they plan on casting or have already cast their vote by absentee or mail-in ballot.

Their enthusiasm included support of voter ID as well, according to Jason Snead, the Executive Director of Honest Elections Project:

Contrary to the Democrat Party’s narrative, Snead’s memo reveals that the majority of voters, including the majority of black and Hispanic voters, support basic election integrity measures such as voter ID, which Democrats routinely describe as a form of voter suppression.

*     *     *     *     *

Let me simply list the “draconian restrictions” that the Democrats claim regarding the new voting law in Georgia:

Lie: You can’t give water to people standing in line to vote.
Truth: Water can be made available at the site or by poll voters; water distributed by political operatives might be given to unduly influence voters.

Lie: Voting access has been reduced.
Truth: Polling places still permit voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; if they are in line by 7 p.m., they can still vote.

Lie: Asking for ID will cause “voter suppression”
Truth: Multiple means of identification have been identified as acceptable and 35 states already require ID. As stated earlier, the majority of blacks favor voter ID. And Georgia voters can acquire a Georgia ID card.

*     *     *     *     *

So, when we are confronted by people of the Left about the legitimacy of the upcoming state election law revisions, keep in mind the information that I’ve shared here. Then I suggest we ask them for specific answers to the following in an open, non-confronting way:

  1. What elements of the new law reflect Jim Crow laws?
  2. How do you define voter suppression? Based on your definition, what restrictions are in the new law(s)?
  3. How do you explain blacks’ enthusiasm for voting in record numbers?
  4. How do you explain the majority of blacks supporting voter ID?
  5. What are the reasons you’re willing to sacrifice voter integrity for your political agenda?
  6. Are you aware that Federalism puts the management of elections in the states’ corners?

The tragedy in this electoral drama is that the Left is still treating blacks as they did back in the Jim Crow days: as ignorant, illiterate, and stupid.

If anyone is demonstrating Jim Crow practices, it’s the Left.

A Party to Child Abuse


I have stated that the strongest obstruction to international human trafficking is secure borders. The very worst part of this vile, nasty business is the children who are so brutally used. As soon as the illegal entry business picks up, the cartels move in to forcefully corner the market and the children become both pawns and entry tickets. It is almost pointless and certainly sickening to go through what these young people are subjected to. The experienced officers on the border know too well what they are seeing as the surge of children appears.

In just two months, we have seen a situation completely reverse itself on our southern border. Children who have already been subjected to more violence than they should sit while being questioned, fully believing that the cartels will kill their entire families just as they promised to do if the kids “rat them out.”

This blitz on the borders has an impact on our nation in multiple ways. But probably the most individually tragic is what happens to defenseless children because of the weakness of self-serving officials and their unrealistic policies. There are many things that can be said to characterize open border policy by this nation. Child abuse is at the top of the list beside cultural suicide.

All child abuse is evil and I am hardly wise enough to judge levels of evil, or even to know if there should be levels. But there has to be some special classification for when we abuse our own flesh and blood. And as a nation, we have done just that.

Among the most recent examples is a lack of clarity about our children’s education. From the very beginning of the COVID panic-demic it has been known that the young were the least likely to catch and spread the virus. In fact, probably the best sample we were gifted with at the beginning of this was when a cruise ship with a good cross-section of every age was docked and held. The percentages and results from those few hundred people together for well over two weeks have proven to be a model for how this virus moves through a population.

The few governors who did not panic and rush into complete shut-down mode have served their citizens the best. They have certainly served the children the best if they kept the schools relatively open and refused to shut the students out of their best learning environment. A “rule of thumb” which holds up consistently across the decades is that if a child is not reading at grade level coming out of the second grade, he/she will have difficulty finishing high school. As the years go by and they are passed from one grade to another, they fall more and more behind because of their lack of reading understanding and failure to grasp material. Face-to-face old-fashioned teaching and attention to comprehension has no substitute, certainly not the screen-time ones we have had for over a year now.

There are multiple studies and countless anecdotal reports of the damage done to the socialization and mental stability of young students of all ages. We are also putting many into a deficient learning situation that will probably be hard to ever make up.

Our education system as whole has been failing our children for some time now with utopian, unrealistic reading programs, watered-down revisionist history, and math which abandons simple reason. Now we have walled them off from even that.

But there are also millions of our own children who over the past few decades have not even been given even that watered-down opportunity for an enriched life and a chance to seek their path in a nation whose original charter offered life and liberty to all. They were human sacrifices to an ideology intent on a step-by-step retreat from the moral compass necessary for ordered liberty toward a “fundamental transformation” embracing not the individual but a hopeless indulgence of central power. We will never know what wonders would have been our gifts from the minds and souls aborted to satisfy a utopian vision used to advance the destruction of self-governance by free individuals in an ordered society.

I have already stated that I do not claim the wisdom or insight necessary to sort through the degrees or levels of evil. But I do know that evil does not sit still. It is always growing if allowed to. It does not just grow in size but also spreads into different forms and methods. As we have become numbed to the ways we have abused the innocent among us, even more abuses seek to become “commonplace” by claiming a mantle of “science” or “compassion” or “tolerance”.

Nothing illustrates this more than the very woke push of the anti-science, anti-social, anti-nature, anti-reason, anti-religion (yeah, I said that), anti-child concept of transgenderism. From the left comes the heavy hand of media, critical theory, very rich social destroyers, and the oh-so concerned socially aware desperate not to be considered too old-fashioned and traditional. Now a woke society that fails more and more to provide the training needed for a future developed, rational generation readily turns over to central power the ability to loosely play with the very nature of the human soul.

From the right comes a wide range of cowardly excuses not meet this fundamental wrong head-on. Mostly those excuses are thin attempts to try and find a way to hide behind “conservatism.” There are calls to avoid “government overreach,” for example. The truth is that activist money and threats run deep on this issue. Is it “overreach” to protect the most innocent and defenseless among us? Some would say that it might be the most basic, fundamental role of a responsible government.

We have spent more than a generation forbidding distinct human souls to ever be born. Now we are told we should allow those who were born to have their souls destroyed at the whim of a few adults who reject the most fundamental moral core necessary for our national survival. Regardless of the political party you put after your name, regardless of where you worship or if you worship at all, regardless of the very real threats of a powerful but terribly destructive social activism; there is no way to hide the guilt we will bear individually and collectively if these deep abuses are not just challenged but defeated and put away for good.

The final judgment of the generations now alive will not be based on the buildings, highways, or media creations we leave behind. It will be centered around the values and ideas which will guide those who take our places. We have been given a gift from past generations of both liberty and moral insight that is not just being squandered but distorted as well. If we are to have a legacy worthy of what was given to us, it is not enough to simply be upset or even outraged. It requires a devoted, principled, and endless fight. It is not just liberty that is in our care but the soul and the future of the innocent.

Member Post


Since May 25 of last year we, the American People, have been lectured over and over by our betters that Officer Derek Chauvin murdered poor George Floyd in cold blood by placing his knee of George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, asphyxiating Floyd in the process.  Over twenty Americans died in the riots caused by […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Observations on the Masters Tournament Sunday 2021


crossed golf clubsFirst, it is still proudly the Masters in 2021. It is still the Masters in Georgia in 2021, and the course and clubhouse are not festooned with self-abasing slogans. I am only a very casual fan of sports, prefer high-level mixed martial arts to most other professional sports, and yet enjoy watching a good final round of golf played by the best in the world. This Sunday afternoon, after three preceding days of play, a Japanese man stood at the top of the leader board, with four men tied four strokes back. As they all turned onto the back nine, Hideki Matsuyama was holding or extending his lead one hole at a time. This was compelling viewing, versus the not-so-earnest politicized nonsense being put on by basketball and baseball organizations.

I say not-so-earnest because the NBA courts are now missing the big bold signs signaling supposed virtue. They seem to be back to trying to pay their massive salary overhead with commercial sponsors’ branding. The college basketball courts still had the false premises “UNITY” “EQUALITY” painted in bold all caps on their sidelines for the NCAA basketball tournament. My read of the signs on the two levels of men’s basketball is that the NBA players, who entirely control their league, have declared mission accomplished. Their parlor pink comrades are in full control of the national government, which was the whole point of the past year’s posturing. Never mind that President Trump was objectively better for black Americans of every economic level and showed more real respect for black citizens than the party of Xiden and the KKK ever has. The vanguard of the proletariat gets paid in every “people’s revolution.”

But let’s not spoil a perfectly good Sunday afternoon with the antics of the super-rich. Let’s enjoy a really great walk unspoiled by athletes striking political poses instead of balls.

Matsuyama started the day poorly, while a young player, Will Zalatoris, seemed to be on fire, closing to a one-stroke difference over the first few holes. But then Zalatoris stumbled a bit and Matsuyama showed championship resilience, opening the lead and holding it even as some of his drives off the tee landed in pine needles between trees flanking the course. With five holes to play, the final pair, Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele were right where they started the day, with Schauffele in second place trailing the leader by four strokes. Matsuyama found the water, then Schauffele found the water. As they teed off on the final hole, Matuyama and Schauffele were exactly where they started the day (-11, -7), so the only way Matuyama could NOT win was if he double-bogeyed, putting himself in a playoff with Zalatoris, waiting in the clubhouse at -9 for the tournament.

Matuyama bogeyed the final hole, winning the Masters by one stroke at (-10). So it was that a 29-year-old Japanese player walked off the course into history, becoming the first Asian man to win the Masters golf tournament and the first Japanese man to win one of golf’s majors. Mind you, if the race police had not force Tiger Woods to renounce his early multi-racial identity, he would have been both the first black and first Asian man to win the Masters. There surely will be a dip in productivity in Japan this week, as the nation watched in the middle of the night for their first native son to join their countrywoman, Chako Higuchi, who won the LPGA Championship in 1977. Indeed, as Hideki Matsuyama teed off on the final hole, his compatriots were likely listening and watching on their smartphones as they hustled into their places of work Monday morning.

If five hours of golf is too much for you, there is a harder, faster sporting option. National What League? National Who Association? Dude, Florida is open for business, and Dana White is bringing the show live to 15,000 screaming UFC fans, with three championship fights topping the UFC-261 card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida. The first huge post-China-virus event will feature the first Chinese champion, Zhang “Magnum” Weili, defending her strawweight title against American former champion Rose “Thug” Namajunas. Yes, this is one institution where real diversity is a strength, as the other top billings go to a Nigerian champion facing a Miami native and a Kyrgyzstani champion defending her belt against a Brazilian former champion.

Breaking: Anti COVID Riot In Montreal


In Canada, due to gross incompetence at every governmental level, we have been way behind on vaccines and have some of the most terrible lockdowns still happening in the free world.  But in Quebec, they installed an unscientific curfew.  Recently they reduced the hours on that curfew this weekend.

Most of our media has been unwilling to cover this, as they all take money from the federal government.  Tonight the CBC was talking about how 2000 people were nothing more than a “couple dozen” protestors.

Well, the city is now on fire and the riot police are out in force.  I wonder how they will gaslight more people about this.

But we will see if they can cover up a riot.

A video of when it was still a protest.

Member Post


The latest studies show all previous studies are wrong. More research needs to be funded by taxpayers. *** Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? *** My name is actually spelled Mar3k. The 3 is silent. *** Government agencies hold meetings to discuss problems that would never arise if they held fewer meetings. *** How […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Michigan vs. Texas on COVID-19


Michigan is in the middle of a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. This despite the notoriously restrictive public health edicts issued there, such as travel restrictions, that go beyond what most other states employ. Texas famously has kept the restrictions to a minimum and has already stopped some of them, such as lockdowns and a state mandatory mask edict, much to the distress of the President. Yet Texas has seen and continues to see a decline of new cases and deaths.  It’s the same in Florida.

So, what’s going on?

I think a clue to the reason for this paradox is found on the Facebook page of Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s top aide, Tricia Foster. She just went to celebrate spring break in Florida, and pictures of her and her friends partying on the beach, sans masks, and physically very close, are to be found there. So while Michigan has had strict COVID rules since forever, even Whitmer’s aide is ignoring them because Michiganders are tired of it and don’t believe in the restrictions, while in Texas, at least in my experience, most people are still wearing masks, socially distancing, and so on when it’s appropriate because they choose to.

Regulations are, to a significant extent, irrelevant. Public health measures were adopted by people in Texas before the regulations went into effect and have continued after they’ve been rescinded.

Maybe letting the people decide for themselves gets better results.

The most important thing is good information. If the people know what to do and it’s up to them they will for the most part do the right thing. If the people don’t trust what they are being told because they have been repeatedly lied to by government officials who don’t take it seriously themselves then the people won’t act on that knowledge.

I suspect Michigan is like some other states. You can still get a haircut, eat out, travel, or whatever you like if you choose to despite restrictions, and a lot of people do.

Nancy Reagan pushed her “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse in kids, but it was an educational campaign, not a policy agenda. Yet her “Just Say No” campaign is credited with a big increase in public awareness and concern about drug abuse. Michelle Obama militated for better nutrition in school cafeterias and actually got regulations in place enforcing that sentiment. The results were that kids threw food in the trash. It seems there is a basic difference here in methods and results.

Facepalm 2021, Vol. 2: ‘Galactically’ Seems about Right


I interrupt your [quiet] Sunday morning with a short message (make sure your volume is up):

An Instapundit summary of “important” but not “very good” news items about the Joe Biden presidency includes this:


…Biden’s centrist facade got him in the door, and now the liberal hordes are taking over his administration. On Friday, the White House announced a commission to study the idea of packing the Supreme Court, an idea that would constitute a partisan assault on the judiciary as we know it and erode the rule of law. …

Additional reading on the subject can be found here:

One Person on Biden’s Supreme Court ‘Reform’ Commission Confirms It’s a Complete Joke

…what’s really turning the entire thing into a joke is who is actually on the commission. Estimates put it at about 75-80% left-leaning as far as personalities, and other than four names, the rest appear to be academics…

One of those academics is Laurence Tribe, a certified nutjob…

In short, Tribe is a moron. That he’s on this “reform” commission shows just how big of a joke it actually is. Further, it shows just how unimpressive our academic elites are. …

Note that this 75-80 percent left-leaning body will be constantly touted as bipartisan, a clear distortion and bastardization of the language that one would think might bother those who use words for a living…or at least those who care about truth.

I look forward to additional language-killing moments when Team Biden uses the output of these tools to justify real court-packing as equivalent to what Republicans did under Trump. (Expect more deafening silence from the faux-Right when that happens.)

In related news, I made a pass through American Individualism by Herbert Hoover in my morning reading. I give you this from the introduction by George Nash:

In September 1933 [Hoover] told a close friend: “The impending battle in this country obviously will be between a properly regulated individualism (which I have always expounded as ‘American Individualism’) and sheer socialism. That, directly or indirectly, is likely to be the great political battle for some years to come.” – Page XXV

Off and on over the years since, that battle has been in a direct mode since at least 2006. I suspect we are transitioning rather quickly into the end game now.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

I Woke This Morning to Watch the Now-Woke 85th Masters Tournament


While waiting for my soccer games to start this morning, and getting in trouble on social media, I had the Gold Channel turned on in the background to hear coverage of the Masters Tournament preview. I have precious few sports I can watch without being subjected to the by now ever-increasing leftist commentary from the announcers, thereby ruining my viewing experience.

So I was taken aback by this exchange between two of the announcers discussing the progress of the golfer Cameron Champ, who is an American professional golfer. Wikipedia notes that he is of mixed black and white descent, that his father is biracial (black and white) while his mother is white.

This a part of the exchange between the announcers Steve Sands and Damon Hack:

Steve Sands: All right, Damon one of the guys in the field who has had a nice start, especially early on Thursday morning when he went out on the first tee where you were to see Lee Elder and Jack Nicholas and Gary Player get this 85th Masters started, is Cameron Champ.

Damon Hack: I’ll tell you what man, before Bryson DeChambeau changed the way we think about professional golfers, a lot of people tapped Cameron Champ to be this generation’s transcendent player. He’s leading this field in driving distance, for example 333.8 yards, has two wins on his PGA tour resume and in two days anyway, Steve, looks like Cameron Champ is beginning to put things together.

[Cameron Champ short video clip]

Damon Hack: You know Steve, you mentioned Cameron Champ being on that first tee on Thursday to see Lee Elder. With his biracial background, he is asked after every round about race and diversity and even voting laws, and I think he answers every question with aplomb and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as he’s found his voice outside the ropes he continues to find comfort, Steve, inside the ropes.

So if things continue, it now seems that what has ruined all Major League sports will be [insert terrible pun] par for the course in professional gold.

Making a Law Without Being an Ass


“The law is an ass.” — Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

The problem with law is that it codifies a set of conditions — actions by individuals and response by government. Government’s tools in enforcing laws are a set of hammers of increasing size until one kills you. Culture, in contrast, is a market: people bargain, ignore, decline, accept. Comparing government and culture is like comparing a three-way bulb to a dimmable bulb. Government action is abrupt, but culture can adjust gradually.

These are the thoughts I had as I contemplated the drama in South Dakota over HB 1217. There have been some previous posts about it: How To Sink Your Future Career, Kristi Noem Vetos Bill that Bans Males from Destroying Female Sports, and Give Kristi a Chance.

The focus of this post is the problem in drafting a law to preserve a cultural norm that has existed since the beginning of time itself, but is being blown up by the post-modernists in academia and the “woke” shock troops in corporations and the media. There is no disagreement amongst conservatives over the need to preserve biology and protect girls and women from “woke” reversals. There is a lot of disagreement on how, exactly, to do it. Often the first, and natural, reaction is: “There ought to be a law.” But getting a law in an environment in which skilled lawfare makes the courts your opponent rather than your protector is a perilous activity. And if we are to successfully craft one, we must really think through the strategy to survive lawfare.

In a comment on Give Kristi a Chance, I said:

Governor Noem has alluded to the other states that have adopted protections for girls’ and women’s sports. I need to find the text of those statutes to find out whether the Governor’s or the legislature’s version was more in line with those. She argues that hers is. I’ll try and find out.

Four states — Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee — have already adopted “fairness” statutes to prohibit biological men from competing against biological women on sports not intended to be co-ed. Idaho’s law has been enjoined by a federal district court. To enter an injunction a judge has to believe that the plaintiffs (those opposing the law) are likely to prevail in their claims.

Idaho’s was the first “fairness act” adopted in March 2o2o, and enjoined in August. No doubt Governor Noem of South Dakota had studied the Idaho experience in considering her “style and form” changes that the state legislature rejected. So how do these laws, Idaho’s HB 500 and South Dakota’s HB 1217, compare? How do they compare with Arkansas’, Mississippi’s, and Tennessee’s statutes?

Let’s look at the fundamental requirement:



(1) Interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by a public school or any school that is a member of the Idaho high school activities association or a public institution of higher education or any higher education institution that is a member of the national collegiate athletic association (NCAA), national association of intercollegiate athletics (NAIA), or national junior college athletic association (NJCAA) shall be expressly designated as one (1) of the following based on biological sex:

(a) Males, men, or boys;

(b) Females, women, or girls; or

(c) Coed or mixed.

(2) Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.

(3) If disputed, a student may establish sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement that shall indicate the student’s sex based solely on:

(a) The student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy;

(b) The student’s normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone; and

(c) An analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.


Designation of athletic teams.

(1) Interscholastic or intramural athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by a public primary or secondary school or any school that is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association or public institution of higher education or any higher education institution that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA or NJCCA shall be expressly designated as one of the following based on biological sex:

(a) “Males,” “men” or “boys;”

(b) “Females,” “women” or “girls;” or

(c) “Coed” or “mixed.”

(2) Athletic teams or sports designated for “females,” “women” or “girls” shall not be open to students of the male sex.

(3) If disputed, a student may establish his or her sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement which shall indicate the student’s sex based solely upon:

(a) The student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy;

(b) The student’s normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone; and

(c) An analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.


(b)(1) As used in this section, “school” means:

(A) A public elementary or secondary school;

(B) An open-enrollment public charter school; and

(C) A public two-year or four-year institution of higher education.

(2) “School” includes a private educational institution whose interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports compete against a public school.

(c) Interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by a school shall be expressly designated as one (1) of the following based on biological sex:

(1) “Male”, “men’s”, or “boys;

(2)(A) “Female”, “women’s”, or “girls”.

(B) An interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team or sport that is expressly designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex; or

(3) “Coed” or “mixed”.


(a) A student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event must be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificate. If a birth certificate provided by a student pursuant to this subsection (a) does not appear to be the student’s original birth certificate or does not indicate the student’s sex upon birth, then the student must provide other evidence indicating the student’s sex at the time of birth. The student or the student’s parent or guardian must pay any costs associated with providing the evidence required under this subsection (a).

(b) The state board of education, each local board of education, and each governing body of a public charter school shall adopt and enforce policies to ensure compliance with subsection (a) in the public schools governed by the respective entity.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) “High school” means a school in which any combination of grades nine through twelve (9-12) are taught; and

(2) “Middle school” means a school in which any combination of grades five through eight (5-8) are taught.

(d) This section does not apply to students in any grade kindergarten through four (K-4).

South Dakota


13-67-2. Athletic teams and sports-–Designation by sex–Participation.

Any athletic team or sport that is sponsored or sanctioned by a public school, a school district, an association meeting the requirements of § 13-36-4, or an institution of 12 higher education under the control of the Board of Regents or the South Dakota Board of  Technical Education must be expressly designated as being:

(1) A male team or sport;

(2) A female team or sport; or

(3) A coeducational team or sport.

A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex, as verified in accordance with § 13-67-3.

13-67-3. Annual statement–False statement as cause for removal.

Once each school year and before permitting a student to participate on an athletic team or in a sport, the sponsoring or sanctioning entity shall obtain a written statement verifying:

(1) The student’s age;

(2) The student’s biological sex, as ascertained at or before birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology; and

(3) That the student is not taking and has not taken, during the preceding twelve 28 months, any performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids.

The statement must be signed by the student’s parent, if the student is under eighteen years of age or by the student, if the student is eighteen years of age or older.

If a sponsoring or sanctioning entity has reasonable cause to believe that any 32 information provided in accordance with this section is false or misleading, the entity may remove the student from, and prohibit further participation in, any sport or on any athletic 1 team for the duration of the school year.

Governor’s Style and Form Amendment

13-67-1 Athletic teams and sports-–Designation by sex–Participation.

Any athletic team or sport that is sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited elementary or secondary school, a school district, or an association meeting the requirements of § 13-36-4 must be expressly designated as being:

(1) A male team or sport;
(2) A female team or sport; or
(3) A coeducational team or sport.

A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex, as reflected on the birth certificate or affidavit provided upon initial enrollment in accordance with § 13-27-3.1.

[13-67-2. Annual statement–False statement as cause for removal. deleted]

[13-27-3.1Birth certificate or affidavit to be submitted–Violation as misdemeanor.

Any person who is required pursuant to § 13-27-1 to cause any child to attend any public or nonpublic school or alternative instruction program pursuant to § 13-27-3 in this state shall, either at the time of enrollment in any school in this state or upon being excused from school attendance pursuant to § 13-27-3 or within thirty days of initial enrollment or excuse, provide the public or nonpublic school or the alternative instruction program with a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or affidavit in lieu of birth certificate as issued by the Department of Health in such cases where the original birth certificate is deemed unattainable. Any parent or guardian who requests an excuse for his or her child pursuant to § 13-27-3, shall with the initial request for excuse, provide a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or an affidavit notarized or witnessed by two or more witnesses, swearing or affirming that the child identified on the request for excuse is the same person appearing on the child’s certified birth certificate. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.]

Now that we have read the texts, let’s ask the following questions:

(1) How does the law protect girl and women athletes?

Idaho: “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

Mississippi: “Athletic teams or sports designated for ‘females,’ ‘women’ or ‘girls’ shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

Arkansas: “An interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team or sport that is expressly designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex;”

Tennessee: “A student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event must be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth….”

South Dakota: “A team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex….”

(b) Which girls and women athletes are protected?

Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota HB 1217: Middle school through Higher Education at public and private schools within the state.

Tennessee: Middle school through High School at public schools and any private schools within the state competing with public schools.

South Dakota Governor Noem’s form and style amendments: Middle school through High School at public and private schools within the state. (Governor Noem has issued an executive order encouraging state Higher Education institutions to adopt similar policies.)

(c) How do we determine who is a girl or a woman?

Idaho and Mississippi: If disputed, a signed physicians statement detailing anatomical, hormonal and genetic evidence.

Arkansas: Unstated.

Tennessee and South Dakota Governor Noem’s style and form amendments: Original birth certificate.

South Dakota HB 1217: Required annual statement signed by the student (if over 18 years of age) or parent (if student is under 18 years of age) containing the required affirmative statements about birth anatomy and genetics.

If you have read this far you can see legislators are trying to do a “simple” thing but oftentimes are creating complex machinery to do it. News accounts never do justice to explaining legislation. After all, the news is to entertain and inflame, not to educate. And lawyers representing aggrieved persons will seize upon every ambiguity or interpretation that is problematic.

And I have excerpted only part of the statutes, above. The Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas and HB1217 bills create private causes of action for violation of the prohibition on male participation in women’s sports. HB1217 also includes provisions relating to performance-enhancing drugs which presumably prohibits transitioning athletes from competing, but which may create a private cause of action against men, by men, for use of PEDs.

If you have to resort to law, you have already lost — your culture is fractured and your arguments unending.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Socialists


Patrisse Khan-Cullors is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.  She made the news recently by buying her fifth (or possibly sixth) home – a $1.4 million property just outside Malibu, which features “soaring ceilings, skylights, and plenty of windows.”  And, of course, a guest house.  It may strike some as odd that she chose to buy a home there, as that extremely wealthy suburb of Malibu is nearly all white, while only 1.8% of its residents are black.  Since the whole point of Black Lives Matter is that blacks are under constant threat of violence from whites, I presume she’s planning extensive security precautions for her Malibu estate, including razor wire and armed guards.  To protect herself from her white neighbors.  Unless she thinks it’s all a bunch of hooey.  Eh, whatever.

Last year during the BLM riots, she was also seen house shopping at “The Albany,” a private 600-acre oceanside enclave in the Bahamas for the super-rich (Tiger Woods and Justin Bieber have homes there).  It is extremely private, so it remains unclear whether she bought a home there as well, where you can get a nice little place for only around $5 million – $20 million.  Give or take.

For reasons that escape me, some of her fellow socialists have found her spending spree to be, um, distasteful. In such a time of crisis, you see.  For example, Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City:

“If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes,” he said. “It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement.”

Mr. Newsome apparently has never heard of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, or any other leader who “goes around calling themselves a socialist.”  Or Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, or Joe Biden, for that matter.

Someone who loves Mr. Newsome needs to have an intervention with him.  I hope they let him down gently.  It’s going to hurt, the first time he opens his eyes.

Ms. Khan-Cullors describes herself on her own website as an “artist, author, educator, political strategist, and organizer.”  But she is also apparently pretty good at accounting and finance, because determining the exact source of her impressive income has proven difficult.  She says she grew up poor, raised by a single mother.  Now, at the youthful age of 37, she is buying high-end homes in the most exclusive neighborhoods.  One of her homes in Georgia has its own aircraft hangar and its own private airstrip.  How does she do it?  She just works for a non-profit, right?

Her spouse is a Canadian black queer gender non-conforming amateur boxer who serves as program director for “Color of Change,” so she or possibly he presumably does not rake in the big bucks.  How can they earn that much money, working for non-profits?

Well, Black Lives Matter is a non-profit.  But in 2017, Ms. Khan-Cullors and another “activist” (…or, perhaps, shrewd investor…) started the similarly named “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation,” which is a for-profit entity.  It does not have a tax exemption, but “donations” (…or, perhaps, protection money…) are filtered through ActBlue Charities and Thousand Currents, which are non-profits.  At the same time as Mr. Khan-Cullors incorporated her non-profit organization (…or, perhaps, money-laundering operation…), she also set up BLM Global Network, a for-profit entity which is not required to disclose how much it spends, how it spends its money, or how much it pays its executives.

So how much money flows through these organizations?  And how of it much flows into untraceable stacks of LLCs controlled by Ms. Khan-Cullors?  It’s hard to say, which is the whole point.  But overall, these organizations took in well over $100 million just last year.  And it may have been many multiples of that.  Again, it’s hard to say, because of how they do their books.  Which is the whole point.

Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton would be proud.

Her fellow socialist from New York City, Mr. Newsome (from the quote a few paragraphs ago), is apparently disappointed.  Because Mr. Newsome is apparently a fool.

Ms. Khan-Cullors is no fool.  She lacks ethics, but not shrewdness.

In 2017, she said that Black Lives Matter would not meet with President Trump, for the same reason that it would not have met with Adolf Hitler, since Trump “…is literally the epitome of evil – all the evils of this country…”

Donald Trump got rich by building hotels.  Ms. Khan-Cullors got rich by burning down black neighborhoods all over America.  And she calls Trump evil.

I just can’t imagine getting rich the way she did.  How many people got hurt so she could get rich?  I feel dirty just writing about it.  Good Lord…

In a capitalist system, we earn money by helping other people.  We do something for somebody, like mow their grass or write their software or fix their car.  We make their lives better, so they give us money.

Socialists get rich by hurting other people.  They make their lives worse, then scare them into submission, so they can take their money.

How do they sleep at night?

Of course, Ms. Khan-Cullors has her choice of many luxury homes in which to sleep.  Perhaps that helps.  On a certain level.  I guess.

Unless she has any compassion for others.  Any at all.  If she does, there’s just no way that she could sleep at night.  Regardless of how many houses she has to choose from.  And regardless of how many people out there have no houses at all to choose from because they were burned down in the riots she sponsored.

I just can’t imagine.

I worry about my black fellow citizens living in inner cities.  They’re in an extremely difficult situation, and it’s hard to know exactly how to help them.

I don’t worry about Ms. Khan-Cullors.  She’ll be fine.

And as for all the socialist Mr. Newsomes out there – we all need to pray that they open their eyes one day.

Of course, opening their eyes would be very painful for them.  But it probably doesn’t matter.  History suggests that they won’t.

I’m sure that Ms. Khan-Cullors isn’t worried about all the Mr. Newsomes opening their eyes.  She’s probably getting long-term mortgages on all her luxury homes.  Why not, right?  Business is good.  And it’s likely to get even better, as long as leftists around the world continue to obediently keep their eyes shut.  And surely they will.

After all, they always have.

The Mental World of Joseph Biden–Technology Department


Here’s President Biden, in his ‘infrastructure’ speech, talking about the future of transportation:

I tell the kids…they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.

21,000 mph is about Mach 28, or 28 times the speed of sound. No aircraft goes this fast today, and that includes high-performance military and experimental aircraft.  Air resistance–which increases with the square of airspeed–limits the highest practical speeds for atmosphere-inhabiting, air-breathing vehicles.  If you want to go Mach 28, you need not an airplane but a spaceship.  It would certainly be possible to provide intercontinental rocket-based passenger service–Elon Musk has been talking about something of the kind–but there are serious problems, including the acceptability of the G-forces to passengers, and such a service would surely be very expensive, not something for the mass market.  And, very significantly, such vehicles would be completely incompatible with Biden’s hostility toward fossil fuels.

And from the same speech:

Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas, or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane.

Even if we assume he is talking about today’s planes, rather than the hypersonic vehicles projected above–there is still that problem of air resistance, which is a lot higher at ground level than at 30,000 feet.  Maybe you could get trains up to 500 mph, but the energy consumption would be vast. And there are other problems: the radius of curvature of any non-straight segments of track would be have to be very, very high.  And stops would have to be widely-spaced and infrequent; otherwise, you lose much of the benefit of the potential benefit of the higher speed.

The only practical way to achieve ground-level speeds in the 500 mph range is probably to operate the vehicles inside an evacuated tunnel, as (again) Elon Musk has proposed. Construction costs would be very high, switching is more difficult than for conventional rail, and there are still the problems of curves and stops.  There may be some opportunities for such a technology between certain city-pairs, or to connect multiple cities within a region, but a national Musk-style network seems improbable.

I’m remembering something that Biden said in early 2020:

Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well… Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake!

No one who has ever managed people in a skill-diverse environment would glibly assert that anyone with Skill A can easily master Skill B…in reality, plenty of miners either couldn’t learn to program at a commercial level, or wouldn’t want to—just as many programmers couldn’t or wouldn’t want to do coal mining.  But the truly bizarre part of that Biden statement is the assumption that there are a significant number of people in America who are paid to throw coal into furnaces.  Actually, Joe, automatic stokers had been invented and were in common use before you were born.  I doubt if there was much manual stoking going on by 1940, except on steamships…and coal as a fuel for ships was rapidly on its way out by that point, as it was being displaced by oil.

Biden, whose understandings of the energy world and the computer world seem equally flawed (and equally arrogant), is the individual who was Obama’s point man on his ‘jobs of the future’ initiative.

In the speech, Biden pats himself on the back for having brought Scientists back into the White House. (He doesn’t mention engineers, who would seem at least equally relevant in an infrastructure context.)  But it doesn’t do much good to have scientific and technology experts on hand if the decision-maker lacks that background and judgment to ask intelligent questions and to evaluate contending courses of action.

Biden has never spent any significant time working outside the political sphere; he has never had to run projects or businesses where he would have to be concerned with what works–only with what sounds good.  He is a quintessential word-person, as were Obama and Woodrow Wilson–although at a considerably lower level of eloquence than either of these men.

See also my earlier posts: Shovel That Code!, Learn to Code–Still a Dem Thing, King of the Word People, and Minds of the Word People.  

Quote of the Day: Revolution Is…


Benjamin Franklin

A republic if you can keep it.

“War is when the government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself.” –attributed to Benjamin Franklin

@soupguy recently wrote on the importance of April in US history, April is America’s Most Historically Significant Month, and I bring another example of that forward today. On April 11, 1783, the Continental Congress declared the ceasefire that ended hostilities in the American Revolutionary War. It comes to mind because I have just sat in a diner next to a woman outraged at the state of Georgia passing a law to close the polls at 5 p.m. (they didn’t) and her dining companion comforted her with the news from the NYT that the US Attorney General’s office was already on the (non-)case. They are at war, their disinformation officers fanning the flames, so I guess that leaves us the revolution end of that stick. A revolution to…preserve the Constitution?

We may need to tweak the terminology a little.

But as I write, I commemorate the end of the war that ultimately led to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the defeat of the Kaiser, the defeat of the Fuhrer and the Emperor, Tranquility Base, the defeat of the Soviets, and too much more to include here. I commemorate that end because I cannot see the end of this one, but take comfort from that one. I pray that, with God’s help, tyranny will be overcome again. No other nation has enjoyed the blessings America has, I pray that this current crucible sees us emerge stronger than ever.

God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.

Edit: Updated to add “attributed to” to the quote after a search for a proper citation failed.

The First Rule of Romance


Romance is the lover at play.

An acquaintance of mine told me how he had asked his live-in partner to marry him. He and his partner had lived together for several years. He had been married before and had grown children. The kitchen faucet started acting up, so she got under the sink and began working on it. He was watching her work and was moved by how much he loved this remarkable person.

So he decided in that moment to ask her to marry him.

Her response?

“You ask me this…NOW?”

My acquaintance unknowingly violated the first rule of romance:

Always make sure
your partner has a great story to tell.

Here’s how I asked my wife to marry me:

I had the ring, and I called up our best friends, two couples, Ed and Diane, and Paula and Bernard.

I explained that I was going to pop the question at an especially nice,  upscale restaurant in Palo Alto, on a Sunday evening. The restaurant was in on it, and they had prepared two tables, one for me and my future wife, and a separate one that we would move to, set for six.

I wanted our friends to pick up six dozen sunflowers and six dozen roses that I had ready for them at a florist. Sunflowers were her favorite flower, and roses were for our love.

They would arrive at a predetermined time, about 15 minutes after we had sat down at the table. I would be positioned where I could see past her when they arrived with the flowers.

I played it cool that evening. I had told her we had reservations for dinner.

As the time approached, with her having worked that day (self-employed), she mentioned that she was not sure it was worth our dressing up.

I agreed that it might not be worth the effort, but I knew her. This restaurant was upscale just enough that business casual would work. But it was also a place where evening gowns and a coat and tie were appropriate.

After a while, she came back and said, “Why not dress up? It’s a nice restaurant.”

And, smiling inside, I agreed.

We arrived on time, the restaurant workers expectant, careful not to give anything away.

We relaxed and ordered drinks. Just on time, I saw our friends arrive carrying armfuls of flowers. She looked wide-eyed as they walked up smiling, holding the flowers in their arms.

Just then, I got up, dropped to one knee, held up a ring case, and opened it to reveal the ring.

A restaurant full of patrons and workers applauded.

The rest is history. And a darn good story.

Romance is about storytelling. Great and surprising stories. Unexpected stories.

All you need to do to be romantic
is to create for your partner
a great, living, unexpected, surprising story.

The wonderful thing about such stories is that the good ones get better in the telling. You will find that over time, as the story gets told over and over to others, that love is rekindled and romance stays in the air.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the male in a relationship should be the prime story creator. Females have just as much an obligation to create stories for the men in their lives; stories you want them to tell their friends.

Never forget that your prime obligation in romance is very simple:

Create a great story.

Ingenuity Delayed


A couple of months ago NASA’s Perseverance rover arrived on Mars. On the exploration vehicle was a small helicopter, the Ingenuity, intended to fly above the surface of the red planet and take photographs and other measurements. Ingenuity performed a rotor spin test this week, and an alert triggered by the craft’s on-board software has prompted NASA to delay the planned launch date for the tiny four-pound flying machine until sometime next week, or perhaps later.

I feel for the people who build these things. I write robotics and automation software, and I’m familiar with the stress accompanying every demonstration of a new automated system. I’m not a flashy programmer nor a particularly fast one, but I do write rock-solid software that does, in almost every instance, precisely what I intended it to do (though whether or not I understood the requirements correctly is another question). Even so, I’ve had my share of embarrassing failures during product demonstrations over four decades of software development, so much so that I never approach a software rollout without at least a little anxiety.

To NASA’s credit, their software quality standards and procedures are astoundingly mature. But Ingenuity is currently 15 light-minutes away from Earth: it will take off, fly about, take its pictures, and (we hope) land successfully all within a minute — and we won’t know what happened until a quarter of an hour later. Or perhaps never, depending on how it goes.

I made a decision many years ago not to write software for life-critical applications. I simply don’t want the stress. While many of the machines I program are capable of seriously injuring someone, I’ve always relied on the presence of hardware interlocks and physical barriers to prevent my software from crushing, cutting, or otherwise mangling an operator. The most recent machine for which I provided both software and electronics actually features a circular razorblade spinning at 5,000 RPM attached to the end of a pneumatically operated arm: it has a legitimately menacing aspect about it. But, again, hardware safety relays and multiple interlocks prevent anyone from getting close to the whirring knife while its motor is still powered and its arm still enabled.

I get to test my software and am often present when it’s put into production. The creators of the Ingenuity have undoubtedly tested to the best that NASA’s ample budget and their project time constraints allowed. But I will be very surprised if any of the developers sleep soundly the night before the machine flies — and I’m sure that, when it does, its programmers will experience the longest 15 minutes of their lives.

Here’s hoping to a continuation of a so-far successful mission.

If I Were a Benign Dictator with Time on My Hands…


…I’d outlaw a few things:

–Those head-rattling 150-decibel buzzers that signal when your dryer load is finished. I’d specify in my law that if the signal is turned on, it will notify you with a pleasant “ding” sound. Enough to get your attention when you’re in the next room, but not so loud that it sends you springing from your chair in the middle of a good nap.

–Crass sexual humor and cheap fat jokes that ruin otherwise clever, entertaining shows like Big Bang Theory.

–Tailgating when the driver in front of you is already doing the speed limit. I’d specify that a hefty fine will be imposed on the tailgater and that the money must be paid out to the person wronged for “emotional pain and suffering.”

–Bumper stickers with some enticingly controversial message that are mostly indecipherable except at close range. This encourages tailgaters.

–Pedestrians crossing busy streets by simply walking out into them wherever and whenever they please, and like the Red Sea, the traffic parts on each side to make way.

–Ball caps worn indoors, including at mealtimes and in restaurants. These are ubiquitous in a northwestern state that shall not be named.

–Smug political memes on social media that make an open-and-shut case for some viewpoint, as long as no knowledgeable person comments.

–Rampant overuse of the word “beautiful” as a comment on social media in response to random selfie posts. If everyone is beautiful, no one is. There are plenty of other compliments that could be made. “You are pretty good at figuring out filters,” for instance. I’d make exceptions for loving friends who are really feeling it.

–Random selfie posts seemingly designed to elicit comments of “Beautiful!” “So gorgeous!” “You go, girl!” These photogenic folks are sometimes engaged in a mundane activity–cooking, for instance–and just happen to look perfect, with a little extra skin showing, and they suddenly decided to snap a picture and upload it for their 500-plus friends. This tendency is an energy drain on many of us, as we try to puzzle out questions like: “She makes dinner in that outfit?” or “Why does she have an ‘lol’ after her caption ‘my messy bun?'”

–Advertisements and political campaigns that claim you, or a particular party, “deserves” something. In most cases, the word “deserve” could be replaced with “need” with no harm done to the message. For instance: “Every child needs loving parents.” “Stray dogs need a forever home.” “You need the best deal you can get on insurance.”

–Calling dogs’ owners “Mom and Dad” and the kids their “brothers and sisters.” I will forbid the use of these misnomers, especially in sentimental Facebook videos. Furthermore, we shall no longer say that adopted dogs have found their “forever home,” because it dilutes that phrase as it pertains to adoption of human beings.

–Facebook video captions that promise that the linked video will give you “the feels.”

–Increasingly vulgar topics and images in products for young people: poop emojis, stuffed poop toys, kids’ books about farting and underwear, this children’s song with butt-waggling animation.

–Excruciatingly ugly animation in popular kids’ shows. The trend of drawing unattractive characters started around the ’90s, but these cartoons still seem to draw a big audience.

–Odd words or phrases that are becoming popular: standing on line at the store, never step foot there again, orientatedfor all intensive purposes, wreck havoc. 

–Loud music playing in coffee shops and restaurants so that it’s hard to enjoy the purpose of the establishment: talking, writing, or reading in peace.

–Stores piping in music from some obscure station featuring cheap songs with vacuous lyrics and second-rate covers of mediocre hit singles. These numbers get inside one’s head, distracting the shopper from reading the nutrition information on the loaf of bread. “Surely there could not be a song more asinine than this,” one thinks. But incredibly, the next song is always worse. And sometimes, the singer is slightly off-key.

–TVs on everywhere–restaurants, waiting rooms, kids’ play areas. Establishments shall not be obligated to always have a TV playing.

–Small children getting unfettered access to iPads and other sophisticated devices.

–Political figures and spokesmen on the radio pronouncing ‘s’ as ‘sh,’ as in “infrashtructure.”

–Grossly misleading uses of the word “ban” by members of either political party. This word shall be used only in cases where the activity or item was actually banned.

–Articles and news reports claiming that some commonly consumed item may be really bad for you. Most especially when the item was touted as having healthful benefits not many moons ago.

–The extra sugar that seems to be going into popular confections these days, causing a sickly sweetness to dominate other flavors.  Peanut butter cups shall be restored to their former savory blend of flavors that includes cocoa, salt, and earthy nuttiness.

–Proposing and passing laws as an instinctive response to things we don’t like.