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The Exterminators Are Coming Today


Pests, be not proud, though some have called thee
Grotesque and dreadful, for though thou art so,
Those whom thou think’st thou canst overthrow
Stay yet, poor Pests, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From poisonous gas, which but your end shall be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men shall bid thee go,
Rest of your wings, and foul livery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, children, and men,
And dost by poison, squishing, and vinegar die,
And politicians can annoy us just as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short visit past, you leave eternally
And pests shall be no more; Pests, thou shalt die.

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A 484 Story: The Gardener


You can squeeze a full-sized pickup truck into a space that’s about three feet wide, well most of it anyway. This is the story about someone who managed to accomplish this feat.

On one side of the sidewalk there was state highway sign that stood about 15 feet above the pavement. That sign was supported by a metal stanchion that was about 2.5 feet in diameter, and secured by eight bolts attached to a metal plate on the sidewalk. On the other side of the sidewalk was a concrete retaining wall about four feet tall, and topped with an arborvitae hedge.

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Democrats Have Gone to the Mattresses. Someone Tell the Republicans.


 The Brett Kavanaugh nomination serves as a useful reminder of why about one-third of the US electorate are firm Trump supporters. While Democrats declare war in the Senate, Republicans are lining up to buy Kavanaugh’s accuser plane tickets. If Trump were chairman of the Judiciary Committee, do you think he’d respond to waking up with a horse’s head in his lap by asking Ms. Ford if she preferred a window or aisle? Of course not. He may lose an eye in the confrontation but you can be sure he’d emerge with Dianne Feinstein’s bloody ear clenched between his teeth.

Much has been said about the damage done to the institution by the Democrats’ petulance while ignoring the institutional damage done by Republicans in humoring them. “But the optics!” shout Republican pollsters. Whenever I hear the “optics” argument I can’t help but notice that it invariably refers to how things might likely appear to the Democrats’ base. To an extent, this makes sense as in lieu of workable ideas, “optics” is all the Democrats’ base has. But what about the Republican base? Isn’t abandoning fundamental principles of the Constitution also a “bad look?”


Hillsdale College, Shooting Guns, and More

From left to right: Sheila Brey, instructor; Gena Grant, event coordinator; Shannan Chada, instructor; and Sheila Hoekstra, lead instructor

Trust me: if you love to shoot pistols, trap, skeet, archery, 3-D archery, and sporting clays, you must check out Hillsdale College! I’ve been here for just under a week, and I have grown in so many ways. It’s so satisfying to visit a college that is so deeply committed to the Constitution and is preparing our young people for the future; to be with people who share my values and where I’m supported in practicing Judaism; and where I have excellent instructors who have improved my shooting skills dramatically.

As I wrote in an earlier post, we scheduled attending this workshop, not realizing that Yom Kippur fell right in the middle of the week. I asked the Hillsdale representative if there was anyone who would be holding Yom Kippur services—at a Christian college, right!—and they found a group that was holding abbreviated Erev Yom Kippur Services and morning services. Even though both services were short, I was so moved to be praying with other Jews and they were so welcoming, too. I did fast from sunset until lunch the next day. I do not think in any way that this was a “replacement” worship—there are no substitutes—yet I was so contented having Hillsdale College support my faith.

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Quote of the Day: Evelyn Waugh on Randolph Churchill


Winston Churchill was neglected by his parents. He made the opposite mistake with his only son, Randolph, and spoiled him. After hearing that doctors had removed a benign tumor from Randolph, Evelyn Waugh noted in his diary:

“A typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it.” (March 1964)

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For the Neo-Socialists, Ignorance Is Bliss


America’s new socialists, those Bernie Sanders acolytes, are now all the rage among the Democrats. They share a certain naiveté along with an absolute assurance that they alone can see humankind clearly; that they can find a better way. Seduced as they are by this sense of confidence, they ignore the wisdom of others and (at best) reject the lessons of history. This is all irrelevant, they believe, and they make no effort to learn otherwise. They will guide us with their superior intellect and their overarching empathy. They will make things better. They are the ones they are looking for.

The problem isn’t just them. The problem is that most Americans are equally ignorant of history, hence susceptible to a kind of generational serial socialist seduction. And it’s not as if the lessons of history are ancient or obscure. These lessons are both modern and ongoing. Take China. Americans know nothing of, nor can they even imagine in their wildest nightmares, the horrors of the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1950s and 60s. It was a policy of grassroots chaos encouraged by the party. There was no organized restraint; enemies of the “revolution” were fair game for harassment, incarceration, torture, and assassination. Mao’s populist and self-ascribed army of “Red Guard” revolutionaries were relentless. Books were burned. Religious and cultural buildings and artifacts were torn down and destroyed. Even cemeteries were pillaged, graves and bodies desecrated. There was no such thing as collateral damage when ridding China all non-communist impurity.

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When and Where Are Missing


Kavanaugh’s accuser wants him to testify first. This is absurd. In a court case, the prosecution speaks first and then the defense responds. This is especially important in a situation where the accusation lacks important details. Using the old critical questions a report should ask:

1. Who: Brett Kavanaugh


Friday Roundup


Every week, I round up some interesting stories from across the web that our readers and members may have missed. Please include your thoughts in the comments if you think there’s a story worth reading!

Back in July, I wrote about how child labor is fueling the battery industry of some of our favorite products (phones, cars, etc). This week the Wall Street Journal covered the situation,

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Yes, *And* — “Kavanaugh” from Knife Fight to Cold War?


Much has been written about the Kavanaugh brawl, some of it quite good. Reading these pieces, I keep coming to yes, and. It has been asserted that this has nothing to do with Kavanaugh. Dr. Bastiat writes:

My point is that this really is not about Mr. Kavanaugh – he’s just collateral damage. It’s a shame somebody had to be destroyed, but as long as he’s conservative, it’s not too much of a shame.

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This Is the Scenario Dr. Ford’s Lawyer Is Setting Up


So, this is the scenario:

Under Senate rules, in order to reschedule a hearing one week’s notice must be given. A hearing next Thursday cannot happen; at the earliest, it would happen next Friday. With attendant negotiations tomorrow, probably the earliest would be the following Monday, after the start of the Supreme Court’s term. A committee vote for referral to the whole Senate would be later, as would be a confirmation vote. Judge Kavanaugh would miss a significant number of cases. As the Court’s term would have already started, Democrats would renew their cry of “What’s the hurry, now?”

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Is the Maryland Mass Shooting Perp Mentally Ill?


Every news story I have read from a US newspaper is reporting this shooter as a woman. In fact, I read this morning that…

Moseley is now in the small minority of female mass shooters, with only around 4 percent being women, according to experts.


The Only Option Is to Confirm Kavanaugh


I stand by the belief that Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. While Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has made an allegation that when both she and Kavanaugh were teenagers, Kavanaugh allegedly held her down and, while drunk, tried to remove her clothes while holding his hand over her mouth, there is not enough evidence on any level to support the charge.

There are the holes in the story, and there are denials from Kavanaugh, and from others named by Ford who say they were never there and never saw Kavanaugh act like that. Women who went to school with Ford believe Ford, with a former classmate, Cristina King Miranda, saying that what happened to Ford was discussed in school “for days” after the alleged incident happened. This goes against Ford’s own words, when she said that she told no one of the alleged incident until speaking with a couples therapist in 2012. A complete contradiction, if this woman’s claim is to be believed.


ACF Middlebrow #16: Jack Ryan


This week, James Lileks and I give you a mini-episode on Jack Ryan, then (The Hunt for Red October) and now (the Amazon series), Cold War and War on Terror, Boomers and Millennials, Soviets and the absent Chinese today, silly shadowy corporate conspiracies and stories of heroism in the national security bureaucracies, the redoubtable Tom Clancy and the rather wishy-washier Amazon, as well as a hilarious fantasy ending that involves a Jeff Bezos-Mark Zuckerberg war. So a Middlebrow conversation with all the fun and insight! Listen, enjoy, share!


Obama Headwinds


View original artwork here.


Election Prediction


Yogi Berra is alleged to have quipped “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” That warning notwithstanding, I will go out on a limb and make some predictions about the 2018 midterms.

  1. Republicans will more than hold the Senate, they will gain seats.
  2. Republicans will flip the Senate seats in Florida, Montana, Indiana, North Dakota, and Ohio.
  3. Republicans will fail to flip the West Virginia seat, mainly because Republicans are so good at leaving Senate seats on the table that they should walk away with. (I’m looking at you Todd Aiken, Sharon Angle, Roy Moore, etc.)
  4. Republicans will pull out a narrow surprise victory and flip one of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, or Minnesota.
  5. Democrats will flip Nevada. Sorry, Dean Heller, you are probably toast.
  6. This election will not be a Blue Wave. (For the purposes of this conversation, let’s define “wave election” as not only change in partisan leadership of the House, but decisively so as in 1994, 2006, and 2010.)
  7. Against almost all prognostications, Republicans will hold the House.

Factors driving election results will include #resistance fatigue, #deepstate fatigue, disgust over the Democrats’ juvenile circus antics during the Kavanaugh hearings, and their transparently disingenuous handling of the eleventh-hour vague accusation that Kavanaugh committed an attempted rape 36 years ago. Democrats have overplayed their hand at virtually every turn, and as a result, they will suffer at the ballot box. Whatever their misgivings about President Trump and the Republican Congress, voters will be reticent to hand the levers of power over to the circus masters of the left.

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Quote of the Day: Due Process and Fairness


Left-wing zealots have often been prepared to ride roughshod over due process and basic considerations of fairness when they think they can get away with it. For them the ends always seem to justify the means. That is precisely how their predecessors came to create the gulag. – Margaret Thatcher

It appears we are seeing this play out in this week’s news, but it has been a problem for years. Certainly since the Department of Education changed standards on sexual assault accusations on campus.

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To Redact or Unredact, That Is the Question


Democrat leaders Pelosi/Schumer/Schiff/Warner have written to Director, National Intelligence (DNI) Coats, DAG Rosenstein, and FBI Director Wray to direct them to ignore President Trump’s order on declassification without first running the information through Congress.

Reportedly, DNI, DOJ, and FBI are “working…to comply with the president’s order.” Unofficial reports are surfacing they may send a package (still redacted) to the White House for review. This would be a violation of the President’s order to declassify three sets of documents in addition to text messages, unredacted.


On My Soapbox: Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot!


Last winter, in the span of a week, I had two things happen: A family friend buried his healthy 50-year-old sister-in-law, who went to Mexico feeling fine, and came home in a coffin a few days later, dead from the flu. They tried to get her home to an ICU bed in Los Angeles, but there were none available, all taken up by other flu patients. The doctors the family were in communication with in L.A. were monitoring her condition and assured the family there was nothing more they could have done for her in the United States.

Later that week, on Christmas Day, our baby slept 19 hours straight until we decided to wake him up. He was disoriented and had a low-grade fever for an hour after we woke him up, and barely wanted to eat. After consulting his pediatrician (who is a bit too trigger happy about going to the ER) and a pediatrician friend (who is far more laid back on such matters), we decided to bring him into the hospital to be evaluated. It was the middle of the flu epidemic, and despite the two of us being vaccinated, I was hyper-vigilant about staying away from people coughing, not letting the baby touch anything, and washing hands with hand sanitizer. While we were waiting to see a doctor, we heard one of the attendings talking to a family in the cubical next to ours. She told the family “This isn’t a severe enough illness to warrant an ER trip. You have all been exposed to the flu while you were sitting here. We had a child die in this hospital from the flu this week.” Not exactly what you want to hear sitting beyond the curtain with your sick baby. Thankfully, the baby was fine, and neither of us came down with the flu.

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Chairman Grassley Slams Door on Further Delay Tactics in Kavanaugh Brawl


Chairman Grassley followed up his scorching letter to the Democrats, with a letter to Ranking Member Senator Feinstein, setting 10 AM, September 21, as the deadline for Dr. Ford to agree to be interviewed or testify on Monday. He was very flexible in how and where the appearance would take place. He was completely firm on not letting the process drag on any longer.

The letter setting the witness response deadline was published with another scathing press release, denouncing Feinstein’s continued concealment of the original, unredacted, letter that made the sexual assault allegations: “Ranking Member Refuses to Disclose Secret Allegations Even After Dr. Ford Goes Public.”

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Miscast? Or Not?


A thread from earlier today by member @simontemplar got me thinking about movies and television, and why and how casting decisions are made. Often for money, I suppose. And vanity. And to score political points.

Although ST’s thread about the latest Jack Reacher movie was about its deficiencies of plot, my comment on it was more about its deficiencies in casting, and how inapt I thought it was that Tom Cruise (5’7″) should play Jack Reacher (6’5″). This put me in mind of other spectacularly bad casting decisions, and which one might just be the worst ever? Cruise as Reacher is certainly in the top three, IMHO. But I’d also nominate Kevin Costner’s turn as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (or as pretty much anything else, really). Bad as he is in POT, that movie does have some redeeming qualities (a lovely one at the very end, anyway) and Alan Rickman’s performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham is wondrous.


From the “Man Bites Dog” Dept.


It seems worth mentioning that the current Kavanaugh crisis/kerfuffle has nothing to do with President Trump.

In that sense, it’s almost surprising that it’s getting any coverage at all.