November 14, 2017


In the Philipines they have a word for it, amok, for when some random guy goes off on a killing spree (typically, by age-old custom, armed with a machete to slash at any he can reach before he's ended).

Amok in America is semi-automatically armed.

Case Solved

Limbaugh: Moore was a Democrat at time of sexual misconduct allegations

Weather Front

It's mid-November and Santa Cruz is toying with a rainy season.

A couple of desultory storms have passed through so far, but we haven't yet had that set of sequential drenchings that a real rainy season presents, with endless days of gray sky and soaked soil. Perhaps this next ten days will spell out what sort of season it will be. I'm constitutionally on the side of rain, myself.

November 06, 2017

The Precession of the Pleiades Enters The 21st Century

And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.

—A recent president's unforced evaluation is that though people understand he's done well, they don't fully get how right they really are: he's done it well, really well.

Who are the “special snowflakes” of early 21st Century America, the people whose underwear is too tight, who are too sensitive about everything, who can’t take even the least criticism? No, it’s not some exquisitely tuned 20-year old leftist at a selective private college. It’s the cultural right, the people who curl up into a Rush Limbaugh-endorsed fetal position every time anyone says even the slightest thing that perturbs the preciousness of their world. I get that everyone in all the wide world feels entitled to the integrity of the lifeworld in which they have grown and thrived as human beings. But that entitlement has its limits, and they are at a minimum the classic limits of liberalism: swing your fist if you must, but stop at my nose. In fact, stop well short of it. Right now we have a minority of people in the United States who insist that they can still flail wildly long after they have pummeled everyone else bloody.

If America is not great, it is not for a lack of attention to our sensitive right-wing snowflakes. They said: hands off our guns. Well, we stand now at the moment of the most intense judicial restraint on any attempt to restrict gun ownership and use in the history of this republic. They said: lower our taxes! We are the least taxed liberal democracy on the planet, we are 37 years into a national regime of ceaseless tax reduction. They said: cut the welfare state, get rid of the safety net! The safety net has been cut, the great revolution of the late 19th and early 20th Century in favor of public goods is nearly totally undone. They said: stop teaching our children what we don’t want them to know. Creationism is back in schools, the government is actively hostile to science, it’s ok for the top leaders of this country to endorse historical falsehoods and insist they be taught to the nation’s children. They said: we’re too free to see pornography and get divorced and live together outside of marriage and take drugs. And where is it that pornography is most popular and adultery flourishes and opoids and meth take hold? In Trumplandia, where people apparently need the Nanny State to stop them from doing what they blame on others who do it far less. They said: stop crime at all costs! And thirty years later, they’re still afraid in a country that locks up more of its own people than any other comparable nation, that allows cops to kill black men with impunity.

—Timothy Burke, Easily Distracted, November 6, 2017 via LG&M

November 05, 2017

While Trump Is Out Of Town

Having wrested the title of "crown prince" from Mohammed bin Nayef in June (crown prince the title of the presumptive next king in line, a title Mohammed bin Nayef relinquished without a great deal of fuss), Mohammed bin Salman has moved to further consolidated control over the fate of Saudi Arabia by taking key individuals into custody on charges of corruption.

Few observers expect there is no corruption in Saudi Arabia. Practices allowed, almost required, by the realities of great wealth may turn out to be corrupt if it suits the politics of the moment.

The world has had its fill of dynamic males, and yet will not cease but offer them up, even in the bleak quarters of Arabia.

November 02, 2017

Snarks On A Plane

November 01, 2017

Darvish for President

Speaking in my official capacity as an acknowledged Giants fan, it’s the best we can do this late in a dreadful season. Anybody else losing the World Series would have been meh. But the Bums, ah!

Rhymes With "Kick, Back"

It appears that over the course of three weeks in 2012, Paul Manafort wired a landscaping outfit, identified as Vendor K in the Special Council's indictment, $84,600 from a stash in an offshore account based in Cyprus.

Another landscaping outfit, identified as Vendor F in the indictment, was wired $265,800 over the course of 8 months in 2011.

How much of this money found its way back to Mr. Manafort after being sent to his gardeners remains to be seen. But, I mean, this is Augusta National-level lawn care.

October 29, 2017

World Series Update

The Houston radio crew brings to the airwaves the electricity and charisma of two guys reading the menu at IHop.

Thanks Comey

It was one year ago today that James Comey took it on himself to effectively (very effectively) swing the presidential election to Donald J. Trump. Thanks, Comey.

October 25, 2017

Fats Domino, February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017

I'm older than rock 'n roll. I remember when it achieved liftoff in the mid-'50's. I was a kid then, what we would now call pre-adolescent. Fats Domino was right in the middle of it all, serving up musical treats even a kid my age could appreciate: rhythm 'n blues from New Orleans, a style happily expropriated into the seedstock of the newly emerged American popular music style.

I remember hearing Fats Domino's music the first time, sitting in the back seat of my grandparent's car, heading down Skyline from San Francisco to their cabin outside Boulder Creek:

You Made me cry/ when you said goodbye. /Ain't that a shame? /My tears fell like rain.

And then hit after hit from him. All the Blue songs, all the Walking ones: Blue Monday, Blueberry Hill, My Blue Heaven, I'm Walking, I Want To Walk You Home, Walking To New Orleans. Yeah.

October 19, 2017

Annals of Ineradicable Stain

Judge won't wipe out guilty verdict for Arpaio Trump pardon ends criminal case but can't "revise historical facts," court says.

—Josh Gerstein, Politico October 19, 2017


October 07, 2017

Annals of Defamation

Ralph Northam,who is running for Governor of Virginia,is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs

— Donald Trump, Tweet, October 5, 2017

1. A defamatory statement;

2. Published to a third party;

3. Which the speaker knew or should have known was false;

4. That causes injury to the subject of the communication

October 05, 2017

Define Your Left Beyond This Point

An unwillingness to engage with conservative thought, an aversion to debate, and a weakened committment to free speech are among the failures of the left.

Jill Lepore, "Inquietude" The New Yorker, October 9, 2017

I hold Jill Lepore in high esteem, but this is just twaddle. There is no conceivable "the left" that's ever shied away from arguing endlessly, with or without conservatives.

And should an argument be closed off, finished, done with, resolved, the left will satisfy its arguing elsewhere on other subject matter: every subject deserves its argument, to the left.

Oh, but the left will with bad grace revisit arguments it's done with. True, the left will rail, not argue, against bringing up Nazi talk, but Nazi talk is no longer subject to the rules of reasoned argument. There is no longer cause for debate. That's over, resolved in word and deed. It's a settled thing. Response to Nazi talk must not come in the form of an argument. That would be redundant to the left.

September 22, 2017

A Modestly Humane Proposal

Clearly the the vast majority of Puerto Ricans need a haven to retreat to while their island undergoes the months of massive repairs recently made necessary by Hurricane Maria. I suggest that Texas is the ideal repository for the two million or so displaced Puerto Ricans the storm has left in its wake. Texas is the largest state with the largest population and by far the largest economy of any of the states within hailing distance of Puerto Rico, and thus best suited for the admittedly burdensome task of providing services for this unexpected addition to its population.

Relocating a few million Puerto Ricans to Texas on humanitarian grounds for the next few years would be in the best interests of our nation. We should support any effort to further this end.

September 08, 2017

Capitalism 101

Joseph Loughran is listed president of the opaquely named US information solutions, a division of Equifax, the credit score people.

On July 29 of this year, it became apparent that a security breach had allowed outsiders months of access to Equifax's consumer credit information, files on somewhere in the neighborhood of 145 million Americans, containing pretty granular stuff collected by Equifax to create a baseline for deciding if a given consumer is good for another round of credit.

On September 7, Equifax publicly admitted the breach, causing its stock to dive.

On August 1, on the other hand, Joseph Loughran, the president of US information solutions, sold what Equifax stock he owned for $584,099.