Thoughts on the road. – William Lehman

Thoughts on the road. – William Lehman

I just completed a round trip run from western Washington to Pennsylvania in an RV. Most of this drive was along I-90, and I-80, through what the coasts derogatorily dismiss as “flyover country”. This gave me some opportunity for observation and reflection, during the drive, and this is the result.

I’m a Marine electrician lead (as well as an author) who comes from blue collar roots, and my dad was a member of the Teamsters union for most of my life, until his death. Some people have called me a traitor to my people for being anti-union. This trip helped remind me why I am.

It’s a not terribly well known fact that the Pacific North West, makes a LOT of money off exporting hay. Yes, hay. First quality green hay gets shipped by the bulk carrier loads from ports in WA, to Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East for the Horsey folks in those areas, and they pay TOP dollar. Farmers make a decent living off this trade. So I was surprised to see literally thousands of bales of hay (and we’re not talking the little 50lb bales that we used to buck growing up, no… these where the 800 lb. round bales that you need a machine to load, usually the size used for export, and large farm operations) rotting in the fields, all looking about a year old. Then I put it together.

I have good friends who are truckers. The Longshoreman strike and slowdowns on the west coast last fall hurt them big time. All of the truckers I know that work the docks own (with the bank) their own rigs. By the way, those suckers ain’t cheap. They cost about as much as a house. So my friends basically have two mortgages to maintain, one for their house, and the other for their truck. If they’re not hauling loads, they’re hemorrhaging money like it’s going out of style. (or like they’re congressmen) guys lost their trucks over this.

There was a big thing in the local papers because a couple of the farm co-ops dumped hundreds of thousands of pounds of apples that were destined for overseas for the same reason. They couldn’t ship them overseas, and if they put them on the US market the price would drop so low that they wouldn’t even break even after shipping costs.

What’s that? You in the back with the occupy something T-shirt?

“How dare they throw away food, while people are going hungry” you ask?

Well sparky, it’s like this. The farmers are going hungry too. They get a pay day once or twice a year, and that’s from selling their crop. They have to make the payments on all their REALY EXPENSIVE equipment, pay their employees, including the guys that are demanding $15 an hour as the new minimum wage, out of that one or two paychecks a year, and pay their mortgage, and put enough back to feed the family for the year. So they (like any prudent business man) insure their crops. If they don’t sell, or are destroyed, the insurance pays off. (not anything like full value, but enough that maybe they don’t lose the farm this year) If they sell at a loss, the insurance doesn’t pay. And if they give the food away, not only does the insurance not pay, but who’s going to pay the truckers to take it from where the food is, to where the mouths are? (Yes, I have a point, and I’m getting there, I just need to give you the back ground)

Well, the thirty or so shiploads of hay that I saw all date from about the same time frame. So here’s another layer of people hurt I theorize( if there’s any WA, ID, MT, or NB hay farmers that read this and can tell me of a different reason that millions of dollars of hay was allowed to mold, I’m all ears) all because of a strike that didn’t, in the end, really get the rank and file union member much of anything. (It got the union more power though, and that’s what’s important… to the union)

My dad was a teamster during the great Teamster strike of the early 70s. His team got along great with management, where happy with their pay and working conditions, and didn’t want to strike. But some big guys came down from Detroit in a couple Caddies, looked around and said “Dwayne, The union is all going on strike, youse gotta go on strike too.”

“But we don’t have anything we want to strike FOR.”

“Do it for youse families.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“How would youse feed your families if this place was to burn to the ground? If you was to be kicked out of da union, and your little boy was to get hurt bad, how would you pay medical expenses? Oh and youse guys gotta actually walk the picket line or youse don’t get your strike pay”

Then the goons in the caddies drove back to Detroit, and dad and the rest walked the picket lines. People who wildcatted that strike where hurt or killed… I remember one guy was hauling dynamite for the coal mines in KY. The sniper that shot his truck hit the load… It cratered the road.

Dad died in harness about 20 years ago. Mom got the princely sum of 28 bucks a month as survivor benefits until she remarried. Tell me why I should support the union?

Another observation is that pretty much all of my leftist friends (yes I have friends from the far left, I view them as slightly retarded, but love them anyway) have been freaking out over the eminent demise of the European Honey Bee, and thus over the inevitable death of all life on earth… Now that ignores that fact that it’s the “European Honey Bee” and not native to the Americas. Somehow life in the Americas managed to continue to exist before European immigrants brought the Honey bee to the continents. Still, if you talk to the left Honey bees are doomed, and with them, the entire biosphere, all due to Monsanto, or Nicoloid gene splicing, or whatever the current evil is, that is causing CCD (colony collapse disorder)… If you do a casual search of the Web for bee population data you’ll find nothing but doom. But on the drive, I counted about 100 hives an hour while going though agricultural areas, most in groups of 6-10 hives, all with multiple supers under the hive. Well, unless ALL the bees in North America are on the I-80, US 28, and I-90 corridor, (which I doubt) the gloom and doom just doesn’t seem to match reality.

SO I dug a little deeper… Yup, if you look at the propaganda on Bee populations, it’s all bad, but if you look at the HONEY HARVEST, it’s been increasing for several years (since 2004) and in those numbers (but surprisingly enough NOT in the numbers on bee population, even though they’re from the same office) there are more hives in cultivation this year than last, and that holds true since 2004! HUMM.

Finally, I’m viewed by those aforementioned liberals as a rabid frothing at the mouth conservative. Well, I’m starting to feel like Marten L. King jr. on that. Because I hate to break it to the folks from both coasts, and the really big cities in between, (Denver, Austin, I’m looking at you here) but you folks really want to talk to me, because you DON’T want to talk to Malcom X.

I went hunting in MT a couple years ago. Talking with my Guide and some of the other locals, I felt like I was the liberal in the room, and practically in the barking Moonbat category. (These folks where ready to start the revolution tomorrow) Now I filed that under the category of “These guys live out in the back of beyond, they’re outliers statistically”. On the drive to and from the East Coast, I paid attention to the billboards and bumper-stickers. Folks, the people in “Fly over” country are PISSED, from the guy that guides hunters, to the mayors of towns and cities, to state senators congressmen and Governors who are voting to arrest and imprison federal law enforcement officials for enforcing federal gun laws that don’t agree with state law.

You guys (the left) really want to stop pushing quite so hard. The political pendulum has never, in the history of humanity, stayed on one side of a swing. The back lash from over reach has always been proportionate to how far off center it went before coming back. (Hint, that’s what started the whole prohibition thing, and it’s also what started the 60s, was backlashes) Well right now we’re staring at a whole hell of a lot of the country (about 80-90% of the land mass, as well as about 50% of the population) that is FED UP. You really don’t want those guys to decide that the only way to fix it is to burn it down and start over… REALLY! Most of these folks are vets, and the children of vets, they’ve had guns in their hands since middle school or before, or they’re still serving either in the regulars, the reserves, or the NG. If it goes to armed insurrection, even if the left wins, (highly damn unlikely) it will be a mess worse than reconstruction, worse than the Balkans. For the love of the country that I’ve served for over three decades, start seeking peace now.

521 thoughts on “Thoughts on the road. – William Lehman

  1. Amen! I have never in my 60 years on this planet seen so many folks pissed off at the direction of the nation.

        1. I just read the new version…I’m glad to see at least theology debate isn’t called out…in fact, the most important theology debate: vi vs emacs.

            1. No, the Jew-equivalent would be ed users. I admire their dedication to purity laws but think they missed the true salvation of vi 🙂

          1. I misread you as writing “vi is emacs” and thought you were taking a brave stand on the Editor Wars that would get you flamed from both sides. 🙂

  2. A few comments here.

    “if there’s any WA, ID, MT, or NB hay farmers that read this and can tell me of a different reason that millions of dollars of hay was allowed to mold, I’m all ears”

    Nope, there is no other reason (athough most of the hay lost was in the ‘one ton’ (usually actually about 1500 lbs) big square (rectangle actually, remember farmers are dumb rednecks who don’t know the difference between a square and a rectangle) bales) whatsoever for all that really Top Quality hay to sit there and rot. The lucky farmers got their export quality hay sold to (and paid for) middlemen that were going to handle the trucking, etc. before the strike. But the rest of them took it on the chin, and those middlemen? They are what is commonly known as small business owners. The ones that all those politicians taking money from the Unions claim to want to protect.

    “Well, unless ALL the bees in North America are on the I-80, US 28, and I-90 corridor, (which I doubt) the gloom and doom just doesn’t seem to match reality.”

    I remember when a swarm of Honey Bees came and decided to ‘nest’ in my Grandma’s chimney one summer. She called all the beekeepers around, but they all had all of the bees they could handle, and weren’t interested in getting any more, even for free. After starting a fire to try and smoke them out, and then doing some other things to try and drive them away, as a kid I remember hauling off dead bees by the FIVE GALLON BUCKET loads.

    ” Folks, the people in “Fly over” country are PISSED”

    Yes, I consciously moderate what I say here, so I don’t sound unreasonable. And I am one of the most liberal/laid back people amongst my friends in meatspace.

    1. Bearing in mind I’m on the opposite side of Idaho, and not a hay farmer, I know that much of one cutting was ruined for at least one farmer here by rain after cutting but before bailing, but to get the mess off the field, I guess, they bailed a week later when the rain dried up enough. I don’t know what they did with that.
      Occurs to me it’d be sensible to let the farmer sell the crop for what they can get and subtract that from the insurance payout, but what do I know, I’m just someone who would’ve paid mulch prices for spoiled hay.

      1. Some farmers have “dryers” that look like miniature tilt-a-whirls mounted upside down on a frame. It’s PTO driven, and stirs up/lofts the hay to increase air flow through it. If it dries without molding, it might could be bailed and sold. Might.

      2. It can still be sold, it’s just lower quality– and if you are hiring people specially to bail it, you might be SOL and have to bail hay you can’t store because it will rot, and/or set the stack on fire.

        1. Yes. What Foxfier said. And keep in mind that it has been at least fifteen years since I did hay myself, so all the newfangled ideas and current news I have is secondhand, from people I know that farm and put up hay. Foxfier probably has more recent experience than myself.

          Kevin, I think what you are talking about are “tedders” (no idea how that is spelled, I’ve only ever heard it spoken) and they work really well, as long as nothing is too tweaked on them. I recall running one in my younger days that had something bent or tweaked, about once an hour it would snap one of the multitude of half inch bolts holding it together. I would throw a dozen or so bolts and nuts on the tractor in the morning, along with a couple crescent wrenches, and stop and replace one whenever it broke. Until, that is, the owner decided he was going to fix that. He WELDED all the bolts in place. That’s right he welded the bolt heads to the tedder. Then when the bolt inevitably broke, instead of a five minute job in the field to replace it, I had to drive to the shop, get out the torch and cut the bolt head off, drive the rest of the bolt out with a punch, replace the bolt and nut, then drive back to the field and start work again. Downtime in scenario 1) about five minutes, downtime after the owner “fixed” it, about an hour.

          1. Since we bought hay, we never invested in the equipment. The ones I saw were red frames with the “tilt-a-whirl” tongs yellow.

            When we used the square bales, we put a space the width of our arms between the walls and individual stacks for air flow, and even then it would get hot. That was with green, sun dried, hay, too. I don’t think my father would have allowed us to store damp hay due to the fire hazard.

            Now, about bolts and pins: We had this rotary mower for brush, and if you didn’t let off the clutch just right, it would shear pins in a heartbeat. Don’t know how many of the dang things i sheared off. One afternoon, after shearing a pin, I went and bought a sack of them out of my pocket.

            1. “Since we bought hay, we never invested in the equipment. The ones I saw were red frames with the “tilt-a-whirl” tongs yellow.”

              The one I remember running (not the welded nightmare) that was a recognizably color was red and yellow, as you describe. All the others I recall had no distinguishable color.

  3. I can verify the union enforcement stuff. I worked as an independent engineer in the auto industry in Michigan for several years, so I was neither union nor management. I was told by several hourly employees that voting for the “wrong” (not union supported) shop stewards was an easy way to have an industrial accident.

    1. The unions brought the mafia in shortly after they were organized, because they needed experienced “community organizers” to a) protect the workers from certain employers, b) enforce the strikes.

      At that time, most of the ‘enforcement’ of strikes was against non-union scabs, only small amount was against union ‘members’ who didn’t support the strike. Of course that changed depending on the specific circumstances.

      Once you bring the mafia in to run things… it is really hard to get rid of them.

      1. Out here in the West, it wasn’t the mafia, but the Communists.
        Not that kids learn about the Wobblies’ insurrections and assassinations in school any more. It’s all been whitewashed out of the curriculum.

        A friend’s father was crippled for supporting Right to Work.
        You’ll get no love for unions from me.

        People are pissed.
        I think Frank Luntz finally realized that about a month ago. He certainly started sounding the alarm around then. But it doesn’t appear that anyone in the bubble wants to hear it.
        Heck, between them, Trump and Carson have an outright majority of Republican voters. While Bernie is outpolling Hillary by up to 22 points. If that cluebat doesn’t get your attention, it’s not likely anything can.

        1. I’ve seen a couple of signs for the past couple of years, saying, “Right to Work is a LIE!”. Wish I could get a few people here to have some words with whoever bought those ads.

          1. Seen those around here? Remember the song, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive?” All those guys who came from “Down Home” to work in Norwood at the GMAD plant makin’ Firebirds? I’d guess they need to be reminded how the union effed them up the asterisk when GM closed that place.


            1. Which in turn led to the crazy “seize a neighborhood through eminent domain and sell it to a developer to build a mall to restore our tax base” plan the city of Norwood tried.

              1. I grew up in that neighborhood. Many regrets it’s gone, but it looks like the developers are not wasting their opportunity. I am wondering if there’s too much THERE being built there and what the over-capacity will portend for the future. But, for now, it looks a promising extension to the Rookwood development to the south of it.


          2. Seen those. They replaced the ones with hammer-and-sickle corner decoration. Guess someone figured out nobody really thought right-to-work was a Communist plot.

      2. Before I was born, Dad worked as a paper cutter for West Tab (Western Tablet? Whatever it was, it became Meade) and was the union steward for his floor. They all went to Chicago to meet with the union big wigs to talk about whether there was going to be a strike or not (to be told they were going to strike, I should say). The first words out of the union bosses mouths when they walk in the room was, and I quote, “Who do you want killed and what do you want blown up.” Dad stood up and said to everyone else in the room, “I’m having nothing to do with this and if you’re smart you won’t either.” And walked out of the room and returned home.

    2. I worked in a machine shop long ago. The union organizers came in and started laying out propaganda. The organizers are protected by Federal law.

      I brought my copy of Marx to work and quoted relevant passages from Uncle Karl about how labor unions were the vanguard of communism. The patriotic UAW organizers trashed my car in retaliation.

      Well, I was young and stupid at the time, and it was my first direct encounter with communists and their willing minions.

    3. If I rightly recall in the last decade Philadelphia union enforcers were video taped while committing a beat down and walked because of a rather novel interpretation of what the Supreme Court meant by ‘legitimate union business’ in their 1973 U.S. vs Enmons decision. Finally there has been a conviction. One hopes it will be the start of a trend. One hopes, but one is not confident.

      Longtime labor boss Joseph Dougherty may spend the rest of his life in prison for running a Philadelphia ironworkers’ union like an organized-crime syndicate. A jury yesterday found him guilty on all six counts levied against him, including RICO conspiracy, extortion, and using arson.


      1. for running a Philadelphia ironworkers’ union like an organized-crime syndicate.

        That implies there is another way which is news to me.

        1. Well, we know communism can work in a family setting, or for a bunch of monks, so there’s got to be SOME functioning form of a union that’s different… (I suspect the cure is the same as in those– either it’s a mutual dependence thing, or it’s entirely voluntary; right now, unions get to have a monopoly on labor.)

          1. There is a way to do it. As a hobby I work on that problem. It’s a low cost, low overhead “freemium” model that handles the training and benefits aspects of unions with more benefits actually going to workers. For abusive employers, it works by aggressively creating turnover by shopping all their good workers to competitors. You really can’t stop it without violating the 13th amendment and no organizing votes are necessary because it doesn’t collectively bargain unless the employer asks for that as a service, which they can pay for.

            I will never organize such a thing in the real world because I like my bones unbroken and my house unburnt. That fear of union violence is a testament to the failure of american government.

    4. My dad was a union member for decades; he worked for Detroit Edison in construction as a skilled mechanic. The rule about “last in, first out” affected us quite a bit when I was young. I remember one year after a strike he was laid off for more than a year. He was a shop steward one year and I remember overhearing him and my mother; he was angry over how some members didn’t want to accept a contract he thought was fair– he was shop steward for only one year. And of course they were all Democrats–I was in high school before I realized that not everyone got Election Day off….

  4. You notice a lot of things driving across the country. When I moved from FL to UT, I noticed there is a lot of open and beautiful country here in the US despite all the people whining about ‘overpopulation’ and about how we’re ruining the planet. When I moved from CO to MO, I noticed that the ugliest part of the trip were the wind farms in KS – which are supposed to ‘save’ the planet. (Also, not great to drive past if you get vertigo.) More people should take a drive through the ‘flyover zones’. They might get some perspective.

    Excellent observations, Mr. Lehman. Thank you for sharing them.

    1. Drove from the East Coast out to Nevada this summer. I agree about the wind farms. A line of them far off on a ridge isn’t so bad, but acres and acres of the things… funny thing is out here in Nevada there’s a ton of surface mining, and it visually disrupts the environment a heck of a lot less than the wind farms do!

      1. And what they do to birds and bats… hate those things. The vertical axis design is supposed to be less dangerous to birds (what I am thinking about seems to be called ‘twisted Savonius’), and might be okay for something like a farm for some extra power (not the sole source of power, provided their construction and upkeep don’t cost more than they produce of which I have no idea) but most of the ones in use now, please!

        1. Nope. The average wind turbine will never make back what it costs to build and maintain – except for the very generous tax rebates, paid for by all of us. (Or by just printing money, but that’s a sort of tax on the future.)

        2. My sister, who is active in bat rehabbing, says that the Canadian’s throttled their turbines and it supposedly reduced the number of bird/bat harm. Wish I had a link to share; all I have atm is hearsay.

            1. ‘Which makes them eligible for even more subsidies”
              Would not surprise me. I’m not keen on them myself. I’d rather go nuclear or geo-thermal. (I never said I was sane, ‘kay.)

              1. I’d like nuclear better. It scares me a bit, but that is mostly the older reactors. Some Chernobyl type Russian ones are still in use fairly close to Finland, although they supposedly have been made safer after that disaster. But even with Chernobyl the actual long term harm doesn’t seem to have been nowhere close to what was predicted.

                1. I’m a bit spooked by nuke, too, but the folks I know who know more than I do will actually use Chernobyl as an example of how much it takes to have an accident at all, and the area that is actually dangerously contaminated (I do not consider having a radiation risk similar to Colorado Springs to be “dangerously contaminated,” not in a realistic conversation.) is startlingly small.

                  I gotta find the pages I was looking at with all the radiation levels and areas…

                  1. I’ve lived within 30 feet of an active Nuclear reactor for years at a time… now I work on em as a retired sailor who works at a Naval shipyard. Jane Fonda etc etal are as full of shit on Nukes as they are on everything else.

                    1. my taste in women differs a bit, and I require brains from anything that’s not just an “indy car”

                    1. TEPCO really screwed the pooch on FUkushima. Those reactors are a copy of the plants at Dresden and Quad Cities (Illinoisy). You DO NOT put you emergency diesel generators AND several safety-related breaker panels in the turbine building BASEMENT. The NRC would never had allowed that plant to operate in the US.,

                      If anyone would like a longer explanation of what happened there, I can point you to a really good article.

                    2. there’s a lot about that design that wouldn’t pass NRC / NRO. Who thought putting your coolant pond above your reactor was a good idea??? Yes it was a better design than Chernobyl…My 17 YO son could do a better design than Chernobyl!

                  2. The Soviets used Chernobyl type reactors because it was easier to access for plutonium. Much of the radiation release took place when the graphite caught on fire.

                    Just about everyone else used other designs for power production. It’s a different design utilizing water instead of graphite for a moderator. The containment vessels are different and thicker.

                    I don’t worry about nuclear plants in the West. I did worry, very much about Russian plans to build a Chernobyl type reactor in Cuba.

                2. Any light water reactor PWR or BWr has one safety feature the graphite moderated RBMK reactors lack, a negative void coefficient. RBMK reactors have a positive void coefficient that causes reactivity in the core to increase if a steam or gas bubble forms in it. Light water reactors have the reactivity decrease when a steam or gas bubble forms in the core.

                  Properly designed, constructed and operated LWR (or gas cooled reactors) are very safe.

                3. iirc, Chernobyl happened because the people running the plant wanted to figure out just how far they could push things before they had a meltdown.

                  They found out.

                  Three Mile Island occurred because one sensor went bad, and the people running the plant chose to trust that particular sensor over all of their other instruments. And note that Three Mile Island did not melt down.

                  By and large, the plants themselves are safe when the people running them act with a reasonable degree of common sense, sanity, and forward thinking. The notable exception, of course, is Fukushima.

                  1. IIRC, the TMI design also had various displays located where it was difficult for the operators to keep track of them, which contributed to the problem.

                    1. That is really two issue:

                      1. Over stimulation: they couldn’t not stop one alarm from alarming without stopping them all.
                      2. They failed to believe their indications. When the fuel element temperature readings gave ??? (indicating temperature beyond maximum measurable value) they concluded the instruments had failed instead of believing their fuel was at that high of a temperature.

                4. When I went through nuclear power training in the Navy (mid-70s, so the oil crisis was still close to “current events”), one of the instructors used to say that he wouldn’t be worried about civilian nuclear power until there was a major power crunch that caused a demand for new plants to be built in a hurry.

                  I came to a different view because one of my friends became an NRC inspector after leaving the Navy. He told me of his experiences as an inspector at a plant under construction, and having to certify that construction was being done correctly. He said that the local union supervisor dealt with every problem he reported (even the safety-critical ones) by writing “Waivered” on the report.

                  Didn’t make me feel too good, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like unions.

      2. Not to mention the irony that they require generous amounts of petroleum-based products to continue running…

        Hell, I work in a BLM office and most of the rank-and-file (who have no real voice) *hate* the things. And they’re government!

          1. Rawlins, Wyoming. (Which is a hole, which is why I live an hour away, despite the fact that the commute sucks.)

            1. I’ve been there a few times. My girlfriend used to work for a company that did business up there with BLM and the reservation (environmental surveys and such). She liked to have me drive for her 🙂

              1. Casper’s not so bad. Rawlins, though…Although I’d rather live in Rawlins than Rock Springs…

                Heh. My mother actually grew up in *Bairoil*, speaking of nowheres-ville.

    2. Conversely, I had to drive through a chunk of the east coast a few years ago. After Colorado and Texas, it was claustrophobic.

      Not so much people, as freakin’ TREES. All the people were crammed into the cleared areas in giant oceans of trees.

      It also gave insight to why battles in the Revolutionary and Civil wars happened where they did. It’s not use having a huge army if there’s no room to maneuver, so they had to engage where there was a large enough clear area. It’s not something that was really an issue in the world wars.

      1. We live in the SE. Took son when he was 10 on a road trip to St. Louis – and at sunrise we were driving across the plains of Illinois.

        He couldn’t believe how wide open it all was. Now he’s looking to move west – he’ll be going to college in Kansas, most likely. Says he feels claustrophobic driving around where he can’t see anything resembling a horizon.

        Can’t say I really blame him…

        1. Opposite effect: my wife was an Air Force brat, childhood in Alaska, upon a family move that stopped in Chicago she looked south, told her mom “I hate this – I can see New Orleans from here!”

          I feel a little the same: childhood in rolling hills of eastern Washington, adulthood in mountains of western Washington, very much not impressed with flatlands.

      2. I lived in Chattanooga for a bit.
        I came away with the firm conviction that if the Cherokee had engaged in armed resistance, there is absolutely no way that the US army could have won in that terrain.

          1. Sherman was also facing Bragg. There was a major shortage of actual engagements.
            There’s a large amount of difference between marching around an enemy, and taking the ground he’s standing on.

              1. Johnston had the sense to see a Union victory was a Republican campaign speech and didn’t get into pitched battles.

                Notice when the less politically astute Davis replaced him for it, the resulting battle was a Union victory and a Republican campaign speech.

        1. Some did resist removal in NC mountains. Eventually some of the land was purchased by a white man who had been adopted by a Cherokee and placed in trust for members of the Tribe of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. This area is what is now called the Qualla Boundary. Although it has often been referred to as a reservation it is not one, but is federally protected.

            1. I recall it was a nice place to visit when my whole family went to the mountains one summer in the early ’80s; we turned wrong (out of Asheville, I think) and spent the night in Johnson City, Tennessee :).

              1. It has changed a bit since you were there. They got a casino. Wisely much of the proceeds have been invested in the community, beautiful updated tribal schools and such.

        2. During the Revolutionary War, the British convinced the Cherokee to make war on the colonists. In response, South Carolina attacked every Cherokee town, burned it to the ground, burned the orchards, destroyed the fields, and enslaved the survivors. As a result, long before the Revolutionary War ended, the Cherokee ceded almost all their land in South Carolina.

          What worked in the mountains of South Carolina would have work just as well in the mountains of Georgia and Tennessee. Now consider that some veterans of that offensive had settled in Georgia.

          1. Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779

            The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

            I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

            But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.[4]

          2. One thing to consider: The mountain terrain of South Carolina and Georgia is a bit milder than that of eastern Tennessee.

      3. A guy from Arizona was talking to guys in New England — both in the electric power industry. They told him their tree-trimming budgets, and his response was that they must mean thousands of dollars, not millions.

        It was millions.

        1. Yep, and every so often a local utility will cut back on that budget and get away with it for a couple of years. Until the next ice storm. Primary reason for the push to put new service underground where it’s practical.

          1. Now this is a subject and a half. It’s well known that an aggressive ROW maintenance program, combining undercutting with spraying, reduced outages. When you see a utility cut back, either it’s in enough of a tight to rob Peter to pay Paul, or, more likely, it’s getting pressure from consumers.

            Such as the woman some decades ago that complained that it “would never be like that again,” after the ROW crew had been through, and I wanted very badly to tell her it grew up like that since the last time the crew went through just a few years prior. Then there’s complaints on how it looks.

            We have, when someone refused to let our crews cut beneath the ROW, put a fuse on the line going to their house (known as a tap), so that when the undergrowth knocked out the line, it would isolate it to that one customer. That, unfortunately, is not always an option.

            There’s an apocryphal story that an emergency crew in Florida, after one of the hurricanes, told a TV reporter that if they cut their ROW their lights wouldn’t be out so long. It didn’t make the people happy, and the crew was asked to leave.

            As to underground, it’s as expensive as rip and outages take longer to restore. Oh, yeah: we have outages on the stuff. Cables go bad, then it’s dig it up. If they’ve paved across the top, you hope it’s in conduit or the fault’s not beneath the asphalt or concrete. IMHO it’s more dangerous to work on. For one thing, on the small residential sized transformers you have to kneel to open the things, and you’re close to what’s inside. That includes snakes and black widows. The taller transformers aren’t so bad, though more than a few are “live front,” where, when you open the doors, secondary voltage is right in front of you. The cables are designed like a coax, so they carry a charge. You’re right there at it if something goes wrong. And those transformers are filled with flammable oil. At least, with the proper equipment, you can close in overhead transformers from the ground.

            There was a lineman who drew cartoons and his Milsoft calendars was very popular in the business. My favorite is of a man and his kid watching a couple of linemen start to open a padmount transformer (what we use for underground service).
            Kid: “Dad: Do you think that big ol’ rattlesnake we saw crawled in there and knocked out our lights?”
            Dad: “Naaaaw.”

          2. In the our city in the Piedmont of NC Duke power has resisted putting the power lines underground tooth and nail.

            Yup. When there has been a bad winter all of a sudden they will step up the tree trimming. Meanwhile, the company they hire to trim trees does a butcher’s job of it.

              1. It may be expensive. Still, we live in an area that gets a number of severe ice storms every few winters. While clearing trees reduces the incidence of power outages, it does not prevent them.

      4. My Brother had a good friend that had to move from Virginia back to Utah because his wife was claustrophobic about driving in our ‘tree tunnels’.
        Conversely, I remember the astonished look on my Sister-in-Law’s face on her first trip to eastern Oklahoma when our host’s Mother announced “I love this part of Oklahoma, it has so many trees.” There were about 30 trees visible, in a windbreak about a mile away.

        1. Last time I was in Virginia they let the forest grow all the way up to the blacktop. At least in the wooded parts of Arkansas we cut it back a dozen yards so so for some breathing room…

          “Tree tunnels” is a precisely apt description.

          1. At least in the wooded parts of Arkansas we cut it back a dozen yards so for some breathing room…

            And some hope of seeing the wildlife before it hits the front of your car.

              1. Tasty horned spawn of Satan. The Dresden nuke plant is on the road with the highest deer-car collision rate in the USA.

        2. Northeastern Oklahoma, at least around Tulsa, is tree tunnels. 😉

          But at least there’s no kudzu. (Or there wasn’t 20 years ago.)

        3. I took my friend from Rio Rancho, which is just north of Albuquerque NM, on the Skyline Drive. We stopped at an overlook and were standing on the edge of a cliff with the whole of the Shenandoah Valley lying open before us. She looked at me and told me she felt claustrophobic. It wasn’t until I visited her and she took me for a walk, where what trees there were were no taller than I, that I realized what she meant. (Only kind of in reverse…)

      5. I had the opposite problem! My first visit to Texas was to the Galvaston area; I grew up in Michigan and live in Virginia. I could NOT get over how flat and treeless the area was, my daughter was so excited to point out *a* hill, and our host reluctantly told her that it was artificial, built for an overpass. I prefer the trees!

          1. No, that would be the Midwest, not the West. Well okay, Eastern Oregon and Washington probably count as West, and they tend to have large (as in a couple counties sized) barren patches.

        1. I miss the forests of the Sierras and the river valleys. I’ve told the Oyster Wife that when we can afford a chunk of land, I don’t want to plant trees. I want to need to cut trees down to make room for building a house. 🙂

        2. My daughter tells her friends at school in Ohio their trees are just big bushes. That may be because we have redwoods and douglas fir on and around my property in Northern Ca.

        3. born and raised a Yooper, but Texas almost has it all. Trees, plains, swamp, rocks and hills. Just a ride away. Sure others got more of each and likely bigger, but from here, southwest corner of DFW, I can run to one of them for a lunch and back home usually within a day. I run down to Camp Wood is a bit of a stretch but I’ve done it, and gotten a bit of riding on two of the Three Sisters.

      6. Oh, the trees. Shudder. Claustrophobic doesn’t begin to describe how the eastern seaboard feels: where there aren’t trees, there’s folks. Way too many folks. I regularly wax rapturous about how happy I am to have exchanged trees for open sky and mountains.

        But then I may have read too much Louis L’Amour and fallen in love with the West year before we finally managed to move here…

        1. I used to miss the trees in NE Oklahoma (spent the latter half of my childhood there) after the family moved to CO (and later back to Wyoming, where the parents are from) and I went to college in those areas.

          Spent a year in the Bay Area, which had hills/trees much like Tulsa (though way, way more people, argh) and felt trapped. I like the big sky and mountains, forest and desert combo of Wyoming MUCH better now. 😀

          1. I spent years daydreaming about moving to Wyoming before we actually took a trip out west and I realized pretty much anywhere out west that wasn’t Phoenix or Denver would do it for me, and we picked up and moved. Where we are now, the trees are an hour’s drive away, so if I get a hankering I can go visit.

            1. I actually live up in the foothills of the Snowy Range, so we have mountains + trees on one side, and sagebrush steppes on the other. I quite like it. If only rent and/or property prices weren’t so insanely high around here, sigh…

          2. Family members who have always lived on the East Coast can find the hills surrounding even when they’re used to trees.

            Then, when I went to Dallas/Fort Worth, what surprised me was how short the line of sight was. The first thing you saw — tree or building or whatever — was the last, nothing rose up behind it.

            1. I just love living in a part of the country where I’m not in the minority. Also where country is far. Where the population density is lower. Also, although I love my family, they get on my nerves and I’m sure vice versa, I’m over 1,000 miles away. On the other hand living in a transportation hub, I can see them when they need me.

              If I ever miss Greenwich village I can always drive to Austin.

          1. Well, it depends on the Oregon forests: they vary from the Western third to the Central third and to the Eastern third, as well as north to south.
            For example, the skinny lodgepole pine “forests” that are the only thing which grows in the pumice flats of south central Oregon (east and northeast of Crater Lake) aren’t much to look at.
            The juniper forests are different from the ponderosa pine forests which are different from the high Cascade alpine forests and so on. To the undiscerning eye, it’s all forest– but as a person raised in and around the forests of Southern Oregon, I say it really isn’t.
            When I hear people (not you, Sarah) say, “Oh, I love Oregon! It’s so GREEN!” I chuckle, because they clearly haven’t been to the 2/3 of the state which is not.

      7. TRX – I get twitchy when I can’t see the sky when I’m looking straight ahead. 🙂 Been out in the shortgrass country for too long.

          1. Standing on top of the highest peak east of the Bitterroots … nothing stopping the wind or the sky all around you … exhilarating!

    3. We moved last year from central coastal California to very rural Minnesota.

      It’s been eye-opening (and I continually regret not having left years ago) in many ways out here. I can only imagine what it might have been like if we’d moved to, say, Texas or Louisiana instead of MN.

      In my defense, I’d note that I’ve long been annoyed, since I was a sprout, with coasties slagging off on “rednecks” and flyover country in general. If anyone out here asks, we usually claim to be refugees from California, which is run by idiots. Good thing there’s “Minnesota nice”.

        1. Crow Wing County, pretty much the middle of the middle of the state.

          After growing up in Southern California, and living most of the rest of my life in central/northern CA, my dream of living in the woodses finally is happening. The western edge of our property is the Little Pine river, we just finished shingling the roof this morning… Real Soon Now, right?

      1. Oddly enough, the last time I went to the UK, our Great Circle route out of Atlanta went over eastern Massachusetts. So now if someone mentions flyover country in a dismissive way, I can say “Oh, you mean like Boston?”

        1. Oops. Mea culpa.

          I have the utmost respect for the Coast Guard, the others (I’ll have to come up with a better label), not so much.

          1. It is bad form to confuse the idiots with those that pluck them out of the water after they have been particularly idiotic.

            Alternative – “cooties?” Seems appropriately descriptive…

    4. Too many people really haven’t the slightest idea of the world that is not immediately around them.

      The Daughter and I drove out I-40 from the piedmont of NC out to Albuquerque NM to visit a friend. (The Daughter observed that once on the plains there were ‘miles and miles of miles and miles’.) Returning we crossed Oklahoma on US 60.

      Later, in a discussion about over population and overcrowding online, I described the emptiness of the Oklahoma panhandle, with its abandoned houses. Someone who had lived her entire life in Los Angles honestly thought that what I had seen was land that was waiting for a new mall to be built. There were a more than a few who thought she might be right.

      1. Growing up, there was a section of land I was warned never to walk across. Once upon a time there was a town there, with over a hundred homes, and each home had a well. It was reclaimed by the woods, but the wells were still there.

        1. A little over 20 years ago, I dated a woman who had a cabin near Alma, Colorado. That’s been mining country for over 100 years, and there are probably hundreds of deep shafts all over the place. I saw one that was large enough to swallow a land yacht whole and was well over 100 feet deep, judging from dropping rocks into it. You had to be observant if you left the graded roads – it was surrounded by low (3-5 feet) brush that went right to the edges.

      2. Once a writer was pondering on line how to make strong spirits.

        I pointed out that before the still, they could distill by freezing.

        Her response was that they didn’t have means of refrigeration.

        1. I think I’ve read that the British made ice in India in the 1840s by the evaporation of surrounding water, which never would have occurred to me–and I passed thermodynamics (eventually).

          1. That can’t happen in most of the southern USA. You just wind up with a giant puddle and more water than you started with.

            A friend of mine used to work at a company that made evaporative coolers. They’re not sold here because they don’t work here. I encountered one in Colorado Springs and it made the room uncomfortably cool; in Arkansas, it would simply have left a film of water inside the room.

              1. Evap coolers work great! Often they are too cool so we step outside to warm up. For proper functioning, venting is necessary. Our home has an oversized cooler that needs a full open door to vent. WE are comfortable and still have the benefit of open doors to enjoy summer.

                1. Benefit… of open doors…

                  …To me, open doors generally mean “more bugs are coming in.” I don’t even trust screened windows/doors — there are lots of teeny ones.

                  (I am not an outdoor person, rather to my husband’s dismay.)

          1. drive on it!
            My uncle’s old commute was something like 40 minutes, until winter lurked long enough and the county plowed a path across the bay, then it was about 10 minutes.

          2. You need to watch that, though.

            The first year of my sojourn in New Hampshire, I wanted to do just that. Fortunately there was a local there to inform this idjit that the weather had not been anywhere near cold enough for anywhere near long enough for the lake to be thick ice all over.

    5. Early on a wind turbine was built in the NC mountains with great fanfare and ballyhoo about being on the cutting edge. The public was told this would be the first of many producing plentiful cheep clean renewably sourced electricity. It proved to be inefficient, and it killed birds, but it was mostly because of the noise which it generated that it was dismantled.

      They are once again trying to sell wind turbines to the mountain communities. This comes with the assurance that with new technology they are far more efficient and quite than they once were. On the whole the long time residents remain skeptical.

    6. Early on a wind turbine was built in the NC mountains with great fanfare and ballyhoo about being on the cutting edge. The public was told this would be the first of many producing plentiful cheep clean renewably sourced electricity. It proved to be inefficient, an eyesore, and it killed birds — but it was mostly because of the noise which it generated that it was dismantled.

      They are once again trying to sell wind turbines to the mountain communities. This comes with the assurance that with new technology they are far more efficient and quite than they once were. On the whole the long time residents remain skeptical.

      1. Apologies — My bad. The connection crashed and lost the page. The post did not show when I reloaded so I rewrote and posted it — which turns out to be posted it again. 😦

  5. Freedom of religion is a landmine the left thinks is a little ol’ firecracker.
    It is the first clause of the first amendment to the constitution. The founders put it there because they believed it was critical to a republican form of government. If the government can dictate religious belief, the government controls the people rather then the people controlling the government. The founders knew this first hand and through very recent history. It wasn’t all dour pilgrims leaving blighty for the New World. From the last half of the sixteenth century through the middle of the 18th century, England, Scotland, and Ireland were ripped to pieces by incredibly vicious, violent sectarian civil wars and rebellion.
    The level of freedom of the press waxes and wanes. So does gun control. But, man, you start messing with people’s religion and you will see some serious civil disobedience.

      1. Or French Wars of Religion or Reconquista or Wars of the Three Kingdoms (sometimes I think these igiots want to see if they can create a new Oliver Cromwell).

      2. Was a time the persecuted religious sects would take to the wilderness and rebuild there. That tradition goes back several millenia, at least, continuing to the present. Unless space travel takes off miraculously (heh), those groups have their backs against the wall with no where to retreat if the .gov starts pushing hard. Interesting thought: the history or doctrine of every one of the major religions being bullied in the US gives some serious reasons to be careful. Christianity has a history of growing and thriving on a regimen of martyrdom, and nothing would accelerate the trend of sectarian reconciliation more than an external, existential threat. Push otherwise moderate and peaceful Muslims, and watch how nasty a defensive jihad would be*. Benjamin and Dan may be gone, but you don’t want to corner Judah either. I hope the pushback is cultural and political rather than ballistic, but I’m not sure that’s the way to bet.

        * They may be quaint little brown semi-humans to the vile progs now, but nothing will escape the progressive lust to power forever, and the branches of Islam I have in mind are likely to make common cause with the other Abrahamic religions. Then there are those who’d end up joining Daesh or similar…

        1. Actually, I’ve been expecting space travel to be driven by the religious. Even Varley touches on this briefly in the second Titan book.

    1. Yep. Want violence? Tell someone they have the choice of damming their immortal soul or losing everything they’ve ever worked for.

        1. Well, that is already true…the press clamors for Kim Davis to be in jail but a mayor declaring a sanctuary city or giving out champagne with gay marriage licenses before this summer is feted.

            1. I’m fine with that, rule of law and all. I’m less fine, but would be happier than current, with both sets not in jail. Yes, it strikes at the rule of law but not nearly as much as the arbitrariness of the current situation…disobey laws those in power don’t want to enforce and you’re fine is a recipe to raise the stakes each election even higher.

                1. If it’ll put Hillary in jail, I’m all for it. Rule of law, civil war, alien invasion, zombie apocalypse, whatever.

          1. While I’m not sure jail was the answer for that woman, she is not in my book a hero, either–she’s a government employee who was ignoring that little ‘separation of church and state’ thing that’s a cornerstone of our country. She wants to protest, more power to her, she’s allowed–but that means quitting her job, not using her power as a government representative to force her views on others. That whole thing is a sticky mess, really.

            1. Again, you won’t get an argument but why should we think differently about mayors ordering their police forces to protect illegal immigrants or issue gay marriage licenses when they were illegal.

              Either the law applies to all equally or we have the rule of man. There is no alternative.

              1. Oh, I quite agree there! Rule of law should apply to all. This is why I’ve come to view the ‘hate crime’ as a dangerously slippery slope. It’s punishing thought/intent as much or more than actions. And sure, we should find someone who murders someone because of race/gender/orientation/whatever to be abhorrent…but the point should be that the killed or harmed someone. The reasons why shouldn’t come into it–the point is that the law says “don’t murder/assault someone, period.” Motivations should not, in general, come into it–particularly when they are as nebulous as thought or intent.

                  1. Ones dealing with an elected official. Kim Davis is a Democrat office holder, not a civil service employee. That’s why I compared her to mayors.

                1. exactly, how the hell do you mug/rob/murder/assault someone without hating them? All crimes are hate crimes, or there is no such thing. We try (or should) based on actions, not motivation

                  1. Well, you can mug or rob for purely economic “reasons.” The other two, no, not really (although there is a difference between “rage of the moment” and “long term hatred”).

                    1. Well, I suppose you could murder somebody “just because it paid well”.

                      Of course, I’m not sure I’d like a person who would murder another person for that reason.

                      Even assault might fall into that area.

                    2. What about killing someone, “because the entire planet REALLY is a better place without them in it?” One rather famous example of this having taken place a rather short drive away in a small town called Skidmore, MO.

                    3. I’m sure there have been situations where killing someone *did* make the world a better place…but the person who did the killing ought, in my opinion, to still be willing to accept the consequences of breaking the law, whatever they may be. The law, after all, doesn’t care if the victim was an evil git–the law says “Don’t murder people, period.”

                2. Stand by for the SJW cut and scream quote:

                  I believe hate crimes should be punished less if we’re going to differentiate (which I actually oppose).

                  Why? Hate is a normal human emotion and thus those driven by hate, for all their failings, are functioning as humans we know and love. To a lesser degree most sadists are engaging in emotions that if alien and revolting are still understandable. Their pleasure centers may be broken but we understand pleasure.

                  However, the cold, emotionless killer is inhuman. They are the dangerous ones. How many of us can imagine being pushed to or having always existed in that state with a frozen soul that kills without feeling a thing, neither regret or excitement, rage or pity. Those remorseless people are the ones to fear and to lock up forever or execute much more than the BLM crowd members while, riled up, beat an elderly man into the hospital.

                  They may be monsters but they are still human monsters not death machines spawned by Nietzsche’s void.

                  1. True, but since we can’t see into people’s heads and through their eyes, any determination of ‘they’re inhuman’ remains, ultimately, subjective. Which is also why emotion of any kind doesn’t belong in the law itself, and why a crime committed in hate should have the same consequences as any other murder/assault. Now, can a jury decide that this man who murdered the individual responsible for raping his child should get a lighter sentence, based on the evidence? Absolutely. But the point is, the man who committed the murder should still face the same kind of prosecution as the man who murdered someone for their wallet, or the serial killer who does it for inexplicable reasons. There should be no difference in the eyes of the law–it’s where a jury of peers and/or a judge is concerned that mercy can enter the scene and temper the cold justice of it.

                    So…nope, I don’t agree that ‘hate crimes’ should have a lesser punishment. Not under the law itself. The law needs to be the same for everyone, regardless. The *application* of the law gets messier, of course, because humans enter into it. But actually defining something as a ‘hate crime’ under the law, and having it have ‘special’ (be they lesser or greater) penalties attached to it? That’s not okay in my book, because one cannot ever say with absolute certainty that an emotion was truly and 100% the reason behind something. Humans are, for one thing, rather more complicated than that. (And even if it *was* 100% percent responsible for the crime, there is no way to absolutely, physically *prove* that.)

                  2. A sociopath is the one that you want locked up. They see people only as tools for their own ends.
                    That’s different from having the ability to kill with no emotion.

            2. She was an employee. A state employee, but still an employee.

              She refused to do her job.

              In my state, the labor laws boil that situation down to “…and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

              Gay-this and religion-that don’t even enter into the picture.

              1. She’s not an employee; she is a Democrat elected official. For that reason she can’t summarily fired although I assume there is something like an impeachment process.

                  1. You’re getting into details about KY law I don’t know. However, I think it is important that people recognize she is an elected official. One, that is the basis of my comparison with sanctuary city mayors as opposed to the police chiefs. Second, It changes the options available in dealing with her.

                  2. What do you do if the recall election fails? [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    Yes, I’m tired of this story. How did you guess? [Very Very Big Evil Grin]

                    1. What do you do if she, and other potential county clerks, run for election with the promise they won’t sign any SSM licenses- and get elected? ‘Twas only a few years ago the people of KY voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitution. I wouldn’t put it past them to elect people who vowed to continue acting that way.

                    2. Yes, how dare they vote against the Moral Ideas expressed by the Supreme Court.

                    3. @GoSpace: this is where the gay marriage activists screwed up. I’ve got a paycheck says Kim Davis would have much less support if the baker cases in a couple of states, the WA florist, the NM photographer, and Memories Pizza hadn’t already happened.

                      Why? Because Davis is a government official openly flaunting the law and that is a hard sell in nearly every case.

                      However, by moving against the private citizens first the mask covering just how intolerant gay marriage was going to be was ripped away. Fears of churches being told to marry gays or the state wouldn’t recognize their marriages at all when from paranoia to a reasonable fear.

                      Into all that steps a woman (and don’t discount the value of her sex) and a Democrat (which the media covers but also has value) as a champion of all of those people. All of a sudden the government official ignoring the law part loses a big deal of its power.

                    4. @herbn. first time commenter long time lurker here and at Larry’s. if the elected official swears to uphold the Constitutions of the Commonwealth of KY (which has an amendment stating marriage is between a man and a woman) and the US (which will not allow discrimination and insists on equal protection under the law) and has to give out marriage licenses without violating either why was her choice to issue no licenses not the correct one? keeping in mind SCOTUS does not create law and the two sets are contradictory.

                    5. Also the horse has left the barn on federal supremacy over local. Sorry. It can be changed, sure, but not like that. ALSO btw, the people that say that KY now has NO marriage statute are being ridiculous. An amendment to it was struck down, not the previous statute. ALSO this is not what the clerk says. What she says is it violates her religion. Since her religion is not my fictional Usaian which reposes on the documents of the founding, this is a priori nuts. WHY? because this is NOT a religious but a governmental ceremony. If her conscience is so exquisitely calibrated that giving gay couples a license which won’t cause them to sin any more or less than before is not permitted, then the proper honorable course is to resign.
                      This is not a normal Christian with normal, sane objections. This is crazy cakes on the level of a Muslim not issuing dog licenses because his religion forbids keeping pet dogs. She’s not blessing their union. She’s giving them a LEGAL CONTRACT.
                      If she’s not simply an attention whore, then she’s designed to confuse the subject. You know how all of us have been afraid they’ll go after churches? Well, this could be designed to incite the faithful with “See, they won’t even let us have civil marriage, they’re h8ters, let’s burn them down.”
                      Stupid all around to take this agent provocateur up as a cause celebre.

                    6. @sarah mind you i have no dog in the fight, and no caring if 2 or any other number of consenting adults in whatever external configuration choose to love each other. i live in Missouri and like KY we have a State Constitutional Amendment. not a law, part of the State Constitution voted on and enacted by the majority of the voters in the State that marriage is between a man and a woman. My understanding was that SCOTUS required equal protection and vacated the particular laws (as well as 10,000 years of tradition) that prevented it. so is that the 10th amendment or the the 14th that supercedes? i’d guess that since it is enacted after the Civil War when the Feds took over the country that the 14th supercededs apparently

                      When she took the office this wasn’t an issue, times change and she was confronted with a NEW THING that she had to grok, and decided that the only way to not discriminate was to NOT issue licenses.

                      i don’t disagree that she should either have stepped down or be impeached for failure to perform, but all the brouhaha started before she a Dem came out.

                    7. Look, I don’t have a dog in the fight, either, and I disagree with how it was done, (I think gay marriage can be a plus if we’re going to enforce/encourage the bourgeois virtues. Mostly I think it’s none of the government’s business.) but of all the ways to fight it this is the most guaranteed no-win possible. Since the administration is from Chicago, I can’t help having… suspicions.

                    8. @Sarah, so like most things politics: it was poorly handled, and could have been done better by somebody with sense.
                      Glad you are feeling better, look forward to S.P.IV. i really enjoy your blog and the guest posts.

                    9. @jungshin: I think you misunderstood my point. I’m not saying she should get a pass. I’m trying to explain why so many people are fighting for her to get one. Had someone like her been taken down before they went after private citizens she’d have no support. Now she can just claim to be another in the line of people attacked by the intolerance of the gay marriage crowd.

                      It doesn’t make her right but I long ago gave up on the right thing having any use in American public discourse. It only have value in protecting your own soul. Public debate is all about being able to scream better than the other side.

                    10. “(I think gay marriage can be a plus if we’re going to enforce/encourage the bourgeois virtues. Mostly I think it’s none of the government’s business.) ”

                      But- we’re not going to enforce/encourage the bourgeois values. A survey of homosexual men showed quite clearly that the vast majority that planned on entering into marriage were not intending to stay monogamous within that marriage- which is one of the values of marriage. Why is it a value? Why, it ensures that any children in the marriage will belong to the man… wait… 2 men can’t have a child. Don’t know if a similar survey was ever run among lesbians. I’m certain the results would be different. I don’t see any way that SSM is a plus to society. But, we’re now running a long term experiment to find out. Hopefully long term. If it has a negative impact on society- just how negative will it be?

                    11. There are other values than children. Social stability depends on married couples. But dear sir, as I noted to my husband yesterday if we meet someone our age it’s 90% chance they’re on the third, fourth or fifth marriage, or in some in between state. And you’re shocked gay men aren’t better than the straights? BTW be very wary of surveys. If you believe them 60% of married women and men cheat.
                      I stand for bourgeois virtues and I say we need to encourage them in everyone. Starting to take marriage seriously — FOR EVERYONE — is a good beginning.
                      Have you heard the vows “as long as we both shall love?” If you haven’t you’re not living in this century. And what the hell do they mean, pray tell?
                      What is destroying marriage is not extending it to gay people — it’s the culture of crazy promiscuity and teaching girls to loathe boys.
                      let’s start with gay marriage because like it or not that’s a lot of the cultural product originators and they change the view of society. Stop no fault divorce and stop teaching kids “if it feels good, do it.”
                      In fifty years we might do.

                    12. @herbn I was curious of your take on the situation, I am concerned about loss of personal rights to do what you want with your time and talent if you own a business and choose not to perform for somebody for WHATEVER reason, I am concerned about the governments capricious enforcement of the law and the apparent lynchmob attitude most people seem to feel is appropriate if the cause dujour is not met with appropriate enthusiasm.

                      Kim seemed to at least TRY to balance her sworn duty and personal beliefs. that is not to say she acted either honorably or upheld her duty but at least she tried to stay true to her convictions.

          2. I may not like Kim Davis and her stand, but my instinct is to side with the Goldstien du jour against the lynch mob.

      1. Idiots (the UK government folks planning this).

        Rather than crack down on the Real Radicals, they are talking about treating all religious leaders as “dangerous”.

        1. well, this is the same gov’t that wet itself over the fact they had to allow … gasp . . . GUNS!!1!11!!!!1!!ELEVENTY!11 into the country for the Olympics.
          How would they keep the populace safe from such evil?

    2. Those who claim that they are “on the right side of history” and are using the power of big media to make their case believe their own propaganda, but they have no idea of the kind of forces they are messing with. It won’t take a great deal for a lot of people who have respect for the rule of law to decide that it has gone too far and become an instrument of oppression.
      One might recall that in the American Revolution, there had been a slowly building resentment against the arrogance and highhandedness of the British king and nobility and a lot of grumbling, but almost no one had any idea of revolution. Then the British government made the mistake of punishing a whole city for the act of a few hotheads in order teach those rebellious colonists a lesson. Then, they met resistance with greater force, again and again. All of a sudden, people who had been solid respectable subjects of the king and outspoken defenders only a year or two before were taking up arms against his representatives.

      1. I have found that phrase, “the right side of history” to be very interesting. What does it mean and when do you things have changed and now is the new historical norm?

        I know people who oppose gay marriage are told they are no different than slaveholders prior to the Civil War and are thus on the wrong side of history. I’d like to know what evidence the slave holders were on the wrong side of history as opposed to the wrong side of the US culture in the mid-19th century.

        The West eliminated chattel slavery completely under 200 years and even that is not an international phenomena. While slavery was more or less prevalent in various places it was about as near universal as anything has ever been for the 4000+ years of recorded history prior to that. Certainly Europe had mostly replaced slavery with serfdom by about 1000 and as late as the Norman Conquest the trade continued in England (one of William’s legal changes was banning the exportation of slaves). Malta was a slave trading center into the 1600s.

        Africa and the MIddle East still have chattel slavery and I suspect it still effectively exists in China and parts of the former USSR.

        How do we know the current Western status quo, slavery is considered abhorrent, is the new norm and not what the majority of humanity did until it started to die off around 1000 and was eliminated from what we call the developed world less the 200 years ago?

        1. Close to our times, we were told we were backwards and doomed for resisting planned economies.

          And heartless Social Darwinists for opposing involuntary eugenic sterilization programs.

          1. Actually, depending on how you define it you could argue planned economies have as long a history as free ones. Palace culture in the bronze age and most of ancient Egyptian history would qualified as planned in my mind.

            I think liberty and freedom in the American sense have yet to prove themselves against history. I think we forget that too easily and that is part of how we got where we are now with a new class of want to be nobility.

      2. Look up what happened to Ben Franklin. He was attempting to calm the waters but got treated as if he was an ignorant child and not “listening” to his betters.

        1. Exactly — his treatment at the hands of Parliament made a die-hard and formidable enemy out of someone who had been inclined to be amiably-inclined.
          I wonder how many more serious enemies our incompetent Pols and militantly incompetent social-justice types have made, over the last couple of years? Me, for one.

          1. I’ve made the point on occasion to a group of history buffs that includes a lot of Brits that if the UK had just given the colonists a voice in Parliament, then the colonies probably wouldn’t have attempted to break away. One time when I stated this, someone replied with the fact that colonies in the British Empire weren’t allowed to have representation in Parliament. My response was to point out that by the early 19th Century, New York was the single largest English-speaking city in the world. The UK’s treatment of the Thirteen Colonies essentially ignored the fact that the colonies were no longer a few rustic towns clinging to the Eastern Seaboard.

            1. “someone replied with the fact that colonies in the British Empire weren’t allowed to have representation in Parliament. ”

              Replied? That’s not a reply, that’s ignoring what you said. That was exactly what you pointed out as the problem.

      3. Tarlton’s no mercy campaign in the south turned areas that had been more inclined to support reconciliation to one that supported the revolution.

  6. Same here with regards to blue-collar union background in my family and my own military service. Some union thug comes to my door and starts trying to tell me I better join up or bad things could happen, he’s going to be carried away with a chest full of slugs, and then his bosses will be losing their scalps. I don’t need to pay thugs for permission to work.

  7. We drove down I-80 last Spring for a college visit. Scenic, nice drive. I enjoyed it so much compared to driving down anywhere on the Northeast corrider.
    (Btw, when I say last Spring, it means Spring this year, right? )

    Regular people are pissed in a deep way that the perpetually outraged lefties don’t understand because they enjoy being in an emotional simmer of anger. The way people are pissed is in a way that harkens back to blood feuds and oaths of vengeance.
    Or maybe that’s just me. 🙂
    Carry on, free-spirited lefties of wanton destruction. Ignore that rasping sound sharpening swords in the background.

      1. I am not currently empowered to kill people fifty one at the time.
        I am not currently empowered to kill people fifty-one at the time.



  8. I am perpetually astonished that a group of people who despise and fear guns, and hold the military in contempt which they seldom conceal and never conceal well, think they can push around people who like guns, play with them frequently, and know and understand military history.

    It’s even dumber than the Confederate leaders who apparently thought that elan would substitute for an industrial base.

    1. Let’s be just. The Confederacy did justly evaluate their military culture as superior. We can field good soldiers is actually an argument.

      One notes that to this day, military Southerners — white and black — are overrepresented among those who win medals.

      1. But logistics – that’s where the failure was. Fighting spirit is a fine thing, but it can’t provide beans, bacon, bullets or bandages.

        That said – there’s a whole lot of gun owners in the US, and a lot of them don’t see anything at all wrong with stockpiling a few hundred rounds in anticipation of supply irregularities. And ammo stays fresh for a long time if it’s kept dry.

        The people who think that all they’ve got to do is pass a law and the gun owners will peacefully disarm are going to surprised when that law is ignored… much like the registration in NY didn’t produce anything like the numbers they were expecting. Or CA – in the early ’90s they decided to register ‘assault weapons’, thinking there were over 300k that needed to be tracked.

        They ended up registering about 7k.

        1. Wasn’t it Connecticut that recently passed a law requiring gun registration and very few people registered their guns?

          1. Yes which was the worst thing that could happen to the state. Now they either have to act as a police state to crack down or look powerless.

            1. iirc, last I’d heard the state had declared the whole thing a smashing victory, and revised the law so that people had a longer period of time to register their guns.

        2. Or hostess doesn’t want us discussing the ACW.
          That said, I feel the need to correct a point, and will try to do so as neutrally as possible.

          The Confederates did understand logistics.
          They did not expect how effective the union blockade would be. And they did not expect the Union to be able to field such resources after removing 90+/-3% of the federal government’s revenue (obtained from tariffs on tobacco and cotton).

          1. One of the reasons the Union prioritized capturing New Orleans and securing the Mississippi was to allow them to sell captured cotton. Indeed, at least one operation out of New Orleans had capturing cotton as a primary objective.

          2. The Confederate Army understood logistics, all right. Unfortunately, the state legislators who chartered the Southern railways hadn’t a clue. Too often, the lines didn’t meet up. In such cases, the Union had the luxury of rushing troops between different sectors by rail, and exploiting a local superiority of firepower while the Confederate reinforcements were moving on foot.

            1. IIRC the Southern Railroads went between Cotton producing areas to the ports.

              There was little (or none) connections between population centers like there were in the North.

              For that matter, the Northern Railroads had uniform tracks while the Southern Railroads didn’t.

            2. Which touches on a current problem, where we now have legislators who make decisions involving logistics for the military, frequently without even consulting the military logicians, or ignoring them when they have.

          3. I find it immensely frustrating when there’s a standing request like this on the ACW, and people go ahead & discuss anyway. Then when I see somebody being wrong on the internet, I have to choose between politely following the rules or blasting away.

            I will avoid the ACW itself and point out that while the South is often praised for its hospitality & politeness, that notion falls flat in the face of discussions like this. There are a lot of people like me in the Northeast who agree with Southerners and Westerners on a great number of issues, but you guys seem bound & determined to assume we’re all fans of big government in the BosWash corridor. We’re not. If you’ve ever heard of “Pensyltucky”, it goes all the way to the Canadian border.

            An awful lot of folks on our side are fond of quoting “amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics” while they annoy people who would otherwise be part of their power base.

            1. It generally works out to prevent flame wars that bury the bystanders deep in piles of conflicting citations. I don’t know if that was the intent but it seems to be the result. Discussions are polite and touch on things and usually ended before they get too heated.

            2. Sorry, but this has been a polite discussion on the ACW because it has avoided the major “Hot Topic” associated with the ACW.

              Since that “Hot Topic” is no longer a factor in US Politics, I see no problem with “allying” with Southerns when “facing” our common foe.

                1. Sir, I was born, raised, and am currently living in Illinois.

                  I see no reason that people born, raised and currently living (for example) Georgia would not want to ally with me against the Left.

                  Conservatives in the South aren’t racists and nobody in this current discussion have called them that.

                  So I have to ask “what in the heck are you talking about?”

                  1. Where in Madiganistan do you live? I live near Minooka, about 12 miles SW of Joliet where I55 and I80 cross….

                    1. Danville, IL. East of Champaign/Urbana and west of the Illinois-Indiana state line. (on I-74).

                    2. Ah, Danville. That’s real close to the wonder that is the Beef House. Their swiss steak was to die for. Yum.

                    3. Ahem, Other Sean. The Beef House rolls. That is the reason to go there. They have good pie, too. (Also from Danville. My grandparents’ place is west of town, a mile or so north of 150.)

                2. I know several people in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts that I would happily ally with.

                  Yes, some States are saddled with a majority of dangerous idiots. There is always the minority, though.

                  (And, I also realize that at some point that supposed minority can become the majority right quick – when the wrong button gets pushed by their want-to-be masters.)

                3. As with many southerners making assumptions about the beliefs of everybody above the Mason-Dixon line, so, it appears, do many northerners make assumptions about everybody below it.

                  I have lived in both areas of the country and I can tell you that they are both have many individuals who don’t fit into the popular stereotypes.

            1. More proof that he is the greatest general in American history but is sadly forgotten.

              There is no campaign by an American general as masterful as the Veracruz campaign that ended the Mexican War.

        3. A running joke on one message board I frequent if “of COURSE I would’ve registered my guns, if it weren’t for losing them all in that tragic boating accident. So sad.”

            1. Someone reduce the gun control agreement to few lines
              I have guns
              you don’t want me to have them
              I not giving them up, next move yours

            2. Of course you did. I will sagely nod and attest to the veracity of your every word.

              Poor humpback, irreparably contaminated by the mere proximity of those dreadful, dreadful killing tools….

        4. Mary | September 16, 2015 at 10:13 am | Reply
          Let’s be just. The Confederacy did justly evaluate their military culture as superior. We can field good soldiers is actually an argument.

          JLawson | September 16, 2015 at 10:22 am | Reply
          But logistics – that’s where the failure was. Fighting spirit is a fine thing, but it can’t provide beans, bacon, bullets or bandages.

          Folks, you’re bad for my already questionable sanity. So I need to inflict this on everyone.

          I just realized that one can reformat this argument into the “Who would win, Superman or Batman?” thing.

          Superman has all the ups in a straight-on fight.
          Batman has far, far superior “logistics” and “planning” aspects.

          1. I have always heard that presented as the primary if not only argument in Batman’s favor, and I find it quite convincing. Batman would definitely win. Also: 9mm forever and Notepad++ beats emacs and vi any day. *runs away in an evasive pattern*

            1. It’s CANNON that Batman has a plan to take out every Super on earth… including himself.

              What’s the plan to take him out?

              This little thing called the JLA….

              (Justice League Unlimited, can’t remember the episode.)

              1. What about Supers off Earth? Does he have a plan to take out Green Lantern? I prefer Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

              2. 1) Canon
                2) Superman is from Kansas. He is right on the edge of being a Southerner.
                3) Batman is a Yankee.
                4) Does Batman have a plan to take out Detective Comics?

                1. It’s possible to stop the Joker without taking him out– someone like Superman, on the other hand, won’t do something you need to seriously stop him from doing unless he’s sure it’s right, and that’s about the only way you’ll stop it.

                2. Speaking of my favorite psychopath, If i recall correctly dc’s newer injustice story arc (video game and a DC alternate universe comic book spin off) answers the question of what happens if the joker gets bored with bats and turns his attention on sups.

                  Short version. He gets sups to kill Lois lane and his kid by making him hallucinate that they are doomsday (at least Lois as doomsday, not sure about kiddo). Once sups is lucid joker shows sups what he did. Sups kills joker, and establishes a fascist government based on everyone in the world will play nice or face Supermans wrath.

                  I’m pulling my info from the video game, but the story arc seems pretty cool.
                  oh and first thing sups does after killing joker… Imprison the Batman… cause well… he’s batman.

                  1. An episode of the animated Batman includes Superman. Bruce Wayne has to be in Metropolis to do business with Lex Luthor. Clark Kent pulls a news assignment in Gotham. Batman and Superman switch places to keep them covered. Batman warns the straight forward Superman that ‘with the Joker expect the unexpected.’

                  2. It’s Superman and allies vs. Batman and allies. Sort of like Marvel’s Civil War but not really. The comic book is into year 4 now. The game starts 5 years after the events you mention.

              3. Kryptonite, if you’re in the right continuity.

                Indeed, in that one, Superman was aware he had it and trusted him to do the right thing if, for instance, Superman’s mind was controlled.

              1. Currently in the DC Universe, Gold Kryptonite doesn’t exist. But Batman has some Green Kryptonite bullets available. [Wink]

              1. I’m still fond of UltraEdit, but Notepad++ has the super advantage of being FREEEEEEEEE. I don’t think I could do my job without Notepad++.

        5. Well… the South did think that at least one form of logistics would come into play. There was an expectation that the lack of “King Cotton” being delivered to Great Britain would cause the British to bring the war to a close one way or another.

      2. Yeah, but were they that much better? The Confederacy used either contempt or wishful thinking when they evaluating the North’s will to battle.

        1. See above.
          Roughly 90% of the federal government’s revenue at the time came from tariffs on tobacco and cotton.
          The Confederates underestimated the will of the unionists to fight, but how the Union managed to fund the war effort in the first place was the impressive thing.

          1. There was also the Southern belief that England and France would support them because Cotton was King.

            The South didn’t realize that England could get Cotton elsewhere and internal English politics made it “safer” for England to purchase Cotton elsewhere.

            1. Certainly there was a lot of upper-class support for the South in Britain. And the refusal of the lower-classes to support it was positively heroic in the face of the Cotton Famine. (Some Northerners, in the middle of the war, raised relief for the English victims of the war.)

              1. To an extent, but if it hadn’t been for Lincoln’s brilliant PsyOps after the Union lost the battle of Sharpsburg, and the personal intercession of Prince Albert after the Union mistreated British diplomats, it’s likely that Britain would have joined the war on the side of the Confederacy.
                They were certainly happy to sell them armaments. Were it not for the blockade, the Johnny Reb would have been as well equipped as Billy Yank.

              2. The South did cut their own throat on cotton as well. As soon as the war started they embargoed cotton even before the Union blockage to force France and England to war.

                This turned into a case of multiple timing is everything intersections. Cotton had been in bumper crops leading up to the war so the embargo didn’t have nearly as much pressure as expected. As pointed out the Union lost the revenue but so did the Confederacy during the first year of the war when it could have been used for imports of military material while the Union got its act together.

                I have wondered if they’d sold and bought that first year if the Confederacy couldn’t have moved the whole war back a year in terms of Union progress and thus defeated Lincoln with Northern voters in 1864.

        2. So did the North.

          “Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.”

          1. Nod. Scott’s plan was put aside because many in the North thought it would be easy to beat the South.

            The old “we’ll be home for Christmas” nonsense.

          2. You know, in all the history I have consumed I don’t ever recall reading about the general populace going into a war with a clear idea of how long it was really going to take. They always seemed to go in with a much more rosy picture of how long it would take and what it was going to be like.

          1. “and a few hundred thousand German and Irish conscripts”

            Sigh… really, this canard again?
            The Union army was overwhelmingly volunteer — “conscription” in the North was basically just a clumsy carrot-and-stick method to encourage volunteering. (Southern conscription was actually far more thorough and effective.)
            German immigrants enlisted in significant numbers because they had come to the US seeking freedom (after failed revolutions in their own lands) and saw the war in that light. The Irish, however, enlisted at a very low rate. Many more black men volunteered for the Union army than Irish men served.

        1. Hence, the importance of the Union blockade. Division of labor, and all that.
          A bale of tobacco was worth a great many muskets.

          1. Even if the blockade had been less successful having only one major iron works, Tredegar Iron Works, in Richmond, put the south at a grave disadvantage.

      3. The South’s mistake was in thinking that they had a monopoly on good soldiers. With all their broadsides against the weakly factory worker, they forgot about the Midwest’s farm boys.

        Of course, I also like to point to that was as merely the first example of “When it absolutely, positively, must be burned to the ground, Call an Ohioan” }:)

                1. If it helps any, I have three kids who sing this, the Potato Song, and Little Einstein songs which are set to really good classical music. (Ever hear a two year old that can’t carry a tune in a bucket sing along to the Hall of the Mountain King? He’s adorable and enthusiastic, not talented.)

      4. The Confederacy had a few great officers, and a boatload and a half of f*cking prima-donnas. The Union only had three quarters of a boatload. Wars are won by the side that makes the LEAST mistakes.

        Anyway, the Confederates at least knew that they would need arms, a martial organization, and good general-ing to win. The SJWs seem to think they’re going to go it on good intentions, militarized police (and the ones who will follow THOSE orders are the ones that aren’t worth spit), and moral superiority.

        This ain’t gonna be pretty. but it just might be funny.

    2. It is possible that they have mistaken riots and protests for effective military force. Not like they’ve seen the real thing. They may have mistaken the traditional response to riots and protests since the sixties for fear of an overwhelming military threat.

      1. The left loves violence, but does not study it. They claim to be informed by a “science of history”, but are deeply ignorant of it.

        Their ignorance, sadly, is what makes them dangerous.

    3. The Confederacy expected a short war. So did Wilhelm II and Tojo, for that matter.

      In all honesty, the Confederates had good reason for their belief that it wouldn’t go beyond some localized saber-rattling – many Confederate politicians had been incumbent United States politicians just weeks before, and were theoretically up to date on current US policies and attitudes.

      There was also a *lot* of British and French political involvement; both nations were thrilled at the idea of an emerging competitor breaking up, and signed agreements and provided arms to help that happen.

      1. I read a book on Europe’s reactions to the Civil War. The outbreak saw a lot of glee about how the USA would finally have to deal with tariffs and border controls and all that stuff.

    4. Well, Lee must have thought that if the Federals were dumb enough to provide insufficient protection to Harper’s Ferry, which he had already captured in a military attack, for goodness sakes, and were too dumb to protect Norfolk Naval Yard, they would be pushovers. Way tougher than they look is a very dangerous image for a nation to have. And as Rommel said, no nation goes to war less prepared that the US. And no one learns faster.

      1. Actually, Lee wouldn’t take a command until 1862 although he was an advisor to Davis prior to that. His private letters prior to the war indicate he knew it would be a disaster.

        1. Yeah. Lee didn’t want the war, and thought secession was a bad idea. But his loyalty to his home outweighed his political thoughts.

          1. In that, Lee reminds me of Admiral Yamamoto of the IJN, who thought war with the US would be disastrous for Japan, yet planned and executed the Pearl Harbor attacks.

    5. It’s even dumber than the Confederate leaders who apparently thought that elan would substitute for an industrial base.

      And with the way they’re encouraging all the gun makers to relocate to Texas and other free states, they’re making that mistake too.

  9. They cost about as much as a house.

    I was curious about the cost of a big rig, so I went looking and found the following in an article Big rigs, big costs from 2014.

    It’s no surprise, either, that the cost of trucking is high these days in part because the average cost of a new tractor-trailer is now estimated to range between $140,000 and $175,000, according to data analyzed by Frost & Sullivan – anywhere from $110,000 to $125,000 for a new tractor and $30,000 to $50,000 for a new trailer.

    1. And excluding either coast or major urban areas that kind of money will easily get you a brand new 3Br 2Ba brick home of around 2k square feet.

      1. And just to add another point to illustrate one item leading to the absolute and utterly complete disonnectedness between the coastal enclaves of stupid and the rest of the country, this Silicon Valley tract house built in the early 1960’s, at ~1,200 sq. ft. on a 6K sq.ft. suburban lot, is currently worth somewhere north of $800,000 US.

        And in recent coversations a local Realtor reported that clients of theirs, couples who both work at Apple, cannnot afford to buy here, opting instead to commute to Cupertino from Oakland, some 60 miles to the north.

        Also note San Francisco is vastly, by far, way way more expensive.

        When individual finances, and as a result the pay required for companies to attract and retain talented workers, are that distorted, lots of other things become distorted as well.

        1. Another price point, a bedroom community about a half-hour south of San Jose.

          Entry-level home, 1228 sq ft, on a quarter-acre lot in an, built in 1976. Sold new for $48K. Resold in 1979 for $78K.

          Sold last year for $675K. The same house, if it was in a Los Altos Hills neighborhood about 40 minutes away, would have gone for $1.4M.

          It’s nuts, and it has been for a long time.

    2. Relative of mine is union enforcer working at the Charlotte Freightliner plant. She and her fellow workers hold the product in absolute contempt, they say the trucks are garbage.

    3. this is what i DO. not only the cost of the rig (WEEKLY truck payments), insurance with minimum coverage mandated by the Feds, maintenance, licensing it (IRP cab cards), permits (State and Federal), fuel , Fuel Taxes, Excise Taxes, business taxes, Federal, State and Local DOT compliance. a single truck Owner Operator might gross low six figures in a year and if he’s very lucky take home $50,000 more likely low $40’s

        1. my Masters is in Human Resources and i do DOT compliance and safety for trucking companies. its ironic that as a Libertarian my entire JOB consists of steering companies through government compliance minefields.

          before right now i never considered that as a published author all you guys are also a small business with all THOSE tax issues.

                1. Probably came up time for whatever they call inspections for the civi side, so he has to be read to have someone drop in at random for a few weeks at a time.

  10. IIRC, a large percentage of the honeybee colony collapses were traced back to the apiaries supplying the bees ready access to corn syrup in an attempt to boost honey production.
    It was discovered that doing so isn’t a good idea. The practice has largely stopped.

    1. I had read that they were substituting corn syrup for the honey they took and taking too much. While corn syrup may have the calories, it doesn’t have the trace elements the same as bee vomit.
      The east coast has carpenter bees, that are responsible for over 50% of the flower pollination. I suspect we could survive the demise of the European honey bee fine.

    2. I’ve also read that a particular kind of mite heavily contributes to colony collapse disorder, and most of the beekeeping books I’ve read recently urge the aspiring apiarian(?) to do frequent visual inspections of bees and be cautious when introducing queens from foreign colonies, so as to avoid infection.

      1. One of the guys checking out hives to see if that was the problem discovered that some of the “collapsed” colonies had been doing just fine– so good that they swarmed and abandoned the hive as too small. 😀

        This gives you a “mysteriously empty” hive WITHOUT the dead bees.

        1. …Which makes me wonder about the people who are claiming to be beekeepers. There *are* signs a hive is about to swarm, and if you’re doing your job as a beekeeper, you can pick up on them without too much difficulty… (And sometimes a queen is no good, and forces constant swarms, which is when you kill the queen so one of her daughters can take over, or an outsider brought in.)

          Beekeeping is a fairly complex art, or so I gather from my research on it (Not having the means/chance at the moment to get into it myself, but someday…). Not hard, per se, but it requires patience and dedication–sounds like some of those folks were taking the ‘hobbyist’ side of things a little too seriously. 😀

          1. But but but that’s just GREEDY and UNNATURAL people who are FORCING the poor bees to do more than they should, in a NATURAL way you just put out the hives and get honey when you want it.


          2. There are signs, but they’re not necessarily obvious to the inexperienced; plus bees can often go just fine for a few weeks without being handled, but if you’re busy at just the wrong time you can miss the whole shebang.

            (I have been an inexperienced beekeeper. I would like to try again, but I came out all over hives last time I was stung — by an already dead bee, to make things as absurd as possible — and should probably not seek out contact without testing and possibly desensitization.)

            1. Indeed–but the corollary to ‘inexperienced’ is the idea that you will eventually either become experienced, or give it up. 😀

              I’m sure I’d have no idea what I was looking for either–but the problem lies not in inexperience, but in the people who are howling about it being all the evil corporations fault and ignoring bee experts who are saying “Um, no, that’s not what happened in this particular case…”

              That being said, I personally am appalled at the idea of breeding/engineering crops so that they produce their *own* herbicides or pesticides. That seems very wrong to me, and I don’t plan on ever growing such crops myself. I also happen to work in a job where part of it is applying (or allowing others to apply) herbicides on plants, and so there’s an awareness of just how much damage some chemicals truly can do to the soil/other plants. Also an awareness that, sometimes, you haven’t GOT any other viable options, if you truly want to eliminate a noxious, invasive species. (Though options–like fungus that acts as an herbicide targeted to a *specific* plant–are becoming a real thing, and that’s super-cool.)

              On the other hand, engineering crops so that they can thrive in poorer soils, or withstand diseases? Totally cool with that idea.

    3. There’s also the twin danger of a lot of new people joining up, and people who think good intentions will protect their hives from the danger. There’s at least one guy who got a big showing in the “natural” blogosphere for having his bees “stolen.” Dig around enough and you find out that his hives were infested with various hazards, and probably managed to infect some of the neighbors’ bees before the feds came in, identified the infected hives, and destroyed them. (With warning. He dodged it several times by deliberately not being at home when they came; finally they served him, he ignored them, and then they went and did their job.)

      Agriculture is a lot more intensive than a lot of folks like to consider; we don’t use pesticides and stuff because we’re greedy for “more,” we do it because not doing it will result in none— and might wipe out the neighbors, too.

      1. Ahhh, I’d heard the first ‘outraged’ part of that story, but not he follow up that he was a crap beekeeper. While I would not put it past a government/corporation to pull such shenanigans, I don’t think things are in quite such a state yet that they can do so with impunity.

        As I frequently (and sarcastically) remark in my current job: Apparently, science is *hard.* Or at least, people decide it’s so, and so don’t even bother…

        (And here’s me, with a friggin’ ART DEGREE, and I’ve spent the last five years in a science/agriculture related field and am doing just fine, thanks. Sure, the math is still a struggle for me, when I have to do it, but that’s what brains are for…)

        1. Ahhh, I’d heard the first ‘outraged’ part of that story, but not he follow up that he was a crap beekeeper.

          It was something about the specific department they said had come in and randomly destroyed his hives because he was a threat to the status quo or something…. it hit a vague something or other that made me go “wait, those guys just don’t act like that,” and an hour later I was reading the local REAL news that included input from the neighbors whose livelihood he was threatening.

          It’s like when someone talks about animals being stolen by the police, and then you find out they were starving and covered with sores; you’re more likely to run into a “neglected” dog that they “refuse to save” who is just fine but is chained up during work hours.

          1. In the Eve Dallas series, a new character was introduced (a few books ago) and Eve learns that she had plead guilty to “stealing a dog”.

            Well it turns out that the woman took the stolen dog to a vet and the owner was charged legitimately with cruelty to animals.

            Oh, the woman who stole the dog adopted the dog and the dog was doing fine. [Smile]

            Still in the current book, Eve just had to bring up “you stole the dog”. [Grin]

            1. I wonder if that’s where the idiot got it… we have a woman in the Methow area who keeps doing this, except the dogs are never actually abused.

              She also trolls the local message boards and does stuff like yell at people who don’t snatch up every animal that comes near their land and haul it into the vet.
              Including a cat that was acting oddly, and refused to drink water.

              For those who just started to twitch: apparently she either doesn’t know or care that rabies use to be known as hydrophobia because of that tendency.

              I know of at least one rancher she accused of being a front for drugs or animal abuse because they were offering to pay too much for a sprinkler changer and general ranch hand, and then it changed to an insultingly small amount because… because?

              1. Or that lovely ‘expose’ video that popped up awhile back about how CRUEL ranchers were to cows because they used…electric cattle prods.

                As anyone who has EVER tried to move a friggin’ ton-plus animal that DOES NOT want to move somewhere…yeah, the prod is about the only way to move that beast and not end up placing yourself in the way of fairly severe injuries. (I’ve never raised cows myself, and even *I* know that.)

                A better subject? Branding. Those brands can cause some nasty skin issues. But amazingly enough, there are many ranchers who have indeed looked into other methods, and who aren’t all “But it’s always been done this way”–and lo and behold, someone has invented one: freeze-brands. It turns the hair follicles in the brand area permanently white. No festering burns, no skin tumors erupting. Just a nifty white patch. Even better, it doesn’t ever have to be redone, and the brand doesn’t get obscured by thickening scar tissue or tumors. (I imagine you could, y’know, have the area end up scarred, but overall.)

                1. As I understand the branding issues, it’s a rather specialized problem– with Angus and Hereford crosses, I’ve never seen scarring or tumors. That’s the kind of thing that shows up on horses. Maybe it’s a dairy cow thing?

                  Cutting ears and horns also looks insanely painful and nasty– unless you pay attention to the cows, and notice they throw as much of a fit about being in the chute at all, and five minutes later they’re walking around like there’s no problem. (Although sometimes they look like a zombie movie extra.)

                  1. IIRC it also has to do with brand shape – curved brands cause less trouble than do lots of corners, especially if using a running iron (a thing of the past, mostly). And I seem to recall that breeds with paler skin under their haircoats are more prone to trouble, but it’s been a while since I looked at the articles.

                    1. I was taught that a brand for actual use on animals is NEVER supposed to have two lines touching– so an “H” would look more like: |-| than H.

                      It’s also supposed to be so simple that it can be blurred and still identifiable; that carries over to cold-branding very nicely, especially for horses with really long winter coats.

                2. I’m trying to think of anything in ranching or ag that we do in a way “because it’s always been done that way”– can’t think of one, although you MIGHT get that explanation if someone doesn’t want to try to explain it to you. (Either because of time limits, their view of you or just not wanting to.)

                  You can always find SOMEONE, but… yeah, I can think of a few of the get-back-to-our-roots city folks who got their idea of “how it’s always been gone” from visiting distant relatives as a kid, and TV. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is not a documentary…..

  11. Grew up in a neutral area with several mafia kids. Union = Mafia was a lesson I learned early on. I’ve been unpleasantly surprised several times by people who didn’t understand this basic fact.

    The whole point of a union, beyond basic protections and wages for the workers, is to get something for nothing by using brute force and the threat of violence. The entire purpose of union leadership is to get more power and perks for union leadership. And to get money to pay their bosses and pay off the politicians.

  12. I’m convinced that one of the weaknesses of the Constitution is that it doesn’t contain a mandatory penalty clause.

    I propose raffling off chances to duel your congresscritter on your Statehouse lawn every July 4th. Raises funds and, eventually, enforces term limits.

    1. I have long advocated for a “Free Smack” rule. That is, every citizen is entitled to haul off and deliver one finest-kind smack with a rolled-up newspaper to their elected representatives, once a year. (Edition and version of newspaper at the discretion of the citizen. A truly fed-up individual would use the Sunday New York Times complete with supplements). The use of hidden lead pipes, itching powder, etc. will be strongly discouraged, as will representatives hiding in their offices all the time.

      Perhaps I am naive and idealistic, but if you can train a puppy to not poop on the rug surely you can train a Congressman? 😀

      1. I’m not American, so I have no dog in this fight; but hell’s bells, I wouldn’t use the New York Times no matter how fed up I got. I know where it’s been.

      2. Alas, smacking our current congress critter (I am looking at you, John Cornyn!) with a current issue of the San Antonio Express News wouldn’t have all that much effect. It’s about the size and strength these days of a company newsletter.
        But I agree in principle with the concept.

        1. I’d be happy to send you a copy of the Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News. It’s plenty thick.

      3. Edition and version of newspaper at the discretion of the citizen.

        Are hardbound editions from the library okay?

        1. Ever worked a lot with microfiche? Get it just right, edge on, and you just have to call the coroner and the biohazard crew.

        1. Western WA is the side of the state with Seattle – a black swirling vortex of left-wing idiocy that is sucking everything around down with it.

          1. Oh, yeah. A few years ago when it actually snowed (rare there). The mayor forbade the use of salt on the roads and freeways because, and I am not making this up, he didn’t want to contaminate the ocean with salt.

              1. Yes. More specifically, Elliot Bay which is connected to Puget Sound which, as anyone who has been on a ferry can attest, is most definitely salt water.

                Even better, we were treated to the sight of a bus full of children dangling over I-5 after sliding down one of our famous narrow steep streets. Nobody was hurt, or that mayor *might* have been, uh, damaged a bit by outraged citizens. He nearly was anyway.

                Oh, and he tried to tell us that “packed snow” was safer than clearing the streets. (Translation: he couldn’t find The Snowplow. We only have one. Or it seems like that. Doesn’t snow much, but when it does…)

                1. Now, now – we generally get one snow a year. Never more than 6″, usually less, melts after a few days, “how pretty”. It’s like our once-a-year high wind (60-80kt peak) that uproots a few trees, kills power for anywhere from a few hours to a few days at worst. It all lets the Seattlites think they’ve experienced some weather.

                  1. As much fun as it is to mock Seattlites and surrounding areas for their response to snow (moved here from Easter Canada) – it’s easy to forget that the snow here is basically slushy ice, once you are off the green river valley area it is all steep hills, and snow happens so rarely nobody invests as much money in response as they do for downed trees and floods.

                    I’d rather criticize the mayor for the “road diets” – reducing already narrow and hard to navigate streets to one lane so there is another always open for busses and bikes.

                2. Actually, he had sold The Snowplow. No, I don’t know that for sure, but several counties over there did sell all their snowplows a few years ago (the reasoning varied from Global Warming to “none given”) so I would find it logical that cities would follow suit.

                  1. How bad the storm and are all the roads paved? I know there were many more dirt/gravel roads years ago, but it was not unusual to see road graders pressed into light snow plowing service – at least in the country. The earlier they were out, the better.

                    1. They are still used here in Idaho, and IMHO as both a driver and an owner of a driveway and mailbox, do a superior job to plow trucks. They just can’t deadhead down the plowed road nearly as fast. Not sure that they have many left over on the West side, however.

              2. It gets worse.

                We’re now not allowed to use salt– and a wide range of other products– on the roads in the areas that get snow all the time.

                But the Seattle Blob is allowed to do so.

                I think they used the salmon as an excuse….

          2. actually it’s a corridor (the I 5 corridor to be precise) and people on both sides of it look at the idiots in it and talk about “come the revoluuution”

              1. You don’t want to live in Portland.
                I think I-5 is an artery. Straight from San Diego to Seattle.

            1. I hear there’s a pretty good chance nature’ll clear the I-5 corridor within the next fifty years.

              I should hang out with fewer geologists: when they stop talking in geologic time-spans they start telling horror stories.

  13. Living in Fargo, with three nearby Universities and a couple of community colleges/trade schools as well, we get quite a few college professors and students who lean to the left. Get outside of town and about the only lefties you find are on the Reservation. There is a reason the only statewide office held by a Democrat is a lone US Senator (and she got elected primarily because of who she ran against rather than on her own merits. Right now it looks like her political career is about over). Most of this state considers the Bush’s too liberal.

  14. Until about eight years ago, I took an annual drive from the Virginia coast to north Alabama to visit friends. Beautiful country. Lots of small towns. Lots of hills, valleys, hollows, and caves. Lots of deer hunters who know the terrain.

    I live in a small town separated from a larger metro area by a river. I’ve overheard some longtime residents discuss SHTF scenarios. I would not want to be on the wrong side of those two bridges if that bunch decided to open them and keep them open.

    1. I need more details; The James has one drawbridge and two tunnels, and the north side couldn’t really be called a ‘small town’. The York has only one drawbridge, unless you mean West Point, which has two drawbridges, but they technically are on two rivers (Pamunkey and Mattaponi). I don’t think any of the three bridges on the Rappahannock are drawbridges. The Potomac also has only a single bridge, and since it is always under construction, traffic flow is non-existent anyway.

  15. I used to live in flyover country, and I sure would like to go back there. Those are ‘my’ people in so many ways. Especially the part about respecting private property rights, and not telling others how to live their own lives.

  16. This is what pisses me off about Trump. We were supposed to be debating if Cruz’s lack of executive experience outweighed his stronger conservative bona fides over Walker, or if Rubio’s immigration stance was disqualifying. Instead we’re talking about a crony capitalist blowhard friend of the Clintons who leads the polls because 1) he says dumb, but popular, things about immigration* and 2) the Democrat operatives with bylines won’t stop talking about him. It’s enough to drive someone to drink, not that it’s a long drive.

    *Every time I hear someone talk about building a fence or wall along the souther border I’m reminded of Patton’s line: “Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.” There isn’t a wall or fence designed that cannot be breached in short order by sufficiently motivated individuals. The Mexican Army has combat engineers. The Mexican Army is corrupt. You do the math.

        1. So there was no point in bombing the Ho Chi Min trail because we could reduce it to zero usability.

          A fence is a tool to channel and control areas while allowing forces to be concentrated in more active sectors, such as where the Mexican army blows a hole.

          As for providing training to coyotes, that is already happening as well as lawfare on their behalf in the states.

          Perhaps instead of a fence it is time for another Pershing expedition but larger and to secure a 5-10 mile buffer. Based on the last few times I visited El Paso before my mother moved I suspect much of Juarez would welcome the occupation.

          1. I’ve long said that the solution to the immigration problem is to finish the job we started in 1846. Look at the number of Mexicans living in the US. If you realize that for every immigrant – legal and illegal – there are several more back home who would like to be Americans but are unwilling to undertake the effort and/or risk, then a sizable fraction – if not an outright majority – would welcome becoming American.

            1. We’ve discussed the possibility before, here, of a cultural backlash leading to an actual American Empire, rather than the loose hegemony the progs call an empire. Were that to happen, I suspect Mexico would be the first thing to be conquered and absorbed, and the cartels and corrupt functionaries ruthlessly eliminated. I don’t want to see that happen – the transition to empire would destroy most if not all that is good in this nation – but it would have some positive byproducts.

        2. ‘Blow a hole in a fence’, in this case, = ‘mount an armed military expedition in U.S. territory’. In other words, invade.

          Unless you are suggesting that the U.S. would somehow be allowed to build the fence on the Mexican side of the border?

          1. The scenario I’m seeing if a squad of combat engineers getting paid a few thousand dollars to blow something up one night. We in the US would probable not find the hole for at least a couple of days, and would never be able to figure out who did it.

            Unless, of course, we had the entire fence under observation. But in that case, why build the fence? The money would be better spent on a reaction force to apprehend those crossing the border.

            1. We in the US would probable not find the hole for at least a couple of days, and would never be able to figure out who did it.

              The second part maybe (although I doubt it) but the first part? A border wall, actually double fence, would include (if designed properly) electronic continuity monitoring just to identify breaches from natural causes. I suspect the border patrol would know within second of both fences being breached. It would probably also include video surveillance but if said engineers were stupid enough to do the activity in marked vehicles and in uniform would deserve to be caught.

              That’s an example of “the wall as a tool” argument. It is not the end all, be all of border security. It is a way to gain a low cost minimal deterrent to allow easier concentration of force at points where such a deterrent is insufficient.

              As such a well designed and built border defence is a necessary but not sufficient action to limit illegal immigration. Genuine penalties and enforcement for hiring illegals and actual removal of various safety net benefits are another. A significant tax on overseas cash transfers might be another but has issues. Raising costs high enough to make illegals being willing to work sub-minimum wage with such a task might be a fools errand as I suspect direct wage cost is the least of the appeals of illegals.

            2. If the fence is to be worth anything at all, it needs to be kept under constant electronic surveillance. If you can’t figure out exactly who blew the hole in it, you built it wrong.

              As for the reaction force: The entire point of building the fence is not to keep infiltrators out, but to slow them down so that the reaction force will have time to react. The purpose of fortifications is to economize on force, not to replace it altogether.

              1. If you can’t figure out exactly who blew the hole in it, you built it wrong.

                You know that, I know that, but remember this is government work.

                1. It’s military work, or else it’s not worth doing at all. Unlike the civil service, the military has real skin in the game. If the wall is built wrong, soldiers will die unnecessarily. This is a powerful incentive not to build it wrong.

                  If you assume that it isn’t going to be built and manned as a function of the national defence, you are in essential agreement with those who say it should not be built at all.

                  1. Usually, yes, the military makes sure that it knows what it’s doing. But I’ve been hearing some odd bits and pieces about domestic stuff that the US Army Corps of Engineers has been mismanaging.

              2. And if you’ve got that level of surveillance and response, the fence is totally superfluous. A fence isn’t going to slow down infiltrators at all, and a wall won’t do much better. You just can’t have an economy of force on a 2000 mile border.

                1. No, a fence DOES slow down infiltrators, because it is a physical obstacle that requires time to cross; and if you try to blow a hole in the fence, you have just announced your presence.

                  You just can’t have an economy of force on a 2000 mile border.

                  If that were true, every country in the world with 2000 miles of border would be under continuous invasion by hostile powers and would be utterly helpless to do anything about it. ‘Economy of force’ is not the name of a size. It is a scalable concept.

                  1. Blowing a hole in a remote section of the fence – and there are a lot of re,ore areas on the southern border – does not announce your presence. Not unless there is surveillance, in which case the surveillance announces your presence. And the fence would only slow you down by a few minutes. Now maybe if we were talking about a core-and-veneer wall along the border, but that could be defeated in short order with ladders.

                    The number of people you need to patrol the border depends on the length of the border, the number of people in the patrol, and the necessary response time. The fist term is so large that the relatively small increase a fence adds to the last term isn’t going to make much difference, especially not when you factor in the cost of the fence.

                2. Maybe a fence won’t slow Kitty Pride down but most people I’ve met have an easier time crossing a stretch of ground with a fence than without.

                  Would you put up a set of cameras to keep deer out of your garden and say, “hey, surveillance, no need for a fence”?

                  Hope you didn’t need those vegetables to not starve.

                3. 2000 miles of border. One watch tower every 1/2 mile with fixed mount heavy machine guns. 2 people per tower. 12 people to man each tower 24/7 with 40 hour work weeks. 12*2000*2= 48,000. Add 10% for supervisory staff- must have those, you’re at 52,800. Dual 8′ fences 100 yards apart, with signs clearly stating that anyone inside the fences, man, woman, or child will be killed. Problem solved. You could cut the manpower significantly by rotating AD and NG troops in and out of the watchtowers, and going 12 on/12 off for two weeks straight. That way you wouldn’t have to hire people just to man the towers.

                  It can be done- if the will exists to do it.

                    1. They’re not being murdered if they’re entering the country unlawfully. Quibble if you want, but for the government to enforce ANY law, at some point the enforcers might have to use lethal force. ANY law. Be it a law against jaywalking, littering, looting or murder. Not pleasant to think of, but ultimately true.

                    2. I want no part in a country that has the will to murder people in cold blood.

                      1. You’re about 40 years too late for that. See Planned Parenthood.
                      2. If you are unwilling to defend the borders, you don’t have a country to live in; just a dumping ground. And an invasion by human wave is lethally effective if everyone’s been brainwashed not to resist it.

                    3. Friend, that ship sailed a long damn time ago (like 1942)

                      But we were at war you say? Here’s a news flash for ya…We no longer have the moral courage to declare war. If we did, we would be at war with a half dozen nations, and a nation who’s government actively promotes the invasion of a neighbor by it’s citizens, and the export of currency back to that country has defacto declared war. I don’t advocate the invasion of Mexico, but a Hard border, with signs and warnings prior to the mine fields, and machinegun posts, yeah, that I can get behind.

                  1. You are assuming that the people who are trying to cross the border are functionally literate — in whatever language(s) in which you have posted. Something we can’t say for member of our own population — even if they hold a high school diploma.

                    1. Yes, but there’s something about a 25-foot high fence with lights, razor wire, towers and pictures of skulls and crossbones that tends to get the point across to even the most functionally illiterate.

                      Kind of like how racking a 12-gauge shotgun can transcend even the most stubborn of language barriers.

                    2. Yep, all Royal Navy submarines fly it entering port if they have a kill on a combat patrol. Just ask the crew of the HMS Conqueror.

            3. “would never be able to figure out who did it.”

              Mexico is, in international law, responsible for all armed attacks launched at another sovereign nation from within its borders.

        1. We have the largest military in the world. If we wanted to we could secure the southern border. However, it is not politically expedient to do so. They talk about securing it, but don’t take any actual effective measures to do so. It’s a political problem, not one of resources.

          1. Our military is smaller than it was and is spread throughout the world. Also there’s a limit to the number of concurrent wars we can engage in. Last I heard it was 2.5.

            However you are right that it is a matter of political will.

          2. Everybody agrees on the goal, nobody agrees on the means to reach it.

            Which covers pretty much everything…. (Remember that possibly true story about China reducing the STD rate by removing those who had an STD?)

        2. The US is the one nation on Earth which is not allowed to protect it’s border. Well, that and Israel.

          1. I don’t know. Europe doesn’t seem interested in protecting *their* borders (at least until recently).

    1. Patton was correct, but left a metric buttload unsaid. Fixed fortifications have a time and place, but maneuver warfare isn’t generally one of them. I seem to remember Bastogne being one period appropriate example, but I digress.

      A border wall is not a fixed fortification, it is a deterrent for criminal action – crossing the border illegally is a criminal act, regardless of whether or not the person would otherwise be a criminal. Will people still come into the US illegally? Yep, undoubtedly. Will it make doing so more difficult and reduce the number that succeed in doing so? Yep, undoubtedly. Besides pointing to the successes in areas where it has been tried, I would also point out the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China as historical examples.

        1. Ike had choked his supplies at the time, which made Metz much more difficult than it otherwise would have been.

      1. Bastogne wasn’t fortified, the defenders were dug in, there’s a difference. The Great Wall wasn’t that effective, the Mongols were able to invade without much difficulty. The Berlin Wall was effective, but there’s no way Americans are going to support machine-gunning unarmed women and children.

        My entire point is that a wall isn’t a deterrent. In urban areas the smugglers will simply tunnel under, in remote areas they will blast through in short order. It’s a waste of money and resources.

        1. Actually, the Great Wall was hugely effective for over a thousand years. It was not built, you know, to repel an invasion, but to make life difficult for border raiders. They could neither ride their horses over the wall to raid Chinese farms and villages, nor herd stolen livestock back over the wall in the other direction. As long as the threat to China from the north remained on that level, the Wall worked as intended. Genghis Khan changed everything.

          1. Genghis Khan actually predated the wall, if I recall right. It was him (and/or his sons/grandsons) that stepped up the border raids to the point that at least one of the Chinese military officials finally said to the Court “Look, guys, this place is practically an outpost of the Mongol Empire already, because the local town leaders just roll over whenever the Khans show up with their buddies–but if you don’t want YOUR court to become part of the Mongol empire, we better do something about this.”

            Not that it worked. There was still a Khan on the Chinese Imperial throne a century or so later. (Though admittedly, it was one of the whiny, loser decadent khans who helped run the Mongol Empire into the ground. But still.)

            I’d provide more concrete stuff, but this is what I’m remembering from reading a book on the subject a year ago. 😉 (The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, to be exact–and it’s really fascinating. So is another book by the same author that I just started, called Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.)

            1. The current Great Wall was built largely by the Ming Dynasty, after the period of Mongol rule in China. It had nothing to do with keeping Genghis Khan’s successors out; they had already been and gone.

              However, that was merely the latest in a series of built and rebuilt walls dating back to the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC). Those earlier walls were built pretty much for the reasons I stated. Little of them survives, because they were built largely of rammed earth and other materials that erode quickly. Some of the more durable sections were eventually incorporated into the Ming wall. Others were simply abandoned. Archaeologists have found the traces of various different lines of fortifications. The Qin wall seems to have been significantly further north than the Ming wall in places, enclosing the northward bend of the Yellow River. The last dynasties before the Mongol invasion built walls still further out, enclosing much of Inner Mongolia.

              1. That makes sense to me, and sounds right. There’s such a *lot* of history going on in that part of the world, sometimes it’s hard to keep it all straight.

                The Mongols are incredibly fascinating, though–seems the whole ‘barbarian hordes’ thing was a later invention by disgruntled peoples. (Though overall, I gather most of the Mongols were very much Not Impressed with city life, although they did love free trade and lots of it.)

          2. Also note that the blitzkrieg opted to maneuver AROUND the Maginot line. A wall bristling with weapons can be effective, if stretched far enough.

        2. The wall worked on the Mongols…kind of. Pretty much everywhere else…it seems the Mongols are the primary reason walled cities fell out of fashion. Because the Mongols laughed at walls, and elevated siege warfare to an artform…

          Though the bit I read about the Chinese general who came up with the idea for the Wall was awesome and funny. He sent a detailed cost analysis back to the Court explaining that “Yes, this will be insanely expensive…but it will still be cheaper than letting the Mongols waltz in WHENEVER THEY GET BORED and want some new toys.” The Court listened…eventually. Though I think they still declared him a criminal and a traitor, because he actually started work on the Wall without ‘official’ permission. (He probably gave him whatever the local equivalent of the finger was and continued on about his work…)

          1. I’ve heard that the biggest problem with the Great Wall was that the soldiers “guarding” it had more in common with the “barbarians” they were to keep out than they had in common with the people of the Chinese Interior (and the Chinese Government).

            Basically when the barbarians want to “come through the Great Wall”, the guardians “opened the gates” for them (and often joined them).

            1. Especially since the Mongol approach to warfare–which was refined incredibly by Genghis Khan in his efforts to stop the internecine warfare among the steppe tribes (apparently, it interfered with his plans for a quiet life…which he eventually gave up entirely in favor of ‘keeping the clans from getting bored’, or so it comes across)–was to, if at all possible, avoid any actual bloodshed. They were big on psychological warfare, the Mongols. (And because of their beliefs regarding the source of the soul–blood, breath, and smell–they weren’t fans of close quarters fighting either, it seems.) If they could terrify, bribe, or otherwise coerce an ‘enemy’ into surrender all the better. Sometimes they did all three–and Genghis’ favorite tactic with conquered peoples was to execute the leaders and then integrate the rest of the people into his nation. (Originally it was into his own family, but the first time they won against a tribe of thousands, that became a little problematic, so he rearranged Mongol society–again–to accommodate his idea that loyalty was best gained by offering loyalty and protection in return.) Not to mention that he was just as brutal to those who defied him as he was generous to those who agreed to join him. I’m sure all of that factored into the “guardians” deciding that it was better to live well under the Mongols–who would see to it that loyalty was *very* well rewarded–than a distant and snobby Imperial court.

              It didn’t help that the attitude of the powers-that-be in China at that time viewed warfare as something to be conducted by criminals, and so used being a soldier as a form of punishment and ignored or otherwise mistreated them…not exactly a recipe for loyalty, that.

              1. If by “integrate” into his family, you mean taking war brides and/or raping a stupidly high number of conquered women, then maybe I could agree. That famous Conan the Barbarian quote was basically taken from this one attributed to Genghis Khan:

                The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.

            2. To cultures where a stone hut was an impressive feat and borders were mostly matters of (other peoples’) opinion, the Wall would have been an enormously impressive thing.

              A structure vast almost beyond imagining, the result of organized effort beyond comprehension, dividing the whole world in two. And *that* side belongs to China. No negotiation, no propaganda, no noodging of boundary markers. It was just *there*.

              Sure, you could go over it or through it, given a little effort. But the Wall would always be there, turning “go where I want” into “not wanted here.”

              Too big to ignore. Too big to eradicate. A demarcation visible to the very gods in the Heavens, and astronauts too.

              And, what a lot of people forget, is the wall worked in both directions…

        3. “The Berlin Wall was effective, but there’s no way Americans are going to support machine-gunning unarmed women and children.”

          Speak for yourself, this American has been advocating exactly that for many years.

          1. The Berlin Wall was to prevent escape, not to prevent entry…

            It wasn’t just Berlin, of course. The whole country was split by barbed wire and checkpoints. But it was somewhat permeable, at least to Americans.

            A friend was stationed in Germany in the early 1980s. He was making a trip between two towns fairly close to the border. Since the border wasn’t straight, the shortest path was through the German Democratic Republic, there being convenient border crossings near each end of his trip.

            So, he threw his stuff in his car, paid the crossing fee, and ventured into an alien land, with dire warnings from the border guards about deviating from his assigned route or being late to his assigned exit point – and they called ahead to let them know he was expected.

            So, merrily motoring through the GDR, he has a flat tire. He opens his trunk, and the spare is flat too. So he’s standing there on the road looking around, with the sudden realization that he’s stranded in a Communist country, the police will soon be looking for him, his ID consists of a Virginia driver’s license and a US Air Force military ID card, and that the color of his skin made him an “American” in west Germany, it made him a freak in east Germany.

    2. We were supposed to be debating if Cruz’s lack of executive experience outweighed his stronger conservative bona fides over Walker, or if Rubio’s immigration stance was disqualifying. Instead we’re talking about a crony capitalist blowhard friend of the Clintons

      This is the price for not having the debate you wanted in 2012 or 2008 after the GOP held all the elective branches only to govern like weak willed Democrats. Then record spending and debt, a new entitlement (first since LBJ, who this year’s Bush says he would use as his model for governing), expanding the Federal role in education, Sarbox, McCain-Feingold…all with a GOP President and at least one House of Congress and most with both (NCLB passed before Jeffords switched…only Sarbox and MCF were from a Democrat Senate).

      The energy I argued earlier this year should be used to create a new Whigs from the GOP as the GOP was created from the Whigs are instead being sucked up by The Donald. Hopefully once the GOP establishment destroys the party to beat Trump (they now have people talking about a third party run if Trump wins) it will be more conservative and libertarian forces who pick up the pieces.

    3. The Republican primary system is deliberately set up to nominate the squish with the highest name recognition and most media exposure.
      Do you think it’s an accident that the first states to have their say are purple Iowa (ethanol mandates forever!) and blue New Hampshire (We’re not quite Vermont!)?

      Even with Trump stealing oxygen from Jeb, Jindal and Perry were completely shut out, Walker is sinking, and the moderators shunted Cruz to the side during the last debate.
      Without the distraction, and the party establishment damning Trump as “not a real conservative” they’d have been even more effective in sidelining conservatives and establishing the narrative that they’re unelectable.
      I’ve played the game for a couple of decades. I understand how the deck is stacked.

      1. The Republican primary system is deliberately set up to nominate the squish with the highest name recognition and most media exposure.
        Do you think it’s an accident that the first states to have their say are purple Iowa (ethanol mandates forever!) and blue New Hampshire (We’re not quite Vermont!)?

        Distinguo: There is no ‘Republican primary system’. There is only the primary system, which both parties have to work with. It wasn’t the GOP that decreed that Iowa and New Hampshire should have the earliest primaries; it was the states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Indeed, the New Hampshire primary is earlier than any other primary by state law. (And New Hampshire was a solid Republican state when that law was enacted.)

        1. You’d have a much stronger case if the national Republican party hadn’t cracked down on other states trying move their primary dates up.
          But they have.
          The GOP has an official bylaw that if a state moves up their primary without permission, delagates from that state will not be seated.

          I’ve never voted in a primary that occurred before the nominee was already fait accompli.

          Further, the third state to go is South Carolina.
          Not even Lindsey Graham thinks he can win the presidency, but evidently a lot of people are betting big that he can keep an actual conservative from gaining momentum from his home state.

          1. The GOP bylaw does not determine anything about the dates of state primaries, because those dates are set for BOTH parties by state legislatures.

            If other states move up their primary dates, by the way, New Hampshire will automatically move earlier, per state law. The NH primary is required by law to be at least seven days before any other state holds its primary. Nothing the GOP can possibly do about that.

              1. Probably to avoid the mess that would ensue when every state rushed to get its primary before the others.

                Here in California, we have more state representatives than any other state. Do you think we like it here always having our presidential primaries essentially not amount to anything, because the nominees have already been selected? The easiest way to solve that, of course, would be to move our primary up. Preferably so that we can vote first. But if one state can do it…

                Let’s just say that in a few decades, the first primary would be taking place the day after the inauguration.

  17. I’ve spoken with a number of people that aren’t just pissed enough to let it burn, but are actually preparing for that eventuality. For them it is a foregone conclusion that it has passed the point of no return, that there is no recovery from where things are at without bloodshed – or as one put it, “it’s all over but for the screaming and bleeding.” I live out here in flyover country. The mood isn’t pretty.

  18. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
    (Psa 92:7-9)

    I think of this when confronted with the overreaching demands of liberals.
    Liberals are grass & weeds.
    Hello, I’m a lawn mower!

  19. Some general observations:
    During the first Farm Strike of the 1970s, someone asked if we were planting. When I said we were, he said if we did, we might find it plowed up. I thanked him, and told him if that happened, we knew who to come after. Our crops didn’t get plowed up.

    The bee issue may not look like a real thing, but it is, and has spread to native bee populations. We noticed a local drop in yield in crops pollinated by bumble bees, along with less bumble bees. This does not contradict an increase in bee keeping or honey production. Farmers contact bee keepers to help production, and an increase in hives may indicate a drop in the wild population. BTW beware honey production numbers, because there’s been funny dealings here, and there’s a real possibility of laundering foreign honey. Yes, that has happened. Also in the back of my mind is the effect of Africanized bees on local bee populations. Some years ago that was said to be an issue in Central America.

    We once canned beans considered culls by a market. The farmer brought them home, dumped them beside his barn, and got the word out for everyone to get all they wanted. Granted this isn’t the same as distributing it, but it is giving food away to everyone who wants it. The same thing happens with other culls. Even then there’s a lot left in the fields.

    The interesting thing is that those who decry this waste of food aren’t out there gleaning it. They want to utilize it? Great: Let them form an organization that harvests and distributes it.

    1. Though I haven’t done as much reading on the subject as on olive oil, I have gathered that there is nearly as much fraud in the honey industry as there is in the EVO industry…only with potentially even nastier stuff getting into the honey.

      That being said, where I live is an area where they bring big flatbeds of supers every year, and we know a lady who knows the guy, so we can buy the honey direct from the source, as it were. (It’s $15 for a half-gallon, though–not cheap!) My only annoyance on that front is that if *I* wanted to keep my own honeybees, I have to get a permit from the local government–because this is a high desert region, the food supply for bees is limited. (I would only be pissed if they denied me *because* of the folks importing bees and then taking them away again, though.)

      1. I haven’t bought honey for years, and I go through a lot with my tea. If I want any, I tell my father/mother-in-law. The little church my FIL is the pastor at is full of old-rich farmers who all keep bees. They bring quart jars of honey to give away to any who want them at the church.

        1. I hated working around the hives. Like late one afternoon we had to change out a 100 KVA transformer in a three-phase bank, and there were hives relatively close by. Bees like bright colors and more than a few went thump on our yellow hardhats. If you swat the things, the others say “Charge!” so I was really hoping one wouldn’t smash his brains out on my hardhat.

          1. Heh, the brief period we had hives when I was a teen (though why never made sense to me–Dad’s deathly allergic to ’em, and Mom didn’t have time, what with the garden and seven kids), I had one come and decide the inside shell of my ear was a GREAT place to rest. I knew enough about honeybees to know that most of them aren’t aggressive unless you start flailing, but all the same it took a lot of willpower to hold still while that thing buzzed inside my ear…

  20. I don’t know about strikes, but I know there was a “slow down” at the ports that had been going on at a high enough level to get attention for weeks as of last Thanksgiving. The union guy trying to play innocent was on the news before the parade.

  21. There’s a LOT along the left coast that’s considered flyover country, often by them as are being overflown. Know some myself.
    Unions: I suspect the Problem was with the ILWU at the ports. Not too long ago, one of the biggest shippers left the Port Of Portland OR because of the ILWU. Also heard the port at Longview. WA had lots of labor trouble Seattle had some, but settled it somehow or other.

    1. Yes, it was. technically it was not a strike… But you looked out in the roads around the port of Seattle and there were ships anchored as far as the eye could see. The port (according to two truckers that work that run that I fight (SCA) on a regular basis was unloading about a ship a day… they average about a ship an hour… call it a giraffe, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, to me it’s still a duck

  22. Seen those. They replaced the ones with hammer-and-sickle corner decoration. Guess someone figured out nobody really thought right-to-work was a Communist plot.

  23. I can tell you that right here in deepest, darkest Shaky Town a lot of folks are at a fast simmer heading for a boil. I’ve been to war (‘Nam) and it ain’t pretty. What’ll get really nasty is the aftermath. No fight like a family fight.

  24. “How would youse feed your families if this place was to burn to the ground? If you was to be kicked out of da union, and your little boy was to get hurt bad, how would you pay medical expenses? Oh and youse guys gotta actually walk the picket line or youse don’t get your strike pay”

    How terrible – thugs threatening violence with innuendo if things don’t go their way. The key is never to give into such extortion and to look upon those making such threats as enemies of democracy or civilization.

    You guys (the left) really want to stop pushing quite so hard. The political pendulum has never, in the history of humanity, stayed on one side of a swing. The back lash from over reach has always been proportionate to how far off center it went before coming back. (Hint, that’s what started the whole prohibition thing, and it’s also what started the 60s, was backlashes) Well right now we’re staring at a whole hell of a lot of the country (about 80-90% of the land mass, as well as about 50% of the population) that is FED UP. You really don’t want those guys to decide that the only way to fix it is to burn it down and start over… REALLY!

    See above comment…

    1. There’s a difference between “Nice house, shame if anything happened to it.” and “Y’all might want to stop poking the dog with the stick.”

    2. let me see if I can break it down for you sparky… In one case, someone in a position of power (and if you’ve never worked in a field with closed shops, BELIEVE ME, THE UNION GOONS ARE IN A POSITION OF POWER) telling people to do what they say or else. Yes it’s wonderful to say “never give in to extortion, but in the real world of then and there, that was not an option… This was the Teamsters during Hoffa.
      The other is someone (me) not in a position of power, trying to warn the people (you, among others) and those in a position of power that “Hey, you really don’t want to poke that bear” or “hey, this is a flammable atmosphere, DON’T strike a spark”
      If you can’t see the difference between the two, you’re as much of the problem as the parliamentarians who told Ben Franklin he was an idiot colonial who didn’t know his place.

    1. I happen to be one of that 1/3. The best hope we have of avoiding long-term unpleasantness is for the military to remember it’s oath covers domestic enemies (systematically ignoring laws counts), remove some people, and return to barracks. Sort of the role the Turkish military performed against the Islamic variety of statists for about 70-80 years.

      1. Whereas I am not at all convinced we are to the point where that would be the /least/ amount of harm.

    2. Notice the misstating of what was actually asked, namely, whether you could conceive of a situation in which you would support a military coup in the United States.

      Inability probably reflects the limitations of imagination rather than anything else.

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