It’s Not A Magic Spell



I woke up feeling human. That’s not a magic spell, either, it’s just 11:30 hours of sleep.  You see, this was QUITE the most arduous course to Portugal we’ve ever done.

It’s not unusual for us to travel for 18 to 20 hours, but this one was 35 hours, counting, granted the one night in Madrid, which would have worked fine if the hotel were in the terminal we left from and we hadn’t spent three hours looking for it, then gone back early in case there were more confusions.  So in those 35 hours, I had eight hours of sleep, save for a few minutes leaning on Dan on the flight from NYC to Denver, interrupted because the much-the-worse-for-the… not wear passenger on the window seat leaned over and poured wine over my behind and seat.

Yesterday I couldn’t sleep past about 5:30 am and it was iffy sleep since two cats who shall be named — Greebo and Havelock — kept headbutting us and crying for pets.  I have told them that someone will be along to pull their cat cards shortly and that they’re supposed to ignore us for a week. They cried some more.

So last night I passed out at 8:30 pm, after stumbling around for 15 hours in a fog.  And I woke at my normal time, just before the alarm goes at 7 am.  And I feel human.

Now the human I feel like has a sore throat but my nose is not as clogged as it was, and I plan to gargle with mouth wash shortly.  I will not say the fact that all THREE of our planes had a lot of passengers from China worries me, but it worries me.  And for the idiots following along to find issues: not because the passengers are Asian. Asian-American passengers would cause no alarm.  But it was obvious these passengers were Chinese from China (the airlines boasted of continuing the flight of Chinese airlines; they spoke no English whatsoever; their personal distance was zero (I had to shove my elbow into a lady who, while standing in the isle had been practically sitting in my lap for the better part of half an hour and who did not understand “excuse me.”)) and China has not the only (South and Central America and parts of Europe are as bad) but the highest concentration of people sharing living space (as in same house) with farm animals.  This increases greatly the chance that zoonotic diseases will make the cross over, which is why we get things like bird flu.  So, if the sore throat doesn’t subside by tomorrow, I shall invoke the doc in the box. For now, I’m going with “It’s probably just dryness.”

I’m just very glad to no longer be running through airports, particularly foreign airports with inexplicable rules and an attitude that the customer is always wrong, probably a terrorist and definitely a peon.

I know if I stop complaining about the TSA you guys will come over and examine the basement for pods.  And this is a problem since #1 son and lovely daughter in law are living in the basement apartment for the next year (and they’d tell me if there were pods.)

Also I have no intention of stopping complaining, simply because I think for the disruption they cause, they are stunningly ineffective.

And yet, they treat people more as human beings than the equivalent in any other country I’ve ever flown through since 9/11.

We were talking about it with friends yesterday and the conclusion is more or less universal.  And sure, there is a factor of culture.  Germans do come across as though they’re going to shoot you at any minute, but they’re fast, efficient, and don’t add petty malice for no reason.  British are probably the closest to the US, at least to the extent there will always be an England.  (But I haven’t flown through there since 9/11.)

But the others — as a friend put it — all have a tendency to take the weird authoritarian things the US engages in now and then and make it exponentially worse, with gratuitous authoritarianism and strange class stuff thrown in.

So why don’t we get as bad even when we start it? Why is this yet another case of “When America gets a cold the rest of the world gets the flu?”

I’d like to say it’s because we’re a nation set apart and blessed by G-d.  I’d like to believe it too. Sometimes I even do.


We’re just a nation, getting increasingly diluted with other cultures that we make no effort to assimilate.

However, a conversation with my brother came to mind.  It was the last meal we had in Portugal, Tuesday lunch.  Somehow motorcycle helmets came up.  And my brother explained to my parents that Americans have weird hangups and fought tooth and nail laws on mandatory helmet use and seat belt use, despite the obvious benefits of both.

At which point I explained that (It’s not true that “F*ck you, no” became my catchphrase this trip, but it’s also not a total lie) “F*ck you, no. I don’t care how beneficial it is, what right does the government have to mandate things EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU.”

At which point everyone but my husband stared at me in sheer incomprehension.

Which, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs, and blue creatures from alpha centauri, is why we must — MUST — hold the line on these things, and go back to that amazing document our constitution.

There is no reason under the sun that the government should have the power to tell us what to do or wear “for your own good.” Oh, semi-socialized medicine? Glad you reminded me, because that has no business under the constitutional mandate given to the government of the US. That fig leaf of interstate commerce is obviously tattered and transparent.

We must remember we the people are the sovereign ruler of these our lands, this our people.  We. Not the experts. Not those in charge. Not the best people. WE. The sovereign people in their sovereign land.

Anyone who thinks otherwise should, by rights, either look for some other place to live, or consider becoming simply a permanent resident. Because Americans, they ain’t.

Our Constitution, our founding principles are NOT a magic spell. They must be held and defended.

But tattered and torn, and observed almost only in the default as they are, they’re still incomprehensible to anyone not American. And the only thing that keeps us from becoming another petty Kakistocracy.

Lift the lamp of freedom high, my friends. The residual light from it is the only light in many places in the world. And that’s why the cockroaches fear it.

246 thoughts on “It’s Not A Magic Spell

  1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    ― C. S. Lewis

    1. But wait! That’s not all!

      “The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some points be satiated; but those who torment us for their own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likely to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on the level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

      -C. S. Lewis

      1. It grieves me that the standard for that is not higher, but Professor Lewis would have cleared the bar in almost any century..

        1. It is less the standard is so low and more the quality of that insight (and truly it is the whole work and not just the quoted paragraph) is so high.

        2. There are actually a lot of fine Conservative/Libertarian thinkers from the 20th Century…it’s just that the Left does it’s level best to smother them. C. Northcote Parkinson springs to mind. Not only did he brilliantly explain the inherent tendency of bureaucracy to grow like yeast (PARKINSON’S LAW), he wrote two obscure books that skewer the Left; THE FUR LINED MOUSETRAP and LEFT LUGGAGE. Thomas Sowell is also well worth reading, though heavier. Paul Johnson’s HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE is well worth a read as is his BIRTH OF THE MODERN (not yet in ebook form, damnit!) and MODERN TIMES. Hell, THE PETER PRINCIPLE explains perfectly why the idea of a government controlled economy run by ‘experts’ is a disaster in the making.

          1. I might be inclined to add Leonard Wibberly, whose fine Grand Fenwick novels (beginning with The Mouse That Roared) are works of comic genius defending the principles of economic and personal liberty which constitute American thought.

        1. Oops, meant to put Cardshark as name (it didn’t save). Was thinking of Breitbart piece re WordPress is now joining the censorship spree. My name and email don’t save as I don’t log in to post comments.

    2. A wrinkle that has come to my attention:
      to be a tyranny, it has to be wrong.
      Unreasonable, unjust.

      Not just “oppressive” in the “puts pressure on me” sense.

      Hannibal L. finds laws against cannibalism and murder very oppressive, after all, but that doesn’t make the rules tyrannical, even if enforcing them IS objectively to his own good.

      1. One practical problem with that definition is that Hannibal will claim, and believe, that those rules are not just oppressive but unjust. He’s objectively wrong, but what matters for how he votes isn’t objective truth, but his subjective belief. And so he’ll vote for the guy who promises to “free” him from the “tyranny” of those laws he doesn’t like.

  2. I am (and long have been) all for requiring all natural-born US citizens to take the naturalization test and oath before they’re allowed to exercise the franchise. Furthermore, it should be impressed on them (with 2x4s if necessary) that the oath they take is binding and if they break it they will no longer be considered full citizens and will not be allowed to vote again until they have demonstrated the ability and willingness to abide by the oath they swore. If we are a creedal nation (and we certainly are), those who reject the creed have rejected citizenship herein.

    1. The citizenship test is 10 of the easiest questions you’ve ever seen. 6/10 (a D) is passing. I don’t know that mandating it would help anything. Having said that, a number of my college freshmen usually fail. It’s pathetic.

      1. TRUST me. It would still help. Also, I demand they give the one given to anglophones.
        As in, my test was way easier than Kate’s or Peter’s (From what I can tell.)

      2. It’s not so much the citizenship test as the oath that I’m concerned with. I want them to explicitly affirm their allegiance to the Constitution, and for that affirmation to carry legal weight.

        1. Actually, we already have an oath whose takers I’d be happy to limit the franchise to.

          Then again, I’ve taken it.

          I’d even be willing to let those who do it only for the reserves qualify after enough two weeks a year plus monthly weekends (which you can do more than once, or at least could) add up to 730 days.

          1. I took that oath too. But I wouldn’t want to limit the franchise to just currently-serving or veteran military. Although that would be a good way of ensuring those exercising the franchise knew what they were voting for, it would go against the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. I’d like to give any citizen willing to make the effort the opportunity to vote, but to make that privilege something non-automatic, respected, and solemn.

            1. That oath, or at least very similar is used by any gov’t entity, even if they try to pretend that they are not US Gov’t as such (USPS – the check was federal issues, so..) and thus I took that one, back when. And I do NOT recall any idea of release or expiration – even though they wanted it re-taken at every re-hire (though after a few.. sessions.. it was all-but-rubber-stamped). Now, as for how seriously most take it thus… I can only speculate, but I speculate rather… darkly. After all, I was in a place where there were at least three different unions and the insane rules that they add, even to gov’t insanity. Ex: A “mailhandler” can work out on the dock and will read sack tags and parcel addresses. But the moment the very same mailhandler steps off the dock into the main building, well, since s/he’s NOT a “clerk” that same mailhandler can only do things that do NOT require literacy. Can dump stuff onto a sorting belt, but cannot sort, etc. The supervisor (or 204b as Acting Supervisor[my term]) walks around and directs – but cannot do any actual work. When the 204b is NOT an Acting Supervisor, that person can do sorting work, etc. Fwiw, I was what was called a “casual clerk” — no civil service exam, not union, and expected to do work – and hated by the union steward for actually doing it without lining his pockets.

                  1. Those unions are an obvious and undeniable necessity, to protect those workers from cruel and unjust exploitation by a rapacious employer.

          2. That’s what was bugging me the last few days. I had a buddy of mine trying to tell me that if we enacted the military/public service requirement for citizenship as used in Starship Troopers, that we’d have a fascist state. He’s a retired military officer and not stupid, but I would have expected him to have a better understanding of what fascism actually is.

            1. The pop-culture/ History Channel version of Mussolini’s ideas has drowned out what Il Duce and Co. actually thought, wrote, and did. (I hammer my students if they use “fascist” in a casual sense, because we spend a fair amount of time discussing fascism, statism, Communism, and Nazism and what they actually believed and did.)

              1. Since “fascist” isn’t the best term for “wants government to suppress any dissent from what I believe to be best”, what is? What’s the best term for that attitude? As far as I know so far, the word “fascist”, while inaccurate in actual fact, communicates that concept better than any other word I’ve yet found — and so I’m willing to let the factual inaccuracies slide for the sake of comprehensible communication.

                1. Totalitarian works for me. How’s it work for you?

                  Fascist, Communist, Socialist, Democratic-Socialist — they’re all like the marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms: no matter the color or the shape, they all taste the same and all provide the same nutritional benefit.

          3. Reservists have still signed a blank check. Look up how many were thrown into the line on the Pusan perimeter. You take the oath, you’re in, unless you renege, like failing to report for deployment.

            1. Hell, look at how many reservists and NG have a year or more in the sandbox, or the rockpile.

              1. I didn’t deploy until I was OFF active duty in the national guard. (Though for full disclosure, my Active duty job wasn’t the kind of job that got deployed.)

                1. College friend’s NG unit was a holding unit for medial personnel being moved between other medical NG units, and IT got deployed for a year.

                  1. Ours was an exercise in “Don’t tell the Federal Government you have 2500 deployable when you only have 1000” from one of the other units in the state. State was already slated to re-org the National Guard and there were those with stars who suddenly discovered they had been reorganized right out of the Guard.

      3. Actually, about every 18 months you see a news story where they interviewed native born citizens man in the street style and found plenty who would fail.

      4. Becky, considering the number of times people have been surveyed about American history facts, or even have come up on “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” and had people fail, miserably, I’d be willing to bet my next paycheck that fully half the legal population of the U.S. would fail the test.

        1. Gee, wouldn’t it be interesting to discover how that failure rate broke out along party identification? Somebody ought to finance a survey … Rasmussen, do you hear me?

          I do not know whether the idea that a small measurable segment might identify The US Constitution as a ship is dismaying or comforting. I suspect that, given that option on a multiple choice alarmingly few would comprehend it.

          1. I would point out that given the current government of the United States has for some time treated the USS Constitution with more respect and difference than the Constitution from the Chief Justice on down it is not surprising more people would identify the frigate than the document.

          2. No sampling. I want a 100% population response via the Census Bureau; and use the standard English version of the test questions. Whether or not you have 2.3 flush toilets and 12.6 internet connected devices in your household is of lesser importance.

          3. We already know that. Numerous studies, done to confirm that conservatives know less about the Constitution and government have confirmed the exact opposite. That’s why you don’t see those studies done any more, and why the results aren’t bandied about in the media.

            Like the studies that show conservatives and church going people contribute more VOLUNTARILY to charities and relief groups. (while opposing more taxes to let the government do it more efficiently…) As well as volunteering time and effort. And from observation- we donate more blood.

            1. Well, I used to donate blood at every opportunity, until they decided I was an Mad Cow Carrier. Really? Can anyone see me doing bench presses with Orvan?

              1. No, and me either (too much cumulative time in Germany and Britain). That has to be one of the dumbest Red Cross blood-donor limits to date.

              2. I used to, too, but then I got prescribed Finasteride, which is the FIRST med on the list of “You can’t donate if you’re taking any of these…”

            2. The organization with the largest percentage of blood donors and the greatest number of units donated in the sate of Maryland is the National Security Agency.

        2. > fail the test

          And why shouldn’t they? They probably never saw any of it in school, and most people would rather attack their naughty bits with a cheese grated than voluntarily seek out and read anything like that.

          By the 1970s “civics” and “American government” were electives in my state, a single class of 40-ish out of a student body of almost a thousand. Assuming no schedule conflicts… I never took either, and I’m moderately sure they were discontinued entirely before my senior year.

          The kids are no stupider than their ancestors. They’ve just been screwed by a mandatory daycare system masquerading as “education.”

    2. Interesting. I had a somewhat opposite idea for a short story I abandoned because it was a polemic, but want to return to that universe. In it there were two classes of citizens: born and full. Full citizenship was an oath of fealty to the state and gave access to all the socialist goodies from government school to government healthcare, but subjected you to all the taxes and additional regulations tied to the goodies. Born citizens refused the off, were given off on their taxes, but could not call upon the state for economic benefits.

      This was all laid out in a Constitutional amendment whose text I have lost.

      The fulls called born “leeches” because they sucked off the benefits of the system without paying in (apparently they were penumbras or something…it fits with a lot of leftist rhetoric). I forget what the borns called the fulls (and I don’t think born was the term I used).

      I wish I still had some of those notes.

        1. Oddly, I have none of the CoDominium period stories despite loving the Motie books.

          Need to fix that, but they can be a pain to find and I’m kinda unsure about which books are which.

          1. The Baen website lists the CoDominium future history bundle as:

            High Justice by Jerry Pournelle
            West of Honor by Jerry Pournelle
            The Mercenary by Jerry Pournelle
            Prince of Mercenaries by Jerry Pournelle
            Go Tell the Spartans by Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling
            Prince of Sparta by Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling
            King David’s Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle
            The Mote in God’s Eye by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
            The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

            And has it available for $36 in electronic form.

            1. Wait, “High Justice” is CoDominium? It’s been a while since I read it, but I don’t recall it having any overt connection.

              1. I *thought* I heard that Pournelle said that there was no connection between the High Justice stories and the CoDominium.

                1. That may be, but it has been associated to the CoDominium series by others, and Baen includes it as part of the CoDominium bundle. I was just copy/pasting the list. (shrugs)

            2. The problem is some of those are fix-ups of others making them hard to track.

              Also, I think it is missing some. Isn’t the arcology novel Oath of Fealty set early in the period and one of the first to use the taxpayer/citizen division although it isn’t called that.

              And, as I said, I love the last two. Wish we’d gotten a third.

              1. As far as I know, the arcology novel is not a CoDominium story. I believe “West of Honor” and “The Mercenary” were previously collected as “Falkenberg’s Legion.” All of the tales of Falkenberg’s Legion, including the involvement of a detached battalion on Sparta, were collected as “The Prince.”

          2. Check bookcase of my “small” library. Pournelle: Have all 9. The advantage of “collecting” real books.

            A problem I find: The older I get, the more dead authors i read. Their production is very slow.

                1. Franklin W. Dixon keeps re-writing his books, to dumb them way the hell down keep them contemporary. As do Victor Appleton and Carolyn Keene.

                  The great virtue of dead authors, generally, is that it is possible to read their complete works … and their books tend to not get any worse as yet one more gets churned out (cough*Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen*cough).

                2. It is probably no coincidence that the “Tom Clancy” byline and trademark mechanical prose appeared at about the same time as home computers became widespread.

              1. I remember some ad from the late 80s, early 90s where some group claimed to have L. Ron Hubbard’s brain and they were demanding people buy their product or they’d give the brain back to the publishing house they’d stolen it from.

      1. It just occurred to me–my proposal would make naturalized citizens voters automatically, where natural-born citizens wouldn’t be voters till they agreed to take the test and oath. Kinda cool!

        1. Yes, if you are building a creedal nation that makes sense.

          I currently do not think the US is a creedal nation given the number of elected officials, and thus voters who support them, who openly deny the tenants of the supposed creed.

          1. While the requirement to have served in the armed force might be excessive for voting, I could perhaps see it for holding office beyond a certain level. Governing a city might not demand such, but at the federal level… well now.

            1. Frankly, I’d like to see a carve out in immigration law that stated that any person who had served honorably in the U.S. active military for 4 years was automatically granted full citizenship. We have way too many veterans who have served honorably, and been deported or forced out of the country because of the labyrinthian and frankly stupid immigration gauntlet made it even harder to become citizens than had they merely showed up at a border checkpoint.

              I had at least half a dozen service members with perfect records miss out on their citizenship applications due to duty requirements that the INS refused to waiver or reschedule their missed appointments or deadlines.

              1. *wags paw* The first challenge to that I can think of would be the guys from south of the Rio Grande who come strictly to get military training in order to use it with the cartels and other less-than-nice groups. Granted, they are not a huge proportion, but that would be a concern.

                1. Not a problem. Remember, I said served honorably for 4 years. They still have to pass the induction process which has some background investigation. And I haven’t seen a gangster yet that could keep their nose clean for that long.

              2. I’d like to see a carve out in immigration law that stated that any person who had served honorably in the U.S. active military for 4 years was automatically granted full citizenship.

                Only if it became a LOT cheaper to notice illegal activity.

                As it is, noticing Obviously Disqualifying Behavior is ‘expensive’ because it jacks up your numbers– and then you also have to go without the folks you were assigned until their scheduled replacement shows up. So every jackass you notice is basically a DEATH that isn’t replaced for 2 years.

        2. would make naturalized citizens voters automatically, where natural-born citizens wouldn’t be voters

          Sure, if you want a bunch of foreigners from a different culture determining how the government of the native culture functions.

          I don’t see any way that could possibly turn out different to what the Open Borders jackasses are attempting to do to us now.

          1. Foreigners from a different culture who have taken affirmative action to join this one and pass a qualifying exam in order to vote cannot, on the whole, do any worse than a large number of people from this culture raised to think, expect, and vote for the government to pamper and coddle them cradle to grave.

            AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Barrak Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, and for that matter a certain Dr. Ford are all natural born citizens. Can you say you want the country under their helm in preference to our hostess, or to bring in someone who never became a citizen, Margret Thatcher.

            If we are to be a creedal nation and not one of blood and soil then confession of the Creed, in the open and to witnesses should be as required as the confession of the Nicene Creed is to being accepted for Holy Communion. That one is born in the Church provides the ability to accept Communion only until you reach adulthood. Upon that time you must take the Creed yourself and not on your behalf by parentage. So should it be with citizenship in a creedal nation.

            If we are not to enforce such then we should admit as much and embrace our blood and soil nature without shame, and why should it has shame as it the definition of nearly every nation in history, and be done with the idea.

            1. There exist stats on that, which I’m too lazy to go find again, but the gist was that naturalized citizens tend to vote more socialist than do born citizens… sometimes =way= more left, explicitly with regard to big government, gun rights, and free speech.

              1. That’s kind of off-topic. We’re not talking about changing anything naturalized citizens would have to do, just making natural-born citizens meet the same qualifications to vote. And I suspect that natural-born citizens uninterested, unable, or unwilling to meet those qualifications were probably already voting for the left, if they voted at all.

            2. And yet… despite their socialist ambition, they still share certain assumptions about the way the world works, due to the fact that they were born and raised as US citizens.

              Like the idea that an inividual can and should try to change those parts of society that they see as nonfunctional.
              Like the idea that their opinions, no matter how kooky deserve a public hearing.
              Like the idea that they have a right to a certain type of dignified treatment at the hands of the government.

              Yes, their conception of these ideas is warped and stunted, but they have these ideas.

              A naturalized citizen won’t necessarily have come from a culture that embraces any of that in any form.

              And when they get stressed out by the difference between American culture and their home culture, they ;i>will seek out familiar cultural forms.

              Maybe it will be as simple and harmless as re-creating a festival from the old country. Maybe it will be as destructive as voting for the same governmental policies that they fled from in the old country.

              The idea has been floated – whether here or on other conservative sites – that people who flee from California to other states should be restricted from voting until they’d acculturated to their new states, and Californians are Americans.

              If we are willing to do that to people from our own country, how much more willing should we be to restrict the franchise for people from completely different countries?

              1. We’re not going to do that to people from our own country. Mostly because the founders were quite intelligent about that kind of thing, and forbid it. 🙂

                You’re right about the inherent assumptions, though.

                1. That was a Reconstruction thing. The Constitution was mute on the subject before then. So, a little late for the founders.

                  1. Here we go, article 4 section 2.

                    Only the first para is relevant, but including all for context, link at the end.

                    SECTION 2
                    The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

                    A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

                    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.


        3. In my version, people on “public assistance” would not be able to vote.

          More than one nation has foundered when “the poor” figured out they could vote themselves bread and circuses.

          1. …which would instantly give those in power the abilty to remove the vote from anybody who gets payments, or even a tax rebate, from being able to vote.

            Worse yet, SELECTIVELY.

            “Hey, yo, military is now on public assistance!”

            1. You should have heard my Dad when the Obama administration began referring to his military retirement as an “entitlement.”

              Apparently, any dollar they turn loose of now is an “entitlement”.

            2. You neatly encapsulate one of my strongest arguments for civil war: we are living with people whose willingness to keep agreements without trying to renege on them is precisely zero. Such a society cannot endure, and will not.

              1. We are living with HUMANS– that tendency is always there.

                The thing is to fight it, not cast out due to imperfection. It does need to be paid attention to, though.

      2. Not paying taxes and not receiving government benefits sounds equitable; especially if other government functions (roads, defense, law enforcement) were paid via the original duties and tariffs the government originally operated under before implementing their permanent income tax.

        1. The Amish swung that deal. They don’t pay Federal taxes, and don’t get Social Security or other benefits. I never heard how they deal with the individual states, though.

          1. Well, they do have to have lights on their vehicles at night, but don’t yet need daytime running lights. And they did lose the battle against lights in court. I think states fall in line with the feds. I know public health nurses in my CNY county are furious with the local Amish for not vaccinating. Because they don’t see doctors for measles and other spotted diseases, their cases aren’t recorded in the public database. They don’t mix enough with the rest of us to become ground zero cases. The deafness rate among Amish from those diseases is way higher than the general population deafness rate, and that’s what irritates the nurses- dealing with deaf Amish when they do get sick enough to need modern medical care. Deafness that could have been avoided….

            1. Have you considered that the Amish might consider deafness to be a bonus? The level of ambient noise in our environment has done nothing but increase since the Industrial Age, and accelerated since the advent of electronics.

              1. No. Can’t hear the rooster at wake up time. Can’t hear the cowbells to locate your cows. Can’t hear a lot of things that are part of a rural farm life. And the ambient noise where they live is far less than in nearby towns and villages. Probably very close to the ambient noise 2 centuries ago.

        2. ok…

          since you said ‘and’

          *goes and buts a $6 box of .22 LR*

          There, I just paid state and federal taxes and can prove it.

          You ALL seem to be forgetting that there are legitimately disabled people including disabled vets who are ‘receiving public benefits’.

          No, i am NOT going to sit here and be all happy dappy as you talk about disenfranchising me.

      3. Starship Troopers. And as mentioned by TXRed, taxpayers and citizens in the CoDominium universe.

        And of course Brave New World had the Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons.

        Of course, then there’s the ultimate class distinction- Sovereign and subject.

        In real life there’s also- Party Member and everyone else, in every communist state.

        Two or more classes of citizens (Hindu has 5 main castes) is not a new idea, and had existed in both real life and fiction for a while. Designing a working society with classes that CAN BE MOVED BETWEEN is the challenge. Don’t think there’s actually been one in real life, just fiction.

        1. Uh, I’m very familiar with Starship Troopers and have been since the 70s. That was a partial inspiration, applying it to complaints about conservatives and Obamacare.

          As for a working society with class mobility, most working societies have it, especially those that officially don’t.

          It is needed to function.

          1. In the original 1959 “Starship Soldiers” story in F&SF we got all the infodumps and none of the action of the later novel. I had cause to read the magazine story closely recently. It starts here:

            For all the infodumping, we’re given almost nothing about the government system, other than it was established as a coup and military dictatorship, and only veterans could vote. Whether currently-serving military could, wasn’t mentioned.

            There was a ton of stuff about obedience, which boiled down to “Meine Ehre heist Treue”, which was fine for the SS, but sort of got shot down at Nuremberg. In the Trooperverse there was no higher law than that of the military, and certainly no civilian oversight. The only morality was obedience to command. Heinlein beat that horse pretty much to death.

            The main part of Rico’s service was to receive indoctrination – Heinlein said that “service” didn’t necessarily include military service – and almost all of that should have been covered in the “history and moral philosophy” classes he had in school, which were, curiously, voluntary. And while Rico attended, he apparently didn’t listen much; even the basics seemed to be entirely new to him. Or wasn’t very bright; though he was eighteen, he seemed to have the knowledge and worldview of someone closer to thirteen or fourteen. Yes, the “we get to explain everything to the reader by instructing the youth”, but exactly how clueless *could* someone be, anyway?

    3. The interesting thing to my view about the whole creedal nation concept, compared to a blood-and-soil nation, is that one actually needs neither blood nor soil – that is, individuals could adopt that creed, and take and honor that oath, anywhere. We could have people all around the world, and later all across the solar system, who jump through the hoops, take the test, take the oath, and become United States Citizens without ever being in current US territory.

      Kind of an internet-age distributed nation-state.

    4. States are theoretically able to put in such a civics test as a condition for voting – and it would likely improve the quality of our representatives in D.C. The problem is the 14th amendment.

      But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

      No state is going to voluntarily reduce their representation in Congress by giving any test a large number of people would fail.

    5. I am (and long have been) all for requiring all natural-born US citizens to take the naturalization test and oath before they’re allowed to exercise the franchise.

      Main reason I’m not:
      It would take all of three second before the test was captured.

    6. The SJWs are perfectly willing to declare us all non-citizens for violating the oath by arguing with them. That’s violating the Constitution, you know.

      1. If we managed to get oath-taking a requirement and oath-breaking a cause for disenfranchisement, the SJWs would pretty much automatically not be in a position to enforce such declarations on anyone. If they had the power to do that, the oath issue wouldn’t even have become law.

    7. Yes, I’m bragging. The daughter product had U.S. government for first semester and she passed the U.S. citizenship test (It was her final exam). And not just 10 questions, all of them. And no short cuts on the constitution, either.

      1. If the People understand the Constitution they cannot be stampeded with false cries of “wolf” “Constitutional Crisis!”

  3. My only post-9/11 flights in Germany (2001 and ’02) always departed from Munich airport. Their luggage inspectors were actually willing to be flexible. I traveled with my CPAP in checked luggage, and when the X-ray freaked out, a bit of charades and high school German kept me from a hand search. OTOH, Bavarians always seemed to be proud of the fact that they weren’t typical Germans…

  4. I don’t remember the German customs agents looking particularly trigger happy when we flew into Dusseldorf, but that was ten years ago and I was jet-lagged and dehydrated to all hell-and-gone, and my inner ears were going nuts to boot.

    Now, the Czech border guards, on the other hand, looked genuinely pissed off that my friends and I didn’t give them an excuse to shoot and/or arrest us.

  5. Was on a mission trip to Costa Rica a few years ago. The customs guys didn’t want to shoot us, but they tried to keep us from bringing in the big suitcase(s) of hygiene kits, crayons, etc. Appatently they thought our team leader was going into business.

  6. Mandating things that are good for you seems like a particularly insidious way to do away with individual rights. It’s kind of like Ayn Rand’s observation that censorship always starts with restricting things that really are repulsive.

    1. Well yeah, slippery slopes are almost invariably greased with good intentions. And hell is always the ultimate destination.

  7. I remember an argument about motorcycle helmets on talk radio years ago. I think the response to the anti-helmet rider was “It’s OK if you don’t wear a helmet, but if you get injured that way, don’t insist that I pay for your medical treatment.” I like the idea of taking responsibility; a government mandate shouldn’t be necessary.

    1. I’m OK with cyclists eschewing helmets but eye protection should remain mandatory. Debris or insects temporarily blinding a rider endangers others. The lack of a helmet only endangers the rider.

        1. I see a lot of ’em here in Florida. No helmet, shorts, flip-flops.
          God protects (some of the) damn fools because I keep seeing them.
          My county isn’t very safe to ride a motorcycle in (densest average population in Florida and a lot of idjts on crotch rockets) so I don’t have one anymore but I always wore a helmet when I did. Wore a bicycle helmet as well when riding on busy roads. Never needed it (knock wood) but know a couple people who are likely alive because of their bicycle helmets.

          1. My bicycle helmet kept my head safe when an old lady – WHO HAD LOOKED RIGHT AT ME! – pulled through a stop sign too late for me to stop. I was doing about 30 MPH at the time.

            Having said that, I don’t think they should be mandatory. The world would be better off if we had more Darwin Award Winners at younger ages. Weed ’em out early…..

            1. She must have been related to the Little Old Lady who stopped at the cross walk. I walked across (she had to wait for car-traffic on the main road to clear before turning). She looked at me—made eye contact—and rolled forward, then glared when I slapped her hood.

              Since then I don’t trust cars. Ever.

            2. One night (true night, not twilight) I was on a bicycle, with proper lighting fore and aft, and a cop looked right at me as he was at a stop sign… and pulled out almost into me. WTH?!?

      1. Aye. $HOUSEMATE spent some considerable time as paramedic/EMT and calls ’em donorcycles. And notes that there seemed to be a near 1:1 correspondence between helmet use and survival.

          1. 17 year as Paramedic/EMT and he unbuckled exactly THREE people. Two were just case of nerves, nothing physically wrong. The third? Just barely alive – but alive.

          2. I am perfectly agreeable that individuals eschew such restrictions, provided they view a brief “orientation” video on the topic and sign a waiver of claims of liability. I am open to discussion of a mandate for catastrophic medical coverage given that emergency rooms are required to provide treatment.

            I readily acknowledge that the “proof” of helmets providing benefits are less convincing than I would want for government’s infringement on individual rights.

            1. Aye, I dislike gov’t mandates. But I do like personal responsibility. I have various relatives who work in or have worked in various medical/healthcare roles. They all have stories. I buckle up, and keep my driving seperate from my drinking, etc. as I fully intend NOT to become someone; story of such. I might become a Story from something else (with comes .. wear…) but what I can exert simple direct control on? Ox slow. Ox not damn fool.

          3. I get pissed off a those laws since I really am not going to disobey them but I think they should be repealed.

            Just because something is a good idea does NOT mean the State should be allowed to mandate it.

            1. Which, of course, you pretty much said that above in your essay but my brain still hasn’t fully activated yet since my hours got screwed up Thursday night. *sigh*

        1. My cousin is big into his local ABATE. He has all their stupid reasons down pat. He was a bit stumped after I told him, the only reason he can argue with me is because I wear one, and twice hit hard enough it’d likely have killed me without one.

          1. I went headfirst over the handlebars one night when the car in front of me jammed on its brakes in traffic. I had bruises on both trapezoids fron how far the helmet jammed down, but outside of voting Republican in California there were no lasting side effects.

            1. one of the sillier ones is “I can’t hear traffic with a helmet on!”
              from people who also feel “Loud Pipes Save Lives” and have often given the excuse “Sorry I didn’t pull over soon enough officer, I couldn’t hear the siren over my pipes er, I mean tinnitus, tinnitus!”

            2. another one is “Helmets will break your neck in a crash” which explains why the year he was spouting this to me, all the guys who died racing MotoGP (was a bad year), died from blunt force trauma to the chest, even the guy whose helmet fell off when he was hit (fell in the middle of the pack, iirc Colin Edwards hit him) was dead from the wheel to the chest.
              even the Roads guys tend to never break a neck, and they deal with the same obstacles (well, not trucks and cars, but the “Street Furniture) as anyone else riding on the street, but at speeds high as 200mph+

          2. *shrug* I always figured after the second tag axle went over you, what difference would it make?

            1. had a riding acquaintance get hit in Dallas . . . when he was off the bike.
              Had just finished his lunch and went out to his new BMW 1600 to leave, fastened his modular Shoei helmet and while not a tag axle, he had a car parked on his head.

            2. I only had close calls with a car on a motorcycle. For some reason, in the early 1970s, station wagon moms would think that the guy in business-casual attire on a Honda 350 was really a Hells Angel on a chopped, invisible Harley. Mercifully, the 350 was fairly maneuverable. They’d still try to drag race at the lights.

              “Ma’am? Do you realize you are driving a 1972 Country Squire, and not a nitro Funny car?”

              (OTOH, California drivers think that bicycle riders are fair game for harassment. 95% of my close calls were inattentive drivers, but the 5% made me wish for open carry. On the gripping hand, there are some bicycle riders who deserve the harassment. Protip: if you’re riding in the wrong direction, don’t expect another cyclist to go into the traffic lane to accommodate your lazy ass.)

              Witnessed a motorcycle vs car “accident” at college. The state had an early mandated headlight-on law, but the 4 wheeler managed to turn left in front of the oncoming bike. He got lucky, with only a seriously mangled leg. Don’t recall the bike; at least a 750 or Harley; that might have saved him.

      2. F* no, NEVER AGAIN will I sign up as an organ donor.

        One (or six) too many stories of folks left to die because they were going to provide useful organs.

        Including the druid in my husband’s current D-20 group, who SHOULD have kept his arms and legs.

        But the ER decided he was going to die, so they didn’t treat him.
        But the guy in charge of harvesting organs actually followed the rules.

        So Steve has one forearm. Of the four limbs. Because he was sitting at a stop sign and someone ran into him, when he had an organ donor card.

        1. …and here I am feeling irrational since my reasons are based on seeing the “Live Organ Donation” sketch from the Monty Python’s Meaning of Life movie in my mid-teens.

          Then again, I’ve noticed governments (UK especially) seem to be using Monty Python as a training manual instead of comedy so maybe it’s not that irrational.

          1. Too many seem to confuse maps of minefields (“Do NOT step here!”) with Dance Instructions (“Step here.”) with sadly predictable results. It wouldn’t be so bad if the stupidity was only self-inflicted, but governments and other organizations inflict the damage upon others.

            If, say, Ilhan Omar insisted on dancing in a minefield, well that’s her look-out. But if she insists everyone in Minnesota join her in minefield-dancing, well, to Berkeley with that idea!

        2. I think that means the organ donor card saved his life. It’s not like the ER needed to bother because he didn’t have it; it was the card that brought the other doctor in.

          1. Has to do with the measure they were supposed to have taken having a risk of damaging the harvest-able organs. I believe they settled out of court precisely because it was so obvious they’d put his life second to his body parts.

    2. Here we see a hint of what will inevitably come if the government takes over the health care system. Your food, your drinking, your activity levels and your sleep patterns will all become matters for government interference because ‘we’ pay for your medical treatment.

      1. And your politics. About 10 years ago a story hit where a UK NHS hospital send a letter to an anti-abortion activist that he could not seek treatment there.

        Now, the man was an ass whose activism consisted to a large degree of sending graphic pictures to people at the hospital, but there you were…the government hospital denying treatment for having politically incorrect views.

        The point of government run healthcare is not better treatment of citizens, but better control of citizens.

        1. I can only wonder what such gov’t [REALLY CENSORED] would have made of Pa had they overheard him at one county fair. Some anti-abortion group had props of fetuses in jars on display. As he walked by, Pa quipped, “Huh, my neighbor had a garage FULL of them things!”

        2. Sounds like ~20 years ago when the National Health was talking about denying care to smokers. One disgruntled Brit observed that he didn’t smoke until he started using the ones provided in his Army ration packs while in HM service, and HM government had cheerfully collected half a century of tobacco tax from him since, and NOW they’re trying to pull this?

          1. Rationality in the exercise of power is no fun. It puts limits on you, unpleasant both in itself and in the way it limits cruelty.

        3. Go over to Volokh ( and read the story about U.S. v. Singh, wherin all sorts of convolutions and perambulations are used to (mis-)apply precedent for law-breaking illegal aliens to a case about a non-lawbreaking legal alien.

          If they get the opportunity to do things for your own good, it will become a capability to do things for someone else’s good, and eventually a way to do things to no good, to anyone, just because.

          And doing things to someone in behalf of a theoretical health case public good is a fair jump in that direction, with jackboots on.

      2. Well yes, that’s the entire point. There is a very good reason why V.I. Lenin considered healthcare to be one of the three things that were essential for the Communists to control society, along with finance and education.

    3. “I shouldn’t have to pay for people who choose to ruin their health with alcohol | heroin | LSD | pointy shoes | bungee jumping | horseback riding | AIDS | not wearing a crash helmet in the bathtub | … ”

      You put the camel’s nose in the tent, eventually you get the whole camel.

  8. All these impassioned arguments for the value of liberty.

    And yest I exercise my liberty to care mostly about the dire danger Greebo and Havelock find themselves in re cat cards due to uncaring humans who abandoned them then refused to pet them.

    Then again, my Twitter profile says “Be warned, I like cats more than people.” It also includes my pronouns these days, though, so take that for what it’s worth.

    1. They got very, very well petted, even in our half-sleep state. They are still trying to make us feel guilty. And Havelock has achieved a simple but elegant solution”: if he sits on daddy the WHOLE time there’s no way daddy can leave again.
      This occasioned some funny moments when he broke into the bathroom while daddy was there.

      1. Two of our cats have gotten into the habit of breaking into the bathroom and diving headlong into our trousers while we repose upon the seat of ease. One of them weighs over thirty pounds.

        1. Must be a relative of our tiger cat Stoick (the vast). You’ll go to use the facilities during the night and the little (well 12-13 lb, little for some values of cat) beast hops into my sleep shorts and promptly starts purring and trilling. If you take more than a minute or two he’s dozed off (still purring) and you kind of have to roll him off the shorts. It’s a pain but its hard not to love a cat that starts purring when you talk to him.

          1. Must be a relative of our tiger cat Stoick (the vast).

            Oh hear his name and tremble, ugh, ugh?

      2. Trust me, the canine contingent comes up with similar solutions. Have they hit on the “solution” of hiding your shoes under the bed? Obviously you must need them to leave…..

        That was Fuzzy’s solution. Nemo prefers to simply try and tackle you as soon as you put them on.

        1. When Dan had a traveling job, and cats weren’t allowed to sleep in our room (my asthma was worse), Miranda would hide under our bed last thing on Sunday night, and refuse to come out/be pulled out.
          I think she had the idea that the longer Dad stayed awake, the least likely to go to work next day.

      1. On the other hand, my Beagle Lilly gets too busy “sniffing” to pay attention to people wanting to pet her. 😀

      1. Well dang! I had hoped that would go “live” but there’s hardly any telling what Judge posner will do.

        Second and last try.

  9. Hugs.

    This is going to sound really stupid, but did you know that catnip tea is a mild antibiotic? Also a mild sedative to humans. Apparently some of the “sleep tea” folks have given up on selling valerian, because it tastes and smells so bad, and they are now adding human-grade catnip to chamomile. Obviously a storage problem for those with cats in the house….

    But I mention it because drinking catnip tea is supposed to be good and cooling for upper respiratory stuff, and also good for getting rid of stress and even eczema. Plus it makes you popular with cats.

    1. Oh, and apparently valerian is related enough to catnip that it was also turning out to be a storage problem for some cats, and acting as another cat drug. Not all, but maybe half of cats love valerian as much as catnip. Bleh, so stinky….

      1. Fat Cat of mostly-loving memory tried to stick his ENTIRE HEAD into my jar of valerian capsules once. When I pulled it away from him, he swatted it out of my hand and followed it down to the floor. Turns out he was a mean drunk…

    2. So I can share my cup of tea with my cat? She’s already getting part of my turkey sandwich, my ice crème, thank goodness she doesn’t like brandy.

      1. The much mourned Ba’al (for the TV character, not the actual lower case g god) would dang near mugme for my wine.
        Imagine a lady fighting teh cat for her 6 ounce sippy of red wine…..

  10. This typifies my reluctance to fly any commercial airline. Unless everyone is required to wear a surgical mask.
    Also, as a Large, Economy Size person who detests Economy seating – well, I’d rather drive.
    Welcome back, Sarah & Dan.
    And about what happened whilst you were absent: if you don’t see the damages, just assume nothing happened. You’ll be happier.

    1. Dude, have you seen Vogmasks, and Cambridge Masks? TSA will probably throw a fit, but a friends with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome swears by ’em – stylish, practical, washable, and comfortable! …I am so wearing on next time I’m forced on a plane that’s not my own. Possibly may be wearing one heading into my next convention, because they can protect against everything but the chemical carriers in perfumes!

      1. Add some accessories and tint it brown. Everyone will assume you are doing a steampunk something-or-other.

      2. Gas masks, last seen as 1980s fetish garb, may make a comeback in cities which have decided pooping on the sidewalk is OK…

          1. Seems to me I used to buy his furniture polish.

            Pretty good stuff, it was. I guess he wore glasses to protect his eyes from fumes, that’d be why the pictures seem different.

  11. Sarah –
    Thanx for the clarity that seems to only come from people who’ve seen some other part of the world to note the difference. Sometimes our late comers are American than people born here (damn corrupt media and education system.)

  12. what right does the government have to mandate things EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU.

    What when the government is wrong? I shan’t list the many instances of the government abusing its power (Fugitive Slave Act, the Tuskegee Experiment, Japanese Internment — and the rest of the world’s governments have no basis for pointing any fingers our way as worse) or the many many many times they’ve reversed course (anybody tracking the changes in dietary guidelines?); it is sufficient to note their lack of infallibility. The fact is undeniable that governments have a terrible track record of addressing their mistakes.

    I expect many of us remember Joycelyn Elders, Bill Clinton’s Surgeon-General who was discovered to have, when in Arkansas, covered up the fact the state was knowingly distributing faulty condoms, and justifying it on the grounds “it is important that people not lose confidence in the government” (gee — maybe Boeing can use that to explain their suppression of bug reports on their latest airliner?) Governments have a terrible history of burying their mistakes. But that isn’t the reason we do not let government herd us.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all persons are born with certain inalienable unalienable rights, and that it is to secure these these rights that Governments are instituted. We are citizens, not subjects, the government is the agent of the people, not the principle, and that zealous guardianship of the relationship is as necessary as careful monitoring of a campfire. Governments accrete power the way black holes accrete matter and every precaution against its pull is proper.

    We should not be required to wear helmets and seat-belts because the government has no business “managing” our health care. If you cede that authority how do you deny the government the authority to require everybody take vitamins, require folic acid supplements for pregnant women, refuse to let men over the age of forty sire children? The government is an abusive lover, requiring strict maintenance of boundaries.

    Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
    Daniel Webster

    They mean to be our masters. To quote the old American joke about the cowboy and the Englishman: That son of a bitch ain’t been born yet.”

    Rant Mode Ended

    1. Sholy Hit! I was (and remain) suspicious as Hades about anything and everything Clintonian and I’d not heard of that one. Day-yamn!

      And damn straight!

      1. Column by Trent lott, so it will be dismissed out of hand by many. I would have offered better sourced documentation but this seems a matter over which the internet has kicked a copious quantity of litter:

        Elders engaged in a cover-up when it was discovered during the heat of the presidential campaign that leaky condoms were distributed by public-health and school clinics in Arkansas. The defective condoms had a failure rate 10 times that which is allowed by the Food and Drug Administration. Elders’ department purchased more than 1 million of these condoms. She never told the young people using them that the condoms were faulty, that they could be risking pregnancy or AIDS. It is the duty of a state health official to inform citizens about health risks, not to create additional health risks.

        In her testimony before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, Elders was asked how she would feel as a mother if some public official refused to tell her that her sons might be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases because of faulty condoms provided by public officials. “The decisions I make as a mother, the decisions, you know, that I make as a private citizen and the decisions that I make as a public-health official are sometimes different,” she said.

        Obviously, had a Republican manufacturer dumped a million condoms with ten times the acceptable failure rate …

        1. I found a ’93 AP article that covers the incident, if without quotes from Elders herself, but citing the exact same justification, if it helps. 😀

          I’d always been told to avoid Lifestyles because they break (and don’t trust clinic condoms because they use Lifestyles). I didn’t know it had been a national news story. o.o (In fairness, I would have been 6 when the AP article was published…)

        2. Dude, in fairness, most folks don’t know condoms HAVE A FAILURE RATE.

          This ain’t a support of condoms, mind you…..

          1. How true. Kids who think “safe sex” is perfectly safe, and “safer sex” is even more perfectly safe.

    2. that all persons are born with certain inalienable unalienable rights,

      Sit down, John, for God’s John, sit down.

    3. ” the state was knowingly distributing faulty condoms, and justifying it on the grounds “it is important that people not lose confidence in the government””
      A) why is the state giving away personal hygeine items to people at taxpayers’ expense in the first place?
      B) that is the same excuse used by doctors & hospitals, priests & bishops, lawyers, teachers, and just about any other professions for covering up their bad actors / actions rather than taking their lumps.
      I have far more confidence in someone / org who confesses their mistakes and tries to rectify the situation promptly.

  13. I woke up feeling human.

    I’m so so sorry. You have my deepest condolences. Hopefully you and your family can get through this trying time.

    (I activated carp-shields before posting thankyouverymuch)

  14. Of course you woke up feeling hunan. What is Dan, anyway, a cocker spaniel?

  15. “I don’t care how beneficial it is, what right does the government have to mandate things EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU.”

    Although my third anniversary as an official citizen of the US is this July, I suspect I became a citizen in my mind when I’d internalized this. I’m not sure exactly when that was, but it was well before I did the deed officially

  16. I note with interest the stories of “African Swine Fever” resulting in much if not most of the bacon-precursor inventory being destroyed in China, those stories all including assurances that there is no possible way ASF can jump to humans.

    In a completely unrelated noting, I note Surgeon-General Elders quote from above: “it is important that people not lose confidence in the government.”

    On a third completely unrelated note, it occurs to me that I should go check my inventory of N95 masks.

  17. I was discussing my fascination with Alpine mountain climbing with an avowed socialists. The more I explained the dangers and perils of testing human limits, the more appalled and agitated he became. He finally cried out, “There should be a law against people doing such dangerous journeys!”

    I was stunned. This was a SF fan, who purports to *love* space travel. This was a socialist, who has no problem with medical euthanasia. But there has to be a *law* to stop someone from, choosing of their own volition to go somewhere remote, acknowledging rescue is remote, to test their mettle, because they might die.

    So absolutely different. I didn’t think he should be forced to climb a mountain, but he wanted me forced to stay in the fenced in yard.

    1. My oldest was still a kid, 12 maybe, not more. And being a good mom I’m all “astronaut, bla bla, you like to cook you could be a cook in space” and he looks at me and says something very like… “Mom, what about vacuum don’t you understand?”


  18. Why is this yet another case of “When America gets a cold the rest of the world gets the flu?”

    Because if they started on the strange class stuff they’d be lynched by the guy next to them as a worthless a-hole?

    Even when TSA is incopetent, following idiots and offensive at best, there is a logic involved…and it doesn’t actually involve “you are a second class human.”

    Thing that pissed me off most about El Paso, was some folks actually acting like I was less than fully human. (Probably because of being American, and not able to speak Spanish. Understood a lot more than I spoke, when I say it it doesn’t seem to work….)

  19. “F*ck you, no. I don’t care how beneficial it is, what right does the government have to mandate things EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU.”

    At which point everyone but my husband stared at me in sheer incomprehension.

    Yep. For some extremes of “for your own good”, it’s OK– mostly as both a fail-safe and basically the moral version of bankruptcy or adverse possession, an extreme that guts the “but what about” objections– but generally, people are the best judges of their own good, and gov’t comes in for when their own good conflicts with someone else’s good. (Hey, all the cash in your account is DEFINITELY going to be to my own good! 😀 😀 😀 )

  20. WordPress is joining in the purge of thoughtcrime from the internet as they are now starting a spree of going after those who do not comport to leftist orthodoxy. Needless to say, they are starting with criticism of the religion that must never be criticized:


    1. She did indeed.

      And given the Yankees were one of the last MLB teams to integrate desegregate, they earned their lost decade and the George Steinbrenner era.

  21. On helmet laws:

    When I was a teen, I thought them foolish and intrusive. Went over the handlebars and had one of those tachypsychia moments listening to the road scrape along the helmet, realizing the road rash my face would have experienced.

    Came to a (grudging) idea that maybe for under majority, it might be a good idea.

    Seat belts weren’t a law, but a punishable offense when I was in the Navy, couple of accidents have made me a believer.

    As a staunch Libertarian (firm little “l”, drifting away from the party), I feel that a choosing adult can make the choice, absent public responsibility for chooser’s results. (Military service includes a lot of abrogation.)

    International TSA:

    Went through Frankfurt in ’14, they seemed to treat it as an assembly line and did NOT want your interruptions to the process.

    England same year, no real attitude.

    Canada in ’17: America’s hat. Made even more fun and odd by the output landing directly into a United States Customs and Border Protection facility located in Vancouver. Convenient for re-entry (I’ll be availing myself of this service in Dublin in a few months), but still odd.

    As to the US wagging the world’s dog, I’m reminded of the (apocryphal?) Willie Sutton line:

    Why do you rob banks?

    Because that’s where the money is.

  22. Am sort of tangentially idly listening to the results of the elections here, and the Australian Liberals won in overwhelming majority, surprising pretty much everyone.

    (I figured a fair number would vote One Nation out of spite. But I guess the Liberals -who are comparatively conservative and right wing- had a better idea for economy down under…)

    1. As Iowahawk put it, comparing Oz 2018 to US 2016, ‘Queensland is Australian for Wisconsin’. As someone who spent decades in Wisconsin, I’m not sure what I think of that. Then, I’ve not been to Queensland and most Australians I’ve met have been from W.A. Oh yeah, enjoy the Schadenfreude. You know damn well those whining and whinging now would be gloating had it gone their way.


        Liberal is Blue. (Yeah, it’s reversed on colors too.)

        Clive Palmer’s claiming credit for the victory of the Liberal Party, because his goal was, and I quote : “The goal for the United Australia Party was to ensure the Labor Government did not get into power, introducing more than $1 trillion of new taxes,” Mr Palmer said.

        “This has been achieved with the collective effort from the United Australia Party.”
        Sure he didn’t get any Senate seats with his party, but he got his end goal, and that $80 million he spent is cheap from his point of view versus the taxes that would’ve been levied otherwise.

        Honestly though? One thing that is unlikely to happen are demonstrations and riots and crying and screaming over Labor’s loss.

      2. You know damn well those whining and whinging now would be gloating had it gone their way.

        It is all just a form of public demonstration, a team-building exercise whether they whinge or gloat. Think of how certain types of men affect sympathy for women’s complaints in order to curry favour. Just like their trials, it is all for show, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

        Study: Many Democrats Exaggerated Mental Distress After 2016 Election
        STANFORD, Calif. — Many registered Democrats who claimed they were suffering from mental distress after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election may have been embellishing a bit. A new study comparing online searches to public surveys show that a significant portion of Democrats were likely over-reporting their stress or mental health issues, but doing so as a means to back their party.

        “Our research suggests that for many Democrats, expressing mental distress after the election was a form of partisan cheerleading,” write researchers Masha Krupenkin, David Rothschild, Shawndra Hill and Elad Yom-Tov in their findings. “Clearly, many Democrats were, and are, upset about the Republican victory in 2016; these findings do not invalidate those feelings but put their depth and related actions into perspective.”

        This so-called “reverse” cheerleading occurs when a person misreports or exaggerates a condition publicly in order to show support for their affiliated group, or in this case, their political party. The authors say that a person’s actions in private reveal their true condition, however, and for the study, that can be determined by evaluating private search terms. In other words, a person who might describe suffering psychological distress on social media or to their friends, but doesn’t search for any type of help or relief, is more likely showing a form of reverse cheerleading.

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