The Stories We Tell – by Dr. TANSTAAFL

Image by J. S. Klingemann from Pixabay

The Stories We Tell – by Dr. TANSTAAFL

When our boys were little, there was always bedtime stories.  We bought tons of books for them, but they picked the stories they wanted every night.  Afterwards, in a ploy to stay up later, they asked questions about the stories, and we discussed them.  How we framed the stories for them taught them what we thought was important, and how we viewed the characters and their motivations.  The Little Engine that Could kept trying when the going got rough and wins in the end.  Love You Forever was about family love and relationships.  Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel was all about work and problem solving.

During their childhoods, there were stories about the family, emphasizing different characteristics.  Snippets of information about our ancestors and how we came to be. A great-grandmother who overcame cultural sexism to become a legislator, a great-uncle who fled the old country for aggravating the rich family in town, grandparents brave and adventurous enough to emigrate around the world for a better life for their children.  The stories continued as we raised the children; almost running out of gas near the Canadian border, getting lost and then unlost on hiking trips, falling out of the raft right in front of the rapids. Some of the stories were active, a gestalt of our reactions to different events.  What do you do when the call is bad in a peewee soccer game, how do you react to a bad grade, how do you solve a travel crisis, how do you treat people who are not doing what you need?  How we chose to look at these events and frame them into the larger picture of who and what we are has a huge effect on our happiness and success in life.

Why do some people shake off bad news and keep smiling?  How does something that happens to all of us, derail some individuals?  Is it all genetics?  Is it all luck?  Is it parenting?  I think part of the difference is in the stories we tell ourselves.  Our internalized stories give us the blueprint for our reaction.  I can’t fold to a misogynist because great-grandmother stood up to them.  Dad never whined when the call went against him, so I can’t either.  I can find a solution because our family is good at thinking outside the box.  If I get lost, I will be found again, and this is what dad always did.

Part of being a physician is sometimes giving good news, sometimes bad news, and hopefully not too often, terrible news. The stories people tell themselves can be a source of inspiration not just for themselves but to those around them. Or the stories can help set people up for failure or pull them to a place nobody wants to go.  One patient was sure that since all the males in his family died young from heart disease, that he would also.  So he kept smoking and refused cholesterol medicine, because what’s the use.  One mother who was the eternal optimist, always thought her child was doing great, despite her handicaps, and raised a child who thought she could do anything, because mom said she could.

What is the story we are telling now?  For the last 3 months, it’s been DOOM, DOOM! Stay home, it’s not safe, millions will die! The world outside your house is not safe. An invisible killer is stalking you. You or your loved ones could die. You have no control over any of this, and your fate is in someone else’s hands, perhaps the person who walked by you without a mask, or the “experts” who can tell you when it will be safe to live.  What are the stories children are hearing now?  You may die and the people you depend on, your parents, have no control over the danger out there in the world.  This is how the world has to be now.

Recognizing and treating psychiatric disorders is part of our training.  Generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, agoraphobia, depression.  Today’s news seems to have come up with a way to induce these disorders.  This is not something we have ever seen.  The stories being told are an effective way to create psychiatric dysfunction in a large percentage of our population.  Even worse, in the children, the stories are too immediate.  They have no lengthy novel of normalcy to fall back on.  The current short stories are all they remember.  Will we raise a generation of neurotic, agoraphobic, depressed children?

Individually, within our circle of family and friends and within our larger communities, we have a choice. We can echo the stories of DOOM, or tell a different story.  The story should be there have been epidemics before and there will be again.  We are endlessly creative and will figure out a way to treat this illness, or prevent it eventually.  We all are mortal, and how you live is as important, if not more so, than how long you live. We can figure out ways to protect the individuals at risk, and Americans are the most generous people in the world, and can support people who are hurting as needed.

This is not the end times, unless we choose to tell ourselves it is.


301 thoughts on “The Stories We Tell – by Dr. TANSTAAFL

  1. Right now I keep thinking of the story of Chicken Little. 😈

    1. Except it seems (to me, at least) like it’s the wolf that’s screaming “THE SKY IS FALLING!” and telling all the animals to quick, take shelter in his cave!

            1. Nod, of course it was “Foxy Loxy” who convinced Chicken Little that the “Sky Was Falling” not a wolf. 😉

              (Yes, that was a minor nit.) 😀

        1. Disney, I think. One of the War Years cartoons, not the more recent movie

          Of course, WB could have done it also.

    1. They aren’t wrong. But the class we need to make war on is the Intelligentsia. And furthermore, they damn well know it, which is why they’ve been throwing tantrums for the last four years, ever since it became clear that a sizable fraction of the population considered Hillary a toad.

      1. you do know that the communists interpreted intelligentsia as anyone highly educated, right? Especially people with graduate degrees? Even STEM ones…

        1. Or with any secondary school education. . . .

          Or with glasses. . . .

          Regional differences were substantial.

          1. (Reasons why the funniest thing in the world to me is a grad student in a che shirt)

        2. That’s because real communism, contrary to Marx precedes feudalism.

          Communism only works in societies without significant specialization, I.e. hunter gathers and religious monastics.

          1. The more specialization, the more complex the society; the more complex the society, the more disproportionate power is exercised by small segments because of the increased numbers of economic choke points.

            For example, New York City’s transit workers’ union can exercise power in excess of its economic contribution by shutting down the economic functions of everybody else.

        3. Oh – that’s not the intelligentsia, that’s the educationistas. There is some overlap but they are not the same thing. In fact, the smaller the overlap the more degraded the society.

  2. Yes. This is a calculated, deliberate psychiatric disaster. Anybody who’s had serious trauma in their lives is being hit all over again with “someone is doing this to me against my will and I can’t stop them.” It’s going to kill people. It’s going to crack a lot more people. And anyone already hanging on by their mental fingernails from preexisting depression, medical issues, etc….

    It makes me so angry.

    Where I am they’ve now for the first time instituted “if you’re over 6 you must be wearing a mask in public”. There is also, concurrently, a Saharan dust cloud that makes it hard for anyone with a degree of allergies to breathe in the first place. I can’t be outside more than a few minutes without chest constriction. It makes you feel like an outlaw just trying to walk around town on necessary errands.

    And yet it could get worse. Mobile, AL has now instituted “if you’re out in public without a mask, $50 for the first offense, $100 for every subsequent one.”

    One has to wonder if the city is trying to make up for all the lack of tax income.

    1. And if you disagree with the Narrative, it’s your fault for disagreeing, and you’re a horrible person. Pure head games, warped and sick head games.

      1. *Snarl* Yes. Makes it even worse because there are too many terrified people out there to talk sense into, even if they’d let you try. It’s a wonder there aren’t more people rioting in the streets. You want to punch somebody, there’s just no good target.

      2. Feh. I’m used to it. I’ve been disagreeing with Teh Narrative since I was eight or ten. My position is, and always has been, “Fine. I’m an awful person. Now, can you engage my actual arguments or are you a complete twit?”

    2. Used to be illegal to wear a Klan hood. A Klan hood has the same protective value as the other things, so it is near mandatory now.

      There used to be a joke about leaving California before homosexuality became mandatory.

      We have nowhere left to go; how long before burning down buildings occupied by blacks becomes mandatory?

      Yeah, I know, the situation isn’t that bad, and there can still be a way out without my understanding it.

      1. It’s the same with every totalitarian regime; everything not forbidden is mandatory.

        “I’m so old, I remember when it was illegal to walk into a bank wearing a mask.”

        1. “I’m so old, I remember when ‘gay’ meant ‘happy’ and not a sexual orientation or political platform…”

          1. That’s pretty old, seeing that I could swear I’ve seen it used as a derogatory term for male homosexual dating back to the Pulp era. Granted, the Politically Gay began claiming it as a mark of identity in the 1980’s….

            1. When I was first asked if I was queer, in the early 1970s, I didn’t know it meant homosexual. I also didn’t know what a homosexual was. (I wasn’t one). I was all of 14 and until then I had lived in a fairly sheltered rural community.

        2. At least when masks were optional, the credit union made you drop it for a moment for the benefit of the security cameras. Haven’t been in there since masks were made mandatory, but I assume it’s still the policy.

          1. They didn’t when I went to the bank. Then, it was “Hello, Mary” even with it. I think it’s the hair.

    3. See, that’s ridiculous. I’ll accept the masks in stores, since that’s obvious, but we go for walks on popular trails and don’t come within 6 feet of *anyone* aside from passing, so the masks stay in the pocket. And even the parts of our state that have gone hyper-restrictive don’t have requirements for when you’re outdoors more than six feet from people.

        1. It’s obvious, it’s just wrong.

          Kind of like me being freaked out on Valentine’s day was obvious, but wrong. Because I didn’t know the drop in how bad it was, was only the beginning.

        2. I wear a respirator in stores. Not some t-shirt folded in half. Because I can’t afford to bring that crud home. Most people seem pretty resistant to it, but not at my house. I don’t wear one outside, because that would be insane.

          I don’t care what anyone else is doing. Anything they’re doing is guaranteed insufficient. You can’t turn the whole world into an operating room.

          In other news, it may be that Corona Chan has been out in the wild since ~August 2019. There’s evidence to that effect being ignored by the MSM right now. Additionally, there was a CDC report on antibody evidence suggesting that on the order of 25% of Americans have had COVID-19 already. That is also being ignored.

          In still other news the Chinese swine flu that is killing pigs wholesale over there has crossed over to humans. That’s the next thing that’s going to scare you into staying at home, just getting set up on the launching pad.

          And through all of this, airplanes from China continue to land in the USA and Canada.

                1. Yeah, as I understand it that company was actually one sketchy MD, one model (or possibly porn actor depending on sources), and one unpublished fantasy author, and the first time anyone asked for their raw data they first said “Oh, can’t, HIPAA,” and then suddenly remembered they had an appointment elsewhere, out of town.

                  They made their “data” up, and it was accepted because it reinforced the OMB narrative.

              1. Without going and reading the article (because I read too slow to follow all the rabbit holes), as I understand it, for it to do a proper job of protection, the hydroxychloroquine needs to be taken in conjunction with both zinc and vitamin D supplements, but yeah.

                1. Yes, there’s a protocol developed at NYC hospitals that is the proper way to do it. I got the crash-course back in March, let’s just say. Somebody got sick on me.

                  And now they’re better, thanks to #OrangeManBad opening his mouth at a press conference and mentioning it looked promising as a treatment. Otherwise it could have been ugly.

                2. My understanding is that it should be used early, which the “studies” carefully ignored, taking people who had one foot in the grave as test subjects. Kind of like they wanted the test to fail. Curious, that. (No, not really. I’ll borrow Kim’s Red Curtain of Blood.)

            1. I believe it is a violation of International law to doubt the WHO. If they say it, it’s so.

              Only far-right nationalist white-supremacists doubt the WHO (or any other UN Agency) even if the tale they tell today contradicts the one told yesterday.

                1. ChiComs may not understand how to run a good disinformation operation in a free country…

                  1. A free country? Where would you find one of those?

                    Forty years ago, maybe. Today, not so much.

                    1. There’s always parts of the country where freedom is failing, adn we cannot avoid having illusions about the whole.

                      Freedom in America is a question of very many innermost hearts. Unknowable by humans.

                      There’s a failure case where it is critically important that it is not yet dead while still alive in a few hearts, of holding out to the final end. Do not let the adversary’s defeatist propaganda soften your resolve.

                      There’s been many bad times in American history. It is not clear that now is actually worse, nor how much of the current bad is artificially magnified because of hostile/Democrat/Qatari/Chinese assets holding high ground in the information terrain.

                2. I understand that according to an article in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, rolling your eyes is now deemed racist. Or homophobic. Or maybe it’s both, I’m not sure:

                  Dr. Anderson was once accused of eye-rolling by a colleague, “a classic racist trope.”

                  Okay, maybe it means that accusing somebody of rolling their eyes is racist — but does that mean White People can be permitted eye-rolling? I. Think. Not.

                  It’s probably Cultural Appropriation.

                  Or simply failure to wholeheartedly, full-throatedly affirm anything espoused by a member of a double-victim class?

                  As Anderson, MD self-identifies as a gay African-American psychiatry resident I can only say that I would not want him examining my head — he’s too oppressed by micro aggressions to last even three rounds in a wrestling match with my demons.

            2. I’m sure that is mistaken — I expect China absolutely did notify the WHO.

              In fact, a quick check of my cyber-Ouija board has revealed the English text of the notification: “You din’t see nuthin’, you din’t hear nuthin’, you don’t know nuthin’.”

              So, when it is reported that China told the WHO nothing, that is essentially accurate.

      1. Not obvious. We were getting by just fine without them until “the bars opened up”. Not one mention of all the protests….

        Frankly I think the lack of bars will kill more people than Covid.

      2. If we must wear masks there ought be some customization options, like a yellow mask based on the Gadsden flag, or a mask with the legend: “See, I’m wearing a mask! Now STFU, Karen.”

        I’d like there to be a place offering custom-printed masks to-order. I’d like a picture of the bottom half of my face imprinted on the mask. Or the bottom half of [Favorite Celebrity]’s face …

        1. My mask is red and says Trump 2020. I wear it when I need to wear a mask.

            1. You have to laugh, or you”d cry. There is so much we could have done to manage this pandemic. But too many sacred cows, too many political fiefdoms, too much folly and ignorance.

        2. A Confederate battle flag, and watch the Karens’ heads start smoking as they go into meltdown. “Put on your mask! AAAUGH! Take off your mask! AAAUGH! . . .”

    4. Oregon is slightly different (as usual). Outdoors, masks not needed. Any indoor public space, masks required. Kids under 12 excused, but they’re *asking* for kids between 2 and 12 to be masked.

      Had to get a crapton of plywood and 2 x 4s for the new, improved garden shed (I have a horrible tendency to overbuild things. Ups the material costs, but labor is cheap–me.). Using a cloth mask in Depot Was Not Fun At All. When I got home, washed the mask and it was filthy from dust. Arggh.

      FWIW, at least two smaller businesses have specifically blamed Despicable Kate Brown for the mask order. From the one at the vet supply, people are not happy. (OTOH, one neighbor is OK with the order, but he has a recent heart attack in his history, so I’ll give him a pass.) I’m also seeing a lot of “you say I have to wear a mask, but you didn’t mandate that it completely cover my nostrils”. (Raises hand–breathing was getting a bit of a challenge with Covid-Theater Submission.)

      If we’re not good little subjects, DKB is hinting that she’ll resume the lockdown. Haven’t heard a thing about the protesters west side…

        1. Well, since the Oregon Supreme Court knocked down the injunction by the Baker Co Judge to end the Lockdown, due to the ignoring of the law, she’s still fecking going. Last thing the cailleach said was that if we don’t wear masks, she will be forced to re-shutdown the state and schools, ‘n $#!t.

          I’m hoping for the recall pt 2 to work. But I amn’t too sure about it. The joys of living in a slave state.

          1. I didn’t hear the results of the Special* Session, where Tzarina Kate was asking for her edicts to retroactively be made into law. Too early in the morning to try to search on such a depressing topic.

            1. From skimming the legislature page, there was nothing relating to the CCP virus, except for a budgetary thing. Agriculture, Police Reform, Forsterchildren, etc.

    5. “I can’t wear a mask”. End of discussion as they aren’t allowed to ask me why. Violation of various state and federal laws. 😊

      If they push the issue I’ve come up with various unlikely scenarios ranging from me being buried alive in a badger hole when I was three to being trapped in a mine cave in when I was a twelve year old coal miner. (Seeing a pattern?)

      1. The veterinary office apologized for the hassle (I gather the two-legged visitors were frightfully annoyed*), but they said they were stuck. If one had sufficient reason to not wear a mask, they’d come to one’s car and would do whatever was necessary. No mask, no entry. Sigh.

        I’m marginal with a mask. If it’s a medical trip (ie, takes longer than a few minutes), I’ll dip into my small store of surgical masks, as they are the lightest ones I have. Alas, the governor does not consider the open mesh face guard (as sold by Stihl for lumberjacks) to be a proper shield. Damn! Getting lumber/plywood at Home Desperate with a medium weight cloth mask was Not Good.

        (*) H/T Anna Russell “a comic analysis of Der Ring des Nibelungen”, describing Alberich as he curses the ring.

    6. Made my last Half Priced Book trip perhaps forever. They now require a mask. After browsing a half hour I had chest pains that are now subsiding nearly an how after I left.

      1. Fortunately the vet I need to get meds for the old dog from has curbside pickup. I haven’t been inside a bookstore since March, and not in the local library for months – you have to call, make appointments, wear masks, etc.

        It’s seriously eating at my sanity.

    7. One has to wonder if the city is trying to make up for all the lack of tax income.

      Ding, Ding, Ding, we have a winner!

  3. If you want to read something scary that isn’t China or ‘Rona, the Golden State Killer’s brother in law wrote a book about how well the guy hid his actions from his relations. It’s called Killers Keep Secrets, and it is basically a biography of normal life with a serial killer, who mostly shows you his good side.

    Truth is stranger than fiction. Holy crud is it stranger.

  4. There was a story I ran across in Alex Berenson’s twitter feed (that I’m too lazy to look up right now) about a young mother’s harrowing experience with Coronavirus. She was thinking about what would happen to her daughter, being grateful that she had updated her will, considering how much life insurance she carried and if it was enough…and it turned out that what actually happened to this woman was that she had a mild fever for less than 24 hours. It was a classic example of buying the narrative and giving in completely to fear.

    1. I’m still not over the guy who had what sounded like a fairly classic case — no pneumonia or anything — but the article described it as feeling like he had a bad flu for a couple of weeks. He was donating antibodies afterward, and that’s great! I don’t want to denigrate that in the least; it’s a very good thing to do in the hope of helping people who have the more severe cases. But he referred to it as trying to make something good come out of “this horrible thing that happened to my body.”

      …Sir, unless the article vastly understated the severity of your condition, that’s a bit overdramatic….

  5. We all have it here right now. FWIW my first-hand experience has been fairly unremarkable and I never developed cough or fever, although they are not joking about the *profound* loss of the sense of smell. The biggest thing is that we are glad we figured it out before going to visit my parents. Given how atypically 3 out of 4 of us presented, I can tell you right now that a lot of folks are going to never realize that the “stomach bug” or “allergies” they had were actually Wu-Flu.

    1. That’s what makes me wonder if I had it back in January-February. I had students and associated who went to Colorado and elsewhere and came back coughing. I got the lower-respiratory crud that lasted for six weeks or so, mild but nagging, and had (in retrospect) a short bout of low-grade fever. The duration was a lot longer than most of the chest crud that had been floating around.

      1. I got serology testing done out of curiosity about the two weeks of “wow this is a bad cold” and several weeks of trailing cough, and it came back negative, but afterward I read that they were having trouble detecting antibodies after two months generally (and in at least one study, several people who got sick after known exposure never had detectable antibodies but they were able to find something in T cells)… and the symptoms are so poorly suited to differential diagnosis… soooo, I guess the upshot is that I still don’t know anything.

        1. There’s also information that the early antibody tests had an astounding 20% accuracy rate, but the FDA let them stay on the market because reasons. No idea when or if these were removed.

          My doctor could not understand why I didn’t want an antibody test in mid June. See above for why.

        1. I’m pretty sure i had it in late January. I got sick after I came back from Belgium and traveling with students (one of whom had the flu – hospital tested, it was regular flu). I was coughing for over a week. My office neighbor got sick (she always gets something) and took a week off, canceling classes and everything. In hindsight, I think we both got it.

      2. It certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, we know it has been circulating longer than originally reported. Antibody testing is worth looking into if it’s available where you live, just to see if you had it.

  6. I have often thought of the lessons inherent in the stories one learns while growing up a Jew. Such as:

    The world doesn’t like you but He does, and that’s what counts.

    Keep your own books – and don’t trust the history told by others.

    Negotiating is better than fighting – but willingness to fight can improve your negotiating position.

    The stereotypes others hold of you are false – don’t worry about them.

    “Chinese” food is delicious, and good deli important.

    Some people will hate you, not because you’re a Jew but because they’re [expletives].

    When you think Jews are smarter than other ethnicities, remember:

    Max Baer Jewish (and his Da was Heavyweight champ of the world in the mid-30s.)

    1. My step-mother-in-law is Jewish, and if we were both Catholic I would be putting her up for Sainthood. OTOH she tells a story of a kaffeeklatsch group of women from her neighborhood that she stopped seeing shortly after a waiter asked them, with total justification, “Ladies, is ANYTHING ok?”.

      Lesson (which I learned before knowing Jeannie) stereotypes are never particularly informative about individuals, but in every group for which there is one a small but annoying subset will appear to be trying to live DOWN to the stereotype.

      Yes, the small but annoying subset that makes up the Fascist Left is running amok. If we want to recover from this idiocy we need to keep firmly in mind that many people superficially connected with the Intelligentsia are keeping their heads down and hoping the foolishness will blow over.

      There are several babies in the bath water, let’s only throw out the ones that deserve it.

      1. We can infer that some of us are ‘superficially connected with the intelligentsia’, and keeping heads down.

        1. Hell, my father was a college professor. At one point he held The Lynn Thorndike Chair for the History of Magic and Experimental Science (I’m a third generation Odd). His career stretched from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, but by the time the Fascist Left might have gone after him, he was retired. Also, they were scared to death of him. He PUBLISHED. A LOT. And had scant patience for ‘scholars’ who didn’t. HIS father had been a Methodist Minister, and from what I can tell had the genuine Call. Father didn’t, but he could channel hellfire and brimstone when he wanted to.

          I’m not so much keeping my head down as I have sufficient trouble on my plate (my Lady’s health) and, frankly, the Fascist Left seem to be doing more to themselves than I can imagine I could. Oh, if they came tramping out of Philadelphia looking for trouble in my little neighborhood, I would stand with my neighbors, but I would have to leave any shooting to people who own guns.

          People as clumsy as I am should not own guns to power saws.

          I’d just have to do what I could with a bokken.

          1. Anecdote: A very experienced police officer once told me that the most physically messed up perp he had ever booked in the “you picked the wrong ‘victim’ for your attempted redistribution of wealth, dude” category was behavior-corrected with an aluminum baseball bat.

            Just be sure you carry a well broken in glove and scuffed up ball in case of any questions.

            1. Heh. The van has all my kid’s T-ball stuff – two bats, gloves, balls – irate mother…

              The work truck has …. a lot of things that seriously hurt a person – the two things that are easiest to reach are my camán and my GLOCK.

            2. Most extreme case of failure of the victim selection process I ever heard of was the attempted mugging of a schoolmate’s Taekwondo sabom (Korean for sensei). Three skells attacked an Asian man in exercise clothes who was locking up a martial arts school.

              He killed two of them on pure reflex, and struck the third in the forehead so hard that he scrambled the idiot’s brains (such as they were). The Cleveland cops (bless them) recorded the cause of death as ‘suicide pact’.

    2. I’ve known people who’ve taken your third point to heart. So much it’s two sets of books. Er, wait, did I get that wrong? 🙂

    3. >> “The stereotypes others hold of you are false – don’t worry about them.”

      Wait, are you saying that wallabies aren’t an entire species of incorrigible, internet-dwelling smartasses?

    4. Max Baer, Jr. Is by all accounts a fairly sharp cookie. OTOH cousin Jethro is a dim-witted but good-hearted fellow whom Max eventually regretted portraying due to typecasting.

  7. As I’ve mentioned before, I’d love to go back ten years from now and look at popular culture and the media starting with the book _World War Z_ and a few other of the new zombie-disease genre, track the tropes through popular culture, and then look at the responses to SARS2. Dollars to donuts, you can see the influence in how things were presented back in Jan-March, overlain with the politics. In part because the younger people (thirty and below, possibly 35 and younger) are the ones caught up the hardest, the ones without historical experience, and the ones who would have been involved the most in zombie pop-culture.

    1. I went to a discussion on monsters (“How long will this zombie fad be around?”) and the main point was that the Monster Of The Times is always a reflection of the fears of the day. So in the 50s we got nuclear-mutant monsters and Godzilla, morphing into pod-people monsters, and then with the rise of the Sexual Revolution and AIDS and the chance of sex killing you, we got sexy vampire monsters. Zombies are the fear of disease and the fear of loss of individuality. So it’s a bit of a feedback loop—fear of disease leads to zombie media which leads to more fear of disease.

      If we really start getting going on genetic tinkering, expect werewolves and their ilk to come to the fore.

      1. Although George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, which really revitalized the Zombie genre, both came out in the 1970s:

      2. I think the popularity of Hannibal Lecter is based on the number of people who are in some kind of therapy, worried about Who they’re letting into their heads.

    2. For what it’s worth, from a most unscientific polling of coworkers, most Old Tucson actors would rather do vampires than zombies for Nightfall, but management keeps the brain eaters shambling along.

  8. Doom? Seriously? That is a cheesy-but-fun first-person-shooter game.

    What we face is “work”. As in ” we have some serious work to do.”

    Keep firmly in mind that well planned and well executed work produces -good- things.

    So, get back to work, and enjoy the resultant good things.

    And -smile- while you do your work, and laugh at the grasshoppers. It annoys them greatly, thus it is also good work.

    We Win. They Lose.

  9. “Will we raise a generation of neurotic, agoraphobic, depressed children?”

    I think the only reason the Dragonette isn’t sunk into depression (a condition that saunters gently thru my family tree, stopping frequently to visit) is because one of her best friends lives next door, and they can still hang out as long as they’re outside and not on top of each other. If they go all virtual for school, I think she’s going to shut down. Hell – I’m an introvert who works from home, has no social life, and rarely goes out to eat, and *I’m* going slightly mad.

    1. You’re here and you’re only slightly mad? 😀

      But seriously, folks, I’ve been wrestling with the black dog, struggling not to go way further round the bend than my usual.

      Okay, I’ve spent years struggling to maintain some minimal level of sanity without quite enough human contact. So I’m maybe operating on a deficit in the first place.

      All this stuff is not of the wonderful.

      Intellectual curiosity alone is not a healthy way to cope with living through it, but in some ways it helps.

      Might be a wiser approach than “If it is such a big deal, why aren’t you helping the effort to nuke the Chinese?”

      1. The Black Dog has moved into my place, set up a dog bed in the living room, and is currently looking for the best place to install a doggie door. My attempts to tell him to get lost have not met with great success.

          1. So the plan is that we get a big black chew toy, toss it directly between them, and then while they’re fighting over it, we get in the car and speed to the border?

            1. What border? There is no border left on this planet that we can cross to escape the idiocy. It’s spread everywhere. THAT is what’s depressing.

              1. Obviously we can’t get into space fast enough.

                I was wondering what of all things might make me willing to leave the planet, when I know how sparse and dangerous settling Mars is going to be at first.

                …The ongoing crazy? Just might do it.

                1. There’s a hotel porch at or near Harper’s Ferry, overlooking the confluence of two rivers and a still active railroad bridge that I think is in serious contention.

                2. Things I’d do with a time machine: convince Mr. Gadsden to pony up the extra $1 Mill to extend his purchase to the Gulf of California. Arizona with ocean front property, I wonder what would happen to the George Straight song?

                  1. New Mexico has the same number of syllables. 🙂

                    George would figure out something.

                  2. I’d offer you mine and go with you, but the thingamawhatsie recombobulator isn’t working, and I can’t find a replacement.

              1. Sounds like a plan. You bring the booze, I’ll bring my daughter’s collection of buckets and shovels to build a sandcastle.

            2. The aardvark suggests you do that in the room that shows the Canis Major constellation on the doorway.

              (sigh. I’ve done some writing work every day if you count outlining but I don’t usually count outlining. . . .)

      2. I was clinging to sanity. Then today they canceled the Blue Angels airshow (would have been next week). It felt like a stab straight to the kidneys.

        I am… currently not doing well, no.

        Going to try writing a post on the airshow, and Eglin, and what they mean to this area, and hope that deals with some of the sense of utter betrayal.

        1. Unless the reason is something like “the entire support crew and half the pilots are in quarantine,” you should be.

          Even if they ARE, I can tell you that THEY’RE pissed. (and that there will be at least one virtue signalling a-hole who will claim to speak for them all, doing borderline licit comments)

                  1. Exactly — these idiots run about flailing like headless chickens as is; converting them into torches would result in ashes everywhere.

                1. I think seeing the police playing Punch to the rioters’ Mrs. Punch would be more viscerally pleasing. But I note that to break up Antifastan the cops didn’t use either squad cars OR horses; they came in on bicycles…and the Antifidiots folded. THAT’S pretty satisfying in its own way; it shows that for all their loud talk they are wimps.

                  1. There would be a certain satisfaction to implementing Singapore Protocols and giving them each a good hiding. No room and board at taxpayer expense, no expensive to build and operate prisons, just a quick caning with a reminder the next time they get double.

                    Anybody complaining about it being beastly can volunteer to pay the cost of incarcerating the punks.

                    Finding a coterie of professional caners might be a problem, but I am confident American ingenuity can come up with something.

                    1. Well, Mythbusters is off the air. If Grant Imahara has nothing else to do, he could build a prototype caning robot. 😀

      3. My anxiety has been awful; if I don’t take medication, I don’t sleep for more than two hours a stretch. And my resting heart rate has shot up.

  10. The zeitgeist may be chanting “Doom, doom, doom” but the little voice in my head has been counter-chanting, “Twit, twit, twit.”

      1. That would be the governor of Texas, who just mandated masks in public (not if you are jogging or gardening away from people, or seated in a restaurant eating, or have a medical condition), among other things. *SNARL* Fines for non-compliance cap out at $250.

        1. That man has been running from this virus from day one. Ran as a conservativeand has done everything possible to pait the state blue so to be expected I guess

          1. Waste of fat.

            Not even deep fat frying can make them safe to eat. 😈

            1. There’s also the problem of a tendency for people to misinterpret the instructions’ requirement that the politician be well battered …

            2. I didn’t say to eat them. Just fry them.

              You know; in accordance to the Mikado Protocol; “Something artistic but lingering, with boiling oil or molten lead.”

            3. My husband just commented the only way to know what a politician is thinking is to read it in his entrails.

          2. I believe a dead leftist politician would be considered hazardous waste. EPA regulations would not allow disposal anywhere within the U.S. and you’d never get an export permit.
            No! Not Barker. That man is dead. It’s Todd now. Sweeney Todd. And ‘e will ‘ave ‘is revenge.

              1. Balloons would be more environmentally friendly. I’m sure leftist politicians would appreciate that.

                “He kept screaming at us to let ‘im go, so we did.”

      1. I don’t much like cussing. I feel like I get more reaction from derogatory words that aren’t taboo. They have more shock value.

  11. My personal fav remains the people wearing masks in cars, especially the ones in pricey Benz-type rides, the ones that already have super duper “cabin filtration.”

    1. Saw one of those today. Wearing a mask, windows rolled up tight, alone in one of those tiny sawed-off BMW pieces of crap. Also dodging through rush hour traffic, cutting in front of anybody that left the smallest gap, like a meth-head at the demolition derby.

      Hey, dumbass, it ain’t the virus that’s gonna kill ya!
      When someone does a foolish thing, you should say it is a foolish thing. They may still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be.

      1. Sadly, I know of no State in the Union that requires that you prove you have at least two working brain cells to get a driver’s license. I came to driving late, and know I’m not especially good at it. Yet the two times I have taken a driving test, I passed on the first try. And there are people who have to try three or more times.


        But what REALLY scares me is all the talk of self-driving cars. I live with computers. Uneasily, but I manage. The idea of trusting that the software in my vehicle isn’t going to suddenly get an opinion, or freeze for an update? Yikes! I can deal with the occasional absolute fool on the road. What the hell do you do when one morning one model of car decides to turn right for no reason in the middle to commuter traffic?

        1. Self-driving cars? Comic GOLD!!!

          Take the classic panicked dad rushing wife-in-labor to the hospital bit. Okay, first we change the “dad” to lesbian co-parent. Then we do the standard hysterical rush to the car bits and when she starts the car the readout informs her that the car O/S is updating, is 20% complete and she should not re-start the car until the update is complete.

          Then the system crashes at 98% complete.

          Then the seven-year-old geek across the street decides to hack the system and make the car drive in circles …

          Gold, GOLD, I tell you!

        2. What scares *me* is that many of the people who in love with the “self-driving car” concept are IT people who should *know* what a cock-up that’s liable to be.

          1. I suspect it’s likely to be what my new blood sugar monitor is as compared to my old: 98% of the time, it’s much better, but when it screws up, it REALLY screws up!

            1. My Low BS monitor is rumored to be more accurate faster than hardware. At least that is the reporting from people who use both. She also gives kisses and fetches (more or less).

            2. I’m having good luck with the Verio meter, though I prefer my old* Accu-Chek Softclix lancets for the stabby bit.

              (*) Got them with my first meter in 1998, and they’re still in production for the while. Have a couple year’s supply on hand.

          2. Techies get caught up in Gadget Daze. They think how COOL it would be if it worked, and have to be reminded what a clusterf*ck it would be if it went wrong. Also, they’re so accustomed to fixing recalcitrance in machines On the fly that they don’t understand why other people have problems.

          3. What scares *me* is that many of the people who in love with the “self-driving car” concept are IT people who should *know* what a cock-up that’s liable to be.

            Not looking at it right.

            It’s not that they think of what will go wrong, it’s that they cannot figure out how much is going RIGHT, now.

            Contempt is dangerous.

            1. I don’t think it’s contempt on the part of the techies. A lot of them tend to take any problem presented to them that looks like it would be fun to play with, and run with it. Look at the ‘problems’ that home computers were supposed to ‘solve’; running an inventory of your refrigerator, for example. The techies looked at that and said “cool” and started writing this code. It never occurred to them that entering the data would be a huge headache for most people.

              They aren’t good at looking at a ‘problem’ and thinking “does this actually need to be solved?”. At least a goodly number of them aren’t.

              1. I wasn’t born until the 80s– never saw those claims.

                I just know the reaction the tech guys have when you point out that computers fail, spectacularly, and a road is a bad place for that.
                It’s the standard litany of humans not being perfect…..

          4. IT folks should know better. IT folks don’t exactly have a lot of experience handling heavy equipment that hasn’t had the rough edges rubbed off. Furthermore, EULA let them pretend that they only have to support users who aren’t being actively malicious, and can just block the malicious.

            The car company folks? Don’t exactly uniformly have the background to realize why the status quo of automotive electronics is bad juujuu, nor what good reliable software design looks like. Plus, they are in the habit of rolling for legislative requirements.

            Some of it is technocratic lust to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’.

            Some of it is buying into group think.

        3. I saw a story in Analog many years ago about self-driving cars. Somebody wrote a program that cracked into hundreds of cars during rush hour, made them drive to a little roadside stand that had been set up, and would not allow them to leave until the driver made a purchase.

          Some criminal cracks into your car and makes it drive somewhere you don’t want to go, to be robbed or…whatever.

          The leftists would mandate that the government have a backdoor into the thing, and enact a jungle of rules about where and when you can drive it, enforced through the car itself. Just dreaming about the possibilities must get them all excited.
          Don’t open that!! It’s the original can of worms!

          1. Leftists? Hell, the RINOs in congress want a backdoor for all encryption products.

            1. Politicians, even some very good ones, have a tendency to not trust the Citizens to solve things for themselves. And they also tend to think of the Government as a tool – an extension of their Will – rather than a concatenation of fallible humans just as likely to screw up as anyone else.

    2. My favorite of those I’ve personally seen thus far was guy on motor scooter, wearing surgical mask (because very risky to ride in the open air) along with sunglasses (fogging much?) and with headphones in his ears, doodlebopping to music at the red light. Because it is vitally important to make sure you have absolutely *no* sensory input while trying to avoid accidents while on a totally exposed platform. He was like all three little monkeys (see no evil, etc.).

        1. A helmet is a persistent nuisance. You can’t leave in on your vehicle, and taking it with you is a pain in the arse. It’s hot, heavy, bulky, and a distraction. On anything with a top realistic speed of under 20mph, I’d much rather take my chances on a tuck-and-roll. Between 20mph and able to keep up with urban traffic, I’d probably wear one…except that I’m awkward enough that a moped is about my speed anyway.

          1. Mandatory helmet laws tend to decrease motorcycle accidents — in direct proportion to the decrease in motorcycle registrations. That is, they work by discouraging the riders, not by making the ride safer.

            Remember that the ER doctor does not see the motorcycle rider who didn’t come to the ER because without his helmet interfering with his peripheral vision, he saw the other vehicle and moved.

  12. We take strength from stories – and in this, I agree with the good Dr. T.
    For some weird reason, around and about in the mid-oughts, I began to be overcome with the conviction that I ought to start writing HF about the American frontier; stories about our actual and metaphorical ancestors. That I should write about them as decent, honorable people, doing the best that they had, given their lights – what they knew, what they wanted out of life as they knew it. (That first book was about an early wagon train party to California, who experienced about the same conditions as the Donner Party, but passed over the snowy mountain barrier of the Sierra Nevada two years previously … and emerged with all of their party alive, strengthened by two babies born along the way. They had able leadership, and they hung together under severe adversity…) And the next book turned out to be a trilogy – about German settlers coming to America and adapting, about them believing whole-heartedly in the dream that ordinary citizens could indeed rule themselves,that they could participate in a government by and for the people. No kings, no princes, no rulers – that’s what they came to America for, that’s what they believed; in the grand American Experiment. I wanted to make all that ‘real’ to readers in the comfortable format of historical fiction.
    And that’s why I began to write.

  13. Vox News
    July 2, 2020

    Shoe Company Latest to Be Called Out for “Problematic” Logo

    Aunt Jemimah, Uncle Ben’s, Cream of Wheat, Eskimo Pie. Adding to this long list of products recently challenged to alter or abolish racist images in their sales and packaging, a public interest group has demanded that Nike remove the branding logo for Air Jordans.

    “The image of a black man jumping with a basketball is nothing but an ugly stereotype. It evokes images of trained circus animals and forced performance.” This statement, released by a BLM related group, specifies the latest element being challenged in the public discourse.

    It continues “This has, properly, become a deciding issue for our times. Blacks and other ethnicities everywhere are standing up and saying ‘We are more than images for your amusement.’ We are all taking back ourselves.

    This image is particularly galling, given the history of exploitation of black athletes in both professional and collegiate programs.”

    Nike released an answer that read, in part “We cannot help but be confused by this demand. The ‘JumpMan’ logo was developed by Michael himself, and is used on other products and promotions associated with him. It is nothing less than a celebration of his joy and athleticism.”

    Upon hearing this, the instigating group responded: “This saddens us immensely. If Michael Jordan thinks a caricature like that image is acceptable, he needs to seriously rethink how his words and deeds affect black Americans as well as all traditionally oppressed and marginalized peoples.”

    [Poe notification:



    Fine. It’s fake. I made it up. I’m trying to mock a movement I find somewhat irrational.

    Is anyone else feeling cynical lately or is that just me?


    1. The Poe notification is actually needful.

      They’re using badfeelz that there were slaves to justify destroying the statues bought, built and celebrated by those slaves. They’ve removed the Indian lady drawn by an Indian to honor the Indians. They’ve removed the first black lady to be a nationally respected icon who literally toured the nation to crowds of well-wishers and was honored for her professional skill, and became quite comfortable from it. They’ve shot a retired black cop who was doing a favor for his neighbors, for F sake, and defaced the Lincoln memorial right off the bat.

      What the heck in that list makes you think that demanding removing Michael Jordan’s image from sports gear would be a step too far?

      1. Oh, I forgot, demanded the release of a cop who shot an absolutely innocent person in order to rectify police violence.

      2. I’m still bemused at the fact that the Portlandia “progressives” decided to destroy a statue of an elk.

        1. I am not familiar with that specific statue, but I’ve seen the identical statue all over Oregon.

          It’s the ELK’s lodge elk.

          As in, “Benevolent and Protective Order of”.

          Famous member page goes:
          JFK, Truman, G. Ford, FDR, Babe Ruth, Clint Eastwood, Warren G. Harding, Cronkite, Harry Houdini……

          (Bruce Campbell AKA Ash is on page 5.)

          1. > (Bruce Campbell AKA Ash is on page 5.)

            “Klaatu, barada, [cough]” is a classic, but I prefer “Good? Bad? I’m the man with the gun.”

            He starred in a 2-season, New-Zealand-made series called “Jack of All Trades” that was ROFL funny. Think of a mix of “Wild, Wild West” and “Zorro” set in French Polynesia in the early 1800s, with The Bruce cranked up to ’11’. Yes, it’s slapstick, but is was very well done, and it looked like the actors were having a hell of a lot of fun making it.

          2. Didn’t see the picture. It almost makes sense, now.

            I was a member for a while in the late ’80s until life (and finances) got in the way. It was supposedly one way to get a CCW permit in the county, though now the current sheriff simply asks for a large donation to her campaign fund in return for one. Word got out, and she’s under investigation. I’m surprised she’s lasted as long as she has (maybe 25+ years). On the gripping hand, it’s California, Jake.

        2. I believe they thought the statue was of a gnu and destroyed it as emblematic of invasive species.

    2. It’s not just you. I would have taken that as completely plausible without the Poe notice.

      As they say over on Instapundit, the Bablyon Bee has become America’s new newspaper – they can’t satirize things enough before the Left tops it again.

      1. The leftists are trying to make the Babylon Bee obsolete.

        The Bee: “Even leftists could never do something this stupid.”
        Leftists: “Hold my tofu.”

            1. That really would explain it, wouldn’t it. Wonder if one can hear two hearts beat if one is close enough to him with good enough hearing?

    3. I believed it right up until Nike didn’t instantly fold, apologize and donate millions of dollars to Antifa.

  14. “This is not the end times, unless we choose to tell ourselves it is.”

    Yes. By God, yes.

    This is why I started writing. I am sick nigh unto death of stories telling me how horrible people are, how horrible life is, and how it will only ever get worse until we are all dead. How power inevitably corrupts, how everyone does it, and how everything I was raised with was eeeeevile.

    Because (ferinstance) its not just that Global Warming is going to kill us all, right? It’s ANTHROPOGENIC Global Warming, and when it kills us it will be our own fault. (I was subjected to an episode of Snowpiercer. Perfect example of the genre. There is no future, just kill yourself now and avoid the rush.)

    Seriously. Where can I find a future where the seas -didn’t- rise and drown New York? I can’t. Every book has Drowned New York.

    So I write what I want to read. Good guy wins and gets the girl (or robot girlfriend, wildly alien yet cool space-beast, werewolf, whatever) and variations on that theme.

    1. “Every book has Drowned New York.”

      If the authors were trying to live in New York on a budget, the impulse is completely understandable. Never done it myself, but I’ve listened to those who have.

      1. I lived upstate for four interminable years. Upstate was not great, but I cannot understand why anyone would voluntarily put up with NYC. Seriously, the place is a crap hole. The dumbest shit I have ever seen human beings do I saw in NYC. Its a miracle the place hasn’t burned to the ground spontaneously.

        1. NYC is big enough that they have the extremes of the bell curves in all areas. I’ve spent no more than a couple of short vacations there, but in food, for example, I’ve had both the best and worst experiences in restaurants. On successive days, I tipped my waiter 5% and 35%, and in both cases, thought it was the perfect amount.

            1. I *live* in Minneapolis. Well, first ring suburb; used to live in the city. The gas station near my old house where I used to do business is now a hope in

              1. My condolences, tc. I guess they lucked out by not coming down your street. ~:D

                I used to live in Marshall MN, went to Minneapolis for the computer show mostly. Never did make it to Uncle Hugos. C’est la vie.

            2. It is all a product of their anti-inequality agenda, turning Minneapolis into Mogadishu.

              That’s how their anti-inequality always works. (Well, for the general populace, anyway. Somehow their Fearless Leaders always seem to find vast sums of unwanted money in their secret ban accounts. I understand this was very embarrassing to Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Yassir Arafat — they’d have gladly spread it among the people if they only knew how it came to be there so they could be sure t wouldn’t have to be returned to its proper owners.)

        2. I visited New York at several points in the 1980’s, before the revitalization (which successive Democrats seem to have killed). It was fascinating. I saw CIRCLE OF IRON in one of the sleazy theaters on 42nd street, explored some of the old magazine stores (yes, full of porn, but also full of fascinating ephemera), and a few years later (after the video revolution) saw 42nd street a howling wasteland with haiku on the marquees.

          But that’s VISITING. And I’m 6’2” and weird looking; not anyone’s top target.

      2. I’ve enjoyed a few movies where New York gets destroyed by giant monsters.

      1. Bob, a city drowning in napalm is the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid reading. Even a crappy city infested with morons. Repeat after me, “mass murder bad.”

        However I’m not above writing a scene where the muggers try to mug the robot ninja girl.

        “Listen kid, what part of ‘robotic ninja assassin’ didn’t you understand? I’m a robot that kills humans, you idiot. I don’t need to waste a bullet on you, I’ll just stick my finger through your head.”

        She lets them live, of course. Because mass murder bad. Important safety tip.

        1. Mass murder bad, mass killing good. It’s only murder if it isn’t necessary self defense. 😀

          I may have just finished raving to someone on another blog about the degree to which “until we are safe”/”until we have a vaccine” are absurd nonsense because of the viral evolution rate, which could be addressed by killing the population of China.

          That may not be the best option, but attempting it really is an option. We are not restricted solely to the lockdown option, which may be bad enough to make some of the other possibilities look good.

          And there is enough uncertainty over whether we are really in the opening phases of a world war to make it possible that mass killings cannot actually be avoided. ‘cower at home’ may be defeatism originating of enemy propaganda.

          This may well be the bad old days again, when mass murder of Jews was not worth resistance by all Germans because the Germans were so very concerned about being mass murdered by the Soviets the way the Ukrainians were.

          1. Why go to all the trouble of destroying China? Just stop airlines from flying there. Problem solved, and so inexpensively too.

            1. Thing is, we either need the other countries to be trusted to go along with that, or need to stop travel from them also.

              So, I of course go to “we need a bigger foreign policy hammer”.

              1. I see no reason not to turn away aircraft from every country that takes flight from China. No need to shoot them down, just let them land, gas them up and send them back where they came from. Nice and easy.

                Also quarantine all foreign visitors for two weeks regardless of where they came from. Its the sane and reasonable thing to do in a pandemic.

                Funny how no one seems to be doing that. Almost as if they weren’t really serious about it.

        2. Dialing the obnoxiousness back a wee bit, I wouldn’t actually want to spend the time in the headspace to write that book.

    2. “stories telling me how horrible people are”

      As recent events show, often written by people who are themselves horrible.

        1. Pfui. If we all started acting like they do their dismay would be extremely short-lived — because we would be far less ineffectual.

      1. Ah, yes. ‘Relevant’ stories. Stories that are dark and gritty, as if ‘dark and gritty’ = ‘real’. It always reminds me of the bit from Beyond The Fringe (spoken by a government censor, in a plummy British Public School accent) “When I go to the theater, I want to be taken out of myself. I don’t want to see lust and rape and incest and sodomy! I can get all that at home!”

  15. Speaking of the importance of stories … here’s one about a leading contender* for Biden’s vice-presidential pick:

    Democratic senator vows to block all military promotions unless impeachment witness Alexander Vindman is promoted
    Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth is planning to block more than 1,100 military promotions unless impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is promoted.

    Duckworth, a Democrat, notified Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday that she intends to block 1,123 pending military promotions unless she receives confirmation that Vindman has been promoted or is on track to receive a promotion. She asked that Esper “confirms in writing that he did not, or will not, block the expected and deserved promotion.”

    “Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy,” Duckworth said in the letter obtained by Politico. “It is simply unprecedented and wrong for any Commander in Chief to meddle in routine military matters at all, whether or not he has a personal vendetta against a Soldier who did his patriotic duty and told the truth — a Soldier who has been recommended for promotion by his superiors because of his performance.”

    “I won’t just sit by and let it happen, and neither should any of my colleagues,” she added. “This goes far beyond any single military officer, it is about protecting a merit-based system from political corruption and unlawful retaliation.”


    Because Democrats are ALL ABOUT merit-based promotion, their definition of merit having to do with advancement of their agenda.

    *she’s supposedly half-Asian, as if we care.

    1. Sheesh! Talk about a [checks rules. {Sarah, can I use the phonetic code for it? What about ((other version))? No? OK}] last-class jerk.

    2. Sounds like a strong argument for promoting the pillock to the newly created rank of Four Star Jackass.

      How delusional is this nit? Does the President and/or Congress actually HAVE that authority? Ok, above a certain rank, know THAT much. But ALL promotions?

      1. Vindyloo was on a list prepared by the military bureaucracy. That list goes to the President, who sends it to congress for a pro forma rubberstamp.

        1. And the step to O-6 is THE BIG BARRIER in an officers military career – lots and lots of really good people retire at O-5 (Lt. Colonel or Commander depending on branch) because that step to Colonel / Captain is so selective.

    3. The President is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, not the Senate, and certainly not any one Senator, much less one in the minority. The proper response to Duckworth is F-off.

      1. All general-rank officers must have their commissions confirmed by the Senate. She can do EXACTLY what she threatens.

        1. I suspect this might be like the Blue-slip and Filibuster traditions. She can do it only because nobody ever anticipated such excessive over-reach and thus there’s no bar against it.

          But the Senate Majority Leader can probably pull the plug on her.

          Speaking of pulling the plug … I’ve seen multiple reports of Democrats crowing about their intention of ending the filibuster when they regain power. That being the case, there seems no reason the GOP ought not go ahead and save them the trouble. Grant their wish of a Senate without a filibuster. Call it the “Early Christmas for Democrats Act.”

          I am sure there must be some useful things the Republicans can pass between now and Election Day.

          1. I still think the Democrats are deluding themselves about the coming election. The Left has been a constant irritation for four years, and this is gonna make people vote for Creepy Joe? I don’t see it. I think it’s likelier that the people whose property the Fascist Left has damaged, who religions the Fascist Left has insulted, and even whose commutes the Fascist Left has interrupted are going to vote Republican less because they like Trump than because they have come to despise the Left.

            Oh, not all of them, sure. But more than the smug Left anticipates by a damn sight.

            1. > and this is gonna make people vote for Creepy Joe?

              It took me a while, even after Hillary!, to finally realize that yes, their disconnect from reality-as-we-know-it is *that* profound.

              They’re living in some kind of shared fantasyland that only touches the real world in a few places.

              The People will rise up in their masses, mail in their ballots, and cast OrangeManBad out, and any other Republicans up for re-election at the same time. And the Party will dispense Truth and Justice, and they’ll fix all our problems, because their votes will make it so. Or something like that…

                1. I once put that question point-blank to a supporter (online) and the lunatic actually started to claim that being constrained might make them sympathize with all the constraints in the demonstrators’ lives.

                  1. Being constrained might make them sympathize with all the constraints in the demonstrators’ lives — but that’s not the way to bet.

                2. I don’t believe they were asking for sympathy. More like “Bow down, scum, and obey your [self-appointed] moral superiors!” It’s the only way it makes sense to me.

                  1. Threat of violence if you fail to bow down makes sense to me.

                    Has a long history of working, for a certain value of work.

                    1. Their ploy only works because they are protected by the police and civil authorities (those are the idiot mayors who tell the police to let the tykes play in traffic.)

                      Defund the police and those road blocks will not last very long.

                    2. With a side-count of folks who do not see “people standing in road– this may be a hijacking attempt.”

                      They’re burning that up FAST.

                3. Describing what goes on inside their heads as ‘thinking’ is a gross misuse of terminology.

              1. their disconnect from reality-as-we-know-it is *that* profound

                Yeah — I’m so old that I can recall when the Left denounced Republicans’ “paranoia” about Russia and promised a overcharge reset on the American/Russian relationship, laughed off a Republican presidential candidate’s assertion that Russia was our main global competitor with a retort that “the Eighties called and want their foreign policy back.”

                Now they’re obsessed over Russian influence in the USA and decrying Trump as Putin’s puppet. Remember Trump advising the Russian prime minister that he tell Vladimir that “after my election I have more flexibility”?

          2. Useless except for nominees to judicial and administrative positions because any legislation requires the House to go along, which they will never do. The filibuster is already dead for such nominees. No need to blow up the filibuster for legislation and take the blame for it when doing so would be useless.

    4. “Military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy…” -so why is Vindman not getting cashiered?

      1. His crimes are ignored because he was Speaking Truth to Power.

        Like Spenser Rapone (the ‘Communism will win’ soldier at West Pont), it’s not just Vindman that’s the problem. He’s had superiors filling out APRs every year; he’s had instructors, he’s had security clearances, he’s had many dozens of superiors give him the stamp of approval; not just adequate, but good enough for a fancy position too. Yes, some number were probably just lazy and rubber stamped the forms, but at least some of them had to know he was a dirtbag. But I bet there’s nothing but sunshine in his records.

        There’s an institutional problem there, from the likes of Petraeus and Mattis all the way down. It has gone beyond the UCMJ now; the weasel infestation has become a national security problem. Yet nobody seems much interested in dealing with it…

        1. Look, if you want any sort of career with a defense bureaucracy, advocating a fairly substantial purge of the officer corps is poison for your chances of working well with officers or retired officers in the future.

          Look into Fat Leonard, and think about the fact that admissions to the service academies are partly nominations by members of the federal legislature.

          Now, a lot of officers are still fairly decent sorts, simply hampered by orthodox strategic thinking. In a lot of ways, it is good that they are so deeply invested in the orthodoxy, saves on very unhappy surprises of certain sorts. But it is a problem when the blinders of orthodoxy are an important part of the strategy of the opposition.

          1. With Fat Leonard, look at the lawsuits coming up from it.

            I’ve got a relative by marriage who was part of a board who rejected one of his contracts– it was over-ruled from above.

            When the scandal broke, he and the rest of the board were forced out for corruption. Because their board was in charge of the contract which was given to a corrupted vendor….


      2. Surely you’ve noticed by now that the Democrats’ definition of “Meritocracy” is somewhat idiosyncratic?

        1. No, it’s completely consistent, once you realize *their* definition is “unfailing supports the current Narrative, whatever it is today.”

        2. I’ve come across progs claiming that “meritocracy” is “white supremacist” for some reason. I suspect it’s projection on their part.

            1. Theirs is the right to define racism so that it is never racism o their part.

              Asking how they earned that right is, of course, raaaaacist.

  16. Good News for Stay-at-Home Moms:

    If schools don’t open or only occasionally open in the fall, it will be a disaster. Some dads will try to care for babies in the afternoon and evening, work the graveyard shift, and sleep mornings, while mom cares for the babies in the morning and works in the afternoon — all while praying the baby sleeps through the night.

    There’s one other way I know of to handle things if workplaces reopen but schools don’t. I’ve got plenty of friends who do it: The father works outside the home, while the mo—

    DON’T EVEN SAY IT!” the New York Times writer jumps in.

    Of all the strategies parents might deploy to cope with working from home, caring for kids, and managing their school work, there is one in particular that you simply may not suggest.

    The New York Times writer, Deb Perelman, laments that some people still hold “a retrograde view that maybe one parent (they mean the mom) shouldn’t be working, that doing so is bad for children, that it’s selfish to pursue financial gains (or solvency, as working parents will tell you). It is a sentiment so deeply woven into our cultural psyche that making the reasonable suggestion that one shouldn’t have to abandon a career or livelihood if offices reopen before schools, day cares and camps do is viewed as a chance to redeliberate this.

    “It is not, and you’re off the debate team, too.”


    Positing that a parent might stay at home is not allowed. To suggest that “financial gains” might be subordinated to time with your children is now “retrograde.” (Hint: If you see the word “retrograde” in a major outlet, that typically means a liberal writer didn’t think he or she even needed an argument against it.)

    But Perelman can’t help but brush right up against the notion that maybe, possibly, things would be better for some families if more moms or dads stayed at home.

    “We are burned out because we are being rolled over by the wheels of an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential,” she writes.


    I agree with Perelman that schools reopening in the fall is crucial to restarting the economy. That fact reflects a somewhat broken system. I just wish our commentators would listen to ideas (to use a nonretrograde term) about economic specialization within marriage.

    1. My head is spinning….

      We must force moms to work outside of the home, because it’s impossible to survive without two incomes. But when that isn’t the case– when a lot of folks are out of work– then it becomes a moral imperative* for women to be forced to work outside of the home, and cannot even be discussed otherwise, even though the logical thing would be something like “hey, we’ve got five moms who all work from home– let’s start rotating houses so the kids can distract each other and we can get SOME work done.”

      * without even having to define what morals it is degenerating!

      1. An acquaintance formed an informal association like that when she lived up here. Six or so young moms, a handful of shift jobs, a rotating cast of ostensibly permanent boyfriends… and for all the fact that none of them were particularly great at planning or whatnot, always managed to make it so the workers could work, the children (all under school-age) under somebody’s supervision, and everyone had enough food and cigarettes to last to the end of the month.

        Like, there’s a lot of aspects of their lives I wouldn’t really endorse, but how much harder could it be for nice middle-class ladies in stable marriages to pull off, eh?

      2. Remember we’re talking a group of people who think Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai did great things for the women of the Soviet Union and would like to emulate her.

        1. These are also people who think Margaret Sanger stood for racial equality.

          1. Well, we are all equal in death, but I doubt that’s what people think of when they think of equality…

  17. Hrmm… if it were a GOOD conspiracy, it would be to get people used to being cooped up… ready to board the Generation Ships. Doubt it’s that.

    1. Would you trust generation ships built by (or according to the regulations of) the government? I’d be “No thanks, I’ll take my chances with the supernova.”

      1. Remember, our ancestors were the people dumb enough to get suckered into taking a ride on Ark B…

      2. Anybody aware of 20th century would NOT trust ANY Government, nor Gov’t lackeys, had they any brains at all. And *OX* know/say this,

      3. I’m afraid I’d insist on a good percentage of the designers and builders to come along on the trip. At gunpoint, if necessary.

  18. It seems to me that Michigan State University leaders has gotten this backwards:

    Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks
    Michigan State University leaders have successfully pressured Stephen Hsu to resign from his position as vice president of research and innovation after the Graduate Employees Union launched a campaign to oust him from his role.

    This came after the union, which represents teaching and research assistants, crawled through years of blog posts and interviews Hsu had conducted and criticized him for sharing content on genetic differences among different races.

    But the main thrust to oust Hsu came because the professor touted Michigan State research that found police are not more likely to shoot African-Americans.


    The graduate union [said] that administrators should not share research that runs counter to public statements by the university.

    “It is the union’s position that an administrator sharing such views is in opposition to MSU’s statements released supporting the protests and their root cause and aim,” Ackles wrote …

    Universities should not make statements that run counter to what research shows.

    1. Their headline needs work:

      Scholar Forced To Resign For Finding Inconvenient Facts

      Gee, kind of like the scientists who questioned the Cult Of Global Warming 20 years ago.
      Facts remain true whether you like them or not.

  19. Speaking of the stories we tell ourselevs, I have beens saying if it comes to blood we will get an American Franco.

    I didn’t know who it would be. For about a month I’ve had a contender. Military hero who could rally the religious and rural conservatives (the core of nationalists both in Spain in the 30s and the US today. With his op-ed today General Flynn has thrown his hat in the ring.

    1. Not that I want to see an American Franco, but if we are to get one as the least worse alternative to what the left is doing, we could do far worse than General Flynn.

      1. Because of the processing required for becoming a general officer I doubt Flynn or any other could become an American Franco. What you are looking for is a Lt. Colonel — somebody who understands how to operate the controls but hasn’t been allowed to drive. LtC Boyd was wont to advocate that officers at his rank had to determine whether they wanted to be or to seem, whether to rock the boat or be allowed to ride in the comfy salon.

        On a completely different topic, has anybody noticed what Tom Kratman has been up to of late? It’s been a while, I think, since he turned out a novel …

        1. Days Of Burning, Days Of Wrath, book 9 of Tom’s Terra Nova series, is due on August 4.

    2. I don’t think we’ll “an” American Franco; we’ll have multiple American Francos. If we reach that point, I’m pretty sure you’ll see the balkenization of North America. Not just the US, but all of North America; if we go hot, it’ll spill both north and south of our borders.

  20. So, on stories… has anyone else noticed they’re bad at telling stories, too?

    Right now, my feed is balanced between two stories: SO MANY NEW CASES WE ARE DOOOOOOMED! and I’m a nurse/doctor/janitor and let me tell you about horror!

    For the first, if you’re talking about positive test results, I’m not actually sure why that’s supposed to be scary. Are these folks dying, going on ventilators, even feeling short of breath? If you had anything scarier, you’d tell me.

    And the I’m-a-doctor-trust-me… mostly describes the effects of the *lockdown*. Yes, it would be horrifying to be stuck in the hospital alone. But corona didn’t mandate no visitors. Corona didn’t make it impossible to see even a nurse’s smile under a mask. Corona might kill me… but, as we’ve seen for months, mostly if I was pretty much on the way out anyway.

    (Not that there hasn’t been a huge push to conceal that. Get infected in your nursing home because of Cuomo’s Folly, but die in the hospital? That’s not a nursing home death. I’m still not wholly sold on rank malice from the start, but there does seem to have been a number of ass-covering movies that double as making hay while the sun is shining.)

    I feel for my nurse friend. But there’s a reason we don’t use specialists as decision makers, only advisors. We need everyone to relearn that.

    (BTW, The Road to Serfdom had a brilliant bit on that too. Pretty early on. I’m on mobile now, but can quote later at request. But… srs, all should read.)

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