Mimsy Were the Borogoves

The elites, unlike the masses, can usually escape the consequences of big ideas. — Mark Steyn (Passing Parade)

That’s a man, baby: Your fantasy is hurting people—Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

I hate to have to say this. I put it off a long time because of that. A blogger I respect put up a post a while ago called You’re hurting me. And among the things that are hurting her are:

Every time you point at a transwoman and say “That’s a man!”, you do it to me.

A decade ago, I would have read this, and nodded, “of course.” Palette is by all accounts a great person, and I would have ignored reality in order to not make her feel bad.

I still believe that there’s nothing wrong with ignoring a little reality in order to spare someone’s feelings. People in marriages do this all the time. In low doses, it’s healthy. But the problem with ignoring reality is that at some point, you’re not just hurting the person you’re ignoring reality for. You’re hurting other people, and lots of them.

The question today is no longer about letting some men live their life pretending to be women. I and most people who oppose ignoring reality are perfectly happy to continue doing that. Today’s issue is about whether men will compete with women in school sports. It is about whether men who are obviously men should raise suspicion when they follow a girl into a bathroom. It is about whether children should be mutilated when their parents—or even non-related adults—ignore the biological reality of who that child is.

We created Title IX to provide girls with equal opportunities as boys in school sports. The issue now is whether we should gut Title IX and let boys take over women’s sports as well.

Palette added that:

We can have all sorts of productive and necessary discussions on such subjects as How young is too young to start hormone replacement therapy? or How do we solve the dilemma of biological males dominating girls’ sports?, and I welcome those discussions.

But how can we have those discussions without the foundational element that biological males are males? You cannot ask those questions without saying this child is a man or that person in the ring is a man. Because it’s not just about “therapy” or “dominating”. It’s about actual injuries and physical hurts. It’s about allowing abusive men to pretend to be their victim by shaming service representatives from saying “that’s a man” when an abusive ex calls with all the correct personal information to unlock an account.

Colorado parents create a new school in one year—Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

“These highly skilled parents came together to not just solve their own kids' education needs but offer a high-quality education to families in their glorious Colorado mountain town.”

Educational officials told them “You’re crazy, you can’t get this done in a year.” (Where have we heard that before?) They did it anyway.

“As a classical school, it offers a low-screen, high-relationship environment and a focus on creative and critical thinking through careful attention to classic works and traditional approaches to math and science. These are things parents wanted that weren’t available through the Woodland Park School District, which like many in the nation has become computer-centered over the last several years.”

A concise history of the rise and fall of crime in America—Sunday, September 12th, 2021

“Since 1960 crime has risen, fallen, and risen again… The changes were especially pronounced in New York, America’s most populous city and, as the nation’s media center, most prominent.”

William Voegeli writes a long article but a very short history of the crime rate in the United States from 1963 to today, describes how it rose and fell, what policies were implemented in response, and how politicians reacted. This is well worth the read.

And part of that is knowing who Joseph Fournier was. Just about everyone who pays attention to politics knows the name of Willie Horton, but not the seventeen-year-old who Horton stuffed into a garbage can to bleed to death after stabbing him repeatedly.

“Democrats’ denunciations of Bush for condemning the Massachusetts furlough program were paired with their silence about Dukakis creating the issue. Very few liberal politicians, columnists, or editorialists offered an opinion as to whether the Massachusetts policy was a wise one…”

The January 6 witch-hunt—Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

It’s pretty obvious that Democrats and the Left are trying to create a witch hunt around the January 6 rally in DC. It wasn’t an insurrection. Even the “evidence” introduced by Democrats make it the least violent, cleanest riot ever.

This is mostly a link round-up about the prisoners. I don’t really have a lot to say about the “cleanest riot ever”. I don’t even have a lot to say about the political prisoners in DC other than help them if you can. But if there’s a witch-hunt starting, I intend to identify as a witch. Before the witch-hunter’s indicium comes into play.1

As I wrote earlier, I was in DC on January 6, and I was on the Capitol grounds milling around with everyone else who was milling around, talking about the weather in DC compared to wherever we came from, wondering if there would ever be a basic audit into alleged election fraud, and eventually, wandering away to eat Atlantic oysters.

I’m not saying that inside the Capitol was as boring as outside of it. I can only know what I saw, and it was pretty boring outside. What I see reported on the rally in areas I was at is almost universally wrong. It was wrong both at the Capitol and around DC in general. I walked safely around DC eight miles Tuesday evening and eleven miles all day Wednesday—from the Washington Monument to Pleasant Plains, Capitol Hill to Georgetown—and saw nothing requiring police presence, which was fortunate because I saw no police presence. I think I saw one police officer the whole day on Wednesday, and very few on Tuesday as we walked up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Mall after the speeches.

From all accounts, even the doctored video from the prosecutors, most of the people in jail are in jail for walking through open doors in a public building. It was about as far from an insurrection as you can get with three or more people gathered.

Vaccine Regret—Friday, September 3rd, 2021

“I don’t think my deliberative process is unique or even rare. Vaccine hesitancy isn’t ultimately a political thing, or an intelligence thing, or a race thing, whatever demographic differences may be emerging along those lines. In essence, the wait-and-see approach is a perfectly reasonable response to more than a year of gaslighting, misinformation, and despotism from official sources.”

“…the same smug idiots who lied about the effectiveness of masks, funded research in Wuhan that may have helped create the disease, then lied about that too, then lied about lying, then lied some more, are the people demanding that absolutely everybody get jabbed now, now, now. As usual they are not trying to convince us by reasoning with us transparently like adults. They are instead resorting to their usual tactics of calling us racist, delusional murderers for daring to question their impeccable wisdom and authority. This kind of behavior does not inspire confidence.”

In other words, people notice things like that. Read the whole thing—Spencer Klavan says much of what I tried to say in How to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and better.

(Hat tip to WeirdDave at Ace of Spades HQ.)
How to overcome vaccine hesitancy—Wednesday, September 1st, 2021
Tom Sawyer paints a fence

Let other people know that painting the fence is fun, and the fence will be painted.

The best way to convince people to overcome their hestancy over the vaccines is to (a) announce that the emergency is over and drop all mask and vaccination requirements, (b) announce that no one cares if you’re vaccinated or not and stop bothering people about it, and (c) vaccinations will start costing as much as any other vaccination after October 1. You can get it before then, you can get it after then, whatever you want.

There would be a huge rush on vaccinations both before and after October 1. Because we’d be treating the vaccines as if they’re worth something.

People notice things like that.

There will always be a small cadre of people who don’t trust vaccines. But most people, unless there is evidence otherwise, just take them. Why not? What can it hurt? Some people might wait a while, just to see, but all other things being equal, they’ll get them once they see that there’s nothing to fear.

The problem with the COVID vaccines is that too many people on the pro-vaccine side seem hell-bent on acting as if it can in fact hurt to get the vaccines, that there is something to fear. If we want people to choose to take the vaccine, that’s got to change. It really seems like the current administration and pundits hanging around it want to keep people unvaccinated. They’re doing everything basic psychology says will discourage vaccinations.

First of all, there is no doubt that this medicine came about through a new process. Most medicines take several years to bring to market, due to an involved, costly, and time-consuming regulatory maze. The COVID vaccines came out in months. If the process that brought us the COVID vaccines is as trustworthy as the older process, we don’t need the older process any more. We should be getting a lot more new medicines a lot faster.

If the process is trustworthy, it should be extended to all medicines going forward. If it isn’t, that’s an obvious indication that the medical community and the government does not trust the development process that brought these vaccines to us so quickly. Treat the process as untrustworthy, people will believe it’s untrustworthy.

Chesterton: Stuffy science

Second, the whole vaccination push has a “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia” vibe. The same officials who are now pushing for mandatory vaccinations were, a year ago, saying they would never trust them. That needs to be acknowledged. They need to apologize across the political aisle, acknowledge they were wrong, and then stop treating vaccinations as a political cudgel.

People notice when officials act as if they don’t believe their own words.

Peace is a deal—Wednesday, August 25th, 2021
Geographic map of the Middle East

On a simple map, Afghanistan just looks like a small country on the edge of the Middle East. In reality, it’s far different. Can you find Afghanistan on this NASA image?

Why did the Biden administration dump the deal we’d worked out to leave Afghanistan? Because disparagement of deals is not new for the left. Back in 2017 when President Trump first started addressing conflict in the Middle East, he said that “The United States will encourage peace and really a great peace deal.”

I immediately started seeing things like this from friends on the left on social media:

Oh. My. God. Peace is now a “deal.” And the work of presidents and peacemakers since 1976 is now deemed worthless because of one big fat orange deal-maker.

“Trump’s comments,” she said, “dismantled one of the key pillars of the US-led peace efforts since before the signing of the Oslo accords, which envisioned the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish one.”

The first Oslo accords were signed nearly a quarter of a century ago and the two-state solution has been the non-negotiable basis of negotiations since 1974. In all of those forty-seven years there has been no peace in the Middle East. Palestinian representatives broke the Oslo accords almost as soon as they were signed, while the Israelis continued to honor the accord under pressure from the West.

Because we made the two-state solution non-negotiable, Palestinian representatives didn’t have any need to compromise to achieve it, and instead used it as the starting point to push for their real, stated goal: a one-state solution where Israel is destroyed.

Not treating peace as a deal has produced nothing except more terrorism. It is crazy to make a “solution” that hasn’t worked since before Carter was president non-negotiable.

By putting everything on the table for negotiation, negotiations became more likely, which made peace—and even the two-state solution—more likely. It also made finding a different solution that would actually work more likely, such as the Abraham Accords that Trump’s team negotiated. The Abraham Accords are deals, and by all appearances, good ones.

Buttery foil-baked potatoes for National Potato Day—Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
Potato and onion bake

The potato and onion bake as it appears in the cookbook: just potato, onion, butter, and salt/pepper.

Tomorrow is National Potato Day. Among the various national food days, few truly deserve the honor. But the potato has been a savior of humanity since the Spanish and English embraced it in the sixteenth century. What had been a staple of Peru and had spread throughout South America became a citizen of the world and a hero of the working classes.

If it weren’t for the potato, we’d still be relying on rutabagas and turnips for our root vegetables. There’s nothing wrong with those vegetables, but they’re more work to prepare, they spoil more quickly, and they’re not as nutritious. And they’re not nearly as versatile, especially without the wonderful tools in modern kitchens.

It’s so difficult to imagine life without potatoes that most fantasy role-playing games, ostensibly drawing from pre-Age of Discovery European medievalism, still feature potatoes extensively in the ubiquitous taverns where adventurers meet.1

The potato is especially identified with the Irish, who pioneered the potato as a staple crop.

Potatoes were cheap and convenient, not to mention hearty. Nearly the perfect food, potatoes are loaded with protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Infant mortality plummeted and the Irish grew bigger, stronger and healthier. Soon the Irish towered in physical stature over their rural English counterparts who subsisted on bread.

Potato, onion, and jalapeño bake

A slightly glorified potato and onion bake, with carrot and jalapeño added.

Before the potato, the Irish ate a lot of oat porridge; I love oatmeal, but in baking, not as gloop. It’s no wonder the Irish took to the potato as soon as they could.

The potato can be baked, boiled, fried, puréed, and mixed with herbs, meats, other vegetables, or dairy to make dishes from the simple to the profound—and often combining the two. It takes to just about any spice you throw at it. It can even be a pasta, a bread, and a dessert.

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