September 2018


I’m Old

I can remember when professional journalists used to at least try to argue that they were better informed than the average consumer of news, because it was their job to find and report the news.

It may have been true once upon a time, when newsies were actually in the business of chasing news, of considering the implications of facts as they found them, and applying critical instincts to direct their follow-up queries. Of telling the truth and letting the chips fall where they may.

These days, journalists come out of journalism school, a sect of "higher" "education" where other j-school graduates who couldn't find actual work in journalism tell them how to do the job they themselves have never done.

They display their contempt for the people they claim to serve, and wonder why they lose those people's respect. They side with a class tribe that regards the people as their enemy, then bridle at being called themselves "enemies of the people."

If this country were as dependent on institutions such as government, education, and the press as denizens of those institutions proclaim, the advanced rot that has afflicted them might be more worrisome.

Related: Sorry, but when you sue a political candidate during an election campaign, you're an activist, not a journalist.


September Snow

A view this morning of the Big Horn Mountains as seen from the I-25/I-90 interchange at Buffalo, Wyoming.

Snow fell apparently all across the Big Horns, and onto the plains immediately east — but also in Sundance, miles away in northeastern Wyoming.

It's not likely to stick around long, but there it is: snow in populated areas rather than just way up in the mountains. Happy Autumn!



I won't be watching today's Kavanaugh hearings. I have a low tolerance for hammed-up histrionics ever since self-inflicting the Clarence Thomas hearings back in 1991. People who engage in obvious bad-faith rhetoric and don't get called on it kicked in the teeth for it called on it tend to make me wish I could Hulk out and give them the Loki "puny god" treatment.

I don't need to know in real time what somebody says; it doesn't invalidate me as a person if other people know these things before I do. What matters is the outcome: will he or won't he be confirmed? That will be decided by the votes.

My opinion is that the testimony today won't make any difference. It's all partisan witch-hunting to try to deprive President Trump of his choice for the Supreme Court, and this time it's all founded in implausible character assassination (just like in 1991). I believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed. I could be wrong, but the people with a front-row seat to all this are the ones who'll vote on the nomination, and his supporters hold a majority on the committee and in the Senate.

Ignorant onlookers can get riled up believing what their tribal elders are saying, believing a man guilty of heinous crimes for which there is no evidence, but they won't get their chance to affect anything until November 6.

God help us if they do.



Enough. #CallTheDamnVote

Update, Wednesday: #DisbarAvenatti


Turn Out the Lights

The party's over.

It really is that bad.

Let that sink in. All of the people Ford has said would corroborate her claim have said they can't. If they are found to be lying, they can go to jail. If Ford is found to be lying, she won't.

Why might that be?

Dr. Ford sent her initial statement accusing Judge Kavanaugh to a member of Congress not covered by the statute; had she sent it to Feinstein, who is on the Committee, her statement, if found false, could send her to jail. Sending it instead to a House member shelters her from that penalty. There is discussion over whether Ford knew this, or how she could have — unless someone told her, knowing the story might be found false. And given the under-penalty-of-perjury contrary statements from all of Ford's claimed witnesses...

He's kidding. Unfortunately, DemocratsAndTheMediaButIRepeatMyself are not.



If Mississippi State's head football coach Joe Moorhead doesn't learn to do better at keeping his players mentally and emotionally focused on game play, this is going to be a long, painful season for the Bulldogs. In their 7-28 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats last night, State was whooped psychologically and it showed on the football field — with mental errors and poor impulse control in the face of taunting from opposing players.

Another problem I've had with State for years, though, was the tendency to schedule hugely unequal teams in the initial, non-conference weeks of the season. While huge, lopsided victories may build confidence in rookie players, they don't always prepare the team for real contention in one of college football's most formidable conferences. Last night was the Bulldogs' first 2018 face-off with an in-conference rival, and it was almost as if they were expecting Kentucky to be another Stephen F. Austin University.

This season's schedule was finalized before Moorhead's predecessor, Dan Mullen, bailed on the school after 2017's last regular-season game to coach at Florida; maybe Moorhead will choose more challenging non-conference opponents when he's able to get a say in it. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' lack of focus last night doesn't bode well for next weekend's game — against Florida.


Ends & Odds

If you need to hit the brakes on an uncongested highway, either you're trying to avoid hitting some idiot, or you're the idiot. The odds are not in your favor.

If the stupid must inherit the earth, can we at least make them work for it?

This is America. The speed limits shown on the signs are in miles per hour, not kilometers.

On the road is not the place to be lost. If you are ever in this predicament, get off the road.

And again: the most important thing to concentrate on when you're driving is your driving.


Young Faithless Geezer

One wonders what's going through his head, and fears that if he doesn't vacate the vicinity it'll be thousands of gallons of superheated mineral water.

Fortunately for him and the onlookers, he didn't tarry that long, and was apprehended, forcibly restrained, and institutionalized for his own safety given a ticket.

Update, Wednesday: Pisser identified. Like the buffalo molester, he's got a record.

'Nother update, Thursday: Mister Pisser is still up to his hijinks, this time in Cheyenne.


Thoughts My Brain Made

Only an astute few stopped to ask, back in 2008, what "fundamental transformation" would mean to the freest, strongest, most prosperous nation in the history of mankind.

Those who didn't already know it then, have their answer now.



The caller ID on the neighbor-spoofed call I just sent to voicemail gave both a number and the name of a tattoo business in northeast Atlanta. "Ah-ha," says I to myself. "Self, this is not a legit call, because I am not someone a tattoo business on a distant side of Atlanta would be cold-calling to sell a tattoo to."

To be safe, I looked the number up on the internet, and discovered that others who got calls from this same number today — hundreds of them — saw the names of other businesses, including a bank based in Salt Lake City.

So much for my initial conclusion that the tattoo shop had had its number spoofed by a scam caller. Rather, the scam caller is apparently (also?) spoofing the names of legitimate businesses that don't actually own the number being used. Remember when I said this?

[I]t would evolve into a system where you can preemptively block callers that don't own their claimed source numbers, and spam callers will have to figure out some other way to intrude on your peace and quiet with their commercial spiels. I shudder to imagine how they'll do it.

Apparently they're already exploring their options.


Guess Who Gets My Vote?

Charles takes the opportunity of linking a Roger Green post about New York's election schedule to remark:

We have so damned many election dates in [Oklahoma]. We might be wise to consider consolidating some, or preferably all, of them.

I cast my first vote in Sacramento, in a primary election in a presidential year. At the time, California's contribution to the presidential nominating process took place at the same time as their state and congressional primary elections — in June. The grumbling about how the nominees had already long since been chosen by then had already become pretty much universal; having the largest population of any of the fifty states, the not-yet single-party Golden State could only influence the outcome with campaign contributions, of which only a fortunate few could give enough to get anybody's attention. As a result, the presidential primary was eventually moved to a much earlier date. And other states moved theirs even earlier, to avoid being drowned out by California.

This meant that for those of us who didn't live in odd-numbered-year voting cities (I moved out after voting in just one round of those), we went from having four elections in a four-year cycle, to five.

Eventually Mrs. McG and I landed in Alaska, which at the time didn't have a primary or even a caucus — we had a GOP straw poll in 1996, which the party stalwarts could heed or ignore as they chose at the state convention where Alaska's national delegates were selected (Pat Buchanan won the straw poll, so take a guess). Thus we had only eight elections in any given four-year cycle. Wait, what?

Well, ya see, the city and borough elections were on a completely different paradigm from state and congressional elections. The terms of city and borough mayors, and city council and borough assembly members, were three years instead of two or four. And while the partisan primaries were held in August of even-numbered years, municipal elections were in October. Every year. So in even-numbered years you voted three times. In odd-numbered years, just once. Except that in 1997 there were so many candidates for borough mayor that none received at least 40% of the vote, and there was a second election that year, a runoff for that one job.

(This was in Fairbanks. Down in Anchorage the municipal elections were held in April. You'd think proximity to tax day would lead to more conservative outcomes, but not so's I ever noticed.)

I've posted before about the runoff rule here in Georgia, which can put us through as many as nine elections in four years — if we're lucky enough not to live in a city that elects its officers in odd-numbered years. What is it with city elections and odd-numbered years? Anyway, thanks to the runoff rule and the federal government, our state primary, which used to be (if I remember correctly) in July, has been pushed up to May — scarcely later than the presidential primary in March.

Oddly, Wyoming — where the two major parties hold caucuses to choose delegates to their respective national conventions in presidential years — only holds a single primary election in each even-numbered year. Even nonpartisan city officials there are chosen in even-numbered years, with the two who received the largest number of votes in August going on to duke it out in November right alongside the county, state and federal nominees. Four elections in each four-year cycle, even if you live inside city limits. Who came up with that cockamamie scheme!?



Seventeen years. It's another Tuesday in September. Al Qaeda has given way to ISIS, and there is now the prospect of a nuclear Iran making war, not only on Israel or the West, but on its Arab neighbors.

Before long our troops will include young men and women who hadn't even been born when the towers fell.

Many of the youngest in uniform even now have no memory of a world in which radical Islam was a regional rather than global enemy. They and their civilian contemporaries already have no useful cultural memory of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, a fact viciously exploited for almost two years now by Democratic Party operatives with and without bylines.

This is how civilizations fall, you know.


Don’t That Just Deflate Your Pigskin?

Two weekends ago, I rejoiced that Wyoming had trounced its opponent, New Mexico State. Since then, both of the Cowboys' opponents — last Saturday being Missouri, an SEC team — have trounced back. Nor was yesterday a good night for the other Cowboys (the NFL ones) but I don't think 8-16 is quite a trouncing, compared to Wyoming's losing margins of 22 and 27, respectively.

On the bright side, Mississippi State has won both its games so far this season, trouncing Stephen F. Austin University 6-63, and Kansas State a slightly more humane 31-10.

Next Saturday Wyoming hosts South Carolina's Wofford College, an FCS school; presumably their Terriers will go easier on the boys in brown. Mississippi State will host the University of Louisiana Lafayette, one last non-conference chew toy before going after Kentucky's Wildcats and Florida's Gators respectively in the following weeks. Florida will be of particular interest to us, since that's where former State head coach Dan Mullen absconded to right after last season ended.

On Sunday the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants. I hope they do better at home than yesterday in Charlotte.


Vanishing Americans

If you still haven't seen Wind River, first of all, what the H-E-double-toothpicks are you waiting for?

Second, I'd give the movie at least some credit for increasing awareness of this problem:

Ashley’s disappearance is one small chapter in the unsettling story of missing and murdered Native American women and girls. No one knows precisely how many there are because some cases go unreported, others aren’t documented thoroughly and there isn’t a specific government database tracking these cases. But one U.S. senator with victims in her home state calls this an epidemic, a long-standing problem linked to inadequate resources, outright indifference and a confusing jurisdictional maze.

Now, in the era of #MeToo, this issue is gaining political traction as an expanding activist movement focuses on Native women — a population known to experience some of the nation’s highest rates of murder, sexual violence and domestic abuse.

No that it really matters where the credit goes, as long as the disappearances can be stopped.

For many in Native American communities across the nation, the problem of missing and murdered women is deeply personal.

“I can’t think of a single person that I know … who doesn’t have some sort of experience,” says Ivan MacDonald, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and a filmmaker. “These women aren’t just statistics. These are grandma, these are mom. This is an aunt, this is a daughter. This is someone who was loved … and didn’t get the justice that they so desperately needed.”


There are many similar mysteries that follow a pattern: A woman or girl goes missing, there’s a community outcry, a search is launched, a reward may be offered. There may be a quick resolution. But often, there’s frustration with tribal police and federal authorities, and a feeling many cases aren’t handled urgently or thoroughly.

I think this doesn't so much miss the mark as give the federal government too much credit:

So why does this happen? MacDonald offers his own harsh assessment.

“It boils down to racism,” he argues. “You could sort of tie it into poverty or drug use or some of those factors … (but) the federal government doesn’t really give a crap at the end of the day.”

You don't need racism to explain it. The simple truth of the matter is, the federal government doesn't give a crap at all. It is equal-opportunity criminally negligent. The additional factor in Indian reservation disappearances is remoteness. You can get a decent investigation in Denver or Billings, but few reservations are close enough even to those cities for a modern FBI drone's comfort. Authors like Tony Hillerman made no bones about the agency's culture, and the attitude of most G-men toward the wide-open spaces where these disappearances are happening. Perhaps at one time skin color was also a factor, but that was a generation ago or more.

Now, everyone living in those hinterlands is untermensch regardless of race. If we non-Indians needed the FBI to investigate our murders and disappearances, we few, we happy few, we basket of deplorables, would soon expect the exact same assurance of justice as these missing women.

To the extent there is any actual racism underlying the neglect described, it's in the existence of the reservation system itself. Vast numbers of Americans thrive, fully assimilated, while still maintaining and cherishing their ancestral cultures. They don't need to be kept impoverished and hopeless to remain proud of their roots.

I know it's not an opinion that would make me popular with the people who live on the reservations, but for the life of me I can't see any solution to these problems while the system, and the attitudes it fosters, remain in place.


Thoughts My Brain Made

Mala fide Twitter is the best lion's share of Twitter.

In fact, from what I can see of it on Twitchy, non-mala fide Twitter is statistically insignificant.



I won't know until next month exactly how much I saved by buying my new phone rather than waiting for something from Google's Pixel line. I do know this phone cost less than half what I paid for my Nexus 6P back in 2016, and while it won't get updated to the next version of Android until after the end of this month, that's not much different than what my wait would have been had I sat tight and paid three to almost four times as much for a Pixel phone.

The new gizmo is from Nokia, a Finnish corporation I remembered most from their ill-fated hookup with Microsoft to make and sell Windows phones. They've recovered from that madness and are now one of the few non-ChiCom makers of Android One smartphones — the guaranteed no-comma-priced line that has no carrier or OEM kludge, and thus gets Android OS updates on roughly the same schedule as the wallet-emptying Pixels. Their 6.1 model also seems to be the only current Android One phone with a version designed for use in the U.S., whereas pretty much everything else I looked at was available only in "international." It's entirely possible one of those would work just as well as mine, but I'm not ready to take the chance right now.

It has shortcomings; I saw all kinds of complaints about the camera, but since I'm not an avid shutterbug I think I can live with it. This phone also won't work on the Verizon network, in the unlikely event we suddenly decide to switch from T-Mobile; however, if we're staying with T-Mobile, this new phone offers the best chance of getting signal from their Band 12 towers in Wyoming (the Nexus has no Band 12 radio).

By the time I do need a phone that will work on Verizon, Android will have gone past Pie and Quickbread (or whatever they'll call the next version) and probably be on Sachertorte or Twix. Plenty of time to find either another Android One U.S. model that can access VZW, or save up for what by then will probably be a $4,000 Pixel 7. I wonder if State Farm will cover it?


Dum Diddy Iddy Iddy, Dum Diddy Yi

There's a trucking company whose rigs I see around from time to time, whose name always makes me think of a song from an old movie. The other day while waiting at a stoplight next to one of their rigs, well, you know how I get sometimes.

First I'll tell you that its name is XPO Logistics. Though I saw no reefer vans I thought of frozen fishsticks, and "When the competition see our rates they go ballistic." It was easy finding rhymes for XPO Logistics.

They could never use my jingle in spite of its whimsy — in fact the whole idea would put their chairman in a tizzy when he learned the royalties he'd have to pay to Disney.

So, I won't be sending it to XPO Logistics.




September 2018


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