Advice and Consent of the Senate

So now that Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed and sworn in as a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, many of the usual suspects are griping once again about how “unfair” and “hypocritical” it is that the Senate didn’t “advise and consent” on Obama’s nomination of Garland to the seat vacated by the death of Scalia. It was their job, these folk say, and they didn’t do it.

“Advice and consent of the Senate” is not under Article 1 of the Constitution, the duties, powers, and responsibilities of Congress. It’s under Article 2, the duties, powers, and responsibilities of the President. It’s not something the Senate has to give. It’s something the President has to get. It’s up to the President to nominate candidates acceptable to the Senate.

If the candidates are not acceptable to the Senate, that’s on the President. Now, a President might decide it’s better to leave a seat vacant rather than nominate someone acceptable to the Senate if he (or she, as the case may come) is truly at odds with what the Senate will want and hope that a future Senate will instead be more amenable (or he/she will be out of office and it will no longer be his/her problem). That’s a valid choice but, again, the President’s responsibility. Because it’s the President’s job to get the advice and consent of the Senate, not the Senate’s to blindly give it. Article 2, not Article 1.

When Mitch McConnell talked about “election year” when it came to filling, or not, the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Scalia’s death, he was being diplomatic when the real answer was “there is simply no way in Hell that this President will nominate someone acceptable to this Senate. We know from his past history that he won’t even consider the other side’s views when they run contrary to what he wants. So there’s no point in even wasting time on it.” He could have said that but instead he gave a face-saving answer for the lame duck President who was on his way out the door. He was simply being a lot more polite than I would have been (which is one of the reasons I can never go into politics).

Obama, nearing the end of his second term, was going to be leaving office. That wasn’t even in question. And given his history the odds of his proposing someone at all “moderate” (as anyone but a far leftist would view it) were slim to none. So, better to wait, for the next President. That was, in fact, a gamble. Polls were favoring Hillary (and continued to do so right up until election night). Nobody who knew anything about her would expect her to nominate someone less left-wing than Obama’s pick. And while there was precedent for leaving a Supreme Court seat vacant for up to five years because the Senate was unhappy with the President’s picks, as things turned out it would be not one, but three. It simply would have been unrealistic to expect the Senate to have the courage to say “No” to folk who want to reinterpret the Constitution in ways never intended by the folk who wrote it or simply outright ignore it to the extent of leaving three seats vacant (seat vacated by Scalia’s death, seat vacated by Kennedy’s retirement, and seat vacated by Ginsburg’s death).

On the other hand, if the Republican Candidate won–which as it turned out did happen–then Scalia’s replacement, and those that followed, could be filled by folk who would take a more originalist view of the Constitution. The new justice (Justices as it turned out) would rule more closely according to the law, as written, and the Constitution, as written as opposed to the political fads of the moment.

Of course, the Left gets even more outraged by that idea. “Originalist” is “extremist” to them.

The question is: how did the position that a legal document means what it meant, using the public meaning of the words within it as it was written, become an “extremist position”? The Constitution says what it says and it does not say what it does not say. You cannot legitimately change it by simply declaring the words to mean something other than their public meaning at the time of its signing and ratification. You certainly can’t do that with any other contracts. Would it need to change as situations change? Of course. And there is a mechanism within it to do so. Contracts can always be renegotiated so long as all parties agree to the new terms.

And here we get to the real complaint. It’s not “election year”. It’s not “the Biden rule” (which was never actually a rule). Those are just rhetoric, excuses, behind the real reason they object to Barret’s nomination. It’s that they want someone who will “creatively” interpret law and the Constitution to give them what they want, no matter how tortuously they have to twist language to do so.

And they will use any excuse they can dream up to do so.

Confessions of a Libertarian Goth: A Periodic, Ongoing, Blast from the Past.

Pic amusing but not really related to the post.

I’m going to ramble here a bit.

When I first started exploring Goth subculture I saw posts that said that Goths come from all walks of life and all political persuasions.  However, in my own experience I’ve seen more of a left-wing bent.  One link I found (not going to link to it) that purported in a forum to be to “right-wing goths” and had an appropriate sounding URL but led to a porn site (in any case, domain is now for sale).  Apparently the poster thought that was a prank worthy of a giggle.  I supposed a kinder interpretation might be that the registration on an old domain had expired and a porn site had bought it up invalidating the old link.

In either case, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I went looking online searching for other libertarian (the lack of capitalization matters) Goth’s.  Found one person on twitter from the UK who identifies as Libertarian Goth.  A couple of passing references to individuals here and there some of which were at least “used to”. (Goths like to say “it’s not just a phase” but for some people it is.  Young people go through phases as they try out different things to find which “fit” them.  For some that final fit is “goth”.  For others, they try it and it’s not.  For them it is “just a phase.”)  That pretty much summed up what I found on Google.  Both Bing and Duckduckgo had an earlier iteration of this post as the number two item (which may tie more to some cookie on my computer than to the actual search position) but otherwise was the same.

There just doesn’t seem to be any significant presence out there for libertarian or politically conservative goths.

To be honest, I tend to be pretty much a loner as a Goth.  In Indianapolis, where I live, when I first went looking there was exactly one “Goth Club” and even that is just one night a week at a club that serves other segments of the community the rest of the week. And since I’m older (and need my recovery time) and have to go to work in the mornings, staying out late to party on a weeknight just doesn’t work.  Now we appear to have two:  Spellbound Indy’s “Darkwave DJ Dance Night” (Darkwave–close enough considering the lack of other options)  and Sins of the Flesh Goth Night at the Black Circle Brewing Company.  Both appear to be monthly, one in the middle of the month, one at the end.

I’ve checked both. Sins of the Flesh was…of limited interest to me. I can’t really drink beer, cider, or wine because they spike my blood sugar which makes things awkward and it just didn’t have the “vibe” I was hoping for. Spellbound Indy I enjoyed. Mind you, I have my own issues with social awkwardness but it was nice to dress up, go out, have a couple of drinks (they have a good bar there), listen to some good music, and people watch. Unfortunately, it has been shut down since June thanks to the COVID stuff.

For years “Goth-lite” or “Entry-Level-Goth” was a better description for me.  I tried the “Cowboy Goth” look for a while, but in the end it didn’t suit.  Recently I’ve decided that, since my religion of choice is Asatru, I should see if I could create “Viking Goth” as a look.  My results have been mixed.  I’d love to say that adding a sword or an axe to an outfit is always appropriate, it can be a problem when having to deal with mundanes.  For a while I’ve had to back off a little bit for personal reasons but lately I’ve gotten back into experimenting to find my personal “style.” These days I tend to favor a more “Romantic Goth” look, brocade vests, cravats worn loose, satin shirts, and various rather dressy shoes and boots.

Let me give you a little bit of my background as it relates to being a “libertarian Goth”.

When I was a child, for a long time, black was my favorite color.  This really wasn’t a Goth thing.  It was late 60’s.  This was before Punk was even a thing, let alone the various post-punk movements which included Dark Wave and Goth.  Still, when you add in that my household were big fans of the original run of Dark Shadows, it was perhaps a sign of things to come.

Time passed, and I just missed the early days of the Goth movement in England in the mid-80’s.  I mean just missed it.  You see, I was in the Air Force at the time and stationed in England from 1983-1985.  I’d finished training and, well, I’d started buying clothes for off-duty wear.  Looking back those clothes were pushing in the direction of what could now be called “trad-goth”.  Being in the military there were limits on what I could do with hair, and piercings were right out.  Being a man in the military with even simple lobe piercings is a great deal of trouble.

About that time, one of my co-workers who was living “on the economy” as we said in the military (meaning he had an apartment off base rather than living in dormitory accommodations).  I don’t know how he managed it since, as I recall he was single and the same rank I was.  His name was Patrick Lince.  Later, at a different posting, we became better friends than we were at this first one.  During that time in England he had a relative, a young woman, a sister or cousin or something like that, visiting him.  He mentioned that she had her hair dyed purple.  I remember thinking to myself “I could never be interested in a woman with purple hair.” Looking back, I think I was in “he doth protest too much” mode on that.  Once, a number of us from the shop were invited over to Pat’s place to socialize and play Trivial Pursuit.  Pat’s relative was there so I got to meet her.  She was a perfectly nice young lady that was a pleasure to be around.  This not being a romance novel, there was no “chemistry” and we certainly didn’t become involved.  I’m not even sure she was even aware of my existence except as “that stranger at the party.” Still, what it did was show me that my preconceptions on unconventional fashion were unfounded.  I couldn’t consider it for myself–not then, not in the Air Force–but it was no longer taboo.

As an aside on that note, I later came across an issue of World’s Finest comics (I was an avid comics fan).  That series features Superman and Batman team-ups.  In this issue they were seeking a lost heiress.  Batman showed Superman a picture of the heiress.

Superman: “She has green hair.  That’s some kind of rebellion thing, isn’t it?”
Batman: “Used to be.  Now it’s just fashion.” (Today, the “rebellion” aspect seems to be ascendant among certain groups but for many it still remains “just fashion” and their “personal style.”)

As you can see, I was moving in a “goth” direction.  Then someone took me aside and “explained” that if I wanted to be attractive to young women I needed to start wearing bright colors and that my darker ensembles were a put-off.

Being irredeemably heterosexual–and there was certainly nothing wrong with my hormones–I took this advice to heart.

It didn’t work.

It really, really didn’t work.

Didn’t help that all the “fashion advice” in the world couldn’t change that I was an “odd”, who suffers from crippling social anxiety and a complete lack of “getting” social cues.

Still, the habits stuck for a long, long time.  I slipped into uncomfortable mundanity. (I don’t care, Spell Check.  That is too a word.)

During all this time, I nurtured a deep and abiding distrust of government.  It started when I was very young but especially blossomed in the years post-Air-Force.  I’d always been a fairly small-government conservative.  I didn’t so much change as think through my positions more and try to make them more consistent. (Do I still have inconsistencies?  Since I’m human that’s going to happen.  I try to work things through and make them consistent but that’s an ongoing process which will likely continue to my dying day.)

Fast Forward.  Some years back, however, I came across several books by John Ringo.  He introduced me to music that didn’t so much drag me out of the musical rut I’d been stuck in as blast me out of it with a cannon.  Dragonforce.  Nightwish.  And this group called The Cruxshadows.

Oh.  My.  God.

The Cruxshadows.  Some sources called them “Dark Wave”.  Others called them “Goth.” Well, I’m not really clear on the difference.  But…wow.  Dark music, but music that honors concepts like self-sacrifice and martial virtue that resonated with my own political philosophy.

I expanded from that starting point exploring other bands.  Within Temptation.  More Nightwish.  Evanescence and their “spin off” band We are the Fallen (Some folk call Evanescence “Emo”, some say “too ‘pop’ to be…’, and yet I’ve also seen them on lists of “Greatest goth bands”, so I dunno. I like them).  Bauhaus. The Cure.  Souxie & the Banshees (in an interview she swore up and down she was not Goth, but others drop her in that category).  Lacuna Coil.  Epica.

Well, I could go on and on.

I’m not a particular fan of Bauhas, I’m afraid. Thought I’d have to turn in my goth card over that. But I do like Sisters of Mercy, the 60 Eyes, Joy Division, The Cure (their older “early gothic phase” stuff mostly), The Cult, and Siouxie & the Banshees. There’s a more recent group, O. Children, that I’ve been looking into. I’m also a big fan of a lot of gothic/symphonic metal so, kind of blending goth and metalhead.

A lot of the music fits with my personal philosophies surprisingly well.  And a lot doesn’t but it’s still good music.

But, I encounter so very few people out there who combine both my philosophy of “leave government out of things, and no, there ought not be a law” with the enjoyment of the darker side that I get from Goth/Gothic Metal music and subculture that I often feel very much alone.

But that’s okay.  Being alone in a crowd that does not understand…is Goth. (Not only goth, perhaps, but definitely goth.)

You Can’t Stop the Signal, Mal.

Reblogged from Sarah A. Hoyt.

As most of you guys know for many years now, Glenn Reynolds, of instapundit (where I post as the “night DJ” most nights) had done a weekly column in USA Today for years.

Frankly in light of a few off-putting moves over the years, the fact they still published the boss was one of the things that I held onto as a sign there was still some sanity at the USA Today, and it made me less p*ssed off whenever I got a “free” copy at my hotel room.

For the first, time ever, they refused to run his column. So he ran it unedited on his own blog.

Needless to say, it involved the Hunter Biden story. Which is, of course, something we peasants can’t be allowed to know in detail, because if we did, we’d also know the Big Guy is snugly kept in Fascist China’s pocket and that a vote for Biden is a vote to subjugate the US to China.

I find it interesting they decided to do this to Glenn, who has more than once proved the power of the New Media. Not the social media, not the mass media, but those of us, tyros, and independents who do this because we care about the truth. We also care about reality. Let’s show these would-be-aristoi there are unintended consequences. Let’s Streisand Effect them.

So, below I’m reproducing the full text of the boss’s column. And I ask you, all of you who have blogs, to do the same. Sure only one or two people might see it on your blog. But it’s not the size of the pebble thrown into the ocean: it’s the size of the ripples.

Ripple away. They can’t stop the signal, Mal.


Glenn Harlan Reynolds

In my 2019 book, The Social Media Upheaval, I warned that the Big Tech companies — especially social media giants like Facebook and Twitter — had grown into powerful monopolists, who were using their power over the national conversation to not only sell ads, but also to promote a political agenda. That was pretty obvious last year, but it was even more obvious last week, when Facebook and Twitter tried to black out the New York Post’s blockbuster report about emails found on a laptop abandoned by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

The emails, some of which have been confirmed as genuine with their recipients, show substantial evidence that Hunter Biden used his position as Vice President Joe Biden’s son to extract substantial payments from “clients” in other countries. There are also photos of Hunter with a crack pipe, and engaging in various other unsavory activities. And they demolished the elder Biden’s claim that he never discussed business with his son.

That’s a big election-year news story. Some people doubted its genuineness, and of course it’s always fair to question a big election-year news story, especially one that comes out shortly before the election. (Remember CBS newsman Dan Rather’s promotion of what turned out to be forged memos about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service?)

But the way you debate whether a story is accurate or not is by debating. (In the case of the Rather memos, it turned out the font was from Microsoft Word, which of course didn’t exist back during the Vietnam War era.) Big Tech could have tried an approach that fostered such a debate. But instead of debate, they went for a blackout: Both services actually blocked links to the New York Post story. That’s right: They blocked readers from discussing a major news story by a major paper, one so old that it was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton.

I wasn’t advising them — they tend not to ask me for my opinion — but I would have advised against such a blackout. There’s a longstanding Internet term called “the Streisand effect,” going back to when Barbara Streisand demanded that people stop sharing pictures of her beach house. Unsurprisingly, the result was a massive increase in the number of people posting pictures of her beach house. The Big Tech Blackout produced the same result: Now even people who didn’t care so much about Hunter Biden’s racket nonetheless became angry, and started talking about the story.

As lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept, Twitter and Facebook crossed a line far more dangerous than what they censored. Greenwald writes: “Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was ‘reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform’: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: ‘I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.’”

“Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.”

“Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an ‘error.’ Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be ‘potentially harmful.’ Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning.”

This went badly. The heads Facebook and of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, are now facing Senate subpoenas,the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that Twitter’s action in blacking out a damaging story constituted an illegal in-kind donation to the Biden Campaign, and most significantly, everyone is talking about the story now, with many understandably assuming that if the story were false, it would have been debunked rather than blacked out.

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted:  ”Congrats to Twitter on its Streisand Effect award!!!” Big Tech shot itself in the foot, and it didn’t stop the signal.

Regardless of who wins in November, it’s likely that there will be substantial efforts to rein in Big Tech. As Greenwald writes, “State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

“Would anyone encounter difficulty understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.”

“To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful.”

He’s right. And while this heavyhanded censorship effort failed, there’s no reason to assume that other such efforts won’t work in the future. Not many stories are as hard to squash as a major newspaper’s front page expose during an presidential election.

As I wrote in The Social Media Upheaval, the best solution is probably to apply antitrust law to break up these monopolies: Competing companies would police each other, and if they colluded could be prosecuted under antitrust law. There are also moves to strip them of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being sued for things posted or linked on their sites on the theory that they are platforms, not publishers who make publication decisions. And Justice Clarence Thomas has recently called for the Supreme Court to revisit the lower courts’ interpretation of Section 230, which he argues has been overbroad. A decade ago there would have been much more resistance to such proposals, but Big Tech has tarnished its own image since then.

Had Facebook and Twitter approached this story neutrally, as they would have a decade ago, it would probably already be old news to a degree — as Greenwald notes, Hunter’s pay-for-play efforts were already well known, if not in such detail — but instead the story is still hot. More importantly, their heavy handed action has brought home just how much power they wield, and how crudely they’re willing to wield it. They shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences.

My Life, Part Thirteen: Butch

Image is stock photo and not actually representative of Butch.

Not long after my family moved into the new house on Greenwood Drive (see Part 4) my mother brought home a stray dog which she named Christie. Christie was as sweet tempered a dog as you could imagine, very well behaved including being completely housebroken, and absolutely adored my mother. She was also pregnant.

Christie only broke housetraining once. We had been gone for a weekend and came home to find she had been locked in the house and had lost control right next to the back door. She tried, but not having hands with opposable thumbs she couldn’t manage the door.

My mother set up a box in a corner for Christie. When she went into labor my mother was there and, for the first puppy, she had her head in my mother’s lap. After the first one came, she curled up herself as if to say, as my mother described it, “Okay, I’ve got this now.”

Christie dropped five puppies. In the ensuing weeks, the puppies eyes opened and they started getting up and about and roaming the house. We never had to house train them. Christie took care of that. She would take them outside and bring them back in. She was one smart dog.

In due time, once the puppies were weaned, we offered them for adoption “free to good home.” Four of them were quickly snapped up. The fifth, whom we’d named “Butch”, nobody would take, not even free. He was just too ugly for anybody to want.

And so, Butch became my dog. My mother said he was a “springer spaniel (thus the pic up top) beagle mix”. Maybe. The conformation was similar once he grew and the coloration pattern was similar although white and a very light tan, much lighter than the brown in the pic.

I didn’t think him ugly even as the puppy that nobody else wanted. I loved him dearly. My mother insisted that I be the one to feed him (we fed canned food, Ken-L Ration usually) so he would bond exclusively to me. I have since become big on giving any dog I have basic obedience training at the minimum but we didn’t do that then. The extent of any behaviors/tricks we taught was “beg” for treats and to come when called.

Now, today this would be considered a very bad idea but back then it was fairly common to let dogs roam when not in the house and that’s what Butch was allowed to do. Over the years we lost entirely too many dogs that way and well, we’ll get to that later.

Butch was my absolute best friend. He went with me everywhere he was allowed to be (couldn’t go in stores and the like, couldn’t go with me to school, etc.) and I lavished all the love and affection I had on him.

He was my confidante (never revealed a secret) and, most importantly, my solace when the bullying and ostracism got to be too much to bear.

Time passed and we moved to Ohio, first to Uncle Denny’s, then to the place next to it.

One day while I was out with Butch wandering the neighborhood one older man, sitting on his porch, told me that I should have Butch on a leash. In retrospect he was absolutely right. I should have. However, as a 10 or 11 year old, well, I made some pompous little statement about “freedom” and went on my way.

When my mother took my sister and I back to Virginia during her brief separation from Bruce, Butch did not go with us. I don’t know why we left him behind. Maybe we were too rushed to leave or maybe Mother realized that there wouldn’t be any place to have him when we got back to Virginia. We stayed at first with Aunt Pauline and Uncle George for some time. They had a dog of their own, a Pekinese, and there was no telling if the dogs would have gotten along (Butch would have been fine–he was everybody’s friend–but I don’t know about the Peke). Then there was that cheap walk-up. So, no, we really weren’t in a position to keep a dog.

The interlude in Virginia ended and we moved back to Ohio and Butch was still there. I guess Bruce actually took care of him in the interim (or maybe neighbors did, I can’t say, although I prefer to think that Bruce had at least enough humanity to look after the dog).

So, with the return to Ohio, I also experienced the return to the bullying and ostracism I had managed to escape for a time in Virginia (which explains, perhaps, why despite the years and the rather brief time I had there, I feel more of a connection to Virginia than I ever did to Ohio) and thankfully, Butch was there for me, always willing to let me wrap my arms around him and bawl my eyes out in his neck fur when the frustrations and loneliness, and growing depression, grew to be too much.

In due course we moved to the house near Claysville. Butch loved this. Open fields for lots of running. Chickens to chase (okay, he wasn’t supposed to do that, but he didn’t know that, and we did…mostly…get him broken of it). And groundhogs to fight.

This latter one, I think, is what finally proved his bane. (And, I must admit to misting up a bit at writing this.)

One day, after his roaming, he came home bloody from having been in a fight with something where he came out the worse. We cleaned him up and for a while he stayed close to the house. In time he healed and resumed his roaming.

This next part, I have only second hand account. My mother said that one day, after the fight where he came home bloody, he came home carrying a dead groundhog in his mouth. He dropped it in front of Mother and looked up at her, as she says, as if to say “Well, I got him.” Then he picked it up and went off with it. Mother’s theory is that he got into it with a groundhog and got torn up a bit, which was why he came back bloody that time, then when he healed he went out for a rematch and won.

However, sometime after that Butch was just…not there. He went out and he just never came back. We never did learn what happened to him. My mother thinks, and I suspect she’s right, that the most likely thing was that he got into it one too many times with groundhogs and one eventually killed him. Other possibilities are that he got caught in somebody’s trap (hunting and trapping were big activities then and there) or maybe some farmer shot the “stray dog”.

We’ll never know. And I still miss him today.

Damn onion ninjas.

I am so very sorry, Butch. You died much too young because I was an idiot that didn’t know how to properly take care of you.

On This Day: A Bad Day for Empires

Not a particular single event, but I noticed one time when looking through “On this day” in Wikipedia that October 19 seems to be a particularly bad day for empirs.

202 BC

At the end of the 2nd Punic War, after taking major losses at Utica and Great Plains, the Carthaginian’s recalled Hannibal from Italy. Confident in Hannibal’s forces and leadership, they broke the armistice imposed on them after the preceding two defeats and confronted the Romans. Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Massinissa. The Carthaginians had a somewhat larger army of 40,000 men and including 80 war elephants compared to the Roman 35,100 men.

The result was disaster for the Carthaginians with 20,000 men killed and 20,000 captured, wiping out the Carthaginian army and ending the 17 year 2nd Punic War.

1453 AD

Three months after the Battle of Castillon, England finally loses the last of its possessions in southern France, thus bringing to an end the Hundred Years war.


With French ships blockading both resupply and evacuation, Lord Cornwallis is forced to surrender to George Washington, ending the battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War and making American independence a fait accompli although it would be another two years before Great Britain officialy recognized that independence.


Napoleon’s invasion of Russia comes to an end as he is forced to begin his retreat from Moscow. This would mark the furthest extent of the French Empire under Napoleon.


Once again, Napoleon faces a major defeat in the battle of Leipzig. The Sixth Coalition, consisting of troops from the Russian Empire, the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, Sweden, and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at 257,000 men outnumbered Napoleon’s 177,000 men. In particular the Sixth Coalition had 1400 guns to Napoleon’s 700. This ended the French Empire’s presence east of the Rhine.


The Austrian Empire, in accordance with the 1866 Treaty of Vienna which ended the Third Italian war of Independence (and a theater of the Austro-Prussian war), handed Veneto and Mantuo to France, which immediately gave them to the new Kingdom of Italy as payback for previous concessions of Savoy and Nice.


Italy, attempting to build itself into an empire, had just invaded Ethiopia, leading to a war that would last until February of 1941. On this date in 1935, the League of Nations would place economic sanctions on Italy which would prove about as effective as such sanctions usually are, that is, not to speak of. While these sanctions caused alarm in Rome, they served to strengthen Musollini’s position as the Italian people saw him as being strong in standing up to the League of Nations and so helped to cement Fascist power in Italy and more strongly drive Italy into the German camp for the coming war.


Not exactly an empire or even a nascent empire (although Iraq did have pretensions of being a leader of the “Arab world”, so perhaps a nascent empire after all) but on October 19, 2005, Saddam Hussein went on trial for Crimes against Humanity.

Goth on Ice: Turn, Turn, Turn

One of the main things I’ve been working on the last few sessions is the forward outside three-turn. You start with a forward outside edge. Shift arm position (like we do with the outside edges). “Check” body and shoulder position. Then twist the lower body around, so that instead of skating forward, you’re skating backward on a backward inside edge.

Last time, I described some of the mistakes I was making. This week, I seem to have been able to finally bring it together.

I had actually recorded a practice set early on, but the results were quite foggy–probably condensation on the lens of my phone’s camera. So I went back out onto the ice specifically to do a couple to record.

I’m still working on the edges (“turning” by making a swooping curve across the ice to keep with the title theme–going “forward” but changing what direction forward happens to be). Forward outside edges are giving me a bit of problem, usually having to put a foot down before I complete the half-circle. Part of that is that I’m getting my weight too far forward on the blade. That forward tilt of my body (a perennial problem I have) is part of that. (Note: As of this posting the next two videos are still uploading. They should be up later.)

Finally, we have the backward crossovers. They are coming along nicely. My instructor pointed out a couple of mistakes I’m making: not bending the rear leg enough during the cross (which will help get a deeper cross and more power) and having my feet too close to parallel during the cross. I could have them “toe out”. To clarify what I mean by “toe out” (since having my legs crossed might confuse the matter my right leg (even when it’s on the left side because crossed) needs to have the toe angled to the right and left leg (even when on the right because crossed) needs to have the toe angled to the left. This, also, will give more power and speed in the cross but more importantly will reduce the chance of having the blades collide, tripping me up.

In class, after the practice session that I was able to record, my instructor had me doing another turn: Forward inside Mohawk. I’m finding it particularly challenging to begin with but, on top of that, he had me doing an exercise where I do one forward crossover, an inside Mohawk, which supposedly now has me going backward (if I can actually do it right) then a backward crossover, followed by a “step out” into forward inside edge. The idea is that we then repeat this, going front to back then back to front over and over along a curved path.

I think it’s supposed to look something like this:

Gas Issues

Well this is just ducky. Got home from afternoon skating session and found a notice on my door that there had been an emergency/maintenance or outage on my gas. They left the gas turned off. I presume that was for safety not knowing the status of any gas-using appliances in the house and fair enough. Only this happened yesterday and I did not know until I went over to look at what appeared to be the results of some digging in my yard. (I was figuring burrowing animals.) Saw the notice on my door and “Call to have gas turned on. Must be home when we turn on gas and light appliances.”

Well, okay, fair enough. I call the number which says “24 hours” and the message is “this is after our regular business hours”. Options to continue (besides waiting for Monday and regular business hours) is report an emergency and several account info options (presumably automated responses). Report emergency has “report a gas leak” and several water/sewer related issues. Nothing about “you guys turned off my gas and I need it back on”. I ended up going with “report a gas leak” as the closest.

The young lady on the other end was very nice. Apparently a contractor hit the gas line (call before you dig!) which was why they had to turn off my gas. She apologized for the trouble and they are going to get someone out tonight. Took my number to call when the guy’s on his way.

Chances are, though, I’m not going to be able to go to tonight’s evening ice skating session.

I could live without the furnace for a couple of days. That wouldn’t bother me. But hot water? That was kind of important. It appears that I had enough hot water in the tank that I didn’t notice when I took my shower this morning. I may have had the spigot biased more toward the hot than usual, hard to say with its design, but there was enough for me to take my shower without getting chilled. And the back of the house is snug enough that internal temperature hadn’t dropped much.

What bothers me most about this is that I won’t get to do my evening skating session. That’s an hour and a half or exercise and practice that I won’t be able to make up. I had planned on a good six and a half hours total skating/training time this weekend but…not going to happen.

This is just…annoying.

Thought for the Day

Each of you (mostly, there are the occasional exceptions) have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell of your body. For each pair, you got one chromosome from your father and one from your mother. Have you ever considered what that actually means? How many possibilities there are for children from those two parents?

During Meiosis, there’s a stage where segments of chromosomes in a pair can be swapped, but let’s ignore that and just look at whole chromosomes.

For the first of those 23 pairs, doesn’t matter which one we count as first, any will do for this purpose. you could have the first of the pair from your mother (call that 1a) and the first from your father (1a) or the first from your mother (1a) and the second from your father (1b) or the second from your mother (1b) and the first from your father (1a) or the second from your mother (1b) and the second from your father (1b). Four possibilities: 1a1a, 1a1b, 1b1a, and 1b1b.

Now, looking at the second chromosome (again, any will do, just so long as it’s not the first one). For each of those first four, there are again four so: 1a1a2a2a, 1a1a2a2b, 1a1a2b2a, and so on. Sixteen possible children from just the first two chromosomes.

The third, produces four more possibilities for each of that sixteen for a total of 64 possible children. The fourth, four more for each of the 64 or 256. And so on, through 23 pairs of chromosomes.

The number of possible children from a single pair of parents, with 23 pairs of chromosomes each is 70,368,744,177,664.

More. Than. Seventy. Trillion. Possible. People.

Estimates of how many people have ever lived on the Earth, from the first time something recognizeable as Homo Sapiens walked the savannah of Africa to today is about 100 billion. The number of possible people, from a single pair of parents, is about seven hundred times that.

On top of that, official figures claim there are over seven billion people on the Earth today. That’s three and a half billion mother-father pairs, give or take. (Some folk won’t pair at all. Others will pair with more than one other individual.) Seventy trillion possible offspring from each of those three and a half billion pairs? That’s a simply staggering number. That’s nearly two hundred and fifty times as many possible people than all the stars in the visible universe.

And out of all of that, only one of you.

Socialism Means Central Control of the Means of Production

BREAKING NEWS, PASS THIS ON BY EVERY CHANNEL AVAILABLE TO YOU: Emails: Top Ukrainian Exec Asked Hunter How to ‘Use Your Influence’ on Burisma’s Behalf AND Facebook, Twitter ‘Reducing’ the Distribution of New York Post Story on Hunter Biden Emails (And by reducing the distribution, read “banning.”) Pass it on: email, phone, your blogs. Just pass it on. Show them they can’t silence AMERICANS!

Now onto the regular post.

Let us be clear on one thing. “Socialism” whatever form it takes: International, National, “Democratic”, “Market” (whatever that’s supposed to mean, but it was apparently a thing back in the 1940’s), whatever, cannot escape from the definition of socialism itself: an economic system where the economy is centrally planned and where the means of production are owned or controlled by the state. “Control” is the key element that makes it socialism. That is the core element of ownership. If one remains an owner “on paper” but the decisions about use are dictated by the state then it’s socialism. Because the real ownership is by those who make the decisions, whatever some piece of paper says about ownership.

Now, this is the important part. Tattoo it on your eyelids, add it as the welcome screen on your computer, whatever it takes to get you to learn it and remember it deep down in your gut:

YOU are a “means of production.” And that means that you need to be “controlled/owned” by the state. You. Not just your neighbor. Not just “the wealthy”, the “1%”, “cishet white males”, or whatever other group you want to bring down. You.

In socialism, the state decides what use you will be put to. Not you, yourself, not the nice party leader in your neighborhood, some bureaucrat a thousand miles away who doesn’t know the first thing about you personally except as a number in his spreadsheet…and cares even less.

Totalitarianism isn’t the result of socialism gone wrong. It’s the very core of socialism, following from the simple fact that the most important means of production, the most important capital, that needs to be centrally controlled by the very definition of socialism, is human capital.

And human capital means you.

It’s slavery. That the slaves–you and me–are owned and controlled by some vague collective (really someone who claims to be acting on behalf of that collective) instead of individual slave-owners does not change its essential nature. All the promises in the world about “fairness” and “equality” do not change that. Slavery that’s equal is still slavery.

A socialist society is a slave society. The only difference between it and other slave societies is that no one (except possibly a few nomenklatura–the handful claiming to act on behalf of the collected and being able to enforce their dictates) is free.

To advocate for socialism is to advocate for ones own slavery. (No, you won’t be part of that nomenklatura.) Well, if you want to make yourself a slave, that’s on you.

The problem is, you want me enslaved right alongside you.

Fisking “Anti-Indigenous Things to Quit Saying/Doing”

BREAKING NEWS, PASS THIS ON BY EVERY CHANNEL AVAILABLE TO YOU: Emails: Top Ukrainian Exec Asked Hunter How to ‘Use Your Influence’ on Burisma’s Behalf AND Facebook, Twitter ‘Reducing’ the Distribution of New York Post Story on Hunter Biden Emails (And by reducing the distribution, read “banning.”) Pass it on: email, phone, your blogs. Just pass it on. Show them they can’t silence AMERICANS!

So there was this:

As usual, their text is Bold, my response is Italics.

“Stop saying ‘off the reservation’. It’s a reference to the pass system that was in place restricting Native people from leaving without permission.”

Actually, it was a reference to Natives arming up in groups and attacking folk.

“Stop making ‘1/16th, ‘great-great grandmother’, etc. jokes. All of these reference blood quantum, a system designed to ‘breed out the Natives’. Indigeneity isn’t defined by a percentage, fraction, etc. Quit policing Indigenous identities and quit joking about genocidal tactics.”

First off, citation needed on any kind of declared “system” to “breed out the Natives”. Second, percentages? My initial DNA tests declared that I was 2% sub-Saharan African. So do I get to declare myself African American? Did you look at my profile pic to determine if I could? Okay, later revision of the results removed that (and it seems that someone at 23&Me was just sticking that into people’s results to “mess with racists”, which itself calls into question the accuracy of results), but it still says 0.2% “broadly Western Asian & North African”, which would appear to be people of Arabic ancestry (derived from the Islamic conquest of those areas back in the Middle Ages). So, can I claim to be Arabic American or is that not a “quantum.”

Upshot is, who cares? I am me. These various background things that went into making me who I am are background. I am who I am. Tell the people… (Okay, Bible joke.)

Stop Calling things your “Spirit Animal.” You don’t have one. Only Indigenous people from specific nations have spirit animals.

Now this, right here, is highly insulting to my ancestors. My (Father’s side) Germanic/Norse forebears certainly had Totem (spirit) animals. Likewise, on my mother’s side, my Celtic forebears had an animistic religion where folk could share rapport with the spirits of animals.

Just because you are only familiar with American Indigene beliefs in spirit animals does not mean that that is all that there was.

Stop making dreamcatchers. They are sacred Anishinaabe culture and are not cute trinkets, crafts, etc. Buy them from Anishinaabe artists.

That’s nice. Shall we go into the many things that were sacred and cultural to my ancestors that have become trivialized in modern society? How about the Fighting Irish and their logo? All the iconography and trite decorations around St. Patrick’s Day? Or maybe Oktoberfest? And maybe, just maybe, some of the practices centered around a little holiday known as Yule?

Since the dawn of time people have looked at things produced by other cultures and thought “hey, that’s neat” and made copies. Archaeologists trace contact between cultures by noting the spread of cultural styles–pottery, art, religious iconography, all sorts of things. This widening of cultural horizons is a good thing because insular cultures that neither adopt from others or are adopted by others tend to stagnate and die.

Stop buying those little cloth ‘teepees’ for your kids/pets/whatever. Also stuff with tipi prints.

See above about dreamcatchers. Same thing applies here. Also, note that conical tents with an opening at the top is not unique to American Indigenes (specifically to “Plains Indian” cultures). They don’t get to declare sole ownership of something that has been independently used by multiple societies.

And maybe you can pick a spelling? “Teepee” or “Tipi.”

Quit referring to your “tribe”. Enough with the “Bride tribe” nonsense and all the rest. Stop trivializing tribal affiliations.

“Tribe” is a word that existed long before the European encounters with American indigenes. That the word for groupings of related peoples was used for such groupings among indigenes does not give them exclusive ownership of the term.

Humans are tribal. It’s in our very nature. We divide into “tribes”. The wonder of Western Civilization is not how much tribalism remains, but that we’ve been able to overcome it to such an extent, or rather, that we have been able to expand so broadly as to what counts as “our tribe.” Indeed, the wonder of American civilization in particular is that we have been able to define our “tribe” in terms of a core set of beliefs–individual liberty, the supremacy of the individual over the state, self rule and self responsibility–which, of course, certain groups (and I’m pretty sure you are among them) are trying to undermine.

Same thing, by the way, with “chief.”

Don’t wear “War paint”. Don’t put a feather in your hair. Don’t dress up as Native people or characters.

And, again, American Indigenes aren’t the only ones who painted themselves for going into combat. Look up “woad” as one example. American Indigenes aren’t the only ones who wore feathers as hair ornaments. Feathers were common personal adornment through most of history for most of the world. American Indigenes do not get to claim sole ownership of these historically common things.

As for dressing up as Native people or characters, do you apply that to others? Do you object to Viking costumes? Leprechauns? Toga parties? Dressing up as a “jester” (parti-colored tunic and hose, which was actually a fairly common 13th and 14th century Century English dress)? How about that costume I saw of a pregnant nun? Is it your contention that only Native people are too weak to be able to deal with folk taking enough interest in them to actually dress, however imperfectly, like them, even if it’s deliberate mockery (see “pregnant nun”)? Or do you extend that to other POC’s as well? Is it only European people you consider strong enough to deal with people dressing up like their ancestors and cultural icons–even in deliberately mocking fashion (again see “pregnant nun” as one example).

Stop referring to your meetings/side discussions/parties as a “pow wow.”

Languages borrow words from other languages all the time. English is, at root, a Germanic language and yet something like 70% of its vocabulary derives from Latin (largely by way of medieval French, thanks to Duke William of Normandy) but also with Greek, Spanish, Slavic, and a host of other languages thrown in. Why should American Indigenes be excluded from the mix? Why single them out that words cannot be borrowed into English? The meaning changes from what the Natives used it for you say? You mean like “Sanguine” has shifted from “bloody”/”bloodthirsty” to “cheerfully optimistic”?

Languages have always borrowed from other languages, and shifted both meaning and pronunciation over time. That’s just the way language is. You might as well object to the river running out of Pittsburgh being called the “Ohio” which is a word “taken” from the Natives and mispronounced in the bargain “Oyo”.

Or perhaps you do.

Stop supporting sports teams that use racist terms and logos and caricatures of Indigenous people.

Sigh. Vikings. Patriots. Fighting Irish. Pirates. Buccaneers. Saints. 49ers. Brewers. Padres. Yankees. Canadians. Senators. Canucks. Golden Knights. Cavaliers. Warriors.

People don’t name sports teams after things they disrespect. When they name it after a group of people it’s because they represent courage, honor, and fighting spirit, or it’s about some kind of local connection. Sometimes that’s more about the mythology than the reality (“Pirates,” and “Buccaneers” for example) but the idea is there. And, yes, the imagery tends to be stereotypical to the point of caricature. That’s because the point is to be instantly recognizable. That doesn’t make it “racist”. It makes it effective. No real Viking would wear a helmet with grab handles on it and yet the Vikings logo has a horned helmet because that’s what people associate with Vikings. It’s not the sports team’s job to educate people in the true history and culture of Scandinavia but to give people a recognizable image to cheer for.

And I’ll simply note that it was an American Indigene who designed the former logo for the “Washington Sports Team.” It was white folk, like you, who demanded they get rid of it.

Which, then, were truly “anti-indigenous”?