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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Voices from the Intellectual Dark Web

Silverfiddle Rant!
"Political homelessness and classical liberal principles unify the IDW, not politics or ideology" (What connects the Intellectual Dark Web?)

I started listening to podcasts last year. After sampling this and that and winnowing out the comedians and political talk, it recently occurred to me that my small group of subscriptions are all members of the Intellectual Dark Web. Apologies, but no Jordan Peterson (turgid, cardboard dry and overly-long), no Joe Rogan (too manic, and overly-long).

Here are my faves:

Sam Harris - Making Sense.  He's gone off the deep end lately with his meditation advocacy, and he shifted to a paid platform at the beginning of 2020, but he still gives us a half-hour snippet of each podcast for free, and that's plenty for me.

Brendan O'Neill's Spiked podcast. Heavy on British issues like Brexit and the NHS, which makes sense since he is British, but he explores many issues of universal appeal with his wide variety of interesting guest interlocutors.

Quillett offers a wide variety of intellectually stimulating conversations, and is considered one of the founding members of the IDW

Half Hour of Heterodoxy, podcast of another charter member of the IDW, Heterodox Academy, is also a reliable podcast for reasoned debate by intelligent, educated people who can disagree without being disagreeable.

All of these podcasts discuss a wide variety of controversial topics, and the people discussing them are educated and bring rational, fact-based argumentation to the conversation.  Most striking (and a pleasant respite from our ragey pop culture) is how bereft of ad hominem the podcasts are.  Many episodes feature people who despise Donald Trump, but they are not unhinged over it, and they refrain from disparaging Trump supporters or backhandedly damning them with intellectually-superior condescension.  These are people who can understand something without agreeing with it, people who take the time to understand what they argue against, and who will concede an opponent's  point well made.

Do you listen to any podcasts?  Please give us your suggestions and tell us what's on your mind.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Silverfiddle Rant!
Joel Kotkin casts a weather eye on California governor Gavin Newsom outsourcing his state's economic recovery to a task force of high tech robber barons:

When Steyer and other members of the task force—one can’t help but compare them to the crime commission run in New York City by Charles “Lucky” Luciano—decide to open the economy, they will no doubt claim, as with their climate pieties, that they are acting purely on the basis of “science”—as long as it agrees with their conclusions.

Meanwhile, the world's billionaire plutocrats continue to be targeted by the victims of globalism. This could get good:

Most people want billionaires to pitch in to aid poverty and inequality
NEW YORK, April 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Eight out of 10 people think billionaires should help end poverty, inequality and a host of global ills, a poll showed on Wednesday, as funding shortages and the new coronavirus stymied hopes of meeting the United Nations' development goals for 2030.
Around the world, there are more than 2,000 billionaires worth a combined $10 trillion, said Martijn Lampert, research director of Glocalities.
"People see that billionaires have a moral obligation to contribute," he said. "This crisis shows the huge inequalities there are, and in the end I think every billionaire has to show his or her true color."
"We will need to tax high-net worth, especially after the current disaster," said Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a U.N. initiative, who was involved in the study.
Those billionaires are smart people who have an uncanny ability to read a poker table and decide when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em (RIP, Kenny Rogers!) They know how to negotiate and come out on top. They won't go down easy, but they have sown the seeds for the bitter fruit people are pelting them with.

They’ve all been talking socialistic crap for years, while sluicing trickles of their vast fortunes smartly and efficiently:  Dodging taxation that hands money to inefficient governments and wasteful NGOs. Instead, they have maximized their bang for the buck by forming their own global philanthropic organizations to feed and inoculate the poor and address global ills.

Look for billionaires to defend this model as they ramp up doling out billions, publicly and loudly, even as people clamor for more. As government models continue to reveal their inherent weaknesses, we could end up witnessing a new global feudalism where the billionaire world controllers eclipse and marginalize hapless government and exercise direct power and influence over a reshaped hierarchy of lords, vassals and peasants.

Think it will happen?  Maybe not.  I take comfort in the notion--brilliantly articulated by Puckish Canadian David Warren-- that The World Cannot be Fixed.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

(with a hat tip to Bunkerville for the first video below)

This Memorial Day, please remember to pause long enough to honor our fallen.  They more than deserve that honor.

American Cemeteries around the world and the number of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice:

Note: the above is the soundtrack opener for the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan.

 In honor of our fallen, the Armed Forces Medley, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and, my "alma mater," the Choral Arts Society of Washington:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Coronavirus Humor

(For politics, please scroll down)


Watch and, especially, listen (language warning for the last few seconds):

One of the YouTube comments to the above:
Common sense, truth and intelligence clearly never made it out of the gate.

[hat tip to Powerline Blog's Week in Pictures]

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Silverfiddle Rant!
Forty-seven youth baseball teams gathered for a tournament in Missouri over Mother’s Day weekend, USA Today reported.

Roughly 550 kids between the ages of 7 and 14 participated in the Mother’s Day Classic, which was split between two venues west of St. Louis, according to the outlet. (
Kansas City Star)

The organizers set up social distancing rules, but the joyless scolds are wagging their fingers off and sprouting blisters on their tongues from all their clucking at the flagrant disobedience of the "New Normal"...
However, the Post-Dispatch reported that during the tournament, more than three boys were seen huddled in the dugout and that players stole bases, tagged each other out and leaned in to discuss the game with coaches and other players.
Boys huddling! Stolen bases! Sliding! Tagging each other out! The horrors. I bet there was shameless bubblegum popping and bubble-blowing, too.
Lynelle Phillips, the vice president of the Missouri Public Health Association, told the newspaper. “To hold a huge baseball tournament, even the most optimistic of us have to cringe at that.”
She added that the tournament could burden local health officials if someone from the tournament tests positive for the virus...
“It comes down to the poor contact tracer,” Phillips told the Times. “It’s just an added complication.”
We’ll know the outcome in a few weeks. If one covid-19 case can be traced to this event, the national media will blare it out like like Satan's bagpipes. 

Theory, Meet Reality

Contract tracing is not the panacea the propagandists tell us it is.  In the early stages of an outbreak, as part of a disciplined strategy, it can slow a disease and prevent an uncontrolled epidemic, but we are beyond that.  Implemented now, with a large cohort of new bureaucrats on a broad, federally-funded scale, it would be one more flailing appendage of our multifarious federal public health bureaucracies, an expensive federal jobs program whose greatest accomplishment is augmenting the membership roles of public workers unions.

Lord help the “poor contact tracer” if the sick person has been shopping at Sam’s Club, or riding public transportation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Safe Spaces?

Silverfiddle Rant!

Where are we most likely to become infected by Coronavirus?  Least likely?

Quillette editor Jonathan Kay put some analytical thought into COVID-19 Super Spreader Events (SSE), and wrote an essay that has now started a project by a group of scientists who took over where he left off.

COVID-19 Superspreader Events in 28 Countries: Critical Patterns and Lessons

The article is an interesting analysis of what types of activities do and do not cause SSEs.  He caveats his work: Although he holds a scientific degree and has hands-on experience with mathematic modeling, he is not an epidemiologist and he is using anecdotal data that is not a proper statistical sample.

Here is the bottom line of his analysis:
When do COVID-19 SSEs happen? Based on the list I’ve assembled, the short answer is: Wherever and whenever people are up in each other’s faces, laughing, shouting, cheering, sobbing, singing, greeting, and praying. You don’t have to be a 19th-century German bacteriologist or MIT expert in mucosalivary ballistics to understand what this tells us about the most likely mode of transmission.
And when COVID-19 SSE's do not happen... 
It’s worth scanning all the myriad forms of common human activity that aren’t represented among these listed SSEs: watching movies in a theater, being on a train or bus, attending theater, opera, or symphony [...] These are activities where people often find themselves surrounded by strangers in densely packed rooms—as with all those above-described SSEs—but, crucially, where attendees also are expected to sit still and talk in hushed tones.
It makes sense to me, although if this bears out, church services and live music concerts are potential hot zones.  What say you?

See Also:

People ‘shed’ high levels of coronavirus early in the infection

London Coronavirus Protests

Fury in Germany

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Railroading Of General Flynn

The story that loyal members of the Democrat Party and the mainstream media are downplaying or ignoring altogether:

Related reading: The Politicized Order Inviting Amicus Briefs against the Flynn Case’s Dismissal by Andrew C. McCarthy (May 13, 2020). Excerpt:
...There is no complex legal issue to be resolved. DOJ’s dismissal motion may be politically controversial, but legally it is pro forma. The only branch of government constitutionally authorized to proceed with a criminal prosecution is the executive. The Justice Department has declined to prosecute. There is nothing for the judge to do besides the ministerial task of ending the case on the court’s records.

Lest we forget, the primary function of the federal judiciary is to protect the accused from overbearing government action, not to agitate for the prosecution of Americans. Even if he’s convinced Flynn is as guilty as the day is long, one might expect Judge Sullivan to be disturbed by the FBI’s perjury trap....
Read the entire essay HERE.

FYI: Eric Holder rejoined Covington & Burling, General Flynn's first attorneys, as partner, after he left the office of United States Attorney General in 2015.

And then there's this: Flynn’s original FD-302 is so important, the Special Counsel had to leak a prosecution threat against Flynn’s son just to avoid turning it over to his original lawyers Covington.

Read more about an FD-302 HERE.   Amazing, really  and disturbing.

There is so much to this travesty of justice inflicted upon General Flynn! Commenters, please feel free to add additional important information in the comments thread.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

(Humor) My new COVID life

posted by Warren 
scroll down for Silverfiddle's latest post.

My life goes on without a lot of changes. I have an "essential" job that keeps me on the run. The biggest change is the lack of traffic on my morning and evening commutes. But I'm going to share my thoughts with you and a few pictures you might find interesting.

Last year really sucked for me, and I found myself somewhat despondent so I asked for a sign.

I am putting on a little weight because I'm not as active in the evenings when I get off work and find myself snacking, but I think I have found a low carb, low fat solution.

 I'm afraid to let my dog outside because she might catch the Covid, and she stands at the back door just watching the wildlife and whining to go out.

It's hard on her to just set there and look out. so I started to take her for car rides and talk to her about my problems. I find her almost reluctant to get in the car now.

 The other day, I saw her looking outside with a strange look on her face and got up see  what she was looking at. 

 I'm beginning to think this mask thing is getting out of hand! 

Our State Planning Commission has a reopening plan that just doesn't seem practical. But maybe it's just me.

 I was talking to the younger guys at work, and they seemed shocked at how wasteful I was in my younger years.

Some people are really having a hard time with this shutdown. I was truly shocked to see this picture.

I saw in the news that a guy who had been in a coma since 2018 had come out of his coma.

And Nancy Pelosi has released the Democrat recovery plan to the public.

I'm having trouble adjusting to our new social standards, and it seems that I'm not the only one.

I'll leave you all with this motivational message from the Democrat Governors Association.

 Now, where did I set down that pack of Camel cigarettes and bottle of Jack Daniels.... errr ..  hand sanitizer? 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Panic & Hysteria

Silverfiddle Rant!
Covid-19 is not the black plague.  We are in the grips of a hysteria-induced panic. The death rates for America's #1 hot spot, New York City, by age group:

75 and older: 1.3%
65-74: 0.52%
45-64:  0.16%
18-44: 0.017%
Under 18: 0.0%

Question #1:  Why in the hell are schools and colleges closed?

Dirty Consciences, Pathetic Empty Lives

Hollywood famous people and the rich elite, who are the biggest polluters , the most flamboyant consumers of man-made goods, and contribute the most to the destruction of the planet's resources, are seeking cheap absolution by calling for "radical change in the world rather than "a return to normal" after the coronavirus lockdowns."

First off, they were never normal, and they would be whining and screaming like toddlers if they had to "radically change" and live like the rest of us. This is their anguished cry from a hollow soul that gobbled up everything and ended up with nothing of substance. These and others who scold us preach sacrifice, because in their own hearts, they know they have sacrificed and contributed very little.  They gained fame and fortune, but it hasn't filled their God hole, so they mount their psychological projection podium and preach to those of us who don't need to hear it.  Those of us living in the real world lead rich full lives working hard and sacrificing for ourselves and our families.  Our pleasures are simple. They have no idea.

The Real Contagion 

The polling continues to reflect the media narrative, and its easy to bash the president while applauding “the governors” and Dr Fauci.  What specific actions has Fauci taken that were especially brilliant, saved lives or were heroically unique? Do people realize a blundering Governor Cuomo sent infected senior citizens into nursing homes and it ended up infecting and killing residents there?
“The opposition expressed by sizable majorities of Americans reflects other cautions and concerns revealed in the survey, including continuing fears among most people that they could become infected by the coronavirus, as well as a belief that the worst of the medical crisis is not yet over.”
Yes, you will become infected, and yes, the crisis will continue, if by that you mean people will continue to die. If you are under 65, you have little to worry about (those numbers at the beginning are based on known cases, not the entire population), and if you are a teenager, you have nothing to worry about.
Many Americans have been making trips to grocery stores and 56 percent say they are comfortable doing so. But 67 percent say they would be uncomfortable shopping at a retail clothing store, and 78 percent would be uncomfortable eating at a sit-down restaurant.
Illogical.  What makes a clothing store more dangerous than the grocery store?
Gun stores are next, with 70 percent saying they should not be reopened, followed by barbershops and hair salons (69 percent opposed) and retail shops such as clothing stores (66 percent opposed) and golf courses (59 percent opposed).
More illogic.  Golf courses??? How do four people socially distancing in an open field pose a threat to themselves or the public?

What makes a gun store, clothing store or restaurant more unsafe than a grocery store? You encounter the most touch surfaces and most people in a grocery store.

Media-Fomented Stupidity

What people are expressing, I think, is not a level of danger, but their risk calculation:  They would risk going to the grocery store because they need food, but they would not risk going to a movie theater, and if stated like that, it is a logical calculation, but as usual, the Infotainment Media Complex makes a mushy hash of it.

Most disturbing is the mob rule in all of this:  70% of people are fearful, so they demand barber shops remain shuttered.  If you’re fearful of a barber shop, stay away.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Coronavirus Humor

(For politics, please scroll down. Siverfiddle posted a good 'un yesterday)

I'm way beyond the date I should have gone to the hair salon to prevent my gray from showing. **wince**  At least I can pluck out my gray eyebrows!

The earliest possible date for getting to the hair salon now appears to be June 9 — if Virginia's tyrannical governor Ralph Northam allows it even then.  And I wonder if hair salons will manage to survive at all!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Government-Sponsored Looting

Silverfiddle Rant!
I read this article, and the further I went, the angrier I got. Please read it now.  If you have high blood pressure, caution.

Trump wants schools to reopen. Experts say COVID-19 safety measures will cost billions

This is a full-on cash grab riot. If you have ever worked on a humanitarian mission or been in a war zone and watched the mad stampede of desperate hungry people when the food trucks roll up, you'll understand what I mean.  The poor refugees can be excused--they are fighting (often each other) for their lives.  Today's US Cavalcade of Waste is shameful and cynical. 

The states closed their schools, and now insist they need billions from the federal government to open them back up.
WASHINGTON — If schools are to reopen safely as soon as August, which President Donald Trump has proposed, education experts say billions of dollars in federal funding will be needed in the next coronavirus relief bill.
Uncle Sam has gone senile and fearful, so he is throwing borrowed trillions out the window, and his madness has touched off a free-for-all.
Governors are asking Congress for $500 billion in emergency funding to rescue states with severe revenue shortfalls, but leading education groups say schools should receive half of that money.
some $50 billion of that money would be set aside for minority-serving colleges and universities. Another $25 billion would go to supporting vulnerable children, as well as low-income and minority students.
Remember what a multi-billion dollar budget-busting boon 9/11 was for the MIC, the alphabet intelligence agencies (that failed us) and for the ballooning federal bureaucracy?

The education establishment and domestic federal, state and local bureaucracies are exploiting this crisis to grab their share.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Autoerotic Asphyxiation, Silicon Valley Style

Silverfiddle Rant!
Big tech doesn’t build anything. It’s not likely to give us vaccines or diagnostic tests. We don’t even seem to know how to make a cotton swab. Those hoping the US could turn its dominant tech industry into a dynamo of innovation against the pandemic will be disappointed.
Source:  Covid-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation

Silicon Valley represents a textbook example of what economists call Opportunity Costs:  

You can't do everything, so you choose to do this over that, and there are always costs associated with that decision, most commonly, things that don't get built, achievements forgone.

Silicon Valley is a collection of smart, educated entrepreneurial people, but they have wasted their technological talents on toys, when the world needs intellectual firepower aimed at reimagined cities, transportation, infrastructure, preserving biodiversity and habitat, food production, safe drinking water, energy production, and medical technology.

The world is in need, and a vast pool of "American ingenuity" sits in California playing with themselves and making obscene profits off of Chinese slave labor. A few days after writing the previous sentences, I stumbled across this, written by David Rotman in MIT Technology Review
The pandemic has made clear this festering problem: the US is no longer very good at coming up with new ideas and technologies relevant to our most basic needs.
We’re great at devising shiny, mainly software-driven bling that makes our lives more convenient in many ways. But we’re far less accomplished at reinventing health care, rethinking education, making food production and distribution more efficient, and, in general, turning our technical know-how loose on the largest sectors of the economy.
Source:  Covid-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation
We were in a hole before Covid-19 hit, and its going to take new ideas and smartly-focused efforts to position us for success going forward.  Economics professor John Van Reenen says "technological innovation is the engine of economic growth," and he describes how to do it

Can government incentivize industry and brainpower to steer some of its attention away from shiny (and financially lucrative) toys, and turn to more prosaic, practical pursuits?  Can we actually build things again here in America?

Monday, May 11, 2020

No Silver Bullets

Silverfiddle Rant!
It is a paradox: Humankind is resilient--life is fragile.

"Do Something!" is a futile cry against an immutable reality.

The 20th Century, while bringing us horrible tragedies of human slaughter on an industrial scale, was also the century of greatest human achievement in many categories:  Manufacturing, hygiene, science, medicine, economics, work-saving and life-saving technologies.

All this has shielded us from the harsh realities our ancestors faced.  We take for granted the collective Herculean effort to elevate us out of humankind's natural state, a Hobbesean world where...
"...there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
So, it is a horrible shock to see friends, family, neighbors and fellow community members die from a virus we are powerless to stop.

21st Century American Ingenuity Wasted

Related to this is a question:  Has this marvelous scientific, technological and practical progress of the 20th Century slowed?  Pre-Covid-19, Derek Thomson made the case that Silicon Valley represents a vast waste of talent, focusing as they do on gee-whiz apps and smarter toys, and it all amounts to little more than diddling themselves and their avid customers for money, but to no great advancement of humankind.
For the past two decades, we’ve funneled treasure and talent into the ethereal world of software and digital optimization. Imagine what could be accomplished if American ingenuity came back down to Earth.
Imagine, indeed.  I'll have more to say about this in my next blog post.  Meanwhile...

What say you?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Mother's Day Weekend 2020

(For politics, please scroll down)

My beloved "second mother" Aunt Elma (January 10, 1916-November 10, 2010) and Mom (January 2, 1916-November 8, 1987) — at their 60th birthday party here at this old house:

Photo taken in January 1976.

I miss both of them every day.

My Aunt Elma's favorite song:

Mom's favorite song:

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Clash of the Biological Imperatives

Silverfiddle Rant!

“Nature cares nothing for logic, our human logic: she has her own, which we do not recognize and do not acknowledge until we are crushed under its wheel” -- Ivan Turgenev

Turgenev's response is all I have to the endless string of articles wringing hands over the horrible possibilities:  The pandemic could last years, there may be no immunity conferred on those who have had it, second wave fears, mutations, etc.

This statement by a medical doctor was flagged by faceboot as "misinformation," but Politifact rates it as "mostly true." (A minor quibble over what he was arguing against prevented an unqualified "True" rating).  So, the facts of the statement are 100% accurate:
"The consensus medical view is that this virus is here to stay. In other words, this virus cannot be defeated simply by staying inside for a couple of months," wrote Murdock, who said he was observing from the rear of the rally at a safe distance to gather material for a memoir. "The world will likely see periodic outbreaks, and we need to accept that and be prepared to deal with COVID long term."
You don't defeat a virus any more that you conquer fire or tame the ocean. Viruses are a vital component to life on earth.  I recommend the book, A Planet of Viruses, by Karl Zimmerman, that explains how viruses fit into nature's big picture.

I'm also reading a fascinating book, Spillover, by David Quamman (published in 2013) that details how viruses spill over from animals to humans.  He explores questions such as, why are strange new diseases emerging now?  He cites research pointing to zoonoses from wildlife contributing to over 60% of emerging infectious diseases.

Why?  Because we humans are breaking into wild habitat and disturbing virgin ecosystems at an ever increasing pace.  All habitats contain reservoirs for viruses, but odds are primeval habitats contain viruses we have never seen before, and some can be deadly.

Quamman makes the point that in North America and Europe, we call wild animals we hunt and eat "game," while in Africa it is called bushmeat, imputing negative connotations, much like Chinese "wet markets" are now cloaked in opprobrium. Point well taken, but Asia, Africa and South America still host dark recesses unexplored by humans and vast undeveloped habitats.  Here in the picked-over continents of North America and Europe, we have few such pristine areas left.

Yes, viruses and diseases still lurk in North America and Europe, and they are known: For years here in Colorado we had to follow special procedures when hunting and dressing elk because of Chronic Wasting Disease. In the west we also have Hanta Virus (of Korean origin), anthrax, Kreutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Military people who have traveled the word are familiar with these names. I can't give blood because I was in Iraq and Afghanistan. People living in Europe during a Mad Cow outbreak (a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) also cannot donate blood.*

Finally, here is a quick primer on where viruses come from and how they can end up in humans: CDC - Principle of Epidemiology - Chain of Infection

What say you?

* - I have heard there is a time limit on this, but I haven't found a definitive answer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Surfing is Not a Crime!

Silverfiddle Rant!
“We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
--Winston Churchill

We are suffering a weaponized Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy inflicted upon us by unhappy, corroded-soul government overlords at the local, county, state and federal level, egged on by the Infotainment Media Complex.

It started innocently enough years ago, with them nagging us to save the environment by reducing our carbon footprint; preaching cleanses and purges of various bodily organs, orifices and passages; exhorting us with vapid "spiritual" nostrums and feel-good nonsense they come up with in a vain attempt to fill their God hole.

Those petty despots scolding us and ordering us around are fundamentally unhappy people, and they are pouncing on this opportunity to destroy the happiness of others. Their greek chorus of the proletariat are fundamentally fearful--of the unknown, others, themselves, whatever--and they are spreading that fear to millions of others, and what a thin balm it must be to their troubled psyches.

Community Cluster Funk

Socioclasts channeling their internal Woodrow Wilson see their big opportunity to remake the messy, chaotic American landscape, knock it down, destroy the foundations and start all over:  They want to redesign your pathetic, selfish, random life, to include establishing permanent perimeters around each individual, tracking our movements and contacts, redesigning our public spaces, and regulating your private life, to include approving the friends and family you respectfully request to include in your lockdown bubbles and social clusters.

Because We Say So

Ordering everyone in the nation to wear a face covering and huff their own carbon dioxide (except under very narrow circumstances) is an absurdity, especially when outdoors. Are the Standard Bearers of Science taking us back to the discredited miasma theory?  The purpose of a mask it to prevent you from spraying droplets at others when coughing or sneezing.  It would make more sense to tell everyone to carry a hanky and if you have to cough or sneeze, to do so in the hanky, you know, like you grandparents did.

Lab Rats

The scientists and medical experts admonishing us to cower in our homes, are throwing all “abundance of caution” to the wind in order to recklessly deliver a Covid-19 vaccine on dangerously shortened timeline of 12-18 months, when the usual, safety-conscious process takes five to 15 years.

Bonus Question

How does surfing or swimming in the ocean spread the virus and endanger the community? This is like a bizzaro version of the old movie Footloose, but instead of Concerned Local Authorities banning dancing because it might lead to sex, they are banning surfing because it may lead to people gathering and socializing and having FUN.

Monday, May 4, 2020


Silverfiddle Rant!

I didn't want to go there, but an article written by snarky lefty John Harris in Politico has pushed me over the edge:

Admit it.  You are willing to let people die to end the shutdown

We are dealing in trade-offs:  How much economic destruction to save how many lives?  And even that is not accurate.  We are not saving lives--we are deferring deaths.

As Democrats continue to take a hammer and sickle to our economy* we are in an age of Cheap Tricks, Cheap Attacks, and Cheap Racist Rants. Please bear with me, its all related.

Cheap Tricks

Harris resorts to cheap tricks. After reminding us how conservatives rail against moral relativism, he unleashes this:
It’s worth noting the shift in worldviews. During the pandemic, conservatives are much more likely to be relativists—everyone dies of something eventually so let’s keep this disease in perspective—while liberals generally are quicker to assume the absolutist stance—let’s stay shut down for as long as health experts tell us we need to save lives.
Did you catch the trick:  He dropped 'moral relativist' and replaced it with simply 'relativist.'  Two different things.  That is the heap of pot metal trinkets and shiny glass beads Democrat argumentation has been reduced to.

Cheap Attacks

Harris attacks my governor, Gerald Polis (a Democrat) who I believe had done a pretty fair job balancing public health and our God-given rights. Jake Crapper asked Polis a gotcha question about the looseness of his Coronavirus policies (a typical Maoist attack, since Polis is not toeing the Democrat line and looks suspiciously closer to Trump than to Pelosi on this), and Polis gave a standard politician's answer, which touched off Harris' attack:
The murkiness of Polis’ reply requires translation. To my ear, he was saying something like this:
Yes, some people are going to die of Covid-19 who wouldn’t if I keep a full lockdown in place. I hope not too many or too fast. But keeping the risk of death as low as possible imposes other costs that are too high, and my job is to balance competing goals.
Life is full of tradeoffs and nothing is pristine.  Clean drinking water is allowed to have a certain amount of fecal coliform and harmful chemicals below a mandated threshold.  The world is full of non-malicious human activity that indirectly leads to the death of others.

Let's take Harris's statement and play "fill in the blank."  Please share your answers in the comments:
Yes, some people are going to die of [fill in the blank] who wouldn’t if we had a full ban on [fill in the blank]. 
Example Answers:  car accidents – automobiles

Cheap Racist Rants

Related to this is one more example of how the Age of Corona is empowering the partisan loonies, angry racists and raging propagandists.  This is a real headline on Vox, the leftwing 'splainer website posing as responsible journalism:
The whiteness of anti-lockdown protests
How ignorance, privilege, and anti-black racism is driving white protesters to risk their lives.
Extraordinary events cause ordure like this to bob to the surface, and such rants are always revealing. I doubt this article speaks for “people of color.” Based on my limited experience, I don't think most “people of color” look at the world through such hate-distorted lenses, but it speaks loud and clear for the revenge raging neo-Maoists who are exploiting racial differences to stoke tribalism and heap mob scorn on white people.

What say you?

* - Originally stated by a commenter at William M. Briggs - Statistician to the Stars

See also:  Covid-19: Three Futures

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020

What Is Ramadan?

[cross-posted to Infidel Bloggers Alliance]

Ramadan 2020 began at sunset on or about April 23 and will end on or about May 23. Muslims, ever contentious about nearly every matter, even disagree among themselves as to when Ramadan should begin.

What does Ramadan really celebrate, particularly Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan? If one understands the history of Islam and, especially, that of Ramadan, one will come to understand that such a commemoration, including iftar dinners at the White House, should be unacceptable to all those who oppose Islamic supremacism.

Ramadan involves more than prayers, fasting, and the giving of alms — all of which are part of the month long observance but which are also the outward signs of another message. By literal definition, of course, Ramadan commemorates Allah's "revealing" the Qur'an to Muhammad. But history clearly indicates that the "revelations" from Allah to Muhammad began around 610, some fourteen years earlier than 624.

Those earlier passages, sometimes referred to as the Meccan verses, are the oft-quoted peaceful verses in the Koran. Contrary to what one might expect, however, the last day of Ramadan does not celebrate the actual date of the earliest peaceful "revelations" of Allah to Muhammad but rather the Battle of Badr, the first significant military victory by the forces of Muhammad.

The Battle of Badr of March 17, 624, is one of the few military conflicts specifically mentioned in the Qur'an and holds a great deal of significance in Islam. Eid ul-Fitr, the final portion of Ramadan, has as its origin the aforementioned battle. Furthermore and most importantly, this battle marked the turning point for Islam, both politically and ideologically.

Having earlier fled to Medina along with followers who accepted him as their prophet whereas most of the tribes of Mecca did not, early on that morning in 624 Muhammad got word that a rich Quraish caravan from Syria was returning to Mecca. He therefore assembled the largest army he had ever been able to muster, some 300 men, with the original intent of raiding the caravan. After his men successfully overtook the caravan and brought back the booty, Muhammad then conveniently received a new "revelation" from Allah — a "revelation" which not only included rejoicing in having captured an enemy's caravan but which also called "proved" that Muhammad had been preaching the true way all along. Fulfilling Destiny, Muhammad and his forces proceeded to trounce the Quraish as punishment for having earlier rejected the prophet's teachings. From this source:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful.

The battle of Badr was the most important among the Islamic battles of Destiny. For the first time the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. Had victory been the lot of the pagan army while the Islamic Forces were still at the beginning of their developments, the faith of Islam could have come to an end.

No one was aware of the importance of the outcome of the Battle as the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself. We might read the depth of his anxiety in his prayer before the beginning of the Battle when he stood up supplicating his Lord:

God this is Quraish. It has come with all its arrogance and boastfulness, trying to discredit Thy Apostle. God, I ask Thee to humiliate them tomorrow. God, if this Muslim band will perish today, Thou shall not be worshipped.

This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State...
In other words, victory at the Battle of Badr proved to Muhammad and his adherents that Islam should from that time forth take on a militant aspect because such is the will of Allah. From the day of the Battle of Badr on, the tone of the verses in the Qur'an changed. These more recent "revelations," sometimes referred to as the Medinan verses, abrogated the earlier and peaceful Meccan ones. Because preaching and tolerance had not brought Muhammad the following which he needed in order to establish himself and Islam as political forces to be reckoned with, Allah, via a military victory, showed the prophet a more effective way to spread Islam. Therefore, Muhammad's victory at the Battle of Badr symbolizes both the way to bring about the will of Allah and the will of Allah itself.

In sum, Ramadan is, in and of itself, a statement advocating submission to Islam and to the will of Allah. Ah, the dhimmitude and submission of all Western leaders when they send Ramadan greetings to the Islamic world!