Best of Late May 2017

I took a very pleasant trip to Maine last week, but now I’m experiencing the downside of leaving the confines of Cautious Optimism for even a short time – the great and powerful CO has linked to and commented on some of the noteworthy stories that I wanted to comment on. Will I let that either daunt or deter me?

Consider me both undaunted and undeterred. So here goes…

1.Oh, Kathy Griffin, until now I thought we’d all remember you for… that show you were on. Or that thing that you did. Or that time you were with Anderson Cooper on that holiday extravaganza.

Who am I kidding? I barely know who you are. Dr. Krauthammer called you a D-list celebrity, but with an alphabet that goes all the way to Z, that seems overly generous.

But wow, I guess we all know who you are now.

So… congratulations?

I know, it probably seemed like a great idea at the time: “What could I do to get some attention for my alleged career? I’ve got it! I’ll imitate the worst jihadi scum in the world, by posing with what looks like the bloodied, severed head of my country’s president! How could that possibly go wrong?”

The best thing about that hideous display is how perfectly it sums up the attitude of much of the self-dramatizing, furious left. If the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words is true, that photo of a dead-eyed Griffin holding a gruesome symbol of the left’s hatred should be the 2020 Democratic party platform.

One more thing. I am nothing if not a chivalrous gentleman, and as such, I am generally loath to criticize a woman’s appearance. (Also, I’m not exactly movie-star handsome myself, so I don’t want to throw any disembodied heads from within my own glass house.) Therefore, I will not lower myself to point out that in Ms. Griffin’s photo, the bloodied, disfigured Trump mask was not the least attractive visage in the frame.

In fact, the same would be true if she held Tiger Wood’s unflattering mugshot in her other hand.

2. A couple of weeks ago I mocked the geniuses at Planned Parenthood for picking Mother’s Day as a perfect occasion to promote their campaign to eradicate motherhood. And you probably thought to yourself, “Simpson is right.“ (“Again!” you really should have added. “It’s uncanny how right he is. I should sell all that I have, and follow him.”) “No creepy leftist organization could ever pick a less appropriate holiday to spout their particular brand of offensiveness.”

But you would have been wrong. Because the super-geniuses at Vox picked Memorial Day as the perfect time to publish an article entitled, “The Marine Corps has a toxic masculinity problem.” The article discusses the recent scandal in which Marines have distributed nude pictures of females, both Marines and civilians. (And by the way, in the last two weeks I’ve seen angry leftist publications refer to both whiteness and masculinity as “toxic.” I’m beginning to think they really don’t like some of us.)

I do not condone those Marines’ behavior, and what they did is undeniably wrong. But talk about missing the point! It’s Memorial Day, when a lot of us weirdos who love our country and appreciate what our military has done to protect everything and everyone we have and love (and to save the world a few times over the last century), are feeling grateful to our soldiers.

And that’s the day you choose to excoriate them? Can you not take off one day a year – make that two, if Veteran’s Day isn’t too big of an ask – from your spiteful insistence on focusing on the flaws of our country and those who defend it?

Can you imagine if these idiots had been in charge during World War II? Instead of flying bombing runs over Germany, half of our B-17s would be in the shop, being re-painted. (Google “World War II Airplane Nose Art” and behold the saucy art that would launch a thousand court martials in today’s military.)

If the left had its way, we’d have either no military at all, or the tiniest p.c. force possible. If we ever were attacked (spoiler alert, drawn from the entirety of human history: we would be attacked), we’d end up fielding an army of metrosexuals and pajama boys, led by Brigadier General Chelsea Manning. And a clever enemy would send an elite platoon of Victoria’s Secret Models wearing nothing but stripper heels and g-strings and carrying pistols to capture our capitol, safe in the knowledge that our troops would not even notice them.

3. At the risk of giving you topic-change-induced whiplash, Mad Dog Mattis produced the quote of the year, so far. Toward the end of an interview on all things military, he was asked a familiar question: “What keeps you awake at night?”

In the old days, the commander in question was supposed to answer something like, “The Nazis’ development of the V2 rocket.” Or “The kamikaze attacks on our navy.” Or “IEDs and suicide bombers around Fallujah.” If the commander was an Obama appointee, s/he was supposed to say, “Climate change.” Or “Islamophobia.” Or “The evil 1%.” Or “The idea that some of our troops like thinking about naked women.”

Mad Dog went full Heisenberg, saying, “Nothing. I keep other people awake.”

I’m not ashamed to say it: I love that man. And if you think that Hillary Clinton would have appointed someone like him in a million years, you’re out of your mind.

4. The day before a Montana house seat election, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte body slams a leftist reporter, punches him, and breaks his glasses. And wins the race by 6 points.

I’ll admit that this story gives me mixed emotions. Emotions like glee. Then satisfaction. Then big guffaws that make me run out of breath, and then wipe tears from my eyes. Then more glee.

Then, finally, consternation.

Okay, it’s not funny that that GOP dope showed so little self-control. And violence isn’t justified in that context. The reporter wasn’t even being obnoxious, as reporters go, and that incident does not bode well for the new congressman’s behavior in office.

And, seriously, we can’t go around justifying violence against our political opponents just because we find them irritating. (That would make us no better than all of the Democrats on all of the college campuses in the entire country. And if that comparison doesn’t make us ashamed, it should.)

However, I do enjoy knowing that one contributing factor to Gianforte’s win was that Montana has voting rules that allow people to vote very early, so that by the time the body slam happened, about 2/3 of the votes had already been cast.

I’m old school on this question. As much as I enjoy the convenience of voting early, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’d like to see us tighten voting rules: more stringent voter ID requirements, more vigorous prosecution of those who cheat, and no absentee or early voting, except for those on active duty in the military.

The Dems are opposed to all of that. They like motor voter and stupid “vote or die” campaigns, they resist voter id laws and wink at illegals voting, and they have a huge advantage in dead voters. So it’s a little funny to see them reap what they sow when a GOP goofball acts the fool on election eve… but too late!

5. Finally, Anthony Weiner put his old apartment up for rent, at the bargain price of $12K a month. The listing disappeared after only 1 day, which either means that someone snapped it up (in which case, ewwww), or else someone had second thoughts and pulled the listing. (And I’m noticing how hard it is – oops – to write anything about that Dem without it sounding dirty. My first draft of the previous sentence: “Weiner may have pulled the listing on his unit.” I know.  But you try it, if you think this is so easy.)

I’m not sure what to think, except that that is one ambitious real estate agent. I’ve heard that houses where something bad has happened often carry a stigma, and must be discounted in order to sell.

And if I could put myself in the position of someone who wanted to live in NYC (no thank you), and who had $12K a month to spend on rent (nope), I still can’t picture moving in to Chez Weiner. (Worst restaurant in the tri-state area, by the way.)

Once the real estate agent told me what went on there, I’d be asking questions such as, “Don’t you have any places where a guy went nuts and killed his whole family and then himself to show me?” or “Did the Manson family ever live in a midtown 3-bedroom that I could take a look at?”

But in a deep blue state, someone is probably out there who would pay a premium for the place last called home by Carlos Danger. (By the way, say what you will about the guy, but a 12-year-old me, trying to think of a cool pseudonym to use when I grew up and became a spy, would have KILLED to have arrived at “Carlos Danger.” “Danger,” I’d say to one of the Jr. High cheerleaders whose cigarette I would be suavely lighting, “Carlos Danger.” Or maybe, “Carlos is the name, and Danger is my game.” And then I’d brace myself, so I could catch all of the sophisticated 14-year-old girls who would be throwing themselves at me. But, to give me some credit, I would not be texting them when I was 38.)

Anyway, there’s just no way to explain the way leftists think: Huma is reportedly taking Carlos back, for example.

So, to sum up what we’ve learned about leftist thought today: You shouldn’t punch a reporter, but pretending to behead a president is fine, if you think he’s really icky. Also, Ted Kennedy leaves his date to drown, Bill Clinton uses his intern as a humidor, and Anthony Weiner spends his adult life being Anthony Weiner.

But the Marines are the ones who have a problem with toxic masculinity.

Got that?

Best of May 2017 II: The Second One

1. Finally, a social protest movement that I can get behind. Venezuelan socialism is working out as well as Vietnamese socialism did, and Cambodian socialism, and Cuban socialism, and Russian and East German and other socialisms. Which is to say, not at all.

In case you’ve just woken up from a century-long nap, Rip Van Sanders, socialism keeps producing poverty and famine and environmental destruction and drum circles and gulags, and lo, it has now done so in formerly prosperous (by Latin American standards) Venezuela.

Enter Liborio Guarulla, the governor of an inland region in Venezuela, and a man with a plan. He’s cursing the socialists who are running the country into the ground. And not in the way that I’ve been doing the same thing here in the USA for the last 20 years. No, instead of my Anglo-Saxon-based anatomically-tricky-suggestion-involving curses, Liborio has invoked the very cool-sounding “curse of Dabukuri.” (And yes, how is that NOT a movie featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000?)

In a press conference on May 9th — during which he wore a funky headpiece that is far more attractive than certain reproductive organ headgear that I could mention – Liborio let fly thusly: “I am going to call upon our ancestors, our shamans, so that the curse of Dabukurí will fall upon those that have tried to do us harm. I can assure you that they will not die without torment. I can assure you that, before they die, they will suffer and their souls will haunt the darkest and most pestilent places before they can close their eyes.”

That sounds about right to me. You go, Liborio. (If Venezuelans had any spending money, I would immediately copyright that slogan and slap it on thousands of t-shirts. But they don’t have any spending money. Because socialists have been running Venezuela.)

Anyway, google the “march of the shamans,” and take a good look at what protests should look like: angry gourd rattling, cool puka shell ornamentation, big ol’ spears being carried theatrically, and a whole lot of cursing at socialists. I wish every Tom, Dick and Loborio around here could take a page out of their book.

2. No matter what kind of new trouble Trump or the GOP can get themselves into, and no matter what kinds of wild exaggerations the MSM can bring to bear on said trouble, there is one political constant that we can all count on: the Democrat party (new slogan: “When they go low, we go much, much lower.”) is behaving horribly. If it’s not Carlos Danger sexting the toddlers at a local daycare, or Nancy Pelosi losing her place three times per cue card, or DNC lead vulgarian Tom Perez swearing like he’s just got the lead in a Tarantino movie, it’s the California Democrat state convention.

On Saturday, 20 May, some of the sophisticated convention attendees began a rousing chant of “F**k Donald Trump.” And because those sweet-tempered lefties are always sensitive about not excluding the differently abled, they accompanied the chant with a visual aid for the hearing impaired, in the form of upraised arms and extended middle fingers.

(By the way, do you know the most calorie-burning and yet easiest gig ever for a sign language interpreter? Translating for the CA Democratic convention. You start out with the gestures for, “Hello, Sacramento!” Then you paste a wild-eyed look on your face and flip the bird maniacally for 13 minutes. Then you sign, “Here’s Maxine Waters,” and circle your temple with one forefinger in the universal symbol for “cuckoo” for 11 minutes. Then you introduce Tom Perez, and alternate between bird flipping and pelvic thrusting and grabbing your crotch like vintage Michael Jackson and sneering like Sid Vicious at a meeting with the Pope. Then you hammer your check and go home and take a long, hot shower. But you can never wash off the shame.)

I know what you’re thinking: well, you can’t blame the state party if a tiny group of trouble-makers in the back of the room gets picked up on a hot mike, and inadvertently exposes what they’d meant to express only privately.

Au contraire, mon frere. This wasn’t a handful of stoners on the fringes. This was a huge group of attendees front and center, during the convention in their most important state, being lead in the chant by outgoing CA Democrat chairman John Burton, with elected officials on the stage laughing along with the high-brow hilarity.

And how did the AP write up the story of the profane chant, you are probably not wondering, because you already know? That’s right: “In a sign of the vigor of the party’s distaste for the president….” Ah yes. “Vigor” and “distaste.” The report does manage to admit that Burton is “known for his blunt and profane manner.” You don’t say.

Stay classy, Sacramento.

3. In a reversal of every Polish joke you’ve ever heard – and you should all be ashamed of yourselves – the Poles are showing a great deal of common sense in their foreign policy. And as you know, the best way to demonstrate common sense, if you are European, is by resisting the snooty, busybody poke-noses in the EU, who (after all) know much more about how you should run your life and your country than you do. In this case, the EU elites have decided that the Polish have not taken in their fair share of angry young Muslim males who don’t want to be Polish.

The Polish foreign minister – who seems to like being Polish, despite the overabundance of “W”s and “Z”s and the corresponding dearth of vowels in his last name – expressed the crazy, offensive opinion that “no state has the duty to accept immigrants.”

In public polling (call it “Pole polling,” if you insist on being less mature than me), most Polish women were not thrilled with the idea of importing rape gangs, and were decidedly cool on the prospect of being forced into wearing bee keeper outfits in public.

When California Democrats heard about the Polish position, they tried for several minutes to come up with a chant that included the Polish Foreign Minister’s name, before giving up and settling on “F*** that guy!”

4. As a well-rounded citizen of the world, I cannot start my day without a quick look at the font of all hilarity that is Everyday Feminism.com.

(For the record, I consider myself an equity feminist. See Christina Hoff Sommer’s work for a definition, or consider the short version: equity feminist – noun, “not the crazy kind in you-know-what kind of hats.”) I challenge you to randomly scroll down the page there and stop and read the first thing you see, and not be entertained.

This morning’s experiment landed me on the following gem. Under the category heading of “Compassionate Activism,” we find an article entitled, “Healing from Toxic Whiteness.” I don’t want to ruin the article for you, but I don’t think I’ll need a spoiler alert to suggest that being any color other than white would be a huge step up, you racist.

But I did have two thoughts to share: 1. “Toxic” is a pretty strong word. Could they not have softened the blow a bit – “Irksome whiteness?” “Not completely optimal whiteness?” 2. If a screed telling me that my racial identity is toxic is in the “Compassionate Activism” category, I’d hate to see the “Non-compassionate Activism” category.

5. Finally, Monica Lewinsky has written an editorial in the New York Times, in which she bemoans a “culture of exploitation.” But she’s not talking about the creepy sex offender who exploited her – or his creepy wife who organized the bullying and intimidation of Bill’s victims — but Fox News and the late Roger Ailes.

Honestly, my heart goes out to Lewinsky. She was taken advantage of by one of the most powerful men in the world, and even though she’s now in her mid 40s, she is obviously still dealing with the ramifications of that exploitation. And though I agree with her that all of the media behaved badly – as they always do with a scandal from which they can profit – she still hasn’t come to terms with the proper object of her anger.

Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that Hillary is not the president?

Best of May 2017, Part 1

I can’t add anything to all that has been said about the latest political turmoil, other than that I’m by turns nauseated and amused by the hypocritical dishonesty of the Dems (“Comey must go, Comey must go! Wait, what? Trump fired him? That’s an outrage! Bring Comey back, bring Comey back!”) and frustrated by Trump’s lack of discipline, and the GOP’s general incompetence.

I’m all over the map on this stuff. I’m thrilled that illegal border crossings are down by 70%. No wait, I’m appalled that the GOP weasels can’t find a way to put a stake through the heart of the collapsing dumpster fire that is Obamacare. But I’m giddy that pretty much all of Obama’s executive orders have been reversed. Except that I’m disgusted that the GOP might not take up tax reform until next year.

Mostly I’m dizzy. But amidst the chaos, I’ve still found things to amuse me, even if the humor is of the darker variety.

1.Planned Parenthood tried to do a little PR work recently, as they are wont to do. But they picked an odd holiday to make their appeal: Mother’s Day. The fine folks at PP are oblivious to many things – basic biology, ethics, maternal instinct, irony – but does no one down there realize the value of timing? Would they suggest wishing all of your British friends a Happy Independence Day? Or all of your friends who are struggling with alcoholism a Happy St. Patrick’s Day? Or all of your ISIS friends a joyous Yom Kippur?

The head of PP sent out a tweet that began, “Nothing says, ‘I love you, Mom!” like…” And I stopped reading. Because all I could think of was “…a child.” Oops.

2. In a development that surprised no one who has ever read comic books in his or her life, the new Marvel “social justice themed” comics are not doing well. In fact, a Black Lives Matter-themed comic touted by Ta-Nehisi (gesundheit) Coates was canceled after only two issues. Shocker.

I remember the days of my idyllic Midwestern childhood, when I would eagerly await the new issue of my favorites: Captain America (fighting Nazis), Sgt. Rock and his Howling Commandos (killing Nazis), Spiderman (taking on the Green Goblin).

You know what I didn’t look forward to? The newest issue of Social Justice Warrior (calling conservatives Nazis), Chomsky-man (calling Americans Nazis) and Superman/woman, Spiderman/woman or Wonder Woman/man (all taking on the oppressive system that had somehow tricked me into liking girls and sports).

The colleges might be lost to us, but at least comic books are hanging in there.

3. In a previous piece, I mentioned a terrible video that appeared on Bill Nye’s bizarre Netflix series. I can’t mention the name of the video sketch, because it seems to trigger FB’s list of verboten expressions. But I’m pretty sure that if you google “hideous Bill Nye video,” “junk,” and “crimes against humanity,” you’ll find it. Then watch it at your own risk. *(Since this column appears on my own website, I can tell you the title: “My Sex Junk.”  But still, watch it at your own risk.)

It deals with biology and gender, and if I understand it correctly, argues that neither exists. What does exist, apparently, is a singer who can’t carry a tune, dancers who can’t dance, a woman in a sea horse costume playing keyboards, and lyrics that will make you seriously reconsider the whole idea of reproduction. After watching that, I’d thought that Bill Nye had gone as low as a non-scientific political hack could go.

But of course I was wrong. What could top that video, you ask? (And don’t ask what could bottom it, because although it’s actually a more accurate question, nope.) How about a little old fashioned lefty trick that I call “the disappearing commie.”

If you’ve seen any old group photos of Soviet leaders, you’ll often notice what looks like a blur or distortion in the picture. After one apparatchik or another fell out of favor, he’d be killed or sent to Siberia, and all official photos would be doctored to remove his image. It was the photoshop of the 1930s, except that instead of adding a larger bottom to an empty-headed woman or bigger biceps to an insecure man, it removed a socialist who’d done wrong.

What does this have to do with Bill Nye? Well, it turns out that someone discovered that on one of Nye’s tv shows in the 1990s, an episode discussed gender in a way that made sense. The presenter mentioned that XX and XY chromosomes are actually things, and they determine a person’s sex. She even mentioned that everyone has a 50/50 chance of being a boy or a girl, and that “there are only two possibilities.”

That scene was effective, logical, concise and told the truth. So of course it has been edited out of the Netflix version of the series. I am not making that up. Someone – Netflix, Bill Nye, the DNC? – went back through a series that ran in the 1990s, and “updated” it by removing basic biological facts. They didn’t update it by incorporating new information that has come to light, but by deleting information that makes some of them feel uncomfortable. They disappeared the inconvenient communist, scientifically speaking.

For a party that prides themselves on how much they love science, they don’t seem to love science very much.

3. Finally, I read a New Yorker article written by Adam Gopnik, called ”We Could Have Been Canada.” It’s actually an intermittently smart piece, with some individually worthwhile thoughts on what went right and wrong with the development of America and (as the title suggests) Canada.

But it’s wrong about the big things, because Gopnik’s view epitomizes the disdain with which the academic left views America. Consider his title: it could be easily read as the open for a light-hearted “there but for the grace of God” piece, with a subtitle like “Whew! We dodged a bullet.” But that’s not how he means it, as his subtitle makes clear: “Was the American Revolution such a good idea?”

To which the only reasonable response is, “YES!” I’m no jingoist, and I don’t think our history is perfect. And I don’t have anything against Canada. But stack our virtues and vices next to each other, and then show me another country that has done more
good in the world.

Here are Gopnik’s first two sentences:

“And what if it was a mistake from the start? The Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, the creation of the United States of America—what if all this was a terrible idea, and what if the injustices and madness of American life since then have occurred not in spite of the virtues of the Founding Fathers but because of them?”

Only a leftist could ask those questions with a straight face. What if the Declaration of Independence was a terrible idea?! It wasn’t. Full stop. Res ipsa loquitur. Get out of here with that.

I’d like to think that this line of thinking was a put on, or Gopnik being absurd to illustrate absurdity: “What if up was down? What if day was night? What if Trump was humble and reticent? What if Bill Nye was actually a scientist? What if Pelosi was trustworthy, and Schumer was sincere, and Maxine Waters was sane?”

But he’s serious, and a lot of people agree with him. And that’s more sobering than any of the current shenanigans going on in D.C.

Best of the End of April

1.Yale grad students go on a hunger strike. After earlier efforts to get Yale to start collective bargaining proved unsuccessful, eight hardy souls took the brave step of going on a hunger strike. But this isn’t just a regular hunger strike — it’s a “symbolic” hunger strike! Do you know what that means, outside of the cloistered walls of Yale?

It means that they can eat. Yes, they’re on a hunger strike that doesn’t actually involve getting hungry. Because they can freaking eat! During a hunger strike!!

In a slick video – it’s in black and white, and is underlaid with a poignant piano accompaniment, so you know that these noble folks are SERIOUS – one English major (can you believe it?) named Lukas Moe says, “I hope that the fast will convey the urgency of the situation.” Oh, I’m sure it will, Moe. (And feel free to insert your own Curly and Larry jokes here.) Because nothing conveys earth-shaking urgency like near martyrs standing up for what they believe in, By Any Means Necessary… until they get slightly peckish.

I know that we live in a cynical age, but my hat’s off to those Ivy League Nelson Mandelas; they’ve learned that simply by sticking the word “symbolic” in front of another word, you can accrue all of the moral rewards with absolutely no sacrifice. I picture a bunch of undergrads on the quad, one-upping each other:

“I’ve taken a vow of symbolic poverty, you know.”
“But don’t you have a trust fund?”
“Yes, I’m rolling in dough. But I’m symbolically poor.”

“Did I mention that I’ve take a vow of symbolic chastity?”
“You’ve really sworn off women?”
“What? No! I mean, most women won’t have anything to do with me, because I’ve got less testosterone than a post-surgery Caitlyn Jenner. But whenever I can find one who isn’t totally repulsed by the sight of me, I’m all over her like a cheap suit.”
“But you’re still symbolically chaste, right? Sweet!”

“Guys, did I mention I’m a symbolic vegetarian?”
“Isn’t that barbecue sauce on your chin?”
“Yes it is. Why?”

It’s true what they say: those Yale kids are smart!
But you know who’s even smarter? That’s right: me.

Because I am a free market capitalist, and all of this has given me a brilliant idea for a new business. I’m going to buy a fleet of food trucks, and I’m going to dispatch them from Stately Simpson Manor to every Ivy League campus in the nation, where they’ll earn me millions of dollars… wait for it… catering all-you-can-eat hunger strikes!

I’ve already got my corporate logo: it’s a raised fist, holding a hot dog, over the motto, “Have a little relish with your Resistance!”

2. Speaking of precious, morally preening goofballs, you’ve probably read that ex-President Obama – and oh, the joy that that tiny prefix “ex-“ gives me – is going to take $400K to give a speech. Now some might accuse the famous class warrior of hypocrisy, citing his off-teleprompter gaffe (i.e. a time when he accidentally told the truth about his world view), “I mean, I do think at a certain point, you’ve made enough money.” But to be fair to him, he did say that at some point YOU’VE made enough money – he didn’t say that HE’S made enough money. Because he obviously hasn’t, yet.

But let’s give the guy a break. I mean, if he wants to take a ton of cash for speaking to some morally admirable group, like the Shriners, or St. Jude’s, or–

What’s that, you say? He’s not speaking to one of those groups, but to a Wall Street group?

Well, that must be one of those selfless, non-profit Wall Street groups that funds old folks’ homes and orphanages, right?

What? Cantor Fitzgerald? Huh. I’ll bet he’s really going to give those fat cats hell. And then he’s going to hammer than $400K check. He’s symbolically morally consistent, isn’t he?

3. The feel-good story of the spring, which CO in his wisdom has
already linked to: murderous ISIS scumbags are preparing to ambush more innocent people. For their hiding place, they’ve chosen a reedy area in Iraq. Also sharing that reedy area: a small herd of wild boars.

Now apparently the word had gotten around in the porcine community about how jihadis believe that all pigs and pig-adjacent animals are filthy, unclean creatures. Anyway, the smelly animals are surprised by the stampeding wild boars (HA!), who kill 3 jihadis and badly injure 5 others.

Would you think less of me if I admitted that I like to imagine the boars catching the jihadis from behind in a full gallop, their sharp tusks leading the way into what I like to call a “Mesopotamian Deliverance” move? (In the video, which I imagine in black and white, a lonesome banjo begins to play in the distance, as Uday and Qusay look back over their shoulders, then at each other in confusion, and then terror.)

4. In a bid for “Worst Broadcast Presentation Ever” – move over, Amy Schumer’s“Let Me Tell You How Physically Repulsive I Am” comedy special, and Rachel Maddow’s “Donald Trump’s Non-Scandalous Tax Returns” comedy special — Bill Nye, the alleged science guy, inexplicably has a new series on Netflix. And that series is gouge-your-eyes-out awful.

Is it rude of me to point out that Bill Nye is not actually a scientist? He got a BA in mechanical engineering decades ago, and he wore a lab coat and handled beakers on a kid’s show. So that makes him a scientist.

By comparison, I don’t like to brag, but I took eighth grade science twice, and thus I can go on and on about how nanoplankton and phytoplankton are mortal enemies. And if you’ll look at the second page of my CV, you’ll see that I spent a lot of lab time in high school working on inventing either an invisibility formula or X-ray glasses. And yet no one ever called me “Martin, the Science Guy.” They just said, “Get away from the girls’ locker room, you Clinton-esque creep.”

Anyway, if you can watch just one segment of Bill Nye’s horrible program – and believe me, if you value your sanity, that is the MOST you can watch of it – google a little ditty called, “My Sex Junk.” And prepare to be dazzled by what we can only pray is meant to be funny.

The “song” starts out with the immortal line, “This one goes out to all my bipeds who identify as ladies,” and then – in a feat of lyrical gymnastics that I would not have believed possible – goes downhill from there.

You’ve got to see it to believe it, because no description can do it justice. Would it help if I told you that it has an Asian lady dressed like a seahorse playing keyboards? Or lyrics that mention French dirigible Gerard Depardieu? Or suggestive imagery that will make you want to Caitlyn yourself? It’s all of that and more. But don’t say that you weren’t warned.

On the other hand, for those of you who remember when rap music was all “n” words and misogyny, this video will make you pine for those golden days of yore.

And on behalf of modern Western culture, let me address the emperors of Rome’s late decadent period: You remember when we used to condemn you for your decadence – for the drunken orgies, and having relations with your siblings, and making your horse the Pope? Never mind.

5. Finally, new DNC head Tom Perez is turning out to be quite the little slice of sweetness and light, isn’t he? Winning his position mostly because his main competition was a Farrakhan-loving anti-semite loon, getting booed by those who should be his base in favor of a 128-year old socialist, constantly swearing in public.

Then comes his latest “big tent” masterstroke of telling all pro-life Democrats that they’re not welcome in the party.

Because nothing will help the Dems reach out to those God-fearing blue collar types in the middle of the country – where Hillary got stomped like a fat guy at Altamonte (hat tip to Dennis Miller) – like excommunicating everyone who’s not down with the Gosnell approach to population control.

The best thing he has going for him is that almost no one in the country other than politics geeks know who he is. So I would like to be the first to make a contribution to the “Perez for Prez in 2020” campaign. Sure, it’s going to be a symbolic contribution – you know, the kind that doesn’t involve giving him any actual money. But I will humbly offer him two potential slogans, both of which are definitely better than “I’m with Her!”:

“We hate you, rest of the Country.” Or “Vote for us, you deplorable bigots!”

Best of Mid-April

1.I always appreciate a lampooning of someone who deserves it, and this month I read just such a written mauling. The author was someone called T.A. Frank, the article was, “Please God, Stop Chelsea Clinton from Whatever She is Doing,” and the publication was (mirabile dictu) Vanity Fair. If you like good snark, well delivered, you should read that article.

I can only add a few other thoughts:

First, I generally like to blame Chelsea for nothing, because she had a horrible childhood at the hands of absolutely terrible parents. But she’s 37 now, so c’mon.

Second, how bad must Chelsea be, to drive a leftist writer in Vanity Fair to openly invoke the Deity in the title of an article about her? I know that it’s used ironically, but still.

Third, Mr. Frank, you’ve got to cut out the T.A thing, and just use your name. You must not have heard of Simpson’s Law of Initials (which I am just now making up), which states that people who use their initials usually have terrible names.

Great writer C.S. Lewis’s parents stuck him with “Clive Staples.” The Cummings family – not satisfied with the surname that their son was already going to suffer with – nailed him with “Edward Estlin.” (He was so badly beaten up throughout grade school that even as an adult, he never regained the ability to use capital letters. True story.) I knew an old guy who went by A.M, and that made perfect sense when I later learned that his name was Ambrose Marvin. Ouch.

On the other side of the ledger: Oklahoma quarterback and later GOP politician J.C. Watts? Julius (freaking) Caesar – I am not making that up. He should have never used those initials, because nothing could be cooler than answering your kindergarten roll call with a hearty “Here!” when your teacher called out a Roman emperor’s name. If my parents had blessed me with “Marcus Aurelius Simpson,” do you think I would be going by M.A.? I would not.

Anyway, T.A., if you use those initials, you are risking that we’re all distracted, imagining terrible names that are probably worse than your real name. Like Theodore Aloysius.

Ugh! I couldn’t help myself, and I tried to Google his name, and can’t find it anywhere. Now I’m going to obsess over it. Tenuous Alvin? Thelonius Asperger? (Although “Thelonius” is now eternally cool, since Monk.)

Anyway, Thaddeus Acclimate writes a hell of an article, and you should read it.

My favorite part was a small bit from Chelsea’s book It’s Your World, in which she is quoted thusly: “My mom wouldn’t let me have sugary cereal growing up (more on that later)…” Have you ever read a less enticing use of parentheses? Can you picture anyone reading that line and screaming in frustration, “Later? How can I wait?! You don’t just toss out a tease like that and then leave us hanging!”

On the other hand, if she had said, “My mom wouldn’t let me have my girlfriends over for slumber parties when dad was in town (more on that later)…?” Now I’m hooked. I’m flipping through pages in a blur like the meth just kicked in, scanning random pages before I desperately tear into the appendix, looking for “slumber party.”

2. Laughable MSM bias, exhibit # 11 million. When a racist terrorist murders three random bystanders in Fresno CA, the AP story quoted him as shouting “God is great,” before the killings. But he didn’t say that. What he said was, “Allahu akbar.” Can you detect the subtle difference there? No? Then you might have the makings of a MSM reporter.

Obligatory caveat: I know that most Muslims are fine people, and very few of them go on killing sprees in the name of their religion. But does anyone think we are doing anybody any long-term good by pretending to not notice which group has a killing spree problem?

If I were in charge of students in J-school and at the police academy – and I think we can all agree that I should be – I’d make a condition of graduation taking a one-question common sense quiz:

You get a call to a violent attack in your town. The attacker is said to have driven a truck into pedestrians, or used a pipe bomb or an AK 47 or a machete in his attack, and early reports are that he was screaming something at the top of his lungs while he did so. Is it more likely that he was screaming:

A. Jesus loves me, THIS I KNOW!
B. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I MADE IT OUT OF CLAY!
C. That government is best which GOVERNS LEAST!
D. ALLAHU AKBAR!

Anybody who ponders the question for more than 2 seconds fails. (And takes an executive position with the AP, sadly.)

3. Speaking of the media, a Washington Post/ABC poll shows that if the last presidential election were held today, Trump would beat Hillary, including in the popular vote. I’m not sure how much stock to put in such a poll – it’s a hypothetical, and election losers always lose support in the aftermath – but it certainly undercuts the MSM narrative that Trump is plummeting in the polls, he’s disappointed his base, his defeat in 2020 is a foregone conclusion, etc.

But I love the poll just because it makes me think about all of those lefties sitting around the Post, realizing that they’d commissioned this poll, and they were going to have to publish it. If ever a situation cried out for the Hitler-screaming-at-his-generals from Downfall meme, this one is it!

4. Ossoff doesn’t quite win. Pajama Boy is all grown up – or as grown up as he’s going to get, anyway — and he’s running for congress. The Dems pony up over $8 million, a bunch of celebrities throw in their support – because that always works! – but the empty suit wunderkind comes up short of the majority he needed, which means that he’ll likely lose to the GOP nominee in June.

The best part of the story? When Ossoff talked to the press, he called his almost-not-losing – and I am not making this quote up – “A victory for the ages!”

Call me crazy, but that phrase makes me think of many events — Cannae (Hannibal vs. the Romans), Austerlitz (Napoleon versus everybody else), Vienna (Christian Europe v. Muslim Ottomans), or Gettysburg (Lincoln’s Republicans vs. slaveholding Democrats).

You know what battle I DON’T think of? Unknown metrosexual vs. a dozen unknown Republicans that results in a run-off for a Georgia House seat. But I guess the Dems need to take their victories where they can get them. Which is somewhere other than Georgia, apparently. Cue the sad trombone.

5. The UN votes Saudi Arabia onto the Women’s Rights Commission. Ugh. I think we all know what should happen next, right? Nikki Haley marches into their chambers, her stilettos echoing on the marble floors, cracking a whip over her head as her dark eyes flash angrily… Um, that is what we were all thinking, right? No? It’s just me? Fine.

So let’s just get straight to The Simpson Method of Determining Membership on a Women’s Rights Commission (copyright now, by me) which involves asking the applicants three wickedly subtle questions:

1. Are the women in your country not allowed to drive a car?
2. Are gay women in your country stoned to death?
3. Are women who are raped in your country then stoned to death?

Anyone who answers “yes” to any of those questions does NOT get onto the Women’s Rights Commission. Problem solved, and you’re welcome.

6. When it comes to Trump’s Wall, I thought I’d heard every possible leftist objection: it’s racist, it’s Not Who We Are, it’s expensive, it’s not gluten free, etc.

But this month, some “scientists” pointed out a new problem, which the MSM then picked up with gusto: it will harm various migratory animal species. I have to admit that I hadn’t thought about that, and at first blush it certainly seemed plausible, and as an animal lover, that bothered me. Until I read that those soon-to-be-devastated creatures included “108 species of migratory birds.”

Now it’s been a long time since I won that Nobel Prize in Ornithology – bilingual ornithology, if I can be allowed to toot my own horn — and I haven’t kept up on recent developments in the field. But if I remember correctly, many birds can fly.

Sure, a few can’t. You’ve got your chickens, your ostriches, your emi. (Not many non-ornithologists know that the proper Latin plural of “emu” is “emi.” Again, you’re welcome.)

But are those leftist Chicken Littles (HA!) really expecting us to believe that there are hundreds of bird species out there who migrate ON FOOT?

They will stop at nothing to tug at our heartstrings, and I’ve got to admit that that PSA almost writes itself: Sarah McLaughlin sings softly in the background, while endless hordes of bedraggled birds trudge along through scorching sand, wincing at every step, until they bonk into a big black wall that looks like Sauron built it. Then they stack up like cordwood at the base, quacking and bleating and making whatever other sounds they make (I didn’t really get a Nobel in Ornithology), while Trump and Ryan laugh from atop the wall as they start to tip over huge cauldrons of boiling oil onto the hapless birds.

And not for the first time do I wish that Sam Kinison was still with us, because you know that he’d bust into the middle of that PSA and start berating the birds: “Have you been WALKING across this freaking desert? Really?! Your feet have either tiny claws or webs on them – doesn’t that tell you something? I’ve got an idea: how about you USE YOUR WINGS!! They’re right there on your backs. FLAP THEM! OH! OOOHHHH!”

We miss you, Sam. We don’t miss Harry Reid, or Obama, or Hillary. But we miss you.

First 3 Months of Trump

It’s traditional by now to make a big deal out of a new president’s first 100 days. To get a 10 day jump on those other pundits, I’m going to pick an equally arbitrary number – today marks his first 3 months in office – to give Trump an early grade.

I’m breaking down my take to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (copyright 50 years ago, by Sergio Leone). (And if you haven’t seen that movie, what’s wrong with you? Men a-bed in America tonight should hold their manhoods cheap if they haven’t seen that Eastwood gem. In fact, you could do worse – manhood-wise – than to spend a chunk of your life immersed in all things Shakespeare and Eastwood, with some Walter Payton and Johnny Cash thrown in.)

Where was I? Oh yeah. In reverse order:

Trump: the Ugly

Put aside the obvious jokes about the hair – that’s beneath us all.

One of the two main things about Trump that continually grate on me involves his style: his unserious, immature vulgarity and semi-vulgarity. The Access Hollywood interview is probably the archetypal example, but others are sadly easy to find, on an almost daily basis.

The latest example: when he recounted his decision to fire the missiles at Syria, he described how he was having dinner with Chinese leader Xi (and by the way, China, nice going with the names. You do realize you’ve chosen the Roman numeral for “eleven” as your top guy, right?), he spent more time on how great the chocolate cake was (It was beautiful, the best chocolate cake ever, believe me.) than on the fact that he ordered a missile strike.

At least once a week he says something that’s crudely phrased enough that I face palm myself; at this pace, if he wins a second term, I’m going to finish 2024 looking like I just lost a cage match.

The Bad
The second Trump quality that bothers me is that he’s not a conservative, and that was the main reason I didn’t vote for him in the primary. He is a lifelong Democrat who joined the GOP 10 minutes before his presidential run, and the malleability of his political convictions is a constant source of concern.

While some of his positions are conservative – he knows that high taxes hurt the economy, he knows the MSM are corrupt leftists, he loves America and is no globalist – others are leftist — he doesn’t seem to see any problems with protectionism, and doesn’t hesitate to bully companies or others with whom he disagrees – while others are just idiosyncratic and ego-driven: he likes people who like him and doesn’t like those who don’t.

The low point of his first three months was watching him push a first attempt at health care “reform” that enshrined most of the disastrous big-government controls of Obamacare, and then to be most incensed at the principled conservatives in the Freedom Caucus for opposing that mess.

The Good
All of that being said, I’m still pretty happy with the first three months, for a lot of reasons:

1.Gorsuch.

2. Trump’s vulgar style strikes me as a venial sin rather than a mortal one, and is counter-balanced by his willingness to fight back. While most people think of me as a sophisticated polymathic high-brow gentleman (stop laughing), I’ve got a vulgar streak of my own, and appreciate crudity when it is aimed at a deserving target. My favorite debate moment was when Hillary finished bloviating about how she is glad that someone like Trump was not in the Oval Office, and he got in a verbal rib-kick: “Because you’d be in jail.”

One of my other favorite moments was when he defended himself against false charges that he’d paid Russian hookers to urinate on him by saying, “I’m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way. Believe me.” (First item on the list “Things Mitt Romney would Never Say in a Million Years”: “Probably the most convincing reason to believe that I’ve never paid foreign prostitutes to pee on me is that that is just gross.”) The Fake News chant is sophomoric. But it’s mostly true.

The bottom line is that after a string of GOP players who saw it as beneath them to fight the Left (Bushes 41 and 43, McCain, Romney), Trump is willing to throw a punch, and for me, that covers a multitude of his sins.

3. I’d rather have a president acting on consistent ideological principles, rather than changeable instincts. But his instincts are often better than many of us expected: illegal immigrants are a problem, America is exceptional, the problem in the Middle East is not Israel, you don’t give Iran nukes.

These should not be tough issues, but our last president couldn’t grasp such subtleties.

4. His appointments have been surprisingly good: T-Rex at state, Mad Dog Mattis, Sessions is giving the right people hell, Mnuchin knows a bit about the economy, a physician (Price) in charge of Health, Nikki “joy of man’s desiring” Haley at the UN. Education sec De Vos is no genius, but she knows enough to push educational choice and resist public ed unions, and EPA head Pruitt knows that the EPA has wildly over-reached.

Of course there have been a few mis-steps (I’m looking at you, Flynn), as there always are.

But consider this: dopey Trump picked the Murderer’s Row listed above, and put Gorzilla on the Supreme Court. Who did world-renowned Nobel Peace Prize Winner Sophocles Obama appoint?

Whitey-haters like Van Jones and Eric Holder, “tax cheat Timmy” Geithner (at Treasury!), Oklahoma strong safety Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security (after which she went to Berkley, which tells you all you need to know), “Lurch” Kerry and Hillary as SecState (quick, name an accomplishment, other than “Most Miles Traveled,” which is the equivalent of a participation trophy).

And that’s not mentioning the aptly named Loretta Lynch! (How bad does your judgment have to be when Eric Holder is arguably NOT your worst Attorney General pick?!)

5. In what is probably the most back-handed compliment possible, I’m happier with Trump because the other options are so much worse.

The Dems are beyond awful, in so many ways that no argument is necessary beyond listing their recent accomplishments: almost doubling 230+ years of national debt in 8 years, you can keep your plan and doctor, Benghazi, Harry Reid, “tell Vlad I’ll have more flexibility after this election,” Lois Lerner, private server, “you have to pass the bill to learn what’s in it,” creepy Chuck Schumer, creepier Jonathan Gruber, one 128-year-old socialist candidate who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life, another who enabled her hideous husband’s repeated sexual assaults and who couldn’t beat Donald Trump in an election, et freaking cetera.

But the GOP establishment is no prize either: they promise for 7 years to repeal and replace Obamacare and then shrink from it; they promise to cut taxes and then shrink from it; they gain power in Congress because of their conservative base and then attack that base far more vociferously than they ever attacked the far left jerks who have fought dirty against them for decades.

Even on issues where the public is solidly behind them – stop illegal immigration! – they have to be dragged into taking action against their will.

If I had to grade Trump on his first 3 months:
For style and words: C –
For substance and actions: high B.

If I’m grading on a curve, and the other class members are Obama, Hillary, Congressional Dems, GOP establishment: easy A.

A Meditation on How Lucky We Are to Live in the 21st Century

One overarching sign that life today is better than ever is that — for those living in America, at least — to a greater extent than ever before in human history, today you have to volunteer for bad things to happen to you.

Throughout the long march of human history, you only had to do one thing to flirt with disaster: be born. In fact, even managing to be born in the first place meant that you had already overcome dozens of potential dangers that struck a great number of your fetal peers. If you managed to enter the world without you or your mother dying in the process, you were looking at a crucial first five or seven years during which the odds of surviving were against you.

Global life expectancy of 30-some years didn’t happen because lots of 35 year olds were dying, but because those who made it into their 60s were more than counterbalanced by all of the dead children littering the landscape.

But say you make it out of adolescence. Now you’re cool, right? You’re eating organic, pesticide-free foods, working out in the fresh air with docile, non-internal- combustion-engine-equipped animals, blissfully unaffected by polluting industries and micro-aggressions and Kardashians.

Actually, no. You faced an everyday existence fraught with peril.

Plague struck randomly. You got diseases from your animals, or floods washed your animals into your house, and then your animals and your house away. When floods weren’t drowning you, fires were roasting you alive. If you read the average big city newspaper from the 19th or early 20th century, you read about fire after fire, with only an epidemic or two to break the monotony.

And the fires weren’t modern little, “By the time firefighters got the blaze under control Joe lost his garage and part of the living room” mini-blazes; they were entire-block conflagrations, as rows of wooden buildings went up together, stopped only by a wide street at the end of the block. Today in the aftermath of a routine fire, one family has smoke and water damage to the kitchen and an adjoining bedroom.

In the 19th century, we lost Chicago.

The worst thing about all of this was our helplessness in the face of calamity. Say plague strikes your village. Do you pray and try to make a deal with God to spare your family? Move to the next village over? Cover yourself with leeches and hope for the best? It was all a big crap shoot, and everyone had similar lousy chances at surviving.

The contrast with our modern life is nowhere clearer than in statistics surrounding mortality. Look at what killed people a hundred years ago: fever, small pox, polio, the flu. Today you treat fevers with something over the counter. Small pox is gone, and so is polio. Unless you are very, very old, or have an already seriously compromised immune system, the flu just means a missed week of work.

Today’s big killers are all signs of our civilization’s extraordinary success. The leading causes of death are related to either very old age (in which case you already beat the odds and had a full run) or voluntarily stupid and/or self-destructive behavior (smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle or horrible diet).

Look at the list again. If you smoke in the 21st century, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. The dominant motif on the packaging is a skull and bones, and by the time most of us hit puberty we’ve seen more anti-smoking PSAs than we have witless sitcoms. Ditto for alcohol and drugs. And obesity? It’s epidemic, we’re told.

C’mon. The Black Death – THAT was an epidemic. Ebola, okay. Hemorragic fever, malaria, I’m with you.

But obesity? I remind you of an old Sam Kinison bit, when he heard someone mourning Karen Carpenter’s death from anorexia and saying that there’s no cure: “No cure? No cure! Karen, have a sandwich!! You’re cured.”

We’ve got it so good that we could prevent thousands of deaths by a simple first graders’ lunch swap: the anorexics trade their bag lunches (two carrots and a celery stick) for the richly laden trays of the obese folks, and we’ve cured two birds with one dietary stone, as it were.

It’s not just deaths from health problems, either.  Read a week’s worth of stories recounting traffic fatalities in your local paper and add up the death toll.

Now subtract the deaths of those who were drunk or high at the time. Next subtract those who were speeding at least 20 miles over posted limits. Check off the motorcyclist who decided to ride without a helmet. Note the 4’6” 94 year old peering from underneath the steering wheel with 20/1000 vision who never saw what hit her. Finally, look for that “the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt” tag line.

In the final analysis, about the only non-voluntary way you die in a traffic accident today is by having the bad luck to be hit by a speeding drunk driver, or by a flying, unbelted passenger ejected from that jackass’ car.

Of course I’m not saying that someone who rides without a seat belt deserves to die, or that a speeder’s death isn’t tragic. But they are essentially voluntary. If you can’t take 30 seconds to buckle up, or you choose to ride a motorcycle with only your eggshell-fragile skull to protect your brain, you can’t be shocked at the unfairness of the universe when the entirely predictable happens.

Similarly, my heart breaks for people who are stricken with leukemia, or multiple sclerosis, or mysterious tumors. But 30-year smokers with lung cancer, or 40-year drinkers with cirrhosis of the liver? Still sad, and a great loss to their loved ones. But an unfair tragedy? Not so much.

Finally, it’s not just health-related problems or mortality that we can usually voluntarily avoid. We can also avoid the vast majority of economic hardships. (Okay, there is one huge caveat here: the assumption that you’ve got the great good fortune to be living in a semi-free market, capitalist economy.) Leaving aside the fact that living in “poverty” in America is still living in relative luxury by world and/or historical standards, many people are firmly convinced that poverty is a real possibility — almost a default trajectory — for much if not most of the population.

To the contrary, lots of demographic research suggests that voluntary behaviors are far and away the biggest factors in determining economic destiny. In fact, if you manage to do three things in your life, you have only a tiny chance of ever living below the poverty line as an adult: 1. Graduate high school, 2. Don’t get married or have kids until you are 21 years old, 3. Get a full-time job. (See this piece from Brookings Institution for one among many sources on this issue: https://www.brookings.edu/…/three-simple-rules-poor-teens-…/)

These are not exactly accomplishments that come along with extra points for high difficulty.

Yes, I know, many readers are probably objecting right now, because they know that poverty is convincingly correlated with non-voluntary factors such as geographic location (there is more poverty in the south), race (minorities are harder hit) and gender (so are women), etc. But let’s consider these objections one at a time.

It’s true that geographic location is a factor, which I well know, having come from the Midwestern rust belt, where many good-paying manufacturing jobs were lost between my parent’s generation and mine. But location is finally voluntary, too. People leave depressed areas for jobs in thriving areas all the time, and it is no longer a Joad-like tramp from one economic dust bowl to another.

It’s true that some individuals have urgent reasons to stay in a depressed area – usually family ties or emotional connections – but those motivations are not coercion. Such people are choosing to pay an economic price to satisfy an emotional need, and who’s to say that they are wrong?

But race and gender are clearly not voluntary, and a mountain of studies demonstrate statistical connections between race, gender and poverty, right?

Well, no. Look at such studies carefully, and you always find faulty (and often intentionally misleading) use of statistics. For example, we all “know” that “women earn 75% (or 63% or 82%) of what men do,” or that “minorities are much more likely to be poor than are whites.” In fact, these kind of claims can be easily disproven by correcting for other causal factors.

The gender claims are meant to give the impression that equally experienced and qualified men and women working side-by-side in identical jobs are being differently paid because of their gender. But once you correct for voluntary factors – women choose lower paying fields, and are much more likely to take long sabbaticals from work for child-raising, etc. – pay differentials disappear.

Of course, I just skipped over some huge political arguments that deal with the biological differences and societal pressures that “push” women toward leaving the workplace to raise children, and toward certain “helping” professions fields that pay less well. And for the sake of argument I’ll grant that: biology imposes different child care imperatives on the sexes, and for centuries and more, society has added to such disparities by gender-coding much lower-paying work as “feminine.”

But the fact remains that for the last 40 years and more, huge numbers of women have resisted such societal pressures, and carved out places for themselves in every profession and at all levels of prestige and income. It’s relatively unusual for women to pursue engineering, or accounting or computer science. But when they do, they earn the same money as their equally experienced, qualified and experienced male counterparts. When you control for such obviously relevant factors, gender-based salary disparities disappear, in socially coded “female” and “male” work fields alike.

The same principle applies to racial and ethnic differences. When we control for the voluntary choices that individuals make (to drop out of high school, to bear children out of wedlock, to commit crimes), racial differences in economic outcome virtually disappear.

That’s not to say that historical racism didn’t exist, or that many people don’t hold ethnic prejudices today. But those ugly factors don’t determine your destiny, and the evidence for that is everywhere: blacks and Hispanics who graduate high school, get married at 25 and postpone having children until they are married are as economically successful as their white counterparts, just as whites who drop out and have out of wedlock children are as economically unsuccessful as their minority counterparts. Regardless of the admitted disparities attached to racial and gender discrimination, the determinative factor isn’t race or gender, but behavior.

And therein lies an uncomfortable but ultimately liberating truth.

While it may be psychologically comforting in the short run to see yourself as a victim of forces beyond your control, you are deceiving yourself, and selling yourself short. Even if you’ve gotten yourself into a jam now, the glass is still half full. If you want to avoid most health-related and economic problems, the answer is deceptively simple: do your best to avoid volunteering for them.

Best of April 1-8 2017

I don’t usually write a “Best of the Month” column until the end of a month. (Go figure.) But April has gotten off to such an amazing start that I cannot wait. So I give you, “The Best of the first 8 Days of April.”

1.Stanford admits future colossal pain-in-the-butt minority Muslim kid whose application essay consisted of “#BlackLivesMatter” written 100 times. You can google the story for the details, but you can also probably predict the broad outlines without doing so: entitled little jerk, posts picture of himself with duct tape over his mouth to symbolize how oppressed he is, lots of vacuous statements to the effect that America is horribly racist and Islamophobic, etc.

Somehow, in only 18 years this kid has turned himself into almost everything that’s obnoxious in our culture right now. (The only trope he misses: doesn’t “identify as” another gender. So he’s got that going for him.) But the crucial question is not what’s wrong with this kid — it’s what’s wrong with Stanford!

I grew up with guys who might make jokes like this on a homework assignment: the directions on an Algebra quiz say, “Find X…” and we circle the X in the formula and draw an arrow to it, writing, “Here it is.” But that was on a math quiz. That counted for less than a tiny percentage of a high school grade. In a midwestern farm community high school where we weren’t particularly concerned with our high school GPA during high school, let alone afterwards. Not on an application for admission into one of America’s formerly great institutions of higher learning!

On a more serious note, I can’t help but think of the thousands of kids across the country who spend many hours writing and re-writing their application essays, sweating over the details as they try to anticipate what to include and exactly how to phrase every sentence. And this little creep spends 28 seconds copy-and-pasting the most hackneyed, idiotic phrase you can think of, and he gets a spot at Stanford.

Note to the Stanford admissions committee: Please watch the “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” scene from The Shining. Do you see the look of growing horror in Shelly Duvall’s eyes as she realizes what her husband has been writing? THAT’S how you’re supposed to react when you receive a document made up of mindlessly repeated, banal scrawling.

You DON’T give Jack Nicholson’s character an endowed professorship! (Quick cut to mid August, in a dorm at Stanford. Some kid with a genius IQ who spent 3 weeks agonizing over his application essay is unpacking his stuff, when the door bursts open and a wild-eyed snowflake bounds through screaming, “Heeeeeerrrreee’s Ahmed!!”) Great job, Stanford!

2. Nikki Haley being a boss at the UN. Not since I first saw an early 1980s Nena (and if you’re just joining us, drop everything and watch the Germanic adorableness that is the 99 Luft Balloons video on Youtube right this minute), have I been as smitten as I am by 2017 Nikki Haley giving speeches at the UN.

In her first months on the job, she’s already lambasted the daily knee-jerk condemnations of Israel while overlooking human rights abuses everywhere else, slapped down Bolivia’s attempt to discuss Syria’s child-gassing behind closed doors (“Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear.”), among many other rhetorical “drop the mike” moments.

Almost all coverage of her, even by our reflexively hostile leftist press, has noted that she minces no words. And after two terms of the Obama administration and their 8 consecutive gold medals in Greco-Roman Word Mincing, she’s a breath of fresh air, to say the least.

In fact, I’m not sure whether I now consider Nikki Haley more of a brilliant Indian-American Nena, or if I consider 1983 Nena as more of an irresistibly cute German Nikki Haley. The point is, I can’t get enough Nikki Haley. The only way I think her next speech could be better than her last several would be if she came out in skinny jeans and a black leather jacket, kicking red balloons out into the annoyed faces of the wretched hive of scum and villainy that make up the human-rights-trampling kleptocrats of the UN.

3. Elizabeth Warren screws her female staffers on pay. Several media outlets revealed – oh, the delicious combination of irony and hypocrisy – that Faux-cohantas Warren (the judges would also have accepted “Lie-awatha”) pays her female staffers between 29-31% less than their male counterparts, depending on how you count. (Details here, among other places: http://www.washingtontimes.com/…/elizabeth-warrens-office-…/)

Even sweeter than the scandal is the immediate leftist response throughout the media, which in addition to ad hominem attacks and quibbling over various ways to slice and dice the data, point out that we must go apples-to-apples: it’s not fair to compare the salaries of part-time or less-experienced or low-level employees to the salaries of the more experienced and highly skilled.

What?! You mean to say that it is wrong to lump all females and all males into two groups, and simplistically compare their pay without considering the glaring differences among them — males overwhelmingly take the most dangerous jobs, work more hours over more years with less time out of the workforce, etc.? Why, wouldn’t doing that completely eviscerate the infuriatingly persistent myth that women are paid less than men for the same work?

Yes. Yes it would. It would do exactly that. So put that in your peace pipe and smoke it, Senator Speaks-with-Forked-Tongue.

4. Heather MacDonald shouted down by mob of campus idiots. MacDonald, a cogent and persuasive thinker – if you don’t read City Journal, to which she regularly contributes, you should – quixotically decided to give a thoughtful talk on a modern college campus. Dealing with the harsh realities of policing in our BLM-infested society (if you haven’t read her 2016 book The War on Cops, you should), her talk was received with respectful attention, followed by a spirited but reasonable back-and-forth dialogue. A few protestors outside also expressed themselves, delighting a large audience with thought-provoking poetic chants that evoked the wry wit of Shakespeare and Keats.

HA! Of course, I kid. In fact, the drooling mob of infantile Philistines prevented students who wanted to hear MacDonald from getting in. When she decided to live stream her talk from an empty room, and started early to thwart some of the idiots outside, she was soon drowned out by screams of “Shut it down!” Cowardly campus officials caved, and gave her a police escort to leave the campus. All the while, tolerant leftist social justice warriors roughed up and harassed reporters and reasonable students outside, while chanting doggerel like, “From Oakland to Greece, f*** the police.” (When contacted for comment, the people of Greece said, “Whoa, whoa, leave us out of this, you childish morons.”)

One of the most telling indictments of the left is the state of intolerance and hostility to intellectual challenge that they’ve established on the campuses over which they have almost total control. Fortunately, these chanting goofballs reliably serve as an apt warning of the disasters that will befall us if we give them similar power over society at large.

5. The nuclear option is invoked, and the Gorsuch-ian kraken is released! I want to write more later about how the Gorsuch nomination struggle was the latest object lesson in how the Dems and the GOP treat their respective political bases. But for now, suffice it to say that the Dems could not have done a more perfect job of snatching a monumental defeat out of the jaws of what might have been just a regular old defeat by essentially forcing the GOP to exercise the nuclear option.

Gorsuch looked great, the Dems made themselves look small, stubborn and delusional, and because the 60-vote supermajority has been done away with, it’s going to be much easier to replace either Kennedy or the next octogenarian leftist SC judge with (hopefully) another Scalia-like originalist. I never thought I’d say this, but, “Thank you, Harry Reid!”

Cue the happiness montage, featuring Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life — “Yeaaahhh! Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas constitution lovers! Yyyeeeaaahhhh!”

Best of March 2017

Spring is in the air and it’s time to look back on the best of March.

But first, a brief note on the worst of March: nearly all factions of the right get together to repeal and replace the worst piece of legislation since the “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” platform that Democrats ran on every year for the first 60 years of the 20th century, and they find a way to botch it. Then they blame the one GOP group (the Freedom Caucus) who is least responsible for the debacle. I think it will still get done, and I think passing that bill would have been worse than killing it. (Even allowing for the corrupt MSM headwinds against it, it polled at 17%, which is down in the neighborhood of Obamacare, the mainstream media, and dengue fever.)

Leaving O-care in place temporarily might actually work out better, because when the new rates come out in the fall – huge increases in payments, continuing murderously high deductibles, and insurers fleeing like they just saw Hillary break out of a nearby upstate New York treeline, ravenous from months of feeding on beetles and grubs, bellowing with pent-up Hulkian fury and charging straight at them – people will not be happy. If the GOP can competently drive home that these are the predictable (and predicted!) results of Obamacare, the 100% Democrat-owned disaster, they should have enough room to get rid of it and replace it with something much more free-market-
oriented.

Anyway, let’s turn to happier news:

1.March 6th – Carson’s stumble. In a speech, Ben Carson referred to slaves as “immigrants who came to America in the bottoms of slave ships.” Not a smart quote, certainly. But the MSM, solicitous of the feelings of a prominent African-American, barely mentioned it at all, and then only in the context of “everyone makes mistakes.” Right? Not exactly. In fact, not even a little bit.

The left went on a days-long orgy of Ben Carson bashing. Moral paragons such as Cher, Whoopi Goldberg and Samuel L. Jackson called him various uncomplimentary names. Star Jones noted that Carson was an “[excrement] for brains Uncle Tom.” Chelsea Clinton (who I blame for nothing, because she had a horrible childhood at the hands of absolutely terrible parents) chimed in, “This can’t be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants.”

The Anne Frank Center (whatever that is) excreted a calm little press release headed “TRAGIC, SHOCKING AND UNACCEPTABLE,” (because you’re not really outraged if you don’t roll out the all caps, dammit!), featuring lines like, “You do not get a pass because you’re African American.”

Then, because God exists, and He loves us, a video turned up of President Obama in a 2015 naturalization speech saying, “Certainly, it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves.” Cher, Whoopi, Sam, Star and Chelsea were unavailable for comment. The Anne Frank Center issued a press release (in a tiny font) headed, “Not tragic, not shocking, and completely acceptable,” and noting that “President Obama gets a pass because he’s African American.”

2. March 14th — Maddow’s folly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Rachel Maddow. Sure, she’s a leftist hack with a mean streak, and she’s got the haircut I had from grades 2-4 (post-buzz cut, pre-horrible quasi-mullet – those were dark days, my friends). But she can be witty, and she’s not stupid. On the other hand, she willingly works at MSNBC, so I could be wrong on that last point.

Anyway, on March 14 she put on an exhibition of comically exaggerated hype that could not have been more over the top if it had been emceed by Don King and that “Let’s get ready to rrrrrummbllle!!!” guy who announces fights in Vegas. She breathlessly announced that she had obtained Trump’s top secret tax returns, and would reveal them to the world that very evening!

The MSM went into a frenzy. For months leftists had been salivating over what Trump’s taxes would reveal. Some said he hadn’t paid a dime on his ill-gotten millions. Some said his net worth was really $28 and a box full of gold-embossed MAGA hats. Some said he’d written off repeated payments to a large dance troupe of urinating Russian hookers.

Then her show started, and she went into her tease. Then a commercial break, then more tease, then one more commercial break. And then, it was like she started wandering around in a room filled with rakes, and she stepped on one after another, with each rake handle smacking her right in her smirking face with a comical Batman-the-tv-show sound effect.

“In 2005, Trump earned $150 million.” (THWACK!) “He paid $36 million in taxes (POW!), amounting to a tax rate of 25% (CRUNCH!). Which is 6% higher than the rate paid by Obama (BAM!), and almost twice the rate paid by cartoon socialist Bernie Sanders (THWACK! POW! CRUNCH! SAD TROMBONE!) (I know, Batman never featured a sad trombone. And you can’t really put an exclamation mark after the words “sad trombone.” But how else could you audibly end Rachel’s big night?)

The obvious analogy cited by many commentators was to Geraldo Rivera’s flaming Hindenberg of a tv special revealing that Al Capone’s vault held several old bottles and the dessicated corpse of a squirrel who had once been a Democrat Alderman. But that comparison is not fair to Geraldo. At least he DIDN’T KNOW that the vault was empty. Maddow knew that Trump’s returns showed that he had paid a ton of taxes on a ton of income, and she still hyped and stalled for what felt like forever.

She received a much-deserved lambasting from all sides in the aftermath, and if we lived in a sane world, she would have had to slink off into obscurity in disgrace. Instead, she’s getting the best ratings of her career. On MSNBC. Which feels like another way of saying, “she has slunk off into obscurity in disgrace.”

3.The beautiful dawn of socialist triumph heralds a new day in Venezuela. Or not. I give you this headline, from March 14th: “Venezuela seizes bakeries amid bread shortage.” The subhead: “Arrests brownie and croissant makers.”

I’d tell you details, but do I need to? It’s pretty much the old socialist story: Leftist geniuses take power, take control over businesses, businesses collapse, lefties blame businesses. If it weren’t so tragic, it’d be funny: devious brownie makers team up with a shadowy croissant cabal, then join forces with – you guessed it – pastry kingpins, and all stick it to the little guy, satisfying their insatiable greed by… not having any bread to sell?

Milton Friedman (peace be upon him) said it best: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years you’d have a shortage of sand.”

4. On March 28th, Hillary re-emerges to give a speech. This was a highlight for two reasons: 1. It reminded us all that she is not the president. 2. She wore an outfit consisting of a pantsuit bottom, floral shirt and big gold medallion pendant, and a leather jacket. One unbiased media outlet (HA!) referred to this as “an edgy makeover,” for the former first lady, and approved of the way she “rocked… a leather blazer.” (Remember a young Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones? And how young women everywhere fell in love with his leather motorcycle “blazer?”)

In other news, Bishop Don Magic Juan (google him) called Hillary to ask for his clothes back. (Actually, her outfit wasn’t that bad. But I can’t resist the chance to sneak in a Bishop Don Magic Juan joke, and you’d be surprised at how rarely that chance comes along. But I really did like being reminded that Hillary is not the president.)

5. Second half of March: Gorsuch marches through the Senate like Sherman through Georgia, or Godzilla through Tokyo. (Wait… I just went online and registered a trademark on “Gorzilla.” Look for the t-shirts soon, featuring Gorsuch’s head on Godzilla’s body, crushing a tiny Schumer under his feet.) The Dems tried their same old smears – extremist, hates the poor, yada yada – and Gorsuch swatted them away effortlessly. Scalia is dead – long live Scalia.

Next up (I hope and pray): Anthony Kennedy announces he’s going to retire, and Gorsuch’s younger brother – Antonin Gorsuch – appears on the horizon…

Democrats and the 5 Stages of Grief

As we approach the four-month anniversary of the election, I’ve realized that along with screwing up the economy, foreign policy, health care and being able to declare a Best Picture winner at the Oscars, the left has also screwed up the stages of grief.

I was a young man when I first heard of the Kubler-Ross grief cycle. I was riding a lousy little Yamaha 400 then, with aspirations to move up to a Harley, but you can imagine my excitement that I could end up on a Kubler-Ross! I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but it had to be German. And a “grief cycle!?” Can you imagine the reactions of the young women in my small Midwestern town when I cruised by in a leather jacket on one of those? I sure could. I figured I’d put some loud pipes on mine, and paint some flames on the gas tank.

Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Kubler-Ross was an academic, and the cycle of grief had to do with how we deal with loss. You know the process: first denial, then anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

Not that I was thinking about any of that on election night. I went into the evening thinking that Hillary would win, mostly because my fellow citizens had broken my heart in 2012 when they re-elected Obama. (I could see voting for him in ’08, when he was young and new and biracial, and McCain was old and cranky and bipartisan. But after those 4 years, and $6 trillion in new debt with nothing to show for it, and against the manifestly decent and competent Mittster? Ugh.)

But then the glass ceiling fell on Hillary like the house falling on the Wicked Witch of the East, and I shifted into the Simpson-Bailey giddiness cycle.

Named after me and Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life, the stages are as follows:

1. scotch

2. dawning euphoria,

3. running through downtown in the snow screaming maniacally (“Yeah! Merry Christmas movie house! Merry Christmas red states! Yyyeeeaaahhhh!”)

4. Conan’s “What is best in life?” meditation (“To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, to hear the lamentations of their metrosexuals in the Javits Center.”), and then

5. a schadenfreude-induced reaction about which you are supposed to call your doctor if it lasts more than 4 hours.

Good times.

Anyway, that night I saw the Dems head into their cycle. Their denial lasted for days, after which even the most die-hard, true believers had to admit that the Trump-ocalypse was upon them. Then their strong suit: anger. All Trump voters are racists, the electoral college is an abomination, break out the vaginal headgear and let slip the dogs of war, etc.

Then bargaining: a dozen empty-headed celebrities make a video pleading with the electoral college members to go faithless, and vote for Hillary. Depression was there too, but was hard to detect, since it is pretty much a default setting for many leftists. (If you believed that the climate is going to kill you, and so are guns, and so is our health care system, and free market capitalism and red meat and Steve Bannon and micro-aggressions and almost literally everything else… You’d be depressed too.)

But here’s where the Dems get stuck: they never get to acceptance. They keep spinning their wheels in the anger phase, and that’s not good for anyone except professional politicians (who make their living and perpetually fund raise off of it).

I was initially inclined to cut my Democrat and leftist friends a lot of slack when it comes to their Trump hatred, because I think he ran as an unusually acerbic and insulting candidate. His tweets often sound like something from a high schooler, he speaks without a filter more than any president should, he’s almost as narcissistic as Obama or Hillary, etc.

But as I’ve watched Trump make some good decisions and good appointments and a great SCOTUS nomination, and the Dems go into an ever-escalating cycle of anger since the election, I realized something I should have always known: it doesn’t matter who the Republican/conservative is. The left is going to smear and attack and spew bile at any conservative who runs for office, and any decision he or she makes. Their anger has nothing to do with its object.

Consider that they’ve not just tried to eviscerate more abrasive conservatives like Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Ted Cruz; they’ve reacted the same way toward mushy moderates like John McCain and Jeb Bush. They’ve driven the Hitler comparison into the ground, applying it to every Republican president and presidential candidate in my lifetime. (Another pet peeve of mine: Hitler heads a socialist workers party, creates an all-powerful government and exalts the collective, and the left calls him a right-winger! See Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism for a detailed run-down of how idiotic that smear is.) They ran tv ads showing a Paul Ryan imitator pushing a grandma off a cliff in a wheelchair!

In 2012, Joe Biden warned black Americans that Mitt Romney’s Republicans “probably want to put ya’ll back in chains.” Mitt Romney! Maybe the best example was their pre-printed signs before Trump picked Gorsuch for SCOTUS. If you’re holding a sign that says “I oppose” with a blank after it, into which you are going to print whichever name Trump chooses, you’ve lost your mind.

That’s how I think of the professional protesting left: they’re like Will Farrell’s dimwitted anchorman. They’ll say anything that comes across their teleprompter. If the Koch brothers were anything like they are cracked up to be, they could have hacked into a DNC conference call with instructions, and a small army of far-left dopes would have been standing on the steps outside the Supreme Court holding signs over their heads which read, “Go f**k yourself, San Diego!”

I don’t think the left realizes how self-defeating their knee-jerk smears and fury are, and how much they turn off all but the farthest left fringe. On the other hand, maybe they do – but they’re just so darned angry that they can’t help themselves.

Either way, they’ve got to get a handle on their emotions, or it’s going to be an even longer four years for them. And if they keep up this level of outrage every day from now until November of 2020, the predictable result will be their worst nightmare — Trump II: the re-Trumpening.