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It’s interesting how sometimes you have a political passing observation about something, consider it true but probably not that important, but that becomes incredibly important. Think of it like “Those tires are looking kind of thin” thirty minutes before they blow open on the Interstate. A few years ago I thought to myself, “You know, first past the post isn’t a good way to hold primary votes.” I was thinking more for things like senate races, but that actually became very important. In early 2015, I thought “I think people are overestimating the ease with which Jeb Bush will win the nomination. This might be the year the establishment loses” This struck me as potentially important, but I thought at the time it might mean that Scott Walker or, worst case, Ted Cruz. And here we are.

Perhaps the most important of these things was about immigration. After running some numbers, it became apparent that the “Campaign Autopsy” as it related to the Hispanic vote and Comprehensive Immigration Reform simply wasn’t true. There were a lot of things responsible for the GOP’s loss, but the Hispanic vote wasn’t really among them. They didn’t put that in there as an analysis of what the party needed to do in some irrefutable need, but what its leaders wanted to do. With that, it became obvious that even after the failure to pass anything in 2013, the party really was going to screw the immigration restrictionists as soon as it could. Since I am uncommitted on the issue, this realization made me neither elated nor angry. It was mostly just an observation. One that would become very important. (more…)


Category: Statehouse

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{Ed note: This is a precursor to a more complete – and nuanced – post on immigration that’s coming up} (more…)


Category: Elsewhere

A lot of Republicans – including Rudy Giuliani – are trying to make an issue of Hillary Clinton’s health. With the exception of a photo here and there that looks less than flattering, this is mostly a product of her age. Some have argued sexism, but other than a general belief in sexism and female age, there’s just not much reason to believe that’s especially true. It’s not as though we haven’t been here before.

doledThe media’s dismissal has lead to some accusations of media bias, because of Bob Dole above and John McCain in 2008. Hillary Clinton will be 69 before election day, Dole and McCain were 72. One could argue that 70 is the cut-off, but there’s no special reason it might be. More likely it’s that while there are allegations that Hillary Clinton has health problems, Dole and McCain both had actual infirmities going back to their war experience.

Now, surely, it seems cruddy to penalize those two men for serving their country. It’s not especially fair. But it is what it is. Bob Dole had to shake with his left hand, and John McCain can’t raise his arms and had skin cancer to boot. Sucks, but there you go. Also, both McCain and Dole were running against young Democrats, putting the age issue in play. It’s possible that if Rubio or maybe even Cruz (though he looks older than his years) had won the Republican nomination, we’d be having a different conversation. Or maybe not. (more…)


Category: Statehouse

I was rather excited when my cousin and/or his wife (it was a dual account) added me as a friend on Facebook. I am not especially close to them, as we’re ten years apart in age and I’m square in between him and his son, but family is family and I was not not-close to them either, as far as cousins in that branch go.

Then I started getting the messages from them.

Evidently, my cousin and/or his wife has latched on to what appears to me to be a pyramid scheme of sorts. Well, if not a pyramid scheme, then a multi-level marketing program with a flimsy pretext. I like to think that I’m a relatively smart guy and even I had some difficulty with understanding what was being purchased and sold. It seemed like game credits of some sort. Everything about it, including my failure to understand it, was a red flag.

I ignored it, which worked for less than a day before I started getting more and more messages about how great this is. Including a link to some assistant football coach who was talking about it. I learned in subsequent messages that it was my cousin’s wife trying to sell me up, which made sense. It seems much more like the sort of thing that she would get into. My cousin is friendly enough, but not the most social person in the world. She’s very social and while not dumb a little bit on the gullible side sometimes. She forwards emails with some rather crazy (political) theories.

I didn’t watch the video, but I knew that I was going to have to say something. I told them while I appreciate the thought I was not interested. I haven’t heard from them since.

Facebook has become less pleasant as time goes by. I used to like it as a bit of an escape from the Will Truman part of my life, but weirdly enough Will Truman has taken it over. Which is to say that its algorithms so deeply favor my Ordinary Times friends that it feels like I never left. I’m not kidding. Though I only have about 10 OT-related friends on Facebook (out of 150 or so total), nine of the first ten items on my feed are from OT people, and twenty of the first thirty are. I just checked.

And weirdly enough, those that aren’t are people I rarely respond to for the most part. I simply don’t understand where it’s coming from on this. I don’t want to block my OT people because I am interested in what’s going on with them. I’m just not interested solely in them.


Category: Server Room
Category: Courthouse

Texas and Kansas both have fairy forests, and Michigan and Arkansas both have waterfall campgrounds.

The whole site is replete with various sites in nooks and crannies without our great, expansive country. I’ve never been to a fairy forest, but I bet Lain would have a blast.

I have been to waterfall campgrounds, and they are amazing. When I was younger we used to go on cruises. I remember my first one and how excited I was to be able to go snorkling. I’d never been. The cruises tended to involve the Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel. You’d do one thing on each island. I can’t remember which we did where, but on the first cruise we did the waterfall before the snorkling. Which turned out to be a bad thing, because the waterfall was way more fun. It was like a pool, but with water coming down.

That’s not too uncommon with elaborate pools having fake waterfalls, but with chlorinated water and all that. I’m not a naturalist and so that’s cool, too. I’d just never been to one of those places except at a water park. And at waterparks, there are so many other things to do you barely notice. In the real waterfalls, you’re kind of forced to appreciate The Thing instead of thinking about The Other Thing you could be doing.

The next island was the snorkling, and it was a real let down. I mean, you had to put on all of this equipment. You got to see some nice fish, but it was all (understandably) more controlled.

Photo by ChrisHaysPhotography


Category: Elsewhere

Over there, a conversation broke out in response to an article I linked to about on how to avoid being a creep on Twitter. This lead to well-tread conversation about the importance of physical appearance. Namely, whether an attractive guy can get away with something that an unattractive guy would get the creep tag for.

As it happens, my answer is an unequivocal yes. But also, that guys should get over it. My more general believe is that women are more interested in looks than stereotypes suggest, that, men are less, though that the relationship (men more interested than women) is still true. Given this, men collectively don’t have a whole lot of room to complain about woman superficiality.

This view gets a fair amount of pushback from both sides of the spectrum, and not because of the last part. A lot of women don’t like it because it suggests that women are more superficial than their stereotype, and that a lot of guys who complain about being treated poorly because they’re unattractive aren’t wrong. A lot of men like it because it allows them to believe they will be able to peg up when it comes to getting a woman because women place less of an emphasis on looks than men do. I further believe that this myth (that women don’t just care less about looks than men but don’t really care that much) is a pernicious one, because it places a burden on women to be more than they are, and more than we ask men to be.

So yeah, of course attractive and unattractive men are gauged differently. This is true in dating criteria generally. If a woman is interested in a man (or vice-versa) she is more likely to forgive awkward moments, interpret what he says charitably, and so on. This is true regardless of the source of the interest, which includes a lot of things other than looks. The year before she met me, my wife met a guy at the same venue who put a lot of the same moves as I did. She never described him as a creep, but she was made rather uncomfortable by it. Along comes me, who does the same things, and we’ve been married for over a decade. The criteria there wasn’t looks so much as age (he was ten years older than myself), biography (he was a former alcoholic), and other such things.

But come on. Of course it applies to looks, too. And when we’re talking about initial encounters, it’s the cover of the book and people do judge by it. There are things guys can do to make a better impression, but there is only so much that a guy can do. If a guy at the lower-end of the attractiveness spectrum is approaching a woman at the higher end, he is far more likely to be considered creepy rather than charming. And that’s a reason why it’s important that we be honest about this. Because if a guy doesn’t want to be creepy, he ought not aim high unless he has very high confidence in his social skills (and depending on the context, even then).

Talk about how there aren’t universal standards and how one person’s eight is another person’s six is some combination of trying to muddy the waters and clinging to grade school fictions. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is a reason why Hollywood actors and actresses tend to look a lot more like one another than they do like you and me. There may be opportunities to swing for the fences, but it’s a bad idea to do so regularly.

At some point, I started using as a gauge “Would I be doing this if it were an unattractive woman or a guy?” when striking up conversations and the like. If I never would, then I wouldn’t with some attractive lady unless I was willing to admit that I was making a move (however minor). That admission would become important because it meant that if she blew me off I wouldn’t be able to say “How rude.” I swung, I missed, life goes on.

At some point later than that, I realized that was insufficient. That it’s often not appropriate to do towards a woman even if I wouldn’t have a problem doing so towards a guy. That’s where Twitter comes in. Liking every tweet someone tweets (or liking every picture on Facebook) is just not something that a normal person does without some… other motivation. But sometimes on Twitter I do find myself in someone’s timeline and running across several comment-reply-like-retweet worthy tweets. If it’s a guy, I might do three or four or five.

Yeah, but probably not if it’s a female. Not unless it’s one that I have conversed with pretty regularly and have some sort of indication of “Hey, we’re cool.” If they don’t follow me, or my contact with them has been relatively minimal, I will probably pass. This applies especially to young women I follow. Though comparative appearance isn’t an issue (my avatar is a cartoon character, after all), the dynamics between men approaching 40 and women a little past 20 is pretty straightforward. There are a lot more of my type hitting up their type, than vice-versa. And while I am not hitting them up, it’s best to just go ahead and avoid any discomfort they might feel if they even suspected this old geezer was demonstrating a prurient interest.

It’s entirely possible that I am being too deferential, and that I am doing them a disservice by not charming them with my banter or my retweets. But you hear enough stories and think “Yeah, I don’t want to be a part of that” and so you don’t. I don’t necessarily follow all of the rules of the original piece, but they’re worth at least considering. Whether you’re a 20-something stud or a 40 year old dad. But especially the latter.


Category: Coffeehouse

A couple quick anecdotes:

The other day, there was a bug sitting next to me on the sofa. I swatted it and immediate regretted having done so. I don’t know what kind of bug it was, but it was a big with a bite. More specifically, it got its final revenge with a sting. Hurt like crap, but only for a little bit.

I didn’t think about it again until about 24 hours later, when I found my index finger itching like the dickens. It wasn’t until I looked down and saw that the finger had grown to be twice the size of my thumb. It took me a few minutes to make the connection to the bug I swatted. I still don’t know if that was responsible, but it seems like it was.

The weird thing about the itch is how I just couldn’t scratch it. Like I could scrape my fingernail on it, but I wouldn’t get the satisfaction I might get with a chigger bite or even dry skin. It was just… numb. It’s hard to explain precisely how annoying that is. I contacted Clancy to ask if I had anything to worry about, and she said not. Sure enough, after a day or two it went away.

The second thing involved a bug that was flying around the door in the downstairs at a point when I was trying to get in. It was like the thing was on crack, just going everywhere. The dang thing flew down my shirt!  I knew if it got inside it would drive me crazy. So I basically just stood there outside waiting for it to… I don’t know, do something. Go away or something.

That was when Lisby earned her keep. It flew down by her and she ate it.

The night after that, Lisby inexplicably woke me up at 4am to go outside. I took her out, she peed, and I came back in and went back to bed. I hadn’t even gotten back to sleep when I could hear her making the Conspicuous Sitting noise that she makes. I ignored it until she started whining. Grumbling, I took her out.

She proceeded to get a drink of water from the plastic pond.

lisbydrink

Since she ate that bug for me the day before, she gets a freebie. That was it. (She did, after about ten minutes of slurping, poop.


Category: Home

Well this is pretty awesome. It you haven’t seen it, watch some Louisianians save a woman (and her dog!) from a sinking car:

NPR’s article has some really good pictures. You may remember a previous post with pictures of flooding in Texas. I had some song lyrics attached. Someone has posted the song itself (from a now-defunct band) on Youtube and is shown to the right.

There is a lot not to like about the south, but they do come together in times like this. The Cajun Navy came together in Katrina, and was sort of recommissioned during this flooding. It’s one of the positive aspects of the “Hold my beer and watch this s**t” culture that so often gets people in the region in trouble. You have a boat, of course roaming the floods and looking for people is what you do.

This isn’t unique to the south. There is a communitarianism in the west as well, even among those alleged rugged individualists. Out there, you often really can’t count on help because it’s so far away. But because it’s such a constant problem, it’s sort of always there. In the South it just comes up during freak weather, and with the exception of things like the Cajun Navy there isn’t any real formality to it. It’s just that you’re driving in flooding and you see some joe excited to use his F-150 to pull someone out of the water.

Rod Dreher has a really nice post on the subject.

Over There, JL Wall also has a post with links to ever more stuff.


Category: Newsroom

So sayeth conservative radio personality Charlie Sykes:

We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood. The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that, “By the way, you know it’s false.” and they’ll say “Why? I saw it on Allen B West.” Or they’ll say “I saw it on a Facebook page.” And I’ll say “The New York Times did a fact check.” And they’ll say “Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.” There’s nobody – you can’t go to anybody and say, “Look, here are the facts.” And I have to say that’s one of the more disorienting realities of this political year. You can be in this alternative media reality and there’s no way to break through it. And I swam upstream because if I don’t say these things from some of these websites, then suddenly I have sold out. Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true.

When this is all over, we have to go back. There’s got to be a reckoning on all this. We’ve created this monster. And look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted to the mainstream media. We have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot of it has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there. And I am feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look at the mirror and ask myself, “To what extent did I contribute?” I’ll be honest, the bias of our mainstream media has been a staple for every conservative talk show host, every conservative pundit, for as long as I can remember. Going way back to the 1960s with William F Buckley, Jr.

This is almost a metaphor for larger issues. In the same way that the anti-Trump conservative entertainment weak tore apart the trust in the media they’d need this year, they also tore down the institutional protections and respect that might have prevented his rise to begin with. I’ve previously likened Trump to a virus that succeeded in large part due to a compromised immune system. Among other things, the bullspit detecting antibodies had been obliterated after wave on wave of previous infections.

And so when the media was needed, it wasn’t there in a meaningful extent. It couldn’t penetrate the minds of those who needed to hear it. Their credibility had been destroyed. When “the establishment” sought to stop him, they couldn’t. Their credibility had been destroyed. And the conservative news personalities were disinclined to rain on anybody’s parade.

I’ve been rather hard on Erick Erickson lately, because up until earlier this year he has been among the worst offenders. So it’s a bit rich for him to act as the “principled opposition.” On the other hand, at least he did flip. And when Republican voters needed to hear a particular thing, he tried to tell it.

What I still haven’t seen, except from Sykes above, is any indication that 2016 followed 2015, which followed 2014 and especially 2013. And that these things are related.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!


Category: Newsroom

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Queenland

Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.


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