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A homeless person tried to sell me a marble today for $5 saying it brings good luck to all who possess it.

Judging by his piss stained trousers and bare feet, his interpretation of good luck seems somewhat different to mine.


It was my wife's birthday and she rang me to see what time I would be home.

"Can't talk" I said, "I'm driving."

"Where are you?" she asked.

She wasn't happy when I said the 7th tee.


An overly cautious Dungeons & Dragons party is reportedly still lingering in the Purple Pig Tavern, the location where their campaign began 10 weekly sessions ago, a frustrated source confirmed.

“We ruled out the front door by session three. Could a trap be any more obvious than that?” said Mark Nathansen, rolling a persuasion check to determine if the innkeeper would give his character a discount on weekly room rates. “And the back door is almost certainly a portal to the underdark summoned by the main villain this campaign may or may not have. The cook told us he’d pay us to kill the giant rats in the backyard, but nobody insight checked him! How can we be sure he isn’t a red dragon in disguise? Nice try, but I’m not falling for that one.”

After failing the persuasion check, Nathensen began to inquire whether there were any open positions on the tavern waitstaff.

“I’m at my wit’s end with these fuckers,” said Terri Moss, the Dungeon Master for the campaign which began over 2 months ago. “The investigation checks to search for traps under every chair were cute at first, but after three sessions they were still insight checking the bartender to figure out if the ale was poisoned. Why would I try to poison them in the starting area?”

“At one point during the eighth session, I had an NPC literally offer the party a hundred gold each just to go outside and check the weather,” Moss continued. “Boy, was that a mistake. My players spent the next two hours asking me questions about the gold coin exchange rates in the region before their characters would even respond.”

At press time, the players were arguing amongst themselves about the likelihood they had spent the past ten sessions inside a giant, tavern-shaped mimic.


Joseph Stalin and my wife have the same birthday.

It's crazy to think that such a loathsome figure, who ruined the lives of so many people shares the same birthday as Stalin.


The woman I was on a date with last night clearly thinks she can do better than me.

When the waiter asked if she had any reservations I heard her saying "well he's not as funny as he thinks he is and he's a bit short but he'll do for now."

Quote of the Times;
"Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all." - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960)

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Why Are Modern Debates on Morality So Shrill? by Brett and Kate McKay

It’s hard not to notice that in interactions both online and off, people seem increasingly polarized when it comes to political, social justice, and moral and ethical issues of all kinds. Rather than engaging in a civil discussion, debates turn into emotionally-charged flame wars, marked by blame, shame, and the exchange of insults. Such interactions are acrimonious, seemingly interminable, and markedly shrill.

What accounts for the tenor of these melees on morality?

Some astute observers have posited that our political and social positions have become more fervent as society has become more secular. People seem to have an ingrained penchant for the “religious” — a proclivity to draw lines between us and them, the pure and the polluted, doctrine and heresy, the unconverted and the woke — and in the absence of traditional faith-based outlets for these energies, have channeled these “religious” impulses towards partisan politics.

There’s surely something to this theory. But the shrillness of our modern debates on morality has an even deeper underlying cause.

The 3 Elements of a Rational, Functional Moral Culture

In After Virtue, philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argues that Aristotelian virtue ethics offers the best model of a healthy and well-functioning moral system; its strength, he asserts, is the presence of three elements — all of which must be in place for any moral system to thrive:

1. Man-as-he-happens-to-be.

This is a human being in his raw, morally untutored state. This is man left to his own devices and allowed to follow his default impulses. Man on the path of least resistance.

2. A view of man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos.

Telos is the Greek word for man’s ultimate aim. It represents his ultimate purpose and function — an essential nature that can only be realized by throwing off the inertia of default desires and actively striving after it.

For the ancient Greeks, a man’s telos was reaching a state of eudaimonia; a word that is hard to translate but means something akin to happiness, excellence — full human flourishing. For Aristotle specifically, eudaimonia meant not only possessing good character, but achieving excellence in action. Virtue was both the goal and the practice — the end man should strive for, and the active means of attaining that end.

For Aristotle, a “good man” was as functional and objective a concept as a “good watch” or a “good musician.” A good watch accurately tells time; a good musician plays his instrument well; and a good man fulfills his purpose as a man. Each statement, the philosopher would say, is equally objective and factual.

3. An ethical code that allows a man to move from state #1 to state #2.

Man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-if-he-realized-his-telos are antagonistic states — one slides into the lowest and easiest, while the other aims for the noblest and highest.

To transition from the former to the latter — to access one’s full potential — you need to adopt certain behaviors and habits of action. What behaviors and actions to take are prescribed by a set of ethics that are specifically designed to move you from state #1 to state #2. The code lays out which virtues will take you towards your telos, and conversely, which vices will stymie your progress in reaching it. As MacIntyre explains:

“The precepts which enjoin the various virtues and prohibit the vices which are their counterparts instruct us how to move from potentiality to act, how to realize our true nature and to reach our true end. To defy them will be to be frustrated and incomplete, to fail to achieve that good of rational happiness which it is peculiarly ours as a species to pursue.”

Although we can describe this set of moral precepts as an ethical code, it should not be thought of, at least in the context of Aristotelianism, as primarily a set of rules. As MacIntyre observes, “the most obvious and astonishing absence from Aristotle’s thought for any modern reader” is that “there is relatively little mention of rules anywhere in the Ethics.” In the absence of strict, rote, universal rules, Aristotle instead argued for the cultivation of a kind of master virtue which would aid a man in acquiring all the rest: phronesis, or practical wisdom. As a virtue in one context can be a vice in another (e.g., being frugal vs. being cheap), a man needed phronesis to guide him in doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.

Each of the three elements above “requires reference to the other two if its status and function are to be intelligible.” The combination of the three produces a moral culture that is not only functional, but rational.

Such a moral code is rational in the sense that there is a logical relationship between is and ought. That is, if your telos is X, we can objectively say that you ought to do Y, and you ought not to do Z, in order to reach it. To achieve this end, you must adopt these means.

While this threefold scheme can form the basis of a personal moral code, Aristotle specifically imagined his system of virtue ethics in the context of community (in his case, the Greek city-state). Individuals aim to fulfill their telos as men, while pointing that effort towards what MacIntyre calls a “shared project of achieving a common good” (for Aristotle, for example, reaching one’s telos was closely tied to being a good citizen and contributing to Athenian democracy). Within a community with a common telos, rules are erected that prohibit negative behaviors that would be destructive to the efforts and relationships necessary to achieving its shared project, while virtues — positive traits of character that move the community closer to that common good — are celebrated and encouraged. The rules cannot be understood apart from the virtues at which they aim; the former are not arbitrary, but designed to facilitate the greater flourishing of the latter.

The same 3-part moral framework also exists within the Abrahamic religions, only, as MacIntyre explains, shaded a bit differently:

“The precepts of ethics now have to be understood not only as teleological injunctions, but also as expressions of a divinely ordained law. The table of virtues and vices has to be amended and added to and a concept of sin is added to the Aristotelian concept of error. The law of God requires a new kind of respect and awe. The true end of man can no longer be completely achieved in this world, but only in another. Yet the threefold structure of untutored human-nature-as-it-happens-to-be, human-nature-as-it-could-be-if-it-realized-its-telos and the precepts of rational ethics as the means for the transition from one to the other remains central.”

For the religious adherent, one’s telos wasn’t eudaimonia (at least as Aristotle understood it), but salvation — being transformed into a creature divinely made perfect.

The Fate of a Moral Culture Without a Shared Telos

Over several centuries, and for complex reasons, a teleologically-based moral system eroded in the West.

As MacIntyre succinctly summarizes, “the joint effect of the secular rejection of both Protestant and Catholic theology and the scientific and philosophical rejection of Aristotelianism was to eliminate any notion of man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos.”

The idea of having an ultimate aim survives on a personal level (though scarcely few people seem to think of themselves as having a telos, or know what theirs is). But on a broad, cultural level, Western societies no longer share a telos in common. The kind of moral system outlined above can really only function in a fairly homogeneous community of limited size; as a society grows increasingly large and diverse, people no longer share the same telos (or have a concept of telos at all), nor a project of common good that the telos supports. Thus in our own culture, many competing teloi exist, or are absent altogether.

Yet, we still retain the other two pieces of classical morality: man-as-he-happens-to-be and a set of ethics. Witness the effect this creates:

The moral code which was specifically created to move man-as-he-happens-to-be towards his telos, now hangs in space, detached from a larger purpose.

There is only man in his raw state, and a code of behavior he is to follow. But, in the absence of a telos, this code consists not in virtues, alongside attendant rules that help a man achieve them, but in the rules alone. As McIntyre observes, when a moral culture lacks a teleological element, “Rules become the primary concept of the moral life.”

In a moral system which lacks a telos, there exist only negative proscriptions for appropriate behavior — rules which are not designed to move man to fulfill his essential purpose, but simply to allow the basic functions of society to continue.

No. No. No. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

And so today we have an abundance of voices pointing out what a good man isn’t, but very few describing what a good man is. We lack a positive ideal. In this we’ve become a nation of something worse than school marms — for at least the disciplinarian teacher reprimanded her students with some end in mind.

At the same time that rules become more central to such a moral culture, they become less motivating. Still today we know that man in his untutored state is prone to bad behavior, and so establish rules in an attempt to educate that behavior. But in the absence of an accompanying telos, such rules lack a compelling why — a rationale for why a man should choose to undergo this education, and offer his compliance, rather than following the less challenging path of least resistance.

This is quite problematic, for as pointed out above, man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-if-he-realized-his-telos are antagonistic states. The latter is not how we act if left to our druthers. Achieving one’s telos involves mastering lower impulses to reach for the higher variety. It requires self-mastery, self-control, delayed gratification. It’s not a “natural” state, and as such, its pursuit requires strong motivation — motivation that can only be furnished by pointing to an overarching aim.

Given the lack of motivation inherent to a telos-free moral code, vice inevitably waxes and virtue wanes. This ethical lassitude is still a cause of consternation to a culture, that, even if it’s lost hope in producing citizens of sterling character, still needs them to act with a minimum of propriety and trust in interpersonal relationships in order to keep day-to-day life safe and copacetic. It is rightly felt that people can no longer be left to rely on their phronesis to make moral judgements (for without a telos, what would this judgement be based on?), and so more and more granular and restrictive rules are created as to what constitutes appropriate behavior — external, universal, one-size-fits-all guidelines that of course work much less well in some circumstances than others.

Naturally, there is much disagreement on just how far all these rules should extend beyond the enforcement of the bare minimum of propriety. Just how granular the rules should get is a matter of one’s perspective of what is “just” and “right” and these positions are based on conflicting telos, or on no defined telos at all.

Indeed, the disappearance of a shared telos from a culture’s moral code ultimately has a deteriorating effect on that culture’s moral discourse. When a culture loses its shared telos, is and ought are divorced. Without this connection, moral precepts lose any objectivity — a rational basis for why we should choose one position over another. Though we still voice our positions as if they had this kind of rational authority, our moral arguments in fact become “mere instrument of individual desire and will.” We assert our opinions as if they are objectively true, when they are in fact the arbitrary product of emotion and personal preference. One notices that there is very little philosophical discussion surrounding our moral debates at all; very little appeal to reason is issued beyond “This is the way it should be! . . . Because!” Moral debate becomes a series of reciprocal shouts. Flaming, blaming, shaming.

Or as MacIntyre puts it, “without a teleological framework the whole project of morality becomes unintelligible.”

As he observes, each person has become an autonomous moral agent, who “now [speaks] unconstrained by the externalities of divine law, natural teleology or hierarchical authority; but why should anyone else now listen to him?”

Living a Eudaimonic Life In an Irrational, Dysfunctional Moral Culture

MacIntyre truly offers an incisive explanation for why our moral debates are so shrill. Moral precepts — encouragements of virtue and prohibitions of vice — are rationally based when they lead to a clear telos. If your telos is this, you ought to do that. When a culture lacks a shared telos, and everyone is following their own ultimate aim (or lack such an aim at all), people with competing teloi simply talk past each other, while those without any teloi make moral arguments that sound objective but are really the irrational products of personal preference and emotion.

While MacIntyre’s insights are descriptive, and it’s enormously helpful to understand why things are the way they are, they’re less prescriptive; what should we do with this information? Three takeaways suggest themselves:

The importance of having a personal telos.

Even though modern society no longer shares a common telos, you still should be clear on your own. What’s your ultimate aim? What’s your essential purpose and function? Throwing off your default desires is never easy. Knowing the end you’re aiming for will make you far more motivated in embracing the means — the habits of action attendant to living a strenuous life of virtue and excellence — that are necessary to get there.

The pointlessness of debate (with those who don’t share your telos).

The West still celebrates the debate of political, social, and moral issues, and we do so because of the tradition we inherited from the ancient Greeks. But the framework that allowed their rigorous exchanges to function — the context of a defined city-state with a shared telos — no longer exists in our large, heterogeneous modern countries. We’re still trying to engage in an old model of rhetoric, despite inhabiting a very different cultural landscape. The result is our empty, interminable, emotion-driven shouting matches.

Now I’m not saying we should never debate important ideas. Such debates can be healthy and robust when in engaged in between people who share the same telos. And those who do not share the same telos can debate issues in a strictly pragmatic way — arguing for which solutions will be most effective or expedient. But when debates concern issues of “right” and “wrong,” if the parties do not share a common telos, the result will only be pointless, irrational pontificating.

The importance of belonging to a community.

While it is impossible to share a telos with millions of other people, it is still quite possible, and desirable, to do so with a smaller community of like-minded folks. For Aristotle, achieving a life of eudaimonia could never be a solo affair; it required working on a shared project of common good with others. Comrades in a common purpose sharpen each other, and can create and achieve things they couldn’t by themselves.

Just as importantly, communities of virtue act as repositories of moral excellence, emitting an influence and fragrance that strengthen and leaven the larger culture, and preserving virtues that might otherwise disappear. As MacIntyre ended After Virtue over three decades ago:

“It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead—often not recognizing fully what they were doing—was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.”

News of the Times;
I ate a kid's meal in McDonald’s this morning.

His mom was furious.


A guy picks up a five-dollar hooker and gets the crabs from her.

Seeing her the following week, he confronts her and says, "You gave me the crabs!"

She replies, "What did you expect for five bucks, lobster?"


News Highlights:

Vice-President Pence has announced that members of the new U.S. Space Force will be called "Guardians" instead of astronauts. Commander Peter Quill said he approved.

A new study out of Australia claims that kangaroos can communicate with humans. The first they'd like us to know - keep your hands out of their pouch!

Mutant strains, huh? The way this year is going, before it's over, I'm expecting to hear about Teenage Mutant Virus Strains.

More than 70 West Point cadets have admitted cheating on an online math test. When asked why he resorted to cheating, one cadet responded that he wasn't 120% sure.

2020 is now a swear word: "That's a load of 2020", "What the 2020!" and the new classic, "Shut the 2020 up!"


Top 5 signs you're at a lousy Medieval Faire:

The king is pretty creepy looking and keeps pushing the burgers.
I'm pretty sure Lancelot's father was not Darth Vader.
Round table actually a card table.
Tournaments use Nerf products.
Lady Bob.


Why are bacteria so bad at math?

Because they multiply by dividing.

Quote of the Times;
Fact checkers didn’t exist until the ugly truth started to come out. – Sorbo

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
No Families, No Children, No Future by Rod Dreher

Here’s a fascinating article from New York magazine on the massive gender gap between Trump and Biden supporters. It contains this eye-popping claim, buried deep down:

Neither the societal shift away from traditional gender roles nor the downstream cultural consequences of that shift are anywhere near complete. As Rebecca Traister has incisively argued, the growing prevalence of singledom among America’s rising generation of women is one of the most potent forces in contemporary politics. In 2009, for the first time in history, there were more unmarried women in the United States than married ones. And today, young women in the U.S. aren’t just unprecedentedly single; they also appear to be unprecedentedly uninterested in heterosexuality: According to private polling shared with Intelligencer by Democratic data scientist David Shor, roughly 30 percent of American women under 25 identify as LGBT; for women over 60, that figure is less than 5 percent.

David Shor is one of the best data people the Democratic Party people has. Take this seriously.

Has anything like this ever happened to any society, ever? Three out of ten women under the age of 25 consider themselves to be gay or transgender. Five percent, sure. Maybe even eight percent. But thirty? Will they always think that? Maybe not, but these are their prime childbearing years. The US fertility rate is at a 35-year low, and there’s no reason to think it will rise. Some critics blame structural difficulties in the US economy that make it harder for women to choose to have children, but European nations make it vastly easier for mothers, and still cannot get their fertility rates above replacement.

What’s behind this is primarily cultural. We have become an anti-natalist society. And further, we have become a society that no longer values the natural family. We see everywhere disintegration. Yesterday, on the Al Mohler podcast, I talked about going to a conservative Evangelical college a few years back, and hearing from professors there that they feared most of their students would never be able to form stable families, because so many of them had never seen what that’s like.

And now we have 30 percent of Gen Z women claiming to be sexually uninterested in men. There is nothing remotely normal about that number. It is a sign of a deeply decadent culture — that is, a culture that lacks the wherewithal to survive. The most important thing that a generation can do is produce the next generation. No families, no children, no future.

In 1947, Carle C. Zimmerman, then the head of Harvard’s sociology department, wrote a book called Family And Civilization. He was not a religious man; he was only interested in the cultural values that allowed civilizations to thrive, and those that caused civilizations to collapse. His general thesis is that family systems determine the strength and resilience of a civilization. Zimmerman wrote:

There is little left now within the family or the moral code to hold this family together. Mankind has consumed not only the crop, but the seed for the next planting as well. Whatever may be our Pollyanna inclination, this fact cannot be avoided. Under any assumptions, the implications will be far reaching for the future not only of the family but of our civilization as well. The question is no longer a moral one; it is social. It is no longer familistic; it is cultural. The very continuation of our culture seems to be inextricably associated with this nihilism in family behavior.


The only thing that seems certain is that we are again in one of those periods of family decay in which civilization is suffering internally from the lack of a basic belief in the forces which make it work. The problem has existed before. The basic nature of this illness has been diagnosed before. After some centuries, the necessary remedy has been applied. What will be done now is a matter of conjecture. We may do a better job than was done before; we may do a worse one.

He wrote this in 1947. Zimmerman missed the Baby Boom coming, but otherwise, he was right on target.

Earlier this year, David Brooks wrote a big piece for The Atlantic in which he observed that we are living through the most rapid change in the structure of the family in human history. In the piece, Brooks writes:

Eli Finkel, a psychologist and marriage scholar at Northwestern University, has argued that since the 1960s, the dominant family culture has been the “self-expressive marriage.” “Americans,” he has written, “now look to marriage increasingly for self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth.” Marriage, according to the sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, “is no longer primarily about childbearing and childrearing. Now marriage is primarily about adult fulfillment.”

Sex is also primarily about individual fulfillment — and maybe solely about individual fulfillment. Young people today see no connection between sex, family, and a greater purpose. I wrote about this more or less in a 2013 essay, “Sex After Christianity,” that remains one of the most read pieces I’ve ever published here at TAC. In his book, the sociologist Zimmerman, in listing the signs of a dying civilization, mentions a decline in family formation and a rise in homosexuality. Again, he was not a religious man, but his social science convictions led him to conclude that from studying the historical records of ancient Greece and Rome.

It’s far too simplistic to say “homosexuality brought down Rome.” Homosexuality didn’t mean the same thing in those societies that it means in ours. More importantly, the idea is that the greater tolerance for and acceptance of homosexuality was an indicator of the collapse of the shared belief that forming families to produce the next generation was the most important purpose of the civilization, and that a culture’s structures and norms should be constructed to support that mission.

We are going to have to endure a civilizational collapse before we begin the Great Relearning. I am beginning to see now why a sociologist I heard speak a few years ago said that losing awareness of the gender binary is going to mean the end of us. He meant that we will lose cultural memory of the basic fact needed to ensure the future of our civilization. We are living through the fall right now. This is why I wrote The Benedict Option. The newer book, Live Not By Lies, is about enduring acute marginalization and persecution; the older book is about constructing a strongly countercultural community capable of surviving in the ruins of our civilization.

Thirty percent of women aged 25 and under have no interest in sex with men. If that does not alarm you as a religious traditionalist or conservative, then you might actually be dead. We absolutely must form right now — not tomorrow, right now — communities that socialize our children into the goodness of marriage and family. The broader culture knows what it believes, and it preaches this confidently. The churches are barely pushing back. And it shows.

News of the Times;
In college, I was refused membership in all the fraternities because I was circumcised.

Apparently you need to be a complete dick.


Yesterday is History.

Tomorrow a Mystery.

Today is a Gift That's why it's called the Present.

You know your family is poor as f#@k when all you get for Christmas is a metaphor.


At breakfast, a man asks his wife, "If I won the lottery, what would you do?"

She replied, "I'd take my half and leave you."

He followed with, "Great. I won $12 yesterday. Here's your 6 bucks, stay in touch."


Leaders across the Department of Defense celebrated the Christmas holiday by exchanging lobbyists, sources confirmed today.

“Ooh, is that a Raytheon? I’ve always wanted a Raytheon!” Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said during the annual Pentagon Christmas party while shaking a man-sized box sitting under a Christmas tree in the Pentagon courtyard. “My mom gets me a General Dynamics every year, and I’m soooo bored of it.”

The gift exchange, dubbed “TS/SCI Santa,” was classified at the highest levels, and each participant was only allowed access to see the specific gift that they’re given.

To keep the atmosphere light and playful, contracts signed during the lobbyist exchange were limited to 5 years and 3.5 billion dollars.

“We all remember that one time we did a lobbyist white elephant and it led to us signing off on the F-35 program. What a mess,” said Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I think there was a little too much Lockheed Martin-brand rum in the eggnog that year.”

According to officials, this year every Pentagon leader was expected to acquire a lobbyist, wrap it, and place it under the tree. Then on Christmas morning, gifts were exchanged at random, adding to the element of surprise, which is one of the principles of war.

Miller said the exchange added some much-needed cheer into a usually stern work environment.

“All year-round, we’re so serious about the fact that this whole system is just a racket to ensure money and contracts keep flowing, that we never just sit back and have some holiday laughs at the expense of taxpayers,” said Miller. “We forget that the military-industrial complex is supposed to be joyful and fun.”


A reminder that Wal-Mart will be closed on Christmas Day.

So both cashiers can spend the holiday with their families.

Quote of the Times;
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Contrast Between New York And Florida by Francis Menton

Of all the states, the one most comparable to New York by demographics is Florida. These two states are close not only in overall population, but also in relative numbers of immigrants and of minority groups. As to population, as recently as 2013, New York had slightly more population than Florida (both around 19.6 million), but since then Florida has been growing rapidly, while New York has been shrinking slowly. Pending release of final 2020 Census numbers, estimates put Florida’s current population at about 21.8 million, and New York’s at about 19.4 million.

Despite being, at least for now, relatively close in population and other demographics, New York and Florida could not be more different in their approaches to public policy. In Florida, Republicans have controlled the legislature (both houses) since 1997, and the governorship since 1999. Florida exemplifies the low tax, low spend, low regulation approach to state government. New York is firmly in control of the progressive left, and exemplifies high taxes, high spending, and high regulation.

Different policies lead to different results. For today I’ll focus mainly on the policy response to the Covid-19 virus. On this subject, the differences in policy mostly concern regulation, rather than taxing and spending.

Yesterday, I had a roundup of the current onerous regulatory response to the virus in New York. By contrast, Florida, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, has been very much at the opposite end of the regulatory response spectrum. As to results, here’s the bottom line: As one would expect, the economic decline caused by intentional government suppression of the economy has been much, much less severe in Florida than New York; but just as important, Florida has also experienced, and continues to experience, superior health results to New York. In other words, Florida stands as a clear demonstration that all of New York’s behavioral mandates (e.g., masks) and intentional destruction of small business have had no measurable effect whatsoever in decreasing spread of the virus or in improving health results.

As per my review yesterday, in New York City, restaurant dining has been severely restricted for months under fluctuating directives, and as of last week, by order of the Governor, all indoor restaurant dining has been shut down entirely, with no indication of when it may re-open. Theaters, concerts and performance venues are all shuttered, and it appears they will remain so at least until the Spring. Although not mentioned in yesterday’s post, since April 17 we have had a state-wide mandate for mask-wearing covering “anyone over the age of 2” when “in a public place.”

Florida at first imposed some substantial restrictions on restaurants and other indoor businesses, but began loosening them in early June, when, for example, bars and movie theaters were allowed to reopen. On September 28 Governor DeSantis issued an executive order rescinding almost all of the remaining restrictions. At a news briefing that day, DeSantis was quoted as saying “Every business has the right to operate,” and “We’re not closing anything going forward.” WebMD summarized Florida’s provisions going forward from that time:

Businesses that have used remote work protocols can return to unrestricted staffing at their offices. Employees can resume non-essential travel. Theme parks can return to normal operations, and gyms can operate at full capacity. Bars and clubs can operate at full capacity but with “limited social distancing protocols.”

In Florida today, theaters are open, concerts are happening, and the iconic theme parks are accepting visitors (if on a somewhat restricted basis).

As to masks, Florida never imposed a state-wide mandate, but instead left it up to each county to make its own decision. Twenty-two counties imposed mask mandates for at least some period of time, but 45 never did. Townhall on December 21 has a long piece (mostly based on a paywalled study of the data at Rational Ground) giving the results. Those results are totally devastating to any claim of effectiveness of mask mandates. From Town Hall (with internal quote from Rational Ground):

If masks did even close to as advertised, one would expect to see the counties that went maskless to be absolute dumpster fires next to the counties that implemented mandates, right? At the very least, the numbers should favor the masked areas by more than a percentage point or two. So, how did it go? Yep, it was the Mask Cult’s worse nightmare: “When counties DID have a mandate in effect, there were 667,239 cases over 3,137 days with an average of 23 cases per 100,000 per day. When counties DID NOT have a countywide order, there were 438,687 cases over 12,139 days with an average of 22 cases per 100,000 per day.”

In short, the mask-free counties actually had better health results than the counties with mask mandates.

As part of his September 28 directives, Governor DeSantis announced that he would not enforce any fines or penalties for failure to wear masks.

So let’s compare health and economic results as between Florida and New York. First, health:

• Florida. Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date (figures from as of December 22): 966. Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first, from Dec 21 back to Dec 12: 106, 86, 69, 108, 102, 112, 89, 137, 81, 71 — total of 961 over that 10 day period.
• New York. Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date: 1,886 (almost double Florida’s rate — and Florida has far more elderly people). Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first from Dec 21 to Dec 12: 179, 95, 85, 121, 156, 112, 126, 120, 87, 79 — total of 1160 over the ten days, or more than 20% more than Florida, even though Florida has more than 10% more population.

If New York’s elected leaders have anything to show for turning this city into a ghost town, you sure can’t find it in those statistics.

Now, as to economic statistics:

• Florida. Unemployment rate for November (most recent available): 6.4% (versus national rate of 6.7%)
• New York. Unemployment rate for New York State for November: 8.4%; for New York City, 12.1%. Clearly, New York City is bearing the brunt of the forced closures of the restaurant and entertainment industries.

For New York City, that extra almost 6% people unemployed by forced government action, as compared to Florida, represents about 200,000 people, most of them from the lower end of the income distribution. I suppose you could kind of, sort of justify intentionally putting all those people out of work if you could show some kind of health benefit from the decrees. But there is no health benefit to be shown. New York’s health results are demonstrably worse than those of Florida. The virus does its own thing, despite our dictators’ desperate need to show that they are “doing something,” however meaningless the “something” may be.

In other comparisons of public policy metrics between the two states, Florida’s annual state government budget is about $92 billion, while New York’s is $177 billion. How could that possibly be, when Florida has 10% more people? New York City spends almost $29,000 per student on K-12 education, while Florida spends less than $10,000 — and Florida gets somewhat better results on the NAEP national tests. And of course, New York has some of the highest income tax rates in the country, and yet has a legislature desperate to raise more revenue by hiking rates even higher; while Florida has no income tax at all and yet seems to have sufficient money to go around.

Florida shows us all what basic competent state government looks like. The extreme lack of competence in New York is simply shocking.

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My wife threatened to divorce me when I said I was going to give our daughter a silly name.

So I called her Bluff.


My dad sat me down, brought the laptop in and said, "Son, I think it's time to talk to you about pornography."

"What about it?" I replied.

"How the hell can I get past the filters without your mum knowing?"


LONDON - While filming the next Mission Impossible movie, an actor who believes Xenu stacked frozen aliens around volcanoes and then flew Douglas DC-8s over them to drop hydrogen bombs and blow them all to smithereens some 75,000,000 years ago shouted at his crew for not wearing masks and not listening to the science.

"We must listen to the science, do you understand me!?" shouted the man who follows the idea that a space lord alien dude came to Earth, then known as Teegeeack, part of a sector called the Galactic Confederation, and blew up a bunch of his people, which transformed them into thetans. "I'm sick and tired of all the ignorant beliefs going around this set! Come on, man!"

"Alright, I'm off to go clear some clusters of thetans off my body," he said, referring to his belief that the volcanoed, bombed aliens transformed into metaphysical creatures called "thetans" and now attach themselves to humans, and then must be cleared through a process that involves meditation, introspection, and giving the Church of Scientology millions of dolllars. "When I get back, I want everyone to be following..."

He left a dramatic pause here.



Indonesia is building their own version of "Jurassic Park", which means a resort on an island with over 1,000 Komodo Dragons.

Apparently, that's a third of the Komodo Dragons left in the world.

Unfortunately, last week, one of the workers was attacked by a Dragon and had to be rushed to a hospital.

Did we not learn anything from the movies?


Just wait until 2020 turns 21 and start drinking.

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The unarmed man is not just defenseless, he is also contemptible. — Machiavelli

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Where Did the New Mad Left Come From? by Victor Davis Hanson

Bouts of extreme leftism are frequent in history. Plato’s Apology, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Vladimir Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? — all offer us insight into the mind and methods of the hard Left.

America has experienced surges of mainstream anarchism, socialism, and communism, most profoundly during the late 19th century, amid the Great Depression, during the Soviet-American alliance of World War II and afterward, and in the 1960s. But rarely have these radical movements openly and without apologies made such inroads into and inside government and the establishment as during the past decade.

We had earlier seen massive rioting, looting, and iconoclasm, similar to the chaos of summer 2020. But seldom did they continue with the de facto approval of mayors who restrained the police and turned their downtowns over to virtual occupiers setting up “autonomous” zones. Nor had we see seen city councils defund police operations. New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio and Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan were not so much hard-Left Democrats or socialists as they were anarchists who ceded control of parts of American cities to other anarchists.

We cannot recall any district attorney in memory who simply declared that an entire array of crimes no longer existed, and that those convicted of them would be let loose on the public. Yet Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón recently announced that his office will not be charging anyone arrested for making criminal threats, possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia possession, being publicly intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, loitering to commit prostitution, resisting arrest, or a host of other crimes.

In essence, Gascón simply overrode the California legislature and his own county statutes. He has made up his own laws in his own private fiefdom of Los Angeles County — a jurisdiction of over 10 million, larger than 40 states.

Where and how did radical ideas such as the non-enforcement of laws, the Green New Deal, open borders, the -studies curricula of the university, or the political weaponization of professional sports come from?

What happened to the mainstream liberal, left-wing party of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton that it has been transmogrified into the neo-socialist movement of the Squad, Antifa, BLM, Kamala Harris, Bernie, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren? When and how did the three-decades-long socialist loudmouth of the Congress, perennially barking at the moon, suddenly become the driving force of the Democratic Party?


Globalization certainly changed the financial dynamics of the U.S.

Big Tech, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street became not multibillion-dollar centers of commerce, but multi-trillion-dollar nexuses as they capitalized on a new 7-billion-person market. This staggering concentration of wealth had a number of profoundly negative effects on the country.

Many in the new plutocracy were not business people in the traditional sense of making, growing, or transporting things. The old fortunes of timber, farming, railroads, gas and oil, construction, real estate, mining, manufacturing and assembly, and shipping paled in comparison with global finance, communications, media, entertainment, social media, and computer/Internet access. There was a certain grittiness, grounding, and earthy realism to the old money that is completely lacking in the new.

Once our generation’s multimillionaires reached billionaire status, they turned utopian. They psychologically squared the circle of their own privilege by supporting the sort of left-wing causes that would never have allowed them to make their own money. And they did this always with the understanding that they had enough money and influence to ensure that the consequences of their utopianism did not apply to themselves: Walls on the border are passé; walls around Silicon Valley and Napa estates are necessary; guns should be banned, except for my security detail; big carbon footprints are killing the planet, except those of my own private jet.

The really big global money now came more quickly and easily, as billionaires were harder left and younger, and discovered that they were exempt — in their tie-dyed T-shirts, flip-flops, and nose rings — from the usual leftist hits on capitalist “parasites.”

As a result, staggering amounts of penance and indulgence money have poured into left-wing media, foundations, universities, and Democratic-driven activism. The monopolist Mark Zuckerberg’s various fronts invested $350 million to “help” government bureaucracies “oversee” the vote. The piratical George Soros’s giveaway empire explains the rise of city and district attorneys whose radical agenda is to decriminalize much of what we used to call criminality.

The old “dark money” no longer exists. The once-demonized Koch brothers’ funding of conservative political activism is mostly now apologized for by its original architects — and yet it’s small potatoes compared with the new Democratic slush fund.

In radical-chic fashion, nothing makes a hip billionaire hipper than to brag at cocktail parties that he funded a local BLM chapter. Corporate boardrooms, enmeshed in vast lucrative partnerships with the Chinese and enjoying global markets, are now among the most powerful forces of radicalism.

CEOs assume that they have a blank check from the Left to leverage as much Chinese money as they wish, as long as they subsidize the radical agenda. And so they do, as they fund and advertise the entire climate-change, identity-politics, and globalist cause. None of this elite moral preening is completely new, when one remembers the naïve, culotte-wearing aristocrats who joined the Committee of Public Safety during France’s Reign of Terror, or the Russian landed gentry who believed that Lenin would work out for them too, or the mau-mauing flak catchers Tom Wolfe described in his account of late-’60s radical chic.

Indebted Wannabe Geniuses

From the 1970s to the 1990s, universities had lots of culture wars. But they were still constrained by budgets from hiring too many nonessential diversity and inclusion czars. Globalist capital had not yet quadrupled college endowments. Nor was there yet $1.6 trillion in federal money to institutionalize the new idea of massive student debt, which posed a moral hazard for the country.

Students and universities now no longer worry about budgets, inflationary tuition, or cost-to-benefit analysis of the new therapeutic undergraduate curricula.

The result?

Today 45 million students are in debt. Many are credentialed but ill-educated, and they lack the means to pay off their compound-interest obligations. They have grown accustomed to the good life on campuses, many of which are Club Med retreats where late teenagers play-act by bullying faculty and administrators with primal screams.

All too many lecture the country on their superior morality — and then graduate and face the reality that no one cares whether the barista who serves you a beer or the Uber driver who gives you a lift has a degree in environmental studies. Delayed marriage, delayed childbearing, delayed home purchases, delayed everything — all further radicalized youth, who are intrinsically prone to radicalism.

Again, the most dangerous cohort in history has been the half-educated — the on-and-off university student or upper-middle class elite who is aggrieved that his youthful genius is neither appreciated nor justly compensated.

“Elite glut” well describes millions in debt who feel they are owed quite a lot. The nasal-twanged Antifa wannabe Bolshevik is mostly furious that we who watch his psychodramas on television have not extended to him the status and wealth he thinks he has long ago earned.

Big Tech

Big Tech, as an original offshoot of university research centers, and geared to self-described young geniuses, became a leftist monopoly. When social media and the Internet began, the naïve assumed these were just delivery systems, not new tools of ideological persuasion.

But like a virus that alters the DNA of the host, the very ways we now access knowledge, communicate, fathom the news, advertise, buy, and sell are controlled, massaged, politicized, and weaponized by a few thousand prolonged adolescent, thirtysomething techies in Silicon Valley and its spin-offs.

When an ideology can use its monopolies to Trotskyize the past, cancel a career, depersonalize, censor, and ban — or warp the very ways we retrieve information — then 1984 is already here. We scarcely appreciate Silicon Valley’s power and how it has vastly changed our very language, culture, and politics.

The Obama Years

Barack Obama really did, as promised, “fundamentally transform” the country. He destroyed the old pretense of a centrist Democratic Party helmed by Southern twangers like Jimmy Carter (who promised to kick Ted Kennedy’s ass in the 1980 primary and did), Bill Clinton (who used to decry illegal immigration), and an earlier incarnation of Al and Tipper Gore (who used to rail about music-industry-sponsored pornographic lyrics).

Obama’s chief accomplishment was twofold. One, he ended the idea of affirmative action as a “white” population owing reparatory consideration to a largely African-American population in admissions and hiring as atonement for the wages of slavery, Jim Crow, economic disparity, and what is now known as “systemic racism.”

Two, Obama mainstreamed “diversity” as the new binary replacement. Anyone with even one drop of nonwhite ethnicity in his ancestry, or who was not male or heterosexual, joined an updated “rainbow coalition” of victims — including even Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill. And the oppressed didn’t need to worry about their own actual ancestry, the historical basis for claims of discrimination, or their own private experiences with prejudice — or lack of same.

Class mattered not at all. Nor did intermarriage, which under the melting pot had been making race a superficial construct, as the pedigrees of Americans became increasingly multifarious.

The consequences of this retrograde return to one-drop racialism and the stigmatization of the white male was that suddenly 30 percent of the country — from Oprah to Colin Kaepernick to Lisa Jobs to Pete Buttigieg to Jorge Ramos — was “diverse,” meaning somehow the victims of a toxic majority, which in truth under the new race and gender rules was a minority.

Barack and Michelle could be worth $100 million, own three mansions, enjoy multimillion-dollar corporate-consulting sinecures — and yet venture out from their enclaves from time to time to lecture the lathe worker in southern Ohio or the insurance salesman in Tennessee on their “systemic racism,” or hijack a funeral encomium to badger the country on the need to get rid of the “Jim Crow” filibuster and the ossified idea of a 50-state United States.

Residence on a bluff in Martha’s Vineyard was not at all incongruent with the radicalism of kindred souls hitting the streets to protest “systemic racism” and capitalist exploitation. Antifa and BLM were grifters whose criminality in the street, like Roman gangs of the past, could be turned on and off before the election as needed. No such groups would ever march, burn, or loot on Martha’s Vineyard or in Kalorama.

Once class under the tenets of cultural Marxism was largely ignored, the ranks of the victimized not only swelled and but grew wealthier and more powerful. So influential were they that the nation embraced flagellantism. Qualifying as a victim (however slight the grounds) meant that one could now castigate the entire unprivileged lower-middle working classes as privileged.

The immigrant CEO from India, the African-American multimillion-dollar media anchor, the Facebook female mover and shaker — all could now write off the deplorables/clingers/dregs/scum/ugly folk/chumps/irredeemables/smelly and toothless. And they could thereby obtain virtue-signaling tenure, despite their class privileges.

If globalization and the universities had not bifurcated the nation enough, Obama finished the project by divorcing the authentic history of bias, violence, and institutionalized racism of the African-American experience from the new official ecumenical victimhood.

The medieval indulgences sacralizing diversity worked for Obama as well. Who could believe that a diversity president really would build cages on the border, weaponize the IRS for his own political agenda, surveil the communications of Associated Press reporters, run guns to the cartels in Mexico, jail a video maker to mask the scandal of Benghazi, offer a quid pro quo on missile defense with Putin to help his own reelection campaign, and discredit the CIA, FBI, and DOJ to destroy an oppositional campaign, transition, and presidency?

Diversity people just don’t do those things. If they are suspected of unethical behavior, then they must have good reason for it; any perceived lapses are only a result of their passion for fighting bias, racism, sexism, and other -ologies and -isms.

Incredibly rich people in a few zip codes, wealthy left-wingers’ thirst for penance, the global accentuation of class and regional differences, the corporatization of the universities along with the pauperization of students, the construct of a new “diversity,” social media and the Internet, and the idea that the affluent can be oppressed on the basis of their appearance, while the poor and lower-middle class can be privileged on the same grounds — all that has created a radical new/old progressivism.

And our collective madness is just getting started.

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Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Large, small, circle, square, thin crust, deep dish, extra toppings…


What is the similarity between a communist and an IT technician?

They both believe restarting it might work.


A woman joins a country club and when she hears the guys talking about their golf round, she says, "I played on my college's golf team. I was pretty good. Mind if I join you next week?" No one wants to say 'yes', but they're on the spot…

Finally, one man says, "Okay, but we start at 6:30 a.m."

He figures the early tee-time will discourage her.

The woman says this may be a problem and asks if she can be up to 15 minutes late.

They roll their eyes, but say, "Okay."

She's there at 6:30 am. sharp and beats all of them with an eye-opening 2-under par round.

She's fun and pleasant and the guys are impressed.

They congratulate her and invite her back the next week.

She smiles, and says, "I'll be there at 6:30, or 6:45."

The next week she again shows up at 6:30 sharp.

Only this time, she plays left-handed.

The three guys are incredulous as she still beats them with an even par round, despite playing with her off-hand.

They're totally amazed.

They can't figure her out.

She's very pleasant and a gracious winner.

They invite her back again, but each man harbors a burning desire to beat her.

The third week, she's 15 minutes late, which irritates the guys.

This week she plays right-handed and narrowly beats all three of them.

The men grumble that her late arrival is petty gamesmanship on her part.

However, she's so charming and complimentary of their strong play, they can't hold a grudge.

This woman is a riddle no one can figure out.

They have a couple of beers in the Clubhouse and finally, one of the men asks her, "How do you decide if you're going to golf right-handed or left-handed?"

The lady blushes, and grins. "When my dad taught me to play golf, I learned that I was ambidextrous." she replies. "I like to switch back and forth."

"When I got married after college, I discovered my husband always sleeps in the nude. From then on, I developed a silly habit. Right before I leave in the morning for golf practice, I pull the covers off him. If his willie points to the right, I golf right-handed; if it points to the left, I golf left-handed."

The guys think this is hysterical.

Astonished at this bizarre information, one of the guys says, "What if it's pointing straight up?"

She says, "Then, I'm fifteen minutes late.


The judge says: “you must pay the court $12,000.”

Mario, surprised, asks: “Why?”

The judge replies: “It’s a fine.”

Mario, heartbroken, sadly says: “No itsa not.”


Microsoft have released a festive advent calendar this Christmas.

No chocolates, just a load of f#@k!ng updates every time you open your windows.

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Don’t whine about footballers taking the knee and then give them your money for tickets and gear. The Marxist virtue signalling will only stop when the money does. - @TheAliceSmith

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Governments have confiscated nearly $70 billion from Americans By Bob Unruh

'Civil forfeiture' gives law enforcement 'perverse' financial incentives

A new study by the Institute for Justice finds local and federal governments have confiscated nearly $70 billion from Americans over the last 20 years.

That's without any of the individuals being convicted of any crime, according to "Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.".

It's the third edition of the report, which includes 17 million data points from 45 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government.

It reveals a "massive nationwide problem," with governments taking "at least $68.8 billion – that we know of."

Not all states provided information.

"The heart of the problem remains poor state and federal civil forfeiture laws, which are little improved since the previous edition of 'Policing for Profit' was published in 2015,' said IJ senior director of strategic research and report co-author Lisa Knepper. "Most laws still stack the deck against property owners and give law enforcement perverse financial incentives to pursue property over justice."

The report gives a grade of D+ or worse to 35 states and the federal government. New Mexico earned the report's only A, largely based on a reform that removed many options for civil forfeiture and directed all proceeds to the state's general fund.

"Importantly, New Mexico’s reform has not compromised public safety, according to a new analysis published in the report. Compared to neighboring Texas and Colorado, New Mexico’s crime rates remained steady in the months and years following the reform, suggesting forfeiture does not deter crime and law enforcement are able to do their jobs without forfeiture proceeds," IJ said.

The report also shows forfeiture procedures seldom target big-time criminals.

"Data from 21 states show half of all currency forfeitures are worth less than $1,300, hardly the stuff of vast criminal enterprises and far less than it would cost to hire an attorney to fight back," said IJ.

"Despite its national prevalence and popularity with police and prosecutors, civil forfeiture simply doesn’t work," said IJ senior research analyst and report co-author Jennifer McDonald. "It doesn’t fight crime, it doesn’t target criminal kingpins, and it doesn’t support crime victims or community programs."

Civil forfeiture happens when police, or some other law enforcement officer, come across cash or a valuable asset then claim it might have been used in or the result of a crime. Often the owners never are charged, but they then must go to court to obtain the return of their private property.

Part of the problem is that frequently law enforcement agencies that confiscate cash or assets benefit from them if the owner is unable to fund a court fight to get it back.

"No one should ever lose their property without first being convicted of a crime, but lawmakers should be especially concerned about forfeiture abuse now, as local governments face increased fiscal pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic," said Knepper.

The report recommends that all civil forfeiture procedures be eliminated.

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