Monday, November 30, 2020

No perpetuity

I'd never heard of this before--from the UK:
The right at any time or times prior to the expiration of a period commencing on the 22nd day of December 1920 and terminating on the 20th anniversary of the death of the last survivor of the issue now living of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria to make connection with all or any of the part of the hereinbefore mentioned storm water drains and sewers ...

The questioner hadn't seen time limits defined by the lifetime of royalty before. The answer turned out to be

This is an attempt to escape the rule against perpetuities.

"No interest is good unless it must vest, if at all, not later than twenty-one years after some life in being at the creation of the interest."

...Because royal families are large and wealthy, the likelihood of one of them living ...(a long time)... is large.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


Every now and then I've had a lyrical idea that I tried to turn into a song. Somehow it never gets more than a few bars.(*) The words mostly come out OK, but the music in my head bores even me. Matching somebody else's tune is one thing, but making a competent tune of my own is hard. And there's a vast difference between competent and good, and I don't have a good feel for what makes that difference.(**)

Is this something one can learn, or is composing something you need a gift for?

(*) There's a story that a fan once approached a radio comic (Fred Allen?) with a great idea for a gag. The pro heard the setup and gag, and then encouragingly replied "What happens next?"

(**) Perhaps even the great ones don't--of the different peices in the same work one may be great and another just good.

Tablet Conducting

Back when tablets were starting to show up, I wondered if intelligent music stands would be useful. The conductor could annotate everybody's score at once, sync everybody to the same page at once--it would save some time, and maybe reduce page fumble accidents. Somebody else wondered too, but with enough money to hire the programmers to make it happen. I'm not sure about "No more unwanted page turns because of the wind: with iPads, your digital score is rock solid!" I've seen music stands fall over, and fallen paper usually sustains less damage than a fallen tablet.

I hadn't thought about page turn noise, but good riddance to it if this works. I'd bet a beep when your tablet updates could be noticeable at the back of the hall too.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


To brand-new eyes it's a brand-new world, and sometimes the older eyes can share that.

True, we live surrounded by pain caused by ignorance, carelessness, and malice--but also surrounded by beauty and order and love. Our lives and works were to draw an image of God on the canvas of the world, but that canvas has been grimed and slimed--but the same friction that wears away the good works to make room for new also wears away the evil. A little here, a little there; just a border skirmish(*) that events often seem to render moot.

Right now it's almost the same world, but with a new moment.

Fun little mysteries: a crow hopped down the edge of my neighbor's roof until it reached the gutter, from which it fetched a bright orange Cheeto and flew to the roof ridge to eat it. (maybe plundering a squirrel's stash?)

Encouraging actions: think about all the things that have to be organized and go right for a bus to show up on time at 9pm.

Perspective: just for fun I tuned in the local police dispatch. Thefts and drag racing and brandishing a gun, yes, but outnumbered by welfare checks--and lots and lots of dead air. (and a dead deer on a bike path)

And those brand-new eyes.

In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely ‘First Servant’. All the characters around him – Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund – have fine, long term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed as his master’s breast in a moment: then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted. C.S. Lewis

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Myths and an interesting quote

Rabbit tracking led to The Death of Zeus Kretagenes:
For an allusion to the manner of Zeus' death it is necessary to turn to Isho'dad, a follower of Nestorius, in his Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, who claimed as his source Theodore of Mopsuestia; in his note on Acts 17.28 Isho'dad reports:
The Cretans said about Zeus, as if it were true, that he was a prince, and was lacerated by a wild boar, and was buried; and behold! his grave is known amongst us; so Minos, the son of Zeus, made a panegyric over his father, and in it he said
"The Cretans have fashioned a tomb for thee, O Holy and High!
Liars, evil beasts, idle bellies;
For thou diest not; for ever thou livest and standest;
For in thee we live and move and have our being,"

An earthquake interrupted a sacrifice in a temple on Crete (or so I conclude from among the various arguments), and the interpretation of that in the paper linked above included the myth of the annual death of Zeus. I include his conclusion as an example of such conclusions (perhaps unfairly):

The case argued here is cumulative: that the worship of Zeus in Crete as a god who died, and was reborn, annually, was derived from the Minoan cult of a god of vegetation who similarly died and was reborn; that the (albeit limited) evidence, that Zeus died by being tom by a boar, associates him as dying god with other vegetation gods, such as Adonis and Attis, who also were killed by a boarj that the death and burial of Zeus were associated with Mt. Iouktas because its profile represented the dead god reclining in death, and that the mountain thus took the name 'sacred mountain of Zeus'. It may thus be far from coincidental that it is on this same mountain that the remains were discovered of what has been termed by the excavators a human sacrifice, during the ritual of which the young male victim had been done to death with a blade bearing the representation of a boar. ...

that the earthquake interrupted the very ritual of the vegetation god's annual death, gored by the wild boar. I suggest that, during the time of the Mycenaeans' presence in Crete, the name of their supreme god, the IndoEuropean sky-god Zeus, came to be associated, quite inappropriately, with this ritual of the Minoans' dying god of vegetation; and that consequently there arose in Crete alone the tradition of the dying Zeus, for which the inhabitants of the island were subsequently condemned as liars by all other Greeks.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Limits and Renewals

Kipling wrote a number of stories after the War to End Wars. I hadn't seen any before. Limits and Renewals is a collection of short stories, bracketed with poems. They won't replace The Jungle Books, and getting through the dialects is sometimes a chore, but some are fun and some memorable. He proffers, though on the basis of what experience I don't know, a cure for The Black Dog. The Miracle of Saint Jubanus is fun; similarly A Naval Mutiny. The Church that was at Antioch imaginatively reconstructs--but with, unfortunately, some lack of knowledge of religious history. The Manner of Men works better.

The effects of the late war on men show up over and over, and so do doctors. There's a little sci-fi, too.

All in all: it's a little grim, but with some good parts.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Kids not in schools

I have not tracked down the references for the Supplement's eAppendix to the JAMA report purporting to estimate the effect of school closings on life expectancy via a correlation between years of education and life expectancy.

Yes, I went "Say what?" too, which is why I decided to have a look. (I got there through trying to figure out how many students weren't really attending school. I read an estimate that over 1/3 of the Chicago Public School students never connected, and I see quite a few kids playing outside during "school-time. Maybe they're homeschooled.)

Evidence suggests that missing school has adverse effects on eventual educational attainment. A longitudinal study of teacher strikes in Argentina revealed that disrupted schooling lowered graduation rates, total educational attainment, and subsequent income. An educational reform in Belgium differentially affected Flemish-speaking and French-speaking parts of the country and resulted in strikes of approximately 60 days in the French-speaking part of the country against none in the Flemish-speaking part. Using this natural experiment in a difference-in-difference framework, economists estimated the long-term effects of these strikes on educational attainment to be a 5.8% reduction in total years of educational attainment, a somewhat larger effect than that identified in Argentina. Prolonged strike studies in the United States and Canada are lacking, but even short-term strikes were found to result in diminished test scores. One US report found that the single best predictor of high-school graduation was fourth-grade reading test scores: 23% of children who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade will not graduate high school, compared with 9% of those who are.

One of these things is not like the other things, of course--the predictor is a correlation that doesn't distinguish between test scores that are lower because of lack of teaching and those that are lower because of lack of interest or ability. The Belgian study is an estimate, not a measurement--and the Flemish and French speakers have different distributions to begin with. Only the Argentine study is relevant to the issue at hand.

That Argentine study is interesting. One of the effects they found was a shift from studying to "home production" when strikes lasted a long time, which in that environment would contribute to the lower lifetime income they find. ("males to sort into lower skill occupations", "females to move toward home production") I'd like to have seen the distributions rather than just the averages, but the effect looks real.

In our case we don't have teacher strikes--at least for now. We do have a lot of kids who get much less schooling attention than they used to. The number of students who don't log in every day overestimates the number not studying that day ("doing assigned work that does not require a daily check-in"). The 15,000 high school students that LA is worried about here sound like they were in marginal situations to begin with thanks to family situations and family dynamics, and now are completely off the school's radar. The odds of them excelling were never good--now they probably need some kind of adult education catch-up to reach those that will eventually want an education.

I wonder how much of the lack of student contact is a measurement of underlying problems not ever under the schools' control. I wonder if the teachers in the City Journal article have as much impact on student's lives as they think they do.

Homeschooled students are probably doing fine, but I'd guess that parents motivated enough to do that would also notify the school about it, and thus the kids would not be counted as missing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

All I want is ...

"The Campus Planning Committee unanimously voted last week to recommend to Chancellor Rebecca Blank that the boulder be removed from Observatory Hill."

The Wisconsin Black Student Union is mad about Chamberlin rock because it was called something else once 95 years ago. I noted that the furore would resurrect a long-forgotten name. McWhorter seems to have ambitions beyond the symbolic: "After the rock is removed, the Black Student Union's focus will shift to generating ideas for how students of color can reclaim the space, such as installing a piece of art". That's an interesting choice of words. "reclaim" ?

This might be amusing. The effort to remove is purely power politics--the claim that it was a daily reminder of oppression is an obvious lie. But it turns out that another minority group has a stake in the hill--and this stake is statutory.

"UW-Madison needs to secure approval from the Wisconsin Historical Society before removal begins because the rock is located near an effigy mound.

The first step requires UW-Madison to submit a request to disturb a catalogued burial site. All Native Tribes of Wisconsin are notified during the process, which can take 60 to 90 days and includes a 30-day comment period. A qualified archeologist is also required to be on site during removal.

Languages and logos

I think they did an interesting job with the logo. I assume there are legal requirements for three languages, and to provide symmetry they add the fourth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

What if: Shakespeare

Our Youngest Daughter is currently fascinated with and learning about the Original Pronunciation of Shakepeare's plays, and speculations about original staging as well.

Flip the focus: If Shakespeare had modern theater layout and equipment at his disposal, would he keep the old staging or chuck it for something easier? Sets would be easier to manage, and entrances and exits be more flexible with the modern layout. The compromises on which way the actors face would be different--I'd think easier. And he'd have much better behaved audiences.

I suspect he would enthusiastically take to using actresses.

But if you introduced him to movies, and the possibilities in retakes and mixing close-ups and medium shots, would he hire a producer and switch? I'm not expert, but what I've seen suggests that movies need more and more varied visual action than stage plays--or at any rate, people expect it so it has to be there. What approaches he would use? He liked to throw in puns and bawdy jokes--maybe some slapstick?

I'd bet he'd keep an eye on what the modern customers wanted, and make the productions shorter.

And I'd bet the Shakespeare scholars would disdain the movies.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The nail

I saw the It's not about the nail video a few months ago, and chuckled.

Curious about a detail, I searched for it again and found sombre expositions explaining that it really wasn't about the nail; that she never once said she wanted help or any kind of resolution; she just wanted to be heard. Roger that. I think. Although suggesting a solution does seem to acknowledge your problem, doesn't it? You were just more efficient at communicating it than you expected.

Suppose I take a different approach: "What Would Jesus Do?"

Hmm. I find Him asking questions. "Do you want to get well?" and "What do you want Me to do for you?"

And... "And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief."

Of course, I'm not Jesus, nor (at least so far) one of those deputized to say "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." And when I hear a problem, most of the time the most obvious cause is a symptom of something I know nothing about. So it makes good sense for me to listen a lot.

Sometimes just listening isn't easy, especially when the sufferer wants to sling blame around. Or seems (to me) to have a history of loving to complain. I have a finite reserve of patience...

Which probably means I'd make a lousy therapist.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

This was recommended to us a couple of months ago, as a way to understand how this person saw the state of the nation and what this person most feared.

I put off finishing it. But to ship things back to the library and help declutter the house:

On pages 24 and 25 you find their key indicators of authoritarian behavior.

  1. Rejection of (or weak commitment to) democratic rules of the game.
    • Reject Constitution or willing to violate it
    • Imply need for antidemocratic measures (e.g. cancelling elections)
    • Endorse using force, mass protests, etc to change government
    • Attempt to undermine election legitimacy
  2. Deny legitimacy of policital opponents.
    • Describe rivals as subversive
    • Claim rivals are existential threat
    • Baselessly describe rivals as criminal
    • Baselessly describe rivals as foreign agents
  3. Toleration or encouragement of violence.
    • Ties to armed gangs, etc
    • Encourage mob attacks on opponents?
    • Refused to condemn violence
    • Praised violence in past or elsewhere
  4. Ready to curtail civil liberties of opponents.
    • Supported laws or policies that restrict civil liberties
    • Threatened legal or other punative action against critics
    • Praised repression elsewhere

The main villain of the book is Trump, of course, with his "erosion of norms," which sounds a little like the classic "The fight started when he hit me back."

The book starts with Nixon, and then jumps to Garland (what happened to Bork, hmmm?) "Why was most of the norm breaking being done by the Republican Party? ... Republican voters rely more heavily on partisan news outlets than Democrates do. ... Rush Limbaugh, ... all of whom have helped to legitimate the use of uncivil discourse, have few counterparts among liberals." It goes on to describe the tit for tat escalations.

The lack of self-awareness is staggering. Occupy, Antifa, the violent wing of BLM: The violent mob attacks are leftist. The rejection of the democratic rules of the game is (for the moment) from the Democrats. The curtailing of free speech is leftist and Democrat. Threatening the media was something Trump did (to his shame), but he did not and could not follow through. Threatening and silencing individuals and groups is commonplace--from the left.

And it isn't undermining an election's legitimacy to notice that there's been fraud. We've all known about Chicago, and Minneapolis, and several other hot-spots, for years. No doubt it's a shock to the patient when the doctor says there's a tumor, but that's not a good reason to conceal the diagnosis.

They have a valid observation in the "Saving Democracy" chapter: "if President Trump were impeached without a strong bipartisan consensus, the effect would be to reinforce--and perhaps hasten--the dynamics of partisan antipathy and norm erosion that helped bring Trump to power to begin with. As much as a third of the country would view Trump's impeachment as the machinations of a vast left-wing conspiracy--maybe even as a coup." Got it in one, there.

They hope for a broad coalition against Trump that includes (e.g.) "evangelicals and secular feminists." At this point (as they noted but I didn't see them analyze) we have a religious divide, not just a political one, and that kind of coalition just isn't going to appear unless one or both sides give up their religion.

They don't want the Democrats to abandon "identity politics."

They recognize that their goal of "a multiethnic democracy in which no particular ethnic group is in the majority and where political equality, social equality and economies that empower all" has never been achieved, but they consider it "America's great challenge." With the current definition of "social equality" (i.e. interchangeablity, every group/sex equally represented everywhere), I don't see how it is possible. And I notice that liberty doesn't appear in their list of desiderata.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Goose Pond

At an Audobon sanctuary near us, we stopped to look at the birds on the pond. My first reaction was "Wow, there must be a hundred swans there!" I'd never seen so many in one place. 227. Including a family with 5 cygnets. Life must be good for them in the area, for so many of the chicks to make it.

UPDATE: Today (14-Nov, the day after), I'm told no swans remain. They must have gathered for the migration flight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


The supper-table conversation turned to which of the Narnia books was favorite. I said that wasn't easy--sometimes I had a taste for one and sometimes another. It would be easier to answer which I liked the least.

I was, of course, completely outvoted. The Horse and His Boy was fine, but is my least favorite.

Granted, there's no accounting for tastes, but I like to try to figure things out, and I think I came up with an explanation.

I like "high fantasy," mysterious possibilties, and epic myth--and the eucatastrophe. The Magician's Nephew offers the end of a world, the beginning of another, and a wood between the worlds of endless possibilities. So too, in a fuller way, does The Last Battle.

I think Out of the Silent Planet is fine, but Perelandra is far better--and it partakes more of the mythic. That Hideous Strength I had trouble with the first time I read it (freshman in college, I think), but I have since come to appreciate it much more. It mixes the ordinary and mythic in a way that Tolkien thinks owed a lot to Charles Williams. I think Williams generally did a better job finding the supernatural in the ordinary, but Lewis was very ambitious with T.H.S. and included many more moving peices than Williams ever did.

The Pilgrim's Regress has a mythic arc to it too, but it was one of Lewis' earlier works, and as he himself confessed, was excessively obscure. Till We Have Faces is good, and has a mythic climax, but somehow never quite caught my imagination the way some of the others did. But I've gone back to The Man Who Was Thursday many times.

Monday, November 09, 2020

A risky profession?

Two auditors (Peters and Gifty) died in Peter's parked car on 2-Oct, another (Fahnboto) in an accident two days later, and a fourth (Nyeswa) was found dead of an apparent fall in his compound on the 10'th. All were either from the Internal Audit Agency or the Liberian Revenue Authority.

Autopsy results are delayed since reports and specimens were sent to an overseas lab for corroboration.

The auditors were reported to be working on the alleged mismanagement of $48M (US) donated to fight Coronavirus in Liberia. (The Information Minister denies this.) One site claims that the police drove Peter's car away from the scene to secure it--which doesn't sound like the aftermath of a bad accident.

But, after you read all these things, what do you know about the situation? The Liberian media are even worse than the US media (believe it or not) at making things up and reporting rumors as fact.

Sunday, November 08, 2020


In Kings we read of burning human bones on an altar to pollute it. That's a kind of cremation, obviously--bones shouldn't burn. Right?

At a Geology Museum show the director spoke of burning bones to make smoke. He didn't explain how, but evidently there was something I was missing. He said that the word bonfire came from "bone-fire", and the dictionary says that appears to be correct.


Experiments in Bone Burning: they tried to ignite bones with dry grass on windy Wisconsin days. Not much luck. You have to get the bone hot enough to melt the fat--that's what burns. They tried burning boiled bone too--it was too windy, and I suspect it wouldn't work at all. If you boil them to get the nutritious fat out, what's left to burn?

Instructables offers to teach us how to burn bones, though that's mostly about turning bones into fertilizer. If you prefer something a little drier, try The Use of Animal Bone as Fuel in the Third Millennium BC Walled Enclosure of Castanheiro do Vento: "The various experimental studies that have been published have shown that the use of isolated bones to ignite a fire is completely ineffective. But according to the observations of Théry-Parisot (2002), fires that contain a mixture of bone fragments and wood fuel are longer lasting than those with only wood." You have to love the word choices: "One of the salient features of the use of osteological elements in combustion is the lack of coal production as it happens with fuel wood. It seems that the exclusive reliance on combustion bones cannot be used in the context of long-term fire or for cooking." Hmm. Fat rendered from bones doesn't make long-lasting coals. Who would have guessed?

So the museum director was mostly wrong--if all you have is bones you're not going to get a fire started. But... you learn something new every day.

Antifa trans

Andy Ngo has been reporting from Portland for months, and posting about the catch-and-release of the rioters.

One feature jumps out at me--the disproportionate number of rioters who identify as "non-binary" or "trans." Why? Maybe Ngo picks them for effect--in which case the number of arrests must be an order of magnitude or two bigger than he is reporting. I'll assume the reports are real.

I'd not noticed that body dysphorias made people more violent. Maybe sufferers are more likely to blame society these days for the fact that their new identity doesn't bring joy. Maybe there's some other psychological problem that is more likely to be violent, that the current fashions map that problem onto body dysphoria.

Maybe its a founder effect--the recruiters wound up with a lot of them once, and frontline street enforcer got to be known as a "trans" thing, and it has been like that ever since.

Or maybe the enforcers who come from the priviledged class have poorer street smarts than the rest, and get caught more often.

I'm not inclined to hang out with them to try to find out. I'm not a good liar, and I'd get beaten up for my pains.

Saturday, November 07, 2020


On the brighter side of things:

Years ago I proposed that each doctoral student prepare, alongside his thesis, a "poster-session" summary aimed at a high-school audience. In many STEM cases, this requires quite a lot of supporting material (e.g. what a vector is, what chelation is, etc). This has three good effects: The student learns how to explain his work to the layman, interested laymen can learn where their tax dollars are going, and the university gets some exposure.

The notion faced polite lack of interest.

But the UW is trying an experiment. They are offering a cash grant for students to add a chapter to their thesis explaining either the significance of their work or how they came to work on it--trying to convey the excitement that inspired them.

That seems like a step in the right direction. Academic researchers are commissioned to "find out what's over the next hill" and report back--and we're not always good at the "reporting back" part.

Of course some "disciplines" would be a little embarassing to translate (see chapter 20)


Friday, November 06, 2020

The next step

In California several propositions went down to defeat: 15, which would have revoked the famous Proposition 13 that froze property taxes (under certain conditions); 16, which would have rescinded a constitutional provision banning discrimination (negative or positive) because of race, sex, etc; 21, to let local governments institute rent controls. All of these were beloved of leftists and heavily supported, and apparently the polls were dead wrong about them. In Illinois a tax scheme nominally intended to raise taxes on the rich (but I gather had the side effect of making it far easier to raise taxes on everybody), also failed, despite vast support.

Given the success of ballot manipulations in Milwaukee, Atlanta, et al, I suspect such unlooked-for accidents won't happen again.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Tactical Defeat

I suspect carelessness when I hear the phrase "tactical defeat." I gather it can mean one of several things: abandoning a position in hopes your adversary will over-reach (like a chess sacrifice), abandoning a position you can't sustain without major reconfiguration and collecting new resources, or abandoning a position as an olive branch for eventual compromise.

The third isn't much use when your adversary treats the conflict as a war, which is pretty close to the attitude now. And the rules of modern politics are more like Calvin-ball than chess--words and rules change without warning. Don't count on your adversary being stupid.

That leaves the second: the "I shall return" approach. Maybe you will, or maybe the Overton Window shift will make it harder--especially if there's now a bureaucracy which lives from the new policy.

In no case does it sound like any kind of advantage.

It may work out that way. History is full of comebacks. Still, counting on comebacks seems like a poor bet--unless you have inside information. Some of us live in hope of a major come-back-- a eucatastrophe--on better grounds than those who trust in politics and war can boast.

Freelancing journalists

The first story:
"Chris David, a reporter working for Radio Paraclete, has been found dead in Gbarnga with gunshots wounds. David’s death has sparked protests from motorcyclists in Gbarnga, who are demanding the intervention of the Liberia National Police."

A follow-up story:

Ballah said as a mark of respect and protest for the death of Chris, all radio stations in the county have decided to suspend major programs for several days.


They further said should all of the mentioned actions fail to yield any fruitful results; they will shut down all of their radio stations because the police cannot guarantee the safety and protection of their employees.


Chris was said to have also been a motorcyclist who does his normal hustle when he’s off duty.

The latest update:

Prince Garlawolo, a notorious criminal in Gbarnga, Tuesday admitted to police investigators that he and the deceased Radio Paraclete journalist Chris David had gone to steal a goat on the night of October 29 on Tucker Farm before he (David) was shot in the stomach by the owner of the farm.


Garlawolo, who was arrested on November 2 following a manhunt, informed police that he and David had been successful in stealing goats at night and selling to a local restaurant owner in Gbarnga, Geeta Bryant.

Radio Paraclete is a Catholic radio station that began broadcasting on Pentacost 2020.

Sometimes it pays to wait for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Election fraud

There'll be some, of course. Some of it is legal (ballot harvesting in California cough cough). And ballots will mysteriously appear in car trunks, if past history is anything to go by. I expect the latter to draw a lot of unwanted attention--so the usual suspects may be a little less ambitious in their efforts.

Mail-in ballots offer no guarantee of privacy or lack of coercion. (And some states have a history of not dealing with them well--especially military ballots.)

The door-to-door harvesting is more efficiently done in high population density areas--the big cities. And chicanery with boxes of ballots is also more easily done in a place where you can have a critical mass of the corrupt, and a complicated-enough organization to obscure what's going on from innocent eyes.

For state-wide races (e.g. for senator or presidential elector), that economy of scale makes the big cities the most important foci of fraud. And because big cities currently tend to skew to one particular party, the fraud will generally skew that way too. The more diffuse fraud (intimidation of family members, etc) should be more uniform.

Sunday, November 01, 2020


AVI has some links about reasons for voting, including a defense of negative voting. I have had a strongly negative judgment of one of the candidates for many years, and some new positives for the other; but I notice that quite a few people I know have exactly the reverse.

If Trump wins, several cities will have what Michael Yon calls Flat Screen Riots, and the smart money says several more (e.g. Portland) will have insurrectionist riots. The latter is a safe bet because those insurrectionist riots are ongoing. They seem restricted to a few friendly locations--whether that's because they need friendly DAs or because the core cadre is small, I don't know, but I predict more of the same.

Actually, I'm surprised Madison hasn't seen more of them. I wish I knew the details of why it hasn't--mostly there've been street-clogging demonstrations, and most of those peaceful. (I know a few participants.) I'm guessing the Antifa leaders got their orders to stand down, but maybe the local prosecutors made it clear they weren't friendly.

As to the bigger picture: I'll take a little risk here. I don't know what his heirs think, but I suspect Richard wouldn't mind the unauthorized reprint at a time like this.

Richard Armour
Lines for the Day After Elections

The sun still rises in the east,
The song of skylarks has not ceased,
The mountains stand, the seas are calm, 
I hear no detonating bomb.

The banks are open, trains on time,
The morning paper's rich with crime,
A stream of traffic fills the street,
The ground is firm beneath my feet.

No cataclysmic conflagration
As yet has swept our luckless nation.
No sign of doom have I detected,
  Although my man was not elected.

Of course, sooner or later there will be disaster, and it will be worse the longer the cans get kicked down the road. But not Wednesday.