Screams of whiskey

We constantly hear how we need to get the money out of politics. Everyone knows money corrupts, so getting the money out of politics? By all means.

But while we’re at it, can we get the celebrity out of life?

It’s bad enough we have these often undereducated but very, very rich actors, actresses, musicians and athletes use their precious award-show or post-game camera time sputtering some banal but “important” political point, instead of doing what they’re good at: entertaining us with a droll or witty story (well, at least the actors, actresses and musicians; I’m still not quite clear on what the post-game athlete interview offers).

The actors, actresses, musicians and athletes say they speak out because they can “change” things. They might be right, and that’s a poor reflection on the voters or anyone else who lets celebrity opinions affect their own. But the celebrities use their fame as the currency to get themselves on the air in the first place, so they can spout their opinions. Why this is more acceptable than a successful businessman using his money to buy airtime to spout his opinions is a mystery to me.

The problem is, more and more, celebrity culture is like some bamboo tree with a root system tossing up new shoots all over the field. The similarities between show business and politics left one hoping it was a natural grafting of two branches of the same species, both favoring a mulch heavy in narcissism and vapidity, and that the damage would be limited.

But it is not so.

Jamie Foxx is buying a flavored whiskey company.

Weird, I thought whiskey already had a flavor, called “whiskey.”

The only value Jamie Foxx brings to whiskey is his money and celebrity. He’s not even getting into whiskey because he loves flavored whiskey. As he admits in the trade publication, the Hollywood Reporter, he’s getting into it because he saw it was a popular drink at the parties he threw. Other people liked it. He saw an investment opportunity.

As the Hollywood Reporter also notes, Foxx follows in the footsteps of actor Ryan Reynolds and Aviation vodka, and actor Dwayne Johnson and Teremana Tequila. And, in Foxx’s dream of dreams, in the footsteps of actor George Clooney, who sold his tequila company, Casamigos, for $1 billion.

Now, none of those actors know anything about making a worthy liquor. They’re just rich dudes with too much money sitting around, and people will buy their liquor and we’re going to have something called flavored whiskey everywhere now. Well done, people.

I mean, if you’re going to buy a celebrity whiskey, at least make it a proper Irish whiskey.

Sports report

With the Super Bowl finally over, the football season has officially come to an end, and the really exciting part of the year has begun – the off-season. This year’s off-season promises to be among the most thrilling yet, with scads of the sport’s top players at the most important position, quarterback, becoming free agents or demanding trades. Not only that, but the surest thing in sure-thing history, the kid from Clemson — he’s pretty tall, has long hair, acts polite, remember that guy? — is coming out of college early to join the league. It’s all very exciting.

Will the Dallas Cowboys be able to re-sign their star quarterback, whose name escapes me at the moment? Only wildcat owner Pete “Lasso” Priscoe knows for sure, and the ol’ oilman ain’t giving any hints which way he’ll go. We’ll have to keep a sharp eye on the old cowboy to get any sense if he’ll win the off-season.

Meanwhile, down the road apiece in New Orleans, the Saints’ legendary quarterback, guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer, you know the dude, white guy, looks kind of normal, brown hair, balding — anyway, looks like he’s set to retire or something, so the coast is clear for General Manager Sonny “Just a Po’ Boy” Boudreaux to make some major moves. No getting around it, though – the cap’s got Sonny hogtied to some degree, so it’s going to take some dandy maneuvers for him to be able to sign the players he’s going to need to stay in the hunt for the off-season title. We’ll have to keep a sharp eye on the Po’ Boy over at the Superdome.

And don’t sleep on New England.  The Patriots’ main man, Coach Billy “Grumpa” Bells, who calls all the shots in Beantown, should be on the lookout for a new signal caller. The one he had, the one from Carolina who replaced the one guy who went down to Tamp Bay, he’s probably gone, so Grumpa will no doubt make some major offers this off-season. He might even trade a player or two, which would really show the skills you need to make it in the NFL these days. Best to keep a sharp eye out on ol’ Grumpa.

So good luck to all these major players.  Professional athletics requires not only the highest negotiating and contract drafting skills, but also the cold-hearted business sense to trade away or cut a popular player when the off-season hangs in the balance. We can only marvel as we watch these wizards go to work. Go team!

Essentially worthless

Cases of Wuhan virus infections continue to drop, and, as reported by Dr. Marty Makary in the Wall Street Journal, over the last six weeks, are down a whopping 77%.  Approximately 15% of Americans have been vaccinated, which is certainly helping, as is herd immunity – so many people have had the virus, and developed natural immunity, without even knowing it. Dr. Makary, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that testing for the virus catches only 10-25% of the total number of infections, so millions have been infected and never knew it, or never reported it. He predicts the Wuhan virus will be essentially gone by April.

Great news! Schools can re-open! Restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, movie theaters! Life can return, right?

Fortunately for Dr. Markary, he does not live in the Teacher’s Republic of California. Here, middle school principals tell families it is highly unlikely schools will fully reopen by fall. Here, cities actually have to sue their own school districts to try to get them to reopen. Here, school board members, confronted at a board meeting via Zoom by families fed up with the closures, complain that the parents only “want[ed] their babysitters back,” just wanted their kids in school so they could smoke pot, and privately threaten to “f— up” those who dare “call [them] out.”

Can we all stop pretending the education establishment has anything but their own best interests in mind?

My eternal thanks and admiration for all those doctors, nurses, police officers, grocery store clerks, auto mechanics, postal workers, gas station attendants, restaurant cooks and servers, and all those other workers who went out into the world during this once-in-a-century (right? right?) pandemic to do what had to be done to keep our society going as much as possible.

Incredibly, public school teachers are not among those who can be so thanked, for whom we can be so grateful. Instead, they holed up, forced our kids to try to learn through an electronic screen maybe a foot wide, without sports, without assemblies, without lunch on any quad. The school establishment claims to care about their students’ mental health, even as they force them into isolation and loneliness.

And still today, as the virus wanes and the nation’s health returns, the public school teachers cower, and President Biden, who so conspicuously vowed to “follow the science,” instead cowers in pale imitation of the teachers’ example.

But hey, education is essential.  They promise.

Democratic governance

While D.C. Democrats try to impeach now-former President Trump, a constitutionally-questionable but revealing move – seems they can’t believe Biden won, either – the Democratic governors of the nation’s two largest states, California and New York, are in crisis mode.

A senior aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo – son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo – has now confessed to covering up the numbers of nursing home deaths caused by the Wuhan virus, which should doom Cuomo’s political present, let alone future. The poor dears were worried big bad President Trump was going to use the data against them politically, so they decided to lie to the public.

Last March, as the Wuhan virus took hold, Cuomo notoriously ordered infected elderly patients to return to their nursing home residence, where the virus would spread like, well, a highly contagious virus. In the U.S., 34% of all Wuhan-related deaths have been in nursing homes.

Cuomo claimed there had been 8,500 Wuhan-caused deaths in New York nursing home. Turns out it was nearly 15,000 people who died.

A man of any trace of honor would have resigned his office, but the days of honor seem lost, a relic of another time. Only chumps resign office these days, it seems.

Meanwhile, in California, the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom is on. The recall campaign reports it has obtained the required 1.5 million petition signatures, a month ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day deadline. Once the signatures are confirmed, the state Secretary of State – Democrat Shirley Weber – will schedule a recall election, likely in the fall.

The only other California governor to be recalled successfully was Democrat Gray Davis in 2003, replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. So far, Republican John Cox, the Republican candidate who lost to Newsom in 2018, has announced his intention to run again, as has the former mayor of San Diego, Republican Kevin Faulconer.

Trump’s former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, appears set to run as well.

The media will be disappointed to know that one-time Bruce-named Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner has declined to run. The media’s loss is sanity’s gain.

Some strategists claim Grenell’s candidacy will doom the effort at unseating Newsom, turning the election into a contest between Newsom and a Trumpist. But that ignores the dynamics of a California recall election.

On the recall ballot, voters will be asked two questions: shall Newsome be recalled, and, if so, who shall be governor? If more than 50% vote to recall Newsom, then whoever gains the majority of the remaining vote wins. Which means Grenell needs only a plurality of votes, not a majority, to be elected. With Trump still seeing strong support among Republican voters, dismissing Grenell’s chances would be unwise.

Brock Vond’s Revenge

Ferris Buehler once said, “Life moves pretty fast.” The truant wasn’t kidding. Seems just yesterday All Cops Were Bastards, or something, and burning government buildings down was peaceful protest, and suggesting the National Guard be used to quell rioters was actual violence.

Those were the days, my friend.

Now, 26,000 National Guard troops patrol D.C. like the capitol of some Banana Republic after a junta-staged coup, and cops are bastards unless they’re protecting politicians from the mob, and if you’re not cooperating with the FBI, you’re really endangering your future there, kid.

Bank of America really took that last one to heart. As reported by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, America’s second-largest bank, with more than 60 million customers, secretly searched through its massive database of its customers’ financial and transaction records to determine if any of its customers took part in the riots on January 6 in Washington, D.C.

Without its customers’ knowledge or consent, the bank, per Carlson, sought customers who made purchases in D.C. between January 5-6, customers who paid for hotel or lodging in D.C, Virginia and Maryland after January 6, and any purchases of weapons or at a weapons-related merchant between January 7 and Inauguration Day, and airline related purchases since January 6.

None of these actions are illegal.

Bank of America turned over to the FBI the records of 211 customers who met this profile.

What an incredible breach of trust Bank of America has committed. They have no right to go through its customers private financial records, much less to give them to the FBI.

Per the New York Post, Bank of America responded: “We don’t comment on our communications with law enforcement. All banks have responsibilities under federal law to cooperate with law enforcement inquiries in full compliance with the law.”

B of A is likely referencing the Bank Secrecy Act, the 1970 law intended to combat “money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal acts and the misuse of our nation’s financial institutions,” as one of the agencies charged with enforcing the law puts it.

But nothing in the records Bank of America searched and turned over to the FBI could possibly suggest anything even illegal, let alone related to terrorism or “other criminal acts.” Even buying a t-shirt at a gun shop would set off the Bank of America snoops.

Bank of America should be ashamed of itself, but in a shameless world, I won’t hold my breath. As ever, the banks are their own best argument for going bankless. I just never pegged them for Frenesi Gates.

Word of the week

Democrats have started using a word with increasing frequency recently. White House domestic policy advisor and former UN Ambassador Susan Rice stated that the White House will work to push “racial justice and equity” and “equity for families.”

Press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden Administration considered immigration part of “racial equity.”

And Joe Biden himself sputtered that “equity and justice” must be “part of what we do every day.”

Leftists care deeply about words. From parsing definitions of “is” to mysteriously finding distinctions with a difference between “persons of color” and “colored persons,” what words are used, and how, are of supreme importance to the Left. Apparently, using “black” to describe people with heritage from certain parts of Africa is discouraged, but using Black – capital “B” – is acceptable. Leftists will even attempt to colonize a foreign language to impose their gender hang-ups on other cultures (good luck finding a Latino or Latina who actually uses “Latinx”).

So now, the new Biden Administration has begun using the word, “equity.” Sounds like “equality,” and everyone likes equality, right?

My 1960 Britannica World Language Dictionary defines “equity” as “[f]airness or impartiality; justness…Something that is fair or equitable.”

In Anglo-American common law, “equity” is a concept that provides certain justifications for a judge to rule in favor of one party or another, not based on law, but based on similar concepts of fairness or justness.  Bankruptcy, for example, began as an equitable remedy, among others. Equity allows a judge to go beyond legislation to find a just outcome.

Equity is distinct from equality, though the similarity between the words is not without importance. Everyone is familiar with and favors equality, at least equality before the law; the law ideally favors no one over another, rich or poor, black (Black?) or white (White? Or white?).

Equity is something else. What is “just” or “equitable” is in the eye of the beholder. In the court, a judge’s decision of what is equitable has basis in precedents established by prior cases, and those affected even by a wayward judge remain limited to the parties in the case. Somehow, trusting the judgment of people who funded bail money for rioters and who favor giving vaccines to enemy combatants held at Guantanamo before American citizens, who favor a deal that would let the mullahs go nuclear and giving the Chinese Communist Party access to the U.S. power grid, to decide what is and what is not equitable, seems… in poor judgment.

The long march

While Joe Biden begins his Presidency by mouthing calls for unity, the divide in the U.S. only grows stronger, with the latest barriers between red and blue America erected by Biden himself. And the silence and acquiescence of the national media to executive orders that suspend regulations protecting the U.S. power grid from Communist China, attempt to redefine sex, and that subvert American-Canadian trade ties and immediately destroy a thousand of well-paying union jobs highlights in stark relief that same divide between an urban, worldly intellectual class and the rural, patriotic working class. The mainstream media is made up almost entirely by the former, and its product reflects that all too well.

Journalism used to be littered with writers whose education did not include a university degree, but instead came from the real world. Damon Runyon, H.L. Mencken, Jimmy Breslin, Paul Anderson were legendary journalists, none of whom ever obtained a university degree. Their formative years were spent in the military taking orders, or on the streets making a wage, trying to make ends meet. The skills they needed to do their job was the ability to speak, observe, and write. Back then, those skills were taught in high school.

Today, to even step foot in New York City requires at least a bachelor’s degree. A job search for “news reporter” in a stereotypical Heartland of America town like Des Moines, Iowa, reveals jobs like “general assignment reporter, ” “investigative reporter” and even “dining/features reporter” all in state a bachelor’s degree or even a masters’ degree is “preferred.”

The media companies, that is, the television companies, are made up of university graduate steeped in university culture, a culture that is soaked in Marxism, sexual libertinism, and identity politics. So long as the gates to American culture demand steeping its youth in such a culture for professional advancement, so long will that culture’s values seep from our televisions. Until conservatives begin their own long march through the institutions, we can only expect more of the same.

CIA’s X-Files Drop

With rioters crashing the Capitol just days into the new year, 2021 has got off to a rollicking start. So we probably should have predicted the release of the CIA’s “entire file” on UFOs. The Black Vault, a website devoted to the collection and publication of government records related to UFOs and paranormal phenomena run by John Greenewald, Jr., released the treasure trove of documents after twenty years of Freedom of Information Act requests filed with the CIA dating back to 1996 (when Greenewald was 15).

The records go back to the early 1950s, when officials grew concerned when “so many ‘flying saucers’” were being reported. An April 1976 memo, painted with redactions as it is, still reveals a moment where Assistant Deputy Director for Science & Technology is handed intelligence and, after a brief examination, says he would “personally look into the matter.” The description of the intelligence itself was redacted. Some report? Photographs? Can you request the retraction of redactions through the FOIA?

Several reports focus on UFO sightings across the globe, from a 1957 sighting in Iran, a 1965 document concerning Antarctic Flying Saucers,” a heavily redacted account of 1976 sighting in Morocco, and a 1977 report about “’Unusual’ Natural Phenomena” in the Soviet Republic of Karelia, a province of the Soviet Union adjacent to Finland, where a “huge star suddenly [flared] up in the dark sky” and sent “shafts of light to the earth,” before moving over the city of Petrozavodsk like a “medusa” and then toward nearby Lake Onega. A 1985 report about another Soviet incident 120 miles from Minsk, in present day Belarus, also describes a “large star” seen by an airline crew mid-flight that again sent lights to the earth, amid many other details.

The release follows less than a year after the US. Navy officially acknowledged three incidents, one in 2004 and two in 2015, in which its pilots encountered “unidentified aerial phenomena” that seemed to defy the known laws of physics.

On Thursday of this week, the Navy claimed its top secret briefing slides relating to the 2004 incident, if released as requested by a separate FOIA filing by UFO researcher Christian Lambright, would “cause exceptionally grave damage” to U.S. national security.

None of the recently released evidence provides confirmation of the existence of extraterrestrial visitors to Earth, but the year is still young. If 2021 hopes to outdo 2020, a light show over Devil’s Tower would probably do it.

Bad violence

Twitter suspended the account of the U.S. President on Friday, citing a supposed “risk of further incitement of violence,” though it failed to actually identify any such prior incitement. No surprise there – Trump’s failures on Wednesday were legion, but they in no way amounted to “incitement,” which makes citing any incitement exceedingly difficult.

Not that Twitter’s actually concerned about the violence – they only object to what inspired the violence: Congress’s approval of the election of Joe Biden. When the Left was trying to burn down police stations and federal courthouses, Twitter genuflected to Black Lives Matter. And Twitter’s only too happy to oblige the communist thugs torturing the Uighurs of western China. But, then, that is their violence.  Leftist violence.

But even taking Twitter at its word, its decision doesn’t hold up. University of Wisconsin law professor and blogger Ann Althouse lists what she calls the seven “most violent statements.” None of them can be construed as encouraging violence or criminal acts, which is what the law actually requires. As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh puts it, citing the 1969 Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which set the legal standard, “even ‘advocacy of the use of force or of law violation’ can’t be punished unless it ‘is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.’ Saying things that foreseeably move some audience members to act illegally isn’t enough.”

So the millennial hall monitors that run Twitter suspended the account of the U.S. President on Friday and then lied about why. They also suspended Gen. Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell, who committed the sin of sharing conspiracy theories involving QAnon.

Oh, and then Google Play kicked Twitter alternative Parler off its platform.

And Apple is threatening to do the same.

And YouTube suspended Steve Bannon’s account.

And Simon and Schuster cancelled its publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s book.

Meanwhile, it takes an uproar to get Twitter to decide a tweet by communist China’s U.S. embassy promoting genocide violated its terms. It’s good to be Red in Twitterville.

As the Left loves to point out whenever conservatives point out the disparate way Twitter treats them compared to, say, genocidal monsters, Twitter and the other tech giants are privately owned companies, and so not subject to constitutional limits on free speech. Funny they don’t seem to recognize such rights when it comes to mandating private companies, say, pay for employee abortions – but when it comes to shutting conservatives up, the Left is only too happy to oblige. Their devotion to open discourse is, uh, falling into question.

But here the Left plays with fire, as it tends to do. After all, Twitter uses the internet, which was, as everyone knows, created by the U.S. government. Lawyers are crafty types; shouldn’t take long for an enterprising advocate to come up with some theory, arguing that the internet is a public utility, and discriminating against some is discriminating against all, or some line of bull of similar aroma.

Even Alexander Graham Bell didn’t go kicking racists like Woodrow Wilson off his telephone lines.

Though now that I think of it, that might not have been such a bad idea…

Unhappy new year

The worst thing about a Biden Administration isn’t, of course, Joe Biden himself, bad as he is. It takes a special something to be “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue” for forty-some years, as President Obama’s own defense secretary, Robert Gates, put it in his memoir.

Even so, the worst thing about a Biden Administration is not Biden, but all the little Bidens – and worse – he scatters throughout the government. The Democratic Party is led by people who, in case the reader has not been paying attention, have completely lost their marbles – yes, the Democrat-run House proposes to ban “gendered” terms such as father, mother, son, and daughter in the rules of the House of Representatives, and replace them with neutral words such as parent and sibling. Like I said, marbles have seriously gone missing. A Democratic Party led by such people is bad enough, but it then sets a fairly low bar for anyone else in the Party. If you’re just destructive and foolish, well, that’s not so bad, comparatively.

A recent exhibit is Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Miguel Cardona. Cardona, in his recent position as Connecticut education commissioner, required all high schools to offer courses on black, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies, to help “[a]nalyze how race, power and privilege” affect “access” to citizenship, civil rights, and that favorite leftist goal, power. Wonderful – more navel-gazing at race and ethnicity. That’s what our kids need. Can they truly not see how focusing on our superficial differences divides us, whereas focusing on our common humanity unites?

It’s funny how the left claims to revere Martin Luther King, Jr. as a moral leader and even a prophet (I had a Jesuit, of all people, make the claim in a religion course once). Yet they can’t run fast enough away from King’s famous dream: that we should be judged by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin. All the left does is judge people by the color of their skin.

And now the Department of Education is going to be filled with all these race-obsessed psychos, mandating this and implementing that, demanding everyone focus on our navels instead of on math, science, history, and the sort of knowledge that will actually help our civilization advance.

Happy New Year!