Wednesday’s Crony Open Comments

For one thing, conservatives are cheap dates. You do not have to convince the readers of National Review or Republicans in Valparaiso that American business is in general a force for good in the world.

For one thing, there is a kind of moral asymmetry at work: Conservatives may roll their eyes a little bit at promises to build windmills so efficient that we’ll cease needing coal and oil, but progressives (at least a fair portion of them) believe that using fossil fuels may very well end human civilization. The nation’s F-150 drivers are not going to organize a march on Chevron’s headquarters if it puts a billion bucks into biofuels, but the nation’s Subaru drivers might very well do so if it doesn’t.

The same asymmetry characterizes the so-called social issues. The Left will see to it that Brendan Eich is driven out of his position at Mozilla for donating to an organization opposed to gay marriage, but the Right will not see to it that Tim Cook is driven out of his position for supporting gay marriage. For the Right, the question of gay marriage is an important moral and political disagreement, but for the Left the exclusion of homosexual couples from the legal institution of marriage was something akin to Jim Crow, and support for it isn’t erroneous, it is wicked. Even those on the right who proclaim that they regard the question of homosexual relationships as a national moral emergency do not behave as though they really believe it: Remember that boycott of Disney theme parks launched with great fanfare by the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and the Southern Baptist Convention back in 1996? Nothing happened, because conservative parents are not telling their toddlers that they cannot go to Disney World because the people who run the park are too nice to that funny blonde lady who has the talk show and dances in the aisles with her audience.

and this historical gem,

If you have not read it, spare a moment for William H. Whyte’s Cold War classic. In the 1950s, Whyte, a writer for Fortune, interviewed dozens of important CEOs and found that they mostly rejected the ethos of rugged individualism in favor of a more collectivist view of the world. The capitalists were not much interested in defending the culture of capitalism. What he found was that the psychological and operational mechanics of large corporations were much like those of other large organizations, including government agencies, and that American CEOs believed, as they had believed since at least the time of Frederick Winslow Taylor and his 19th-century cult of “scientific management,” that expertise deployed through bureaucracy could impose rationality on such unruly social entities as free markets, culture, family, and sexuality. The supplanting of spontaneous order with political discipline is the essence of progressivism, then and now.

Read the whole damn thing.

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74 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Crony Open Comments

  1. Mornin’ Gang
    From Last night
    mharper42 says:
    March 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Davey, I like the cane in the middle, the one with the spirals around it. Makes you wonder if that was the result of some wood carving, or a natural condition in which that branch was found. Either case, unique and memorable.

    The spiral was the result of a vine wrapping around the tree, deforming it and making an interesting design. 😉

  2. My #2, FWIW; I didn’t have time to read the piece since I was about to hit the shower, hopefully I’ll have a break between runs today to sneak a peek at Drudge. I did hear on the radio driving in that Trump released the tax return himself to head off Mad Cow. They also said that she was being criticized by CNN and PMSMBC?!
    Not much going on out here at the Rocket Ranch, I didn’t see a single deer, let alone Mr Skunk.

  3. So, since Trump’s tax returns were from 2005, I’m guessing that they were in the public record? Bankruptcy, maybe?
    When I first heard about this, I thought that one of Obama’s Stooges had leaked them and therefore Trump could sue MadCow for making them public.

    Rachel Madcow hyped a show that took about an hour to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Donald Trump paid $28 million in taxes in 2005.

    If you look close, you’ll see its stamped “Client Copy”.

    Donald Trump’s troll level is around a kajillion.

    Side note: somebody make sure Harry Ried sees it.

  4. Hey, Sarge showed up, I was afraid that I’d ALREADY Kilt the blog,…..Well we start at 7, so I’ll just amble downstairs and stoke the boiler fire up the big DMA 4030.

  5. Re walking sticks:
    I have one that was not shown that I harvested while helping a friend clear a fence line. It had a vine growing up it and produced a similar spiral as SDs stick. I left the bark on it and just sanded the rough spots. I’ll try and get that one posted when I get home this evening.

  6. Above the fold headline in the dead tree version of the comical:
    Trump wrote off $100 million in 2005
    sub head: Tax forms show he paid $38 million on $150 millin income, a rate of 25%.

    FOX News mentioned that Trump paid a higher rate than Warren Buffet, RMoney, JugEars and the Clintons.

  7. Good morning Hamsters. Still essentially pitch dark with just a hint of lighter sky to the east and 44. I dislike DST’s disruption of starting and ending and am close to really disliking it in general, including those who foist it upon us.

    Bravo for Texpat’s OC article that makes sense of the paradox. Hope he wasn’t toiling away late last night after battling snowdrifts all day.

  8. I wonder how Texanadian is doing is the frozen tundra of Canada? Perhaps he could give an update ifn he is lurking. . . . .?

  9. From Drudge; Ides of MadCow.
    Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle.

    By 8:24, Maddow was tweeting that the tax return in question was Donald Trump’s 1040 from 2005. By 8:30, still half an hour before Maddow started airing, the White House had responded to the MSNBC report, saying that Trump had paid $38 million on income of $150 million that year. An hour later, about 20 minutes after The Rachel Maddow Show started, Maddow would confirm these numbers, turning her big scoop about Donald Trump’s long-missing tax returns into a cautionary tale about over-hype. Rachel Maddow, you played yourself—and us too.
    “It’s been a little bit of a hullabaloo around here this evening, I apologize for being flustered,” Maddow said at the top of the hour, before confirming that her show had copies of Donald Trump’s federal tax returns, obtained by the reporter David Cay Johnston, to share with her audience. “In just a second we’re going to show you exactly what it is we’ve got,” she said, before launching, instead, into a 20-minute monologue. Maddow seemed uncharacteristically nervous as she wended her way though what could kindly be described as context and which I am unkindly describing as word salad, a long meander that was difficult to follow even without the distracting promise of a revelatory tax return at its end.

  10. Bright and sunny at 45 degrees this morning out here. I few of the bluebonnets are starting to pop out, and every day seems to bring a few more. When it warms up a bit I’ll go out and turn on the irrigation system and investigate it for leaks, etc. to be certain that it’s all in working order. I had one low spot that froze and split the pipe, so I installed a drain at that spot when I did the repair. Spring is exploding all around while mother nature is attempting to hold it back with cooler temperatures, but my bet is that the cool won’t be around much longer. OK, daylight is burning, so off I go. More later.

  11. I can’t believe this is really happening…

    Ahlam Al-Tamimi was in her mid-30s when she masterminded the suicide bombing of the Sbarro Pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, killing 8 adults and 7 children.

    Two Americans were murdered that day – a 15 year old girl and the mother of a 2 year old.

    Four Americans were injured including a 2 year old and Joanne Nachenberg who remains in a coma to this day. More than 120 people total were injured in the attack.

    Al-Tamimi was released from an Israeli prison in the prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit and has been living the high life as a TV anchor in Jordan.

    Late Tuesday [Israeli time], the US Department of Justice was in the process of announcing its first ever extradition request to try a Hamas terrorist who murdered Americans during the Second Intifada in its own courts.

    Prior to US President Donald Trump taking office, the only legal proceedings against such terrorists have been criminal proceedings in Israeli courts or civil wrongful death proceedings brought by the families of victim, not by the US government, in US courts….

    Jordan may have a tough call to make, honoring its strong alliance to the US, with trying to avoid offending its majority Palestinian population and an anti-extradition trend in its court system, according to Shurat Hadin which is representing the family of the victim Chana Nachenberg (Finers and Nachenbergs) who was grievously injured in the bombing and remains in Israel in a coma even until now.

  12. Morning, everyone. Another chilly morning, and I just can’t leave my electric blanket on such a morning. After both my alarm clocks — the galloping rocking horse and then the croaking frog — have tried to get me up but failed — I then resort to setting a few more minutes on my nap timer. It is unbelievable the number of times I can tell myself “Just 3 more minutes!”

  13. #14 bone
    The problem with the DPRK is that it’s utterly dysfunctional to the point that it would take a couple of generations to unscrew it up.

    The best outcome I can see is that Kim just goes away somehow and the PRC gets left with the cleanup.

    What I fear is that Kim will get a little too frisky and do something really stupid like set off a nuke in the ROK (or Japan or here) somehow (missile, container ship, submarine, etc.), which would require a response in kind to remind the other nuts in the world that those actions have consequences. We would then be left with millions of starving illiterates that would need to be cared for.

  14. I was all set to do some catching up on my bookkeeping last night when I got a phone call from Eldest Sister that our Beloved Fluttery Aunt, the last remaining sibling of my father’s family, was rushed to the hospital. Her LifeAlert went off; they estimate 9+ minutes of no heartbeat before they got it started again. I also rushed to the hospital, to be met by two cousins with differing opinions on the course of care for BFA.

    BFA’s pupils were unresponsive and she has been intubated, though she occasionally tries to breathe over the machine. They got her heart started again, but she is comatose and unresponsive. One cousin wanted to stop treatment and let her go in the ER, but her brother was adamant that they keep treating her and testing to see how much brain function, if any, was left. His sister left about an hour after I got there. BFA was admitted into ICU, and tests are under way.

    Brother Cousin is a real piece of work. He’s caused a lot of family friction in the past, and he spent the rest of the night bad mouthing his sister and trying to get doctors to validate his position. Plus, he’s a racist p.o.w., too. You can imagine all the bad memories his behavior dredged up. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut and my mind sane. Then one of the Harpies showed up. Eldest Sis said that this Harpy was grilling her when she was making phone calls last night, insisting on information that Eldest didn’t have. Eldest is prepared to handle the Harpies, after seeing what I went through. Fortunately, she doesn’t have the legal ties to BFA, as I did with Mom, so she has more leeway in how she wants to handle her relationship with them during this crisis.

    On top of that, there were strangers in her house, invited in by Bro Cousin to do some work in BFA’s home. Bro Cousin’s worker invited some other people into her home, unbeknownst to Bro Cuz; Bro Cuz thinks they are Gypsies and the women were in her home for 3 days, “cleaning” the unit, and they still have keys. He’s ticked off and concerned about possible thieves in her house. He’s changing her locks today. Just one more thing.

    BFA left no DNR or Powers of Attorney, so no one is in charge. So now, I have two cousins at odds (though the sister has assured me that she and her brother lock horns all the time, don’t carry grudges, and she’s not angry with him – good), one Harpy has already inserted herself, and with all the legal stuff unknown…

    I’m just going to keep my head down and pray for my beloved aunt. She’s quite devoted to her faith and one of the absolute nicest people you’d ever want to me, so of all the people I know, she probably has the easiest ride into Heaven. That gives me some peace.

    Three hours of sleep. Maybe.

    Just pray for us.

  15. Please, please, please get your DNR’s in order. Mine has been distributed to every hospital, clinic, and doctor that I’ve ever seen as well as numerous family members. My attorney’s phone number is on the fridge, and she (yes that’s right, I do have a female attorney) has an original as well. I just want to go out with whatever dignity I may have left when it’s my time.

    On another matter, the press has been kicked out of the Sec State luxury aircraft as he has decided to downsize for his Asian trip. And needless to say, they are upset and their fragile egos are terribly bruised as they are having to travel with the great unwashed on commercial flights. You would think they could pool their resources and at least get a charter – maybe Trump’s 757 would be available for lease.
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/03/15/seething-u-s-journalists-angered-about-taking-commercial-flights-to-cover-secretary-tillerson-in-asia/#more-129967

  16. This just in, feds hike fed funds rates to .075 – 1.01%. This was a 9-1 vote. 1/4% rate hike.

  17. Nork Kim and his father were fine along the way as a device to keep the US, Japan and the rest of the east Pacific rim off kilter. They propped them up and looked the other way on WMD smuggling. It gave them some leverage in negotiating with the US.

    Yet now that the Chicoms have a master plan to dominate the South China Sea and eastern rim, Kim continues to jeopardize their scheme. Japan is rearming rapidly while everybody but the psycho in Manila are squaring off against China. The Chicoms don’t want an unpredictable player at the table now especially since Trump was elected and Mattis is in charge.

  18. The Fed is raising rates, and it should have done so long ago. The debt hole that we are in, when coupled with rising interest rates, will be budget busters for a long time. The artificially low rates were in place to try to create the Obama image that the economy was doing fine, but more importantly, they forced savers (the prudent people) into the stock market as no other instruments offered any yields. Then Obama could trumpet the stock market performance as a measure of how well the economy must be doing, otherwise, why would the market be performing so well, etc. It may be painful to get this country back on track – the market could decline substantially as money leaves for safer ports and higher yields in bonds, etc. Absent an improved economy (created by tax decreases and relaxation of the regulatory burden (including EPA), the economy should improve; and given the pent up labor and energy available, it could really start humming in short order. I doubt that we need the stimulus the infrastructure plans would create, but we need the infrastructure improvements just to keep things working. In other words, to restore the economy to historical norms, there will have to be some changes made, and there may be some stumbling blocks along the way – all of which the Dems will crow about to point out how stupid Trump is. The Fed’s interest rate increases will be a good thing, even if Ole Yellen thinks she is doing something to harm Trump.

  19. Kim Un has a steam sub with missiles that is supposedly capable of making it to Hawaii. Continental US is questionable. And they have a questionable nuke sub.

    Anywho I think it would behoove us to take the North Korean pot bellied pig seriously. He is a loose cannon like a monkey with a gun. His saber rattling is more than world blackmail to get goodies form the US. This goofball will push the button.

  20. Need a little pick me up after that lunchtime bowl of Campbell’s Soup and crackers?

    Gotta be the greatest rap song ever.

    It’s the only one I’ll listen to.

    WhoooooAhhhhhhh!

  21. #4 Super Dave

    Have been in and out most of the morning and part of the afternoon so just got back to reading today’s entries in peace and quiet. MRC is the Media Research Center, so I presume they have a TV arm. The creation of L. Brent Bozell III, it is billed as America’s Media Watchdog. Definitely conservative and dedicated to expose and combat the leftwing media. Donations to the MRC are tax deductible charitable donations.

  22. Poked my head in on FB. Political insanity still rules. But it appears that cat videos have been replaced by warp speed cooking demonstration videos.

  23. 43 Squawk

    This goofball will push the button.

    Sooner or later, unless somebody does something about it.

  24. Dying malls.

    I’ve been warning about this for years.

    Sold in 2012, the mortgage bonds have a higher concentration of loans to regional malls and shopping centers than similar securities issued since the financial crisis. And because of the way CMBS are structured, the BBB- and BB rated notes are the first to suffer losses when underlying loans go belly up.

    “These malls are dying, and we see very limited prospect of a turnaround in performance,” according to a January report from Alder Hill, which began shorting the securities. “We expect 2017 to be a tipping point.”

    Cracks have started to appear. Prices on the BBB- pool of CMBS have slumped from roughly 96 cents on the dollar in late January to 87.08 cents last week, index data compiled by Markit show.

    Sooner than people realize there will be a huge glut of retail space in America and the economy and financial system will have to swallow it. The hit on property tax revenue will be crippling for many cities overly dependent on these huge taxpayers.

    What will happen to the land and buildings is anybody’s guess. There are only so many alternative uses for these huge structures.

  25. No, I won’t. Last spring was a fabulous adventure in fostering a stray cat and her kittens. But we paid a price in disruption of the dynamics of the aging cats we had already. Bottom line is our 12 y.o. female now lives in seclusion because one of the 10 y.o. males started constantly hazing her after Mama Gypsy was adopted and the kitten we decided to keep moved from seclusion into the unrestricted whole house. Cats usually don’t do well with changes in their house companions.

  26. Great story.

    The story begins in 1982. A 19-year-old sophomore named Gregory Watson was taking a government class at UT Austin. For the class, he had to write a paper about a governmental process. So he went to the library and started poring over books about the U.S. Constitution — one of his favorite topics.

    “I’ll never forget this as long as I live,” Gregory says. “I pull out a book that has within it a chapter of amendments that Congress has sent to the state legislatures, but which not enough state legislatures approved in order to become part of the Constitution. And this one just jumped right out at me.”

    and,

    This amendment, though it was 200 years old, didn’t have a deadline.

    Gregory was intrigued. He decided to write his paper about the amendment and argue that it was still alive and could be ratified. He got to work, being very meticulous about citations and fonts and everything. He turned it in to the teaching assistant for his class — and got it back with a C.


    He changed the U.S. Constitution by getting a 200 year old amendment finally passed and some folks in Austin managed to surprise him with an official grade change.

  27. A mall I liked when I came to Houston 36 yrs ago was Northwest Mall at 290 and the Loop. But after it lost its nice anchor stores, it fairly quickly turned into a flea market. I just don’t go to shopping malls any more, and from what I read, no one else does either. I’ve heard that both Willowbrook and of course Greenspoint are moribund.

    Me, if I can’t get it online, or at nearby Target or Walmart, I just don’t seem to need it these days.

  28. Hurricane Ike was the death knell of Northwest Mall but it was already getting pretty thuggish even when Macy’s and Penney’s were still there. Now the thugs have moved to the Galleria.

  29. Last time I went to a mall was Memorial City one Saturday in 2002.

    Used to go there often in the mid 90s, for lunch at the food court, when the Big Oil Co I worked for had offices near there.

    It was great then.

    Fast forward to 2002

    It was a complete zoo. Kids running wild like it was a playground. Grown ups walking like zombies bumping into you and everyone else and then moving on, zombie like as their kids set metaphorical fire to the entire mall.

    It was a complete freakin’….

    Haven’t been to one since.

  30. I thought the Mau Mau’s had taken over all the malls anyway. Brick and mortar retail has just about run its course, with a few exceptions. Neiman Marcus is for sale, other high end retail is struggling. Tennis shoe stores and Starbucks is about it. I even order my grocery staples from Walmart on line with free delivery (their nearest store is 40 miles away). I confess that I tried my best to break the malls by staying away even when they had real stores in there though. They won’t be missed as far as I’m concerned.

  31. I drive by West Oaks Mall twice a day. Empty parking lots most of the time. Went to a movie there last year. Won’t be going back.

    Katy Mills seems to be doing OK.

    But I think Malls are on their way out.

    Too much internet these days.

  32. I’ve not been to a mall in 25 years and then it was only to enter Sears @ the tool department, never setting foot inside the mall.

  33. Outlet malls seem to do ok, but they are all out in suburbia/white flight land. Can’t drive out the people that buy the goods and expect to survive.

  34. Outlet malls seem to do ok, but they are all out in suburbia/white flight land. Can’t drive out the people that buy the goods and expect to survive.

    I’m going to assume you are referring to whom the merchandise is targeted, and I agree. Not to mention the high prices.
    I for one will mourn the death of the malls I grew up with and continued patronizing on those rare occasions when I needed to purchase some nicer clothing.

    Shopping on line is a sorry, frustrating replacement with its sorry photos and sorry descriptions, the frustrating return process. I like to touch things and examine them before I fork over a bunch of money.

  35. Phil never learned to avoid Memorial City except on school days during school hours.
    Head banger music will do that to you.

  36. A dear gal friend who lives in SW Houston and I used to do regular lunch get togethers first at West Oaks Mall in its heyday and later at First Colony Mall when it was newer and nicer than West Oaks had become after that neighborhood began transitioning to less than it started out to be. Lunch and shopping, but mostly visiting was the activity.

    We don’t do that any more, just get together for lunch to visit either at her neighborhood our out here with a side trip to an interesting place. I haven’t been to First Colony Mall in about a year, either the mall itself or the shops outside where you have to be in the elements to shop or dine at the many restaurants. That’s all fine in good spring and fall/winter weather but a bummer in the heat of early summer through early fall. The concept was sold to the mall folks by supposed experts from the east coast as the coming thing as was Town Center mixed use stuff.

    That same concept was sold to the owners of a shopping center in Madison near our old childhood neighborhoods. There was an enclosed mall built early on to contain stores that were independent but adjacent. Aha, how nice to be inside in the dead of winter or the heat of summer or in the rain.

    But about the time Sugar Land got sold the Town Center deal, the mall in Madison also got sold it, and in the parking lot the outdoor shopping complex was born. It is not the mecca the advisors sold it to be there either. Winter for instance, cold and snow to contend with, parking farther away from them and the mall. The mall benefits then but has lost some of the nicer stores over recent years. It wisely does have rental lockers where visitors can store winter coats and packages. That was a smart move.

  37. 58 Super Dave

    Brent Bozell, Sr. and his wife founded a large successful advertising firm, Bozell Worldwide. His son Brent Bozell II married William F. Buckley’s sister, Patricia, and was a lifelong Catholic activist. His son, Brent Bozell III, founded the Media Research Center and MRCTV.

    Bozell II was once the best friend of Buckley, but they fell out over abortion and Richard Nixon back in the 1960s.

  38. In the days before malls…

    Twice a year when we were little boys, our maternal grandparents would come down from Bellville to Houston and we would leave early Saturday morning for downtown Houston.

    The stops included Foley’s, Joske’s, Battelstein’s for boys’ church clothes and finally, our mother and grandmother took Shannon and had lunch at the Sakowitz Tea Room where they had a fashion show with runway models on Saturdays. Yikes !

    My grandfather would grab me and we then walked down to Shudde Brothers for hats, Stelzig’s where I dreamed about buying new boots and then to Oshman’s to look at guns and fishing rods.

    Our grandparents bought all their summer or winter clothes on these trips and the weekend was always a big event. Often we went down to the San Jacinto Inn on Sunday after church or we might go to Gaido’s on South Main for supper on Saturday.

    I don’t have any memories like that of malls.

  39. I have some happy memories of Willowbrook Mall, including lunch in the food court with Hubs. I can no longer remember what the stores were that caused us to go there, but it was back before you could get anything you wanted in the high tech area online. But a highpoint was one trip where we stumbled across a store that sold nothing but plush toy animals.I bought a life-size plush possum with a baby. The baby’s tail was lined with Velcro so you could loop it around Mom’s tail and have him ride her back. They are on my family room mantel year round, except when I have seasonal decorations out. (Reminds me: STILL have not brought down the Easter bunnies.)

  40. There aren’t too many fans of traditional music on this Couch but for those who are, I have been watching this couple for weeks and they’re really growing on me. They have several vids on the YouTube.

    TheLostDogStreetBand

    https://youtu.be/-gnDyhN5ilM

  41. Phil never learned to avoid Memorial City except on school days during school hours.
    Head banger music will do that to you.

    Oh, a funny man.–Lol

    Unfortunately for me, I was doing some traveling for work during the week, so the weekend it had to be.

    I still never expected to encounter them.–I was unaware the Saturday mall experience had morphed into a maul experience and the dystopia had arrived.

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