That was the day that modern land stewardship was born, and the seeds were planted that have led to the disastrous mega-fires now plaguing the West.
It all started the previous fall and winter of 1909-10, with abundant precipitation, which contributed to an unusually high density of grass, small shrubs, pine needles, tree moss — things that respond rapidly to changes in conditions. Then spring and summer came early, with a vengeance; extremely dry and hot. It was a drought, “like no others.”More
Cambodia’s sixth general election came and went on July 29. Unsurprisingly, Hun Sen, the world’s longest ruling prime minister (33 years and counting) and the ruling CPP won in a landslide. The result was never in doubt given the crackdown on civil society and independent press leading up to the election. This culminated in the dissolution of the main opposition party, the CNRP, last November with its leader thrown in jail on bogus treason charges. Hun Sen now has more power than he has ever had. But in the country, the worry now is what will happen next?
After the CNRP was disbanded last year, the US imposed visa bans on senior Cambodian officials, while the the EU said it would review its trade agreement with Cambodia. In June 2018, Hing Bun Heang, chief of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, was sanctioned under Global Magnitsky Designations. A few days before the election, the US House of Representatives passed the Cambodia Democracy Act to target sanctions on individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Cambodia. After the election, Washington called the electoral process “flawed” and said it could take “additional steps.” While the EU stated that the electoral process was not legitimate.More
Well, just what exactly did you expect?
Trump the Candidate was a loud, braggadocious, outrageous, counterpunching, reality show celebrity/businessman who never let an attack go unanswered. To refresh your recollection, you should go do a search for “2016 Republican debate highlights.”More
In a recent comment, Ricochet member @DonG wrote, “The drug industry in the US is a giant racket enabled by a corrupted regulatory system.” After over 20 years of working in medicine, and doing occasional part-time work for pharmaceutical companies in the cardiovascular field, I find that statement to be precise and accurate. Fascism is an explosive word, almost like Nazi. But this is, precisely, fascism. It’s not socialism. Our government does not want to own the means of production; it just wants to control it. Regulate the heck out of it, get private industry to do what you want, then tax the crap out of it to fund a welfare state huge enough to buy sufficient votes to get you re-elected. It’s simple, really. It’s too bad that the term “fascism” is widely viewed as a pejorative because it’s a perfect description of much of our government.
To get back to Don’s point regarding the pharmaceutical industry: This is what excessive regulation creates. You destroy everybody, except for the few corporations enormous or well-connected (usually the same thing) enough that they can withstand the regulatory pressure with top-flight, very expensive legal departments. Then you control and profit from those few. You can’t control 1,000 drug companies, but you can control six of them; maybe eight. Note that this type of evolutionary pressure selects out those who are good at government, not those who are good at creating new drugs. As is true in every industry.More
…to unseal the names of the jurors in the widely-watched trial of the former Trump campaign official.
Now, just what might those members of the “media” do with that information if they had it? Since the judge himself states that he has been threatened, and must employ his own security, I’m thinking that the “media” might be interested in making the lives of those jurors and their families mighty uncomfortable.More
“She sprang it on me before breakfast. There in seven words you have a complete character sketch of my Aunt Agatha.” — The opening lines of Educating Young Gussie by P.G. Wodehouse
Wodehouse is doubtless familiar to many Ricochetti, but perhaps there are some among us who have not yet encountered the magic of the master. With these opening words, Bertie Wooster’s Aunt Agatha is perfectly captured. Even readers who have just met her for the first time understand completely the kind of woman she is. Energetic. Firm. Early rising. Filled with plans for improvement that require instant and utter submission. In short, a horror.More
About two years ago, I posted a comment suggesting Google and its Obama-supporting workforce and management might have the power to redirect searches and control information in a way that favored one political point of view. My point was it does not take very much to influence an election outcome. The tools and temptation are there.
As many are aware, Google’s management and staff helped put together the indomitable Obama big data, drill down, finite, targeted social media, voter mobilization effort in 2012. I proffered that Facebook might do the same. My thoughts were dismissed very quickly by some knowledgeable people on Ricochet as impossible given that Google so carefully controls its search algorithm and no such hanky-panky would be tolerated. Who believes this is not possible today?More
Back in the early 1990s, during one of my job-hunting periods, I sat down and wrote a brief article summarizing some of the advice I’d learned about interviewing. I think these ideas are as valid now as they were then.
It’s always a good idea to research your prospective employer before interviewing for a job. You might be surprised how much of a difference it can make to go into an interview knowing, for example, the company’s name, or perhaps what it is they do.More
This week, a man in Cape Cod was bitten by a shark and is in critical condition. The untrained, like myself, might be tempted to use the phrase “shark attack,” but the experts tell us it is not an attack. In fact, “It’s nothing to get alarmed about.” This was not an attack but an “exploratory bite.”
OK, I get it … sort of. If the shark had wanted to eat the man he easily could have. Here on the Cape, we’re seeing more and more what Great White Sharks are doing to seals right off the shore.More
Whatever one thinks of Jordan Peterson, the man raises a point that should be headed by all free peoples: Once you stop fighting with words, the only thing left to do is fight with weapons. Upon personal reflection, I decided that my personal style of writing was not conducive to productive dialogue with the left. As a result, I have largely withdrawn from writing altogether. Like The Incredible Hulk, I must contain my rage for the safety of the world.
It turns out, however, that if we do start fighting with weapons, the only reason men will be the ones who do almost all of it is because of their fear of being cheated on while they are at war. Oh no … not now … must maintain self-control … Frank smash!More
Helicopters buzzed overhead, camera crews rushed to take pictures, and students headed to their classes:
It was the first day back at school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday — one day after the six-month anniversary of the massacre that left 17 dead. With driver’s license-size IDs on red lanyards hanging from their necks, students trickled into the sprawling campus in Parkland, Fla., which had school resource officers staffed at every entrance.
Remember the last time you looked forward to a cocktail party? Neither do I. But, if you were a seminarian in Newark, NJ under Theodore “Uncle Teddy” McCarrick you certainly didn’t go back for seconds unless you like drinking drinks with an umbrella in them. New allegations today at Catholic World Report:
Three Newark priests independently gave CNA nearly identical accounts of being invited to these parties when they were newly ordained.
Elizabeth Warren has a big idea. She wants to nationalize a large swath of the economy. No, really. She has introduced the “Accountable Capitalism Act” [pdf] a bill that will surely go nowhere, but — were it to become law — would require companies with more than $1B in revenue to obtain charters as United States corporations. The charters would create all sorts of batty legal obligations for big corporations. I recommend at least reading the one-page summary linked. This thing is a doozy.
Matt Yglesias at Vox is obviously excited over the idea because this monstrosity would “redistribute trillions of dollars from rich executives and shareholders to the middle class.” Kevin Williamson is less sanguine about the proposal because “it would constitute the largest seizure of private property in human history.” I see it as neither the great hope of humanity nor the end of America as we know it because there is no way something like this could happen in one bill. I’m curious, however, about this statement from the explainer:More
It’s an August tradition in the faculty lounge: no, not our annual production of To Wong Foo. In the dog days of summer, we open things up for listeners to submit their questions to Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo. A select group of the best ones will get answered on the next installment of the Law Talk podcast.
Have a burning question about constitutional law? The Mueller investigation? The vagaries of Roman water law (please, as an act of mercy, do not submit this — it’s a 60-minute show)? Leave your questions in the comments below.More
Juan was late to work on that Monday, a very rare occurrence. He had been working for me for over a year, doing the hard, hot, messy work of making low pressure injection molded poly-urethane branches for cell phone towers (in order to dress them up to look like trees). It was early 2012, and telecom was one of the few, still booming industries (as opposed to my native construction, which was still trying to get back up from a beat down by the Great Recession).
I had hired Juan on a hope and a prayer. His past was no secret; most of it was scrawled or stamped across his body in tattoo form. He had Oakland Raiders logos, scantily clad ladies, Spanish quotations, and a few other pictures and landscapes coating his hands and arms. A cryptic code was stamped across his knuckles, the tail of some kind of lizard or snake curled up from his shirt collar and wrapped around his left ear, and two double digit numbers marked his face, just outside of both eyes. He was about 5’6” with a muscular build, dark skinned, kept his black hair buzzed short, and when he was concentrating, his face rested to an intimidating scowl.More
“And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl / I know you want it… / I hate these blurred lines / I know you want it… / But you’re a good girl…” Unlike in Thicke’s hit, the “it” youth seeking mentorship want is hopefully not sex. Nonetheless, decent people have long suspected that among more bohemian sorts — actors, musicians, academics, etc — the blurring of lines between mentorship and sexual grooming, coupled with the impulse to save face, risks fostering a climate of sexual abuse. I’ve even heard decent people argue that those who go into bohemian fields ought to know what they’re getting into, and if they’re abused, it’s really their fault.
Decent people don’t want bohemian clergy. Nonetheless, religious callings have more in common with the bohemian than decent people might like to think. It’s appropriate for spiritual mentorship to be intense (possibly even more intense than intellectual or artistic mentorship). It’s normal for charismatic spiritual leaders to attract groupies (also known as disciples). Great good can come from both these dynamics. But also great evil. Decent people are properly sensitive to the great harm false accusations can do, and it feels awful to suspect those called to holiness of perverting these dynamics. Nonetheless, perversion has obviously happened — especially, it seems, in Catholic seminaries.More
Some recent posts about Chelsea Clinton’s reference to 1973 brings me back to a remarkable chart. Average real wages vs labor productivity. Since the ’40s, real wage growth was in lockstep with productivity growth. Then something changed dramatically in 1973. Starting then and ever since, real wage growth has disconnected from productivity growth.