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Abortion Mysticism

Douthat is the man . . .

The unapologetic grisliness of a Klopfer, or a Kermit Gosnell before him, haunts a Buttigiegian abortion politics more than it does a “safe, legal, rare” triangulation, because it establishes the most visceral of contrasts – between the mysticism required to believe that the right to life begins at birth and the cold and obvious reality that what our laws call a nonperson can still become a corpse.

Early History of the Potato

The author draws a parallel between early attitudes toward potatoes and current attitudes toward insects, implying that, just as we're grossed out by insects now, we might change our minds. It's possible, but man, potatoes don't buzz and they don't move and they don't sting. It's a stretched comparison.

Spanish conquistadores were the first Europeans to encounter potatoes, in South America in the 1530s. It took botanists years to breed varieties that grew well in Europe, but it was worth it. Potatoes produced two to four times as many calories per acre as cereal crops ”“ and they grew far faster, and in most kinds of soil. Potatoes were an efficient, reliable foodstuff.

Many ordinary folk were unconvinced. Clergymen warned that since the Bible didn't mention potatoes, God hadn't meant people to eat them. Herbalists believed that potatoes' resemblance to a leper's gnarled hands suggested that they caused leprosy. But attitudes began to change when Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French scientist, promoted the potato in a series of publicity stunts.

The Farce that is Snopes

Snopes is the most-overrated and partisan "fact checking" service since the fact checkers at Pravda under Stalin. This is fitting satire.

Snopes: 'The Claim That Trump Is Hitler Lacks Concrete Evidence But Alludes To A Deeper Truth'

U.S. and Rome

This is one reason why I find it disturbing that Mike Duncan, of the excellent "History of Rome" podcast, leans left (hard left? I'm not sure.) He can't see the disturbing parallels to the things that helped bring down Rome: circus and bread? Unbridled immigration? Monetary policy? An over-extended empire? Just to name a few.

In 509 B.C., leading citizens in Rome overthrew a monarchy and created a republic that slowly took over the Mediterranean. For 500 years, this republic dazzled the world with its hard-working farmers, good laws, shrewd diplomacy and indomitable citizen armies.

The Founders knew this history well. They had read Roman historians like Sallust and Livy, reveled in the biographies of Roman statesmen by Plutarch, and were steeped in the orations of Cicero. Thomas Jefferson even tweaked the poems of Horace celebrating Roman farms to describe Virginia agricultural life.

Not surprisingly, then, Rome inspired many features of our own Constitution, including its checks and balances, bicameral legislature, term limits and age requirements. In some cases, the Founders copied terms straight out of the Roman constitution: words like senate, capitol and committee. They named places in honor of Rome like Tiber Creek and Cincinnati. American coinage and civic architecture are also strikingly Roman.

The Vapors

I honestly don't know how anyone could've watched the orchestrated sudden destruction of vaping over past month--through a relentless barrage of media coverage, scientific studies, stories, and legal bans--and deny that there is some sort of elite cabal that pulls the strings from behind the curtain. I don't think it can be doubted. The only question is, how is it orchestrated and to what degree is it orchestrated? I'll plan on flushing it out on an upcoming podcast.

The war on nicotine vaping has reached a new level of absurdity. It was bad enough when public health officials, politicians, and the press reacted to the recent outbreak of respiratory illness among vapers of marijuana by failing to warn the public in a clear manner. Instead of explaining the specific danger from vaping a certain kind of THC-infused oil, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the public to stop using any kind of electronic cigarette–which is like responding to an outbreak of food poisoning by telling people to stop eating.

'Ad Astra' Review

To be honest, space films leave me cold, but Rolling Stone is praising this one.

In essence, Ad Astra is a father-son story told on a cosmic scale. It's not just Roy's cool-under-pressure reputation that gets him picked for a top-secret mission to Neptune. It's the fact that his famous-astronaut father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) went missing there three decades ago after heading the Lima Project on a search for intelligent life in the universe. But here's the thing: Daddy might not be dead. He might, in fact, be somewhere on that remote planet playing Zeus by aiming power surges at Earth in an effort to destroy us. Clifford needs to be stopped and who better to do it than his son, setting up an Apocalypse Now in space as junior attempts to save or destroy his nutjob old man.