I need some English lessons

“Mustard’s Ex-Wife Demands Over $80k Per Month In Child Support” (HipHopDX) has me wondering if the English language has moved on without me.

The article starts off simple:

DJ Mustard’s ex-wife has reportedly demanded the producer pay her over $80,000 a month in child support. … Chanel Thierry filed an order to a California judge on issues of child support, custody, spousal support, attorney’s fees, … he and Chanel Thierry had signed a prenuptial agreement prior to their 2020 wedding.

In other words, a Californian hopes to bank roughly $1 million/year tax-free in child support (straightforward under California family law), a claim that wouldn’t be impaired by a prenuptial agreement barring alimony, property division, etc.

Where it gets confusing are the public Instagram posts from the mom.

How is it possible to fit three children and an adult driver into a Lamborghini? I haven’t even been able to get myself into one. Maybe she means the absurd Lamborghini SUV?

What does “My Legs Move For The Bag” mean?

Full post, including comments

Notes from a cross-country helicopter trip

To commemorate the heroic efforts of our government’s millions of armed police and soldiers in putting down the very-nearly-successful January 6, 2021 insurrection, let me relate my own recent trip to Washington, D.C.

I covered the first and last parts of this journey in Among the Covidians in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Our journey began at the Robinson factory in Torrance, California (KTOA). Here are some photos that I took there in 2013 (they don’t allow pictures anymore).

Getting out of Los Angeles we studied the FAA helicopter chart… (note that the official routes require some understanding of local highways)

And the Robinson-specified route:

One thing that Robinson does not give to pilots fleeing the City of Lockdown is a list of frequencies and elevations for all of the airport traversed, so I prepped a couple of days before by writing all of these down on a pad (we were a bit too low to get advisories from SoCal Approach and therefore went from tower to tower). I handled the radio while my co-pilot (a former student at MIT 15 years ago and, having started a successful business, now proud owner of a $700,000 new helicopter) flew the machine. We made it out of LA without losing our certificates.

We passed the Morongo Casino and the Banning Pass into Palm Springs and a stop at KUDD:

After a stop at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, we made it to Tucson, Arizona just after dark:

My co-pilot was skeptical as I waxed expansively regarding the marvels of the Sonoran hot dog at El Guero Canelo (James Beard award winner and also a song from Calexico). If you’re looking for shelter from Bidenflation, the $3.99 dish is ideal:

(Note that each hot dog costs taxpayers closer to $10,000 when military pilots stop in. Tucson/El Guero Canelo is, according to the FBO, a popular stopover on training excursions.)

The War on Christmas cannot touch the fortified positions of El Guero Canelo:

We cranked before sunrise at KTUS and headed into the mountains of New Mexico:

In El Paso we saw the cruel conditions suffered by asylum-seekers and reflected on Governor Abbott’s noble provision of bus transportation for those migrants who want to escape to sanctuary cities where progressives will cater to all of their needs.

A 17-knot headwind, which was to be our near-constant companion, plagued us as we departed El Paso. In Pecos, Texas, we found the best dim sum west of the Pecos:

The help wanted sign was typical. Seemingly every retailer and restaurant was hiring in every town that we visited. A Texas FBO manager who had paid $13/hour in 2019 for entry-level jobs now has to pay $20/hour. “I still can’t find anyone who wants to work,” he said. (We also learned that the wholesale price for 100LL at the time was about $4.70/gallon.)

We continued to follow Interstate 20 over Midland, Texas and into Sweetwater.

It was freezing overnight and we hadn’t been able to find a heated hangar so we visited the National WASP WWII Museum to give the engine a chance to warm up before starting. We stopped for an awesome dim sum lunch at Bushi Bushi in Addison, Texas, also home to the most luxurious FBO that we visited during the trip: Galaxy.

We flew in the dark to Atlantic in Jackson, Mississippi and shut down for the night. We shared a heated hangar with an Ercoupe. Corporate says it is all about diversity and inclusion, but the employees had selected Fox News and were enforcing gender binarism:

Speaking of Fox, here’s a throwback to November 20 from the trip. Twitter was “in chaos” and presumably the site was at risk of shutting down due to all of the valuable employees departing:

The most emotional moment of trip for me was circling the Talladega Superspeedway, which happens to be right next to the airport. Ricky Bobby‘s NetJets was waiting:

All over the Southeast, the landscape was scarred by the Federal Reserve Bank’s 0% interest rates. I wonder how many of these developments won’t be finished any time soon. (A few weeks later, I was in Death Valley, California and talked to a Mountain States builder. He’d stopped doing any projects at all. “It costs $400 to $500 per square foot to build and I’m not sure that people will pay enough for me to recoup my costs.”)

Best airport restaurant of the trip (Elevation at KRYY near Atlanta):

Americans who have stolen $billions may relax in suburban comfort on the Stanford University campus and receive visits from attractive young females. For those of us who have stolen $thousands, we flew over quite a few housing options. Here’s an example:

A visit to Chick fil-A in Roanoke, Virginia:

A fly-by of Dulles Airport on the way to landing at KGAI.

There was minimal traffic in Montgomery County, Maryland as I traveled to my mom’s retirement complex on the Beltway. “The economy hasn’t come back,” said the Uber driver. “People in D.C. are still working from home or not working.” Did that mean his income had fallen? “No. There are fewer customers, but nobody wants to work either so the balance isn’t that different. Also, a lot of my customers are guys who lost jobs in 2020 and can’t afford child support payments that were ordered when they were working. They can’t renew their driver’s licenses because they’re behind on child support, so they take Uber to get to work.” (see this article on the scale of child support profits obtainable in Maryland)

The labor shortage made it tough to get a post-trip haircut. The barber shops were jammed with people who’d made appointments in advance. On the other hand, maybe Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is working. One-way tickets from DCA to PBI were less than $200 just two days before Thanksgiving.

We were lucky with the weather, except for the headwinds most of the way and then some moderate turbulence from 30-knot winds around the Appalachian mountains toward the end of the trip that required us to slow down to 80 knots (best cruise in the R44 II is about 110 knots). Even though some of the infrastructure is frayed because so many Americans have withdrawn from the labor force, the U.S. private aviation infrastructure remains a marvel to behold. The bigger airports usually have FBOs that are staffed 24/7. There is usually a crew car when you need it. Air Traffic Control is always relaxed and helpful. Most of the fees to keep this going are rolled into the price of fuel (or, even better, paid for by the Gulfstream crowd) so you’re not hit with annoying small bites constantly as in Canada and Europe.

Full post, including comments

A meek and compliant people celebrate their own boldness

A couple of photos from a hotel in Houston, which just recently voted for a gubernatorial candidate who promised California- and Maskachusetts-style lockdowns and mask/vaccine orders:

(Most Texans are Republicans and anti-lockdown Governor Abbott won reelection, but Houston is majority Democrat and voted for Beto.)

I’m wondering how it is possible that a group of humans who recently cowered in place for years can celebrate their own boldness even as quite a few of them long to return to cowering in their bunkers, or at least behind the cloth masks that Dr. Fauci said would preserve them from a deadly aerosol virus.

A photo from the NYT article, showing the two Mxes and their P100 masks:

If everyone at the board game group would commit to wearing well-fitting, high-quality masks — they prefer elastomeric p100s — and the group invested in a HEPA filter, Mx. Cherry says the couple could safely attend. Mx. Nerode’s 90-year-old father, for instance, a math professor at Cornell, has taught all semester with the same equipment.

(The group could also sand a fiberglass boat or airplane as long as they all have their P100 masks on!)

Full post, including comments

Abortion Care Art?

Abortion care for pregnant people seems to be the principal topic among Democrats running for office in the upcoming election. Examples:

(Certainly the decision to continue incubating Joe Biden’s granddaughter was the biggest economic decision that Lunden Roberts has made so far ($2.5 million tax-free downpayment plus unspecified monthly revenue); note that an abortion can often be sold at a discount to the net present value of the expected child support cashflow so it isn’t necessary to have a baby to profit economically from a baby.)

I’m not an expert on reproductive health care, of which we are informed that abortion care is the most critical component, but I had a thought while viewing Love and Birth at the Musée D’Orsay (Georges Lacombe, circa 1895):

Where is the abortion-care-themed art for Democrats who own Hunter Bidens and want to demonstrate their passion for this most important aspect of reproductive health care?

Separately, a Hero of Faucism at the jammed art museum fights an aerosol virus with a humble surgical mask…. worn over a beard:

A masked Follower of Science in front of a sculpture titled “Redneck and Alligator” (well, maybe it is actually a crocodile scene set in Africa):

Here’s an overview of the converted train station:

The ceiling of the museum restaurant:

This prompted our almost-9-year-old to say “Hey look, there’s a peacock. Dad, you need to give me a shotgun and then…. problem solved.” (Readers: If you are having problems with ornamental peafowl on your estate, let me know and we’ll send the youth over to deal with the birds directly.)

Speaking of problems, like most of Paris, the museum is afflicted with gender binarism:

On the other hand, they do give a lot of floor and wall space to Kehinde Wiley:

Full post, including comments

Dental hygiene declined during coronapanic

Happy Dental Hygiene Month. I hope that every reader has bought him/her/zir/theirself a new toothbrush head to celebrate.

This reminds me to relate a story in the Department of Philip is Always Wrong. I conjectured that Americans’ dental health would have improved during the lockdown. With offices and schools closed for 1.5 years in the Science-following cities and states, people were never more than a few steps from a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. It was, for at least part of the time, actually illegal for anyone to eat in a restaurant. With nearly every meal being consumed at home, there was thus no obstacle to brushing immediately after every meal.

I checked in with a dentist friend who confirmed the general principle that Philip is Always Wrong. “Hygiene was far worse during lockdown,” she responded, “due to constant snacking. Parents were too lazy to monitor their kids’ brushing. People just gave up and let everything go.” (Because of this, her practice has never been more profitable, nearly all funded by tax dollars (Medicaid for pediatric dentistry).)

Illustrating the best of modern German culture, a basket of cavities and/or revenue, depending on your perspective, from Amana, Iowa:

Full post, including comments

How can U.S. population be forecast under our current asylum-based immigration system?

The Congressional Budget Office has a recent report forecasting U.S. population for the next 30 years: The Demographic Outlook: 2022 to 2052 (cbo.gov).

The authors say that U.S. population will continue to grow, all due to immigration:

Since immigrants have a higher birth rate than native-born Americans, the above chart shows that there will be a dramatic increase in the percentage of the U.S. population that is either immigrants or children of recent immigrants (but this decline in percentage of native-born cannot be characterized as a “replacement”).

The southern border is open to anyone who is willing to walk across. Anyone who walks across is entitled to claim asylum, entering a process that could take years. Depending on the country of origin, a denial of asylum has no practical effect in terms of headcount. The migrant cannot be deported to a country such as Venezuela where the U.S. does not have an agreement in place with the government. (NYT)

How can the demographers know what percentage of the 28 million Venezuelans will decide to walk into the U.S., much less what percentage of the rest of the 7+ billion people on Planet Earth who are not already Americans? Given our current asylum-based immigration policy, unless we know how many countries will experience Venezuelan-style economic or political issues over the next 30 years, how can we know how many people will walk into the U.S. and stay forever?

Full post, including comments

Team USA’s new airplane at Oshkosh

Delta Airlines brought its “Team USA” airplane to Oshkosh this year. Our elite athletes will travel in style to the next few Olympics. Where do the proud Americans who built this machine live? Toulouse, France. It’s an Airbus A330.

Delta even flew it during an afternoon airshow (there is an airshow every afternoon at Oshkosh, plus two evening airshows).

Separately, on the way to Oshkosh we visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum and learned that no American-made car has won the Indy 500 for 40 years:

On the way back from Oshkosh, I stopped in Amana, Iowa, a center of All-American quilting. Where is the fabric made and printed for this All-American craft? Korea and Japan.

Full post, including comments

Mass Shootings and the American Experiment

In between bouts of outrage regarding the death of Roe v. Wade (the suffering of the world’s poor and the Ukrainians under artillery attack are insignificant compared to what is experienced by a pregnant American who must travel in order to get abortion care at 28 weeks of pregnancy), my friends on Facebook remain outraged about the fact that Americans remain able to buy and own guns that are then used in mass shootings (day-to-day shootings in major cities are not upsetting, by contrast).

My big take-away from the recent tragedies in the news is that Americans under 25 should neither be allowed to vote (unless they’ve worked for at least 8 years) nor purchase guns (see In the wake of Uvalde, can we abandon the fiction that today’s 18-year-olds are adults?). But since people keep asking Why Here? I thought it might make sense to look at what makes the U.S. unique among human societies worldwide and historically.

Let’s start with how we live: car-dependent suburbs. Many of us are probably the loneliest humans who have ever existed because, even before coronapanic, it required so much effort for a suburbanite to get together with another person. Note that one of my pet non-profit ideas for evil billionaires is “Latin American-style Towns for the U.S.”:

When computer nerds get rich, their charitable thoughts turn to helping Africans (see Bill Gates). They make a spreadsheet of the quantifiable aspects of the human condition, sort by misery, and the Africans come out on top. Peace Corps workers who return from a couple of years in small African villages tell a different story. They come home to their parents’ materially magnificent suburban homes and immediately suffer from loneliness and depression. Maybe we should feel sorry for Americans who live in suburbs and need to get in the car to shop or work and need to make an appointment before there is any possibility of seeing a friend.
What are the problems with suburban living, the dominant mode of American life? A shallow problem is that the car is required to accomplish any task outside of the home. Suburbanites waste their lives, and a lot of energy, driving to the strip mall to shop, driving to their place of work, driving to see friends or to an entertainment venue. Suburbanites cause horrific traffic jams that turn their nightmarish 45-minute commute into a hellish 2-hour commute. Giving how spread out houses are in the suburbs, it is impossible for a business that depends on pedestrians or bicyclists to succeed. A strip might might support a coffee shop, but it won’t be a place where people drop in as a casual part of their day. The more serious problems with the suburbs start with social isolation. You won’t have a chance encounter with a friend when you drive point to point. A suburbanite in theory could make an appointment to see a friend, but this is tough to arrange when everyone works 8-9 hours per day plus commutes for another 1-2 hours. Zoning laws ensure that nobody can run a business, even one that is clean and quiet, from his or her home. Thus the typical suburban youth will never see an adult at work. As far as suburban teenagers are concerned, cash is something obtained mysteriously by adults and brought home after an exhausting commute.

Latin Americans often come up near the very top of the world’s happiest people, despite a material prosperity that is very pale compared to that we enjoy in the United States. Nearly every small town in Latin America is built around a central plaza where the citizens gather at various hours to meet friends, play chess, eat meals in restaurants, etc. Small streets radiate from the plaza and hold all of the shops that are essential to daily life, including supermarkets and hardware stores. Housing is built up to a three story height, dense enough to support businesses, but not so dense that people are isolated in concrete towers with elevators. Smaller workshops are mixed in with housing, introducing young people to the texture of business.

The U.S. offers some enjoyable walkable neighborhoods, mostly developed before the rise of the automobile. Examples include many neighborhoods within New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. These neighborhoods, however, are small and can hold only a tiny minority of Americans. Consequently, houses within walkable neighborhoods typically cost over $1 million. As the U.S. population heads toward 500 million, these livable neighborhoods will become even more out of reach of the average citizen.

The market economy will not deliver Latin American-style living. We have to assume that building tract houses along the Interstate, served by strip malls a few exits down the highway, is the most profitable way to develop real estate. The handful of “New Urbanism” communities are not substitutes for the Latin American town. At Disney’s Celebration (near Orlando, Florida), for example, residents must drive more than 20 minutes to get to a supermarket, a hardware store, or a bookstore. It would be illegal to start a small business in most areas of Celebration.

In the exurbs of a rapidly growing metropolitan area, such as San Francisco or Los Angeles, we build a Latin American town, complete with central plaza ringed by three-story high buildings, the ground floor of which holds shops. We offer free rent to supermarkets, hardware stores, and other essential services. We encourage residents to start small non-industrial businesses in their homes, partly to provide jobs within the community and partly so that young people can see what adult work looks like. Once completed, the buildings are sold off for market prices and the money is recycled into building the next one.

How many of today’s mass shooters are products of the American suburbs?

Let’s also look at family structure. No society anywhere in the world or at any time in human history has ever provided the financial incentives to breaking up children’s homes that the U.S. provides. Consequently, we have double the percentage of kids living without two parents compared to the typical European nation. If you told people in 1800 that it would one day be possible for a married parent to get paid to wander off and have sex with a new friend every week they would never have believed that would be possible.

How many of today’s mass shooters are products of the U.S. family court system? (i.e., children of “single parents” or “divorced parents”?)

Speaking of family structure, let’s look at the U.S. resurrection of polygamy in light of the fact that some of the mass shooters have been identified as frustrated “incels“. Pre-1970, the parents (two back then!) could tell an unlovable son “there’s a lid for every pot.” Because of enforced monogamy, women who wanted to reproduce needed to pick the best man that they could find for a long-term partnership. For about half of the women, therefore, this meant partnering with a below-average-quality man. With current social mores and family law, however, a woman will be far better off becoming a “single mom” by having sex with a married dentist (profits vary by state) than by marrying anyone remotely like the young guys who have recently perpetrated mass shootings. A polygamous society that produces excess men also produces violence, according to the academics (example: “Polygynous Neighbors, Excess Men, and Intergroup Conflict in Rural Africa”). H.L. Mencken predicted this in 1922:

… the objections to polygamy do not come from women, for the average woman is sensible enough to prefer half or a quarter or even a tenth of a first-rate man to the whole devotion of a third-rate man.

How about shared cultural values? Has there ever been another society that doubled its population via low-skill immigration without regard to cultural compatibility? (see “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065” (Pew 2015)) If so, what happened to that society? The latest and greatest immigration law favors those without any affinity for American culture and American society: a migrant stays in the U.S. if he/she/ze/they says “I was unsafe in my home country.” We sort by how dangerous and disordered the society from which the migrant came, not by the likelihood that the migrant will find or expects to find fellowship among his/her/zir/their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters here in the U.S. A person who says “I hate everything about the U.S., but my spouse 4,000 miles away is abusing me” has more entitlement to live in the U.S. than a person who says “I love the U.S. and thought this would be a nice place to settle after I got my M.D. in Zurich.” Thus, the U.S. will gradually become a random assortment of people from the world’s most dangerous and disordered societies.

We don’t care when people in foreign countries die, right? (sometimes we say that we care, but we act as though we don’t care) If the U.S. becomes a random assemblage of people from around the world, why is it obvious that we must care about our fellow Americans? Omar Mateen, a child of immigrants from Afghanistan, explicitly said that his primary allegiance was not to fellow Americans:

In a 9-1-1 call made shortly after the shooting [in the Orlando nightclub] began, Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and said the U.S. killing of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month “triggered” the shooting. He later told a negotiator he was “out here right now” because of the American-led interventions in Iraq and in Syria and that the negotiator should tell the United States to stop the bombing.

Seung-Hui Cho was a permanent resident from South Korea who killed 32 Americans at Virginia Tech. Nidal Hasan, the child of Muslim Palestinian immigrants to the U.S., killed 13 people in Fort Hood in 2009 (sentenced to death in 2013, but many years of appeal remain). Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik waged jihad against non-Muslims in San Bernardino, California. After years of living at taxpayer expense in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the immigrant Tsarnaev brothers waged jihad on infidels running the Boston Marathon (not a shooting, but a mass murder). Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa came from Syria and became a jihadi in Colorado (killing 10). Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov immigrated from Uzbekistan before killing 8 infidels in New York City (using a truck as a weapon; he has been living at taxpayer expense for five years while awaiting trial). The same phenomenon seems to occur in other countries. A recent shooting in Norway was perpetrated by an immigrant from Iran (ABC).

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass shooter, was a white native-born person. But he lived in a city that is roughly 40 percent immigrants and children of immigrants and where even the native-born Americans have come from somewhere else. What is the shared cultural value that ties people who live in Las Vegas together? A belief in slot machines? A native-born shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, explicitly stated that his motivation for killing Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue was taxpayer-funded Jewish organizations, such as HIAS, that bring migrants to the U.S. Returning to Norway, the native-born Anders Behring Breivik said that he was motivated to launch the 2011 shootings by Muslim immigration.

This is not to say that open borders are bad. Certainly they are not bad for the rich (Harvard analysis) and certainly our open borders give us a wide array of bodegas and breakfast tacos from which to choose (Dr. Jill Biden, M.D.). But our open border policy is unique so maybe our open borders policy contributes to our unique position with respect to mass killings.

We’re not unique in the world in terms of having Internet. But having Internet is unique when considered against the history of the human

Full post, including comments

The gun violence diaries

“How Do We Get Rid of Our Teenage Daughter’s Gun Safe?” (New York Times):

Our 15-year-old daughter is very headstrong. She’s never been in real trouble, but she bristles against rules and authority: curfews, homework, appropriate clothing — you name it! Recently, she exploded when her younger brothers discovered her journal in the family room. Now, she keeps it locked in a heavy black box she found at a secondhand store. The problem: The black box turns out to be a gun safe! (A friend of my husband told us.) We’re not worried that she has a gun; she helped organize a school rally to tighten our state’s gun laws. But she refuses to give up the safe, and we don’t want it in our house. Help!

A gun safe among the righteous!

Full post, including comments

Why you want to be on SNAP/EBT

Shopping for tickets to take one old person, one very old person, and one young person to Longwood Gardens, a non-profit org near Wilmington, Delaware…

My ticket will be $25. If I had an EBT card (“food stamps”), it would be $2. Paying $60 rather than $6 for our little group won’t change my lifestyle, but I wonder how seeing stuff like this every day makes middle class taxpayers (“the chumps”) feel.

Note that, to prevent COVID-19 in the garden, an elaborate system of timed tickets is in place.

On the way back, we wanted to visit the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Adults are $25. The price for EBT cardholders…. Free.

We ended up not being to get in at all because it was sold out on a Sunday, but an EBT cardholder would, presumably, have been able to go on an uncrowded weekday while all of the taxpayers funding SNAP/EBT were at work.


Full post, including comments