Category Archives: History

The Texas-Mexico border: Safe and sound

“Our southern border is safe and sound. That’s what I found tracing it by bicycle. The one thing I didn’t find on the border that I expected to find everywhere, growing like scrub brush in the desert, was anger. I assumed Mexicans would be angry with Americans, intruders like me. I assumed Texans would be angry with Mexicans. I was wrong on both counts. These are generous people with centuries of a shared culture.”

A good read.

Via The Weekly Standard

The Baby Bust

The WSJ’s Best of The Web argues for more legal immigration based on an historically-low birth rate for American women:

“American women are having children at the lowest rate on record, with the number of babies born in the U.S. last year dropping to a 30-year low, federal figures [show]…

“The general fertility rate for women age 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women—the lowest rate since the government began tracking it more than a century ago…”

With European women likewise giving birth at historically low rates, the West’s declining (and simultaneously aging) population should be grounds for statistical worries, yes, but more immigration? When unemployment among blacks and legal Hispanics is at an all-time low? Maybe not.

Via WSJ

Protecting the presidency

At some point in the swirling accusations and counter-accusations about Trump versus Mueller, who has kept quiet even as Trump comments on Twitter but probably is commenting by leak, there has to be concern for the office of the presidency. Andrew McCarthy at National Review:

“Unless Mueller can demonstrate that a serious crime has been committed, that Trump was complicit in it, and that Trump is in possession of evidence that is essential to the prosecution, [deputy AG] Rosenstein should bar him from seeking an interview, let alone issuing a subpoena demanding grand-jury testimony. This is not merely about protecting Trump; it is about protecting the office of the presidency.”

Only three presidential subpoenas have been issued: Clinton’s subpoena was withdrawn when he agreed to testify voluntarily in a civil case. Nixon’s criminal subpoena went away when he resigned. Only Jefferson stood up for the presidency when he declined to comply in a criminal case against his vice president.

Hopefully Trump will follow Jefferson’s lead and simply refuse to comply. Then let the House impeach him if they will and the Senate convict if they can. Impeachment has precedent. Mueller’s dangerous grandstanding does not.

UPDATE:  Reagan-appointed Virginia federal judge questioned Mueller’s indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on 13-year-old fraud charges: ““I don’t see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” Ellis said to prosecutors. “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. … What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Mark Twain’s adage

“…there is no discernible class of criminals in America with the notable exception of Congress.”—commenter John Butler at WSJ.

Souls on board

There are many reasons given for why passengers and crew of airlines and ships are referred to collectively as “souls on board.”

But one that’s not mentioned is the fact that the 19th century age of the steamship, when the practice seems to have originated, was much more religious than now.

People believed in souls then as they pretty much do not now. At least not officially or in the news media. So it was likely more than convenience sake in radio procedure to refer to passengers and crew as souls on board.

Happy 70th Birthday Israel

A poem by Yehuda Amichai on my favorite city in all the world:

Jerusalem is low, crouching between her mountains,

Not like New York, for example.

Two thousand years ago, she crouched

In a wonderful lunge.

All other cities ran great

Circles in the arena of time, won or lost,

And died. Jerusalem remained in a lunge:

All victories are taut and concealed in her. All defeats.

Her strength grows and her breath is calm

For a race even outside the arena.

Via Jewish Review of Books

Why weren’t the Davidians spared?

“Four ATF agents and five Davidians died in the initial gunfight [outside Waco] and another Davidian was killed later that day [25 years ago]. After a 51-day siege, 76 Davidians [including women and children] died when the compound went up in flames on April 19.”

They weren’t spared because of those four dead ATF agents. I was a reporter on the picket line at the time and so I know that it was widely understood (if rarely spoken) by the news media as well as most everyone else that if you killed a cop you paid with your life. Today it’s pretty much open season on cops.

Via Instapundit