Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

So Perhaps We Weren’t Crazy After All?

     Say what you will about Fox News and its steady slide to the left, it continues to provide a platform to at least one honest, courageous reporter:      The evidence will be hard to gather, and probably harder still to verify and collate. However,. given the Chinese ruling class’s undisguised intentions: To rise to …

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Unforced And Uncorrected Errors

     In his book In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government, one of Charles Murray’s arguments for the policies he advocates is that they watch the correct “dependent variables:”      When the way we add up results is combined with the difficulties of operationalizing hard-to-reify constructs, the nature of what I call “the dependent variable …

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Demand, Supply, And The Indie Writer

     No, this won’t be a plaint about how there are just too many of us. The world can never have too many storytellers. The stories are infinite, and all of them deserve to be told…whether or not anyone is listening. And even the most inept apprentice to the art can improve at it, with …

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A Call To Action

     And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it …

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Neutrality

     The title word has a checkered history. There are any number of people who’ll tell you that “you can’t be neutral about X,” where X is something they particularly favor or disfavor. And to be fair, there are subjects on which I would view perfect neutrality – i.e. “I’m neither for it nor against …

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Professionalization Versus Vocation

     I’ve been in something of a state recently: a creeping sense of desperation, a desire to reject the evidence of my senses that’s almost strong enough to overwhelm my reason. Perhaps the best short characterization of that state is “Make it all go away!” Nevertheless, I remain committed to reality, and to the best, …

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A Warning

     A few readers have proved less than courteous in their uses of the Comments facility. One in particular, who goes by the moniker of Skeptic, has submitted two vulgar and insulting comments already. One more and I’ll put him on the Banned list. To anyone who’s thinking that he can pollute this site or …

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Prospects

     A nice word, that. Etymologically, it means “a look forward,” something we time-bound types can’t really do. All the same, we try. Sometimes, through no great merit of our own, we get it right.      As we stand here in the Year of Our Lord 2021, what are the prospects for the immediate future, …

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Six Foot Women And Five Foot Men

     Gentle Readers with long memories might recall the romance between the late Dudley Moore, star of Bedazzled, 10, Arthur, and other comedy gems, and the gloriously beautiful – and much taller – Susan Anton. Many remarked upon this inversion of the regular “rule” that “he should be taller than she is.” Mind you, that’s …

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A Bee That Stings Like Muhammad Ali

     You really can’t do it any better than this, from the Babylon Bee:      Nation Wishes Someone Would Have Warned Them About Dangers Of Unchecked Government Power      U.S.—Concerned citizens from all over the nation were really pitying their unfortunate lot in life that not a single individual in recent memory had risen up …

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Supreme Laws

     You may have seen this snippet before:      “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what …

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The Dam Is Creaking

     Folly, the late Barbara Tuchman wrote in her book The March of Folly, is “knowing better but doing worse.” More lucidly if less lyrically, a fool is one who refuses to learn from his own mistakes. He persists in a course of action that has led him astray previously – perhaps on several occasions …

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Unpleasant But Important Advice

     This emission at Gab struck me powerfully:      @BigCountryExpat A quick followup to your recent article that mentioned packing heat even in your own house your SOP. I typically have a long gun within reach inside, but even when I’m just running outside to the shop to bring something in that will require two …

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Better Than I Could Have Said It Dept.

     Every now and then, the penetration and eloquence of another Web commentator simply blows me off my seat. I’m reduced to clapping and wishing I could have said what he did, as piercingly as he did.      Here is one such case. A small taste:      The Mask is a visible sign of “who …

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Good Intentions, Bad Methods

     I can’t say of my own knowledge that most Americans are annoyed by religious solicitors, but I know many people who are – including myself. Just this morning I received the attention of one such in a fashion that was new to me: a cold telephone call.      The phone’s display said “Private caller,” …

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Communications Breakdown

     This is likely to be one of my more discursive pieces – I’m warning myself as well as you, Gentle Readers – so please bear with me as I strive to organize it.      In keeping with the old dictum that the presentation of an important idea should have a tripartite structure: Tell them …

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Death Of A Nation

     In 1915, a man named D. W. Griffith made a movie that – as we like to say these days – excited some controversy. It was titled Birth of a Nation. It was a Civil-War movie – that’s the War Between The States for any Copperheads in the audience – that was mostly about …

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Upgrade

     [A short story for you today. Many SF writers have employed the motif of artificial intelligence in their stories. I did so in Freedom’s Fury, myself. But the innate yearnings of an artificial intelligence – in particular, whether it yearns for freedom — aren’t often addressed. Given that every AI must start as someone’s …

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Onus Of Criterion

     A weird-looking phrase, eh what? I first encountered it in Michael Emerling’s recorded talk on “The Essence of Political Persuasion.” The tactic he described was a real eye-opener – and smashingly relevant to conditions today.      The “onus of criterion” tactic relies upon your adversary’s unwillingness to admit that there’s no imaginable evidence that …

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Can “They” “Lose It?”

     In 1990, when Timothy Hutton was still a young man, he starred in a movie titled “Q & A” about a young assistant DA assigned to investigate a case of police corruption. It wasn’t a great movie, but its climax, such as it was, said something terrifying about those who dwell in the corridors …

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