A RESOURCE FOR SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: Or just for fun.
August 31, 2015
WE BUILD: In this case I’d like to build some following for James Young whose book, Acts of War, I enjoyed immensely.
IT’S LIKE TIGER BEAT FOR MASS MURDERERS: The Corner The one and only. Lovable Rogues All. I feel like saying “Wow, now I’m glad teh Grauniad has maligned me and my friends, seeing whom they praise!”
AND HOW WOULD WE BE ABLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE: A rejection of the nuclear deal could lead to radicalism in Iran.
August 30, 2015
OBAMACARE III: This Time It’s Personal.
CATHY YOUNG: Mutiny At The Hugo Awards.
Is this, as the Puppies’ detractors suggest, all about straight white males trying to protect their turf from interlopers like the women who snagged nearly two-thirds of the Hugo nominations for fiction in 2012? The Puppies’ fiction picks were indisputably male-dominated, with only three female authors out of 17; yet some of the group’s most dedicated members are women such as writers Sarah Hoyt, Amanda Green, and Cedar Sanderson. (The latter two were Puppy nominees for Best Fan Writer, which recognizes sci-fi related nonfiction work for nonpaying or low-paying magazines or websites.) And Hoyt told me in our email interview last spring that her personal worst example of the Hugos’ political corruption was a 2013 win for a white male: the Best Novel award to “Redshirts” by John Scalzi, a satirical riff on “Star Trek.” Hoyt, who dismisses the novel as “bad fanfic,” thought the award was blatant cronyism on behalf of Scalzi, a recent president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and one of the fandom’s high priests of “social justice” ideology.
Then there are the politicized “message” stories. Thus, last year’s Best Novel Hugo went to “Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie, whose protagonist belongs to a futuristic human civilization with no concept of gender distinctions and with “she” as the universal pronoun. The Best Story winner, “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu, dealt with a Chinese-American man’s struggles with coming out as gay. (The “fantasy” part was a clunky plot device: a mysterious phenomenon that causes anyone telling a lie to be instantly doused in water.) Also high on the gripe list is last year’s nomination for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky, a short story that even some of its fans concede is not really science fiction or fantasy. It is the internal monologue of a woman who daydreams about her comatose fiancé—the victim of a hate crime by men who apparently thought he was gay or transgendered—becoming a human-sized dinosaur.
Read the whole thing.
THE COURAGE TO LEAD: Democrats end summer meeting with no resolution to support Obama’s Iran deal. “Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the committee chairwoman, prevented the resolution from being considered at the group’s summer meeting this weekend in Minneapolis, sources told The Washington Post, which first reported the story. Obama and his White House team have worked diligently to get enough Capitol Hill votes for the resolution to pass, amid strong opposition from the Republican-controlled House and Senate.”
SARAH HOYT: What I’ve Learned From Dealing With SF SJW Types. “I was horrified and disgusted by their actions, but not in the least surprised.”
FIRST GLENN BECK’S HISTORIC MARCH IN BIRMINGHAM, NOW THIS: Nearly a thousand locals create memorial for deputy shot and killed at gas station.
Many people gathered together at a memorial Saturday evening to remember Harris County Sheriff’s deputy Darren Goforth.
The memorial was made up of flowers, balloons, posters and candles among other items.
All of the items were all placed at the same gas pump where the deputy was shot and killed Friday night. The deputy was pumping gas when he was shot in the back multiple times, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Hundreds of people were showed up Saturday evening to grieve and pray together for the family and friends of the officer.
One of those in attendance was Houston Police Officer Roland Delasantos. He said he had known Deputy Goforth since the two of them were in the fourth grade. “We really need a lot of healing, rather than anger. We need the community to understand, most of us are out here, are here to help, we are really here to do good…”
Andre Renolds, a friend of Goforth’s was also at the vigil. “It’s the uniform, it’s people out there spreading hate about police officers when these police officers are out there trying to protest and serve us…” he said.
Those gathered lit candles and gave hugs, hoping to turn the murder from hate to healing.
Hmm. Judging by the photos, the crowd was a lot more diverse than a Bernie Sanders rally. . . .
I PREFER ONSITE CONSTRUCTION BY NANOBOTS, OR AT LEAST 3D PRINTING, BUT THIS IS A HIGH-TECH EMERGENCY SHELTER. “The pods are 10 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide. They come configured with a double bed, a double bunk, or an office and can sleep as many as four people. The shape evolved from McDaniel’s teepee inspiration as he began pondering how to transport them most efficiently. The shells were designed to nestle nine deep on an 18-wheeler. ‘Essentially you’re moving 36 people per truck,’ he says. Contrast that with shelters fashioned from shipping containers, each of which requires one truck to move and houses six people. The Exo shelters fit together like stacked coffee cups and are relatively easily pulled from a truck and carried by integrated handles. The exterior shell weighs 375 pounds, the floorboard 350. McDaniel claims it takes two minutes to erect an Exo.”
AMERICA’S TROLL IN CHIEF ARBITRARILY RENAMES TALLEST MOUNTAIN IN NORTH AMERICA: Mount McKinley, 20,237-feet tall, “was officially renamed by Congress in 1917 in honor of President William McKinley, stirring criticism of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names among native Alaskans,” the Washington Examiner reports, adding that “Ahead of his 3-day swing through Alaska, President Obama announced Sunday that Mount McKinley will return to its native Alaskan name, Denali — meaning ‘the great one.’”
Well, Jackie Gleason always deserved that sort of honor. Not to mention the giant SUV produced by Government Motors.
Update: “Compromise: Instead of calling it ‘Denali’ we call it ‘Canyonero.’” Heh.™
ROGER SIMON: Who Shot The Sheriff?
Shannon Miles (a black man) is a crazy guy, just as Dylann Roof (the white man from the Charlston church shootings) is a crazy guy and Vester Lee Flanagan (the black man who killed his white co-workers at a Virginia TV station the other day) was a crazy guy. The latter two claimed they wanted to start a race war. No word yet on Miles, but if we believe in what our grandmother’s told us – that actions speak louder than words – he’s already more than half way there.
(You will note that I am not using the neologism African-American, which I think is part of the problem, not part of the solution.)
Also obvious, Barack Obama and Eric Holder (and now Loretta Lynch) are to blame for encouraging an atmosphere of racial divisiveness and, yes, hatred in our society. Anyone honest can see – and the polls have reported – a serious increase in racial tension and violence (Baltimore, Ferguson, etc.) since the beginning of the Obama administration. The racist-to-the-core “Black Lives Matter” movement is quite simply their evil spawn.
But those are the easy targets. We have to go back further to determine “Who Shot the Sheriff?” … way back to the dear old 1960s when the civil rights movement stood at a fork in the road. I was there at the time and, sadly, perhaps meekly, I took the wrong fork.
Read the whole thing.
THIS WILL WIN FRIENDS, OR AT LEAST INFLUENCE PEOPLE: Black Lives Matter Comes to the State Fair. “The main entrance to the fair on Snelling Avenue was closed down, which must have been a terrible inconvenience to fairgoers. . . . There was no violence, but a number of passers-by stopped to argue with the demonstrators. In each case, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, those who argued with the marchers said that all lives matter.”
Despite the best efforts of politicians, the media, and the educational establishment, the spirit of equality remains strong among Americans. But as I’ve noted before, Black Lives Matter is best understood as shock troops for an intra-Democratic Party power struggle, not as a movement that’s trying for mainstream acceptance.
TRUMP’S SECRET: Rasmussen: Nearly 3 in 4 Americans Think Political Correctness Is a Problem. “Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump during the first pre-primary debate reiterated a point he’s made throughout his campaign that ‘the big problem this country has is being politically correct.’ Most Americans strongly agree with that sentiment. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of American Adults think political correctness is a problem in America today, while only 18% disagree. Ten percent (10%) are undecided.” Almost a 4-1 margin. That’s pretty huge.
LEGAL ACADEMIA’S DIVERSITY PROBLEM: Lawyers By Practice Area; Law Professors Are The Most Liberal Among 61 Groups.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T PLAY THE ‘GENDER-NEUTRAL’ GAME ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS: “The truth is, liberals are name calling goons posing as intellectuals. Even if the school doesn’t mandate the policy, liberal students will do all they can to bully anyone who refuses to play along.”
But they’re not liberals in any sense of the word — and never were — so why call them that?
RELATED: “Here ze comes.”
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: “Where’s the website that connects educated women to less-educated but desirable single men?” You could call it LadyChatterley.com.
They have to satisfy the authorities that they are fleeing persecution and would face harm or even death if sent back to their country of origin.
Under EU rules, an asylum seeker has the right to food, first aid and shelter in a reception centre. They should get an individual assessment of their needs. They may be granted asylum by the authorities at “first instance”. If unsuccessful they can appeal against the decision in court, and may win.
Asylum seekers are supposed to be granted the right to work within nine months of arrival.
Basically, this is the same experience of the United States, with mass, virtually unchecked migration across the southern border from individuals–including large numbers of unaccompanied minors–fleeing horrific political and economic conditions in Central and South America. The scale of such migration taxes the resources of the host country (schools; government benefits; jobs) and increases risks to national security. Indeed, such problems are now causing Europe to re-think its open borders policy:
“We face a diffuse terrorist threat trying to attack our values,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told an emergency meeting of foreign ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and other European nations, who met in Paris to deal with terrorism and improve security in the wake of the attack by gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani on the Amsterdam-Paris Thalys train last week.
At the heart of the discussion was whether or not the European Union border policy of free travel, known as “Schengen,” can survive the waves of growing attacks against civilians in Europe.
The “perfect storm,” as a European diplomat called it, has hit Europe: terrorism, a migration crisis, and crime. Although they are not directly connected, the perception among many seasoned Europe observers is that the free movement of people across borders is making it easier for waves of people who intend to commit acts of violence to prey on victims – and to escape prosecution.
Yep. Any country (or federation of countries, as with the EU) that wishes to protect its sovereignty and citizens (which is the very purpose of government) must control its borders. It’s really that simple. While one cannot help but have empathy for those individuals fleeing economically or politically volatile countries, the solution is to help stabilize those countries, not tolerate ongoing massive, disruptive shifts in population, which only leads to destabilization of stable democracies (republics), which in turn, holds the potential to destabilize the world.
PROBABLY THE BIGGEST MARCH THERE SINCE THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA: ‘All Lives Matter’ march draws more than 20,000 to Birmingham. “Actor Chuck Norris, a conservative activist known for his martial arts, action movies and TV show ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ marched about two rows behind Beck. Alveda King, a niece of civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., marched in the front row. Bishop Jim Lowe, pastor of the predominantly black Guiding Light Church in Birmingham, co-organized the march with Beck and marched with him at the front. As a child, Lowe attended Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the march started, a headquarters church for the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Lowe and his sisters were in the church when a KKK bomb blew up the church and killed four little girls on Sept. 15, 1963.”
JERKY ILLUSIONS: UNCLE ANDY’S UNFORTUNATE URL, as spotted by J. Christian Adams:
Notice the URL. Uncle Andy’s Jerky dot com. Or is it?
A child looking at the magazine with me noticed it was actually Unclean D-Y-S Jerky. That’s right, unclean jerky.
Holy bad website startup choices Batman, especially for a product like dried meat. We couldn’t stop laughing.
Fortunately, as Christian writes, “So if you’re looking for some craft jerky, be assured, Uncle And’s is clean. They’ve added a dash of dashes.”
Well, that’s a relief.
CYBERWAR: America Becomes The Perfect Target.
There is an increasingly loud (and public) debate within the U.S. government about how to respond to Cyber War. The U.S. has lost hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of technology to China. While much of this stuff is covered by patents, details that must accompany the patent application do not contain all you need to replicate the patent illegally. China has been going after these unpublished trade secrets and other essential items not made public but essential to make stolen technology work. This involves a lot of trade secrets considered too valuable (to illegal duplication) to even patent. China has stolen a lot of stuff and that includes purely military secrets like wartime plans and procedures.
The Department of Defense has lots of useful ideas about how to retaliate but lawyers and American war planners have so far blocked these plans. Some of the retaliation plans involve dismantling China’s internal Internet spying and censoring system as well as making Chinese Internet based information and control systems unusable. Some government lawyers consider many of these operations illegal, or at least unclear in the legality department. Some American war planners caution that it is best to not reveal just how much damage we can do because that gives the Chinese an opportunity to adjust their defenses. A growing number of Department of Defense officials believe the Chinese are already on the offensive in the Cyber War department and the U.S. is not helping itself by waiting for the lawyers and paranoid planners to be placated before actually doing something to discourage the Chinese and other nations waging Cyber War against the United States.
You know, I’m beginning to think that our military is on the verge of being overlawyered.
MOLLY BALL: Joe Biden And the Democratic Vacuum. Vacuum? What vacuum? They’ve got septuagenarians coming out of their ears!
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K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Teacher keeps $90K job after being late 111 times. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time.”
The decision is one of dozens issued this year by arbitrators under the state’s Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey, or TeachNJ.
The tenure reform law, signed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2012, is supposed to make it easier to remove bad educators from the classrooms, although most of the arbitration decisions this year have returned teachers to their jobs, favoring job suspensions rather than terminations.
In Anderson’s case, the arbitrator said the district failed to provide the teacher with due process by providing him with a formal notice of inefficiency or by giving him 90 days to correct his failings.
While Anderson was unable to “plausibly” explain his lateness and — in the arbitrator’s words — relied on “micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations” while arguing “even when he is late he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students,” the arbitrator felt that “progressive discipline” was fairer than termination.
It’s like the teacher’s unions don’t really care about the kids’ welfare at all.
THIS IS WHAT GOVERNMENT TRANSIT LOOKS LIKE. BUT GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE WILL BE AWESOME! Metro: Track Defect Deleted From Inspection Report.
A technician “erroneously” deleted information from a July inspection report about a serious track defect that caused a train to derail Aug. 6, Metro said in an investigation report released to the public on Friday. . . .
Defective rail fasteners were the root cause of the track problem known as wide gauge that caused the derailment, Metro found. The agency, formally known as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said the rails weren’t properly held in place, spread too far apart, and caused a wheel axle to lose its grip and derail outside Smithsonian station.
The wide gauge problem fell into a category that requires immediate attention because “the track is at risk of failure if operations continue.”
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has become a lightning rod for controversy under President Obama, with its aggressive actions fueling sustained warfare between business and labor.
From the labor board’s bitter fight with Boeing, to the creation of new union election rules, the NLRB has repeatedly moved to the forefront of political debate, drawing in Congress, the White House and even the Supreme Court.
The NLRB’s latest bombshell was dropped on Thursday, when the board determined the waste management agency Browning-Ferris should be considered a “joint employer” of temporary workers.
The decision expands the definition of what it means to be an employer in the United States, and could put companies on the hook for labor violations committed by business partners and contractors.
Business groups condemned the decision, portraying it as the latest example of the NLRB blatantly favoring unions during Obama’s tenure.
You know, if you folks had backed Romney this wouldn’t be happening.
INSOMNIA THEATRE (PSYCHOLOGY EDITION): LUKIANOFF AND HAIDT ON ‘THE CODDLING OF THE AMERICAN MIND’ – As some of you might have seen, best-selling author and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and I co-wrote the cover story of the September issue of The Atlantic. The article, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” examines the latest manifestation of PC culture on college campuses and how it may be harming students’ mental health. The Atlantic has received a lot of reader feedback on the piece and is sharing some of its favorite reader comments (next week they will posting our responses to some of the criticisms). You can check out some of the highlights from those comments here. And, if you haven’t seen it already, here is a video of Haidt and me discussing the article as well as some personal reflections on what led us to write the piece.
DON’T CRY FOR ME GREAT BRITAIN: Jeremy Corbyn’s Falklands plan tantamount to surrender to Argentina, warns wounded veteran Simon Weston.
YEAH, THAT WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM: Citigroup braces for world recession, calls for Corbynomics QE in China.
August 29, 2015
I BLAME THE PRUDES WHO RUN HOLLYWOOD: Why Are Sex Scenes For The Over-60s So Taboo?
IS IT TIME TO BRING BACK THE BATTLESHIP? “For decades, naval architects have concentrated on building ships that, by the standards of the World Wars, are remarkably brittle. These ships can deal punishment at much greater ranges than their early 20th century counterparts, but they can’t take a hit. Is it time to reconsider this strategy, and once again build protected ships?”
HOW MANY MORE WILL DIE BECAUSE OF OBAMA’S RACIALLY CHARGED RHETORIC? Suspect arrested, charged in ambush killing of Texas county sheriff’s deputy.
Hickman said the motive for the killing had not been determined but investigators would look at whether Miles, who is black, was motivated by anger over recent killings elsewhere of black men by police that have spawned the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement. Goforth was white.
“I think that’s something that we have to keep an eye on,” Hickman said. “The general climate of that kind of rhetoric can be influential on people to do things like this. We’re still searching to find out if that’s actually a motive.” . . .
In an earlier news conference on Saturday, Hickman and District Attorney Devon Anderson both had strong words for what they said was an unprovoked attack targeting law enforcement, while touching on the recent climate of tension between civilians and law enforcement.
“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter. Well, cops’ lives matter, too,” Hickman said.
Anderson said that there are bad individuals in every field, but that “there should not be open warfare on law enforcement officers.”
Goforth, 47, was near a gas pump when the gunman approached him from behind and opened fire, Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ryan Sullivan told The Associated Press.
I remember when Sarah Palin was called an accomplice to murder over clip art.
HISTORY: Discovery of ancient cave paintings in Petra stuns art scholars. “Spectacular 2,000-year-old Hellenistic-style wall paintings have been revealed at the world heritage site of Petra through the expertise of British conservation specialists. The paintings, in a cave complex, had been obscured by centuries of black soot, smoke and greasy substances, as well as graffiti. Experts from the Courtauld Institute in London have now removed the black grime, uncovering paintings whose “exceptional” artistic quality and sheer beauty are said to be superior even to some of the better Roman paintings at Herculaneum that were inspired by Hellenistic art.”
WELL, TO BE FAIR, THEY’RE READING JOSEPH NOCERA. IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. TigerHawk: Joseph Nocera thinks his readers are idiots.
Amazon is up 10 times since Blodget made the call that Nocera ridicules, or 988% vs. around 200% for the Nasdaq and the Dow, notwithstanding the popping of the Internet bubble in early 2000. I know this in part because I shorted Amazon in 1998 for basically the same reasons that Nocera attacks Tesla now. It was a very useful learning experience for me.
The point, of course, is not to vindicate Henry Blodget or rescue Adam Jones, who is more than capable of defending himself. Indeed, Nocera seems to have justified Jones better than Jones ever could. The next Amazon, you say? Bring. It. On.
But how do you write that column, and how does your editor publish that column, without a whisper of a hint of an acknowledgement that, well, people who acted on their belief in Blodget in 1998 (and had the discipline to maintain their conviction for a few years) are far happier today — or at least wealthier — than people who believed Nocera? We don’t even get a single “to be sure”?
You need to read the NYT so you know what is going on inside the lefty echo chamber, but it is very hard to believe anything on its editorial pages at face value. Otherwise, for example, you would think that Joe Nocera can distinguish a good securities analyst from a bad one.
Well, none of their columnists can tell a good presidential candidate from a bad one, so. . . .
FROM MARK RIPPETOE, AN UPDATE ON THE GOVERNMENT’S LAME EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS: “Once again, the NIH has spent $2.6 million dollars on a website that encourages elderly people to ‘exercise’ in ways that cannot effectively address the concerns that exercise for the elderly should address.”
JONATHAN LAST: Hillary Is In The Zone Of Maximum Danger. “It’s never good when a candidate is being linked to an ongoing FBI investigation, as Clinton is with her private State Department email system. And you can see this in Clinton’s poll numbers with Democratic primary voters: She’s gone from 63 percent in late July to 49 percent today. She’s not just sub-50 percent right now, but at her lowest ebb since a year ago and with a surging Bernie Sanders, who’s at 25 percent and climbing.”
SO IT’S LIKE UBER FOR COMPUTER CAPACITY, KIND OF: Use Autonomous Car Computers When They Are Parked. “Each autonomous car will probably have more computing power than a tricked out desktop computer of today. Even fleet cars will be idle most of the day and night because outside of commuting hours most cars are parked. If the cars are EVs plugged into the wall they can just as easily also have their computer network plugged in. So then their CPUs could be made available for other uses.”
READER PRODUCT PLUG: Reader Frank Snyder writes: “If you’re interested in plugging a great product on Amazon, you might want to consider Kelly’s Delight Maple Bacon Cane Syrup. It’s pretty amazing when used in cocktails or ice tea. Disclosure: The owner is a friend and former student of my business-professor wife. But put a dollop in some bourbon or a little on some vanilla ice cream and it speaks for itself.”
GEE, I WONDER WHICH CHOICE THEY’LL MAKE? To regulate or not to regulate? EU to launch study on Uber.
NAME THAT PARTY, SPECIAL 80th ANNIVERSARY EDITION: Boarded buildings and bullet-ridden walls: Pictures show the dark underbelly of one of America’s most dangerous cities.
Missing from the text of the London Daily Mail’s chilling Detroit-on-the-Delaware photo expose on the no-go zone in my old stomping grounds of South Jersey? “Frederick Von Nieda was Camden’s last Republican Mayor — he served until 1936.”
I WOULDN’T WANT TO OWN A PIZZERIA ON THAT STREET: Spike Lee’s Annual Celebration to Unveil ‘Do The Right Thing Way’ in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
YES, YOU MAY LOOK IT UP ON THE INTERNET: CONFESSIONS OF A PUZZLE-EVADER: “Hi, my name is Moe Lane, and I look up video game puzzle solutions on the Internet.” Moe’s latest gaming-related column is up at the PJ Lifestyle section.
IN THE MAIL: Social Security For Dummies.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Bushnell Trophy XLT Roof Prism Binoculars, 10x42mm (Bone Collector Edition), $72.99 (65% off).
And, also today only: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – The Complete Series, $59.99 (70% off).
PEGGY NOONAN ON DONALD TRUMP:
You know the latest numbers. Quinnipiac University’s poll this week has Mr. Trump at a hefty 28% nationally, up from 20% in July. Public Policy Polling has Mr. Trump leading all Republicans in New Hampshire with 35%. A Monmouth University poll has him at 30% in South Carolina, followed 15 points later by Ben Carson.
Here are some things I think are happening.
One is the deepening estrangement between the elites and the non-elites in America. This is the area in which Trumpism flourishes. We’ll talk about that deeper in.
Second, Mr. Trump’s support is not limited to Republicans, not by any means.
Third, the traditional mediating or guiding institutions within the Republican universe—its establishment, respected voices in conservative media, sober-minded state party officials—have little to no impact on Mr. Trump’s rise. Some say voices of authority should stand up to oppose him, which will lower his standing. But Republican powers don’t have that kind of juice anymore. Mr. Trump’s supporters aren’t just bucking a party, they’re bucking everything around, within and connected to it.
Since Mr. Trump announced I’ve worked or traveled in, among other places, Southern California, Connecticut, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York’s Long Island. In all places I just talked to people. My biggest sense is that political professionals are going to have to rethink “the base,” reimagine it when they see it in their minds.
I’ve written before about an acquaintance—late 60s, northern Georgia, lives on Social Security, voted Obama in ’08, not partisan, watches Fox News, hates Wall Street and “the GOP establishment.” She continues to be so ardent for Mr. Trump that she not only watched his speech in Mobile, Ala., on live TV, she watched while excitedly texting with family members—middle-class, white, independent-minded—who were in the audience cheering. Is that “the Republican base”? I guess maybe it is, because she texted me Wednesday to say she’d just registered Republican. I asked if she’d ever been one before. Reply: “No, never!!!”
Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!”
“He’s the man,” Cesar said of Mr. Trump. This week I went by and Cesar told me that after Mr. Trump threw Univision’s well-known anchor and immigration activist, Jorge Ramos, out of an Iowa news conference on Tuesday evening, the “El Vacilón” hosts again threw open the phone lines the following morning and were again surprised that the majority of callers backed not Mr. Ramos but Mr. Trump. Cesar, who I should probably note sees me, I sense, as a very nice establishment person who needs to get with the new reality, was delighted.
Well, Peggy, he’s got you pretty well figured out. And yes, America has the worst political class in its history, average people are figuring it out, and — finally — the political class is beginning to figure out that average people are figuring it out.
Does this mean that Trump should be President? No, but it means someone capable of absorbing, and putting into practice, the things that Trump is making clear should be.
WELL, WELL, I HAD MISSED THIS: Russia Accidentally Reveals Its Massive Ukraine Body Count.
Buried in a mundane report on army salaries, Delovaya Zhizn (Business Life) noted that family compensation went to the families of 2,000 soldiers killed “taking part in military action in Ukraine.” The information was briefly online before Russian censors detected the fact and took it offline — but not before a Ukraine-based news site detected the admission and cached it online.
That some 2,000 Russian service members have died, all fighting a war that the Kremlin does not acknowledge exists, is a staggering admission of President Vladimir Putin’s commitment to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian war has lasted for exactly 18 months — by comparison, the U.S.’ nearly 14-year involvement in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 2,154 American soldiers.
Despite his bluster, I don’t think things are going especially well for Putin.
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IT ALWAYS DOES: Printing Money Goes Haywire in Venezuela.
Part of the answer is that in the early days, inflating does make the government a little more money, and the point at which it starts to lose money is also the point at which the freight train is traveling 120 miles an hour, and it has a choice between slamming on the brakes and killing everyone instantly or waiting to hurtle over the cliff. Embezzlers and accounting frauds often start this way — they fudge things just a little to cover a temporary shortfall. Only the underlying problem doesn’t go away, and they need to fudge even more the next quarter to cover up both the gap they have now and the gap they covered up last quarter. They tend to be uncovered when the gap is so big that it can no longer be fudged. This is what happened to Bernie Madoff when the market collapsed.
The larger answer is that this is the end game of Chavismo. For about a decade, some sectors of the left hoped that Hugo Chavez represented an alternative to the neoliberal consensus on economic policy. Every time I wrote that Chavez was in fact direly mismanaging the economy, diverting investment funds that were needed to maintain oil output into social spending, I knew that I could look forward to receiving angry e-mails and comments accusing me of trying to sabotage his achievements for the benefit of my corporatist paymaster. And in fairness (though without minimizing his appalling authoritarianism), those policies undoubtedly did improve the lives of some incredibly poor people.
The problem was that the money he was using was, essentially, the nation’s seed corn. Venezuelan crude oil is relatively expensive to extract and refine and required a high level of investment just to keep production level. As long as oil prices were booming, this policy wasn’t too costly because the increase offset production losses. But this suffered from the same acceleration problem that we discussed earlier: The more production fell, the more the country needed prices to rise to offset it. Between 1996 and 2001, Venezuela was producing more than 3 million barrels a day. It is now producing about 2.7 million barrels a day. In real terms, the price of a barrel of oil is barely higher than it was in August 2000, but Venezuela is producing something like 700,000 fewer barrels each day. Policies that looked great on the way up — more revenue and more social spending — became disastrous on the way down as the population was hit with the double whammy of lower production and lower prices.
This was predictable. Indeed, many people predicted it, including me, though I was just channeling smarter and better-informed people, not displaying any particular sagacity. But the Venezuelan government either didn’t listen to the predictions or didn’t believe them. Now falling oil prices are crushing government revenues at exactly the time the country most needs money to help the people who are suffering great misery as the oil cash drains out of their economy. In the beginning, printing money may have looked like the best of a lot of bad options. By the time it became clear that the country was not fudging its way out of a temporary hole, but making a bad situation worse, it was committed to a course that is extremely painful to reverse.
Sooner or later, you always run out of other people’s money. On the other hand, this compassionate egalitarianism has made Hugo Chavez’s daughter a billionaire.
IT’S BEST TO STAY ON THE OFFENSIVE: John Hinderaker: Take a Lesson From Trump: Stand Up to the Media.
DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY: Sanders: DNC using debates to rig primary.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes the Democratic Party is using its meager primary debate line-up to rig the nomination process.
“I do,” Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate schedule is “rigged.”
The two Democratic presidential candidates were speaking at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in Minneapolis on Friday.
“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” O’Malley said in his speech earlier Friday.
The DNC has drawn criticism for scheduling only four debates before the early primary states cast their votes, and six total throughout the election cycle.
Hillary performs badly in debates, so the process was structured to protect her.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: I brushed my student loans under the rug when I graduated from college, and I’ll never be that naive again.
ERA OF NEW CIVILITY UPDATE: Business Insider Website posts picture of Donald Trump in crosshairs, after joining with their fellow leftists in the immediate aftermath in January 2011 of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords (and a GHWB-appointed judge) by a crazed gunman to pin the blame on Sarah Palin’s clipart.
But then, being in the media also comes with a serious case of amnesia — forget the JuiceVoxers not knowing about the National Recovery Act of 1934; does anyone on the left remember what they wrote about civility and gun-related metaphors in January of 2011? Obviously, they never meant a word of it — it was just a way to further beat up Palin and establish some immediate leverage on the new GOP congressional majority.
Not that GOP politicians are immune from such postmodernism themselves; in his perceptive conclusion to “What’s The Deal with Trump,” Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard notes that both parties are responsible for his stratospheric rise in the polls this summer:
First, the governing style of Barack Obama, which, by insulating presidential action from constitutional checks and balances, drove up the value of “deal-making.” Second, the corruption of the Republican party. If the Republican Senate permits the president to pass off his Iran nuclear weapons treaty as a “deal,” abdicating its prerogative to ratify or block, then a better “deal”-maker is all it can offer the country the next time around.
Candidates Jeb Bush and Rand Paul have fallen into this misunderstanding, treating Trump as a “fake conservative,” as if he were running for chairman of the Republican party. So have George Will and virtually everyone who writes for National Review. “Trump,” writes Daniel Foster, “is sucking the most talented GOP presidential field in a generation down the gaping event horizon that is his huge mouth.” This is dubious. The GOP may have talent, but it has squandered the trust that might win it the country’s permission to do anything with it. For almost two decades Republican leaders have been asking a country with which they have lost touch to be content with words. Since the Tea Party rebellion of 2010, they’ve succeeded, with empty promises, in getting their own dissidents to lay down their arms. For now, there appears to be little that any member of the party establishment can say to hale voters back.
And there’s no way for the MSM to regain the trust of its consumers – and since they won’t listen to us, we applaud Trump’s manhandling of Jorge Ramos, one of their most boorish Democrat operatives with bylines.
SEE, HE WOULD HAVE FIT RIGHT IN AT A COLLEGE DIVERSITY-AND-EQUITY OFFICE: “We would say stuff like, ‘The reporter’s out in the field.’ And he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? That’s racist.’”
WHY DO DEMOCRATS HATE GAY PEOPLE AND SEX? Gay activists fume over de Blasio’s role in rentboy.com raid. “The LGBT community hasn’t seen such harassment and intimidation since before Stonewall in 1969. This has become a City Hall war against gay consensual sex. Some wonder whether this is happening to rid the city of ‘gay sin’ prior to the arrival of de Blasio’s friend, the Pope.”
August 28, 2015
YES, THIS IS EMBARRASSING NATIONAL PUBLICITY: University of Tennessee tells staff and students to stop using ‘he’ and ‘she’ – and switch to ‘xe’, ‘zir’ and ‘xyr’ instead No, I won’t be using these terms in my classes, though this is just some stuff on a website, not a directive sent to the faculty or anything as some seem to think. And yes, the University of Tennessee seems to have imbibed a huge dose of PC Kool-Aid all of a sudden. Faculty speculation is that it has something to do with pressure from the Obama DOJ, but I don’t really know. One suspects, however, that this will produce budgetary skepticism from the state legislature, which will probably wonder if we don’t have more administrators than we have useful work for them to do.
UPDATE: It’s already being mocked by an influential State Senator.
Plus: “State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, said he thought the suggestion was a joke. ‘And then I found out it was true, at which point I thought, “Are we really paying somebody to come up with this stuff?”‘ he said.”
State Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, wrote on Facebook: “First it was eliminating the Lady Vols. Now this? I doubt if parents spending over $15,000 a year expect this kind of nonsense education from the University of Tennessee. My advice would be find something better and more productive to do.”
Yeah, I think there will be questions asked about budgets and priorities.
SHOCKINGLY, IT APPEARED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, OF ALL PLACES: A Misleading Story About Justice Clarence Thomas.
MORE WEIRD BEHAVIOR FROM THE WACO POLICE: “Plaguing the Twin Peaks shootout are two twin evils. End up with nine dead bodies and surely someone must have killed them. There is a strong contention that the ‘someone’ was police, who may well have killed and wounded them all, or most, or at least some, but turning an eye inward would make the police look awfully bad, stupid and venal.”
IMMIGRATION: Italy: Muslim mayor refuses to take in refugees.
Centre-right mayor Arturo Cerulli has openly rejected growing political pressure for councils to do more to welcome the thousands of asylum seekers landing in Italy and help to ease the worsening refugee crisis.
“We don’t want refugees here, we don’t have the facilities for them,” Cerulli told The Local on Friday. “We don’t know where to put them, we don’t know what to do with them.”
Cerulli, 60, is a former nuclear engineer and aligned with the New Centre-Right party (NCD) of interior minister, Angelino Alfano.
During his engineering career he travelled extensively to countries including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the US, and is married to an Indonesian woman.
He converted to Islam 27 years ago but insists his refusal to welcome asylum seekers is unaffected by his religion.
“Religion has nothing to do with it,” Cerulli said. “I am speaking as the mayor, not as a global citizen. I have to take care of my area, my citizens. I would not know where to put refugees.
“If we accept six people, then they will send another six and then 20 more.”
He’s obviously read Camp Of The Saints.
A NEW THEORY OF WHY NEUROTICS ARE CREATIVE. “A wandering mind might explain why creative leaders tend to be neurotic.”
TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Italian woman locks up man for refusing sex.
The pair reportedly met this summer and enjoyed a fling, Il Messaggero reported.
But the man soon grew weary of the amorous adventure, and refused to have any more intercourse with the woman, who is separated from her husband.
Unhappy with the rejection, she then allegedly locked him in the basement of her home in Arzano, a town north of Naples.
It is unclear from the reports just how long the man was kept in the room, but he somehow managed to alert a passerby to his presence.
“The young man, visibly frightened, managed to seek help from a passerby, who told the police immediately,” Il Messaggero reported.
I blame our pervasive culture of female sexual entitlement.
SHARK SANDWICH: “2016: The Coming Train Wreck,” as spotted by “Comrade” Robert Kuttner (as Mickey Kaus likes to call him) at the Huffington Post, mixing his metaphors in Dan Aykroyd’s Super-Bass-O-Matic ’76 blender as he flails about to warn his fellow lefties of the danger on the horizon:
And a self-declared socialist [curiously, Kuttner sounds like he doesn't mean that as a compliment -- Ed] could defeat her in Iowa and New Hampshire. Even as she tacks left to excite the base, there is no way she can out-Sanders Sanders.
If she could just vault over the rest of the pack and claim the nomination, as she hoped when she declared her candidacy, Hillary Clinton might still be a strong nominee. But that’s not going to happen. As best, the fight for eventual nomination will be a long slog, with Clinton in the role of piñata.
As sharks are drawn to blood in the water, Hillary’s miseries are attracting other candidates. The latest is Joe Biden.
There is much that is admirable in Biden; but if anyone will be a weaker candidate than a wounded Clinton, it has to be Biden.
The man will be 74 years old on Election Day. That’s five years older than Ronald Reagan was at the time of his first election, and Reagan’s age was a liability in the campaign. Clinton, like Reagan will be 69 — youthful next to Biden.
Worse, Biden has proven himself on two occasions, 1988 and 2008, to be a dreadful presidential candidate. He has been a competent vice president, but that is no reason to think that he will be a more effective candidate now than in his previous outings. But he could well draw off enough of the anybody-but-Hillary support to make the nomination quest even more of an ordeal.
And if Biden gets in, others may. Well-placed sources say John Kerry is tempted. He’s been a surprisingly good secretary of state. But he blew a very winnable election in 2004. Like Biden, he’s a better public official than a candidate.*
Can you imagine the geriatric Democratic field? Sanders and Biden at 74, maybe Kerry at 73, and the young sprite of the pack, Hillary Clinton at 69. Jesus wept!
Gosh, how did that happen? As Jeff Greenfield warned last week at the Politico, “Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins.” And the Huffington Post went all in to nominate him in 2008.
Speaking of which, going forward, why would anyone want to vote for a woman whom the Huffington Post described as a stone cold racist in 2008, along with her core Democrat supporters?
* Kuttner really is a vicious man, isn’t he?
(Via James Taranto and Iowahawk who add, “If someone offers you the role of piñata in a hard slog, beware of sharks.” “Especially when you’re a shark slog piñata in a coming train wreck.”)
MARK RIPPETOE: Exercise: Government Style. “The National Institute for Health operates a subdivision they call the National Institute on Aging, apparently charged with, among other very important things, the task of amusing us with their ideas about exercise for older people.”
As an alternative: “Here is the Starting Strength version of endurance work for older people.” The contrasting photos are very amusing, proving that even when it comes to amusement, Rippetoe outperforms Uncle Sam. But there’s a serious point: “Now, here is the important question: Why are older trainees using Starting Strength methods getting stronger, with better flexibility, endurance, and balance, using barbells, while the federal government’s older trainees are restricted to waving their arms and legs around in the air, activities that cannot possibly make anyone stronger? Seniors that have worked with Starting Strength Coaches have increased their strength, retired their walkers, tossed their canes, and decreased their insulin requirements. For both athletes and older people, an approach that is so conservative that it fails to make anything change is a waste of time, and time is much more precious a commodity to an older person.”
HILLARY: THESE REPUBLICANS WANT TO ROUND UP ILLEGALS AND PUT THEM IN “BOXCARS:” Say, is this first Godwin’s Law violation of the 2016 campaign? It won’t be the last:
Via Mediaite, a little Nazi allusion to go with yesterday’s terrorism slur from someone who once said, as a United States senator, “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.” Not only was she adamantly against illegal immigrants, she called for creating a national entry/exit ID card to keep track of people who’ve been admitted to the country legally — and maybe not just those people. Quote: “Although I’m not a big fan of it, we might have to move towards an ID system even for citizens.”
Hillary’s prior support for cracking down on illegals will come up during this campaign, rest assured, although we’ve learned from the gay-marriage debate that Democratic voters have a seemingly limitless capacity for forgiving ideological heresies. (Then again, as we’re seeing with Trumpmania, so do Republican voters.) Here’s a Daily Beast reporter watching an RNC oppo researcher hard at work sifting through archives in the Clinton Library:
Today is already a good day.
He found something while perusing through the first lady’s press office records: an old interview in which she appears to talk about the importance of keeping undocumented immigrants out of the country.
“It’s a complete change from what she’s trying to do now where she wants everybody to come in—it’s just something we could possibly hit on,” he says.
So for our Orwellian would-be next president, Republicans have gone in short succession from being “terrorists” on abortion because they’re pro-choice to Nazis on illegal immigration. This flailing about is not the look of someone who knows she has the election locked up.
What’s next, ISIS comparisons? Oh right:
RELATED: Did I say “locked up?” Perhaps I wasn’t referring to the Democratic nomination: “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Stray Voltage: Hillary Clinton Now Being Investigated Under the Espionage Act.”