September 24, 2017

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Politicization Of Everything.

Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr. Trump said Friday.

No doubt most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes. But Mr. Trump never stops at reasonable, and so he called for kneeling players to be fired or suspended, and if the league didn’t comply for fans to “boycott” the NFL.

Well, Trump’s got his opponents arguing against the National Anthem, so maybe he’s not as dumb as you think. But whenever you wonder why we’re in a situation where Trump’s driving this sort of narrative, remember that we got Trump because the respectable political class did such a sorry job that there was an opening for Trump.

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ANN ALTHOUSE ON MARK KLEIMAN: Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring. “And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance.”

The thing is, the more they do this, the less people care — even about being thought of as uncaring.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: How Obama is funding the anti-Trump resistance.


COUNTERPROGRAMMING: NASCAR owners say they wouldn’t tolerate national anthem protests at races.

LISA DE PASQUALE: The Speech I Couldn’t Give at Berkeley Free Speech Week.

STACY MCCAIN: Ivy League Butt Sex and Journalism.

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THE PUERTO RICO MESS: Reader Ed Steiner emails:

Before he appoints Peter Thiel to the Sup Ct Trump should put him in charge of reconstructing Puerto Rico. And have Icahn and Schwartzman as part of the team. As Taleb says, guys with skin in the game who know how to actually play the game.

Endorsed. Related: Puerto Rico’s Power Woes Are Decades in the Making: Years of underinvestment and massive debts left the energy grid vulnerable.

As residents here grapple with power outages across the entire island, the task of turning the lights back on falls to an electrical utility beset by rickety infrastructure, workforce reductions and financial woes so deep it declared a form of bankruptcy in July.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Irma sideswiped the island, knocking out power to about 70% of the customers of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa. The utility had made significant strides in restoring electricity when Hurricane Maria struck on Wednesday, wiping out power to 100% of its customers.

The “damage is catastrophic,” Ricardo Ramos, chief executive of Prepa, said Friday on CNN. He said previously that it could take months for power to be restored across the island. . . .

Prepa’s problems have been decades in the making. Early in its history, it earned praise for powering Puerto Rico’s industrialization efforts in the 1940s and 1950s. But over time, it became less efficient, energy analysts say.

Its generating plants, which rely on imported oil for about 60% of their energy production, are mostly obsolete and require major upgrades or outright replacement, said Miguel Soto-Class, president of the Center for a New Economy, a nonpartisan think tank in San Juan that has done in-depth analyses of the utility’s finances.

Power outages on the island are common. A fire at one of the utility’s plants in September triggered a blackout across the island that left many customers without power for days.

Yet prices are high.

Weird how often you hear stuff like this about Democrat-monopoly jurisdictions.

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“CLIMATE CHANGE” STRIKES AGAIN: Tens of thousands flee rumbling Bali volcano.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 6 Low-Impact Workouts That Burn the Most Calories. Personally, I like high-intensity intervals for cardio and lifting for exercise. But I do walk or swim (for like 30 minutes) on the days I don’t go to the gym.


ANALYSIS: TRUE. The ‘Salon Left’ Is Killing the Democratic Party.

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SO THE “PUSSY PASS” IS A REAL THING, BUT ONLY WHERE MALE JUDGES ARE CONCERNED: Racial and Sex Disparities in Prison Sentences: The Effect of District‐Level Judicial Demographics. “For serious offenses, increasing the proportion of female judges in a district decreases the sex disparity. I interpret this as evidence of a paternalistic bias among male judges that favors female offenders.”

FASTER, PLEASE: World Health Officials Describe Progress Against Tetanus, H.I.V. and Malaria.

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NO ACTUAL VOTES WERE CHANGED: Homeland Security notifies 21 states targeted by Russian election hacking.

Related: Flashback: More states confirm suspected cyberattacks sourced to DHS. “In the past week, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed 10 separate cyberattacks on its network over the past 10 months that were traced back to DHS addresses.”


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USA TODAY: How American Taxpayers Subsidize The NFL.

UPDATE: Say, maybe that tax reform act that’s underway can make it illegal to finance sports stadiums with tax-exempt municipal bonds. That would be a good policy change anyway. (Actually, removing the tax exemption entirely for state and local bonds would be a good change, but that’s not going to happen.)

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Facebook’s Pros Still Outweigh Its Cons: I wanted to quit. Here’s why I decided to stay.

The response to my question made me realize that Facebook had allowed me to create a distinctive forum, that people appreciate it more than I can usually tell, and that I’d miss (most of) these interactions if I left. It reminded me of the reasons to like Facebook: the connections it provides and the chance to easily share interests. So I’ve decided to stay, with modifications.

To avoid distraction, I’d already started using the Anti-Social app to block Facebook and Twitter for several hours at a time. I’ll extend the blocked periods and make them a daily habit. Taking a cue from psychology research that suggests that reading Facebook passively is what puts people in a bad mood, I’ve also installed the Stop Scrolling Newsfeed for Facebook browser extension, which lets you block the feed after a minute or even 15 seconds. (If that doesn’t work, there’s the nuclear option: Feed Eradicator for Facebook extension, whose name is self-explanatory.) Instead of endlessly scrolling through whatever some algorithm serves up, I’ll visit specific people’s pages directly and focus on interaction.

The exercise was a useful reminder of what often gets lost in the public commentary on social media. For all their myriad faults, services like Facebook provide genuine value by connecting people who wouldn’t otherwise be in touch. Tools exist to help users minimize the downside — you just have to look for them. Like any other form of abundance, making the most of social media requires conscious consideration. So I reserve the right to revisit the question next year.

I agree, though I feel this way somewhat less than I used to. Plus, on her fear of Facebook knowing her too well:

This particular fear was somewhat assuaged by downloading my Facebook archive and discovering just how clueless the ad targeting was. Rolex? The band America? Soccer? The ad preferences page also pegs “fire” as a hobby, presumably based on my interest in FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Hillary bet the farm on big data analytics. Now it’s Trump’s farm.

ROGER SIMON: Trump Is Reinventing What It Means to Be a Politician.

For most of our lifetimes being a politician meant being a self-centered hypocritical bore who carefully obfuscates his or her true opinions lest they offend potential voters and financial supporters or… a corrupt self-centered hypocritical bore who carefully obfuscates his or her opinions lest they offend potential voters or financial supporters.

Trump is reinventing that and we — whether we agree with his (sometimes changing) views or not — owe him big (or bigly) for this. At least now we’re awake and more of us are paying attention. (On this weekend’s episode of Judge Jeanine, almost every man-on-the-street interviewee knew who “Rocket Man” was. Compare that with “Joe Biden” when he was vice president.)

And these days Donald’s getting better and more precise at his core strategy — saying things that many, often most, of us think but don’t have the courage to utter.

And suckering his opposition into crazily attacking those mainstream views.

LAYERS OF FACT-CHECKERS AND EDITORS: “Humiliating”: Inside the Latest Controversy to Roil The New York Times.

SO THIS IS KIND OF BIG: Clergy and Lay Scholars Issue Filial Correction of Pope Francis: The initiative, the first time such a mechanism has been used since the Middle Ages, accuses the Pope of “propagating heresies” and respectfully asks that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity. “The filial correction, the first to be made of a reigning Pontiff since Pope John XXII was admonished in 1333, is divided into three main parts.”

IT’S A MESS, AND THEY’LL NEED HELP, BUT THEY WERE “HOPING FOR FUNDS” BEFORE THE HURRICANE BECAUSE OF THEIR GOVERNMENT’S IMMENSE CORRUPTION AND INEPTITUDE: Puerto Rico braces for clean-up, hopes for funds. Watch for an attempt to sneak a bailout into any relief legislation.

WELCOME TO THE KANGAROO COURT. I’LL BE YOUR KANGAROO. Ashe Schow: A Campus-Rape Official Who Disses Men Online.

Can male students expect a fair process when a member of the school’s department responsible for handling sexual assault accusations has posted anti-male sentiments online?

This year Northwestern University, above, hired Kate Harrington-Rosen as its Equity Outreach and Education Specialist for the Office of Title IX/Equal Opportunity and Access. In this capacity, she is responsible for “developing and delivering training for students, faculty, and staff on Title IX policy and procedures, as well as tracking and assessing education and prevention efforts across campus,” according to the Evanston, Ill., school.

Her “about” page on Northwestern’s website mentions Harrington-Rosen’s web sideline the Not Sorry Project, which the school said aims “to give space and voice to women, femmes, and other marginalized groups.” But the Not Sorry Project includes content that could be considered anti-male.

The project, active on Facebook and other social media, features artful posts on what people are “not sorry for” — including dissing men. They are typically described with the term “cis” or variants to mean males who identify with their birth sex.

In one anonymous post, the words “I’m not sorry that cishet alpha men are trash to me until proven innocent” appear over a background image of flowers.

Harrington-Rosen and her co-founder express similar views in the “Friday Not Sorry List” jointly credited to them. In one dated July 7, the pair wrote: “I’m not sorry (or sad) that I have very few cis male friends.” On July 14, they wrote: “I’m not sorry that none of my friends are cis straight men.”

On Aug. 18, the two wrote in their Friday list: “I’m not sorry for capitalizing on your white guilt to get you to give money to causes I care about.”

On Sept. 15, the two wrote: “I’m not sorry I’m skeptical of procedure and neutrality.”

Other posts express similar “not sorry” views about general issues. But there are no posts showing negativity toward women specifically.

Northwestern’s Title IX operation seems bad even by the not-very-demanding standards set by other schools.

THE HILL: Trump stirs backlash feuding with NFL, NBA players.


Now I’m no Scott Adams, but it does seem to me that this is a fight Trump can’t lose, and that the NFL can’t win.

UPDATE: Kurt Schlichter weighs in:


What the left wants is to take advantage of the conventions of bourgeois society while attacking them. But I think they’re running out of room. I don’t think they’ll like the result. Neither will I, of course, but they neither consulted me nor heeded my warnings.

Or as summed up in this classic Iowahawk tweet:

A HANDSOME ACADEMIC APOLOGY TO SETH BARRETT TILLMAN AND JOSH BLACKMAN, who were mobbed on social media — by academics — for suggesting that the emoluments case against Trump was weak. But “always outnumbered, never outgunned,” they had the right of it and it’s nice that some of their critics are apologizing.

September 23, 2017

BRIAN LEITER: USD Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo should either resign or issue a public apology.

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TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Middle school teacher arrested for having sex with student — again. “A former middle school gym teacher in Georgia was arrested for the second time this year for having sex with a student.”

SARAH HOYT: The Left Wants Supermen to Rule, But They Aren’t Even Giants.

There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself. Lo! I show you the Last Man. (To coin a phrase.)

MICHAEL WALSH: Farewell to the NFL.

But if you ask this former fan, the rot runs deeper. Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football’s core audience — and one that, by the current evidence is growing.

Tomorrow is going to be fascinating. Choose wisely, Roger Goodell and team owners.

DYING IS EASY, COMEDY IS HARD: Jerry Seinfeld Breaks Down a Joke. For the Netflix special Jerry Before Seinfeld, the comedian opens his archives; Here he dissects what’s funny about cereal.

I watched it last night — it’s surprisingly apolitical, and not surprisingly very funny. This Wall Street Journal article explores just how much craftsmanship goes into what look like a spontaneous performance.

FASTER, PLEASE: New antibody attacks 99% of HIV strains.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Science says: Yes, your dog really does love you.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump’s NFL Protest Comments are why Trump is President:

He takes a commonly held sentiment — most people don’t like the NFL protests — and states it in an inflammatory way guaranteed to get everyone’s attention and generate outrage among his critics. When those critics lash back at him, Trump is put in the position of getting attacked for a fairly commonsensical view.

Of course, NFL owners firing players on the spot for protesting isn’t necessarily common sense, but this is where “seriously, not literally” comes in.

There is another option, besides firing a player:

An odd controversy briefly dominated the sports pages in March 1996. A player in the National Basketball Association, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, refused to follow the league’s rule requiring that players stand in a “dignified posture” during the national anthem. Instead, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, Abdul-Rauf had remained seated during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

A black, 27-year-old former Baptist from Mississippi who had converted to Islam in 1991, he declared that as a Muslim, he could not pay homage to the American flag – which he called a “symbol of oppression, of tyranny.” He argued further that the flag directly contradicted his Islamic faith: “This country has a long history of [oppression]. I don’t think you can argue the facts. You can’t be for God and for oppression. It’s clear in the Koran. Islam is the only way.”

The NBA responded firmly, suspending Abdul-Rauf until he agreed to obey league rules. He missed one game, then capitulated. Two factors probably weighed most heavily on him: losing a cool $31,707 for each game missed, and facing wide opposition to his decision from other Muslims.

What’s prevented the NFL from doing the same? Instead, we get more mush from the wimp in response to Trump’s statement last night:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.”

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Yes, if there’s one thing Trump doesn’t understand, it’s professional football. It’s not like he ever owned a pro sports team or anything.

FILE – In this March 8, 1984, file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. The New Jersey Generals have been largely forgotten, but Trump’s ownership of the team was formative in his evolution as a public figure and peerless self-publicist. With money and swagger, he led a shaky and relatively low-budget spring football league, the USFL, into a showdown with the NFL. (AP Photo and caption.)

SPEED UP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE NFL: Dem calls for all NFL players to kneel during national anthem.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: A Chinese Robot Has Performed the World’s First Automated Dental Implant.

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Related: The Unexpected Return of Duck and Cover.

EXERCISE: Quality Trumps Quantity.

TIME TO SHUT DOWN THE NFL: Attorney: Tests show Aaron Hernandez had CTE.

STEPHEN KRUISER: What is a “Republican” anymore?

Good question, although I suspect you’d get a better answer in places like Texas, Utah, or Ohio than in Washington, D.C.

GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE: ‘It’s kind of a weather roller coaster’: On last day of summer, California hit by snow, hail. “The first snow of the season came just four months after Sugar Bowl’s last ski season ended with nearly 800 inches of snowfall. . . . The snow has come about a month earlier than usual.”

Note: This is just weather, not climate. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, though are definitely climate, not weather.

OH: Iran Tests New Ballistic Missile, State Media Reports.

It has enough range to reach Israel and enough payload for a nuke.

SEX, MEN AND POLITICS: The Insta-Wife with Andrew Klavan.


RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Left-Wing Causes, Like Frankenstein’s Monster, Have Escaped Their Chains.

Three strange incidents occurred in recent weeks. Nancy Pelosi was “shouted down by immigration activists for trying to strike Dreamers deal with Trump.” Hillary Clinton’s book received disappointing reviews from the left, and former FBI director James Comey was heckled at Howard University. “Go home Comey, you’re not our homey.” The audience was turning on its performers. All were signs the once reliable Blue Model is misfiring.

Time magazine … offer a brutal assessment concerning the direction of the Democratic Party. One rallying cry from the Left is that Clinton lost because she … wasn’t left wing enough. Every time the party has gone this way in national elections, they’ve lost in a landslide. … to win back the House, to redraw congressional maps favorable to the Left—you need to rebuild the party apparatuses in the rural areas, which have all but disintegrated.

In a classic case of the law of unintended consequences, identity politics is undermining globalism instead of being its tool.

Read the whole thing, in which Richard refrains from so much as a single, well-deserved “I told you so.”

WELL, YES: School choice is crucial for African-American students’ success.

Here’s what I need to say to them, to the people of this nation, to people of color — I am involved in the school choice movement because the future of my life and your life depends upon it. Starting the state’s first charter school was one of the most significant accomplishments of my life. Because of our willingness to look beyond traditional divisions and leave beyond our tendency to only work with those with whom we are comfortable, our children of color are closing the achievement gap. African-American students in charter schools are scoring 4% higher on reading tests than those in traditional public schools and Florida charter school students are more likely to attend college. Hispanic students do 12% better than their peers at traditional public schools. These are but two of the many indicators that point to increased success for students of color because their families were empowered to find schools that better met the needs of their children.

Far too many people and organizations, like the NAACP, refuse to acknowledge this. Their recent recommendations to curb charter schools, reduce their numbers and their independence, are wrong, and they expect falsely that all people of color should follow their lead because the color of your skin should dictate who you believe. I have worked a lifetime to change this misperception, to help people see that good policies for our kids do not have a color.

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

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OH THANK GOODNESS: Graham Says Friendship with McCain Won’t be Hurt By ‘No’ Vote on Health Bill.

POLL: Why is Trump’s approval improving? I think Hillary’s book tour reminded people of the bullet we dodged.


That tape of Obama at the party for former PLO advisor Rashid Khalidi that the L.A. Times has been sitting on since 2008 must be spectacular.  

HMM. PAST A CERTAIN POINT, YOU DO NEED CLEAR REGULATION FOR SELF-DRIVING CARS, but honestly given the nonstop hacking I’m deeply skeptical that vehicle-to-vehicle communications is a good thing.

BEYOND JOLT: Travelers warned about meth-laced soda in Mexico.


OBAMA’S WATERGATE: Six months later, CNN confirms what was widely reported — and ignored on the left — last March. “Vladimir Putin did not hack the election. Barack Obama did. . . . The all-smoke-no-fire Russia investigation looks increasingly like a smoke screen aimed to put out a very different fire. Rather than an investigation into malfeasance by the Trump campaign, does the Robert Mueller inquiry serve as a clean-up operation to justify Obama administration malfeasance? The bugging of the opposition party’s presidential campaign, at least when done by Republicans, ranks not only as criminal but as the biggest political scandal in American history. . . . The Obama administration using the considerable powers of the federal government to spy on a hated critic’s campaign sets a dangerous precedent. It provides future administrations a means to infiltrate the innermost circle of the opposition party’s presidential campaign. This merely requires the pretext of wrongdoing to engage in wrongdoing.”

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Mueller Scorches The Earth: His pre-dawn raid was meant to intimidate Manafort, not just to collect evidence.

Though that doesn’t seem to have worked. Mueller should be fired. His operation is staffed with Dem partisans and leaks like a sieve. It’s a disgrace.

ASHE SCHOW: DeVos Ditches Obama-Era Campus Assault Rules, But Problems Lie Ahead. “Even with the new guidance, some college presidents and states have declared they will continue to follow the Obama-era guidelines. In January, a panel of college presidents agreed with the parts of the Obama-era guidance that have become so controversial. John Jasinski, president of Northwest Missouri State University, said his school would continue to use the Obama-era guidance regardless of what DeVos did. Just last week, the California legislature passed a bill that would codify the Obama-era guidance for the state. Gov. Jerry Brown will likely sign.”

Yes, it’s a war on male college students out there. Which perhaps explains declining male enrollment. And getting rid of a bad policy is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for change. DeVos will have to force fairness, not merely permit it.

MICHAEL BARONE: A split in the party, a return to normal.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the president seems out of alignment, on policy and political goals, with his party in Congress. This strikes many as an anomalous, even alarming situation. But if you look back in history, it’s more like the norm, even if Donald Trump isn’t.

The current presidential/congressional alignment began in January 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke into the news. For several years before that, President Clinton engaged in what was called triangulation, positioning himself on issues between his party’s liberal congressional leaders and the conservatism of Speaker Newt Gingrich.

His collaborations with Gingrich resulted in serious bipartisan legislation — welfare reform, a child’s healthcare and Medicare package, and balanced federal budgets. In the process, Clinton pointedly ignored House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt. That ended when Clinton needed solid Democratic support on impeachment for lying under oath about his Lewinsky affair.

A lot ended then.


Astonishingly, the 2016 Clinton campaign conducted no state polls in the final three weeks of the general election and relied primarily on data analytics to project turnout and the state vote. They paid little attention to qualitative focus groups or feedback from the field, and their brief daily analytics poll didn’t measure which candidate was defining the election or getting people engaged.

The models from the data analytics team led by Elan Kriegel got the Iowa and Michigan primaries badly wrong, with huge consequences for the race. Why were they not then fired? Campaign manager Robbie Mook and the analytics team argued, according to Shattered, that the Sanders vote grew “organically”—turnout was unexpectedly high and new registrants broke against Clinton. Why was that a surprise?

Campaign chair John Podesta wanted to fire Mook, but Clinton stood by him. She rightly admired previous campaigns in which big data and technology were big winners, yet in 2008 it was the candidate and his appeal more than the technical wizardry that pushed Obama over the top. David Axelrod told me that analytics adds a “great field-goal kicker”—no substitute for a strategy and compelling message.

* * * * * * *


Clinton and the campaign acted as if “demographics is destiny” and that a “rainbow coalition” was bound to govern. Yes, there is a growing “Rising American Electorate,” but Page Gardner and I wrote at the outset of this election, you must give people a compelling reason to vote and I have demonstrated for my entire career that a candidate must target white working-class voters too.

I’m sure if the campaign had gone with the “Because It’s Her Turn” slogan that would totally sold the deal.

THE HILL: Poll: Trump’s approval rating rebounds. “President Trump’s job approval rating has rebounded off its lows, as voters approve of the government’s response to a series of devastating hurricanes and the White House’s efforts to work with Democrats.”

I think the UN speech is a plus for him, too, though it was too late for this poll, I think.


ERIC S. RAYMOND: “The South revolted to defend the indefensible of chattel slavery, and deserved its defeat. But once the war was won, the victors (both Northern and Southern Unionists) had to win the peace as well. It was not a given that the South would be reconciled to the Union; there was lots of precedent for the statesmen and the people of the era to look back on that suggested otherwise. The South could have become a running sore, a cauldron of low-level insurrection and guerilla warfare that blighted the next century of U.S. history. Instead, it is now the most patriotic region of the U.S. – as measured, for example, by regional origins of U.S. military personnel. How did this happen?”


USA TODAY’S FRONT PAGE WENT CRAZY OVER TRUMP’S SPEECH YESTERDAY, but Peggy Noonan sees it differently: Trump Gets Blunt at the United Nations Will bracing clarity make things better or worse? We’ll know soon enough. But he said things the world needed to hear.

It has been charged that Mr. Trump virtually ignored Russia, mentioning it only once, in thanks for supporting sanctions against North Korea. But he also said: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea.” That is not ignoring Russia. “We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture,” he said. “We must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.”

The most publicized section of the speech was on North Korea. He characterized its regime as “depraved,” “twisted,” a “band of criminals.” True enough. North Korea’s “reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles” cannot be allowed to continue. In the speech’s most famous flourish: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The U.S. “has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Is this too hot, or helpful, or both? During the Cold War colorful candor produced a great deal. When Ronald Reagan was drop-dead blunt about the nature of the Soviet Union, foreign affairs was a high-stakes chess game between two superpowers. The context now is a less clearly demarcated world in which anyone with a weapon of mass destruction is, for the moment, a “superpower.” It’s hard to know if blunt talk will excite nuts into greater activity, or if bracing clarity about the risks they’re taking will slow them down, make them question their ambitions and intentions.

But the U.N. needed to hear clearly and unequivocally the gravity with which the American president views North Korea. Ultimately, as Mr. Trump noted, confronting this question is “what the United Nations is for.”

A great line—because it spoke a great truth—was this: “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” Mr. Trump then paused and looked at the audience. It struck some as a “please clap” moment. It struck me as a stare-down: I’m saying something a lot of you need to hear. You’re not going to like it, and I’m going to watch you not like it.

Two final points: One is that Mr. Trump is on a roll, a sustained one the past few weeks, and this is new. All levels of government performed well in the hurricanes. Mr. Trump showed competence, focus and warmth. His bipartisan outreach, however it ends, went over well with core supporters and others. He had a strong speech at the U.N., in fact a successful U.N. week, beginning to end. His poll numbers are inching toward 40%.

Which gets us to point two: This is a very important moment for him. History suggests he will ruin it any minute with intemperate statements, wiggy decisions or crazy tweets.

Is that what history suggests?

SCARY BEYOND ALL REASON:   Prehistoric ‘devil toads’ with Pac-Man mouths ate dinosaurs.

SO WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SEXLESS, PAINTED ROBOTS?   The rise of genderless beauty.  I think this is once again a case of an industry — cosmetics — seeking a minuscule buying public in the name of social justice… or something.  Also, the left’s provincialism and historical ignorance strikes again.  I mean, seriously, what about using cosmetics means you’re gender fluid?  All the manly men of the Elizabethan age wore cosmetics.  I wouldn’t mind these self-proclaimed intellectual elites half as much if they weren’t ignorant nincompoops.

ONE PERSON’S HARMFUL IS ANOTHER PERSON’S REALISTIC:  10-year-old kids around the world already know harmful gender stereotypes.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO… AW HECK, JUST LOCK THIS COW AWAY:  Teacher allegedly slept with 4 teen students, 2 in same night.


AT LEAST SOME STUPIDITY IS NOT ETERNAL:  Obama’s “Dear Colleague” Demand for No-Due-Process Rape Courts Rescinded.

BUT… BUT MUH TRIGGERS:  Banana Peels and Cotton Bolls and Free Speech, Oh My!

MUELLER’S RABBIT HOLE:  Tapped Out: The Manafort Mess.

September 22, 2017

21st CENTURY (NON-) RELATIONSHIPS: Japan’s Lonely Single Men Are Settling For Virtual Reality “Wives Of The Future.”

One inventor who build a virtual-reality platform said he aims to create a virtual partner who brings greater satisfaction to Japanese men and women than a human companion would. That’s bad news for the Japanese economy, which, thanks to the looming demographic crunch as the population rapidly ages, will need to increasingly rely on the Bank of Japan’s “stimulus” to avoid a deflationary spiral.

I’d say, give them a few centuries, and a holographic/flesh and blood relationship could be surprisingly common — but then there’s that pesky demographic death spiral thing.

SO I’VE GOT A BUNCH OF RELATIVES: All blue-eyed people have a single ancestor in common.

FIRST THEY RUIN FOOTBALL, NOW THIS: Group of 45 men dressed like Magnum, P.I. kicked out of Detroit Tigers game. If they’re a distraction from the game, you need to play more amusingly.

JOHN HINDERAKER: The FBI, Still Stonewalling. “I can’t imagine why Speaker Ryan wouldn’t want to get to the bottom of the apparent misuse of the FBI by Barack Obama and his corrupt Department of Justice. But this is what I really don’t understand: the FBI is part of DOJ, which is run–in theory, at least–by the Attorney General. Why doesn’t Attorney General Jeff Sessions simply order the FBI to comply with the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena, promptly?”

Why, indeed?

OPIATE OF THE MASSES: “When young people started mobilising online against Togo’s president, the state switched off the internet. In the week that followed, people talked more, worked harder and had less sex – all of which proved bad news for the government.”

WITHOUT CALLING HIM A FASCIST, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN REMEMBERS JERRY POURNELLE “Pournelle was fond of talking about all the help Robert A. Heinlein (whom he always called ‘Mr. Heinlein,’ at least in my hearing) gave him when he was starting out, and he was a passionate advocate of RAH’s ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, and did much to help the generations of writers who came after him. He served a term in the thankless job of SFWA President, and remained an active part of SFWA ever after, as part of the advisory board of Past Presidents and (even more crucially) on GriefCom, the Grievance Committee. Jerry could be loud and acrimonious, yes, and when you were on the opposite side of a fight from him that was not pleasant… ahh, but when you were on the SAME side, there was no one better to have in your foxhole. . . . His politics were not my politics. He was a rock-ribbed conservative/ libertarian, and I’m your classic bleeding-heart liberal… but we were both fans, and professional writers, and ardent members of SFWA, and we loved SF and fantasy and fandom, and that was enough. You don’t need to agree with someone on everything to be able to respect them.”