DEVIL ARK SOUNDS LIKE THE TITLE OF A DARK FANTASY NOVEL, BUT IT TURNS OUT THEY WORK FOR GOOD: Record 51 Tasmanian Devils Born at Devil Ark.
DEVIL ARK SOUNDS LIKE THE TITLE OF A DARK FANTASY NOVEL, BUT IT TURNS OUT THEY WORK FOR GOOD: Record 51 Tasmanian Devils Born at Devil Ark.
ME, ONE YEAR AGO: Trump’s not a savior — but neither was Obama.
Obama has continued in this vein much more recently, telling police, “I’m your best hope” in his address after the police shootings by black nationalist Micah X. Johnson.
Obama wasn’t the Messiah, of course, and his feet of clay are now abundantly evident to everyone, except probably him. (With US troops fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan today, even that ending-war stuff turns out to have been a sham, never mind the rise of the oceans stuff. And all the email-deletion and document-shredding doesn’t look very messianic either.)
But that’s no surprise. If it’s salvation you seek, you won’t find it from a politician of either party. They’re pretty much all very naughty boys. And girls. Vote accordingly.
Indeed. Though by not being Hillary or Obama, Trump’s been successful enough to make me glad he won. And the nonstop butthurt from the DC crowd — Democrats and Republicans — is delicious. What really gets them, I think, is that they think Trump is miles beneath them, but the public seems to think that there’s not much difference.
MICHAEL WALSH ON THE ‘AMAZON WASHINGTON POST,’ AND WHY IT NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED.
CAN THE PRESIDENT PARDON HIMSELF? YES HE CAN! Mark Tushnet has it right.
The president’s constitutional power to pardon “offenses against the United States” is limited only by excluding “cases of Impeachment.” A self-pardon for ordinary criminal offenses does not fall within that exception, on my understanding.
A self-pardon might well be outrageously improper (unless there was the prospect of charges brought by a rogue prosecutor, whom, for some reason, the president could not control by firing him or her), but the response the Constitution creates for such misconduct is impeachment, a political rather than criminal remedy.
I think that Congress could impose some procedural rules on pardons under its Necessary and Proper Clause powers, but the power itself is plenary.
And for those saying that this is a sign of how far we’ve fallen, well, yes, but not necessarily the way they mean. People were talking about impeaching Trump before the election results were official. That fact tells us less about Trump than about the people who hate him.
Trump, as I keep saying, is a symptom of how rottenly dysfunctional our sorry political class is. Take away Trump and they’re just as awful and destructive. He just brings their awfulness to the fore, where it’s no longer ignorable. Now they’re willing to play with fire, risking the future of the polity over little more than hurt feelings, in a way that would have been unthinkable not long ago.
Related: Thomas Frank: The media’s war on Trump is destined to fail. Why can’t it see that? “Everything they do, they do as a herd – even when it’s running headlong over a cliff. . . . It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class. They are professionals and they believe in the things that so many other professional groups believe in: consensus, ‘realism,’ credentialing, the wisdom of their fellow professionals and (of course) the stupidity of the laity. This is the key to understanding many of their biases – and also for understanding why they are so utterly oblivious to how they appear to the rest of America.”
Watergate ended with a whimper, not a bang. After months of sturm und drang, Richard Nixon finally mounted that helicopter, gave that famous farewell peace sign and flew away. Most Americans were relieved to see him go. Our long national nightmare was over.
If something similar happens to Donald Trump, it will be entirely different. A significant portion of the American public — myself admittedly among them — will be convinced he has been railroaded in a partisan hatchet job. The voters who elected the president are going to feel, at the very least, undermined, more likely betrayed, by their own government and public officials. Many are going to feel this has nothing to do whatsoever with justice and will act accordingly.
The exact results of this mammoth national split are not easy to predict but they could range from massive civil disobedience to outright civil war.
Our political class, oblivious to this — see above — is playing with fire, but it is too foolish and self-obsessed to realize it.
AS KURT SCHLICHTER SAYS, THEY’RE REALLY GOING TO HATE THE NEW RULES: Americans Protest ‘Very Fake News’ CNN Outside of Atlanta Headquarters. “More than 150” is more than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson generally deliver.
RUNNING OUT OF ROAD FOR CAN-KICKING: Experts: North Korea Will Be Able to Strike L.A. Within a Decade.
THIS ISN’T A HUGE SURPRISE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED GARY TAUBES’ WRITINGS, ETC.: Study: Regular soda causes body to store more fat after high-protein meals. “Folks who had a sweetened drink with a high-protein meal stored more unused fat, compared to others who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage, laboratory tests revealed.”
GOOD NEWS! Well, maybe. Many people being treated for Alzheimer’s may not actually have it.
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FAT-SHAMING SAVES ANOTHER LIFE: Size 20 woman gets back at fat-shaming ex with size 8 revenge body. If she’d lost it sooner, he might not have been an ex.
ANN ALTHOUSE: Brilliant Positioning By Kid Rock.
Plus: “I’ll bet Dan Rather regrets creating this showpiece.” Again!
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ROGER KIMBALL: Some Advice for President Trump, Plus Announcing a New Charity.
IT’S COME TO THIS: Feminist Launches Class On How To Combat ‘Hyper-Masculinized’ Journalism.
I dunno, sister, are you ready for this?
HEY, CHARLTON HESTON TRIED TO WARN YOU HOW THIS WAS GOING TO TURN OUT: I Tried Soylent. It Didn’t Go Well.
WELL, THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Norway Takes Lead in Race to Build Autonomous Cargo Ships.
SINCE MONDAY IS NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY: 10 Terms Every Tequila Drinker Should Know.
We started celebrating a little early this year.
CHRISTIAN TOTO: These Five Films Served Up Seriously Awful FX.
I’d have included any of the Transformers movies — not because the special effects were necessarily awful, but because they were often incomprehensible. For my moviegoing enjoyment, that’s a far worse sin.
UNDERSTANDING THE Acura NSX.
NOT A SHOCKING CLAIM: When we finally go to Mars, we might end up living in giant metal cans.
Legalized lawlessness never ends well.
NOTHING IS “UNHACKABLE.” Unhackable Quantum Networks Take to Space.
STEVEN G. CALABRESI: How Democrats stole the nation’s lower federal courts.
Read the whole, shameful thing.
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YOU GO FIRST, BILL. Bill Nye: Older People Need to Die For Climate Change.
21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: China Plans to Use Artificial Intelligence to Gain Global Economic Dominance by 2030.
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Who’s Going to Win the Cold Civil War?
SHOULD YOU BE BUYING IODIZED SALT?
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Why Millennials Are Going Braless.
DEAL OF THE CENTURY: Apollo 11 Moon Rock Bag Sells for $1.8 Million in Controversial Auction.
While Armstrong’s lunar bag didn’t break any records, it has been the subject of frenzied discussion since NASA accidentally sold it to a private collector three years ago. As Blakemore explains, investigators found the bag while searching through the belongings of Max Ary, the former president of the Kansas Cosmosphere. In 2005, Ary was indicted of stealing and selling museum artifacts, including ones that had been loaned out by NASA.
“[D]ue to an error in NASA’s system, the bag was confused with another space bag from a later lunar landing, and was then accidentally sold to an Illinois woman for just $995 at auction,” Blakemore writes.
The buyer, one Nancy Carlson, knew that the bag had been used during a space flight, but she wasn’t sure which one. So she sent the bag of to NASA for testing. The agency, realizing its cosmic goof, refused to return the bag. The item “belongs to the American people,” NASA said in a statement at the time, according to the AP.
But U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled in Carlson’s favor. He said that while the bag should never have been put up for sale, he had no recourse to reverse the transaction. NASA was forced to return the artifact in February of 2017.
If correcting NASA’s screwup was so important, the government could have bid at the auction.
Let’s investigate this fully, and let the chips fall where they may.
IN THE MAIL: From Meryl Yourish, Darkness Exultant.
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ROGER SIMON: Mueller and Trump Prepare for War with America the Loser.
I dunno — in the short term, better DC waging war with itself, rather than against the American people, as the Obama White House did.
TRUMP MAY YET BECOME A TERRIFIC PRESIDENT, Andrew Klavan writes:
In fact, it seems to me — a reluctant Trump voter — President The Donald has done a pretty darn good job so far. Rough-hewn, inexperienced and sometimes too much of a loudmouth for his own and the country’s good, he has nonetheless managed to increase American freedom and productivity while dragging us back from the brink of the Moribund European Socialist Please-Kill-Us-Mohammed anti-Western vision of the last guy who held the office.
Read the whole thing.
THE O.J. TRIAL AND THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY: The O.J. Trial Was a Preview of America Under Trump.
Race loomed large in the O.J. Simpson trial, which came on the heels of the Rodney King saga, and O.J.’s team leveraged black identity politics in much the same way that Trump leveraged white identity politics. The prosecution team, like Hillary Clinton’s campaign, made a logical (if not particularly inspired) argument for why the jurors should take its side in what seemed to most professionals like a slam-dunk case. But the result came down to ethnocultural identification among the decision-makers. And O.J.’s jurors, like Trump’s voters, simply did not feel understood or recognized by the other team. The prosecution’s efforts at tokenism weren’t enough to convince the largely black jury to take the side of a law enforcement regime they viewed with suspicion, just as Hillary Clinton’s tortured working class appeals didn’t persuade white Rust Belt voters that she had their interests at heart. . . .
The most remarked-upon similarity between these two phenomena is the reality-TV quality of the coverage surrounding them. Both Trump and O.J. achieved wall-to-wall, flood-the-zone coverage unlike anything seen before or since. Both did this at a time of flux in the way Americans consumed information—O.J. at the dawn of the age of cable news, and Trump at the dawn of the age of social media. And both employed similar media strategies, with great success. For O.J.’s legal team, as the communications professional Bradley Tusk wrote in a post-election piece comparing it to the O.J. trial, “message and narrative trumped facts and evidence. Style trumped substance. He turned the whole thing into a spectacle, and the media played right along. Punditry, commentary and celebrity overran the process.” The media wanted O.J. to be convicted, just as it wanted Trump to lose, but the 24/7 coverage vortex probably helped both men more than it hurt.
Plus, Alan Dershowitz!
IT’S COME TO THIS: Algebra is not racist, don’t get rid of it. How can it be racist? Wasn’t it invented by Arabs?
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F-35B NIGHT OPS ON THE WASP: This is a fine photo, but I’m beginning to think Navy and Marine photographers are competing among themselves for a “best color effects in night operations” award. (See this dramatic photo of an F-18 carrier take-off snapped in January. Also the mortar illumination photo I linked to yesterday. This USAF night op photo doesn’t have the color splash but could certainly compete in a category like “spooky monochrome.”)
CATHY YOUNG IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: Betsy DeVos Is Right: Sexual Assault Policy Is Broken. “Many complaints by students accused of assault claim anti-male bias in Title IX enforcement. In some cases, that conclusion is difficult to avoid.”
Many colleges offer a hostile educational environment on account of sex where male students are involved. Betsy DeVos should tell them to shape up or lose federal funding.
SCOTT JOHNSON: “As I say — and do forgive me for repeating myself — the shooting of the unarmed and pajama clad healer Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed opens a window onto the sick culture that reigns in Minneapolis. No sooner had idiot Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges fired number 22 World Leader Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau than Hodges sought to expound on her deep thoughts for the benefit of her constituents. She is, after all, seeking reelection as the hometown crowd moves ever further to the lunatic left. Hodges is finding it hard to keep up.”
ECOLOGICAL ACTIVISTS KILL THOUSANDS OF MINKS: Once again eco-crazies promote mass slaughter — but with such goody-goody intentions!
MISSING WORDS HERE: “UNDER OATH.” Susan Rice met with Senate Intelligence Committee as part of Russia probe.
Susan Rice met privately with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators on Friday as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.
A spokesperson for Rice confirmed the closed-door meeting, saying the former Obama administration national security adviser “met voluntarily” with the committee as part of its ongoing probe.
Hmm. Meanwhile Jill Stein weighs in:
MARK STEYN: DIVERSITY AND DISINTEGRATION:
A law-abiding unarmed woman makes the mistake of calling 911 and, when the responding officers arrive, they shoot her dead. The American media’s reflex instinct is that this is an out-of-control murderous police-brutality story. To be sure, it’s more helpful if the victim is black or Hispanic, but in this case she is female and an immigrant, albeit from Australia. And certainly Down Under the instinct of the press would also be to play this as an example of a country with a crazy gun culture and the bad things that happen when innocent foreigners make the mistake of going there, even to a peaceable, upscale neighborhood. Or in the shorthand of the Sydney Daily Telegraph front page:
In both Oz and the US, the next stage of the story would be cherchez le cop – lots of reports of a redneck officer with a hair-trigger temper and various personal issues.
But there’s a complicating factor. It’s so complicating that The Washington Post finds itself running a 1,200-word story on the death of Justine Damond without a word about the copper who shot her – nothing about his background, record, habits, behavior. Not even his name.
Because his name is Mohamed Noor. As Tucker Carlson pointed out on Fox News the other night, the reason you know the officer’s identity is significant is because the Post went to all that trouble not to mention it.
Plus: “When they say a policeman shot an Australian lady I thought uh, oh but then when they said who it was I was like, ‘OK.’”
And yet he was promoted to be Minneapolis’s first Somali immigrant cop by a city administration that cared more about his background than his actual qualifications. And note that you have to go to the foreign press to get this kind of reporting.
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Sometimes it’s easy to confuse the Stupid Party for the Evil Party.
IT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT: Sarah Hoyt: What If We Have Been Invaded By Aliens? “When a culture is invaded and occupied, the first thing the occupiers do is take over the education of children (sometimes by force), the means of disseminating news (there is a reason we joke about invaders taking radio and TV stations first), the cultural life of the country including entertainment. All of these mechanisms are turned to giving the children of the occupied land the idea that their occupiers are in fact redeemers, and that the old culture was not only weaker but objectively worse than that of the occupiers.”
The news media is dead broke. Print advertising is washed up and all the digital advertising that was supposed to replace lost revenue from print ads and subscribers has been swallowed up by Facebook and Google. But the good news is that people will still pay for stories, and it’s an awful lot easier to bill one customer than invoicing the 1,500 readers of your blog. The top customers for these stories are political operations.
There is no accurate accounting of how many of the stories you read in the news are the fruit of opposition research, because no journalist wants to admit how many of their top “sources” are just information packagers—which is why the blinding success of Fusion GPS is the least-covered media story in America right now. There’s plenty of oppo research on the right, but most of it comes from the left. That’s not because Republicans are more virtuous than Democrats and look for dirt less than their rivals do. Nor conversely is it because Republicans make a richer subject for opposition research because they’re so much more corrupt. Nope, it’s simple arithmetic: Most journalists lean to the left, and so do the majority of career officials who staff the federal government. There are more sounding boards on the left, and more sources. It’s not ideological, it’s business.
Thus, most of Fusion GPS’s contracts seem to come from the left—except for its most famous project, the Russia dossier. Before it was passed on to the Democrats, it started on the right, when one Republican candidate—thought to be Jeb Bush but never confirmed—hired the outfit to amass damning material on Trump. From humble beginnings, it has taken on the shape of a modern-day legend.
Read the whole thing.
I KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: Millennials’ Sobriety Isn’t What It Seems. “They may smoke less and drink less — which are both indisputably good trends. Instead they are taking more pharmaceutical sedatives—as noted, prescription painkillers and opiates seem to be the Millennial drugs of choice.”
GREAT MOMENTS IN FAKE NEWS:
—The Media Research Center, September 15, 2016.
DIY MUSIC UPDATE: Over at the PJ Lifestyle section, I have a review of Omnirax’s Force 32 music or video project studio desk. (Spoiler alert — I’m enjoying it immensely.) Plus some thoughts in general in what to look for in a project studio desk.
UNDER THIS DEFINITION OF PRESIDENTIAL OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, I’m pretty sure that Barack Obama is indictable.
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ONCE AGAIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES DECLARES ITS CORE LEFTWING READERS TO BE RACIST. “NY Times reporter: White women seem racist on the city’s sidewalks,” John Sexton paraphrases at Hot Air – because they don’t appear to get out of the author’s way when he’s walking down the sidewalk:
The author does do some speculating on what this might mean, but all of his thoughts seem to boil down to white women being afraid to acknowledge him. He says he has asked white women he knows and they tell him they don’t know what he’s talking about. “Wait, am I crazy?” he wonders. But then when he asks black male friends and “they know what I’m talking about.”
What I see are a lot of unexplored variables. Since these are people passing in the opposite direction, the author doesn’t really know how these women behaved toward everyone else. In other words, maybe he has just encountered some rude women. The idea that there are rude people walking around New York being rude doesn’t exactly come as a shock to me.
Back in 2013, the Times ran an essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates that similarly assumed the paper’s core readers are racists. As I wrote at the time:
So just to add up the comments by Times contributors over the past couple of years: if you live in the big blank space between Manhattan and L.A. in the New Yorker cartoon, you’re a participant in “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads.” If you actually live in the Times’ backyard, you’re a potential Progressive racist. (Woodrow Wilson, call your office.) When the Weekly Standard noted recently that in the eyes of the MSM, the customer is always wrong, they had no idea how much he was truly loathed by those hoping that he’ll part with a note featuring Abraham Lincoln’s face and some change for a copy of the Sunday edition.
* * * * * * * *
Which brings us to the title of Coates’ article: “The Good, Racist People.” About which, [Ann] Althouse herself wrote, “My question is: How did some people get to be considered the ‘good’ people in the first place? It’s that question that fires my antagonism to liberals. They think they are good.”
Perhaps they feel they earn their penitence by paying to be harangued on a regular basis by the Gray Lady. I assume they enjoy wearing their NYT-emblazoned hairshirts, but all of the blue-on-blue action above is yet another reminder of Jon Gabriel’s classic tweet from 2014:
WHY DOES BLACK LIVES MATTER HATE MOTHERS? Civil unrest related to Freddie Gray death caused depressive symptoms among mothers in affected neighborhoods. It’s not surprising, of course, that people might be depressed seeing a bunch of thugs wrecking their neighborhoods after being given “space to destroy” by their mayor.
PEARL-CLUTCHING BOOKSTORE EMPLOYEE FRETS OVER SELLING HILLBILLY ELEGY TO CUSTOMERS: “The author of this, Douglas Koziol, doesn’t seem to have actually read Vance’s book.”
What, and risk exposure to the doubleplus ungood crimethink? Or to mix dystopian metaphors, as Ryan Holiday noted in a 2015 New York Observer article titled “The Real Reason We Need to Stop Trying to Protect Everyone’s Feelings,” “In the 50th anniversary edition, Bradbury includes a short afterword where he gives his thoughts on current culture. Almost as if he is speaking directly about the events above, he wrote: ‘There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.’”
I’VE SEEN THIS MYSELF: Depression in heart attack survivors is common, often untreated.
I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT: Is Gen. Selva Right About the Dangers of Killer Robots Unleashed on Humanity?
BLOGGER RIDICULES OLIVE GARDEN’S DEMAND LETTER OVER TRADEMARK DISPUTE: “On Wednesday, a blogger in Southern California wrote the most epic response to a pasta-related legal demand letter that we have ever seen.”
Pretty ungrateful of Olive Garden, considering all that bloggers have done to defend the chain from its detractors.
YES. NEXT QUESTION? Was John McCain a military hero?
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AND NOW IT’S SPICER’S TURN TO GET DOXXED BY THE MSM. Disgusting: Reuters Broadcasts Livestream of Sean Spicer’s House.
REVIEW: 2017 Audi Q7.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Traveling to Europe? Protect yourself from measles.
I’M WITH YOU ON THE FIRST HALF OF THE EQUATION; NOT SURE ABOUT THE SECOND. Rumours Turns 40: The Monumental Impact of the Album and of Stevie Nicks.
For those interested in all of the backstage machinations and intertwining soap operas while the album was being recorded, Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album by co-producer Ken Caillat is a very enjoyable read.
It sounds counterintuitive. But the plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with wild female mosquitoes. The eggs the females lay won’t hatch, researchers say.
The project is called Debug Fresno and it’s being undertaken by Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s holding company. It’s the company’s first field study involving sterile mosquitoes in the U.S.
Scientists say the goal is to cut the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the species responsible for spreading Zika, dengue and chikungunya. A. aegypti have been present in California’s Central Valley since 2013 and have been a problem in Fresno County.
“It’s a terrible nuisance, a terrible biting nuisance. It’s changed the way people can enjoy their back yard and it’s a threat for disease transmission,” Steve Mulligan of Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District told The Washington Post.
There must be an easier way.
IT’S NOT JUST FOR CROSSFIT: As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common. “Rhabdo, as many experts call it, has long been documented among soldiers, firefighters and others whose professions can be physically demanding. An Army study in 2012 estimated that about 400 cases of the condition are diagnosed among active-duty soldiers each year. On occasion there have also been large clusters of college athletes hospitalized with it after particularly grueling workouts. But doctors say they are now seeing more of it among weekend warriors driven in part by the popularity of high-intensity workouts.”
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SPACE: SpaceX Drops Plans for Powered Dragon Landings. “It would have taken a tremendous amount of effort to qualify that for safety, particularly for crew transport.”
IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN THEY DO IT: Militant left-wing leader arrested for allegedly inciting violence at 2016 Sacramento melee.
Yvette Felarca, 47, was taken into custody in Los Angeles on Tuesday on charges of inciting and participating in a riot, and assault likely to cause great bodily injury, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. The charges come after an eight-month investigation.
Felarca, whose name in public records appears as Yvonne Capistrano Felarca, has been identified as the leader and spokesperson for the anti-fascist group By Any Means Necessary.
She is among several people arrested this week in connection to the wild skirmish that broke out at the state Capitol in June 2016 when more than 300 counter-protesters confronted about 30 members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, which has been called a white nationalist group.
Felarca, who is a middle school teacher in Berkeley, attended the Capitol protest and gave television interviews after the melee. She was captured on video hitting a member of the TWP and calling a man a Nazi before punching him in the stomach repeatedly while shouting for him to “get the f*** off our streets.”
And here’s the video.
SEAN SPICER HAS RESIGNED. But I’ll mostly miss @Sean_Spicier.
MOSUL’S DAMAGED CHURCHES: Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic patriarch and Radio Free Europe take a tour of the city, looking at damaged Christian churches.
MICHAEL WALSH ON AMAZON: “I think it needs to be busted up asap before Jeff Bezos destroys the country.”
But is there a moral argument to forcing people to shop at the mall?
Three possibilities. One: There’s a sore-loser effect. Republicans bear Democratic friends no grudge because they won the election. Democrats do bear Republican friends a grudge because they lost. The left has to live with Trump for four years while the right is free from Clinton. No wonder one side has harder feelings than the other.
Two: The left is less tolerant of partisan disagreement because it assigns to its political beliefs the same moral weight that the right typically assigns to religion. Granted, that’s a simplification — there are many religious Democrats, albeit fewer than there are religious Republicans — but there’s a reason why campus Savonarolas feel impelled to extirpate interlopers like Ann Coulter, Charles Murray, and Ben Shapiro. The left’s favorite candidate has taken to measuring Republican legislation in terms of how many 9/11s it’s equivalent to, for fark’s sake. The right simply seems to offend the left more deeply than vice versa.
Three, the most Democrat-friendly spin: Trump is so uniquely odious a character (the “Access Hollywood” tape, the sexual assault allegations, a million other embarrassing moments) and his flaws are so intensely magnified by the media that of course one’s decision to vote for him will horrify Democrats. All I’d say to that is … have you ever talked to a Republican about Hillary Clinton?
A FREE-SPEECH CRACKDOWN WE CAN AGREE ON? China Bans Enemy No. 1: Justin Bieber.
SO “INTERSECTIONALITY” IS JUST WHEN A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT LEFTIES GET TOGETHER TO HATE ON THE JEWS. GOT IT. After Dyke March Scandal, SlutWalk Chicago Bans ‘Zionist Displays’ From Upcoming August Protest.
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MICHAEL LEDEEN: Trump Administration Still Doesn’t Have an Iran Policy.
MARRYING BEARS AND FROGS: Great title for an article discussing integrating the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) into the Department of State.
The USAID-State integration debate has churned for at least thirty years, but it has never been consummated because the two organizations have wildly discordant cultures, missions, and modus operandi. The work of both agencies is focused overseas, and both are deeply invested in globalization. Beyond that, they are as different as bears and frogs.
The article suggests the Trump Administration “repudiate USAID’s 2015 manifesto on non-cooperation” with the Dept of Defense. Thank the Obama Administration for that decision. Here’s an important recommendation: “…focus development assistance in countries where we have truly compelling U.S. national security or economic interests. The bulk of USAID tax money goes to largesse, and the biggest savings by far will be in this area.” Ouch — but a great point.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT? How the Islamic State Could Rebound.
As I’ve discussed before, despite the Islamic State’s goal of becoming a truly global insurgency, its success on the ground has been inexorably bound to local conditions, making it more of a “glocal” than global phenomenon. In European and North American countries with democratically elected governments, jihadist organizations like the Islamic State remain small, isolated and unable to pose an existential threat. By contrast, contemporary jihadists have thrived in locations marked by vacuums of authority; governments suffering from crises of legitimacy; and long histories of ethnic, tribal or sectarian conflict. Effective counterinsurgency programs — which also help establish security and justice for the local population — can successfully manage the serious threat posed by jihadism, especially if they balance military might with government policy. But mass executions, especially those that kill innocents, cause irreparable damage and destroy one of the most critical elements of a counterinsurgency: the trust of the local population.
Former Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, himself a very successful insurgent, once wrote that a guerrilla fighter “must move among the people as a fish swims in the sea.” In Iraq and Syria, jihadists were given plenty of room to swim from 2011 to 2014 because of the actions of the al-Maliki and al Assad governments. But after two years of the Islamic State’s brutal rule, the group has largely lost support from local populations — and the freedom and power that come with it. Consequently, now is an ideal time for counterinsurgency forces to use the advantage of negative public sentiment to help find, fix and finish Islamic State fighters.
However, that advantage can be lost, as it was after the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi in April 2010. Unless the United States and its allies can help create some sort of legitimate and stable government in the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria, the coalition will not eradicate the group, no matter how many bombs it drops. Jihadists will be able to lay low within the countries’ local populations until the opposition eases its offensive, and then they will re-emerge.
A long, hard slog.
K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Grade Inflation Is Even Worse Than We Thought:
American high schools are giving out higher and higher grades even as real academic ability stagnates. . . .
The erosion of intellectual standards is worse at the elite level: “the upward creep is most pronounced in schools with large numbers of white, wealthy students. And its especially noticeable in private schools, where the rate of inflation was about three times higher than in public schools.” This is probably explained at least partly by the attitudes of overbearing parents whose children are in the Ivy League rat race: Giving out anything less than an A is likely to lead to email protestations and parent-teacher conferences with mom and dad.
It’s also significant that even as high school grades become less and less meaningful, pressure is building in the educational establishment to de-emphasize or dumb down alternate measures of achievement, like the SAT, which are supposedly unfair to the poor and disadvantaged, and class rankings, which create too much rancor and competition. In the long run, though, this will only help boost the fortunes of elite students even further.
It’s almost as if that’s the plan.