Saturday, April 13, 2024

Iran Attacks Israel

It is widely reported Iran today launched a substantial number (some say 100s) of cruise missiles at targets in Israel. It is also suggested most of these were intercepted and destroyed without reaching their targets.

I presume Israel will return the favor and launch at targets in Iran. They will very likely have greater success although that is not certain.

Iran seemingly did not launch harder-to-intercept ballistic missiles at Israel. Ballistic missiles tend to be substantially more expensive than cruise missiles.

Cruise missiles are small, unmanned aircraft that take off and fly to their targets, carrying explosives. Ballistic missiles follow paths similar to high-arcing howitzer shells, and also carry explosives. Cruise missiles can loiter while a target is located, ballistic missiles cannot.

The US has announced it will assist Israel's defense. What happens next is unclear, maybe Iran's attack is a symbolic one-off, maybe it's the beginning of a wider regional war.

Saturday Snark

This is no joke, I've purchased there.

Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures
and its Comments section.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday Snark

Images courtesy of Politico's Nation's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.

Comparing Two Presidents

Steve Hayward at Power Line posts the following chart, but doesn't indicate his source for same.

If you were Joe Biden's reelection campaign manager, wouldn't those numbers give you a splitting headache? Will yelling "abortion" convince people paying what looks like roughly 20-40% more for groceries and fuel that they should stick with the guy who's to blame? I doubt it.

NPR Afterthought

NPR is supported by federal funds but also depends to a large extent on voluntary contributions by listeners, whose participation is sought with multiple pledge drives each year. This much I remember from when we listened. 

My afterthought arises out of the adage "follow the money." I wonder if the leftist ideological bias NPR exhibits arises from a survey of the subset of listeners who actually pledge and donate. It is possible they've learned only the ideologically radical left is willing to contribute significantly, and thus NPR content is pitched directly at that audience subset who donate. 

I can certainly imagine the logic of paying attention to the wishes of donors even if it is at the expense of driving away non-donor listeners. Be clear, I am not alleging this is the actual NPR paradigm, only that it is one possible explanation of their observed behavior.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Life Imitates Art

Today CNN has a story about water shortages in Bogotá with rationing threatened and reservoirs at record low levels. The blame is being placed on El Niño causing a drought.

Reading this I thought "how ironic." I immediately wondered if anybody had checked to see if Dominic Green was somewhere, somehow involved.

I scanned the rest of the article, about a quite serious problem, but could find no references to the Quantum of Solace Bond film, where monopolizing water sources in a dry land was the mcguffin. Instead it made reference to The Simpsons animated TV series. 

When a water shortage in Bolivia reminds people of a TV show instead of an iconic Bond film, you know Hollywood and the movies are in a world of hurt.

Is Now like the 1930s Geopolitically?

Economist Noah Smith writes he is concerned we are in the build-up to World War III. He describes this period resembling the localized wars of the 1930s that ended up being rolled into World War II. 

Smith's concern is we don't seem to realize what may be lurking over the horizon. Unlike the authoritarian powers (China, Russia, Iran, N. Korea), we are not busily preparing to be ready for a world war when it arrives in our lap.

The name of his blog - Noahpinion - has echoes of COTTonLINE. His argument isn't something to read when you're feeling blue, or defeated. Translation: it is worrying all on its own. 

Getting Over Never Trumpism

If you've been deploring Joe Biden's dementia, his open border, his pandering to Islamic fanatics, but you've also been resisting the logical imperative that follows - voting for Trump - I have a Kurt Schlichter column for you to read. 

Schlichter lays down the "lesser of two evils" argument in unflinching terms.  He argues persuasively that refusing to vote for Trump will get Americans killed, and he's probably correct, even if you discount Biden's bewildering foreign policy.

Schlichter has an energetic writing style that is never boring, give him a try.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The NPR Monoculture

Concerning the critique of NPR by Uri Berliner, noted below, NPR has issued a non-response 'response.'  Berliner accused NPR of ideological non-diversity. They respond with a defense of their racial and ethnic diversity, a straw man Berliner never attacked.

I'm unclear whether the people who run NPR understand there are alternative viewpoints to those uniformly held by their staff. Half or more of the country holds views NPR does not recognize as existing or having salience to our national existence. 

I fear NPR is preaching to an ever-shrinking choir. The next time the GOP controls both houses of Congress they should zero out federal funding for NPR and leave it reliant on its listener base. 

Perhaps the need to grow the listening/contributing audience will cause someone at NPR to consider broadening the ideological reach of their news programs.

CPI Up 3.5%

CNBC is the most reliable part of NBC News. They report consumer prices rose 3.5% in the past 12 months. In addition to which,

Excluding volatile food and energy components, core CPI also accelerated 0.4% on a monthly basis while rising 3.8% from a year ago.

The political implications of this continued rise are, I hope, obvious to the interested observer. Voters blame the party in power, in this case the Democrats.  This refutes their claim that inflation is in any way “past” or “over.” 

On the contrary, it continues to be nearly twice what the FRB would like. Thus interest rates will stay high and mortgages will stay unaffordable.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


I have been mulling over the Uri Berliner article upon which the previous post was based. I've been trying to imagine how the bright, educated editorial staff of NPR News could reach the conclusion that ours is an essentially racist society with no opportunities for POCs? 

I feel absolutely immersed in evidence that opportunities for POCs are abundant, and being utilized by so many. How could the NPR crew conclude to the contrary? 

Here in Nevada there are Hispanics and Asians working in the medical offices I visit, the restaurants I patronize. They built the house I live in, and those of my neighbors. And the casino staff are largely Hispanic. So is the manager of our Wells Fargo branch.

I saw a medical specialist last year with quite a strong Spanish accent, and name. My wife was treated by another specialist who was Asian. Our pharmacist is Asian. The electrician who installed our ceiling fans was a Pacific Islander, who employed a crew.

I've lived in this community about 3 years and, as far as I'm aware, everybody is getting along and getting on with their lives. I rarely see a gloomy or angry face. The structural racism hypothesis appears to be disproven by my surroundings - by my neighbors and fellow residents.

How the ‘Red Guard’ Captured NPR

The DrsC started our marriage too many years ago listening to NPR on the clock radio as we woke up. It was liberal but you could kinda ignore that and enjoy the fun parts, of which there were plenty. Garrison Keillor was mostly entertaining and the Magliozzi brothers’ show fun too.

We stopped decades ago when it became too much to ignore. NPR had became the radio version of MSNBC, a Democrat Party propaganda outlet and nothing more.

The last thing we still tuned in for was Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers’ show about auto repair. When one of the brothers died and they stopped playing reruns, we quit cold turkey and never went back. 

I report this history because someone on the inside, Uri Berliner, has written a plea for balance in their coverage. I read it nodding my head throughout. 

Berliner is a 25 year veteran of NPR. He reports how the drift leftward looked from the inside, and it is the story of an organization “buying” the bogus idea this is a bad country, even though nearly everyone in the third world would move here if they were able. 

Berliner could have echoed Ronald Reagan’s famous comment that he still had the values he’d had as a Democrat but the Party had gone off and left him behind. Berliner appears to feel this way about the organization to which he’s given his life.

If you once were a regular NPR listener but have drifted away, go read what Berliner has written and learn what it was like to serve an organization that has lost its way.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Poll: Economy Top Issue for Under 50s

Steve Hayward of Power Line posts this Gallup chart from Bloomberg. It shows economic issues have much more salience in 2024 than in 2020, especially with the young. 

Current data appears to show that more of those under age 50 choose the economy than any other issue. That was less true in 2020. People don't like it when their dollars buy less and less.

Understanding the political implications of these findings isn't rocket science. Nearly everyone buys groceries and and most buy fuel; prices of both are up sharply.

The Most Thorough Film Treatment of Dune

I haven't often admitted my youthful fascination with science fiction, but neither am I ashamed of it.  I read SF for many years, eventually amassing some 800 volumes, virtually all in paperback. Eventually I donated this collection to a university that maintains a special collection of SF.

The release of the second half of the new two part Dune film has been the occasion of several comparisons of the various treatments of Frank Herbert's weighty novel. Interestingly, most of these tend to omit a discussion of the TV miniseries treatments of Dune and of Children of Dune

I own these on DVD and recently began a rewatching of the TV versions. Filmed with British and European actors, these six 90 minute episodes go a long way to exploring the richness of the Herbert universe, the world of the Bene Gesserit, CHOAM, the Guild Navigators, the Great Houses of the Landsraad, and the Face Dancers. 

These two miniseries have the best interpretation of the Baron Harkonnen I've seen and some of the strongest women characters. In some ways, the two TV miniseries taken together constitute the most thorough film treatment of the Herbert "universe."

The spice must flow....


This is what the snow level looks like today up home in Wyoming, close enough to 2 feet as makes no difference. Spring is slow in arriving this year.

We hope to be there in a month. If there isn't significant melting, I'm not sure doing so will be practical.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Maintaining Order

President Gabrielle Starr of Pomona College just demonstrated the appropriate response to student protestors who invade university buildings. She gave them 10 minutes to leave, they refused, she had the police arrest and remove them, after which she suspended all of them, meaning one supposes they lost their student status (and tuition).

Such no-nonsense behavior is amazingly uncommon among college administrators. The last time I remember it happening was at San Francisco State University when President S. I. (Sam) Hayakawa did something similar. 

Students are entitled to their opinions and to expressing same. They are not entitled to interfere with the smooth operation of the campus they attend if, in their judgment, that campus isn't toeing the line they prefer. Being a college student is a privilege, not a right, and privileges can be forfeited when misbehavior occurs.

Saturday Snark

Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures
and its Comments section.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Friday Snark

Images courtesy of Politico's Nation's Cartoonists on the Week in Politics.

He Chose … Poorly

Headline in the satiric Babylon Bee, posted at Instapundit.

Teen Thanks Parents For Supporting Him Through That Time Of Confusion But Can He Have His Testicles Back Now?

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Rove's Bias

As we get closer to the general election in early November, the legacy media are interviewing those deemed political experts for their views of who is doing what, and whether what they're doing works. This happens every four years and is, in itself, no bad thing.

Today's has two different comments from Karl Rove about what Trump is doing "wrong" in his campaign (here and here). Rove is knowledgeable about GOP politics and basically ran Bush II's two successful campaigns. 

Unfortunately, Bushies don't like Donald Trump even a little, and dump on him every chance they get. So in spite of Rove's unquestioned expertise, it is likely his dislike of DJT will cause him to see "problems" and "missteps" whether or not they actually exist.

For a guy who lost the last election and is under indictment by several of the country's Democrat prosecutors, Trump is doing darned well. He has the GOP nomination sewed up, and is ahead in the polls looking toward November. 

Reporters who favor Democrats (that's most of them) tend to seek out Rove because he can be counted on to pan Trump. You may want to discount Rove's criticisms of Trump's campaign.