Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Robots Live Among Us

We’ve had a robot vacuum for a year or so. Recently we inadvertently screwed up the settings and instigated middle-of-the-night cleaning. 

Returning from a restroom call around 3:30 this a.m. I spotted its little blue light cruising across the living room floor. I got the control and steered it "home" to the charger. It's sort of fun to "drive" around the house, but not at that hour.

This morning, after looking up the operations manual on the Internet, I managed to disable the automatic program (I hope). The other DrC has a whimsical disquisition on wandering robot vacs at her blog, which I invite you to check out

Is It a Real Problem?

Various opinion writers are speculating that President Biden will lose support from a significant number of Democrats turned off by his vocal, unequivocal support of Israel in its counterattack on Hamas in Gaza. I wonder if this is true?

For sure they aren’t going to vote for Trump, assuming he is the GOP nominee. Trump’s support for Israel has been, if anything, even stronger than Biden’s.

Is there a third party candidate to whom they’ll gravitate? Or is it more likely they will stay home? I suppose the electoral effect is identical.

It will be interesting to learn to what extent there is an anti-Israel vote in our country. A mere handful of years ago I would have sworn it didn’t exist, beyond fringe groups. Now it looks to be real. 

Joe Biden is the same kind of misguided saboteur to the US that Angela Merkel was to Germany, doing nothing while immigrants poured in unchecked. Assuming our culture survives to write it, history will treat neither leader kindly. Survival of our culture, however, is by no means assured.

Later ... Molly Ball writes a long column for the Wall Street Journal (not behind a paywall) about the split in the Democrat party between supporters of Israel and those of Hamas. She observes it has been brewing for years but Oct. 7 dragged it out into the open.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Another Known Wolf

Robert Card, the shooter in Maine who killed 18 people was another example of "known wolf." He was a person police already had on their list of potential predators. 

Card had been diagnosed with a mental disorder by the Army where he was a reservist, and a firearms instructor. According to an AP story at Huff Post, he'd spent two weeks in inpatient treatment for it.

So here is someone mentally ill, heavily armed, and not in treatment. There are probably hundreds like him wandering about, hearing voices and making plans to go out in a blaze of murderous glory. 

Once again, we have misinterpreted the balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of his fellow citizens to be safe from his craziness. The sane have rights too. 

People like Robert Card belong in asylums. He'd be alive today, as would be his 18 victims, if the authorities who noticed him losing it had had a safe place to stash him, probably for the rest of his life. Unfortunately we aren’t able to “reboot” the human brain.

The Great Sort ... Meet the Great Pumpkin

As part of our continuing series on the exodus from Gov. Gavin Newsom's California, I offer for your enjoyment the following chart of Census Bureau data, posted this Halloween season at Power Line.

Four of the nine destination states - TX, FL, WA, NV - are states which levy no personal income tax. Five of the nine are departures from CA. Can either of these possibly be a coincidence? You won't convince the DrsC.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Snapshot of a Failed Presidency

Power Line's "guy with graphs" Steven Hayward has Gallup's latest polling data about President Biden's job approval, or more precisely the lack thereof.

See what Gallup wrote about these numbers.

Biden’s immediate and decisive show of support for Israel following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas appears to have turned off some in his own party, resulting in Democrats’ worst assessment of the president since he took office.

Early this year, Gallup found that for the first time in the U.S., Democrats’ sympathies for the Palestinians outpaced those for the Israelis.

The daily results strongly suggest that Democrats’ approval of Biden fell sharply in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas and Biden’s promise of full support for Israel on the same day.

Some substantial segment of Democrats side with Hamas against Israel, with barbarism against modernity. These are people I choose not to recognize as fellow citizens.

Reaping the Whirlwind

Democrats don't seem to learn the lesson, they get rid of one Republican, he or she gets replaced by a more conservative, more MAGA Republican. Newsbusters reviews a PBS program on which the commentary team of Capeheart and Brooks bemoan how new House Speaker Mike Johnson is too Christian and socially conservative.

These two pundits were remembering with fondness how non-radical Kevin McCarthy was as Speaker. Now they've got a Speaker they'll like much less. 

Some 200+ Democrats voted to oust McCarthy, assisted by 8 Republicans. If a few Democrats had voted for McCarthy, the Ds wouldn't be facing a Johnson Speakership.

Actually all those Democrat "no" votes empowered the most conservative House GOP members to elect someone more to their liking. How did this serve Democrats' interests? Answer: it didn't.

One of these days Mitch McConnell will retire. I predict Democrats will like his GOP replacement even less.

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday Snark














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

Bye-Ku for Mike Pence

They’re dropping like flies. Multiple sources are reporting former Vice President Mike Pence is the next to “suspend” his campaign for the Republican nomination to run for President. As noted previously, “suspend” means “end.” As is our COTTonLINE custom, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - for Pence.

Bid us farewell, Mike,

Your Bush-light shtick is passé.

No encore for you.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Friday Snark 2.0

Image courtesy of Lucianne.com, 27 Oct. 2023.

Friday Snark 1.0





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

Bye-Ku for Larry Elder

Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder has announced he is suspending his campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination for President. “Suspending” means “ending” in real-people-speak.

As is our custom at COTTonLINE, we offer a bye-ku - a haiku of farewell - to honor this less-than-momentous occasion.

Don’t tarry Larry,
The writing is on the wall
This was not your year.

Too Much Immigration

Writing for the Gatestone Institute’s website, Drieu Godefridi picks up on recent comments by Henry Kissinger that relate to the Oct. 7 violence directed at Israel by Hamas based in Gaza. He notes:

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger explained in an interview recently that Europe had made a serious mistake by creating within itself, through mass immigration, populations that reject all its norms, values and a "constitutional basis". He deplored the fact that in 2023 in Berlin, almost 80 years after the Holocaust, people, with complete impunity, are shouting "Death to the Jews" in the streets.

To avoid making the situation worse, emigration will have to be severely curtailed.

This would mean leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The extremist "open borders" jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court prevents any development of a rational asylum policy.

Europeans will have to do the unthinkable: actually apply their laws. If anyone -- Muslim or non-Muslim -- wants to celebrate the jihadist pogroms against Jews, well, they can go and rejoice in Iran or Qatar. Not in Europe.

Actually applying existing laws? What an excellent idea! Could we convince President Biden to attempt it? Not much chance of that. 

Instead of bringing their problems here, would-be migrants need to stay home and fix what’s wrong with where they live now.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Making It Payoff

 A new book by Army General Gregg F. Martin entitled Bipolar General (2023) is a memoir of a very smart officer (West Point, MIT) with bipolar disorder, previously called manic-depressive disorder. He managed to get huge amounts done during his manic phases, mostly conceal his depressive ones, and thereby get promoted to a very senior army rank. Now he’s written about his experiences. Reviews of the book are available in several places.

If this sounds odd to you, it certainly would have to me too, if I hadn’t known a similar individual some decades ago. The fellow I knew was physically large, played varsity football in high school and college (offensive line), turned down an NFL offer, got a doctorate, taught Ed. Administration at a state university, did OD consulting, married and divorced, was arrested but perhaps never convicted, and more.

Like General Martin my friend found ways to harness his manic phases to be effectively supercharged, as though he were taking meth or cocaine (which he definitely wasn’t). He could sort of trigger the manic phase, play football on an adrenaline high, then crawl into his dorm room and have a depressive “hangover.” Did the same in grad school, and in later life. 

He said he felt invincible when manic, like he couldn’t be hurt or stopped (or arrested). As a big, burly dude he was close to right, except 3-4 sheriff’s deputies did take him in. The problem he encountered was in unstructured situations (unlike football), he didn’t always show wonderful judgment when manic or depressed. 

The main drug they had for his condition was lithium which worked but left him feeling lightly sedated, which as a smart guy he hated. His dilemma was take his lithium and feel dull and blah or not take it and sometimes get in trouble. 

I think his university eventually let him go as medically disabled. I lost track of him some decades ago and a quick web search shows he died ten years ago. 

Musing About Mike Johnson

Our new Speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) hasn’t much of a profile in the limelight, though if truth be known the same could be said for most of the 435 House members. In fact, his low profile is probably why he was easily elected - he hasn’t irritated many colleagues, his views not controversial because largely unknown. 

I’ve known and worked with folks from his part of the country, near Shreveport. A key thing to know about them is that “separation of church and state” is more an abstraction or glittering generality with them than something they actually practice in daily life.

Example: Two decades ago I visited for a year on the faculty of a state university in the South. At a welcome BBQ for new faculty given at the president’s home said president stood before the meal and “returned thanks” in a truly non-perfunctory way. 

Not for him a mere “Bless those present and the food, Amen” kind of thing. Nope, he had thought about it and customized his blessing to the audience and dwelled at some length on the role of “the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior” in our work and lives. 

As a then-visitor from CA, where his behavior at a state function would be deemed borderline criminal, I was amazed. Then I wondered how several new faculty with normally Jewish family names felt listening to it? The State of Texas was funding the uni but he was letting us all know the culture was pure Southern Baptist. 

Make no mistake, the South is another “country.” To be fair, so is the mountain west where I now live. In these parts it is okay if you don’t hunt, but best not be anti-hunting. Folks hunt for the table hereabouts. Camo caps defining PETA as People Eating Tasty Animals are a local favorite.

I liked Texans, I’d probably like Mike Johnson if I knew him, I truly do wish him well.

About Immigration

Sarah Hoyt, herself an immigrant from Portugal, posts at Instapundit. She has a slogan I’m liking a lot, her emphatic way of saying she supports acculturation - the melting pot as opposed to the salad bowl.

LET US BE AMERICANS. LET US DEMAND OUR IMMIGRANTS FIT IN OR F*** OFF. LET US MAKE SURE ALL THE TIDE OF FAKE REFUGEES REVERSES.
The other DrC, the daughter of an Italian immigrant, agrees. Apologies for all caps, it is an Instapundit peculiarity. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Wednesday Snark


Image courtesy of Politico's Wuerker Cartoons.

Lesson to be Drawn: 
Wars will end when there are no more of us, not one minute sooner.

We Have a Speaker

It turns out the fourth time is the charm, House Republicans have at long last agreed on Mike Johnson (R-LA) as their new Speaker. He defeated Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) 220 to 209. Johnson is religious (Southern Baptist), married with four children, and Trump likes him. It is claimed he is something of an expert in constitutional law.

His wife Kelly is an ex-teacher, trained as a family counselor, and attractive enough to pose beside Melania Trump (scroll down) without looking like chopped liver. She is active in the pro-family movement.

It would appear that the House GOP caucus finally realized they were looking foolish. They had dug themselves into a hole, and had better stop digging. Good, if a bit slow on the uptake. 

COTTonLINE wishes Rep. Mike Johnson well in his new job.

Reminder

Hello there. Just a quick reminder Christmas is precisely two months from today, and Thanksgiving is not quite a month. 

It’s not too early to be making plans for the holidays. The family gathering we attend each year is scheduled for early January as that is when our various schedules can be synchronized.

All of the above reminds me to draft the brief text for our annual holiday season card, for the other DrC’s approval and editing. Here on the eastern edge of the Mojave we haven’t yet switched our HVAC from A/C to heat, that happens soon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A Proposed Ukraine Policy

Everybody is thinking about Israel right now, which paradoxically has me thinking about Ukraine. Many on the political right are arguing that the US has no realistic goals in Ukraine and, lacking them, should stop funding the war there.

I want to argue for continued funding, perhaps at a lower level. I make some assumptions which I ask you to examine and, if found sound, agree with.

I assume Ukraine cannot defeat Russia given the relative sizes of the populations, economies, and land masses of the two countries. I also assume Russia cannot defeat Ukraine presuming we continue to provide weapons, munitions, and intel. Putin seems unwilling to put his nation on a total war footing, with universal conscription, rationing, all the steps actually defeating Ukraine would take.

Our US goal should be providing sufficient support to keep Ukraine fighting, holding Russia to a standstill. Just that and nothing more. We obviously do not want to announce this goal as it is likely to demoralize Ukrainian fighting forces. 

Eventually the Russians will get tired, discouraged and go home. They did this in Afghanistan years before we did the same thing there. The Russians have a home to go to. The Ukes, like the Afghans, are home and unlikely to "go" anywhere.

Today our role vis-a-vis Ukraine is like Iran's role viz-a-viz Gaza, we are fighting a war with proxy troops using mostly our checkbook. We are losing dollars, of which we have many. The Russians are losing rubles and men, neither of which is in good supply. We can afford to do this for a long time, and we should. 

Dog Whistle

Fox News has an article entitled "Biden administration's proposed menthol cigarette ban could become liability in 2024: 'Unintended consequences.'" It goes on at some length and only hints at what was on the author's mind, never says it in clear unambiguous English.

To really understand the argument being made you also need to be aware of the following statistics, published in the science journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research and echoed here on a website maintained by the National Institutes of Health.

In 2020, 43.4% of adults who smoked cigarettes in the past month used menthol. Menthol use was most common among black adults (80%) and over 50% of those Hispanic, female, young (ages 18–34 years), lesbian/gay, with serious psychological distress, and with cigar use used menthol.

Who are the big time menthol cigarette users? As noted above, blacks, Hispanics, women, young people, LGBTQ+ individuals. Does that also sound like a list of the groups Democrats depend on for winning elections? Damn straight, it does. 

You don't have to be Karl Rove to understand the undesirability of flipping off the very groups which are your core constituencies. The article hints at this connection, but never states it in so many words. 

That is the very essence of a political dog whistle. Signal to the cognoscenti that you know and you know they know, but you never say it so you can't be quoted out of context and called "a racist."

Once a Criminal ...

Releasing convicted felons early or without serving time is popular with progressives, especially so with Soros-supported DAs. Some Democrat governors have joined this movement too. Daily Caller has the findings from a study of one governor's efforts in this direction.

Many of the criminals who Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released under executive commutation during the COVID-19 pandemic went on to commit new crimes, a report from the state’s government showed.

The report examined the criminal records of the approximately 1,700 criminals that Beshear had released in April and August of 2020 to reduce the prison population during the pandemic. Of those released, roughly 70% went on to commit crimes, with 50% committing felonies within less than a year of their release.

In one year, I calculate Kentucky would have experienced at least 1190 fewer crimes and 850 fewer felonies had these career criminals not been released. We need to remove from office those, like Beshear, who see criminals as a key constituency.

The Wheel Turns....

Hard times create strong men. 

Strong men create good times. 

Good times create weak men. 

And, weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain

Western societies are now early in phase four where weak men are creating hard times. Us oldsters who enjoyed the good times may not live to see just how hard. 

If you have children or grandchildren, be afraid for them, very afraid. The hard times that create good men generate a lot of collateral damage, many damaged or dead bystanders. In hard times the scythe of evolution cuts down the weak.

Slow Motion Suicide?

Nine Republican Representatives put their name in to be speaker. After 5 rounds of voting, the GOP caucus narrowed it down to Tom Emmer (R-MN), as Fox News reports.

But it quickly became clear that he did not have enough support to outright win a House-wide vote. With Republicans’ razor-thin majority, a GOP speaker-designate can only lose four members of their own party to win the gavel without Democratic support. 

Emmer is the third speaker-designate House Republicans have had in as many weeks. Congress has been paralyzed since eight GOP lawmakers voted with all Democrats to oust ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the first time in history the House deposed its own leader.

This being the case, Emmer withdrew his name. And the process started anew, with candidates even less likely to gain majority support.

We may be spectators to the slow motion suicide of the Republican Party, happening in real time as we watch. Anybody who tells you he or she knows how this impasse is eventually resolved is lying, though some brave few have hazarded a guess.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Inflection Point

Normally, I wouldn’t link to a William Kristol opinion piece. He is a never-Trumper neocon who finds more common ground with Democrats. However, “normally” doesn’t mean “never.” Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Writing at The Bulwark, Kristol argues the past month has been a historic inflection point. It’s a time when many things changed all at once, and new historic trends begin to coalesce, if only we have the foresight to perceive them. Kristol concludes:

The British commentator Matthew Syed recently quoted Winston Churchill, writing in the first volume of his World War II memoirs, The Gathering Storm: “It is where the balance quivers, and the proportions are veiled in mist, that the opportunity for world-saving decisions presents itself.”

In October 2023 it feels as if the balance quivers, and the proportions are veiled in mist, and both the opportunity for world-saving decisions and very real risk of failure present themselves.

Kristol writes to defend words spoken by President Biden, obviously written by some aide who has real ideas. Ignore the groveling and enjoy the insight and the breadth of vision.

Argentina Votes … Runoff Ensues

An AP story on msn.com reports the results of yesterday’s presidential election in Argentina. Economy minister Sergio Massa came in first, followed by Javier Milei, and Patricia Bullrich was third.

With nearly all ballots counted early Monday, Massa had 36.7% of the vote and Milei had 30%, meaning the two will go to a Nov. 19 runoff. Most pre-election polls, which have been notoriously unreliable, had given Milei a slight lead over Massa. Former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, of the main center-right opposition coalition, got 23.8% to finish third in the field of five candidates.

Logically, in the runoff you would expect the Bullrich votes to go to Milei. Argentine politics are seldom logical. Milei is a radical libertarian and his platform of dollarization and closure of government ministries clearly frightens many who cherish current government handouts.

He has also cast himself as a crusader against what he calls the sinister forces of socialism at home and abroad. He opposes sex education, feminist policies and abortion, which is legal in Argentina. He rejects the notion that humans have had a role in causing climate change.

It is clear the forces of Peronism, which have poisoned Argentine politics for eight decades, are still a potent factor there. We will know more in mid-November.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Competing Visions

Konstantin Kisin writes for The Free Press about progressives getting their eyes opened by the actions of Hamas on Oct. 7. He explains by citing Thomas Sowell's 1987 book A Conflict of Visions. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

In this now-classic, he offers a simple and powerful explanation of why people disagree about politics. We disagree about politics, Sowell argues, because we disagree about human nature. We see the world through one of two competing visions, each of which tells a radically different story about human nature.

Those with “unconstrained vision” think that humans are malleable and can be perfected. They believe that social ills and evils can be overcome through collective action that encourages humans to behave better. (snip) This worldview is the foundation of the progressive mindset.

By contrast, those who see the world through a “constrained vision” lens believe that human nature is a universal constant. No amount of social engineering can change the sober reality of human self-interest, or the fact that human empathy and social resources are necessarily scarce. (snip) This approach is the bedrock of the conservative worldview.

The preponderance of evidence shows the constrained vision of conservatives is the one which more accurately explains human behavior. Kisin has rediscovered the old adage that a conservative is a progressive who has been mugged by reality, hence the eye-opening he notes.

Opposing Narratives

Alpha News, on whose board Power Line's Scott Johnson serves, reports Amy Sweasy is "a former prosecutor in Hennepin County" where the trial of the police involved in the death-in-custody of George Floyd took place. She later sued her boss, the County Attorney, and testified as described below.

Sweasy ... discussed a revealing conversation she said she had the day after Floyd’s death when she asked Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker about the autopsy.

“I called Dr. Baker early that morning to tell him about the case and to ask him if he would perform the autopsy on Mr. Floyd,” she explained.

“He called me later in the day on that Tuesday and he told me that there were no medical findings that showed any injury to the vital structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck. There were no medical indications of asphyxia or strangulation,” Sweasy said, according to the transcript.

“He said to me, ‘Amy, what happens when the actual evidence doesn’t match up with the public narrative that everyone’s already decided on?’ And then he said, ‘This is the kind of case that ends careers.’”
Roger Kimball at American Greatness, observes.
It is worth noting that when he was testifying in court, Andrew Baker told a different tale, opining that Floyd’s death was a homicide.

Hat tip to Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit, for the links, and to Tucker Carlson on X for shining light on the issue.

Insufficiently Strong

Are climate variations a result of human actions? The website Climate Discussion Nexus summarizes an official publication of the Norwegian government. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Well, this is awkward. Statistics Norway, aka Statistisk sentralbyr√• or “the national statistical institute of Norway and the main producer of official statistics”, has just published a paper “To what extent are temperature levels changing due to greenhouse gas emissions?” 

The awkward part isn’t trying to grasp the subtleties of Norwegian since it’s also available in English. It’s that the Abstract bluntly declares that “standard climate models are rejected by time series data on global temperatures” while the conclusions state “the results imply that the effect of man-made CO2 emissions does not appear to be sufficiently strong to cause systematic changes in the pattern of the temperature fluctuations.”

Climate has varied for many millennia, human activity on a scale to possibly affect climate has existed for what? Maybe two centuries? 

Climate varies, always has, likely always will, quite independent of human intervention. The paleontological record shows this clearly. Alleging human causation is pure hubris.

Reality Is Subjective?

Writing for Campus Reform, faculty member Rob Jenkins argues that higher education, aka “academia,” is on a self-selected path to destruction. Here is the two key paragraphs.

Colleges and universities have driven away students, and are on the verge of making themselves irrelevant, because they have abandoned their core mission of pursuing and disseminating truth. Instead, they insist reality is both subjective and malleable and objective truth does not exist.

The mask has been ripped off; they ripped it off themselves. It is now beyond dispute that most “institutions of higher learning” are no longer about learning, nor are they “higher” than, say, your average bloodthirsty street mob. They are radical left-wing indoctrination centers, pure and simple, and everyone can see it—including, as it turns out, wealthy donors.

Analysis: true. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Saturday Snark
















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

Update on Argentina

Argentina is one of the Latin American countries I keep an eye on, because its economic policies are so spectacularly mismanaged. Once one of the world’s most affluent countries, for almost a century it has been the region’s poster child for corruption, government giveaways, and bureaucratic bungling leading to inflation.

For an update on Argentinian politics and economic prospects, see this Bloomberg article reposted at msn.com. It looks at the possibility the Argentine peso will be replaced by the US dollar, as has happened in Ecuador and El Salvador. Whether this happens depends on who is elected president tomorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Bye-ku for Perry Johnson

Someone named Perry Johnson was running for the 2024 GOP nomination for president and has now “suspended” his campaign. I follow politics and had no idea he was even trying, which gives you an idea of how inconsequential his campaign proved to be.

Nevertheless, it is our COTTonLINE custom to write a bye-ku (haiku of farewell) for each former aspirant as he or she exits the race. Here is Perry’s bye-ku.

Ciao, Perry Johnson.
Obscurity suits you well,
No limelight for you.

Jordan No Longer Nominee

In the effort to name a new Speaker, Rep. Jim Jordan loses his third try for a House majority by an increasing margin. CNBC reports this time he lost by 25 votes. So in three tries Jordan has lost by 20, 22, and 25. I'd say he can't like the trend line, which gets worse rather than better.

Furthermore, the Republican caucus then voted to rescind Jordan's nomination for the position of Speaker. The GOP are collectively back at square one - farther up the creek minus both paddles and a canoe.

Friday Snark



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

Thursday, October 19, 2023

What Proportionality?

Various Democrat sources in the DC swamp, and maybe the White House, have urged “proportionality” of response upon the Israelis dealing with Hamas. It turns out for Democrats this advice is highly situational.

The Obama White House was famed for their comment.

If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.

So much for proportionality. Sounds more like “overkill,” which is advice the Israelis might actually take.

Another Reason

The Hill reports we have another reason to vote for Trump. Cher told The Guardian in an interview.

I almost got an ulcer the last time. If he gets in, who knows? This time I will leave [the country].

The Hill reminds us when Trump won (in 2016) she promised to move “to Jupiter” so we should probably take her words with a pound or two of salt.

Filling the Speaker Vacancy

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) got his vote for Speaker, he missed getting a majority by 20 votes He got another vote the following day, and missed a majority by 22 votes. 

After digesting the message his colleagues sent, Jordan concluded he would back the idea of empowering the temporary speaker for 90 days. Thus the House can enact legislation supported by substantial number of both major parties.

Jordan has not taken his name out of contention for the speakership, merely postponed the next election by 90 days. It gives him time to either round up a majority or decide to take his name out of contention.

I believe modestly (and temporarily) empowering the acting Speaker is an idea that will receive a majority vote of the House. We'll know soon.

This is an interesting time when both major parties are split, albeit on different issues. Dems are split on the issue of unconditional support for Israel in its war on Hamas and on the amount of green policy they can stomach. GOPs are split on the support for Ukraine and on the issue of populist nationalism vs. corporate globalism. 

What unifies each party is the clear notion that they won't vote for the other party's candidate for Speaker.

Later … Some sources are writing - in the last hour or so - that another vote on Speaker may be held soon, contrary to the above scenario. What prompts these reports, other than leaks, is unknown.

Even later still ... I was obviously wrong in paragraph 4 above. Politico reports the GOP in the House has dropped the idea of empowering temporary speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry. Where does this leave them? Up the creek, with no paddle.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

DeSantis Acts, Others Dither

Ron DeSantis just did what a real leader does, he acted. Specifically, he chartered a plane which flew to Israel and brought back home 270 Floridians who were in danger. And he picked up the tab.

It should be noted neither President Biden nor former President Trump did this forthright thing, which DeSantis has proved was doable. The question for both is “Why not?” 

He may not be Mr. Warm or Mr. Personality, but DeSantis is eminently qualified to be our CEO because HE ACTS, he gets good things done.

What Iran Seeks

Power Line’s Scott Johnson posts a pithy paragraph by historian Walter Russell Mead from a column in the Wall Street Journal (behind paywall).

The truth is simple. Iran is at war with Israel and with the U.S. It does not seek compromise or accommodation. It does not want its interests respected or its grievances redressed. It wants what it says it wants: a holocaust in Israel and the destruction of the U.S.

Indeed, and it wants them without the US visiting mass destruction on Iran. We should want regime change in Iran, preferably without genocidal destruction there at our hands.

Monday, October 16, 2023

An Evil Collaboration

Power Line's first-among-equals John Hinderaker defends free speech and excoriates modern journalism thusly.

The fact that federal agencies leaned on, and collaborated with, tech companies to suppress Americans’ freedom of speech and dictate the limits of public debate on several critical issues, is the most important scandal of our time. And the fact that nearly all journalists cheered this censorship on, rather than defending free speech, is a scandal in itself.

We owe Elon Musk our thanks for revealing the extent of the censorship cabal.

String Pushing

To a headline at Hot Air which states "Automakers have big hopes for EVs; Buyers aren’t cooperating," Instapundit has this reaction.

Trying to sell people stuff they don't want is like pushing on a string.

One more time - electric cars are fine as local runabouts used close to home, if "home" has a charging station. Basically EVs are glorified golf carts, their limitation is battery charging.

Many households have more than one vehicle. An EV is a practical "second" car, but at present a wildly impractical "first" or "only" car for most people.

Cognitive Dissonance

Power Line's Steven Hayward quotes the Financial Times (U.K.) on the political impact of the Hamas attack on American Jews. The original is behind a paywall.

For many American Jews, the slaughter in Israel has been devastating, frightening and all-consuming — an attack that some are likening to a modern replay of the pogroms a century ago in eastern Europe that brought their families to the US in the first place.

It is also a political moment in which an emerging hard left that is often anti-Israel — and often accused of antisemitism — has reared into full view, posing a test for a fragmented Democratic party that may ripple through the coming US presidential election.

Why is this important? For decades American Jews - a politically active group - have mostly voted, donated, and run for office as Democrats. 

Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Other Friedman, on Hamas

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is a lefty, of course, and has written some truly stupid stuff in a long career. The one place which he does seems to get right most of the time is the Middle East. 

Here he writes about Israel’s impending “get even” strike into Gaza, somehow outside the NYT paywall. Ignore his obligatory put down of Netanyahu’s struggle to rein in Israel’s lefty self-perpetuating “Supreme Court,” the rest is solid.  I particularly like this bit of historical background:

In 2006, Israel essentially responded to Hezbollah: “You think you can just do crazy stuff like kidnap our people and we will treat this as a little border dispute. We may look Western, but the modern Jewish state has survived as ‘a villa in the jungle’” — which is how the former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak described it — “because if push comes to shove, we are willing to play by the local rules. Have no illusions about that. You will not outcrazy us out of this neighborhood.”

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Antifa Is AWOL

An Issues & Insights editorial quotes The Spectator's Brendan O'Neill wondering why Antifa isn't condemning Hamas' effort to purge Jews.

To the modern left, everything is fascism except actual fascism. They’ve been fighting fantasy fascism for years, yet when real fascism came, they hid, they looked the other way, they made excuses.

Maybe because the wrong people were getting killed, people about whose fate they didn't care?

Quiz

In a meme posted below are photos of the 8 Democrat Congress members who expressed sympathy for Hamas. Can you spot what they all have in common, in addition to bad judgment?

Saturday Snark











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

Friday Snark, a Day Late





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

Editorial note: I'm sorry to report 4-5 of the cartoonists featured in Politico's collection viewed Hamas and Israel as equally culpable in the current battle. Their 'contributions' are not included here.