Archive for Political Science Fiction

Squirmish expedience

Not everyone is delighted to see Sarah Palin, of all people, endorsing Donald Trump, of all people:

Palin is standing in Ames, Iowa to put her support behind someone who cannot be trusted to protect the unborn, who has twice traded in his wives for younger models (literally), who claims to be for the “little guy” but who has been all-too-willing to use government as a hired thug to line his own pocket, and who spent years making significant donations to Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

I miss the Sarah Palin I thought I knew. I miss the tough-talking governor who energized the 2008 ticket. I miss the tea party champion. I miss the brave woman who didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the walk on the pro-life issue, no matter how nasty the attacks on her and her family. I don’t know where this Sarah Palin went, but she wasn’t in Iowa today.

This, of course, assumes that (1) Palin blew it and (2) Trump doesn’t have a chance anyway. Not sure about (1), but I’m pretty sure (2) does not apply.

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Only so much variation

Jason Toon’s sales pitches for Meh.com are even snarkier than the ones he used to write for Woot, but they disappear after the product goes off sale at midnight Eastern. This is the last half of the piece he wrote for the Tuesday deal, two pairs of Boom Swap headphones:

[T]he Boom Swap headphones offer you a reasonable variety of customization options, so you can’t do any real damage. On-ear or over-ear cups. Alternate headband pads and ear caps, in a limited palette of mostly sympathetic shades: black/blue, white/black/green, and for the truly outré, mint/orange/black.

Even if you mix and match the parts from multiple pairs in different colors, your customized look will stay well within the bounds of societal consensus as to what headphones should be.

A narrow, tightly controlled range of choices that prevent changes of any real consequence: if it’s good enough for our political system, it’s good enough for our headphones.

Ow. That’s gonna leave multi-colored marks.

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One among many

Eric S. Raymond joins the National Rifle Association, and explains why:

I joined because the state-worshiping thugs on the other side are doubling down, and they still own most of the media and the machinery of the Federal government. After decades of pretending that they only wanted soi-disant “common-sense” legislation aimed at specific problems around the edges of gun policy, the Democratic Party is now openly talking of outright gun confiscation. The usual suspects in the national press are obediently amplifying their propaganda.

Some things you do for substantive effect — giving money to the SAF so Alan Gura can win another case is like that. Some things you do less for effect than as as a signal of pushback intended to create political momentum and demoralize the other side; joining the NRA is like that.

Gura, you may remember, argued Heller v. DC before the Supreme Court, largely without NRA support. And Raymond’s surely right about that “pushback” business: you can yack all day about the Second Amendment Foundation on, say, Twitter, and never draw a dissenting word; but the moment you mention the NRA, the rotating blades are struck by fecal matter.

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Four-wheel realignment

The Z Man attempts an explanation of what the holy hell is going on here:

The great reordering that is under way is due to the collapse of the raison d’être of the American ruling class. What animated politics in America for the last several generations has been the interplay between Progressives and the defenders of the status quo, played out in the shadow of the Cold War.

The Left collapsed as an intellectual movement when the Cold War ended, but the Right collapsed as a pragmatic alternative. You can’t have one without the other. In a single generation, the Left has adopted the economics of the Right and the Right has adopted the politics of the Left. Neither side has a reason to exist outside of naked greed.

Then again, greed is as powerful a motivator as, well, power. And it’s not like parties or factions are glued to the space they’re presently occupying. For now, though, the political discourse is basically “We’re great and you suck,” despite a total absence of detectable greatness anywhere in the spectrum.

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Get out the vote/off my lawn

So true, so very, very true:

Lawn signs are one of the few campaign tactics deployed by candidates for every level of government in the United States. Inexpensive and relatively easy to deploy, lawn signs are a tactic available to even the most obscure and underfunded candidate for a downballot office. Indeed, the efflorescence of roadside lawn signs is often one of the few outward manifestations of a low-salience election.

These signs are illegalAnd that’s true even when, as is the case here in the Big Breezy, placing those signs anywhere other than someone’s actual lawn is forbidden by ordinance: the median on the east end of the Northwest Distressway collects these by the hundreds. I have noticed that winners are marginally quicker about clearing them off than losers are, but the ideal — that they vanish into thin air thirty seconds after the polls close — is not going to be reached in my lifetime.

And how much effect do these things have, anyway?

  • We conduct the first four randomized field trials of lawn signs.
  • On average, lawn signs increase vote share by 1.7 percentage points.
  • The effects of lawn signs spill over into adjacent precincts.

And a lot of downballot elections are closer than 1.7 percent; I remember one City Council vote here that was won by a single vote.

One of the researchers speaks out:

Alex Coppock, one of the co-authors of the study, told POLITICO the effects they found were in persuading voters to choose a certain candidate, not on turnout.

“We were surprised by these findings, because the conventional wisdom is that lawn signs don’t do much — they’re supposed to be a waste of money and time. Many campaign consultants think that signs ‘preach to the choir’ and not much else,” Coppock said.

“The effect is small in terms of percentage points, though the implication is that thousands of voters would have voted for someone else if not for the signs,” Coppock said. “My guess is that part of the reason that the effect is small is because any campaign tactic — signs, ads, mailers, calls, etc — only move people around at the margin. In many ways, it would be strange if the effect were bigger. Imagine a world in which the presence or absence of lawn signs could swing an election by 10 points.”

Truth be told, I think that as the electorate continues to fragment, that very world may be upon us before we know it.

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O go, O go, Emanuel

Meanwhile in Chicago:

A protest and march is planned for Christmas Eve, aiming to disrupt shopping on Michigan Avenue while calling for changes at City Hall.

Protesters are urging people to shop elsewhere as they try to get Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention and ultimately force him to resign. Protesters held a “die-in” Tuesday night outside [Emanuel’s] office … then they left City Hall and marched downtown.

Dave Schuler thinks this will not work:

Does Mayor Emanuel really care about the retailers? Are the retailers in a position to press him to resign?

If they really wanted to get rid of Rahm, they’d start demonstrating against Hillary Clinton. He’d be gone in 60 seconds.

Well, 90, anyway.

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A clipping from the future

Or maybe the past. Who can be sure?

Out of only 40 women in the Senate, only two were female

Maybe I’ll just leave it alone and tiptoe away.

(From Bad Newspaper via the Presurfer.)

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Quote of the week

Political theater in its purest form:

If you are trying to understand the bewildering state of American governance, it would help you to step back and try to see the whole forest, instead of focusing on the individual trees.

The answer is simple. What you are looking at is not a political struggle, it is entertainment. If you think of professional “wrestling”, or “rassling”, instead of a genuine sport, you are spot on the money. You have your “baby faces” and your “heels”, and a “baby face” can turn on a dime and become a “heel”, and a “heel” can see the light and become a “baby face” whenever the situation calls for it. You just have to understand the story arc.

After the match, the contestants retire to the same locker room, and ride on the same airliner to the next match, and eat at the same lunch counter at the same time, and, need I say it? … the paychecks are all signed by the same promoter. It is not a sport, it is entertainment.

Except for the minor detail that it’s long since ceased to be entertaining.

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A single redeeming feature

The two major political parties in this nation may be somewhere between terrible and really terrible, but they have one thing going for them:

I may not be a fan of the two political parties we have, but I will say this for them: They have good names. There is nothing in the word Democrats or Republicans that nails them down to supporting a particular ideology. There will never be the oxymoronology of the free-marketeer Socialist. The coalitions have changed considerably over the years, but the names have never become as disjointed as with the conservative Liberal Party of Australia or Liberal Democrat Party of Japan, nor as awkward as the Labour Party’s transition to being the party of the university and the professional class that has to watch what it says about the working class? And unlike the Tories and the two major parties [in] Canada, it gives us room to talk about the conservative wing of the GOP versus the moderate, without having to constantly specify “lower case c” and “upper case C” and so on. Ditto for their Liberals (which have been using that name for considerably longer). Though, how long will the New Democrats be new?

Me, I’m waiting for a return of the Whigs, though I don’t expect a repeat of the incident that gave them their name.

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Cruz controlled

In fact, I’d go so far to say as “measured” and “calm”:

Followed the next morning by:

Nicely done, Senator.

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Blather, Reince, repeat

Another email from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee:

You never activated your 2015 Official Republican Membership — and we’re one year out from the presidential election.

But I’m committed to bringing you on board, so here’s what I’ll do: If you register for 2016 Membership by TOMORROW AT 11:59 PM, you’ll get a $39.50 discount on the RNC Diamond Membership.

If ever there were a year to become a member of our Party — it’s 2016 — and you can do it right now.

I dunno, Reince. I mean, geez, I’ve been a registered Democrat for forty-odd years, and every time I think maybe I might be better off in the GOP — well, hell, you can read the news as well as I can. Yeah, I might have said something nice about Carly Fiorina. Hardly makes me a Republican, you know?

I will concede that your Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is slightly less clever than a bag of yak hair. But I’ll bet the DNC database kids didn’t generate any letters like this to my friends and neighbors in the GOP.

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Quote of the week

We begin with a side trip to the land of Gilbert and Sullivan:

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

A swell idea for Ko-Ko, perhaps; but a lousy one for the United States of America:

Will someone please tell me why it is okay to have a secret list of people that bars them from certain activities, with no way of challenging one’s inclusion, no way of knowing if you are on it or not? That’s before we get to denying a person’s civil rights on the basis of their being on such a list.

On the other hand, if there are people known to the Feds to be so dangerous they must be kept off airplanes, why are they out there walking around, driving cars, buying LP gas and fireworks, going to the mall, etc. etc.? If they’re so much a threat, why aren’t they in the basement of an FBI building right now, learning to breathe water? (Ooops, that’s right, “we don’t waterboard here,” they’d have to be taken to some country where that’s okay; and they’d have to be flown there, which they can’t ‘cos they are on the list, so hey, Catch-22, amirite?) Look, if they’re up to no good, arrest ’em, charge ’em, try ’em and if found guilty, lock ’em up. “Secret lists” are bullshit — especially once the cat is out of the bag.

I suspect at least some of this is motivated by prosecutorial types who don’t actually have much of a case, and would just as soon this fact not appear in the press. The rest is just Security Theater: “yes, you’re being protected, don’t ask any questions.”

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Ol’ Blank Flank is back

Quelle surprise:

Hillary Clinton in pony form

Note the total absence of a cutie mark. As teacher Cheerilee explains:

A cutie mark appears on a pony’s flank when he or she finds that certain something that makes them different from every other pony.

Not gonna happen in her lifetime: never a leader, always a follower, and what she follows mostly are the twin scents of money and power. Like most of the competition, in fact.

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Quote of the week

Said I earlier today: “You can’t hide from Possibly Upsetting Things all your life, though God knows some people try awfully hard.”

I yield to this man’s superior knowledge of the subject:

Like a lot of black folks in my generation, I felt that it was my responsibility to become more attuned to racial sensibility — to achieve a higher level of sensitivity to those people and conditions that might lead to oppression. It was a constant theme in my youth during which the very term “black” was coined and people questioned having been “Negro”. During that time as well, many of us went from passive observation to active participation in both directions. In 1967 many of us were adamant about looking for “safe space” and determined that could not be found anywhere at all in the USA. We looked to Cuba, to Brazil, to Ghana. Similarly during the Vietnam war, many looked to Canada as an escape route. But in the end we found, even through assassinations and jailing, that racial integration in America was the far superior road for practical and moral reasons. It was not simple, it was not easy. It was worth it.

Said James Brown in 1969: “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door, I’ll get it myself.” Today, that position has been completely inverted:

It is frighteningly disturbing that this generation of students has chosen to ignore the achievements of crossover and gone to greater extremes of racial sensitivity in their demands for resignations. I can’t imagine college universities now having the stomach to even listen to Richard Pryor or George Carlin, two of the many whose humor brought us together in the 70s. Indeed today’s students seem to have lost all sense of humor. I can only speculate this comes from a poor interpretation of what they expected that we went through or what others before us did. We sought the guarantees of the Constitution and we also wanted to escape small places and move about freely. Listen to the students at Little Rock High School. Remember Charlayne Hunter. Study James Farmer. They worked to end segregation, not to hide from insults or even injuries. What is clear to me is that far too many Americans expect from oppositional politics what can only be achieved from actual friendship, which is mutual respect and admiration. What a sad result. Finally calling someone a “racist” has nothing to do with what someone actually believes, but one’s position in an artificial political war. This fight is not about crime and punishment, it’s not even about the law. It’s a tawdry catfight over bourgeois privileges between bourgeois actors who desperately seek to inherit the imprimatur of Civil Rights struggle. My ass.

Which is, of course, not to say that all the brouhaha on campus is wholly unprovoked. But contemporary claims by college students of being oppressed and downtrodden sometimes seem downright laughable.

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A dime’s worth of difference

Of course, adjusted for inflation, it’s worth nothing at all:

A Bernie Sanders type has been running for president every four years for the last six decades. Sixties flower children had Gene McCarthy; George McGovern was the kumbayah kid of the 1970s; Ralph Nader captured the moonbat imagination in the 80s and 90s; Dennis Kucinich and his “Department of Peace” hung around in the Bush years … but those guys were all third- or -fourth-party jokes (except McGovern, I guess, though he should have been; the dude carried one state against Tricky Dick Nixon. In 1972). It’s only now that a Sanders type — an honest-to-god Socialist, running on out-and-proud Socialism — is finally viable.

Now, before you rush in to tell me that’s because Hillary Clinton is the lousiest, most corrupt candidate this side of Robert Mugabe, please note that she still leads most Republicans in most nationwide polls. And before you rush in to tell me that’s because the GOP’s candidates are also historically awful, please note that the leader of that pathetic pack may well be Ben Carson … and if it’s not, it’s Donald Trump.

The American electorate, in other words, is living in fantasyland. Nobody even pretends to be voting for a competent elected official. How could they? The only candidate with significant electoral experience is Sanders, and a Chicago city alderman makes bigger budget decisions, affecting way more people, than a Vermont senator. Hillary Clinton spends most of her free time dodging subpoenas from her limited government service, and Carson and Trump have never been elected to anything, anywhere. As late as 1992, the American public would’ve laughed itself into an aneurysm at the proposition that any of these clowns, or all of them combined Voltron-like into one uber-clown, could possibly be qualified for the Presidency of the United States.

And in 1992, we embraced chameleon Bill Clinton, all things to everyone. We should have run away when we had the chance.

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Epidermis of inhuman thinness

Not that I needed another reason not to vote for this ridiculous individual or anything:

In what appears to be a first for a serious presidential contender, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going after five comedians who made fun of the former Secretary of State in standup skits at a popular Hollywood comedy club.

She’s not a “serious presidential contender.” She expects the job to be handed to her, because [reasons].

A video of the short performance, which is less than three minutes, is posted on the website of the renowned club, Laugh Factory, and the Clinton campaign has tried to censor it. Besides demanding that the video be taken down, the Clinton campaign has demanded the personal contact information of the performers that appear in the recording. This is no laughing matter for club owner Jamie Masada, a comedy guru who opened Laugh Factory more than three decades ago and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many famous comics. “They threatened me,” Masada told Judicial Watch. ‘I have received complaints before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”

If I’m Bernie Sanders, I’m passing along this story to the entire freaking world.

Disclaimer: I am not Bernie Sanders. Just the same, I’m passing along this story.

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All this and World War III

Severian on the possibility, or lack thereof, of World Peace:

Let’s be generous and say that Trump, Carson, Rubio, Sanders, and Clinton are all viable candidates. Sadly, if “preventing World War III” is your top priority, your best options are the Kumbayah Kids, Carson and Sanders … and they might inadvertently provoke it by unilaterally disarming (Carson is a gun-grabber from way back, and Sanders, bless his senile old soul, really does think you can trade in an aircraft carrier for some inner city midnight basketball programs). Trump and Rubio might let the missiles fly because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do, and Clinton might do it to show she’s got a bigger dick than any of them. (Admittedly, Vlad and the Chinese can do whatever they want in the world provided they send a big enough check to her “charitable foundation,” but the danger there is that she might think the US Army is her own personal collection agency.)

A coherent policy, forcefully stated by a credible spokesman, prevents all of this.

Yeah, but what are the chances of getting either of those? Arguably the hardest of the hardasses in the campaign is Carly Fiorina, and vis-à-vis Vlad the Exhaler she’s basically Trump 2.0.

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Otherwise it’s fine

With one exception, I am pleased to endorse McGehee’s 2016 Presidential Campaign platform. That exception is item six:

A jobs program should benefit more than comedy writers and op-ed cartoonists.

Since Washington, pretty much by design, is not in much of a position to create any actual jobs — at best, all they can do is pad out the existing bureaucracy, which is the very antithesis of job creation — anything they do that benefits anyone other than comedy writers and op-ed cartoonists can’t be an actual jobs program.

See also the various “stimulus” programs, which stashed cash in the pockets of a concupiscent few members of the elite Donor Class at the expense of everyone else in the nation; this technique dates back decades and has never worked as advertised in any of its applications.

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The revolution will not be realized

However disgruntled the residents of the Barely United States may be these days, Dave Schuler is pretty sure things aren’t going to turn especially bloody:

I don’t think that America has a revolution in store or even, in what might be better diction, a paradigm shift. Revolutions, real or figurative, aren’t started by the poor. They’re fomented and led by the middle class, the intelligentsia to use the Russian phrase, and our middle class are so thoroughly dependent on Things As They Are I suspect they’ll defend them to collapse and beyond.

What I expect is the Detroitification of the United States, an ongoing slow motion decay in which things just aren’t quite as good for this generation as they were for the last and things just aren’t quite as good for the next generation as they were for this, accompanied by a general lack of optimism. Look to Chicago and Illinois as Ground Zero.

Can this hypothesis be falsified? Yes, it can:

If, within a generation, Chicago introduces either a) a major decentralization of power and a reversal of the high tax, corrupt, government-centric style that has prevailed here for the last sixty or seventy years or b) has a socialist revolution, I’ll be proven wrong. If, on the other hand, Chicago’s political leadership continues to pursue the same old policies regardless of their efficacy and the people of Chicago keep right on voting for them, it will strongly suggest I am right.

Like I always say sometimes, the ability of politicians to kick the can is limited solely by the length of the road.

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Impropaganda

Jack Baruth makes a sacrifice on behalf of the rest of us:

Okay, I admit it: I’ve been reading The Nation a lot while I’ve been laid up. I cannot recommend you do the same. The youngest generation of the publication’s writers grew up taking Orwell as an instruction manual rather than as a cautionary tale; you won’t get through any two random features on the site without being lectured that Hillary Clinton’s decision to host classified e-mail in a bathroom closet is a “non-issue” and that race is the only issue of any importance facing America today. Words like “racist” and “racial” appear everywhere with a frequency approximately equal to that enjoyed by “cock” and “wet” over at Literotica.com, and for the same reason: the average millennial is constantly battered with demands that he or she be racially outraged and/or sexually stimulated and therefore they require ever-stronger imagery to get it up for the cause.

Take the audio from a Sasha Grey porn, overdub every one of her groans with the word “RACISM”, and you’d basically have created a Books-On-Tape version of The Nation.

Disclosure: I have read something like half a dozen, um, features on Literotica. I will vouch for the word distribution therein.

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Separation of text and footnote

Actually, Roberta X’s footnotes are better than some people’s articles, and I single out this one for both economy and precision:

The American Revolution can be cast as a kind of dialogue between the Enlightenment/Age of Reason ideas that pushed it and the Great Awakenings that bookended it. From that angle, the Establishment Clause of [the] First Amendment represents a brilliantly common goal: neither party was desirous of a State church. Thus the United States was explicitly made a safe place for believers and nonbelievers of every stripe. This is a delicate balance and has been maintained with varying degrees of elegance and civility though the years. We should fear any politician who feels a mandate to Do Good — especially if he or she believes it was granted by Divine authority.

Not bad for a little over 100 words, if I say so myself, and I do so say.

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When we was glib

While poking around in the archives, I found this paragraph from December ’04 that technically doesn’t require an update, but perhaps deserves to be spread further:

The Mandatory Serenity Amendment — “The right of the peoples of the United States to be free from any ideas or materials or products, which they may find offensive, shall not be infringed” — has so far been ratified by 0 states.

We owe it to ourselves to keep it that way.

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Quote of the week

Severian, over at Freeberg’s place, on the contradiction inherent in the word “progressive”:

There seems to be a certain type of human — and how this comes about in an evolutionary framework escapes me — who longs for stasis above all things.

Sometimes it’s easier to see than others. Medieval philosophers, for instance, had a beef with motion. “Motion” entails “moving towards” or “moving away,” which means that a moving thing lacks some perfection — if it were perfect, it wouldn’t need what it was moving towards, or need to avoid that from which it was moving away. The ideal was an utterly static universe.

Our modern liberals, as you say, are always redefining things. They seem to be defined by frantic motion; they even call themselves “Progressives.” But: what are they progressing towards? Their ideal world, too, is completely static. They trend autistic, so they can’t read social cues very well — thus, the idea that someone can be one way today, and through his own effort be something different tomorrow, stresses them out. They’re not very bright, so they need everything precisely defined. Because of this, they can’t handle nuance — witness their zeal for coming up with ever more elaborate micro-identities.

Follow that “logic” out, and you see that their ideal world is a giant cubicle farm — everyone in his box, doing (being) one thing and one thing only, forever, world without end amen. Government is simply the most efficient way to achieve this objective. If you load the ambitious up with enough red tape, they’ll stop innovating. Laws can silence the cantankerous, and as soon as we get those census forms juuuuuuust right, we’ll have a check box for every conceivable race/gender/orientation.

And then we can freeze the whole thing in carbonite and hang it on the wall, forever. And then we shall have utopia.

I need hardly point out that this explains Climate Change Fever better than anything else; what they ultimately desire is an Official Thermostat and a designated setting thereupon, after which no changes are allowed or even allowed to be contemplated.

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The government will assign you a car

This sounds rather a lot like a Woody Allen description: ” … one of those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism.”

Okay, you listen to him:

I am confused after seeing a nice, newer corvette had a big Bernie Sanders 2016 lawn sign on its dashboard. Doesn’t add up?

And these are the bits of the equation he can’t combine:

An older, white women exited the car, not that that should matter. I wasn’t stalking her, I just like analyzing nice cars. I thought if anything, the sign would be supporting a Republican. It seems so very hypocritical, deeply ironic, utterly contradictory. Sure, Bernie wants everyone to be wealthy … is that her argument? Sounds like anyone would argue that. Socialists want everyone to be equal, or is that incorrect? Shouldn’t the corvette driver spread her wealth. I’m in a chevy lumina that won’t pass emissions, and I’m not voting for Bernie. This lady should sell the car and give some money to me so I can catch up to where she is, if you believe in Bernie. I’m a college graduate. I’m just not where she is. I could cry I fell through the cracks and she should help me. Isn’t that what Socialism and Bernie would advocate? Something along those lines that party would advocate. Socialists don’t drive around Corvettes? If they do, then we’ve all be mistaken and should pick Bernie immediately. We want our Corvette. We all work hard. We all should be equal then. All jobs paid the same, right? (take your guess at where I’m playing devil’s advocate.) I really wanted to stop and converse with her, but I get too political with this stuff and I’m not afraid to get in the dirt with it. I have nothing to lose. Hek, I’m not the one with the Corvette. Doesn’t a muscle car take more fuel and pollute more? Not sure where Bernie stands on that, but I would think he’s a big environmentalist.

One expects of a devil’s advocate, at the very least, the ability to advocate for something, or at least against something. This is basically “Let’s see how many talking points I can use in half an hour.”

And besides: a lawn sign on the dashboard? This ain’t no bumper sticker, Ryball. For all you can tell, she may have just swiped that sign from a neighbor with whom she disagrees.

Now shut up and get your crummy Lumina fixed.

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We shall overcomb

Artist Pixelkitties tweeted this picture a couple of days ago:

New tax on bad hairpieces by Pixelkitties

Still makes me smile.

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Kanter attacks

Even more turmoil in Turkey these days:

In yet another government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, counterterrorism police units accompanied officers from the Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau (KOM), raiding and searching Samanyolu schools on Monday. Officers involved in a raid on one branch asked the administrators to deactivate all of the school’s security cameras while they searched for drugs.

“Gülen” comes from movement founder Fethullah Gülen. “Hizmet” means “service,” but the name is unofficial: Gülen apparently didn’t want any particular name on it, especially his own. He departed Turkey for the US in 1999, ostensibly for medical reasons; he has not gone back, and the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tried him in absentia but failed to obtain a conviction.

Samanyolu — “Milky Way” — is an umbrella name for Gülen-related private schools. Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter attended one such school, and he is not happy about the raids:

“I never witnessed bad habits or even rudeness at these schools. It is really shameful to raid such a school with counterterrorism police,” Kanter tweeted on Monday. “The accusation of supporting terrorism befits those who carry out these raids, not the schools,” he added.

There is a village called Samanyolu, in Batman province, but it is not involved.

Note: The newspaper Today’s Zaman, whence comes this story, is operated by Gülen sympathizers.

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More sensibly

I can’t argue with any of this:

We need a constitutional amendment prohibiting presidential campaign activities and fundraising more than six months before the November election. When you set out to separate the wheat from the chaff, and end up with only chaff, you’re doing something wrong.

I’d like to think this would be approved by the states, 48-2. (You need not guess which two.)

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Hey, small spender

Money, we are told, wins elections. I am always happy to see an instance where it didn’t:

Cyndi Munson easily became the first Democrat to represent Oklahoma City’s House District 85 in a half-century despite raising much less money than her opponent.

Campaign finance reports show Chip Carter, the Republican candidate, pulled in nearly $200,000 in campaign contributions and benefited from $100,000 in independent expenditures.

Munson raised less than $100,000 total, but beat Carter 2,640 to 2,268 Tuesday in a district where Republicans greatly outnumber Democrats.

Two things worked in her favor: she had name recognition in the district — she ran for this seat against David Dank in 2014 and lost — and there is, I think, a tendency among local Republicans to see victory as inevitable except in a handful of heavily Democratic districts. Even Chip Carter saw it coming:

“There was a degree of complacency or something. They thought it’s always been a Republican seat and will stay that way. And my opponent worked her tail off.”

For quite a while, it was a Dank seat: David Dank was the second Dank to represent 85, his wife Odilia being the first. (She was term-limited in 2006.) Both Danks are now deceased.

The GOP majority in the House is now 71-30.

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Curses, FOIAed again

Freedom, as the saying goes, isn’t free. This does not mean, however, that requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and similar measures should cost an arm and a leg and a kidney to be named later:

Kind of makes you wonder if this is a back-door scheme to bail Jefferson County out of its bankruptcy.

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The sad fact is

And will likely continue to be:

Headline: someone will win presidential race

(From Bad Newspaper via Miss Cellania.)

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