Archive for Political Science Fiction

Havana your way

Warren Meyer sums up everything accomplished by the US embargo of Cuba:

  • Increased the socialist-created poverty and distress for ordinary people while Castro and other leaders partied it up on private islands and in total luxury
  • Given Marxist apologists like Bernie Sanders cover to claim that Cuba’s obvious economic failure is not due to socialism, but due to American sanctions
  • Cut off business, economic, tourist, and cultural exchanges that might have brought liberal and enlightened thinking to the country.

Hey, why not impose sanctions on Venezuela?


We noticed there’s always a They

Both edges of the trench, according to the Z Man’s reckoning:

When people talk about the political divide in the West, they often focus on practical matters like nationalism versus globalism. In reality, the divide is between the search for factual truth versus the search for moral truth. Not only are the goals different, but the methods are different. Both sides look at the human condition and wonder why things are as they are, but one side seeks to explain the great diversity of man, while the other side seeks to exterminate these differences, in order to reach a moral end.

That’s why there is so much more diversity of thought and opinion on this side. There can be only one moral framework, one set of moral truths. If two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong, thus the ever narrowing of our intellectual class. As the free thinkers and the curious are cast out, they find their way to this side, having to first cross the river of the damned, accepting biological reality. Living outside the favor of the popular gods is not always a lot of fun, but it’s vastly more interesting than the other side.

Then again, anything opposed to globalism will get at least some of my attention.

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You know, this just might work

Back in 1972, our Basic Combat Training company was put through something called “Survival, Evasion and Escape,” which featured a simulated breakout from a POW camp, after which we were scored on how many of The Enemy’s troops we prevented from reaching friendly forces a few miles away. About halfway across, there was a river to be forded; we hit on the notion of hiding behind the farther bank, one of us every few hundred yards or so, and capturing everyone who came across. The company commander was sorely vexed, until the scores came in, and no one had gotten past us, at which time he was happy to take credit for the idea.

Which is not to say that no one else has ever thought along these lines:

Well, no, not exactly, as you’d have to keep those positions manned 24/7, and sharpshooters don’t stay sharp after being up all day and all of the night. So they’ll of necessity be a bit farther apart. (Our own little experience in 1972 was over with in less than six hours.)

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Return to normalcy, sort of

An editorial in this morning’s Oklahoman:

The general manager of an Oklahoma City apartment complex is practicing the Oklahoma Standard by seeing to it that the partial government shutdown doesn’t force some tenants to pack up and leave.

Kristy Koon manages the Isola Bella Apartments, 6303 NW 63rd Street, home to about 75 students of the Federal Aviation Administration Academy. These men and women are training to become air traffic controllers, but school’s been out during the shutdown. The students, FAA employees, were furloughed and told to return home.

That’s easier said than done, as many are from out of state and left their previous jobs to pursue their new careers.

Enter Koon, who is allowing her FAA tenants to live rent-free for as long as the shutdown lasts, or until doing so becomes unsustainable.

“It’s not always about business,” she told The Oklahoman’s Justin Wingerter, “it’s about human kindness and what’s the right thing to do. And this is the right thing to do.”

In the meantime, Koon will root for a resolution that allows the government to reopen fully. “That’s what we’re hoping for and when that happens, that’s when we’ll be able to start making money again.” Kudos.

This is arguably the greatest stress put on the FAA Academy since 1981, when President Reagan sacked 11,000 striking air-traffic controllers and replacements were needed in a hurry.


And dealer

Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler got his formal nomination to the post yesterday, and TTAC’s Matt Posky evaluates the situation:

Wheeler is unlikely to prove popular with Democrats and is sure to be downright despised by environmentalists. But it’s not a cut and dried issue. The EPA’s acting head has been extremely critical of President Trump in the past. He also isn’t the kind of drain-the-swamp outsider the president promised, which could annoy the voter base.

Presently, the United States is doing rather well in terms of pollution. The U.S. has managed to lower its pollution index by a significant margin since 2008, faring better than much of Europe at the end of 2018. But there are miles to go before the nation can start lecturing Finland on how to be kinder to Mother Earth and air quality improvements have been gradually slowing since the early 1990s. Don’t anticipate that will change under Wheeler, who will be focused firmly on the business side of the environment after the government shutdown ends and he gains Congressional approval.

On the upside, Wheeler’s bound to be easier on the Federal budget than predecessor Scott Pruitt, who was basically Scrooge McDuck with less restraint.


Redheaded step-parent

There are those who say that the supreme feminine compliment is instant dislike. If that’s the case, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd appears to have at least a mild obsession with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

No longer content with Nancy Pelosi, the right craves a new she-devil. Republicans have mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s hardscrabble story, howled at her proposal to soak the rich with a 70 percent tax, scrutinized her clothes and booed her at Pelosi’s swearing-in. A.O.C. saucily tweeted back, “Don’t hate me cause you ain’t me, fellas.”

Okay, that’s fairly neutral. But quickly it turns to this:

The frenzy reached new absurdity when a tweet popped up with a video of her with friends at Boston University doing a dance from The Breakfast Club, with this slam: “Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is.” Holy Footloose.

And just for historical perspective:

When Obama got to the White House, Republicans trembled at his midichlorian count, but their fear faded as he grew more professorial and remote. A.O.C., despite some stumbles and lacunae in political knowledge, is more adept at using the force, especially on social media.

And really, MoDo, if you’re going to throw in gratuitous Star Wars references, the least you can do is capitalize “Force.”

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They keep hounding him

But then, that’s all they know how to do, suggests Jonah Goldberg:

Dogs — and animals generally — are among the few things that bridge the partisan divide. Tragedies are a partisan affair. If someone dies in a hurricane or shooting, there’s a mad rush to score political points. Last week, a lovely young woman, Bre Payton, died from a sudden illness, and a bunch of ghouls mocked or celebrated her demise because she was a conservative.

Even babies can be controversial since babies can touch various nerves, from abortion politics to the apparent scourge of “misgendering” newborns.

But dogs are largely immune to political ugliness. The angriest complaints I get about my dog tweets — from people on both the left and right — are that I’m wasting apparently scarce resources on dogs when I could be expressing my anger about whatever outrage the complainers demand I be outraged about.

This is one of the reasons I love dogs. Because it is an occupational hazard in my line of work to be constantly drenched in the muck of politics, dogs are a safe harbor. They don’t care about political correctness. They don’t want to Make America Great Again or join the “resistance.” They just want to pursue doggie goodness as they see it.

To which I say: “Woof.”

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Hey, it could happen

I have, as previously noted, not a whole lot of faith in my ability to predict the future. However, I suspect the Z Man is on to something here:

The race to see who succeeds Trump in 2020 will be where the action is as the Democrats start to get serious about building their field. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris will be working the donor circuit, using exploratory committees to help build their brands in early states. The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary are just 13 months away. Elizabeth Warren will turn out to be Howard Dean in a dress, as her campaign will make a lot of noise in the media, but not appeal to actual voters.

Because the Democrats will be shifting their focus to winning the White House in 2020, the censorship trend will take a different turn, as the tech giants begin to censor the Left. Look for the social media companies to begin cracking down on the BernieBro wing, in an effort to boost the standing of party approved candidates. Suddenly, groups like Antifa are going to find themselves without the protection they have enjoyed. They were always corporate tools, they just never knew it. In 2019, they find out who signs their checks.

Seldom are awakenings quite that rude. And with Ungrand Uncherokee already starting the process that will lead to her elimination, and Bernie being, well, Bernie, that leaves Harris among the known quantities.

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A meme unto herself

“Hello, Fourteenth District. You’ve just elected a callow youth to the House of Representatives. How do you feel?”

I suspect they feel just fine. If nothing else, people will now know the district exists, because said Representative has a knack for gathering headlines:

Nothing is built in America these days.  I just bought a T.V. and it said Built In Antenna.  I don't even know where the hell that is

I doubt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ever actually said that, but I have no doubt she’s capable of coming up with stuff on that level; her ability to troll the press is second only to that of Individual-1. And while I generally can’t abide her politics, I have yet to find a reason to find her dislikable. Maybe that’s just me.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on stage

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the waiting room

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a question

As I’ve noted before, there will always be a demand for photogenic socialists.

And here she is, seven years ago, speaking on greatness and how it is achieved:

If nothing else, this speech demonstrates that she didn’t just assume a persona for public consumption.

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She shoots, she scores

I suspect someone in the upper echelon of Congressional Democrats will be assigned the duty of taking this young idealist to the woodshed:

If this tweet disappears, you’ll know why.

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Quote of the week

You already know what I think about no-platforming. But just in case you haven’t caught on yet:

We often joke that Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World are not a three volume how to manual. For some people though, they are, we’ve got we’ve got fricking “Trust and Safety Councils” that turn anyone with the correct politics who hate the right people this minute into members of their little Stasi. With the power to control the information and to deny people financial services if they hold unpopular views, comes incredible power for mischief.

We’ve covered the Chinese Sesame Credit System before and that, I am convinced, is where many of the individuals behind this policing of speech want to be.

All it takes to bring about this dream of the anointed is for each of us to say “That guy’s an asshole! He deserves what he gets. That bitch over there had it coming too, serves her right.” and be silent, or smug, or report the asshole to the Trust and Safety Council. Then, because every one of us is an asshole to someone, we’ll be kept in our place by the very crab bucket culture we are nurturing while the archdukes and marquesses of Palo Alto tend their crop by cutting off any poppies that grow too high.

With that coming to pass, like the Greek City States before it, the 300 year aberration that is the enlightenment will disappear into the 300,000 year+ history of humanity as a short lived deviation from the mean. Things relating to freedom will go back to much as they were for the majority of that time, albeit with rather less ability to express heretical thoughts.

We’re going to Serf City, ’cause it’s two to one: two silencers for every voice.

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Junior Trumpette

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez changes shoes

Columnist Jonah Goldberg contemplates the recent statements of Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and says he’s seen this sort of thing before:

If you point out the absurdity of these things, the almost instantaneous defense is that her critics are obsessed with an incoming-freshman congresswoman. In some cases, they’re right. The fixation some conservatives have with her clothes is over the top (though I did love one wag’s phrase, “Neiman Marxist”).

But what her defenders leave out is their own obsession with the woman.

In other words, AOC is quite brilliantly playing a lot of people for suckers. She already has more Twitter followers than the other 60 incoming freshman Democrats combined.

Ocasio-Cortez, wittingly or not, has appropriated a technique mastered by President Trump.

Trump prefers positive attention, but he’ll take negative attention over no attention every time, in part because he knows his supporters will intensify their dedication to him in response to allegedly unfair attacks. AOC is doing the same thing. By forcing partisans to take sides, she generates controversy. Controversy attracts media attention. Media attention generates even more controversy. And so on.

As with Trump, sometimes she clearly knows what she’s doing, and other times she simply displays her ignorance. But at this stage, it doesn’t matter. The more right-wing partisans attack her, the more left-wing partisans rally to her. The more left-wingers rally to her, the more justified the right feels in paying attention to her.

Personally, I think she’s fun to watch, and if occasionally she trips herself up, well, sometimes you need to be wearing different shoes. Then again, that’s just my take. AOC seems to terrify Severian:

I, personally, am terrified of Ocasio-Cortez, because I used to teach college. I taught college for many years, in fact, and I’m exaggerating only a very, very little when I say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is every single college girl I have ever met.

I’ve met thousands, y’all, and they’re all like this. It’s not stupidity, really — though she sounds dumber than a box of rocks, I doubt this woman lacks for IQ points. What she is is solipsistic. Her narcissism is so vast, so all-encompassing, that the so-called “real world” only exists insofar as it impinges on her Twitter feed. She has the college girl’s invincible, sneering ignorance — if she doesn’t already know it, it’s by definition not worth knowing, and moreover, if what she knows ain’t so, well, that’s the so-called “real world’s” fault for not getting with the program.

Which may well point out my own weakness here, inasmuch as I had limited exposure to college girls and never actually went out with one. Okay, maybe once.

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An auspicious beginning

I really wasn’t expecting the Legislature to accomplish a great deal in the next session. But I find this action heartening:

Casey Murdock, a Republican from Felt, at the far end of the Panhandle, is a, um, er, rancher.

And should this pass, I assure you that I’m not going to burn them to a crisp just because Donald Trump likes them that way.

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After the Good Times

The last Good Year, says Robert Stacy McCain, was 2005:

Now that I think about it, 2005 was The Last Good Year, before the Iraq War went completely sideways, before Democrats took over Congress in 2006, before the Bush administration disintegrated into incoherence. Man, what fun it was in 2005, to laugh at the pathetic helplessness of libtards and moonbats, wallowing in their misery after “RatherGate” and the defeat of John Kerry, when every boy wanted a G.I. Joe for Christmas. But don’t look back, you can never look back …

Tell me about it. This here little Web site was drawing over 20,000 visitors a month in 2005.

Daily Wire editor and occasional Twitter gadfly Ben Shapiro was twenty-one in 2005. And:

Shapiro is an alumnus of Harvard Law where apparently they teach Advanced Quadrilateral Logic or some other kind of postmodernist thought process that makes it possible to believe that your opposition to the election of a Republican doesn’t mean you’re advocating the election of a Democrat. As someone who voted Libertarian in 2008 (because f–k John McCain and the open-borders globalist horse he rode in on), I’m probably not the guy to be making arguments for the virtues of Blind Party Loyalty, but watching Hillary Clinton’s supporters cry the tears of unfathomable sadness on Election Night 2016 was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall. While Donald Trump isn’t exactly a Platonic Philosopher King, to put it mildly, he did beat Hillary, didn’t he? And I’m not sure any of the other GOP candidates could have done that.

Shapiro’s still young. He’ll adjust.

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When in doubt, subsidize

Finally, something sillier than the BBC licence fee:

A tax credit Ottawa is promising to encourage more Canadians to pay for online news will roughly cover two months of a digital subscription fee.

The tax credit is one of three components of a $595-million, five-year boost for the ailing media industry promised by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in last week’s fall fiscal update — along with tax credit for the labour costs news companies incur to produce original content and offering charitable status to non-profit media organizations.

The tax credit will be worth 15 per cent of the cost of a subscription, although Finance Canada spokesman Jack Aubry says the actual dollar amount someone will save depends on the cost of a subscription.

For example, Aubry says someone who pays $200 a year to get access to a news site online would be entitled to a tax credit worth $30.

He says the government believes the tax credit is needed to encourage more Canadians to subscribe to online news and help media organizations transition to a more sustainable business model.

In other news, there is apparently at least one Canadian news site charging $200 a year.

And what happens after five years? Either (1) the subsidy goes away, and news providers go back into the toilet, or (2) the subsidy doesn’t go away, and it becomes part of the permanent landscape.

Political scientist Chris Lawrence predicts: “This idea ends poorly.”

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Such a deal, I tell you

On the Democratic Toughness Scale, Schumer is, I estimate, approximately 0.64 Pelosi.

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You dunderheads are supposed to be eating

This is not M-S-N-B-melonfarming-C, dammit:

Pass the dinner rolls, fail the rhetoric.

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Floor fight!

Will there be a battle among Congressional Democrats next year, the New Breed versus the Old Guard? Linda Fox certainly thinks so:

I just have this gut feeling that Occasionally-Cortex is gonna get impatient, and go mano-a-mano with The Queen, in public.

I swear, I’d buy tickets for that fight. Can’t you just see it, the Wild-Eyed Hottie and Skeletor getting in each other’s face?

Nancy: “Hey, Kid, why are you taking off those big hoop earrings? Oh, shi–!”

Not only is Nancy gonna get dusted, so are a LOT of Old Not-So Activists — Ayers, Dohrn, Clinton, et al. They’re gonna get chewed up by the impatient New Guard.

I dunno. Pelosi still has age and treachery on her side, and one gaffe notwithstanding — “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” ranks with the stupidest statements by a politician since the French and Indian War — she’s compiled a pretty impressive record of keeping her charges in line, a useful skill in dealing with Democrats generally. (Congressional Republicans didn’t start regrowing a spine until 2017, and there’s some reason to doubt the growth will continue.) I have a certain weakness for wild-eyed hotties, but I don’t see Ocasio-Cortez as a leader of dissidents.

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Mood indigo

When I moved over here fifteen years ago, you’d have been able to characterize this area as center-right and leaning Republican. Redistricting came after 2010, and suddenly it was a virtually-even split. Precinct-level numbers for 2018 indicate Vastly Increased Blueness, as follows:

Governor: Edmondson (D) 836; Stitt (R) 375; Powell (L) 40.

Lt Governor: Pittman (D) 699; Pinnell (R) 467; Holmes (L) 79.

Attorney General: Myles (D) 737; Hunter (R) 504.

Congress District 5: Horn (D) 815, Russell (R) 430.

State Senate District 40: Hicks (D) 819; Howell (R) 379; Hensley (I) 43.

County Commissioner District 1: Blumert (D) 804; Reeves (R) 421.

The first three, all statewide races, were won by the GOP, but Democrats took the remainder. (There was no race for State House District 87; incumbent Collin Walke (D) drew no opposition.)

And that Congressional race was legitimately a squeaker: winner Kendra Horn pulled in 50.7 percent, a difference of about 3300 out of 238,000. She’s the first Democrat to represent District 5 since John Jarman switched to the GOP after the 1974 election.

Disclosure: I had a yard sign for Carri Hicks.

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A Nice win

Her birth certificate says “Alberta Nicole Swanegan Owens,” but no matter. She’s been Nikki Nice for years, a name she built for herself working for Russell Perry’s urban-formatted radio stations, and a name she’ll undoubtedly continue to use as Ward 7’s representative on City Council.

And apparently she’s going to have to look for another radio job, since Perry let her go the day after the election: “We’ve taken a different direction,” he said, saying it had nothing to do with her winning the Council seat.

Nice will be sworn in on the 19th, and she’ll draw her Council salary starting from then. It’s not enough to live on, though: Council members are paid $12,000 a year. (The Mayor gets twice that.)

Addendum: I was pointed to this video from her watch party Tuesday night:

It wasn’t even close: she got over 70 percent of the vote.


And not a single taco was tucked

Or trucked, if that be your preference. Either way, Severian has an historical nugget for you:

You can’t study the history of anything for too long before you conclude that the real driver of man’s fate isn’t God, or the forces of production, or class conflict, or the clash of ideologies — it’s vapid, hubristic Dunning-Kruger cases getting bored.

Take the Mexican War. It was obvious to everyone, certainly including the Mexicans, that the United States was going to attack Mexico. James K. Polk practically ran on it in 1844, and by 1846 everything was ready. The fact that this was naked aggression, and that the supposed casus belli — the strip of Texas between the Brazos and the Rio Grande — is obvious bullshit to anyone who’s ever been there, didn’t even register. Everyone wanted to throw some weight around, and Mexico — just then getting over one of its periodic revolutions — was convenient.

Then came a deflection of mass:

Until David Wilmot added his famous Proviso. He tacked it onto an appropriations bill, the sneaky bastard, so that in order to get their splendid little war, everyone had to put their cards on the table. The Mexican War was a war for slavery; the vote on the Proviso made it obvious to even the dimmest-witted. After all, the vote was taken just three months into the war — American troops were barely arriving in the theater, much less actually winning on the battlefield. The fact that nobody cared — that Congress got out of the Proviso with procedural shenanigans — showed just how badly inertia had already set in. Events were going to take their course.

Wilmot’s Last Stand, as it were, came in 1848, when an attempt was made to attach the language of the Proviso to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It didn’t happen. And what’s the relevance today, anyway?

Over the next two years, everyone will have to put their cards on the table for everyone to see. It should be momentous … but it’ll pass unremarked. Congress will do what it does with procedural shenanigans; Trump will do what he does by executive order, and nothing will get done. We voted for things to continue as they are … and they will, God help us. The political theater will be train-wreckily entertaining, but nothing of consequence will happen in the legislature.

We should be paying the estates of Messrs. Dunning and Kruger royalties, I think.

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Working the clichés

Newly elected Oklahoma County District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert had to put up with several iterations of this same script:

Which is not to say that only men caused her to raise an eyebrow:

And she had to knock on a lot of doors. Under the commissioner system, each county gets exactly three commissioners; each of them, in this county, has to cover an area home to a quarter-million people. (No State House or Senate member has as large a constituency.) Yes, we voted for her.

Carrie Blumert making the rounds

And yeah, we’d do it again.


The 2020 campaign has begun

And already there are trends to be spotted:

Ed Rendell wants the Democrats’ new House majority to get things done in the next two years: Don’t just investigate, legislate! Dream on, Ed — virtue signaling is the most important thing for the Left now. It affords the opportunity to say things that will sound good to their fellow Leftists without having to find out whether the things they say will actually work. By the time the presidential nominating process for 2020 is underway, the federal government may look even more Republican than it did last weekend.

Me, I’m looking forward to twenty-four months of blessed gridlock.

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Quote of the week

American elections send a variety of messages, and this one may be the most important:

[M]ost important of all as I consider it is the message our voting sends to the office holders and candidates whose names are on the ballots. The people who have sapped our phone minutes with robocalls. The people who have stuffed our mailboxes with campaign literature that used to be beautiful trees. The people whose television, radio and online ads filled every available nook and crevice like a foul sludge. The people who told us that they embodied all of the best of the wisdom of the great founders of our nation almost as though they were those very founders raised again to walk the earth. The people who told us that although they were not here to go negative, they did feel it was important to ask why their opponents could produce no evidence that they never played foosball with the bleached skulls of shelter puppies.

And the message we send to half of them is this: Leave us alone, and go get a job. To the other half we say: Leave us alone, and get back to work. After some six months or more of listening to them, we are finally able to make them listen to us, and it is a wonderful feeling indeed.

My condolences to anyone who’s been thrust into Recount City.


Just like us

Henry Louis Mencken, from back in the day:

The state — or, to make the matter more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.

(As quoted in Charting the Candidates ’72 (1972) by Ronald Van Doren, p. 7, and by Roberta X this week.)

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Over the years, I’ve voted against the majority of the State Questions that made it to the ballot; this is the first year in a while where I’ve thumbed down them all. (As of this writing, four of five are going down.) Then again, I’m not the purist Brian J. is:

I can understand the pithy and simple power-to-the-people reasoning behind the ballot initiative principle. You want a way to get around legislators who are in the pocket of Big Business or Big Whackadoodle, so you get a number of people to sign onto your petition, and it gets put on the ballot, and if the majority of Missourians vote for it, it becomes law.

Except that’s not how it really works. Instead, you get a powerful interest group that can’t get their laws passed in the legislature to pay a lot of people to go a lot of places to try to squeeze out enough signatures on a petition after all the fakes are knocked off it to get the petition on the ballot. Then, if you have a friendly Secretary of State, it doesn’t get rewritten and gets put onto a ballot with a low turnout that your passionate partisans will turn out for to ensure it gets passed and then it gets written into the state constitution and is therefore almost untouchable, or you get an unfriendly Secretary of State that obfuscates it and puts it onto a ballot where your partisans will be overwhelmed by the other side.

The point is that the ballot initiative process is as open to as much gimcrackery as the normal legislative process, but it carries with it a fake veneer of democracy, but really it’s more of “One Man, One Vote, Once.”

Thanks, but I’d rather leave it to the actual legislators who can monkey with the laws and then unmonkey with the laws.

Down here in Soonerland, Big Whackadoodle is practically a force of nature.

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As I picked them

Without going into too much detail over what is, after all, a secret ballot, I will reveal the following facts:

  • I voted down all five state questions.
  • In general, if there was a woman running for a seat, I voted for her over whichever guys made it to the ballot, mostly because I’ve seen most of these guys before.
  • I could work up no enthusiasm for either of the two major-party men running for Governor, opting instead for the Libertarian.

This is the Libertarian in question:

And I should mention here that while I have no particular quarrel with incumbent Congressman Steve Russell, I vowed on the day of the primary that I would vote for Democratic challenger Kendra Horn, who did a great service to the state by sparing us the indignity of yet another uninspiring, and inevitably losing, campaign by Tom Guild, the state’s closest equivalent to Harold Stassen.

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No Frexit

New Caledonia, a French territory since 1853, will remain a French territory:

Voters in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia have rejected a bid for independence.

Final results showed that 56.4% chose to remain part of France while 43.6% voted to leave — a tighter result than some polls had predicted.

Turnout was about 81%. The vote was promised by a 1988 deal that put an end to a violent campaign for independence.

President Emmanuel Macron said it showed “confidence in the French republic.”

About that “violent campaign”:

The centre-right government elected in France in March 1986 began eroding the arrangements established under the Socialists, redistributing lands mostly without consideration of native land claims, resulting in over two thirds going to Europeans and less than a third to the Kanaks. By the end of 1987 roadblocks, gun battles, and the destruction of property culminated in the Ouvéa cave hostage taking, a dramatic hostage crisis on the eve of the presidential elections in France. Pro-independence militants on Ouvéa killed four gendarmes and took 27 hostage. The military response resulted in nineteen Kanak deaths and another three deaths in custody.

The Matignon Agreements, signed on 26 June 1988, ensured a decade of stability.

Subsequent agreements led to the scheduling of an independence vote.

A Yes vote would have made New Caledonia the first French territory to break away since Djibouti (1977) and Vanuatu (1980).

About 270,000 people live in New Caledonia.

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Skin in the game

It should surprise no one to hear that mostly-unclad women have greater-than-average command of my attention, but it’s still a little dispiriting to see it as a political ploy:

Fausta observes:

They don’t look too happy, but then, they’re not wearing clothes and it’s cold in Vermont.

This photo is a reasonable argument for ballots the size of a CVS receipt. And while “naked” is almost a given here, “unafraid” introduces some nuance:

Unafraid of what? Of looking silly for objectifying themselves and sexualizing politics once more?

Or are they afraid that someone will catch the subliminal message, “Vote Democrat and lose your shirt”?

I wonder what the reaction would be to a similar effort put forth by the GOP.

On second thought, I don’t have to wonder at all.

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Speed is of the essence

Last weekend, I felt sufficiently drained to figure that maybe I’m not up to standing in line for a long, long time, which, not at all incidentally, has been more or less true for the last couple of years. Accordingly, I duly hit up the Oklahoma State Election Board Web site and requested an absentee ballot. They processed the request on Monday; the ballot was delivered on Wednesday.

Thursday around noon, I dropped the completed ballot in the mail.

Friday evening, I got a text message:

Hey Charles, it’s Erica with the OK Democrats. According to state records, you have not returned your mail ballot yet. Since it must be notarized and received by Election Day, can you put it in the mail tonight?

Only two weird aspects of this:

  • The call was apparently placed from a Tulsa (area code 539) number. State Democratic HQ is just down the road from me, at 36th and Classen in OKC.
  • Per the Election Board: “Physically incapacitated voters and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left alone are not required to have their signatures on the absentee affidavits notarized. They are required to have their signatures witnessed by two people.”

As of 5 pm Friday, the state reported the receipt of 17,179 mail ballots from Oklahoma County: 8278 from registered Republicans, 7718 from registered Democrats, 56 from registered Libertarians, and 1667 from registered Independents. It’s not hard to see why the Democrats might push the panic button.

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