December 2016, Part 3
Jim Miller on Politics
Home For The . . . It's a few days before Christmas, and Smith and Jones are talking about their plans for the holiday.
Smith: "I'm really looking forward to Christmas. It's such a special time of year."
Jones: "So you are looking for a chance to see your family, and share in the usual Christmas celebrations?"
Smith: "No, I see them fairly often during the year, so that's not it. But only at Christmas does my mother make this wonderful sauce, with eggs, butter, lemon juice, . . . ."
"I see", Jones interrupts. "You really want to be home for the Hollandaise."
(Think that one's bad? Here's one that's worse.)
- 7:49 AM, 24 December 2016 [link]
Wednesday's New Yorker Cartoon May Be a year or two early.
But it has a fun Christmas theme.
- 11:11 AM, 23 December 2016 [link]
Anis Amrim, The Suspect In The Attack On The Berlin Christmas Market, Is From Tataouine: No, really.
Star Wars fans who once flocked to the Tunisian town of Tataouine - which was used as the model for Luke Skywalker's home planet Tatooine - have stayed stayed away in recent years due to the proximity of violent jihadists.But he's no Luke Skywalker.
- 6:37 PM, 22 December 2016 [link]
The Daily Mail Gives The Berlin Terror Attack the full tabloid treatment.
A string of security blunders left a failed Tunisian asylum seeker free to carry out the Berlin Christmas market massacre, it was feared last night.Most of the article is probably accurate.
Two speculative thoughts: First, when the German authorities announced that they had arrested a suspect just two hours after the attack, the timing seemed wrong to me, too late to have followed a hot pursuit, and too soon to result from a tip. So I wasn't surprised when they decided that Pakistani was the wrong man.
Second, it seems likely that Anis Amris expected to die in the attack on the Christmas market. That would explain why he had ID with him, and why he left it in the truck when he fled.
- 7:50 AM, 22 December 2016 [link]
All These Years, I've Been Practicing Therapy — Without A License — and didn't know it.
- 5:56 AM, 22 December 2016 [link]
Worth Reading: William Galston's column, "Romney Was Right About Russia".
President Obama owes Mitt Romney an apology. And so does President-elect Trump.Mitt Romney won't get those apologies — but he is owed them.
- 6:37 PM, 21 December 2016 [link]
John Kass Has Some Fun with Michelle Obama's Oprah interview.
"What else do you have if you don't have hope?" the first lady told Oprah. "What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?"The private school the kids went to in Chicago is pretty good, too.
- 9:25 AM, 21 December 2016 [link]
So Far, No Plumber: As Donald Trump puts together his Cabinet, I am reminded of a quip made about Eisenhower's Cabinet, that it consisted of "nine millionaires and a plumber". (The plumber had been president of the plumber's union.)
I don't think we're going to get a plumber this time. Unfortunately.
(As you probably know, Ronald Reagan had been a union president.
Here's Eisenhower's plumber, and here's why he didn't last long.)
- 8:59 AM, 21 December 2016 [link]
You'll Like Yesterday's New Yorker Cartoon if you think advertisers have overused a certain adjective.
- 8:15 AM, 21 December 2016 [link]
How Did The FBI Know About The Attacks On The DNC? It's not a crucial detail, but it does make me wonder.
Here, again, are the first two paragraphs of that New York Times article:
When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.So how did Special Agent Hawkins know that? On-line monitoring of some kind? A paid informant? Or some other way?
If the warning had come from the National Security Agency, you'd guess that they had intercepted some probes or messages, but the warning didn't come from them, at least not directly.
- 4:25 PM, 20 December 2016 [link]
Unlucky Timing For The Seattle Times: On the front page of today's newspaper is a story about the terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin; on the editorial page of the print version, the lead editorial asks us to "Share the holiday spirit with Muslim neighbors". (The on-line version has a different headline.)
It's hard to know what to say after that.
The Times is simply unwilling to accept the fact that, though a majority of Muslims, especially in the United States, may be willing to live in peace with their neighbors, a minority does not want to "share the holiday spirit" with the rest of us, a smaller minority would like to see us die, and an even smaller minority would rather kill us than "share the holiday spirit".
The newspaper apparently is unwilling to even think about the San Bernardino terrorist attack, which happened when non-Muslims were trying to "share the holiday spirit" with two Muslims.
- 3:23 PM, 20 December 2016 [link]
You've Heard About The Terrorist Attack in Berlin: But the terrorist attack in Jordan may be more serious.
Four Jordanian security personnel have been killed in fresh clashes with armed men near the central town of Karak, state media report.The Jordanians say they found a large cache of arms, suggesting that the terrorists had a series of attacks planned.
(Karak is most famous for this Crusader castle.)
- 2:09 PM, 20 December 2016 [link]
There's A Useful Warning in last Thursday's New Yorker cartoon.
- 6:31 AM, 20 December 2016 [link]
Four Of Washington State's Twelve Electors were faithless.
The electors in Washington state have spoken, giving eight Electoral College votes to Hillary Clinton, three to Colin Powell and one to Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native-American tribal leader.A Washington state law provides for $1000 fines for each faithless elector (though there is some doubt about whether those fines are Constitutional).
I think that makes Powell the winner of the bronze in the presidential race.
(If you are wondering about the vote for Faith Spotted Eagle, there's a simple explanation: Indian tribes are not a large voting bloc here in Washington state, but Indian casinos are important donors to the state Democratic Party.)
- 7:33 PM, 19 December 2016 [link]
The Venezuelan Regime Ordered People to turn in their 100 Bolivar banknotes — before the regime had new, larger banknotes to replace them.
Caracas (AFP) - A jetload of new currency finally arrived in Venezuela after its delayed arrival sparked protests and looting that jolted President Nicolas Maduro's unpopular government.At least three people have died in the riots following the order.
According to Mary Anastasia O'Grady's column in today's Wall Street Journal, about one-third of Venezuelans have only cash, no bank accounts, not even debit cards.
As I mentioned three days ago, many of Venezuela's problems are caused by the regime's incompetence. Even so, I didn't expect them to do something this stupid.
(I haven't seen an explanation for the delay. The regime may have messed up its timing, or the firm in Sweden that is printing them may have held them for a few days, until they were paid for their work.)
- 4:22 PM, 19 December 2016 [link]
That Weird Habit Donald Trump Has Of Clapping For Himself? There's another leader who has the same weird habit.
There are probably others, but those two are the only ones I can think of, off hand.
- 7:15 AM, 19 December 2016 [link]
A Mother Tries Sarcasm in this New Yorker cartoon.
It probably won't work.
- 7:05 AM, 19 December 2016 [link]
President Obama's Priorities: In May, Secretary of State John Kerry warned the world about South Sudan.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned of a possible genocide in South Sudan if more peacekeepers are not rapidly deployed to end the conflict.UN officials now agree with Kerry's assessment.
For three years South Sudan has tumbled deeper into self-inflicted chaos, and it now finds itself on the brink of something even more terrifying.In yesterday's news conference, President Obama said that he knew about those problems.
OBAMA: Mike, I always feel responsible. I felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. I felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. I feel responsible for murder and slaughter that's taken place in South Sudan that's not being reported on, partly because there's not as much social media being generated from there.So what is he doing to prevent that possible genocide? He is flying off for his usual long vacation in Hawaii.
No doubt the children in South Sudan will be pleased to learn that he cares, assuming they survive.
There is a consistency in his inaction; when his own administration announced that there was a genocide against Christians and Yazidis in the Middle East, he didn't change what he was doing then, either.
- 4:45 PM, 17 December 2016 [link]
Worth Reading: Naomi Schaefer Riley's article, "Bury Their Future at Standing Rock: The truth about the shutdown of the Dakota Pipeline".
Riley gives you the background on the dispute, background that you are unlikely to have seen elsewhere (though there was a useful op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recently) and uses the decision to illustrate the argument she makes in her book, The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians.
Here's her beginning:
"Today we’re celebrating. For the first time in U.S. history, the U.S. government is going to honor tribal sovereignty and the treaties that were signed by the U.S. government.” So said Tomas Lopez, a representative of the International Indigenous Youth Council, on the day after the Army Corps of Engineers decided it would not grant an easement through South Dakota’s Lake Oahe for the construction of the last mile of the Dakota Pipeline. Lopez was surely speaking for thousands of protesters who were camped out for months at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation when he declared, “For the first time, I feel like we’re being acknowledged as a people and we’re being seen and being heard and honored.”The celebrities that have been supporting the tribe are unlikely to know about those results.
- 3:33 PM, 17 December 2016 [link]
Yesterday's New Yorker Cartoon Is Timely: And, for a change, moderately subtle.
- 2:32 PM, 17 December 2016 [link]