December 2018, Part 3

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

Did You See What Happened In The Stock Market On Friday?  No, not the American market, the Venezuelan market, which was up 54 percent for the day.

For the year to date, it is up a mere 99,685 percent.

Is that enough to beat inflation?   Probably not, though we should recognize that measuring inflation is tricky in a nation where staples are often unavailable, even in black markets.

(Caracas General)
- 2:52 PM, 23 December 2018   [link]

A Few American Men Have "Christmas Beards"  A very few, for practical reasons.

(Don't be surprised if you see artificial Christmas beards in a year or two.)
- 10:03 AM, 23 December 2018   [link]

A New Yorker Cartoon for Saturday nights.
- 8:54 AM, 21 December 2018   [link]

Worth Reading:  (At least in part.)  Der Spiegel's confession.
A DER SPIEGEL reporter committed large-scale journalistic fraud over several years.  Internal clues and research have provided significant evidence against reporter Claas Relotius, who has since admitted to the falsifications and is no longer employed by DER SPIEGEL.  Other media organizations may also have been affected.
As you read through the long confession (and apology), you will notice that Relotius made up stories that would please German leftists — which helps explain why he was able to get away with his fraud for so long.

German leftists — like the rest of us — tend to believe what they want to believe.

(Der Spiegel)
- 3:37 PM, 20 December 2018   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me smile (a little grimly).
- 9:55 AM, 20 December 2018   [link]

The Passage Of A Prison Reform Bill In The Senate inspires me to re-post this old Greek joke.
The two leaders of the Greek dictatorship, Papadopoulos and Paddakos, are together at Headquarters when the Governor of Korydallos, the largest prison in Greece, comes to see them.

'The prisoners have several grievances, and are threatening to go on a hunger strike unless their demands are met.'

'What do they want?' asks Papadopoulos.

'They want to see their wives once a week for sex.'

Papadopoulos agrees.  Paddakos is shocked at his leniency.

A week later the Governor returns:  'There is more trouble at the prison.  The prisoners now want television in their cells and say they'll go on strike if the demand is not met.'

Papadopoulos again agrees.  Paddakos is appalled but again says nothing.

After a month, the Governor again visits Headquarters.

'The prisoners now demand weekends off for good behavior just like they have in Denmark.'

Papadopoulos agrees but Paddakos can no longer keep silent.

'Why are you so generous to these prisoners?  We should be generous to our schools, not to our prisons.'

'Look,' Papadopoulos replies, 'When we finish up here, we won't be going to school.'
Many people close to President Trump now have strong personal reasons for favoring prison reform.  That doesn't mean the Senate bill is bad, net, but it does suggest that a certain amount of cynicism is appropriate.
- 9:06 AM, 19 December 2018   [link]

Chinese President Xi Jinping Demonstrates His Comic Genius, Again:  According to NHK World, Xi announced his opposition to both "tyranny" and "hegemony".

Since the Japanese network did not mention it, I assume the audience did not roar with laughter at the "emperor's" jokes — and one can understand why they did not, given the risks.
- 4:32 PM, 18 December 2018   [link]

I Don't Know How Many Of You Will Like this xkcd cartoon, but it made me smile.
- 1:46 PM, 18 December 2018   [link]

"Generic" Candidates Are Hard To Beat:  Even so, this is not good news for Donald Trump.
[I]n a contest between Trump and a generic Democrat, Trump would almost surely lose if the current political climate holds through 2020.  According to a Fox News poll this week, 38 percent of respondents said they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for Trump, while 55 percent said they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for someone else.
Typically, generic candidates run ahead of all the actual candidates — so much so that I sometimes joke that the Republicans should nominate a candidate to be named later.

Even so, and even this early, this is not good news for the Donald.

If the polls keep looking like this, Trump is likely to draw a serious primary challenge.  And that is especially likely to happen if the polls show a challenger doing far better in general election contests.  If, for instance, the polls show John Kasich winning in November 2020, while Trump is losing, practical Republican politicians will begin to see virtues in a Kasich challenge they had missed before.

(By way of Orrin Judd.)
- 2:23 PM, 17 December 2018   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me smile.
- 1:34 PM, 17 December 2018   [link]