March 2017, Part 3

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

Another Terrorist Attack In London:  Here's the BBC's preliminary story.

And here's a description of Westminster Bridge.
- 10:32 AM, 22 March 2017   [link]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is A Nigerian Woman, A Prize-Winning Writer, And A Feminist:  But all that was still not enough to protect her, after she said something unobjectionable about "transgender women".
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian novelist and feminist, has condemned a “language orthodoxy” on the political left after she endured a vitriolic backlash over comments about transgender women.

The author of Half of a Yellow Sun plunged into a row about identity politics when she suggested in an interview last week that the experiences of transgender women, who she said are born with the privileges the world accords to men, are distinct from those of women born female.  She was criticised for implying that trans women are not “real women”.
Even if you believe in the "transgender" idea, you should be able to accept that different experiences growing up matter.

Ordinarily, I try to avoid this kind of speculation, but I have begun to wonder whether the fierceness of such attacks comes from the inner doubts of those making the attacks, wonder whether they yell louder because they aren't sure of their own arguments.

(We can, I suppose, be glad that she is a writer, and not a biologist.)
- 7:30 PM, 21 March 2017   [link]

Donald Trump Was A Star On "Sesame Street"?!   As a villain, of course.
There are only three known episodes in which the character [Donald] “Grump” appears, each time playing the villain in a moral allegory.

Whenever Grump visits Sesame Street, chaos is not far behind.
Maybe I'll have to start watching the program from time to time.

(And finally get around to watching "Back to the Future".)
- 6:21 PM, 21 March 2017   [link]

The Dutch Election Results Are Official:  So let's take a look at what happened, and what was said about what happened.

First, what happened.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) lost 8 of 41 seats.  Their coalition partner, the Labour Party (PvdA), lost 29 of 38 seats.  Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic Freedom Party (PVV) gained 5 seats and, with 20 seats, is now (barely) the second largest party in the Dutch House of Representatives.

To stay prime minister, Rutte will have to find at least 3 other parties to join his coalition.  As I write, bettors are giving him about a 90 percent chance of doing so.

Therefore, says CNN, Rutte scored a "comfortable victory".
Conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte's comfortable victory over far-right firebrand Geert Wilders was officially confirmed by the Dutch Electoral Council on Tuesday.
Some may find those results, and that description, not entirely compatible.

However, the combination is at least understandable when you know that many expected Wilders to do better, and that his party has actually lost ground since 2010, when they won 24 seats.  Moreover, Rutte was able to co-opt some of Wilders' issues.

But I still wouldn't describe Rutte's victory as "comfortable".

(Nor would I describe him as a "conservative".  His party favors free markets, but accepts a large welfare state, and is, in American terms, "liberal" on social issues.

Similarly, Wilders' party is often called "far right", but it is more accurate to simply call it anti-Islamic, as I did.

Mark Rutte's wins are another example of the way the old party systems are breaking down in Europe:  "Rutte is the first Prime Minister since 1918 who is neither a Christian democrat nor a socialist, . . . .")
- 1:57 PM, 21 March 2017   [link]

Too Many Tricolors:  After the revolution that overthrew the Communist dictatorship, Romania needed a new flag and so they chose to again emulate the French tricolor, just substituting their own colors — which happen to be the same as those in Chad's flag.

Which, naturally, annoys Chad.

Chad was a French colony for many years; Romania has been heavily influenced by France for centuries.  So it isn't surprising that they both followed the French model.

Romania can claim they had the design first — but they did give it up.

At the risk of insulting all the countries that have adopted a tricolor flag, I'll just say that — in my opinion — they are not good designs, for flags.  They are too abstract, and, by now, too similar to all the other tricolors.  The Union Jack and the American flag have about the right level of abstraction — again, in my opinion.)

- 9:37 AM, 21 March 2017   [link]

Worth Reading:  Carl Cannon's indictment, "The Hate Group That Incited the Middlebury Melee".
Under different circumstances, Alabama civil rights lawyer Morris S. Dees and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray might have been colleagues, even pals.  Instead, Murray found himself in a near-riot at Middlebury College after accepting a speaking invitation from Republican students at the Vermont school.  Students and faculty galvanized by Dees’ political organization barred Murray from speaking.  They shouted him down, chanted their own manifesto, and pulled fire alarms to prevent him from being heard.
The hate group in that title is the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees's very profitable non-profit.
- 4:25 PM, 20 March 2017   [link]

From The Washington Post To Politico To Axios:  First, the genealogy.
John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei left The Washington Post to become The Politico's editor-in-chief and executive editor, respectively, launching the newspaper on January 23, 2007.
And later.
AXIOS Media or Axios is a news and information company started in 2016 by Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei, former Chief White House correspondent at Politico, Mike Allen, and former Politico Chief Revenue Officer Roy Schwartz.  Axios launched in 2017.[1]
I have found first Politico, and now Axios, to be decent places to find basic political stories.

It's my impression that Politico is aimed mostly at computer screens, and that Axios is aimed mostly at smart phones and other portable devices.   That may explain why their articles are succinct.  (Which is often an excellent quality.)
- 1:42 PM, 20 March 2017   [link]

Six "Takeaways" from the Comey hearing.

This one struck me as especially significant:
6. US intelligence expects Russian interference in "2020, maybe 2018" elections to undermine US democracy.
Note the careful wording in those points, and, if you like, compare them to the way our TV news readers summarize them.

(My apologies for not giving you a more precise link; I haven't figured out how to do that with Axios, yet.)
- 12:09 PM, 20 March 2017   [link]

Perhaps Dr. Phil Could Help these two resolve their differences.
- 7:07 AM, 20 March 2017   [link]

While Journalists Were Getting Excited About That Proverb, they missed Trump's preposterous claim to be a great book reader.

Although I wouldn't go quite as far as Patterico did:
Just don’t ask me to believe he reads books.  The man’s never read a book in his life.  I’d put money on it.
I do think Trump probably did read textbooks when he was in school, and that he probably has read most of his own first book.

And he may even be trying to read that book on Andrew Jackson.

But there is no evidence he has gone much beyond those books, and good reason to think he hasn't.
- 3:17 PM, 17 March 2017   [link]

Actually, Donald Trump Didn't Say It Was An Irish Proverb:  Our leftist journalists are getting all excited about this story.
At the [St. Patrick's Day] luncheon, Trump shared what he claimed was an Irish proverb.

“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of that proverb — and this is a good one, this is one I like, I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it,” Trump said.  “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.”
Unless there is more they aren't quoting, Trump didn't call it Irish — but it set off a wild hunt for experts who would deny that it was Irish.  (It's apparently from a Nigerian poem.)

What all the journalists I have heard or seen missed is that the proverb/poem is not what Saint Patrick taught, or how he lived his life, if the historical accounts are true.  Christians are called on, not to forget friends who have wronged them, but to forgive them.
- 2:44 PM, 17 March 2017   [link]

Worth Reading:  Charles Krauthammer's column, "The real world of Obamacare repeal".
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy.  Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril.  This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care.  There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.
Krauthammer has some sensible advice for Republicans in the rest of the column — advice that they are unlikely to take, unfortunately.
- 11:46 AM, 17 March 2017   [link]

After Going Through the Politico and RealClearPolitics weekly cartoon collections, I decided to link to this non-political cartoon.

(I did smile at a few of the political cartoons, but most just annoyed me.)
- 10:25 AM, 17 March 2017   [link]