November 2017, Part 3

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

Think You Have More Leftover Turkey This Year?  You are probably right.
- 9:34 AM, 24 November 2017   [link]

This New Yorker Cartoon made me laugh out loud.
- 9:13 AM, 24 November 2017   [link]

Happy Thanksgiving!   (Though Audubon's turkey may not share the sentiment.)

Audubon's turkey

(Yes, I am fond of that painting — and wild turkeys.)
- 8:55 AM, 23 November 2017   [link]

Here's A Song for Robert Mugabe.

(It's an obvious choice.  But I haven't seen anyone else mention it.)
- 2:51 PM, 22 November 2017   [link]

A Recycled Joke Suitable For Thanksgiving:  With some arguing that you should ruin Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to recycle a political joke that may help save it.

Here's the basic version:
In the 1930s two old friends were sitting together on a park bench.   For a long time neither said anything.    Finally, one man let out a deep sigh.

The other turned to him and said:    "Must you always be talking politics?"
Notes:  I vary the joke a little depending on the audience.  If I am speaking to young people, I will often begin like this:  "Back in the 1930s, when times really were bad, what with Hitler and Stalin and the Great Depression, . . "

If I am speaking mostly to men, I'll often add something like this:  '. . . two old friends, who often knew what the other man was thinking, without him saying anything, . . . "  (Most women won't need that explanation.)

Finally, the joke works best if you can say the punch line in a very exasperated voice.  And it doesn't hurt to let out a deep sigh, right after you mention the sigh.

(Here's my earlier version.  I don't recall where I got the joke.)
- 2:23 PM, 22 November 2017   [link]

Kyle Smith Makes The Same Semi-Cynical Observation I Did:  Republicans would be better off if Al Franken stays in office.
Yet as the Senate circles the wagons around Franken, it’s liberals and Democrats who should be angry — not Republicans.  To Republicans it’s Thanksgiving come early.  It makes no difference to the Republican policy agenda whether Franken or some other generic liberal Democrat holds that seat.  If Franken remains, Roy Moore’s chances of victory in Alabama increase.  It makes it too easy for Republicans in Alabama to say, “Wait a minute, we’re supposed to end the career of Roy Moore, a legend in this state, when Democrats won’t expel Franken?   Why should we agree to unilateral ethics enforcement?”  Should Moore make it to the Senate, Democrats will be able to cast Republicans as the party of sex creeps only if they expel Franken.  Every time Moore’s name is mentioned, the response will be, “What about Al Franken?  And by the way, what about Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy?”
That's in the short term.

At the next election for Franken's Senate seat, Republicans would probably be better off if Franken is the incumbent, rather than some Mark Dayton appointee.
- 3:11 PM, 21 November 2017   [link]

Robert Mugabe Has Resigned:  He finally faced the inevitable.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has resigned, parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda has said.

A letter from Mr Mugabe said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.

The surprise announcement halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him and sparked wild celebrations on the nation's streets.

The ruling Zanu-PF party says former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980.
Will Mnangagwa be a better ruler?  We can hope so, but there is reason for concern in his biography.  For example:
Mnangagwa was a leader during the Zimbabwean War of Liberation.   After Zimbabwe was recognized in 1980, Mnangagwa held a series of senior cabinet positions under Mugabe, including as minister of state security during the Gukurahundi massacres in which thousands of Ndebele civilians were killed.  Mnangagwa blamed the army for the massacres and continued to hold senior cabinet positions, though he is widely believed to be responsible.[3]
On the other hand, it is possible that he will be better than Mugabe's chosen successor, Grace Mugabe, would have been.

- 2:42 PM, 21 November 2017   [link]

Maybe The Obamas Should Have Considered That Offer:  In 2015, I jokingly made this observation, after a Kenyan man offered 50 cows for Malia.
But I will say this in favor of Mr. Matagei:   Though he may be a little old fashioned by Obama's standards, he probably has better values than the entertainment types that Malia has been meeting.
As you may recall, Malia was an intern in the Harvey Weinstein organization.  I find it reassuring that she had Secret Service protection at the time.

- 7:28 AM, 21 November 2017   [link]

This New Yorkee Cartoon Is Timely:  But it only made me smile, briefly.

(Women may like it more than men do.)
- 6:46 AM, 21 November 2017   [link]

We All Have our weaknesses.
- 10:19 AM, 20 November 2017   [link]

Tragedy And Farce In The Mornings:  Most week day mornings I get up early enough (5 AM) to catch the BBC's GMT news program.  After that, I usually read some news from American news sources, on the net.

Recently the BBC has been covering two disasters, the religious "cleansing" of the Rohingya from Myanmar — with accounts of mass murder and gang rapes, and the ongoing tragedy of the civil war in Yemen, where the governments have so completely broken down that they have a cholera epidemic.

The BBC would sometimes follow those stories with the latest sex harassment stories from the United States (and Britain).  If not, it was almost impossible to ignore the stories, for anyone reading American news sources.

So I would sometimes see, first, a Rohingya woman telling how her husband and all the other men in her village had been murdered, and then she gang-raped — followed by a story about how Al Franken had, years ago, forced a crude kiss on a woman and posed for a crude and silly picture with her.

It is hard not to see that sequence as tragedy, followed by farce.

Having said that, I suppose I should add that I am not excusing Franken's behavior, just trying to put it in some context.  He's a nasty man as everyone who wanted to know has known for years, so this story doesn't surprise me — but what he is accused of doing is orders of magnitude less important than what is happening in Myanmar and Yemen.

- 5:02 PM, 19 November 2017   [link]

This Weekend's "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me smile.

Perhaps because I recognized that feeling.
- 12:38 PM, 19 November 2017   [link]

More Reading Just For Fun:  James Schmitz's Witches of Karres.
. . . a space opera novel by James H. Schmitz.  It deals with a young space ship captain who finds himself increasingly embroiled in wild adventures involving interdimensional alien invaders, space pirates, and magic power.
(Links omitted.)

Wikipedia describes it as space opera, as I think most would, but I think it is better thought of as an entertaining and extended fairy tale.

(In contrast, Schmitz's The Demon Breed is a space opera — and another entertaining read.)
- 3:25 PM, 18 November 2017   [link]

Worth Buying:  This weekend's Wall Street Journal for the lead editorial, "Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown", Peggy Noonan's take on the Roy Moore problem, and Jason Gay's directions for talking politics at Thanksgiving.  (I spent about 15 minutes looking for a link in the usual ways and didn't find one — even though I can see the article in the copy sitting on my desk.)
- 2:51 PM, 18 November 2017
More:  This weekend's Journal also includes a front-page article on Max Deutsch, who has a freakish ability to learn complex tasks quickly — and decides to test the limits of his ability by learning chess well enough in a month to beat grandmaster Magnus Carlsen  Which is something like a pick-up basketball player taking a month to practice before challenging LeBron James to a game.
- 1:01 PM, 19 November 2017   [link]

This Week's Collection Of Political Cartoons from RealClearPolitics.

My favorites:  Mike Luckovich's children, Scott Stantis's elephant, Steve Breen's Bill Clinton, and Michael Ramirez's Colin Kaepernick.

(I disagree with a couple of those, but thought they were funny, anyway.)
- 8:39 AM, 18 November 2017   [link]

Which Man Is More Arrogant, Obama Or Trump?  Jay Nordlinger says Trump.
We on the right often criticized President Obama for his arrogance, among other things.  We often quoted something he said in 2008, when he was running:   “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.  I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.  And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

I thought of that when listening to President Trump — who was asked about all the vacancies at the State Department.  “Let me tell you, the one that matters is me.  I’m the only one that matters.”  (This is a cousin of “L’Etat, c’est moi.”)

Here is Trump again:   “The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me.  I’ve always been great with money.”

This puts Obama in the shade, I think.
I would say that Obama is the more arrogant because, unless you are a Trumpista, you always have the feeling that Trump doesn't necessarily believe all of what he is saying.

(If Nordlinger is new to you, you should read his entire "Impromptus", which is mostly about other matters.)
- 10:20 AM, 17 November 2017   [link]

Eisenhower Understood Flatterers:  One more story from Bob Dole's first collection.
After leaving the White House, Eisenhower was asked if there was a difference in his golf game.  "Yes," he replied.  "I lose a lot more now." (p. 126)
Similarly, I would expect that Barack Obama loses more basketball games, now that he is out of office.

(I've had so much fun with Dole's first collection that I suppose I really should pick up another, perhaps this one.)
- 9:19 AM, 17 November 2017   [link]