November 2018, Part 4

Jim Miller on Politics

Pseudo-Random Thoughts

You Don't Have To Be A Cynic to like this New Yorker cartoon.

But it helps.
- 10:27 AM, 30 November 2018   [link]

We Need This Reminder from David French.
I knew it.  I knew the instant I saw Twitter erupt in outrage at the use of tear gas to disperse a crowd of people charging our southern border that someone would find an example of the Obama administration doing the same thing.   And sure enough, there it was, shared far and wide within minutes, a San Diego Union-Tribune story from November 25, 2013:
Routine actions on the border that were ignored when Obama was president are now in the national and even some international spotlights. There has not been much change in policy since Trump came into office, despite all Trump's talk, and all the coverage.

And it could be that that's what Trump wants, since he believes the issue helps him, politically.

However, all the noise is not good for our nation, since we do need to think hard about needed changes in our immigration policies
- 3:44 PM, 29 November 2018   [link]

The Fox News Hosts Probably Don't Realize This is funny.
The hosts of Fox News’s Outnumbered dismissed Thursday’s bombshell news about Michael Cohen — arguing he lost his credibility the first time he was caught lying.
Let's see, can we think of anyone else who has been caught lying?  The man who employed Cohen for many years, perhaps?
- 1:59 PM, 29 November 2018   [link]

Emmanuel Macron Can Do Arithmetic:  The French president believes global warming is a serious threat and is proposing to phase out all fossil fuel use in France.  Naturally, he is also proposing to replace fossil fuels with "renewable" sources.

But, since he can do arithmetic, he is also proposing to extend France's dependence on nuclear energy — extend it past the time when he will no longer be in office.

It's a logical decision, but not a common one among world leaders, even those most concerned about global warming.

(Emmanuel Macron)
- 1:26 PM, 28 November 2018   [link]

Yesterday's New Yorker Cartoon made me laugh out loud, the current "Pepper . . . and Salt" made me chuckle, and the latest A-hed story made me wince in sympathy for those who work in open offices.
- 8:23 AM, 28 November 2018   [link]

Worth Reading:  John Tierney's contrarian column, defending "Big Pharma".

For the last year or so I have been wondering whether the horror stories I was seeing about price increases, and the weird stories I was reading about drug pricing, were typical — or whether they were news precisely because they were atypical.

Tierney's column has given me another reason to think the latter is closer to the truth.

(Those familiar with Tierney's work will wonder why I added the "contrarian" adjective, since everything he writes is contrarian.
Tierney described his TierneyLab as "guided by two founding principles":
Just because an idea appeals to a lot of people doesn't mean it's wrong.
But that's a good working theory.[6]
And correct more often than not.)
- 8:15 PM, 27 November 2018   [link]

So Far, So Good For InSight:  The Mars lander's solar arrays have been deployed and are providing power.

Let's hope all continues to go well with the lander.

(Incidentally, "InSight" is an acronym:  "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport", something I would not have guessed.)
- 4:35 PM, 27 November 2018   [link]

Revenge Of The Turkeys?  Cartoonist Andy Marlette has some fun with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- 2:35 PM, 27 November 2018   [link]

Three Republicans "Who Never Will Be Missed"  I didn't have a "little list", but if I had, these three Republican losers would have been on it:

Corey Stewart, who lost his race to be Virginia's junior senator, winning just 41 percent of the vote.

His earlier campaigns should have persuaded Republican voters to reject him in the primary, but did not.
According to The New York Times, Stewart "made his name attacking illegal immigrants and embracing emblems of the Confederacy."[2]   He drew national media attention for spearheading Prince William County's 2007 crackdown on illegal immigrants.[3][4] Stewart was the Virginia state chair of the Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign, and co-chaired the Republican Party of Virginia's "Team Virginia" field and communications campaign in 2016.[5][6]  In October 2016, the Trump campaign fired him after he participated in an unsanctioned protest against the Republican National Committee.[7]

In 2017, Stewart sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Virginia, narrowly losing to Ed Gillespie. He drew media attention for his admission that his campaign staff had edited his Wikipedia page to add positive spin, his use of the term "cuckservative" in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything", and his staunch support for Confederate symbols and monuments.[8][9][10
Like most people, I prefer Abraham Lincoln Republicans to Jefferson Davis Republicans.

Kris Kobach, who lost the governor's race in heavily Republican Kansas, winning just 43 percent of the vote.

Kobach's extremism on election integrity will make that issue harder to treat fairly.
He has made claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States that studies and fact-checkers have concluded are false or unsubstantiated.[13]

As Secretary of State of Kansas, Kobach implemented some of the strictest voter identification laws in the United States and fought to remove nearly 20,000 registered voters from the state's voter rolls.[14]  Following considerable investigation and prosecution, Kobach secured nine convictions for voter fraud; all were cases of double voting, and most involved voters who had misunderstood their voting rights.[15][16][17][18]
If I were looking for vote fraud, I wouldn't start in Kansas.

Dana Rohrabacher, who lost a safe Republican seat, winning less than 47 percent of the vote.

Rohrabacher is too close to some nasty people.
Rohrabacher has expressed strong pro-Russia and pro-Putin views,[5][6] which have raised questions about his relationship with Putin and the Russian government.[7]
Rohrabacher worked for Ronald Reagan for many years, but seems to have forgotten that Reagan was not fond of the KGB.

The United States — and the Republican Party — are better off for these three defeats
- 1:46 PM, 27 November 2018   [link]

Yesterday's New Yorker Cartoon made me chuckle.
- 7:22 AM, 27 November 2018   [link]

InSight Has Landed On Mars!  Now we have to wait to see if it can "unfurl".
But the tension hasn't completely dissipated and won't for a while yet:   Mission team members won't know whether InSight successfully deployed its solar panels until 8:35 p.m. EST (0135 GMT on Nov. 27) at the earliest.   Without those arrays extended, the lander cannot survive, let alone probe the Red Planet's interior like never before — the main goal of the $850 million InSight mission.

The agonizing delay is unavoidable; NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter won't be in position to relay the deployment confirmation to mission control until more than 5 hours after touchdown, agency officials said.
Success is not certain.
If the arrays do unfurl as planned, InSight will join a relatively select club.  Less than 40 percent of all Mars missions over the decades have successfully arrived at their destination, be that an orbital path around the planet or its dusty red surface.
Though I would like to think we have learned something from all those failures.
- 1:04 PM, 26 November 2018   [link]

The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me laugh out loud.
- 10:51 AM, 26 November 2018   [link]

The Most Interesting Election Today Was in Switzerland.
As a hollow cowbell echoes through a rolling, misty Swiss countryside, cattle herder Armin Capaul smiles and cracks wise about the feat he’s pulled off:  Using the country’s system of direct democracy to force a vote on an issue dear to his life and livelihood — whether cows keep their horns.

The small-time cattle raiser in the Bernese regional village of Perrefitte is the unassuming if media-friendly mastermind behind a proposal, years in the making after a painstaking petition drive, that Swiss farmers should receive state compensation for letting cows and goats keep their horns.
It lost, along with another referendum that — if you pressed me — I would admit is more important.
- 3:25 PM, 25 November 2018   [link]