All entries by this author


Apr 24th, 2018 5:42 pm | By

Ah how touching – they’re celebrating “Confederate Memorial Day” in selected Southern states.

State government offices are closed today in Mississippi and Alabama for Confederate Memorial Day.

Georgia on the other hand renamed it “State Holiday” in 2015 after the slaughter in Charleston.

In some parts of the South, the debate has prompted a counter-effort to honor Southern heritage and preserve symbols of the Confederacy.

A Georgia lawmaker tried to revive Confederate Memorial Day in name in 2017. The proposal, which did not gain traction, made no direct reference to slavery or the Civil War. But it sought to recognize the “four-year struggle for states’ rights, individual freedom and local government control.”

“Southern heritage”=slavery. That’s it. There is no … Read the rest

Big Al

Apr 24th, 2018 4:10 pm | By

The Great Piece of Turf never comes amiss.

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The public purse

Apr 24th, 2018 11:03 am | By

The Beeb a few days ago:

Campaigners have lost a High Court challenge to the government’s two-child limit on some benefits.

Lawyers representing three families had argued that the policy was incompatible with human rights law.

But a judge has ruled that limiting tax credits and universal credit to a family’s first two children is lawful.

Kate Smurthwaite draws the inevitable conclusion:

I don’t see why the public purse should be paying for Kate Middleton’s third child unless it was the result of rape. Right?

Truth innit!

 … Read the rest

He did not just do that

Apr 24th, 2018 10:25 am | By

Mon dieu.

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Please no

Apr 24th, 2018 10:04 am | By


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Courage calls to courage

Apr 24th, 2018 9:59 am | By

Today in Parliament Square:

A statue commemorating the life of the suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, has been unveiled opposite Parliament.

She campaigned for women’s right to vote during the early 20th Century and is seen as one of the most influential feminists of the past 100 years.

Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to the “truly great” campaigner’s “lasting impact” after it was unveiled.

The bronze casting, by the artist Gillian Wearing, is the first statue of a woman erected in Parliament Square.

How did it happen?

It followed a campaign by the feminist writer and activist Caroline Criado Perez, who also led last year’s successful effort to get Jane Austen to appear on the £10 note.

She said she

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It’s the status, peasant

Apr 24th, 2018 9:21 am | By

A basic trope about the reasons for Trump’s appeal to voters is the economic anxiety factor. Niraj Chokshi at the Times points to a study that cites status anxiety.

White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk.

“It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel,’’ said Diana C. Mutz, the author of the study and a political science and communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics. “It’s not a threat to their own economic well-being; it’s a threat to their group’s dominance in our country over all.”

The study is not the first

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From simplistic to nonsensical

Apr 24th, 2018 8:29 am | By

Massimo Piglucci on Michael Shermer on moral philosophy:

You may have noticed that I don’t opine on quantum mechanics. Or jazz. The reason for this is that — although I’m very interested in both topics — I just don’t know enough about them. Not enough to be able to offer an informed opinion, at any rate. So I sit back, read what other, more knowledgeable people have to say about quantum mechanics and jazz, form my own second-hand opinion, and try to avoid embarrassing myself by pontificating in public.

Apparently, my friend Michael Shermer does not follow the same philosophy. At least, not when it comes to the field of moral philosophy. He has recently published a column in

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The brain knows but the mind is at a loss

Apr 23rd, 2018 12:49 pm | By

I had an odd realization a few days ago, which is that I don’t know where the keys on the keyboard are. I know how to hit them fast and accurately, but I don’t consciously know where they are. I do know the QWERTY part, as a unit, but even that doesn’t translate to knowing where the E or the T is on its own. I know the how well enough that it’s overridden the where.

I did a little Facebook post about it and other examples of the phenomenon came rolling in – phone numbers, piano keys, the moves we make when driving, figure skating, ballet. I added my library card number – I’ve noticed many times that I … Read the rest

He meant exactly what you think

Apr 23rd, 2018 12:17 pm | By

There was that tweet the other day where Trump linked immigrants and “breeding,” so that was startling. I objected on Twitter but didn’t get around to doing so here.

What exactly did President Donald Trump mean by “breeding” when he tweeted Wednesday about cities that will not cooperate with the federal government to deport the undocumented.

This is Donald Trump. He meant exactly what you think.

Ya it’s not ambiguous. We don’t talk about people “breeding” unless we’re intent on insulting them.

The tweet, offered Wednesday morning, argued that Californians prefer his hard-line policies to those of Gov. Jerry Brown.

“There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested &

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This is the state of gun laws

Apr 23rd, 2018 11:36 am | By

God damn can this be true?

Nashville mass killer used AR-15 seized by IL police after his arrest at White House while seeking to meet Trump. Father returned rifle and other guns to him before he killed in TN — and that’s not illegal. This is the state of gun laws in America 2018.

From the NBC News article:

Four people were killed and

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The Fox White House

Apr 23rd, 2018 11:19 am | By

Watch Fox News write Trump’s lines for him. Watch Trump dutifully deliver them.

Trump’s tendency to echo the network’s shows was documented on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN.

Remarks Trump made last week — railing against the Russia investigations and attacking his enemies — were juxtaposed with previous clips of Fox personalities saying almost exactly the same things.

The same things paraphrased. He uses his own 30 or 40 words, but the content is identical.

Mind you, it must flow both ways. Fox knows what Trump thinks, and what makes him happy or livid, and it feeds him his lines accordingly. No collusion! Democrats mad! Sore losers! Hillary!!

“Typically talking points in the past have gone from politicians to partisan

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Always worse than we know

Apr 22nd, 2018 6:11 pm | By

I never have understood that Trump insult “Sleepy Eyes” that he uses for a particular tv news host. Jim Wright has an explanation.

Another Sunday morning, another attack on the press from the President of the United States.

“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake News NBC just stated that we…”


Back up.

Sleepy Eyes?

Sleepy eyes? What? I asked (rhetorically I thought) my audience on Twitter, what does “Sleepy Eyes” even mean as an insult?


Sleepy Eyes Chuck of the Fake News? I said, “it’s like he’s tweeting really bad fanfic one line at time. Fifty Shades of Fly Hair Tiny Hands.”

Sleepy eyes.

Ok. Sure.

Except … well, I should have known better. Several readers pointed

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A threat to the Judeo-Christian way of life

Apr 22nd, 2018 11:50 am | By

Oh, great – religious war against environmentalists. Peter Walker on Facebook:

Dramatic day in Modesto. Speaking to several dozen farmers and ranchers, Ammon Bundy repeated many of the stories about Harney County and the Malheur Refuge that I’ve researched and found incorrect. But he also took a much more overtly religious approach. Federal “tyranny” seemed almost forgotten. Instead, much of his criticism was aimed at environmentalists (including some at length, personally, by name) who he said drive federal policy and represent a threat to the Judeo-Christian way of life. Those who he claims adopt a “Green” religion are a threat to humanity itself. Meanwhile, the environmentalists he mentioned were outside the door chanting and protesting. Overtly framing it as

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The cast is notably international

Apr 22nd, 2018 10:46 am | By

Laurence Tribe observed on Twitter that the cast of Casablanca included only two actors born in the US, which I found interesting.

I misspelled Henreid. At any rate, Tribe was making a point about immigrants, and a couple of people replied to pick nits and he deleted the tweet, but it was interesting and he was right. The foreign cast was notable at the time. Wikipedia:

The play’s cast consisted of 16 speaking parts and several extras; the film script enlarged it to 22 speaking parts and

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A tendency toward a corrupting belief

Apr 22nd, 2018 9:56 am | By

Jennifer Palmieri has an interesting take on Comey and what he did in 2016.

She’s never met him but they have mutual friends and a lot of DC overlap, since she was director of communications in the Obama administration and then in Clinton’s campaign.

I don’t harbor ill will toward him. Our mutual friends attest to his high character, and his book, A Higher Loyalty, shows him to be a thoughtful person, generous boss and a colleague who—despite being prone to bouts of self-absorption—seems able to laugh at himself. Even though he is a Republican, I have never thought that he allowed his personal political views to drive his decisions as FBI director. I also value Jim Comey’s adherence

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Not applicable

Apr 22nd, 2018 8:18 am | By

There are, we are told, two sides to every question. We must not, we are told, live in a bubble where we never encounter dissenting views. Free speech, we are told, requires inviting and welcoming every opinion no matter how distasteful or threatening.

I give you Great Hearts Monte Vista charter school:

A Texas charter school is apologizing after a teacher gave an assignment to an eighth grade American History class, asking students to list the positive aspects of slavery.

“When I first read it, I thought, this was b.s.,” said Great Hearts Monte Vista eighth-grade student Manu Livar.

Students in the class were supposed to complete an assignment on the “positive aspects” and “negative aspects” of the life

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Quietly removed

Apr 21st, 2018 11:37 am | By

The SPLC removed the list that included Maajid Nawaz as an “Anti-Muslim Extremist” (their words). The National Review has details…and so far no equivalent on the left that I can find seems to, which as Maajid frequently points out is pathetic.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” from their website after attorneys for Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim and prominent Islamic reformer, threatened legal action over his inclusion on the list.

The report, which had been active on the SPLC’s website since it was published in December 2016, was intended to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda; but it included a number of liberal reformers such

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Yes but what did you FEEL?

Apr 21st, 2018 11:05 am | By

The Times suggests the Republicans may have made a booboo in demanding that Rosenstein hand over the Comey memos. All the memos have done is show that Comey has been consistent.

Democrats said the memos helped establish that Mr. Comey was not a disgruntled employee who made up stories about the president.

“Thanks @HouseGOP for urging release of the Comey memos!” Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, gleefully wrote on Twitter.

That made me laugh quite … Read the rest


Apr 21st, 2018 10:28 am | By

Funniest headline ever:

Trump won’t attend Barbara Bush funeral ‘out of respect’ for family, White House says

Aka he wasn’t invited and they had to explain it somehow, so they chose an absurd non sequitur. The usual form of “respect” in this sitch is to go to the funeral. The White House is saying that Trump’s presence at the funeral would be a token of disrespect. Why? Well because Trump is so disreputable.

But also of course there’s just the hilarious transparency of it – “They don’t want me there and it’s because I’m SO AWESOME I might spoil it for everyone else.”

President Donald Trump will not join first lady Melania Trump in attending the funeral services for Barbara

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