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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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JULY 10,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

I WEEP, I WEEP – FROM REUTERS:    SEOUL (REUTERS) - Everyone in North Korea is heartbroken over leader Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss, said an unidentified resident of Pyongyang quoted on the country's tightly controlled state media, after watching recent video footage of Mr Kim.  The rare public comment on Mr Kim's health comes after foreign analysts noted in early June that the autocratic leader, who is believed to be 37, appeared to have lost a noticeable amount of weight.  "Seeing respected general secretary (Kim Jong Un) looking emaciated breaks our people's heart so much," the man said in an interview aired by state broadcaster KRT last Friday (June 25).  "Everyone is saying their tears welled up," he said.  I don't know if I can control myself.  If I'm off the air, you'll know I'll be in mourning, or maybe Whole Foods.

LET THE VIRTUE SIGNALING CONTINUE – FROM LEGAL INSURRECTION:  A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, is returning to his Nebraska tribe after decades in a museum at Harvard.  The university’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology says it’s been working with members of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska and Oklahoma to repatriate the artifact.  Larry Wright, Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, said Tuesday the return of the historic weapon is a powerful symbol of homecoming for the tribe, which was among many forcibly relocated from their homelands to other territories by the federal government in the 1800s.   I'm sure every Native American will be eternally uplifted.  Next stunt please.

July 10, 2021       Permalink

 

CALIFORNIA VS. FLORIDA – A BATTLE FOR THE NATION'S FUTURE – AT 11:41 P.M. ET:  Two huge states have gone in entirely different directions during the pandemic, and in response to the demands of the political left.  Each of these states will play a major role in American politics in the upcoming years.  How do they stack up against each other?  From the New York Post: 

Thanks to the blessings of decentralization, life can vary greatly in America depending on where you sit. Those differences are growing into a chasm of philosophical and practical contrasts between two basic models for the American future. Call them the California way and the Florida way.

On many critical questions facing our culture, our economy and our society, California and Florida offer radically different answers.

Should lots of new housing be built in the interest of affordability? California says no, Florida says yes. Should homeless people be allowed to turn public spaces into tent cities? California says yes, Florida says no. Should public elementary schools teach critical race theory? California says yes, Florida says no. Should gas be $4 a gallon? California says yes, Florida says no. Should biological males be allowed to dominate girls’ sports? Florida says no. California not only says yes, but it is trolling Florida by forbidding its employees to take state-funded trips to Florida, as well as 16 other states.

California fancies itself imposing its cultural values on other states and tackling global warming independently; Florida has a more modest view of what a state government does. People are voting on all of this with their U-Hauls. California’s population in 2020 shrank for the first time ever, by 180,000 people, whereas Florida had the second-highest increase in population, after Texas.

During the pandemic, California introduced some of the harshest lockdown measures in the country, crashing its economy, while Florida was among the first states to begin reopening, way back in May of 2020, and has been almost entirely open since September. Disney World reopened in July of 2020; Disneyland reopened at the end of April 2021. One survey found that Florida had the second-fewest coronavirus restrictions; California ranked 45th by the same measure.

Should homeless people be allowed to turn public spaces into tent cities? California says yes, Florida says no.

Though Florida has the second-highest percentage of old people of any state, the death tolls look like they will come out about even. Florida stands 26th in COVID-19 fatalities (1,769 deaths per million) while California is 34th (1,614). Yet California’s economy is still suffering, its unemployment rate standing at 7.9 percent in May, the most recent survey. Florida hasn’t seen such a high jobless rate since last August; its unemployment has stood below 5 percent throughout 2021.

COMMENT:  And Florida has a governor, Ron DeSantis, who may well be the Republican candidate for president in 2024.  California has a governor, Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election in the fall. 

On balance, you've got to give first prize to Florida.  A well-run state, government based on common sense, and people moving in rather than out, which is the key indicator.  California?  Well, it ain't the place Ronald Reagan ran half a century ago.  Then it was truly the golden state.  Now some of its gems, like San Francisco, are a disgraceful mess.

July 10, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

JULY 9,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

DECLINE OF A NETWORK – FROM FOX:    Struggling CNN didn’t have a single program surpass the 1-million viewer plateau on Thursday.  "Anderson Cooper 360" came the closest, averaging 992,000, but the scandal-plagued "Cuomo Prime Time" lost 40,000 viewers and "Don Lemon Tonight" managed only 635,000 to drag down CNN’s primetime average.  CNN averaged only 719,000 viewers during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, while Fox News averaged 2.08 million during the same time period. CNN has failed to reach more than 1 million total viewers on 16 different days from June 9 through July 8.  CNN struggled to attract viewers throughout the day, starting with "New Day" attracting an audience of merely 421,000. The liberal network failed to reach even 800,000 viewers until "Erin Burnett OutFront" managed 849,000 at 7 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, every Fox News program from 7 a.m. ET through the conclusion of "Gutfeld!" at midnight ET averaged more than 1 million viewers. "Tucker Carlson Tonight" led the way, averaging 3.2 million viewers to outdraw all of CNN’s primetime programming combined.  CNN has found it difficult to attract an audience during the Biden era as the liberal network searches for a post-Trump identity. During the second quarter of 2021, CNN averaged only 654,000 viewers compared to 1.2 million for Fox News.  CNN made a conscious decision to make itself the anti-Trump network.  The chieftains apparently never thought what would happen if Trump were no longer president.  They'd better think again.

TACKY, TACKY, TACKY – FROM FOX:  Staffers for Vice President Kamala Harris took to Twitter to show off a post-Fourth of July BBQ hosted at Naval Observatory amid reports of a tumultuous atmosphere in the West Wing.  The party held on Thursday came just days after reports surfaced detailing low morale in the vice president’s office.  A report by Politico last week detailed 22 interviews from current and former White House staffers who depicted a tense scene of infighting in Harris’s office, describing the working atmosphere as "tense and at times dour."  Harris, along with her husband Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, appeared in pictures posted to social media with roughly 60 White House aides, surrounded by blue-and-white checkered tablecloths, food and glasses of what appeared to be wine.  "What an honor to be at the Vice President’s residence with incredible colleagues for a post-July 4th BBQ," personal aide to the vice president, Opal Vadhan, said in a tweet. "As always an honor to work on a team that looks like America."   Harris’s chief spokesperson Symone Sanders joined in and posted more than a dozen photos of herself with her colleagues.  I mean, come on.  You get roasted for treating your staff badly, and your first instinct is to throw a party for said unhappy staff.  And get plenty of photos for the press.  How tacky is that?  Nothing like being obvious.  I wonder how the staff was treated the next day.

July 9,  2021     Permalink

 

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S DILEMMA – OVERNIGHT:  The party is in crisis.  It literally must choose between its bizarre ideology or winning elections.  So far the ideology seems to be winning.  From Glenn Reynolds at the New York Post: 

The Democrats have a problem: They have run away from their core voters. And they are beginning to notice and worry.

Lefty blogger Kevin Drum noted this recently. He observes that Republicans have moved slightly to the right, but Democrats have moved way, way to the left on social issues.

Drum says he is “personally happy” about the Democrats’ move left. But he is worried, because while the Democratic Party has moved hard left, the voters it relies on to attain power haven’t.

Thus, in the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump — despite being called a white supremacist and a Hispanic-hater by all the mainstream media — picked up black and Hispanic votes.
One reason for this is that racial polarization went down, but “education polarization” went up. The Democrats are increasingly the party of the college- and graduate-school-educated white gentry class. The Republicans are increasingly the party of the working class, which includes a lot of . . . blacks and Hispanics.

Just look at the issues the Democrats are pushing: defunding the police, which hurts mostly poor and working-class neighborhoods; critical race theory, which mostly interests woke white activists (and rich-and-guilty Dem donors) but which actually sends a message of inferiority to minority youths; gender ideology, which plays less well among the more traditional and more religious working-class minorities; environmental policies that produce higher gas prices and lower employment, while pushing food prices up; open borders that drive down wages for downscale workers; and so on.

Donors and activists love this stuff. They live in neighborhoods that are mostly insulated from urban crime and disorder. Their kids will still be privileged, regardless of what theories on race are popular. Transgender issues make them feel hip and cutting-edge. Higher gas and food prices won’t affect them. And illegal immigration makes sure they don’t have to pay too much for a nannies and gardeners.

For a long time, the Democrats were able to have it both ways, pretending solidarity with the working class while promoting policies that undercut it. But they have overdone things, and now people have noticed.

The voting shift of 2020, they fear, was just the beginning.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  The Dems are truly in trouble, and they're a leaderless party.  Is anyone prepared to follow Joe Biden anywhere?  Is anyone prepared to follow Kamala Harris to the supermarket?

That doesn't mean 2022 or 2024 will be pushovers for our side.  First, the press is still decidedly on the left.  Second, mistakes can be made.  Third, we don't know what the role of Donald Trump will be, and whether he'll be a plus or minus for the GOP.  Fourth, the Democrats might actually come up with some attractive candidates, unlikely as that is.

Prepare for political combat ahead.

July 9,  2021     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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