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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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DEAR READERS:  You may have noticed that Urgent Agenda has slowed down a bit recently, publishing fewer pieces and occasionally falling a little behind.  I am going through an illness, and hope to be back in fighting form shortly.  Please stay with us.

 

 

MARCH 3-4,   2024

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:  Another example of the march of progress:  From the New York Post:  Lithium-ion batteries used in E-bikes and other electronic mobility devices are now a leading cause of fires in New York City following their popularity surge during the pandemic’s delivery boom, FDNY officials say.  FDNY Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn told The Post that fires related to lithium-ion batteries have gone up nearly nine-fold since the pandemic, with more blazes related to the batteries happening in the last two months than in all of 2019.  “It’s the prevalence of these e-devices on our streets, there’s way more of them now than ever before,” Flynn said.  The fire chief attributed the popularity of the e-bikes and scooters to the “gig economy” boom in 2020, which saw people purchase the devices on the cheap-side in droves to do delivery jobs.  He added that the vehicles have also become popular among commuters.  Just give me two double A's, alkaline, either Duracell or Energizer.  I can live without lithium.

 

AUSTIN'S LEFTIST BETRAYAL:  It used to be such a nice American and Texan city.  Then the political left got its claws around it.  From Fox: 

Austin, Texas residents are expressing outrage over police staffing shortages and longer 911-call response times in the aftermath of the city council's vote to defund the department in 2020. 

In February, a section of the city was notably left without a single police officer for a few hours on a Saturday due to the ongoing shortages. 

Austin Police Association President Michael Bullock, who called attention to the vacancy on X, told Fox News Digital that a steady decline in public safety has put the city on the "brink of disaster." 

"Previous councils and leadership have actively worked against our officers and department, which has now put us in a free-falling staffing crisis," Bullock warned. "Twice now we’ve had our contract voted down or it has been allowed to expire. Each year since 2017, we’ve lost more officers than we’ve hired. We had to gut our specialized units and force detectives to work backfill on patrol just to try and respond to 911 calls."

Last year, the department was on the verge of a staffing collapse after 40 officers filed retirement papers following a 9-2 city council vote to scrap a four-year contract that the city had previously agreed to in principle and instead pursue a one-year contract that the police union’s board had rejected.

"As a result," Bullock continued, "our staffing has been set back at least 15 years and at the same time we’ve dealt with a population growth of over 250,000 new residents. Combine that with a district attorney who has made it very clear that targeting officers and releasing criminals is his priority – not public safety."

In 2020 following the Black Lives Matter riots, Austin’s city council voted unanimously to cut up to $150 million from its police department budget -- about 34% of its current total -- and reinvest the funds in other services. The following year, the Texas Legislature passed a law essentially forcing Austin to restore the funding, but the officer shortage persists. 

COMMENT:  It is madness, and yet it's intentional.  The left destroys.  In its immaturity, it believes it can then build a better city, although its understanding of "better" is certainly odd.

I'm afraid that, if this insanity doesn't stop, decent Americans will be looking for enclaves in our country where life is precious, and children go to school to learn.

March 3,  2024

 

 

MARCH 1-2,   2024

CAN IT BE?  ANOTHER POSSIBLE BIT OF GOOD NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF FORMERLY HIGHER EDUCATION? WELL, MAYBE.  FROM REALCLEAR EDUCATION: 

New classical schools have been launching at an average annual growth rate of nearly 5% over each of the past four academic years, according to a recently released report by Arcadia Education. However, the report recognizes the boom of K-12 classical education extends far beyond the launch of new schools. Existing schools have experienced a waitlist due to enrollment demand. Classical microschools are popping up nationwide. Online, hybrid, and homeschool learners are utilizing classical education more.

There is a buzz around classical education, and more Americans than in decades past view this educational approach as superior to alternatives. A growing number of parents covet it for their school-age children. Yet, when asked, most people can’t articulate what classical education entails exactly.

For some, the Trivium comes to mind, which includes three stages of the K-12 learning years: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Typically, the Grammar stage takes place during the elementary school years with a focus on students learning facts and gaining knowledge. The learning content is sometimes presented in song or chant to aid in memorization.

Next, the Logic stage generally occurs in the middle school years, starting in either fifth, sixth, or seventh grade. The learning emphasis moves from accumulating facts to higher levels of thinking, including understanding (comprehension), application, and analysis. Students develop critical reasoning and debate skills.

Finally, the Rhetoric stage, most commonly during the high school years, continues the higher-order thinking progression. Students are guided toward developing wisdom as they synthesize and evaluate information. Communication and critical thinking skills gained during the Logic stage are built upon as students enhance their capability of expressing their ideas with clarity and learn skills in Socratic questioning.

Yet, there is debate concerning the separation of these three stages. Some argue that each element of learning is present at each stage.

Classical education prioritizes providing students with academic rigor. It also emphasizes ethical and character development. The degree to which a Judeo-Christian worldview is incorporated varies, as classical schools range from non-religious (both in the public charter school arena and the private school market) to Catholic or other Christian affiliations.

Arcadia Education states, “Classical institutions, while distinct, share fundamental philosophical and anthropological principles that influence their curriculum, pedagogy, and culture.” They have observed that classical education seeks to“cultivate individuals of virtue who can: think, speak, and write with clarity; are grounded in the Western intellectual and moral tradition; and perceive the world as an orderly and comprehensible reality.”

COMMENT:  Well worth reading.  Let us hope that common sense will finally prevail among alleged educators.

March 1,  2024


 

 

FEBRUARY 28-29,   2024

MAJOR HOUSEHOLD NEWS:  Make sure you take notes.  Be ready for this great advancement in your lives.  And then say a quiet thank-you to the president of the United States, who has done so much for us.  From Fox:

The Biden administration finalized energy efficiency regulations targeting residential clothes washers and dryers in an effort to curb carbon emissions, as part of its broad climate agenda.

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the final rules, which it projected will collectively save American households $2.2 billion per year on utility bills while reducing nearly 71 million metric tons of "dangerous carbon dioxide emissions" over the next three decades. DOE's regulations targeting the popular home appliances are slightly scaled down compared to the agency's draft proposal issued a year ago.

"For decades, DOE’s appliance standards actions for clothes washers and dryers have provided loads of savings for American families while also decreasing harmful carbon emissions," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. 

"With strong support from industry leaders and consumer advocates, DOE will continue to roll out innovative appliance solutions throughout 2024 to lower costs for the American people — continuing the cycle of household savings that are the backbone of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda," she continued.

Under the regulations, certain less-efficient models of washers and dryers will be barred from being sold, according to DOE. 

The clothes washers rule will lead to 30-year energy savings of 0.7 quadrillion British thermal units, a savings of 3% compared to the profile of models currently on the market. And the dryers rule will lead to 30-year energy savings of 2.7 quadrillion British thermal units, a savings of 11% compared to products on the market now.

DOE said the regulations largely reflect an agreement issued in September by environmental groups and industry associations.

COMMENT: I never thought my washing machine was so dangerous.  If any of you believe that my machine has made your life less safe, I'm truly sorry.  Starting tomorrow, my wife and I plan to take our soiled clothing to a nearby stream and slap it against the rocks.  That's clean.  And it won't hurt anyone. 

And then we'll go home and light the oil lamps.

February 29,  2024

 

FEBRUARY 26-27,   2024

WHAT A HORROR:  Let's see how much of the truth the press prints.  From frontpagemag.com:

If you had told the average person that an anarchist or an airman had set himself on fire to protest Israel’s campaign against Islamic terrorists, you would get two very different reactions.

Unsurprisingly the media led with the data point most likely to produce a favorable reaction. And Aaron Bushnell cynically played the same game, wearing (the wrong) uniform to his Hamas suicide attempt rather than the Antifa red in which he had been previously photographed.

The Washington Post gets around to admitting that Bushnell was an “anarchist."

"Less than two weeks before Aaron Bushnell walked toward the gates of the Israeli Embassy on Sunday, he and a friend talked by phone about their shared identities as anarchists and what kinds of risks and sacrifices were needed to be effective…

"Lupe Barboza, 32, said she met Bushnell in San Antonio in 2022 at an event for a socialist organization. She said they bonded over their politics …

“He was outraged, and he knew that no one who is in charge is listening to the protesters out there every week,” Barboza said. “He knows that he has privilege as a White man and a member of the military.”

But the Washington Post then misleadingly suggests he was raised in a Christian cult.

COMMENT:  Please read the rest.  It's well reported.  But don't be surprised if the legacy press tries to blame this young man's tragic act on something like "Christian nationalism."  There is a growing anti-Christian trend in this country,  and that phrase is showing up more and more, peddled by a new class of haters.  Please be vigilant.   

February 27,  2024

 

FEBRUARY 24-25,   2024

FREE SPEECH IN ACTION:  Leave it to the far left to destroy American freedoms.  From Fox: 

Four comedians were canceled and prevented from performing at a Seattle comedy club after the organization said that local community members complained. 

Dave Smith, Luis J. Gomez, Jim Florentine, and Kurt Metzger were canceled by the Capitol Hill Comedy Bar in Seattle, Washington, as flagged by 770 KTTH.

Florentine shared an email that he claimed he received from the comedy club's management.

"After careful consideration and discussions with our team, investors, local comedians, and neighborhood advocacy groups, we've encountered a challenging situation that requires us to revisit the planned shows," the email reportedly read. "Capitol Hill is known for its progressive values, and we've received significant feedback expressing concerns about the alignment of these upcoming shows with the neighborhood's ethos. This feedback includes concerns from local advocacy groups that are deeply embedded in our community and work towards upholding its values." 

"This decision was not made lightly, and we want to ensure it does not reflect on your talent and the quality of your work but is instead a reflection of our commitment to our community's values," the club wrote. 

The club also promised that it would refund guests who already purchased tickets and wrote that it believes in the "art of comedy and the diverse perspectives it brings." 

COMMENT:  Remember when comedy was funny?  I hope that day returns, but I doubt if it will be in Seattle.

February 25,  2024

 

LET THE GUESSING BEGIN:  As you know, the biggest rage in American politics today is speculating that neither Biden nor Trump will head their presidential tickets heading into the election.  But I sense that the speculation is turning into a stampede, at least in major political circles and on some TV shows.  Every poll has Americans rejecting both Biden and Trump.  The nation is fed up.  And the press wants a really big story.  I mean tumultuous conventions and the "demonstrators" that will surround them.

At the top of the speculation is the key question:  If not Biden and Trump, then who?  The Republican contest would probably be easier.  Republicans tend to be well behaved, and their bench is full of prospects.  My take:  It's unlikely to be Nikki Haley because she's so resented by the Trump faction.  If I had to pick a name I'd note the kind things Trump said about the individual this past week.  That would be Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.  Conservative, dignified, an African American who rarely mentions race, and very electable.  Again, that's just an informed guess.

The Democratic adventure would be more traumatic.  The Dems are meeting in Chicago in August, which almost guarantees trouble.  The party is deeply divided.  The obvious choice, if Biden withdraws, would be Vice President Kamala Harris.  Can you hear the one hand clapping? She is even less popular than Biden, which is a difficult honor to achieve.  She is also a woman of color, which creates a tense situation for the Democrats, especially meeting in a city that practically symbolizes racial division.  And what do you do with Kamala if the party doesn't want her to top the ticket?

The Democratic bench is thin.  Some say Governor Gavin Newsom of California is the logical choice, but I doubt it.  Have you seen pictures of California cities recently?  The party may go for the classic elder statesperson choice.  I'm not kidding, but don't rule out the name of Hillary Clinton.  Watch her closely in the coming weeks.  She's sounding more and more like someone the Dems could turn to as the great compromise, the woman of experience.  Again, it's a speculative guess, but don't rule her out.  Remember, she's married to one of the best political manipulators of our time.

February 25,  2024

 

FEBRUARY 22-23,  2024

A WELCOME VICTORY OVER IVY ROT:  These are tense times in the Ivy League.  The gang of eight has gotten plenty of bad publicity recently over wokeness, mediocrity, political correctness, and questionable admissions practices.   The league, once looked at with awe, has seen applications drop, and big donors walk away in disgust. 

The league has even become the butt of jokes.  One making the rounds suggests that one of the best things you can put on a job application is "I didn't go to an Ivy League school."

Some of the more mature inhabitants of the Ivy League are getting the message, if only to keep the alumni donors.  Yale is taking one step back to academic tradition.  From Fox Business: 

The Ivy League university announced that it would be abandoning its test-optional policy, which it imposed under the COVID-19 pandemic as testing options were severely impacted. Going forward, the New Haven school will require prospective students to include scores, such as the ACT or SAT, with their applications.

"The experience, originally necessitated by the pandemic, has been an invaluable opportunity to think deeply about testing policy and to generate new data and analyses," Yale said Thursday. "With testing availability now fully restored for prospective applicants around the world, we have reevaluated our policy with the benefit of fresh insights."

According to Yale, it will, for the first time, allow applicants to report Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam scores in lieu of other, more popular tests. 

Yale Admissions said it had tested both the test-optional policy, from 2020 to 2024, but ultimately decided to switch back to its test-required policy. 

"The task of selecting students from an applicant pool containing tens of thousands of highly qualified students — many more than we can admit — requires an open mind and a healthy dose of humility about our ability to predict the future. For our standardized testing policy, we have tried to take the same approach," it said.

COMMENT:  Get past the academic word salad and Yale is conceding that standardized tests have value in predicting which applicants are best equipped for admission.  Stand by now for the leftist backlash that is sure to come.  This is just another way to insure white supremacy, isn't it?

No, it really isn't.

February 23,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 20-21,   2024

HAVE YOU NOTICED?  We try not to make predictions at Urgent Agenda.  But we can engage in vigorous speculation.  And now is the time.  It's obvious that a growing number of astute political observers believe that there will be major convulsions in both political parties, and that neither President Biden nor former President Trump will be on the ballot in November.  And it's also clear that let's-pretend Vice President Kamala Harris is dramatically increasing her visibility and is sounding like a fighter.  Is she fighting for the vice presidency or the presidency?

Too many people in both parties are just damned unhappy, frustrated, embarrassed by their leadership and fearful about the future of the country for things to remain the same.  Virtually every day brings some news or incident to make millions dislike Joe Biden or Donald Trump even more than they already do. 

I have no idea how a convulsion within a party can start and then catch fire.  Will Joe Biden completely lose it during a speech?  Will Donald Trump be hit by enough legal charges or convictions to force a collapse in his polling numbers, or drain his health?

I'm assuming that some alternative candidates are doing some quiet polling, and studying how the national conventions can be disrupted.

As Bette Davis said in All About Eve, "Fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy night." 

February 21,  2024

 

A NEW AND GROWING ALTERNATIVE.  A college degree isn't what it used to be.  From College Fix: 

Workers who want to increase their pay can do so without adding a costly college degree, a study from the Colorado Department of Higher Education concluded.

The annual “Return on Investment Report” highlighted how “stackable credentials” and other similar programs can help workers gain new skills to fill job openings in the state’s economy.

The state “has two job openings for every trained worker,” according to its own report.
“This statistic drives the need for expanded access to quality short-term credentials in high-value, in-demand industries,” the state’s report concluded.

The director of the state’s “Credential Pathways” initiatives provided further comments to The College Fix.

“There are a number of credentials of value across healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing,” Ruthanne s  told The Fix via a media statement.

“Aside from associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, the non-degree credentials that can be considered include postsecondary undergraduate certificates, industry credentials, apprenticeship certificates, non-credit badges and microcredentials, as well as licensure,” Orihuela told The Fix.

She gave specific examples available within the nursing field, including “certified nurse aide and licensed practical nurse.”

“Additional examples of short-term non-degree credentials in healthcare include pharmacy technician, medical assistant, emergency medical technician, and sterile processing,” she said. All of these credentials can lead to “high-value jobs on their own and many of which can stack to next-level educational attainment leading to higher wage career opportunities.”

The state also wants to help potential learners differentiate valuable credentials from those that are not worth pursuing, Orihuela said.

“In 2022, Credential Engine reported more than one million credentials offered by almost 60,000 providers,” she said. “In this landscape, it is difficult for learners and those that support them to discern which credentials to pursue for the greatest return on investment.”

COMMENT:  There are many ways for young people to advance, and "going to college" is now widely seen as only one, and not necessarily the right one.  The bloom is off the collegiate rose.  It's about time.

February 20,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 18-19,   2024

I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT:  Ah, the blessings of loyalty.  From Fox: 

A group of truck drivers who support former President Trump have announced they will not be driving to New York City as a means of expressing their disappointment with the civil fraud judgment that fined Trump more than $350 million last week. 

This all comes in response to Trump being barred from operating his business in New York for three years and being found liable for more than $350 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him, his family and the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron handed down his ruling Friday after a months-long trial that began in October and stemmed from James's lawsuit that accused the former president of inflating his assets and committing fraud.

As a result, many pro-Trump truck drivers across the country have not taken the ruling lightly.

"I'm just one of the many millions of Truckers who believe in God and love this Country," a trucker known as "Chicago Ray" wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "I stand with Trump because Trump stands with me. Truckers for Trump ain't just a slogan, it's real," he wrote.

Chicago Ray took to X on Feb. 16 when the ruling came down, calling on fellow truckers to boycott taking shipments to New York City.

"I’ve been on the radio talking to drivers for about the past hour, and I’ve talked to about 10 drivers," Ray wrote. "I don’t know how far across the country this is or how many truckers are going to start denying loads going to New York City, but I’ll tell you what — you f--- around and find out," he said.

The truck driver continued to issue a warning, saying that Trump needs to be left alone and that the New York City fraud investigation against him amounted to "election interference."

"Thank you for being a true Patriot! If all of us patriots stand up, we will make a difference. We have to push back against the ones trying to purposely destroy our country," a user commented on the post.

"Great, I hope all truckers refuse to go to New York! Enough is enough and our actions matter," another user wrote.

Chicago Ray is not the only one who has spoken out in support of Trump and opposition to the civil fraud ruling.

COMMENT:  Whether  you're for Trump or against him, the man is admired by millions of working people, people who used to be loyal to the Democratic Party.  Why they are loyal to him is something that our press might choose to investigate one day. 

February 19,  2024

 

FEBRUARY 16-17,   2024

IN THE CASE OF DONALD TRUMP:  The former president got some bad news today in the form of massive cash penalties assessed in New York for alleged business fraud.

I am not a lawyer, but I just find it odd that the legal cases against Mr. Trump are all being brought in Atlantic Coast cities with heavy Democratic populations.  And all of them are culminating as the presidential campaigns for 2024 begin.  Well...just a coincidence, I guess (choke).  But some of the cases can bring unexpected consequences.  From Fox: 

Legal experts analyzed what they called "breathtaking" civil penalties against former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, former Trump Organization Comptroller Jeffrey McConney and ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg – warning other corporations based in the Empire State may realize they could suddenly be put out of business by the state on a political whim.

New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump liable for more than $350 million in damages in the fraud suit brought against him and his company by New York State Democratic District Attorney Letitia James.

Trump Sr., the Trump Revocable Trust and Trump Organization were found liable for $60 million, while Trump's sons and Weisselberg were found liable for $4.01 million each – and Trump Sr. plus several entities including the Trump Organization and the LLC signifying Trump's Chicago hotel were banned from applying for loans with institutions registered with New York for three years.

The three Trump family members were also banned from serving as executives of any business or legal entity based in New York for a similar length – which is key, as the Trump Organization is housed at its iconic tower at 5 Av and E. 57th Street.

In that regard, former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox News the ban may spur Trump to relocate his entire business empire to Florida, just as he has his primary residence.

"If you're Eric [or] Donald Junior, what are you going to do?" he asked.

"[Y]ou just say goodbye to New York, which fits a pattern that many successful people have been doing and leaving New York because New York is just too political, too blue and too punitive – you're seeing that in the business community and among upper income New Yorkers already," he said – adding the state's crime wave accentuates the issue.

George Washington University Law Prof. Jonathan Turley further commented to Fox News that Engoron appeared to compound the highest fine figures in most of the areas adjudicated – noting that New York's civil law in this area is unique because the proverbial crime can essentially be victimless.

"[It's] an odd one because it does not require that anyone actually lose money. And so James was able to come in here with this [fraud] figure, and she kept on going up."

Turley said the public and other legal officials may indeed take note of Trump world's penalty, because, "when you're imposing fines larger than the budget of some countries, you really have to wonder whether you've allowed your thoughts to run away with your judgment."

COMMENT:  It's sad to see New York just deteriorate like this.  It was once such a great state.  It produced statesmen and industrialists, and the artists who ranked at the top.  New York City had the Dodgers and Giants and Yankees.  Now the state is run by the political left, with obvious results.

Remember your pronouns.   You may need them if you try to move here.

February 16,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 14-15,   2024

IS THE WEATHER GIMMICK STARTING TO BREAK UP?  There are some signs that large corporations, which once seemed to see their future on the political left, are having a change of wallet.   Wokism may finally be yawning.  From Fox Business:

JPMorgan Chase and institutional investors BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) on Thursday announced that they are quitting or, in the case of BlackRock, substantially scaling back involvement in a massive United Nations climate alliance formed to combat global warming through corporate sustainability agreements.

In a statement, the New York-based JPMorgan Chase explained that it would exit the so-called Climate Action 100+ investor group because of the expansion of its in-house sustainability team and the establishment of its climate risk framework in recent years.

BlackRock and State Street, which both manage trillions of dollars in assets, said the alliance's climate initiatives had gone too far, expressing concern about potential legal issues as well.

The stunning announcements come as the largest financial institutions in the U.S. and worldwide face an onslaught of pressure from consumer advocates and Republican states over their environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.

"The firm has built a team of 40 dedicated sustainable investing professionals, including investment stewardship specialists who also leverage one of the largest buy side research teams in the industry," the bank said in a statement shared with FOX Business. "Given these strengths and the evolution of its own stewardship capabilities, JPMAM (JP Morgan Asset Management) has determined that it will no longer participate in Climate Action 100+ engagements."

BlackRock, meanwhile, withdrew its U.S. business from Climate Action 100+, shifting involvement in the alliance to BlackRock's smaller international entity where a majority of clients are pursuing decarbonization goals, the Financial Times first reported Thursday. A spokesperson for BlackRock confirmed to FOX Business that the move had been made in recent weeks. 

And State Street said its exit from the alliance was made because Climate Action 100+'s "phase 2" commitments conflicted with the firm's internal investing policies. 

"SSGA has concluded the enhanced Climate Action 100+ phase 2 requirements for signatories are not consistent with our independent approach to proxy voting and portfolio company engagement," State Street said in a statement, according to the Financial Times.

COMMENT:  Looks like the eye is back on the ball, at least in some organizations.  But imagine, all those West Side cocktail parties missed.   Well, you gotta give up something.

February 15,   2024    

 

A MISS FOR THE GOP.  I'm getting concerned.  Our side has been losing too many off-year elections.  The losses have led to our side's edge in the House becoming razor thin.  We have warned here about overconfidence.  We warn again.  From Fox:   

EAST MEADOW, N.Y - Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi has won a closely watched special election for a vacant House seat once held by former Republican Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from the chamber in December.

The Associated Press projected that Suozzi would defeat Republican county lawmaker Mazi Pilip, to win back his old job.

With the GOP hanging on to a razor-thin majority in the House, national Republicans and Democrats poured big bucks into a race in suburban New York City where immigration and border security, crime, and abortion were the top issues, and where the election was seen as a bellwether ahead of the all-but-certain November White House rematch between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.

"I did call my opponent. I congratulated him," Pilip told supporters at an election night gathering. "We are fighters. Yes, we lost. But it doesn't mean we're going to end here." 

Suozzi, speaking a few minutes later at his victory celebration, emphasized that "despite all the attacks and despite all the lies about Tom Suozzi and the squad, about Tom Suozzi being the godfather of the migrant crisis, about sanctuary Suozzi, despite the dirty tricks, despite the vaunted Nassau County Republican machine, we won."

The Long Island district held for a decade by Democrats was flipped by Santos in the 2022 midterms. But Santos was kicked out of Congress less than a year into his tenure, after he was exposed for lying about his background and indicted for a slew of financial crimes.

Suozzi, who represented the district for six years before running unsuccessfully for governor, repeatedly tied Pilip to Santos, as well as to former President Donald Trump.
"Who knows what she really stands for? She's George Santos 2.0. It's the exact same nontransparent, phony baloney, just trying to get votes instead of saying what you really think," Suozzi charged on the eve of the election.

And Suozzi, a former mayor and county executive, argued that Pilip - who is in her second term as a county lawmaker - "is a far-right wing extremist" who is "totally in line with Mike Johnson and Donald Trump ."

COMMENT:  Mazi Pilip is nothing of the kind.  She was born in Ethiopia, and sought freedom by escaping to Israel.   Later, she came to America.  We will hear from her again. 

We have to fight harder.  We must win both houses of Congress in November to put an end to this nation's decline. 

February 14,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 12-13,   2024

A SPECIAL DAY:  Many readers have asked me over the years to write more about show business, where I spent part of my career.  I have not often had the chance to do so, but today is special.  Today, February 12th, is the 100th anniversary of "Rhapsody in Blue," the George Gershwin masterpiece that played an essential role in launching America onto the world stage in music.  "Rhapsody" said to the snotty classes of Europe that we had to be taken seriously.

George Gershwin, whose name is probably unknown to most of today's younger generation, was already a well-known writer of popular songs when, at age 26, he composed "Rhapsody" as a kind of experiment in mixing traditional music with the new phenomenon of jazz.  Some have liked it over the years, others have not.  But it has become a standard part of the repertoire of many American orchestras.  I personally play it regularly, especially the recordings made by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. 

I am not an analyst of music, although for a time I was the music talent coordinator of The Tonight Show, during the Carson years.  So I will not attempt to examine "Rhapsody in Blue."  I'm just glad it's there, that it has lasted, and that it's available for you to hear on any streaming service.

Its first playing was on Abraham Lincoln's birthday.  I think the president would have been pleased.

February 12,  2024

 

SAY IT PROFESSORS, SAY IT!  It's about time some brave souls in the academic world spoke the truth, even at risk to their careers.  We're starting to see it happen.  From College Fix: 

The continued embrace of diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM combined with a broad decline in academic standards is producing a generation of scientists who are less capable than their predecessors, warned some scientists in recent interviews with The College Fix.

From easier math classes in high school to the elimination of standardized tests to extreme grade-inflation to DEI tropes that elevate lived experiences and ways of knowing over facts and data, the trend represents a pressing problem for science professors working to protect STEM and preserve its standards and meritocracy.

Alex Small, chair of the physics and astronomy department at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said it starts early in a student’s education.

“The K-12 system is walking away from standards at all levels,” he told The College Fix in a recent phone interview.

For example, he said while most of his students took some sort of calculus class their senior year of high school, “at least a third of them test into a class that’s lower than calculus because what happens is the schools will push people through the pipeline.”
“Even if someone hasn’t mastered algebra, they’ll get some sort of generous grade in their prerequisite math classes and then be put into calculus their senior year,” he said.
Similar trends concerning the inability of college students to do high school math have been reported nationally post-COVID, with educators lamenting how incoming freshmen no longer can be expected to know how to add fractions or subtract a positive number from a negative number.

Yi-Zen Chu, an associate professor of physics at the National Central University in Taiwan, who was educated in the U.S. and has been a harsh critic of DEI, stated in a recent email to The Fix that he believes practices such as “grade inflation and lowering the bar” contribute to the lack of preparation exhibited by American college students.
The concern circles back to the “‘everyone gets a prize’ philosophy that has been around for quite a while now,” he said, referring to what’s sometimes called the “Participation Trophy” phenomenon.

Chu suggested one way to combat these practices at the college level “is to staunchly defend the use of standardized tests like the SAT.”

“Students have to compete on the same test to prove their ability relative to others,” he said. “This way, schools know that hyper-grade-inflation will only count against the integrity of the school in the medium/long run.”

Small said what these students need is supplemental instruction, time, extra problem solving sessions, and extra practice.

“There’s no such thing as too much practice, and that’s especially true when you haven’t yet had enough practice,” said Small.

However, although some educators and institutions have embraced remedial summer programs and additional tutoring services, others work toward ideological goals related to DEI that ultimately may prove detrimental to students, as well as the field of physics more broadly.

COMMENT:  That is common sense, but when the political class gets hold of a school or college, common sense is filed away.  This is a battle for the future of America, for once we fall behind in science, we lose our place in the international competition for innovation and discovery.  It will not be fun to be second or third.

February 12,  2024

THE GAME:  It was good, wasn't it?  I mean the Super Bowl.  I have no idea how to translate the halftime performance, but the game itself was terrific and superbly played.

I'd rather see 22 well-trained men throw each other around than see 22 US senators debate.

It was the Kansas City Chiefs versus the San Francisco 49ers, and the Chiefs won.  And yet, there was kindness toward the losers.  As soon as the mayor of San Francisco learned that her team had lost, she invoked the character of her city and declared the players to be oppressed by an unjust system.  Each will receive $500,000 and a promise to de-colonize professional football.  It's about time.

That's a joke.

No it isn't.

February 12,  2024

 

FEBRUARY 10-11,   2024

THE REALITY – KAMMY.  DO YOU FEEL HER QUEENLY PRESENCE?  From Daily Mail: 

Americans are weighing a future led by President Kamala Harris, after President Joe Biden made series of public speaking errors, triggering growing chatter about invoking the 25th Amendment. 

The president alarmed Democrats and Republicans alike after a messy press conference on Thursday, in which he insisted that 'my memory is fine' even while mistakenly referring to the President of Egypt as the president of Mexico.

'I think Vice President Harris became squarely an issue in this election today. She already was getting there, and now it's even more important,' CNN commentator Scott Pressler said on the air Thursday evening.

The 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession, gives the vice president and Cabinet power to remove the commander in chief from office via a majority vote in the event it's determined he or she is no longer fit for office. 

It has never been invoked in U.S. history. 

Others shared similar concerns online.

'This is exactly why the 25th Amendment exists,' wrote Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) on X. 'But even Democrats know the only thing worse than a Biden presidency is a Kamala Harris presidency.' 

'The only thing keeping them from invoking the 25th amendment is Kamala Harris,' wrote former Republican governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker on X.

As the campaign draws closer, Biden and his team have made more public endeavors to signal his support for his vice president despite keeping his distance in the first three years of his presidency, as I detail in my book 'Amateur Hour.'

'Let me just say we are really fortunate to have a real leader, a true friend, and a historic Vice President, Kamala Harris,' Biden said Tuesday at a Reception in Recognition of Black History Month.

'I not only asked her to join me; I love her,' he continued with a chuckle while squeezing her hand. 'It's a good relationship.'

In the past, Biden's team has quietly expressed reservations about Harris, but know they cannot replace her on the ticket without angering a significant part of his base.

COMMENT:  I love it.  We may see a real fight within the Democratic Party.  Do you have a new Democratic candidate for president?  What do you hear from your friends?  Tell us.  We'll withhold your name.

February 10,  2024


 

FEBRUARY 8-9,   2024

"STAY TUNED."  YOU'VE HEARD THOSE WORDS MANY TIMES, BUT TODAY, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, THEY TAKE ON A NEW MEANING.   A Justice Department report has now been released, and there's a sense in Washington that it may signal the start of a political earthquake, at least in the Democratic Party.  From Daily Mail: 

The Department of Justice released its long-awaited investigation into Joe Biden's mishandling of classified documents Thursday, delivering a damning assessment of the president's 'diminished faculties' and limited memory.

Although the report did not recommend bringing charges against the 81-year-old, it provides a cascade of damaging findings about files found in Biden's garage as well as the president's fitness for office.

In interviews with investigators, Biden became muddled about the dates he was vice president and could not even remember the year in which his son Beau died.

And it said his cavalier attitude to classified documents, such as his habit of reading sensitive files to a ghostwriter, posed a significant national security risk.

One of the reasons they decided not to press charges was because  'at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory'. 

His 'diminished faculties in advancing age' would likely make him a sympathetic figure to jurors, the report says.

Please note the phrase in quotes.  It is devastating, especially in a presidential election year.

Biden found himself in the spotlight after his predecessor Donald Trump was charged with illegally keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.

Special Counsel Robert Hur spent a year investigating. His report will likely undermine the Biden campaign's attempts to use the charges against Trump in the 2024 election.

Instead there is plentiful ammunition for Trump, with a series of revelations about Biden's mental sharpness. 

It describes his failure to remember key dates in his career and his personal life when he was interviewed by investigators.

'He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended ("if it was 2013 - when did I stop being Vice President?"), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began ("in 2009, am I still Vice President?"),' he reportedly said.

Comment:  Of course there's been plenty of talk about Mr. Biden's mental condition, but this Justice Department report takes the concern to a new level.  I say "stay tuned" because the report may well light the spark leading to demands that the president either step down  or decline to run for re-election.  One Republican congresswoman has already suggested that Mr. Biden be removed under the 25th Amendment. 

We don't make predictions here, but I don't think that, in American history, we've had an official U.S. Government report that pictures the president of the United States as mentally unfit for office.  I would not be shocked if the coming weeks are filled with vivid speculation about who Biden's replacement could be, and, equally intriguing, what will be done with, or to, the vice president.

Soon to be a major motion picture.

February 9,  2024

 

STRUGGLE OF THE DEMS:  The numbers do not look good for the Democratic Party.  From Gallup: 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Republican and Democratic parties have distinct strengths within different subgroups of the U.S. population. However, Democrats have lost ground among some of their traditionally stronger support groups while gaining ground with others. This is based on analysis of Americans’ party preferences, which includes those who identify as Democratic or Republican and those who are independent but lean toward either party.

Of particular note,

• The Democratic Party's wide lead over Republicans in Black Americans’ party preferences has shrunk by nearly 20 points over the past three years.

• Democrats' leads among Hispanic adults and adults aged 18 to 29 have slid nearly as much, resulting in Democrats' holding only a modest edge among both groups.

• Whereas Democrats were at parity with Republicans among men as recently as 2009, and among non-college-educated adults as recently as 2019, they are now in the red with both groups.

Only partially offsetting these trends, the Democratic Party has gained adherents long term among college-educated Americans -- those with postgraduate education and those with a college degree only.

These shifts in the party affiliation of key subgroups provide the demographic backstory for how Democrats went from enjoying significant leads over Republicans between 2012 and 2021, to slight deficits in 2022 and 2023. The 27% of U.S. adults identifying as Democrats and the 43% identifying as or leaning Democratic are both new lows in Gallup's trend.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  A fascinating group of numbers.  But read with caution.  A trend can be reversed dramatically by campaign blundering (a Republican specialty), poor choice of a candidate (another GOP area of expertise), or unexpected foreign crises. 

My fear is that the GOP is becoming overconfident.  The party's presumed presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump, may pull into the lead, but a conviction in a major case can almost certainly drive voters away.

February 8,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 6-7,  2024

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

Back to being police; from RedState:   The New York City Police Department, beset by out-of-control crime, repeat violent offenders released back to the streets, a growing invasion of illegal aliens, and Democrat politicians who won't let officers do their jobs, has taken matters into its own hands - by banning facial hair and wearing newly designed uniforms.  The NYPD is going "old school," according to Chief of Patrol John Chell, who told department brass at a recent Compstat meeting at One Police Plaza:  "Uniform changes are coming rather quickly.  No more beards in about a week.  No more open collars in about a week.  We're going back to old school.  We're going to bring back some traditions that we kind of lost in the past couple of years." It may be only symbolism, but symbols count.  Let our police look like police again, and let them do their jobs.  And while we're at it, let the voting population of New York City grow up for a change, and stop sending cop-hating crackpots to the City Council.

We hold this truth to be self-evident:  from HotAir.com:  I find myself a bit surprised to see some of what follows in print, not because any of it is new but instead because things that have been obvious for a long time are now being published as true by the NY Times. The piece, which is labeled analysis, opens by noting that people are streaming across the border and turning themselves in to authorities to claim asylum for one clear reason. "Being hustled into a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle and taken to a processing facility is hardly a setback. In fact, it is a crucial step toward being able to apply for asylum — now the surest way for migrants to stay in the United States, even if few will ultimately win their cases…In December alone, more than 300,000 people crossed the southern border, a record number.  It is not just because they believe they will be able to make it across the 2,000 mile southern frontier. They are also certain that once they make it to the United States they will be able to stay.  Forever."

But here’s the really killer line which comes next: “And by and large, they are not wrong.” And because the system is what it is, word gets around. People who’ve made it in report back to those still trying to get here. And the word on the street is that no one ever has to leave.  It is nice when, occasionally, a news organization gives us the news, even if it does not meet the needs of the journalistic left. 

February 7,  2024

 

OH YEAH, YEAH, I REMEMBER THIS ANNOYANCE.  It's related to the entry just below.  It's about Iran and nuclear weapons.  The warnings have never gone away.  From the Washington Free Beacon:

Iran has enough weapons-grade uranium to produce its first nuclear weapon within a week and a total of six bombs within a month, a scenario that is increasingly likely to unfold as conflict in the Middle East reaches critical levels, according to a report from a watchdog group.

"The volatile situation in the region is providing Iran with a unique opportunity and increased internal justification for building nuclear weapons while the United States and Israel’s resources to detect and deter Iran from succeeding are stretched thin," the Institute for Science and International Security, a watchdog group that monitors Tehran’s atomic program, warned in a report published Monday. "Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities are more dangerous than they have ever been, while its relations with the West are at a low point."

The findings signal "extreme danger" for the international community and mark the "first time" the institute has issued such a determination since it began reporting on the Iranian nuclear program’s threat level in October 2022. In May 2023, when the last report was published, Iran’s total threat score was calculated at 140 out of 180. This year the score reached 151.

Hamas’s war against Israel, which is being supported by Iran, has significantly increased the likelihood that Tehran races to build a functional nuclear weapon, according to the report. The United States is now in its third day of airstrikes against Iranian targets across the Middle East, threatening to ignite a broader conflict with Iran that could consume the region and increase Tehran’s rush to become a nuclear-armed power.

The Islamic Republic continues to make "progress on developing sensitive nuclear capabilities, ... increasing its nuclear weaponization efforts beyond breakout."
 
Iran has the ability to "break out and produce enough weapon-grade enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in a week, using only a fraction of its 60 percent enriched uranium," according to the report. "This breakout could be difficult for inspectors to detect promptly, if Iran took steps to delay inspectors’ access."

Using its stock of 60 percent enriched uranium, which has grown under the Biden administration, and a remaining allotment of around 20 percent enriched uranium, Iran "could have in total enough weapon-grade uranium for six weapons in one month, and after five months of producing weapon-grade uranium, it could have enough for twelve."

The problem is compounded by Iran’s refusal to give international nuclear inspectors full access to its contested enrichment sites. The level of obfuscation has increased during the past year.

COMMENT:  If they're hiding something, it must be worth hiding.  The danger of Iranian nuclear weapons is that Iran might just use them.   We could easily reach the moment when Iran is building bombs and mating them to their missiles.  What do we do then?  Do we just back down and let the Iranians have their bombs, or do we strike first?

We should have absolutely superb leadership at a time like this, and we don't.  Joe Biden is still in the White House.  Kamala stands beside him. 

Why, it's just like having Lincoln.  Choke.

February 6,  2024

 


FEBRUARY 4-5,  2024

A HOT WAR BY ANY OTHER NAME:  Things are getting very hot in the Mideast.  One reason is that the United States is seen as weak and indecisive.  We'll see if the current series of raids will change that.  From Fox: 

Houthi rebels vowed "escalation" in reaction to U.S. and U.K. strikes launched in Yemen on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Iran-backed group vowed to continue its campaign of disrupting regional trade "no matter the sacrifices it costs us." The U.S. and U.K. launched a series of attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen this weekend in reaction to a lethal drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan last week.

"The US-British coalition’s bombing of a number of Yemeni provinces will not change our position, and we affirm that our military operations against Israel will continue until the crimes of genocide in Gaza are stopped and the siege on its residents is lifted, no matter the sacrifices it costs us," Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

"Our war is moral, and if we had not intervened to support the oppressed in Gaza, humanity would not have existed among humans. The American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation," he added.

Tensions in the region have skyrocketed since three U.S. soldiers were killed in the attack in Jordan. President Biden vowed an ongoing response, targeting Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also refused to rule out the possibility of carrying out strikes within Iran in the near future on Sunday.

"The president has approached this with a straightforward principle, which is that the United States will step up and respond when our forces are attacked. And the United States also is not looking for a wider war in the Middle East. We are not looking to take the United States to war. So we are going to continue to pursue a policy that goes down both of those lines simultaneously, that responds with force and clarity, as we did on Friday night, but also that continues to hew to an approach that does not get the United States pulled into a war, that we have seen too frequently in the Middle East," Sullivan told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." 

COMMENT:  That's a real Sullivan word salad, topped with French dressing.  I have no idea how it plays out in the real world, so we'll have to watch the situation event by event.  It's understood that many of the "movements" confronting American influence in the Mideast are controlled by Iran.  The key question:  How far will Iran and its henchmen go in confronting the United States, in Iran's terms "the great Satan"?   Only the Iranian mullahs have the answer.

February 5,  2024

 

CALIFORNIA, THERE IT WENT:  There was a time, when we attended school, that the teachers usually appeared smarter than the students.  Ah, those were the days.  Will they come back?  California is doing its best to be sure that they won't.  From Daily Mail: 

A Bay Area Elementary School has spent $250,000 on a 'Woke Kindergarten' program only to see its student's literacy and numeracy rates plunge. 

The 'Woke Kindergarten' program states its mission as an 'abolitionist early learning ecosystem' that trains teachers to uproot white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression which are barriers to learning.

After spending the federal money on the program Glassbrook Elementary in Hayward saw numeracy among its 474 students fall to a new low of just 4 percent and literacy just 12 percent.

The scores, recorded last Spring two years into Woke Kindergarten's three-year contract, represent a 4 percentage decline in each category.

The school also remains on the state's lowest-performing level on the Comprehensive School Improvement list and has a lower rate of attendance than before the program was introduced.   

Woke Kindergarten's philosophy of 'abolitionist education'  aimed at elementary school aged kids centers around the idea that the education system as it is, steeped in racism and other oppressive structures, cannot be reformed.

Instead it advocates 'a kind of starting over,' Zeus Leonardo, UC Berkeley education professor told the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Woke Kindergarten is flagrant about its political leanings, with its social media pages littered with graphics about abolishing the police, anti-Israel messages and even advocating the abolition of money. 

One such lesson the program offers to elementary school children includes the 'wondering' where students are asked to consider 'if the United States defunded the Israeli military, how could this money be used to rebuild Palestine?' 

Woke Kindergarten also teaches the kids a 'woke word of the day' such as 'ceasefire' in order to educate them with 'language of the resistance … to introduce children to liberatory vocabulary in a way that they can easily digest, understand and most importantly, use in their critiques of the system.'

The for-profit company was founded by non-binary early educator Akiea 'Ki' Gross, who uses they/them pronouns.

COMMENT:  Try to read the whole piece, if you can stand it.  This kind of sickness is breaking out in many parts of California.  The educational system, once one of the finest in the nation, has apparently been taken over by the fringe left.  It should be pointed out that California and New York are losing more people than any other states.

February 4,  2024

 

 

FEBRUARY 2-3,  2024

WE RESPOND.  United States forces have responded to the attack earlier this week that killed Three American soldiers in Jordan.  The issue is whether this response will be sufficient to deter Iran or its band of terrorists from hitting us again.  There are serious doubts.  From NBC News: 

WASHINGTON — The United States launched attacks Friday against 85 sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian forces and Iran-backed militants, its first retaliatory strikes for the killing of three American soldiers in Jordan last weekend, U.S. officials said.

U.S. military forces struck targets at seven facilities tied to attacks on U.S. personnel in the region, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. U.S. Central Command said the facilities included command and control operations, intelligence centers, rockets and missiles, and drone storage sites.

“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

The military action is a significant escalation in Washington’s bid to deter the growing threat from Iran-backed groups across the Middle East — a step fraught with risk abroad and at home, as Biden seeks to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spiraling into a wider conflict while working to secure his re-election.

The Biden administration had made clear that the U.S. would take military action after the drone attack by Iran-backed militants at a remote U.S. base in Jordan, in which more than 40 others were wounded. Biden attended the dignified return of the three slain U.S. soldiers at Dover Air Force Base earlier Friday.

COMMENT:   President Biden has an abysmally weak image.  He waited too many days before retaliating against Iranian interests, and people from his administration leaked general details of the upcoming attacks, hardly a sign of professionalism.

Republicans were not impressed.  “The lapse of time has lessened the impact of deterrence,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News on Friday. “And by not hitting oil infrastructure in Iran or Revolutionary Guard personnel, you will have failed to make the point.”

Graham is correct.  The U.S. raids, while impressive, fell well short of shock therapy.  And, incredibly, The Biden administration publicly assured Iran that the U.S. wasn't looking for a larger war.  Wasn't that dainty?   The idea is to deter Iran from further attacks by scaring the daylights out of them.  Our blows were simply gestures, which seemed designed more to assure Americans that their president's heart was still beating than to frighten anyone.

We'll soon know.  This episode isn't finished. 

February 3,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 1, 2024

FIGHTIN' JOE?  We don't usually think of the current president as a dynamic figure.  But the fact is that, in the last few weeks, he's been let out of his basement and has gone campaigning.  The other fact is that he's pretty good at it.  A lot better than we'd thought. 

There are too many people on our side who underestimate Biden – a professional politician with a good winning streak.  He has behind him a political party that believes in all the wrong things, but knows how to sell those very goods.  And he also has behind him a left-wing press that will protect this president, no matter how bad an actual record he has. 

He has something else in his favor:  Not too many people hate him.  They may vote against him (we hope) because of his policies and his style, and his choice of a vice president, but you don't find many people throwing darts at his picture on the wall. 

Republicans understandably think that it's time for a change, and many polls, but not all, seem to support that view.  But never forget the bitter experience of 1948, an election made famous because almost no one thought the winner would win.   Harry S. Truman was in the White House, having succeeded President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon Roosevelt's death in 1945.   He'd established a so-so record, was not personally popular, and didn't compare with Roosevelt in stature.  His speaking style would not win any awards.  Some opponents changed the common proverb, "To err is human," to "To err is Truman."

Running against Truman was Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.  He had been the GOP presidential candidate in 1944, in the middle of World War II, and lost to commander-in-chief Roosevelt.  The Republicans gave him a second chance in 1948.   He represented the Eastern wing of the Republican Party – Wall Street – and was proper, dignified, and dull.  With his little mustache he was called "the man on the wedding cake."

But in the eyes of many pundits, Dewey seemed right for the time.   Following the Depression and the war, he was the calm guy who wasn't going to rock any boats or present dashing new ideas.  Just mellow, and looking good behind a desk.  He took a convincing early lead in the polls.  Few loved him, but, like a standard blue suit, he would do. 

Truman begged to disagree.  He knew that to win he'd have to work all eight cylinders, and he did.  He ran a whistlestop train-based campaign across the country, speaking from the rear platform of his train at each stop.  The voters loved it.  The guy was human, as well as Truman, and was alive, and a fighter.  And he won.  And one of the best pieces of presidential humor that we have, on film, showed Harry Truman impersonating NBC newsman H.V. Kaltenborn, who had been watching the incoming returns and assuring his audience that Truman was history.

So be careful.  No overconfidence.  It is going to be a difficult, and probably an ugly campaign.  Every poll taken shows that the American people do not want either President Biden or former President Trump to run.  They are both running.  This can even be interesting.

February 1,  2024

 

   

JANUARY 29-30, 2024

DIDN'T WE SEE THIS MOVIE BEFORE?   Seems like Harvard has a problem.  Maybe the iviest of the ivies needs to do some work.  Or at least vary some of the stories.  From the Washington Free Beacon: 

It's not just Claudine Gay. Harvard University's chief diversity and inclusion officer, Sherri Ann Charleston, appears to have plagiarized extensively in her academic work, lifting large portions of text without quotation marks and even taking credit for a study done by another scholar—her own husband—according to a complaint filed with the university on Monday and a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

The complaint makes 40 allegations of plagiarism that span the entirety of Charleston's thin publication record. In her 2009 dissertation, submitted to the University of Michigan, Charleston quotes or paraphrases nearly a dozen scholars without proper attribution, the complaint alleges. And in her sole peer-reviewed journal article—coauthored with her husband, LaVar Charleston, in 2014—the couple recycle much of a 2012 study published by LaVar Charleston, the deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, framing the old material as new research.

Through that sleight of hand, Sherri Ann Charleston effectively took credit for her husband's work. The 2014 paper, which was also coauthored with Jerlando Jackson, now the dean of Michigan State University's College of Education, and appeared in the Journal of Negro Education, has the same methods, findings, and description of survey subjects as the 2012 study, which involved interviews with black computer science students and was first published by the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

COMMENT:   Really now.  Harvard has career guidance officers who can surely direct the funloving administrators toward less problematical adventures.   And let's get some uniqueness in there, shall we?  I mean, plagiarism is so last month.

Why do I have to think for these people?

January 30,  2024

 

WE WAIT, AND WAIT:   What will our unusual "I won't follow him anywhere" leader do about Iran's attack on an American outpost in Jordan?   Leader said, "We will respond," not quite the equal of Douglas MacArthur promising the people of the Philippines, "I shall return."

There is a gloom in this country right now.  I discussed it with my friend, Silvio Canto Jr., on the radio today, and we agreed that Americans feel leaderless and directionless.  Our soldiers are attacked, and we have little confidence that Biden and company will respond with the "righteous might" of FDR after Pearl Harbor.  This is more like the second coming of Jimmy Carter. 

There have been more than 160 attacks on American installations in the Mideast in the last few months.  None was deemed important enough to move Joe Biden to deliver a speech to the American people and to deliver some ordnance to the enemy state of Iran.  Nothing the Iranians did or said could get our president to make it clear that they had crossed a line and would be punished for it.  Now, within hours of this new, deadly attack, the moving lips of the Democratic majority are already warning us not to be overly patriotic or concerned.  We must not upset the Iranian stomach. 

Few want another war in the Mideast.  But flashing weakness will get one for us.  And we are flashing weakness with a very large spotlight.  Biden must strike Iran directly, or we will be attacked again and again. There are risks, of course.  But there are greater risks in just taking another one to the chin and hoping our enemy gets tired.  He doesn't.

January 30,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 27-28, 2024

THE TURNING POINT?  As you know, three American soldiers were killed and approximately 30 wounded in a drone attack just inside Jordan, not far from Jordan's border with Syria.  The United States is asserting that the attack was launched by one of the client groups sponsored and paid for by Iran.

There have been more than a hundred similar attacks in the past few months.  Our response each time has been hesitant and small time.  Iran sends high explosives.  We answer with pinpricks.  Military experts in particular have condemned President Biden for showing weakness in this facedown with Iran.  They are demanding full retaliation, something that will absolutely deter Iran from further aggression, a blow that will cause real pain in Tehran.

But Mr. Biden faces an election, and there are many in his party who believe America is at fault, and that the poor, brotherly Iranians should not be scratched.  The Obama faction of the Democratic Party is particularly opposed to military force.  They are so confused, and frightened.

We await Mr. Biden's decision.  Will he be Donald Trump or Jimmy Carter?   Which do you think?  I'm afraid I see another American failure on the horizon. 

January 28,  2024

 

SIGNS OF A DECLINING NATION.  And not too many people at the top of government seem to care.  From the New York Post: 

The US Navy is starting to enlist individuals who didn’t graduate from high school or get a GED, marking the second time in about a year that the service has opened the door to lower-performing recruits as it struggles to meet enlistment goals.

The decision follows a move in December 2022 to bring in a larger number of recruits who score very low on the Armed Services Qualification Test.

Both are fairly rare steps that the other military services largely avoid or limit, even though they are all finding it increasingly difficult to attract the dwindling number of young people who can meet the military’s physical, mental and moral standards.

Under the new plan, Navy recruits without an education credential will be able to join as long as they score 50 or above on the qualification test, which is out of 99.

The last time the service took individuals without education credentials was in 2000.
“We get thousands of people into our recruiting stations every year that want to join the Navy but do not have an education credential. And we just turn them away,” said Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the Navy’s chief of personnel, in an interview Friday with The Associated Press.

He said that of the more than 2,400 who were turned away last year, as many as 500 of them could score high enough to get in.

He said he has already sent an order to his recruiters to start the new expanded effort, adding, “I’m hoping all my recruiters have called all 2,442 of them in the last 72 hours, and we’ll see how it goes … We’ll try to get some test takers this weekend.”

In the wake of the pandemic, the services have faced significant enlistment challenges. COVID-19 forced the military to shut down recruiting stations, and they were closed out of high schools and many public fairs or events where they historically found success reaching prospective candidates.

But even as things opened up, the military struggled to compete with higher-paying businesses in the tight job market, particularly as companies began to offer the types of benefits — such as college funding — that had often made the military a popular choice.
Those economic problems were only exacerbated by the sharp political divide in the country and young people’s fears of being killed or injured going to war.

Last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the Navy, Army and Air Force all failed to meet their recruitment goals, while the Marine Corps and the tiny Space Force met their targets.

COMMENT:  What incentive do we give potential recruits when we turn the military into a social experiment in wokism?   Young men and women want to feel proud of what they have chosen, and the woke infantry just doesn't do it.

January 28, 2024

 

 

JANUARY 25-26, 2024

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE NATIONAL SUICIDE?  No foreign enemy could do the damage to us that we're doing to ourselves.  From Fox:

The White House is halting the permitting process for several proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal projects over their potential impacts on climate change, an unprecedented move environmentalists have demanded in recent months.

In a joint announcement Friday morning, the White House and Department of Energy (DOE) said the pause would occur while federal officials conduct a rigorous environmental review assessing the projects' carbon emissions, which could take more than a year to complete. Climate activists have loudly taken aim at LNG export projects in recent weeks, arguing they will lead to a large uptick in emissions and worsen global warming.

"As our exports increase, we must review export applications using the most comprehensive up-to-date analysis of the economic, environmental and national security considerations," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters on a press call. "This action includes a pause on pending applications for exports of U.S. natural gas as LNG to non-free trade agreement countries until the department can update the underlying analyses for authorizations."

"The U.S. is committed to affordable energy and economic opportunities for all Americans. We are committed to strengthening energy security here in the U.S. and with our allies," Granholm continued. "And we're committed to protecting Americans against climate change as we lead the world into a clean energy future."

While it is unclear which proposed projects the action will affect, a senior administration official told reporters at least two have a larger capacity and two have a smaller capacity. Another official added that the pause implemented Friday will only impact projects that have gone through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) lengthy approval process and are ripe for DOE approval.

According to federal data updated this week, there are 11 projects that have been green-lit by FERC but are not yet under construction. An additional four projects are pending before FERC and two are in the pre-filing stage. Those six projects wouldn't be impacted by the pause since they are not before DOE yet, but they would be impacted if approved by FERC.

COMMENT:  How do you like that word salad?  That's government talk at its best.  I hope Granholm does a better job on natural gas than she's done on electric vehicles.  Maybe she'll explain to those who bought EVs why their fully charged cars got only 29 minutes of driving during last week's cold wave.   I want to be there for the explanation.  I want her to explain to a guy who'd tried to get his wife to a hospital to have their baby why he only got halfway there.  Of course, she'd probably ask him why it was necessary to have a baby. 

January 26,  2024

 

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A VICE PRESIDENT.  Donald Trump is looking around for a vice-presidential running mate.  In our view, Glenn Youngkin, the successful and popular governor of Virginia, would be a fine choice.  From the Washington Examiner: 

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are unofficially beginning their reelection campaign in Virginia on Tuesday with one big goal: to stop Virginia from turning on them on Election Day.

Virginia’s turn away from Biden, which started when the state shocked the nation with the election of Republican investor Glenn Youngkin for governor in 2021, has continued, according to a new survey.

In 2020, Biden beat former President Donald Trump in Virginia by over 10 points. But a new Virginia Commonwealth University poll shows Trump trailing by just 3 points.

Should former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley win the GOP nomination, the survey shows she would beat Biden, 43%-38%.

It followed a Mason-Dixon survey earlier this month that also showed a Biden-Trump tightening. In that one, Biden leads Trump 49% to 43%.

The likely reasons for Virginia trending away from a Biden reelection are the president’s unpopularity and Youngkin’s continued approval by commonwealth voters.

The new survey found that Biden has lost ground since VCU’s last poll in August. “Thirty-seven percent of Virginians say that they approve of Joe Biden’s handling of his job as president, with 54% disapproving. This is a two-point drop (down from 39%) compared to his approval rating in the August 2023 Commonwealth Poll,” the survey analysis said.

The poll also found another big problem for Biden. He is underwater with independents, 30% approving and 37% disapproving.

Then, there’s Youngkin, who beat former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was backed by Biden in 2021.

The survey found that Youngkin continues to surge in popularity. Since August, VCU said, Youngkin’s approval rating has increased to 54%, up 5 points. Just 31% disapprove of his job performance.

The survey could give a boost to Youngkin in Trump circles that are already focused on who should be the former president’s running mate.

COMMENT:  He'd be a great choice.  A highly successful governor who's remained popular.  And he could be critical in making Virginia a bright red state in the presidential election.

January 25,  2024

 

JANUARY 23-24, 2024

BYE BYE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE:  The New Hampshire Republican primary is over.  Trump won with 54.6 percent of the vote to Nikki Haley's 43.15.  On balance, that's a pretty strong showing for Haley, who was close to single digits a few months back.  She gets honorable mention, but little more.  She's still in second place.

Haley, who has been increasingly sharp in her attacks on Trump, vows to push on.  She has the funds to do it, but the way ahead doesn't look very promising.  The next big primary, on February 24th, will be in her home state of South Carolina, where she was governor.  Every major political figure in the state has already endorsed Trump.  And Trump leads in the South Carolina polls.

The pundit class is pretty much agreed that Trump will coast to the nomination...unless he faces serious disruption from the legal cases against him.  I'm assuming that the chance of such a disruption is one of the things keeping Haley in the race.

Actually, I think we'll start to see more speculation about the Democratic ticket than about the Republican.  No one is seriously opposing Biden for the Dem nomination, at least in public, but there are ample reports of intrigue behind the curtain, which is where it usually takes place.  Some of the speculation surrounds Michelle Obama, who, according to the script, will sweep in to replace Biden in the presidential slot and "save the party." 

I have my doubts.  After the initial shock, what would Michelle bring to the ticket?  Her knowledge of Taiwan?  Her love of country?  (Hah!)  Her deep respect for Kamala Harris?  (Triple hah).

Election in ten months.

January 24,  2024   

 

DON'T FORGET WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD.  From Fox: 

U.S. Defense officials said U.S. and U.K. ships and warplanes carried out multiple strikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Monday.

Multiple locations in Yemen experienced large explosions which were the result of the airstrikes.

A U.S. official tells Fox News one of the Houthi targets struck by U.S. and British munitions included Al Dailami Air Base along with missile launching sites and weapons storage facilities for ballistic missiles and drones.

This is the second joint U.S.-U.K. strikes from air and sea since Jan 11.

The strikes consisted of Tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. warships, as well as F-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier.

"Today, the militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, at the direction of their respective governments with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 8 Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the Houthis' continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea," a joint statement from the U.S., U.K. and other countries stated.

The statement referred to a series of illegal, dangerous and destabilizing Houthi actions, including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two U.S.-owned merchant vessels earlier this month.

The "precision strikes" on Monday were intended to "disrupt and degrade" Houthi efforts to threaten global trade and the lives of mariners.

"Today's strike specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis' missile and air surveillance capabilities," the statement read. "The Houthis' now more than thirty attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge.

COMMENT:  A good move, but far short of what is necessary.  What is necessary is to strike a serious blow against Iran, which is backing the Houthis, Hamas and Hezbollah.  Anything short of that is seen by Iran as weakness. 

But it is probably impossible for Biden to order such a blow because of the influence of the Obama wing in his party.  Obama sees Iran as a potential ally, which is fourth-grade thinking.

January 23,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 21-22, 2024

RON OUT:  Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has withdrawn from the Republican race for the party's presidential nomination.  His withdrawal came two days before the New Hampshire primary, where he has been trailing in the polls.

Frankly, I'm stunned by what's happened to DeSantis.  It wasn't too many months ago when he was considered a lock to win the nomination, if Donald Trump decided not to run.  Problem is, Trump decided to run, and has dominated the race ever since.  DeSantis is only 45, and many see him as probably the best governor in the country.  He can still have a glowing career ahead of him.

The GOP race is down to two – former President Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.  (Haley also served as UN ambassador under Trump.)  Most polls show that Trump will easily win New Hampshire on Tuesday, but one late poll shows only a two-point separation between them.  If Haley pulls an upset win, her candidacy will survive.  Otherwise, she might have to close the store.  Even if she gets a boost from New Hampshire, she would still have to face the voters in her home state of South Carolina on February 24th.  That doesn't look good for this former governor of the state.  Both the current governor and the state's two Republican senators have endorsed Donald Trump, who is well ahead in the polls.  If it doesn't end for Haley tomorrow, it is almost sure to end February 24th, barring some dramatic development.

And that of course is the key phrase – "dramatic development."  We are looking right now at the probability that we'll have a re-run of the 2020 election, Trump versus Biden.  It's really too late for any new candidates.  And it's too late for a third party.  It takes a long time to get on each state's ballot, which is one of the great barriers to late entries.

And, yet, polls show that the American people don't want either Trump or Biden to run.  Such enthusiasm. 

But what if...

Trump suffers a massive legal setback, with lawyer commentators predicting he'll go to prison?

Or...Joe Biden is rushed to the hospital at 3 a.m., and it's touch-and-go.

Either would be a dramatic development.

Both parties have mechanisms to replace candidates. 

So don't be sure we have a race set in concrete. 

What if Kamala Harris is the Democratic candidate?  Or what if Trump's pick for vice president winds up at the top of the ticket?

Both could happen.

January 22,  2024 

 

 

JANUARY 19-20, 2024

THE DECLINE OF JOURNALISM:  One of the best-known and most glamorous names in journalism is in trouble.  "Sports Illustrated," which showed that a sports magazine could be beautifully photographed and well written, is facing heavy winds.  From Fox Business: 

A significant number of Sports Illustrated staff members were notified by the outlet's publisher that they would be laid off. The move puts the future of the iconic sports publication that has been widely considered the gold standard of sports journalism for nearly seven decades in jeopardy.

The Arena Group, which operates Sports Illustrated and related properties emailed employees on Friday, notifying them that Authentic Brands Group has revoked its marketing license.

"As a result of this license revocation, we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand," the email said.

Sports Illustrated’s employee union said in a statement that the layoffs would be a significant number, and possibly all, of the NewsGuild workers represented.

"We have fought together as a union to maintain the standard of this storied publication that we love, and to make sure our workers are treated fairly for the value they bring to this company. It is a fight we will continue," Mitch Goldich, NFL editor and unit chair, said in a statement.

The guild’s statement also called for Authentic Brands Group to "ensure the continued publication of SI and allow it to serve our audience in the way it has for nearly 70 years."

The Arena Group acquired publishing rights from ABG in 2019 for at least 10 years. The group’s stewardship of SI has had many hurdles since then. In December, it fired chief executive officer Ross Levinsohn when the magazine’s alleged use of AI-generated stories drew public backlash.

COMMENT:   I'll bet more young people got involved with photography through SI's great picture spreads than through almost every other route.  I'd hate to see the magazine go, but I said the same about LIFE. 

We'll keep you informed.

January 20,  2024

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY:  One of the major running stories of our era is about electric vehicles, EVs for short.  We are informed by the self-loving leadership classes that they will be our future.  No doubt about it.  Either we switch to EVs, or we will destroy the world with engine emissions, and our children will be angry with us.

One of the latest stories about EVs, direct from last week's bitter weather in the Midwest, is that they don't run very well in cold temperatures.  You get into your EV in a medical emergency and try to get to a hospital 45 minutes away, and the car dies in 29 minutes.  Never happened with those polluting, Earth-killing internal combustion engines.  But, whatever.  We can't have everything.  So the car dies before the patient does.  The family will understand.

It turns out there are many "stories behind the stories" that are featuring electric vehicles.  Remember, these may be the only cars you'll be able to get in some states in not too many years.  Left-wing legislatures will make sure of that.  These are people who devote their lives to saving civilization and destroying the schools.  Let us salute them.

One of the EV stories not getting enough attention involves the companies that make these cars.  The cars aren't selling.  They're all over the lots.  What is happening to the employees?  Some have worked for the same manufacturers for years.  And so did their fathers and mothers.

The picture is not good.  From Thomas Lifson at American Thinker: 

The decline and fall of General Motors, which sees it heading toward liquidation from its status as arguably the most powerful corporation on earth more than half a century ago, is entering a new phase. The federal government's mandated conversion to electric vehicles is taking another big bite out of its organization. Ron Glon writes:

In 2022, General Motors gave Buick dealers across the nation a simple choice: invest a significant amount of money to prepare for EVs or opt for a buyout. Over a year later, the brand has reportedly lost nearly half of its dealerships as it prepares to roll out its first electric cars.

Trade journal Automotive News reported that the number of Buick dealers in the United States dropped by about 47% during 2023. At the beginning of the year, the network included 1,958 stores; fast-forward to December and that figure stands at approximately 1,000. More dealers could throw in the towel in the coming weeks, as the publication adds that the buyout program remains open and will continue.

Most of the dealers leaving the business can safely be assumed to be in the smaller half of the network, so the impact on sales will be less than half, but the move still signals a permanent downsizing of Buick, once one of the crown jewels of GM’s and the American auto industry’s product portfolio. Alfred P. Sloan, who created the juggernaut that GM became in the first half of the 20th century, shoving aside Henry Ford’s eponymous company that created the mass market for cars, saw Buick as the luxury end of the mass-scale middle market. It would have higher margins and profits than Oldsmobile and Pontiac, the other 2 middle market brands he created above low-price market-dominating Chevrolet while existing below the much more expensive and lower market share Cadillac.  For decades, Buick was known as “the doctor’s car,” appealing to well-compensated professionals and business owners.

These days, the highly lucrative top-of-the-middle market belongs to BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and a few others, with the Koreans desperately trying to grab a piece for themselves. As an American, I find this extremely painful.

COMMENT:  We should all find it painful.  The pseudo-intellectual classes don't really care much about workers.  The Democratic Party used to be the party of the working man, but decided that it's far more fun to go to parties in penthouses. 

When the history of this sorry period is written, its symbol may be a broken-down electric car.

January 19,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 17-18, 2024

We have, in this space, regularly cautioned readers against becoming worshipers of the front page – those who believe that the most important stories are always to be found there.

We caution again.  While our news networks fill their hours of allotted time with more statistics about the New Hampshire primary than you'll ever want to know, other events are coming to boil, and there is real fear that a wide conflict could soon break out.  Consider this, from Fox: 

Pakistan conducted a series of military strikes Thursday morning against insurgents operating in Iran in response to a deadly bombing in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan on Tuesday.

The Pakistan Armed Forces completed a "series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes" against Pakistani terrorists in Iran's Siestan-o-Baluchistan province as part of an intelligence-based operation named "Marg Bar Sarmachar," Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

The strikes were described as successful by the MoFA and left a "number of terrorists" dead.

"Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves *Sarmachars* on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran," the MoFA said, adding that it has shared "multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists."

Pakistan said the "lack of action" on its "serious concerns" caused the "Sarmachars" to kill innocent Pakistanis without consequence, which ultimately prompted the strikes on Thursday after credible intelligence reports revealed impending large scale terrorist activities. 

While the country said it "fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Iran, it cannot compromise the security or national interest of Pakistan.

"This action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats," the announcement read. "The successful execution of this highly complex operation is also a testimony to the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred."

COMMENT:  In other words, there is now active fighting inside Iran.  Iran is the main instigator of the wars and military threats we see daily in the Mideast and west Asia. Iran controls Hezbollah and Hamas.  It controls the Houthi rebels of Yemen, with whom the U.S. Navy just clashed in the Red Sea.  Iran is building an atomic bomb and already has long-range missiles.  Iran wants to dominate the region.  Iran labels the United States the "great Satan."

The tensions are rising in the Mideast, and their address is Iran.  An explosion, or miscalculation, could plunge the area into major war, with helpful outsiders like Russia and North Korea sending in supplies to keep the fire going.

So please look beyond the first page.  There is trouble brewing in 2024, and we will be electing a president to deal with it.

January 18,  2024

 

JANUARY 15-16, 2024

IOWA IS OVER:  Trump won in a landslide in the Iowa caucuses, as predicted.  Now, on to New Hampshire for next Tuesday's primary.  From Fox: 

DES MOINES, Iowa – Former President Donald Trump cruised to an easy victory on Monday night in the Iowa caucuses, the lead off contest in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating calendar.

The Fox News Decision Desk made call for Trump at 8:31pm ET, a half an hour after the caucuses got underway across the Hawkeye State.

The former president's lightning-fast win in Iowa gives him a crucial early victory in his bid to return to the White House.

"We want to thank the great people of Iowa," Trump said in a caucus victory speech in Des Moines, the state's capital and largest city.

More than two hours after Trump's victory was called, the Fox News Decision Desk projected that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would edge former ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for a distant second place behind Trump.

"They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us," DeSantis said in a speech to supporters, as he referenced the onslaught of negative attacks and ads he faced from his rivals.

"Because of your support, in spite of all of that that they threw at us, everyone against us, we've got our ticket punched out of Iowa," he touted.

Haley, addressing her supporters soon after DeSantis spoke, one again framed the nomination race as a two-person contest between herself and Trump.

"When you look at how we're doing in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and beyond, I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two person race," she argued.

COMMENT:  There were no surprises.  The night was filled with desperate TV journalists trying to fill air time.   And, as usual with these primaries, we learned more about Iowa politics than we ever wanted to know.

But don't worry.  Within a few days Iowa will be a memory, not to be mentioned again until election night. 

Every poll on the subject tells us that the American people don't want either Donald Trump or Joe Biden to run for president, so our current political state is one of frustration and disappointment.  It would be so nice if one of the parties had an Eisenhower, a person above politics who could restore faith in government and not do very much.  Eisenhower served a very useful purpose in helping America recover from the Depression and World War II.

Ah, but we have no Eisenhower, and no third party to give us one. 

Let the plotting for 2028 begin.

January 16,  2024

 

TOWARD AN ADVANCED, CREATIVE SOCIETY:  Chicago shows us the way.  From College Fix: 

The Chicago Public Schools recently reported they're in the hole for some $23 million in lost or stolen technology during the pandemic school year of 2021-2022.

The CPS Office of Inspector General noted there were over 77,000 lost/stolen devices that year, an “unacceptably high percentage,” FOX-32 reports.

Twenty-seven percent of devices specifically assigned to students are included in that figure.

Thirty-six schools in the district had a 100 percent lost/stolen rate, and students (and staff) across the district faced “no consequences” for “losing” devices.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, CPS Inspector General William Fletcher said this was because “it was not clear there was an expectation for students to return the devices.”
Fletcher said “There are just black holes in terms of where devices were,” and added that “every school seemed to do audits differently and no one was held accountable.”

The OIG report noted the district “rarely used” procedures for which it had spent $2.6 million in order to recover lost/stolen technology. CPS “dived headlong out of the tech dark ages without strong tracking systems” and did not adequately upgrade them.

Following the OIG recommendations, the district managed to recover just over 15 percent of the vanished tech. But, unfortunately, it appears not much changed in the following year (2022-2023), the Sun-Times notes.

COMMENT:  Nothing has been done, and nothing will be done.  Where there are no standards, quality always suffers.  Where there is no accountability, progress stops, or reverses.

And where are the so-called "educators"?  They are embedded with the teachers unions, and education is hardly their first priority.  Their first priority is left-wing politics and indoctrination of children.

America is in trouble.  Chicago is a symptom.  It's not the entire disease.

January 15,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 13-14, 2024

MORE FIGHTERS FOR FREEDOM (CHOKE):  The so-called "Palestinian cause" is up and running, and is even aimed at the White House.  Before any of your friends join the "cause," advise them to learn what it's really about.  From Fox: 

Anti-Israel protesters and rioters gathered outside the White House on Saturday night, with some demonstrators damaging security fencing and hurling objects at police.

The demonstrators were heard chanting "Ceasefire Now" and "Free, Free Palestine," with many waving Palestinian flags. "Yemen, Yemen make us proud / Turn another ship around," was also recited at the demonstration, hours after strikes were launched against the Houthis in Yemen.

So they're also rooting for the pro-Iran, anti-American Houthis.  Hmm, better find out more about this.

The U.S. Secret Service told Fox News Digital that some fences were damaged outside the White House, and that staff members and journalists were "relocated" as a result. The White House also said on Saturday that President Biden is currently at Camp David.

"During the demonstration near the White House complex Jan. 13, a portion of the anti-scale fencing that was erected for the event sustained temporary damage," the statement read. "The issues were promptly repaired on site by U.S. Secret Service support teams."

"As a precaution, some members of the media and staff in proximity to Pennsylvania Avenue were temporarily relocated while the issue was being addressed," the statement continued. "The Secret Service made no arrests associated with the march and there was no property damage to the White House or adjacent buildings."

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela A. Smith blasted illegal behavior from protesters in a press release on Saturday night.

"The right to peacefully protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and the Metropolitan Police Department has long supported those who visit our city to demonstrate safely," Smith's statement read. "However, violence, destructive behavior, and criminal activities are not tolerated."

The police chief added that some officers were assaulted by the demonstrators in Lafayette Park.

"While a majority of today’s demonstration remained peaceful, there were instances of illegal and destructive behavior in Lafayette Park, including items being thrown at our officers," Smith explained. "We are supporting our partners at the United States Park Police as they investigate and hold those found responsible accountable for their actions."

COMMENT:  If these people ever got real power, they'd smash much more than the White House fence.  But don't expect the trendy left-wing press to tell you that.  After all, these marchers have "grievances."   

January 13,  2024 

 

WE STRIKE AGAIN:  The US launched new attacks on the Houthis after the Houthis sent a missile into the Red Sea.  From AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military early Saturday struck another Outhit-controlled site in Yemen that it had determined was putting commercial vessels in the Red Sea at risk, a day after the U.S. and Britain launched multiple airstrikes targeting Outhit rebels.

Associated Press journalists in Sana, Yemen’s capital, heard one loud explosion.
U.S. Central Command said the “follow-on action” early Saturday local time against a Outhit radar site was conducted by the Navy destroyer USS Carney using Tomahawk land attack missiles.

The first day of strikes Friday hit 28 locations and struck more than 60 targets. President Joe Biden had warned Friday that the Houthis could face further strikes.

The key issue now becomes what actions we take if the Houthis, and their Iranian masters, ignore our strikes and continue attacking in the Red Sea.  In other words, what do we do if deterrence fails?

There are serious analysts who insist that we, inevitably, will have to get to the root of the problem by attacking Iran itself, and doing so to dramatic effect.  Clearly, that would mark a major escalation in the Mideast, something the squishy Biden administration is trying to avoid.  Sadly, there is the horrible prospect that we would strike Iran, and that Iran would ignore even that action, believing that we would then collapse in weakness.  That is a real prospect considering the record of Field Marshal Joe Biden and his genius strategist, Commodore Kamala Harris.

Didn't we see this movie in the 1930s?

Stand by for further bulletins.

January 13,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 11-12, 2024

CLASH:  We obviously are following closely the events around the Red Sea in the Mideast.  Yesterday's raids by American and British units were expected, given the unprovoked attacks on shipping by Outhit rebels in Yemen.  The Houthis are a subdivision of Iran, Inc.,  the same friendly folks who finance Hamas.

I would not be shocked if the U.S. and Britain launched another wave in the next few days, especially if the Houthis continued their attacks on shipping.  The Red Sea is one of the most critical shipping lanes in the world.  If shipping were to stop there it would have a direct and immediate effect on Western economies. 

It is clear that one of the main reasons for the American and British assaults was to restore our wobbly credibility and power of deterrence.  We have waited too long to respond to Iran-sponsored actions throughout the Mideast.  We hope these new responses will force the Iranians to think twice before loading their machine guns. 

You've no doubt noticed that some souls, mostly in the president's own party, and mostly on the Utopian left, are denouncing our actions, claiming that Mr. Biden had no Constitutional authority to launch attacks in the absence of a direct threat to Americans.  That seems to me a pretty thin argument.  There are American ships in the area, both warships and commercial vessels, and some have already been targeted by the Houthis.  We don't have to wait for Americans to be killed before launching action in our own defense. 

There have not yet been any polls taken, to the best of my knowledge, that would show how Americans generally feel about our moves in the Mideast.  With an election coming up, the two political parties are no doubt watching that carefully.

January 12,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 9-10, 2024

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE: 

FROM RASMUSSEN:  Ten months ahead of the 2024 election, Republicans have a nine-point lead as they seek to maintain their narrow House majority.  The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that if the elections for Congress were held today, 49% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican candidate, while 40% would vote for the Democrat. Just five percent (5%) would vote for some other candidate, but another nine percent (7%) are not sure.  With the usual warning that polls are snapshots in time, I'm delighted by these numbers.  To be nine points ahead in the "generic" survey at this point in the election season is rare.  I hope the situation lasts, but I suspect the race will narrow. 

 

CHRISTIE OUT:  Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has withdrawn from the Republican race for president.  Also, it rained heavily in New York today.

Christie has generally polled under ten percent in a race completely dominated by former President Donald Trump.  He openly admitted in his withdrawal statement that he had no route upward.

Realistically, the only important factor in Christie's withdrawal is where is small contingent of votes goes.  The nomination race is Trump's to lose.  Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are in second or third place, depending on which state is polled, but each one would have to pick up 30 points or more in the upcoming caucuses and primaries to be taken seriously.  And that possibility depends heavily on something awful happening to Trump in his many court battles.

There is, at present, no serious talk of a third party.  In recent weeks, Trump has pulled ahead of President Biden in polls about how voters will vote in the general election.  We stress, as we always have, that polls are only snapshots in time, and that they can change dramatically by election day. 

One stunning reality is that all polls on the subject tell us that most Americans would prefer that neither Biden or Trump run for president.  Such is the excitement Americans feel about the upcoming election. 

The Iowa caucuses are Monday night.  Amazon Prime has good cartoons.

January 10,  2024

 

 

JANUARY 7-8, 2024

ENOUGH:  We pride ourselves, as a nation, on the freedoms we enjoy.  But when those freedoms are abused, or misused, it is our responsibility to push back.  For some weeks now we have had demonstrations in our cities on behalf of Hamas.  The demonstrators have a right to their opinion, no matter how obnoxious it may be, and have the right, as our First Amendment says, "peaceably to assemble."

But many of the demonstrations have gone well beyond peaceful protest.  They have become violent, threatening, frightening and dangerous.  From the New York Post:

Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters swarmed three bridges and the Holland Tunnel in Lower Manhattan on Monday morning, creating chaos as they blocked traffic and leading to more than 330 arrests.

Demonstrators from the “Shut it Down for Palestine” rally, whose organizers reportedly included the New York chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, first marched through City Hall Park. Then groups of them descended on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and tunnel around 9:40 a.m., wreaking havoc as they shut down at least sections of the major travel thoroughfares for more than an hour.

“You can’t do that! It’s against the law!” an agitated motorist yelled at some of the protesters as he tried in vain to make a left onto the Manhattan Bridge from the Bowery, while another man filming the confrontation with his phone shouted, “Hit ’em all! Run ’em over!”

The driver then got out of his vehicle and shoved three of the demonstrators, warning them to stay away from his car as he screamed, “I have a daughter in Brooklyn! … I have to get home!”

The protesters eventually backed off and allowed the driver to cross the river. 

COMMENT:  This is incredibly dangerous.  Shutting down a bridge in New York can block fire engines, ambulances, and the police themselves.  The NYPD today did its usual great job, but there have been times recently, especially in smaller cities, when the police have been overwhelmed. 

And I dread to think what might happen if a massive demonstration is timed to coincide with a terrorist attack.  It is entirely possible. 

I'm glad to see that 330 people were arrested today.  But I have no confidence that they will be punished.  New York is a left-wing city, and Soros-style justice is the norm.  Unless there is real and severe punishment, these Hamas demonstrations will grow, and we will continue to live with a ticking time bomb.

January 8,  2024

 

A DISGRUNTLED NATION:  Both sides are talking about democracy, one of those positive, beloved words that politicians like to use.  But it turns out that a large chunk of Americans don't think  democracy is working very well in the United States.  From Breitbart: 

Only 28 percent of adults living in the United States — a constitutional republic — are satisfied with the state of democracy, down from 35 percent when Gallup polled on the issue after January 6, 2021, according to the poll.

“The more recent declines of the past two years (to varying degrees for different partisan groups) may reflect economic unease amid higher prices, disapproval of the jobs President Joe Biden, Congress and the Supreme Court are doing, increasing hostility between the political parties, former President Donald Trump’s persistent political strength, and concerns about election security, voting rights and the independence of the courts and the justice system,” Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones analyzed.

By political affiliation, Republicans are least likely to say they are satisfied (17 percent) and Democrats are most likely (38 percent). Twenty-seven percent of independent voters feel the same way.

“All three party groups are less satisfied now than they were in 2021, when 47 percent of Democrats, 21 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents were satisfied shortly after Biden took office,” according to the poll report.

Jones noted that partisans are typically more satisfied with democracy when a president of their own affiliation is in office.

“Between 1984 and 1992, spanning the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Republicans expressed greater satisfaction than Democrats in each of the four surveys conducted,” he wrote. “All of the more recent surveys have been conducted in years when a Democratic president was in the White House. Democrats have been more satisfied than Republicans in all of those except one: the 1998 survey conducted after the Republican-led House impeached Clinton.”

Gallup has polled Americans about their satisfaction with U.S. democracy nine times since 1984. The highest reading came from the first polling when 61 percent of Americans reported being satisfied. The percentage was similar at 60 percent in 1991, according to the poll report.

Gallup polled 1,013 U.S. adults between Dec. 1-20, 2023. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

COMMENT:  It's the dramatic drop from the Reagan era that worries me.  Going from 61 percent satisfied to 28 percent is not a minor adjustment.  It's a fundamental shift.

I've always believed that Ronald Reagan's greatest achievement, and vastly underestimated, was improving the national morale, the national spirit, which had foundered under his predecessor, Mr. Excitement, Jimmy Carter.  A high national morale produces a can-do spirit.  A low morale can easily take a nation into the swamp of bitterness and conspiracy theories.  That's where we are today.

I'd love to say that we have a new Reagan, but we don't.  If you disagree, let me know.

January 8,  2024 

 

 

JANUARY 5-6, 2024

AW, COME ON GUYS.  LEAVE US WITH SOME FUN:  The world is getting too serious.   A bit of good fun is what we need.  From Fox:

The British Film Institute (BFI) has provided multiple trigger warnings for audiences ahead of its upcoming season of classic film screenings in tribute to British film composer John Barry, including James Bond movies.

As media outlets The Guardian and The Daily Mail reported this week, the films shown at the upcoming "John Barry: Soundtracking Bond and Beyond" BFI season have been given a disclaimer warning that they "will cause offence [sic]." 

Among these screenings are the two Sean Connery-era Bond flicks which Barry provided music for: 1967’s "You Only Live Twice," and 1964's "Goldfinger."

The disclaimer – which can be found on BFI’s website, says that "many of these films contain language, images or other content that reflect views prevalent in its time, but will cause offence [sic] today (as they did then). 

The website added, "The titles are included here for historical, cultural or aesthetic reasons and these views are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners."

The site featured descriptions of each film in the season, a lineup which also includes "Midnight Cowboy", "The Ipcress File," and "Petulia."

Some of the films on this schedule received an extra disclaimer. In its description, "You Only Live Twice" received a specific warning which said, "Contains outdated racial stereotypes."

"Midnight Cowboy" received one, which stated, "Contains use of homophobic language and sexual violence." An extra disclaimer was also given to "Petulia," which said, "Contains scenes of domestic violence."

In addition to the warnings on the website, British outlet The Telegraph reported that one could also be found outside BFI’s cinema in London.

COMMENT:  And what if a kid snuck into a movie that had trigger warnings?  Would the world come to an end?  And how far do the Brits go with these warnings?  WARNING:  THIS FILM CONTAINS FAVORABLE COMMENTS ABOUT AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY!

I'd rather see warnings about the things taught in our schools.

January 6,  2024

 

PROGRESS, WE HOPE, BUT NEVER COUNT THE HARD LEFT OUT:  We may be seeing some progress in our battle against the absurdity and mediocrity of our leading universities.  For the United States to be the leading nation requires our universities to be the best.  In recent years, that standard has been seriously challenged.

What happened at Harvard in the last few weeks is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The fight is starting, not ending.   Please read the following, from the Spectator.  It tells the story well: 

One of the most important political developments of 2023 was the growing pushback against “diversity, equity and inclusion.” Those DEI programs and the ideology that underpin them are under siege politically and legally, and they are losing. They had grown rapidly, thanks to a mixture of support, indifference and timidity. But that began to ebb last year and will continue to recede in 2024.

The wounded patient was wheeled into the intensive care unit when the Supreme Court undermined a crucial foundation for DEI and related affirmative action programs. The decision came in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and a similar case against the University of North Carolina. SCOTUS ruled the universities were illegally discriminating when their admissions favored some minorities and effectively penalized others. Neither public nor private universities had the right to do that.

Those lawsuits were brought against universities on behalf of Asian-Americans, but their victory has reverberated through the world of corporations, non-profits and government agencies. That’s not surprising since those institutions have a host of programs and practices similar to those at Harvard and UNC. They, too, discriminate in hiring and promotion, in hopes their “affirmative” policies will create more inclusive, racially-diverse workplaces. One question sure to reach the High Court is whether these programs are illegal.

The programs also raise practical questions. One is whether they actually achieve their aim of creating more inclusive workplaces. Or do they create more hostile, racially-divided ones and wider public resentment beyond them? Another question is whether institutions committed to these programs can find ways to work around the court decisions and hide their efforts.

The policies used to pursue these goals are sometimes called “reverse discrimination” because they benefit groups, primarily African-Americans, who had long been subjects of pernicious discrimination, segregation, and, indeed, racial hatred.

The terminology of “reverse discrimination” is outdated and misleading. We live more than half a century after the tectonic changes of the mid-1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson and a supportive Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and a series of massive government programs, many of them meant to assist historically-disadvantaged groups. After that long span, the beneficiaries today are the children and grandchildren of those who were harmed by segregation and Jim Crow laws.

The losers are not just the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the beneficiaries of that invidious system. They are often the descendants of people who didn’t live in America during those years. If those descendants are subject to bias today, it is not “reverse discrimination.” It is “discrimination,” plain and simple.

This unadorned description is true no matter who benefits or loses from today’s bias, whether it is based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or anything besides merit. Restoring this ideal of equal treatment and equal opportunity would return American to its long-cherished ideals.

COMMENT:  Please read the rest of this excellent piece, written by Charles Lipson.  Education is growing as a major political issue, even though American journalism has been grossly negligent in covering it.  At the sub-university level, parents have seen the deficiencies and a number have taken action, sometimes at the ballot box.

The hard left has made the education system a prime target.  Lenin said, "Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world."  Lenin was right. 

January 6,  2024

 

JANUARY 3-4, 2024

THEY'RE BACK:  As you know, one of the purposes of Urgent Agenda is to remind readers of stories that may not be in the headlines today, but may well be there next week, and in very large print.  Consider, for example, North Korea.  The boys are getting restless again, and we have a direct obligation to defend South Korea.  From the Japan Times:

SEOUL – North Korea fired more than 200 artillery rounds into the sea on Friday near a tense maritime border with South Korea, a military official said, while residents of two South Korean islands were ordered to seek shelter due to an unspecified "situation."

The defense ministry would not confirm if the order was prompted by the North's artillery firing or South Korean drills in response.

However, a text message sent to residents and confirmed by an island official cited "naval fire" to be conducted by South Korean troops from 3 p.m. Friday.

An official on Yeonpyeong island, which sits just south of the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL) sea border, said the evacuation was ordered for residents to move into shelters on the island at the request of the South Korean military.

The firing by North Korea caused no civilian or military damage in the South, South Korea's military said in a news briefing.

"This is an act of provocation that escalates tension and threatens peace on the Korean peninsula," a spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The North Korean artillery shells all landed on the northern side of a disputed maritime border, the spokesman, Lee Sung-joon, said, adding the South Korean military has been monitoring the North's moves along its shores with the cooperation of the U.S. military.
He warned the South will take "corresponding measures" in response to the North's actions.

South Korea's military told the village there was firing at sea by the South Korean military after "a situation" near the border, the official said. But it was not clear whether it was a drill or had some other cause.

Yeonpyeong is home to just over 2,000 residents and troops stationed there, about 120 kilometers west of Seoul and accessed by ferries taking more than 2-and-a-half hours.

Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul, said it was not unusual for North Korea to fire artillery in the area as part of its winter drills.
"What's different this year is ... Kim Jong un has publicly disavowed reconciliation and unification with the South," he said.

In remarks to a year-end party meeting last week, the North Korean leader said unification with the South was not possible and Pyongyang was fundamentally changing its policy toward the South, which it now sees as an enemy state.

The waters near the disputed NLL have been the site of several deadly clashes between the North and South Korea including skirmishes involving warships and the sinking of a South Korean navy corvette early in 2010 by what is believed to be a North Korean torpedo.

COMMENT:  Could the United States handle major military action by North Korea and China at the same time?  I don't know, but I hope the Pentagon is thinking in that direction.  North Korea's dramatic increase in belligerence is easily matched by China's assurances that it will take Taiwan.  And I believe the Chinese. 

America is increasingly seen as weak and spread too thin.  Our military spending is barely keeping up with inflation.  We cannot fill our personnel quotas.  Let us hope that neither South Korea nor China give in to temptation.  But I'd like to see some new ships and planes to reinforce our hope.

January 4,  2024

 

ANOTHER BIDEN SUCCESS; OH, THE GREATNESS OF THE MAN.  IS THERE ANY LIMIT TO HIS VISION OF THE FUTURE?  FROM FOX: 

Global energy developers Equinor and BP on Wednesday announced they are canceling the contract for a massive wind project slated for construction off the coast of New York.

The two companies said they had reached an agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to terminate the offshore wind renewable energy certificate for their Empire Wind 2 project. Equinor and BP explained that commercial conditions, namely inflation, interest rates and supply chain disruptions, prevented its contract for the project from remaining viable.

"Commercial viability is fundamental for ambitious projects of this size and scale. The Empire Wind 2 decision provides the opportunity to reset and develop a stronger and more robust project going forward," Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables Americas, said in a statement. "We will continue to closely engage our many community partners across the state."

"BP is supportive of NYSERDA’s leadership and commitment to offshore wind, which we believe is a critical part of New York State’s and America’s clean energy future," added Joshua Weinstein, BP’s president of offshore wind Americas. "Offshore wind can deliver reliable renewable power as well as economic benefits to the state and its communities."

The cancellation of Empire Wind 2 comes weeks after the Biden administration formally approved it and its counterpart, Empire Wind 1, in November. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Energy (DOE) have both endorsed the project, while the White House has referred to it as a success story of "Bidenomics."

It also comes shortly after energy developer Orsted canceled its Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 twin projects, which were also approved and hailed by the Biden administration. Orsted also blamed negative economic conditions.

Together, Empire Wind 1 and 2 were projected to have a total capacity of 2,076 megawatts, enough to power 700,000 homes per year. Empire Wind 2 was expected to account for the majority of that output and have a capacity of 1,260 megawatts.

"Under President Biden’s leadership, the American offshore wind industry is continuing to expand rapidly — creating good-paying union jobs across the manufacturing, shipbuilding and construction sectors," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said on Nov. 21 after greenlighting Empire Wind 2. "Today’s approval of the sixth offshore wind project adds to the significant progress towards our Administration’s clean energy goals."

DOI added that "Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda are growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up." The agency also said the Empire Wind projects would support President Biden's lofty green energy goals.

COMMENTS:  Now wait a minute.  Wait a gosh-darned minute.  Where's the success here?  They cancel these things because they're not commercially sane, and then declare success.  Will someone tell me where the energy will come from?  Where's the wind?  We need wind.

Maybe they'd better forget it.

January 4,  2024

1

JANUARY 1-2, 2024

GAY ISN'T THE WORD FOR IT:  There is gloom at fair Harvard following the forced resignation of its president, Claudine Gay.  Ms. Gay resigned after facing charges of performing poorly before a Congressional committee and committing serial plagiarism. 

However, it is hard to feel overly concerned about her future.  Harvard, which is not short of cash, is taking good care of its now former president.  From Daily Mail: 

Outgoing Harvard president Claudine Gay will retain a salary of around $900,000-a-year from the university, despite being forced to resign amid a plagiarism scandal.

Gay, 53, resigned on Tuesday after months of questions about her leadership. 

She will remain a member of the university staff and return to a teaching role at the department of political science, and keep a similar salary.

Gay had only taken up the role on July 1, and her exact salary is yet to be disclosed on tax forms. Her predecessor, Lawrence S. Bacow, earned more than $1.3 million in calendar year 2021, The Crimson reported in May.

Over the same time frame, Gay - then the dean of the faculty of art and sciences - earned $879,079, up from the $824,068 reported in 2020. 

Gay will now return to a role within the political science department, and will retain a salary on the same level as while she was president, The New York Post reported. 
While president, she enjoyed free housing at at Elmwood, the Harvard president's residence. Her successor will take over the house.

Harvard has named its provost, Alan Garber, as the interim president.

The process to find a new president is usually lengthy, and involves both the Harvard Corporation - the 12-member group which oversees the running of the university - and the Board of Overseers, a 32-member panel of alumni.

A 15-member search committee - 12 members of the Harvard Corporation and three from the Board of Overseers - will draw up a shortlist of around 600 candidates, with the senior fellow on the Corporation, Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker, spearheading the search.
The list will be narrowed down to around 20, who will then undergo interviews with the Corporation.

Once the Corporation has made their choice, the Board of Overseers must approve it.
The searches typically last six months or longer, The Crimson reported, although the five-month search process that selected Gay was the shortest process in more than 70 years.
While past searches have included candidates who are not Harvard affiliates, every president in the last 30 years has held a Harvard degree.

COMMENT:  The fact is that the Gay fiasco has damaged Harvard's reputation and reduced the glow around its name.   Indeed, this episode, probably because of Harvard's famous name, has contributed to the growing feeling of parents, legislators, and employers, that our universities are declining, and suffering bouts of severe mediocrity.

The search to succeed Gay will possibly be the most watched presidential search in higher education history.  The key question:  Will Harvard go for the best, or will identity politics and cronyism get in the way?  Americans are aware that Harvard receives hundreds of millions a year in federal aid.  Every American citizen has a stake in Harvard's future. 

January 2,  2024

 

DECEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 31,  2023

AND SO THE YEAR COMES TO AN END.  I don't think 2023 will win any awards for "greatest year of the decade."  In fact, the sense I get is that most Americans are ending the year with a feeling ranging from frustration to indifference, with some rage thrown in. 

I don't think I've ever experienced a holiday season when the nation seemed so detached, so lacking in enthusiasm.  Something is wrong.  Something is missing.  That familiar American optimism has gone into hiding.  Will things improve?  Or has this nation had it?  Those questions are being asked seriously. There's an old saying that democracies last 250 years.  We're within two years of the mark. 

We have lost confidence in our basic institutions.  Our magnificent voluntary military force cannot meet its quotas.  Even the FBI has lost its once rock-solid reputation.   And our schools?  There was a time when, if your community had "good schools," parents had little reason to worry.  Now parents worry no matter how "good" the schools are.  For they've become aware of grossly inappropriate material being taught, and Marxist principles being introduced, even at the elementary school level.  Parents thought the public schools were owned by the people, the public.  Now it's pretty clear, in too many places, that it's the hard-left teachers unions who call the shots. 

Our kids are being taught to hate their country and all that it has stood for.  And that hatred shows up in the polls.  It is starting to affect our national morale and our view of ourselves.

There is a mechanism, a force, that used to correct things, but it seems missing in action.  Let me cite an example.  President Reagan, perhaps the last president to inspire true public confidence, went to Normandy in 1984 to mark the 40th anniversary of D-Day, the World War II invasion of France that led to victory over Nazi Germany.  He was accompanied by men who'd actually fought in that invasion.  If some of those men had been, say, 18 on D-Day, they'd have been 58 on that day in 1984 with Mr. Reagan.  No longer young men, but middle-aged men still full of strength.  They were part of the "greatest generation," to use Tom Brokaw's phrase, and they were still with us. 

Today, though, they are almost all gone.  The greatest generation will soon be no more.    When they were still alive their very presence acted as a guide for us.  They'd been there.  They did the job.  They fought through a biting economic depression, then fought World War II.  They had lived bravery and dedication.  Most Americans admired them.

Who can young people look to today?  Oh yes, I'm sure there are great folks out there, but they are spread out and often laughed at for their "old fashioned" ideas.   

What we need is another mentoring generation.  I don't know where it will come from, but today we have a gaping hole in our society.  Unless it is filled by the right people, the United States of America may fade into weakness and oblivion.  I fear it is already happening. 

December 31,  2023

 

DECEMBER 28 - DECEMBER 29,  2023

THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED THE MARKET, AND IT USUALLY WORKS.  FROM HOT AIR: 

On Monday, Ford announced it was slashing in half its production goal for its most popular electrical vehicle, the F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

Bloomberg News reports that the company’s flagship plant in Dearborn, Michigan now intends to produce 1,600 vehicles per week in 2024, down from 3,200 in 2023.

The move comes just months after Ford announced it was slashing prices on the Lightning by $10,000. And though the company cited lower “battery raw material costs and continued work on scaling production and cost” for its price cut, it’s becoming painfully obvious that low demand for EVs was the primary catalyst.

AEIR describes this development as an example of “what happens when companies heed planners instead of consumers.” That sounds like a very accurate assessment. They note that Ford appears to be trying to cover their tracks by crediting lower raw material costs for batteries and more efficient production line practices. But the harsh reality is that the demand for these vehicles is nowhere near the sunny projections put forth by the government.

This entire concept is nearly unique in the history of American capitalism. We have the phrase “whatever the market will bear” for a reason. Traditionally, manufacturers competed with each other to create and produce products that consumers would desire the most. The winners of that competition profited while the losers fell by the wayside. They also strove to make their products as affordable as possible, further keeping a leg up on the competition.

The idea of the government mandating the production of one type of product while effectively banning a competing option is unheard of. This is particularly true when the mandated product is more expensive and less desirable than the original version. Such a move delivers a disservice to both the manufacturers and the public...

...Also, consumers seem to be wise enough to realize that the entire theory behind the supposed benefits of electric vehicles is sketchy at best. You still need energy to make a vehicle run. Whether that energy comes from burning gasoline in an internal combustion engine or from a battery, the power has to come from someplace. And “green energy” is still not even remotely close to being able to provide all of the power required, so most of the electricity used to charge those vehicle batteries is coming from fossil fuels or nuclear power.

COMMENT:  I'm surprised there isn't more news about possible alternative fuels, fuels that will allow our current engines to be used, but with lower emissions.  There have got to be possibilities in that.  If alternative fuels can save people and families from the need to buy an EV, alternative fuels will succeed, and profits will be seen.  But the green fanatics won't be happy.

December 29,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 26 - DECEMBER 27,  2023

WILL HOLLYWOOD REPENT? I really love this – a sign that there may, just may, be some movement in Tinseltown toward maturity.  Be cautious.  I might just be dreaming.  But get this, from Daily Mail:   

A new MGM film forcing white liberals to confront their own hypocrisy in Hollywood and beyond is receiving critical acclaim from the same people it skewers.

Cord Jefferson's 'American Fiction' is a commentary on the way the establishment tends to favor reductive portraits of blackness in the name of diversity and inclusion, often at the expense of quality.

The movie tells the story of a black professor, Thelonious 'Monk' Ellison played by Jeffrey Wright, who is fed up with his snowflake students and struggling to get any critical interest in his work, so jokingly pens a novel littered with racial stereotypes only for it to become an overnight success. 

The biting satire pokes fun at powerful white liberals in the publishing world and later Hollywood who lap up the outlandish parody, entitled 'My Pafology' and later renamed to just 'F***'.

And now in an ironic twist, the film has been earning stellar reviews from left-leaning publications keen to make it known they are in on the joke.

The Washington Post states the movie is, ‘Racial parody rooted in wincingly familiar honesty.'

Salon declares that American Fiction 'reframes what black success means for writers.'
While Rolling Stone brands the flick 'an absolute triumph' for the way it 'deconstructs how white guilt stifles black creatives.'

In the movie, Jeffrey Wright's middle-class Monk only finds commercial success when he ignores his privilege and writes a 'hood' novel under the pseudonym of on-the-lam con Stagg R. Leigh.

Prior to his six-figure book deal, an exasperated Monk is seen arguing with publishers who believe his Classics-based work should be categorized under African American literature due to their fixation on race.

He is advised to write something 'blacker' and ultimately inspired to do so after witnessing the success of fellow author Sintara Golden (Issa Rae), an Oberlin-educated writer who is praised for her 'urgent' and 'raw' poverty-porn novel, 'We’s Lives in Da Ghetto'.

But by combining this plot point with an exploration into Monk's personal and family life, including his struggle to connect with siblings played by Tracee Ellis Ross and Sterling K Brown, the film seeks to highlight how absurd the fixation solely on race has become. 

'The important question that needs to be asked, the question I'm asking now, is: Why is this stuff being made to the omission of everything else?' Jefferson told Rolling Stone.

COMMENT:  I have a disk of this movie (Full disclosure:  As a member of the Writers Guild I'm eligible to vote on awards, and so I get disks of a number of movies each year.)  I intend to see it in the next ten days.  It looks refreshing, and I think I'll survive politically.

There have been some signs that Hollywood is trying to get back in touch with the American people.  It will be a difficult journey.  Disney, once the symbol of family entertainment, has almost self-destructed by its plunge into wokism.  And the presidential election will no doubt bring the native leftists out of the shadows once more.  But the bottom line still talks, and most Americans have made it clear that they don't go to the movies, or watch television, to be told how rotten America is. 

I want to see a good movie about college students revolting against the vast corruption of some of our universities.  And I want to see that movie make a solid profit.

December 27,  2023

 

BULLETIN: MAJOR NAVAL ACTION INVOLVING U.S. SHIPS

Following on the item just below.  This is from RedState: 

A US Navy destroyer and several F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters shot down a total of 17 Houthi drones and missiles during a tense 10-hour engagement over the southern Red Sea.

Details of the engagement are sparse, but the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer USS Laboon (DDG-58), a member of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group (CSG), as well as several F/A-18s launched from the Eisenhower shot down 12 attack drones, three antiship missiles and two land attack missiles. The engagement began at 6:30 a.m. local time Tuesday and continued for 10 hours. None of the attacking weapons hit a target.

The Navy is not giving details, but from other sources, we can infer that the incident started with an attack on the Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned container ship MSC United VIII.

COMMENT:  Is this the start of something larger?  We have to believe that it might well be.  If so, the president must end his inch-by-inch policy and go for a serious anti-Iran punch.  I don't know if he has the spine.  He is not Trump.

December 27,  2023

 

DECEMBER 24 - DECEMBER 25,  2023

We come out of a holiday that is supposed to remind us of peace on Earth and good will toward men, with another military problem on our hands. 

As Fox News reported it, "Three American military personnel were injured during an attack by Kataib Hezbollah terrorists in Iraq on Christmas Day, including one U.S. servicemember who was critically wounded.

The Fox report went on, quoting Secretary of Defense Austin:  “Today, at President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq.  These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Erbil Air Base earlier today, and intended to disrupt and degrade capabilities of the Iran-aligned militia groups directly responsible."

There have been, in recent months, about 100 attacks on Americans in the Iraq-Syria region.  The critical wounding of an American soldier represents an escalation, as does the rather small American response.  Nothing we have done thus far, including verbal warnings to Iran, has stopped the attacks.

A number of military officers interviewed by news organizations have made the point that we might have to strike Iran directly if the attacks continue.  That would obviously represent a major escalation, but we simply cannot go on allowing Iran's proxies to aim at American personnel.  We come off as weak and indecisive, a good description of President Biden, and a good way to drift into a larger war.

Iran also backs Hamas, now fighting a major war against Israel.  Iran clearly is aiming for regional domination, and is doing so even before possessing a full nuclear capacity.  It's working toward that, with only minimal objection from the United States and its allies.

I really dread what might come next.  The excellent CBS Washington reporter, Catherine Herridge, has said that she fears a "black swan" event, slang for an event of catastrophic size that is almost impossible to predict.  I fear the same thing, especially from the unknowns coming across our southern border.

December 25,  2023

 

DECEMBER 22 - DECEMBER 23,  2023

THE COST OF JOE BIDEN:  Although it's a holiday week, the news services are flooding our brains, and the brains of foreign enemies, with polls showing President Biden is the most unpopular president in modern history.  When we hear that, we automatically think of next year's election.

But wait.  The impact of Biden's low numbers is being felt right now, and it has nothing to do with the election.  Embassies on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington assess the United States government every day and rush their findings back to their home countries.  Biden was always seen as a somewhat weak president.  The new, dramatically low poll numbers will reinforce that belief.  Yes, we have a weak president.  We have a divided nation.  Now may well be, in the view of some hostile nations, the time to strike the United States in some way.  Military, political, economic.

Iran threatened today to close down the Mediterranean.  It's unlikely, but it was startling that the threat was made publicly.

China recently told Biden directly that it will surely take Taiwan, although no date was given.

A group of Islamic rebels in Yemen has been aiming missiles at ships in the Red Sea, one of the world's busiest commercial sea lanes.  It is well known that Iran is calling the shots.

North Korea is sounding increasingly belligerent.

No one is acting as if they're afraid of the Biden Administration, because no one has a reason to be.  Biden is heavily influenced by Barack Obama and his crowd of merry appeasers.  No one ever labeled Obama as Mr. Peace Through Strength. 

That doesn't mean a war is about to break out, but the reality is that a weak America leads to a greater likelihood of war.  A strong America does not.  There was no imminent threat of war under President Trump.

There is still almost a year to go before Americans get a chance to change the direction of this country by popular vote.  We have reason to be very concerned that some foreign enemy will see the coming year, the time before the election, as a moment of great opportunity.  We hardly seem ready, or even alert.

December 23,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 20 - DECEMBER 21,  2023

THE BURSTING COLLEGE BUBBLE.  Hard to believe, but the protective bubble surrounding colleges and universities appears to be bursting.  Parents and employers are actually starting to ask serious questions about what is gained in exchange for the vast prices these institutions charge.  There is rebellion in the air.  From Newsweek: 

A college degree used to be a reliable passport to a better-paying career. To employers it signaled a level of knowledge and intellectual skills not shared by someone without a degree. That's why students and parents have been willing to pay increasingly higher tuition, taking out student loans and second mortgages before the graduates earn a dime.
But what if employers lose trust in a college degree?

A recent study finds that employers now believe colleges are not providing value. According to the Freedom Economy Index, a joint project of job-recruiting service RedBalloon and PublicSquare, an overwhelming 91 percent of the 70,000 small businesses they surveyed said colleges are not "graduating students with relevant skills that today's business community needs." Two-thirds strongly disagreed with the notion that colleges are teaching relevant skills.

Indeed, many employers now see a college degree as a negative rather than a positive.

When the survey asked employers if they were "more or less likely to consider a job-seeker with a 4-year degree from a major university or college," employers were four times more likely to answer in the negative (41 percent) than in the affirmative (10 percent), while an additional 42 percent said it made no difference. Amazingly, almost 20 times as many employers were said they were "strongly" less likely to hire the applicant with a college degree than "strongly" more likely.

Why? One respondent complained that college graduates "typically have an incompatible ideology with my business culture." College students indoctrinated in "intersectionality" and "critical gender studies" who are trained to spot "microaggressions" in every mundane interaction do not, it seems, make for sought-after employees.

The "woke" ideological orthodoxy on campus isn't doing students any favors. Colleges were once regarded as places where students critically assessed a wide variety of viewpoints, but employers no longer see them that way. When asked whether colleges are "fostering free speech and debate, thereby graduating students capable of debating ideas and using critical thinking," a whopping 97 percent disagreed.

Employers aren't just complaining about the lack of value in a college degree. They're eliminating it as a requirement for many entry-level jobs. Companies such as Accenture, Bank of America, Google, IBM, and Walmart no longer require college degrees for hundreds of different positions. A report by the Burning Glass Institute last year predicted that "an additional 1.4 million jobs could open to workers without college degrees over the next five years."

COMMENT:  I'm not shocked at the survey results.  We've been hearing complaints from employers for years, especially about the ability of many college graduates to communicate in simple English, or even to understand the basic ideas of the American Constitution.

And I think many of us are shocked by the sheer immaturity that we see on campuses, not only in students, but in faculty members as well. 

Demolishing the leftist educational establishment will not be easy, but there are signs that the common-sense invasion force is on its way.

December 21,  2023

 

BULLETIN:  Conservatives found in the Ivy League!   The discovery has brought new hope that America will survive.  The conservatives have been placed under guard and coated with preservatives.  From College Fix: 

Conservative students at elite universities built a collegiate network for pro-life advocacy that has expanded to examine broader Judeo-Christian themes of human flourishing.

The upcoming conference of The David Network is scheduled for January 2024 in Washington, D.C., according to the organization’s website. It will coincide with the annual March for Life and unite “hundreds of students” from the eight Ivy League universities, Stanford, and MIT.

“I think as pro-life or religious or conservative students at these overwhelmingly liberal institutions, it is easy to feel like you’re alone,” former member Autumn Cramer told The College Fix in an email interview. “Having a huge group of people (students, professionals, otherwise accomplished folks) who think like you is very empowering.”
Cramer is a recent Cornell University graduate who led the network’s 2022 conference as a college senior.

The David Network began in 2020 with help from conservative donors as a student-run initiative sponsoring flights, buses, meals, and lodging for over 100 Ivy League students attending the annual March for Life in January.

That year, students also organized a conference featuring high-profile speakers, including former presidential candidate Ben Carson, Ohio State Senator Kristina Roegner, and Princeton Professor Robert George, she said.

The first iteration of The David Network’s programming was successful, and since then, the conference has expanded to include more than pro-life issues, she said.

The connections continue beyond the event as well. Cramer said she “found many people through the David Network, even at my own school, that I was able to relate to or bounce ideas off of.”

Now entering its fifth year, the annual summit “is an opportunity for students to meet peers, personally engage with leaders of the conservative movement, and return to their campus equipped to contribute to renewal on campus and in society,” according to its website.

The David Network focuses “on how conservatives, akin to David, can thrive and effectively lead with great encouragement at our hostile progressive institutions, Goliath,” it states.

The most recent conference, in 2023, featured keynote panels on topics such as “The Power of the Abrahamic Tradition” and breakout discussions on business, family, and the future of conservatism, according to its website.

COMMENT:  Please read the whole thing and perhaps send it to young people you know.  Very often, conservative groups in colleges keep a low profile.   But that is changing.  Increasingly, the "automatically liberal" scene at many colleges is being challenged.  There may be hope yet for at least a part of the young generation.

December 21,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 18 - DECEMBER 19,  2023

IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE?  WHO SAID SO?  You're probably all becoming aware of the outrageous 4-3 decision of the Colorado Supreme Court, throwing former President Trump off the 2024 Colorado ballot.  This has never happened before in American history.  The court is made up entirely of Democratic appointees.  From Fox: 

Republicans and other allies of former President Donald Trump are slamming the Colorado Supreme Court for removing him from the state’s 2024 ballot. 

The divided court declared that Trump was ineligible for the White House under the U.S. Constitution's insurrection clause and removed him from the state's presidential primary ballot, setting up a likely showdown in the nation's highest court to decide whether the front-runner for the GOP nomination can remain in the race.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, called the ruling "garbage," and predicted it would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said the United States had effectively relinquished its role of promoting democracy abroad. 

Trump’s youngest son, Eric Trump, said the Court’s decision would add five percentage points to his father’s "already runaway polls." 

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina likewise predicted the ruling would only make Trump stronger in the polls. 

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the Court’s decision amounted to "election interference." 

GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said the Court’s decision had made "a mockery of our political system." 

COMMENT:  Watch this case closely.  It probably will be appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court.  Most analysts are predicting that the high court will throw out the Colorado ruling and restore Trump's place on the ballot.  If it does not, we could have electoral chaos throughout the country as Trump's enemies, and democracy's enemies, try to get the former president tossed off the ballot in other states.

December 19,  2023

 

THE BUILDING CRISES:  The comment I hear all the time is that the coming year will be momentous.  We are confronting a presidential election with less-than-superb candidates, and we have a nation that seems adrift.  Does the young, college generation even care?  The education system has been a wrecking ball, destroying any enthusiasm a kid might have for this country.  Meanwhile, everyone in the world seems to want to come here.

We urge readers to get beyond page one.  There are crises building that can involve the United States in a new war during an election year.  Are we ready?  Is the president awake?  Are we going to face an existential threat?  Not a lot of laughs in this.  Consider the following, from Fox: 

EXCLUSIVE: House China Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher is requesting a classified briefing from the Pentagon to discuss ways the United States can work to aid Taiwan in deterrence efforts amid heightened aggression in the region.

Gallagher, R-Wis., penned a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, in which he says the United States needs to build an "arsenal of deterrence."

"In December 1940, while we were still at peace, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously called on the United States to be the ‘great arsenal of democracy,’" he writes. "He said it was the ‘purpose of the nation’ to build ‘with all possible speed, every machine, every arsenal, every factory that we need to manufacture our defense material.’" 

Gallagher said Roosevelt’s call to provide a "lifeline" to allies also helped to "arm our own military in advance of and through the years of heavy conflict and ultimately win the war." 

"Today, the United States finds itself needing to rebuild a different kind of arsenal – an arsenal of deterrence," he wrote.

Gallagher warns that Chinese President Xi Jinping has "ordered the Chinese military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027."

Now, Gallagher is warning that in order to "prevent war," the United States must "quickly remake an arsenal of deterrence that can arm Taiwan as well as our own forces to allow us to prevail in any conflict in the Indo-Pacific."

Gallagher, however, said the United States’s current "struggles" to meet the significant demand for U.S. munitions in Ukraine, and now even in Israel, have revealed "the fragility of our munitions industrial base." 

The committee has engaged in war games simulating a conflict with China over Taiwan, which revealed that the United States "would run out of long-range, precision-guided munitions in less than one week." 

Gallagher warned that the simulation also revealed that the United States would need to fight closer to Chinese defensive fire, and would increase the risk to air and naval assets – as well as the service members who would operate them.

"With no guarantees that a war in the Indo-Pacific would be limited to weeks or even months, the possibility that we may have to fight for an extended period without the most effective assets in our arsenal is deeply alarming," he writes. "In addition, significant delays in the deliveries of critical missiles to Taiwan, including anti-ship Harpoon missiles, make it unclear whether Taiwan itself will have sufficient weapons to defend itself and repel a Chinese invasion."

Gallagher added that "rearming Taiwan after hostilities have commenced, as we did with Ukraine, would be significantly more difficult, if not infeasible."

"Today’s challenges must force us to adapt and think outside the box. If delays are preventing vital weapons from being delivered to Taiwan, we must be creative in putting together capabilities – using weapons and assets already in our inventory – that we can promptly deliver to Taiwan," he said.

Gallagher said if cost and production times are limiting U.S. supplies, he would propose cheaper alternatives that could, instead, be produced quickly, and would complement the more expensive missiles.

COMMENT:  That should keep you awake tonight.  But I wonder if it keeps the president awake.

December 19,  2023

 

DECEMBER 16 - DECEMBER 17,  2023

THE EMERGING HISPANIC VOTE:  My friend Silvio Canto Jr, writing at American Thinker, examines the opinion pattern of the Hispanic communities, one of the most important voting blocs in the country.  This is a must read: 

Another day, and more confirmation that Hispanics are more concerned about inflation (i.e., the economy) than just about anything else.  Let’s read on:

A recent voter survey conducted by the largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization found that Hispanic Americans are most concerned about “inflation/rising cost of living,” “jobs and the economy,” health care costs.

The findings were from a November poll conducted by Democratic polling firm BSP Research, for UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota, organizations which have spent years mobilizing Latinos to vote.

There is more:

It revealed that while Latinos also have concerns about several issues such as health care, crime, guns and immigration, those issues ranked lower as a priority than financial matters. The survey also found that housing affordability “have emerged as a new issue” with Arizona, California and Nevada “leading the way.”

Border security ranked relatively high as the sixth highest priority and education and public-school quality as seventh.

Hispanics ranked social issues as a lower priority. Abortion ranked only ninth, climate change ranked 12th, and “racial justice” ranked 13th.

When asked to name the top three issues of concern, 54% of Latinos named inflation and the increase in cost of living as their top priorities while 44% named jobs and the economy and 33% named health care.

It’s important to remember that this is a poll from “organizations which have spent years mobilizing Latinos to vote.”  Translation: Democrat activists!

COMMENT:  Please read the rest.  It turns out that Hispanics, rather than having a special set of concerns, are pretty similar to the rest of the country.  This will, or should, worry the Democratic establishment, which has long regarded Hispanics as "ours."  Not so fast, friends.

December 17,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 14 - DECEMBER 15,  2023

BACKWARD GOES THE CITY:  Chicago, in its usual decadent way, last elected a "progressive" mayor, rejecting a candidate who actually had a workable vision for the city's future.  Why look at results when you can have so much fun boosting failed theories?

And what does Mr. Progressive propose?  Why, isn't it obvious?  He wants to eliminate all school choice, probably the most successful educational idea we have.  From Fox: 

The Chicago Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday that seeks to move away from school choice and bolster the city’s neighborhood schools to address "long-standing structural racism and socio-economic inequality."

"While the strategic plan will be developed in partnership with our entire CPS community, we are centering equity and students furthest from opportunity," said Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education President Jianan Shi.

He went on to say, "As such, this moment requires a transformational plan that shifts away from a model that emphasizes school choice to one that elevates our neighborhood schools to ensure each and every student has access to a high-quality educational experience."

According to the resolution that was passed, the board looks to "transition away from privatization and admissions/enrollment policies and approaches that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools."

Furthermore, the board wants to create a model where neighborhood schools are central to the education system – one that recognizes these schools as "institutional anchors" in the community to rectify "past ongoing racial and economic inequity and structural disinvestment."

While many CPS students choose schools outside the ones they are zoned for, the board looks to focus on elevating students’ neighborhood schools.

Chicago’s school system currently allows students to apply to the high school of their choice instead of the traditional zip code model that restricts a student to their neighborhood school.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 76% of high school students and 45% of elementary school students do not choose to attend their assigned neighborhood schools.
The board explained via press release that the resolution aims to develop and outline parameters for their "five-year strategic plan."

COMMENT:  Simply unbelievable.  Going back in time.  This is what happens when the left is in firm control of education.   The leftists do what is good for the leftists and their leaders and their precious ideology.  Children don't count and probably shouldn't be born at all.   

Fortunately, school choice is growing elsewhere.  Not everyone wants to be Chicago, but many cities will be held back by the power of the Democratic/Socialist machines and the Marxist-oriented teachers unions. 

December 15, 2023

 

THE BEST OF THE BEST:  We try to find, for our readers, journalism of quality we feel you'd want to examine.  Occasionally we discover something truly outstanding.  That is the case here.  I do urge all of you to read "The Treason of the Intellectuals," by the conservative historian Niall Ferguson.  It comes at a perfect time, after the disgraceful performance of three college presidents before a Congressional committee, and the subsequent national discussion about the rot in our universities. 

Ferguson goes back in time to study the universities that evolved in Germany under Adolf Hitler.  He writes this:  "Anyone who has a naive belief in the power of higher education to instill ethical values has not studied the history of German universities in the Third Reich.  A university degree, far from inoculating Germans against Nazism, made them more likely to embrace it. The fall from grace of the German universities was personified by the readiness of Martin Heidegger, the greatest German philosopher of his generation, to jump on the Nazi bandwagon, a swastika pin in his lapel. He was a member of the Nazi Party from 1933 until 1945."

Something is terribly wrong in our universities.  I believe Ferguson has come closer than anyone in describing what it is.  This is one of the times when the "Hitler comparison" actually works.  You will be disturbed.  Ferguson's piece is in the Free Press.

December 15,  2023

 

DECEMBER 12 - DECEMBER 13,  2023

GREAT MOMENTS IN MEDICINE:  Pretty soon you'll have to check out where your doctor went to med school and what the curriculum actually taught.  We seem to be flirting with madness.  From College Fix: 

A Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons proposal to teach Canadian medical students more about “anti-racism” and “oppression” than “medical expertise” has doctors and academics alarmed.

This week, Do No Harm, a medical watchdog group, launched a petition for physicians to oppose the recommendation, saying it would “corrupt medicine” in Canada.

“The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons may force medical students to learn more about ‘anti-racism’ than actual medicine. Canadian health care is on the fast track to racial division and discrimination,” the organization stated Monday.

The proposal comes from an interim report by the college’s Anti-Racism Expert Working Group. The Royal College oversees medical school education programs in Canada.

Medical training should center around “values such as anti-oppression, anti-racism, and social justice, rather than medical expertise,” according to the report, shared in late November by a member of the working group.

The interim report recommends “de-centering medical expertise” and instead focusing medical school education on the values of “anti-racism,” “anti-oppression,” “social justice and equity,” “inclusive compassion,” and “decolonization.”

“This is not satire. These parasitic idea pathogens will destroy the world,” Concordia University Professor Gad Saad responded Thursday on X.

Saad, an evolutionary behavioral scientist and author in Montreal, said he learned about the report from a Canadian physician who was alarmed by the proposals.

The report makes recommendations regarding the Royal College’s CanMEDS, the framework for physician training in Canada; it is scheduled to be updated in 2025, according to Do No Harm.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  Hands please.  How many of you would choose a doctor with that kind of training?  I see no hands.  Maybe I'm just an old oppressor at heart.

December 13,  2023

 

HOUSTON, WE DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM:  Texas city finally goes the law-and-order route.  From City Journal: 

As the dust settled from Houston’s second round of municipal elections, one thing became clear: law and order wins the day.

In Houston’s mayoral runoff on December 9, John Whitmire, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the Texas Senate, bested Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee by a 30-point margin. The outcome was a repudiation of both Jackson Lee, sunk by high unfavorable ratings, and the city’s outgoing mayor, Sylvester Turner.

Public safety proved decisive in the race. While the city’s stubbornly high crime rates have begun to recede, Houston is still plagued by stabbings, shootings, and muggings.

Voters were concerned, with crime registering in every poll as the top issue; 83 percent of respondents in one of the race’s final polls listed it as their chief worry. In a grim bit of irony, the runoff was held the same day a fatal noonday stabbing occurred outside of the city’s upscale mall, The Galleria.

Whitmire’s campaign remained focused on crime and his legislative record on the issue. The Texas senator was appointed chair of the state senate’s criminal-justice committee in 1993 by a Democratic lieutenant governor and has held that position under subsequent lieutenant governors, all Republicans. In the mayoral race, Whitmire’s public-safety platform called for increasing the number of Houston police officers, using the Texas Department of Public Safety for supplemental support, and implementing second-chance programs to reintegrate ex-offenders. He won the endorsement of the city’s major public-safety unions.

Voters’ fears about crime not only propelled Whitmire to victory but also helped sweep in a slate of Republican city council candidates, each of whom received a higher raw vote total in the runoff than Jackson Lee. Voters elected Republicans Willie Davis, a black pastor; Julian Ramirez, a Hispanic former prosecutor; and Twila Carter, a Houston Astros executive. Republicans flipped one seat on the city council and replaced two outgoing moderate Republicans with more conservative members. While the Houston GOP won’t match its seven-member total from the 2016–2020 term, the city council still has six reliable Republican votes, up from the three that it has had for the past four years.

A diverse coalition drove the Houston GOP’s success. Black voters, long Jackson Lee’s base of congressional support, didn’t turn out in sufficiently large numbers, while Whitmire drew on support from Republicans, who favored Whitmire over Jackson Lee 82 percent to 1 percent, as well from Hispanics and Democrats.

Republicans in Houston have reason for optimism about the incoming administration. Whitmire remained a power player in a Republican-led legislature by working across the aisle, which he has vowed to do in the city council. This style is a change from mayors in recent history, especially outgoing mayor Turner, who, for example, threatened to raise property taxes on residents following Hurricane Harvey as a bargaining chip for more state aid.

COMMENT:  That is good news, and demonstrates the importance of candidate quality and experience.  Whitmire had both.  Too often conservatives put up the guy who is next in line.

Houston will be a better city.  Its citizens finally voted for themselves and their children.

December 13,  2023

 

DECEMBER 10 - DECEMBER 11,  2023

MORE BAD NEWS FOR BIDEN:  Yesterday we noted a poll that reported that President Biden is the least popular president in modern American history. 

As is usual here, we caution that polls are snapshots in time, do not necessarily predict elections, and have a mixed record of accuracy.  A poll taken a year before a presidential election is mostly useful for fun.

And yet, we are compelled to point out the unusual circumstances surrounding President Biden, circumstances that force us to look more closely at current polls, primarily to get a sense of trends in voter opinion.  Those circumstances clearly involve the president's physical condition.

We don't need a medical report to know that Joe Biden is, in some manner, impaired.  All we need is a TV screen.  If a voter looks at that screen, and sees the president consistently stumbling, mumbling and losing his place, and decides that he can no longer vote for Mr. Biden, the game is over.  No medical certificate necessary.  In Europe they would call it a vote of no confidence.

It's clear from polling that Mr. Biden's condition is the great gorilla in the room.  It's not some policy that can be explained.  It's just there, and bound to get worse.  There are even some people who believe that Biden has no moral right to run for re-election because of his condition, that he should put the country first. 

Biden, as of now, looks like a dead duck.  Consider, from CNN: 

Former President Donald Trump has the upper hand over President Joe Biden in two critical battleground states – Michigan and Georgia – with broad majorities in both states holding negative views of the sitting president’s job performance, policy positions and sharpness, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS.

In Georgia, a state Biden carried by a very narrow margin in 2020, registered voters say they prefer Trump (49%) over Biden (44%) for the presidency in a two-way hypothetical matchup. In Michigan, which Biden won by a wider margin, Trump has 50% support to Biden’s 40%, with 10% saying they wouldn’t support either candidate even after being asked which way they lean. In both Michigan and Georgia, the share of voters who say they wouldn’t support either candidate is at least as large as the margin between Biden and Trump.

The two most recent occupants of the White House appear to be the most likely nominees for their respective parties in next year’s presidential election, with Biden’s primary challengers largely lacking traction in polling on Democrats’ preferences, and Trump well ahead of his GOP rivals in nearly all polling – including these surveys – on the nomination race.

Trump’s margin over Biden in the hypothetical matchup is significantly boosted by support from voters who say they did not cast a ballot in 2020, with these voters breaking in Trump’s favor by 26 points in Georgia and 40 points in Michigan. Those who report having voted in 2020 say they broke for Biden over Trump in that election, but as of now, they tilt in Trump’s favor for 2024 in both states, with Biden holding on to fewer of his 2020 backers than does Trump.

COMMENT:  What strikes us is the relentlessness of Biden's low numbers.  Nothing he does seems to work.  He isn't particularly disliked, but he arouses little enthusiasm.  He claims to preside over a growing economy, but Americans still feel, and will continue to feel, the 20 percent "tax" that inflation has brought to them in the Biden presidency.

In any other circumstances, a committee from the Democratic Party would visit the president and, with gushing respect, ask him to leave the ticket.  And Joe Biden would look for a retirement job.

But it isn't happening. Yet.

December 11,  2023

 

WHAT WE MUST KNOW:  I was just going through an inviting new book, "The Worldly Travelers," by David L. Edgell, Sr. and Bonnie Kogos.  It's about a group of famous people – Amelia Earhart, Mark Twain, Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo – that crowd and others – and how their travels and adventures changed them and changed the world.  The stories are remarkable.   

The book made me realize that, right now, America faces more individual foreign crises than at any point since World War II.  Think of it:  Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, Taiwan, our own southern border, Iran, China.  And yet, how much do average Americans actually know about any of these places, places where American soldiers may well have to fight?  Very little, I'm afraid.

We are now having a national debate on education.  It is disorganized, sometimes loud, but at least we're having it.  Many Americans are appalled by the low quality of our educational system, and they are right.  Most education debates center around, reading, writing, and math.  But what about geography?  What about a basic knowledge of the places we see on TV news every day?  Please add geography to your concerns about education.  We used to teach it.  We don't today.

During World War II, President Roosevelt asked Americans to go to map stores and buy maps of a particular region.   The map stores sold out immediately.  The president would then go on the radio – there was no television – and ask his listeners to follow what he was saying on their new maps.  The device worked.  At least some citizens developed a sense of place.  Even without TV, they had a feeling for where their men and women had been sent.

So let us demand that geography regain its rightful place in the classroom.  We must make sure that the next generation will truly be "worldly travelers."

December 11,  2023   

 

DECEMBER 8 - DECEMBER 9,  2023

BIDEN BECOMING THE TITANIC.  AND HE DOESN'T EVEN NEED AN ICEBERG TO SINK.  FROM BREITBART: 

President Joe Biden is the least popular president in modern U.S. history, FiveThirtyEight polling shows.

The poll found Biden’s approval rating is -18 percentage points:
• 37.7 percent approve of Biden
• 55.6 percent disapprove of Biden

Biden’s -18 percentage points is the lowest in modern history, previous FiveThirtyEight polling found:

1 Donald Trump: 41.7 percent approval (-11.9 percentage points)
2 Barack Obama: 44.8 percent approval (-3.4 percentage points)
3 George W. Bush: 51.5 percent approval (+9.8 percentage points)
4 Bill Clinton: 52.0 percent approval (+12.3 percentage points)
5 H.W. Bush: 52.8 percent approval (+13.8 percentage points)
6 Ronald Reagan: 51.8 percent approval (+13.7 percentage points)
7 Jimmy Carter: 44.9 percent approval (+2 percentage points)
8 Richard Nixon: 50.7 percent approval (+14.2 percentage points)
9 Lyndon Johnson: 44.9 percent approval (+3.9 percentage points)
10 Dwight Eisenhower: 77.6 percent approval (+64.5 percentage points)
11 Harry Truman: 50.6 percent approval (+16.7 percentage points)

Despite the negative poll, Biden told donors this week he is running for president to defeat former President Donald Trump. “If Trump wans’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” Biden said, adding that Democrats “cannot let [Trump] win.”

After the event, a reporter asked Biden, “Would you be running if Trump wans’t running?”

“I expect so,” Biden replied. “But he is running, and — I just — I have to run.”

COMMENT:  Something a bit odd here.  If Biden believes that Trump must be defeated for the good of the country, and knows that he, Biden, is so unpopular, wouldn't he want to step aside in favor of a stronger candidate?  I mean, wouldn't that be the action of a true patriot?

Yeah, right.

December 9,  2023

 

LATEST MATHEMATICAL DISCOVERIES, MUST READ:  We have waited eagerly for these numerical breakthroughs.  FROM the Washington Examiner: 

Several states and the District of Columbia have been hit by an election watchdog for failing to clean up their voter rolls of the dead and ineligible.

Judicial Watch said it just finished investigating registrations and sent letters to the district, California, and Illinois warning that they are violating the National Voter Registration Act by not cleaning up the rolls.

In the case of Washington, D.C., Judicial Watch said the voting rolls revealed a much higher number than are eligible to vote.

“D.C.’s total registration rate — its total number of registrations divided by the most recent census estimates of its citizen voting-age population — is greater than 131%,” said the review.

Peanuts!  Peanuts, the leftist pundits say. 

But Judicial Watch also gave credit to the district for moving quickly after receiving its letter to begin removing 103,000 names of ineligible voters. California and Illinois have promised to clean up their rolls.

The Washington-based legal watchdog said, “If Judicial Watch is not satisfied with the jurisdictions’ responses to its notice letters, Judicial Watch plans to sue under the National Voter Registration Act to ensure the jurisdictions take certain reasonable steps to clean up their voter rolls as the law requires.”

The investigation is the group’s latest effort to make sure that there is greater election integrity in the 2024 elections.

“Dirty voter rolls increase the potential for voter fraud,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement. “As Washington, D.C.’s, quick cleanup of tens of thousands of names in response to Judicial Watch shows, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of names on the voter rolls that should be removed by California and Illinois. Indeed, Judicial Watch litigation resulted in the removal of four million names from voter rolls in various states recently."

COMMENT:  Y'mean, election results aren't necessarily accurate?  Y'mean, the numbers can be wrong?  Tell us it ain't so, Joe.  Tell us, Hillary.  Tell us, Barack.

December 8,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 6 - DECEMBER 7,  2023

THE DATE:  I'm part of the generation that does indeed remember Pearl Harbor, or remembers its parents remembering Pearl Harbor.  December 7, 1941, which President Roosevelt called the date that will live in infamy, is one of those dates in American history that never dies.  It was our parents' generation's 9-11. 

I've been thinking about Pearl Harbor, and it turns out that many other people have been as well.  There's kind of a "what if..." game being imagined, but this time the attacker is not Japan, but China.

Could it be?  Could China, right now, pull off the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor attack, but with a very different outcome than Japan encountered?

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, not with the idea of fighting a long naval war against the United States, but with the belief that a weak, underdefended America would not actually fight back at all after the attack, but sue for a negotiated peace, leaving Japan as the dominant power in the western Pacific.  That belief, of course, was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the American character.  As opposed as most Americans were to war in 1941, they would never let their country just buckle and submit.   And they did not.

But what if China, today's China, adopted the Japanese thinking, and believed it could attack Taiwan with massive forces, and that Taiwan could only be saved for our side with an immediate use of American ground troops?  And that today's America has no appetite for war and would immediately seek a negotiated peace, selling out our allies?  Think about that, and how Joe's and Kamala's America looks to the world.  Maybe  the Chinese would reason that Japan's only mistake was attacking the U.S. in the wrong century. 

I'll ask you to take a look at two recent articles.  They will send the proverbial chill up your spine:

From the New York Post: 

A Chinese Pearl Harbor-style attack could end America’s days as a superpower 

From RealClearDefense.com:

The Navy:  Dead in the Water?

Let me know what you think. 

December 7,  2023

 

DECEMBER 4 - DECEMBER 5,  2023

FBI WARNING.  THIS IS NOT A DRILL.  FROM FOX: 

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Tuesday that the terror threat facing the United States has reached unprecedented levels since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Wray to describe the current "threat matrix" facing the United States at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

"What I would say that is unique about the environment that we're in right now in my career is that while there may have been times over the years where individual threats could have been higher here or there than where they may be right now, I've never seen a time where all the threats or so many of the threats are all elevated, all at exactly the same time," the FBI director replied. 

"So, blinking red lights analogy about 9/11 — all the lights were blinking red before 9/11, apparently," Graham continued. "Obviously, all of us missed it. Would you say there's multiple blinking red lights out there?" he asked. 

"I see blinking red lights everywhere," Wray answered. 

He later told Graham that since the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel, when Hamas terrorists brutally murdered at least 1,200 Israelis, a "veritable rogue's gallery of foreign terrorists" has called for attacks against the U.S.

"The threat level has gone to a whole other level since Oct. 7," Wray emphasized.

The director's comments on Tuesday echo what he said in October, when he warned Senate lawmakers, "The actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we haven't seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago.

COMMENT:  Take all warnings seriously.  America is perceived as weak, which is why our bases in the Mideast have been attacked more than 80 times in the last few months.  Fortunately, the damage was light, but that can change in a day.

Our southern border has been used by infiltrators from many countries, including countries of the Mideast.  It takes only a small number to carry out a terrorist attack.  We must assume that Hamas and sister organizations have units in the United States.

I'm worried.  An attack during holiday time would be shattering to our morale.  And it may knock Biden out of the presidential race.  An enemy has many incentives.

December 5,  2023

 

MAJOR COMMERCIAL NEWS.  HOT BULLETIN.  PLEASE READ THIS BECAUSE IT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  FROM DAILY CALLER: 

A new California law slated to go into effect on January 1, 2024, will mandate stores that sell children’s items to have a gender neutral section, according to a state government website.

The law applies to stores that sell “childcare items” or toys and employs a minimum of 500 employees across store locations, and it requires that they offer a section where “a reasonable selection of the items and toys for children that it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys,” according to its text. Stores that do not comply with the law could face a civil penalty and charged $250 after the first offense or $500 for later offenses.

“Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor,” the text of the law reads. “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a slew of bills this year pertaining to gender ideology, including one bill that requires the State Department to create an “LGBTQ cultural competency training” by July 1, 2025, and another that requires the state to create an advisory task force to identify policies to assist LGBTQ students.

Newsom did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

COMMENT:  More fun from California.  I'm all for equality and respect and all that, but Eisenhower said it best:  "You cannot legislate morality."  California is being turned into a left-wing police state.  There will be large regrets. 

And children won't be any better off.

December 4,  2023

 

 

DECEMBER 2 - DECEMBER 3,  2023

THE MADNESS IS STILL WITH US.  If you thought the Palestine madness was fading, you were wrong.  In some places it's still growing.  Right here in New York there was an attempt by the pro-Palestinian leftists to break up the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  And there's this, just in from RedState: 

Pro-Hamas protesters on Sunday night took to the streets of the West Philadelphia neighborhood known as University City, home to Ivy-league school UPenn, igniting smoke bombs with the colors of the Palestinian flag and chanting “Intifada revolution.”

Merriam-Webster describes intifada as an “UPRISING, [or] REBELLION,” while Wikipedia defines it further:

An intifada (Arabic: ??????? intif??ah) is a rebellion or uprising, or a resistance movement. It is a key concept in contemporary Arabic usage referring to a uprising against oppression.

Yes, they are on the streets of an American city calling for rebellion. As Libs of TikTok's Chaya Raichik writes, "Imagine being a Jewish student there…" 

It was a "mostly peaceful" protest, if you consider antisemitic vandalism to be peaceful:

RedState has written numerous articles about the state of higher education in America and the unhinged reactions of both professors and students to the Israel-Hamas war, but this is yet another low for them. Chanting "Intifada revolution?" Seriously?...

...It's astonishing that so many would support this type of action when RedState and other news outlets have extensively documented the savagery and wanton bloodlust of the Hamas attacks. Israel has no choice but to fight back if it wants to survive—yet these people are on the streets applauding Hamas and its regime of terror. 

Hamas still holds over 100 hostages and recently sabotaged ceasefire negotiations by refusing to even list who they were holding. These protesters must know somewhere deep in their hateful minds that Hamas could stop this thing tomorrow by releasing their captives, laying down their arms, and disbanding their terror group. 

But they won't. And zealots will continue storming our streets until they face some actual consequences.

COMMENT:  And that's the point.  The power of the far left, including Soros-financed district attorneys, has made it unlikely that even violent "progressive" protesters will get anything more than a slap on the risk.  And the Democratic Party, once the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, is now the party of the Squad, socialism, and radical Islam.

This is not a good place for this country.  Next year's election may be the most critical in our recent history.  If the left cannot be pushed back decisively, we may well see the American experiment fade away.  I know of nothing that can replace it.

December 3,  2023

 

 

NOVEMBER 30 – DECEMBER 1,  2023

THERE IS OCCASIONALLY GOOD NEWS:  Amidst all the gloom, and the know-nothingism of the WOKE crowd, and the murderous path of Hamas, thoughtful people are doing thoughtful things to save this society.  From College Fix:

A politically diverse group of 138 public figures recently signed and published the Westminster Declaration, a statement aimed at advancing a global free speech movement.

Among the signatories are prominent scholars such as psychologists Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker, biologists Richard Dawkins and Bret Weinstein, economist Jeffrey Sachs, linguist John McWhorter, and medical professors Martin Kulldorf and Jay Bhattacharya.

The scholars have faced cancel culture campaigns for voicing narratives that go against popular progressive opinions on campuses on topics such as intellectual diversity, race and COVID-19.

The declaration is also signed by prominent journalists who have been censored or canceled, such as Bari Weiss, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi.

“We recognize that words can sometimes cause offense, but we reject the idea that hurt feelings and discomfort, even if acute, are grounds for censorship,” it states. “Open discourse is the central pillar of a free society, and is essential for holding governments accountable, empowering vulnerable groups, and reducing the risk of tyranny.”

Freedom of speech “is a vital ‘first liberty’ from which all other liberties follow,” the declaration states. “It is only through free speech that we can denounce violations of our rights and fight for new freedoms.”

The signatories denounce governments, social media companies, and universities all over the world for “increasingly working to monitor citizens and rob them of their voices.”

One of the signatories, Swansea University law Professor Andrew Tettenborn, told The College Fix that censorship in academia comes in various forms.

Some academics who express unpopular views are fired, made unwelcome, or prevented from lecturing, while others see their research papers turned down or promotions held back for political reasons.

“[The latter] don’t tend to get publicity, and purportedly academic justifications are given,” Tettenborn said via email.

COMMENT:  Every bit helps.   And it's clear that at least some minority groups are becoming skeptical of wokism and all the suppression that it requires. 

The momentum is still with those who would destroy free speech to advance themselves, but some guarded optimism is in order.  Free speech advocates are fighting back on many campuses, and polls show that traditional political values are making a comeback. It will, however, be a long and bitter fight.

December 1,  2023

 

THE WAR:  It's 2:40 a.m. and we are watching events in Gaza carefully.  The pause in combat has expired and some ground combat has already been reported.  But we're also told that negotiations to extend the pause are still going on, despite the deadline for an agreement having passed.  If the talks fail, and right now they're failing, expect a return to major combat. 

There are still an estimated 140 hostages being held by Hamas and its sisters in crime.  If the pause truly ends, they are in danger.  On the other hand, if Israel is pressured to show unusual restraint, the world might well see the situation as a Hamas victory.  Hamas is intact, and is fighting.

Meanwhile, the behavior of young Hamasnicks in the United States is thoroughly obnoxious, and has got to be costing them support.  There was an attempt here in New York to disrupt the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  That should make Hamas popular.  There were also, here in New York, repeated attempts to block holiday traffic.  And Hamasnicks down south disrupted the funeral for the late first lady, Rosalynn Carter.  Class.  Real class.

The Gaza war is far from over.  And it can even expand, especially if Iran sees any of its interests threatened.  Stand by.

December 1,  2023

 

 

NOVEMBER 28-29,  2023

FOX STILL DOMINATES.  WE DON'T NORMALLY PRINT TV RATINGS HERE, BUT IN LIGHT OF THE MANY PREDICTIONS THAT FOX WILL SOON SINK INTO THE TIDAL BASIN, WE THOUGHT WE'D RUN A CORRECTIVE PIECE.  FROM, IRONICALLY, FOX: 

Fox News Channel continued its dominance against its liberal competitors CNN and MSNBC, beating both networks combined in primetime viewers during the month of November. 

"Jesse Watters Primetime" was November's most-watched primetime show among total viewers on cable news delivering 2.6 million viewers a night at 8 pm. ET, crushing MS NBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" and "Inside with Jen Saki" (which share the same time slot during the week) averaging just 1.5 million viewers and CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" averaging just 690,000 viewers. 

"Hannity" maintained its status as the most-watched host during the 9 pm. ET time slot scoring 2.3 million total viewers while MS NBC's combined average between "The Rachel Maddox Show" and "Alex Wagner Tonight" (also splitting the time slot on weeknights) was only 1.6 million and CNN's "The Source with Kaitlin Collins" averaged just 532,000 total viewers.

Fox News's Sean Hannity will close the month by moderating the highly-anticipated Red vs Blue State Debate between Republican Florida Gov. Ron Des antis and Democratic California Gov. Gavin News om on Thursday Nov. 30. 

And "Outfield!" laughed its way to the top spot at the 10 pm. ET time slot averaging nearly 2 million total viewers nightly, besting MS NBC's "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" averaging 1.5 million and "Laura Coates Live" averaging just 382,000 total viewers. "Outfield!" was also the most "DVR’d" show among viewers in the advertiser-coveted demo of ages 18-49.

"The Five" continued its streak as the most-watched show in all of cable news for over eight consecutive quarters, reaching an average of 2.9 million total viewers during the 5 pm. ET time slot 

Fox News scored the six most-watched shows in all of cable news. Joining "The Five" are "Jesse Watters Primetime," "Hannity," "Special Report w/ Bret Bauer" reaching 2.17 million viewers in the 6 pm. ET time slot, "The Ingraham Angle" reaching 2.14 million viewers in the 7 pm. ET time slot and "Outfield!"  

COMMENT:  The month was dominated by news from the Israel-HAMAS war, a more-than-serious subject.  The numbers show that Fox still dominates among thoughtful viewers who demand straight shooting.

November 29,  2023

 

A MUST-READ.  WE'RE STARTING TO GET SOME SOLID JOURNALISM ON THE INFILTRATION OF OUR UNIVERSITIES BY FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, SOME OF THEM HOSTILE TO THE UNITED STATES.  IT'S A MAJOR SCANDAL, BUT I WONDER WHETHER POWERFUL ALUMNI ASSOCIATIONS WILL SUPPRESS THE STORIES.  FROM TABLET: 

The Qatari government’s American partners have pursued a range of damage control tactics since Oct. 7, when Hamas, a Qatar-sponsored terrorist group whose senior political leadership is based in the Gulf emirate, murdered over 1,200 people, killing over 30 U.S. citizens and kidnapping a dozen more. Qatari money has spread far across American life, but leading institutions do not often brag about partnering with governments that openly facilitate the work of a genocidally minded terrorist organization that records videos of its atrocities. Such relationships risk becoming a source of public shame, and raise  the specter of long-term damage to an organization’s reputation and brand. Then again, what the public doesn’t know can’t hurt it.

Higher education, one of the last remaining industries in which the U.S. is still the unquestioned global leader, has proven particularly expert in shielding its favorite deep-pocketed investor from public scrutiny. In a new series of reports, a research consortium organized by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy found that some $2.7 billion in Qatari funding made it to American colleges and universities between 2014 and 2019 without public acknowledgment from the institutions themselves. The universities only divulged these contributions, which also included some $1.2 billion from China and $1.06 billion from Saudi Arabia, through a Department of Education online portal set up in 2019 to track previously unreported foreign funding.

Universities in the United States that receive funding from the federal government are legally obligated to disclose direct support or contracts they receive from foreign sources if they are valued at $250,000 or more over the course of a calendar year. But there are ways for these states to fund activities at American universities without the money actually reaching the U.S. or being directly traceable to a government source. The Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Research Fund, the Qatar Fund for Development, and the Qatar Investment Authority are all classified as nongovernment entities under Qatari law, even if their money comes entirely from the crown. While Qatar has made large and highly publicized gifts to American institutions, including $760 million to Georgetown, and $1.8 billion to Cornell, Qatari state-financed entities often fund individual scholars or programs in the United States without official disclosure, thus avoiding public scrutiny.

An upcoming report, which ISGAP shared with Tablet, used the example of Yale University to show the diverse paths through which Qatar supports the work of U.S. universities. As the study notes, the New Haven-based institution disclosed only $284,668 in funding from Qatar between 2010 and 2022.

COMMENT:  Read the whole thing.  What kind of education would your child get in a university that accepts millions from some very bad actors?  Foreign governments don't spend this cash out of the goodness of their hearts or reverence for learning.  They want influence.  They want image.  And they're getting both.

November 29,  2023 

 

 

NOVEMBER 26-27,  2023

CHINA MOVES QUIETLY.  We've been emphasizing to readers the need to read beyond the daily headlines.   We may be concentrating on the war in Gaza, or in Ukraine, but a larger and deadlier enemy is planning a welcoming party for us elsewhere. 

China is our greatest opponent, and it has its eyes on Taiwan.  If China takes Taiwan in a lightning strike, we might as well hand over most of Asia. And quieter strikes are becoming a Chinese specialty.  From Daily Mail: 

The US has little grasp of how deep China's network of espionage and influence operations runs through the nation, a dire warning from Congress has revealed.

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) presence on American soil has already shown itself in the network of secret police stations in major cities and the 'Little Red Classrooms' in kindergartens.

Now, members of the bipartisan House China Select Committee have released a memo detailing how the U.S. has failed to combat Beijing's infiltration - and it could get worse.
The threat comes from the united front, a political strategy Xi Jinping has called his 'magic weapon'.

It's the plan the CCP uses to influence beyond its circle without the information appearing to come directly from the Chinese government.

China spends billions on the united front system each year. United front is affiliated with some 600 groups in the U.S., according to a 2020 Newsweek report, that are all in regular touch with the CCP.

'United front work damages U.S. interests through legal and illegal technology transfer, surveillance of Chinese diaspora communities, promotion of favorable narratives about the PRC through ostensibly independent voices, and the neutralization or harassment of critics of the CCP,' the new report found. 

'The United States has no direct analogue, and the U.S. Government has struggled to counter united front work with traditional counterintelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic tools,' it warned. 

The background memo is meant to guide Americans to remain vigilant if they are targeted by China's influence operations. 

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  China is all over us, and Americans don't seem to care.  I can just imagine the Chinese influence peddling groups hailing our "Chinese brothers and sisters," while those same brothers and sisters have us for lunch, with free soup.

November 27,  2023

 

 

NOVEMBER 24-25,  2023

While we were having our Thanksgiving celebration, and watching hostages released in the Mideast, other schemers were in action.  I thought it interesting to read that some interpreters believe Nostradamus, in his writings, predicted that there will be a war in the Pacific next year. 

Okay, so what did he know?  He didn't even have an iPhone.  Sometimes he was right, and sometimes not, but the "rights" were pretty impressive.  I mean, his books still sell.

And there's serious logic in his prediction.  Next year is a presidential election year in the United States.  Each candidate will try to convince voters that he (or she) is best equipped to keep the country out of war.  The economy looks wobbly, with Americans already hit hard by inflation.  They will not be looking for a fight in the Pacific Ocean when they can barely afford groceries.

And of all our foreign crises, Taiwan ranks pretty low in public passion.  When have you had a dinner-table conversation about Taiwan? 

Finally, we are falling behind China in military readiness.  If China tries to take Taiwan next year, we'd be calling up reserves.  We aren't prepared. 

Yeah, I'm afraid next year looks like the ideal time for China to challenge America in the Pacific.  The old Nostra guy may well have gotten it right.  Another bestseller.

 

 

NOVEMBER 23,  2023

We publish every day of the year, and this is no exception.  The main news today, Thursday, and it is important, is the impending, negotiated pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza.  During this pause, Hamas is obligated to release about 50 hostages it has held since its bestial attack on Israel on October 7th.  Israel, for its part, will release 150 Palestinian prisoners.

Once the pause, to last four days, is over, the two sides might return to combat, or the pause might be extended if more hostages are released. 

Bottom line, the war is now being run according to the whims of Hamas.  It holds the hostages.  It is sickening that it does, but it does.  During the fighting pause, Hamas can now regroup, and try to repair some of the damage to its ranks done by the Israel Defense Forces.

And what if the battle pause actually does come to an end?  The prime minister of Israel has promised his people that Israel will return to the task of destroying Hamas.  But will it get the chance?  We can easily see the "international community" demanding that the "peace" continue, and accusing Israel of warmongering.  And we can easily see the weak Biden administration capitulating, and abandoning our Israeli allies.

That is Israel's worst nightmare – that it may be abandoned, and forced to lose the war started by Hamas. 

It may be America's nightmare as well.  When you abandon an ally, other allies notice, and who will then trust the United States?

November 23, 2023

 

 

NOVEMBER 22,  2023

7:18 p.m. ET:  What a difference half a day makes.  Most of you probably know by now that the end-of-the-world news reports of earlier today turned out to be wrong.  Now, I believe the caution and concern were justified.  It just happens that further information raised doubts that a terrorist act was committed or planned.   There may have been some other criminal activity involving ownership of the car, but the explosion reported earlier occurred when the suspect car hit a barrier, flipped high into the air, and came smashing down.  The explosion was probably just the fuel tank.  No explosives were found, and least not yet.

We'll await further information, but put away your weapons for now.  Especially the bows and arrows.

 

We had planned to put up a note commemorating the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, but events have intervened.  We are following reports of a car explosion at the international checkpoint near Niagara Falls, in the Buffalo area.  We know that two people were killed.  We know that the driver of the suspect vehicle had been ordered to proceed to a second checkpoint for further inspection of his vehicle after the first inspection turned up something of interest.  We know that the vehicle was on its was to the second checkpoint when the explosion occurred.

Because of international events and tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday, there is understandable suspicion that this was a terrorist attack, or perhaps the premature detonation of a bomb. 

We will report to you when more is known.  But there will be reverberations from this incident, and I now wonder whether tomorrow's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City will
go on as scheduled.

Stand by.

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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