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FEBRUARY 10-11,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE: 

CRISIS AT HARVARD:  From College Fix:   Harvard University students need more sleep, and the school should promote and facilitate their rest with special furniture designed for naps, a Harvard Crimson editorial editor, stated in a recent op-ed.  “Our collective lack of sleep shows readily across campus,” human evolutionary biology major Alessandro Hammond wrote for the student newspaper. “People nap in chairs, or even on the library floor, to catch much-needed shuteye before they return to the grind.”  Lack of sleep is associated with many unfortunate known effects, Hammond said, including increased student athlete injury, decreased attention, impaired cognitive development, and increased risk-taking.  Harvard has responded to the need with a required sleep habits survey and a general education class on sleep, Gen Ed 1038, but that’s not enough, Hammond wrote.  Harvard must supply its students with specialized furniture enabling “people to sleep comfortably in any place” for short periods of time, he wrote.  We believe this calls for a national fundraising campaign, maybe even a telethon.  Our hearts go out to the children of Harvard, whose suffering must be great, compared to, say, the children of Ukraine.

February 11, 2023       Permalink

 

AND ANOTHER ONE:  I'm almost hoping that the strange objects appearing over North America and shot down by military aircraft are from outer space.  It would make the story more interesting.   From Fox:

The Pentagon issued a statement Saturday revealing details about how an unidentified object was shot down by the U.S. military over Canada on Saturday.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that President Biden authorized NORAD to work with the Canadian government to shoot down a "high-altitude airborne object" on Saturday after a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

According to the Pentagon, NORAD detected the object over Alaska late Friday evening and monitored the object over U.S. airspace with the assistance of the Alaska Air National Guard and was "tracking it closely and taking time to characterize the nature of the object. 

"Monitoring continued today as the object crossed into Canadian airspace, with Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joining the formation to further assess the object," the statement said. .

A U.S. F-22 Raptor was used to shoot down the object in Canadian airspace using an AIM 9X missile, according to the statement. 

"As Canadian authorities conduct recovery operations to help our countries learn more about the object, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police," the Pentagon said.

The White House released a readout of the call between Biden and Trudeau shortly after the Pentagon's statement that said the president "has been continually briefed by his national security team since the object was detected."

"Out of an abundance of caution and at the recommendation of their militaries, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau authorized it to be taken down," the readout said.

"President Biden authorized US fighter aircraft assigned to NORAD to conduct the operation and a US F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory in close coordination with Canadian authorities."

COMMENT:  The most chilling thing is that we still don't know the origin of these objects.  A best guess would have to include Russia, which, as Sarah Palin once pointed out, can be seen from Alaska.  The downed objects will be studied, and I hope our government gives us an honest report on what is found.

February 11, 2023     Permalink

 

CHINA IS UNHAPPY.  WILL THIS RUIN YOUR DAY?  From Fox:

China has accused the United States of lying to the world after the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning Beijing's statements about a surveillance spy balloon hovering across North America.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with this and firmly opposes it," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said during a daily briefing Friday, accusing the U.S. lawmakers of "hyping up" the balloon for "purely political manipulation."

The stern statement came the day after Republicans and Democrats united in a 419-0 vote to condemn Beijing for a "brazen violation" of U.S. sovereignty and efforts to "deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns."

House Republicans also criticized the Biden administration for not acting sooner to shoot down the aircraft as it hovered from Montana to South Carolina, though defense officials said they disabled its surveillance capabilities.

After the balloon was detected and photos were widely shared online, the Chinese government claimed the object was a civilian weather balloon that had blown off course.

Beijing failed to provide any additional information, including the balloon’s self-steering capabilities or its modern signal surveillance techniques that were "capable of conducting signals intelligence collection" with multiple antennas and other equipment designed to upload sensitive information and solar panels to power them, U.S. officials said.

The U.S. also said the balloon was tied to a major surveillance program run by China’s military, which includes the use of similar aircraft in more than 40 countries under the direction of the People’s Liberation Army. Similar balloons have sailed over five continents, according to the U.S.

COMMENT:   China is testing us, seeing how far we'll really go in confronting the Chinese military.  Most China followers I've read believe China thinks we're a fading nation.  We have to prove that we aren't if our ability to deter warfare is to be maintained...and warfare is distinctly possibly if China makes a move against Taiwan.

There is nothing new on the "object" shot down over Alaska by the U.S. Air Force Friday.  Odd, though, that an object the size of a car flying at 40,000 feet was detected only by our Defense Department.  All modern airliners flying at that altitude have radar, and many airliners fly over Alaska.  Did none of them detect the object?  And what about the many ground radars in Alaska, a state that depends heavily on aircraft to carry on each day.  No detection?  Hmm.

February 11, 2023       Permalink

 

 

FEBRUARY 8-9,  2023

BULLETIN:  The U.S. has shot down an object flying at 40,000 feet over Alaska.  From Fox: 

The U.S. military shot down an "object" that was flying in territorial waters over Alaska, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Friday afternoon during a White House press briefing.

"I can confirm that the Department of Defense was tracking a high altitude object over Alaska airspace in the last 24 hours. The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. Out of an abundance of caution and the recommendation of the Pentagon, President Biden ordered the military to down the object. And they did. And it came in inside our territorial waters," Kirby said.

Kirby added that the "object" landed on frozen waters, and that "Fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command took down the object within the last hour."

He also added that the "object" was "much, much smaller than the spy balloon that we took down last Saturday."

"The way it was described to me was roughly the size of a small car as opposed to a payload that was like two or three buses sized," Kirby said.

Kirby said that he doesn't know of any "outreach" to the Chinese government about the object, and said that the government doesn't know who owns the unmanned object.

COMMENT:  There are no updates on this.  That's all we know.  No one is claiming the "object," and no insurance company, including the good-neighbor one, will pay a claim unless they know the owner.  Speculation ranges from space junk to a UFO from another world.  The briefing did use the word "flying" to describe the object's activity, which means something was propelling it and keeping it at 40,000 feet. 

Stand by.

 

HE'S RIGHT, THE FILM BUSINESS IS DEAD:  Barry Diller is a Hollywood old timer and his pronouncements are taken seriously.  This one is particularly important, and I believe he's correct.  Hollywood is kaput, and so are the Oscars.  "The End" is a deserved ending.  From Los Angeles Magazine:

The Oscars have been in shocking decline for years—from plummeting ratings, representation issues, the irrelevance of Old Hollywood in the face of streamers (not to mention the Andrea Riseborough controversy, Envelopegate and Will Smith’s handsy tantrum).

Recently, Former Paramount CEO Barry Diller offered his own prognosis of the beleaguered industry showcase. Spoiler alert: The situation’s terminal.

“It’s an antiquity,” the current IAC and Expedia chairman told Firing Line‘s Margaret Hoover of the awards process. Citing the Riseborough Affair, Diller noted the internal collapse the movie and awards-show industry have long been suffering. “All awards ceremonies were based on this hierarchical process of a movie going to a theater, building up some word of mouth if it was successful, having that word of mouth carry itself over,” Diller said. “That path no longer exists.”

This isn’t the first time Diller has warned that the sky is falling on the film industry. In 2021, he proclaimed to NPR that the movie business was dead with no path toward revival. Where some may lay blame on increasing ticket prices, the pandemic, the surge of streaming platforms’ critical and consumer popularity, Diller notes the perfect storm created by all of these, underscored by the quality over quantity dilemma.

“I used to be in the movie business where you made something really because you cared about it,” he told NPR. The very definition of movie, he went on, “is in such transition that it doesn’t mean anything right now.”

The sudden cultural ambiguity of movies and how we both define and value them is having an impact on how we access them as well. Last year, Regal Cinemas parent company Cineworld Group filed for bankruptcy after struggling with low admissions and a limited slate of films. As a result, nearly 40 theaters across the country will be shuttered this month. Meanwhile, the number of movies released to more than 2,000 theaters is down more than 30 percent from 2018 and 2019. 

COMMENT:  It's been a long ride down for the movie business.  In the early 1970s, ABC made a TV documentary called, I believe, "Whatever happened to Hollywood?"  That was half a century ago.  And ten years earlier than that, Frank Sinatra warned in an Oscar speech that the business was being taken over by lawyers and agents, neither of whom made movies.  We have been lamenting the death of Hollywood for some time. 

There was once a period when 90 million Americans a week went to "the movies."  They were our primary form of entertainment.  Free television ended that, along with Hollywood's curious obsession with self-destruction.  The industry lost touch with its audience, forgot how to tell stories, and became politicized.  The notion that giving people two hours of pure entertainment was a noble enterprise was laughed at.  And musicals disappeared because the great composers and lyricists disappeared. 

I agree with Diller that there's not much hope.  There is vibrance in television today, but the big screen, once as American as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, has lost its place.  It once had a touch of greatness.  And yes, you can see those "old" movies on your 40-inch living-room TV, to get a feel for that era, and what made it special.

February 9, 2023       Permalink

 

A RARE DEMOCRATIC VOICE:  All right, the State of the Union is history.  We can return to the real world. 

A story today tells of the plight of Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, who is trying his best to govern an ungovernable city.  He had the unspeakable audacity to speak the truth to his party, and look what happened.   From Fox: 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams accused woke Democrats of driving away minority voters during an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday.

While responding to President Biden's State of the Union, Mayor Adams said "There’s a hemorrhaging of our Latino community, our AAPI communities, that’s leaving the traditional Democratic base, because we’ve allowed the loudest and those who consider themselves to be ‘woke.’"

He continued, "Some of us never went to sleep, and we hear and speak directly to people, and I think the party is now understanding that we have to speak at those issues that are important: Jobs, public safety, educating our children, good health care, just these common kitchen table issues that we run away from."

Adams made the case that Biden did a good job in his speech by moving away from "woke" rhetoric in favor of focusing on kitchen table issues.

"This president’s focus on working people is exactly what the nation needs, and his focus on helping Americans care for their children, provide for their families, and put money in their wallets will resonate from coast to coast," Adams released in a statement following the address. "The agenda he laid out goes hand-in-hand with what we are doing in New York City — this is a blue-collar president, I’m a blue-collar mayor, and we’re both pursuing a blue-collar agenda for working people in New York and across the rest of the nation."

In an otherwise sound statement, the mayor exaggerates the role of President Biden in keeping the Democratic Party focused on real issues.  I hear the rhetoric, but I really don't see the effort.

Tony Melone, a spokesman for the New Kings Democrats, a left-leaning faction within the Brooklyn Democratic Party, questioned why Adams would echo Republican rhetoric while talking about members of his party.

"Perhaps the Democratic mayor of NYC shouldn’t amplify Republican talking points on national TV?" Melone wrote on Twitter.

 And...

Since being elected to office, Adams, who was a registered Republican between 1997 and 2001, has clashed repeatedly with progressive wings of his party.

Jeremy Cohan, a co-chairman of the New York City chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, has claimed Adams has done nothing for the working class and people of color.

In remarks to a group of business and civic leaders on Wall Street in December, Adams took shots at progressives who want to tax the wealthy at a higher rate.

"It blows my mind when I hear, ‘So what if they leave?’ No, you leave!" Adams said of progressives questioning why the city needs ultra-wealthy residents. "I want my high-income earners right here."

COMMENT:  If leftist Democrats would embrace Mayor Adams, and help him to clean up the city, all would be better off.  But leftist Democrats have an ideology, and, in their Marxist heads, ideology is above everything.  That attitude is killing their party, and severely damaging the country. 

February 8-9, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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