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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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MARCH 28-29,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

THE FIGHTING DONALD:  Whether you like him or not, it is impossible to deny the fight in Donald Trump.  The man does not give up, or give an inch.  Attitudes like that can have positive uses.  From Fox:  Former President Donald Trump has expanded his lead in the Republican primary race, while President Joe Biden continues to face uncertainty among Democratic primary voters, according to the latest Fox News national survey. 
Republican primary voters were read a list of 15 announced and potential candidates for the 2024 nomination. The survey, released Wednesday, finds Trump has doubled his lead since February and is up by 30 points over Ron DeSantis (54%-24%). Last month, he was up by 15 (43%-28%).
No one else hits double digits. Mike Pence comes in third with 6%, Liz Cheney and Nikki Haley receive 3% each, and Greg Abbott comes in at 2%. All others receive 1% support or less, and just 3% are unsure.   Trump made gains among almost every key demographic except for White men with a college degree, where DeSantis is up by 12 points.  Among the subgroup of voters who backed Trump in the 2020 general election, 60% support him in the GOP primary, while 25% go for DeSantis and 5% for Pence.  When asked who their second choice would be, Trump primary voters would back DeSantis, and the Florida governor’s primary voters would return the favor and go for Trump.  Look, it's early, and I always warn about taking early polls seriously.  But remember that Trump is a former president, thoroughly known by voters.  They can make a knowledgeable judgment about him.  Unless he's brought low by a legal proceeding, he will be hard to beat.

March 29, 2023       Permalink


ARE YOU BELIEVING THIS NONSENSE?  The imagination of our universities just gets more and more impressive.  From Fox: 

A public university in Indiana’s new guidelines for inclusive hiring emphasizes equity credentials over traditional merit -- and even suggests new professors should talk, dress and act "in ways that authentically resonate" with racial minorities.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis's Office of Academic Affairs issued a document obtained by Fox News Digital that outlines "Inclusive Faculty Search Practices" to improve hiring, advising committees should "move away from abstract conceptions of ‘merit’ and 'fit."

"Merit and fit are social constructions grounded in dominant understandings of ‘which professional qualifications are deemed worthy, and which personal attributes and styles are deemed suitable for a position,’" the guidance states. 

In one section, the guidance contrasts "traditional fit" values and "equity-minded fit" values, saying traditional prospective worker would approach learning "as an individual enterprise in which students are responsible for their success or failure" while an "equity-minded" fit would include prioritizing the "knowledge and needs of racially minoritized students" while viewing learning as "a collaborative enterprise."

The document urges "hiring attention to equity and inclusion" and closing "equity gaps."
The document goes on to detail "traditional merit" vs. "equity-minded merit," and defined "training," "experience," "research" and "teaching" with different meanings when examined through the lens of "traditional merit" and "equity-minded merit."

COMMENT:  Please read the rest.  I know you'll want to, just to be aware of the latest brilliance coming from our houses of learning.  All this stuff is very important in our race with China.  I think we'll win.  They'll have advanced weapons and economic dominance, but we, the winner, will have equity-minded merit.  American know-how, that's what this is.

I mean, it is, isn't it?

March 29, 2023       Permalink 

 

CHINA KEEPS APPLYING THE HEAT:  They are relentless, and it is folly to think they're going to back down from the brink just because we ask them to.  From Fox: 

China has threatened to retaliate against the United States and Taiwan over a planned meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Beijing has repeatedly alleged the U.S. and Taiwan are acting in secret to push for Taiwan’s independence and threatened "resolute countermeasures" should the two leaders meet.
Tsai is scheduled to meet McCarthy on Wednesday, April 5, when the head of the self-governing island democracy visits Los Angeles, California.

"We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures," Zhu Fenglian, the spokesperson for the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said during a press conference on Wednesday.

The official cautioned the U.S. to "refrain from arranging Tsai Ing-wen’s transit visits and even contact with American officials." It also urged Washington to "take concrete actions to fulfill its solemn commitment not to support Taiwan independence."

Tsai’s itinerary includes a brief stop in New York on Thursday, March 30, before she heads to Guatemala and Belize for several days. She will return to the U.S. in the middle of the week to stay in Los Angeles, where the meeting with McCarthy is scheduled to take place.
She will then head back to Taiwan.

In recent weeks, China has ramped up diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, which governs independently as a democracy, and has mobilized its military forces over the island. The Communist-ruled Chinese mainland has also cautioned regional countries and the West, including the U.S., not to interfere in how it decides to rule over Taiwan.

COMMENT:  What nerve!    A hostile foreign country is telling our speaker of the House who he may meet with.  Once again, we see the cost of weakness.  The Chinese give their bully orders because they know there'll be no cost. From what I read, I get the feeling that most foreign-policy types believe that Taiwan is the hottest flash point in the world right now.  And there can't be a new president elected until November of next year.

March 28,  2023     Permalink 

 

 

 

 

MARCH 26-27,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

WILL MICKEY BE CHOPPED?  FROM CNBC:  Disney will begin layoffs this week, the first of three rounds before the beginning of the summer that result in about 7,000 job cuts, according to a memo sent by Chief Executive Bob Iger.  The cuts are part of a broader effort to reduce corporate spending and boost free cash flow. Disney said last month it plans to cut $5.5 billion in costs, including $3 billion in content spending.  "This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company's workforce reductions," Iger wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNBC. "Leaders will be communicating the news directly to the first group of impacted employees over the next four days. A second, larger round of notifications will happen in April with several thousand more staff reductions, and we expect to commence the final round of notifications before the beginning of the summer to reach our 7,000-job target."  The layoffs were initially announced in February. The job cuts will be cross-company, hitting Disney's media and distribution division, parks and resorts, and ESPN.  Disney is following the lead of Warner Bros. Discovery and other legacy media companies that are cutting jobs and spending. Disney has said its streaming business, led by Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, will stop losing money in 2024. Disney shares are up about 8% this year after falling 44% last year.  It might be a good idea for entertainment companies to get back into the entertainment business and rebuild their audience.  I hope they have learned that giving viewers and moviegoers a steady diet of woke propaganda is unhealthy for the bottom line.  It's amazing, but Americans aren't really interested in being told how terrible their country is.  Bring back comedy.  Bring back musicals.  Bring back family stories. 

AH CAMARO, YOU DID GOOD:   A revered automotive name will be going to the great parking lot in the sky, but may be driving back.  From Daily Mail:   The Chevrolet Camaro, for decades the dream car of many teenage American males, is going out of production.  General Motors, which sells the brawny muscle car, said Wednesday it will stop making the current generation early next year.  The future of the car, which is raced on NASCAR and other circuits, is a bit murky. GM says another generation may be in the works.  'While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro's story,' Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet, said in a statement.  The current sixth-generation Camaro, introduced in 2016, has done well on the racetrack, but sales have been tailing off. When the current generation Camaro came out in 2016, Chevrolet sold 72,705 of them. But by the end of 2021 that number fell almost 70 percent to 21,893. It rebounded last year to 24,652.  At least the car might have a future, but the story goes on to say that it will almost certainly be an electric vehicle.  Horror!  Who needs a muscle car that runs on silicon cells?  What kind of a nation are we, anyway?  Find a way, Chevy!  I want to hear cylinders!

March 27, 2023       Permalink

 

RON AT HIS BEST:  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has won the fight to establish school choice in Florida.  This has to be a major step forward in his campaign.  From Fox: 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed universal school choice into law, resulting in the Sunshine State becoming the 4th state to pass such a law.

Florida House Bill 1 expands available school choice options for all 1.3 million students in Florida by eliminating financial eligibility restrictions and the current enrollment cap.

DeSantis’s office claims the legislation will "further cement Florida’s position as the nation’s leader in school choice."

"Florida already has 1.3 million students who learn full time in a school of their family’s choosing – larger than the entire K-12 student enrollments of 35 other states," DeSantis's office said.

Fox News Digital received a statement from Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. saying "this is a monumental day in Florida history."

"Thanks to Governor DeSantis and the legislature, we continue to be the undisputed leader in school choice. Florida will always make good on our promise to ensure every single child has access to a world-class education," Diaz Jr. said.

Red-state governors across the country have passed universal school choice legislation, igniting what experts call a "revolution."

Republican governors made significant inroads in pushing universal school choice legislation, which did not exist anywhere in the country a year ago. As of now, six states passed universal school choice, including Utah, Iowa, Arizona, West Virginia, and Arkansas.

COMMENT:  School choice may turn out to be the most powerful domestic issue in next year's presidential campaign.  It is immensely popular, and Republicans own it.  The Democrats are actually against it because the teachers unions oppose it, and they own the Democratic Party.

This is an immense opening for the GOP.  Now it needs to exploit it. 

March 27, 2023       Permalink

 

TAIWAN:  I think I've mentioned it before, but I really can't recall a time when this country was confronted by so many threats simultaneously.  And we're not doing well in countering any of them.  I fear that it will take a costly shock to wake us up, and that shock is likely to come from our most formidable enemy, China.  Taiwan is the target, and we have a tendency to put it out of our minds.  From Fox: 

China has more than just historical claims behind its ambitions to take Taiwan, specifically greater industrial production capabilities available on the island as well as an operational foothold in the area that could break up U.S. influence in the region, according to defense and intelligence experts.

"We're talking about a place that manufactures chips, which make the entire world economy move, and … we are way behind when it comes to manufacturing those chips here in the United States," Ilan Fuchs, adjunct professor at American Public University System, told Fox News Digital. "The current administration is trying to catch up, but it's going to take years and years and years to do."

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regularly touts its historical claim to Taiwan, looking to re-integrate the country through diplomatic means and, potentially, military action, if necessary. Party officials last summer issued a policy document on Taiwan that outlined a "one country, two systems" approach similar to that of Hong Kong and Macau, which have "special administrative region" status.

But Hong Kong has watched that status mean less and less after the CCP introduced a new security law to punish citizens found guilty of secession, subversion or "terrorism." Critics viewed the law as an effort to restrict opposition within the regions.

Military action, therefore, seems increasingly likely if Beijing seeks to take control of Taiwan. Such action might seem extreme to exert a historical claim over a territory, but experts made it clear that Taiwan offers significant advantages economically and strategically.

"If the Chinese can then turn Taiwan into a base of operations, they have direct access to the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean," said Brent Sadler, senior research fellow in naval warfare and advanced technology at the Center for National Defense. "Most of the East China Sea is pretty shallow."

"That has a problem when you get into submarine and anti-submarine warfare, it's a lot more conducive to submarines in the Pacific," he said. "So, if you're trying to break out of the first island chain, Taiwan is one way of doing that."

Sadler noted that there is belief that if China can "break" Taiwan, it can break "all the U.S. security alliances that are perceived as a threat."

COMMENT:  The Chinese navy is now much larger than the U.S. Navy.  China has nuclear weapons.  An earlier, more primitive Chinese force inflicted severe casualties on the United States during the Korean War.  And China is developing hypersonic missiles that could pose a chilling, possibly fatal threat to American aircraft carriers.

It is not a good picture for us.  If China attacks Taiwan, and we back down, we're finished as an Asian power.  If we fight alongside the Taiwanese, the battle could be bloody, and long, with no guarantee of success.

I don't want Joe Biden to make the decisions. 

March 27,  2023     Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
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