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SEPTEMBER 26-27,  2023

REACTION TO THE DEBATE:  12:40 a.m.:  So the second Republican debate is over.  And what did we get?

Nothing.

The questions from the Fox moderators were fine, but they did not control the session, which often descended into a shouting match.

There were still too many candidates on the stage for an intelligent discussion, so we didn't get an intelligent discussion.

No one had a breakout moment, a moment when members of the audience could say, "That's the one."  Nikki Haley was hoping for such a moment, but it never came.  

Ron DeSantis bettered his performance in the first debate, but, again, no cigar.  Tim Scott tried to break out by attacking is fellow South Carolinian, Nikki Haley, but he simply came off as rude.

A general consensus among pundits was that the winner last night was Donald Trump.  No one successfully challenged him, even though he wasn't even there.

We will now wait for the flash polls to see if anyone moved the needle.  I don't think there will be anything dramatic to report.  It seems that the only thing that will stop Trump's run for the nomination will be a major blunder on his part, or primary voters' revulsion at his legal problems.

And that's that.

September 27, 2023       Permalink

 

Note to readers:  We will of course have commentary on tonight's Republican debate – after the debate and after I've gathered together reactions from people I consider sane. 

A word about the debate:  My own view is that the only thing important about debates at this stage, 14 months before the election, is who wins, who moves the needle the most in the polls.  Few people will remember any quotes or any moments of great oratory.  Indeed, as the election approaches, most of those debating tonight will be gone from TV. 

Thus, the first issue tonight is whether anyone can show the strength and talent to challenge Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.  We shall see.   

 

THE DEATH RATTLE, AGAIN:  One by one, major chains are leaving America's Democratic-run cities.  The criminals are winning.  From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: 

Target Corp. will shutter nine stores across four states on Oct. 21 because of theft and threats to safety, the company announced Tuesday, the latest — and loudest —example of a retailer exiting urban locations because of crime.

Target said it made the "difficult decision" to close the stores — which include locations in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Seattle, Portland and the San Francisco Bay area — after the Minneapolis-based company determined that theft-preventive measures had proved ineffective. The company said it had tried adding more security, including third-party guards, and using deterrents such as locking up merchandise.

"We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests and contributing to unsustainable business performance," the company said. "We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all."

Target said it would offer the majority of affected employees — though it declined to provide a specific number for those affected — the opportunity to work at other locations.
Target leaders have continued to publicly decry organized retail crime, saying it has seen high levels of it for about a year, and it has hurt the bottom line.

In the spring, Target executives said they expected inventory shrink, attributed in large part to theft and organized retail crime, to reduce the company's profitability by more than $500 million this year compared with last year.

During a call about the company's second-quarter earnings last month, Target CEO Brian Cornell said Target's stores saw a 120% increase in theft involving violence or threats of violence in the first five months of the year.

COMMENT:  Famous names are disappearing from America's cities.  Anyone doing anything about it?  While some Democrats grudgingly admit that "defunding the police" isn't such a great idea, and that crime is a critical problem, many others are sticking with the leftist party line, that criminals are just victims of society, and that it's all Trump's fault.

September 27, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 24-25,  2023

COULD IT BE?  ARE WE ACTUALLY SEEING SOME MATURE, REASONED COMMENTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?  THE SIGNS LOOK GOOD.  FROM THE GREAT GLENN H. REYNOLDS IN THE NEW YORK POST: 

Has the air gone out of the “climate crisis” balloon? 

It’s starting to look like it. Some other causes du jour are looking limp lately, too.

Oh, hysteria is still out there. In Boston this month, I passed a church whose door bore a lurid poster reading “DUE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS, WORSHIP IN SANCTUARY 9-17-23 CANCELED.”

If it were really a global crisis, wouldn’t you want to be praying?...

...Bill Gates, however, is pumping the brakes on climate panic. 

Speaking at a New York Times event, he observed that heavy-handed policies won’t work: “If you try to do climate by brute force, you will get people who say, ‘I like climate but I don’t want to bear that cost and reduce my standard of living.’”

As Gates noted, many of these people are in middle-income countries, like China and India, that are the biggest contributors to carbon emissions today and whose emissions (unlike those of the United States) have been growing.

He also rained on the greens’ apocalyptic parade, saying “no temperate country is going to become uninhabitable.” 

And he cautioned against untested approaches like massive tree planting:  “Are we the science people or are we the idiots? Which one do we want to be?”

Well, the climate policies the political system supports are mostly the ones likely to yield the most graft, and those the corporate world supports are mostly the ones involving massive government subsidies.

But it’s interesting to see Gates softening his tone; it feels as if climate outrage has passed its sell-by date.

Oh, sure, there are still kooks in Europe gluing themselves to roadways and the occasional nut throwing oil on famous works of art, but it’s all started to seem rather forced.

When you see a shift in a social trend like this, it’s almost always happening for the same reason: The people behind it have figured out it’s doing the left more harm than good.

It’s of a piece with the sudden de-emphasis of ESG (environmental, social, governance) as a tool of corporate management. 

In both cases, the detached, well-off white people who mostly run the left dreamed up causes and slogans, which their follow-the-herd peers uncritically adopted until they ran into reality and the rest of the world noticed. 

The reality, as Gates is reminding us, is there’s not actually a climate “crisis” calling for drastic action tomorrow, and running businesses and institutions as if there is one is counterproductive and even outright destructive. 

Another reality is the great mass of people around the globe knows this and has lost patience with it.  

Likewise, investors have figured out ESG is just a way for managers to substitute fuzzy, hard-to-assess performance metrics — basically a “net wokeness” calculus — for clear and well-defined metrics like, you know, how much profit managers produce for shareholders.

It’s not really surprising that, on reflection, shareholders would rather have profit than trendy causes, and voters would rather have jobs and functioning societies than nonstop apocalyptic rhetoric.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  Very well argued.  Maybe people, including voting people, are waking up to the fact that "the sky is falling" is the oldest political scam.  It isn't falling, and climate change is not about to destroy the planet. 

The war for sanity is starting to show some victories.  I hope that the next nut cause to fall is the alleged need for electric vehicles.  It seems that many of them are winding up on the "unsold" lots, and their cost may well be prohibitiveAnd will someone please tell me how much it will take out of the family budget to charge an electric vehicle every night of the month?  Not much talk about that, is there?

September 25, 2023       Permalink

 

HOLLYWOOD SURVIVES, MAYBE:  The writers strike has apparently been settled.  From Fox Business:  (Full disclosure:  I am a member of the Writers Guild of America.)

A tentative agreement has been reached between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the labor union announced Sunday night.

After nearly five months on strike, the WGA Negotiating Committee says it has potentially made a deal with studios, streaming services and production companies, and, as of Sunday, is suspending picketing.

"We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language," the committee wrote in an update.

Though specific details have not yet been made public, the WGA said the agreement is "exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

The WGA said while picketing is suspended, the strike is ongoing and "no one is to return to work until specifically authorized." It encouraged writers to join actors this week on the SAG-AFTRA picket lines.

Before the strike officially ends, the WGA's board and members must vote to approve the deal.

The writers strike began May 2 when approximately 11,500 WGA members walked off the job in protest of better pay, the size of staff on shows and the use of AI in scripts, marking the first screenwriters strike since 2007 and the longest since 1988.

"This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who joined us on the picket lines for over 146 days," WGA West said in a statement to Fox News.

Hollywood actors, who joined the WGA members on strike in July, remain on the picket lines with no deal in the works at this moment.

COMMENT:  We await the verdict of the WGA members.  I will say nothing else.

September 25, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "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."
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