Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sound Advice

For John, BLUFWe should all be seeking the Christian power the Holy Spirit brings.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Pope Francis proposed today a beautiful prayer for this week: “Father, give me the Holy Spirit.”
Regards  —  Cliff

The Republican Convention

For John, BLUFThis year all of the old verities must be questioned.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The author is Mr Ed Morrissey, and the date is 22 July.

Traditionally speaking, the Republican national convention would look like a near-total debacle. In the era of television, major-party conventions have become tightly choreographed displays of party unity, bland speeches hailing the nominee, and almost entirely forgotten by everyone except the delegates after the usual polling bump recedes. By that measure, the GOP’s four-day event in Cleveland was a debacle: floor fights, a vanquished primary candidate telling the world from a prime-time main stage speaking slot that he didn’t support the nominee, and a plagiarism scandal that went on at least a day longer than necessary thanks to attempts to rationalize it away.

By any traditional measure, it was a trainwreck, and a wide opening to Democrats to offer a contrast with a traditionally predictable convention in response. Eugene Robinson made that case today in his Washington Post column:

Turns out Captain Ed thinks it might be.

Hat tip to the Hot Air.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, July 23, 2016

PM May Steps to the Dispatch Box

For John, BLUFPrime Minister's Question Time is great entertainment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Last week the outgoing Prime Minister recalled being accosted when on a tour of New York with Mayor Bloomberg. “Hey, Cameron!” yelled a pedestrian, “Prime Minister’s Questions!  We love your show!”.  The House laughed, but it’s an interesting conceit, and one that is not without its merit.  In the Commons relationships are strained and rivalries are fought out, fortunes are made and reputations are dashed, and season finales see big beasts die – and then sometimes come back to life (if you’re Dirty Den or Boris).  All the while the show goes on.

However, if PMQs is a show, then one couldn’t shake the feeling that today’s was a repeat.  It started off originally enough when John Glen kicked things off and the House turned to see George Osborne sitting just below him.  This certainly was novel:  the former Chancellor marooned on the backbenches, nodding along vacantly in the manner of a hostage going along with their captors’ script.  Michael Gove was stranded in the cheap seats too, perhaps concentrating so hard on learning loyalty – as ordered by the Prime Minister – that he zoned out.  So far, so different.

But then as Theresa May took to the despatch box one couldn’t help but notice her husband Philip beaming down with pride from the peers’ gallery above.  Ah, now that’s when we’ve seen this one before!  It was thirty years ago and back then another Prime Minister’s husband watched a grammar school girl from the provinces who went on to Oxford rip apart a shabbily dressed, white haired old lefty.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Yes, the House of Commons is not like Beacon Hill here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  On the other side of the Pond they have the Three Line Whip, but the Members still get to vote on legislation.  Here, in our Commonwealth, the Attorney General decides what the law will be, regardless of the People or the General Court.

Hat tip to Order-Order.

Regards  —  Cliff

Faith Comes to Lowell

For John, BLUFSo much going on and so little information flow.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Steubenville East"?  When I hear Steubenville my mind fills with certain concepts, including Ohio, the Franciscan University and Father Michael Scanlan, TOR.  I think of people living their faith.  So, when I saw the byline, but I was doubly surprised.  From The Pilot and their Staff Reporter, Mark Labbe, we have this lede:
LOWELL -- This is the eighth year in a row Brittany Burkins has attended Life Teen's annual Steubenville East Conference, and for her, it's as much a family affair as it is a time to grow closer to Jesus.
Here in Lowell?
Burkins, 22, said she used to help lead the youth group when she was a teenager, but now volunteers her time to work as security for the weekend event, which ran from Friday evening July 15 to Sunday afternoon July 17 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Tsongas Center.
Then I wonder why this was happening in my City and I didn't have a clue.

I like reading about it.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Playing Chicken With Nuclear Power

For John, BLUFThis is foolhardy and, I hope, a bluff.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Missed this item from the British Independent when it came out Friday last.  Mr Ian Johnston reporting.

The lede:

China plans to build nuclear power stations in the South China Sea to establish “effective control” of disputed islands, officials have reportedly said.
And, in case you think this is just about the South China Sea, the sub-headline was:
Beijing says Japan should ‘exercise caution in its own words and deeds, and stop hyping up and interfering’ in a dispute some fear could lead to war
But, back to nuclear reactors, where are the Environmentalists protesting this kind of foolish action on artificial islands in a Typhoon alley?

Regards  —  Cliff

Turkey's President's EMail Hacked

For John, BLUFWhile the South China Sea is a problem, Turkey is more of a problem right now, until this settles out.  Oh, and the Baltic States.  Someone suggested this last half year of President Obama's Presidency could be a dangerous time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The author of this Wired article is Mr Andy Greensburg and the publication date is 19 July.

The good news is that something like this couldn't happen here.

Here is the lede plus one:

OVER THE WEEKEND, the Internet may have saved the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as protestors organized online to fight a military coup, and Erdogan himself addressed the nation via Apple’s Facetime video-calling app.  Today, however, Erdogan may remember that he doesn’t particularly like the Internet, after all—as hundreds of thousands of his ruling party’s private correspondences allegedly spill onto the web.

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published what it’s calling the Erdoğan Emails, a searchable collection of 294,548 emails it says are leaked from the AKP, Turkey’s ruling political party, and the organization president Erdoğan led before he was elected president.  Turkish citizens and the world community are still struggling to understand the context of Turkey’s coup and the crackdown that’s followed, all of which could make this alleged Erdoğan leak more significant than the secret-spilling group’s average data dump.  However, at the time of writing, it’s not at all clear yet what exactly the Turkish-language megaleak contains, or if the emails are what Wikileaks claims they are.

The coup in Turkey is troubling at several levels, including that members of the military thought they needed to invoke the old theory that the military was the defender of the constitution.  But also because the situation had gotten to this point.  President Erdoğan is known for having said, when Mayor of Istanbul, that Democracy was like a street car.  When you get to your stop you get off.  And given that the European Union has stiff-armed Turkey from the beginning, one imagines that nothing in that area will improve.  And then what direction will Turkey go from here?  The rest of us in the West (Turkey is, in fact, a Western nation) may find Turkey drifting away, perhaps reducing its support against Daesh and against the Syrian Government, and maybe even leave NATO.  If it continues down a Salafist path, will it begin to side with those who have a more rigid view of how society should operate?  Quite possible.

There are a lot of questions out there.

Regards  —  Cliff

Stifling Deviant Behavior

For John, BLUFDeviant in the sense that he has wandered off the beaten Democratic Party path.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be Mr Milo Yiannopoulos, the Editor of Breitbart Tech. Either the Brietbart Reporter, Mr Ben Kew, is on a first name basis with Mr Yiannopoulos or Mr Yiannopoulos is one of those people who goes by his first name, like Madonna.  The third possibility is one that gives me concerns on my own behalf.  The name is too long and complicated to jump to memory when typing.  I just cut and paste. 
Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos has been suspended from Twitter once more just 20 minutes before his “Gays for Trump” event takes place at the Republican National Convention.

The justification for the suspension is currently unknown, although it could be as a result of Milo’s run-in with Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones on the site.  Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly reached out to Jones late on Monday evening after she complained about “abuse” on the platform.  Milo was suspended despite the fact that he sent no abusive tweets to the actress.

BuzzFeed gleefully reported that the suspension is permanent, citing a statement from Twitter promising a clampdown on “targeted abuse.”  Milo has also received a message from Twitter confirming that that his ban is permanent, copied below.

So, has Milo be a bad boy on Twitter?  The article says no.

The alternate explanation is he is being punished for not conforming to Democratic Party/Neo Progressive norms.

Law Professor Glenn Reynolds, in a comment on this story, asks "Why are Democrat-run institutions such rampant cesspits of anti-free speech homophobia."  I hope that isn't the case.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The thing is, once upon a time I missed 21 on a 20 question spelling test, misspelling even my own name in the upper right hand corner of the paper.