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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Conflicting Ideas

For John, BLUFThe Democrats are supporting Palestinian groups, which, in turn, oppose civil rights for homosexuals and the broader LGBTQ Community.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline Blog, by Blogger John Hinderaker, 18 August 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

If Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar had made their visit to “Palestine,” their time would have been devoted exclusively to bashing Israel.  Their attacks would have combined American-style leftism with Palestinian religious solidarity.  And yet, as Scott [Johnson] has pointed out more than once, there are obvious tensions between Islam and the contemporary Left, as embodied by the Squad.  What branch of Islam is it, exactly, that celebrates abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism?

It would be interesting to see a reporter ask Tlaib or Omar about this news story:  “PA Bans LGBTQ Activities In West Bank.”

On the one hand, the Republicans are trying to find unifying themes, while, on the other, the Democrats are trying to find what distinguishes groups from one another, appealing to each.

We should have some admiration for the Democrats, for as Author F Scott Fitzgerald said:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFI remember, from my youth, the struggle for fluoridation, against the "no nothings".  The "antis" were right, but for the wrong reasons.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The findings could undermine public-health messaging, fuel conspiracy theorists, and give pregnant women something else to worry about.

From The Daily Beast, by Reporters Shira Feder And Tracy Connor, 19 August 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

An influential medical journal published a study Monday that links fluoride consumption during pregnancy with lower childhood IQs—a finding that could undermine decades of public-health messaging, fire up conspiracy theorists, and alarm mothers-to-be.

The research was expected to be so controversial that JAMA Pediatrics included an editor’s note saying the decision to publish it was not easy and that it was subjected to “additional scrutiny.”

“It is the only editor’s note I’ve ever written,” Dimitri Christakis, editor in chief of JAMA Pediatrics and a pediatrician, told The Daily Beast. “There was concern on the journal’s editorial team about how this would play out in the public eye and what the public-health implications would be.”

About three-fourths of the United States drinks fluoridated tap water—which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared one of the 10 greatest public-health achievements of the 20th century because it dramatically reduces tooth decay.

With science there are no permanent truths, just expanding chances for research and new breakthroughs.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Climate Change Mass Extinction

For John, BLUFNot all we hear about species extinction will square up with the facts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

From What's Up With That, by Charles the Moderator, 27 May 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

One million species will become extinct in the not-too-distant future and we are to blame.  That is the conclusion of a new study by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was issued on May 6th {the full report will be issued “later this year} and warns that “human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before” and that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss.”

It also asserted that we have seen increasing dangers over the last several decades, stating “the threat of extinction is also accelerating:  in the best-studied taxonomic groups, most of the total extinction risk to species is estimated to have arisen in the past 40 years.”  The global rate of species extinction claimed “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years.”

The release of the report spawned a media frenzy that uncritically accepted the study’s contention that we will see more than 20,000 species per year bite the dust in the not too distant future.  PBS called it the “current mass extinction,” and the New Yorker’s headline read “Climate Change and the New Age of Extinction.”

Ten there is this paragraph, with a reference to a chart in the story:
Below, all 529 species available from the Red List with a known extinction date are shown below in Figure 2 by decade of extinction.  This chart reveals quite a different story than that advanced by the new report.  Instead of a steady increase in the number and rate of extinctions we find that extinctions peaked in the late 1800s and the early 20th century, followed by a significant decline that continues today.  It is thought that this extinction peak coincides with introduction of non-native species, primarily on islands (including Australia).
We need to be aware of species loss, but we have to take a wholistic approach, so we don't dame one species at the expense of another.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 19, 2019

Larger Cities Shifting Politically

For John, BLUFOne implication is that Homelessness is driving a shift toward a more socially conservative electorate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

In some blue cities, a divide is opening between an activist political elite and liberal—but more pragmatic—voters.

From City Journal, by Mr Christopher F. Rufo, Summer 2019 .

Here is the lede plus two:

The political ground may be starting to shift in America’s bluest cities. While San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver remain reliable Democratic strongholds, a divide is opening between the cities’ activist political elite and a liberal, but more pragmatic, majority of voters.

In Denver, voters recently rejected Initiative 300, the “right-to-survive” ballot measure that would have legalized homeless encampments in public spaces. The city’s activist class—progressive politicians, social-justice organizations, and nonprofit service providers—claimed that the city’s camping ban, in place since 2012, is unconstitutional and inhumane. They argued that, since society forces the homeless onto the streets, it must afford them the “right to exist,” which would include living on public property, without interference from law enforcement. Citizens, businesses, and neighborhood groups—led by the Downtown Denver Partnership, National Association of Realtors, and Colorado Concern—rose up in opposition to the initiative, raising more than $2.3 million to fight it. Voters rejected Initiative 300 by an 81 percent to 19 percent margin.

The public sentiment behind the Denver vote has been growing in cities up and down the West Coast, where rampant homelessness has led to deterioration in the quality of life for many residents. In Washington State, progressive lawmakers and activists tried to pass a similar “survival crimes” bill through the state legislature, but it died in committee after a barrage of public opposition. Even in hyper-progressive Seattle, 68 percent of voters don’t trust the mayor and city council to make progress on homelessness, and 53 percent support a “zero-tolerance” policy on encampments.

It isn't like big city electorates are becoming more Republican.  But it is like they want their cities a little cleaner and more orderly.  But, there are a number of equities.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The next election for Sufffock County DA (Rachel Rollins), in 2022, will be a test.

Woodrow Wilson and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles

For John, BLUF"Belief in his own righteousness" has been a problem for a large number of politicians and government servants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Woodrow Wilson thought so.  But his belief in his own righteousness undermined his vision for world peace.

From The Old Gray Lady, by Professor Ted Widmer (distinguished lecturer, City University of New York), 28 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

June 28, 1919, dawned as a beautiful day; fair, with moderate winds, according to The New York Times.  It was a perfect day to see a baseball game, and 28,000 did, going to the Polo Grounds to watch the Yankees and Red Sox split a doubleheader.  New Yorkers could only envy the Red Sox, who had won the last World Series, and seemed poised to win many more, since they boasted “the mighty Babe Ruth, Boston’s swatting all-around player.”

It was hard to believe on this sunny day, but it had been precisely five years since World War I began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.  Since then, nearly 20 million had died, and entire empires, including Franz Ferdinand’s, had vanished.  But those painful memories were softened by the knowledge that nothing so terrible could ever happen again.  Because June 28 was the day that a new history would begin.

Across the Atlantic, outside Paris, another huge crowd thronged the old royal seat of Versailles, where a peace treaty awaited signature.  It was the culmination of months of work, led by the American president, Woodrow Wilson, who had promised to make the world safe for democracy.

There was great hope at that time.  Future North Vietnam-nam leader Ho Chi Minh traveled to France to plead for freedom for his Nation.  Not everyone got what they wanted.
[British Junior Diplomat] Harold Nicolson cautioned, “people who study the past under the conviction that they themselves would automatically behave better in the present are adopting a dangerous habit of mind.”  Perhaps it is better to retrieve what was valuable in 1919 — when America briefly stood for a higher standard — while taking care to avoid the obvious mistakes of a group of politicians who failed to rise above their circumstances.  Who knows how future historians will judge us, as the world slides toward a new era that feels palpably less democratic?
The author writes of America in 1919, "when America briefly stood for a higher standard".  That was a time when racism was on the rise, aided by a racist President, and that same President was so convinced of his own righteousness that he was unwilling to cut a deal with the US Senate.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bee Line to Snopes

For John, BLUFIt seems The Babylon Bee Has gotten under the skin of Snopes.  FYI, The Babylon Bee is a satire site.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Babylon Bee, 19 August 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

As Snopes turns up the heat on The Babylon Bee, its writers were finally forced to admit that they are not real journalists.

In a statement issued Monday, Babylon Bee's editorial team confessed they have been making up their stories this entire time.

"The headlines, the copy, the quotes---they're all fake," said the site's editor in chief, hanging his head in shame.  "It started a few years ago.  We made up a few stories about church culture, some about politics, some about everyday life, just for fun."  But the EIC said that things quickly got out of hand, as their completely made-up stories started going viral.

UPDATE:  (19 August 2019) This story just won't go away.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 18, 2019

French Language Threat

For John, BLUFIt's all Greek to me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Wanderer, by Monsieur John J Metzler, 15 August 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

PARIS — A long linguistic battle between French and English appears to have been settled: English won.  Some twenty-five years after passage of legislation to specifically defend use of the French language, and protect its patrimony throughout the land, what’s known as the Toubon law has become a quaint footnote.

The respected French daily newspaper Le Figaro headlines, “Advertising, Business, and Politics:  Franglais is gaining territory.” Franglais, which is a mix of French heavily mixed with English words and terms, has evolved since WWII.  It does not have its roots in British English but in American English, which like the Latin of old, has become the lingua franca of our modern age.

This is a language driven by entertainment, commerce, and computers more than by the pages of Hemingway.

But the reality is less that of Shakespeare and Longfellow surpassing Molière and Proust, but rather the language of Google and Facebook setting the linguistic parameters in an Anglo information universe. Long before globalization put English on the fast track, it was American music, television, and movie that brought English into the homes and cinemas of France, making it the cultural soundtrack for a generation.

Now, for example, the slogan of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics is Made for Sharing!

Even Air France, the national airline, uses the advertising and branding slogan, France is in the Air!

Though the Toubon linguistic legislation was passed in August 1994 to reaffirm French as the official language of the Republic, practically speaking English has been gaining rapidly in usage especially among the young and the business classes.  Back then the all-knowing State assembled an informal dictionary of 3,000 English words to supplant with French words.  This quickly fell by the wayside as the new expanding Internet injected English phrases into usage on steroids.

Today phrases like start-up, meeting, marketing, and benchmarks proliferate in the French commercial sector.

Part of this, in my opinion, has less to do with the words being English per se, but more to do with being more direct, short, and precise in their meaning and intent than their French counterparts.

For example, I’m looking at a catalogue for the cellphone/cable/WiFi provider Orange.  Here we see Livebox Fibre, 4G Home, Packs Open Up offerings from which to choose.

French radio is swamped by American music.  This is nothing new.  Stations play a steady stream of entertainment from Top 40, to Jazz and Hip Hop.  It’s the same at the movies.  Despite a strong and highly state-subsidized French cinema, the most popular films across France are usually American.  This summer, Lion King has captivated French moviegoers.  Usually about half the major films playing in France are made in the USA.

In a way, it is sad.  But, I remember the introduction of the Toulon Law.  Some of the proposed Français versions of Anglais terms were a little over the top.

Personally, I blame President Trump.

Regards  —  Cliff