Friday, October 28, 2022

Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water

At Amazon, Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.

Fucking Idiot Tom Brady Announces Divorce from Smokin' Supermodel Gisele Bundchen

The man's a blazing idiot. Should've stayed retired. Now look at him, a laughingstock, with a 3-5 record in the NFC South. 

Brady announced the formal split on Instagram.

Ms. Gisele's announcement is here

At the Los Angeles Times, "It’s officially over: Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen confirm they’ve finalized divorce."

And at the New York Times, "Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen Say They Have Divorced":

Since they met, Brady, a star quarterback, and Bündchen, a supermodel, have been a high-profile couple, constantly under the public eye. By the time they had met, Brady had already won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Bündchen was one of the most famous people in the world, a fixture on magazine covers and one of the top figures in the fashion industry. In 2016, she was reportedly the world’s highest paid (and richest) model.

In the time that they were together, Brady went on to win four more championships, including one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Bündchen often seen supporting him at games and during trophy celebrations...

Most men would practically die to have a woman like Gisele. Their divorce reminds of the that other fucking idiot Ben Affeck, who completely botched it by losing Jennifer Garner, one of the most beautiful women in the world.

I can't with these two. (Rolls eyes.)


FLAMING SKULL: 'Florida *Democrat* Election Official Blows Whistle of Longstanding ILLEGAL Practice of 'Ballot Harvesting' by Paying Mostly African-American Residents $10 Per Ballot'



On Twitter.

Signs of a Red Wave

A good piece, from Erick Erickson, "Forget the Polls. Here Are the Signs of the Red Wave."

Forty-Five Percent of Americans Say They Want a 'Christian Nation'


At Pew Research, "45% of Americans Say U.S. Should Be a ‘Christian Nation’."

But they hold differing opinions about what that phrase means, and two-thirds of U.S. adults say churches should keep out of politics.

The implication is that Americans want "Christian Nationalism," which is a left-wing boogeyman. 


Pendleton Men's The Original Zip Up Cardigan Sweater

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery

Prepping for the apocalypse.

See, Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout.

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Kaitlyn Dever Has Toned Legs (And a Peek of Abs) In See-Through Top and Miniskirt In 'Late Show' Pics

At Women's Health, "Cruuuushing it."

Three New Yorkers Ordered Cocaine From the Same Delivery Service. All Died From Fentanyl.

I don't do this stuff. I didn't even know coke was popular these days. And you can order it from a delivery service? Hmm.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Cocaine, long popular among New York professionals, is now often tainted with fentanyl, catching users unprepared and driving drug fatalities":

NEW YORK—Ross Mtangi, a trading executive at Credit Suisse Group AG, left his Manhattan penthouse in March 2021 with his laptop and told his pregnant partner he was going to work.

He checked into a nearby hotel and tuned in to work calls. Later, he texted for cocaine from a drug delivery service. A man wearing a baseball cap, cross-body bag and face mask appeared on hotel surveillance.

Mr. Mtangi, 40 years old, missed a follow up meeting. His sister and her partner found him dead at the hotel the next day. Police found on a table translucent black baggies that contained lethal fentanyl mixed in with the cocaine.

In the East Village, first-year lawyer Julia Ghahramani, 26, texted the same delivery service the same day. She also died. She had just started her career remotely at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Social worker Amanda Scher, 38, did the same. She died in the Greenwich Village apartment she shared with her Chihuahua-Corgi rescue dog. It was a stone’s throw from where she had received her master’s degree at New York University.

The three high-achieving New Yorkers had texted the DoorDash-style cocaine delivery service on a late winter Wednesday. They all died from the illicit fentanyl that had been mixed into it.

Fentanyl is a powerful legal opioid, prescribed for cancer patients and others with severe pain. Traffickers have found it is easy and inexpensive to make. The illicit form has spread throughout the illegal drug market, turning up in heroin as well as pills stamped out to look like oxycodone or Adderall and other drugs.

Dealers also cut it into cocaine, a stimulant, to be more potent and addictive, introducing the drug to unsuspecting buyers. A tiny amount of fentanyl can kill unseasoned users.

“Hey try not to do too much because it’s really strong,” read a text sent to Ms. Scher later that night from the delivery number. Ms. Ghahramani missed seven calls from the number.

Sassan Ghahramani, Ms. Ghahramani’s father, said the fentanyl in his daughter’s cocaine was like having cyanide appear in an alcoholic drink during Prohibition.

“Julia was a driven professional with everything to live for. Never in a billion years would she have touched anything with fentanyl,” he said. “This is like putting bullets in people’s brains.”

Can u come thru?

March 17 in New York City is usually festive for St. Patrick’s Day. In 2021, the parade was canceled for a second year and most big company offices were shut. Only around 30% of adults in the city had received at least a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

In the East Village, Ms. Ghahramani, the litigation associate, was one of millions of young Americans starting their career outside of a workplace. She had graduated virtually from Columbia Law School in May 2020 while her parents snapped photos of her and the screen in their Greenwich, Conn., living room.

The daughter of Iranian-born Mr. Ghahramani, an investment research firm founder, and Lily Ann Marden, a real estate finance executive, Ms. Ghahramani made a vow in high school to somehow change the world. She helped give pro bono legal advice to immigrants and advocated for gun control. She spoke on the steps of City Hall as a main organizer of a “March for Our Lives” attended by 150,000 following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in February 2018.

For much of the pandemic, Ms. Ghahramani retreated to her family’s home to work remotely and spend time with her parents and younger twin siblings.

Her final week, Ms. Ghahramani headed back to her Avenue B apartment, saying she had work to do before a family trip the next weekend to celebrate the Persian new year. Ms. Ghahramani told friends and family the workload was intense but that she was loving her first job.

On Wednesday, Ms. Ghahramani sent a text to a phone that prosecutors said belonged to the alleged dispatcher for the drug delivery service, Billy Ortega.

According to his lawyer, Mr. Ortega was a stay-at-home dad in a house in rural New Jersey. According to prosecutors, Mr. Ortega arranged drug deals from the house. He pleaded not guilty to causing the three deaths and distributing drugs and is awaiting trial.

“Can u come thru?,” Ms. Ghahramani wrote.

“I’ll send them right now if you want.”

“That would be great thank you really appreciate it.”

“No worries we family.”

After getting the text, prosecutors said, Mr. Ortega asked a courier, Kaylen Rainey, to handle the day’s deliveries. Mr. Ortega sent him Ms. Ghahramani’s address and instructions to collect $200, prosecutors said, citing texts on their phones.

Prosecutors said Mr. Rainey lived in an apartment registered to Mr. Ortega’s family in public housing in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

He and another courier rented Zipcars to deliver drugs to neighborhoods across Manhattan, prosecutors alleged, collecting up to thousands of dollars a stop. Mr. Rainey pleaded not guilty to causing the deaths and distributing drugs and is awaiting trial.

Nine minutes after the texts, according to police and surveillance footage, Mr. Rainey buzzed Ms. Ghahramani’s apartment bell.

Around six hours after the delivery, her phone pinged.

“Hey” “Hey you there”

Seven calls came in that night and the next morning from the delivery-service number.

Ms. Marden woke that morning in Connecticut knowing something was wrong because she hadn’t heard from her daughter. A friend of Ms. Ghahramani went to the apartment and found her dead, holding her phone. Persian pastries she had ordered for the weekend were in the refrigerator.

“She made a mistake,” Mr. Ghahramani said. “She had a hit of coke and unbeknownst to her it was loaded with fentanyl and it killed her.”

Derailed lives

Cocaine has long had allure in New York City, where in the 1980s it became associated with jet setting clubbers and elite professionals. Usage estimates in the city remain higher than the roughly 2% national rate of Americans taking the drug annually for the past two decades.

The addition of fentanyl into supplies in the past decade has tripled the yearly number of New Yorkers dying. Of 980 cocaine deaths in 2020, 81% involved fentanyl, according to the most recent New York City health department data. The number of people dying from cocaine alone has held steady in the low hundreds.

Drug use overall rose during the pandemic, which derailed work routines and social lives. Fentanyl helped drive total drug fatalities higher. Deaths hit an annual high of 107,521 people in 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up 51% since 2019. Three-quarters of the 2021 deaths involved fentanyl, the CDC said.

New York City authorities have been warning of the risks of unknowingly taking fentanyl in cocaine and of its increased presence in cocaine seized by police. Health officials put up posters and sent drink coasters to clubs warning cocaine users to start with a small dose and to have naloxone, an opioid reversal drug, on hand to counter an overdose. They are handing out fentanyl testing strips that can be used to test cocaine and other drugs for fentanyl’s presence.

Multiple people died within hours from tainted cocaine in Long Island, N.Y., and in Newport Beach, Calif., last year. Nine were killed in Washington, D.C., in January. Law-enforcement officials said dealers often use coffee grinders or other basic equipment to cut drugs and prepare them for sale, which can result in deadly batches...

Their America Is Vanishing. Like Trump, They Insist They Were Cheated.

At the New York Times, "The white majority is fading, the economy is changing and there’s a pervasive sense of loss in districts where Republicans fought the outcome of the 2020 election":

When Representative Troy Nehls of Texas voted last year to reject Donald J. Trump’s electoral defeat, many of his constituents back home in Fort Bend County were thrilled.

Like the former president, they have been unhappy with the changes unfolding around them. Crime and sprawl from Houston, the big city next door, have been spilling over into their once bucolic towns. (“Build a wall,” Mr. Nehls likes to say, and make Houston pay.) The county in recent years has become one of the nation’s most diverse, where the former white majority has fallen to just 30 percent of the population.

Don Demel, a 61-year-old salesman who turned out last month to pick up a signed copy of a book by Mr. Nehls about the supposedly stolen election, said his parents had raised him “colorblind.” But the reason for the discontent was clear: Other white people in Fort Bend “did not like certain people coming here,” he said. “It’s race. They are old-school.”

A shrinking white share of the population is a hallmark of the congressional districts held by the House Republicans who voted to challenge Mr. Trump’s defeat, a New York Times analysis found — a pattern political scientists say shows how white fear of losing status shaped the movement to keep him in power.

The portion of white residents dropped about 35 percent more over the last three decades in those districts than in territory represented by other Republicans, the analysis found, and constituents also lagged behind in income and education. Rates of so-called deaths of despair, such as suicide, drug overdose and alcohol-related liver failure, were notably higher as well.

Although overshadowed by the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the House vote that day was the most consequential of Mr. Trump’s ploys to overturn the election. It cast doubt on the central ritual of American democracy, galvanized the party’s grass roots around the myth of a stolen victory and set a precedent that legal experts — and some Republican lawmakers — warn could perpetually embroil Congress in choosing a president.

To understand the social forces converging in that historic vote — objecting to the Electoral College count — The Times examined the constituencies of the lawmakers who joined the effort, analyzing census and other data from congressional districts and interviewing scores of residents and local officials. The Times previously revealed the back-room maneuvers inside the House, including convincing lawmakers that they could reject the results without explicitly endorsing Mr. Trump’s outlandish fraud claims.

Many of the 139 objectors, including Mr. Nehls, said they were driven in part by the demands of their voters. “You sent me to Congress to fight for President Trump and election integrity,” Mr. Nehls wrote in a tweet on Jan. 5, 2021, “and that’s exactly what I am doing.” At a Republican caucus meeting a few days later, Representative Bill Johnson, from an Ohio district stretching into Appalachia, told colleagues that his constituents would “go ballistic” with “raging fire” if he broke with Mr. Trump, according to a recording.

Certain districts primarily reflect either the racial or socioeconomic characteristics. But the typical objector district shows both — a fact demographers said was striking.

Because they are more vulnerable, disadvantaged or less educated white voters can feel especially endangered by the trend toward a minority majority, said Ashley Jardina, a political scientist at George Mason University who studies the attitudes of those voters.

“A lot of white Americans who are really threatened are willing to reject democratic norms,” she said, “because they see it as a way to protect their status.”

That may help explain why the dispute over Mr. Trump’s defeat has emerged at this moment in history, with economic inequality reaching new heights and the white population of the United States expected within about two decades to lose its majority.

Many of the objectors’ districts started with a significantly larger Black minority, or had a rapid increase in the Hispanic population, making the decline in the white population more pronounced.

Of the 12 Republican-held districts that swung to minority white — almost all in California and Texas — 10 were represented by objectors. The most significant drops occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs and California desert towns, where the white percentage fell by more than a third. Lawmakers who objected were also overrepresented among the 70 Republican-held districts with the lowest percentages of college graduates. In one case — the southeast Kentucky district of Hal Rogers, currently the longest-serving House member — about 14 percent of residents had four-year degrees, less than half the average in the districts of Republicans who accepted the election results.

Many residents say they have lost faith in political leaders — except for former President Donald J. Trump. Montgomery County, Va., is in one of the country’s poorest congressional districts. Many residents say they have lost faith in political leaders — except for former President Donald J. Trump.Credit...Laura Saunders for The New York Times

While Mr. Nehls’s district exemplifies demographic change, Representative H. Morgan Griffith’s in southwest Virginia is among the poorest in the country. Once dominated by coal, manufacturing and tobacco, the area’s economic base eroded with competition from new energy sources and foreign importers. Doctors prescribed opioids to injured laborers and an epidemic of addiction soon followed.

Residents, roughly 90 percent of them white, gripe that the educated elites of the Northern Virginia suburbs think that “the state stops at Roanoke.” They take umbrage at what they consider condescension from outsiders who view their communities as poverty-stricken, and they bemoan “Ph.D pollution” from the big local university, Virginia Tech. After a long history of broken government promises, many said in interviews they had lost faith in the political process and public institutions — in almost everyone but Mr. Trump, who they said championed their cause.

Marie March, a restaurant owner in the town of Christiansburg, said she embodied “the mind-set of the Trump MAGA voter.” “You feel like you’re the underdog and you don’t get a fair shake, so you look for people that are going to shake it up,” she said of the local support for Mr. Trump’s dispute of the election results. “We don’t feel like we’ve had a voice.”

Ms. March, who said she attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington but did not go to the Capitol, was inspired by Mr. Trump to win a seat in the state legislature last year. She said she could drive 225 miles east from the Kentucky border and see only Trump signs. No one in the region could imagine that he received fewer votes than President Biden, she insisted...


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Daniel Wilson, Robopocalypse

At Amazon, Daniel Wilson, Robopocalypse: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries).


Confessions of the Libs of TikTok

At AoSHQ, "Detransitioners tell harrowing stories about being rushed into gender "transitions" they weren't ready for -- and didn't even want."

Andy B. Campbell, We Are Proud Boys

At Amazon, Andy B. Campbell, We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism.


What a lovely, Oriental themed.

'Kanye West's Dark, Twisted Fantasy

From Bari Weiss, at her Substack, "And Jewish reality":

Yesterday was any given Sunday in America, which meant that most Jews were not at all astonished when we looked down at our phones and discovered a former president was calling us ingrates and one of the most famous artists in the world was doing Louis Farrakhan one better. We are long past astonishment.

For those who don’t have an anxious Jewish mother or an internet connection, here’s a glimpse of this past weekend’s bile, starting with Kanye West.

“On TMZ I just saw yesterday it said, ’Pete Davidson and Kim have sex by the fireplace to honor their grandmother.’ It’s Jewish Zionists that’s about that life. That’s telling this Christian woman that has four black children to put that out as a message,” he said on a podcast, in which he went unchallenged by the hosts.

Another clip: “Jewish people have owned the black voice. Whether it’s through us wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt, or it’s all of us being signed to a record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.”

And another: “You know they came into money through the lawyers, when after Wall Street when all of the, like, the Catholics, they wouldn’t divorce people so the Jewish lawyers came and they were willing to divorce people. That’s when they first came into their money.”

In one interview—an interview that the host, a rapper who goes by the name N.O.R.E, celebrated as having gotten more views than Sunday night football—West pulled off a perfect antisemitic hat trick: nod to our apparent sexual deviancy and perversion; accuse us of exploiting other minorities for our benefit; and suggest that our success is ill-gotten. It was almost impressive.

While those clips were going viral, Donald Trump offered his own take on American Jews. “No President has done more for Israel than I have,” the former president wrote on his platform, Truth Social. “Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US. Those living in Israel, though, are a different story—Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be PM! US Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel—Before it is too late!”

Here is the part of the column where I tell you things that are also true.

Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, is a brilliant musician. He is a brilliant musician who is mentally ill.

Also: The Trump White House did a tremendous amount for the cause of Middle East peace.

But those facts do not undermine what is undeniable. Namely, that the wealthiest musician in the world appears to hold deeply conspiratorial views about Jews informed by the antisemite Louis Farrakhan and a hate cult called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose worldview—black people are chosen by God; Jews are pretenders—is disturbingly prevalent in large parts of American culture. And that the former president is criticizing American Jews for being ungrateful, commanding them to show him proper respect—and issuing a veiled threat if they do not. (His staunchest supporters may insist that Trump’s warning “Before it is too late!” meant “Before it is too late for America” or perhaps “too late for Israel,” the implication being that Biden isn’t as supportive of the Jewish state and so Jews need to support Trump. However you read the opaque missive, the toxic notion of the ungrateful Jew is unambiguous.)


Friday, October 21, 2022

2022 May Come Down to Last Gust of Political Wind

From Charlie Cook, at the Cook Political Report:

One thing on which strategists in both parties agree is that next month’s elections will feature a very high turnout level, a continuation of the last two cycles: 2018 featured the largest midterm turnout in 104 years, 2020 the biggest presidential turnout in 120 years. In recent elections it’s become a cliché for partisans to talk about the importance of mobilizing their base, yet in neither of the past two elections have they had much to worry about. This midterm doesn’t figure to end the high-turnout trend.

A hallmark of midterm elections is that those in or leaning toward the party of a sitting president are lethargic, complacent, or at least a little disappointed, and less likely to vote in the general election. True to form, that is the situation Democrats had going into this past summer. Republicans were just more motivated. That gap closed during the second half of the summer and into September. Indeed, the Fox News poll released this week shows Democrats now just as motivated as Republicans.

The extreme partisan polarization in recent years has yielded fewer “true independents,” ones who do not identify with or even lean toward either party, and fewer people voting split tickets. Indeed, few Democrats will now even consider voting for a Republican for anything, nor Republicans cast a ballot for a Democrat. With the party lines so rigorously followed, we now have higher floors and lower ceilings, meaning that in most competitive states and districts, the margins are rarely more than low- to mid-single digits and the trailing candidate usually remains within striking distance of the leader, hoping that circumstances or a key event will enable them to close the gap and surge or just edge ahead.

But just because there are fewer true independents or undecided voters in key races doesn’t mean they are any less important. Indeed, with both parties’ bases so thoroughly motivated, any meaningful growth in support has to come from those non-aligned voters in the middle.

The two closest Senate races in the country are in Nevada and Ohio...



'Biden: Releasing 15 Million More Barrels of Oil Reserves Right Before Election ‘Not Politically Motivated at All!’'

From Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, a huge roundup, "GREAT MOMENTS IN MALARKEY."

Dreo 2022 Upgraded Oscillating Space Heater

Winter is coming.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Bradford DeLong, Slouching Towards Utopia

At Amazon, Bradford DeLong, Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century.

Kim Denise

On Instagram.

Thomas Patterson, How America Lost Its Mind

At Amazon, Thomas Patterson, How America Lost Its Mind: The Assault on Reason That's Crippling Our Democracy.

Liz Truss Fires Home Secretary Hours After Being Jeered in U.K. Parliament (VIDEO)

This woman is in political trouble, man.

At the New York Times, "Britain’s prime minister dismissed Suella Braverman after an email breach. Ms. Truss was also grilled in Parliament over her repudiated budget":

LONDON — Fighting for her political survival after the collapse of her economic agenda, Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain suffered another heavy blow on Wednesday after she was forced to fire one of her most senior cabinet ministers, the second major ouster in a six-week-old government that has tumbled into chaos.

Hours after Ms. Truss rejected demands to resign herself — “I’m a fighter and not a quitter,” she declared — the prime minister dismissed the home secretary, Suella Braverman, over a security breach involving a government document that Ms. Braverman had sent to a lawmaker in Parliament through her personal email.

Last Friday, Ms. Truss fired her chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, who was the architect of the sweeping tax cuts that rattled financial markets and sent the British pound into a tailspin. The government’s subsequent reversal of those measures has left Ms. Truss’s grip on power into doubt — an impression deepened by Ms. Braverman’s blunt criticism of the government on her way out.

Appearing at a stormy session of prime minister’s questions in Parliament, Ms. Truss repeated her apology for the disastrous fiscal program. But she insisted that she could continue to govern despite all the turmoil.

“I had to take the decision because of the economic situation to adjust our policies,” Ms. Truss said, her obvious understatement drawing catcalls from opposition lawmakers and pained expressions from members of her own Conservative Party.

It was a brutal ordeal for Ms. Truss in only her third appearance for such questioning as prime minister. While political analysts said that the session had not produced the kind of knockout blow that would make Ms. Truss’s ouster imminent, the emergence of the news about Ms. Braverman only a few hours later exposed bitter rifts in the cabinet and a prime minister largely at the mercy of events.

Late on Wednesday, there was another eruption of chaos over a vote on whether to ban hydraulic fracking. Amid shifting instructions from Downing Street about how Conservative lawmakers should vote, tempers rose, there were reports — later contradicted by the government — that the government’s chief whip had resigned, and even accusations that some members were manhandled by senior ministers.

Ms. Braverman, a hard-liner who was hostile to moves to allow more immigrants into Britain to help boost the economy, acknowledged she was guilty of a technical breach of security rules. But in her letter of resignation to Ms. Truss, she said she had “concerns about the direction of this government,” accusing it of breaking pledges to voters and, in particular, of failing to curb immigration.

“I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign,” Ms. Braverman added in a reference some saw as an implicit rebuke to Ms. Truss, who has refused to quit despite her admission of a bigger error.

Ms. Braverman was replaced by Grant Shapps, a more centrist figure, whose appointment underscored the shift in the political balance of the cabinet away from the hard-liners who supported Ms. Truss in the leadership contest she recently won and the rising influence of the new chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.

Both men supported the former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, when he ran, unsuccessfully, against Ms. Truss, warning that her economic agenda was a fairy tale. And Mr. Shapps’s support for Mr. Sunak was the reason he was not offered a cabinet job by Ms. Truss when she came to power...

Still more.


Amber Lee's Wednesday Forecast

Ms. Amber's very pregnant!

And boy, it's a scorcher today. 

At CBS 2 Los Angeles:

Yorba Linda Public School District Bans Critical Race Theory. Cal State Fullerton Retaliates by Pulling Teacher-Trainees from the District's Educational Programs

Critical race theory, arghh! It's the cancer of society, gawd.

CSU Fullerton's School of Education is literally punishng the Yorba Linda School District for the crime of its Board of Trustees prohibiting critical theory indoctrination of its students. Just one more salvo in the culture wars, one might say, and a particularly viscous one. 

At the Los Angeles Times, "After O.C. school district bans critical race theory, it faces Cal State Fullerton backlash":

Months after an Orange County school district banned teaching critical race theory, Cal State Fullerton has told school officials it is pausing placement of its student teachers in the system’s K-12 classrooms, citing concerns that district policies conflict with university goals that promote equity and inclusion in education.

Leaders in the university’s College of Education — among the biggest providers of teachers into the county’s public schools — told officials in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District that they did not believe the district would be able to support its student teachers whose training is rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice and tenets of critical race theory, according to a statement from the college.

“Clinical practicums, fieldwork and student teaching are major components of effective teacher preparation,” Lisa Kirtman, dean of the College of Education, said in the statement. “It is critical that we place teacher candidates in districts that support their growth and development.”

She added that she is open to working with the district to provide learning experiences that value “freedom of thought and expression” for the diverse student population.

Kirtman was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon. In an email, a university spokesperson said “the situation is still unfolding.”

Six student teachers from Cal State Fullerton are working in the Placentia-Yorba Linda district this academic year, down from the 70 or 80 teachers that have typically been placed in the system.

In a message to families, district Supt. Michael Matthews said leaders in CSUF’s College of Education asked the district over the summer about its commitment to “providing a just, equitable and inclusive education” after the district board narrowly approved a measure in April banning the teaching of critical race theory...

So much leftist race-ideology hogwash being rammed down the throats of our kids. The School of Education's condescension is despicable. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Voters Overwhelmingly believe American Democracy is Under Threat, But No One Wants to Lift a Finger to Save It

You gotta love this country, especially all the gullible lambs being led to the slaughter. Oh, the country's on the brink? Who cares?!!

Actually, democracy's not on the ballot, is not in danger, and this poll shows it. The New York Times asks leading questions and the rubes parrot what they've heard in the leftist press --- and on Twitter! (Hi Meathead!)

Here, "Voters See Democracy in Peril, but Saving It Isn’t a Priority":

Voters overwhelmingly believe American democracy is under threat, but seem remarkably apathetic about that danger, with few calling it the nation’s most pressing problem, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

In fact, more than a third of independent voters and a smaller but noteworthy contingent of Democrats said they were open to supporting candidates who reject the legitimacy of the 2020 election, as they assigned greater urgency to their concerns about the economy than to fears about the fate of the country’s political system.

The doubts about elections that have infected American politics since the 2020 contest show every sign of persisting well into the future, the poll suggested: Twenty-eight percent of all voters, including 41 percent of Republicans, said they had little to no faith in the accuracy of this year’s midterm elections.

Political disagreements appear to be seeping into the fabric of everyday life. Fourteen percent of voters said political views revealed a lot about whether someone is a good person, while 34 percent said it revealed a little. Nearly one in five said political disagreements had hurt relationships with friends or family.

“I do agree that the biggest threat is survival of our democracy, but it’s the divisiveness that is creating this threat,” said Ben Johnson, 33, a filmmaker from New Orleans and a Democrat. “It feels like on both sides, people aren’t agreeing on facts anymore. We can’t meet in the middle if we can’t agree on simple facts. You’re not going to be able to move forward and continue as a country if you can’t agree on facts.”

The poll showed that voters filtered their faith in democracy through a deeply partisan lens. A majority of voters in both parties identified the opposing party as a “major threat to democracy.”

Most Republicans said the dangers included President Biden, the mainstream media, the federal government and voting by mail. Most Democrats named Donald J. Trump, while large shares of the party’s voters also said the Supreme Court and the Electoral College were threats to democracy.

Seventy-one percent of all voters said democracy was at risk — but just 7 percent identified that as the most important problem facing the country.

These ostensibly conflicting views — that voters could be so deeply suspicious of one another and of the bedrock institutions of American democracy, while also expressing little urgency to address those concerns — may in part reflect longstanding frustrations and cynicism toward government.

Still, among voters who saw democracy as under threat, the vast majority, 81 percent, thought the country could fix the problem by using existing laws and institutions, rather than by going “outside the law,” according to the poll. Those who said violence would be necessary were a small minority. “If we’re just talking about freedom, having freedom, and that we get to have a say in our choices, then I think we still have that,” said Audra Janes, 37, a Republican from Garnavillo, Iowa. She added, “I think that we need to stop trying to rewrite the Constitution and just reread it.”

Overall, voters’ broader frustration with a political system that many view as dangerously divided and corrupt has left them pessimistic that the country is capable of coming together to solve its problems, no matter which party wins in November.

The poll’s findings reinforce the idea that for many Americans, this year’s midterm elections will be largely defined by rising inflation and other economic woes — leaving threats to the country’s democratic institutions lurking in the back of voters’ minds...


On Twitter.

Kari Lake Pushes Back Hard on Leftist 'Election Denier' Smear

People are really impressed with this on Twitter. This woman's very likely to be Arizona's next governor. 

At the New York Times, "Lake Won’t Pledge to Accept Election Results, and More News From the Sunday Shows":

"'Im going to win the election, and I will accept that result,' Kari Lake, a candidate for governor of Arizona, said on CNN..."

Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, refused on Sunday to commit to accepting the results of her election, using much of the same language that former President Donald J. Trump did when he was a candidate.

“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” Ms. Lake said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The host, Dana Bash, then asked, “If you lose, will you accept that?” Ms. Lake, who is running against Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, responded by repeating, “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”

“The people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs,” she added, setting up a framework in which, if Ms. Hobbs were to win, Ms. Lake could present the result as evidence of election fraud. That is one of the arguments Mr. Trump made, suggesting that the 2020 election must have been fraudulent because the idea of President Biden receiving majority support was unbelievable.

Four years earlier, in 2016, Mr. Trump told supporters, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.”

In the interview on Sunday, Ms. Lake, a former television news anchor, continued to embrace Mr. Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen and said, “The real issue, Dana, is that the people don’t trust our elections.”

This is a common argument among Republicans, many of whom have stoked public distrust in elections and then used that distrust to justify restrictions on voting. Ms. Lake said the distrust dated back more than two decades, citing the 2000 presidential election dispute and Democrats’ claims of irregularities in 2004 and 2016, even though the Democratic candidates conceded and there were no extrajudicial efforts to overturn the results...


Vote for Peace, not Perpetual War, on Election Day

At the Orange County Register, "'Don’t Look Up,' the Academy Award-nominated film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, is one of Netflix’s most-watched movies this year. For good reason. It is the most potent political satire in recent memory — but not in the way it intends. The apocalyptic asteroid depicted hurtling toward Earth isn’t an appropriate metaphor for climate change, as the filmmakers imagine, but rather for nuclear war..."


 It's Louise Mensch, former British Member of Parliament and current anti-Putin hardliner on Twitter. 

From last night, on Twitter, "Really looking forward to going on @PiersUncensored tonight with the wonderful @gilliantett and @VickyPJWard : where does Liz Truss go from here?"

BONUS, from earlier today: "Excited to talk Meghan and Harry’s latest escapades with @PiersMorgan and @KatTimpf on @PiersUncensored … minus the reading glasses. :)."

Russia Nationalizes ExxonMobil's Holdings in Sakhalin-2 Oil and Gas Project at Sakhalin Island, Russia

This should be front-page news everywhere. 

ExxonMobil wrote down $3.4 billion relating to it's exit from the Sakalin-2 development. 

I'm gobsmacked at stories like this. We've toppled Third World regimes for less. And now? The war in Ukraine drags on and on in its ugly attrition stalemate. How many times are we going to hear, "Ukraine Forces Make Gains in Zaporizhzhia!," or whatever? *Eye-roll.*

At the Wall Street Journal, "Russia Wipes Out Exxon’s Stake in Sakhalin Oil-and-Gas Project":

Energy company says it has left the country after Moscow transferred its holding to Russian entity.

The Kremlin has pushed Exxon XOM 0.18%▲ Mobil Corp. out of a major Russian oil-and-gas project and transferred the Texas oil giant’s stake to a Russian entity, according to the U.S. company.

Moscow blocked Exxon’s efforts to transfer operatorship and sell its 30% stake in the Sakhalin-1 venture in Russia’s Far East for months, and has now wiped out Exxon’s stake entirely. Exxon on Monday described Moscow’s move as expropriation and said it had pulled out of Russia.

The Kremlin didn’t provide any indication that it would pay Exxon for the value of its stake. Exxon said it has left its legal options open under its production-sharing agreement and international arbitration law. If the company pursues legal action, the matter could take years to resolve.

The largest U.S. oil company vowed in March to leave Russia shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, saying it would make no further investments in the country. It had cultivated ties with Russia for decades, but had withdrawn from at least 10 other joint ventures after the U.S. and its allies imposed sanctions on Russia following its 2014 invasion of Crimea. Sakhalin-1 hadn’t been covered by those sanctions.

Exxon declared force majeure in April, and reduced production from the Sakhalin Island development to about 10,000 barrels of oil and natural gas a day, from 220,000. It also took a $3.4 billion accounting charge related to its Russia exit in the first quarter.

European oil companies with interests in Russia have also worked to exit from the country. In February, Shell SHEL 0.06%▲ PLC said it would exit the Sakhalin-2 venture, another oil-and-gas project in Russia’s Far East, and BP BP 0.00%▲ PLC said it would exit its nearly 20% stake in state-run Rosneft.

Exxon’s exit was particularly complicated because it operated the project and is responsible for safety and environmental measures. The project hasn’t been fully shut down, in part because it provides power to the residents of Sakhalin Island, which is an environmentally sensitive area. Finding a counterparty capable of handling the complex project had been a difficult task. Exxon had operated Sakhalin-1 since the 1990s.

“Our priority all along has been to be a responsible operator by protecting employees, the environment and the integrity of operations at Sakhalin-1,” Exxon spokeswoman Meghan Macdonald said.

Reuters reported Exxon’s exit earlier Monday.

Exxon and its partners had a production-sharing agreement in place since the 1990s. Exxon Neftegas Ltd., a unit of the U.S. oil company, owned 30% of the project and was its operator. Rosneft owns 20%, while Japan’s Sodeco and India’s ONGC Videsh separately own portions.

Exxon expects about 700 employees of its Russian unit to transition to the new operator.

A decree from President Vladimir Putin this month handed Exxon’s stake to a newly created Russian company and said Exxon and other foreign partners of the Sakhalin-1 consortium could apply for ownership in the new entity. Exxon’s exit signals it has no plans to apply for ownership in the project...

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saul David, Devil Dogs

At Amazon, Saul David, Devil Dogs: King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan.

Meet the Temporary Republicans Saving U.S. From the Left

From Sasha Stone, on Substack, "Meet the Temporary Republicans ---- Who Will Save the Country from the Left": 

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” ― Theodore Roosevelt.

What did Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill all have in common? They could see the threat and had the courage to confront it.

Tulsi Gabbard is the one Democrat who could not only recognize the threat of the modern-day Democratic Party but also dares to lead a movement to help take them out of power. And they must be taken out of power until they can get a grip and restore some sanity to the party and the country.

You see the “Temporary Republicans” mostly on Twitter anonymously or in comment sections. But don’t be surprised if you see them turn out in November.

They are parents whose children’s lives or businesses were destroyed by crippling lockdowns. Parents whose toddlers were forced to wear masks inexplicably. Even questioning the absurdity of such an illogical command was verboten....

The “Temporary Republicans” like me will return to being liberals once the Democratic Party returns to liberalism. Right now, though, they have become a puritanical cult that separates children from their parents, separates all of us from our biology, common sense, and rights under the Constitution.

For us Temporary Republicans, we have run out of options. There aren’t many alternatives in a two-party system like ours. We're stuck until we can find a way to have more than just two parties. We must throw our weight behind the best bet to take the Democrats out of power.

We’ve almost become numb to how quickly our rights have been infringed with the forced compliance over vaccines, lockdowns, and masks, and the double standards on denying the results of an election or a violent political protest. We just live with “cancel culture” now as though it’s our new normal. Most of us are still afraid to say what we really think online and sometimes in front of our friends. Maybe all of that won’t end in one election, but it’s a start.

A grassroots movement like MAGA is what has always ensured America has a healthy Democracy. Once our government, media, and powerful monopolies set about silencing them, dropping their social media sites like Parler, calling them terrorists and extremists — that tells you just how afraid they are of anyone threatening their power.

The sense of urgency comes because we are at a dangerous crossroads. Already an entire generation has come of age online, the Zoomers. Every generation that comes after them will have their entire lives online. They will have been conditioned and curated from childhood to follow Big Tech's dictates, which will control every aspect of their lives...




She looks absolutely perfect (on Instagram, at least). 

Paige Spirinac Gets Body-Shamed (VIDEO)

You wouldn't think so. There's obviously a ton of online hatred, but I expect of lot of these "body-shaming" attacks are rooted in pure jealousy or vicious envy.


The Democrats' Willie Horton Problem

At TIPP Insights, "Diana Allocco lays down the facts regarding the Willie Horton case and how Democrats have forgotten the vital lessons from the unfortunate incidents":

One of my objectives, quite frankly, is to lock Willie Horton up in jail.” — Joe Biden, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, bragging Democrats were tougher than Republicans on criminals, 1990.

The nation’s 2022 top-tier fear is crime. Three quarters of Americans say violent crime is a major problem, and getting worse. Democrats’ cashless bail laws, attacks on police, and other liberal soft-on-crime policies have unleashed unrestrained criminality across the country, particularly in Democrat-run cities, where dangerous criminals are no longer locked up in jail. At all. “Arrested-and-released” is now the most common phrase in every crime article.

And this is not just theory to people, or some kind of political talking point. According to a recent Golden/TIPP poll, a record 16 percent of Americans themselves or a family member have been victims of crime — and the distressing numbers are particularly elevated among African Americans, Hispanics, and urban voters, where close to 25 percent — one in four — are crime victims.

Republicans are campaigning hard for the midterms on the real problem of crime — and gaining traction everywhere. The Democrat response: “That’s racist! It’s Willie Horton all over again! Shut up!” ....

To Democrats, Willie Horton is shorthand for: “Racist Republicans using racist dog whistles to get racist votes.” Democrats spit out this name like a two-word incantation, with total confidence that few current voters have any idea what the real story is. Well, let me lay out some essential details — because everything you think you know about Willie Horton is bull...

Leftists are desperate. People are increasingly frustrated with Racism! Racism! Racism! all the time. It's near the bottom of priorities that Americans say are important this year.

In any case, click through at that top link to read the rest. Lots of links embedded in the piece.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Cheryl K. Chumley, Lockdown

At Amazon, Cheryl K. Chumley, Lockdown: The Socialist Plan to Take Away Your Freedom.

An Open Letter to Roger Waters (and Joe Rogan)

From Doug Ross, "What Really Happened In the Middle East."

NBC News' Dasha Burns Interview With Democratic Senate Candidate John Fetterman (VIDEO)

Benny Johnson was stroke shaming Fetterman on Twitter, and I called him out

I think it's cool he's using captioning to help him communicate. And when speaking he doesn't sound like someone who's had a stroke. At the video segment below, he admits he messes up his choice words, saying "that's the stroke." 

He could do a lot worse compared to Biden.

The full interview is here.


Stunning redhead, on Instagram.

Howard Stern Leaves His House For the First Time In Two Years to Have Dinner With His Swanky Hollywood Friends -- and Then Complains He Was Afraid of Covid the Entire Time

That's fucking weird.

At AoSHQ, "You may wonder, but no, this can't be the first time he left his home in two years. Surely he goes in to the studio to do his show...?"

Huge Online Demand Reshapes California Community Colleges

This story is completely accurate. I'm teaching on campus this semester, and whereas I normally have 40 students (the cap) in my Comparative and International Politics courses, neither class cracked 20 students at the start of the fall semester.

I also have a U.S. government class on campus, and it's full, but then, there aren't as many in-person, face-to-face classes scheduled compared to online remote (distance learning). 

The pandemic has indeed changed things. 

At the Los Angeles Times, "Overwhelming demand for online classes is reshaping California’s community colleges."

Saudi Arabia Defied U.S. Warnings Ahead of OPEC+ Production Cut

The Saudis apparently coordinating a cut in production in both countries, at a time when the global economy needs the opposite.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Riyadh dismissed American officials who said the output reduction would be perceived as siding with Russia, in a new blow to relations":

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Days before a major oil-production cut by OPEC and its Russia-led allies, U.S. officials called their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and other big Gulf producers with an urgent appeal—delay the decision for another month, according to people familiar with the talks. The answer: a resounding no.

U.S. officials warned Saudi leaders that a cut would be viewed as a clear choice by Riyadh to side with Russia in the Ukraine war and that the move would weaken already-waning support in Washington for the kingdom, the people said.

Saudi officials dismissed the requests, which they viewed as a political gambit by the Biden administration to avoid bad news ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, on which control of Congress hangs. High gas prices and inflation have been central issues in the campaign.

Instead, the people said, the kingdom leaned on its OPEC allies to approve the cut, which is aimed at reducing production by 2 million barrels a day.

Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, rejected Saudi contentions that the Biden administration efforts were driven by political calculations. U.S. officials questioned a Saudi analysis that the price of oil was about to plunge and urged them to wait and see how the market reacted. If the price did collapse, U.S. officials told their Saudi counterparts, OPEC+ could react whenever they needed.

“It’s categorically false to connect this to U.S. elections,” Ms. Watson said. “It’s about the impact of this shortsighted decision to the global economy.”

Since the OPEC+ decision, the White House vowed to fight OPEC’s control of the energy market. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum called on the U.S. to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia. And U.S. officials started looking for ways to punish Riyadh.

In one of its first responses, U.S. officials said, the Biden administration is weighing whether to withdraw from participation in Saudi Arabia’s flagship Future Investment Initiative investment forum later this month. According to people familiar with the matter, the U.S. has pulled out of a working group meeting on regional defenses next week at the Gulf Cooperation Council, based in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July was meant to repair relations after the president entered office with a vow to treat the kingdom as a pariah over human rights, particularly the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents.

Images of the president’s fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became a polarizing symbol of the trip.

But according to people inside the Saudi government, Mr. Biden’s July visit did little to change Prince Mohammed’s determination to chart a foreign policy independent of U.S. influence, in a break from almost 80 years of American-Saudi partnership.

If anything, said the people inside the Saudi government, the visit angered Prince Mohammed, who was upset that Mr. Biden went public with his private comments to the Saudi royal over Mr. Khashoggi’s death, which prompted Saudi officials to publicly contradict Mr. Biden’s characterization of their interaction.

U.S. officials said they saw no indications in their talks with Saudi leaders in recent months that Mr. Biden’s comments about Mr. Khashoggi had been damaging to ties...


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Nina Burleigh, Virus

Nina Burleigh, Virus: Vaccinations, the CDC, and the Hijacking of America's Response to the Pandemic.


On Instagram.

Coronavirus Subvariant Arrives in Los Angeles County

Oh gawd, here we go again. It's going to be a long winter. *Eye-roll.*

At the Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus subvariant BA.2.75.2 appears in L.A. County. How worried should we be?"

I'm not worried. At all. 

Maggie Haberman, Confidence Man

Pre-order, at Amazon, Maggie Haberman, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.

It's Time to Mandate Treatment of the Dangerously Mentally Ill

From Michael Shellenberger, at Bari Weiss's Substack, "What happens when we leave people with psychosis to their demons? Ask the families of Alison Russo-Elling, Nathaniel Rivers, and Michelle Go":

Last Friday in Queens, New York, Peter Zisopoulos, 34 years-old, described by his neighbors as an “odd, quiet loner,” suddenly set upon Lt. Alison Russo-Elling, 61, a veteran paramedic walking back to her station after lunch. He knocked her down then stabbed her to death in a frenzy. He is now being held at the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, awaiting clearance from doctors that he is stable enough to face arraignment on murder charges. Zisopoulos, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was hospitalized in 2018 after allegedly making anti-Asian threats.

This attack is eerily like the one on that took place the afternoon of July 21, in the Bronx, when Nathaniel Rivers, 35, and his wife, the parents of a young son, were sitting in their car near their home, sharing a pizza, waiting for the rain to pass.

Suddenly, 19-year-old Franklin Mesa came over to Rivers’ car window in an agitated state. Words were exchanged, briefly, before Mesa thrust a knife into Rivers’ chest. Rivers’ wife got out of the car, picked up a pry bar and clobbered Mesa. But it was too late: Mesa had mortally injured Rivers, who died a few minutes later.

Mesa, who has been charged with Rivers’ murder, is said by his family to have schizophrenia. He was well known in the neighborhood for “hostile, aggressive” encounters. Police said he was arrested last year for twice punching somebody in the face. Mesa reportedly once tried to prevent a young mother from getting on a bus.

And yet it appears that nobody made sure Mesa was taking his psychiatric medicine, which his sister said he had been on since he was 15. Had Mesa been properly medicated, Rivers almost certainly would still be alive today.

These horrifying deaths rekindle the national debate over how to prevent violence by the seriously mentally ill. Between 2015 and 2018, 911 calls reporting emotionally disturbed people have jumped by nearly 25 percent in New York City. The share of homeless people in New York with serious mental illness, usually defined as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, has most recently been estimated at 17 percent.

Consider the case of Martial Simon, a 61 year-old mentally ill homeless man, who early this year confessed to pushing 40 year-old Michelle Go onto the subway tracks, where she was killed by an oncoming train. Go was a manager at Deloitte who was lauded for her extensive volunteer work with struggling New Yorkers, including the homeless. Simon has spent decades bouncing between jails and hospitals. Declared mentally unfit to stand trial for the murder of Go, Martial is now being held at a psychiatric facility.

Years before, his sister saw something like this coming, and she pleaded with the authorities to prevent it. “I remember begging one of the hospitals, ‘Let him stay,’” she said, “because once he’s out, he didn’t want to take medication, and it was the medication that kept him going.”

The medical system was warned, by Simon himself, that exactly this was coming. As the New York Times reported: “A homeless advocate who saw Simon’s medical records reports that Simon even told a psychiatrist in 2017 that it was only a matter of time before he pushed a woman onto the subway tracks.”

Though it is difficult to get an exact estimate, a large body of research makes clear that people like Zisopoulos, Mesa, and Simon are just three among hundreds of cases of people in New York alone—to say nothing of cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and others—in which mentally ill people off their medication have assaulted or killed people. And if you think the problem is getting worse, you are right...



Democrats Mad They Might Lose Power to Censor (VIDEO)

It's Saagar Enjeti:

Lauren Boebert: 'Two Words'

Yesterday she posted "Two Words: Let’s Go Brandon!"

Obviously the two words were "fuck you" to Joe Biden (or just Joe Biden?), or at least that's the easiest account for her tweet, which she's not deleted. It's got over 10,000 RTs.  

At Twitchy, "George Takei tries to mock Lauren Boebert’s ‘2 words’ tweet about Biden but drops the mic on his own head (AND Biden’s)."

Paywalls Are Closing Off the Internet

I have exactly three digital subscriptions, to the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. (I go for hard news, even if it's biased sometimes; the New York Times is an amazing paper despite it's identity as a far-left broadsheet: and, frankly, for straight news the Wall Street Journal is just the best all around.) I also subscribe to a few Substack newsletters --- like Andrew Sullivan's --- but I go for the free reader model, where you just get the minimum level of content. I'm not going to be in the business of having $6.00 pulled from my checking account monthly by dozens of writers, many of dubious ability. 

In any case, see Fortune, "Paywalls are here to stay, but they’re closing off the internet. Crypto can fix that."

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

This comes highly recommended. 

At Amazon, Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings: Book One of the Stormlight Archive.

Crimea Bridge Explosion Disrupts Crucial Supply Route for Russian Forces (VIDEO)

At the video, just after 10 seconds, the car was spared a direct hit, but the blast-shrapnel ignited the gas tank and blew up the vehicle. Pretty rad actually, though bummer for the occupants. That's definitely called being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Russian officials blame Kyiv; Ukrainian officials have repeatedly threatened to hit the 12-mile bridge":

A major explosion on Saturday severely damaged the bridge connecting Russia’s mainland to the occupied Crimean Peninsula, disrupting traffic on a crucial artery for the supply of fuel, military equipment and food to Russian troops fighting to hold ground in southern Ukraine.

The bridge, opened by President Vladimir Putin to great fanfare in 2018, was meant to symbolize the might of the Russian state and the permanence of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula four years earlier. Russia even released a feature movie about its construction.

Russia’s investigations committee said three people died after the early-morning explosion of a truck on the bridge’s roadway next to a supply train that was carrying fuel.

Mr. Putin signed a decree requiring the boosting of defenses for Crimean transportation and energy infrastructure links. The decree placed the country’s intelligence service, FSB, in charge of the measures.

Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed leader of Crimea, raised the terrorism alert level to high through Oct. 23.

Some demolition experts who analyzed footage of the blast questioned the Russian version and said that the explosion must have come from under the bridge, caused either by an explosives-laden boat, manned or unmanned, or by shaped charges placed by divers.

Tony Spamer, a former British Army expert on bridge demolitions, said a truck bomb would have created a hole in the middle of bridge but wouldn’t have been sufficient to cut the reinforcing bar and cause the structure to collapse. “You’ve got to attack the whole width of the bridge. Looking at it, it looks like it was attacked from underneath. It’s a monster job,” he said.

Russia rushed to launch ferry services as an alternative, a move made difficult by stormy weather. Crimean authorities said passenger traffic resumed Saturday afternoon on the two surviving lanes of the four-lane road bridge, and rail services should be restarted soon. Civilian flights to Crimea have been suspended since February.

David MacKenzie, a senior technical director at COWI Holding A/S, a Denmark-based company that designs and builds some of the world’s largest and longest bridges, said it would take several months for Russia to be able to fully restore the destroyed spans of the bridge, and that the ban on truck traffic is caused by concerns that the bridge’s substructure has also been damaged. Weight restrictions are likely to be imposed on the railway bridge should it reopen, he said.

“A quite significant fire has taken place, and it will have an impact on the strength of the steel that is there,” Mr. MacKenzie said. “There is a very good chance that the steel on the top of the deck may well have been heated to temperatures well above the limits that the steel takes.”

Russian officials in Crimea were quick to blame Kyiv. “The Ukrainian vandals have managed to reach the Crimean bridge with their bloodied hands,” the speaker of Crimea’s legislature, Vladimir Konstantinov, wrote on social media. Other than ordering a commission of inquiry, Mr. Putin has so far remained silent on the incident, even as Russian lawmakers and politicians called for retribution.

While Ukrainian officials have threatened to hit the strategic bridge in the past, there was no direct claim of responsibility from Kyiv. Senior Ukrainian officials, however, on Saturday expressed delight at the blow to Russian prestige.

Alluding to Mr. Putin’s 70th birthday on Friday, Ukraine’s national-security adviser Oleksiy Danilov posted a video online of the burning bridge next to footage of Marilyn Monroe singing, “Happy birthday, Mr. President.”

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 is considered illegal by virtually the entire international community, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said that he seeks to reclaim all Ukrainian territories seized by Russia.

Russia in recent days moved to annex four other regions of Ukraine where fierce fighting continues, while Mr. Putin ordered the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists to shore up the crumbling Russian front lines, prompting an exodus of Russian men to neighboring countries.

Moscow on Saturday for the first time named an overall commander for the faltering campaign in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin. Previously the head of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, he was this summer identified by the Russian Ministry of Defense as head of Group South, the military grouping that led the fighting to seize the southeastern city of Mariupol. He is a veteran of the Chechen campaign and a former commander of Russian forces in Syria.

Russian nationalists and personalities such as Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Yevgeni Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner private military company, have blamed a rival general, Col. Gen. Aleksandr Lapin, commander of Group Center, for recent defeats that saw Russia lose thousands of square miles in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. There was no word about Gen. Lapin’s fate.

Crimea, the home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, has also become a focus for the Ukrainian war effort as its forces press farther south, especially in Kherson, where dozens of villages have been taken in recent days. Kyiv has attacked several high-profile targets in Crimea in recent months, striking a major Russian air base in Saky and a railway junction near the town of Dzhankoy. It has used American-made Himars missiles to hit the Antonivsky bridge in Kherson, a lifeline for Russian troops in the area.

The bridge over the Kerch Strait accounted for the bulk of fuel and food supplies to Crimea and represented the only way of traveling to and from the peninsula for ordinary Russians...