Saturday, January 27, 2018

Brexit state of mind

Nick Clegg, an an otherwise good FT article noting the emerging logic for extending the Article 50 deadline --

Other EU countries are, privately, just as perplexed. A key figure in the Elysée Palace recently shrugged his shoulders in a gesture of Gallic disbelief when he described to me what the transition period would mean for the UK. “Do they not realise how powerless they will be?” he asked.

Isn't the inability to convey the views of a French official in anything other than classic stereotypes (shrug, Gallic disbelief) an illustration of how elite opinion in Britain got led down the Brexit path in the first place?

Hipster Mayor

Washington Post asking Washington DC Mayor to describe her dream day, which as the Post explains --

The mayor’s dream day, in the one and only city where her dream day could unfold, is pretty much an everyday reality for her.

So --

Then you can go to Le Diplomate for a great dinner.

Here's the menu (or should we say, la carte) for Le Diplomate. Remember, people laughed when David Brooks drew attention to the class element of restaurant menus. They're still laughing -- as they put the credit cards over the bill without even looking to see what it is. 

Saturday Music Selection

Just another work of genius off the assembly line for Paul McCartney (ably assisted by Linda).

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Companion Junket

Via official Jordan news agency Petra, that's US Vice President Mike Pence arriving at Marka Air Force Base after spending just a few hours in Cairo (not much more than he spent in Shannon for a fuel stop).

Note: Pence is accompanied by his wife Karen. This is when the US government is in partial shutdown due to the failure to pass an appropriations bill -- and only essential business is supposed to be conducted. So why is Karen Pence on the trip? To chaperone the VP in case he's alone with Queen Rania or Sara Netanyahu?

Friday, January 19, 2018

It's news all the way down

The above is unintentional illustration of the circularity of poll-driven political analysis in a nutshell. Trump's approval rating is steady as long as there is no "news." When there is news, it goes down. How do we know there's no news? Because his approval rating is steady. How do we know there's news? Because his approval rating goes down.

Note: the current boring news cycle includes: the Stormy Daniels payoff, the latest row over The Wall, the prospective government shutdown, and the sh*thole comments!

This is the same mode of analysis that Nate Silver claims gave him superior insights during the election season. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Not the Golfer-in-Chief

Jordan's King Abdullah -- in uniform (2nd from left) -- visits an army base on the country's northern border. King Abdullah occasionally participates in live fire drills, but this visit was to get a briefing. The King may be showing Donald Trump what being a Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East looks like.

Photo: Petra News Agency.

The end of concept company names

The demise of outsourcer Carillion probably has greatest significance for the world of public procurement, but a side benefit may be the end of meaningless appellations for mega merger corporations cooked up in a consulting firm's groundtruthing office suite. So farewell then Carillion, a name that always sounded 1980s progressive rock legends Marillion.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Social media censorship in large Persian Gulf country

No, it's not Iran. Twitter has removed a post by a prominent Saudi intellectual, Sultan al-Hajri, which criticized the cost of living and recent price increases in Saudi Arabia. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Insider tweeting

That was Trump, yesterday. Today, Reuters --

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One U.S. service member was killed and four others wounded during a “combat engagement” in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the U.S military said in a statement on Tuesday. The incident took place on Monday in Achin, Nangarhar province, the statement said. Two of the wounded service members are being treated at a medical facility and in stable condition, it added. Nangarhar, on the porous border with Pakistan, has become a stronghold for Islamic State, generally known as Daesh in Afghanistan, which has grown to become a dangerous militant group since it appeared around the start of 2015.

Trump would have been told about this yesterday. That means the most logical explanation for his tweet, which otherwise seemed out of context, was that as soon as he was told about the fatality, he picked up the phone and tweeted in anger, at Pakistan, likely reflecting the internal explanation that he was given of how the insurgent group was operating.