Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Quote of the Day

Dan Azzi on Carlos Ghosn --

For a second, he wonders to himself, is it better to be imprisoned in Japan with free cash or free in Lebanon with imprisoned cash?

Saturday, December 28, 2019


Don Imus is dead. Here's his New York Times obituary. For all the "Trump country" trips that journalists do to diners in Ohio, it would be a better use of their time to study Don Imus. He wasn't from New York City, but he became integral to its political culture through his decades on radio. And whether from being lucky or good, his show was the morning anchor program on WFAN, otherwise an all-sports station, at the very beginning of the all-sports all-the-time format that now accounts for a sizable chunk of your television content. New York is of course a "liberal" city, but lots of conservatives live in the city, or its suburbs, and a visceral political culture was emerging from the mid-1980s. The timelines for Fox News and its major personalities like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity begin there. Rudy Giuliani thrived in it. And of course, the New Yorker who's now President, Donald Trump. Without Imus, it's more difficult to imagine a President Trump. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Outrage of the Day

 They're dressed as priests and altar boys! They're mocking religion! They're saying we should worship rock and roll like Jesus! Head to Twitter immediately and denounce them!

PS: It was released in 1977.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Quote of the Day

Simon Kuper in the Financial Times --

Covering politics today often feels like covering football. There’s the same stupidity of much of the discussion, the blaming of referees and the empty slogans (“Get Brexit done”). There’s also the same abuse: many people now build their identity on blind political partisanship, whether it’s for Trump, Corbyn, Leave or Remain. Cornel Sandvoss, sociologist at Huddersfield University, calls this political fandom.

Friday, December 20, 2019

They still don't get it

House of Commons 2nd reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill -

Jim Shannon (DUP -- Strangford) 

It is clear that a number of issues will make Northern Ireland a less Unionist region of the United Kingdom. Fishermen who bring fish back to Portavogie will be subject to a tariff, and the meat sector will also face tariffs. Does my right hon. Friend agree that Northern Ireland will end up being less Unionist than Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle and London, and that we should be the same as, not different from, everywhere else in the United Kingdom? 

From the same debate, the maiden speech of Claire Hanna -- from the nationalist party that actually shows up in Parliament -- is here

Friday, December 13, 2019

Geoffrey Cox was right

House of Commons 25 September 2019

This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate, but it won't, because so many of them are really all about preventing us from leaving the European Union at all. But the time is coming, Mr Speaker, when even these turkeys won't be able to prevent Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

There is always a line from The Godfather

The UK election result calls to mind Clemenza's reference to "pain in the ass innocent bystanders." 

Sunday, December 08, 2019

That guy in Riyadh

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tweet of concern about the Pensacola shooting refers to a phone call that he had with Saudi Arabia "Foreign Minister al-Saud." This is nonsensical. The foreign minister is a prince and like many in government, shares a descent from the founding al-Saud family -- hence the name of the country! 

Could he not even be bothered to use one of the minister's more specific names, like Faisal bin Farhan? Perhaps his mind was too preoccupied with the aborted but no less bizarre stunt where he was going to bring Bibi with him to Morocco

Quote of the Day

From superbly illustrated interview with Edna O'Brien in the Financial Times --

Her stories are studded with sparkling encounters. “I asked Beckett that once,” she says, when she thought I’d asked her about God. “He said: ‘Hang on, hang on, the bastard doesn’t exist . . . ’ ”

That man again

One thing that London Bridge attacker Usman Khan and Pensacola mass-shooter Mohammed Al-Shamrani had in common was an affinity for the writings of Yemeni-American Anwar al-Awlaki [the alleged social media posts by al-Shamrani include a quote from al-Awlaki].

This shows -- again -- that whatever about the various brands of ISIL, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains a potent and long-lived driver of radicalization.

And again points to the serious flaws in the US strategy against al-Awlaki, from embarrassing disclosures about his personal life to assassination of him and family members. An alternative world where al-Awlaki had been persuaded against violence, or not elevated to mythical status by his assassination? We just don't know.