Sunday, October 25, 2020

The distortion of politcs

This morning on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, interviewee is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows --

MEADOWS: ... your Web site is talking about, well, now we think the spread is coming from small social groups and family groups. First, it was large groups. Now it's small groups. Now... (CROSSTALK) TAPPER: It's coming from all sorts of places. It's coming from all sorts of places, because the pandemic is out of control. 

MEADOWS: That's exactly the point. So, here's what we have to do. We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas... (CROSSTALK) 

 TAPPER: Why aren't we going to get control of the pandemic? 

 MEADOWS: Because it is a contagious virus. Just like the flu, it's contagious.

With full credit to Jake Tapper for getting and pursuing the key quote "We're not going to control the pandemic" -- there's nothing about the federal government Coronavirus strategy in that quote that we did not already know. Trump has said as much on multiple occasions, and it could discerned from actions, or the lack thereof. 

But, if the same statement had come from Meadows in a "leak," "tape," or similar format that would have lent itself to the screaming headline "REVEALED" treatment, it would be massive "news." While a factual statement to this effect is simply another hour in the news cycle. 

The divergence of meaning of plain English statements depending on whether or not the statements are seen as political is bizarre, and has itself been part of syndrome that made Coronavirus worse than it had to be. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

They never learn

Steve Bannon has managed to get himself back into the US politics legacy and social media slipstream, while on bail for fraud charges, through an interview that he gave to that widely watched American news outfit ... Sky News Australia. In other words, a platform that has no distribution in the USA, and an interview that took place during the sleeping hours of most of the USA. But of course, it's that Bannon guy who's doing what looks a TV interview somewhere with an outfit that has "news" in its name, and the polarization-industrial complex has been stuck for material this weekend -- so it's News!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh in the Saturday Financial Times, with an innovative redeployment of the famous Yeats poem --

The falcon can hear the falconer, it seems.

His underlying argument: the media exaggerate the degree of dissent about more restrictive Covid-19 public health measures. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Creative destruction

As if millions of hipsters suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced:

Wall Street Journal on the restaurant industry restructuring -- Yet many other chains say now is a time to get more aggressive. Olive Garden’s parent, Darden Restaurants Inc., is looking into expanding in urban areas including Manhattan where rents were previously too expensive to justify growth.

In touch with the people

Palestine News Agency (WAFA) --

President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, today, Saturday, congratulated the Chairman of the Labor Party, Chairman of the State Affairs Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Marshal Kim Jong Un, on the anniversary of the founding of the Korean Labor Party. In his telegram, [Abbas] valued the long-standing historical supportive role that the Korean Labor Party plays for the peoples who struggle for freedom and independence, and on top of that is its support for our people's legitimate struggle for freedom, independence and sovereignty over our Palestinian land, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The president expressed his confidence in President Jong Un's supportive stances towards the achievement of this noble goal, wishing the existing historical friendship between the two countries and two peoples and his party further development and advancement.

Quote of the Day

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in the Financial Times on Eddie Van Halen:

The guitarist announced himself to the world on an instrumental track called "Eruption", an aptly titled masterclass in baroque fretwork pitched somewhere between Bach and Jimi Hendrix.  

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Eddie Van Halen


There's of lot of brilliant Van Halen but this song -- Chicago Blues fused with Van Halen's blistering raucous California hard rock -- is right up there among the best.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

The White House is Heathers


Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, who oversees the National Security Council, was among the earliest and most consistent mask wearers in the White House. He was previously mocked behind his back by some staffers for wearing a mask at work, one person familiar with the matter said.

New photo of White House Amy Coney Barrett reception


Actually it's the 1751 print Gin Lane by William Hogarth. But the print and its context is a good representation of the incredulity of the behaviour at the White House this day last week, and indeed for the months since the pandemic started. 

Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:NotFromUtrecht using CommonsHelper.




This was the warning sign. This day last week, the White House sent a special flight to South Bend to pick up the Barrett family and take them to the White House for a day of events related to the Supreme Court nomination. The ceremony and the optics were being prioritized -- during a pandemic. Touchdown Jesus became Touchdown Coronavirus.