• Arab Development Report: Grim numbers on terror and battle deaths

    ◆ The Arab Human Development Report for 2016 lays out the awful data for millions of innocents living in the region.

    • 5% of the world’s population
    • 45% of the world’s terrorist attacks
    • 68.5% of the world’s battle-related deathsarab-development-report-2015


    The report was compiled by the UN Human Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Arab States. A free download is available at their website.

    ♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Martin Kramer
     for this story

  • Churchill’s powerful oratory and his short, strong words

    Short words are best, and the old words when short are best of all.

    Winston Churchill

    “My method is simple,” he once said, “I like to use Anglo-Saxon words with the least number of syllables.”

    Some of his most memorable phrases are crafted exactly that way:

    We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

    Only one word in that entire sentence–surrender–is of Latin origin.

    But he knows when to juxtapose the long and short. Take another iconic line:

    poster-never-was-so-muchNever in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

    Much of its strength comes from the orotund phrasing of the first portion “field of human conflict,” following by the powerful string of short words.

  • ZipDialog’s News Beyond the Front Page . . Friday, September 16

    Fresh every day and always being updated–

    ♦ Killing enemy tanks is “fun and easy” says a US Marine, and it’s getting much easier. New technology makes the anti-tank rockets even more accurate and easy to use. (Popular Mechanics)

    Unlike the traditional Bazooka and RPG-16 grenade launcher, both of which use a reusable launch tube, the AT-4 uses a rocket that is sealed into the tube at the factory. The operator places the tube on his or her shoulder, lines up the enemy tank in the weapon sights, and fires away. Once fired, you can throw the launch tube away. Hopefully you won’t need it anymore, because the tank is dead.

    Kyle Mizokami
    in Popular Mechanics

    ♦ Trump supporters have embraced the phrase, “The Deporables,” which Hillary Clinton used to attack them. Dan Henniger writes about it. (WSJ) The best line, by far, is Henniger’s attack on the left’s ethnic-grievance political mobilization, which is inherently divisive.

    Her supporters say it’s Donald Trump’s rhetoric that is “divisive.” Just so. But it’s rich to hear them claim that their words and politics are “inclusive.” So is the town dump. [The Democrats] have chopped American society into so many offendable identities that only a Yale freshman can name them all.

    If the Democrats lose behind Hillary Clinton, it will be in part because America’s les déplorables decided enough of this is enough.

    Dan Henniger in the Wall Street Journal

    ♦ Hillary Clinton pushes back hard, says she has been more transparent than Trump. (The Hill)

    ♦ New Quinnipiac Poll shows voters believe Trump is more transparent, but the numbers for both candidates are miserable. Quite appropriately.  Voters also believe Hillary has “the right kind of experience to be President” and Trump does not. (Quinnipiac)

    ♦ California decides to divert more water, taking it farms and cities to aid endangered fish. (WSJ) Actually, this is the same story as “The Deplorables.” It is about the “little people” being held in utter contempt by tout en haut du monde, who make the policies to suit themselves.

    ♦ Fiction writer Lionel Shriver shreds the academic conceit of “cultural appropriation” and the “clamorous world of identity politics” which gave birth to it. Shriver’s essay ends with her declaration, “The last thing we fiction writers need is restrictions on what belongs to us.”

    Comment: Here’s how “cultural appropriation” works:

    1. You are classified as a member of a group, say, transgender, Mexican-American, or fat. Your group membership should then dominate your self-conception, at least politically.
    2. Your group deems itself oppressed, or rather its most vocal, politicized members say the group and all of its members are. They use this group identity and its oppressed status as tools for political mobilization. The key is for most members of the group to accept this putative group identity and its oppressed status as dominant (indeed, unquestioned) characteristics.
    3. Having organized yourself as an oppressed group, you identify the oppressors who are responsible for all the group’s misfortunes and attack them. Oppressors can attain absolution (the secular equivalent of salvation) by supporting the goals and actions of the oppressed group.
    4. A key element of your attack: Only your own group has the moral right to depict its own experiences, to write about them, paint them, or use their music. All others are shamed if they try to do so, especially anyone deemed to be in the “oppressor class.” Those people are “appropriating your culture.”  (Comment by Charles Lipson)

    Want examples? The fusion of rock music and blues music–and rock-and-roll more broadly–would be deemed unacceptable because they are built on the “appropriation” of an indigenous African-American cultural form.  Here is one artistic response:



    ♦ Easily the best “political picture of the day.” When politicians get together with kids or animals, anything can happen.trump-kidnapping-photo

    ♥ Thanks to Bret Stephens for highlighting the Lionel Shriver essay in a tweet and to John Lartz and Anna Lamothe for The Hill’s story about Hillary Clinton.