ZipDialog Roundup for Monday, August 28

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

The rain keeps coming in Texas, as the storm lingers, affecting Louisiana as well. Tens of thousands need housing

Houston Police say they are “inundated” with emergency calls. (ABC News) Inundated is an apt word.

Comment: Soon, we’ll see how effectively the immediate search-and-research works, as well as the public and private agencies’ ability to deliver emergency food and housing.

We’ll also hear about disputes over whether Houston and other dense areas should have been evacuated.

The rebuilding and restoration will take much longer and won’t get started for a while.

They have already learned a lot from the Katrina mistakes. One more thing they can learn about rebuilding: for a temporary period, at least, allow plumbers, electricians, etc. who are licensed in other states to work in Texas without a state license. Louisiana did not do that and it seriously impeded rebuilding.

Berkeley violence. This is Washington Post headline: Black-clad antifa attack peaceful right wing demonstrators in Berkeley (WaPo)

Their faces hidden behind black bandannas and hoodies, about a 100 anarchists and antifa — “anti-fascist” — barreled into a protest Sunday afternoon in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, the group melted into a larger crowd of around 2,000 that had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.

Shortly after, violence began to flare. A pepper-spray wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifas, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed “fascist go home!” –Washington Post

Comment: Opposition to fascism is a noble cause, but that does not mean every group opposed to it is noble. Antifa is terrible: a violent, left-wing mirror of the groups they hate. Antifa is filled with Marxists, anarchists, and thugs, armed with bats and worse, and out to make trouble for any group that stands in their way.

All told, the Associated Press reported at least five individuals were attacked. An AP reporter witnessed the assaults. Berkeley Police’s Lt. Joe Okies told The Washington Post the rally resulted in “13 arrests on a range of charges including assault with a deadly weapon, obstructing a police officer, and various Berkeley municipal code violations.” –Washington Post

Progressive political leaders should take the lead in condemning this entire movement, which doesn’t just tarnish their cause. It tarnishes our country and our public discourse.

Btw, watch your evening news to see if the unprovoked violence gets any attention. My guess: the MSM couldn’t care less, even if they weren’t covering Hurricane Harvey.

 Trump’s businesses sought to build a tower in Moscow as he ran for President (Washington Post)

Some Russians wanted Trump to come to Moscow himself and to seek Putin’s endorsement for the project, but he did not.

Comment: If there is anything to this, Mueller will be all over it.

Robert Lee IV: ‘I call on all of us with privilege and power … to confront racism’ (The Hill)

Comment: He may have undercut his message when he asked all Asian-Americans to stop calling themselves “Robert Lee.”




Tip of the policeman’s gas mask to

◆ Tom Elia for the Berkeley story

By special request: My Updated Parody of ESPN’s Goofy Decision

Easily the dumbest, most-PC move of the day: The Winner is ESPN

They removed an Asian-American announcer named “Robert Lee” from broadcasting an upcoming football game at the University of Virginia.

His name, they said, is just too close to Civil War general.

At first, people thought it was a parody.

It wasn’t, at least not intentionally. ESPN actually made this decision.

John Kass has an excellent column on this fiasco, calling (wisely) for “stupidity training” for their executives. (Chicago Tribune link here)

Comment: Who runs ESPN? The staff of Mad Magazine?

If the sportscaster has a horse named “Traveler” or has visited Appomattox, the network plans to try him for treason.

By the way, ESPN actually has a play-by-play guy named Doug Sherman.

The people of Atlanta want to know: Will Sherman be pulled from doing events in their city?

When the news breaks, take a break from TV

Rule #1 during events like those in Charlottesville: do NOT watch TV for more than a few minutes at a time.

To keep up, occasionally click on your favorite “breaking news” website.

Depending on your tastes, that could be Drudge, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Associated Press.

Of course, once they start interpreting the story, they’ll spin it in their familiar ways.


The current news from Charlottesville can be summarized in less than two minutes, tops, and the networks have 24 hours to fill. They will fill them with high drama, idiotic confrontations, and conjectures, mixed with hard reporting and intelligent commentary. How wild can the conjectures get? When CNN was covering the missing Malaysia airliner, they asked experts if extraterrestrials were to blame.

Intentionally or not, the cable channels heighten viewers’ anxiety with flashing alerts and breathless reporting, following by a sincere look, a bite of the lip, and a calm, “Our thoughts and prayers go out…” So do the thoughts and prayers of the extraterrestrials, I’m guessing. For more on that, tune to CNN.


To show you how briefly the real news can be summarized, here is what we know now (as of 6:15 pm, August 12):
  1. White supremacy and neo-Nazi marchers descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a public park.
  2. Counter-marchers also showed up to protest the white-supremacy types. We don’t know what kinds of groups were involved in the counter-protest.
  3. The two groups clashed violently, despite a large presence of local and state police.
  4. A car deliberately accelerated into the counter-marchers, killing one immediately and leaving about two dozen more injured.
    • The car sped away, but the driver was soon captured. His name, motivation, and organizational connections have not been disclosed.
  5. A helicopter crashed nearby but details on that are still sketchy. Two people were killed
  6. That makes three people dead (so far), according to Virginia police.
  7. Donald Trump strongly condemned the violence, urging all sides to respect each other and avoid further violence.
    • Virginia’s state officials and those from Charlottesville issued similar statements, adding that the white nationalists should “go home.”
  8. Significantly, Pres. Trump failed to single out the White nationalists in his condemnation of the violence.
    • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) immediately tweet a criticism of the President, urging Trump to condemn the white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

That’s what we know so far. A newscaster could read it, with appropriate video playing in the background, in under two minutes.

But they have hours to fill. Instead of filling it with serious and illuminating talk, they will fill it with repetition and, within a few hours, snarling political adversaries.

Skip it and keep your blood pressure down.


Exciting Work from University of the Obvious

Yesterday, ZipDialog reported exciting new findings from the University of the Obvious:

 Sex might make you happier at work, study says  (New York Daily News)

 Since then, many readers have asked to learn more about U of O, the pathbreaking work it does, and its distinguished history

 The university combines undergraduate education with cutting-edge research

  • The undergraduate college is famed for its unusually high costs and lax standards, both on campus and off
  • Faculty research, which often exploits graduate assistants, focuses on findings already evident to others, as well as minor extensions of research conducted elsewhere
    • There is a special emphasis on winning large research grants to conduct this work.

 Does U of O have sports? “You bet,” said alum Pete Rose.
“The Lees,” were originally named to honor the university’s benefactor, General Robert E. Lee.

Recently, however, university administrators became aware that Gen. Lee might have fought for the South in the Civil War.

A faculty committee was appointed to study the issue. Its report

  • Confirmed rumors about Gen. Lee’s military service
  • Condemning the “gossip mill” that spread this information
  • Rejected proposed names “Woodrow Wilson,” “Roger Taney,” and “John C. Calhoun”
  • Recommended the university retain its historical connection to the Lee family by honoring Col. Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.
    • “Lighthorse Harry,” as he was known to all (except his horses), signed the Declaration of Independence and fought in the Revolutionary War.
    • Additional research confirms he fought on the winning side

Athletic teams will retain their proud moniker, “The University of Obvious Lees”