Today, the Berlin Wall, which stood for 10,316 days, has been down for… 10,316 days.
Many thanks to Jeff Mayer and Marshall Mayer for telling me about the date.
Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Pres. Trump heads to Las Vegas. If he’s wise, he’s stick to one role, that of “head of state.” This should be a journey of grief and remembrance, not politics.
At times, the President is asked to speak for all his countrymen, to express our grief. Pres. Reagan set the standard with his speech after the Challenger Disaster. Actually, he did it twice, once from the Oval Office that night (the speech where he said the astronauts had waved goodbye to us this morning and “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God”) and then several days later, with a sad, powerful elegy at their memorial service (below).
For a wonderful memory of that speech, here’s Peggy Noonan talking about it–and being asked by Reagan to write it. (Washington Post)
Comment: Of course, there was nothing controversial about that event, as there is after each mass shooting.
Each shooting raises important political issues, always about guns and sometimes about mental health, racism, and other issues.
But, for the sake of the country, put aside the controversies for one more day, Mr. President.
And do the same, Mr. Schumer, Ms. Clinton, and Ms. Pelosi.
Then return to the fray.
Comment: The absence of a clearly-stated motive raises questions. The most important is whether there is anything to ISIS’ repeated statements that it was behind the shooting. Most experts discount that claim, but they also note it is unusual for ISIS to repeat its claims, as it has in this case.
◆ Today in hypocrisy: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), popular with pro-life movement, urged abortion in affair, texts suggest (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The congressman has been lauded by the Family Research Council, for his stance on abortion, as well as for family values, generally. He also has been endorsed by LifePAC, which opposes abortion rights, and is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, an affiliation that is often cited by his office. –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
◆ The FCC is considering Net Neutrality Again and asked for comments. They got plenty . . . from robots (Vice/Motherboard)
The Trump administration and its embattled FCC commissioner are on a mission to roll back the pro-net neutrality rules approved during the Obama years, despite the fact that most Americans support those safeguards.
But there is a large number of entities that do not: telecom companies, their lobbyists, and hordes of bots.
Of all the more than 22 million comments submitted to the FCC website and through the agency’s API found that only 3,863,929 comments were “unique,” according to a new analysis by Gravwell, a data analytics company. The rest? A bunch of copy-pasted comments, most of them likely by automated astroturfing bots, almost all of them—curiously—against net neutrality.
That means 80% Of all “Net Neutrality” comments were sent by bots, all on one side.
◆ Today in Islamist terror: France passes a tough, new counter-terrorism law
Judicial sources said the explosive device included two gas canisters inside the building in the affluent 16th arrondissement of western Paris and two outside, some of them doused with petrol and wired to connect to a mobile phone. It appears there were several unsuccessful attempts to detonate the canisters.
The five arrested over the Paris bomb, men in their thirties, are known to authorities and one is on an intelligence services list of “radicalised” people, which includes the names of potential Islamist militants. –Telegraph
Hat Tip to
◆ Michael Lipson for the net-neutrality bots story
Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The death of Fidel Castro, at 90, will lead to retrospectives about the years when “national liberation movements” spread across Latin America and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia, as well as the terrible weeks in October 1962, when the world hung in the nuclear balance. Castro was both a world-historical figure and a petty dictator who suppressed his people for decades. Retrospectives are welcome, but no warm glow should surround Castro and his suffocating regime. He did far too much damage for that.
◆ David Brooks has a valuable and balanced opinion piece: Fellow Trump Critics, Maybe Try a Little Listening (New York Times) His opening lines are worth pondering:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the best imaginable Trump voter. This is the Trump supporter who wasn’t motivated by racism or bigotry. This is the one who cringed every time Donald Trump did something cruel, vulgar or misogynistic.
But this voter needed somebody to change the systems that are failing her. She needed somebody to change the public school system that serves the suburban children of professors, journalists and lawyers but has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid. She needed some way to protect herself from the tech executives who give exciting speeches about disruption but don’t know anything about the people actually being disrupted. –David Brooks in the NYT
⇒ “In plain print,” a friend wrote me, “Mr. Brooks finally confirms what we all knew, his type in the media, government, business, politics, etc believe themselves to be morally superior, intellectually superior and simply ‘superior.’ ”
◆ As if to prove this point, here’s a column in the Huffington Post: Post-Truth Nation by Samuel C. Spitale
To put it simply, the only ones celebrating [Donald Trump’s] victory are the KKK, Russia, ISIS, and American conservatives. . . .
The truth is that Clinton is one of the most honest politicians in America, regardless of popular opinion.
By comparison, Donald Trump lies more than he tells the truth, regardless of whatever image he sells. –Samuel Spitale
◆ Oops. Everybody makes mistakes. Some are more embarrassing than others. CNN’s local distributor in New Jersey accidentally aired 30 minutes of 30 minutes of hard-core, transsexual porn. (ZeroHedge) Read that again. Not a few minutes. 30 solid minutes. No one in the control booth noticed that their private stash must be on the public channels. And no one in New Jersey thought there was anything unusual. It gets better. The transsexual porn aired instead of . . . Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Really.
Comment on the type of people Trump is choosing: Fox is right about Trump. Let me add another point. The business acumen he likes is entrepreneurial, not corporate. He prefers wildcatters to “company men and women” who have risen through the ranks to head big corporate bureaucracies like P&G, Ford, or Exxon. His early appointments tilt toward self-made people with strong independent streaks and anti-establishment credentials and accomplishments–mostly business people but some politicians and generals with the same traits. They remind me of Ronald Reagan’s preferences. A final point: Trump’s selections, unlike those of Democratic administrations, are not all lawyers.
◆ Green Party Candidate, Jill Stein, is fund-raising for Presidential-election recounts. She finished with slightly more votes than a middle-school lunch-room lady, but even that paltry total was enough to swing several states away from Hillary, assuming that Stein’s supporters would have voted and cast their ballots for Hillary if Stein had been crushed by a solar panel.
Comment: Jill Stein is a pox on the electoral system, better at raising funds than votes. She and her donors deserve each other.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Joe Mahoney for the David Brooks column