Friday, March 23, 2018

Cruising the Web

Gosh, we live in stupid times.

It's pretty bad when actual tweets and speeches by our nation's leaders sound like something in The Onion. And the sad thing is that some analysts think this is Joe Biden locking down the point that he could take Trump on politically because he's willing to metaphorically get in the ring with the President. Matt Lewis writes,
Liberals are generally criticizing Biden for this outburst of toxic masculinity—which helps explain why they lost to Donald Trump in the first place. It seems they have learned nothing.

Why did Donald Trump mop the floor with nice, optimistic conservatives like Jeb Bush and John Kasich? Why does Mitt Romney look small compared to him? And why is Jeff Flake no match for the Donald?

These men were more qualified, experienced, and virtuous than the porn-star loving casino magnate. What is more, unlike Trump, they were (wait for it) right about a lot of things! Consider, for example, Flake’s opposition to protective tariffs. Or Mitt Romney’s warning that Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe. He was right as rain. But the American public chose to ignore this Cassandra, only to embrace someone four years later who seems to have a man-crush on Vladimir Putin.

There are a lot of reasons why Trump bested better men, but a now-famous Bill Clinton maxim helps explain it—and also helps provide a road map for stopping Trump in the future. "When people are insecure,” Bill Clinton has advised, “they'd rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than someone who's weak and right.”
Maybe what people want these days is someone who comes off as bombastic as Trump so he wouldn't be tagged with looking weak when the President starts tweeting smack. I'm not sure if Biden is what the Democratic Party of today wants - they seem to be moving further and further to the left. But that might leave a more centrist position open for Biden while the Cory Bookers, Elizabeth Warrens, and Kamala Harrises fight it out on who can be the most radical. Lewis argues that Biden could appeal to some of the working class voters who chose Trump over Clinton while still winning enough of the progressive left.
It’s always important to be tough, but that’s doubly true if you want to talk about things like civility and decency. You can’t look weak temperamentally and get away with talking about things like compromise and civility. You’ve got to overcompensate for that kind of soft rhetoric with a tough exterior. That’s Joe Biden.

It won’t be easy. Biden isn’t the best progressive for this #MeToo era. He’s an old white man. He has run twice and lost twice. He’s gaffe prone and has said racially insensitive things. He didn’t support Anita Hill when she claimed sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas. He seems to be, shall we say, “handsy” with the ladies. If he’s going to slide to the center and woo working-class voters, he will surely run afoul of some liberal orthodoxy.

But if the special elections (see Conor Lamb and Doug Jones) have taught us anything, it’s that a moderate Democrat can win in places where a Pelosi Democrat might fear to tread. What is more, we have seen what happens to people who allow Trump to define them (see “Pocahontas,” “Liddle Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Low-energy Jeb”). One gets the sense that Biden will give as good as he gets.

As Democratic voters size up the field of aspirants desperate to prove their progressive bona fides, they may want to ask themselves: “Can we win with weak and right?”

And he fights!
Meanwhile, we can enjoy the image of two septuagenarians challenging each other to fist fights that will never come to pass.

And when we're done recovering from all that fake posturing, we can turn to debating what an "unqualified lesbian" is.

Remember when politicians used to talk about serious issues in eloquent and inspiring ways?

It's not just our leaders who have become stupid. Young people seem to be embracing all sorts of stupidity these days. Have you heard about the newest trend among young affianced couples?
Instead of a diamond ring around your finger, a diamond is embedded IN your finger, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported.

“We notice lately a lot of people coming looking for that,” Sam Abbas, who owns NYC Ink Studio in the West Village, told Hsu.

Apparently, some millennials are ditching the usual engagement ring and instead piercing their ring fingers.

“I think it looks nice, but if you really think what it’s doing to the body – and you can have scarring – it’s so many complications that can happen from it,” Cynthia Rivas said.

Abbas said there could be problems if the person doesn’t take care of the piercing, such as cleaning it two to three times a day and making sure the piercing artist has experience.

“You’re dealing with the blood, so you got to be very, very safe,” he said. “What we do, we sterilize everything.”
Yes, that's just what every woman is looking for - an engagement diamond that can lead to an infection if not cleaned several times a day.

And criminals are also disturbingly dumb.
Derrick Irving and John Silva, arrested March 13 by Volusia County sheriff’s deputies, broke into the home of a man Irving had previously dated to steal a flat-screen television and other items, sheriff’s officials told the station.

Then they set a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove with a washcloth on the burner in hopes of starting a fire to cover up the burglary, deputies told WKMC.

“He was trying to make it look like I left the stove on, but who gets up 2 a.m. and fixes sketti?” asked the victim, who had left for work at 2 that morning, reported WKMC. When officers responding to the 7 a.m. 911 call pulled over Silva and Irving near the home, they found an empty jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce in the duo’s getaway car, deputies told the station.

Oh, and Irving wore a bull onesie during the incident, which took place in DeLand, Fla., north of Orlando, the victim told WKMC.
You got that? One guy wore a "bull onesie" while trying to burn the house down with Ragu? I can't even...

Sometimes, I just can't keep up with all the stupidity out there.
Since its inception in 1837, Mt. Holyoke College, set in South Hadley, Massachusetts, has been graduating luminaries — such as poet Emily Dickinson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and a myriad of other individuals.

As the first of the Seven Sisters — a consortium of prestigious East Coast liberal arts colleges for women and the female equivalent to the once all-male Ivy League — Mount Holyoke is now urging its professors to drop the word “women” from their vernacular when referring to their students, according to the school’s website.

In other words: At an all-women’s college, you should no longer call a woman a woman.

Go figure.

In an effort to promote a so-called gender-neutral environment, officials at Mt. Holyoke College, with a population of about 2,200 students, created the Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Students guide, which is found on the school’s website under the “diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom” section.

To an outsider, the effort seems like wasted energy, especially considering that the admissions team at Mt. Holyoke does not keep track of how many students self-identify as trans or non-binary — and that the school’s student population is quite small.

Strangely, though, the college’s home page reads: “Imagine if every day were International Women’s Day.” It appears that not everyone at the school got the memo about rejecting the word “women” across the campus.

Yair Rosenberg gives us some of the jokes generated by that DC Council member Trayon White Sr. when he blamed the Rothschilds for snow in Washington in March.
The punchlines write themselves: If Jews really controlled the climate, Tel Aviv wouldn’t be so humid, New York would feel like Los Angeles, and anyway, George Soros and Sheldon Adelson would never be able to agree on how to set the thermostat. “The good news,” wrote Bard College’s Walter Russell Mead, is that “paying off the Rothschild family to stop climate change has got to be easier than shifting the whole global energy system.”
But, as Rosenberg points out, White purported to not even realize that anyone would find what he said as anti-Semitic. I guess our bigots are also more stupid these days. But there is something more disturbing than his blithe bigotry.
The scandal here is not just that an elected Democrat, the youngest on the D.C. Council, believed that a family that has been the target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for centuries is controlling the weather. It’s that he exists in an information bubble where this sort of thing is apparently both common and not considered outrageous or reprehensible. And the existence and influence of that bubble is far more disturbing than any single anti-Semitic eruption.

When an anonymous troll of any political persuasion trumpets anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on social media, it is the sign of a broken person. These individuals know that their communities would reject them if they put their names to their hate, and so they conceal their identities online. (They’ve told me so when I’ve interviewed them.) But when public figures feel free to share such content unselfconsciously on their feeds, it is the sign of a broken culture. It means that within their ideological universe, they do not expect to experience any opprobrium.

Like White, they might not even realize that what they shared was bigoted, because no one in their circle ever told them otherwise. Like Tamika Mallory, the Women’s March organizer who repeatedly praised and promoted the anti-Semitic homophobe Louis Farrakhan, such people may passionately insist that they oppose anti-Semitism even as they seemingly fail to recognize it when it is staring them in the face. Systems of racism and bigotry often produce acolytes who don’t even realize they’ve been co-opted. Anti-Semitism is no exception.
Conspiracies about the Rothschilds have been around since the 19th century.
Everyone from the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to the Nation of Islam’s Farrakhan has fulminated about the Rothschilds. YouTube, which purports to filter anti-Semitic and other hateful content, is in fact full of videos propagating the Rothschild conspiracy theory, racking up millions of views. The results are unsurprising: A Jordanian TV analyst declaring that the Rothschilds assassinated six presidents; an Oberlin social-justice writing instructor posting memes of Jacob Rothschild stating, “We own your news, the media, your oil, and your government”; officials in the British Labour Party claiming that the Rothschilds control Britain and the global economy.
Both the right and left have their own problems with not recognizing the casual bigotry in their midst.
Yet even as it has become increasingly apparent that these bigoted disinformation bubbles exist and have ensnared numerous individuals, many are still in denial and dismiss the inevitable anti-Semitic outbursts they provoke as isolated incidents. This is true on the right — where no matter how many neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and Islamophobes that President Trump retweets, white supremacy and bigotry is viewed by many as incidental to his appeal. And it’s true on the left — where anti-Semitic incidents are too often ignored or explained away as distractions or exceptions, from the Women’s March organizers and their Farrakhan fandom to the Chicago LGBT march that ejected lesbians displaying Jewish stars.

The reality is that conspiratorial anti-Semitic culture and its assumptions about Jews infect people across the political spectrum. It’s time that partisans on the left and right recognize this and start fighting the bubbles in their own communities, rather than pointing fingers at one another.

Otherwise, the forecast will be far worse than just an accidentally anti-Semitic amateur meteorologist.

The good signs from Saudi Arabia's new government under Mohammed bin Salman continues.
Saudi Arabia is revamping its education curriculum to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and will dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathizes with the banned group, the education minister said.

Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to modernise the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

The education ministry is working to "combat extremist ideologies by reviewing school curricula and books to ensure they do not reflect the banned Muslim Brotherhood's agenda," Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Isa said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It would "ban such books from schools and universities and remove those who sympathise with the group or its ideology from their posts," he added.

In September, a large Saudi public university announced it would dismiss employees suspected of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, adding to concerns that the government is clamping down on its critics in academia and beyond.
Very nice.