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Daily Digest

  • Bringing literature to the masses, Mayor de Blasio Style
  • Don’t blame the media for the WNBA’s woes
  • A nasty habit at State
  • The Week in Pictures: We Want Tattoo Edition
  • The whole world is watching our clown show
Bringing literature to the masses, Mayor de Blasio Style

Posted: 22 Jul 2017 12:13 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

My conservative cousin from New York has been following New York City mayors since the days of Robert F. Wagner, Jr. I think John Lindsey remains his nominee for the worst of the lot, but the current mayor seems to be closing in fast. My cousin reports:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is an ardent admirer of Communist Cuba and the Sandinistas. He presides over a town whose economic success is powered by the kind of bare knuckled capitalism that, in the Mayor’s Marxist worldview, is consigned to the dustbin of history.

His city is filled with immigrant strivers, including many who have fled the Communism and Socialism that their Mayor longs to impose. The success of so many of these new Americans confounds the Mayor’s vision of a country bedeviled by racism, sexism, classism, and Islamaphobia.

For now, de Blasio must be content with small bore measures to promote his nefarious agenda. His latest is “The One Book – One New York” initiative which urges Gothamites to vote for a work of literature that they will all read together.

The choices include a group of anti-American screeds selected by a panel of show biz celebrities including Larry Wilmore and Danielle Broetz. Among the selection are works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chimamamda Ngozi, and Junot Diaz. Bizarrely, the Mayor sees these purveyors of anger and divisiveness as helping the initiative’s goal of bringing New Yorkers together.

No word on how many folks actually voted in the Marxist Book Club contest which was heavily promoted on billboards in New York’s subways and buses. For what it’s worth, and it’s not a whole lot, Chinamamda Ngoze’s “Americanah” was declared the winner.

Apparently, New Yorkers reading habits are not in sync with those of the leftist elites. The top book borrowed from the New York Public Library last year was the thriller “Girl On A Train” by Paula Hawkins.

It seems the Mayor has a long way to go in his effort to raise the class and racial consciousness of his constituents. But you can be sure he’s working hard to achieve a Marxist world.


Don’t blame the media for the WNBA’s woes

Posted: 22 Jul 2017 11:46 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Ted Leonsis owns the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals. The hockey team has done quite well under his leadership, though a deep playoff run has eluded it. The basketball team has often been mediocre or worse, though it now is among the better NBA squads.

Leonsis also owns the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. The team, like the league, has struggled.

Leonsis blames the WNBA’s woes on the media. He says it doesn’t give the league enough coverage:

If you listen to sports talk radio, they are not talking the right way about most women’s sports. Those people will retire, or frankly a lot of them are getting fired or laid off — and we’ll get younger people into key media positions who are more egalitarian, more open-minded, more respectful.

(Emphasis added)

Note the authoritarian undertone to this pronouncement. Leonsis wants sports show hosts to talk about women’s sports “the right way.” They are supposed to be “egalitarian” and “respectful.”

Leonsis continued:

I think media helps to set agendas. I mean, you either get neglect or snark [about the WNBA]. And I don’t get it.

I think it’s bad business, too. That to me is so remarkable: As a programmer, you want to reach the widest audience possible. … If you’re only talking about what’s in front of you, and you’re talking to your peer group, and your peer group is dying away, it makes no sense to me as a media professional.

Leonsis may be a “media professional,” but his judgment is clouded by some combination of his stake in, and affection for, the WNBA and his liberal politics.

Sports talk hosts don’t talk about the WNBA for the same reason they don’t talk about soccer: listeners aren’t interested. I’ve often wished they would devote a ten-minute segment to soccer, at least during a major tournament like the World Cup. After all, what’re ten minutes out of, say, a three-hour show.

The reason they don’t — choosing instead to talk for the segment after segment about Lebron James, Kirk Cousins (in my market), and the over-hyped Mayweather-McGregor boxing match — is that they can’t afford to have listeners change the dial. Like me, many listeners consume sports radio in small doses, e.g. when we are driving. If we tune in a show for, say, half an hour, we want the host to be discussing the sports we’re highly interested in. If they aren’t, we will flip to another station.

Thus, it is silly for Leonsis to talk about sports show hosts retiring. In my market, most of them are years from retirement age. But even if they all were to retire tomorrow, their replacements would still confront the same audience preferences that are causing the incumbents not to discuss the WNBA (or soccer). And when audience members retire, they will probably want to spend even more time hearing about the likes of Kirk Cousins and Lebron James.

As for hosts being fired (a cheap shot by Leonsis), the fastest way to lose that job is to try to ram a not terribly popular sport down the throat of the audience.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg sides with Leonsis. He says:

I think there is some value in pushing Mystics coverage on an uncertain audience, because there is value in having a viable women’s league. . .It doesn’t bother me that, say, the Tour de France isn’t part of the local sports conversation. But it irks me that even a competitive Mystics team with brand-name stars still seems so tangential.

Steinberg doesn’t explain why sports coverage should conform to his view of what has value and what irks him. He may find the WNBA riveting, but most of us want to devote the time we allot to professional basketball to watching and hearing about players who perform at the very highest level possible, not the very highest level possible for women.

Steinberg’s column was inspired in part by an extraordinary WNBA game he happened to watch. The headline of his story is “If you refuse to pay attention to the WNBA, you missed something cool Wednesday.”

His use of the word “refuse” is telling, as it suggests something like a presumption that we should pay attention to the WNBA. It would be nice if more readers clicked on my soccer posts, but I would never say they are “refusing” to do so. Most just prefer not to.

But the WNBA has always presumed that people have some sort of obligation to pay attention to it, based on egalitarianism or respect, or something. When the league commenced, its slogan was“we got next.”

As things turned out, they didn’t. It was up to us to decide who “got next.”

I’m glad Steinberg thought the WNBA game that inspired his story was cool. I saw a cool minor league baseball game recently. I thought the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea was cool.

There is no shortage of cool sporting events from which to choose. Sports fans decide which ones they want to pay attention to and the media accommodates these preferences.

Egalitarianism and respect have got nothing to do with it, nor should they.


A nasty habit at State

Posted: 22 Jul 2017 07:02 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

When it comes to apologetics and confusion about the endless campaign of Palestinian Arab terrorism against Israel, the Associated Press has nothing on the Department of State. See, for example, Adam Kredo’s two recent Washington Free Beacon accounts, “State Dept. blames Israel for terrorism, claims Palestinians rarely incite attacks” (July 20) and “Trump State Dept. unsure why Palestinian terrorists kill Israelis” (July 21).

The source documents related to Kredo’s stories are the State Department’s just-released Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 (July 2017) and Rep. Peter Roskam’s letter to Secretary of State Tillerson (July 20). The State Department report blames Israel for prompting the murderous terrorism committed against its own citizens and turns a blind eye to the incessant Palestinian incitement. Rep. Roskam suggests that the department is not up to speed on the relevant facts.

The State Department is drunk on the anti-Semitic form of blaming the victim. It’s a chronic condition. The Trump administration’s failure to staff the department at the deputy level assures that it suffers from an Obama hangover in addition to the usual bouts of inebriation. The department is in the grip of a nasty, nasty habit.

Kredo’s second article takes us inside the State Department”s “thinking,” if it can be called that:

A State Department official, speaking on background, defended the report’s conclusions and said that it cannot precisely pinpoint the motivations behind Palestinian terror attacks on Israel.

“We recognize that in any community, a combination of risk factors can come together to create a higher risk of radicalization to violence,” the official said. “There is no one single pathway to violence—each individual’s path to terrorism is personalized, with certain commonalities. Therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what the sources of radicalization to violence are. What could drive someone to violence in one instance could vary significantly with someone else who is similarly situated.”

Stepping back, Kredo finds that Trump administration officials are not entirely happy about what’s happening here, though I’m not sure where Tillerson himself stands:

The State Department’s response prompted a fierce backlash among U.S. officials and Trump administration insiders, who said the State Department under the leadership of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has gone rogue and is out of line with the White House’s position on a range of sensitive diplomatic issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

Sources pointed to the administration going into damage control mode last week after State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated during a press briefing that the U.S. was “upgrading” its diplomatic standing with the Palestinians, a declaration that came as a surprise to those in the White House.

The report singling out Israel is another clear example of the State Department pursuing policies that are well out of line with the White House’s stated agenda, which the sources said has been pro-Israel. One source who advises the White House Middle East policy described the State Department’s explanation to the Free Beacon as “spectacular bull—t.”

“The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism,” Roskam wrote in a letter sent Thursday to the State Department. “This report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism.”

Thanks to Rep. Roskam for taking note of this incredibly sorry state of affairs. Assuming Secretary Tillerson himself is on board with administration policy, it is way past time for President Trump to staff up the State Department with deputies in tune with the administration.


The Week in Pictures: We Want Tattoo Edition

Posted: 22 Jul 2017 04:48 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I’m dizzy from this week. Why does the news cycle in the Trump era seem more like a blender turned on high (and with the lid off)? Is the week Capitol Hill Republicans packed it in and ratified the old judgment that they are indeed the Stupid Party? If Trump pardons himself, will our political system go blind? One thing is certain: if Trump is driven from office, I expect O.J. will drive him past the Beltway in a white Bronco, which I think is in storage in the new Smithsonian museum of black history. And our new White House communications director is named Scaramucci? Wasn’t he The Man With the Golden Gun? If so, when is Tattoo showing up? Oh, wait—he’s on Game of Thrones now I think. Like I said, I can’t keep up.





Oh what joyful reading! (I doubt this magazine will last very long.)



Talk about a true dilemma?


Notice where whiskey, wine, and beer turn out on this settled science.


Headlines of the week:


Not sure that’s the recommended way to shave, but when you’re James Dean. . .

And finally. . . It’s times like this I miss Jay Comeau:


The whole world is watching our clown show

Posted: 21 Jul 2017 08:39 PM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

As I say — and do forgive me for repeating myself — the shooting of the unarmed and pajama clad spiritual healer Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor opens a window onto the sick culture that reigns in Minneapolis. No sooner had idiot Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges fired number 22 World Leader and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau than Hodges sought to expound on her deep thoughts for the benefit of her constituents. She is, after all, seeking reelection as the hometown crowd moves ever further to the lunatic left. Hodges is finding it hard to keep up.

Unlikely as it may seem, Minneapolis’s lunatic left means to turn the shooting of Ms. Damond by Officer Noor into an instrument of further radicalization in Minneapolis. Thus the takeover of Hodges’s press conference by the usual suspects this evening (video below). Like the old circus act, the little car in the center ring of the show in Minneapolis is unloading a thousand clowns.

Back in the day, the radical cliche insisted that the whole world is watching. Now the whole world is watching our clown show. For the local crowd, the Star Tribune reports here. For a national audience, the Hill reports here.


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