PowerLine -> Terror Attack Kills At Least 235 In Egypt + Franken speaks: I need to be more careful

PowerLine -> Terror Attack Kills At Least 235 In Egypt + Franken speaks: I need to be more careful

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Terror Attack Kills At Least 235 In Egypt
  • Feel Good Headline of the Day
  • Franken speaks: I need to be more careful
  • Thoughts from the ammo line
  • Were You Influenced By Russian Propaganda?
Terror Attack Kills At Least 235 In Egypt

Posted: 24 Nov 2017 10:25 AM PST

(John Hinderaker)

ISIS apparently carried out a terror attack on a mosque in the northern Sinai Peninsula today, killing at least 235 and wounding more than 100 more. The mosque was in al-Arish, just a few miles from Israel:

Apparently, the terrorists set off a bomb inside the mosque, where Sufi Muslims were worshipping, and then shot those who streamed out of the mosque. The attack seems to have been executed in a military manner, with, reports say, at least four vehicles containing gunmen. In retaliation, the Egyptian government has launched air strikes against mountainous areas where ISIS terrorists are believed to congregate.

The attack has shocked Egyptians:

There has been a wave of attacks on the country’s Coptic Christian minority, but strikes on mosques are rare and Friday’sonslaught shocked many throughout Egypt.

President Trump’s response was appropriate:

Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017

He’s right about the ideology, but discrediting ideologies is hard. One would think that after the fate of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the USSR, Communist China, Albania, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela et al., the ideology of socialism would be utterly discredited. And yet it is still with us. For the foreseeable future, immigration policy will be critical to minimizing the risk of terrorist attacks in the U.S.


Feel Good Headline of the Day

Posted: 24 Nov 2017 09:59 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)

From the most unlikely of places—The Guardian. Savor this one for all of its yummy schadenfreude:

Trump’s judicial picks: ‘The goal is to end the progressive state’

. . .  The makeup of America’s judges is quietly becoming the site of one of Trump’s most unequivocal successes: nominating and installing judges who reflect his own worldview at a speed and volume unseen in recent memory. Trump could conceivably have handpicked more than 30% of the nation’s federal judges before the end of his first term, his advisers have suggested, and independent observers agree. . .

“I think the goal is to end the progressive state as we know it,” said Baher Azmy, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a progressive-leaning legal advocacy group.

Sounds good to me. But the story gets even better if you keep going:

That has involved, first and foremost, building a pipeline of potential conservative candidates, Keith said. Conservative groups like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation have become de facto clearing houses for Republican presidents and they absolutely have Trump’s ear.

According to the Hill, of the 13 judicial nominees confirmed since President Trump took office, 10 are either current or former Federalist Society members or regular speakers at its events.

I’ve thought for a long time that the Federalist Society is the most consequential conservative initiative of the last generation. Some other time I may go into this story in more detail, but the revival of constitutional originalism owes more to the persistent efforts of the Federalist Society than any other factor. As Margaret Thatcher liked to say, first you win the argument, and then you win the policy battle. (A good account of this can be found in Steven Teles’s book, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement.)

But it gets better still! Coming soon: Trump’s court-packing scheme! Former Democratic operative Ron Klain raises the klaxon call in the Washington Post:

Conservatives have a breathtaking plan for Trump to pack the courts

Conservatives have a new court-packing plan, and in the spirit of the holiday, it’s a turducken of a scheme: a regulatory rollback hidden inside a civil rights reversal stuffed into a Trumpification of the courts. If conservatives get their way, President Trump will add twice as many lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months (650) as Barack Obama named in eight years(325). American law will never be the same. . .

Enter the next element of the court-packing turducken: a new plan written by the crafty co-founder of the Federalist Society, Steven Calabresi. In a paper that deserves credit for its transparency (it features a section titled “Undoing President Barack Obama’s Judicial Legacy”), Calabresi proposes to pack the federal courts with a “minimum” of 260 — and possibly as many as 447 — newly created judicial positions. Under this plan, the 228-year-old federal judiciary would increase — in a single year — by 30 to 50 percent.

Again—sounds good to me. Klain leaves out of his breathless account the fact that Democrats did exactly the same thing in the late 1970s under Jimmy Carter—a quick expansion and then packing the appellate courts with Democrats. (It’s one reason the loopy Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is what it is today.) So sauce for the goose I think.

Special bonus schadenfreude item:


Franken speaks: I need to be more careful

Posted: 24 Nov 2017 04:07 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)

From a bunker somewhere in Washington, Minnesota Senator Al Franken issued a statement yesterday all but acknowledging the misconduct of which he has been charged this week and declaring that he’s not going anywhere. He’s sorry. He’s learned from it. He wants to make sure it won’t happen again.

Franken frames his misconduct as an excess of warmth. He has hugged people in the thousands, often in crowded and chaotic situations. Now he knows that some of his hugs (exclusively with women, coincidentally) have been of the too close kind. He’s learned that he needs to be more careful. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

If I had it in my power, I would make sure that a statement this weaselly never happens again. A statement this weaselly would be a criminal offense:

I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.

Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.

And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.

O for a muse of fire to gag him with a spoon.


Thoughts from the ammo line

Posted: 24 Nov 2017 03:33 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)

Ammo Grrrll draws on painful personal experience to declare NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN…is not just a typing exercise! She writes:

On an hourly basis, we learn of another woman making accusations of sexual harassment, assault, even outright rape. Other women claim to be “uncomfortable” or offended by a hand on a shoulder, a pat on the back, any human touch. I come from a warm “touchy” family, so I have tended to believe that a lot of those complaints are overwrought. But then I sat down and thought about my own experiences and got depressed. I wondered if ANY female person escapes unscathed? I am pretty tough, worldly, and unusually impervious to locker room talk, and still, it’s not a pretty picture. I warn dear readers that what follows is a downer and I’m sorry. I will be funny again next week. And yet I feel lucky. I have seen only my husband in the shower and we own no indoor potted plants.

When I was nine years old (1955), I spent a Sunday afternoon at a friend’s farm near a lake. We played outside all day and in the late afternoon went down to the lake. A man who was well known to us was there in his fancy speedboat. He asked us if we would like a ride. Woohoo! Sure! Then he said that the very large boat was “too small” for all of us and he could only take us one at a time.

I was a logical little girl even then and it was obvious to me that the boat would hold at least six. Alarm bells went off, but I was so innocent I didn’t even know what to fear. I had been warned of Stranger Danger, but the man was not a stranger. He took me first. Somewhere in the middle of the lake, out of sight of the shore, he turned off the motor and my little heart sank. I thank the dear Lord that what he did, though disgusting and terrifying, was not as bad as it could have been. He made me promise not to tell, under threat of being thrown overboard. I could not swim. It took me 20 years to lose my fear of deep water.

We came back to shore and I tried to warn my friend without alerting the monster. Shaking my head “No” and trying to use my eyes, I said softly, “Let’s just go play.” But, naturally, she wanted a turn too. For decades I harbored guilt that I had failed to prevent her abuse. He did exactly the same thing to her. Afterwards, we ran to the farmhouse, crying. Her mother realized something was terribly wrong and asked us what had happened. We told and a virtual bomb went off. She ran into the field where her husband was on the tractor. He ran back to the house and called my father. Though the farm was about 8 miles from my house in town, Daddy showed up in less than 10 minutes. With a loaded shotgun, God Bless him.

They separated us and questioned us intensely, lest we were just two imaginative little girls making stuff up. Our stories were identical and unshakeable. They got in the car with two shotguns and went to the man’s house. He denied it, but our Daddies said if they ever saw or heard of him coming within a mile of their daughters again, that they would kill him. I told; I was believed. Daddy took care of it. I learned that there were bad men and good men who would protect you. I also learned always to trust my instincts, my gut. A forever lesson.

I have been treated to two flashers who would have been well advised to stay covered. One while jogging and one while waiting for my then-boyfriend in the living room of his college dorm. I called the police on the one outdoors, because when a man outdoors is naked from the waist down, one can never be sure his intent is not more serious than exposure.

A very boring, repetitive obscene phone caller bothered me a couple of times a week for a year until we figured out who it was. This was long before Caller ID. The worst part was that the idiot always called right after I had finally drifted off to sleep from my night job. I dared not take the phone off the hook, lest I miss an emergency with my son or parents.

I called the cops and a nice officer came right out and took me very seriously. He assured me that the vast majority of these pathetic losers are not dangerous. When we finally figured out who it was, I had my good friend Randy, a Vietnam vet, call him. He told the guy that he had been a Green Beret and if he ever called again, Randy would see to it that he would never walk right again or be able to dial a phone. The calls stopped.

Those are the actual crimes. The rest falls under “hostile work environment” which I consider way, way, way less serious. Feminist friends sported “I believe Anita” buttons. My problem with Anita Hill was not that I thought that she was lying; I thought that if every single thing she said was true, it was still a giant nothing-burger. Some stupid jokes about Long Dong Silver? That’s all you got? She was never touched and followed Justice Thomas to every job.

When I worked night-shift with the 80 guys, I could not possibly log the nightly suggestive comments and kind offers they felt I couldn’t pass up. Truly, most fell into the category of harmless banter, and some were even funny. I either gave it right back to them or ignored them. Though never groped, I was often slapped on the behind. Could I have whined to the bosses? Of course. In my family, tattling was never rewarded. And, secondly, I was the only woman in this shop, a pioneer. I wanted to prove women were tough enough to handle it.

Only one thing upset me in three years. On an older co-worker’s birthday, he asked me to kiss him on the cheek; I attempted a chaste little peck at which point he turned his head, grabbed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth, Franken style. I screamed, “HOWARD!!,” and pushed him as hard as I could. He fell over a chair. The other guys cheered. He went home early.

In my 30-year comedy career, no club manager, corporate client or fellow comedian ever got out of line, except for one subsequently-famous comic, usually high on cocaine, who used to beg me routinely: “Susan, please, just show me one [slang word for breast].” There will be no weepy news conference in which I out this sophomoric chucklehead with Gloria Allred by my side. If it had upset me unduly, I would have kicked his sorry butt myself. On the other hand, he IS very rich now… No. There are some contexts in which if you can’t take the heat, you should get out of the kitchen, and a comedy Green Room is definitely one of them.

But what about that little nine-year-old girl? After moving to another state to drive a school bus, the pedophile was eventually arrested for molesting his own grandchildren. He is long dead now, looking forward to brunch this Sunday with Charles Manson. I wish Daddy had shot him in 1955. I wish I could bring him back from the dead to shoot him now.

Can you good and decent men – whom I count in the vast majority – not somehow police the monsters? Every last lefty Hollywood “man” knew about Harvey. Every. Last. One. The moral cowards, busy Tweeting about the Republican “War on Women” stood by and were complicit for decades. Give me my “redneck” father and his shotgun any day. As Richard Pryor intoned, decrying racism by parodying a Psalm: “How long, O Lord, must this bullshit go on?”


Were You Influenced By Russian Propaganda?

Posted: 23 Nov 2017 06:36 PM PST

(John Hinderaker)

The New York Times tells us, breathlessly: “Were you a victim of Russian propaganda? Facebook will help you find out.”

Facebook said Wednesday that it plans to roll out a tool to help you figure out if that new page you followed on Facebook or that account you added on Instagram was secretly being run by Russia’s troll army.
Facebook has said that 29 million Americans saw content created by Russian agents directly in their news feed, while 126 million shared posts that were shared or linked to by their friends, with that number rising to roughly 150 million when including Instagram. On Election Day itself, about 10 million people saw ads purchased by the Kremlin on Facebook, the company has said.

Those are, I assume, Facebook’s notoriously inflated “reach” statistics, but the claim as stated doesn’t even make sense. What does “126 million shared posts that were shared or linked to by their friends” mean? That 126 million people shared posts containing Russian propaganda? If that is the claim, it is absurd. 58% of the adult population of the U.S. is said to have a Facebook account, which works out to about 140 million. In my experience, a substantial percentage of those are bots or porn profiles, and a large percentage of those who once created a Facebook profile rarely or never actually go on Facebook.

Perhaps the one good thing that will come of Congress’s hectoring of Facebook is that Facebook’s “reach” numbers will be exposed as the fraud on advertisers that, in my opinion, they are.

Meanwhile, if you really want to know whether you have been influenced by Russian propaganda, just ask yourself two questions: 1) Did you support the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s? 2) Are you opposed to fracking? If you answered either question Yes, you almost certainly have been influenced by covert Russian propaganda.



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