Teriyaki Burritos and National Service

Ever had a teriyaki burrito? They’re delicious! But I’ll come back to the tastiness of mixed cultural cuisines later.

Okay, now I'm hungry.
Okay, now I’m hungry.

First, let’s talk about National Service — and why we need it. If there’s one thing apparent from recent events, it’s that the U.S. is not simply “divided.” We’re fractured along numerous fault lines. You can name them yourself. And then you can agree with me (see how that works!) that the best way to “heal” these breaks is for them never to have occurred in the first place.

Continue reading


Dead Cats, Russians and Fake News

Let’s play Connect the Dots. You go first….

Entry for Australian Political Strategist Lynton Crosby

“Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as “below the radar” or dog-whistle campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities. To find such divisive and potentially deflecting issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions. Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.

In a 2013 article for The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson noted that one of Crosby’s tactics when losing an argument and having the facts against you was to do the equivalent of “throwing a dead cat on the table“: bring up an issue you want to talk about that draws widespread attention from the populace, forcing opponents to also talk about your new issue instead of the previous issue.”

Like this. Except dead.
Like this. Except dead.

Continue reading

“Alt-right” = White Supremacy

As mentioned earlier, my T**** University “major” is racism/white supremacy. I can’t keep up with everything, but I’m keeping up with that. Even though I’m probably not threatened (as long as I stay in Connecticut), generations of my family have fought for our citizenship and civil rights. The WS contention that they — and only they — “built this country” is absurd, and is particularly insulting for descendants of people who both built it and didn’t get paid.

The new "rainbow coalition?"
The new “rainbow coalition?”

I had hoped that the median age of WS supporters was sufficiently high that we wouldn’t have to worry about them much longer, but there’s a new breed that’s internet-enabled, angrier than ever, and (seemingly) ignorant of even their own history.

News flash, chumps! A disproportionate percentage of black Americans have served in the military, and the Second Amendment that you’re so worried about covers all Americans.

Just some food for thought before you decide to light any fires in my yard….

The Nation:
“Alt-Right” Is Not a Thing. It’s White Supremacy.
The Alt Right is not a thing; it’s a number of things, all with white supremacy at their core. Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes far-right hate groups into 11 different categories: anti-immigration, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-government, Christian identity, Holocaust denial, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, and white nationalist.”

Donald T**** and the Art of Deflection


Donald T****’s Art of Deflection
Read about how he “changes the conversation.”

New York Magazine:
What the T**** U. Case and T****’s Candidacy Have in Common
“In a way, T**** University is a simulacrum of T****’s presidential campaign. Both relied on direct appeals to the downtrodden, especially people without much education. In both settings, T**** claimed he was acting in the public interest. (Because, after all, he’s a billionaire! What could he have wanted with their money, or with political office?) And both trafficked in suggestions that T**** was their personal ally against the economic forces that had beaten them down.”

Basic Incompetence, General Rudeness, etc.

For the record, I’ve been a Brooks Brothers customer since I was four years old. Now that I’m four plus much-more-than-four, I find the sameness (and billowing proportions) of Brooks Brothers’ clothing comforting…and comfortable. Sure, they’ve branched out into various styles and colors and whatnot — including pastels and slim-cut shirts — but I walk past that trendy crap and head for the wall where they keep the good stuff: their original box cut, attached collar, button point, barrel cuff polo shirt known to the uninitiated as the “button-down dress shirt.”


It’s not a dress shirt, of course (the attached, button-down collar and barrel cuffs were “sporting” innovations for the rough-and-tumble demands of the cavalry officers’ game), but it’s appropriate for today’s business casual office. I’ve even seen some men wear them with suits. Brooks has sullied the design with the addition of a breast pocket, and cheapened it by reducing the placket from eight buttons to seven, but that’s the world we live in.

Continue reading