Take that, future!

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.42.41 PM.pngThe door to our future opens in many ways. For Caitlin Flanagan, it was through pulp fiction.

Modesty Blaise was merely a cartoon character turned into a bit of pulp fiction, but in the midst of my unhappy adolescence, she changed the way I thought about myself and my future. … for the first time, I imagined what it would be like to be physically unafraid in the world, to walk down any city street I wanted, at any time of night, and not give a second’s thought to the special care a girl has to take. I thought about what it would be like to be deeply loved by a man, deeply known, but still be the main character in my life story, the only one with her name in the title. Time passed, and I learned in a hundred hard ways how careful you have to be if you’re born female, how many places hold dangers—even just an ordinary office with a respected male boss.

The Comic-Strip Heroine I’ll Never Forget


*Illustration by WG600; Modesty Blaise: The Killing Game (Titan Books), © Associated Newspapers LTD / Solo Syndication


Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 7.04.50 PMThe one truth about the Russian indictments is that the President has nowhere to go. Before, the  claims of “Fake News” could be used as a way of keeping a backdoor open, a certain (im)plausible denial. David Remnick quotes Jake Sullivan to spell this out

“This is a direct rebuke of the President’s ‘witch hunt’ narrative, that it was all invented from the start,” Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton’s closest policy and campaign advisers, told me. “These are meticulous criminal indictments showing that there was a campaign of interference to support Trump and to hurt Hillary. This also establishes a predicate crime, a criminal conspiracy—and that means that, if there were U.S. persons, or U.S. persons connected to Trump, involved, then they will be criminally exposed. What Mueller has done is to establish a criminal conspiracy.”

The only question now is who else is within the ramparts of the besieged White House? And will the king by some connivance, escape?

Mueller’s Indictment Ends Trump’s Myth of the Russia “Hoax”

All Woke Up?

Charles Blow highlights one of the saddest truths about the Russian interference with the 2016 electoral cycle: the dampening of the minority, and especially the millennial black vote. They may have been woke to their cause, but they went to sleep as to their interests.

According to a May Pew Research Center report, “The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election.” The report said that the number of naturalized citizen voters was up from 2012 and the turnout rate for women was mostly unchanged from 2012. And while the percentage of eligible millennials who said they voted in the last election rose among every other demographic group, it fell among black millennials.

This is a version of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” only on the left. In the name of ideals, one votes against one’s own interests. The result, not surprisingly, is a sort of sideways movement of despair, a righteousness of the put-upon and the defeated.

The righteous, solitary vote can convey virtue when it is the subject of reflection and affirmation of ideal, but what happens when what looks like our opinion is the result of manipulation? As Blow has it, “what we do now know with absolute certainty is that in making their electoral choices, black folks had unwanted hands on their backs, unethical and illegal ones, nudging them toward an apathy built on anger.”

Sometimes Woke is not woke.


Dark Star

David Frum  rages at the President’s inattention to the national threat from Russia, as he he notes, “It’s worth thinking about what a patriotic president would have done.”
The President’s behavior is indeed striking for its very peculiarity. It is like some astronomical anomaly: we see the gravitational bent, but do not know what object it is that causes this bend. What dark matter is this?

A word from the plantation.

To be fair, you can’t fault Trump apologist and Fox commentator Laura Ingraham for taking at offense at LeBron James’ words, that the current president  “doesn’t give a f*** for the people.” Still, Ingraham does stick her foot in:

“Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids — and some adults — take these ignorant comments seriously,” Ingraham said Thursday night on her show. “And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball.”

“Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: You’re great players, but no one voted for you … So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

It seems that in the democracy of the market and the hierarchy that is sports, star athletes do get a platform. Dollars are a kind of vote, and anyone who lived through high school knows that the jocks got status.

Eugene Scott provides more commentary at The Washington Post


Snatching defeat from the jaws of (conservative) victory

The odd stance of the conservatives vis a vis college crops up its head in this recent post from Rod Dreher. What catches his eye is this proposal

New Mexico’s high school juniors would be required to apply to at least one college or show they have committed to other post-high school plans as part of a new high school graduation requirement being pushed by two state lawmakers

An anonymous reader in higher education goes on to complain in the post about the inflation, the bubble of the four-year school, thereby reading the proposal as a sort of inflator for the higher education industry.

To say such, is to ignore what actually is said, or rather to limit it only to the four-year school. Look again, is that what New Mexico is asking?

The New Mexico plan specifically includes attendance at a two-year college — a great source for gaining the tech skills and credentialing for getting on with life. As report notes, this is a move especially desired by those in STEM fields. This is not really that surprising. After all, it is the presence of an educated workforce (skilled trade and college grad) that fuels an economy and supports entrepreneurs.

The New Mexico proposal sets up two policy extensions. The first, is that of cost. It is a cruel mockery to have students prepare for a four-year program if that further entails debt. In Michigan, at least, the increase in tuition is substantially driven by the shift of state funds away from the universities, thereby transferring more of the economic burden to the student. Skilled and professional workforces are not commanded as if by magic, but are the stuff of real investment. And second, to push for students to make a plan also means that the universities and colleges accepting those students likewise deliver on that plan; far from sanctioning the presence of liberal arts (oh no, the dreaded SJW) this measure is the premise for the State to demand further accountability of curriculum and outcomes, not less.

Finally, to return to the high school level, asking a student to consider what comes next, asking them to think and not drift — to be responsible — is hardly a burden. The surprising thing (evidently) is that only some schools do this. Talk about building a culture of (cultural) poverty! The New Mexico proposal fights the fight that you want to win; the grief-making is little more than a snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory.

Universities: Too Big To Fail?

He’s B-a-a-a-c-k!

636100783083081844-John-EnglerI’m sure it seemed like a good idea, a defensive idea to be sure: make John Engler the interim president of Michigan State University. What it represents is a failure of imagination, but that has been constant our Great Lakes state for some time.

And as Bridge reports, this won’t be the first time the Governor has had to face abuse scandals. Oh, no. Ignoring the complaints of prisoners led to $100 million in damages for Michigan.




Photo: Kevin Allen, Blackford Capital

MSU Interim President John Engler was dismissive of sexual assault claims as governor