Democrats need a lesson in humility. Consider what Mike Dukakis learned.

Donald won. Hillary lost. Now the Democrats face what The New York Times called “a widening breach in their party.”

Fashion Consistent CandidatesPerched ever farther on the left is Bernie Sanders, perhaps still smarting from being stiffed by the Democratic National Committee while leading revival-style rallies of millennials and urging stiff resistance to the Donald agenda — and to the DNC’s approach to political reclamation. Then there’s the DNC and the party’s elected leaders demanding a more conservative, data-driven approach to finding votes where Hillary didn’t get them.

Oh, well. Good luck with that, Dems. Neither approach is destined for electoral redemption. Professional Democrats have tended toward elitism when selecting and supporting candidates. The national party assumed (as did virtually all media and pollsters) Hillary had an easy road covered with rose petals to the White House. The 2016 version of the Democratic Party continued its longstanding march away from those who had always supported it. The party’s elites oozed a “father knows best” attitude. Cockiness ruled after Donald became the GOP standard bearer.

Perhaps the Democratic Party, and especially the DNC, ought to consider … humility. Consider the example of Michael Dukakis as a Democratic candidate. No, not presidential candidate Dukakis of tank-driving infamy. Look at gubernatorial candidate Dukakis.

Continue reading

Hey Mitt, let's see a birth certificate. Or two.

So, let me get this straight. Mitt did well in Nevada because he is a favorite son because he’s from nearby Utah. And until this morning he was expected to win Michigan because he’s a favorite son there. Then he will be expected to take Massachussetts because he’s a favorite son there? Sheesh, poor Barry doesn’t even have one birth certificate and it sounds like this guy has a drawerful. Maybe Mitt can loan Obama one.

Maybe, but whatever you do, Mr. President, don’t take one from the Massachussetts. Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #103: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

“To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker—that’s like an aberration. I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity because of some ‘actor’ who’s been created.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

Democracy & Elitism 3: burning down the straw man, and who are these out-of-touch "liberal elites," anyway?

Let’s begin with a quick trivia question. What legislator’s Top 20 donor list includes the following?

We’ll have the answer for you at the bottom. Continue reading

The dance of the butterflies

by Terry Hargrove

I’m having a crisis of faith. No, not that kind. The Big Guy is still number one in my book, and I hope I’m in His… somewhere. I mean I’m losing faith in the power of literature. Am I just bitter because I can’t find a literary agent? Maybe. But I have come to believe that in a very real sense, literature fails us. A novel has a beginning, a setting, a few agreeable characters (usually not too interesting) and some bad folks (usually very interesting), an unfortunate situation that needs to be resolved in the middle, a theme and a last page. The finished product sits on a shelf nice and neat and tidy, just the way real life isn’t.

Real life is far more complicated, with too many twists and turns and unlikely coincidences. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: UK says Greenpeace stopped climate damage


In an unexpected development, jurors in the UK acquitted six Greenpeace activists in a case involving £35,000 ($62,591) worth of damages to a coal-fired power plant. The defense had argued that a 1971 law (Criminal Damage Act 1971) permitting damage to property in order to prevent even greater property damage applied to the activists. Specifically, the Greenpeace activists claimed that they were preventing “damage to properties worldwide caused by global warming”. And the jurors agreed.

This case defines a precedent for UK law that will be difficult to sort out. Does it mean that Parliament comes back through and refines the law to prevent this kind of “abuse” in the future? Or does it mean that the UK cannot build any more new coal plants without carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)? Continue reading

Ban spanking in the US? It's probably not in the cards.

by JS O’Brien

Massachusetts state representative Jay Kaufman has introduced a bill in the state legislature to, effectively, ban parents from spanking their children. Naturally, the bill is not expected to pass, or even come close to passing. Hitting children is a deeply cherished cultural norm in the US, and despite the fact that many Western European countries have banned the practice, a 2002 ABC poll shows there is still widespread American support for it.

Studies on both the good and ill effects of spanking conflict. Most of the studies I could locate appear to be done by people or organizations with axes to grind, so the results are suspect. Others had methodological problems, some of them severe. Just defining “spanking,” let alone defining spanking context or being able to measure and track that context, presents issues that may never be fully resolved by a longitudinal study. Continue reading