Quote of the Day: Salon Magazine Interview with Harvard Prof Steven Levitsky

Dean Obeidallah conducted this interview for Salon (published 13 October 2021)

We did have elections as an escape hatch, and we used them. And it’s a damn good thing we did. We would be much, much worse off had Trump managed to retain the presidency and stay in power for four years. The fact that we sent him to Mar-a-Lago is very important, and shouldn’t be understated. Now that said, I don’t predict things accurately very well. One thing I did predict, I knew would happen.

I knew that Donald Trump would not accept the results of the election. What I did not anticipate is that the vast bulk of the Republican Party would go along with it. And of course, I didn’t anticipate anything remotely like Jan. 6. So yes, things have gotten much worse, because not only has the Big Lie taken hold among the vast bulk of the Republican Party, to the point where you can’t be a member of the Republican Party in good standing if you don’t adhere to the Big Lie.

And they’re acting upon that, right? They are now taking steps in various important states — Texas, Arizona, Georgia — to make it easier to overturn an election. So I think there’s a good chance that the Republican Party, not just Donald Trump but the Republican Party, tries to overturn the results of the 2024 election. And that is, again, a worse place than we were a few years ago. But we would be even worse off had Trump remained in power.

You can read the full interview here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Kyrsten Sinema, Martyr?

Kimberley A. Strassel, Potomac Watch, Wall Street Journal, Friday, 16 October 2021

Like Saturn, the revolution devours its children. And like clockwork, the progressive mob has set on Kyrsten Sinema. Next time the left lectures on unity, women’s rights or Joe Biden’s decency, lock your door.

The Arizona senator continues to infuriate her fellow Democrats, who are frenzied to impose their $3.5 trillion social revolution. Ms. Sinema reportedly has issues with the cost of the package as well as its tax proposals and some programs. She’s conducted dozens of meetings with the White House and key players, though has also made clear she won’t be jammed and won’t negotiate with the public. Her refusal to bow to the left’s price tag and timeline has incensed colleagues and activists alike.

“Progressive mob” — cute, really cute. Is Strassel drawing or trying to draw parallels between the protesters who followed Sinema into a restroom to the Jan. 6 rioters? Try harder, Strassel. There were only three people in that bathroom, as opposed to 1000+ in DC on Jan. 6

Strassel is an apologist for Sinema. Doesn’t fly with self. Self loathes this woman, right? Loathes her. She is no champion of Middle America, as anyone can see from her fantastically twee outfits that only get more tacky the longer the senator stays in Congress.

Strassel’s main complaint is that “the left” (someone please tell self what she means by “the left”) have no manners: they confront Sinema any old place, such as in airplanes. Tough! That’s what she signed up for. It’s not all press appearances and meetings with Big Pharma.

Listen up, Sinema: if you’re so bothered by protesters, suggest you don full-body armor. Or Hazmat suit. Or maybe go full-on ‘Congressional’ and wear a suit. If you did the latter, you’d be unrecognizable. That would be a pretty good disguise!

Stay tuned.

Before & After: Stories from New York, Edited by Thomas Beller

This anthology was required reading in son’s high school English.

The front cover:

The back cover:

No Words

There are no words.

China Shuts Ningbo

from The Economist, 21 August 2021, p. 57

A 34-year-old dockworker at Ningbo, who had come into contact with visiting crews, was diagnosed with the Delta variant of covid-19 despite having received two shots of the Sinovac vaccine. On Aug. 11, China shut down operations at Ningbo which, “in the first half of this year . . . handled more tonnes of cargo than anywhere else in the world.”

“The port infection was part of an outbreak that was first discovered on July 20 at Nanjing airport. By August 10, it had spread across a dozen provinces. Unlike other countries, which are learning to live with Delta, China has imposed a hardcore combination of widespread testing and uncompromising quarantines. Anyone who tests positive is whisked to a hospital, even if they are free of symptoms. Anyone judged to have come into close contact with them (based on mobile phone data and other indicators) is quarantined, as are close contacts of these contacts. By August 10th, China had quarantined 50,808 people, more than 20 for any active confirmed case. The government has discouraged non-essential travel between cities and provinces. And two of the worst-hit cities, Nanjing and Zhengzhou, have postponed the start of the school year.

Help for Afghan Refugees

From the CNN website:

  • As the Taliban increases their grip in Afghanistan, thousands of civilians continue to flee their homes fearing retribution, persecution and general chaos. The refugee crisis there is still taking shape amid growing desperation and uncertainty. Relief workers are scrambling to help. You can assist them through the organizations listed here.

India’s Covid Catastrophe

This horrifying second wave is a catastrophe not only for India but for the world. Allowing the virus to circulate unchecked increases the risk that dangerous new strains will emerge. One worrying variant first detected in India, called “the double mutant”, has already been found in several other countries, including America and Britain. Even as scientists labour to understand how big a threat it poses, more variants are appearing.

The Economist, Leaders, 24 April 2021

The Border

Whenever there is talk about “the border”, it is always the southern border, never the one we share with Canada.

The Economist’s take:

  • In the short term, Mr. Biden cannot change the dire circumstances that are propelling Central Americans, Mexicans and others from trying to set foot on American soil, but he can easily alter the signals he sends. His administration has at times sounded like a shy host who is too polite to kick out hungry gate-crashers. “We are not saying ‘Don’t come.’ We are saying ‘Don’t come now,’ was the excessively mild recent message to potential migrants from the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas. On March 16th, Mr. Biden sought to dispel any ambiguity: “I can say quite clearly: don’t come over,” he told ABC News. He needs to do more to impose clarity and control. — 20 March 2021

After Parkland

WILL WE EVER LEARN?

March for Our Lives, March 2108: Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California:

This generation of kids has been through the wringer. How many of them, self wonders, had to start college on zoom?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: The Economist, 20 Feb. 2021

The fact that only seven of them mustered the courage to join the entire Democratic caucus in voting against Mr. Trump suggests that the impeachment power is now in effect defunct.

— from “Marred but at largio: Donald Trump lives to fight and incite another day,” p. 22, The Economist (20 February 2021)

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