“The wages of smug is Trump”

There’s an outstanding article at Vox in which the author castigates his liberal ilk for turning a blind eye to the real reason why Donald Trump’s popularity is so great.  I think his analysis of what plagues the liberal/progressive side of politics and society in the USA (those who he calls “the smug”) is spot on.  Here’s a brief excerpt from a very long article – one you really need to read in full. If the smug style can be reduced to a single sentence, it’s, Why are [the poor] voting against their own self-interest? But no party these past

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How special interests are controlling ‘the message’

Here’s a fascinating talk by Sharyl Attkisson, the journalist who uncovered the Fast and Furious ATF scandal.  It’s particularly relevant in the current election cycle, where special interests are trying to persuade us that their candidate or party or point of view is worth our vote.  Highly recommended viewing. Ms. Attkisson’s mainstream media career was derailed by political pressure on her employer, CBS, but she appears to be doing just fine on her own.  Kudos to her. Peter

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Drugs, metabolism, weight, and health

I’ve had a rocky road health-wise since a workplace injury in 2004 led to permanent partial disability, and medical retirement with a fused spine and damaged sciatic nerve.  To deal with the resulting 24/7/365 pain, I was prescribed multiple drugs that helped, but also ‘zombified’ me to a certain extent.  If I took the quantities prescribed, I found I not only couldn’t think creatively – I actually underwent a change in personality.  I tapered off the dosage until I found a balance between pain control and feeling like a human being again, and stayed with that. In 2009 I suffered

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Doofus Of The Day #902

Today’s award goes to a newly unemployed weatherman in Hungary. It must have seemed like a great idea at the time – spicing up a report about incoming windy weather by letting rip a massive farting sound. Sadly, bosses at the Hungarian TV2 channel didn’t see the funny side. Szilard Horvath was rapidly fired after his ‘enhanced’ broadcast – which he improvised himself, without asking his bosses – and the clip was deleted. A somewhat – ahem – deflated Horvath wrote on Facebook … ‘It’s turned out I can’t do the weather on TV2 anymore… I need to find work.’

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Some nice footage of Russia’s new strike bomber

The former Soviet Union began developing a successor to the Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft (which was its attempt to counter the US F-111) in the 1980’s.  Thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union and budgetary and other constraints in Russia, which took over the development, the new Su-34 limped along slowly in development.  The first production aircraft only entered service in the 2005-2007 time frame.  A handful of the aircraft saw combat over Syria last year and earlier this year. The Su-34 is based on the very successful Su-27/30/35 family of fighter aircraft, but with a two-seat side-by-side cockpit

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The madness of New York City housing prices

I found it hard to believe this report when I first read it – but it seems it’s genuine. The Brooklyn housing market is so hot, a slick realtor is asking half a million dollars for a glorified tool shed in Gravesend. The faded yellow 1-bedroom “home” at 86 Bay 47th Street is a measly 12 by 26 feet and is built with aluminum siding, like some backyard sheds. . . . “It’s a legal, single-family home. It’s a teeny tiny house, the smallest one I’ve ever sold. There’s also partially finished basement, ” Mussolino of Ben Bay Realty told

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Full-auto snowball fire?

Since the video I just put up (see the post below) has already vanished, courtesy of the BBC, here’s another one.  This is what happens when mischievous boys have too much time on their hands . . . and access to a hardware store. Looks like fun! Peter

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Not your average soliloquy

EDITED TO ADD:  I’m sorry – the BBC appears to have yanked the video less than half an hour after I linked it here.  *Sigh* David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and others have far too much fun with the Bard. Peter

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The insanity of debt in the lives of ordinary Americans

I’ve written many times before about the impact of debt on nations, companies and individuals.  It’s probably the single most economically devastating factor impacting most of us today. Now an article in the Atlantic looks at debt’s impact on the typical US resident, with vignettes from the author’s own life and experience to illustrate the extent of the problem.  Here’s a very brief extract from a very long article, to set the scene. Financial impotence goes by other names: financial fragility, financial insecurity, financial distress. But whatever you call it, the evidence strongly indicates that either a sizable minority or

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Yes, this is the unacceptable face of capitalism

I’ve said for many years that there’s an unacceptable side to capitalism – when business, otherwise laissez-faire, tries to use regulation to boost itself but impede everyone else, and refuses to ‘share the wealth’ by treating others just as fairly as it demands to be treated itself.  In his latest column, Fred Reed sums it up very neatly. To understand the arguments of capitalists against the minimum wage, follow the money. In all the thickets of pious reasoning about the merits of capitalism and the market, and of freedom of contract, and of allowing this marvelous mechanism to work its

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