Why Are Headline Writers Always Wrong?

Why Are Headline Writers Always Wrong?
The answer won’t surprise you in the least.

Bill Walsh, a copy editor at the Washington Post, once remarked that “Writing headlines is a specialty — there are outstanding writers who will tell you they couldn’t write a headline to save their lives.”

Given the rise of online news headlines that appear to have been written by interns wholly unfamiliar with the content of the articles their headlines purport to describe, such specialists must be a dying breed — all the more so if otherwise outstanding writers are sacrificing themselves in the effort.

I kid.

But what is a headline? Is it merely a way of fooling potential readers into thinking there might be nudity (ideally, a naked Kardashian) somewhere in the article?

The presence of breasts focuses the mind, as a wise man once said.

Wait, that was me. Never mind.

Wikipedia, which is never wrong (see also, “sarcasm”), defines a headline as “text indicating the nature of the article below it.”

Compact and descriptive. I like it.

Merriam-Webster, on the other hand, mutters something about “the title written in large letters over a story in a newspaper,” a rather archly narrow definition as to venue (what about magazines, websites, and the like?), but open-ended as to function (the function of a headline being, presumably, to give the reader an accurate sense of the article’s subject matter).

I’ll leave it to others to explore the wonderful world of what Derek Thompson at The Atlantic calls “headline tropes that multiply like viruses across the News Feed of your life.”

I’m looking at you, Vox.

No, what galls me are news headlines (or Twitter teases) that directly contradict news content — albeit in ways ranging from subtle, to so painfully obvious that they might be largely responsible for the much-discussed opioid epidemic.

Earlier this month, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave his Trumpkinist challenger, Paul Nehlen, a world-class ass-thumping, winning “80 percent of the vote with nearly 90 percent of the district’s precincts reporting,” Robert Costa wrote at the time.

The initial headline? “Paul Ryan weathers his primary but GOP’s populist storm still rages,” which can be seen in the article’s URL, although the headline itself was later changed to “Paul Ryan easily wins his primary, but GOP’s populist storm still rages.”

Winning over 80% of the primary vote in ones Congressional district is hardly “weathering” a “storm,” is it?

Why the hyperbole? Media outlets thrive in part on conflict (in addition to breasts), so “Paul Ryan barely notices human speed bump Paul Nehlen” might not optimize ones clicky metrics and suchlike.

Then again, maybe this has something to do with the rise of dumb headlines: “Scientists determine how much pot is in a joint. Here’s what they learned.”

I think the headline writer probably meant to say how much THC, but perhaps thought the acronym for marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient a bit too jargony, and ended up with an exceedingly silly construction instead.

And then there’s raging understatement: “Orlando Highlights Islam’s Complicated Relationship With Homosexuality.”

I bet it does.

But I shouldn’t complain about inaccurate, misleading, or overblown headlines. Things could be worse: “When a newspaper apologizes for publishing an accurate headline.”

The nail which sticks up gets a good pounding.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge all the headline writers out there who are masters of their craft: “Fans bewildered by lack of country music at CMT Awards.”

Well done. Well done, indeed.

Finally, there are the unintentionally hilarious headlines. For example: “Prince’s death raises numerous questions about his health,” which was so wonderful they changed the URL altogether.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the headline of this article was misleading. Anyone need a headline writer?

Call me.

Trump’s Russian Connections: A List

TrumpFightsAviAs if determined to again prove what a deeply un-serious people we are, the news is dominated by stories about Trump’s email joke.

Yes, it was a joke. I loathe Donald Trump, but were I to compile a list of reasons for my loathing, making piss-poor, un-Presidential jokes about Hillary Clinton would rank near the bottom.

Also, we begin bombing in five minutes.

One side effect of the perverse fixation on that relatively trivial joke is that Trump’s actual Russian connections, which are disturbing in the extreme, are lumped in with the joke and dismissed as one thing, similar to the effect that Ron Paul or Alex Jones have regarding any topic they touch. (And speaking of Ron Paul, he’s up to his wazoo in Russian connections, too.)

Hyperventilating accusations that Trump is a Russian agent likewise distract from the already alarming reality–it’s bad enough that Trump’s views largely align with Putin’s without engaging in tinfoil conspiracies.

And so, I thought it might be useful to create a list of a few articles that dive into the very serious topic of Trump’s actual connections with Russia in general, and with Team Putin in particular. There will necessarily be some overlap and redundancy in the material, but hopefully this post will make it just a bit more difficult for some people to argue from ignorance on the topic.

  1. Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia (The Washington Post, 7/29/16). A serviceable, fairly brief overview.
  2. Putin’s Puppet (Slate, 7/21/16). Lots of background detail and links, particularly on Trump’s interesting investor and banking relationships.
  3. Trump picked stock fraud felon as senior adviser (AP, 12/4/15). Included here because Felix Sater is a bridge between Trump’s Russian connections, and his organized crime connections; the latter is an extremely important topic in itself.
  4. Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing (Talking Points Memo, 7/23/16). Yes, I know, another Leftist site, but the piece contains more detail on Trump’s banking/investment activities, etc.
  5. And, finally, Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin (The Washington Post, 6/17/16), which is referenced in the first Washington Post article above.

Again, to be perfectly clear, allegations that Trump is a Russian agent, or that he violated the Logan Act by sarcastically joking about Hillary’s emails, are total horseshit, completely besides the point, and are convenient excuses for Trump/Putin apologists to dismiss Trump’s actual connections with Putinist Russia.

Don’t take the bait.

Irresponsible Talker Says We Must Choose

Since I’ve been a regular listener to Hugh Hewitt for some years, there have of course been times when he has annoyed me to no end.

This is not one of those times. This is a pivot point.

At this point I have to seriously mull the utility of listening to Mr. Hewitt’s opinions about anything, going forward, including whether the sky is blue. (And blue sky is all we will get out of a Trump presidency.)

After having gone back and forth, seemingly in random order, through the proverbial stages of grief during the current election cycle, Mr. Hewitt has finally returned to the role he knows best: that of a GOP homer. Party uber alles, etc. That’s fine as far as it goes, and completely consistent with Core Hugh. It’s certainly not unexpected, anyway.

But not content to be merely flirt with morphing into a hectoring, sarcastic, sanctimonious gasbag like his favorite guest host Mark Larson Davis [sorry Larson], demanding that we get on the Trump Train, Mr. Hewitt saw fit to pen “Responsible citizens have to choose” in the Washington Examiner.

Golly, does that make me an irresponsible citizen because I refuse to vote for either of the morally-retarded front-runners?

Well gee, I guess it must.

No rogue headline writer at work here. Mr. Hewitt makes quite plain his meaning throughout the article, and particularly in the concluding paragraph.

After insulting our intelligence, as if none of his points had ever occurred to us, and after listing his bill of horribles against Hillary Clinton without ever addressing the yawning void of ignorance that is Donald Trump, Mr. Hewitt insults us.

Emphasis added.

Mr. Hewitt begins:

It is a binary choice — that is obvious at least to every active duty member of the American military.

Or perhaps Mr. Hewitt is just adding the second clause because he wouldn’t dare say the things about active duty military that he’s about to say about the rest of us (who see more than a binary at work).

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be their commander in chief.

Mr. Hewitt doesn’t mention whether Trump ever get around to boning up on the nuclear triad.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretary of defense.

I’m pulling for Corey Lewandowski.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy, the service chiefs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nine heads of the Combatant Commands.

We get the drift.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will sign off on the next four proposed budgets for the Department of Defense.

This might be a good time to talk about Trump’s comments on wasting money on things military, NATO, and suchlike, one might think.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will decide how to respond to the next Moammar Gadhafi marching on his own people, the next Benghazi surprise attack on an American installation, the next red line crossed where WMD are used, the next Vladimir Putin aggression against a near-helpless neighbor.

Putin? Seriously? Mr. Hewitt is a smart guy, but he must think we’re unfathomably dumb.

Civilians, it seems to me, shouldn’t sit out an election because they don’t like the choices, not while American fighting men and women are in harm’s way, flying missions to attack the Islamic State from carriers or as part of special forces deployments in Kurdistan or Syria. Civilians are being protected from our enemies by sailors deploying under and on the sea for six months at a time — minimum — or by soldiers and Marines in far away places like Kosovo for more than a year at a time.

Don’t like the choices? What are we, finicky kids who won’t eat our peas?

Thanks to Mr. Hewitt for reminding us of the importance of Americans in uniform. And thanks for implying that we’d forgotten, in our dislike for vegetables, and he’s here to set us straight.

The civilians get to go to the movies, play golf, have a beer. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines get to pull watch or, at times, go into combat.

The longer this goes on, the more intolerably sanctimonious and condescending it becomes.

Basically it’s Do It For The Kids, except the Kids being trotted out are US military personnel, perhaps with suitably somber music swelling in the background.

Civilians owe the military their best judgment as voters as to who ought to be the commander in chief and whose team ought to take up the positions in the Pentagon that are a part of the approximately 3,000 appointees the new president will bring with him or her. When active duty military are putting their lives on the line, civilian voters ought to at least put themselves through the stress of making a necessary if unpalatable choice.

I am not agonizing on a lesser-of-two-evils beauty contest, Mr. Hewitt. I see two candidates, neither of whom is fit to serve in the capacity you describe at length.

The other detail that would have been good to note, at least in passing, is the harm Trump as standard bearer does to the Republican Party Mr. Hewitt reveres, the conservatism he typically embraces–and, not incidentally, the harm that Trump’s spiteful ignorance has the obvious capacity to inflict on America, militarily and otherwise.

When House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that there would be no mutiny at the GOP convention in Cleveland, the obligation to choose between Clinton and Trump became very obvious to me. Once Ryan and McConnell closed all the exit ramps, I quickly chose Trump for a host of reasons, the most important being the inescapable conclusion that former Secretary of State Clinton’s law-breaking maintenance of the unsecured server handed our enemies a complete dossier on her and her associates. I have expert testimony on this reality given to me on the record on air by former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell and off the record by a former senior CIA operations officer.

In other words, Trump was dangerous enough to warrant overthrowing the will of the primary electorate in a delegate mutiny, but not dangerous enough to warrant not supporting him in other circumstances. OK, that’s the conclusion you reached, Mr. Hewitt. I strongly disagree with it, not the least reason of which being that he has no chance in hell of winning in November.

Mr. Hewitt can whistle past the graveyard, and trot out outlier polls like the recent Rasmussen Trump+4, but he knows it’s bullshit, and I know it’s bullshit. Trump cannot, and will not, win.

If Mr. Hewitt’s goal is to ensure turnout to salvage down-ballot races (which is my primary concern–preserving the Senate majority as a backstop against the inevitable packing of the Supreme Court with liberals and Leftists that will ensue under President Clinton), perhaps he should try to find a way to make that case independent of implicitly arguing that Trump is fit to serve (he is not), and independent of implicitly arguing that he can win (he cannot, no matter what voters like me do or don’t do).

Mr. Hewitt generally fails to acknowledge (or perhaps even recognize) the difference between losing, and losing while turning the party over to the worst populist, racist, misogynist, knuckle-dragging elements of the right.

This is the reality of the situation, and the hack of the DNC by Russian intelligence agencies, which was revealed last week, is just more evidence of our enemies’ capabilities and intentions. Those clinging to the idea that there is no proof of the compromise of the Clinton server fool themselves and no one else. She is disqualified because she is compromised. The Russians and who knows which other powers can manipulate her and her electronic associates. That’s why nations collect intelligence…to use it. It is doubtful that any of our adversaries have ever known more about any of our leaders that the Russians et al know about Clinton. Not even Alger Hiss could have given the Soviets more on FDR than the Russians took from Clinton’s home-brew server.

The implicit argument is that Trump would be less vulnerable to the Kremlin, and less malleable, than Clinton. The most polite response I can come up with to that implicit assertion is to laugh; the least polite would be to characterize it as either intellectual dishonesty, or madness.

There is also the matter of Clinton’s disastrous record as secretary of state, beginning with her record of failure in Libya writ large throughout that failed state that is now an Islamic State colony, and in Benghazi specifically on the night of 9/11/12.

And nothing Trump has said indicates the likelihood of anything better. No mention of NATO in all this, oddly enough.

There is her record of dithering and disaster in Egypt that handed the country for a time to the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s her judgment on display: Ceding the key Arab state to the brotherhood and tossing aside a reliable American ally in the process. What must Egyptian President Sisi think of the approach of a second President Clinton.

And Trump’s solution is what, exactly? Or should I be more specific and ask what is his solution this week? It’s very bad, we need to be smarter, we need to make deals, and we’ll get the freaking Saudis to pay for it?

Her “Russian reset” button was far worse than an episode of merely embarrassing buffoonery. It was actually an expression of deep seated naïveté regarding Putin, one likely to be repeated again and again. Her incompetence doesn’t end with Russia. Her role in the failure to negotiate an extension of the Bush-era Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq precipitated President Obama’s abrupt and tragic bug-out of Iraq in late 2011, which led to the Islamic State rampage across Iraq from its first home in Syria.

Get off the SoFA. That was an excuse and Mr. Hewitt knows it. A talking point. Obama repeatedly demanded that it be revoked, even as others in his Administration were saying they had all the SoFA they needed.

As for naivete, it’s hard to beat Trump liking Putin because Putin played to Trump’s mammoth ego.

And the Syrian genocide and all that it has birthed including and especially the long and deadly tentacles of the Islamic State across the West even into a nightclub in Orlando and a conference room in San Bernardino are all on her scorecard. Negligence in the carrying out of her duties to cabin and defeat the “jayvees” is not the same as direct responsibility for the atrocities of the terrorists, but it is very predictive of the lack of seriousness we could expect from her and her team if she wins in the fall. It’s a given that she will strike poses as President Obama has struck poses, and with the same consequences. “Leading from behind,” “red lines” that get erased, and condescension towards fanatical “jayvees” are a given with her as they have been with President Obama. His legacy is her platform. It is inevitable.

And Trump’s is what? Bomb the holy shit out of them? Something you’d hear in any chatroom or barroom full of people with such nuanced foreign policy ideas? We never win any more? This is the guy who Mr. Hewitt sees as CiC?

As is her party’s reflexive underfunding of the military; the hollowing out of every Defense Department budget for the next four years; the readiness crisis that consumes major components of the services; and the loss of a generation of skilled officers to budget irresponsibility that is the hallmark of the left that Clinton personifies and leads.

Trump has already signaled a breathtaking ignorance of things military, least of all concerning the level of funding a robust military post-Obama will require.

But all of that is just a lead-up to this breathtakingly insulting coda to Mr. Hewitt’s piece:

So this inescapable binary choice it is an easy choice for me, and one I will make because either she or Trump will be commander in chief. No third party throw away ballots or symbolic gestures. One of two people will command the Warriors. The far riskier path for the country is choosing Clinton as that one of two, but I will respect the wrong-headed voters who pull that lever on the basis of wooly-headed reasoning or thread-bare rationalizations. I will never understand those who refuse to choose when a choice must be made. That is not a choice, it seems to me, of anyone who genuinely believes in self-government.

So having made his decision, and having forgotten the reasons for deciding otherwise, Mr. Hewitt demands that we support one of these deeply unqualified and incompetent candidates, and concludes that if we do not, we do not genuinely believe in self-government.

That coda is not just a condescending (and thus counter-productive) exercise in sanctimony, persuading nobody–it is a exercise in raging one-sided intellectual dishonesty. Shame on Mr. Hewitt.

Many “responsible citizens” will do a different political and moral calculus than Mr. Hewitt does–and it won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in the outcome, except to accelerate the conservative movement’s abject sellout to an anti-conservative populist cult of personality.

Bear that in mind the next time you decide to impersonate Mark Larson, Mr. Hewitt.

Trump Word Salad

From C-Span:

MR. TRUMP: OK. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I APPRECIATE IT AND THIS IS AN AMAZING HONOR. IT’S AN AMAZING DAY, VERY HISTORIC DAY FOR A LOT OF REASONS, NOT ONLY TURNBERY. THIS IS ONE OF THE BIG — TURNBERRY. THIS IS ONE OF THE BIG VOTES IN THE HISTORY OF EUROPE, SCOTLAND, EVERYWHERE. IT WAS VERY EXCITING COMING IN AND WE WERE LANDING AND WE HAD JUST HEARD THE RESULTS SO I WISH EVERYBODY A LOT OF LUCK. I THINK THAT IT’S PURELY HISTORIC AND WHAT’S HAPPENING IS HISTORIC. SO IT’S AN HONOR TO BE WITH YOU. MY MOTHER WAS BORN IN SCOTLAND IN STORNAWAY. SHE LOVED SCOTLAND. SHE WOULD BE HERE A LOT. SHE WOULD BE HERE WITH MY SISTER, MARIAN AND MY SISTER, ELIZABETH AND SHE JUST LOVED IT. HER LOYALTY TO SCOTLAND WAS INCREDIBLE. SHE RESPECTED AND LOVED THE QUEEN AND SHE LOVED THE CEREMONY AND THE POMP, POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE, AND SHE WAS SOMETHING SPECIAL. AND TO THINK WE’D BE HERE OWNING TURNBERRY ONE DAY WOULD BE INCREDIBLE. SHE WOULD COME TO TURNBERRY WITH HER FRIENDS AND THEY’D HAVE DINNER AT TURNBERRY. SHE DIDN’T PLAY GOLF BUT THEY WOULD HAVE DINNER AT TURNBERRY, SO HAVING TAKEN THIS HOTEL AND DONE THE JOB THAT WE’VE DONE WITH IT IS JUST AN HONOR I WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY. WE BOUGHT IT ABOUT 4 1/2 YEARS AGO. THE TOWN COUNCIL HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE. THE LOCAL POLITICIANS AND ALL OF THE POLITICIANS ALL THROUGHOUT HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. THEY APPROVED VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING THAT WE ASKED FOR. WE ASKED FOR THE RIGHT THINGS, BUT THE APPROVAL PROCESS, BECAUSE IT’S SO HISTORIC, HAD TO GO THROUGH MANY DIFFERENT LAYERS BUT EVERY SINGLE THING WE WANTED THEY AGREED. THEY THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD AND IN SOME CASES GREAT. WE’VE TAKEN THE LIGHT HOUSE, WHICH IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT BUILDING IN FLORIDA — I MEAN, IN SCOTLAND AND WE’VE TAKEN THAT BUILDING AND MADE IT SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL. INSIDE THE LIGHTHOUSE RIGHT NOW IS INCREDIBLE SUITES AND IT’S CALLED THE HALFWAY HOUSE BECAUSE THIS IS THE 9TH TEE AND IT’S CALLED THE HALFWAY HOUSE. ON THE BOTTOM YOU HAVE DINING AND GOLFERS WILL STOP AND THEY’LL GO AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT AND THEN THEY GO INTO THE 10TH HOLE, 10TH TEE RIGHT NEXT DOOR. AND IT WAS IN DISREPAIR AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE FROM LANDMARK SCOTLAND AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WE HAD TO GO THROUGH WERE — I JUST THANK YOU BECAUSE IT WAS A LONG, DIFFICULT PROCESS GETTING THAT APPROVED, BUT THEY REALLY WANTED TO SEE IT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. AND NOW IT’S REALLY AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN IT EVER WAS. WHEN YOU SEE — I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’LL GET A CHANCE BUT IF YOU DO YOU SHOULD TRY AND GET TO SEE THE SUITES BECAUSE THEY ARE TWO OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUITES YOU’LL EVER SEE. WHEN THE WATER IS ROUGH TODAY, IT’S VERY CALM. IN FACT, I’VE ALMOST NEVER SEEN IT LIKE THIS BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE WAVES THAT ARE LITERALLY CRASHING ONTO THIS PIECE OF LAND WE’RE ON. IT’S ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SIGHTS YOU’LL EVER SEE. THE HOLE DIDN’T EXIST. THEY WORKED WITH US ON DESIGN. THEY WANTED TO DO THESE CHANGES FOR PROBABLY CLOSE TO 50 YEARS BECAUSE THEY WERE SO OBVIOUS AND WE MADE CERTAIN CHANGES TO THE COURSE IN ADDITION TO THAT, WE FULLY RENOVATED THE COURSE. BRAND NEW SPRINKLER SYSTEM. THE HIGHEST LEVEL. MANY OF THE HOLES HAVE BEEN JIGGERED AND MADE EVEN LONGER AND NEW GREENS AND NEW EVERYTHING AND YET IT’S THE SAME TURNBERRY. WITH YOU THE WHOLE 9, 10 AND 11 AND 4 HAVE BEEN CHANGED AND MOVED OUT INTO THE OCEAN. THIS HOLE IS AN EXAMPLE FROM APPROXIMATELY THIS AREA. WOULD YOU HIT OVER THERE. THIS WAS A PAR 4 AND YOU’D HIT OVER THERE AND IT WAS A MUCH DIFFERENT THING. NOW YOU’RE HITTING OUT OVER THE OCEAN. AND JUST BY THE LIGHTHOUSE YOU HAVE A GREEN AND PEOPLE THINK THIS WILL BE THE GREATEST PAR 3 ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AND THEN 10 BECOMES A PAR 5 THAT THE GOLFERS KNOW AND THE MEMBERS KNOW. I THINK WE HAVE A LOT OF THE MEMBERS IN TURNBERRY IN THE BACK, THE CAPTAIN. WE APPRECIATE YOU BEING HERE. AND WE HAVE THEN NUMBER 11, WHICH IS A SPECTACULAR HOLE. ALSO A PAR 3. BUILT RIGHT ON THE CLIFFS. AND THAT HOLE WAS MOVED ABOUT 200 YARDS TO THE LEFT. AND TOM WATSON SAW ME AND HE WON THE BRITISH OPEN MANY TIMES, PETER, RIGHT, AND HE SAID FIVE. HE SAID WHAT A CHANGE. HE ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS A VERY EASY HOLE THE WAY IT WAS, BUT HE PROBABLY LIKED IT BECAUSE HE’D BIRDIE IT ALL THE TIME. WHAT WE’VE DONE IS WHAT EVERYBODY’S WANTED TO DO FOR MANY, MANY DECADES. I WANT TO THANK MARTIN EBERT WHO HAS DONE AN INCREDIBLE JOB AS THE ARCHITECT. [APPLAUSE] AND I CALLED UP — I CALLED UP THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT PETER DAWSON WHO IS AN AMAZING MAN AND GREAT GUY AND TALENTED PERSON AND LOVES THE SPORT AND LOVES SCOTLAND AND FRANKLY I SAID, WHO SHOULD I USE AS THE ARCHITECT AND HE DID ME A BIG FAVOR. HE RECOMMENDED MARTIN AND SO I WANT TO THANK YOU YOU AND I WANT TO THANK PETER DAWSON WHO IS WITH US NOW. HEADED UP THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT FOR YEARS. HE’S BEEN JUST A GREAT FRIEND AND I THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, PETER. YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MY SON, ERIC, WAS IN CHARGE OF THE JOB. I WANTED TO COME OVER HERE AND IVANKA AND DAWN CAME TO CONGRATULATE ERIC. REALLY, WE GAVE HIM THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BUILDING THE HOTEL. AS YOU KNOW WAS GUTTED DOWN TO THE STEEL AND REBUILT. I THINK IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE GREAT HOTELS OF THE WORLD. IT ALREADY WAS BUT IT WAS IN SOMEWHAT DELAPIDATED SHAPE AND WE HAD A CHOICE. WE COULD FIX IT AND PAINT IT OR WE COULD DO IT THE WAY WE DID IT AND WE WENT BACK TO THE ORIGINAL PLANS. WE WERE ABLE TO GET THE PLANS FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHITECTS FROM MANY, MANY YEARS AGO. IT WAS 1906 AND WE WENT BACK TO THOSE PLANS, WHICH ARE MAGNIFICENT ROOMS, VERY BIG. THEY WERE CUT IN HALF AND ALL SORTS OF THINGS HAPPENED OVER THE YEARS. AND WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT’S VERY SPECIAL. CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS IN ALL OF GOLF. I THINK WE CAN SAY THAT, PETER. USUALLY A BUILDING, WHEN YOU HAVE A BUILDING ON A GOLF COURSE THAT’S NOT AN ASSET. THAT’S CALLED A LIABILITY. THIS IS ONE OF THE BUILDINGS WHERE EVEN THOUGH IT’S IN THE DISTANCE, WHEN YOU’RE ON THE 18TH HOLE AND YOU’RE LOOKING DOWN THE FAIRWAY AND YOU’RE LOOKING AT THAT BUILDING, IT’S CONSIDERED ONE OF THE GREAT, BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORIC SITES IN GOLF. AS YOU KNOW, JACK NICHOLAS WON THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP — JACK NICKLAS WON THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP AND I GUESS THE GREATEST, I GUESS ONE OF THE GREATEST TOURNAMENTS IF NOT THE SINGLE GREATEST TOURNAMENT IN THE HISTORY OF GOLF WAS THE DUEL IN THE SUN, 1977 WITH TOM WATSON AND JACK NICKLAUS WHICH WAS BIRDIE, BIRDIE, BIRDIE. AND EVERYONE WASN’T IN THE MATCH AND THESE TWO KEPT GOING WILD AND THAT’S WHEN TOM WATSON CHIPPED IN AN AREA THAT YOU COULDN’T GET FROM THE GREEN LET ALONE GET IT IN THE HOLE. THE ONLY WAY TO GET IT IN IS IF YOU CHIPPED IT IN. JACK IS AN INCREDIBLE SPORTSMAN. THE WAY HE WALKED OFF THE COURSE WAS ONE OF THE GREAT SCENES IN ALL OF GOLF. AND JACK NICKLAUS IS A FRIEND OF MINE AND GREAT CHAMPION AND GREAT CHAMPIONS, WHETHER IT’S TOM WATSON OR GREG NORMAN OR NICK PRICE, WE’VE HAD AMAZING WINNERS AT TURNBERRY. AND REALLY, NOT ONLY AMAZING WINNERS FOR THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP BUT SOME OF THE BEST TOURNAMENTS THEY EVER HAD. SO WE LISTENED TO THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT AND WE DID WHAT THEY WANTED US TO DO. IN ADDITION, THEY PUT IN TREMENDOUS MILES OF TELEVISION CABLES AND EVERYTHING’S UNDERGROUND SO IT’S ALL READY TO GO FROM THAT STANDPOINT. AND THE TOWN IS SO HAPPY AND SO THRILLED AND THE TOWN COUNCIL, WHO’S HERE, AND I WANT TO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE, THEY HAVE BEEN REALLY TERRIFIC. SO, AGAIN, IN HONOR OF MY MOTHER, MARY MACCLOUD, WHO IS A TERRIFIC PERSON. SHE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES AT THE AGE OF 19. SHE WAS A BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL WOMAN AND A VERY, VERY SMART WOMAN AND SHE MET MY FATHER AND THAT WAS IT. THEY WERE MARRIED FOR A LONG TIME AND THEY HAD A GREAT MARRIAGE AND REALLY A GREAT MARRIAGE BUT IN HONOR OF MY MOTHER, MARY MACCLOUD, AND IN HONOR OF MY CHILDREN — DON WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN BUYING IT. MY FRIENDS WERE HERE FROM DUBAI. GREAT PEOPLE. THIS WASN’T THEIR THING BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT GOLF. AND THEY ACTUALLY FELT, WHY SHOULD WE MOVE A HOLE INTO THE OCEAN WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE A HOLE? AND I SAID, WELL, IT’S THAT BETTER. THEY SAID, YEAH, BUT IT’S ALREADY THERE. THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE GOLF THING BUT IT ALWAYS DID WELL. TURNBERRY, BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION, BECAUSE OF THE FACT YOU ARE ON THE OCEAN, BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR PROPERTIES IN THE WORLD, THEY ALWAYS DID WELL. BUT NOW SINCE WE OPENED WE’RE ACTUALLY OPENED A NUMBER OF WEEKS AGO, THE COURSE, AND WE HAVEN’T HAD AN EMPTY SLOT. PETER, YOU’LL BE HAPPY TO HEAR THIS. WE HAVE NOT HAD ONE EMPTY SLOT. IT’S FROM MORNING UNTIL NIGHT IT’S PACKED SO IT’S A SPECIAL LOCATION. I DON’T KNOW, IT’S JUST THE LOCATION. EVERYBODY COMES HERE, WHETHER IT’S FROM LONDON OR WHEREVER THEY WANT TO BE, THEY ALL WANT TO COME TO TURNBERRY. AND WITH THAT I JUST WANT TO THANK A FEW PEOPLE. I HAVE TO THANK RALPH WHO THE ONE THING THE OTHER OWNERS DID — [APPLAUSE] THEY SAID — WHERE IS RALPH? RALPH, THE ONE THING THEY SAID, YOU HAVE A MAN NAMED RALPH. HE WAS AN ASSISTANT MANAGER AT THE TIME AND ONE OF THE OWNERS WHO IS A FRIEND OF MINE SAID HE’S THE MOST TALENTED HOTEL PERSON AND THEY SAID, YOU SHOULD HAVE HIM BE MANAGER. WE APPOINTED HIM MANAGER AND IT’S GREAT STUFF. THE HOTEL OPENED ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO AND IT’S BEEN AMAZING. . USUALLY WHEN A HOTEL OPENS YOU HAVE DRAINS NOT CONNECTED AND PIPES AND WATER THAT’S SPEWING THROUGH THE ROOFS AND ALL SORTS OF THINGS. WE HAVEN’T HAD ANYTHING. THEY DID — DONE A GREAT JOB. THE CONTRACTORS HAVE DONE A FANTASTIC JOB. THE HOTEL IS BUILT TO THE ABSOLUTE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF LUXURY. THE COURSE IS BUILT TO THE ABSOLUTE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF TOURNAMENT GOLF. I THINK THERE’LL BE NOTHING LIKE IT. IN ONE OF THE REVIEWS, I THINK IT WAS “GOLF DIGEST” IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY COMPARED THE 14 COURSES AND THE 14 ALL GREAT COURSES. IT’S WHERE THEY PLAY THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP. AND THIS WRITER SAID, TURNBERRY IS NUMBER ONE. BUT BECAUSE TRUMP OWNS IT, I’M MAKING IT NUMBER THREE. I SAID TO MYSELF, THAT’S HATRED. THAT’S HATRED. BUT I’M USED TO THAT WITH THE PRESS. THAT’S OK. I CONSIDERED IT A COMPLIMENT. I IMMEDIATELY SENT THAT REVIEW. I JUST WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY. I WANT TO ASK PERHAPS ERIC AND IVANKA AND DON TO COME FORWARD AND SAY A FEW WORDS. AND AGAIN IVANKA AND ERIC SAID, WOW, THIS MUST BE IMPORTANT BECAUSE IVANKA CAME, RIGHT? BECAUSE SHE’S SOMETHING ELSE. MY CHILDREN HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB. ONE OF THE VERY IMPORTANT REASONS I’M HERE NOT ONLY BECAUSE WE OWN IT AND WE’RE GOING TO CHERISH IT, WE’RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT, ONE OF THE GREAT, GREAT PLACES, GREAT RESORTS OF THE WORLD. BUT ALSO BECAUSE I WANT TO REALLY SUPPORT MY CHILDREN. THEY WORKED THEY HARD TO MAKE THIS PROPERTY WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT’S NOW BECOME. THE REVIEWS OF THE COURSE HAVE BEEN PHENOMENAL. NOT JUST LIKE GOOD. EVEN PEOPLE THAT TRULY HATE ME ARE SAYING IT’S THE BEST THEY HAVE EVER SEEN, WHICH IS ALWAYS, TO ME, PETER, THAT’S MY GREATEST. WHEN THEY HATE YOU AND GIVE IT A 10, THAT MEANS YOU DID A GOOD JOB, RIGHT? BUT THE REVIEWS HAVE BEEN PHENOMENAL AND THE REVIEWS OF THE HOTEL HAVE BEEN GREAT. THE HOTEL IS — I DIDN’T PUT A MORTGAGE ON IT. WE HAVE NO DEBT, NO FINANCING, NO ANYTHING. I WANTED TO DO THAT WITH TURNBERRY, DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE ANY FINANCING WITH TURNBERRY BECAUSE IT’S SO SPECIAL. I DID THIS OUT OF CASH FLOW AND WE HAVE AN ABSOLUTELY ZERO DEBT PROPERTY. I THINK IT’S SOMETHING THAT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT TRIBUTE TO SCOTLAND AND MANY OTHER PLACES, AND ALSO A GREAT TRIBUTE TO THE WORLD OF GOLF FOR MANY, MANY DECADES TO COME. SO ALL I ASK ERIC IN PARTICULAR BECAUSE HE BUILT IT. I’LL ASK ERIC AND IDENTIFY ADVANTAGEA AND DON TO COME FORWARD — IVANKA AND DON TO COME FORWARD. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE. [APPLAUSE]

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David Horowitz loses it

From Breitbart, presented here so you don’t have to give them the traffic. Emphasis added.

David Horowitz: ‘Kristol’s Betrayal Gets Serious’
by David Horowitz

30 May 2016

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Bill Kristol doubled down on his betrayal of this country with a pair of tweets:

“Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate — an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance,” Kristol tweeted.

He also said, “Those accused of betraying GOP by opposing Trump can take heart from P. Henry 251 years ago today: ‘If this be treason, make the most of it!’”

This fatuous invocation of an American patriot to justify the betrayal typifies the arrogant disregard for political realities shared by all those involved in a defection that could produce even greater disasters than the Obama era’s 400,000 deaths by jihad and 20 million refugees across the Middle East.

A week earlier, a “Never Trump” diatribe appeared in National Review, written by Charles Murray. To summarize why “Trump is unfit outside the normal parameters” to be president, Murray cited these words by NY Times columnist David Brooks:

Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa … He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12.

This is a perfect instance of “Trump derangement syndrome,” the underlying animus that motivates Kristol and his destructive cohorts. Dismissing Trump as an ignoramus and a stunted twelve-year-old is the stuff of schoolyard put-downs, not a serious critique of someone with Trump’s considerable achievements. Yet this is typical of Trump’s diehard opponents on the right. Is Trump more unprepared than Barack Obama whose qualification for the presidency was a lifetime career as a left-wing agitator? And how did that work out? Despite the lacunae in his executive resume, Obama is now regarded as “one of the most consequential presidents in American history” by reasonably qualified experts.

Can Trump be reasonably criticized, and is he something of a loose cannon? Of course he can, and yes he is. But criticisms that focus exclusively on the candidate miss the larger reality of this election, which is not merely a contest between two candidates but a clash between two parties and constituencies with radically differing views of what this country is and should be about, and even more importantly about the threats we face and how to deal with them.

Obama’s most consequential domestic legislation is the Affordable Care Act, which he had no part in writing. It was the work of left-wing think tanks and the congressional Democrats. So it will be with Trump, which is why all the blather about his vagueness or impracticality on policy issues is beside the point. Will he build a wall the length of the Mexican border? Probably not. But will he secure the border? Probably so. Will a Democrat — whether Hillary, Bernie, or Joe Biden — secure our borders and stop the flow of illegal immigrants, criminals, and terrorists? Certainly not. In addition to their decades-long war for amnesties and open boarders, Democrats are responsible for the more than 350 “Sanctuary Cities” that openly defy federal law and provide safe havens for those same illegal immigrants, criminals, and terrorists.

Open borders, Sanctuary Cities, importing unvetted Muslim refugees from the Middle East are but the tip of the iceberg in assessing the threat that the Democratic Party and its candidate (whoever it is) pose to America’s national security. For twenty-three years since the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the Democratic Party has been the party of appeasement and retreat in the holy war that fanatical Muslims have declared on us. The first bombing of the World Trade Center misfired but still killed six people and wounded 1,000 others. Clinton never visited the site while his administration insisted on treating it as a criminal act by individuals who needed to be tried in criminal courts, an attitude that would culminate in Barack Obama’s refusal to recognize that we were in a war at all, and certainly not one with fanatical Muslims. To a man and woman, the Democratic Party’s elected officials continue to participate in and support this denial.

Following the first World Trade Center bombing, there were three more devastating attacks on American assets by al-Qaeda’s barbarians during the Clinton administration, with no response and no change of mind towards the nature of the threat. There were also massive security breaches, including the theft by Communist China of America’s nuclear arsenal and the publishing of all our hitherto classified data from America’s nuclear weapons tests. Clinton’s leftist Secretary of Energy published the reports for the world to see, as she put it, “to end the bomb-building culture.”

Following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration focused on Afghanistan, which had provided al-Qaeda with a base to attack us, and Iraq, which had violated 16 Security Council resolutions designed to enforce the Gulf War truce that Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein had repeatedly violated and prevented him from reviving the massive chemical and nuclear weapons programs we had destroyed. In 1998, Saddam threw the U.N. weapons inspectors out of Iraq, a further violation of the Gulf War truce and a clear sign of his determination to revive his weapons programs. Embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton fired 451 cruise missiles into Iraq, a pointless response that was correctly seen by critics at the time as an attempt to deflect attention from his appearance before the grand jury looking into his personal disorders.

The Bush administration put 200,000 troops on Iraq’s borders, which prompted Saddam Hussein to re-admit the inspectors but then to throw obstacles in their path. Bush went before the UN and secured a 17th Security Council resolution, unanimously passed, in the form of an ultimatum to Saddam to destroy any weapons of mass destruction he possessed and provide proof that he had done so. Bush also went to Congress and got an authorization for the use of force from Senate but not House Democrats. The ultimatum date came and went, and to prevent the word of the United States and the commitment of 200,000 troops from meaning nothing, Bush proceeded to invade Iraq. But before he did so, he gave Saddam the option to quit the country in which case the invasion would be called off. A simpler measure would have been to assassinate Saddam since he was the Iraq problem. But thanks to a law passed by the post-Watergate Democrats the CIA is prevented from assassinating foreign leaders, which made the invasion necessary.

Within three months of the invasion, with American troops still in harm’s way, the Democrats who had authorized the use of force and spoken in favor of the removal of Saddam turned against the war and began a five-year campaign to sabotage it. The Democrats reversal — and betrayal of our men and women in arms — was triggered by a presidential primary in which a left-wing candidate, Howard Dean, was running away with the Democratic nomination. This betrayal prevented us from pursuing Saddam’s generals and chemical weapons into Syria, and bringing Assad to heel. Bush managed to rescue the war effort and defeat al-Qaeda on the battlefield through the “surge” that Democrats opposed. But then, Obama took charge and implemented the Democrats’ America-is-guilty platform of appeasement and retreat, creating a power vacuum in Iraq and Syria that ISIS quickly filled. At the same time, the Democrats have systematically taken down our military which is now at its lowest levels since World War II.

This is the issue that defines the coming election. A party in denial about the Muslim holy war against America and its allies, whose basic instinct is to weaken America’s defenses and enable her enemies, is opposed by a party that wants to rebuild America’s strength, secure our borders, and put the safety of our people first.

The Kristol attack on the Republican Party and its presumptive candidate Donald Trump is an attack on all Americans and needs to be seen in that light.

A Song

It’s not very often that a character in a dream is kind enough to sing a song to me. Even less often that I get up and write it down. I’ve monkeyed with it slightly.

Apparently said character was referring to a co-worker in a workplace, since she prefaced the lines with “This is what she’s singing to herself back there today.” The character was describing this to someone else, but I was at the same table.

Maybe I’ll record the melody later.

F*** you and the horse you rode in on
F*** you and the horse you’re astride
F*** you and your horse
Not literally, of course…
F*** you and the horse that you ride

Larry Arnn is wrong about Donald Trump

In an election cycle that does not lack for reality-bending narratives, one of the more gobsmacking ones came from–of all people–Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College.

On 3/2/16, Dr. Arnn said the following on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show (audio here):

I can’t find any evidence, since 2000, that Donald Trump is not a supporter of limited and Constitutional government.

(Dr. Arnn did add the Takings Clause as the one exception to his assertion, and said that Trump’s position on Kelo is Constitutionally wrongheaded.)

Dr. Arnn is the last person I would expect to engage in argument from ignorance, but his assertion boils down to nothing more than that.

As Bruce Fein at The Washington Times wrote, the same day that Arnn’s interview was aired:

Among other things, Mr. Trump has taken up arms against the Eighth Amendment prohibition of torture, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment requirements of due process, the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom, the Article VI prohibition of religious test oaths, the Article I, section 8, clause 11 proscriptions of presidential wars, and the War Crimes Act of 1996 that implements international law.

Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

The Hill, 12/10/15:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to issue an executive order to mandate the death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer.

The Washington Post, 9/23/15:

Trump quickly exploded on Twitter and wrote in a tweet: “Incompetent @RichLowry lost it tonight on @FoxNews. He should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him!”

Politico, 2/26/16:

“One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected,” Trump said.

RedState, 8/15/15:

We now have Trump on record as saying he “loves the idea of campaign finance reform”. If you remember, that was one of our biggest problems with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) back in 2008: his co-authoring of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill with leading Senate progressive Democrat Russ Feingold. Is that what Trump wants to see more of?

CNN, 11/22/15:

Republican presidential contenders split Sunday on a proposal to ban individuals on a terror watch list from buying guns, with front-runner Donald Trump backing the measure and Ben Carson opposing it.

National Post, 8/19/15:

“Bill, I don’t think that [“anchor babies”] have American citizenship,” he said. “And if you speak to some very, very good lawyers — and I know some would disagree, but many of them agree with me — you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship. We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell.”

That’s just for starters. Surely Dr. Arnn’s crack staff could find more, if they but look.

A journey through Trumpkin Land

What fresh hell is this?

TrumpSockpuppetTwitter1

That’s a fascinating statement, made all the more fascinating since it was retweeted by “Mr. Trump.” There isn’t a single person on the face of the earth with whom I always agree. I worry for the sanity of anybody so completely in the tank for a candidate, assuming she is sincere.

But wait, there’s more!

TrumpSockpuppetTwitter2

Hmm. Well. Alrightee then.

TrumpSockpuppetTwitter3

Interestingly, she invokes sockpuppets, a topic she probably knows a bit about:

TrumpSockpuppetTwitter4

Her timeline is quite a read.

Perhaps “Mr. Trump’s” Twitter crew should take a quick glance at Twitter accounts that they retweet.

My Year In Review

TheScream2

Items of interest

Random whatnot:

George F. Will, with a provocative piece, “The foolish ‘theism’ of government enthusiasts”:

No one…anticipated that when Gutenberg made printed books affordable, increased literacy would create a market for spectacles, which would lead to improved lenses and the invention of telescopes, which would produce the discovery that the Earth orbits the sun.

Some guy, getting just about everything hilariously and incoherently wrong:

The GOP doesn’t have many philosophers that support their ideology. They have people that they identify as intellectuals like Milton Freidman [sic], and for some reason they also claim ownership of the Founding Fathers. But the only philosopher that they claim to be their own is the novelist Ayn Rand.

Stumbled upon during a random perusal of Gutenberg.org:

This reminds one of a story of an old man who stood in a highway, leaning on his staff, and crying, in a feeble, croaking voice, “Stop thief! stop thief!”

“What is the matter, sir?” inquired a fellow, approaching.

“O, a villain has stolen my hat from my head, and run away.”

“Your hat!” looking at the bare head; “why didn’t you run after him?”

“O, my dear sir, I can’t run a step. I am very lame.”

“Can’t run! then here goes your wig.” And so saying, the fellow caught the poor old man’s wig, and scampered away at the top of his speed.

Another fun quote (well, maybe “fun” isn’t exactly the right word, since it is all too fitting, on far too many levels)–this one from Fritz Leiber, in a 1950 issue of Galaxy:

“Fourth,” he went on, “it’s my belief that when an intelligent species begins to retrogress, it tends to destroy, or, rather, debase all the things it has laboriously created. Large buildings are torn down to make smaller ones. Machines are broken up and worked into primitive tools and weapons. There is a kind of unraveling or erasing. A cultural Second Law of Thermodynamics begins to operate, whereby the intellect and all its works are gradually degraded to the lowest level of meaning and creativity.”

New York Times headline, via Google News, states the obvious:

“UN Sets Syrian Peace Talks as Fighting Complicates Task.”

Forerunner to Bronies?

The Tale of Pony Twinkleheels, by Arthur Scott Bailey, Illustrated by Harry L. Smith.

From The Lost Princess of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, Illustrated by John R. Neill (with some editing by yours truly):

OzFrog3

And another, this time with no major editing:

OzFrog5

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