Tangential Miscellany


Riveted by the proceedings, I felt at times I should have looked away rather than play voyeur to the humiliation of two fine people — stripped of dignity and emotionally exposed before the world.

Kathleen Parker.

This was a predictable response of decent people. Unlike political pundits, I had no obligation to watch, so I didn’t. That limits how much I can comment with integrity.

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I didn’t watch Thursday’s hearing because I didn’t expect to come any closer to warranted belief by watching (and I expected to be slimed — see above). I think I called that right. Except that most Kavanaugh backers found Ford a powerful witness, Thursday seemed to function as Rorschach Test.

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I’m pretty disgusted with both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times coverage. The Times is more blatantly partisan, dishing up wave upon wave of shockingly tendentious commentary and “news,” but I also have trouble crediting most of the Journal’s arguments for Kavanaugh.

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Lindsey Graham’s display of rage seems a bit amnesiac. Despicable power grabs in confirmation context started with the proto-Borking, but the penultimate power grab was the GOP’s grab and tabling of Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearing. The GOP brought a pen knife, the Democrats brought an AK-47, but it’s the same street fight.


Regarding Presidential politics more generally:

I just don’t understand it. Why aren’t parents more concerned about what their children are hearing about the President’s behavior? … I am left to conclude from these opinions that our greatest problem is not in the Oval Office. It is with the people of this land! We have lost our ability to discern the difference between right and wrong.

As it turns out, character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it. How foolish to believe that a person who lacks honesty and moral integrity is qualified to lead a nation and the world! Nevertheless, our people continue to say that the President is doing a good job even if they don’t respect him personally. Those two positions are fundamentally incompatible. In the Book of James the question is posed, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring” (James 3:11 NIV). The answer is no.

… Nothing short of a spiritual renewal will save us.

Dr. James Dobson.

Those words are as true now as they were when Dr. Dobson first wrote them — about Bill Clinton, of course. Surely you didn’t think that an Evangelical® would say such a thing about Donald Trump, God’s anointed!


When you strip away the blind, fawning hero worship of his supporters and the shrieking, garment-rending hysteria of his opponents, instead examining the actual behavior of this administration, the sitting president looks an awful lot like a fairly conventional Republican scumbag with about as many differences from Obama as Obama had from Bush.

And, to be clear, that is a bad thing. Both Trump supporters and Trump haters get upset whenever I say that this president is not significantly different from his predecessors in any meaningful way outside of rhetoric and narrative, Trump supporters because they believe he is a populist hero and Democrats because I’m disputing the narrative that he’s Literally Hitler. But I don’t say this because I like upsetting everyone, I say it because it’s extremely important to be absolutely clear about what is happening here if we ever want to turn things around for the fate of our species. Trump’s election did not represent the arrival of a new Hitler-like monster, the monster was already here. The call is coming from inside the house..

I’m getting used to Caitlin Johnstone, and trying to figure out the (seeming) conspiracy theory she believes — as I think she’s also doing. Sometimes, Donald Trump appears as one of the plutocrats who’s controlling this all; other times, he’s beholden to those plutocrats.

But she does rack up a lot of points as she careens about the pinball table.


If journalism is the first draft of history, history editors have pretty good job security well into the future — assuming we have a future and that people there will want to read history instead of just consulting their feelings.


Today is the 20th anniversary of my Father’s repose in the Lord. He was one of the most level-headed people I know, or at least he created that impression by not blathering.

That obviously is a recessive trait, or perhaps one acquired on mine sweepers in the South Pacific and not hereditable.

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