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Chuck Bearden
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Chuck Bearden

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“Trump is dismissing actions Putin took threatening neighbors and working against U.S. interests by essentially saying, well, Obama has done a lot of things that were just as bad. This is exactly the type of moral equivalency that conservatives spent decades fighting against — when those on the far left tried to portray the U.S. and Soviet Union as morally the same, or slam U.S. as being the real terrorists in the Middle East. Imagine the reaction on the right if, in 2008, candidate Obama said Hugo Chavez was a great leader, and when confronted with his human rights violations, said, ‘Well you could say the same about what George Bush did in Iraq.’”
Donald Trump's decision to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership skills relative to President Obama's is getting a lot of attention, but what Trump actually said is much worse. To be clear, though it's an odd thing to say about an American adversary, just because you say that somebody has been a strong leader, it doesn't necessarily mean you agree with what that leader's actions. You could, for instance, state that Adolph Hitler wa...
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Chuck Bearden

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If you like the blues, this video speaks (sings?) for itself.
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“The first problem is moral. A GOP that focuses solely or primarily on the defense of white communities is one that loses its moral authority to govern Americans of all races and creeds. Furthermore, there is an affirmative moral case for Republicans and conservatives to contemplate the significant long-term effects of slavery and segregation on African-American communities.”
– Avik Roy
Jonah Goldberg and Jeremy Carl have had an interesting exchange this week on the role of white identity politics in Donald Trump’s coalition.
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“The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers. At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling.”

“From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.”
Declarations columnist Peggy Noonan writes that those in power see people at the bottom as aliens whose bizarre emotions they must try to manage.
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“Although Democrats were the main focus of this espionage effort, prominent Republicans got hit too. Sen. John McCain was a target of the Russians, which is no surprise given his reputation as a hardliner on Kremlin matters. When President George W. Bush stated that he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and ‘found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy … I was able to get a sense of his soul,’ McCain famously retorted, ‘I looked in Putin’s eyes and I saw three letters—a K, a G, and a B.’”

I think we have to give this one to McCain.
It’s time to face the facts: Kremlin spies and hackers are undermining American politics.
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Via Ben Domenech's estimable newsletter, The Transom, some fun text analytics with Il Donaldo's twitter feed.
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“Russell’s idea [in his celestial teapot argument], I take it, is we don’t really have any evidence against teapotism, but we don’t need any; the absence of evidence is evidence of absence, and is enough to support a-teapotism. We don’t need any positive evidence against it to be justified in a-teapotism; and perhaps the same is true of theism.

“I disagree: Clearly we have a great deal of evidence against teapotism. For example, as far as we know, the only way a teapot could have gotten into orbit around the sun would be if some country with sufficiently developed space-shot capabilities had shot this pot into orbit. No country with such capabilities is sufficiently frivolous to waste its resources by trying to send a teapot into orbit. Furthermore, if some country had done so, it would have been all over the news; we would certainly have heard about it. But we haven’t. And so on. There is plenty of evidence against teapotism. So if, à la Russell, theism is like teapotism, the atheist, to be justified, would (like the a-teapotist) have to have powerful evidence against theism.”
Skeptics may not have the evidence (or the arguments) on their side.
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“Eventually some eighteen countries were to fall under Communist rule. In 1999, Time magazine proclaimed Einstein the ‘man of the century’—the person who ‘for better or worse most influenced the last 100 years’—but Einstein did not remotely affect so many lives as Lenin. Bolsheviks were never very good at material inventions, but they excelled at political technology, inventing an entirely new system we call totalitarian. As they say today, it went viral. There is still no vaccine.”
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Luxury goods unearthed at royal stronghold show that Celtic rulers thrived at the legendary site of Tintagel.
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“The flashpoint was the draft, which excluded blacks and allowed the wealthy to avoid military service by paying $300 (approximately half a working man’s annual wages). The combination proved too much for the poor of New York, and in July of 1863, during the official draft enrollment week, they rioted—shooting at free blacks and wealthy whites with equal abandon. By the time they were finished, at least 117 people were dead. Most historians think that officially announced figure is much too low, but even if we accept it, the New York Draft Riot killed more people than any other civil riot in the history of the nation.”
If New York City had guided the country, America probably would not have rebelled against King George III. For that matter, if New York had set the national tone, the North probably would not have fou
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“The current education and income patterns reflect a reversal of the way Bill Clinton first won the presidency in 1992. Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush by double-digit margins among voters making less than $50,000, but lost among voters making $100,000 or more, 54-38. In 1992, Clinton won by similarly large margins among those with high school degrees or less, while losing college graduates 41-39.”

– Thomas B. Edsall
In the long run, the significance of the Trump campaign may well prove to be the changes he has wrought in the Democratic coalition.
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“The Virginia ban was the quixotic crusade of one computer science expert in the private sector, Jeremy Epstein. In 2002, Epstein walked into the elections office in Fairfax, Virginia, to complain about the poor design of the touch screens—a WINVote model—and walked out with a mission to get them barred from the state. The machines were connected to Wi-Fi—vulnerable to ‘anyone who wanted to could hack them from the comfort of their car out in the parking lot,’ Epstein told me. An investigation later revealed that the WINVote’s encryption key was ‘abcde.’ The machines were certified in 2003, running on a version of Windows from 2002, and hadn’t received an update since 2005.”
With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.
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We engaged Volcano Concrete to pour a new patio for us in our back yard. Our primary goal for this project was to improve the bad drainage situation in our back yard, which had several times allowed water into the back room. The new patio was tested by a hard rain soon after its completion and functioned just as we had hoped. The project was completed in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost. The crew was hard-working and polite. The patio looks good, and we will enjoy it. Our only suggestion to Volcano Concrete would be mask the siding on the house when pouring the concrete in order keep splatter off of the siding.
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