One More Link

Just one more link because they are good. I can’t believe I found a bunch of previously undiscovered reasonable people online. The link is about the insanity of self-identification and the mobs that defend it.

Shit Is Addictive

I’ve been writing down every book I read since 1996. The number of books stayed pretty much the same through two immigrations, divorce, and all sorts of dramas, trials, and tribulations.

Until 2009. Starting that year, the number was cut in half and never recovered. What changed? I bought my first smartphone in December of 2008.

A Heavy Blow

This is real news:

“Russia has violated the agreement,” Trump said. “They’ve been violating it for many years. And I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons, and we’re not allowed to.

Yeah, he’s totally a Russian spy.

Putin’s other favorite in the 2016 race, Bernie Sanders, would have been more amenable for sure. Not that he’s a spy either, of course.

The Real Opponent

Also, in order to win, the Dem candidate must run against the real Trump and not the Trump of fevered FB memes of the excitable fringe. The real Trump renegotiated NAFTA, saw the unemployment go down to a historic low, was in office when the US dollar was strong, never gave an inch to foreign opponents yet invaded no one, and helped many people see a bump on their paychecks.

This is the real opponent in the 2020 election. Everything else is a fantasy.

Rauner Is Going Down

Some close to Sanders feel like Warren was trying to muscle him out of the race, and laugh at the idea that she will be able to compete with him for his supporters. Some close to Warren feel like Sanders has an outsized sense of his power over the nomination and his chances to actually win it or beat Donald Trump.

I think they are both clueless. Bernie is even older than he was before the last election and with zero appeal in the Midwest or among the non-wealthy. And Warren just killed her chances of her own free will:

“Her comments around the rollout of the Native American stuff were not helpful to her cause,” said Jonathan Westin, the executive director of New York Communities for Change. “As a person of color who works with people of color, it felt like it was an almost diminishing the role of race in our politics. It really went against the grain with a lot of people. It trivialized race as a factor in so many ways.”

We all know how easy it will be for Trump to wipe the floor with her after this.

I don’t want to be all negative on a Sunday morning, so here’s some good news: Rauner is going down for sure. Illinois Republicans aren’t even trying to offer anything but Reaganite economics. They are completely mum on any other issue. It is as if the opioid epidemic or the globalization didn’t exist. Trump’s triumph 2 years ago demonstrated very clearly that Republican voters are tired of “slash taxes for the rich and do absolutely nothing else whatsoever” approach. They will swallow the tax cuts if you offer something else. But here in Illinois, they aren’t even trying to figure out what that something else might be.

In short: both parties need to wake up, realize that it’s not 1978 anymore and spend some time with actual voters. Bernie needs to learn to talk to folks with incomes of under 80K. Warren has figured that out but she needs to learn to speak to the non-white folks. Republicans will never learn to do that, so this would be a huge advantage.

The Death of Language

Icelanders bought 47% fewer books in 2017 than they did in 2010, a very sharp decrease in a matter of only six years. In a recent poll in Iceland, 13.5% of those who responded had not read a single book in 2017, compared to 7% in 2010.

The source of the quote blames this sad phenomenon on the English language but I don’t for a second think that’s what it is.

According to a recent study, in the homeland of the English language, kids arrive on their first day of school lagging behind the preceding generations and behind the norm by a whopping 18 months (which is an enormous gap at this age) in terms of linguistic capabilities. Meaning, they can’t speak their own language in an age-appropriate way. That’s a whole generation of kids with severe issues in the realm of verbal expression.

Iceland has a wonderful tradition of giving books as Christmas presents, with people reading into the night on Christmas Eve. However, even this may be under threat: in 2005, an Icelander received an average of 1.4 books as gifts at Christmas; this number is now 1.1, with 42% of Icelanders not receiving a single book for Christmas according to the most recent poll.

No, it ain’t English, that’s for sure. Just like in the case of the UK study I mentioned before, smartphones are the cause.