Politics This Week: What People Don’t Care About

By Justin Katz | June 11, 2024 |
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A crowd mocks a mismatched boy while not noticing people getting away with things

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss:

  • Ethics Commission roped into corrections head appointment
  • RI pols love the American Revolution pose
  • Comparing “Appeal to Heaven” with the keffiyeh
  • McKee’s gun pandering
  • e-Bike politics
  • Ruggerio back in the building
  • Police and BLM politics
  • Teacher union gets an all-good from the Ethics Commission

 

Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 40 and Photoshop AI.

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Patricia Morgan should debate Ray McKay.

By Justin Katz | June 5, 2024 |
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A water drop and ripples

I’m a little delayed in reacting to this, but it isn’t encouraging news:

State Rep. Patricia Morgan, who is one of two Republicans running in Rhode Island’s U.S. Senate race this year, has declined to debate her opponent in the primary, 12 News has learned. …

“We need our party united for when Ray drops out or loses in the primary come September. A debate between Patricia and Ray would, mostly likely, not center on policy differences, but would instead center on personal traits and accomplishments,” [Morgan Director of Communications Anthony] D’Ellena explained.

That’s a thin “explanation.”  RI Republicans aren’t really in a position to reinforce the notion that front-runners don’t have to debate.  More importantly, they can’t afford not to increase interest in their campaigns or give their base a feeling of real activity.

Morgan’s making a big mistake, here.

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Politics This Week: Governed by Corruption

By Justin Katz | June 4, 2024 |
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A zombie politician speechifies

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss:

  • Questions not raised about Matos signature controversy
  • $14 billion state budget
  • Pension fund set to take a hit
  • The reason for DiPalma’s new gig
  • Citizens Bank looks for a handout
  • National hypocrisy about the integrity of the judiciary

 

Featured image by Justin Katz using Firefly.

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We should consolidate the ugliness of renewable energy.

By Justin Katz | June 4, 2024 |
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A water drop and ripples

Two things occurred to me when I saw this aerial video of a wind turbine blade graveyard in Texas:

wideawake_media: These wind turbine blades have come to die at a wind turbine graveyard in Texas, USA.

They've outlived their 20-year lifespan and can't be recycled.

How very "green" and "renewable".

 

First, this sort of thing already exists for 20-year-old turbines in an industry that is supposedly just getting started as a major industry.  What sort of acreage will we be talking as we approach the “net zero” fantasy?

Second, we should store this junk under the ugly solar farms for which we’re leveling forests.  At least then the ugliness will be consolidated.

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Glenn Reynolds identifies our two possible paths.

By Justin Katz | May 30, 2024 |
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A water drop and ripples

I’m tempted to modify this message, just a bit, by suggesting that this is always the choice:

Glenn Reynolds: Western Civilization faces a choice

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Citizens need stronger self-defense rights against activist assault (for civilizational defense).

By Justin Katz | May 30, 2024 |
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A glowing child emerges in the midst of a crowd of crazed monsters

We’re getting strong reminders, lately, that a free society with mutual respect for rights is vulnerable to those who have no such respect and don’t much like freedom.  Among the most-stark examples I’ve seen is this incident, in which pro-Hamas Columbia activists encircle and bodily remove a student who objected to their destroying a campus building:

MarinaMedvin: Palestinian protesters are assaulting normal Columbia college students. The lawsuits against Columbia will be a sight to behold.

Two observations are glaring, here.  The first is that the activists are behaving as if they are a police force authorized to determine who has a right to stand where and take organized action to control the situation.  The second is that they completely dehumanize their target.  He’s just an obstacle to remove, not a human being.

In her post, Marina Medvin implies an expectation that he’ll have some compensation for this violation of his rights, which is appropriate, but a problem remains.  That approach to justice merely allows these activists — who will not likely be found, identified, or prosecuted, especially in New York City — to offload the consequences for their actions onto somebody else.

A similar reminder comes with the increasingly frequent road blockages, with activists disrupting the lives of perhaps thousands of motorists by clogging major thoroughfares.  In both cases, the victims are reluctant to cross lines of civility and law, and indeed, there’s good reason for that.  For years, now, the message has been clearly conveyed across the West that our governments afford special privileges to left-wing activists.  The overriding standard for the law is not what a person does, but why the person claims to do it and who the person is.  Obviously, the kangaroo-court prosecutions of Donald Trump lead the field of examples.

This has to change.  The young man pictured above rightly notes that the activists are assaulting him, and he may, with some effort, be compensated by the university, but the damage done to all of our freedom is not recompensed as long as the incentives remain for activists to increase the pressure.  They’re doing the same thing to our rights that they did to the young man:  actively and deliberately eliminating them from the scene.

At a minimum, it should be unambiguously permissible for victims to remove the masks of their assailants so they can be identified.  The law should also include a presumption that any harm occurring in such situations, no matter to whom, is squarely the responsibility of those who give themselves the authority to bodily remove people.

The tyrannical activists are deliberately playing at the edge of assault and others’ right to self-defense.  We must mount a civilizational defense, and for that purpose citizens must know that their government supports them, not the people who wish to dehumanize them.

 

Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 3.

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A lighter-note comment on the uses of AI.

By Justin Katz | May 30, 2024 |
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A water drop and ripples

We’re in heavy times, these days, what with our system of government collapsing around us, so sometimes we need a change of soundtrack or cinematic distraction.  Finding new entertainment, however, has become more-difficult, too.  Very little music feels fresh, and movies are terrible.

On those rare occasions that I’ve thought to watch a new movie, I’m almost always disappointed to the extent of vowing not to make the attempt again.  Lately, it’s seemed like the once-great hope for streaming television shows was passing, as the early entries used up all the available innovations.

The weird mix of ideological preaching and the shift of standards such that things once unmentionable are exaggerated and things once exaggerated are unmentionable keeps movies from feeling new and compelling.

So, I’ve turned to artificial intelligence to help me dig into the past for things I might not yet have discovered, and it’s proving fruitful.  Start with a prompt with a “top 10” feel — such as “a list of the quintessential movies/albums from each decade” — and then tweak it to your tastes and mood.  Other adjectives can generate interesting responses, too, like “underappreciated” or “a movie/album for each decade that almost made it, but never quite broke through.”

Basically, imagine a conversation you might have had with your friends late on a Friday night while hanging around before social media (if you can remember back then) and ask your favorite AI.  One advantage is that the tastes of your friend group probably overlapped too much for genuine discoveries.  Another advantage is that streaming services make it possible to try out the recommendations for no or little additional cost beyond your existing services.

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Think before (and after) you “mic check.”

By Justin Katz | May 29, 2024 |
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An activist speaks through puppets

The recent spate of campus demonstrations supporting the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas returned attention to something I’m not aware of having seen since the Occupy Wall Street days:  the activist “mic check.”

Among Leftist organizers, this practice is offered as a humanistic means of amplifying a speaker’s voice without equipment.  The person who has the floor for attention says “mic check,” which signals to those who can hear him or her that they are supposed to repeat everything the speaker says.  They do this (the rationale goes) so everybody in the crowd can hear what is being said.

Of course, increasing its effective volume is not all repeating something somebody says word-for-word accomplishes.  It also generates a sense of agreement.  If you doubt this proposition, imagine yourself in a “mic check” situation when the speaker says something you find utterly abhorrent.  Do you repeat it simply so those farther away than you can hear what’s being said?

We interpret the world through our experience of it, and people don’t simply repeat what others say.  During a Q&A session at an event, for example, the person with the microphone will attribute statements he or she is repeating for the benefit of the rest of the audience:  “This person is saying…”  In conversation, if you wanted to clarify a statement, you might do the same, or you might speak with an implied question mark:  “This is what that means?”  To do otherwise, implies agreement:  “Yes, this is what that means.”

The effect is more powerful while in the midst of a crowd.  All of you, together, are affirming (at least in part) the speaker’s content, and since you can’t know the extent of each person’s agreement, the aggregate seems greater.

So, when activists request “mic check” treatment, they’re using psychological manipulation to pull the crowd under their own wills.  Even if you maintain your autonomy and don’t necessarily agree with everything being said, having to repeat it as it’s spoken makes it more difficult to consider each statement critically.  At the very least, the thinking gap between each statement is taken from the audience, as the speaker makes a statement, pauses only for the repeat, and then speaks again.

Conceptually, the notion that this is somehow humanizing illustrates the radical inversion of the truth and radicals’ understanding of other people.  In their own parlance, they might say something like, “We’re using our own human voices to raise each other up, rather than accepting the hierarchical construct of a speaker imposing his statements on passive listeners because he has the power of a microphone.  Without all of us, the speaker cannot be heard!”

But that isn’t how the social interaction is structured.  It’s positioned as a “mic check,” which means that members of the audience are dehumanized; they become the speaker’s instrument.

 

Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 40 and Photoshop AI.

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Politics This Week: How to Catch an RI Democrat

By Justin Katz | May 28, 2024 |
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A coyote sets a trap with a fake tunnel and "Racist" sign

On WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM, John DePetro and Justin Katz discuss:

  • Pawtucket employee gets the red R
  • Providence students on a union string
  • Amo’s vote for illegal alien voting
  • CRMC and prosecutorial government
  • Bad times, disapproving, but still voting Biden
  • Diossa enjoys the perks of office
  • Big money to promote racial division in state government

 

Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 40 and Photoshop AI.

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This was a great moment in Jerry Seinfeld’s Duke commencement speech.

By Justin Katz | May 28, 2024 |
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A water drop and ripples

I do think he should have followed the line about his family correcting his joke with “thanks grandma,” but who am I to kvetch?

AThinksAloud: Notice the two moments when the crowd surprised Jerry by exploding in applause: 1. “I’m a Jew from New York.” 2. “We’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of, and proud of things we should be embarrassed about.” All college kids are NOT Maoists. Don’t lose hope.

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