Lockdown Journal: 4-13-20

Lisa and I are currently watching something called Tarzan in Manhattan.  It’s a late 80s tv movie where Tarzan goes to New York and teams up with a private investigator played by Tony Curtis.  Jan-Michael Vincent is in it, as well.  It’s pretty bad but at least I know what I’ll be reviewing for the Shattered Lens tomorrow.  As bad as this is, I’m glad that we found it before we forced to resort to binging our way through the Police Academy movies on Netflix.  That day will come eventually but we’re still trying to hold it off for as long as possible.

We watched a little of Trump’s daily press briefing today.  A lot of people are upset because Trump said, incorrectly, that he has absolute authority as President.  It’s amazing to watch the people who celebrated eight years of “I have a pen and a phone” suddenly discovering why checks and balances are actually a good thing.  One would hope that they would continue to remember it even after they return to power but I doubt they will.  They’re not really upset about the potential usurpation of power.  They’re just mad that Trump is the one doing it.  America deserves better than it’s getting from both its leaders and its media.

Other than Trump’s press conference, the big political news is that Bernie formally endorsed Joe Biden today.  They had a live stream conversation, during which Biden appeared to be reading from a teleprompter.  Say what you will about Bernie, and I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with him about much, but Bernie doesn’t need a script to have a conversation.  It may not matter, of course.  Trump is such a divisive figure that the Democrats may not need a good candidate to beat him and there are a lot of people who will happily vote for anyone but Trump.  But I still can’t imagine actually being enthusiastic about Biden on any level other than the fact that he’s not Trump.

In the UK, Boris Johnson is out of the hospital.  That’s some good news to end on.

Lockdown Journal: 4-9-20

The latest news out of the UK is that Boris Johnson is out of the ICU and that he’s recovering.  That’s good news, regardless of whether you voted Tory or Labour in the last general election.

Here in the States, there was briefly a flurry of excitement when it was reported that Colin Kaepernick, who has been a free agent since 2017, had been signed by the New York Jets.  It turned out that the story was based on a tweet that was put out by a parody twitter account.  What was interesting was witnessing the number of media figures — the same people who were told we should listen to in times of crisis — who fell for the tweet.  Those of us who have never particularly cared about whether or not Kaepernick was signed to an NFL team have often wondered who Kaepernick’s fans actually were.  Now, we have our answer.  They’re people who work for the cable news channels.

Myself, I never really cared whether or not Colin Kaepernick wanted to take a knee during the national anthem.  It was his right, as an American, to kneel.  At the same time, I also think the NFL had the right not to sign him.  Many people seemed to feel that an NFL team should have been forced to sign him but, even if that was constitutional, it just would have meant Kaepernick would have been spent the past three seasons sitting on the bench instead of appearing in Nike commercials.

Today has been a good day.  It’s been as close to a normal day as anyone could hope for during a pandemic lock-down.  Everything that has happened has really given me a new appreciation for normal days.

Lockdown Journal: 4-6-20

I’ve been so preoccupied with how things are going in the States that it’s just now registering with me that Sir Keir Starmer is the new leader of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, I presume, is returning to the backbenches.  The American media, for the most part, seems think that, just because Starmer identifies as a socialist, that means that he’s as far to the left as Corbyn.  (Most Americans assumes that the Tories are just as conservative as the Republicans and that every member of Labour is somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.)  Going from Corbyn to Starmer is a huge change.

Starmer, I imagine, will be solid but uninspiring leader.  He looks the part and he might bring back a few voters who defected over the Tories, though I’d be surprised if he ever made it into Number 10.  He seems destined to be a rebuilding leader, someone who can presumably repair some damage and lay a foundation that will eventually lead to another Labour government.  It’s hard to imagine him inspiring the same type of emotions that Corbyn inspired.  People either really loved or really hated Jeremy.  Sir Keir Starmer, on the other hand, inspires admiration in some but no real passion.  He’s the type of leader who you elect when you’re looking for someone to bring some normalcy back to the place.  He’s your proof that the inmates are not running the asylum.

The future’s hard to predict, though.  Coronavirus can change everything.  Right now, Boris Johnson is in the hospital and in intensive care because of COVID-19.  I hope he recovers, just as I would hope that Jeremy Corbyn (or Sir Keir Starmer, for that matter) would recover if he was ill.  If something does happen to Boris, it’s hard to say who will step into his place or if that person will be able to hold together the coalition that put Boris into power.

In less grim news, I discovered that I can watch 1st and Ten on Amazon Prime.  1st and Ten was one of the first sitcom to ever air on HBO.  It was about a fictional football team and it featured O.J. Simpson as T.D. Parker.  In OJ: Made in America, there’s a short scene of O.J. recording promos for the new season of 1st and 10 and getting annoyed with his co-star, Marcus Allen.  Ever since I saw that clip, I’ve been wanting to watch an episode of 1st and Ten.  Last night, I watched an entire season and it was almost indescribably bad.  It was, however, interesting to see O.J. play a good guy.  It was a reminder of the affable image that Simpson once had.

The lockdown continues but so far, we’re all keeping our spirits high down here.  Lisa and I have agreed that we’re not going to worry until we find ourselves with nothing left to watch other than the Police Academy films on Netflix.  Once that happens, it’s scary to think about what might follow.

 

A Day of Exits

It’s a day of exits.

The UK is exiting the European Union and, in the U.S., John Delaney has exited the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Delaney, who has spent the last three years of his life running for President (he was actually the first Democrat to declare), probably deserved better.  He was one of the few moderates running this year and, unlike Joe Biden, he was capable of putting sentences together without turning into a raving lunatic or threatening voters.  Unfortunately, Delaney also had all the charisma of a hard-working accountant and he never got above the fabled 1-2% mark in the polls.

With Delaney leaving the race, Maryland continues to come up short when it comes to producing successful presidential candidates.  Hopefully, Larry Hogan will have more luck in 2024.

Happy Brexit Eve!

It’s actually happening.

I saw this picture floating around twitter.  I don’t who took it originally.  If it was you, let me know and I’ll credit you.

My family members in the UK are excited.  I’m hoping for the best.  I’ll be in the UK at the end of February so I look forward to seeing if it’s a whole new world.

When Leave first won, a lot of people said that the sky was falling.  As of right now, the sky is where it has always been.  I suspect it will still be there tomorrow.

330 — 231

That was the vote today in the House of Commons, finally passing the Brexit bill.  The UK will be departing the EU on January 31st and it will presumably be a brand new world.

As I’ve said before, I can’t pretend to know what will happen after the UK leaves the EU.  I’m not going to paint an unrealistically rosy picture of what will probably be an awkward transition but I’m not going to join in with the doomsayers either.  A slim majority voted for Brexit three-and-half years ago.  They voted for it again last month.  It’s time to move forward.

A Good Night For The UK, A Great Day For Me

I’ve been in London, visiting family and friends, since Monday.  When I first got here, it seemed like there was a feeling of doom over the entire city.  My family was worried that, despite polls showing a slim (if tightening) Conservative lead, Corbyn would somehow end up as PM.  Meanwhile, the Corbynistas, of which there are many in London, seemed to be increasingly convinced that, even if Corbyn didn’t score an outright victory, a hung parliament would force Johnson out of power.

Well, it turns out that, as usual, the rumors of Boris Johnson’s demise were greatly exaggerated.  Last night, the Tories not only won the election but they did so in such decisive fashion that the election results can only be interpreted as a rejection of Jeremy Cobyn and the anti-Semites that he has allowed to surround him.  The Conservaties now have 364 seats.  Labour has only 203, which is actually an improvement on the exit poll were predicted that Labour would end up with only 191.  The SNP wiped Labour out in Scotland.

I was up until five in the morning, watching the results.  I didn’t go to sleep until the Tories had their majority.  When I went to sleep, I was feeling very good.  This afternoon, walking around London and seeing dejected and miserable Corbyn supporters bemoaning the loss of the election, I felt great.  Boris Johnson may or may not be a good PM.  I have my doubts about him but he’s not Jeremy Corbyn and for that reason, I am thankful for his victory.

I’ll be returning home to America tomorrow.  I wonder if the Democrats will learn any lessons from Corbyn’s collapse.  I doubt it.

I’m Going To The UK Next Week. Hopefully, It Won’t Be For The Last Time.

I’m going to be in the UK for a few days next week, visiting family.  I will be there on the 12th when the general election is held and, while it looks like the Tories will remain in control of the government, there’s still a part of me that’s nervous that the polls will be wrong or that the Tories will underperform and we will somehow end up with Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.

(When you have someone like Corbyn in a position to potentially take power, there’s no way that you can’t be nervous, regardless of what the polls may say.)

If you’re wondering why so many people, including members of my own family, have declared that they will leave the UK if Corbyn ever moves into 10 Downing Street, I would suggest reading the Jewish Labour Movement EHRC report, which details not only the antisemitism that is currently infecting the Labour Party but also Corbyn’s weak response to battling it.  When Corbyn was first became leader, I think a lot of us assumed that he was just an old Marxist who lacked the backbone to stand up to the fringes of his party.  Now, after four years of his leadership, it’s become apparent that Corbyn is as much a part of the fringe as the crazies who post memes about the Rothschilds on Facebook.

I’m looking forward to being in the UK next week.  Hopefully, it won’t be for that last time.

 

I’m not watching.

I’m not watching the Democratic Debate right now.

Perhaps I should be, considering how much I go on about politics on this site.  But I just can’t summon up any enthusiasm for spending two hours watching those ten clowns answer softball questions from MSNBC.  Anything important that’s said will be available on either YouTube or Twitter, mere seconds after it’s said.  Despite the best efforts of the media to convince us otherwise, it’s been a while since a debate has really been a must-see event.

Unless, of course, it’s last Tuesday’s debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.  I’ve both watched and rewatched that, quite a few times.  Each time I do, I’m struck by two things.  Number one, Boris Johnson has his weaknesses.  Number two, Jeremy Corbyn is uniquely incapable of taking advantage of them.  Despite his weaknesses, I have no doubt that Johnson will still be PM after December’s election.  Boris Johnson may be an erratic blowhard but at least he’s not Jeremy Corbyn.

As for the Democrats, the expectation tonight seems to be that Pete Buttigieg will be everyone’s number one target because Mayor Pete has surged in recent polls.  I don’t think Mayor Pete is going to be the Democratic nominee but I do think his success is going to keep Biden, Warren, and Sanders from sealing the deal.  To be honest, I don’t think any of the current front runners is going to win the nomination.  Despite the fact that she’s not getting much attention right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amy Klobuchar accepting the Democratic nomination next July.

Smart Politics In The UK

From Sky News:

General election: Boris Johnson welcomes Nigel Farage’s decision not to stand in seats won by Tories in 2017

Tl;dr version: Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will not be running candidates for any of the seats that were previously won by the Tories in 2017.  Instead, the party will focus on contesting seats held by Labour and the Lib Dems.  Now, if Johnson is smart, he will have the Conservative candidates stand down in any seat where it appears that the Brexit Party has the better chance to win.

This is good news for everyone who has been worried that the Tories and the Brexit Party would split their votes and the end result would be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who is nothing if not predictable, has labeled this the “Trump Coalition.”

Actually, it’s just smart politics.