But that photo at the end of the article is incorrect. Madonna was not the original. Lauren Hutton was:
What’s up with this gap-toothed business? Part of it may be British; they are notorious (used to be, anyway) for having bad teeth. Part of it is the pursuit of novelty. Part of it—for Georgia Jagger—is her father’s fame and cashing in on it and her resemblance to him (and to her mom, model Jerry Hall). Even though Mick Jagger doesn’t have a tooth gap, if Georgia made her teeth look more conventional, I don’t think she’d conjure up a younger, feminine, blonder Jagger quite as well:
Freckles is another model trend. My theory about the whole thing—both the gap and the freckles—is that it’s all about looking Lolita-esque.
Models are a funny breed. Who cares what they do, anyway? And yet the top models make a ton of money, and they are ubiquitous. We see them everywhere. What’s more, their looks both reflect trends that are going on now, and determine trends of the near future.
I don’t just mean fashion trends, either, I mean trends that affect our financial lives, our love lives, the way we feel about ourselves, the way we couple up, the way we eat, and more—particularly for the young. Apparently the young don’t want to grow up. I also think it’s remarkable that this tooth gap is in the ascendance at the same time that intolerances of physical imperfections—even in regular people—has reached a fever pitch among the young, and cosmetic surgery has become ever more common to fix the smallest flaws, or things that are perceived as flaws and are really not.
“I think Barack Obama is probably still the leader of the Democratic Party,” Alyssa Mastromonaco, who served as Obama’s deputy chief of staff for operations, said during a CNN interview.
That’s somewhat odd, although I think it’s true. More typically, the former president returns with relief to private life and keeps a low profile, while his place is taken over by new leaders—most likely the previous candidates or his former vice-president (sometimes that’s the same person), or the head of the party in one or other branch of Congress. They either run again next time or they become sort of place-holder leaders until the new one comes along and reveals him/herself.
But those people are not taking the lead right now:
Mastromonaco was asked about other figures on the left, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), declining to call them the Democratic Party’s leader.
“Bernie … I think if you ask Bernie he would say no,” she said.
“He even said he wasn’t a Democrat the other day,” she said, pointing to the Independent Vermont senator’s comments this week.
Bernie never was a Democrat. He’s still a bit too far to the left (and definitely too old), although the party has moved closer and closer to him in policy, and he joined up (unofficially) for appearance’s sake and to run for major office.
And Hillary Clinton? Done, far more done than Richard Nixon was when you didn’t have him to kick around anymore. And I believe Hillary knows it.
The former Obama aide added that she thought Perez would play a role in helping resolve the “Democrats’ identity crisis.”
It is partly an identity crisis—how far to the left will the Democratic Party go in order to appeal to voters it thinks it needs to get elected? And it’s partly a crisis caused by a streak of post-Obama losing, as well as Congressional and state losses while he was president. What’s more, it’s a somewhat similar crisis to the one that ended up propelling the more moderate, savvy, and young Democrat Bill Clinton (you remember him; Hillary’s spouse) to the top of a retooled Democratic Party some twenty-five years ago.
Obama reversed that moderation during the eight years he was president. He initially ran as a more moderate Democrat (although nowhere near as moderate as Bill had been) in rhetoric and policy. Then, in a slow but sure process, by the time he was in his second term and particularly the last half of his second term, when he was freed from all need to be re-elected, he wasn’t moderate in the least.
Obama made the Democratic Party what it is today. He was their leader, and he was successful in that he got elected twice and muscled through a lot of policies that moved the country to the left. But he did it in part on the power of his personality and on people’s desire to usher in a groundbreaking presidency in the racial sense. The Democrats were happy to follow him leftward, but they may have forgotten that when the king is gone there have to be successors. It’s not clear whether Obama has any, or if so, who they will be.
I use that word “interesting” a lot. That’s because an awful lot of things are interesting. But some are more interesting than others, and this is one of them. It pulls together a great deal of information and tries to make sense of it, finding a widespread pattern that may account for similarities in the populist movements springing up around the Western world. That pattern is an economic one that has resulted from globalization and stratification.
The article focuses on the work of a French geographer names Christophe Guilluy:
He has spent decades as a housing consultant in various rapidly changing neighborhoods north of Paris, studying gentrification, among other things. And he has crafted a convincing narrative tying together France’s various social problems—immigration tensions, inequality, deindustrialization, economic decline, ethnic conflict, and the rise of populist parties…
At the heart of Guilluy’s inquiry is globalization…
A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France…But globalization has had no such galvanizing effect on the rest of France. Cities that were lively for hundreds of years—Tarbes, Agen, Albi, Béziers—are now, to use Guilluy’s word, “desertified,” haunted by the empty storefronts and blighted downtowns that Rust Belt Americans know well.
…Journalists and politicians assume that the stratification of France’s flourishing metropoles results from a glitch in the workings of globalization. Somehow, the rich parts of France have failed to impart their magical formula to the poor ones. Fixing the problem, at least for certain politicians and policy experts, involves coming up with a clever shortcut: perhaps, say, if Romorantin had free wireless, its citizens would soon find themselves wealthy, too. Guilluy disagrees. For him, there’s no reason to expect that Paris (and France’s other dynamic spots) will generate a new middle class or to assume that broad-based prosperity will develop elsewhere in the country (which happens to be where the majority of the population live). If he is right, we can understand why every major Western country has seen the rise of political movements taking aim at the present system…
France’s best-performing urban nodes have arguably never been richer or better-stocked with cultural and retail amenities. But too few such places exist to carry a national economy. When France’s was a national economy, its median workers were well compensated and well protected from illness, age, and other vicissitudes. In a knowledge economy, these workers have largely been exiled from the places where the economy still functions. They have been replaced by immigrants.
And of course, that’s not just a description of France.
I could go on quoting, but it’s probably best that you read the whole thing.
Companies don’t do this sort of thing out of sheer meanness. They do it because it’s economically beneficial to them in the short run. Countries don’t seem to know what to do about the situation, either. But voters are reaching out to support leaders who at least seem to be noticing and labeling the situation as a problem, caring what happens to those who are falling by the wayside, and promising to implement solutions.
Guilluy’s work concentrates on France, and although some of it can be generally applied, some of it is particular to France. France is facing an election tomorrow (although not a final election), one in which these issues will be played out in ways we cannot predict at the moment. I certainly can’t predict it, anyway. That doesn’t stop others from trying. For example:
A French economist who correctly forecast Donald Trump’s US election win has predicted Marine Le Pen will sweep to victory in France’s presidential race.
Charles Gave said the number of voters yet to make up their minds – estimated at 40 per cent – was bad news for current frontrunner centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, and could see the Front National leader emerge victorious.
Mr Gave believes only scandal-hit Francois Fillon, who is currently polling in third place, could see off Ms Le Pen in the second round run-off on 7 May.
When the Republicans in Congress decide to “shut down the government” (which isn’t really completely shutting down the government) in order to defy something the Democratic president is doing, then it’s the GOP’s fault.
When the Democrats in Congress decide to “shut down the government” (which isn’t really completely shutting down the government) in order to defy something the Republican president is doing, then it’s the GOP’s fault.
Amidst all the talk about the new book Shattered, describing the failed Hillary Clinton campaign, I have to say that on some deep deep level I don’t care. After over a year and a half of feeling tension and anxiety and angst, starting in the spring of 2015 and ending some time not too long after the election, I’m relieved not to have to even think about the 2016 campaign any more.
Rolling Stone author Matt Taibbi isn’t what you’d call kind to Hillary. Nor are the book’s authors. Taibbi emphasizes Hillary’s failure to even know why she was running, and the failure of her campaign to figure out a reason why she might be running and to convey it successfully to the public, as one of her key failings:
“All of the jockeying might have been all right, but for a root problem that confounded everyone on the campaign and outside it,” they wrote. “Hillary had been running for president for almost a decade and still didn’t really have a rationale.”
Allen and Parnes here quoted a Clinton aide who jokingly summed up Clinton’s real motivation:
“I would have had a reason for running,” one of her top aides said, “or I wouldn’t have run.”
The beleaguered Clinton staff spent the better part of two years trying to roll this insane tautology – “I have a reason for running because no one runs without a reason” – into the White House. It was a Beltway take on the classic Descartes formulation: “I seek re-election, therefore I am… seeking re-election.”
Shattered is sourced almost entirely to figures inside the Clinton campaign who were and are deeply loyal to Clinton. Yet those sources tell of a campaign that spent nearly two years paralyzed by simple existential questions: Why are we running? What do we stand for?
And yet I never felt the least bit puzzled as to why Clinton was running. Nor did anyone I know seem the least bit puzzled, either.
Here is the list of Hillary’s reasons, and it’s pretty much “all of the above”:
—becoming a “first” (the first woman to be president)
—for Democrats and Obama supporters, continuing the good parts of the Obama administration
—for others, being just a little more hawkish than Obama on foreign policy
—to defeat Donald Trump
—appointing liberal SCOTUS justices
—because there was nobody else in the Democratic Party primed to run, except the far leftist Sanders
These aren’t such bad reasons, really. Nor are they unusual (for example, everyone knows that most candidates have a lot of personal ambition as motivator). Not did they really have to be explained to the public.
In fact, those reasons might have been more than enough, had there not been other problems—big ones—with Hillary and her campaign. People are not just sitting around just waiting to be told why a person is running. But Taibbi connects Hillary’s messaging/motivation problem with a messaging/motivation problem of the Democratic Party as a whole, particularly in Washington DC:
What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton.
The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway…
Shattered is what happens when political parties become too disconnected from their voters. Even if you think the election was stolen, any Democrat who reads this book will come away believing he or she belongs to a party stuck in a profound identity crisis. Trump or no Trump, the Democrats need therapy – and soon.
During the Obama administration, everything was blamed on a messaging problem, an inability to communicate, an inability to describe various things properly to voters (for example, Obamacare). The administration blamed miscommunication, and the media blamed miscommunication. Neither ever said that it wasn’t the communication skills that were lacking, it was the message itself—and far more than the message, the administration’s actions and their consequences in the real world.
I happen to think that propaganda and messaging matter, but that they don’t matter nearly as much as results do. I happen to think that the majority of people can’t be fooled most of the time, and that you’d better deliver more than a pretty message if you want to reach them.
One of Trump’s great skills during the campaign was indeed the ability to speak directly—and seemingly extemporaneously—to the people. To the People. It’s what made him a populist. But what helped his election was the idea that he would do things very, very differently. And what will make or break his presidency is what he delivers or fails to deliver.
It would be far more threatening for Democrats to seriously contemplate not their messaging problems, but what they have actually failed to deliver, and why. Hint, hint: that failure isn’t just a deficient message or slogan.
Last weekend, Egyptian-American aid worker Aya Hijazi, who had become an international symbol of Sisi’s harsh crackdown on aid groups, was cleared of child-abuse and human-trafficking charges in Cairo after three years in detention.
The 30-year-old, who grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, had established a foundation to aid street children in Cairo along with her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian. Human rights groups said the charges against them were not credible, and their hearing and trial dates were repeatedly canceled and postponed with no explanation. Hassanein and others arrested with the couple were released on Wednesday.
Late on Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had quietly negotiated with Egypt to secure their release, and Hijazi and Hassanein had just landed at Joint Base Andrews aboard a government jet…
The Obama administration had unsuccessfully pushed for Hijazi’s release, and at times her family complained that they weren’t doing enough.
Trump is not wasting the opportunity to have a photo-op, nor should he waste it:
Hijazi and her brother, Basel, are scheduled to visit the White House on Friday, where they will meet with President Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who officials said had been following her story.
“We’re very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue,” Basel Hijazi told the Post. “Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. It let us be reunited as a family. We’re so grateful.”
All of that is interesting, and good news. But the more important news can be found in other parts of the article:
Earlier this month, President Trump welcomed Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House for the first time, praising him for doing a “fantastic job in a difficult situation.” Sisi came to power through a military coup in 2013, and the Obama administration had barred him from the White House for human-rights abuses.
Al-Sisi is far from perfect, but in several crucial ways he appears so far to be one of the best leaders in the Middle East and one of the best Egypt has ever had. In fact, he’s one of those elusive “moderate Muslim” leaders we keep searching for, and he’s gone on record to stick his neck out to say so. I wrote at length about al-Sisi (you can spell his name any of several ways) here:
Al-Sisi was originally appointed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi to the post of commander of the army, but proceeded to oust Morsi and then to outlaw the Brotherhood itself (and you thought Justice Roberts was betraying the people who nominated him!) and to be elected president in his own right.
This speech of al-Sisi’s seems extraordinary in its boldness and reasonableness. Can al-Sisi provide a voice for the heretofore silent—we have no idea whether they are a majority or small minority—of Muslims who might agree with him? Let’s hope he lives long enough for us to find out. His predecessor prior to Morsi, Mubarak, was a dictator, but part of the reason was that heavy-handed tactics are required to deal with the Brotherhood in Egypt…
…Al-Sisi [also] appears to be speaking more globally and generally about Islam itself and the course it should take in the 21st Century. I wish him luck. He’ll need it.
I wrote that over two years ago, and yet al-Sisi’s was one of the administrations that Obama decided to ostracize while embracing other dictators around the world. Trump has a more positive attitude towards al-Sisi, and (this is another especially interesting fact) Trump managed to keep relatively quiet about the negotiations for the prisoners while they were ongoing, showing a discretion that might surprise some people:
“We’re very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue,” Basel Hijazi told the Post. “Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. It let us be reunited as a family. We’re so grateful.”
…Trump set out to reset relations with Egypt, and there was no public mention of Hijazi or human-rights abuses during Sisi’s White House visit.
However, a senior administration official told the Post that behind the scenes, President Trump told top aides, “I want her to come home.” The official said there was no quid pro quo offered for her release, but the Trump administration had received assurances from Sisi’s government that “whatever the verdict was, Egypt would use presidential authority to send her home.”…
According to the New York Times, during Sisi’s visit the White House felt confident that Hijazi would be released, but “they chose to take what they knew would be criticism in the news media and from political critics for not publicly mentioning her case.” Aides reportedly see the case as vindication of Trump’s diplomatic approach.
Unfortunately, Egypt and most of the other countries of the region cannot afford to be beacons of liberty. I wish it were otherwise, but it is not. I’ve written about the human rights problem in the region many many times, and not just in Egypt, either. You can find one of those Egypt posts of mine here (it includes links to many others), one about Iran here and another one here, all of which I strongly suggest you read.
Trump faces the same dilemma: whether to pressure any government in that area of the world on human and civil rights issues, and if so how much or how little. I believe that he’s correct to support al-Sisi in general, who is probably as good as it’s going to get in that region and is head and shoulders above so many others.
Not everyone agrees with me, of course, including those who served Obama:
Antony Blinken, the former deputy secretary of State under President Obama, said that while he’s pleased Hijazi has been released, he’s skeptical that Sisi received nothing in return for her freedom. He told the Post that the White House offering public support for strongmen like Sisi could “have the opposite effect of simply reinforcing [Sisi’s] crackdown at home, in a way I think someday is going to rebound against him, and probably rebound against us. … You can try to repress your problems away, but at some point, they will explode.”
In Egypt right now, the choices are al-Sisi, someone else who will crackdown even worse, or the Muslim Brotherhood. I know which I prefer.
In December of 2015 I wrote a post about sepsis, “The killer you probably know almost nothing about.” I consider it a public service to inform people as best I can about sepsis, which caused the death of a very dear friend/relative of mine.
I noticed this recent article on the subject, which is a good and pretty comprehensive summary of the subject, so I thought I’d link to it. It even has a similar title: “Sepsis, the deadly threat you don’t know.”
Knowing more about sepsis could save lives.
Posted by neo-neocon at 2:53 pm. Filed under: Health
I don’t like his style and I don’t like his show, although I’ve watched it every now and then just to familiarize myself with it. I don’t watch most shows of that type (talk and opinion) anyway, except on occasion when there might be a particularly interesting segment or interviewee.
And yes, the accused is innocent till proven guilty—in a court of law, that is. But a TV station isn’t a court of law. Public opinion and/or advertisers aren’t a court of law.
So Fox executives can fire O’Reilly if they want—but it still disturbs me when a person is fired over allegations. With O’Reilly it’s a pattern of allegations, to be sure, and they probably are credible allegations, in my opinion. But the allegations are as yet unproven (unless there’s a lot of evidence we haven’t seen yet), and it makes me uneasy that any person’s career can end if a bunch of people allege sexual harassment. There is too much temptation to make false allegations.
I repeat: it makes me uneasy.
Also—didn’t we already know about similar allegations towards O’Reilly? I had a vague recollection of a recorded phone message where he was hitting on some woman—and yes, after looking it up, I discovered a case from 2004 featuring many lurid allegations against O’Reilly and even the existence of telephone recordings (although I couldn’t locate the recordings themselves, or whether the alleged conversations were ever authenticated).
Is this a case of where there’s enough smoke, there’s fire? Or do we have a bunch of allegations that may or may not be true but cannot possibly be proven? Can we expect or demand proof? And, once the story gets going and advertisers move away from the network because they get scared, isn’t it completely understandable that Fox wants to cut its losses by getting rid of the person against whom the accusations are lodged, whether proof exists or not?
I have absolutely no problem believing that O’Reilly is a smarmy, predatory scumbag who is guilty of all of this and more. Hey, I thought he gave off a smarmy scumbag vibe even before I heard the allegations. But still, this chain of events makes me very uneasy, because it demonstrates a perfect way to assassinate anyone’s character (in particular, any man’s character, because although women could also be accused of sexual harassment, the charges are less common against women and less likely to stick).
And according to this Vanity Fair article, there’s more trouble to come at Fox News. Does this merely reflect the depth of the rot there, or is it the result of a concerted effort by the left to undermine Fox? For example, see this comment at Legal Insurrection:
After a decade of trying, the left finally got [O’Reilly]. Like him or not, if you think this is the end game for those who are taking credit like Media Matters and the NYT, you miss what is going on. Succeeding with the most visible commentator that calls out the left only invigorates the donors. And there is an endless supply of recently graduated snowflakes who have been indoctrinated in stifling speech and would never question becoming a low paid foot soldier in smear campaigns, etc. Forget personal tastes, this is the most visible shot across the bow.
Tucker Carlson, O’Reilly’s replacement, is about a million times better as an interviewer and as a thinker than O’Reilly is, and I’m far more inclined to watch his show than O’Reilly’s. But that doesn’t matter in terms of what I”m saying here.
[NOTE: By the way, settling a claim out of court is not an admission of guilt, especially when large businesses do it. It’s much cheaper to settle than to defend a lawsuit, and there’s much less publicity and uncertainty, so it’s often done.]
Michael Oren: …I talk about an incident that occurred in May of 2010 with the New York Times when Mahmoud Abbas published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he alleged that he insinuated that the Arabs accepted the U.N. partition resolution of 1947, and the Jews rejected it. And I called up the editor of the New York Times, and I said wait a minute, this is exactly the opposite. Don’t you check facts? We [Israel] accepted it. The Arabs rejected it, and went to war against it. That was the war of independence. And the Arabs rejected the first two-state solution. And he says well, that’s your interpretation. Now wait a minute, there are certain in-controversial historical facts, uncontestable facts. I mean, did the Allies land, or did they not land on Normandy Beach in June, 1944? And the editor’s response was [analogous to] well, some people think so.
That’s an interesting aside in an interview that focuses on the Times’ recent publication of a tract by the convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti, whom the Times described as “a Palestinian leader and Parliamentarian.”
[ADDENDUM: Well, it’s even worse than I thought at the Times, and I’ve long thought it’s very very bad.
That Normandy quote wasn’t just Oren making an analogy; it was apparently what the Times editor actually said. I interpreted the Oren quote in the Hugh Hewitt interview as being somewhat ambiguous and thought it was most likely an analogy rather than a direct quote, although it’s clear to me (and has been for a long time) that the Times regularly lies about Israel. I’m not defending the Times editors; I’m accusing them.
I’ve finally found this article from two years ago, in which the matter is clarified:
Oren, who was recently elected to Israel’s Knesset, goes on to recount a bizarre exchange he had with New York Times op-ed editor Andrew Rosenthal after Oren felt “compelled” to respond to an erroneous retelling of history that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas published in the New York Times in 2011. In his New York Times op-ed, Oren writes, Abbas implied “the Arabs had accepted the UN’s Partition Plan in 1947 while Israel rejected it,” which is the exact opposite of what actually occurred.
Oren’s recreation of the phone exchange between him and Rosenthal suggests that the New York Times editor is unable to distinguish the difference between fact and opinion:
When I write for the Times, fact checkers examine every word I write,” I began. “Did anybody check whether Abbas has his facts exactly backwards?”
“That’s your opinion,” Rosenthal replied.
“I’m an historian, Andy, and there are opinions and there are facts. That the Arabs rejected partition and the Jews accepted it is an irrefutable fact.”
“In your view.”
“Tell me, on June 6, 1944, did Allied forces land or did they not land on Normandy Beach.”
Rosenthal, the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning Times reporter and famed executive editor, replied, “Some might say so.”
So Oren has been telling this story for a while and it’s not an analogy. In his book he named the editor—Rosenthal—and the quote is a bit different, but just as bad or worse. So I stand corrected. I was being a bit too kind to the Times, something I’ve not usually been accused of.
I wonder whether Rosenthal believes the moon landing occurred, or whether “some might say so.” Did any historical event actually occur, according to Rosenthal?]
I went there recently for dinner—it was conveniently located and I was in the mood, although it’s not a place I associate with good food. Merely adequate. So I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered this and discovered it to be really tasty:
That’s something they call a chicken florentine crepe—a crepe wrapped around chicken, cheese, mushrooms, and spinach. Ignore that yucky creamy stuff on the top—I made them put it on the side, and I was glad I did. (I don’t like creamy sauces, but you may love them.)
The crepe itself wasn’t just an afterthought, it was a mighty tasty morsel. Same with the chicken.
All in all, a real bargain for nine dollars and change. And an unexpected one.
Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon. Read More >>