National import!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2019

No fish today:
We're off on a mission of national import. We'll have no fish today.

ADVANTAGE HARARI: Nineteen to 24 years in the clink!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2019

Plus, targeting two more lawyers:
You're right! After a weekend in re-education camp, we may be changing our focus at the start of next week.

We're sick of pursuing our current line; we're sick of hearing our own current voice. That said, we'll finish our current topic today, with a look at last Friday's Rachel Maddow Show.

First, though, a look at today's New York Times:

Good for today's New York Times! Right there on the op-ed page, the paper presents this column by Columbia's Jamie Daw. The column discusses a serious matter. It runs beneath these headlines:
A Better Path to Universal Health Care
The United States should look to Germany, not Canada, for the best model.
Never mind whether Daw is right or wrong in his assessments. He's discussing a serious topic!

Serious topics don't get much play on our "cable news" channels. Last night, for example, the Maddow Show executed its tenth straight program without a mention of the Green New Deal, which was released on Thursday, February 7.

Simply put, the Maddow Show doesn't care about climate change. Also, it doesn't care about, and won't tell you about, the looting of the American public captured in these startling OECD data:
Health care spending, per person, 2017
United States: $10,209
Germany: $5728
France: $4902
Canada: $4826
Japan: $4717
Australia: $4543
United Kingdom: $4246
Where's all that extra money going? You won't find out on "cable news." As a matter of fact, you won't be allowed to know that the missing money exists!

Nor are you told about public schools. You aren't asked to think about the way our communities, families and schools could possibly close our "achievement gaps," whose size won't be disclosed.

Cable news doesn't traffic in matters like that! In this, the age of Donald J. Trump, cable news traffics in true crime drama.

Cable news loves to offer hours of repetitive speculation concerning the state of The Chase. Some stars take it to an extreme. Last Friday night, to cite one example, cable news trafficked in this:
MADDOW (2/15/19): Well, tonight we've just received the recommendation from Mueller's office as to how much time they think Manafort should spend in prison based just on the eight felony counts for which he was convicted in Virginia. So separate and apart from whatever he might get in D.C., Mueller's prosecutors are recommending that the president`s campaign chairman spend between 19 1/2 years and 24 1/2 years in prison. Again, just for the felonies for which he was convicted in Virginia, separate and apart from what he's going to get in D.C.

Now for a man who is about to turn 70, that means prosecutors are recommending what is in effect a natural life sentence for Paul Manafort. You will recall that there is no parole in the federal prison system. So, 19 to 24 years.

[...]

As I mentioned, the really big kahuna tonight is what just happened to the president's campaign chair, to Paul Manafort, with prosecutors telling one of the two federal judges who is due to sentence him soon that they want a 19 to 24-year prison term for him plus potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines and restitution.

[...]

As an initial matter, the government agrees with the guidelines analysis in the pre-sentence investigation report, and its calculation of the defendant's total offense level as 38 with a corresponding range of imprisonment of 235 to 293 months. That's 19 1/2 years to 24 1/2 years in prison, a fine range of $50,000 to $24.4 million, restitution in the amount of $24.8 million and forfeiture in the amount of $4.4 million.

[...]

"The sentence in this case must taken to account the gravity of his conduct and serve to specifically deter Manafort and deter those who would commit a similar series of crimes."

That's signed on behalf of the special counsel's office. They are recommending 19 1/2 years to 24 1/2 years in prison and fines and restitution of up to tens of millions of dollars.

[...]

That means at great personal expense, at the cost of potentially dying in prison, Paul Manafort, the president's campaign chairman lied to cover up the channel of communication or at least a channel of communication between the Trump campaign when he was chairman and Russian intelligence during the time that Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential election to help his candidate, to help president Trump. He was deliberately lying to prosecutors about that. That is the lie that is going to cost Paul Manafort his last free breath.

To cover up that channel of communication between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the campaign, Paul Manafort is willing to die in prison.

[...]

William Barr is the one who recommended those pardons in Iran-Contra. The day he started as attorney general, this president's campaign chairman received a sentence recommendation from prosecutors of 19 to 24 years in prison, plus tens of millions of dollars to pay. Like I said, it's all happening at once now.

[...]

MADDOW: Barb, when you see the prosecutors ask for 19 1/2 to 24 1/2 years for Manafort, just in Virginia, that judge that ruled he deliberately lied about the communications with Kilimnik, that judge is yet to start the sentencing process with him. That sentencing won't happen until next month, but this recommendation from prosecutors that, in the Virginia case alone, he should be looking at 19 to 24 years, does that mean we should expect he will get 19 to 24 years?

MCQUADE: Well, you know, that's the sentencing guidelines. It's sort of a starting point where judges are supposed to look to calculate a sentence. It's a very numerical score. You mentioned some of the things that go into that, sophisticated means and leadership role, all these kinds of things. You come up with kind of a math score and you go to a table and that's where you get that range of 19 to 24.
Prosecutors recommended 19 to 24 years! Cable viewers were pleasured with this again and again and again and again, with Maddow killing time reading the text of entire footnotes and filling us in on such arcana as the way the so-called "leadership enhancement" calculation affects the length of a recommended sentence.
.
Maddow's viewers heard those numbers—19 to 24 years—again and again and again. But they still haven't heard the words "Green New Deal" on this top-rated cable platform. They've never seen the data on health care spending, the data which rather plainly suggest that we're all being looted.

We don't like to pick on Maddow. We're sure that she's a very nice person in her personal dealings.

She only bought the TV set because she and Susan got blackout drunk and ordered it on line! When we liberals were willing to purchase that tale, she came up with several more.

On cable, in her professional dealings, Maddow has spent a great many years trying to lock them up. She's tried to lock up a wide range of Republican governors. She's frequently toyed with basic facts as she's tried to lock up regular people, such as the state policemen who drove Governor Christie around when she was trying to get him locked up.

She's rummaged through the medicine cabinets of governors she wants to lock up. She's tried to drag the children of targeted officials into the stews she creates. If she gets hold of a telephone sex tape, she plays it again and again. She covers her ears and pretends to be embarrassed as she plays it night after night.

This strikes us as something resembling a moral/intellectual sickness. But of one thing you can be sure:

Rachel Maddow has never yet mentioned the simple words "Green New Deal!" Nor has she ever shown you those health care data, which account for an array of groaning problems within our "rigged" economic system, including stagnant wages and federal deficits and debt.

Public schools, and the children within them, are of course never mentioned. On cable, they don't even stoop to the level of the New York Times, which is conducting a quixotic search for "desegregation" as a way of pretending to address the brutal achievement gaps found within our schools.

You don't get discussions of topics like those on the Maddow program! Instead, you get the pleasures and joy of The Chase. In the process, liberal viewers, and the whole world, get dumbed way, way down.

That said, we want to show you one more thing you were handed on last Friday's program.

Maddow tends to want to lock pretty much everyone up! Her latest no-name targets were introduced in this passage:
MADDOW: And now, on top of all of that, still deriving from those same felonies, now, tonight, Congressman Elijah Cummings, the estimable chairman of the House Oversight Committee in the House, has just published these 19 pages of notes. Some of them are typed. A lot of them are redacted. Some of them are hand scrawled and very hard to read.

These are notes from the Office of Government Ethics. Congressman Cummings has released these notes. He has also released to the public a letter to a Trump Organization lawyer. He's also released to the public a new letter he has sent to the White House counsel.

Those letters demand information related to those hush money payments and those letters make the explosive allegation that it's not just Michael Cohen, that two additional Trump lawyers, one who worked in the White House and another lawyer who represents Trump in a personal capacity, she was actually the one who orchestrated that stunt during the transition where Trump sat there by the big piles of papers and supposedly handed over control of his business to his sons. The lawyer who orchestrated that and another lawyer who worked in the White House, according to Elijah Cummings tonight, they themselves may be in trouble for making false statement about those hush money payments.

Quote, "New documents obtained by the committee from the office of government ethics describe false information provided by the lawyers representing President Trump, including Sheri Dillon, President Trump's personal attorney, and Stephen Passantino, former deputy White House counsel for compliance and ethics"—Eek!—"who has now left the White House to represent the Trump organization."
,
President Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, is now going to prison in part for his role in these hush money payments. During his guilty plea, Mr. Cohen said he did this in coordination with and at the direction of the president for the principal purpose of influencing the election.

Congressman Cummings continues, quote:

"It now appears that President Trump's other attorneys at the White House and in private practice may have provided false information about these payments to federal officials. This raises significant questions about why some of the president's closest advisers made these false claims and the extent to which they too were acting at the direction of or in coordination with the president."

One of the president's lawyers is already going to prison for his role in covering up those hush money payments. Now, here's a couple more who Elijah Cummings says are potentially on the hook related to those payments as well, and not just the payments in their case but the cover-up of the payments.
Thrillingly, cable viewers were told of an "explosive [new] allegation," with an "Eek!" thrown in. Two new lawyers—Dillon and Passantino—were frogmarched into position as Maddow overstated or misstated the thrust of what Cummings had said.

Later, Maddow did a full segment with legal analyst McQuade about this explosive allegation aimed at the two new victims. McQuade played along with the game as viewers got dumbed way down.

You'll hunt in vain through major orgs for anything but a cursory nod to this "explosive allegation" concerning the two new victims. That's because Dillon and Passantino are minor names, but also because it isn't clear that they've done anything wrong or that Cummings has even alleged that they have.

You see, when lawyers "provide false information," they may do so because they themselves have been misinformed by their clients—in this case, by the highly unreliable Donald J. Trump. Maddow and McQuade acted like "false statements" are the same thing as "lies," turning Cummings' statement into an explosive charge aimed at two people who may have been conned by Trump.

As a general matter, other orgs eschewed this exciting game. For the record, the exciting conflation of "false claim" with "lie" largely began with Politico's Andrew Desiderio, an excitable scribe who is now in his second year out of college.

A very young, inexperienced scribe got out over his skis a bit.
Our Own Rhodes Scholar liked the product and proceeded to feed it to us liberal viewers. In this way, we get dumbed way down—but we also get mightily entertained, on a tribal basis.

(Politico saves on labor costs by hiring such young employees.)

At any rate, the Green New Deal has never been mentioned on the Maddow program. Instead, you're handed The Chase every night—The Chase and little else.

Facts get embellished, dropped and spun; everything's rated "explosive." This is the rational animal in the wild within the most gossip- and fiction-ridden discourse on God's green earth.

"Advantage Harari!" we lustily cried. The analysts knew what we meant.

Tomorrow: We're off on a mission of national import

Full disclosure: Some years back, as an entertainer, we tried to follow Rep. Cummings at an AFL-CIO event. We learned that Cummings is the greatest public speaker since Moses.

ADVANTAGE HARARI: Who gives a fig about climate change?

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2019

Two "cable news" nets take a hike:
Greta Thunberg is 16 years old. She's also a "global climate activist" based in her native Sweden.

In this morning's New York Times, Somini Sengupta describes the attention Thunberg has been receiving for her ongoing efforts. We were struck by the following passage, in which Thunberg directs a bit of pique at some unnamed grown-ups:
SENGUPTA (2/20/19): All this attention, she said out of earshot of the others, is great. It means “people are listening.” But then, a knife-blade flash of rage revealed itself.

“It’s sometimes annoying when people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You will save the world’” she said, after several grown-ups had told her just that. “I think it would be helpful if you could help us just a little bit.”
Thunberg is grateful for the attention her efforts have received. That said, she also wishes that some of these admiring grown-ups would roll up their sleeves and help.

We can think of one such person Thunberg can cross off her list. That would be cable star Rachel Maddow, the multimillionaire corporate host who has just completed the ninth straight program in which she has failed to mention her own country's Green New Deal.

The climate proposal was unveiled by Senator Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, February 7. It's never been mentioned on Maddow's show, an eponymous "ship of ghouls" which focuses on the tribal schadenfreude involved in repetitive dreams about locking The Others up.

Last Friday night's program was ludicrous even by Maddow's standards. In tomorrow's report, we'll consider some of the excesses in which Maddow indulged herself this night—a night she devoted, almost entirely, to "the lie that is going to cost Paul Manafort his last free breath" and to similar pleasing porridge.

Friend, do you want to spend your free time picturing people dying in prison? If so, the Maddow Show is the place for you to be!

That said, did we mention the fact that Maddow's performance last Friday night constituted the seventh straight program on which she told the Greta Thunbergs that, after Manafort dies in prison, they can pretty much plan on dying unpleasant deaths too? Because that's almost surely the message a killjoy like Thunberg would hear.

Rachel Maddow doesn't care about topics like climate change! Nor will you ever learn, from watching her program, about the looting of the American people, red and blue voters alike, built into the astonishing costs of our "health care system."

You don't hear about topics like those on Maddow's devolving program. The cable star is paid millions of dollars per year—you aren't allowed to know how many—to keep us liberals barefoot and clueless as we think about how great it will be when we've finished killing the pigs, when The Others are all locked up.

Maddow has yet to discuss the Green New Deal—but in fairness, she's hardly alone. In a report last Thursday, the killjoys and scolds at Media Matters studied cable coverage of the climate proposal in the first five days of its life.

Ted McDonald toted the coverage. This is what he found:
MCDONALD (2/14/19): From February 7, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released the Green New Deal resolution, through February 11, Fox News aired 34 segments discussing the Green New Deal on its weekday and weekend prime-time shows airing between 5 p.m. and midnight. February 7 and February 8 saw the most Fox coverage—the network aired 19 prime-time segments on those two days. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity led the Fox prime-time shows in the number of Green New Deal segments, airing seven and five segments, respectively.

Across this same time period, MSNBC aired eight prime-time segments on the Green New Deal. Five of these aired on February 7, the day the resolution was introduced, including an interview with Ocasio-Cortez on MTP Daily and an interview with Markey on All In with Chris Hayes.

CNN, meanwhile, aired only three Green New Deal segments on its prime-time shows from February 7 to February 11.
It isn't just Maddow! According to McDonald, Fox aired 34 segments on the proposal in the first five days of its life. MSNBC aired eight segments on its "prime time" programs—that is, on programs which cover the seven hours between 5 PM and midnight.

As we've noted, Maddow hadn't mentioned the Green New Deal at all. Meanwhile, on all its "prime time" programs, CNN had presented just three segments on the boring new plan.

Last Friday night, Maddow told viewers, eleven times, that Manafort is now facing 19 to 24 years in prison. On one occasion, she fleshed that information out, saying that the former campaign chairman was facing 235 to 293 months in the federal hoosegow.

(There is no parole from federal prison, she was quick to add.)

She told us, several times, that it looks like Manafort will be dying in prison. But she's never found time, on the past nine programs, to tell us about the ways Thunberg and her children are likely to perish.

She just plain doesn't care about that. Neither do her owners!

MSNBC loves the nightly true crime drama widely known as The Chase. Indeed, when The One True Channel's prime time programs did squeeze in segments on the Green New Deal, hosts sometimes performed in such a way that a viewer could almost wish that they hadn't bothered.

Consider the coverage which occurred on All In with Chris Hayes on Thursday evening, February 7. The Green New Deal had been released that very day. Under the guidance of her producers, guest host Joy Reid performed a short, 6-minute segment on the proposal right at the end of the hour.

(To watch the segment, click here.)

Reid interviewed Senator Markey about the new proposal. A cynical viewer could almost imagine that Reid wasn't completely "all in" on the topic or the proposal:
REID (2/7/19): Joining me now is Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the co-architect of The Green New Deal.

All right, sir, so let's just get into the policy of it. You—

The Green New Deal, as I understand it, the bullet points I've got in front of me, 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030, net zero global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, upgrade all existing buildings for energy efficiency, overhaul transportation systems to reduce emissions, encrypt millions of jobs with family sustaining wage.

How do you do that, and how much does it cost?
Reading from "the bullet points she had in front of her," Reid described the Green New Deal "as she understood it."

She almost seemed unprepared! Than, almost as if she'd acquired her talking points from Fox, she moved directly to the question of the cost of the various proposals.

In fact, Reid displayed a bit of a one-track mind as the short session proceeded. After trying to interrupt Markey's description of the purpose of his proposals, Reid came right back to her one talking point:
REID: So I still want to get you to sort of quantify for me how much it costs, because it sounds like you're saying federal outlays to sort of spur these jobs, sort of the way the original New Deal was, like with federal spending.

So how much spending are we talking about? Give me a ballpark figure.
Doocy couldn't have done it better! Perhaps the Thunbergs should thank their stars that Maddow hasn't bothered to pretend to discuss this plan.

We liberals! We've told ourselves, since time immemorial, that We are the very smart tribe. It's The Others who are the dumbkopfs.

Beyond that, we were told, long ago, that Maddow was hired to serve as Our Own Rhodes Scholar. She is just amazingly smart, we've been told again and again.

In truth, Maddow now devotes herself to selling the pleasures of tribal loathing. We often think of Professor Harari as she does this night after night—of the unflattering portrait he has painted of the true nature of our floundering, war-like species.

Why did our species take over the world as other human species went into extinction? We sometimes think of the following text as we watch Maddow spend hour after hour imagining The Others' demise:
HARARI (page 17): But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction...

Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
Aristotle is said to have said that we humans are "the rational animal." In a best-selling dissent, Professor Harari has now said that our species' global supremacy is built upon our skills with "gossip" and with compelling group "fictions," with a healthy dollop of intolerance thrown into the stew.

Night after night, Our Own Rhodes Scholar keeps dumbing us down with ghoulish presentations about The Others. She devotes her inaugural podcast to Spiro T. Agnew, lets Thunberg twist in the wind.

Needless to say, the Maddows will make out fine in the end. It's the Thunbergs, and their future children, who will be desperate for help.

In the meantime, does Maddow's obsession with prison sentences strike you as a "rational" use of her very prominent platform? Night after night, her focus strikes us as the product of an increasingly disordered mind.

Tomorrow, we'll look at some of the excesses on last Friday's ridiculous program. For ourselves, as we watched Maddow engineer this latest gigantic waste of time, we turned to the analysts and uttered winged words.

In the battle of paradigms? "Advantage Harari," we said.

Tomorrow: Embellishing facts and reading whole footnotes, she finds two more to lock up

The emerging anthropological concept of "narrative transmission!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019

Can't see the trees for the script:
We liberals! We'll never throw off our chains until we're finally able to see the shortcomings of journalistic and academic leaders within our own feeble ranks.

Full disclosure: Most of our insights in this area come to us through the auspices of Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM), the disconsolate yet trademarked group which emerged in the aftermath of the global catastrophe they refer to as Mister Trump's War.

These future scholars can communicate to us through certain electromagnetic effects which were triggered by Trump's initial nuclear assault on former NBA star Dennis Rodman, a friend of Kim Jong-un. At any rate, these disconsolate scholars tell us that the anthropology of the future involves the science of "narrative transmission," which sounds to us a great deal like the phenomenon we've always called "reliance on tribal script."

According to these future theorists, man [sic] was never the rational animal at all! Instead, we humans were the animal—in point of fact, the great ape—which couldn't see the paw in front of its face unless it comported with script.

This phenomenon has been running amok in the New York Times of late. That said, yesterday's column by the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan was surely an all-time classic.

Has any column of its type ever been more thoroughly novelized? In service to one of the Treasured Narratives of the Moment (TM), Sullivan produced a series of narrative-friendly claims for which she makes no serious attempt to argue.

Sullivan is devoted to script. The problem is there from the start:
SULLIVAN (2/18/19): If you think the media treatment of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was not seriously marred by sexism, please proceed directly to social media, Fox News, my email or wherever trolls gather.

Because the underlying idea here is that, among the many flaws of 2016 campaign coverage, was the disadvantage Clinton had because of her gender.
As she starts, Sullivan says you're a dunce or a troll if you don't agree with her "underlying idea" (that is to say, with her script). According to that fashionable narrative, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign was "seriously marred by sexism."

That may or may not be true. It may all depend on what the meaning of "seriously marred by" is!

Needless to say, it's hard to assess a murky claim of that type. For starters, though, we'll tell you this:

Sullivan's column at the Post began in May 2016. Using Nexis, we find no column in which she ever made anything resembling this claim back then, in real time, during the actual Trump-Clinton campaign.

Sullivan's snarkily sure of her premise—now. Back then, she had nothing to say about it. Nor does she try to argue her point in any conventional way as her column proceeds. Pitifully, this is the way she continues:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): In her post-election book, “What Happened,” [Clinton] described one of the many ways that played out—through false equivalency.

“If Trump ripped the shirt off someone at a rally and a button fell off my jacket on the same day,” she wrote, the headlines would report: “Trump and Clinton Experience Wardrobe Malfunctions, Campaigns in Turmoil.”
Was Hillary Clinton's campaign "seriously marred by sexism?" In a virtual pantomime of evidence, Sullivan quotes a passage to that effect from a book—a book by Hillary Clinton!

Clinton offers a satirical claim about how bad the press coverage was. Sullivan seems to think she can treat this as some sort of evidence, which of course it's not.

This opening passage in Sullivan's column is a virtual parody of journalism—indeed, of rational behavior itself. But as the column proceeds, the attempts at reasoning may get even worse.

In the passage posted below, Sullivan seems to be complaining about the press corps' treatment of Candidate Clinton. But again, she offers no specific examples of press corps behavior, and she moves quickly toward claims that make no sense at all—toward claims which, according to Future Anthropologists, virtually define the emerging science of narrative transmission:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): The obsession with Clinton’s voice (shrill), her laugh (witchlike), her purported lack of stamina, her marriage, her supposedly inauthentic love of hot sauce—combined with the constant analysis of how voters simply couldn’t warm up to her—is still all too fresh.

One of the reasons it’s so fresh is that we’re hearing echoes of it, already, in the early coverage of the female Democratic lawmakers who have declared their 2020 candidacies.

The long-ago love life of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) has been parsed, as has what music she partied to as a Howard University undergrad.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s uncertainty about how to eat fried chicken has been ruthlessly mocked.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy was in trouble even before she declared because of the senator from Massachusetts identifying herself as Native American. (This was a real blunder, to be sure, but not the career-ending one it’s often portrayed as.)

And there’s so much more, even a year away from the 2020 Iowa caucuses. But why?
Why is there so much of this bullshit? Duh! Because that's how our "press corps" works!

In that passage, Sullivan presents trivial criticisms of female candidates—trivial criticisms which have already surfaced this year. That said, similar nonsense has been aimed at male candidates for decades now—though Sullivan, and the other pre-rational humans within the press corps, constantly seem to be unaware of this blindingly obvious fact.

The dumbest example in that passage involves Gillibrand and the fried chicken. Has Gillibrand been mocked about the way she ate fried chicken at a campaign event?

Yes, she has been! Just as, in Campaign 2004, Candidate Kerry was raked over the coals for the way he ate his cheese steak on that fateful trip to Philly!

Meanwhile, other male candidates, dating to VP candidate Sargent Shriver in the 1970s, have been mocked for ordering the wrong kind of beer, or for failing to drink beer at all, at various campaign events.

This sort of journalistic bullshit has been standard for decades now. It's very much the way these idiots work.

The sheer stupidity of this kind of work is a defining characteristic of the modern upper-end "press corps." We've been writing about this kind of gong-show behavior for twenty years right here at this site.

That said, this gong-show behavior has largely been aimed at male candidates. Because this fact doesn't comport with preferred script, non-rational humans of Sullivan's ilk are said to be completely unable to bring these facts to mind.

According to the future anthropologists—they come to us in nocturnal events some analysts have compared to dreams—a curious feature of human life is put on display when people like Sullivan pen columns of this type. They explain the problem as follows:

Many humans, these experts tell us, are able to observe events in the world only if they comport with some pre-existing group narrative. In this case, Sullivan (and many others) have been pushing a narrative which is suddenly very popular:
Female candidates get no respect at all!
To what extent might that claim be true? In theory, that's a very important question.

But in the hands of humans like Sullivan, no evidence or logic need apply where preferred script is involved! Such non-rationals will bellow about the fried chicken while disappearing the cheese steak. In their pre-rational minds, the previous stupidity of their guild simply never happened, these anthropologists tell us, because these humans can only observe an event if it comports with some deeply adored prior script.

There's more to say about Sullivan's column—indeed, about Sullivan herself, about the destructive role of the Buffalo News in 1999. We'll just say that children are dead all over Iraq because of what the News did.

That said, the rest of Sullivan's current column is a parody of journalism, of the rational process itself. As for the quote from Professor Rosen, where do they get these people? According to Future Anthropologists, only Professor Harari seems to be willing to tell!

Was man [sic] ever the rational animal? Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM) quickly replied to our query:

"Surely you jest," they said.

We liberals will never throw off our chains until we understand this anthropology, which comes to us from the future. The people who tell us the stories we like are frequently highly incompetent.

The Others can see how bad their work is. The only dumbkopfs are Us.

ADVANTAGE HARARI: Rhodes Scholar ignores the Green New Deal!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019

Prefers to keep locking them up:
Could climate change destroy the human race? That what David Wallace-Wells has now rather plainly said.

It's time to panic, Wallace-Wells says, at the start of the lengthy essay which dominated the front page of the New York Times Sunday Review this past weekend.

It's time to panic, Wallace-Wells says. Indeed, his essay about our planet's ongoing crisis appeared beneath these headlines:
Time to Panic
The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.
It's time to panic, Wallace-Wells says. He develops this basic concept in his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. He developed the same concept in July 2017, in this cover essay for New York magazine, a cover essay which ran beneath the same basic title as his new book—The Uninhabitable Earth.

For the record, "uninhabitable" means that children and their parents won't be able to live here in the future. According to Susan Matthews in Slate, that cover essay by Wallace-Wells "went on to become the most widely read story in New York’s 50-plus-year history."

Now, that widely-read essay has re-emerged in the shape of a book—a book in which Wallace-Wells explains, in graphic detail, how much is currently at stake, though only if you actually care about the lives of actual people who aren't you.

That said, lucky us, over here in our liberal/progressive tents! Just as the Wallace-Wells book is appearing—just as the New York Times is showcasing the book from its highest platform—just as these events are occurring, Ed Markey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have released their new proposals for climate policy.

You might not know this from watching "cable news," but the new proposal has been dubbed The Green New Deal.

How sensible is the Green New Deal? How can the public be made aware of the problem it seeks to address? How can citizens who have been deceived for years, while being insulted by the Tomaskys among us, be made aware of the dangers?

Those are deeply important, existential questions. Unless you've been watching the massively overpaid corporate children who parade about on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow most prominent among them.

The Green New Deal was released by Markey and Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, February 7. How much play has this proposal received on The One True Liberal Channel?

With that, you're asking a very good question! Let's start with the Maddow Show:

Sorry! At present, Maddow is wholly consumed with mugging and clowning in support of her crowd-pleasing attempts to "hang them high"—to bathe herself nightly in the joys of locking The Others up.

On the Maddow Show, other topics are not allowed to intrude on the pleasures of this tribal pursuit. For that reason, Rachel Maddow—Our Own Rhodes Scholar—didn't mention the Green New Deal on the day it was unveiled.

Maddow ignored the Green New Deal on the day it was brought forward. Nor has the proposal been mentioned on her popular, revenue-generating program at any time since the day it was unveiled!

With apologies, you read that correctly! Maddow didn't mention the Green New Deal on Thursday evening, February 7. Nor did she mention the Green New Deal on Friday, February 8.

A rapturous weekend came and went, after which Maddow was back in the saddle again. That said, she didn't mention the Green New Deal on Monday evening, February 11, or on any other program last week, right on through the ludicrous program she presented on Friday evening, February 15, when she spent her entire evening trying to hang 'em high.

Last Friday's show was fully devoted to the joys of locking them up. Before the week is done, we'll explore a few of the brainless excesses we liberals were encouraged to enjoy on that ridiculous evening.

That said, the joy of locking them up wasn't permitted to die there. Last night, Maddow skipped the Green New Deal again. Predictably enough, she opened her program with this ode to the joys of conquest:
MADDOW (2/18/19): And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Monday. Happy Presidents Day.

On Friday night, you may recall we got the sentencing submission from special counsel Robert Mueller for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. And it was kind of a stunner, right?

This was Friday night. The prosecutors argued for no mitigating factors that might encourage the judge to be more lenient with Manafort, and they argued for lots of aggravating factors that should cause the judge to be harsher in sentencing Manafort. Mueller's prosecutors advised that judge on Friday night in Manafort's case in Virginia that they would not object to a 19-1/2 year to 24-1/2 year prison sentence for Paul Manafort. Plus, fines and restitution that ranged from millions of dollars to tens of millions of dollars.

Now keep in mind though that sentencing recommendation Friday night was just for the one judge, just for the one judge who is hearing the Paul Manafort case in Virginia. That is not the only federal case against Paul Manafort. By the end of this week, we are expecting Robert Mueller and his prosecutors to also make their case for the sentence that they believe Manafort should get from the other federal judge who is hearing the other federal criminal case against Paul Manafort in the neighboring jurisdiction of Washington, D.C.

And that fairly dire circumstance, the fact that 69 1/2-year-old Paul Manafort is now looking down the twin barrels of a sentence from the federal judge in Virginia and then another sentence from this federal judge in D.C., that obviously is a crisis of his own making. Because it was Manafort and his defense team who elected to not combine the two sets of felony charges against him into one single case in one jurisdiction before one judge.

So Manafort is now facing sentencing in two different jurisdictions by two different federal judges on two different sets of crimes, and, yes, he does face the prospect that the sentences in each of those jurisdictions might run consecutively, might run one after the other rather than concurrently, both at the same time.

So we know as of Friday night what prosecutors have advised the judge in the Virginia case, 19-1/2 to 24-1/2 years in prison. That came out on Friday. By the end of this week, we will see what the prosecutors are advising the other judge in his other case. Then it will be up to those two judges in each of those two jurisdictions to decide Paul Manafort's fate.

The second judge, the one in D.C., who will get a prosecutor sentencing submission this week, within the next few days, she is the judge who has already ruled against Paul Manafort in some very materially significant ways. On Friday night, we might remember we also got the unsealed transcript of the hearing in which that judge ruled that Manafort had repeatedly and intentionally lied to prosecutors, even after he pled guilty and agreed he would become a cooperator, in that ruling, that judge in D.C. was blunt and direct about Manafort's lies. Her ruling that his lies had been intentional and what she described as the implications of his lies.

You should keep in mind this isn't just what this judge said in a written ruling about the president's campaign chairman. This is what she said to his face in a court hearing where Manafort himself was present and in the room. She said, quote, "My concern is not with not answers or simply denying from Manafort, but the times he affirmatively advanced a detailed alternative story that was inconsistent with the facts."

Quote: "The record doesn't seem to reflect the confusion and the defendant didn't profess to be confused. He does appear, however, to be making a concerted effort to avoid saying what really took place."

[...]
On and on, and on and on, Our Own Rhodes Scholar went from there.

Maddow's viewers "may recall" what happened last Friday with respect to the many years Manafort may be locked up? On this badly disordered "cable news" program, the badly under-served liberal viewer is given no other choice.

More specifically, the Maddow viewer has been given no opportunity to hear about the Green New Deal. It still hasn't been mentioned, not even once, on the popular tribal program of this corporate-paid and corporate-owned multimillionaire.

It wasn't mentioned on last night's show. Neither was the high-profile essay by Wallace-Wells. This leads to a basic question:

Are we humans really "the rational animal," as sacred Aristotle is widely said to have said? If you can watch the Maddow Show and retain your faith in that ancient claim, you yourself may be so irrational as constitute a clear-cut "Advantage Harari" in the battle of paradigms which has recently broken out.

It's as we told you last week. In his best-selling book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Professor Harari paints a rather unflattering picture of us, the members of Homo sapiens, the species which somehow managed to drive all other human species into the sea.

According to Professor Harari—and yes, his views are endorsed by Bill Gates!—our flailing species' global conquest didn't result from our amazing rational skills or from anything like that.

According to Harari,
our advantage emerged from our acquisition of the ability to engage in "gossip," along with the ability to formulate and promulgate sweeping group "fictions." Beyond that, our advantage may have emerged from our long-standing, hard-wired desire to parade about killing the pig:
HARARI (page 8): It’s a common fallacy to envision [prehistory's various human] species as arranged in a straight line of descent, with Ergaster begetting Erectus, Erectus begetting the Neanderthals, and the Neanderthals evolving into us. This linear model gives the mistaken impression that at any particular moment only one type of human inhabited the earth, and that all earlier species were merely older models of ourselves. The truth is that from about 2 million years ago until around 10,000 years ago, the world was home, at one and the same time, to several human species. ...The earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man. It’s our current exclusivity, not that multi-species past, that is peculiar–and perhaps incriminating. As we will shortly see, we Sapiens have good reasons to repress the memory of our siblings.
Our war-like species once shared the earth with at least five other human species. So where did the other humans go? After floating the word "incriminating," Harari limns it like this:
HARARI (page 17): But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction. Imagine a Sapiens band reaching a Balkan valley where Neanderthals had lived for hundreds of thousands of years. The newcomers began to hunt the deer and gather the nuts and berries that were the Neanderthals’ traditional staples. Sapiens were more proficient hunters and gatherers—thanks to better technology and superior social skills—so they multiplied and spread. The less resourceful Neanderthals found it increasingly difficult to feed themselves. Their population dwindled and they slowly died out, except perhaps for one or two members who joined their Sapiens neighbors.

Another possibility is that competition for resources flared up into violence and genocide. Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
As Harari notes, "tolerance is not a trademark" of our war-like species. According to Harari, the disappearance of the other human species may have resulted from the human history's first campaigns of "killing the pig!"

That said, the primal joy of loathing The Others is now the constant theme of the brain-dead Maddow Show. Everything else must take a back seat to the pleasures of contemplating the possible length of prison sentences for the various people who are The Others, or Them.

Rachel Maddow seems to think and care about nothing else. The possible extinction of the whole human race takes a back seat on this disordered program to the disordered pleasure the disordered host takes from picturing Them In Chains.

Last Friday's program was especially daft in this regard. Last evening, the program's disorderedd host took right up with where she'd left off.

Along the way, the Green New Deal hasn't been mentioned, not even once. Neither has the prospect of an uninhabitable Earth. Nothing matters except the joy of contemplating the number of years Manafort may be required to spend in jail. Indeed, he may even die there!

Are we humans "the rational animal," as Aristotle is said to have said? When Our Own Rhodes Scholar behaves in these ridiculous ways—when the rest of the children across the career liberal world are unable to notice the strangeness of this behavior—we think the answer is all too clear, and we call it "Advantage Harari."

Aristotle is said to have said that we humans are the rational animal. In a full-throated dissent, Harari has said that our species' conquest of the planet emerged from a grisly brew of gossip, fiction and intolerant loathing.

Our own Rhodes Scholar—our brightest player!—seems to care about nothing except the pleasures of tribal loathing. We'll spend the week exploring the way this seems to support a certain unflattering portrait of our dim-witted, war-loving species.

We turned to the analysts last Friday night. "Advantage Harari," we incomparably said.

Tomorrow: The Green New Deal was widely ignored. Except, of course, at Fox!

A persistently amateur operation: If MSNBC ever gets around to posting transcripts for Maddow's programs from February 14, 15 and 18, those transcripts will presumably be posted here.

Lincoln was from a whole different world!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2019

This strikes us as rational conduct:
We well remember the first time we read Lincoln's second inaugural address.

We'd taken a class of Baltimore fifth graders on a field trip to Washington. We were standing inside the Lincoln Memorial; the entire short address is inscribed on one interior wall.

We recall our stupefaction at the thought that a human being, on this very planet, had ever issued such a radical moral statement. This weekend, as part of C-Span's visit to Springfield, Illinois, the stupefaction we experienced that day was largely brought back home.

The episode in question was described by Samuel Wheeler, a director of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. His discussion of the episode in question starts about 13 minutes into this C-Span videotape.

As he starts, Wheeler says he wants to show viewers a letter written by Lincoln in the last few weeks of his life. According to Wheeler, a woman had written to Lincoln, asking him to send her a hand-written copy of the second inaugural address.

Lincoln didn't write out the whole address, but he did send the woman part of the speech. Wheeler starts his account of the incident by saying this:
WHEELER (1/21/19): The second inaugural is the shortest inaugural address in American history. It's just 702 words.

It is incredibly poignant. It also may be the best religious meditation on the meaning of the Civil War and, as they said at the time, Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural, it sounded more like a sermon than it did a standard political speech.
Lincoln wrote out, and sent the woman, only one paragraph of the address. As Wheeler's story continued, he quoted one of the parts of Lincoln's address which had astonished us long ago:
WHEELER (continuing directly): What's interesting is Mr. Lincoln just writes out one paragraph from the second inaugural, and it's not the the most famous paragraph that we remember today: "With malice toward none, with charity from all."

Instead, Abraham Lincoln writes out this paragraph:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said: "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
Say what? Did an actual human being ever actually say such a thing, in a public address no less? We asked that question long ago, responding also to this larger context:
LINCOLN (3/4/65): Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease.

Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.

The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses
which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said: "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
We in the North did this awful thing too. So this president said.

In that astonishing passage, Lincoln stood before the victors and said that we the victors deserve to pay the price for this awful sin too. If every drop of the bondsman's blood must be redeemed by our own blood, North and South, can anyone find fault with God's judgments?

On that marvelous C-Span tape, Wheeler continues:
WHEELER (continuing directly from above): Abraham Lincoln had been searching, throughout the American Civil War, to figure out what's God's purpose, why the American people have to suffer such a horrible calamity of civil war.

Four years this war had gone on. More than 600,000 casualties by this point. Mr. Lincoln spent a lot of time talking to God. This is the answer that he thinks God is sending to America:

Both sides, North and South, have to suffer because both sides played a role in the egregious sin of American slavery.

Abraham Lincoln feared that people might not react really well to his words in the second inaugural, to his conclusion of why their suffering had to occur, because, in Abraham Lincoln's words, people don't often like to be told when they're wrong.
We humans don't like to be told when we're wrong! So Lincoln apparently said.

We recall being astonished when we read Lincoln's address for the first time that day.

In our view, Lincoln's assessment was profoundly rational. That's why we found it so strange, so strikingly out of place among the works of our kind.

Starting tomorrow: Advantage Harari!

THE HARARI'S DISSENTING ASSESSMENT FILE: Digest of reports!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2019

Starting tomorrow, Advantage Harari:
Are we humans best seen as "the rational animal," a formulation Aristotle is widely said to have advanced?

Or is it possible that we humans have been "seeing ourselves from afar?" Is it possible that Professor Harari has offered a more helpful framework of understanding?

Within Harari's paradigmatic portrait, we humans run on "gossip" and on the invention and promulgation of compelling group "fictions." A striking lack of "tolerance" is mentioned as part of the mix.

Not that it matters at this late date, but which portrait better captures the essence of our war-like, floundering species? Which portraitist is more essentially accurate—Aristotle or Professor Harari?

Starting tomorrow, we'll look at examples from our current discourse which seem to say "Advantage Harari!" Last week, we considered Harari's dissent—his implied rejection of that self-flattering, deeply-entrenched "rational animal" portrait:
Tuesday, February 12: Obama, Gates praise major best-seller! "Rational animal, my asp," Israeli professor declares.

Wednesday, February 13: How accurate are Harari's claims? For our purpose, that isn't the point!

Thursday, February 14:
At times, Harari's assessments are dark! How accurate are those assessments?

Friday, February 15: Lady or tiger? Rabbit or duck? In search of a new paradigm!
Do our modern, upper-end journalists really behave like "rational animals?" Or is it possibly time to abandon that picture?

We'll consider those questions all week.

Tomorrow: Completely ignoring the Green New Deal, Rachel Maddow—Our Own Rhodes Scholar—just keeps locking them up!

Is John McWhorter allowed to do that?

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2019

Engages in rational conduct:
Is John McWhorter allowed to do that?

Six days ago, at The Atlantic, McWhorter engaged in rational conduct while acting as a journalist.

Such conduct is virtually unknown within the tents of American journalism. McWhorter engaged in this highly unusual conduct in an essay which appeared beneath this triple headline:
IDEAS
Are All Instances of Blackface Alike?
Perhaps there is a difference between donning it to mock black people and donning it to resemble someone, as Mark Herring did.
Is McWhorter allowed to do that? How about his editors at the Atlantic? Are they allowed to publish material which undermines the pleasure of the stampede?

In his essay, McWhorter suggested that all behaviors which can conceivably be described as "blackface" may not be alike. In this way, he challenged the latest stampede which had grabbed the soul of every halfwit American pundit, especially those who are socially defined as "white."

The children were staging their latest stampede, killing the pigs as they went. McWhorter suggested that every instance to which they referred may not be just like all the rest.

Is this kind of thinking permitted within the intellectual pigpen known as the American press? We're not sure, but let's
be fair to the Atlantic's editors.

They may have felt that McWhorter's heresies could be justified by running his essay under the heading of IDEAS. But having said that, make no mistake. It was the essay's obvious rational quality which made it stand out within the landscape of modern sub-rational pseudo-journalism.

Is McWhorter allowed to do what he does in that essay? Among other acts of misconduct, he suggests that when a 19-year-old college student dressed as the rapper Kurtis Blow for a 1984 costume party, that may not have been the moral equivalent of what the Virginia Minstrels were doing in the 1840s.

Claims like that challenge the pleasures of stampede and the fun of killing the pig—and the stampede is one of the only social behaviors at which our pundit class excels. Our pundits understand the joy of Saying What Everyone Else Has Said, and every pundit understands what his or her role is in any such stampede:

He or she is expected to Say What Everyone Else Has Said, but to say it in language which is increasingly hysterical. This is the way these idiots have behaved over the course of the past many years, dating at least to the joy of their stampede against Gary Hart.

(Hart was charged with having a girl friend without the press corps' permission.).

Is McWhorter allowed to challenge this conduct—conduct which defines the heart and soul of this sub-rational class? We're not sure, but how inane is that pundit class? To ponder that very important question, we'll suggest that you consider the latest "round" in what seems to be a new weekly series at the Washington Post.

The highly typical, brain-dead series is called the "Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking." Children are dead all over the world because these sub-humans have been behaving this was at least since 1987. We're sorry to say that Karen Tumulty, who we know a tad and like a lot, seems to be the author of this appalling gong show (see below):
THE RANKING COMMITTEE (2/15/19): Welcome to Round 3. You’ve got me, Hugh Hewitt, this week. Given my record on 2016 predictions, I am assuming everyone else was just as wrong as I was and thus we are all equally qualified to prognosticate this go-round.

The Commentary

I thought this race to challenge Trump would be like a NASCAR thriller. Now it seems more like this political contest will resemble the 2001 Daytona 500.
Eighteen cars wiped out at once that year, and another wreck on the last lap killed Dale Earnhardt.

Crowded fields can be exciting, but they lead to crack-ups and deadly miscues. We’ve already had the latter with Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test-turned-Texas Bar card implosion. She committed identity politics’ unpardonable sin: cultural appropriation. Then Amy “The Impaler” Klobuchar emerged from a blizzard of oppo research and snow, showing her grit but also a knack for awful event planning. Kamala D. Harris pitched to the stoner and rapper constituencies in an interview you know she’d like to do over. Now mix in Cory Booker’s blast at meat eaters and his gaffe with the clerk-less Neomi Rao, and of course, Howard Schultz’s reception a la Ancient Booer: “Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime!"
The nonsense continues from there. According to reliable sources within the world of our nightly dreams, even the gods on Olympus felt forced to avert their gaze from this latest embarrassment on the part of us, the humans.

That said, this is the way these blatant subhumans have mugged and clowned for decades now. Our presidential elections are a chance for them to showcase their matchless clowning skills. Children are dead all over the world because they love this pastime so.

Please note:

The sheer stupidity of our species is one of its defining characteristics. Al Gore was wearing three-button suits! Obama was too skinny to get elected! Currently, Kirsten Gillibrand eats fried chicken wrong!

These corporate hounds will never abandon this brain-dead behavior until they're forced to do so. That said, we liberals have been very reluctant to challenge this endless conduct, and our corporate leaders, like Rachel Maddow, will never take a leadership role in this important matter.

She's too busy mugging and clowning herself. Plus, it just isn't done!

How dumb is the rational animal? Until you're able to walk away from the paradigm which tracks to Aristotle, you won't be able to see the world as it actually is.

You'll continue to think that the pundits on your "cable news" channel actually know what they're talking about. You'll think that they're displaying good judgment. You will continue to think that only The Others are wrong.

Since Rachel won't challenge this constant clowning, you won't challenge it either! In fairness, Rachel is busy all night every night sending The Others to jail.

Key point! It's very important for you to know that our own liberal leaders are routinely sub-rational too. As tribal beings, it's very hard for us members of Homo sapiens to understand a fact like that, but McWhorter's essay suggested as much. Is McWhorter permitted to do that?

The dumbest thing we saw all week came from CNN's Don Lemon. We'll expect to get to that segment next week.

But for today, we wanted to speak in praise of Professor McWhorter. His essay put basic rational skills on overt display in the face of the latest stampede. This is virtually never done within the American press corps.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Unfortunately, our species is highly tribal and deeply committed to fiction.

Our species runs on killing the pig. Our pundit corps is daft.

It's how we ended up with Trump. When and how are sensible people going to make this stop?

Just a total embarrassment: Who are the members of the Washington Post's "ranking committee?" Here's the lineup, as disclosed in their initial post:
THE RANKING COMMITTEE (2/1/19): The members of your Ranking Committee, if you will, are progressive brawler Greg Sargent, voice of the millennials Christine Emba, bard of the heartland David Von Drehle, economic wunderkind Catherine Rampell, provocateur (his words) Charles Lane, data whiz David Byler, ahead-of-the-curve expat Anne Applebaum, unrepentant libertarian Megan McArdle, Republican stalwart Hugh Hewitt, ex-Republican stalwart Jennifer Rubin, new kid on the Post block Henry Olsen, block fixture Eugene Robinson, and me, Karen Tumulty (Homeric epithet pending). We’re excited to be here.
As always, the pundits are excited. We'd call that a total embarrassment. What else could anyone say?

"Man [sic] is the rational animal!" Also, children are dead all over the world because the nation's corporate pundits refuse to stop playing these games.

Sullivan rattles the long and the short!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019

The breakdown of rational animals:
We agree with the start of Andrew Sullivan's latest essay for New York magazine. He praises Rep. Ilhan Omar, and the progressive moment more broadly:
SULLIVAN (2/15/19): Watching Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this past week has been, shall we say, illuminating. In some ways, I find myself inspired. Finally in 2019, we have one of two Muslim women in the U.S. Congress, proudly wearing a hijab, and immediately destroying any stupid stereotypes of Muslim women as subservient or silent. We have a seemingly fearless and often charming woman of color with the temerity to interrogate the overwhelmingly white and male foreign policy blob in the heart of our political system. We have a refugee from Somalia as a young congresswoman, a hard-left analogue to the great Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

This, if you need reminding, is America in 2019. Whatever the social-justice left believes about our systemic oppression and whatever the Trump right believes about the core ethnic identity of a lost America, this is the most successful, multicultural, multiracial democratic experiment in the history of humankind. Omar is part of it. If her success doesn’t make you proud of America, in this broad and nonideological sense, there’s something critical you don’t understand about this country, and why so many of us immigrants love it so.

[...]

So it seems to me there is a massive opportunity for the left now across the Western world. Look at how popular a 70 percent top rate is—in America! The left is correct to sense a huge opportunity and they are right, I think, to be bold...The economic case for rebalancing capitalism is more persuasive than at any moment in my lifetime, as is the profound challenge of tackling our climate catastrophe.
In many ways, Sully's inspired. But he quickly moves on to this:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): But the full package from the contemporary radicalized left in both the U.K. and U.S. brings with it far more troubling ideas. Hostility to the policies of the state of Israel—a perfectly legitimate position—morphs swiftly into ugly anti-Semitic tropes. A passion for social justice curdles into attacks on free speech or degenerates into broad denunciations of “whiteness.” Postmodern critical gender theory denies any meaningful natural differences between men and women, and casts an entire sex as inherently problematic. Social-media frenzies carelessly destroy the lives and careers of individuals who transgress orthodoxies. Important work combating sexual harassment and abuse is hurt by reckless accusations and McCarthyite campaigns...

Now look at Omar. She didn’t just push back on AIPAC’s distortion of American foreign policy, she reiterated a classic anti-Semitic trope that American Jews buy influence, period. She didn’t just confront Elliott Abrams, she refused to let him answer anything but loaded “yes” or “no” responses. And last week, for good measure, she demanded an investigation into the decision by USA Powerlifting to ban transgender women from competing in women’s powerlifting contests, because of the unfair advantage that developing a male body for most of your life will give you in lifting weights. The organization instituted the ban after a young trans woman, JayCee Cooper, smashed the state record for women’s bench press in Minnesota, beating her nearest female rival by a mile, only a year after joining the sport.
Sully goes on and on from there, listing the various ways our rational instinct is inclined to break down—even Over Here in this, the most brilliant and the most rational or all known political tribes.

We humans! Our capacity for gong-show adherence to tribal dogma typically knows no bounds. We love to go out and start killing the pigs. If you think you support progressive values, you need to confront this embarrassing fact about our own fallible tribe and our own human nature.

We rarely miss the chance to be wrong. We stampede after gossip and fictions. We love our loathing of Them.

Except in technological pursuits, we rational animals just aren't very sharp! Increasingly, corporate news orgs and career pseudo-liberals are betting money on the idea that we liberals don't understand that fact—on the idea that we'll be willing to follow the ways of the Fox News Channel pretty much all the way down.

We're constantly spoon-fed corporate piddle at our big liberal news orgs. Big money is wagered on the idea that we the liberals and we the progressives won't be able to see through the hustles—that We will love our versions of Hannity as much as They love theirs.

Who hasn't Rachel ever discussed all the looting in American health care? Why is it always who might be going to jail, just over and over and over?

Do you like tribal porridge all night long? We're asking, but we all must decide—and the answer will likely be yes.

We've got your rational animals here!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019

Rational animals on the prowl:
Tomorrow, we'll touch upon this.

HARARI'S DISSENT: Lady or tiger? Rabbit or duck?

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019

In search of a new paradigm:
Around the world, the human experiment is rife with the ugliest kinds of tribal and national warfare.

Here at home, our national discourse spills with trivial tribal stampedes, often built around the age-old desire to "kill the pig." Our journalists display an aversion to serious topics, and almost no analytical skills at all.

Our elite logicians? They've disappeared into the mists of their own guild's specialized projects.

Despite these embarrassing manifestations, we humans, at least in the western world, tend to cling to a traditional self-understanding. Despite the spectacular dumbness around us, we secretly cling to this view:
"Man [sic] is the rational animal."
That portrait, as commonly understood, has proven quite hard to shake. In the present day, we frequently see that our upper-end journalists have gone to the finest schools. This tends to reinforce the belief that we're living in the most rational of all possible worlds.

Sadly enough, we aren't! Our upper-end journalists spend their time killing the (latest) pig, often based on things they said, did or thought when they were 19 years old.

Our journalists care about wardrobe and hair and about the signals a candidate sends from the way she eats fried chicken. They deeply care about who may have had sex with whom, though only once, as recently as 2006.

They know that they must never tell us about the looting involved in our nation's health care. They flee from basic data about basic issues, much as vampires flee from the cross.

Few practices could be dumber, but this is the stuff of our "national discourse." And when's the last time you saw one of our many professors of logic step forward with clarification or words of advice based upon his or her vast store of erudition?

Dearest darlings, it just isn't done! Our professors of logic left the world many long years ago. The greatest among them are trying to figure how 2 plus 2 can equal 2.

We humans! We can conceive of ourselves as "the rational animal" only because our rational impulses and analytical skills are so thoroughly missing in action. And then, along comes Professor Harari with a bit of a new attitude.

Rather, Harari has offered a new paradigm—with a portrait of the human race as it now exists, in which the triumph of our one remaining human species was built upon "gossip and "fiction." Also, upon a strong dollop of intolerance, of the kind observed all over the world, and all through the tribal wars which now rule our national "press corps."

Why did our species, Homo sapiens, survive where other humans groups disappeared? We'll reduce the portrait drawn in Harari's first chapter to these basic points:
HARARI (page 5-18): Homo sapiens has kept hidden an even more disturbing secret. Not only do we possess an abundance of uncivilized cousins, once upon a time we had quite a few brothers and sisters as well. We are used to thinking about ourselves as the only humans, because for the last 10,000 years, our species has indeed been the only human species around. Yet the real meaning of the word human is "an animal belonging to the genus Homo," and there used to be many other species of this genus besides Homo sapiens.

[...]

The members of some of these species were massive and others were dwarves. Some were fearsome hunters and others meek plant-gatherers. Some lived only on a single island, while many roamed over continents. But all of them belonged to the genus Homo. They were all human beings.

It’s a common fallacy to envision these species as arranged in a straight line of descent, with Ergaster begetting Erectus, Erectus begetting the Neanderthals, and the Neanderthals evolving into us. This linear model gives the mistaken impression that at any particular moment only one type of human inhabited the earth, and that all earlier species were merely older models of ourselves. The truth is that from about 2 million years ago until around 10,000 years ago, the world was home, at one and the same time, to several human species. And why not? Today there are many species of foxes, bears and pigs. The earth of a hundred millennia ago was walked by at least six different species of man. It’s our current exclusivity, not that multi-species past, that is peculiar—and perhaps incriminating. As we will shortly see, we Sapiens have good reasons to repress the memory of our siblings.

[...]

But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction. Imagine a Sapiens band reaching a Balkan valley where Neanderthals had lived for hundreds of thousands of years. The newcomers began to hunt the deer and gather the nuts and berries that were the Neanderthals’ traditional staples. Sapiens were more proficient hunters and gatherers—thanks to better technology and superior social skills—so they multiplied and spread. The less resourceful Neanderthals found it increasingly difficult to feed themselves. Their population dwindled and they slowly died out, except perhaps for one or two members who joined their Sapiens neighbors.

Another possibility is that competition for resources flared up into violence and genocide. Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
In Harari's less than glorious portrait, our species drove other human groups into the sea. He says it may have been "the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history," an "incriminating" example of "genocide."

In Harari's portrait, we modern members of Homo sapiens "have good reasons to repress the memory of our siblings." He refers to the half dozen or so human species which became extinct once our own species wandered north out of Africa about 70,000 years ago.

According to Harari, our species isn't long on tolerance. Of course, anyone who watches "cable news" has become aware of that fact as the Maddows and the Hannitys involve themselves in the endless killing of the other tribe's pigs, to the exclusion of everything else.

(Don't miss Maddow's podcast on Spiro T. Agnew! Also, don't expect to hear a word about the way you, and everyone else, are being looted in the arena of health care! On gong-show, corporate cable news, it simply isn't done!)

According to Harari, the eventual triumph of our species wasn't based on superlative "rational" powers. It was based on the acquisition of two new abilities—the ability to "gossip" about people not present, and the ability to invent compelling "fictions" which will be adopted, ardently, by ever wider groups.

Did Homo sapiens conquer the world through employment of gossip and fiction? We can't answer that question. Meanwhile, Harari's explanations are slender, as is inevitable in a book which seeks to cover the whole history of human existence.

That said, our public discourse, such as it is, runs on gossip and the adoption of sweeping group fictions. Or do you still think that Al Gore said he invented the Internet, as every "great ape" in the national press corps told us for years on end?

Children are dead all over Iraq. Do you believe that Gore said that?

It's natural for us in our own liberal tribe to think that Harari's unpleasant portrait could only apply to the great apes Over There. It could only apply to the knuckle-dragging, low-brow inhabitants of the Fox News Channel's realm.

In fact, our own tribe has been running on tribal group fictions for a rather long time now. Or do you still believe that the fact that Trayvon Martin was carrying Skittles had anything to do, at all, with the way he died that night?

Did you feel edified when you saw our tribal thought leaders pushing that irrelevant fact? Over and over, again and again, it's how our own tribe works now.

The spectacular dumbness of our own liberal tribe has been one of our principle subjects for several years now. We regard it as the biggest story in national media over the past dozen (or so) years.

In his best-selling book, Harari paints a picture of our species' origins which stresses the role of gossip and sweeping group fiction. And gossip and fiction are the twin meats on which our nation's sad enterprise feeds.

Is Professor Harari right about the way our species came to power? We have no earthly idea. Neither does anyone else, even including Bill Gates.

That said, we offer Professor Harari's book as a new paradigm—as a possible framework of understanding as we look out at the world.

Aristotle is said to have said that we are "the rational animal." It's very, very hard to square that assessment with the typical work of our nation's top pundits—but that picture has long had a hold on the way we humans see ourselves, if only "from afar."

Aristotle is said to have said that we're "the rational animal." Harari almost seems to say that we are the animal built upon gossip and fiction. Stated another way, we're the animal which kills the pig based upon tribal script.

Have you ever read the New York Times? If so, do you fail to see that Harari offers a compelling new way of seeing ourselves and our conduct?

Let's not waste our time explaining the notion of "paradigms." Sometimes, what looked like a duck may suddenly come to look more like a rabbit. With that in mind, we'll suggest that you try stepping back from Aristotle's fowl to picture Harari's hare.

Which are we—the duck or the rabbit, the lady or the tiger? In truth, it's very, very hard for us to see who and what we are.

"Rational animals" don't stage stampedes about the conduct of public officials when they were 19 years old. But that's the sort of thing our own allegedly "rational" tribe was doing all last week. (More on that tomorrow.)

Are we humans the rational animal? Given our species' endless conduct, the fact that the question can even be raised tells us how plainly we aren't.

Our journalists run on gossip and fiction. As they do, members of the various tribes tend to join the latest chase. And as this endless nonsense unfolds, where are the brilliant academics who should, in theory, be stepping forward to challenge this low-IQ conduct?

Next week, we'll start to answer that question. As we do, the later Wittgenstein will signal from the near distance. But then, it's all anthropology now, as we told you last year.

As we continue down that road, we'll add to the biography of the weakness of our human minds. Our human minds are strikingly weak—unless we decide that we want to continue seeing ourselves from afar.

Next week: Horwich's complaint

A note on the lexicon: "Seeing ourselves from afar?"

For background on that useful expression, you can just click here. It involves a trip to the Kalahari with Marlin Perkins along.

HARARI'S DISSENT: At times, Harari's assessments are dark!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2019

How accurate are those assessments?
Professor Harari's best-selling book is a major best-seller.

We refer to Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, which currently sits at number 1 on the relevant New York Times list.

It's been a best-seller round the world since it first appeared in 2011. Beyond that, its current American paperback edition carries a blurb by Barack Obama. Even more dispositively, a complimentary blurb by Bill Gates sits atop the front cover!

As part of a much longer assessment,
Obama is quoted saying the book is "interesting and provocative." That assessment is intriguing, because Obama is known for his upbeat outlook, and Harari's portrait of our species is, at least at times, provocatively dark.

How did our species, Homo sapiens, emerge as potentate of the planet? Why did our species survive and thrive, even as a half dozen other human species disappeared from the earth? (See yesterday's report.)

To Harari, it wasn't our massively rational nature which gave us dominion over the planet. He describes our ascent in a gloomier way right in his opening chapter:
HARARI (page 17): But if the Neanderthals, Denisovans and other human species didn’t merge with Sapiens, why did they vanish? One possibility is that Homo sapiens drove them to extinction...

Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark.
In modern times, a small difference in skin colour, dialect or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species? It may well be that when Sapiens encountered Neanderthals, the result was the first and most significant ethnic-cleansing campaign in history.
Oof! We're simplifying the possibilities that Harari imagines in that full passage. But he keeps suggesting that our prehistorical ancestors drove other human groups into extinction—colloquially, into the sea.

In the passage above, he even floats the term "ethnic cleansing" to describe what our ancestors may have done—and yet, Obama loves the book! Leave it to a Democrat to "blame Homo sapiens first!"

At any rate, Harari keeps suggesting that our species' advantage over The Others was built upon a couple of chance mutations. According to Harari, these mutations gave us two unique abilities—the ability to "gossip," plus the ability to invent and promulgate sweeping group "fictions."

We'll grant you—those are the very activities which characterize the work of our upper-end journalists. But just as Dorothy found herself a long way from Kansas at one point, Harari's portrait takes us a long way from Aristotle's more stately assessment, in which our first great logician is said to have said that we humans are "the rational animal," full and complete total stop.

By way of contrast:

In the first two chapters of his book, Harari paints a slightly unsettling portrait of the emergence of our famously self-impressed species. The rational animal emerges as a beast—an intolerant beast which may have driven The Others into the sea.

These assessments may be "interesting and provocative," but is there any reason to believe that these claims are accurate? For our ongoing purpose this year, that question doesn't matter a lot. We'll explain that slip-slide in more depth tomorrow.

We don't enormously care if those assessments are accurate. But just for the record, we decided to check with the leading authority on Harari's book to see what the registered experts have said—and uh-oh!

As the leading authority starts, the note of sadness comes in:
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a book by Yuval Noah Harari first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011, and in English in 2014. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. The account is situated within a framework provided by the natural sciences, particularly evolutionary biology.

The reception of the book has been mixed. Scholars with relevant subject matter expertise have generally been very skeptical of the book. Public reaction to the book has been positive.
Public reaction has been positive; according to the leading authority, "the scholars" are less sure. Later on, the leading authority puts a bit of meat on those bones. In the interest of full disclosure, we now present some of what's said:
Anthropologist Christopher Robert Hallpike reviewed the book and did not find any "serious contribution to knowledge." Hallpike suggested that "...whenever his facts are broadly correct they are not new, and whenever he tries to strike out on his own he often gets things wrong, sometimes seriously." He considered it an infotainment publishing event offering a "wild intellectual ride across the landscape of history, dotted with sensational displays of speculation, and ending with blood-curdling predictions about human destiny."

Science journalist Charles C. Mann concluded in The Wall Street Journal, "There’s a whiff of dorm-room bull sessions about the author’s stimulating but often unsourced assertions."

Reviewing the book in The Washington Post, evolutionary anthropologist Avi Tuschman points out problems stemming from the contradiction between Harari's "freethinking scientific mind" and his "fuzzier worldview hobbled by political correctness", but nonetheless wrote that "Harari’s book is important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens."
Can't anyone here play this game? There's more negativity in the report, but those excerpts give you a taste of what some scholars have said.

In fairness, the single statement attributed to Mann may have given a false impression concerning his overall view. This was the closing paragraph of his Wall Street Journal review:
MANN (2/6/15): There’s a whiff of dorm-room bull sessions about the author’s stimulating but often unsourced assertions. Or perhaps I should use a more contemporary simile: “Sapiens” reminded me occasionally of a discussions on Reddit, where users sound off about supposed iron laws of history. This book is what these Reddit threads would be like if they were written not by adolescent autodidacts but by learned academics with impish senses of humor. As I write, my daughter is glumly making flashcards full of names and dates for an AP Euro exam. I bet she wishes she had a textbook like “Sapiens.” Me? I’m not so sure. I like the book’s verve and pop but wish it didn’t have all those fleas.
To Mann, Harari is "a learned academic" whose book is full of "verve and pop" but carries a roster of fleas. No letter grade was assigned.

Nothing here tells us if Harari is right in his claims about the rise of our species. Other reviews don't go there either, in part because Harari's book covers the whole of human history, not just the limited story of Homo sapiens' rise.

That said, does Harari know what he's talking about? Did our species end up ruling the roost because our ancestors developed the ability to gossip, along with the ability to invent and promulgate sweeping acts of fiction?

Granted, those are the fuels which drive our own modern pseudo-journalism. But are those the fuels which drove our species' rise? And do "gossip" and "fiction," as Mann defines them, perhaps explain Who We Are?

"Man [sic] is the rational animal," Aristotle is constantly said to have said. As it's generally understood, this upbeat portrait tends to reinforce the tradition in which we humans see ourselves as "the epitome of creation," to quote Harari again.

We're a long way from Stagira, Greece when Harari floats his gossip-and-fiction dissent. But does he know what he's talking about on this particular matter?

Tomorrow, we'll pay a visit to our oldest friend, the rabbit-duck, as we explain why we don't hugely care.

Tomorrow: The culture needs a new pair of shoes...

Reporter dreams of "full integration!"

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2019

The Times should be ashamed:
Once again, we show you the data which define one modern version of "the problem we all live with."

These data concern academic performance within the New York City Public Schools. Similar data obtain nationwide:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, 2017 Naep
New York City Public Schools

White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
Below, we'll show you the corresponding data for public schools nationwide. For now, let's stick with "the problem we all live with" in Gotham.

Those data seem to define "achievement gaps" which are brutally large. If we apply a conventional though very rough rule of thumb, in which ten points on the Naep scale roughly equates to one academic year, the average black eighth grader in New York City is performing more than three years below the average white eighth grader, five years below the average Asian-American.

Those are brutal gaps. But in the face of those punishing data, the New York Times—our dumbest, least comprehending upper-class newspaper—continues with its self-involved, pointless magical thinking.

In yesterday morning's front-page report, the Times continued its quest for a largely pointless state of affairs it has now even described as "full integration." The report was written by Eliza Shapiro, who is presumably being held hostage by her unnamed editors.

Would it be better if Gotham's schools were more diverse, more "racially balanced?" In theory, yes, it would be.

That said, there's only so much "full integration" you can get from New York City's student population. If the Times could wave a magic wand from the Hamptons and produce that "full integration," the student population of each New York City school would magically look like this:
"Full integration," New York City Public Schools
White kids: 15 percent
Black kids: 30 percent
Hispanic kids: 40 percent
Asian-American kids: 15 percent
That isn't a lot of "integration." That's especially true since the propagandistic definitions of "segregation" devised by our pseudo-progressive thought leaders only count interaction with white kids as a marker of integration.

Attending school with (high-performing) Asian kids? We're sorry, but that doesn't count!

Of course, the ratios shown above would never obtain in real life. The white student population would quickly drop as parents moved their kids out of the reconfigured schools.

Why would parents do that? In part, because of thinking like that we've highlighted below. In this passage, Shapiro is describing recommendations from a recent report by a City Hall task force:
SHAPIRO (2/12/19): Mr. de Blasio should also focus on integrating schools in neighborhoods that may have wealth disparities and segregated schools, the group said.

The report prompted the mayor to require nine such local school districts, including the Upper East Side, Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, Forest Hills in Queens and all of Staten Island, to come up with integration plans.

Mr. de Blasio should also ask all 32 of the city’s local school districts to consider whether their gifted and talented programs and schools that admit students using academic criteria are causing further segregation, the report suggests.
Pseudo-progressives, please!

So-called "gifted and talented programs" allow higher-performing students to be presented with the type of work appropriate to their achievement levels.

In a school system with achievement gaps as large as those in New York City, it's impossible to teach the same curriculum to all the kids within a single grade. Everyone on the planet knows this—except the kinds of people who wrote this report for the mayor, along with people who pose as education reporters across the upper-end press.

In a system like New York City's, would differential instruction produce increased "segregation?" We refer you again to those average scores. This represents a basic problem, except in newspapers like the Times, where those achievement gaps don't exist and don't need to be discussed.

The size of those achievement gaps is never reported and never discussed in the New York Times. That's because the people who work for the New York Times are either too dumb to know about this state of affairs, or are too uncaring to examine how this tragic state of affairs should be addressed.

Instead, the Times offers its readers feel-good magical thinking! It loves the preening and posturing which come with the fight again "segregation," a tribally thrilling, repurposed term which once had a specific meaning.

It loves the utterly crazy implied idea that increased racial balance in Gotham's schools would do much of anything about those punishing gaps.

Those gaps are ugly, dark and deep, but they don't exist in the Times. Instead, the Times instructs Shapiro to play these persistent reindeer games, and the ballyhooed hire complies.

(As for de Blasio, please! Don't even ask.)

Again and again and again and again, we've shown you the size of those gaps. These gaps have existed since roughly forever and, for exactly that long, our big newspapers have found various magical ways to avoid discussing their import—to pretend they can be wished away, to pretend that it's all a mirage.

If you subscribe to the New York Times, you'll never be asked to read about the size of those punishing gaps. Nor will you ever see any discussion of what could possibly be done to help Gotham's black and Hispanic kids achieve at higher levels.

What should happen in kindergarten, when low-income kids are already way "behind" their middle-class peers? How about in preschool? How about in low-income children's actual homes, starting in the first few weeks of life?

People at the New York Times don't worry their heads about that. Instead, they hand you their silly magical thinking about the need to fight "segregation." And yes, this brain-dead conduct exists in this most rational of all possible worlds.

No one cares about black kids. Timesfolk like to pose.

Corresponding scores nationwide: The corresponding achievement gaps are roughly the same nationwide. That doesn't necessarily mean that gaps this large obtain in any particular school system:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, 2017 Naep
United States, public schools

White students: 292.16
Black students: 259.60
Hispanic students: 268.49
Asian-American students: 309.52
Are those gaps are large as they seem? Is there any reason to doubt data from the Naep?

Questions like these don't arise in the upper-end press. In the upper-end press corps, they care about wardrobe and who's BLEEPing whom, and they care about the way major candidates are inclined to eat their fried chicken.

Gillibrand ate her chicken wrong! Such meat has been the fuel of the press for many, many years.

Is this the work of "the rational animal?" We ask, you decide!