Dark side of the moon

This afternoon, it got dark.

Shot from my deck, CoolPix P900, f/6.3, 1/125s, ISO-560, focal length 214mm, 35mm focal length 1200mm. No filter; the dark filter I bought for the rest of the eclipse was too dark to pick this up.

Um, I dunno…

Doesn’t this sound like incitement to insurrection?  By the Democrats’ own rules…if it sounds like insurrection, it must be insurrection.  Right?

Hey, FBI, you might want to investigate this sports journalist who thinks he’s a political pundit.

Don Surber misses the forest for the trees

Which is kind of surprising, to be honest.  Don’s an old newspaperman, he should know that making a blanket statement that “America will get along just fine without newspapers. Based on circulation in print and online, at least 80% of the nation already gets along without newspapers,” is just prime meat for some curmudgeonly person like me to sink their teeth into.

Don’s basic premise is that nobody trusts the media anymore.  And fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers.  And someone like Tucker Carlson can get more view for a single video interview with someone like Vladimir Putin than the daily readership of all US newspapers combined.

And I don’t argue with any of that.

What I argue with is his attitude that we don’t need newspapers.  I think we need them more than ever.  But the biggest problem with newspapers today is almost all of the proud and independent big-city dailies have been munched up by conglomerates like Gannett.  (I may be behind the times, I think Gannett was actually bought more recently by someone else, but the daily newspaper in my town lost any shred of respectability when it was sold by its founding family to Gannett, so 99% of the time I don’t bother reading it anymore.)  And what happens when you have many daily newspapers in far-flung cities and towns under your control is that things like copy editing and editorial policy are decided in offices far from your home.  For instance, for the Indianapolis Star, that happens in an office in Louisville.  And the number of local reporters has dropped considerably as a result.  In effect, every time I pick up the local paper, I feel like I’m holding one of the old neighborhood rags that used to cover what was happening in your part of the city and carried ads from your nearby businesses and suchlike.  School news.  Marriage announcements.  Church schedules.  Personal want ads, and service classifieds for those who didn’t want to put in full quarter-page or business-card sized ads.

One of those was The North-Side Topics.  If you wanted to know what was going on in the northern part of Indianapolis, you picked that up once a week (or it got delivered to your mailbox for free).  The main complaint I always had about it was it contained more ads than actual news, but on the other hand, without the ads, they wouldn’t have been able to publish it.  But Dad ran a two- or three-line ad for his contracting business in their Services classifieds for years and got more business between that and word-of-mouth from his customers than he could handle.

Well, the Indianapolis Star looks and feels like The North Side Topics, these days.  But without the local charm.

What is killing newspapers is there isn’t really anything in them of interest anymore.  Sports news and obituaries is about it, I think, and to be honest both have gone digital.  There are online blogs and other services that keep up with government news (local and state).

I think (and, sure, I could be wrong and Don Surber with his many years of experience in the industry may be right) that small circulation newspapers publishing weekly and focusing narrowly on local news (and I mean, local like “Washington Township, Marion County, Indiana”), subsidized by adverts from local businesses and organizations, could probably make a comeback in a digital era.  One thing you’d hope they’d be is non-partisan.  Another thing you’d hope is that the people writing and editing the stories would be folks from the same general area served by the paper, so they actually live and breathe what they’re writing about.  Because I’ll tell you, I’d read a newspaper like that.  I like knowing what’s going on around me, even if it happened a week ago.

Something I read in a book years ago came to mind when I was reading Don’s article.

“Manuel, on some subjects I don’t trust even myself. Limiting the freedom of news ‘just a little bit’ is in the same category with the classic example ‘a little bit pregnant.’ We are not yet free nor will we be as long as anyone–even our ally Mike–controls our news. Someday I hope to own a newspaper independent of any source or channel. I would happily set print by hand, like Benjamin Franklin.”

— Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Limiting the freedom of news is what has been going on for years as huge conglomerates have swallowed up small-town and big-city newspapers.  This is what has given us “the media” that Don rails about.  In Heinlein’s story, Prof yearns for the day when news was uncontrolled by shadowy forces beyond the ken of men.  Little neighborhood or township newspapers that focused on local people and local issues were for many decades that glue that held communities together.  Heinlein knew this because he lived in an era when there were plenty of newspapers to choose from.  I still remember when there were three daily newspapers in Indianapolis — a morning and two afternoons.

Maybe what we really need is for a thousand local newspapers to bloom.

Even if they caught up with the times and bloomed online.  But I’d happily hold a local-focused newspaper in my hands and read it with my morning coffee if it were a newspaper worth reading.

Besides, it’s harder to stop the signal if the medium is physical.

The lies are flying thick and fast

Lie #1:  Governor Abbott is defying the Supreme Court by continuing to have the Texas State Guard patrol the border and keep illegals from crossing.

Lie #2: We need more law to prevent illegals from crossing the border.

Lie #1 is easily disproved by reading the order from the Court, which states only that the temporary restraining order preventing the Border Patrol from cutting the razor wire and removing other impediments placed by the Texas State Guard has been vacated.  The order says nothing about Abbott not being allowed to use the Texas State Guard to prevent border crossings.  Because frankly the State of Texas has every reason to want to secure the border, and the Court isn’t going to get into that.

Lie #2 is easily disproved by the fact that Biden vacated Trump’s EOs regarding the Wall and other features of border security the day he took office.  All Biden has to do is admit that Trump was right, and re-institute Trump’s border EOs.  He needs no new law to do this, and to claim he wants a tit for tat of more throwaway funding for the Ukraine debacle before he’ll sign new law to secure the border is a load of stinking fecal matter that probably originates in his own Depends.

The fact is that the Democrats want millions of illegals crossing the border.  They are following the hoary dictum of “if your electorate is refusing to support your programs, you need to replace them with a new electorate” (which is a massive paraphrase but that’s what it comes down to).

The problem is, Abbott saw that bullshit and raised it by sending busloads of illegals to the so-called “sanctuary” cities, who immediately proved they were interested only in virtue signaling when it came to providing said sanctuary.  The reality hit quickly as their money started going down that rat hole instead of the usual rat holes they wanted it to go down.  New York’s mayor is panicking, and closer to home, Chicago is starting to feel pressure from its black community, who are not amused about having to deal with thousands of illegals being bused into their neighborhoods.

Want to fix the border crisis, Joe?  Close the fucking border.  You already had authority and budget to do that.  Just fucking do it.

The fact is, nobody on the left really wants to close the border.

“Democrats delenda est.”  The left must be destroyed, utterly.  There is no other path but through at this point.

If Trump is said to “underperform” in Iowa, be sure to look at the actual numbers

From The Washington Times, via RealClearPolitics:

In case you weren’t already aware, the fix is in. Before the first ballot has been cast, the media have already written their headlines for the Iowa caucuses: “Trump underperforms in Iowa.”

According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, former President Donald Trump leads the field with over 52%, ahead of his closest rival by a whopping 36 points. FiveThirtyEight has a similar polling average, putting him at just over 51%, with a lead of 34 points.

That’s a substantial margin, with plenty of room for underperformance. But let’s look at things from a broader historical perspective.

Since 1976, the biggest “landslide” in the Iowa Republican caucuses (excluding elections with a Republican incumbent) came in 1988, when Sen. Bob Dole amassed 37% of the vote and won by 12 points over televangelist Pat Robertson. In many contested elections of that period, Iowa has been decided by 3 points or less, reflecting the intense independence of Iowa caucusgoers.

Iowans pride themselves on making up their own minds, and they take their responsibility as the first state on the election calendar very seriously. They do not just go with the flow and rubber-stamp the national mood.

Mr. Trump is poised to win Iowa, and the victory may be a historic landslide. Even if he severely underperforms his polling lead, he’s still likely to outpace Dole’s record-setting margin. In this case, underperforming should count only if Mr. Trump comes below Dole’s historic 12-point margin ahead of the next closest finisher.

But that’s not the standard to which the media will hold him.

This is what the Left gets for pissing off the American public.  As we have said for years, progressives won’t like living under their new rules.  And they’ve all but martyred Trump to the point where his landslide is going to eclipse Reagan’s.

And if it turns out I’m wrong about that, it will be because the Left has frauded yet another election just like they did 2020.

Remember: Pinochet did nothing wrong.

Free Kindle book (limited time) – Saving The Spring

From Friday, 12/29/2023, through Tuesday, 1/2/2024, my novella Saving The Spring will be available FREE on Kindle.  (This isn’t a KDP “read for free”, this is FREE as in “you get to keep the book.”)

Jack Randall knew immediately something was off when he pulled up to the old roadhouse. Little did he know that crossing paths that night with the establishment’s beautiful bartender and her handsomely-rugged boyfriend/cook would lead to him recalling his former life as a god – or fighting a rematch with the god who had stolen his memories.

“Fans of Alma T.C. Boykin and Tom Rogneby will love this short story. It begins as a road trip with a couple of middle-aged snowbirds (well-armed ones) and turns into a fight for life, honor, and the immortal love of a lady as old as time. The plot is delightfully clever, the action fast and furious and you will love the main characters as they forge a new destiny.” — Amazon review by L. Paul

Merry Christmas!

To anyone who still peeks in here from time to time, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Have a couple of MidJourney Christmas images on the house.  Christmas is also a time for lovers, so…snuggle up to your sweetie and have a nice evening.

Timelines Novel Sale — 99 Cents Each!

I don’t normally advertise my books on this blog (other than in the sidebar) but I don’t know how much traffic my author blog gets…so here is a self-plug for a sale on the three Timelines novels to date.  This sale will run for a week starting at 5AM EST Saturday (Nov. 25) and running through 5AM EST next Saturday (Dec. 2).

You can of course read these novels for free on KU, but eventually you have to give KU books back.  You can now own all three of these for under $3.  (And what were you going to do with that $3?  You can’t even buy a latte for that.)

Anyway, here’s the link to the sale article on my author blog. And thanks to any and all of you who are readers.