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A hidden face by a display of pencil sharpeners.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Ten years ago.



Me: Frank Lynch. These are my daily rants, mostly political. For something less spontaneous, I maintain The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page (over 1,800 Johnson quotes), perhaps your best online resource for insight into his thinking.

DISCLOSURE: I work for Abt SRBI. We do polling, public policy research, surveys, etc. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.

first: frankplynch at gmail dot com; now delete the 'a' in my name

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Bio: Born 1957, raised in Florida, moved to New York area in 1982; now live in Brooklyn. Married, with one daughter. I work in marketing research for Abt SRBI. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.

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Word blogging...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"President Lindsey Graham."

Today the Senior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina said he was "91% sure" that he'd be a candidate for 2016, aside from the fact that he hasn't done much fundraising.

I'm at 6's and 7's on this. In 2012 I felt that Rick Santorum best embodied the Republican ideals of the time, and I thought that Bill Buckley's rule for compromise (nominate the most conservative candidate who can win) was being misapplied to Romney. That is, you need your voters to turn out. Romney had the baggage of being a somewhat moderate Republican who wasn't seen as a true Republican; and on top of that he (or his campaign) said all those silly things which may ultimately have helped Democratic turnout.

Graham is not Romney, and I think he'd do better than Romney at bringing out Republican voters in 2016. But he's already got a long list of over-the-top comments, and in the back of my head I'm hearing the Catalog Aria. Biden's joke about Giuliani -- that every one of his sentences could be characterized as a noun, a verb, and 9/11 -- very much applies to Graham, so long as you switch out "9/11" for "Benghazi."

Switching just a bit, the Times tells us that the GOP Hopefuls visited New Hampshire this weekend with a strong anti-Hillary message. I can't help but wonder if a candidate couldn't stand out by taking a different tack; could one succeed by tamping down the vehemence, recognizing that Clinton had accomplishments, but seriously, Presidential Timber? "We can do better," as Bernie said for 12 hours.

Link | Comments | 7:04 PM

Monday, April 13, 2015

Eat your vegetables.

Link | Comments | 11:16 PM

Kudos to Hamilton College.

Hamilton College was in lockdown mode today (a bomb threat had been called in, and there were rumors of a shooter). They deserve credit for the way they communicated to all involved. The students got early alerts to stay secure in place. They quickly evacuated the building named in the bomb threat, and basically shut down the web site so that the only active page was the home page, where regular updates were posted. Every brief update in their Twitter feed linked to the web page for more information, and updates were made regularly. If you followed a link to an internal page through Google, you were automatically redirected to the home page. I presume they used other social media networks similarly. For those who might have missed the news through online resources or texts, they made automated calls to the phone numbers on file.

I presume that the disabling of most of the web site comment content was to minimize the demand on the servers. In a situation like this people are constantly hitting refresh, and as another load limiter the html on the home page was VERY light. (A logo, a blue background, and text. Bold formatting here or there. That was it. I don't even think it called in a table.) Another benefit to eliminating most of the web site was it meant you couldn't use the web cams, and while they only have three or four last I checked, one of them is in the building where the bomb was supposedly planted. So this meant there weren't going to be any ghoulishly curious online visitors. And in addition to that, it meant that so long as there was a threat the perpetrator wouldn't be able to use the web site as an information source.

They really did a super job.

Link | Comments | 7:36 PM

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why the GOP fears Hillary Clinton.

It's April, 2015, a good 19 months away from the 2016 election. Yet already the GOP is working against her (look at the results for the Twitter hashtag #StopHillary), and note that rather than thinking to advance America, they want to stop Clinton. Advancing America is harder work, so they prefer to be "anti-" and fund raise and line their coffers. Because POLICY IS HARD.

But they actually do have a genuine reason to fear Clinton, and Ima gonna tell you whah.

Obama's biggest failure (and I foresaw this potential in Spring 2008) is that he didn't recognize obstreperous obstructionism soon enough. And as a result, he thought he could put a flower in the barrel of the rifle of every Republican legislator he met, as if he were a sweet student at Kent State and unaware that in a moment four would be dead.

Clinton has a different background, having gone through not just the fake scandals and accusations which were foisted on her husband and herself, but also having personally experienced the horrible behavior of Ken Starr and his team's selective links leaks, changes in mission in order to get anything they could on the First Family. As well as the birth of talk radio comments like Limbaugh suggesting their daughter was the offspring of President Clinton and Janet Reno. Not to MENTION all she's experienced as Secretary of State, with the pseudo Benghazi "scandal." Ooh, the correspondence had her name under them, let's ignore it's like an automated signature file.

The GOP fears Hillary Clinton because she has the political savvy to eat them for breakfast, and spit them out in a place of final resting which will not be of their choosing.

Oh, and she'd probably be a fine President too, and damage the Republican brand for a very. long. time.

Link | Comments | 9:21 PM

Monday, April 6, 2015

"When Gators Give Back, Florida Moves Forward."

That's what the envelope on the UF donation request said. But it seems to me that Florida missed a major opportunity to move forward in the last gubernatorial election.

Link | Comments | 6:56 PM

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Do we really need to explain this Right Wing Nut Job?

In the sense of understanding his motivations, that is. Last weekend Powerline's John Hinderaker speculated wildly on the true events behind Harry Reid's New Year's injury:

Anyone who saw Reid would say that he looked like he had been beaten up by a guy with a hard left, maybe using brass knuckles:...

When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year's Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs, and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of "I walked into a doorknob," it isn't hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters.

Yes, that's right, he imagined that Reid was attacked by monbsters. From there his conspiracy theory broadened to include a national press deliberately not looking for the truth. With me so far?

This past Friday he introduced a new theory: Harry Reid was actually beaten by his brother Larry, and Hinderaker's hot tip came from an addiction counselor who'd bee at an AA meeting where Larry Reid showed up, bloodied, identified himself as "Larry," and spoke of just having beaten someone up. Hinderaker tried to get some kind of answer from Reid's office, but with this query coming after his mobster hypothesis, the answer was "Don't ever change."

There's nothing in the post by the blogger formally known as "Hind Rocket" to suggest any bit of reticence learned from the prior wild speculation (there is no "I might have been off base" or "I might have been to quick to display my foolishness"), just a complaint about Reid's office. And apparently no awareness that the second "A" in "AA" stands for "Anonymous," and that his tipster and he, himself, are violating the anonymity of Reid's brother (supposing the telling is true). No consideration that if it's true Reid might have been trying to keep his brother out of further trouble.

And I can't tell if he's still on some obsessive campaign to "get" Harry Reid, or if this latest he isn't simply trying to show off about how he's privy to inside tips. But as an attorney he should be professionally aware about attorney-client privelege, and be similarly sensitive to it in a group called Alcoholics Anonymous. So maybe someone hoaxed him and his appetite for attacking Reid made him a sitting duck for a tip from a counselor willing to spill beans from an AA meeting.

Oh, and for once I suggest you read the comments. Hinderaker may be a total blockhead about the anonymity issue, but most expressed surprise over the violation, and some look that violation with sufficient skepticism that they think Hinderaker might even have been played.

To top it off, there was this Tweet from Reid's communications director:

Link | Comments | 2:01 PM

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sexy Seder.

The calendars align almost perfectly this week, with both Passover and Good Friday tomorrow. "Almost" perfectly because the Last Supper was a Seder, and it happened on Holy Thursday, not Good Friday. It was at the Holy Thursday Seder that Jesus announced to the Apostles that he would be betrayed by one of them (Judas Iscariot was at the meal), and they did that whole self-doubt "Is it me?" thing. Other key Holy Thursday events (if you're not up on Christian lore) include Jesus's agony as he confronted the death he felt coming, as his charge (as Christians believe) to redeem all the prior sins and allow the dead to get to Heaven. Also, the Apostles fall asleep ("the flesh is weak") while Jesus goes through his agony; Judas shows up with the guard and kisses Jesus on the cheek so they know who to arrest, and one of the Apostles slices an ear off a guard, only to have Jesus reattach it.

And Peter denies knowing Jesus three times, and the cock crows, reminding Peter that Jesus said he would do so. Theologian Raymond Brown once wondered if this weren't the first example of three iterations and then punch line in classic joke/story-telling structure. (In his "Death of the Messiah".)

Sometimes the calendars align more closely, with the first night of Passover actually on Holy Thursday. But whatever your affinities and religions, I know that for many of you this is a really important weekend (Easter is bigger than Christmas), and I wish you all the solemnity and rejoicing that you want from it.

Sexy Seder? Why, that was from the Beatles' album Rabbi Saul. (Scroll down.)

(I'm an ex-Catholic, and once an adult never bought into the bodily resurrection... in spite of reading hard on it when parenthood arrived. It's a matter of faith, and I don't have it but don't question yours.) I won't be doing anything special, but some years I watch Life of Brian. Not out of irreverance, only because it seems to occur to me to do so on Good Friday.

Link | Comments | 8:45 PM

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How not to reject Presidential candidates.

The lazy press have found all sorts of reasons to mock a legitimate candidate out of contention. Bob Graham was mocked for keeping a diary which included fastidious items such as to whether he'd remembered to rewind the VHS tape (and thus was not ready to be returned to the neighborhood rental place). Some other candidate (I forget who) was mocked because he liked to strum an acoustic guitar. If these are quote-unquote foibles, the list of potential foibles is immense. Would it be reprehensible if a candidate played an oboe? And honed his reeds until they were just right? (Not unusual for oboists.) How about a collection of Toby mugs? Do we now demand that our candidates are deep vanilla? I bet that would actually be a problem: a candidate needs just the RIGHT idiosyncracy. The list would be ever-changing, and no way satisfactory to all.

Ostensibly these are silly questions, but you never can tell. With the aid of the GOP, Kerry was mocked for wind-surfing. (Would anyone not want to do that?) But this thing about Scott Walker being allergic to dogs... Even if tongue in cheek, irony is going to be lost on many (some people still don't know when they've been sent content from The Onion). There are several serious reasons to reject Walker, and for others there are many reasons to support him. But why are we talking about his failure to have a dog because of allergies?

Link | Comments | 8:35 PM

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