Thursday assorted links

1. The best can openers.  You can just assume them, or if you want buy them too.

2. Scenarios for Ukraine?

3. Jeff Lonsdale thinks about food.

4. Ross Douthat on the decline of the Oscars.

5. “But Joe Cordell, the founder of Cordell & Cordell, which specializes in divorce law, said that about a third of the 270 lawyers at his firm, which is spread across 40 states, said that they have seen an increase in custody battles over whether a child should be allowed to play football.” (NYT)

6. My NPR bit on John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography.


How much of the decline of the Oscars is that they are not streamed online aside from select markets for cable subscribers, limiting their reach to the golden demographic groups that are by and large cord-cutters?

About zero.

Instead it's simply the increase from about 250 TV series to about 500. This increase is driven by the expansion of OTA channels from 3-4 to 6+ to typically 20 since Obama took office.

To compete with free OTA, cable had to offer more. And more. And more.

Add in the rise of streaming after SCOTUS ruled in the Sony case. Followed by TiVo introducing the DVR, resold by cable companies, but also direct to consumers. And since Obama, offering free streaming without cable or Internet of lots of OTA content - 4 recorded streams out of a dozen OTA channels. (Yeah, Internet is now required for program guide and update, but it does not need bandwidth enough to stream video).

I expect that the Oscars are one of those events that large swaths of the public watched because "It's on TV"--not something you would seek out, but you turn the TV on and there it is.

"It's on TV" is a declining concept.

News gleaned from Marginal Revolution, Ross Douthat, and The New York Times: the President of the United States is a Conservative. (Says so right there in the Twitter link.)

Doesn't news of this caliber permit or require some deserving headline of its own?

He"s a conservative by today's standards, not yesterday's.

By some conservative standards Trump is no conservative today, just as he never was or has been conservative. (--unless we already consent to re-define "pragmatic opportunism" or one of its variants . . . ideological taxonomy of any reliable accuracy remains remarkably and wildly elusive today, perhaps more now than ever especially according to media and academic accounts.)

By The New York Times' contemporary standards Trump may well qualify as "conservative": outside of the DC-to-Boston Corridor, though, that means little or nothing, except to suggest vaguely The Times' position on the ideological spectrum.

Did you just recently discover how sloppy people are at applying labels like conservative and liberal?

Here is a cheat sheet that works 99% of the time:
If you like conservatives-liking Trump means hes a con. Disliking Trump means he's not a con.
If you dislike conservatives-liking Trump means he's not a con. Disliking Trump means he is a con.

Your mistake is thinking the label means something other than this.

When one sees so many negative comments about the divorce laws in the newspapers of western democracies I do wonder whether the democratic system has delivered the legislation that the electorate actually want.

One of the promoters of covenant marriage laws offered in the Mars Hill Audio Journal that one impediment to passing them is that the judiciary committee of any given state legislature. On the judiciary committee sit...lawyers. Lawyers are averse to things which make the work life of lawyers more difficult, and disposing of no-fault divorce would do that. The legal profession may not be the enemy of mankind generally, but it bloody well is in North America.

But then why is it okay for you to practice the cuckold lifestyle, sure THAT is contrary to traditional values and yet you expound upon it every day on this blog.

Surely lawyers make more money the more that laws make things difficult. Being a divorce lawyer used to be a big money maker, much less now that such things as no-fault laws exist.

On the broader point, the US has a representative democracy, not a referendum democracy. Which presumable means that the representatives are chosen to make judgements on behalf of the wider population on issues which are complex and the average person perhaps hasn't studied as much in detail. So we shouldn't be worried that laws don't representative exactly the tendency of the wider population, indeed we should be worried if they did, since this would mean the representatives would not be exercising their judgement.

A further point, it is not a contradiction to believe in a natural justice angle that divorce should be easy, but also to dislike divorce as a disruptive thing for families. Let's take the easier case of an adult who falls out with his parents (through no fault of their own). This is something I can criticise, but I certainly wouldn't want laws against it.

Good point about democracy.
Many politicians complain about income inequality, but why therefore put someone who does something about it by marrying someone with a much lower income at risk of punishment? That is giving out a message to everyone to marry within their income range or face a risk of punishment. (Or use it as a method of legalised extortion if you manage to marry above.) I think it is this aspect that voters don't like, even if subconsciously.
Every motorist knows that they can usually exceed the speed limit and get away with it. However it is the risk of getting caught that keeps many of them driving slowly.

Of course it didn't. You might blame the two party system, but even in Europe no party has gotten off the ground with this issue. It seems that men the world over are unwilling to explicitly advocate for their interests as men, it must always be cloaked in religion or nationalism or something "higher." But cryptic advocacy is rarely successful.

The Douthat piece is pretty common sense. A recent "I gave up online news" story might interconnect:

In my youth we watched the Oscars because we had already read the morning paper, and what else was on, a sitcom?


But for dinos like us, MAGA means three choices, at most, 26-39 weeks of the year, and the rest entirely reruns when you could pickup on one of the remaining two choices.

Then FOX disrupted with a fourth option, other than HSN and CBN. That triggered a few others.

Plus Public Broadcasting was forced to up its game with government funding cuts forcing finding both big money corporate sponsorship, plus money from viewers.

There are clearly too few reruns. Except for the added dozen or three dozen channels enabled by DTV.

I like Douthat, but I disagree with him about the decline of movies. There were a lot of terrible Oscar nominees and winners in previous decades. A lot of the nominees from the 1990s do hold up surprisingly well, but I don't see a big difference between the 1990s and the 21st century in overall nominee quality.

Everybody laments the impact of the comic book genre on quality, but previous (fondly remembered) genres such as Westerns were for the most part every bit as formulaic and predictable as comic books movies. Plus they were made with much worse production values and overall quality. Try watching an average, forgotten Western from the 50s. You will be hard pressed to find a recent comic book movie that is as downright bad and unwatchable as much of this stuff was (And I say all of this as a huge fan of the best old Westerns).

#4: Well, it is not so much a problem of Hollywood Liberal politics. It is the idea that movies (and movie stars) should push that ideology *through* movies or movie awards. That is a big difference and it is definitely turning off people (I am in that category). How much is that a factor? Hard to say. But a 20% decline tells me this is a huge part of it.

Are you too young to remember Marlon Brando's Indian?

I guess so. While I do know there have been cases like that in the past, I think the scale now is just much larger. I mean, Billy Crystal was funny even though he was a liberal. Kimmel is just sooo annoying and preachy... his monologue this year was just the liberal version of a school teacher telling kids to behave!

I only half-listened as my girlfriend watched, but yeah it did seem a bit more of a sub-theme.

We remember Brando because politics was so rare.

Now the host and every other presenter or winner makes a political comment. With those comments running only one way too.

Then, even when they do a nod to a conservative value like saluting veterans, Kimmel steps on it with a lame joke.

It's probably turning on more people than it's turning off. Or at least supporters are more enthusiastic than detractors are annoyed.

#1 I don't remember when was the last time I used a can opener. Cans have an easy open lid nowadays.

#4: Why would someone compare Apollo 13 released on June with The Shape of Water released on December?

#1 - Use the P-38 (C-Rations can opener) three or four times a month. Also seeing more easy open lids.

I've had my Dad's P-38 on my keychain for 40 years. Apart from being an amazingly good can opener it's an envelope opener, paint can opener, screw driver, knot untangler and a host of other things. Gram for gram it's probably the most useful thing I've ever owned.

My wife is really good at pulling the pull-tab off those easy-open cans (withou opening the can, of course). I'm not sure how she does that, and the cans can still be opened, but, it's not so easy-open anymore.

That EZ-Duz-It opener looks a lot like the old Swing-A-Way handheld openers. Which worked well and last forever. It's still possible to buy a Swing-A-Way, but I don't know how the quality compares with the old ones. Or with the EZ-Duz-It.

Cowen notwithstanding, there has been some stagnation in can openers.

Canned tomatos and beans only seem to come in the non-easy open cans for some reason.

2. Scenarios for Ukraine?

Dying population for Russia and Ukraine is the problem, Check the demographics.

Russia's had a fertility recovery in the last 20 years and now has a tfr which is above the mean for Europe and just 5% below that of the U.S.


Cuckolds like you would like to see the entire population being transformed into fatherless mulattos.

Still with a TFR of 1.75 this means a declining population unless Russia can attract more immigrants.

That was true UNTIL this past year, when births fell 11%. TFR fell by 0.1 IIRC, but TFR is a bad indicator in a world where the median age of first marriage for women is ~26 (or rising to that level, which was the norm before 30 years of war in WW I and WW II)>

And don't call people "cucks" unless you're a badass. I highly doubt that you are, so STFU.

Explain in 50 words or less why that is a problem.

#4. For me, the problem isn't anything Douthat listed -- not politics or a decline in the quality of theatrical movies. For me it's that I don't care who the academy members think are the best movies and I have no interest in watching them hand out awards and give speeches. It's dull stuff. I do agree that the quality of movies is down, but conversely, the quality of TV is way, way up, and I don't watch the Emmys either. In fact, I have a hard time remembering why I ever did watch and the only explanation I can come up with is that things were different before the advent of streaming services. But now there's always something really good to watch (last night it was a bit of "Babylon Berlin') -- so why would I waste any of my time with an awards show?

To me, MAGA means returning to 3 networks and 3 months minimum of reruns on all three. Except for sports. The award shows were fillers between the sports seasons.

There's a lot of old people who need to realize they've had a nice life, and it's time for them to move on because they're the ones who go out and vote for these assholes. If you look at the young people, between 18 and 25, if it was up to them, Hillary would have been president. No offense to the seniors out there. My mom's a senior citizen. But if you're voting for Trump, it's time for the urn.

Bubble boy or parody? You decide...

We all know you're a Cuckboy

That was counterfeit. Good catch real-or-fake Art Deco.

Real or fake I'm always a cuck!

Don't you mean Bernie Sanders?

Hillary was supported by 50 year old women.

Young people want socialism.

We are constantly told that mean-spirited Republicans are going to let seniors die in the streets! Now who's being mean-spirited?


Also, his claim that we're losing common culture doesn't seem to hold when in the same piece he talks about how all of Hollywood is moving to big superhero action movies... But why are they going there. Oh, because lots of people like to watch them. Sounds like shared media culture to me.

Plus, even if there are more tv shows than ever, most come from the same cultural ideals, both in terms of the issues they address, how they address them, the style of humor, the cinematography, etc, etc, etc

6. A little annoying for the questioner to first state what Cowen's answer will be before the questioner asks the question and then to listen to Cowen's answer that didn't necessarily square. But it's a puff piece of an interview so no harm done. But if I were Cowen, I would tell the folks at NPR not to do that again or I wouldn't provide any more interviews. [To be fair, it's a short interview and the questioner is just trying to give the uninformed listener (John Stuart who?) a little context.] Mill was born five years after my grandmother, and Cowen is 56 (revealed by Cowen in the interview). I think Cowen and I have generational differences. In any case, I agree with Cowen's choice (i.e., Mill). One may recall that Mill even considered when intervention in another country is justified. Unfortunately, I don't believe GWB read Mill on the subject. And I know Trump hasn't (Trump doesn't read).

Your grandmother was born in 1801? Lets say she had your father at 45 years old, and then he fathered you at 75 (taking the latest possible ages I can think of). This means you are a minimum of 97 years old? I take back all the complaints I might have had about your previous posts, you are doing amazing for your age. Definitely you and Tyler will have generational differences!


The key issue for the academy is that the Hollywood system no longer produces enough of the kind of movies that a mass-audience awards spectacle requires.

Why is that? Because Hollywood has become an insiders town, an echo chamber that destains half the country as deplorables. The argument that people are shifting to other forms of entertainment is the same silly argument that TV would kill the movies. If Hollywood makes a compelling product, people will come.

The notion that becoming preachy, self rightous. or that pushing a political and social agenda is a happy evolution is hardly a universally held opinion. Telling your audience that they are racist homophobes who must be re-educated is making movies for China; Mao's China.

I attend about 20 movies a year. I regret the trend toward superhero movies where special effects are the real core with plots and character development an afterthought. But I prefer that to the dull sermons on some version of social justice that a movie is pushing.

Perhaps old Hollywood did it better.

"This immigrant enthusiasm for American popular culture, and this understanding of mass American tastes, took different shapes and forms at the different “Jewish studios.” While M-G-M, for instance, under Mayer, turned out pictures that have been described as folksy, romantic, sentimental, glossy, “feminine” films for the middle class, the Warner Brothers, under Jack Lo Warner, produced “less ladylike” crime stories, melodramas, biographies, and “social conscience” films for and about the working class. Both sets of films were variations on themes of American popular culture, as seen through historical immigrants’ lenses.

Most of current Hollywood isn't enthusiastic about American culture. They view it as a racist society that hates women while hiding shame ridden in a closet. Of course, if you listen to the Oscars, you will hear that Hollywood must be run by racist, homophobic thugs who continuously harass women No wonder those who work in Hollywood hate society.

The Oscars I avoid. I avoid it because it has become an often nasty attack on the dreaded "others". Those others who are not one of the kids at the cool table and must be humiliated. Those people who are different from us, not as smart as us, not as evolved as us - the outsiders. And you wonder why many people don't want to go to that party

I will take that "deplorables" line straight on. A good fraction of this country, including commentators here, wrapped themselves in a "deplorables" flag, and elected a deplorables President.

Until you repent, you own it.


Reminds me the guy who complained about polarization in the country.
"the problem is those stupid M_Fs won't do what I want."

I complain about people who view half the country as deplorable. But that gives you an opening to attack me?

People are called names, I don't like it, so you're going to call them even more names to show how superior you are. No wonder the country is going so smoothly. Great logic.

Trump may have a private life that I don't like. As did John F Kennedy and MLK. There are policies that Trump supports that I don't like. As do most politicians.

But I thought name-calling or attacking others as inferior is wrong.

I guess you think it is Ok. So own it.

I am not sure if you are dancing, or missing a really simple point.

"Deplorables" is a real thing. Trump has been deplorable since he went after McCain as POW, through the Planet Hollywood tape, and it was "we don't care, we are deplorable too" that made it work for him. Too many "conservatives" fell in line. That is totally different than secrets that came out years later, too late for voters.

Now, Maybe I'm in a dark place, but I really fear that the Moscow pee tape will come out and you guys while buy into that too. Because you've swallowed this anchor.

(Meanwhile, 41% of American voters think Trump is the worst president since World War II. The same poll shows Trump with a 38% approval rating. Partisanship is a helluva drug.)

"The same poll shows Trump with a 38% approval rating."

Look at his approval [not the horse race] rating in November 2016. Its unchanged or a tad higher now.

That's pretty amazing, isn't it Bob. How do you square it, the values party on one side, and Stormy Daniels on the other side? Do you have a new definition of conservative values? Or are you simply becoming deplorable to get ... what, a few less regulations out of government?

"the values party on one side, and Stormy Daniels on the other side"

Nobody believes your lies.

Anonymous, here is the actual news:

"Anonymous, here is the actual news:"

Assertions that can be presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, and some pornstar's claims do not count as evidence.

Why did Trump's lawyer pay her anything then?

Most of the family values people voted for Cruz in the primary, but the idea that they would turn against the nominee just because he may or may not have shtupped some whore is ridiculous. Policy matters much more than personality.


Remember when it we were scolded that French people were fine with mistresses.

Now, you're demanding people not do that.

Pick a position.

Omon, there might be some silent majority that have a morality, and stick to it quietly. I'd put that in a different class that pretending a morality while seeing nothing wrong with Trump.

Harun, the first thing to say is that I did vote for Bob Dole very specifically because I did think Bill Clintion's behavior was unbecoming of the office. That said, I think there was a bit more love there, and that actually matters.

"Harun, the first thing to say is that I did vote for Bob Dole very specifically because I did think Bill Clintion’s behavior was unbecoming of the office"


"That said, I think there was a bit more love there, and that actually matters."

LOL. That's the kind of thing I expect to hear from dopey women exclusively, but I guess it's the logical outcome of a generation of boys raised without fathers.

What are you trying to set up there, Anonymous? "Real men try for threesomes with porn stars, as they cheat on their new wife?"

Truly you are a values voter.

I think Donald Trump is an effing disgrace. But there are things that gain him a bit of very grudging respect from me.

I’ve listened to sanctimonious liberals shrilly lecture me on why the private lives read: moral failings of prominent Democrats don’t matter, for decades. Hillary is hypocrite, which at least Donald Trump is not. He’s just a cunning oaf.

And part of his cunning is admirable in one limited way: unlike Romney, a genuinely competent centrist dumped on as cold hearted and labeled a fascist by the left of centre media when he was neither, Trump doesn’t take sanctimonious sh*t, he hits back.

I am not a Democrat. I never voted for Bill Clinton. While it is easy to call Romney a moderate now, he has had his funny moments, enough to make normal run of the mill political hay of. "Makers and takers" being the prime example.

But I mean, we are back to blaming everyone else for Trump. Like "of course we had to elect this guy, because no one is politically correct!"

Actually no, they didn't have to choose Trump.

"Truly you are a values voter."

I never claimed to be, as I see the social conservatives as being just as anti-male as the feminists at this point, and I don't believe in any God.

“Real men try for threesomes with porn stars, as they cheat on their new wife?”

When men cheat, they accept it as immoral, they don't use dopey rationalizations like "but we're in loooooove, I'm totally better than all those other adulterers."

Seriously Dan, think of some counterfactual where Trump did prove to be a statesman of great virtue. *THEN* you could complain that all this "deplorables" stuff was nonsense.

But this is not that world. This is "deplorables world."

Own your worldview with pride.

Half the country is filled with deplorable people.

If that is what you think, that is what you think.

How can I argue with that

BTW the deplorable comment was an insight into Hillary Clinton's view of America.

An opinion you seem to share.

Actually I didn't say half. I said "a good fraction of this country, including commentators here, wrapped themselves in a “deplorables” flag,"

Is inflating it a good defense for you?

Why not say "sure, some people said they were deplorable, but not me?"

Dan, Hillary didn't say half of the country. She said half of Trump supporters.

Well, I'm sitting here waiting for someone to stand up and be virtuous instead. Call out the deplorable and stand on the high moral ground.

Ok, I will type slowly.

Hillary attacked claiming half of the Trump supporters are deplorable. This alienated many people. It made Hillary look nasty, elitist, and unconcerned about why these people might want to vote for Trump. That pushed some voters away from her. It helped elect Trump.

Hollywood seems to have a similar attitude. They seem to think a part of the country is deplorable and must be attacked and demeaned. They don't talk about America as much as they talk about the rights and privileges of various groups. Rather the use such opportunities, as the Oscars, to talk about what unites us they advocate for one group or another and insult people they don't like. They are pushing some people away.

Such attitudes were not helpful in Hillary's campaign, and I don't think it helps Hollywood.

If you want to give me an exact percentage of the country that you think is deplorable, I will use that number in the future,

The number is a mystery. Should we count up everyone on this page who deflects and protects Trump while complaining about the "deplorables" badge?

It might be fair, actually. You are what you stand for, and if you stand for Trump at this late stage ..

"We are living in the grossest timeline" but you know, blame Hillary, because she warned you.

“We are living in the grossest timeline”

So Trump has a dick, which is more than can be said about some people....

Some people considered it a badge of honor to be called deplorable by Hillary Clinton. I am sure you apply this logic just as fairly to black people who embrace the word n*****.

By the way, Raw Story is a bit .. raw as a news source to cite as evidence, but I'll cite it for mood. Their two headlines this morning are "Trump partied with Russian oligarchs at Vegas nightclub shut down over ‘lewd’ acts involving women and urine" and "Trump vetoed Miss Universe contestants for being ‘too ethnic’ or ‘too dark-skinned’"

What would be perfectly deplorable would be if Trump voters responded "we don't care, this is fine."

Of course, if you listen to the Oscars, you will hear that Hollywood must be run by racist, homophobic thugs who continuously harass women No wonder those who work in Hollywood hate society.

I'm recalling the wag who said that screenwriters habitually portray ordinary American business as very corrupt because the screenwriters are used to working with Hollywood studios...which are very corrupt.

I dunno. The Fast and Furious films are a giant homage to tough guy American car culture. Dunkirk is the umpteenth movie about great American heroes. Deadpool is basically a white fratboy with a big mouth and a deformed face who kicks ass.

There's trendy leftism running through Hollywood and it comes through in the more prestigious films, but those movies are easy to avoid and aren't Hollywood's cash cows anyway.

Funny how different perceptions can be.

I saw one Fast and Furious movie, and the plot seemed to be ripe with conspiracy theories, to the degree it had a plot. And the cast was mostly minority, which is Ok, but it wasn't accidental.

Dunkirk seemed like an anti-war movie. Young men were dying on a beach, forced into suicidal missions, superiors needing to sacrifice them for the greater good, poor planning by officials, but saved by the decency and courage of average people. And BTW you should have noticed they were mostly British.

Never saw Deadpool.

It would depend on one's view of the war. Our society sees it as the one good war, and that was reflected in the movie. There were no ahistorical non-White or female characters, nor lectures on "toxic masculinity," and the media was mostly fine with it, as it was understood that these White men thought they were fighting for an Empire that would last a thousand years (I'm not talking about the Germans here) but really fighting for their own eventual dispossession. Seen through that lens, it could be considered an antiwar movie, though few of the idiots in the audience could see it.

Right. Commenters here are reading too much into it. It's a movie full of heroic white dudes. Again. Like so many movies before it. Thats the main takeaway.

"Dunkirk is the umpteenth movie about great American heroes."

You didn't actually see it, did you?

+1 LOL

Nope. Didn't see Arrival either but I'm betting it has something to do with aliens coming to Earth.

That's at least closer than thinking Dunkirk was about Americans.

Good god you don’t need to see the movie to know it Isn’t about Americans.

It’s called....Dunkirk.

Yeah we need to restrict the franchise. I give up.

Everyone takes a test every 10 years. If you can’t pass you can’t vote.

Question 1: What happened at Dunkirk?

Er, "Dunkirk" involved only British guys and one French guy. Not an American in sight,

"Most of current Hollywood isn’t enthusiastic about American culture."

70% of the movie audience is not American, with a large number either thinking of American culture being bombs and bullets, pillage and plunder, or "You are a criminal rapists drug dealing murderer".

But I doubt you actually liked Hollywood movies before 1980 when the audience was 98% American and Hollywood was trying to compare itself to European film, meaning French and Swedish.

Unless you are really old and enjoyed Busby Berkeley before he was camp.

I've never in my six decades of movie watching not heard how much Hollywood hates America.

The idea that being really good at “let’s pretend” makes theses people important, or provides any reason to pay any attention to their views on anything, is at best strange, or perhaps less charitably, a bit pathetic.

A few thoughts.
First, is that Pauline Kael warned of this kind of bifurcation between mass market movies and so-called "quality" films years ago. She wasn't too fond of what was passing for quality then and would be even less enthusiastic now.
Second, the problem isn't that Hollywood is producing too much comic-book fare. It's that the Oscars aren't taking those movies seriously. It is encouraging that "Logan" received a nomination. But a movie like "Three Billboards" is just as unrealistic and immature as any of box-office hit.
Finally, the big problem for the Oscars as a show is that its obvious the voters aren't watching the movies either. I'm convinced that's more true than ever because this year you knew the winners a week before the broadcast. They're voting for what they hear they should vote for. I don't know why we would expect them to be different than the general public.

#3. Good advice all around. I tend to order "specials" as well, since that's often where the chef is allowed to get creative. If you see a special and the special sound like something unusual, order it!

Sometimes. And sometimes it's what the chef does with unsold stuff, or a mistaken order (from a supplier, not a customer). Maybe that does show the chef's creativity, come to think of it, so I don't totally disagree.

Yeah, that's why I added the qualifier of "unusual". If the chef is just trying to unload some excess supply, he'll make something that caters to mass market tastes.

What is in season is "excess".

Technology allows the excess to be sold stale out of season.

Creativity is taking stale and rotten and making it seem like it was supposed to be that way. E.g., corned beef, kimchi, cheese.

Yes, Sometimes even the boring mainstream specials are good. Less likely, but still a pretty good chance.

I should add "soup du jour" to that too. Check out the soup offering. If it sounds unusual, try it.

3. "There are conservatives, including the president of the United States, who take a special kind of glee in the declining ratings for the Academy Awards, which hit an all-time low this weekend under the stewardship of Jimmy Kimmel and in the shadow of hideous revelations about the film industry’s tolerance for rape.

You’ll get no glee from me. "

You wouldn't keep your NYT gig with that kind of attitude.

Should we tell him Cowen left the NYT for Bloomberg a while ago?

That's a quote from Douthat.

#2 It never ceases to amaze me how savvy Russia is to get away with situations like this, but it really shouldn't. The west doesn't want or can't afford a real war, so as long as whatever Russia does in Ukraine falls below the threshold of open war, they're golden. That is, until suddenly the west decides its ok with a war. Nobody in Europe or the US seems to know where the line that can't be crossed is, so Russia won't know either until they cross it. The situation there can slowly boil forever, or just suddenly explode, and it's almost impossible for anyone to predict accurately.

Would you die for Kiev? Not me.


No one is dying for Kiev. It’s a borderline neo fascist corrupt nightmare.

The US will not deploy troops to protect it.

However we will apply targeted sanctions. And in a kleptocracy like Russia, targeted sanctions against individuals carries some bite.

Putin has a real base, and it’s kleptocrat billionaires under his patronage. If he enfuriates this enough, they will push for a solution.

I think his base is slightly broader, and includes many nationalists, but I see your point. The oligarchs and their hangers-on, family members, dependents etc are definitely unhappy at the sanctions. We know because they are constantly trying to get them lifted.

This would allow Ukraine to focus on its problems until the geopolitical situation changed and the breakaway regions could be fully reincorporated.

Gotta keep those breakaway regions.
Once a contiguous nation/state is established it can never be permanently divided. In spite of the fact that Germany, as Germany, had only been in existence for less than a normal human life span, its division into two countries following WWII simply couldn't be accepted. The US War Between the States and the deaths of over 600,000 men and boys was necessary to maintain the fanciful bond between Texans and Down Easters. It doesn't matter if Catalans want independence, Espana must remain intact. Kurds can't govern themselves, the phony country of Iraq, which never existed until 1920, must maintain its spot on the globe.

Germany was actually divided into three countries after World War II.

#4 .... This is what change looks like. I don't know what will happen, but I would never bet against the American entertainment industry. A huge number of very creative and talented people. Nope, would not bet against them.

The Ukraine article is missing some important points. There is no mention of the small but influential neo-Nazi movement, virulently anti-Russian (including ethnic Russians who make up a sizeable portion of Ukraine's population) and anti-Semetic. Several articles in the mainstream press in Israel and even the NYT have talked about the increasing problems of anti-Jewish vandalism. The West tried to downplay the issue as Russian propaganda but I've seen too many photos & videos of the contrary. Second, Ukraine and Russia are still strongly tied in trade, including involving the purchase and sale of armaments. And Russia holds the upper hand as a gas supplier to Ukraine (as well as Europe). The politicians in Ukraine know that much of the talk is bluster. Ukraine needs Russia to survive. Eastern Ukraine is heavily ethnic Russian, and tends to vote for Russian-favoring candidates. This is a classic case of ethnic majorities not matching the artificial lines drawn by the superpower mapmakers. I do agree that the best probable outcome is for Ukraine to keep pride of ownership but let the governance of the eastern territories become independent of Ukraine. Westerners need to realize the Ukraine's own governance is so shot through with corruption that the eastern territories want none of it. And the western territories aren't too happy either. I'm on a temporary laptop writing this because my other one is getting fixed, but I had a link there to a recent poll showing that all the major Ukrainian politicians receive positive ratings in the same range as Americans' views of Congress. .

Frankly , American cinema is hardly political or progressive , at least not in the way European or Latin American cinema can be . In fact, in Europe Hollywood largely seen as a vehicle for American imperialism, diffusing American ideas (summary justice, vigilantism , militarism, manicheism, glorification of gun culture and violence, not to mention all the silly situations where an American hero "saves the world".) Hollywood has no qualms working with the U.S. military. Hollywood was progressive for a short moment and then McCarthyism kicked and and all these great creators were blacklisted and had to leave for Europe (Chaplin, Losey, Dassin...) In fact, to this day Europe is a safe haven for directors who want to make political movies that can't be made in Hollywood. I recently heard an interview with Costa Gavras on French radio in which he explained that he could never make his movies in the U.S. because of the ideological climate here. Look at how Jane Fonda is treated, even though her positions are hardly radical.

RE: Jane Fonda,

Next please tell me about how poor Dennis Rodman shouldn't be mocked for his diplomatic work in North Korea. His positions, to the extent he expresses coherent ones, aren't radical either. At least, as far as I know, Rodman didn't smile for pictures sitting inside a weapon intended almost exclusively to attack Americans. It seems pretty disingenuous to ascribe her treatment to her political positions, when others with the same exact positions weren't subjected to the same scrutiny.

You seem annoyed that American cinema isn't more communist. I happen to think communism isn't progressive in any sense of the word.

"Look at how Jane Fonda is treated, even though her positions are hardly radical."

Imagine if there was an actor/actress in WWII who was filmed--during the war--laughing as she sat in an anti-aircraft gun of any enemy country. What would have happened to that actor/actress?

Oops. I didn't get my full name there.

How is Jane Fonda treated? Wasn't she married to one of the more wealthy guys in the country? And didn't she say, after they split the sheets, that it was "time to move on"?

6. Thank you for this recommendation! I am about 1/3 of the way through it on audio and it's fantastic. I also feel as though I understand TC's work on this blog, BV, and CWT more than I ever did before. I'd be very curious to know, TC, if you feel you found analogous figures in your life as JSM (Bentham and Hume, for example). I don't recall reading about this book in "Create Your Own Economy," but it seems like it should have been included. Perhaps it's just a fault of my memory.

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