The drama around Sunday’s debate

The second presidential debate will be held Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET, to be covered by all major networks.

This one will have a Town Hall format, with ordinary Americans who have been identified as uncommitted voters in close proximity and asking half the questions.  This can induce cringeworthy moments.  Candidates will also get to move around, which seldom goes well.  (Remember Al Gore trying to be the alpha male by invading George W. Bush’s personal space?  It was just embarrassingly awkwardwith Bush ruining the whole effect with his bemused expression, getting the audience to laugh at him.)

Trump has not done many Town Halls, preferring to speak at huge arenas with thousands of cheering fans.  A big test will be if he can restrain himself from unloading on an ordinary American who asks him a hostile question.

He can be sure that he will be asked about the video just released from 2005 of him making incredibly lewd and lecherous remarks about women, including bragging about an adultery attempt and how he gets to grope women sexually because he is a “star.”  (Some are saying this will doom his campaign.  Do you think it will?)

I don’t like to blog on Sundays, so I won’t be liveblogging this debate.  (You can comment on it as it unfolds here at this post, if you want.)  But I do intend to watch it, so we can discuss what happens on Monday. [Read more…]

Oberlin students demand end to grades below C

Students at Oberlin, which has the reputation as a good school, are demanding that the administration abolish any grades below C.  And while they are at it, they should abolish midterms and essay questions, replacing them with a conversation with a professor.  Their reasoning is that they have too much to do, what with their activism on top of their course loads.  Also, they are paying for their attendance and need to get what they want from it. [Read more…]

Thus passes the glory of the world

Aubrey McClendon, founder of Chesapeake Energy, was one of Oklahoma City’s most prominent citizens.  So it was a juicy story when a federal grand jury indicted him for conspiring with another oil company to not bid against each other on oil leases.  So on Wednesday the lead, front-page, top-of-the-fold story in the Daily Oklahoman was about McClendon’s indictment and alleged misdeeds.

McClendon forcefully denied that he had done anything wrong, but the embarrassment must have been too much for him.  Later that day, he drove his SUV at high speed into a bridge abutment in an apparent suicide.

The very next day after the negative story the whole issue of the newspaper was full of his praises.  Thursday’s edition  led with the lead, front-page, top-of-the-fold headline “Energy Leader Leaves Behind Legacy.”  The lead editorial was “McClendon’s Contributions Changed City for the Better.”   [Read more…]

Zika virus or pesticide?

The Zika virus is associated with rare birth defect microcephaly, but no causal connection has yet been established and anomalies keep cropping up.  Though much of Latin America is plagued with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the vast majority of the birth defects are found in Brazil.  And a significant number of microcephaly cases are being found with patients that never had Zika.

A group of Argentinian doctors is arguing that the birth defects are not being caused by Zika at all but by a pesticide put in the water supply of the most affected areas to kill mosquito larva. [Read more…]

The life uniform movement

Have you heard of the “life uniform” movement?  It involves wearing the same kind of clothes–e.g., blue Levis and a black T-shirt–every day.  That’s what Steve Jobs did.  An article in Christianity Today tries to turn this particular fashion choice into an act of piety. [Read more…]

Camille Paglia unchained

Camille Paglia is a leftist who lambastes leftists and appreciates conservatives.  She is a feminist who critiques feminists and defends men.  She is an atheist who excoriates atheists and respects religion.  Her commentaries on contemporary culture are unfailingly outrageous, provocative, and stimulating.  Also hilarious.  She is the scourge of political correctness and an iconoclast of secularist pieties.  For her take on Bill Cosby, the Clintons, Jon Stewart, media bias, the 2016 presidential candidates, and more, read her  interview in Salon here and here and here.