* I noted the other day how someone in comments at the NYT had made the point that Right wingers talking about "elite consensus" on social and economic policies were kidding themselves if they didn't recognize that the public in the US (and here, I bet) do actually lean Left on a range of issues. Here's an article at Vox that makes the point in more detail: "What right-wing populism? Polls reveal that its Liberalism that's surging"
* With the departure of Ailes and O'Reilly, is Fox News morphing into something vaguely resembling a responsible news network? They have retracted the despicable wingnut hand wave story about the murder of Seth Rich, but can they pull Hannity himself into line? God knows the network could only be improved if he left, as well as those awful, awful breakfast hosts.
* I don't have a link for this, but on some clips on TV of Trump's latest day in the Middle East, I thought his face looked blank and very tired. I also would love to know how he took the Melania hand swipe. I wouldn't mind betting that his minders have tried to keep any internet item about it out of his field of view, because with his personality, it is hard to imagine he wouldn't be upset about the publicity it has achieved.
* What a surprise. Sinclair Davidson has popped up in London to talk about the "failure" of plain packaging of tobacco. For my sins, I've watched most of his little video at Catallaxy. Some observations: just as with climate change denial, he seeks to discredit anti tobacco campaigners as having their own "industry", and being in it for the money. This is his very first line, in fact. Well, would be good to know if anyone ever pays SD to travel somewhere for his talks. Secondly, any actual valid criticism he may uncover about slippery use of stats and figures in assessments of plain packaging are somewhat undercut when he starts later uncritically quoting KPMG studies funded by tobacco and worthy of their own detail scrutiny. Thirdly, I don't think he ever mentions the way many researchers thought plain packaging would have its best impact - by making buying cigarettes less attractive to youth. (Because if you can stop young people starting, you have won half the battle.) Nor does he address the common sense question that such an effect might take some years to turn up clearly in survey or other evidence.
I trust that he will next be parachuted into the Philippines to deal with Duterte's new laws.
* Roger Franklin's stupid and offensive rant against anyone on the ABC quoting figures about Muslim terrorism has gone down a treat is Sinclair's poisonous toilet of a blog, as you would expect. Tim Blair urges his readers to read it too. (Blair has become increasingly petty - especially when it comes to the ABC - and stupid over the years.) Perhaps Right wingnuts would be better served by considering what you can actually do when, as I pretty much expected, the suicide bomber turns out to be a person born in the country. Sure, they could argue for a complete ban on Muslim migrants, many of whom are escaping Middle East crises in which the West has played a role, but what do they want to do to current, native, children of migrants who are at risk of being radicalised by the internet or a local crazy imam? Round them all up in detention camps for the next 40 years? Or just nuke Saudi Arabia, the sources of modern radicalising schools of Islam? (You do hear calls for that at Catallaxy after virtually every Islamic inspired attack.) And if they do want to nuke the problem away, what do they think of Trump making nice with the Saudis again?
Come on wingnuts: your cloud of rage at everything Muslim achieves nothing. Make some serious proposals and think about their consequences instead of raging at politicians who actually have to deal with the problem in a serious, meaningful way.