On Friday I started the day with three hours of substitute-host-level Excellence in Broadcasting on America's Number One radio show. You can find a few moments from my guest-hosting stint here. Thank you as always to Mr Snerdley, Ali, Mike, Keith, Greg and the rest of the gang: the best team in radio, no question, and I treasure my many years in their expert hands.
~"Reparations" was a fringe concept in the US five years ago. Now leading candidates of one of the two parties in America's frozen party system profess to have come around to the notion. Among them are Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Julian Castro... Bernie is holding out, as he did last time round on guns and immigration ...for a bit. Senator Harris seems to be doing it for canny positioning reasons: She is one of the shrewder campaigners so far, but MSNBC ran a wacky segment a few weeks back in which various black activists pointed out that she is not "African-American". Ms Harris is half-Indian, half-Jamaican - ie, like Barack Obama, she's a child of British subjects. And one way to deflect from the fact that black Democrat presidential candidates seem to be disproportionately drawn from outside the African-American experience is to sign on to reparations big-time.
So it would seem to me this idea will snowball, so to speak: Bernie in particular is not the stiffest-spined of chaps, nor is Kirsten Gillibrand or any of the former "centrists" getting woke to the new energies in their base.
The next phase, in a two-party system, is for the moderate, reasonable chaps in the other party to sign on to the idea. Enter David Brooks, the house conservative at The New York Times:
We're a nation coming apart at the seams, a nation in which each tribe has its own narrative and the narratives are generally resentment narratives. The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation — the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices.
The need now is to consolidate all the different narratives and make them reconciliation and possibility narratives, in which all feel known. That requires direct action, a concrete gesture of respect that makes possible the beginning of a new chapter in our common life. Reparations are a drastic policy and hard to execute, but the very act of talking about and designing them heals a wound and opens a new story.
David Brooks was once a witty and incisive writer. Now his pen squirts flabby marshmallows: "Possibility narratives"? God save us from ostentatiously agonized "conservatives"...
But the point is: Isn't this beginning to feel the way it usually goes? No doubt somewhere or other the Mitch McConnell/John Boehner types are assuring everyone: Not to worry, it'll never happen... But that's what they said about Obamacare and gay marriage and all the rest.
Democrat presidential candidates, "moderate" conservatives... Sooner than you think, Republicans will be telling each other: Let it go, this isn't the hill to die on...
It never is, is it?
~Insofar as there was any coverage of something called the "American Workforce Policy Advisory Board", it was of Donald Trump "fumbling" the name of Apple honcho Tim Cook and calling him "Tim Apple". I like to think it was a subtle protest by the President at whichever White House placement henchman had stuck Mr Cook at his right hand, perhaps a sly protest at the curious idea that the chief exec of Apple has insufficient influence in the affairs of the world and thus should be endowed with more by government.
Somewhat more perplexing to me was this exchange with a gentleman of the press:
REPORTER: Mr President, how much more immigration would you like to see?
PRESIDENT: We're going to have a lot of people coming in to the country. We want a lot of people coming in. And we need it.
That's getting dangerously close to the precise opposite of the core policy he ran on. I do hope the President, like Mr Brooks at The New York Times, is not, as America's duplicitous media like to say, "growing in office".
~Earlier this week we officially announced the Second Annual Mark Steyn Cruise, following last year's sell-out maiden voyage. On September 4th, we'll be sailing from Vancouver through Alaska's Inside Passage to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan, before docking back at Vancouver on September 11th. Michele Bachmann and others of our merry crew will be returning for a second voyage, but this time my boffo Adorable Deplorable stage-show partner Dennis Miller will also be joining us, so it'll be a unique combination of gags'n'glaciers.
We'll attend to all the heavy civilizational-collapse stuff but we'll also kick loose in the evening with dinner, convivial receptions and some late-night laughs and music. We'll do a lot of the things we do at SteynOnline but live and at sea, including Alaskan-themed editions of Tales for Our Time, Steyn's Sunday Poem and Song of the Week. And every day we'll enjoy world class service from Holland America, all the benefits of a flagship cruise ship, and the spectacular beauty of the Alaskan coast. Cabins are going fast, and, as with most travel accommodations, the prices are more favorable the earlier you book.
I appreciate that an Alaskan cruise is more convenient for our Steyn Clubbers in western North America, but we love to see our European and Commonwealth readers aboard, too. For those coming from far afield, Cindy, our cruise manager, can help with flight and hotel bookings: If you'd rather speak in person and you're dialing from almost anywhere but Australia (ie, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America), it's 001 (770) 952-1959; if you're calling from North America, it's 1-800-707-1634. Or you can email your query here. As last year's cruisers know, Cindy is super-helpful.