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For the past few days, news of New York State’s coronavirus crisis has been updated daily by the BBC.

But do they have a crisis or not?

Does the United States have a coronavirus crisis?

American lawyer Robert Barnes has crunched the numbers and found them wanting:

In New York, it appears that things are relatively normal (see second tweet):

Is it worth tanking the economy for this pandemic?

Why aren’t we in a similar panic over other deaths?

Bubonic plague, thought to have died out centuries ago, is making a resurgence in California. Now THAT’s something to worry about:

The restrictions on personal and civil liberties will be problematic, mark my words.

Thank goodness that President Trump can see this:

Even so, there will be damage:

People will not look favourably on the panic created by politicians and the media over coronavirus:

They will begin to suspect something else is going on:

What about the flu season? Compare those tens of thousands of annual deaths with coronavirus:

Agree. It is pretty stupid to cripple Western economies for coronavirus.

Finally, though, people are questioning authority. Thank you.

By the time the coronavirus hysteria is over, there will be even less public trust of politicians or the media than there was before this started.

Good. May they be held accountable for frightening the public into submission.

Until the early hours of November 9, 2016, I used to ponder my notion of an ideal American president.

In a nutshell, he would do all the things the middle and working classes needed for the United States to thrive once again.

He would confound high-brow economists who said, ‘[Effective economic solution] cannot be done.’

Fortunately, the United States has had that great man — my ideal — in President Donald Trump since January 22, 2017.

President Trump has accomplished what egg-headed experts — the brightest minds in the world — deemed ‘impossible’.

His accomplishments are too many to list here, but here’s a summary:

One of my readers, Daughn, had this to say about the president’s appeal on another site (emphases mine):

All the guys who were the academics, the ones who went to Harvard Biz/Yale Law, couldn’t deliver 3% GDP in the past decade.

And moms and dads paid for their mistakes. Red states were hollowed out. Our factories = gone. Homes = foreclosed.

It left America vulnerable, and it’s THEIR fault.

Chickens home to roost.

Even worse……

All the guys at Brookings/Council on Foreign Relations screwed up in the Middle East, couldn’t win a damn war in Afghanistan with trillions of dollars to spend and 20 yrs to do it.

And moms and dads in red states buried their sons and daughters.

Trump paid attention to the electricians, the guys who drive the trucks, the women who cut hair for a living….. they’re a whole lot smarter than those who were supposed to be leading the country.

The establishment of both parties has failed.

That’s an excellent summary, explaining why the much maligned president has been gaining ground since 2017.

Could we call him the People’s President? I think so.

With the coronavirus situation, President Trump has suspended his rallies for the time being. That does not mean we will not be seeing him out and about, though.

On Thursday, March 5, Fox News invited him to take part in a Town Hall forum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s birthplace.

It was the most watched cable news show in history (i.e. going back to the late 1970s):

Dr Dawn Michael makes an excellent point. Dems must have been watching, otherwise the figures would not have been as high.

Martha McCallum and Bret Baier presented the Town Hall, available here in full. What an exceptional 57 minutes — well worth watching:

I’m not alone in my opinion. This lady analyses election data. She has done sterling work so far in 2020. Here is what she had to say about the Town Hall:

The president was very conversational in his answers but didn’t miss a beat:

I don’t know who chose Scranton — Trump’s campaign team or Fox News — but it was perfect:

Those who do not have time to watch the show in full might enjoy viewing the highlights:

The president enjoyed the evening as much as the audience did:

Then it was back to the White House:

I am so grateful that I have my ideal president — the People’s President — during my lifetime.

Tens of millions of Americans would agree.

I will have more on the 2020 campaign soon.

In the meantime: MAGA!

Betty and Jorge Rivas have been Trump supporters since 2016.

They live in Tucson and own Sammy’s Mexican Grill.

On February 19, 2020, they attended President Trump’s rally in nearby Phoenix.

Someone spotted Mrs Rivas in the audience. Since then, their Facebook page has been littered with negative reviews.

On March 1, Fox Business reported:

That hurt business for several days, co-owner Jorge Rivas told “FOX & Friends” Sunday, but he said Saturday was a “very good day” for sales.

President Trump tweeted his support for the couple. He meant to say Tucson:

Even though business is booming, supporters of Sammy’s Mexican Grill, in the Catalina district of Tucson, are planning a lunch gathering on Saturday, March 7. If I lived there, I would definitely go. The address is in the second tweet, along with the organiser’s phone number. It’s probably a good idea to give him a call before showing up. He might be making reservations:

I like that law enforcement always eats free of charge. Excellent.

The Fox Business article said that Mr and Mrs Rivas received abuse by telephone in 2016, when then-candidate Trump invited Mrs Rivas on stage:

It’s not Trump’s first interaction with the restaurant owners. During a 2016 campaign rally, Trump called Betty Rivas onto the stage as she held a “Latinos for Trump” sign.

She said at the time that she took criticism then, too …

Nonetheless, a photo of Rivas and Trump has hung on a wall in the restaurant since then.

Here’s the life-size cut out of President Trump. Jorge Rivas explains what happened after the Phoenix rally. His wife adds a message in Spanish:

He had more to say about his unwavering support for the president and how happy he is to be an American. He also believes that a strong America is essential for the next generation. He and his wife have two sons:

Well, even if you can’t make lunch on Saturday, please remember Sammy’s next time you are in the Tucson area.

I wish the Rivases continued success with their business and in their family life.

In closing, I do not understand how the Left’s harassment of their political ‘opponents’ — i.e. normal people — is going to get said opponents on their side. Do they think the Rivases are just going to say one day, ‘Yeah, all the abuse was worth it. We’ll be voting Dem from now on’?

What a nonsensical ‘strategy’ unhinged leftists have.

CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — was held during the last few days of February 2020 at the National Harbor resort just outside of Washington, DC.

The American Conservative Union has hosted the event every year since 1974.

CPAC is particularly useful not only as an event with speeches and panel discussions but also as a bellwether to gauge conservative trends and, in years such as this one, political candidates’ viability for the presidency.

Interestingly, CPAC 2016 did not turn out well for then-candidate Donald Trump. Not only did he not attend, his name was not even mentioned. The straw poll conducted that year put Ted Cruz on top of the preferred candidates’ list, with Marco Rubio in second place.

Since he has been president, Trump has addressed the conference every year since 2017.

CPAC isn’t just about well-dressed Republicans. It gets its share of less conventional conservatives, too.

The New York Post featured a report complete with photos on February 29, which said (emphases mine):

In the cavernous convention center, Trump superfans in 10-gallon hats mingled with student rabble-rousers and an army of wonks from the swamp’s countless conservative think tanks.

“What brings me here is my love of America and my inspiration and enthusiasm for President Trump,” declared a strapping 6-foot drag queen who identified herself only as Lady Maga. “I would like to defy the narratives that all conservatives and Trump supporters are bigoted, homophobic people.”

There was also a 12-year-old boy who was allowed to cover along with journalists:

Joining journos once again in the media filing center were 12-year-old Phoenix Legg and his chauffeur/dad, Matt. Now on his fourth CPAC, Legg was in town after hitting a prayer breakfast in South Carolina. As in years past, he was decked in his trademark gray suit and matching fedora.

“I like giving the news through the eyes of a kid and since I’m a kid sometimes people are more willing to talk to me,” said Legg, who has become a mini-legend with the confab’s crowd.

Now and again, CPAC withdraws certain invitations, i.e. one for Mitt Romney. This is because the senator from Utah voted to remove President Trump from office during the Senate impeachment trial. His name was also booed during the conference:

Not surprisingly, Ivanka Trump was among the speakers. As Chair of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp organises the event:

Virginia resident and mega-MAGA Trump supporter Scott Presler made his debut. He was thrilled to bits:

His parents were in the audience:

Scott enjoys meeting people, especially fellow conservatives:

He has also run neighbourhood clean-up campaigns in Baltimore and San Francisco. Residents of Baltimore really appreciated his and his volunteers’ efforts. Unfortunately, it was quite the opposite in San Francisco. Nonetheless, he met someone who saw the abuse he took from rabid leftists and decided to leave the Democrats behind:

CPAC is attracting increasing numbers of minority attendees and speakers.

The New England Patriots’ Benjamin Watson, a married father of seven, spoke about the importance of family (watch his speech in full):

He also showed a preview of his forthcoming documentary, Divided Hearts of America, which is about abortion, and signed copies of his books:

Townhall journalist Julio Rosas seemed to be everywhere at CPAC:

What a great place to spend one’s birthday:

Scott Presler was on his panel:

Brandon Straka, the ex-Democrat who founded the #WalkAway movement, spoke:

He made more new friends …

… and met up with people he already knew:

He also gave interviews:

John James, who is running for the US Senate in Michigan, made a forceful speech about American opportunity:

Louisiana’s US Senator Steve Scalise, hospitalised for months after a horrific attack by a rabid leftist in 2017, spoke about American healthcare:

Vice President Mike Pence spoke:

But, as expected, President Trump stole the show:

He spoke about Mitt Romney (this was where the boos came in) and successful anti-terror operations in Iran:

He talked about the new deal he made with Afghanistan to end America’s longest running war.

He took verbal swipes at the media and New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer:

He then had a go at the Democrat presidential candidates:

Greta Thunberg didn’t escape his notice, either:

He closed on a serious note, however, and received a standing ovation:

Contrary to 2016, this year I am thrilled about President Trump’s prospects. It’s not over until it’s over, of course, but his campaign manager Brad Parscale is as close to perfect as is humanly possible in his field. Here he is with Lara Trump (Eric’s wife):

I wish the president and his campaign team every success.

February 23, 2020 was Transfiguration Sunday.

However, some traditionalist Episcopalian clergy dispute that, pointing to the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6:

That’s all well and good, but most observant Christians are more likely to be in church on Sunday than on a weekday.

These were among the replies that the Revd Everett Lees received:

Agree fully.

A Canadian wrote in:

Easy mistake to make, when in our Canadian Book of Alternative Services we have Transfiguration readings that day, and we’re directed to use the Collect for the Transfiguration. Personally, I don’t think God will lose too much sleep if someone calls it Transfiguration Sunday.

So did a Lutheran:

I guess my Lutheran Book of Worship: Manual on the Liturgy is wrong.

And what about denominations that do not observe feast days, e.g. the Presbyterians?

The aforementioned Rev. Green Man did a bit more research on the scheduling of Transfiguration Sunday:

Yes, that is helpful. I had not thought about the transition in Jesus’s ministry from Galilee to Jerusalem.

It should be noted that the Vanderbilt Divinity lectionary page has no list of readings for August 6.

From this we see that Transfiguration Sunday has its rightful place at the end of the season of Epiphany.

The Iowa caucuses, both Republican and Democrat, took place on Monday, February 3, 2020.

They truly were a tale of two parties.

The Iowa caucus is the first presidential candidate — and delegate — selection during a general election year in the US.

On the eve of the Nevada caucus on Saturday, February 22, it’s worth revisiting.

Republican caucus

Not all of the Republican Iowa caucuses have gone smoothly in recent years.

This year’s did, and so did 2008‘s.

However, 2012‘s was very tight between Rick Santorum who finished narrowly in first place with 24.6% of the vote and Mitt Romney, in second with a nail-biting 24.5%.

In 2016, Ted Cruz was still at the top of his game, finishing first with 27.6%, and Donald Trump in second on 24.3%. Yet, that was the year that Cruz’s campaign workers spread false rumours to Ben Carson’s supporters that the good doctor had dropped out of the race. A lie! However, Carson’s paltry 9.7% ensured that he did drop out soon afterwards. Terrible!

That was how Donald Trump was able to attach the word ‘Lying’ to ‘Ted’ in a tweet with photos of both their wives. The Telegraph has more on the story.

Trump never let up on Cruz, either. Cruz folded in tears a couple of months later. Marco Rubio dropped out a day or two later, leaving candidate Trump the last man standing.

This year, Trump, the incumbent, had two minor rivals and ‘other’. William ‘Bill’ Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, garnered 1.3% of the vote and one delegate. Joe Walsh, a former Congressman for Illinois, came in third place with 1.1% of the vote and no delegates.

President Trump received 31,464 votes and 39 delegates.

There was a record turnout for an incumbent president, breaking Obama’s record of 25,000:

It was like a mini-rally in places:

Democrat caucus

The Democrat caucus resulted in confusion, much like 2016’s.

The 2016 caucus was held on February 1 that year. The Des Moines Register asked, ‘Iowa’s nightmare revisited: Was correct winner called?’

‘Nightmare revisited’ refers to the Republican result in 2012. As the newspaper reported in 2016:

This time it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans.

Four years ago, the top Democrat candidates were Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (emphases mine):

Even as Hillary Clinton trumpeted her Iowa win in New Hampshire on Tuesday, aides for Bernie Sanders said the eyelash-thin margin raised questions and called for a review. The chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party rejected that notion, saying the results are final

At 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire announced that Clinton had eked out a slim victory, based on results from 1,682 of 1,683 precincts.

Voters from the final missing Democratic precinct tracked down party officials Tuesday morning to report their results. Sanders won that precinct, Des Moines precinct No. 42, by two delegate equivalents over Clinton.

The Iowa Democratic Party said the updated final tally of delegate equivalents for all the precincts statewide was:

Clinton: 700.59

Sanders: 696.82.

That’s a 3.77-count margin between Clinton, the powerful establishment favorite who early on in the Democratic race was expected to win in a virtual coronation, and Sanders, a democratic socialist who few in Iowa knew much about a year ago.

Incredible.

In 2020, the result was also contested. Bernie Sanders came in a very close second to Pete Buttigieg:

– Bernie won the popular vote: 45,831 to 43,273, or 26.5% to 25.1%;

State delegate equivalents were as close as they were four years previously. Mayor Pete ended up with 563.2 and Bernie with 563.1.

Good grief.

Turnout was also low:

So, why, then, was it so difficult for the media to get the results?

This is what happened at CNN:

Bernie, understandably, was not best pleased as Buttigieg announced victory:

Two theories abound as to what happened this year.

One blames the fiasco on a new app that the Democrats were using. Another pins it on incompetence.

Here is a good summary of both:

The new app

Those who blame it on the new app point out that some high-profile people working on the campaign of Mayor Pete — dubbed Mayor Cheat after the caucus — knew the developers:

Questions also arose over ACRONYM:

Here’s more on that:

Shadow’s app looks as if it is/was set to be used in Nevada, too:

One hopes the bugs get ironed out by tomorrow, the 22nd, otherwise, it could look like another case of:

Incompetence

A week later, Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi wrote an excellent article about what he saw: ‘The Iowa Caucus Was Waterloo for Democrats’.

If you enjoy politics, you’ll want to read about his experience and about the Democrats he met on and before February 3.

Taibbi discounts the app as having been a factor in the caucus vote meltdown. He adopts the British philosophy of ‘cock-up before conspiracy’.

Excerpts follow.

There were problems with unauthorised precinct captains. The night before the caucus:

a 36-year-old Minnesotan named Chris Storey called a number he’d been given, for a woman who was chair of the Waukee 4 district. Thanks to a new rule allowing out-of-state volunteers to be precinct captains, he was set to represent the Sanders campaign there.

“We got along, it was great,” he recalls. “She told me she was looking forward to seeing me the next day.”

The next day, caucus day, Storey showed up at Shuler Elementary School in Clive, Iowa. The same official he’d spoken with the night before met him at the door. “It was like two different people,” he recalls. “I was told there was a written directive from the county chair that nonresidents could not be precinct captains.”

Sanders had to get a last-minute replacement captain in Waukee 4, someone not formally aligned with the campaign. He fell short of viability there by five votes. County chair Bryce Smith, who made the decision, said he was responding to a late directive from the Iowa Democratic Party that said they would allow one nonresident captain per campaign, per precinct, but “the discretion of the chair is what goes,” i.e., this ultimately was a judgment call for county chairs. Smith said he didn’t like the change to the long-standing rule — “What’s stopping a campaign from hiring professional persuaders and high-profile people?” he asked — and decided to bar nonresident captains. The IDP has not yet commented.

As a result, some would-be captains from multiple different campaigns in Dallas County were pulled off the job (Smith said he got “five, six, eight” calls to complain). Meanwhile, in other districts, nonresident captains were common

There were other issues:

Caucus participants later in the week would offer an eyebrow-raising number of other issues: bad head counts, misreported results, misreads of rules, wrong numbers, telecommunications errors, and other problems.

Taibbi says this should have been a straightforward caucus:

The basics of the caucus aren’t hard. You enter a building that is poorly ventilated, too small, and surrounded by mud puddles — usually a school gym. You join other people who plan on voting your way, gathering around the “precinct captain” for your candidate. If your pile of people comprises 15% of the room or more on the first count, your candidate is deemed “viable” and you must stay in that group. If your group doesn’t reach 15%, you must move to a new group or declare yourself undecided. There is a second count, and it should be done.

The caucus results, such as they were, continued to cause confusion the rest of the week:

What happened over the five days after the caucus was a mind-boggling display of fecklessness and ineptitude. Delay after inexplicable delay halted the process, to the point where it began to feel like the caucus had not really taken place. Results were released in chunks, turning what should have been a single news story into many, often with Buttigieg “in the lead.”

He explains that, although it looked as if Sanders actually won on paper, there was cause to call the win for Buttigieg:

Though Sanders won the popular vote by a fair margin, both in terms of initial preference (6,000 votes) and final preference (2,000), for most of the week Mayor Pete’s lead with “state delegate equivalents” — the number used to calculate how many national delegates are sent to the Democratic convention — made him the technical winner in the eyes of most. By the end of the week, however, Sanders had regained so much ground, to within 1.5 state delegate equivalents, that news organizations like the AP were despairing at calling a winner. 

This wasn’t necessarily incorrect. The awarding of delegates in a state like Iowa is inherently somewhat random. If there’s a tie in votes in a district awarding five delegates, a preposterous system of coin flips is used to break the odd number. The geographical calculation for state delegate equivalents is also uneven, weighted toward the rural. A wide popular-vote winner can surely lose.

Returning to the aforementioned Chris Storey from Minnesota, who was ultimately turned down as precinct chairman:

Is it incompetence or corruption? That’s the big question,” asked Storey. “I’m not sure it matters. It could be both.”

Conclusion

Whatever went wrong with the Democrat caucus, President Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale had this to say:

Democrats should hope for a more carefully conducted caucus in Nevada on Saturday.

Yesterday’s post on Democrat support for abortion featured Pete Buttigieg and a Fordham University bioethics professor who was so distraught by the mayor’s pro-choice stance that he resigned from the board of Democrats for Life.

Last week, the Revd Franklin Graham was astonished to hear Bernie Sanders say that being ‘pro-choice’ — supporting abortion — was part and parcel of being a Democrat:

The son of the late Billy Graham rightly wondered where the ‘outcry’ was against such a stance.

The Breitbart article of February 12 linked in the tweet tells us that Graham sent a sharp warning about socialism before urging Christians to ‘wake up’ (emphases mine):

The evangelical leader went on to urge Christians to wake up to what is happening in the Democrat party and to take to heart their civic duty to vote.

“This is an example of why it is so important for people of faith to research who you vote for in every election and understand where they stand on issues that are important to you,” he said.

I urge Christians to pray for our nation, our leaders, and the upcoming elections, from local to national. Make sure that you are registered to vote, otherwise we will lose our country,” he warned.

True.

This November, Republicans, the supporters of the rights of the unborn — and, yes, as God’s creation, the unborn do have rights — need to win back the House of Representatives and maintain, if not increase, their majority in the Senate.

I despair of notional Christians, including clergy, who are lukewarm on the subject of abortion. They laud the Democrats as the only politicians with ethics. The way it looks to many of us, even overseas, is that most Democrat politicians lack ethics, pure and simple. I am struggling to think of any in the House or Senate who deal honestly and fairly.

One thing is for sure: most Democrats no longer support life in the womb.

Where do Democrats stand in defending the rights of the unborn? Sadly, nowhere.

Yet, it has taken several years for this truth to dawn on lifetime Democrat voters.

It is unfortunate that Pete ‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg (pron. ‘Budd-uh-judge’) of South Bend, Indiana, is an Episcopalian. He puts the denomination to shame in his support of late-term abortion. Yet, many other Episcopalians — also Democrats — do, too:

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at least one Catholic Democrat saw the light, as Mayor Pete defended abortion until the bitter end. Interestingly, Mayor Pete’s dad was a left-wing professor at the University of Notre Dame who was a co-founder and past president of the International Gramsci Society. Who can make sense out of that? But I digress.

LifeSite News reported that the professor who termed Mayor Pete’s views as ‘the straw that broke this camel’s back’ is:

Charles Camosy, an associate professor of Theology at Fordham University, has also resigned from the board of Democrats for Life. 

Camosy, who specializes in biomedical ethics, explained his reasons for his decision in an op ed he wrote for Thursday’s New York Post: the Democrats’ complete disregard for the unborn child.  

Also (emphases mine):

it was same-sex married Pete Buttigieg’s attitude to late-term abortion, aired last week on The View, that convinced Camosy that pro-life Democrats are “fighting a losing battle” in convincing their party to respect their position. Buttigieg had indicated that he didn’t think the government should have any say regarding late-term abortion or post-birth infanticide

“The straw that broke this camel’s back was Pete Buttigieg’s extremism,” Camosy wrote. 

“Here was a mainstream Democratic candidate suggesting, at one point, that abortion is OK up to the point the baby draws her first breath.” 

He concluded that if the party was “willing to go all-in on the most volatile issue of our time with a position held by only 13 percent of the population, it was time to take no for an answer.”

Camosy also predicted that, thanks to its pro-abortion “extremism,” the Democratic Party will lose the next election

We can but hope. If they win, they will have cheated; of that, I’m sure.

Dr Camosy does not think he will be able to vote Republican, though:

My broader values mean I can’t vote Republican, however, and this makes me one of many millions of Americans for whom our political duopoly doesn’t work,” he wrote.

That’s too bad. Opening up other minor yet established parties does not work, either. The British proved that in their December 12, 2019 election.

LifeSite News has more of what Camosy wrote for the New York Post, all of it worthwhile reading. It also quotes Mayor Pete’s views for The View.

In closing, this is what Camosy had to say in his op-ed about the Democrats’ stance on late-term abortion:

Camosy asked them to participate in a thought experiment in which they suppose that “hundreds of thousands of children are being killed each year in horrific ways,” either because they have Down syndrome, or because their grandparents think their parents are too young, or because an abusive partner demands it.

And then suppose a political party claimed this killing was a social good. Just another kind of health care. Something to shout about with pride,” the ethicist asked.

“This party, it should go without saying, would be unsupportable,” he concluded.

Just so.

Sounds a lot like eugenics, doesn’t it?

More will follow on the Democrats’ views on abortion.

Over the past week, I have watched this touching video more than once.

A young FedEx delivery man found that an American flagpole had fallen on the ground in strong winds. He removed the flag and folded it in the customary triangle, despite the weather and his tight time constraints:

I found his reverence and respect really moving.

Would that more Americans had that much respect for the flag.

It’s more than a beautiful fabric design.

It represents the Great Republic.

E pluribus unum: out of many, one.

Super Bowl LIV (54, in new money) took place on Candlemas, February 2, 2020.

It is hard to imagine any half-time display less worthy of a Sunday, let alone on an important feast day in the Church.

February 2 is also Groundhog Day, and that found its rightful place in the advertising.

Half-time show

Not being an American football fan, I did not watch any of it but saw tweets about the half-time show the next day. You’ll have to click on the link to see the content.

Was this family viewing?

Jeb! liked it, though:

Yes, it does sound creepy. Quite something for a convert to Catholicism and a Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus.

The self-described ‘Follower of Christ’, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) also enjoyed it. He gave the half-time show an A+:

The SGT Report wrote about child grooming on February 7, mentioning the half-time show. This excerpt begins after the introductory section about a mother who posed online as an 11-year-old (emphases mine):

This is the new face of how predators are grooming young girls (and boys) to be trafficked, molested and raped. However, it starts much earlier, with a culture that has brainwashed itself into believing that sexual freedom amounts to a Super Bowl half-time show in which barely-clad women spend 20 minutes twerking, gyrating (some of it on a stripper pole) and showing off sexually provocative dance moves.

This is part and parcel of the pornification of American culture

Pop culture and porn culture have become part of the same seamless continuum,” explains theatre historian and University of Illinois professor Mardia Bishop. “As these images become pervasive in popular culture, they become normalized… and… accepted.”

This foray into porn culture—the increasing acceptability and pervasiveness of sexualized imagery in mainstream media—is where pop culture takes a dark turn. “Visual images and narratives of music videos clearly have more potential to form attitudes, values, or perceptions of social reality than does the music alone,” notes author Douglas A. Gentile in his book Media Violence and Children. In fact, music videos are among the worst culprits constantly bombarding young people today with sexual images and references.

Screen time has become the primary culprit for the oversexualization of young people.

Danger, Will Robinson, danger.

Mar a Lago party

President and Mrs Trump held a large private Super Bowl party at Mar a Lago in Palm Beach.

It looks as if they were filing in to the dining room during the half-time show. Actor Terrence K Williams was with them. Good for him:

The US president gave a pre-game show interview to Sean Hannity. This was before his third State of the Union address and his impeachment acquittal:

Advertising

The Super Bowl is the advertising world’s biggest day of the year.

Some American viewers are just as interested in the adverts as they are in the game, if not more so.

However, some advertising themes are more worthy than others:

That day, Ad Week posted ‘The 10 Best Super Bowl Ads of 2020’. They chose ads in reverse order for Porsche, Tide, Microsoft, Mtn Dew Zero Sugar, Snickers, Hyundai Sonata, Amazon Alexa, Google AI (artificial intelligence) and Jeep.

What, no Budweiser? Well, the iconic Clydesdales were nowhere to be seen — at least not this year.

Jeep won the top spot, in Ad Week‘s estimation. Those responding to Jeep in the tweet below also raved about it. I found it rather frustrating to watch. Then again, I never liked Groundhog Day:

Although this next video on Super Bowl LIV advertising is just under 20 minutes long, the two presenters from The Corbett Report offer an amusing, yet sound, critique of three adverts, which one of them chose to analyse:

The three adverts chosen have one running theme: artificial intelligence.

The first ad they played was Budweiser’s. It was poorly put together. This is because most of the advert shows an Alexa-type device in a young man’s flat. Where’s the brew, you might ask? Nowhere. Or maybe a bottle showed up briefly at the end. I don’t recall. (That is what makes it a bad ad.) This is a safety announcement about drinking responsibly. The Budweiser logo shows up only at the end.

The next advert the men looked at was the one Ad Week rated second (see above): Google’s. A man went through old photographs of his late wife Loretta and spoke to Google, narrating a caption for each photo. Each of his phrases began with the word ‘remember’. The helpful electronic Google assistant confirmed that it was logging all his captions.

The two presenters rightly pointed out that people were unwittingly posting their life stories to the cloud. How would Google use those data? How many thousands or millions of lives would be logged for Google’s use? Food for thought.

The third ad was for Verizon. It showed clips of first responders in emergency situations. Verizon’s superior network capabilities help them get to the scenes of accidents and fires that much quicker. What’s not to like, right? Yet, as The Corbett Report presenters said, pandering to the public’s emotions is a very slick and underhanded way of getting people to accept and rely on artificial intelligence.

So, we have Alexa monitoring one’s drink levels, Google ‘helping’ with memory problems and Verizon’s GPS (tracking) capabilities.

Danger, Will Robinson, danger.

Next week: How Cannes Lions ad winners shape your worldview

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First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

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