Wednesday, July 8, 2020

What the Lincoln Project Ad Makers Get About Voters (and What Dems Don’t) - POLITICO

Just about every video the Lincoln Project runs against Trump is a kill shot. I haven't seen the Democrats do anything like this to the GOP since ... well ... Goldwater. And in case you're wondering, for the first time in my life I joined a Republican organization, in part because of an interview in which a Lincoln project spokesperson said that if Trump loses the election, they next plan to go after every last one of his associates who supported or profited from Trumpism.

The country will NOT survive another four years of Trump's chaos.


What the Lincoln Project Ad Makers Get About Voters (and What Dems Don't)

The Republicans of the Lincoln Project might have an advantage over Trump's left-leaning opponents.

Rows of body bags are pictured; a still from                        a Lincoln Project ad.

"100,000 Dead," an ad from the anti-Trump super PAC known as The Lincoln Project, comes at you like a miniature horror film. It starts with a shot of seven white body bags, detailed enough that you can see the outline of limbs underneath, and the voice of President Donald Trump at a press briefing in February. The nation's Covid-19 caseload will soon be "close to zero," Trump says; his words repeat in an increasingly distorted voice, as the camera pulls back to reveal row upon row of body bags in the shape of an American flag. New words land on the screen with audible thumps: "100,000 dead Americans. One wrong president." It ends with the faint sound of wind whistling, as if through a graveyard.

Down to the smallest detail, it's a masterful nugget of compact filmmaking. And it helped draw attention to a renegade corps of Republican strategists, veterans of campaigns for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who are applying their attack-ad skills to their own party's president—and going for the kill shot, every time. "Mourning in America," their ad released in May, starts with a pointed reference to the Ronald Reagan slogan, then blames Trump for the full range of post-Covid despair, using images of hospital hallways, decrepit buildings and an upside-down flag. (Facebook slapped the ad with a "partly false" warning label, since it assigns Trump all of the blame for relief bills that were passed by the vast majority of Democrats in Congress.) "Debt," released in late June, starts off like a History Channel documentary about the sacrifices made during World War II, and ends with an image of a Greatest Generation member, hooked up to a ventilator.

Some of the ads are running on TV, on Fox News or in battleground states. Some are simply released online, at a rapid pace. Many are based on assumptions that may or may not turn out to be true: that swing voters will be as unforgiving as Democrats about Trump's Covid response, for instance, or that they'll be any more bothered by Trump's coarse rhetoric than they were, or weren't, four years ago. Still, the Lincoln Project is clearly getting under the skin of the president and his supporters. And the evidence is not just raging tweets; in one of those Washington funhouse mirror moments, the Trump-friendly super PAC Club for Growth just released an ad attacking the Lincoln Project founders as if they were candidates themselves.

How has one renegade super PAC managed to trigger Trump and his allies so thoroughly? Part of it is surely frustration that a group of Republicans would issue a full-throated endorsement of Joe Biden. Part of it is skill: The Lincoln Project ads are slick, quick and filled with damning quotes and unflattering photos. But part of it might just be that Republicans are better at this than Democrats. Trump may sense that these ads are especially dangerous because they pack an emotional punch, using imagery designed to provoke anxiety, anger and fear—aimed at the very voters who were driven to him by those same feelings in 2016. And history, even science, suggests that might in fact be the case—that Republicans have a knack for scaring the hell out of people, and that makes for some potent ads.

Not every Lincoln Project video peddles fear. Some are traditional political ads, overenthusiastically produced and applied to issues that might irk the president: supporting Democrat Steve Bullock for U.S. Senate in Montana, attacking Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Some are 30-to-60-second versions of the kind of schoolyard taunting you might expect from Trump himself. In "Shrinking," released after the president's disappointing rally in Tulsa, a female voice mocks the size of the crowd: "You've probably heard this before, but it was smaller than we expected."

The group's most memorable ads, though, are the ones that are self-serious and brutal. Within days of news that Vladimir Putin paid the Taliban to target American soldiers, the Lincoln Project released two ads that hammer Trump as a lackey of foreign enemies, using language that, in another year, Republicans might have used to make Democrats look weak. "Betrayal" features Dan Barkhuff, a former Navy SEAL who declares that "any commander in chief with a spine would be stomping the living shit out of some Russians right now—diplomatically, economically, or, if necessary, with the sort of asymmetric warfare they're using to send our kids home in body bags." "Bounty" starts with images of flag-draped coffins and the sound of tapping drums, then pivots to a standard attack-ad trick: carefully spliced clips of Trump and Putin at joint news conferences, the action drawn out so that every smile and handshake looks doubly sinister.

Stoking fear is a tried-and-true tactic of political advertising, stemming back to the Lyndon Johnson campaign's 1964 anti-Barry Goldwater ad "Daisy." But many of the most indelible ones have stemmed from the Republican camp, and over time, they've grown increasingly blunt. Ronald Reagan's 1984 "Bear" ad used a grizzly as metaphor for the Soviet nuclear threat: "Isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear—if there is a bear?" the voice over intoned. That ad inspired George W. Bush's "Wolves" from 2004, which accused John Kerry of being soft on terrorism. George H.W. Bush's infamous 1988 Willie Horton ad linked Michael Dukakis to a prisoner who committed brutal crimes on a weekend pass, flashing the words "Kidnapping," "Stabbing" and "Raping" on the screen. (The ad has since been scorned, not just for exploiting racial stereotypes, but also for paving the way for tough-on-crime bills that had lasting social repercussions.)

The secret of fearmongering is a willingness to go there, and that's where the Republicans of the Lincoln Project might have an advantage over Trump's left-leaning opponents. The group's founders aren't calibrating their ads around a Democratic base that mistrusts the military, delves into nuance or shies away from causing offense. That leaves ample room for dog-whistle symbols that range from clichés to horror-movie tropes: One ad accuses Trump of being played by China and ends with the image of the White House, the entire screen tinted red.

Research shows there's a reason these ads could be effective with Republicans voters: Conservatives are an especially fear-prone group. In a 2008 paper in the journal Science, researchers subjected a group of adults with strong political beliefs to a set of startling noises and graphic images. Those with the strongest physical reactions were more likely to support capital punishment, defense spending and the war in Iraq. A 2011 paper in the journal Cell found a correlation between conservative leanings and the size of the right amygdala, the portion of the brain that processes emotions in response to fearful stimuli. In her book Irony and Outrage, University of Delaware professor Dannagal Young points out that liberals and conservatives respond differently to entertainment rhetoric: Liberals have a higher tolerance for open-ended ambiguity, while conservatives look for closure and want problems to be solved.

That research helps explain why some attack ads move the needle with the right populations—and why some, in retrospect, don't. Take the Hillary Clinton campaign ad, "Mirrors," which aired about a month before the 2016 election. Hailed, in certain circles, as an instant classic, it showed a series of young girls looking at their own reflections as Trump's voice played in the background, saying things like, "I'd look her right in that fat ugly face of hers." Mother Jones deemed the ad "powerful"; Bustle called it "brilliant." But it didn't convert the white suburban women Clinton's advisers surely hoped to reach, because it not only preached to the choir, but spoke in the language of the choir. It was too subtle, Young might say, asking viewers to connect the dots, rather than hammering in a dramatic point. And it played to voters' conscience and values—the kinds of things voters have to think about—rather than their raw emotions.

Trump's ads, by comparison, have required little thought; the dots are preconnected in thick Sharpie ink. His first 2016 ad, "Great Again," touted his willingness to utter the words "RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM," which the ad displayed in all caps over images of masked fighters and photos of the San Bernardino shooters. (The same ad pledged that Trump would "cut the head off ISIS.") His campaign's fear-stoking 2018 anti-immigration ad, featuring an illegal immigrant convicted of murder and caravan footage that evoked an invasion, was so incendiary that many networks, including Fox News, refused to run it.

The Lincoln Project, too, knows how to deliver an unsubtle message, and Trump has given it some useful raw material. Recent news footage makes him look weak and despondent—as when he descended from a helicopter after his Tulsa rally, a MAGA hat drooping from his hand like a dead trout. (The Lincoln Project's ad sets the scene to "Jurassic Park" theme music, played badly on melodica.) The image of Trump holding up a Bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, intended as a metaphor of strength, now plays as shorthand for tone-deaf insincerity. Another ad, "#Trumpisnotwell," mashes recent video of Trump gingerly walking down a West Point ramp with 2018 footage of him climbing onto Air Force One, with toilet paper apparently stuck to his shoe. In a line straight out of the Trump playbook, the ad suggests that the media is hiding information about his health. "The most powerful office in the world needs more than a weak, unfit, shaky president," the narrator says, over echoing tones of slasher-movie music.

It's enough to inspire a presidential tweetstorm, or six. Lately, Trump and his surrogates have tried to fight back, calling the Lincoln Project founders "RINOS," painting the group as elitists who think of Trump fans as deplorables. Trump has offered counter-images: This week, he retweeted a meme of himself in an Uncle Sam pose, pointing menacingly at the camera, between the words "In reality, they're not after me, they're after you. I'm just in the way."

But the genius of the Lincoln Project ads is that they're quite specifically after Trump, using his own favored tools of shamelessness and fearmongering, and turning them back on their source. Who knows? It could actually work.

Sent from my Linux system.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Just remember how we got here ... and VOTE!

--   Sent from my Linux system.

The golfer
--   Sent from my Linux system.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The long view ( PDF file of photos)

Friday, July 3, 2020

For the fourth.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Fwd: Never tailgate a Rhino

At least one person has expressed concern about the video that I forwarded a couple of weeks ago of a rhino getting annoyed about being tailgated. The driver wasn't injured, and in case you're wondering, neither was the rhino, whose name is Kusini.


-------- Forwarded Message --------

Two lessons here:

1) Never tailgate a rhino in anything smaller than a sherman tank.
2) If you're going to tailgate a rhino anyway, don't do it in a vehicle painted like a zebra. It's embarrassing, and for all I know, zebras may be rhino fodder.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

When the Louvre Reopens, It’s Going to Be Quiet - The New York Times

When the Louvre Reopens, It's Going to Be Quiet

The museum's president said visitor numbers could be reduced as much as 80 percent. That might mean a better view of the Mona Lisa, if you can get there.

A member of staff preparing the Louvre for its reopening on July 6.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

The Musée du Louvre in Paris is set to reopen on July 6 after a 16-week shutdown that has taken a 40-million-euro toll on its bottom line.

In a normal year, the world's largest museum hosts 10 million visitors in 925,000 square feet of space open to the public.

When the museum reopens, 70 percent will be accessible, including the large galleries of French and Italian paintings, the sculpture courtyards and the Egyptian antiquities section. But with France's borders still closed to travelers from outside the European Union, visitor numbers will be a fraction of what they usually are in the peak summer season.

"We are lucky to be a state-owned museum," said Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre's president.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

While France was in lockdown, the museum was managed from home by its president, Jean-Luc Martinez, a specialist in ancient Greek sculpture who has been in charge since 2013. He spoke to The New York Times by telephone in mid-June. The following conversation has been edited and condensed:

What's your major challenge in reopening?

Reassuring the public. At the Louvre, it's fairly easy, because the spaces are gigantic, and thanks to online ticketing, we can control how many people come in. Visitors will be able to stand in line securely at the entrance, and masks will be mandatory for visitors aged 11 and over.

What will it be like to visit the Mona Lisa?

We renovated that gallery and inaugurated it last fall. We've introduced lines and a space between each visitor that will allow museumgoers to get closer to the painting. Until now, people would crowd around the Mona Lisa. Now, visitors will stand in one of two lines for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then each person is guaranteed a chance to stand in front of the Mona Lisa and look at her from a distance of about 10 feet. We want to make the encounter with the Mona Lisa a special moment.

Visitors will be able to come within about 10 feet of the Mona Lisa after the reopening, Mr. Martinez said.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

But you'll have far fewer visitors because of the pandemic.

Yes. Normally, 75 percent of our visitors on average are from abroad. That percentage rises to 80 percent in the summertime. Of those visitors, 1.5 million are American, and 800,000 to 900,000 are Chinese. If Europe's borders with the rest of the world are not opened this summer, we will see an 80 percent drop in visitors.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we lost 40 percent of our visitors, and took three years to get back on track. After the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere in Europe, we had another 40 percent drop, but everything normalized after a year.

This time, we don't know what will happen. Our worst-case scenario is that it will take us three years to get back to our normal visitor levels.

How will you make up for lost ticket sales? In 2018, they brought in €87 million, around $100 million.

We're working with the Ministry of Culture on a plan to guarantee the future of the Louvre. The Louvre and the Château de Versailles are particularly reliant on international tourism.

And you already receive a large subsidy from the French government.

We receive €94 million a year from the state, the largest contribution the French government makes to any French museum. We are lucky to be a state-owned museum. People make fun of the French model, but it gives more solidity to centuries-old institutions

Seventy percent of the space usually accessible by the public will be open on July 6, including the galleries in which French art is displayed.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

How much did your blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which closed right before the lockdown, bring in?

We had 1.2 million visitors, which works out to about €2.5 million in revenue. That's quite exceptional. Generally, exhibitions are loss-making, which is not a word I like to use. They cost us money.

The "Salvator Mundi," attributed to Leonardo, never made it to the Leonardo exhibition. Will we ever see it in Paris or at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

I can't answer that question. I had requested it for the Leonardo exhibition, and it never came. I hope that the painting will one day be on public view, because it's important for people to form an opinion. The museum is exactly the right place for works to be shown so that opinions can be expressed.

What about demands for the restitution of objects from former French colonies? Has the Louvre received any of those?

No, we have not received requests from former French colonies in that respect.

The question of provenance and of the origin of the collections is at the heart of what we do at the Louvre, and not just because of the pressure generated by these debates. In 2021, the Louvre will put all of its collections online, and the question of provenance will have been examined in the process.

Work has to be done on provenance and on the accessibility of the collections, both to researchers and to the general public. We also have to share, with the countries that these collections come from, everything that we know about them.

We're seeing public statues and monuments being torn down all over the Western world right now. What do you think of this?

I'm a historian by training, and history is something that is constructed methodically, not under pressure from emotions and rumors. I think museums have a role to play. They're the place where memories can be shared. Otherwise, memories clash.

There are of course dark chapters in history, and controversies. But in a democratic system, that's legitimate and healthy. On the other hand, destroying statues and works of art is something that happens in dictatorships. You can contextualize them, you can explain them. My belief as a historian is that you have to strive for dialogue

New signage will guide visitors through the museum and encourage social distancing.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Do you think historians will remember the coronavirus as the thing that killed off mass tourism?

I don't think so. It's fashionable to say that right now. But the great palace-museums such as the Vatican, the Hermitage and the Louvre will remain tourist sites. The word "tourist" is not a bad word.

So you really think you'll get back to 10 million visitors a year?

I think so, yes. Contrary to what some people think, the world after the coronavirus will not be that different from the world before.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Never tailgate a Rhino

Two lessons here:

1) Never tailgate a rhino in anything smaller than a sherman tank.
2) If you're going to tailgate a rhino anyway, don't do it in a vehicle painted like a zebra. It's embarrassing, and for all I know, zebras may be rhino fodder.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

You had one job ...

Some entity is blocking the following content, so I'm forwarding an image of it.


--   Sent from my Linux system.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Fwd: I'll be far away by the time you finish reading this

Re: Fwd: Bizarre internet 'dot' glitch lets you bypass paywalls

Fair warning: I haven't yet tried this, but have verification from a friend. If it doesn't work for you, blame him. ;)


---------- Forwarded message ---------

Bizarre internet 'dot' glitch lets you watch ad-free YouTube vids and bypass paywalls

By Michael Simon
5-6 minutes

Was it always this simple?

Staff Writer, PCWorld | Jun 12, 2020 7:43 am PDT

youtube dot trick IDG

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Anyone who uses the internet to read stories and watch videos more than they should knows about ad blockers. But they might not know this crazy trick: If you add an extra "dot" immediately after the ".com" but before the slash, you can avoid ads on YouTube and other videos and even bypass free article reading limits on many sites.

As first discovered by Redditor unicorn4sale, the trick has been proven to work on YouTube and several news sites that offer a limited number of free articles before throwing up a paywall. It does not work for sites that are completely subscription-supported, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, however. It also works on smartphones if you request the desktop version.

So instead of, you'd type We've tested in on numerous sites with our ad blocker turned off, and lo and behold, it works.

According to unicorn4sale, the way the trick works is "websites forget to normalize the hostname, the content is still served, but there's no hostname match on the browser so no cookies and broken CORS - and lots of bigger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn't contain the extra dot." Presumably, this would have to be resolved on a site-by-site basis, so we don't know how long this trick will stick around.

Of course, it's always better to pay for content, but if you're sick of suffering through ads or reading the first three lines of a story before clicking away, give this trick a try.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The (Coronavirus) War Prayer -

The (Coronavirus) War Prayer

Twain speaks

Mark Twain still has a thing or two to say (Images from "The Adventures of Mark Twain" and AP)

This opinion column is written with deepest apologies to the singular Mark Twain, and the story he allowed this world to see only after he was dead and gone from it.

It was a time of suffering and pain, for a Sickness had fallen on the land. It was a time of worry and unrest, of fear that financial ruin might truly be a fate worse than death. That was an opinion shared by many, if not the dying or the dead, who had other concerns. Great factories stood empty and great cathedrals echoed only of memory. Great chicken sandwiches were served through little holes in windows, or not at all. All the land grieved.

The land rightly grieved, for days that had passed endlessly before the plague, unappreciated and unremarkable in their moment. It grieved for jobs and shopping trips, for the lost joys of lingering over serendipitous conversation at coffee shops, or poetry slams, or mingling in the gift shop at that restaurant with rocking chairs on the porch.

The land grieved for a million reasons, each as important to the mourner as the 999,999 others that may or may not have been spoken aloud. The land grieved for dinners together and freedom to travel and days that passed as they always had. The people longed for the simple act of gathering in those cathedrals to thank God for answered prayers.

But the elders had banned such gatherings in the name of "safety," and "conscience," and "human lives." There could be no holding hands and singing, no passing of the Body and Blood, no communion of the faithful, or the like-minded, except on cold and flickering screens where images of men and women passed for flesh and blood.

In one such virtual congregation the visage of a minister of a gospel stood at his pulpit, praying a fervent prayer:

Thank you Jesus, our Savior and Lord, for all you provide. We ask for just a little this day…

But a little turned into quite a bit in a service in which there was no rush for members to beat the denomination down the street to the cafeteria. The parson pushed on. He asked Jesus to allow people to return to work, to go about their businesses as always. He asked that leaders trust in Him and allow freedom to ring in movie houses and beauty shops, in bowling alleys and used car dealerships and beaches from sea to shining sea. He asked for businesses to open and customers to stream in, and for profits to well up like a mighty spring.

It was a powerful prayer, spoken to the moment, and at home members watched it roll out in their living rooms and bedrooms – and in one deacon's case a bathroom. The people said "Amen," and "preach," and in that toilet it was whispered "damn right."

It was at that moment that the screens themselves began to flicker, and the visage of the parson burst, like a bomb, and another image zoomed in. A sad man, swarthy and barefoot stood behind the pulpit now. But his eyes glowed in a way that made those at home hold their breath.

"I have been sent by God to answer your prayer," he said. "If that is what you really want."

He said God heard the parson's words, and heard the same thoughts echo in the hearts of the members. He told them to be careful, because prayers for one's self are often curses to others.

"I have been sent to tell you the full scope of your prayer, and the words unspoken."

He bowed his head, and began to pray:

Lord our Father, we beseech Thee, declare our lives more worthy than the aged or infirm, than any who might perish so that we may return to ways that are more comfortable. Let them gasp for air, for we are afraid of losing status. Let them be martyrs, collateral damage in our campaign to dine out when we want, to cut and shampoo and bowl as we please. Let our grandmothers die alone, so our lives do not have to change. Let our neighbors and uncles and aunts and even our children succumb, so our other sons may play sports before crowds.

Let us return to normal quickly to recover our losses, Lord, even if it causes this plague to persist. Allow us to feel good about that, Lord. Let our cries of "freedom" wash our sins away.

We ask it all in love. Amen.

The mysterious figure paused then.

"You asked for it," he said. "If you still want it, say so. God awaits."


They decided later the man was probably crazy. Or maybe a member of the Deep State.

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is a columnist for His column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register, Birmingham Magazine and Write him at

--   Sent from my Linux system.

What the Lincoln Project Ad Makers Get About Voters (and What Dems Don’t) - POLITICO

Just about every video the Lincoln Project runs against Trump is a kill shot. I haven't seen the Democrats do anything like this to...