Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Stupid Wine Tariffs

Given worldwide overproduction of wine, the U.S. can ill-afford losing Chinese market share - one of the few places with growing demand - but that’s what Republican misrule will give us:
But China, which included wine on a list of 128 products worth $3bn targeted for potential tariffs, is confident that its growing market power, fuelled by a rising middle class, will give America pause.

That's true even when it comes to wine, which represents a tiny fraction of the trade between the two countries.

Exports represent only 5% of overall US wine sales. And only about 5% of wine exports, some $79m, are destined for China.

Wine-makers are worried about tariffs anyway. They say even if they can afford to lose business in China now, the country is critical to the industry's future.

"We're not in a position to lose market share," Mr Parr says.

Every Dystopian YA Novel

Easter Procession Past My House

Like clockwork, every year:

Modern Times

Then this stupidity:
MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A student shot in his school's cafeteria in two years ago received detention this month for walking out of class as part of a national day of protests against school shootings.

Against the wishes of Madison Junior/Senior High School's administrators, Cooper Caffrey and 42 other students participated in the March 14 walkout, a month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. But some in this community of 8,500 residents about 30 miles north of Cincinnati say that if anyone has a right to protest, it's these teens.

Caffrey, now 16, was one of two students shot and two others injured during the resulting confusion Feb. 29, 2016, when James “Austin” Hancock, now 17, stole a gun from his great-grandmother, brought it to school in his backpack and ultimately used it at lunchtime. The other student shot, Cameron Smith, was hit in the back and unable to walk for weeks, according to his grandmother.

And maybe a motive:
Appearing on CNN Tuesday, Forbes assistant managing editor Kerry Dolan leveled blame for Trump’s real estate losses on e-commerce’s domination over retail, mentioning Amazon. Specifically citing the lease of the Niketown store and the Trump Tower property, Dolan said that retailers are suffering—even on the high end. It would appear that Amazon’s strategy of e-commerce over brick and mortar retail is winning, and that is having an effect on real estate values, she added.

Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs"

There seemed a dearth of interesting movies this last weekend, so against my better judgement I went to the Tower Theater to watch Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs." To my surprise, I was pleased by the entire film. One review I read claimed there were long, dull stretches in the film, but if there were any there, I never noticed them at all. Among others, stars Bryan Cranston as Chief and Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg. A really fun movie!:

Reconsidering The Value of "The Death of Stalin"

I wasn't that impressed with Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” but that isn't necessarily a reflection on the movie. It all depends on how one views it. People with connections to Russia and life in the old Soviet Union might view it quite differently. I was struck by this review of the film:
Western audiences are accustomed to images of Stalin as a terrifying despot and mass murderer; now that his reputation has been rehabilitated under Putin, Russian audiences are used to seeing Stalin as an almighty leader who brought the USSR to victory over the Nazis. The idea of presenting a comedy about Stalin to either of these audiences is startling. Critics on both sides of the crumpled Iron Curtain have expressed disgust at its willingness to laugh at such a dark subject, but many viewers have been delighted. In considering the laughter that The Death of Stalin produces and portrays, it’s important to remember that laughter comes in many varieties: giddy, aggressive, delighted, sycophantic, relieved, sadistic, mirthful, embarrassed, subversive. Laughter is a sophisticated tool that can convey meanings unavailable to the strictly serious-minded.

As I watched The Death of Stalin, I thought of Soviet literary critic Viktor Shklovsky’s famous theory of ostranenie, or “enstrangement,” the artistic device that gives us a new understanding of the familiar by making us see it as if for the first time. By disrupting habits of perception that have become automatic, ostranenie allows us to reach a new understanding, a sharper feeling. I saw The Death of Stalin with a friend, a Jewish refugee from Soviet Moscow, and together we alternated between hysterical laughter and gasps of horror at the scenes of people being taken away in the night or summarily shot. The laughter made the horror seem new.

A useful way of thinking!