URLs du Jour

2018-06-15

[Amazon Link]

  • I am dubious of the implied causality expressed in Proverbs 12:26:

    26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
        but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

    Isn't it more likely, Mr. Proverbialist, that choosing friends poorly might lead one to wickedness, rather than the other way around?

    As we tell the kiddos: "Make good choices."


  • Kevin D. Williamson seems to have found a new (semi-permanent?) home at the Weekly Standard. His latest is an extended essay on the inconsistent rules for celebrity pariahdom: Watch What You Say. Someone Else Is. Long, but here's an excerpt that talks about an issue that's been bugging me of late:

    Consider, for example, the bubbling kulturkampf over transgender issues. To believe, as many radical feminists do, that Chelsea Manning is not a woman in the same sense that Chelsea Clinton is—or that Bradley Manning is no more a woman in that sense than Bradley Cooper is—may be controversial, but that belief alone does not place one among the infidels. What does bring out the takfiri tendency is “misgendering,” refusing to—or simply failing to—conform to the orthodox court etiquette touching these issues. The gentlemen at National Public Radio found that out the hard way when in the interest of journalistic clarity they used the name Bradley Manning in a story about Bradley Manning deciding to adopt a new name and to begin living as though he were a woman—which is to say, they used the name Bradley Manning at a time when everybody who followed the news knew who Bradley Manning was but nobody had ever heard of Chelsea Manning.

    No one seriously believes that the people who manage editorial practices at NPR have the sexual politics of Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee. And if hooked up to a polygraph machine by electrodes attached to the genitals associated with the sex assigned to them at birth, not many people would take seriously the insistence that a biologically male human being who entered this vale of tears capable of fathering children becomes a woman in the same sense as a biologically female person who walks this Earth capable of bearing and nursing children simply because we monkey around with a few pronouns and call the result a “trans woman.” Much of the social tension associated with gender dysphoria could be managed with such old-fashioned bourgeois values as kindness and liberality rather than the carefully cultivated group psychosis currently prescribed. But bourgeois values are unfashionable to speak about, especially among those who profit most handsomely by living in accord with them. Some of that is homeopathic magic straight out of The Golden Bough, but more of it is etiquette obsession straight out of Versailles.

    Watch what you say: Someone is.

    Helpfully defined: "A takfiri is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy—of being impure."


  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi (a straight-shooter in my book) lists 3 Takeaways From The IG Report That Seriously Undermine The FBI’s Credibility. Only three? Commenting on the now-famed Strzok→Page "We'll stop it" text:

    According to the IG, Strzok claims he doesn’t remember sending the text, BUT he also somehow remembers that text was “intended to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation.”

    Now, texts don’t necessarily prove an agent acted unprofessionally. Maybe Strozk was showing off to his lover. Maybe Strozk was blowing off steam. But if a law enforcement agent charged with scrutinizing your business says he’s going to “stop you” — on top of dozens of other statements demonstrated high levels of prejudice, including one self-righteous exchange where he praises himself for being in a position to stop the Trump “menace” — would you consider that person professionally unbiased? There’s no reasonable argument that can guarantee that this agent’s work was uncontaminated by his animosity for Trump.

    Somewhere, someone is wondering: in these hyper-politicized times, how do you trust any branch of the government to investigate possible wrongdoing by government officials or political candidates?


  • At Cato, Trevor Burrus asks the burning question: Did Minnesota Lose Their Free Speech Case at Oral Argument?

    In a 7-2 decision today, the Supreme Court struck down Minnesota’s blanket ban on wearing anything with a political insignia at a polling place. Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion agreed with many parts of Cato’s brief, particularly regarding the inherent unworkability of such a broad ban on political speech. The decision is a small but important victory for free speech.

    In highlighting the unpredictability of the what counts as “political,” Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion cites one moment from oral argument that Supreme Court observers found particularly telling. When asked by Justice Alito whether the law would ban a shirt with the text of the Second Amendment, Daniel Rogan, counsel for Minnesota, said “I think that that could be viewed as political.” Alito then immediately asked whether the same would be true of a shirt with the text of the First Amendment. Observers in the courtroom laughed, and Rogan said “no your honor, I don’t think the First Amendment,” only to be interrupted by the Chief Justice, “No what, that it would be covered or wouldn’t be allowed?,” Roberts asked. “It would be allowed,” replied Rogan, but the Chief Justice seemed surprised, “it would be?,” he asked.

    I am somewhat surprised that the decision wasn't 9-0, but the Unwise Latina, joined by Justice Breyer, couldn't find anything wrong with Minnesota's selective dress codes.

    The relevant New Hampshire law, in case you're wondering:

    No person shall distribute, wear, or post at a polling place any campaign material in the form of a poster, card, handbill, placard, picture, pin, sticker, circular, or article of clothing which is intended to influence the action of the voter within the building where the election is being held.

    Order our Amazon Product du Jour to test the Constitutional waters at your polling place. (NH Primary coming up on September 11.)


  • Jeff Jacoby has some advice, and that is to Leave Google alone. A sample:

    Google gives away its foremost product, Internet search, for free. Ditto most of its hundreds of other products, from Gmail to Translate to Google Earth to Waze. It plowed $14 billion into R&D last year, more than any company in America except Amazon. Of the brands Americans love most, according to Morning Consult's authoritative polling, Google is number one.

    Yes, Google's left-wing bias can be obnoxious. But to target a private corporation because of its politics is something no conservative should favor. This conservative certainly doesn't.

    As Jacoby points out, the tech landscape is littered with the barely-twitching remnants of former dominant players: AOL, Yahoo, MySpace,… Is Google somehow immune from humbling competitive forces? Hey, maybe. But that's not the way to bet.


  • And our close personal friend, Dave Barry, writes an early Father's Day column: On Father's Day, don't forget the soccer dads — or their 'warrior' daughters.

    This Father’s Day I want to sing the praises of soccer dads. I am one. My daughter, Sophie, started playing youth soccer 14 years ago, when she was 4 years old and roughly the same height as the more mature dandelions on the field. Back then my primary responsibility as a soccer dad was to stand on the sideline with the other parents and shout “Sophie, kick the ball!” several hundred times per game.

    Not that it helped. Sophie went two solid years without ever kicking the ball. You think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. Sophie has always been a cautious, meticulous person; she hates to do the wrong thing. Even at age 4, she was afraid that, if she kicked the ball, she might kick it in the wrong direction (not that there really is a “wrong direction” in 4-year-old soccer). Sophie’s strategy back then was to hover near the ball, frowning at it with concern, but to leave the actual, physical kicking of the ball up to the other players.

    Dave is noted for his weird, one could say un-American, love for soccer. But we forgive him.


Last Modified 2018-06-15 7:03 AM EDT