URLs du Jour


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  • Our Amazon Product du Jour is a book I just happened across, and I'm intrigued by the title. Seems as if God is advertising Himself as the Most Boring Conversationalist Ever.

    "Let me tell you about Malachi, now there was a prophet. But he could also fish. He would drop his hook in the Sea of Galilee, and the carp would be lining up to bite. Malachi preferred the tilapia, though, so he threw a lot of the carp back…"

  • Peter Spiliakos writes at NR on The Calvinball World of Elite White Liberals.

    The legendary comic strip Calvin and Hobbes had a game called “Calvinball.” The rules were nonsensical to the outsider and the players made up them as they went along, to gain tactical advantage. But the point was that the players were alternating in changing the rules.

    In many elite institutions, elite white liberals are used to playing a spoiled-brat version of Calvinball in which only they get to make up the rules. Sometimes the rule is believe the accusers (when the targets are fraternities or Republican nominees). Sometimes — like with Keith Ellison — the rule is pictures or it didn’t happen (sorry, Al Franken). Sometimes colleges need safe spaces, and sometimes armed left-wing militias are an understandable but overenthusiastic response to peaceful, democratic critics.

    The key is the relationship of (mostly white, affluent, privileged) activists to authority. They might be students, junior staffers at media companies, or television producers, but they all know that they are part of the in-group and that authority is looking for a pretext to apply the rules in a partisan manner against the out-group. They know that authority is corrupt, and that rules and procedures will be manipulated or ignored to harass the opposition. These expectations of special treatment don’t just disappear when these people leave their institutional playpens.

    Another Calvinball-like arena are the social media giants, apparently suspending/deleting accounts for violating vague rules, inconsistently applied.

  • Reason's Nancy Rommelmann dissects The Complex, Childish Identity Politics of Elizabeth Warren’s Native Heritage.

    Because it just really could have been, I believe Warren believes herself to be part Native, that she is one of the millions of Americans who have been told they have Native blood (though often don't); who, while wishcasting for identity, alight on Native American because #motherearth and #nicehair and because Natives tend to put up with white people parachuting in for a perceived spiritual hit.

    In my experience, as a 100 percent white person who's spent three decades around Native people—who, also in my experience, usually refer to themselves as American Indians, or simply 'skins—Natives are amazingly tolerant of the wannabes. The woman who comes to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, every year from Germany to visit Grandma for a month but brings with her money and gifts and steaks for the barbecue? She can stay. The little orange-haired girl dancing at the powwow who, when my former brother-in-law asked, "What tribe are you?" answered, "I don't know but Mama knows," forever bequeathed us the "Mamaknows" tribe. My half-Native daughter's classmates who, during the 1997 drought in Los Angeles, suggested she lead them in a rain dance? They were second graders, in thrall to Pocahontas! They danced! And that was fine!

    If we self-mythologize when we're young, most of us (who are not politicians) would be too ashamed, or would not see enough benefit, to keep the lies going. (I stopped telling people the Osmonds were my cousins around age 11, about the time a friend said he stopped talking about his "Aunt Raquel.") We don't need little lies anymore to feel special; we develop identities based on accomplishments, on facts, not feelings.

    Mistaking wishful fantasies for reality? As Nancy says, it's cute and understandable when you're young. But Elizabeth Warren is 69 years old, so…

  • Let's bring in Michael Ramirez:

  • Watching Jeopardy! on live TV on Boston's WBZ TV brings us, unfortunately, bazillions of ads for and against "Question 1" on the Massachusetts ballot in November. Because it's now (apparently) the job of the state to micromanage hospital staffing questions. The WSJ (probably paywalled) weighs in on Bad Bedside Manner in Massachusetts.

    Massachusetts has some of the best medical care in the world, but a ballot measure next month could start its erosion by raising costs and reducing access. The culprit is the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

    Question 1 would limit the number of patients assigned to each registered nurse in state hospitals. For instance, in the pediatric, medical and surgery units a nurse would care for no more than four patients. Patients deemed in non-stable condition in the critical or intensive-care units would have their own dedicated nurse, as would mothers in labor and those under anesthesia.

    The nurses union claims these rigid ratios will improve the quality of hospital care, which is already terrific. Massachusetts’ health care ranks second in the nation, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 scorecard. The state has some of the world’s great hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s. The state has 122.4 nurses per 10,000 residents, far more than the national average of 89.6.

    Of course this will increase the cost of medical care generally. And the same people pushing for it will gripe in clueless wonder about how things got so expensive.

  • And a wonderful obituary for Rick Stein. begins:

    Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018 when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. Philadelphia police confirm Stein had been a patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he was being treated for a rare form of cancer. Hospital spokesman Walter Heisenberg says doctors from Stein's surgical team went to visit him on rounds when they discovered his room was empty. Security footage shows Stein leaving the building at approximately 3:30 Thursday afternoon, but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft.

    "The sea was angry that day," said NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. "We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely."

    Stein's location isn't the only mystery. It seems no one in his life knew his exact occupation.

    His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. "My dad couldn't even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa."

    And it gets worse. By which I mean: much much better. We can only hope that we'll go accompanied by such great humor.

Last Modified 2018-12-26 7:37 AM EST