URLs du Jour

2019-05-25

[Amazon Link]

I believe a more appropriate subtitle for our Amazon Product du Jour would be: "Why It's So Hard To Get White People To Shut Up and Listen To Us Harangue Them About Their Shortcomings". But I could be wrong! If someone's read it, let me know.

  • That's inspired by Jay Nordlinger's recent Impromptus, 'White' and Other Current Epithets. In which he observed:

    Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania state legislator went on a rant against a woman protesting outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. You can read about the incident here. I would like to fasten on a single detail — not the most important, by a long shot. The legislator called the woman “an old white lady.”

    I wonder, “Why ‘white’?” (We can leave the “old” till another time.) What does race have to do with it? I often find this on Twitter — when my critics condemn me as “an old white man.” Okay — but are my views right or wrong? Smart or stupid? Well expressed or badly expressed?

    Those things are ignored. “Old white man” seems enough.

    In the wake of Alabama’s anti-abortion legislation, critics have said that the legislators are “white men.” (I haven’t seen “old” as much.) The “men” I get, in the context of pro-choice rhetoric. But the “white”?

    It seems to me just a reflex epithet — like “fascist.” George Orwell said, “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’”

    Speaking as an old white man myself, I'm slightly puzzled by the implication that pigeonholing-by-skin-color is seen as a useful tactic. Folks, it doesn't make your argument insightful or even correct. It just shows that you're willing to be distracted by trivialities for imagnined rhetorical effect.


  • Case in point, as reported by the Daily Wire: Anne Hathaway Scolds Pro-Life ‘White Women’ Over Abortion Laws.

    Over the weekend, award-winning actress Anne Hathaway scolded pro-life "white women" for supporting abortion-restricting legislation sweeping the nation. Hathaway accused such women of being "complicit" in the allegedly inevitable deaths of racial minority women due to such laws.

    "Yes the anti-abortion movement is primarily about controlling women’s bodies under the premise (for many, sincere) of saving lives, and yes this law is primarily the work of white men HOWEVER a white woman sponsored the bill and a white woman signed it into law," she wrote in an Instagram post.

    There might be people out there on the fence, who are persuaded by Anne's ominous invocation of "white". Especially when it comes from someone who was so charming in The Princess Diaries.

    But are those the people you want to have on your side?


  • Reason's Steven Greenhut makes an observation and asks for clarification: The State Can’t Keep Drugs Out of Prisons. How Was It Ever Going to Keep Them Out of America?.

    Of the 1,000 or so California bills that likely will become law this year, virtually every measure will give government more power to do one thing or another. The consensus in the Capitol is that the government "must do something" about any problem that pops into a lawmaker's mind. Most bills deal with relatively small expansions, but make no mistake about it: state officials want to seize control of big stuff, too, such as the healthcare system.

    However, lawmakers routinely shrug at the crises that afflict every government-controlled system in the state. The public pension funds, which provide lush retirements to state and local workers, are awash in "unfunded liabilities" (debt), thus driving municipal budgets toward the fiscal cliff and crowding out public services. Nothing to see there. California's public schools range from incompetent to mediocre, but nothing ever changes. No one listens.

    There's something a little bizarre about not-particularly-competent pols assuming they can twist enough coercive dials and flip enough regulatory switches to usher in Nirvana.

    Oh, the drug part? Here: "Nearly 1,000 men and women in California prisons overdosed last year and required emergency medical attention in what officials acknowledge is part of an alarming spike in opioid use by those behind bars," (San Francisco Chronicle)


  • Bobby Dylan turns 78 today! Fellow Minnesotan Scott Johnson celebrates here and here at Power Line. Reflecting on Dylan's origins in remote Hibbing, MN:

    I wonder how Dylan could have absorbed all the strains of American popular music in a town as remote as Hibbing. The radio was apparently Dylan’s indispensable source, but the development of his gifts seems incredibly unlikely. How could he have formed the ambition to become “Bob Dylan” from his roots in Hibbing? The town must have provided some encouragement, even if it also provided the impetus for him to move on and not look back. The people he left behind there remain incredibly nice.

    Confession: I didn't "get" Dylan when I was growing up. I've come to appreciate him more.

    Scott provides a number of YouTubed covers of Dylan songs. Here's a goodie, an Elvis cover that Dylan claimed to be “the one recording I treasure the most.”:

  • And you will not want to miss the answer to a question that I've wondered about since I was 10 years old or so: US Astronaut Reveals if Space Farts Can Send One Soaring in Zero-Gravity.

    Yes, it's clickbait. And probably not news you can use. Still…