URLs du Jour

2019-07-20

We'll forego the usual Amazon Product du Jour today and bring you Mr. Ramirez instead: Man on the Moon.

[Man on the Moon]

And now to our usual linkage:

  • [Amazon Link]
    Kevin D. Williamson has a … well, let's put it this way: if there were a local preacher who gave sermons like this, I'd start going to church again: Jeffrey Epstein & Biblical Christianity -- Judge, if You Must, but Curb the Glee: Notes from Las Vegas.

     Las Vegas, Nevada — Judge not, lest ye be judged” is the most abused line in the Bible and possibly the most tortured and misunderstood sentence in English. (Perhaps the passage is clearer in Matthew’s original Greek or in other translations. Hit me up, New Testament scholars.) “Judge not!” is practically the municipal motto here in Las Vegas: What happens in Sodom . . . But of course we must judge. We must do justice and mercy, protect the vulnerable, enforce the law, maintain order — and none of that is possible without judgment. We value judgment above all in public men and those who are entrusted with important affairs. (Well . . .) When your children are going the wrong way in life, when you meet at addict, when your neighbor keeps showing up with unexplained bruises on her face, Judge not! is the worst of all possible advice.

    And yet . . .

    Did I ever tell you how I came to oppose capital punishment? In the 1990s, I went to write about a protest outside the prison in which Texas conducts its executions. There was a small group of people voicing their opposition to the execution — the usual hippies and protest hobbyists. They were pretty dusty. There was also a much larger and more expressive group cheering on Old Sparky — and they were having a great time. It was a rave, and their eyes were shining, and they were alive with joy. The horror of the scene, it seemed to me, was not what was being done to the man inside the walls of the prison — who surely had it coming — but what was being done to the citizens gathered outside those walls.

    I ordered KDW's new book back in January, and it's due out in a few days. Amazon link at right. You know what to do. If you haven't done it already.

    And as for the request to "New Testament scholars": I am not one, but I can go to the relevant Bible Gateway. I am impressed with the "Message" version:

    Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

    I can imagine Jesus saying: "Yeah, that's what I meant. Thanks for clearing that up."


  • At Reason, Scott Shackford contributes to our "Amazingly Overpaid TV People" department. Because Joy Behar Has No Idea What the ACLU Does or That Hate Speech Is Protected Under the First Amendment.

    There are many, many ways a concerned American could respond to the repulsively racist and nativist "Send her back!" chant at President Donald Trump's rally last night in Greenville, N.C., during which the crowd cheered for the forceful removal from the U.S. of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.), a Somali-born American citizen.

    Joy Behar of The View, who is in many ways a professional journalist, somehow managed to articulate one of the least informed responses.

    The ladies of The View started their show today by unanimously expressing contempt for the behavior at Trump's rally. Then Behar asks, "Why can't he be brought up on charges of hate speech? Why can't he be sued by the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] for hate speech? I don't get it. How does he get away with this?"

    If you need more explication of the wrongheadedness of this Beharism, click through.

    I will (as usual) decline to join in the "racist" characterization of President Bonespurs. In the same spirit that Russell Kirk once said about President Eisenhower in response to accusations from the John Birch Society ("Ike’s not a communist, he’s a golfer."): Trump's not a racist, he's an asshole.


  • P. J. O'Rourke is feeling patriotic and grateful: Oh Beautiful For… Some Expected Things. And all he has to do is…

    Anyway, when I get depressed, I tune into the WBZ traffic report, and I’m instantly full of optimism, good feelings, and love for life… Compared with the people in Boston who are stuck in traffic… which would be all of them. WBZ has a slogan for its traffic report: “Boston – it’s an hour’s drive from Boston.”

    Why Boston traffic is so bad, I don’t know. Boston isn’t a huge city. In fact, it’s less populous than Columbus, Ohio, or Charlotte, North Carolina. And Boston drivers are notoriously aggressive – curb-jumping, left-turning-on-red, one-way-wrong-waying, lead-foot lane-hopping lions in the zebra crossing.

    They should, by all rights, be able to hot rod their way out of any traffic tie-up. (Why don’t Boston drivers use turn signals? That would be giving classified information to the enemy.)

    But Boston has something called “the Leverett Connector.” This is where I-93, Rt. 1, Rt. 3, Rt. 28, Storrow Drive, the Charles River, Boston Harbor, the Zakim Bridge, the Callahan Tunnel to Logan Airport, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway all meet. If you’re coming into Boston from the north… or south… or east… or west… you will end up in the Leverett Connector. You may not mean to, but you will.

    I will not forget the first time I drove in Boston, in the fall of 1973. If what does not kill you makes you stronger, I got much stronger that day.


  • The Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History is honoring Angela Davis this coming September. At the Bulwark, Ron Radosh says what's wrong with that: The Real Angela Davis.

    It is disheartening … to hear that this coming September the museum is featuring an old documentary on Angela Davis titled, Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners. After the screening there will be a discussion moderated by Rhea Combs who will interview and question Ms. Davis. In announcing the event, the museum’s press release notes that “we all recognize that Prof. Davis is a figure for the ages, as fascinating to us now as she was at the height of her incarceration and trial” (which took place in 1972). The release added that Davis’s life “is a quintessential American story of activism,” and that “because of her activism in support of social justice, she was criminalized and named on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.”

    This description is demonstrably false. And it elides the most important parts of Davis’s biography.

    Angela Davis was not arrested and tried because she worked for “social justice.” She was tried for purchasing guns for a courtroom raid carried out by her lover George Jackson’s brother, Jonathan, whose use of these guns in a shootout (while attempting to flee) killed one of the four people he had taken hostage, a man named Judge Harold Haley. The purchase of these guns was easily traced to Davis who, rather than surrendering, fled to avoid being captured. She was eventually found at a motel on 8th Avenue in New York City, where she was taken into custody, having been charged by superior court judge Peter Smith with “aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder.”

    Is it wrong to consider this "whitewashing"?

    A blast from the past: my reaction to the University Near Here bringing Davis in for its 2009 Martin Luther King celebration.


  • At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen offers a pop quiz Which of these claims is false?. And here they are:

    The Democratic-controlled House just voted to abolish the “Cadillac tax” on employer-supplied health plans.

    The Independent Payments Advisory Board no longer exists, having been abolished with support from both parties.

    In the public option for Democratic-controlled Washington State, reimbursement rates were set at up to 160 percent of Medicare levels.

    Single-payer health care will save America a great amount of money.

    I'm sure Pun Salad readers will have no trouble picking out the clinker.