URLs du Jour

2019-10-18

We lead off this lovely not-quite-as-windy Friday with the new Remy Reason video: Horrifying Tweets Resurface!. You might want to watch it a few times to make sure you get all the jokes; as my great-grandpappy used to say, keep checking the chyron!

(Back in my great-grandpappy's day, the "chyron" was "poop level under the outhouse".)

Remy is some kinda genius, and Reason is lucky to have him.


  • Jonah Goldberg has had it up to here (picture me with my palm three inches over the top of my head) with Donald Trump's impish foreign policy: In his unconscionable betrayal of the Kurds, Trump was winging it — again.

    In one sense, the Syria debacle is a singular moment in the Trump presidency, and arguably in American history. I can’t think of another momentous decision by a commander-in-chief that was instantly recognizable as a disaster for which the president was entirely to blame.

    Even if you think the Iraq war was a catastrophic blunder, it wasn’t immediately and universally recognizable as such. And President Bush could point to support from both parties in Congress, his advisors, the intelligence community and even his predecessor. The Bay of Pigs was backed by the Pentagon and CIA. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed Congress, unanimously in the House and 88-2 in the Senate.

    But here the cheese stands alone.

    I know nothing about foreign policy, and I gape in wonder at people who (at least pretend to) comment knowledgeably on the details. But even I can recognize a Really Bad Idea.

    As bad as the Democrats are on domestic policy, it's difficult to imagine any of them being worse than Trump in this area.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williams has a pretty good metaphor. Beto O’Rourke’s America: Progressive Security State.

    With apologies to Margaret Atwood and a thousand other dystopian novelists, we do not have to theorize about what an American police state would look like, because we know what it looks like: the airport, that familiar totalitarian environment where Americans are disarmed, stripped of their privacy, divested of their freedom of speech, herded around like livestock, and bullied by bovine agents of “security” in a theatrical process that has an 85 percent failure rate because it isn’t designed as a security-screening protocol at all but as a jobs program for otherwise unemployable morons.

    Now, when I hear the words “otherwise unemployable morons,” I think of Robert Francis O’Rourke and his sad little presidential campaign, which suffered a little setback on Tuesday night when the gentleman who advertises himself as “Beto” tried out some tough-guy shtick on Pete Buttigieg, who is, whatever else you can say about him, a veteran of the Afghanistan campaign, one who rightly pointed out that he doesn’t have to prove his “courage” to the idiot son of a well-connected El Paso political family who has done almost nothing with his life other than show himself a reasonably effective fundraiser in the family business.

    O’Rourke is a cretin, and an ambitious cretin at that. And what are his ambitions?

    Turning America into the airport.

    We really dodged a bullet (is that a bad metaphor?) when Beto lost to Ted Cruz last year. And, fortunately, his Presidential prospects don't look good either.


  • My impression of Megan McArdle's position at the WaPo was "wonkish non-ideologue". But she's really letting her hair down (bad metaphor?) recently. Today's example: On health care, Elizabeth Warren sounded like a student who hadn’t done her reading.

    Warren’s appeal to voters is as the thinking man’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Among a certain sector of the electorate — highly educated, urbane, prone to reading “explainers” — the pedantic glamour of the Harvard professoriate blurs her radical edges and limns her most pedestrian pronouncements. These are the sort of people who praise Warren over Sanders because she really knows her stuff.

    Yet consider her answer on Tuesday night when Marc Lacey, a New York Times editor, asked her about health-care insurance: “You have not specified how you’re going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare-for-all. Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it, yes or no?”

    Reader, you will not be surprised to learn that Elizabeth Warren didn't reply with either "yes" or "no". From the transcript:

    So I have made clear what my principles are here, and that is costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for hard-working middle-class families, costs will go down. You know, the way I see this is, I have been out all around this country. I've done 140 town halls now, been to 27 states and Puerto Rico. Shoot, I've done 70,000 selfies, which must be the new measure of democracy.

    And this gives people a chance to come up and talk to me directly. So I have talked with the family, the mom and dad whose daughter's been diagnosed with cancer. I have talked to the young woman whose mother has just been diagnosed with diabetes. I've talked to the young man who has MS.

    And here's the thing about all of them. They all had great health insurance right at the beginning. But then they found out when they really needed it, when the costs went up, that the insurance company pulled the rug out from underneath them and they were left with nothing.

    Look, the way I see this, it is hard enough to get a diagnosis that your child has cancer, to think about the changes in your family if your mom has diabetes, or what it means for your life going forward if you've been diagnosed with MS. But what you shouldn't have to worry about is how you're going to pay for your health care after that.

    Lacey tried again, with another evasive response from Liz.


  • You may have heard that the old USSR tried and failed to get their own space shuttle, Buran, back before it became the ex-USSR. Wired has a photo gallery of the semi-abandoned Buran facilities at Baikonur in Kazakhstan: The Quest to Get Photos of the USSR's First Space Shuttle. And this one, not of any space stuff, gave me a little chill of joy:

    [On the Ash Heap of History]

    Supplemental reading: Wikipedia's entry for "Ash heap of history".