URLs du Jour

2020-06-17

<voice imitation="professor_farnsworth">Good news, everyone!</voice>. As NBC News reports: Aunt Jemima brand to change name, remove image that Quaker says is 'based on a racial stereotype'

The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, saying the company recognizes that "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype."

The 130-year-old brand features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character.

Thank goodness we've finally tracked down the source of the country's racial strife. Clear sailing from here on out, I guess.

Woops! What about … Mrs. Butterworth? Although she's a spring chicken compared to Aunt J., allegedly the model for her original bottle was Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen. Famed for uttering the immortal words: "Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies." (Her followup line, "… but would you care for some pancakes?" was apparently left on the cutting room floor.)

Anyway, that's very problematic and once Aunt J is memory-holed, Mrs. B may still stand in the way of further healing.


  • At the College Fix, Dave Huber reports on further racial healing in the state to our immediate west: Vermont principal put on leave after ‘insanely tone-deaf’ Black Lives Matter comments

    A school principal in Vermont has been placed on leave, and likely will not be brought back, due to making allegedly “insanely tone-deaf” comments on Facebook about Black Lives Matter.

    On Friday, the Mount Ascutney School District Board voted unanimously to suspend (with pay) Tiffany Riley, according to VTDigger. Board Chair Elizabeth Burrows said “We do not intend to hire her back […] we wanted to make sure we acted as quickly as we possibly could.”

    Insanely? Meaning Principal Riley is suffering from some sort of mental illness? I'm pretty sure that's grounds for a lawsuit: discrimination against the mentally ill is illegal in Vermont, isn't it? If I were on the Mount Ascutney School District Board, I'd hire a lawyer to be sure we weren't in violation of Tiffany's rights.


  • Kevin D. Williamson takes to the NYPost to observe: Social justice warriors are waging a 'Cancel Cultural Revolution'

    In the course of a week, three editors went down: James Bennett of the Times was canceled for publishing an opinion on the opinion page, Senator Tom Cotton’s defense of the Insurrection Act, which permits the use of federal troops to quell riots; Claudia Eller was pushed out at Variety (suspended, formally, but not expected to return to her position) after penning a white-privilege mea culpa that was found to be unconvincing; Adam Rapoport of Bon Appétit was canned for much the same reason, his offense aggravated by a turn-of-the-century photograph of him dressed as a stereotypical Puerto Rican at a Halloween party.

    But racial outrages are far from the only thing that can cost someone a job in these stupid times, and it isn’t only public figures who are targeted. Fender, a guitar maker, exiled a master guitar-builder after he tweeted an ugly joke (a blood-covered Jeep over the caption “What protesters on the freeway?”) at the expense of the recent demonstrations. But better manners won’t save you: A data analyst and veteran of the Obama reelection campaign was fired by Civis Analytics for tweeting a link to a paper written by a well-regarded (and, worth noting, biracial) Princeton professor of African-American studies finding that riots are bad for black communities. No criticism, however respectful or intelligent, is to be permitted.

    Bonus quote: "Today’s social-justice warriors are relying on the same strategy that once kept openly gay actors out of the movies and black musicians off the radio, an irony that is lost on our progressive friends."


  • Gizmodo has some harsh words for a former public health rock star: Dr. Fauci Made the Coronavirus Pandemic Worse By Lying About Masks

    Dr. Anthony Fauci has been hailed as a hero during the coronavirus pandemic, delivering thoughtful health advice while most members of the Trump regime have spread misinformation about covid-19. But there’s one area where Fauci let America down, hindering the public health response and giving the U.S. both the highest coronavirus case count and the worst recorded death toll in the world. Simply put, Fauci lied about whether masks were helpful in slowing the spread of the virus.

    Fauci was asked yesterday by financial news outlet The Street why the U.S. government didn’t promote masks early on during the pandemic. Fauci, who sits on the Trump regime’s zombie-like coronavirus task force, hinted that he knew masks worked, he just wanted any available masks to be saved for health care workers.

    The problem being that anyone can ask, quite reasonably: "Hey, they were lying to us then. What are they lying about now?"

    Nothing important, I'm sure.

    Right?


  • Veronique de Rugy rips a beloved federal agency a new one: Disaster Relief for Small Businesses Is a Disaster All Its Own

    There's an old saying: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For Congress, that hammer is the Small Business Administration (SBA). And every economic crisis is a nail.

    Whenever the country is hit by a hurricane, an earthquake, or a terrorist attack, the government instructs the owners of small businesses that have been hurt to turn to the SBA for help. The agency was originally conceived in 1953 to provide guidance and aid to small businesses. Today, its mission statement also includes efforts "to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation." But in recent decades, it has become the federal government's all-purpose tool for promoting economic recovery.

    Unfortunately, the agency has a long history of responding to crises chiefly with a mix of ineptitude, bureaucratic sloth, and cronyism—most spectacularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The current crisis is no exception.

    The SBA should be abolished. Near the top of a long list.


  • And what would we do without scientists, specifically the ones who have done the math and determined There are three dozen other intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.

    Looking at the title, I would imagine the first question most of you have is… how do they know? Did someone accidentally dial into a massive Zoom call between the White House and all of these civilizations where they were planning which humans to abduct next? Nothing quite so flashy or definitive, I’m afraid. A recent article at Forbes is describing the findings in a report published in The Astrophysical Journal where a group of scientists has run the numbers and concluded that there are probably 36 different Communicating Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent (CETI) civilizations in our galaxy. And if conditions can be expected to be the same everywhere, given the staggering number of galaxies we’ve found in the universe so far, intelligent, technologically advanced civilizations are more common than hair lice in a kindergarten class.

    Not for the first time, nor probably the last, I'll express my profound skepticism. "Life" may be out there somewhere, even somewhat prolific. But will it even look like ours? Evolution is one long chain of random accidents and (mostly) failed experiments in survival. There's no reason to expect that. "Intelligent" life is an even longer shot: out of millions of species, over hundreds of millions of years, Earth has generated just one "intelligent" one.

    Well, as far as we know.

The Hunt

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I liked it OK. Not proud of that, but I look favorably upon any movie I manage to stay awake through these days. No problems on that score here.

It takes until the end of the movie to reveal what's really going on, but the superficial take will do: a group of wealthy Trump-hating woke progressives drug and kidnap a dozen MAGA types from across the country, whisking them off in a private jet to a remote location where they're used as target practice. Thereby confirming right-wing speculation that the lefties really buy into their eliminationist rhetoric.

When it comes to Crystal, one of the designated victims, though: it seems she's a little more qualified in violent self-defense tactics.

There's some plot twistiness along the way, involving how the victims were selected, and the deadly game's origins. And (should you decide to watch it) you might want to brush up on Orwell's Animal Farm ahead of time, there are some pretentious references to that work.

Some stuff just didn't make any sense to me. The victims are initially fitted with locked collars and gags, then provided with the keys. Why? When we first see Crystal, she's magnetizing a needle to use as a makeshift compass. What good would that possibly do her?

Trivia note: the Pride of Lincoln, Nebraska, Hillary Swank, has won two Best Actress Oscars. And now she's in schlock like this. She's good, but… If you're in show biz, you take the roles you can get, I suppose.

Friday

[Amazon Link]

Continuing on the Rereading Heinlein project. (Just 23 to go!)

The Amazon link picture isn't the copy I have. I have (ahem) a 1982 first printing. Assuming I paid list price (I don't remember), it set me back $14.95. Ah, the days before I was a senior citizen on a fixed income and felt flush enough to splurge that way.

Although if Heinlein were still alive and cranking out books, I might…

The eponymous heroine is an Artificial Person, grown in a lab with a genome granting her enhanced strength, speed, and sensory acuity. There's widespread bigotry toward APs, so she doesn't advertise her origins. She has a job as a courier for a secretive organization, run by an old guy Friday calls "The Boss". In this scenario, interplanetary travel is a given, interstellar travel is just getting started. But traditional governments have broken up and become balkanized, and corporations have stepped into the power vacuum; it's kind of a mess.

Friday has a dangerous job in a dangerous time and place. She feels she has to, and does, kill a guy on page one, paragraph one. But she's captured by a gang of bad guys on page 7, Raped by page 9. But (spoiler) eventually rescued. (Her lackadaisical attitude toward this attack drew some feminist ire back in the 80s, I recall.)

And things proceed from there. There's not much of a plot; it's basically stuff that she does, and what happens to her. But for me, it kept the pages turning. Friday's first-person narration is Heinleinesque, take it or leave it. Lots of observations and opinions on society, politics, and sex.