URLs du Jour


Our Getty Image commemorates the newfound American love of being pushed around in any language.

  • But first, in case you thought it was only the CIA, FBI, CDC, FDA, … well, it's that government agency that depends on our warm and fuzzy feelings from 1969. That was then, this is now, and (according to Robert Zimmerman): NASA’s Orion is a program of lies.

    In a report [pdf] released today, NASA’s inspector general confirmed unequivocally what I have been saying for years, that the agency’s project to build the Orion capsule has been built on lies, from the beginning.

    And Zimmerman's conclusion is also worth excerpting:

    Overall this IG report is quite damning. It illustrates the corruption and failure of our leaders and their bureaucracy in Washington, going back almost twenty years. They can’t get the job done, and they lie about it continually. It is past time for these people to be fired, with the work given to someone else.

    And that someone else should be free Americans, in the private sector, doing what they wish to do.

    Might be time for NASA to concentrate on core competencies. They're pretty good at unmanned probes, right?

  • At the NR Corner, David Harsanyi tries to disabuse mask lovers: There's No Such Thing as a Federal Mask-Wearing Mandate.

    Reporters keep asking White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany if the president will consider a mask-wearing mandate. Journalists keep writing about federal mandates. House speaker Nancy Pelosi says a federal mandate on mask wearing is “long overdue.” Joe Biden promises that if he’s elected this November, he would require all Americans to wear masks in public.

    Have any reporters every wondered which federal agency would be tasked with forcing Nevadans or Texans to wear masks in public? Or under what constitutional power Biden can enact a mask-wearing ban in Vermont? Will he just sign an executive order? Or will he just declare a mandate like Michael Scott declared bankruptcy? And what federal agency would enforce the mask-wearing mandate? Will National Guard be called in? Will CDC paratroopers be dropped into Arkansas? Will Biden direct local police departments to chase down non-compliant joggers? Will there be a fine? Will there be jail time? Will the offenders stand in federal courts?

    See above. The demand from some of our fellow citizens for their government to find new ways to push other people around is on the increase. Never mind that pesky Constitution!

    And (as I've noted before) some of those same folks, post-9/11, were freaking out about the possibility that Dubya might be able to peruse the list of library books they had checked out. Good times.

  • I am more in tune with the laissez-faire but sensible attitude of James Lileks. Who favors Letting your mask speak for you.

    Oh, no: I got in an argument about masks.

    Oh, no, you quietly think: “I kinda liked this guy. Thought well of him. Silly fellow, sure, but he’s not one of ... one of those, is he?”

    No, I’m not. There. Feel better?

    You think: “No, because you didn’t say whether you’re on the side that thinks masks are meaningless theater designed to bring about a compliant, sheeplike population that gives up its constitutional right to exhale unimpeded, or the side that believes all possible social approbation should be brought down on people who don’t wear a mask in the car. What if you gave it to the radio announcer?”

    I understand that Linda Ronstadt has demanded that nobody listen to her songs without a mask. Even on an iPod 3000 miles away from her. Can't be too careful at her age.

  • And bona fide lefty Jonathan Chait has not been fired from New York magazine yet, but asking questions like this can't be good for his career: Is Anti-Racism Training Just Peddling White Supremacy?. He includes the (infamous, and now deleted) "whiteness" page from the African-American History Museum. He looks White Fragility author, Robin DiAngelo and How to be an Antiracist author, Ibram X. Kendi.

    Kendi, like DiAngelo, argues that racism must be defined objectively. Intent does not matter, only effect. Their own intentions are surely admirable. But the fact is that their insistence on denying that America provides its Black children worse educations inhibits working toward a solution. Denying the achievement gap, like denying the gap in how police treat white and Black people, seems to objectively entrench racism.

    It’s easy enough to see why executives and school administrators look around at a country exploding in righteous indignation at racism, and see the class of consultants selling their program of mystical healing as something that looks vaguely like a solution. But one day DiAngelo’s legions of customers will look back with embarrassment at the time when a moment of awakening to the depth of American racism drove them to embrace something very much like racism itself.

    Via Ann Althouse. To repeat once again: both Kendi's and DiAngelo's books are part of the "Racial Justice Resources" plugged by the University Near Here. Heretics and unbelievers in that gospel? Unless you're (say) J. K. Rowling, it is probably best to keep quiet about that if you want to be associated with UNH.

  • At the American Institute for Economic Research, Robert E. Wright provides a retrospective on The Sordid History of Scam Science. One example of many:

    Off-the-Charts Income Inequality: The mere framing of this concept belies its real purpose, to redistribute “income.” If framed correctly, as productivity inequality, the “problem” disappears or begs the question why a few people are so much more productive than most others and why some produce nothing at all. Hint: it is natural heterogeneity plus stochastic processes layered onto inequality-enhancing government regulations, like minimum wages, interest rate caps, and rent controls. In fact, rich countries have far less income and wealth inequality than poor ones and inequality cycles up and down rather than making a beeline towards either extreme. Most disturbing of all, it appears that some researchers are willing to distort statistics to match their doomsday scenarios. Thankfully, they have been called out repeatedly but not before their “story” had become a “stylized fact” widely accepted by the media and Twitter rage monkeys.

    The recurring theme: nobody is seriously called to account for being spectacularly wrong about (for another example) Alar. Meryl Streep still gets paid the big bucks for movies.

  • And finally, Virginia Postrel has advice on Coronavirus School Reopening: Teachers Need to Do More to Help.

    When the Los Angeles Unified School District announced on Monday that it will not resume any in-person instruction this fall, it was a political victory for teachers and a defeat for families, science and opportunity for all.

    The teachers’ union opposed reopening schools amid the continuing rise in Covid-19 cases locally, and lobbied for an early resolution to eliminate uncertainty.

    There's a lot to worry about, but VP argues (convincingly, to my mind) that there's little scientific reason for not returning to normal in the K-12 area.