URLs du Jour

2020-08-20

[Amazon Link]

  • Rachelle Peterson writes at National Review on An Important Step in the Fight to Ban Chinese Confucius Institutes.

    Alabama is poised to become the first state to take up legislation banning public colleges and universities from hosting Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government-sponsored campus centers that propagandize for Beijing and serve as outposts of Communist Party espionage. State representative Tommy Hanes recently unveiled a draft proposal to ban the centers, which immediately drew public support from Alabama congressman Mo Brooks.

    The bill would prohibit public universities in Alabama from “providing support for, funding for, or use of its campus facilities” for “cultural institutes that are affiliated with, funded by, or supported by the government of China.” It would affect both of Alabama’s existing Confucius Institutes, at Alabama A&M and Troy University. (A third Confucius Institute, at Auburn University at Montgomery, closed quietly a few years ago.)

    Well, that would be pretty neat to emulate up here. Instead, the Confucius Institute at the University Near Here is still muddling along.


  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie reports on The ‘Highest Single-Day of COVID-19 Deaths’ That Wasn’t.

    Under the best of circumstances, reporting on COVID-19 is tough. There are simply too many unknowns, and even when officials aren't manipulating the truth they aren't always willing to cop to the fact that they really don't have solid answers.

    But there's really no excuse for journalism as sloppy and misleading as the August 13 ABC News segment whose headline blared "US reports highest single-day of COVID-19 deaths." This video was widely shared, appearing not just on the main ABC News site, but also on Good Morning America, MSN.com, and elsewhere. And it simply wasn't true.

    ABC has retroactively corrected itself, but how many bleary-eyed saps who believe Good Morning America caught the correction, which was not delivered with the same fervor as the lie?


  • We've long observed that "Progressives" aren't that innovative. Instead they're devoted to the past. (Most recent: Protect the United States Postal Service! With more money!)

    And they are wedded to decades-old warhorses. But as George F. Will reminds us: Progressives want a new New Deal. The old one failed at its main task.

    Today’s oddly retrospective progressives locate progress in a past that they hope will soon be revisited. They call for a new New Deal to resuscitate the economy from the pandemic-induced contraction. For example, James Roosevelt Jr., grandson of the New Deal’s creator, and Henry Scott Wallace, grandson of Henry Wallace, who was agriculture secretary during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first two terms and vice president during the third, recently exhorted Joe Biden to “go even bigger” than FDR, who promised — and delivered — “bold, persistent experimentation.” The grandsons recommend the sort of “jobs programs that were successfully implemented through the New Deal.” Well.

    The current unemployment rate is properly described as disastrous: 10.2 percent. In 1939, the sixth year of the New Deal’s bold, persistent experimentation, the unemployment rate was 17.2 percent. On May 9 of that year, Roosevelt’s treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, testified to the House Ways and Means Committee:

    “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”

    But surely there's a magic wand in Uncle Stupid's bag of tricks!


  • Pierre Lemieux celebrates an American Nostradamus: Mencken’s 100-Year-Old Prediction Realized, Twice.

    Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) was an elitist libertarian (which, by itself, raises iconoclastic questions) and one of those free speakers who did not always, in his writings, engage in civil conversation. One hundred years ago, in the Baltimore Evening Sun of July 26, 1920, Mencken made a striking prediction, which, barring improbable events, is certain to be realized in less than three months, and for the second time in four years:

    As democracy is perfected, the office [of president] represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people … On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

    To repeat: to save our country, Pun Salad demands that the candidates be subjected to a blindly-administered series of exams on civics, current events, basic math and science, and general intelligence. Perhaps an essay question or two.

    Actually, this should have happened before the primaries. But now is OK.