URLs du Jour

2020-09-11

[Amazon Link]

  • Instapundit: 19 YEARS AGO TODAY

    … we said “never forget,” but we mostly have.

    Well some of "us". But not Dave Barry who pointed us to his "Hallowed Ground" essay, a visit to the Flight 93 crash site.

    And not Jennifer S. Bankston, writing of her memories in the WSJ: You’ve Got a Friend This Covid 9/11. Warning: Carole King content.

    The ballroom was a gathering place for loved ones of the victims. They hung photos on the walls and waited in hope of any news. A woman approached me at the hotline station, and I recognized her immediately. I walked over, touched her shoulder, and soon asked her if we could get a piano into the ballroom. As she nodded in agreement, her curly hair shook and tears dripped down her cheeks. I apologized, saying the instrument probably wouldn’t be tuned. She answered softly: “OK.”

    This was a few months before Carole King serenaded Fidel Castro with the same song. So anyway.


  • As someone said: predictions are difficult, especially about the future. But that doesn't stop Robin Hanson: Our Brave New Merged World.

    AGI [Artificial General Intelligence] isn’t coming in the next thirty years. Neither are Moon or Mars colonies, or starships. Or immortality. Or nano-assemblers or ems [human brain emulations]. Cities won’t be flooded due to CO2, a nuclear war won’t devastate civilization, aliens won’t arrive in the skies, and a religious jihad won’t remake culture. The rates of change in the economy, lifespans, fertility, automation, and non-carbon energy will stay about the same. Quantum computing, 3D printing, and crypto-commerce will grow but remain small. There won’t even be that many flying or self-driving cars. So if you are looking for science-fiction-level excitement re dramatic changes over this period, due to a big change we can foresee today, you’ll be disappointed.

    Unless maybe you look at remote work. (Yeah, its not the best name; “work from home” may be better. But I’ll stick with the US standard name here.)

    Robin is very smart and he thinks very hard about this stuff. He may be wrong, but I wouldn't bet against him.

    That's what makes his remote-work scenarios seem very plausible. Of course, politicians will still demand expensive infrastructure projects to support commuting traffic. Named after themselves.


  • An interesting "open letter" effort in defense of American institutions.

    We stand at the crossroads.

    Over the next several years, the noble sentiments and ideas that gave birth to the United States will either be repudiated or reaffirmed. The fateful choice before us will result either in the death of a grand hope or a recommitment to an extraordinary political experiment whose full flowering we have yet to realize. The choice will involve either contempt and despair or gratitude and the self-respect worthy of a free people who know long labors lie before them and who proceed with hope toward a dignified future.

    A bunch of good and thoughtful people have signed on, and it's an excellent apologia.


  • At the WSJ, Walter Olson says he's Never Trump, Now More Than Ever.

    Four years ago I was a “Never Trump” voter. Now, I’m more set than ever in that view: No Trump, doubled. That’s even though I far prefer his economic policies to those of the Democrats. I’ve written many times to defend his administration’s policies against unfair attacks from the left, and I’ve applauded his judicial appointments. But I won’t vote for him, for reasons of Constitution and character.

    No modern president has shown so little care for or grasp of how government works—for instance, what powers the president does and doesn’t have. None have found it as hard to put the nation’s well-being above his own, on matters as basic as setting aside the interests of his family business.

    I'm in deep agreement. He doesn't mention Biden, which leaves him open to…


  • … a lecture from the Issues and Insights folks who say Never-Trumpers Need A Lesson In Basic Math.

    Let’s leave aside the tenuous claim that Trump’s conduct disqualifies him. Compared to what? Bill Clinton’s Oval Office assignations with an intern? Barack Obama’s repeated attempts to bypass the Constitution to get his leftist policies enacted, or use the IRS and the FBI to hamper political opponents? And never mind about the illegal wars, mass internments, spying on political opponents, and other violations committed by past presidents.

    Let’s even concede that Olson and other never-Trumpers are right that Trump has debased the office with his mean tweets, loose grasp of facts, and inappropriate off-the-cuff remarks.

    So what?

    See if you buy their argument. Despite the title, there's not a lot of "Basic Math" involved, so don't let that deter you.

    And don't forget, as I don't: your vote doesn't matter. It won't effect the outcome of the election. There's no reason you shouldn't maximize your psychic benefit, however you measure it.


  • And the Google LFOD alert rang for an incident at the Exeter polls on Tuesday:

    When an Exeter, New Hampshire woman was told this week by election officials that she could not vote in the state's primary in the anti-Trump t-shirt she was wearing, she quickly found an easy solution. She simply voted topless.

    The state's motto is "Live free or die," after all.

    Indeed. In contrast, everyone I saw at the Rollinsford polls kept their tops on.

Woman on the Run

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Pun Salad NoirFest 2020 continues. This is an Amazon Prime streamer, but I put the DVD as my image (on your right) because the old movie poster is much cooler.

The Woman in the title is Eleanor (Ann Sheridan), and (movie consumer alert) she's not actually on the run. Her hubby Frank is on the run, because he witnessed a cold-blooded mob-related murder while walking his doggy in the Streets of San Francisco. (This is a really good movie for checking out late-40s SF, by the way.) Frank is wary about being the next victim, so he goes underground to escape both the cops (who want a witness) and the killer. Eleanor seems outwardly indifferent, but she actually wants to find Frank. She (also) ditches the cops (numerous times) and goes on the hunt, picking up obscure clues Frank has left behind. She's assisted by devilishly handsome newspaper guy (Dennis O'Keefe) who promises her big money if he can get Frank's exclusive story.

The plot is farfetched, and some of the dialog is wooden and stupid. And the climax is clunky. But some of the other dialog, especially Ann Sheridan's, is wonderfully cynical and witty. And saves the movie from a mere two stars.