URLs du Jour

2020-09-12

Our Eye Candy du Jour is a steal from Power Line's Week in Pictures, a weekly stop.

[But some looting is indefensible]

It seems Abbie Hoffman was a little bit more intellectually consistent in his book-titling than Vicki.

  • George Will writes on the fourth branch of government, unmentioned in the Constitution:

    Elsewhere in today’s improvisational government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s behavior has become notably muscular. The CDC’s name denotes a specific mission that this agency cannot be entirely blamed for not having altogether mastered. Controlling diseases involves medicines, social protocols (e.g., “social distancing”) and, suddenly, a sweeping excision from property rights: The CDC has this month asserted a power to prohibit — through the end of 2020, but actually for as long as the CDC deems “necessary” — the eviction of private tenants from privately owned residences because of unpaid rent. This, even though eviction levels have been below normal during the lockdown.

    The CDC’s order protects tenants earning up to $99,000 — almost quadruple the official poverty line of $26,200 for a family of four. Or, for those filing joint tax returns, tenants earning up to $198,000, who are in the top quintile of U.S. households. Tenants must inform their landlords in writing that they have sought government assistance, that they have lost income or received substantial uncompensated medical expenses, and that eviction would render them homeless or would result in their living elsewhere “in close quarters.” Noncompliant landlords can be fined up to $100,000 and incarcerated for up to a year.

    Meanwhile, as GFW points out, the Congress can't even manage to perform its Constitutional duties of passing appropriations bills. That's a real good argument for voting against all incumbents. (Which I plan to do.)


  • Hans Bader of Liberty Unyielding claims Schools remain closed until the election for political reasons.

    Reason magazine reported last month that local officials’ decisions about whether to reopen K-12 schools were driven by “politics, not safety.” It noted that Jon Valant, a senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution, recently found:

    COVID-19 risk was not statistically related to school district reopening decisions. Valant’s analysis found school district reopening decisions are instead related to people’s political leanings and support for President Donald Trump. … [T]he less support Trump had in an area, the less likely that school district is to offer in-person learning right now.

    Unsurprising. The electorate must be punished until they provide the correct results!


  • Good forr Jim Geraghty, who has been reading his Ecclesiastes: there's Nothing New under the Sun.

    Bob Woodward’s latest book shows us a president away from the television cameras — but on the record, with Woodward’s tape recorder running — who says “I wanted to always play [the coronavirus] down,” who complains that he’s done a lot for the black community and that he’s not feeling any love from them, who refers to his predecessor as  “Barack Hussein,” and boasts that Kim Jong-un did not like his predecessor, and who boasted to Woodward, “I have built a nucle- a weapon, I have built a weapons system, a weapons system, that nobody’s ever had in this country before. . . . We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before.”

    In other words, Woodward reveals . . . a President Trump who isn’t that different from who we see on camera every day. For each of these comments to Woodward, the president has said something remarkably similar in public, most of which were quickly forgotten in our hypersonic news cycle.

    I suppose there's a chance that Woodward's book could knock a few Trump voters into the Biden camp, but it's really tough to believe.


  • One of my favorite Senators, Bill Sasse, urges us to Make the Senate Great Again. And he recommends a number of reforms, especially:

    Repeal the 17th Amendment. Ratified in 1913, it replaced the appointment of senators by state legislatures with direct election. Different states bring different solutions to the table, and that ought to be reflected in the Senate’s national debate. The old saying used to be that all politics is local, but today—thanks to the internet, 24/7 cable news and a cottage industry dedicated to political addiction—politics is polarized and national. That would change if state legislatures had direct control over who serves in the Senate.

    I always try to be careful in my references, saying "my Congresscritter", but "my state's Senators". Because Senators represent states, not people.


  • [Amazon Link]
    David Clemens at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal asks us to Woke Me When It’s Over. What?

    Many, perhaps most, Americans are just now waking up to the meaning of “woke.” What does “woke” have to do with looting, bricks, fires, and blood in Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis? One asks oneself, “Am I woke (good)? Or not woke (evil)? How woke is woke, how much wokeness is enough, and who decides?”

    In short, woke implies a new state of elevated, more highly evolved moral consciousness. As such, wokeness requires a new vocabulary to express its new concepts.

    Woke language is full of terms such as “toxic” (even “catastrophic”) masculinity, “whiteness,” “white privilege,” “white fragility,” countless new pronouns and genders, “systemic racism,” “cancel culture,” “social justice,” “gaslighting,” and “de-platforming,” most of which are casually or arbitrarily defined, if at all.

    Wokespeak also includes some old chestnuts from the ‘60s and ‘70s: “white supremacy” (kind of hard to square with the election and re-election of Barack Obama), “off the pigs” (kill the police), “police brutality,” political rants against segregationists like “Bull” Connor and George Wallace, and new complaints about previously sanitized-and-approved commercial images of long-suffering “Aunt Jemima” and “Uncle Ben.”

    Moldy slogans from 1965 lend wokeness a gauzy, almost nostalgic atmosphere—but pay heed. One thing wokeness does not tolerate is humor. Another is memory.

    Clemens recommends Beyond Woke by Michael Rectenwald, Amazon link at (your) right.

Ice Cold Heart

[Amazon Link]

The latest (but not the greatest) entry in the "Monkeewrench" series by P. J. Harvey. P. J. used to be a mother-daughter writing team, but Mom died a few years back, so now it's a solo operation. And it's pretty much a paint-by-numbers lurid plot with wooden dialog and hackneyed, overstuffed, description. Here's the first paragraph of an early chapter:

When the doorbell rang, Kelly's heart started slamming against the wall of her chest. It seemed so odd, because the rest of her body felt slow and gooey and molten, like a chocolate chip in a cookie just out of the oven. It was a silly thing to think, but it somehow seemed profound, like something she should write down.

Yeesh. Where else is your heart going to slam, if not against your chest? Or the wall of your chest? Which is probably close by.

No, it's not profound, and you shouldn't write it down.

Not my cup of tea, sorry. Not even my hot cookie.

Anyway, there's psychics, abused drugs, kinky sex gone bad, cryptocurrency, hacking, war criminals, overpriced bad art, hypothermia. Not much of any reason to care about anyone involved.