URLs du Jour


This xkcd this morn is data-driven:

[Electoral Precedent 2020]

Mouseover: "He also broke the streak that incumbents with websites are unbeatable and Delawareans can't win, creating a new precedent: Only someone from Delaware can defeat an incumbent with a website."

  • At the Federalist, Glenn T. Stanton has no love for the corporate media. For the Corporate Media Doubles Down On Hatred For All Who Voted Trump.

    President Trump has taken bipartisan criticism for his late election-night victory declaration, but he is not the only one to have lost mind of his citizenship manners as we all wait to see the final outcome.The editors at The Atlantic are breathlessly accusing about half the country of being nuts for voting to “leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office,” fueled by their “sullen commitment to authoritarianism.”

    If that half of the country gets their wish and Trump is re-elected, The Atlantic says that’s very, very bad. Effectively, “The United States would begin its last days as a democracy, finally stepping over the ledge into authoritarianism.” That is a lot of blame to put on the shoulders of one’s fellow Americans, but so be it when you live in a bubble.

    The Atlantic link goes to a column by Tom Nichols, not the "editors", but point taken. I think if Trump's actual goal was to push the country "over the ledge into authoritarianism", even he would have realized that he should get that done in his first term. Tom Nichols is a poster child for Trump Derangement Syndrome, but click over to see if any other of the examples gathered by Stanton outdo him.

    But speaking of authoritarianism …

  • See Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason: Joe Biden’s Presidency Is Coming. It Will Be Bad In Predictable Ways.. (Elizabeth's daily column aggregates the morning news, but her commentary goes beyond mere aggregation.)

    We knew this was coming, of course. We have decades of history to tell us how Biden and Harris will govern. We know, for instance, that they want top-down solutions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, will be bad on free speech and internet regulation, are always ready to spread some new sex panic, support harmful regulations for independent contractors, and don't even pretend to be realistic about government spending. We know they're still cowards when it comes to ending the drug war and enacting meaningful criminal justice reform.

    And now, we're already seeing rumblings around many of these dangerous fault lines. Biden is working on plans to get state and local governments to universally enact mask mandates, according to NBC News:

    President-elect Joe Biden in the coming days will begin calling governors and the mayors of major cities from both parties to encourage them to institute mask mandates as the coronavirus pandemic enters a potentially deadlier phase with winter arriving, according to a senior Biden adviser who briefed NBC News.

    "If a governor declines, he'll go to the mayors in the state and ask them to lead," the official said. "In many states, there is the capacity of mayors to institute mandates."

    I eagerly await Tom Nichols' writings on Biden's authoritarianism. Maybe the Atlantic will publish them, maybe not.

  • Hey, Pfizer announced they have a pretty good Covid vaccine! Good news, right? Well… At Hot Air, Allahpundit notes the thoughts of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: It's "bad news" that Pfizer announced these vaccine results before Biden takes office.

    This isn’t the first time he’s sounded discouraging notes about a vaccine, knowing full well how much persuasion it’ll take to convince skeptics to get the shot once it’s available.

    I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I think the question needs to be asked in light of his track record.

    Is this guy … pro-COVID? That criticism is often thrown at Trump because of his insane recklessness in holding rallies amid a pandemic and his relentless push to reopen for business no matter how high community spread gets. But between the body count Cuomo’s racked up in New York and his consistent casual denigration of a vaccine approved and administered by Trump’s administration, he’s certainly a finalist for coronavirus’s MVP among U.S. politicians.

    The Reason Roundtable podcast was also incredulous. One of the participants noted that Cuomo was asked what he would recommend doing differently … and he just repeated what he'd already said about his misgivings.

    Those misgivings seem to revolve around having "private providers" be the primary drivers of a mass vaccination effort. Echoing the Reason folks: given the botches of WHO, the CDC, the FDA, the NIH, the President, and many states… you gotta hope that "private providers" step in.

  • At National Review, Jim Geraghty recalls a very inconvenient op-ed. Biden's Pick for Coronavirus Task Force: 'Living Too Long Is Also a Loss'.

    This morning, President-elect Biden announced that his coronavirus task force would include Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

    In a 2014 essay in The Atlantic, Emanuel, explained why he hoped to die at age 75, and why he finds the idea of living past that date to be morally problematic:

    Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

    By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy.

    Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either. Today, when the doctor recommends a test or treatment, especially one that will extend our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to give a good reason why we don’t want it. The momentum of medicine and family means we will almost invariably get it…

    But 75 defines a clear point in time: for me, 2032. It removes the fuzziness of trying to live as long as possible. Its specificity forces us to think about the end of our lives and engage with the deepest existential questions and ponder what we want to leave our children and grandchildren, our community, our fellow Americans, the world. The deadline also forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution.

    This is the man who Joe Biden has selected to help save the country from a virus that is particularly dangerous to the elderly.

    In other news, Joe Biden turns 78 on November 20.

    Usually, I just excerpt stuff, but I couldn't figure out a way to do that with Jim's post.

  • Bryan Caplan has some wisdom to impart if you find yourself wrangling with some idjit on Facebook or a blog comment section.

    I’ve spent over 30 years arguing about ideas.  During those decades, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve changed minds.

    Normally, however, arguing about ideas is fruitless.  Tempers fray.  Discussion goes in circles.  Each and every mental corruption that Philip Tetlock has explored rears its ugly epistemic head.  You even lose friends.

    When a conversation goes off the rails, I’m sorely tempted to bluntly assess the other party’s deep intellectual flaws.  (As I repeatedly barked at my mom when I was a teenager, “When will you get it through your thick skull that…?”)  You don’t have to master Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to predict the results.  The other party typically has the temerity to bluntly assess my deep intellectual flaws, which in turn sparks an even more unpleasant, fruitless, and potentially friendship-ending exchange.

    Click over for some good advice.

    I don't think I've argued much about "ideas" of late. I have argued about facts. I still think that can be productive, although I haven't had a lot of success in getting my opponents to say "Gee, I guess I was wrong about that."