URLs du Jour

2021-01-12

[Amazon Link]

  • Not that it matters, but I liked this quote from Netflix series The Crown as relayed by Ann Althouse.

    "The situation this country is facing is anything but amusing"

    "Oh, who cares? Honestly. One of the few joys of being as old as we both are is it is not our problem."

    Data point: Ann, who takes this to heart, is a mere three months older than I.

    I still care about what happens to the country. But as a practical matter, I'm probably going to be OK no matter what, in the years I have left.

    It's the younger generations—my kids—who will have to live in the dystopian rubble, or liberty-loving paradise, or (most likely) something in between. And it's their job to steer it toward their desired destination.

    I'll just be here for awhile to nag them with easily-ignored advice.


  • Steve Landsberg asks But This Was Always Obvious to Everyone, Right? What was?

    Is Donald Trump batshit crazy? Obviously yes. He seethes with personal resentments, all of which loom larger in his mind than, well, anything, and appears genuinely incapable of fathoming the possibility that there are people who don’t particularly care whether someone high or low has been “unfair” to Donald J. Trump. He claims to believe that Hillary Clinton’s policies would be disastrous for the country, yet works to undermine the Republican congressional and Senate candidates who stand as a bulwark against those policies, because preventing a national disaster is less important than petty vengeance against those who have failed to pay Trump his due respects. Moreover, he seems genuinely baffled by the suggestion that anybody anywhere might prioritize things differently. He has, as I’ve said before on this blog (and as countless others have said, sometimes more poetically) the mental, emotional and moral maturity of a four-year-old, with an attention span to match.

    That's a quote from an article he wrote before the 2016 election. We're still awaiting disconfirming evidence.

    But seriously folks. I have Deep Thoughts. Probably misguided ones:

    • Let's get away from the "batshit crazy" label for a bit. Let's use less-loaded language: Donald Trump has a number of personality traits that are several sigma away from the mean.
    • But (dude) isn't that true of most successful politicians?
    • How (then) are you supposed to draw the line?
    • Anyway: "batshit crazy" is not only loaded language, it's also judgmental language. I thought the thing about labelling "mental illness" as an illness was to remove responsibility and stigma from those afflicted. It's not your fault you're sick! Even if you're sick in the head!
    • But I assume people don't really believe that last bit; Steve Landsburg certainly doesn't appear to, and he's probably thought about it.
    • So maybe we need to fix that: distinguish "mental illness" (which is not your fault) from "batshit crazy" (which is).
    • Or maybe not use "batshit crazy" at all, when we mean more precisely "dreadful character flaws".

    End of Deep Thoughts. We now return to the shallower end of the thought pool.


  • At my prime go-to blog for sane legal commentary, the Volokh Conspiracy, Steven Sachs mulls Grounds for Impeachment.

    Whether to impeach the President need not depend on whether he incited the attack on the Capitol or stopped just short of incitement. (A sentence I never expected to write.) One proper ground for impeachment is rather simpler, and a matter of public record.

    Last Wednesday, Trump publicly urged Vice President Pence to interfere with the counting of the electoral votes. He maintained that Pence, and Pence alone, could "send it back" to the states for the appointment of different electors. And he complained bitterly when Pence failed to do so […]

    Quotes at link. I don't disagree that Trump's behavior was bad. The more relevant questions (in my mind, anyhow): do you really want to live with the post-impeachment aftermath? Have you thought at all about that?

    Maybe it will all be sweetness and light. I have serious doubts.


  • For another legal take (however), see Jeffrey Scott Shapiro in the WSJ: No, Trump Isn’t Guilty of Incitement.

    House Democrats have drafted an article of impeachment that accuses President Trump of “incitement to insurrection.” Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said Thursday that his office is “looking at all actors here and anyone that had a role” in the Capitol riot. Some reporters have construed that as including Mr. Trump.

    The president didn’t commit incitement or any other crime. I should know. As a Washington prosecutor I earned the nickname “protester prosecutor” from the antiwar group CodePink. In one trial, I convicted 31 protesters who disrupted congressional traffic by obstructing the Capitol Crypt. In another, I convicted a CodePink activist who smeared her hands with fake blood, charged at then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a House hearing room, and incited the audience to seize the secretary of state physically. In other cases, I dropped charges when the facts fell short of the legal standard for incitement. One such defendant was the antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan.

    Also (if you can) see Andrew McCarthy's call (NRPLUS): Democrats’ Proposed Impeachment Article Needs Work. He sees the articles of impeachment, as written, to be more of a political stunt than a good-faith remedy.


  • But let there be no doubt that Trump was behaving badly. Jim Geraghty outlines the Cause and Effect from Last Wednesday’s Chaos. The timeline is damning. Sample:

    Three: At 2:24 p.m. — about eight minutes after the Secret Service determined that the rioters represent a threat to Pence — Donald Trump declared via Twitter:

    Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

    The president does not tweet any criticism or denunciation of those storming the Capitol. He directs his anger and ire entirely at Pence.

    It doesn't get better from there.


  • Oh, well, enough about Trump. The Google LFOD News Alert happily brought me to the Jewish Trivia Quiz provided by San Diego Jewish World. But you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy…

    Entrepreneur Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, just became the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $195 billion, surpassing Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Musk responded to that news with a simple six word statement, “How strange, well, back to work.” Musk, who is often mistakenly thought to be Jewish, visited Israel in 2018, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dining in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market, and pouring himself a flaming absinthe in a Jerusalem bar. Musk also went to Masada and posted a selfie from there on Instagram, with what pithy caption?

    1. I have been to the mountaintop.
    2. Live free or die.
    3. I could easily make that cable car solar powered.
    4. In God we trust.
    5. Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

    Answer at link. But I bet you've already answered correctly.