URLs du Jour

2021-01-13

  • In our "Because of Course He Was" department, the Free Beacon reports: Arizona Librarian Fired for Push to Keep Politics Out of Libraries.

    In July, Arizona librarian Ron Kelley received an email from the American Library Association—the largest librarian association in the world—soliciting individuals to join the Black Lives Matter movement. Kelley, who had served in his position for nine years, replied to the list-serve with an email titled "Keep Politics Off This Discussion Group," in which he argued that libraries should remain neutral and apolitical. Following two complaints to the Flagstaff Library regarding his email, Kelley was fired from his job.

    Prior to Kelley's removal, the American Library Association released material instructing employees to embrace "critical librarianship," which asks libraries and librarians to analyze how they "consciously and unconsciously support systems of oppression." Its core tenet is that neutrality harms oppressed groups. As one Portland librarian put it in the American Libraries magazine, remaining neutral as a librarian "upholds inequality and represents indifference to the marginalization of members of our community."

    I have to say that the Portsmouth (NH) Public Library seems to do a decent job of purchasing books across the political spectrum. It's a good thing, too, because I have to shell out for my borrowing privileges; I'm not a Portsmouth taxpayer.

    However if they start blacklisting titles because of unwokeness, why, I'll…


  • Jonathan Turley notes the latest from our social media masters: Ron Paul Posts Criticism of Censorship on Social Media Shortly Before Facebook Blocks Him.

    We have been discussing the chilling crackdown on free speech that has been building for years in the United States. This effort has accelerated in the aftermath of the Capitol riot including the shutdown sites like Parler. Now former Texas congressman Ron Paul, 85, has been blocked from using his Facebook page for unspecified violations of “community standards.” Paul’s last posting was linked to an article on the “shocking” increase of censorship on social media. Facebook then proceeded to block him under the same undefined “community standards” policy.

    Even though I was never much of a Ron Paul fanboy, this is pretty rank.

    Even though I try to avoid going political on Facebook, I posted a link to Turley's article as a test. They don't seem to have nuked me yet. But the day is young.


  • Jacob Sullum doesn't like Trump, but he also doesn't like what the Democrats are saying: Prosecuting Trump for Incitement Would Set a Dangerous Precedent.

    When Simon & Schuster canceled publication of Josh Hawley's book The Tyranny of Big Tech, the Missouri senator called the decision "a direct assault on the First Amendment." For reasons the Yale-trained lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk should understand, that description was wildly wrong.

    By contrast, another reaction to last week's deadly assault on the Capitol—the suggestion that President Donald Trump should be not only impeached but criminally prosecuted for inciting a riot—poses a real threat to freedom of speech. Trump's opponents may regret establishing a precedent that speakers who neither practice nor preach violence can be held criminally responsible for the conduct of listeners inspired by their words.

    I'd only add the caveat that Trump's behavior could well be legal, but still fully impeachable. Something I learned from listening to Jonah Goldberg's podcast with Keith Whittington this morning. (I think Jacob knows this, because his language is careful.)


  • Kyle Smith at National Review notes a good reason to turn off your TV next Wednesday, and leave it off for four years or so: Networks Teaming Up to Air Biden Inauguration Infomercial

    Behold the hilarious enthusiasm among the nation’s biggest media outlets to hurl themselves at the feet of power and begin licking intently: Next Wednesday night, after the inauguration of Joe Biden, the three oldest television networks are planning to join forces to air the same heavily produced propaganda special “celebrating the inauguration,” as Variety puts it.

    “Celebrating”? Not “covering”? Not “reporting on”? Not “observing with due detachment and without partisan cheerleading”?

    Yep, celebrating. The film is a DNC production disguised as “news,” produced by the same team that created the DNC’s infomercials at the Democrats’ convention last summer. Observers expect there will be no difficulty finding “A-list talent” to participate in the ritual tongue bath. What’s unusual about this “special” is not that it will exist but that ABC, CBS, and NBC are planning to donate their airwaves for a period of 90 minutes to two hours in order to promote the Democratic Party with glamour and spectacle. In industry parlance, this is known as a “roadblock” strategy — the idea is that viewers are forced to watch the stuff if you turn on the TV. (True, if this is 1974, but at least most people have other options today.) Fox is not participating in the state-propaganda exercise.

    For those wondering if this can possibly be true: it sure seems that way. Here's this morning's story from Poltico. You'll be able to see the tongue bath on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC; Fox and Fox News are opting out.


  • At City Journal, William Voegeli writes About "Whataboutism" and Political Hypocrisy.

    Many things are complicated—but not everything. If you condemned the Antifa/Black Lives Matter violence that took place around the country in 2020, as all conservatives did, then you must condemn the Trumpist riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021. Period.

    Suppose, however, you spent last summer applauding the riots, or dissembling about them, or dismissing them. In that case, to deplore last week’s violence credibly is not so simple. If you demand that your political adversaries adhere to a principle, but exempt people whose cause you endorse from having to comply, then that preference you enjoy boasting about is not really a principle. It is not a standard of conduct applicable to all, in other words, but just another rhetorical device used for political combat.

    If you’re Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, […]

    Yeah, you'll have to click over to find out what would happen if you were Nancy Pelosi. I know that's a frightening prospect. Go ahead, I dare ya.

Good Girl, Bad Girl

[Amazon Link]

This is the last book on my mini-project to read the "Best Novel" Edgar Nominees for last year. Like the others, it's impressively good. There's a sequel, apparently, featuring the major characters here. I've put it on my get-at-library list.

Those main characters (who take turns narrating chapters) are (1) Cyrus Haven, a shrink who consults for the Nottingham police; and (2) Evie Cormac, an institutionalized child who was found hiding in a secret room where a grisly murder had taken place. Evie (aka "Angel Face", the moniker the tabloids put on her) has petitioned to be released from custody, and Cyrus is asked to evaluate her psychological status.

Evie's rebellious, foulmouthed, borderline wacko, and has an uncanny knack of detecting whether people are lying or telling the truth. Cyrus is both intimidated and intrigued. Ah, she's the "Bad Girl".

But he's also called by the cops to help out in a murder case: sweet Jodie Sheehan, on the brink of figure skating stardom has been found dead in a remote Nottingham wood. (I don't remember if it was, literally, Sherwood Forest.) Ah, that would make her the "Good Girl" of the title.

Except, maybe not. The story has a lot of twists and turns, and (as it happens) Cyrus has a lot of unpleasant back story too.

Wolf Pack

[Amazon Link]

Another stepping stone in my project to catch up with the prodigious output of C. J. Box, in his long-running Joe Pickett series.

The cliffhanger at the end of the last book has been resolved by the beginning of this one. Thanks to the (unfortunately fictional) ex-Governor of Wyoming, Spencer Rulon, Joe has his beloved game warden job back, a new house, and a salary increase. And a welcome respite (at least for one book) from his superiors in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Little Lucy has grown up during the series, and she's about to go to college like her sisters.

Joe's disturbed by some traps that have apparently been left unattended. Fortunately, the owner's name and address are on them, and Joe sets out to track him down. Meanwhile, across the mountains, the game warden, Katelyn Hamm, in the neighboring district witnesses an expensive drone spooking and stampeding mule deer, some to their demise.

Both incidents trace back to residents of a remote compound, who seem unconcerned with trifling violations of state game law. And Joe and Katelyn get visited by the worst kind of FBI agents, the ones who order them to back off. Hm. It's not too difficult for the reader to figure out what's going on, but Joe needs a few more chapters…

Meanwhile, there's a deadly team of killers apparently on the hunt as well. They leave a trail of corpses in their wake, but they are on a collision course with Joe, Katelyn, and Joe's loyal buddy, the falconer Nate Romanowski.

The body count seems unusually high in this book, but maybe that's what the market is demanding.

There's a political angle here: the officious FBI agents make use of the same tactic used to "get" Michael Flynn: 18 U.S.C. § 1001, wedging both Katelyn and Joe into "lying", in an unrecorded "interview". Box is appropriately contemptuous of this abuse.