URLs du Jour


  • A Reminder Of More Credulous Times. Our Getty Image du Jour is dated March 21, 2020. Which was, as I type, 417 days ago.

    Hope you can read the fine print: just kidding!

  • More From The Dimly Remembered Past from John Tamny: Restricting Freedom Didn't Defeat Covid.

    Let’s travel back in time to March of 2020, when predictions of mass death related to the new coronavirus started to gain currency. One study, conducted by Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson, indicated that U.S. deaths alone would exceed 2 million.


    Death predictions aside, the other justification bruited in March of 2020 was that brief lockdowns (two weeks was the number often thrown around) would flatten the hospitalization curve. In this case, the taking of freedom allegedly made sense as a way of protecting hospitals from a massive inflow of sick patients that they wouldn’t have been able to handle, and that would have resulted in a public health catastrophe.

    Such a view similarly vandalizes reason. Think about it. Who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization? Better yet, who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization at a time when doctors and hospitals would be so short-staffed as to not be able to take care of admitted patients? Translated for those who need it, the dire predictions made over a year ago about the corona-horrors that awaited us don’t justify the lockdowns; rather they should remind the mildly sentient among us of how cruel and pointless they were. The common sense that we are to varying degrees born with, along with our genetic predisposition to survive, dictates that a fear of hospitalization or death would have caused Americans to take virus-avoidance precautions that would have well exceeded any rules foisted on them by politicians.

    Tamny's bottom line: "Historians will marvel at the abject stupidity of the political class in 2020."

  • Detailing All The Things Biden Can't Explain Would Make A Very Long Article. So Robby Soave just sticks to one: Biden Can’t Explain Why He’s Still Wearing a Mask.

    On Sunday, CNN's Jake Tapper quizzed White House adviser Jeffrey Zients about President Joe Biden's continued insistence on wearing a mask—even when entering a room where everyone is fully vaccinated.

    "The president is going to continue to follow the CDC guidance," said Zients. "We're going to look to the CDC. The president from day one has said we're going to rely on science and facts and that's what we'll do."

    This was only slightly more coherent than the answer given by Biden himself, who told a reporter on Friday that he was continuing to mask up "because when we're inside it's still good policy to wear the mask."

    It is in fact not necessary for the fully vaccinated to wear masks around other fully vaccinated people. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that there are "many situations" where the fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks: outdoors, and even inside when everyone is vaccinated, for instance. This is important, since the CDC has generally taken a wildly cautious approach with its recommendations (see: summer camp guidance). But in many ways, Biden and Zients are sticking to an approach that is even more risk-averse than what the CDC has said.

    "Hey, the Emperor is naked! Except for that stupid mask!"

  • Betteridge's Law Of Headlines Applies, Unfortunately to John McWhorter's headline query: Can We Please Ditch the Term "Systemic Racism"?.

    The Elect are direly committed to teaching us the difference between personal racism and systemic racism. It is considered the fulcrum of true wokeness to understand that racism is systemic, with the idea that to understand this is to have achieved a maximal comprehension of sorts, a kind of pure, Kantian wisdom from which we can proceed to … well, celebrating one another for having achieved it, roasting those who seem not to have, and calling that “antiracism.”

    But if the mantra is that what we need to do to solve black America’s problems is “get rid of systemic racism,” we’re in trouble. That analysis, be it explicit or tacit, is based on a third-grader’s understanding of how a society works. More importantly, that analysis does not help black people and often hurts us.

    Professor McW notes, correctly, that the folks pushing hardest on "systemic racism" have no clue about, and perhaps little desire to, actually healing racial animosity. Instead: "This usage of systemic racism is more rhetorical bludgeon than a simple term of reference."

  • As An Example Of Our Previous Item… Frederick M. Hess and J. Grant Addison explain How Anti-Racism Is Derailing Efforts to Improve Education.

    Anti-racist education has become a racialized justification for all manner of bad, long-discredited ideas. Like hippie educators of the early ’70s, anti-racists want to end grading as conventionally understood. One prominent “grading equity advocate” is Cornelius Minor. Minor has partnered with entities like Columbia Teachers College and the International Literacy Association to dismantle “pernicious” grading practices, such as requiring students to demonstrate subject-matter understanding in order to receive an A. Minor teaches that one “cannot separate grading practices” from “the history of classism, sexism, racism, and ableism in the United States.” A teacher’s inability to perceive a student’s knowledge, under this framing, is more typically evidence of a teacher’s racism than a student’s lack of knowledge.

    Bizarrely, anti-racist educators have even become enamored with the novel notion of race-based “affinity groups.” “Affinity grouping” is the tactful, contemporary term for the school-directed sorting of students and staff by race, a practice that would’ve fit neatly into the daily routine of the Jim Crow South. Typically involving one group for black participants, a second for non-black people of color, and a third for white participants, racially determined groupings are a growing presence in anti-racist training in schools and teacher preparation.

    Opponents of HB544 legislation here in New Hampshire paint it as an "effort to shut down conversations on race and gender". I think it's a worthy attempt to deal with a real, poisonous problem.

  • Your Papers, Please. Jim Harper has been an outspoken opponent of "REAL ID". And he can't help but point out that events seem to have proven him correct: The REAL ID deadline extended again.

    Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the deadline for state compliance with the REAL ID Act would be pushed back a year and a half to May 3, 2023. This time, COVID-19 is the reason why the US national ID system cannot be implemented. The new deadline, just shy of the 18th anniversary of Congress passing REAL ID, is 15 years beyond the compliance deadline Congress set in the law. If your instinct is to pound the table about government inefficiency and failure to get things done, I recommend a different tack. The upshot of REAL ID’s ever-extending deadlines is that we don’t need a national ID system at all. The law can safely be scrapped.

    We haven't gotten ours yet. At least in New Hampshire, it's daunting.

  • As Gertrude Steinway Said, A Piano Is A Piano Is A Piano. And in related news, Kevin D. Williamson says Infrastructure Is Infrastructure.

    Every now and then, the world pauses briefly to say, “Hey, dummy — pay attention.”

    Seventeen states and — oh, glorious irony! — the District of Columbia have declared states of emergency after the closure of the Colonial pipeline, which brings fuel from Gulf Coast refineries to eastern cities. Gasoline prices already are rising and are expected to rise sharply in the immediate future. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, fresh off the indignity of losing the title of world’s busiest airport to Bai Yun International in Guangzhou, is nervously watching its fuel stores, as are other airports (including Charlotte Douglas and Raleigh-Durham) served by the pipeline. The population centers of the East Coast are at risk of significant disruption to everything from deliveries to travel — because almost half the fuel used in the most densely populated part of the country travels through a single pipeline that runs from Houston to Linden, N.J., currently out of service after an apparent act of extortion through cyberterrorism.

    I got gassed up yesterday, wincing somewhat at the price.

    Then I looked at the Dow Jones Industrial Average… Oy vey!