URLs du Jour

2021-08-15

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  • By the time I get to Ogunquit… It's Jimmy Webb's 75th birthday today. Power Line has a great tribute, with many videos.

    I've been a fan for most of those 75 years. Starting somewhere around 1967, when I noticed seven of the eleven fine songs on Johnny Rivers' Rewind album were written by him.

    By no coincidence, one of my favorite albums is the Amazon Product du Jour.

    He is scheduled to show up at Jonathan’s Ogunquit on April 1, 2022. I hope we both make it there.

    (If that sounds morbid: the previous concert I had tickets to at Jonathan's was Leon Russell, scheduled for February 12, 2017. So once burned…)


  • Also, all the donuts you can eat. Tim Cushing has the sad story at Techdirt: New Hampshire PD's Recruitment Pitch Lists Qualified Immunity As A Job Perk.

    Every so often law enforcement forgets to keep the mask on. The public front is all about safety and providing a line of defense against criminal chaos. Behind the front, it's a bunch of people with the same flaws as regular humans, only with access to an incredible amount of power and an almost nonexistent amount of accountability.

    When law enforcement agencies are looking to hire, they're generally not looking for the best, most honest people. They're looking for the kind of people who desire power and disdain personal responsibility. A recent open call for applicants on Facebook -- posted by the Manchester, New Hampshire Police Department -- made the mistake of being a bit too direct.

    The Manchester Police Department is looking for reliable, motivated, and personable recruits for both entry level and certified positions. Located less than an hour from Boston, Manchester enjoys proximity to great schools and attractions, the beach, and the White Mountains. The department offers many opportunities to advance and additional unique benefits including qualified immunity. Click the link and apply now! There is no application fee and remote testing is now available. Come enjoy the high quality of life NH offers and work for a great department backed by community support!

    Profuse apologies were issued by the Manchester police chief less than 24 hours later.

    I still think that QI reform should extend to all government employees. And also to any public university employees who violate the civil rights of their students, faculty, and staff.


  • Pass the popcorn. And I don't even like popcorn. Jacob Sullum recounts the latest news on the reality-collision front: As Defamation Lawsuits Against 3 Election Conspiracy Theorists Proceed, They Will Get Another Chance To Present Their ‘Evidence’.

    A federal judge in Washington, D.C., this week allowed Dominion Voting Systems to proceed with its defamation lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, all of whom repeatedly and publicly alleged that the company was involved in a massive criminal conspiracy that delivered a phony election victory to President Joe Biden last year. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, rejected Powell's argument that her claims about Dominion were not actionable because they did not qualify as statements of fact. He also rejected the argument, offered by Lindell as well as Powell, that Dominion had failed to allege "actual malice."

    Although Nichols' decision is bad news for these three defendants, all of them can still ultimately prevail by proving that what they said about Dominion was true. Giuliani, Powell, and Lindell have claimed over and over again that they have the requisite evidence. They failed to produce it in post-election litigation and in the many public appearances where they accused Dominion of helping Biden steal the election. But now that Dominion is seeking $1.3 billion in compensatory and punitive damages from them, they have a pretty strong personal and financial incentive to finally reveal the facts underlying their assertion that the company switched Trump votes to Biden votes in what Lindell described as the "biggest election fraud in world history."

    Sad it came to this, but Lindell, Powell, and Giuliani deserve to be taken to the financial woodshed. Powell and Giuliani, being lawyers, should have known better. Lindell's not a lawyer, but he should have followed the advice of a good one.


  • Sorry, Afghans. You f'd up. You trusted us. I don't post much on foreign policy, because I know so little about it. Although I've observed that the "experts" in the field tend to have way more confidence in their opinions than is warranted. Stock pickers on Reddit have better prediction records. Why should I step on that rake?

    Nevertheless, David Harsanyi notes the abysmal record of one self-proclaimed expert: President Biden's Disastrous Foreign Policy.

    The unfolding disaster in Afghanistan is a bipartisan, trans-administrational failure. It is a humiliation.

    Whatever your position is on the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the fact is that after 20 years, after thousands of lives and hundreds of billions spent on the military, police, training, infrastructure and education, the country is likely to fall to radicals in less than 20 days. As of this writing, the Taliban are routing Afghan troops with seeming ease, taking Kandahar, Herat, and closing in on Kabul. The United States has been forced to send 3,000 troops to evacuate Americans to avoid another Fall of Saigon moment.

    And for the past 20 years, Joe Biden has been on every side of nearly every position on Afghanistan — usually the wrong one at the wrong time. It’s surreal that a person so uncannily incompetent, so tenaciously wrong on foreign policy, could rise to the presidency, but here we are.

    Well, we knew this when we (by which I mean: not I) elected him.


  • A PSA from KDW. Sepcifically, Kevin D. Williamson: Get Stuck, Dummy. It's an NRPLUS article, sorry, but here's a longish snippet with the take home point at the end:

    One of the vexations of American political thinking is single-serving libertarianism, encountered regularly on both the left and the right.

    Single-serving libertarianism is what you’re seeing when an abortion-rights advocate argues for “choice” on one issue and one issue only but is all too happy to advocate coercion on related issues, e.g., forcing Americans to fund abortions through tax subsidies or forcing employers to provide abortifacient coverage in their health-insurance packages. Single-serving libertarianism was part of the gay-marriage debate until it wasn’t: What goes on in the bedrooms of private citizens was their business until, by God, it was literally your business, at the command of the Supreme Court. Single-serving libertarianism is what you’re seeing when a motorcyclist argues that he should be permitted to ride without a helmet and also that any medical care for any head injuries resulting from that decision should be subsidized by his neighbors through their insurance premiums or Medicare.

    I have described my politics as libertarian for as long as I have had a political vocabulary. Thanks to a broadminded librarian (or, more likely, a generous friend of this magazine), I had National Review available to read from a young age. I went to high school at a time when a semester of basic economics was mandatory, and the required reading at my school included Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose. Buckley led to Burke and Friedman to Hayek, and there was an attractive coherence to it, distinct from the point-by-point ideological rigidity of the hacks who emphasized “consistency.” This wasn’t the sophomoric libertarianism of Ayn Rand or the weed-and-sandals libertarianism of 1990s college campuses. It was a midcentury, coat-and-tie affair, very much informed by the Cold War and by the twin totalitarianisms that clashed in World War II. This libertarianism was distinct from the atomistic, largely rhetorical libertarianism that would later come to some prominence, and, because it was grounded in experience and in the conservative sensibility, it understood that there is a social context for liberty. Which is why, to take one illustrative example, Bill Buckley favored the legalization of drugs but did not believe that legalization would be dispositive as a social question or as a matter of public policy.

    This is a long way of saying: Get vaccinated, you f***ing dopes.

    I second that advice, for what it's worth.


Last Modified 2021-08-16 6:03 AM EDT