URLs du Jour

2021-08-20

  • Eye Candy du Jour from Mr. Michael P. Ramirez: Clear messages.

    [Clear Messages]

    I like doggies, but I might make an exception for that one on the left.


  • And maybe that one on the right, too. Jim Geraghty speculates that Something Is Wrong with the President. (From yesterday, August 19.)

    After making no public appearances for four days — during a major foreign crisis — President Biden read a 20-minute speech off a teleprompter on Monday afternoon and took no questions. He immediately returned to Camp David. He had no events on his schedule Tuesday. On Wednesday, he gave another 20-minute speech about vaccine boosters off a teleprompter from Camp David, and again took no questions. Also on Wednesday, the president sat for an on-camera interview with George Stephanopoulos that did not go well. According to the White House public records, Biden has had two phone conversations with foreign leaders in the past ten days — one with Boris Johnson and one with Angela Merkel.

    As of this writing, Biden has no public events on his schedule for today. He is scheduled to receive the president’s daily briefing from the intelligence community and meet with his national-security team. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, he is scheduled to return to his house in Delaware today.

    This is a highly unusual schedule for a president during a foreign-policy crisis. Yes, a president can perform his job anywhere, whether it’s Camp David or his own private residence. But Biden is barely appearing in public, not saying much of anything when he does, not answering any questions outside of his lone scheduled interview, and sounding angry when he did face questions from Stephanopoulos.

    Jim (I call him Jim) notes Biden's lies, dodges, confusions, self-contradictions, responsibility-shirking. And (perhaps worst of all) invoking his dead son, Beau, in defense of his botched bug-out.

    Conclusion: "Something is wrong with President Biden, and we are all being asked to pretend we don’t notice."


  • Or maybe there's something wrong with government. OK, Biden may be a demented old fool, but Veronique de Rugy traces the rot to a more general problem: When Government's Foolish Errands Turn Into Fiascoes.

    Another government failure, another outrage. This time the scandal is brought on by the less-than-orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the realization that 20 years of military presence in the country achieved nothing but death and chaos. Observing another instance of large-scale mismanagement, I can't help being surprised that anyone is still surprised.

    One needn't be a foreign policy expert to recognize that something in Afghanistan went terribly wrong. While many will blame the Biden administration for a fiasco that will have horrifying humanitarian consequences for the Afghan people, the failure also belongs to those who made the decision to go and remain there for two decades. These American officials argued that a continuing U.S. military presence there was important for achieving several goals, like training the Afghan army to resist the Taliban. Yet, today, the almost-immediate collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government makes it clear that whatever our strategy was, it failed.

    Unfortunately, it's unlikely that those who believed in nation building in the first place will realize from this dreadful episode that it never works as well as planned, even though the tragic scenario now unfolding before our eyes isn't the first U.S. government foreign policy disaster. And it won't be the last. People never seem to learn. Making matters worse is the fact that this sad state of affairs isn't limited to foreign policy. It exists everywhere and throughout all levels of federal, state and local government.

    This never seems to occur to people who demand that government take on more complex duties; they do not seem to notice that government is not handling it's current responsibilities very well.


  • For yet another example of that… See P. J. O'Rourke on a domestic effort that's doomed to make us all worse off: Joe Gives Competition the Finger.

    Last month, President Biden issued an “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” 

    Never mind that the executive order’s title itself is an implicit insult to the American spirit of stop-at-nothing rivalry. It’s as if Joe wandered into the locker room of a Texas high school football stadium on a Friday night and told the quarterback, “You should play hard.”

    Americans will compete at anything. Pickleball. I rest my case. 

    Nonetheless, Joe is worried… about something… But what? That’s not exactly clear because the executive order is 16 pages of bureaucratic bumwad seemingly written by junior underlings up all night with too much coffee and too many Yale law degrees. 

    One repeatedly raised concern is “market concentration.” The phrase is vague but seems to mean that you can take the idea that A Big Monopoly Is Bad and expand it to Just Big Is Also Bad and maybe even to Better Is Not So Good Either.

    I can't wait until Joe does to Amazon what he's done to Afghanistan.


  • I identify as Elizabeth Warren. Scott Sumner looks at an interesting factoid from the census, as noted in this tweet:

    And wonders, appropriately: Does identity change?.

    A few years ago, there was a bit of a controversy after a handful of people were discovered to have changed their racial identity from white to black. The new census suggests that changes in identity are actually quite common:

    [table shown above]

    Notice that the number of Hispanics that identify as two or more races rose from 3 million in 2010 to 20 million in 2020.  That sort of increase is much too big to be explained solely by demographic shifts, and instead implies that millions of Hispanics who identified as white in 2010 identified as mixed race in 2020.  But why?

    Scott looks at some explanations, including that the Census made a change in the wording of its nosy "race" question.

    One of the folks Scott quotes says "When people say “race is a social construct”, this is one of the things they mean."

    We're increasingly seeing that "race" in 21st Century America is increasingly a governmental construct. And that's really a road I'd prefer we not travel.

    But we are travelling on it…


  • Next up: racist embryos. Christopher F. Rufo has done excellent reporting on the bullying reality of "conversations about race". The latest example: Toddlers are racist and other insights from woke Bank of America training.

    On the program’s first day, Bank of America teaches employees that the United States is a “racialized society” that uses “race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement and oppression.”

    According to the training program, all whites — “regardless of one’s socioeconomic class background or other disadvantages” — are “living a life with white-skin privileges.” Even children are implicated in the system of white supremacy: According to the program materials, white toddlers “develop racial biases by ages 3 to 5” and “should be actively taught to recognize and reject the ‘smog’ of white privilege.”

    A later paragraph begins "In days seven through 16…" I have to think BofA is a hostile workplace for white people.