URLs du Jour

2022-01-21

[Mandate, Segregate, Subjugate] As promised, the final poster in the D. C. Street Art series. Good job, whoever you are.

  • If the poster seems a little overwrought to you… maybe you should check out the recent polling cited in the Elizabeth Nolan Brown piece we linked to yesterday; it's from Rasmussen: Democratic Voters Support Harsh Measures Against Unvaccinated. A couple of amazing results:

    – Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications. Only 27% of all voters – including just 14% of Republicans and 18% of unaffiliated voters – favor criminal punishment of vaccine critics.

    – Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Such a policy would be opposed by a strong majority (71%) of all voters, with 78% of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliated voters saying they would Strongly Oppose putting the unvaccinated in “designated facilities.”

    This is the sort of thing ENB means when she notes creeping fascism an "illiberal value shift" in this country and worldwide.


  • And fails to accept responsibility for things he should. Speaking of Elizabeth Nolan Brown, her "roundup" for yesterday reveals: Biden Takes Credit for Things He Shouldn’t at Marathon Wednesday Press Conference

    Dubious claims from President Joe Biden's press conference. In a televised press conference yesterday, the president talked about a wide-ranging set of issues, from the failure of Democrats' voting bill to America's withdrawal from Afghanistan to his own mental fitness. Over the course of the nearly two-hour event (which you can watch in full here, if you're a masochist), Biden spewed a lot of his typical half-truths and exaggerations. Fact-checkers have taken Biden to task for comments he made about the pandemic, economic growth, and other subjects.

    For instance, Biden made the dubious claims that his "Build Back Better" plan wouldn't "raise a single penny in taxes on people making under $400,000 a year"—a proposition that folks at the Tax Foundation dispute—and that it would cut the deficit. However, the Congressional Budget Office says the version passed by the House of Representatives would actually raise the deficit by $158 billion over 10 years.

    ENB is even-handed; she likes the Afghanistan withdrawal a lot better than I; it was a poorly-managed debacle that sent a message that America is a fickle ally.


  • "Normalcy." You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Historian Tevi Troy takes to the Discourse site to look at another broken promise: Presidential Rhetoric and the Return to Normalcy

    President Joe Biden recently used surprisingly incendiary language in advocating for his voting bill, asking, “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?” This language generated a great deal of blowback, with even mainstream media figures and prominent Democrats typically loath to criticize Biden wondering if he went too far.

    It is certainly true that Biden’s comparison of racist historical figures with his current opponents was outrageous and offensive. But the primary reason Biden’s statement was so surprising was that it was by far the most flagrant example of the president breaking his “return to normalcy” promise.

    Throughout his campaign, and in the early stages of his presidency, Biden sold himself as a unifier who could bring Americans together after the elevated partisan discord of the last few years. In his inaugural address, for example, he said, “We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.” In that same address, Biden promised to “be a president for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” Calling people with whom you disagree “Bull Connor” and “Jefferson Davis” seems contrary to the concept of fighting hard for those who did not support you.

    Of course, it could be that Biden—I think I've said this before—will simply read anything that his speechwriters throw up on his teleprompter.


  • Worried about your plane falling out of the sky because somebody used a 5G phone to call Grandma from the airport? You probably should worry about other things instead, like whether that TSA agent is gonna get way too handsy. Karl Bode writes at Techdirt: Airline CEOs Freak Out Over 5G Despite Limited Evidence Of Real World Harm

    We'd already noted that the FAA had been pushing to impose limits on 5G deployments in certain bands due to safety concerns. The problem: the FCC, the agency with the expertise in spectrum interference, has repeatedly stated those concerns are unfounded based on the FCC's own research. The whole feud has been fairly bizarre, with the FAA refusing to transparently "show its math" at several points, but taking the time to leak its scary claims to select press outlets.

    More specifically: the FAA (and a big chunk of the airline industry) claims that deploying 5G in the 3.7 to 3.98 GHz "C-Band" will cause interference with certain radio altimeters. But the FCC has shown that more than 40 countries have deployed 5G in this band with no evidence of harm if you implement some fairly basic safety precautions (like limiting deployments immediately around airports, and utilizing a 220 MHz guard band that will remain unused as a buffer to prevent this theoretical interference).

    Bode does a good job of convincing me that "the real problem is FAA procrastination, hubris and incompetence."

    I continue to recommend Pun Salad Reform Proposal #43: terminate any Federal agency that has a three-letter acronym starting with "F".


  • So were a lot of us, Matt. I wonder how many public health bureaucrats are muttering under their breath what Otter said to Flounder in Animal House. Anyway, Matt Ridley channels his inner Flounder: I was duped by the Covid lab leak deniers

    Inch by painful inch, the truth is being dragged out about how this pandemic started. It is just about understandable, if not forgivable, that Chinese scientists have obfuscated vital information about early cases and their work with similar viruses in Wuhan’s laboratories: they were subject to fierce edicts from a ruthless, totalitarian regime.

    It is more shocking to discover in emails released this week that some western scientists were also saying different things in public from what they thought in private. The emails were exchanged over the first weekend of February 2020 between senior virologists on both sides of the Atlantic following a meeting arranged by Sir Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, with America’s two top biologists, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    Some enterprising journalist should get Biden on the record about this.


  • Your heartworming story du jour. Via Dave Barry: Stranded dog saved from rising tide after rescuers attach sausage to drone

    As the tide rose, it began to look perilous for Millie the jack russell-whippet cross, who had defied the efforts of police, firefighters and coastguards to pluck her from treacherous mudflats.

    So the rescuers had to think imaginatively, and came up with the idea of attaching a sausage to a drone and hoping the scent of the treat would tempt Millie to safety. It worked gloriously and Millie has been reunited with her grateful owner after following the dangling sausage to higher, safer ground.

    Chris Taylor, the chair of the Denmead Drone Search and Rescue team, is quoted: "I think they were from Aldi." The sausages, that is.