URLs du Jour

2022-07-01

  • Dr. Piltdown, call your office. Our Eye Candy du Jour was brought to our attention by Jerry Coyne. If you click over, you'll find the caption "Spadefoot toad catching dragonfly". Prof Coyne has some issues with that: (1) that's not a spadefoot toad; (2) that's a chameleon tongue; (3) the dragonfly is also photoshopped in. (The Getty site says the pic is a "digital composite.".)

    Worse (from Prof Coyne's standpoint) is the mostly phony pic was used to illustrate a Guardian article: Do we need a new theory of evolution? As you might guess from his blog's title ("Why Evolution is True"), Professor Coyne didn't think much of it; his criticism is here.

    The picture was removed ("stealth-edited") from the Guardian's online article.

    I've been an evolution skeptic ever since I took a biochemistry class. (While looking at a beautiful diagram of the Krebs cycle in the textbook: "This all just fell together by accident? Suuure it did.") I realize (however) that it's the best non-God explanation available.


  • Hillary tries not to say "uppity". Ann Althouse has commentary on Hillary's recent Clarance Thomas insult: "I went to law school with him. He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I’ve known him. Resentment, grievance, anger."

    Ann's response is to quote from Thomas's dissent in the 2003 SCOTUS case Grutter v. Bollinger, where a 5-4 decision threw a lifeline to race-based admissions preferences, aka "affirmative action". Thomas:

    Frederick Douglass, speaking to a group of abolitionists almost 140 years ago, delivered a message lost on to day's majority:

    "[I]n regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us . . . . I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! . . . And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! . . . [Y]our interference is doing him positive injury." What the Black Man Wants: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 26 January 1865, reprinted in 4 The Frederick Douglass Papers 59, 68 (J. Blassingame & J. McKivigan eds. 1991) (emphasis in original).

    Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.

    I'm with Fred and Clarence here, despite them airing their greivances.


  • It's not as if it works; it's to make white progressives feel better about themselves. Joel Kotkin writes on The cost of Biden's racialism.

    Joe Biden may have once bragged about his cooperative relations with segregationists, but he still arguably owes more to African-American leadership and voters than any politician in recent history. After all, it was black voters who bequeathed him the two critical victories in South Carolina and Georgia that led to his nomination in 2020. Perhaps that’s why he promised in his inaugural address to focus on the “sting of systemic racism” and fight encroaching “white supremacy.”

    Adding action to rhetoric, Biden has embraced brazenly discriminatory policies that Barack Obama would likely have been too savvy to impose openly: special assistance to prospective black homeowners, race-based support for black farmers and black businesses, and attempts to end inflation by promoting “equity” in the financial sector through intrusive regulation.

    Yet while Biden has placed racialism — making race a decisive factor in public decisions — at the heart of his political programme, in reality minorities may not prove the Castroite fifth column dreamed up by either the far-Right or their leftist doppelgängers. Minorities are more than genetic constructs; they are people with ambitions, families, and budgets. And sadly, Biden’s policies are not making their lives any better.

    Kotkin says the obvious: if Biden really cared about minorities, he'd concentrate on furthering their working-class prosperity and making them less dependent on government.

    But making people less dependent on government is progressive heresy.


  • “All I want is peace. Peace! Peace! A little piece of Poland, a little piece of France.” Charles C. W. Cooke criticizes Biden's latest proposal: Joe Biden Wants a Filibuster Carve-Out for the Democratic Party.

    Per NBC, Joe Biden wants the Senate to abolish the filibuster so that it can preempt abortion law in all 50 states.

    This is a bad idea — for a couple of reasons. First, because there is no such thing as a “carve-out” to the filibuster. Like a turkey, if any part of the filibuster is “carved out,” it will die. Biden and his party keep proposing this idea: a carve-out for voting rights, a carve-out for abortion, a carve out for gun-control . What they mean, of course, is that they want a carve-out for the Democratic Party. But this is never going to happen, because such a system would be unsustainable. If they carve it out, they end it.

    Which brings us to the second problem: That whatever Democrats chose to do with their abolished filibuster would be undone — and possibly inverted — by the Republicans within a few years. Tomorrow, the Democrats abolish the filibuster and pass a bill that “codifies” Roe. And in 2025, the GOP repeals it with 50 votes, and maybe even replaces it with a national ban.

    When Kyrsten Sinema talks about the value of the filibuster as a means by which to avoid radically see-sawing national policy, this is exactly what she means. Joe Biden ought to listen to her more.

    (Okay, it wasn't the greatest movie ever, but here's the headline reference.)


  • But on that same topic… David Harsanyi has further thoughts.

    Joe Biden was in Madrid today attacking American institutions. “The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States,” the president said of the Dobbs ruling, which sent the abortion issue back to the democratic process where it belongs. (Is this the first time in American history that a president has criticized a branch of his government on foreign soil?)

    Biden went on to say that he wants to “codify Roe v. Wade into law,” and “[i]f the filibuster gets in the way … we should provide an exception to the filibuster to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”

    Now, it’s become tedious to point out the shameless, unmitigated hypocrisy of the Democrats on the filibuster. Once upon a time, Biden called the filibuster “one of the pillars of American democracy,” and now he agrees with his former boss that it’s a “relic of the Jim Crow era.” Biden, who knows a bit about Jim Crow, had nothing to say on the matter from 2017-2020 when Democrats deployed the filibuster more than 300 times during the Trump administration — easily a record.

    In 2017, in fact, 30 Democrats signed a letter written by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, defending the filibuster as an imperative tool in maintaining the “deliberative” composure of the legislature. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued in 2018 that abolishing the filibuster “would be the end of the Senate.” He was right then. And maybe that’s the point. Now that his party is unable to unilaterally dictate policy, he says the filibuster has a “death grip” on American democracy.

    Nearly all politicians have extremely selective memories and principles that shift with the latest polls, but the Democrats seem to have outdone themselves in recent months on that score.


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] Unless you're a bureaucrat working in an agency where it matters, I bet the answer is "Not very well". David Bernstein (he has a book coming out, link at right) has a clickbait headline: How Well Do You Know America's Racial Classification System?. Three questions, here's the third:

    The Lopez family from Argentina moved to Japan in 1920. In 1980, the whole family, still composed solely of individuals with origins in Argentina, moved to the US. Is the family classified as Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or both?

    A poser! Bernstein supplies the answer:

    If members of the Lopez family consider themselves to be Hispanic, then they meet the official definition of being of Spanish origin or culture. No matter how many generations a Latin American family lives in Asia, however, they never become "Asian" under federal standards, because they are not descended from the original peoples of Asia. By contrast, if a Filipino family moves to Argentina as soon as they adopt Hispanic culture they become both Asian and Hispanic (assuming they at some point move to the US).

    Bernstein's book is described (at Amazon) as a "call for the separation of race and state, backed by a deep dive into the surreal world of racial classification in America." It's well beyond time for that.