URLs du Jour


  • As Einstein did not say: "Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results". That didn't occur to me in time to compose my Snarky Tweet du Jour, in response to New Hampshire's senior senator, so I went with this instead:

    I mean, seriously. You've been driving down the wrong road for years, every indication is that you're totally lost, and your only response is "let's keep going."

  • Giving Chanda Prescod-Weinstein some competition. The Newsroom page of the University Near Here has a "UNH in the News" box that (as near as I can tell) mindlessly throws up headlines of stories that some searchbot has found mentioning the school.

    That occasionally gives some (um) interesting results. Like this recent headline from (I am not making this up) the World Socialist Web Site, run by the remaining fourteen Trotskyites on Earth: Top Trump officials at Department of Defense erased text messages following January 6 coup.

    On Tuesday, CNN reported that top officials at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Army “wiped” text messages on their government issued phones following requests from Congressional committees and oversight groups to preserve records following Donald Trump’s failed coup on January 6, 2021.

    So (arguably) they tried the strategy that worked for Hillary back in 2016. What's the UNH connection? Ah, here 'tis:

    Seth Abramson, author of the Proof Substack blog, a lawyer, criminal investigator, Newsweek columnist and professor of journalism at the University of New Hampshire, tweeted on August 2 that the deletion of “critical evidence… continues to look like—at DHS, the Secret Service, and DoD—the biggest cover-up in American History.”

    I have no idea how one measures bigness when looking at cover-ups, but I'm willing to claim that Professor Abramson provides the greatest example of hyperbole in the history of the entire world.

    The bottom line from the WSWS casts a plague on everyone's house:

    That the heads of these agencies were involved in Trump’s conspiracy underscores the advanced breakdown of American democracy, which has not lessened with the election of President Joe Biden and Democratic control of both houses of Congress.

    The opposite is the case. The Democrats are overseeing a massive coverup and allowing Trump, the fascistic Republican Party and their allies in the military, police and intelligence apparatus, allied with far-right paramilitary groups, to advance their conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and impose a brutal dictatorship.

    Boy, they shoulda gone ahead with that "brutal dictatorship" thing when they had a better chance. Wonder why they didn't?

  • Me neither. Freddie de Boer thinks he's been mischaracterized: It's Funny, I Don't Feel Fragile.

    I’m supposed to feel fragile. I’m supposed to be beset with fears of feeling replaced and angered over a relative loss of social standing, at least as determined by my race and gender. After all, #MasculinitySoFragile, or so social media says, and America’s bestselling race expert Robin DiAngelo wrote a whole book about how white people are fragile. The racial upheaval of recent years and my relative loss of white privilege as people of color ascend are supposed to confuse and scare me. I’m supposed to feel that my grasp on manliness is slipping away as women make continued advances in the workplace, in political office, and in our education system. Masculinity is in crisis! Books say so. TV shows say so. Movies say so. Music says so. Documentaries say so. And white people are supposedly terrified of living in an increasingly-brown United States. (Whiteness’s value, to put it in actuarial terms, is depreciating.) So you’d expect me to feel the fragility I’m so often told I should feel.

    But I don’t feel fragile. I mostly bumble along with my usual clueless cheeriness. Honestly, it never would even really occur to me to think in those terms, as an avatar of white maleness. When people talk about white male fragility explicitly and force me to think about it, the concept seems quite foreign to my lived experience. I know - that’s just what someone who’s fragile would say! Well, I can only tell you the truth, which is that I don’t feel as if my place in the world is threatened. I don’t feel like my privileges, in the more tangible and individual sense or the airier ideological sense, are in danger of slipping away. And both the constant insistence that I should feel fragile and the overstated consequences of those feelings reflect a 21st-century political environment in which vibes rule, to the detriment of change.

    The remainder of the post is for paid subscribers, but just those paragraphs might get you to throw him some well-deserved shekels.

  • Best wishes. Nellie Bowles, as-I-type Bari Weiss's very pregnant wife, writes the weekly TGIF column for Common Sense. A lot of different topics, but this caught my eye:

    → Funny how that famous terrorist was just hanging out in Afghanistan: 9/11 key plotter and Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri was finally killed, 20 years after the Twin Towers came down. The big “surprise” here is that he was found in Afghanistan, where it seems the old gang is getting back together. It’s so crazy because I read a Taliban leader’s lovely essay in The New York TimesWhat We, the Taliban, Want—and there he told me they only want peace and harmony, so it was great for us to help them flourish again. The author promised us in the essay: “I am confident that, liberated from foreign domination and interference, we together will find a way to build an Islamic system in which all Afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that are granted by Islam — from the right to education to the right to work.” Now it’s all women banned from schools and old 9/11 terrorists back having house parties. We at TGIF can’t believe the Taliban lied.

    That NYT op-ed was attributed to Sirajuddin Haqqani, on the FBI's Most Wanted list. If you know where he is there could be a cool $10 million in it for you.

  • Just a reminder in these troubled times. Michael D. Farren cries out from the wilderness: Industrial Policy Stifles Progress.

    The once-beleaguered CHIPS Act has finally passed and will soon receive President Joe Biden's enthusiastic signature. The big ticket item in that legislation is $52 billion worth of subsidies for computer chip manufacturers, but once the bill's passage looked inevitable, it was stuffed full of additional spending. The CHIPS and Science Act's cost has now ballooned to $280 billion. And emboldened Democrats have already moved on to another spending spree with the Inflation Reduction Act, a slimmed-down version of Biden's "build back better" initiative.

    Both bills reflect a cross-party shift toward embracing industrial policy—the idea that the government should jump into the economy with both feet and have fun getting wet. Facetiousness aside, the neoliberal era from the late 1970s through the 1990s—when economic thinking carried more political sway and resulted in massive deregulation of airlines, railroads, and interstate trucking and the privatization of the internet—is far behind us.

    As Adam Smith observed, there's a lot of ruin in a nation. But there's only a finite amount.