Putin's Gotta Putin

Ilya Somin produces a good obit: Alexei Navalny, RIP.

Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition leader, died in prison today at the age of only 47. Given that he was previously poisoned (likely at Vladimir Putin's order), it seems likely that his death was ordered by Putin, as well.

In 2021, after being treated for the poisoning in Germany, Navalny bravely returned to Russia, despite knowing he was likely to be arrested and imprisoned on arrival (as indeed happened). The charges against him were obviously trumped up; his real crime was opposing Putin's dictatorship.

I can only stand in awe of such courage. And hope someday he'll be honored in his own country.

At NR, Noah Rothman has an interesting and vital question: What Happens Now That Putin Has Crossed Biden’s Navalny Red Line?.

It was in June of 2021 that Joe Biden promised that the “consequences” if opposition figure Alexi Navalny died in Vladimir Putin’s custody “would be devastating for Russia.” Biden didn’t qualify his statement. Rightly enough, he made no bones about how Russia’s foremost opposition figure would have to succumb to trigger an American response. Only that Moscow must take the utmost care of Navalny while he was in their custody, or else. Well, on Friday, following several years of imprisonment, mistreatment, and conspicuous poisonings, Russian authorities revealed that Navalny had mysteriously died. So, now what?

I wonder if at some point within the past day or so, Biden had the same question: "What happens now?"

This was a bit after he asked: "I said what now?"

Patterico has an observation that I fear is right on target: Putin Wants You to Know He Murdered Navalny.

How do we know this? Because he chose a day for the murder that was one day after Navalny appeared in court via video — apparently healthy and in good spirits, even joking around.

I also concur with Patterico's prescription: "Vladimir Putin needs to swing from the nearest lamp post. And every Republican who does not vote to support Ukraine needs to be shown the door."

Also of note:

  • An unfunny one, too. George Will explains Why Biden’s dishwasher regulations are a dirty joke.

    Industrial policy — government planning the billions of variables generated by hundreds of millions of people making economic choices — provides something there is never enough of: comic relief. And when industrial policy mates with climate policy, there is surplus merriment.

    Topics for another day are the difficulties of electric vehicles, which supposedly will ameliorate global boiling — if they can be coaxed into functioning during something that evidently was left out of the planners’ plans: winter. Instead, today consider another of the Biden administration’s aspirations: planet-friendly dishwashers.

    The Energy Department’s busy beavers, with their unsleeping search for reasons to boss us around for our own good, decided that dishwashers use too much water and energy, there presumably being a shortage of the former and a stigma attached to using the latter. So, in 2012 the department issued regulations so annoying to consumers, the Trump administration relaxed them. That was sufficient reason for the Biden administration, on its first day, to order a reversal of the reversal.

    Of course, Consumer Reports sided against consumers on this issue.

  • Somehow I can't work up an ounce of sympathy. Nathaniel Blake writes: Leftists Say They Don’t Like Late-Term Abortions But Then Lament They Can’t Kill More Babies After 34 Weeks.

    Sin stays hungry. For proof, just look at a recent New Yorker puff piece on a Maryland abortion facility that specializes in late-term abortions — up to 34 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes mothers want abortions even after that, which led one of the facility’s founders to lament, “Turning people away is the worst part of our entire jobs.” So it’s not the baby-killing but the limits on the baby-killing that is the worst part?

    And they are killing babies. We all know it. These abortionists are killing babies who are long past the threshold of viability. If they were delivered alive, they would readily be cared for in the NICU, often with excellent odds in their favor. These are babies being killed, which is why none of the many pictures included in the story showed their remains.

    I had one wish for the future above. Here's another: that someday most people look back with horror on the depravity of abortion as we do at chattel slavery.

  • It's a game you already lost, sucker. Veronique de Rugy recommends taking a hard look at Biden's Super Bowl Shrinkflation Blame Game.

    President Joe Biden wants to remind you that your Super Bowl party was more expensive than it used to be. The reason, he claims, is corporate greed and "shrinkflation." In a social media video before Sunday night's game, he spoke of companies selling "smaller-than-usual products where the price stays the same." He opposes this behavior and is "calling on the big consumer brands to put a stop to it."

    That's quite an amazing move. There's a straight line between shrinkflation, inflation and the Biden administration's own fiscal irresponsibility.

    Biden should hang this sign in the Oval Office:

    Just a suggestion, Joe.

  • Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be preppies. Christopher Rufo looks at Exeter Under Ideology.

    Left-wing racialism has become the lexicon of the Ivy League, so it is only natural that its feeder schools have adopted it as well—partly out of idealism, partly out of cynicism.

    The most prestigious of these is Phillips Exeter Academy. The school has graduated senators, diplomats, generals, and titans of industry. In the past, this meant assimilating the manners and mores of America’s elite Protestant culture. Today, it means drilling students in ideological concepts such as “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and “queer theory.” The Exeter man is prepared to rule or, at a minimum, to conform to the culture of those who do.

    Google says Philips Exeter tuition is $64,789 for boarding students $50,604 for non-boarders. Just sayin'.

Recently on the book blog:
Recently on the movie blog:

Time for the Stars

(paid link)

Another book down on my reread-Heinlein project. Only five left to go! It's a juvenile, and I don't think I've read it since I was a juvenile. But I still remembered the basic plot line. The Kindle version has some minor transcription bloopers.

The solar system has been conquered; there are even settlements on Pluto! (Brr!) But mankind has run out of room on Earth; population is coercively controlled. Although there's "torch ship" continuous-thrust technology available to allow practical travel to nearby stars, exploration is stymied due to the communication problem: even if you could punch through a radio signal back to Earth to report your results, it would take years for that signal to be received.

Solution: it turns out that telepathic communication between twins is "instantaenous" (take that, Einstein) and it doesn't fade with distance either. Teenage twins Tom and Pat are tested, and (after some drama), Tom gets picked to travel to some nearby stars on the Lewis and Clark, reporting back to Pat on Earth.

Complication: Einstein is correct about time-dilation effects. As the ship accelerates to near-lightspeed, many years pass on Earth while only days go by on board; Pat ages much faster than Tom. This leads to some strife, but (fortunately) relatives can be taught the telepathy trick as well.

I remembered disaster striking the mission; what I didn't appreciate at the time was the sheer horror involved in Heinlein's description as it unfolded. That was kind of unusual for him, I think.

This is one of Heinlein's later juveniles, and he really hit his stride here. Yes, there are the usual Heinlein elders, speaking Heinleinian wisdom to wet-behind-the-ears Tom. Par for the course. But Tom grows up as the mission goes on, and discovers things about himself, and also the nature of duty.

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

[3 stars] [IMDB Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

I was in the mood for some violent mindless entertainment. This worked OK for that. It is a sequel to The Hitman's Bodyguard which I watched back in 2020. And I will mildly recommend you watch that one first if you haven't. "Mildly" because it won't ruin your life if you don't. Maybe some things won't make sense, but who cares? This isn't the kind of movie where you really need to know what's going on.

If you scrunch up your eyes at that movie poster on your right, you'll note that Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas are in this. I was going to say this is the first time that Antonio and Salma were in a movie since Desperado… but then I checked with IMDB and (duh) it turns out they've been in 11 movies together, including Spy Kids 3: Game Over. So bad on me.

Ryan Reynolds (the bodyguard), on the advice of his shrink, takes a nice vacation to recover from the shame of being stripped of his bodyguard license. No sooner does he settle in, when (a) Salma Hayek (wife) shows up begging for help in freeing her hubby, Samuel Jackson (hitman), and (b) large numbers of people try to kill them both. They prevail, of course. And they're off on their rescue mission. But it soon develops that they have to foil a nefarious plot to cripple Europe's network infrastructure. All this involves a lot of gunplay, fisticuffs, and explosions.

As was true in the previous movie, this is a definite go-to if you would like to hear Salma talk dirty.

Last Modified 2024-02-17 9:58 AM EDT