URLs du Jour

2020-09-23

  • Our Getty Image du Jour refers to this story from my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, dealing with nefarious doin's: Rabbi’s high holiday services in Durham called zoning violation.

    Town officials issued a notice of violation to Rabbi Berel Slavaticki for holding what they contend were religious services at his home.

    Audrey Cline, the town’s code enforcement officer, sent a letter to Slavaticki, the rabbi for the Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center.

    “The town has received a number of complaints, that by all appearances, the activity this weekend constituted religious services held at your residence (in the faculty neighborhood),” Cline wrote in the notice of violation letter. “As I wrote previously, this use is not permitted in the residential district.”

    You might recall the very first words of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". And the 14th Amendment allegedly prohibits state and local governments from doing the same.

    But apparently those Constitutional bets are off when zoning is involved.

    The Rabbi claims that it wasn't a service, just a gathering of "friends and family". But "concerned residents" complained. It's Durham, after all, where informing on your neighbors is an art form.

    And I'd guess that if it were just a plain old party, the "town officials" wouldn't have any grounds for complaint.

    But if there's praying going on? You in a heap of trouble there, Rabbi.


  • And the Free Beacon notes some behavior from my very own CongressCritter, who sent Email [seemingly] From Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Post-mortem. Which, depending on your inclination, you may find either creepy or hilarious.

    Democratic congressman Chris Pappas (N.H.) sent a fundraising email with the recently deceased justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the "sender" line, making it appear Ginsburg was sending the email from beyond the grave.

    "Like many of you, I'm devastated by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last night," Pappas wrote in the bid for donations. "This is a crushing loss for our nation — we lost an icon, a hero, and champion for justice."

    Fundraising off of RBG's death does seem to cross the line into ghoulishness, but maybe Democrats find it acceptable.


  • Megan McArdle explains current events using game theory. It was a really good article when I read it, but the WaPo is getting pretty good a paywalling my attempts to go back and excerpt. So if you're better than I am at that, go check it out.


  • The Washington Examiner will welcome all comers, though. Becket Adams says The 1619 Project is a fraud.

    New York Times Magazine staffer Nikole Hannah-Jones accused me once of rank jealousy. She said my criticism for her flawed 1619 Project stems from the fact that, unlike her, I do not “have good ideas and the talent to execute them.”

    We apparently have different understandings of what constitutes a “good idea” and “talent.”

    New York Times Magazine editors have quietly removed controversial language from the online version of Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project, a package of essays that argue chattel slavery defines America’s founding. Hannah-Jones herself also asserts now that the project’s core thesis is not what she and everyone else involved originally said it was.

    It “does not argue that 1619 is our true founding," she said on Friday. She declared elsewhere in July that it “doesn’t argue, for obvious reasons, that 1619 is our true founding.”

    This is a brazen lie. […]

    Like it did with Walter Duranty, the NYT racked up a Pulitzer for the 1619 Project. Continuing a fine tradition of misinforming its readers.


  • Scott Lincicome of the Dispatch has his tongue in cheek when he purports to be Documenting the Domination of Libertarian Economics.

    The New York Times recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s influential New York Times Magazine essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” with a great idea: having Thought Leaders™ from across the political spectrum opine on the essay and its impact. The idea’s execution was, well, not as great. It honestly seemed like several people hadn’t even read the essay—or at least understood Friedman’s actual point—but that’s actually an issue for another time. Instead, I want to focus on the 3,000-word essay from Kurt Andersen that accompanied the NYT project—“How Liberals Opened the Door to Libertarian Economics”—because it hits on a theme that both the left and the right have recently embraced: the historical dominance of “libertarian economics” or, as Andersen puts it, “the full Friedmanization of our economy for the last four decades.”

    That’s right. In case you haven’t heard, my fellow libertarians and I run Washington and have done so since the 1970s. No, really, stop laughing: Seemingly everywhere you look these days, you’ll find politicians and pundits on the right and the left blaming libertarians for whatever problems you, dear reader/viewer/donor/voter, see in America. As I noted to Jonah on The Remnant last year, the concept is laughable—and not just on foreign policy—to anyone who has worked in D.C. over the last several decades, but it nevertheless persists and motivates a lot of populist arguments and proposals.

    It therefore deserves a more objective response, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

    And what follows is chart after chart showing the creeping statism of the past few decades. Milton would not approve.

    Yes, another garbage take by the New York Times.


  • Jacob Sullum at Reason claims (no doubt to the consternation of many): Partisan Poppycock Does Not Trump the Constitution on SCOTUS Picks.

    The process for filling a Supreme Court vacancy is straightforward: The president chooses a new justice "with the advice and consent of the Senate." Any other conditions, including those imagined by Republicans in 2016 or by Democrats now, are nothing but self-serving nonsense.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.), who has promised a vote on President Donald Trump's nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of the year, has been accused of forsaking the supposed norm he defended in 2016, when he blocked consideration of Merrick Garland, Barack Obama's choice to replace Antonin Scalia. Yet McConnell's position now is arguably consistent with the one he took then. That does not mean it makes any sense.

    "Consistently unprincipled" would be a truth-in-labeling badge for (um…) 90% of our elected representatives. Although that might be low.

URLs du Jour

2020-09-22

[Amazon Link]

  • At Reason, Eric Boehm sees us heading for the rocks: America’s Debt Will be Twice the Size of the Economy by 2050.

    If you're getting tired of unrelentingly bad news about the national debt—well, I have some terrible news.

    Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a 30-year budget projection. By 2050, the number-crunching agency now says, the national debt will grow to 195 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). That's 45 percentage points higher than the CBO was projecting last year. What it couldn't foresee, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic and the expensive federal response to it, which has pushed the national debt to nearly 100 percent of current GDP.

    Rising debt levels will "increase the risk of a fiscal crisis—that is, a situation in which investors lose confidence in the U.S. government's ability to service and repay its debt, causing interest rates to increase abruptly, inflation to spiral upward, or other disruptions," the CBO warns. "It would increase the likelihood of less abrupt, but still significant, negative effects, such as expectations of higher rates of inflation."

    In graphical terms: [Whoa.]

    As The Who said: "Hope I die before I get old."


  • Kevin D. Williamson brings a little welcome anti-hagiography. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Judicial Philosophy Was Wrong: Congress, Not Judges, Should Make Law.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg did a great many interesting and impressive things in her life, but she never did the one thing she probably really should have done: run for office. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t an associate justice of the Supreme Court — not really: She was a legislator in judicial drag.

    You need not take my word on this: Ask her admirers. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a vision for America,” Linda Hirshman argues in the Washington Post. What was her vision? “To make America fairer, to make justice bigger.” That is not a job for a judge — that is a job for a legislator. The job of making law properly belongs to — some people find this part hard to handle — lawmakers. Making law is not the job of the judge. The job of the judge is to see that the law is followed and applied in a given case. It does not matter if the law is unfair or if the law is unjust — that is not the judge’s concern. If you have a vision for America, and desire to make the law more fair or more just, then there is a place for you: Congress. That is where the laws are made.

    If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to check the video of Senator Sasse I posted yesterday.


  • Hot Air posts a pretty good argument from WaPo's Matt Bai: Biden should choose the next Supreme Court justice. Now..

    Even Trump understands this. (And if he doesn’t, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell certainly does.) In the coming days, Trump will nominate another conservative judge, this time a woman, aimed squarely at the hearts of these straying voters.

    And then — mark my words — he will hold that judge up against some theoretical choice on the left: someone (or maybe a few someones) whose record offers plenty of evidence to suggest that the left is coming to eliminate free enterprise and tear down all the town-square statues.

    (There's a link to the full column at Hot Air, but the WaPo is being churlish this morning about letting me see it.)

    Unlike Bai, I can see practical pluses and minuses to Biden saying who he'd choose. Or providing a list. But wholly as a matter of fairness to voters, Biden should be as specific as Trump is apparently going to be.


  • But it appears that won't happen, according to the Federalist: Biden Backtracks On Promise To Release List Of Potential SCOTUS Picks.

    On Sunday, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reversed course on a summer pledge to release a list of names identifying potential candidates for the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy under his presidency.

    “We can’t ignore the cherished system of checks and balances,” Biden said during a campaign speech in Philadelphia. “That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees I would put forward.”

    The announcement marks a clean-cut reversal from the former vice president’s pledge in June to unveil a list of black women as possible contenders.

    The campaign has (apparently) made the decision that transparency and honesty are things that will lose them more than gain.


  • Rich Lowry in the NYPost (the good Post): Democrats [sic] answer to anything they dislike is increasingly ‘Burn it all down’.

    Constitutional revolution is going mainstream. After delivering lectures about political norms for the entirety of the Trump era (often with good cause), much of the left is now threatening to kneecap an important institution of American government on a partisan vote in an act of ideological vengeance.

    If the Republican Senate confirms a Trump appointee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat right before or after the election, progressives say Democrats, if they sweep in November, should retaliate by packing the high court.

    My state's senior Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, is running for re-election. Someone should get her position on court-packing.


  • OK, enough politics. Language Log shares some Autological Humor. What's that, you ask. Well, here are a few examples:

    • A verb walks into a bar, sees an attractive noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
    • A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
    • A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
    • An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

    My contribution: "An autological joke walked into a bar and told this autological joke."

    I think that works.

URLs du Jour

2020-09-21

  • Our Eye Candy du Jour is a telling tweet:

    Do you need the Washington Post to tell you what to think? I don't.


  • But otherwise. I think Kevin D. Williamson hits one out of the park on Supreme Court Nomination Hypocrisy. His NR Corner post in its entirety:

    It is the case that during the Merrick Garland fight, a bunch of Republicans said we shouldn’t confirm a new Supreme Court justice before an election — and now say something else.

    It’s also the case that a bunch of Democrats at that time said we should confirm a new Supreme Court justice before an election — and now say something else.

    Why is only one of these developments considered hypocrisy?

    Either we can have a confirmation vote before an election, or we can’t — in which case, “Garland’s seat” was not “stolen,” as Democrats insist. You cannot have it both ways.

    It would be easier if we stopped pretending that this fight is about something other than straightforward power politics.

    People pretending to argue about this out of some deep transcendent principle they just discovered in the past 15 minutes… it was amusing for the first couple examples, now it's just boring as hell. (In fact, making me watch politicians nonstop on TV—that would be hell. Nobody tell Satan.)

    Example from the Free Beacon: Klobuchar Struggles to Defend 2016 Position on Filling Supreme Court Vacancy. Completely unsurprising, completely predictable, and I'm sure the blue side of the web is filled with the equivalent, equally boring, takes.


  • Glenn Reynolds makes a good point in USA Today, though. The headline: Ginsburg flap shows Supreme Court, justices are too important.

    Why does Justice Ginsburg’s replacement matter so much that even “respectable” media figures are calling for violence in the streets if President Trump tries to replace her? Because the Supreme Court has been narrowly balanced for a while, with first Justice Anthony Kennedy, and later Chief Justice John Roberts serving as a swing vote. Ginsburg’s replacement by a conservative will finally produce a long-heralded shift of the Supreme Court to a genuine conservative majority.  

    That shift matters because, for longer than I have been alive, all sorts of very important societal issues, from desegregation to abortion to presidential elections and state legislative districting — have gone to the Supreme Court for decision. Supreme Court nominations and confirmations didn’t used to mean much — Louis Brandeis was the first nominee to actually appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee — because the Court, while important, wasn’t the be-all and end-all of so many deeply felt and highly divisive issues. Now it very much is.

    It ain't healthy. Coincidentally, I listened to Jonah Goldberg's recent Remnant podcast with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, and Jonah appended Sasse's opening remarks at the Kavanaugh hearing to the usual interview format. It's excellent, and makes me wish voters were sensible enough to elect 50-60 Sasse clones to the Senate and 300-320 to the US House. Here's the YouTube:


  • And the observant eye of Phil Magness watches an unsupportable claim vanish Down the 1619 Project’s Memory Hole.

    The history of the American Revolution isn’t the only thing the New York Times is revising through its 1619 Project. The “paper of record” has also taken to quietly altering the published text of the project itself after one of its claims came under intense criticism.

    When the 1619 Project went to print in August 2019 as a special edition of the New York Times Magazine, the newspaper put up an interactive version on its website. The original opening text stated:

    The 1619 project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. [emphasis added]

    The passage, and in particular its description of the year 1619 as “our true founding,” quickly became a flashpoint for controversy around the project. Critics on both the Left and Right took issue with the paper’s declared intention of displacing 1776 with the alternative date—a point that was also emphasized in the magazine feature’s graphics, showing the date of American independence crossed out and replaced by the date of the first slave ship’s arrival in Jamestown, Virginia.

    Reminds me of a movie quote:

    Dr. Evil: [deep voice] Austin, I'm your father.

    Austin: Really?

    Dr. Evil: No, not really. I can't back that up.

The Phony Campaign

2020-09-20 Update

Welp, old Joe Biden opened up another 0.3 percentage points in his betting market advantage. Good for him; in comparison, back on September 25, 2016, the previous iteration of this feature, I reported:

As I type, PredictWise puts Hillary at a 70% chance of winning in November, down 2 (two) percentage points from last week. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight puts her probability significantly lower (58.1%, 57.5%, or 56.0%, depending on which methodology you like); that's down a few percentage points from last week.

(The PredictWise link has gone stale, perhaps out of embarrassment.)

But, back here in 2020, Our President still has a commanding phony-hit lead:

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
9/13
Phony
Results
Change
Since
9/13
Donald Trump 43.6% -0.1% 2,040,000 +110,000
Joe Biden 53.7% +0.2% 732,000 0
Jo Jorgensen 0.0% unch 120,000 +1,000
Howie Hawkins 0.0% unch 24,700 +6,300

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • At American Consequences, P. J. O'Rourke muses on Trump's 2nd Term Agenda.

    When it comes to choosing between presidential campaign platforms, what should be a matter of principle can turn into a matter of taste… How do you like your lies prepared and served?

    Oops, did I say “lies”?… Excuse me, I meant “promises.” Do you want an all-you-can-eat campaign platform buffet with its promises well-done to the point where even the romaine lettuce in the salad bar is burned to a crisp? In that case, I’m sure you found the Joe Biden platform delicious and filling.

    As I described in last month’s Letter From the Editor, Biden’s platform bill of fare is 564 pages long with every entrée so over-cooked that it seems as though Joe has accidentally left his mental oven on at 450 degrees since 1988.

    Or do you prefer a “tasting menu,” with little dibs of this and dabs of that, each dished up rare, not to say as raw as pork tartar and chicken sushi? If so, you’ll smack your lips over the four-page Donald Trump campaign platform with its 54 bite-sized promises. Never mind that some of what’s on offer contains nothing that could be considered an intellectual calorie.

    What follows is P. J.'s version of fisking, quoting Trump's platform with interspersed pin-in-balloon comments.


  • The Hill reports a Kinsley Gaffe from the Donald:

    President Trump defended his assertion that the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine on Tuesday, saying the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.”

    Don't all (non-libertarian) politicians wish for the populace to develop a herd mentality? I mean, how can you be called a leader, if you don't have a docile group of followers?

    We could wish for politicians as witty as Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, who probably didn't say:

    There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.

    ("Why are some of my best quotes apocryphal?" -- Thomas Jefferson)


  • [Amazon Link]
    The late, great, William Goldman entitled one of his memoirs (Amazon link at your right) Which Lie Did I Tell?

    I'm not sure what brought that to mind, but…

    The Free Beacon reports this as if it were some kind of record, but I bet it's not: Biden Repeats Two Falsehoods in Less Than a Minute.

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden repeated two falsehoods in less than one minute Thursday night, first that he would be the first president that didn't go to an Ivy League school and then that he was the first person in his family to go to college.

    Neither of the claims are true—Ronald Reagan was the most recent U.S. president who did not attend an Ivy League university, but there were many others, including Harry Truman, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. Biden also admitted to the New York Times back in 1987 that there were members of his mother's family who had attended college before him.

    Yes, you read that right. He was caught lying about this in 1987, part of the reason his presidential campaign crashed and burned. So is that Goldman title going through his mind? Which lie did I tell?


  • NRPlus members are entitled to view David Harsanyi's essay on The Secret Life of Joe Biden. Example of Joe's Mittyesque fantasies:

    It wasn’t long ago that Biden was telling a rapt audience at Dartmouth the story of a brave Navy captain who had rappelled down a steep ravine in the mountains of Kunar province in an unsuccessful bid to rescue his comrade. An unnamed general had implored the then-vice president to fly to Afghanistan and personally pin the Silver Star on this captain.

    “And everybody got concerned a vice president going up in the middle of this,” a fearless Biden recalled, “but we can lose a vice president; we can’t lose many more of these kids, not a joke.”

    Now, don’t fret. Biden is no stranger to peril. During a presidential primary debate in 2007, he told viewers about the time he had been “shot at” during a trip to the Green Zone in Iraq.

    In any event, the naval officer in question would not let Biden pin the medal on him. “God’s truth, my word as a Biden,” the former senator said. “He stood at attention, I went to pin him, he said: ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing. Do not pin it on me sir, please. Do not do that. He died. He died.’”

    The only problem with this moving tale was that Biden never visited Kunar province as vice president nor did he ever pin a silver star on any Navy captain, much less one who refused to accept the honor. Nor, incidentally, had Biden ever been “shot at” by anyone.

    Joe makes Hillary look like George Washington. The Parson Weems version.


  • In our "Can't We Blame the Russians For This" Department, Slashdot says: A Bug In Joe Biden's Campaign App Gave Anyone Access To Millions of Voter Files. Quoting a TechCrunch report:

    A privacy bug in Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s official campaign app allowed anyone to look up sensitive voter information on millions of Americans, a security researcher has found.

    The campaign app, Vote Joe, allows Biden supporters to encourage friends and family members to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election by uploading their phone’s contact lists to see if their friends and family members are registered to vote. The app uploads and matches the user’s contacts with voter data supplied from TargetSmart, a political marketing firm that claims to have files on more than 191 million Americans.

    Nobody affiliated with the campain was quoted as saying: "Oops, we were hoping we could get away with that."


  • And if you're interested in this stuff at all, you should be reading Geraghty's Morning Jolt. Nestled near the bottom of the linked article from Thursday:

    Have you noticed that to certain media voices, whatever traits the Democratic nominee has just happen to be what the country needs that year? In 2004, John Kerry’s military service was considered a great argument in favor of his election, but by 2008, John McCain’s service was nothing special. Remember how youth and being an outsider to Washington were considered really important when Barack Obama was running, but suddenly didn’t seem so important when Hillary Clinton was nominated — and they sure as heck aren’t seen as valuable traits now?

    Janan Ganesh of the Financial Times makes an accurate but convenient point: No one is all that excited about Joe Biden, and that’s something of a relief after dealing with the Obama messiah cult and the worship of Trump by the MAGA-cap-wearing diehard fans. The headline? “The welcome lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden.

    “The US has had two consecutive presidents with messianic followings, and it is worse off for the 12-year surge of emotion,” Ganesh writes. “No democracy is riper for a period of tepid leadership.”

    The thing is, it took a Republican president with an impassioned fanbase and a Democratic nominee who’s pretty boring and cookie-cutter to see any public defense of boring national leaders.

    Still, I think it would make for a refreshingly honest slogan: “Joe Biden 2020: He’s pretty tepid as a leader.”

    Tepid leadership from a tepid IQ!

URLs du Jour

2020-09-19

[pirate keyboard]

  • It's "Talk Like a Pirate Day, and your go-to guy is Dave Barry. I've resurrected a 2011 pic as our Eye Candy du Jour.


  • So Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away yesterday. My condolences to her friends, family, and fans. I'm not a fan, for reasons Viking Pundit points out. But apparently she was besties with Antonin Scalia, which cuts in her favor.


  • To more mundane matters, Zach Greenberg of the James G. Martin Center notes the latest battle in the War Against Certain Pixel Arrangements: Censoring a Thousand Words.

    At the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where I work, we focus on defending student and faculty free speech rights and encouraging universities to uphold those rights, even when it is difficult and unpopular to do so. With increasing frequency, we see colleges and universities failing to adhere to their free speech obligations.

    For example, just this summer, FIRE criticized Fordham University for punishing a student over an Instagram photo memorializing the Tiananmen Square massacre which featured the student holding a firearm. For this display of political expression, Fordham found the student responsible for violating university policies on “threats/intimidation,” earning the student disciplinary probation and a ban from campus, campus athletics, and leadership roles in student organizations. Fordham also required the student to take bias training and write a letter of apology.

    Conspicuous advocacy of liberty is disallowed at Fordham. Make a note of that, college-bound kids.


  • Power Line has a question and a suggestion: Want Tax Cuts for the Rich? Vote for Biden. He's pledged to sign any legislation he gets to end the cap on the State And Local Tax (SALT) deduction. The New York Times (of all things) is quoted:

    The House of Representatives has already passed legislation removing the cap, allowing the amount of the deduction to rise. If the Senate turns blue in November, Democrats have promised to return to the issue. “I want to tell you this,” Senator Schumer said in July, “If I become majority leader, one of the first things I will do is we will eliminate” the SALT cap “forever.” It “will be dead, gone and buried.” . . .

    By pushing for repeal of the cap, Democrats are leaving themselves wide open to criticisms of hypocrisy and opportunism. As Senator Michael Bennet, one of the few Democrats opposed to removing the SALT cap, pointed out to his Senate colleagues in October 2019: “We can say we are for a progressive tax code and for fighting inequality, or we can support the SALT deduction. But it is really hard to do both.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also voted against repeal.

    The Tax Policy Center offers this picture of who used the SALT deduction and for how much:

    [SALT]

    I am not an eat-the-rich class warrior, but I'm very much opposed to ordinary folks being asked to ameliorate the impact of high blue-state taxes.


  • At the WSJ, (Harvard Professor) Harvey C. Mansfield calls out The ‘Systemic Racism’ Dodge.

    Systemic racism, also known as institutional or structural racism, is a new phrase for a new situation. We live in a society where racism is not, and cannot be, openly professed. To do so not only is frowned upon but will get you into serious trouble, if not yet jail, in America. Yet even though this is impossible to miss and known to all, “systemic racism” supposedly persists. The phrase describes a society that is so little racist that no one can respectably advocate racism, yet so much racist that every part of it is soaked with racism. We live with the paradox of a racist society without racists.

    Systemic racism is unavowed and mostly unconscious, racist despite itself. Those who use the phrase, mostly whites, are consciously accusing their unconscious selves. To get a sense of what they mean, think of African-Americans as they are, freed of slavery and segregation but still somehow consigned to an inferior social position. Everywhere they look, they see black faces on show but white faces in charge. This is true even where they generally excel and surpass whites, as in sports and entertainment, and still more in business and academia, where they are fewer. White supremacy seems to be true in effect if not in intent. Look around and you will see it.

    Professor Mansfield notes the inherent dysfunctionality of the concept: "It tells blacks that they are quite OK, and that it is entirely up to whites to change their thinking and their behavior. This means that blacks must allow whites to hold their future for them."


  • On the same topic, Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review: Make Them Prove It.

    The “institutional racism” prattle would melt if it were ever subjected to the enlightened rationalism that is supposed to be the university’s reason for being. But that is Western culture, and out leaders don’t do Western culture anymore.

    What do they do? Marxism and voodoo, mainly. When you cannot cite hard evidence for the cosmic propositions you swear by, it can only be because we’re beset by “false consciousness” that prevents us from perceiving how whiteness and West-ness have corrupted us. All we can say for sure is what “disparate impact” theory tells us: We don’t have equality of outcomes, so that must mean we don’t have equality of opportunity, right? Because, you know, every one of us is a Mozart, an Einstein, a Jane Austen, a Bobby Fischer, or a LeBron just waiting to happen, if only there were a level playing field.

    Right.

    Not to say we're without problems. But "systemic racism" inherently means that the "system" can't fix those problems. Thus a convenient excuse for inaction.

URLs du Jour

2020-09-18

[Amazon Link]

  • The WSJ has it's annual College Ranking List. The dead-trees version did not have the University Near Here listed, but the online version confirms that it's down, way down. So far down that they put it in a 100-way tie for 501st place ("501-600").

    That's in a set of "nearly 800" US colleges and universities.

    Could be worse. Another college near here, the University of Southern Maine, is just in the ">600th"-place. When will they just give up?


  • Princeton, on the other hand, is in a very respectable seventh place overall, tied with Caltech. Which makes this story (as related by Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution is True) … well, let him tell it: Princeton hoist with its own petard: Admits systemic racism, investigated for it by the Department of Education, and then denies it.

    I have to say that I find this pretty amusing. After Princeton’s President (like officials of many other colleges) wrote a letter flagellating himself and his University for systemic racism, the U.S. Department of Education has begun investigating Princeton for violating Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The charge is taking federal money for years while purporting to abide by federal nondiscrimination and equal-opportunity standards. If Princeton is indeed rife with “systemic racism” that it hasn’t addressed, then surely they have violated that agreement.  An article in the Washington Examiner (below) says that this investigation is not politically motivated—that the Department of Education has a legal obligation to investigate possible violations of federal civil rights protections, even if that violation is revealed by the University itself.

    This is amusing because I don’t believe that Princeton is systemically racist, though there may be private instances of racism. And yet the University had to admit deep-seated racism to keep in tune with the Zeitgeist. By so doing, it got itself investigated. It’ll be interesting to see how Princeton plays this one, maintaining that it has a climate of systemic racism but yet doesn’t violate federal statues. They’ve responded already (see below), but they’re taking the mustelid path of Weasel Words.

    It would be refreshing if a university president simply said: "Yeah, that stuff we said about systemic racism was bullshit, but it seemed to work to shut up our students and faculty. Win."


  • At National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty observes that The Left Bullies Social-Media Giant to Protect Itself, Not Democracy.

    Hillary Clinton is angry. “We can have democracy—or we can have social networks that allow the spread of weaponized disinformation about our elections,” she tweeted this week, while linking to a pressure campaign meant to “demand social media platforms protect democracy.” Bloomberg Businessweek, in a long and largely misleading piece on Facebook published yesterday, attempted to bully CEO Mark Zuckerberg into more aggressively disadvantaging Donald Trump and his supporters. Zuckerberg got an outsized portion of the blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, and he’s being warned that he’s in the firing line again.

    It’s not really Facebook’s algorithms that the forces behind such efforts detest, nor is it misinformation, nor the “manipulation” undertaken by shadowy groups such as the now-infamous Cambridge Analytica. Remember, it was just a decade ago that liberals believed social networks would, almost by themselves, create progressive revolutions across the globe. It was just eight years ago that the Obama campaign’s social-media operation — far larger than anything Cambridge Analytica ever managed — was hailed as the work of digital masterminds who boldly “blew through an alarm that [Facebook] engineers hadn’t planned for or knew about.”

    No, what bothers the Left about Facebook is that it is the most powerful media company in the world and it is a place conservative people can talk, and share ideas, with relatively less manipulation and guidance from progressive editors and censors.

    Hey, remember the IRS being weaponized to go after "right wing" non-profits? This is the same idea, except the lefties want to use Facebook as a proxy. Probably more legal.


  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum has an issue with CDC Director Robert Redfield: Suggesting That Face Masks Are More Effective Than Vaccines, the CDC’s Director Exemplifies the Propaganda That Discourages People From Wearing Them. Redfield stated that the face mask he was holding up (but not wearing) "is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine."

    Let's mercifully skip over what "more guaranteed" might mean. Something is either "guaranteed" or it's not. And face masks are not. And probably a vaccine won't be either. So? I suppose the issue is: which is more likely to spare you and the people you encounter from illness?

    The honest answer is that we don't really know, since that comparison depends on how effective cloth face masks actually are and how effective vaccines prove to be. But we don't actually have to choose between those two strategies, and in practice we are pursuing both. Face masks are a tool to reduce virus transmission, especially to people who face the greatest risk from COVID-19, while we wait for vaccines that we hope will work well enough to make such precautions unnecessary.

    Government officials tend to oversimplify science, ignoring nuances and glossing over uncertainty, in the interest of sending clear public health messages aimed at encouraging behavior they believe will reduce morbidity and mortality. But that approach can backfire when officials make statements that clearly go beyond what we actually know.

    It would be nice if "government officials" were as precise and honest as possible, including about their own uncertainties. Let the mainstream media distort what you say, that's their job.


  • Hey kids, what time is it? Randal O'Toole tells us at Cato: it's Time to Shut Down the DC Metro Rail.

    Highway traffic in the Washington DC metro area returned to 80 percent of its pre‐​pandemic levels in July, but DC transit carried only 16 percent as many riders as it did in July 2019. Metro’s own surveys have found that most of its riders don’t plan to return until and unless an effective COVID vaccine is found.

    Given this, there is no better time to simply shut down the Metro rail system, thus saving taxpayers billions of dollars. Conceived with racist assumptions and faulty financial projections, the system has proved to be a financial and operational disaster. The region would do better rely more on cars and, in some places, buses.

    Advice that won't be taken, but what else is new?


  • And my go-to source for the 21st-century American Progressive mindset, Wired, has some good news: Science Journals Are Purging Racist, Sexist Work. Finally.

    One paper from 2012 linked darker skin to aggression and sexuality in humans. Another from that year claimed to show that women with endometriosis are more attractive. A third, published last December, lamented physicians who posted casual pictures of themselves online—including some in which they’re wearing bikinis—as being unprofessional.

    All three of these articles have recently been retracted after outraged readers took to social media. In the past three months, at least four other articles, too, have been called out for both their content and their lack of scientific rigor, and then either flagged or withdrawn by their science publishers.

    I'm sure there are a lot of crap papers published. But it's clear that what Wired sees as a promising trend is the effort to de-publish anything that might run afoul of current dogma on issues of race, culture, and sex. The crap papers that reinforce that religion will be unaffected.

URLs du Jour

2020-09-17

[Amazon Link]

Happy Constitution Day! A good day for USAmericans to thank our lucky stars for those who, 233 years ago, produced an imperfect work of genius.

  • Jonah Goldberg's paywalled G-File is on Scaling Democracy. Making an interesting point:

    Let’s say you really love democracy and think every country should be democratic. Indeed, if you take the assumptions embedded in conceptions of human rights and follow them to their logical conclusion, you should think this. Right and wrong don’t lose their meaning simply by crossing some national or international border. 

    Now, I actually do think this. I think ideally every country in the world should be democratic, in the way we describe countries like America, Britain, France, etc. as democracies. This doesn’t mean we should—or could—forcibly convert every despotic nation to democracy nor should we impose our strict definitions of democracy on anyone. But as a general rule, we should be on the side of democracy and democracies always and everywhere. But, I also think it would be insane—truly insane—to run the whole world as a single democratic polity. 

    So here’s a thought experiment: Imagine if the U.N. were really a “parliament of man.”

    As Barbie once said, “Math is hard,” but bear with me. World population is currently 7.8 billion. So if every delegate to the U.N. represented, say, 10 million people, China and India (which each have just under 1.4 billion people) would get 140 representatives apiece. The United States would get 33. France would get six or seven, and Canada three or four. 

    Who here thinks that sounds like a great idea? 

    If you do think that’d be awesome and fair? Well, then bless your heart.

    But if you think it's an awful idea (as Jonah does, and so do I) you might want to think about why it's a bad idea. And note that whatever arguments you come up with apply within a country—like ours—as well.

    And as I said, Happy Constitution Day.


  • So our Constitution is great, we're lucky to be Americans. But that's not to say that our education system shouldn't be burned to the ground. I'm inured by now to surveys showing the relative ignorance of the youngs these days, but I was nevertheless surprised by this Guardian story: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust.

    Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

    According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the second world war.

    Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust.

    The survey was conducted by a group called "Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany" and the state-by-state report (PDF) doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies about my state. New Hampshire is in the mediocre middle overall. Although scoring high on the percentages that “Definitely Heard About the Holocaust” (83%) and " “Believe Holocaust Education Should Be Compulsory in School” (69%), we only scored 25% on knowing specific things, like the name of at least one concentration camp.

    I sometimes suspect that people who answer these surveys give intentionally stupid answers. I guess I hope that's the case.


  • On a possibly related note, the Free Beacon reports: 162 House Dems Vote Against Measure to Combat Anti-Semitism.

    Republicans offered the anti-Semitism measure as an amendment to a piece of Democrat-backed legislation promoting greater inclusivity in federal programs. The bill, dubbed the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, would permit the filing of private civil suits for violations of federal regulations that "prohibit discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance." The Republican amendment, which passed by a vote of 265 to 164, with 162 Democrats in opposition, mandates that anti-Semitism also be considered as discrimination.

    Huh. If I'm reading the Congress.gov page correctly, it looks as if Democrats voted against the anti-Semitism language 66-192. But then turned around to vote for the bill 229-0.

    While the Republicans voted for the amendment 189-1, but voted against the bill 3-187.

    So I don't know what kind of shenanigans were going on there. The Washington Examiner goes into more detail.


  • Mark J. Perry provides the Animated chart of the day, showing how the upper/middle/low-income fractions of American households have changed over time:

    So it turns out that a good rejoinder to those who say "the middle class is shrinking" is: "Yeah, they're getting rich."


  • And, finally, George F. Will on: how unchecked progressives inflict progress in California. Destined to be a cautionary tale for the other 49 states, if they pay attention.

    California, our national warning, shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress. They have placed on November ballots Proposition 16 to repeal the state constitution’s provision, enacted by referendum in 1996, forbidding racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. Repeal, which would repudiate individual rights in favor of group entitlements, is part of a comprehensive California agenda to make everything about race, ethnicity and gender. Especially education, thereby supplanting education with its opposite.

    The 1996 ban on preferences was not intended to, and did not, end all measures to increase the participation of minorities and women in the state’s postsecondary education, or in doing business with the state government. So, Proposition 16 should be seen primarily as an act of ideological aggression, a bold assertion that racial and gender quotas — identity politics translated into a spoils system — should be forthrightly proclaimed and permanently practiced as a positive good.

    "Preferences" were originally sold as a temporary measure to untilt the playing field. Progressive logic: They didn't work, so let's make them forever.


Last Modified 2020-09-17 3:36 PM EDT

URLs du Jour

2020-09-16

  • Oscar Wilde famously said about Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop: “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.” On that basis, see how you do with the video in this Tweet.

    I'm especially amused by the "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" lady.


  • Kevin D. Williamson's weekly free column mulls on Illegitimate Illegitimacy. Which is about a thorny problem, that I'm pretty much convinced has no solution, see here. But I'd rather quote (probably more than I should under fair use) KDW on a subsequent topic:

    Our friend David French has written a typically intelligent and sensitive essay about “critical race theory,” which does not require any elaboration by me except to note the borderline illiterate writing from UCLA ideologues French quotes to define critical race theory:

    CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. CRT also rejects the traditions of liberalism and meritocracy. Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal “truth” by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege.  CRT also recognizes that liberalism and meritocracy are often stories heard from those with wealth, power, and privilege. These stories paint a false picture of meritocracy; everyone who works hard can attain wealth, power, and privilege while ignoring the systemic inequalities that institutional racism provides.

    I take an indulgent view of slightly pretentious spelling variations (engrained vs. ingrained). But I take a less liberal view of “identifies that,” which is an illiterate pseudoscientific dressing-up of “claims that”; the agreement problem in the same sentence; “the American society” where “American society” would do; the clumsy run-on sentence that tries to make “however” do the work of an ordinary coordinating conjunction; the agreement problem in “liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle”; etc. The logic is no better than the grammar: The false claim that liberalism asserts that “everyone who works hard can attain wealth, power, and privilege” is the dopiest straw man since Ray Bolger in The Wizard of Oz.

    There isn’t much point in my rehearsing arguments that George Orwell made more compellingly three quarters of a century ago. But it remains true that bulls*** writing is the witch’s familiar of bulls*** thinking. Understanding this kind of bulls*** for what it is — a decently paid career path for intellectual mediocrities — makes the otherwise perplexing careers of Rachel Dolezal, Jessica Krug, and Shaun King much more easily understood. Race-hustling is a pretty good gig, and Donald Trump on his best day couldn’t build a wall high enough to keep college-educated middle-class white people out of a pseudo-intellectual sinecure that sweet. The women’s-studies departments simply are not large enough to absorb the surplus in the market.

    That's a brilliant takedown, and I wish I could write that well.


  • Another Oscar Wilde moment (see above) is inspired by Philip Greenspun: Rich Californians complaining that they aren’t getting federal disaster money from Donald the Cruel.

    My Facebook feed has been alive for weeks with Californians complaining that the Great Father in Washington does not love them and therefore is not showering them with federal disaster relief cash despite their worse-than-usual fire season.

    (As with many complaints about Trump, emotions may be more important than facts. The Great Father actually declared a disaster in California and approved federal aid last month: “California Wildfires Burn Million Acres; Trump OKs Disaster Aid” (VOA, August 22))

    Suppose that Trump had not approved federal aid for the richer-than-average state. The fire are upsetting, yes, and sometimes tragic. And of course we can all sympathize with anyone who has lost a loved one or a home. However, in light of their own cherished values, third and thirdmost of which is fighting inequality (avoiding COVID-19 and BLM being #1 and #2, of course), should Californians even ask for aid? California is a rich state with 40 million people. Why does it need to be bailed out by lower-middle-class taxpayers in Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, and Kentucky? Why not use state funds to assist those who have been affected by the fires?

    Might be a different story if the money were actually going to help poor people. But, nope, it's going to the state government.


  • It's (roughly) the fiftieth anniversary of Milton Friedman's article in the New York Times: "A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits". At Reason, Brian Doherty looks at the folks who are still a little put out by that: Milton Friedman Accused of Making Corporations Greedy.

    The New York Times brings you news that's news to you: Before evil libertarian Milton Friedman came along, corporations did nothing but help the people in pursuit of "social responsibility."

    This is the implication of an overkill series of think pieces and a roundtable hooked to Friedman's essay "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits," which the Times itself ran in 1970. The newspaper now insists, without rigorous evidence, that this article was "arguably the most consequential economic idea of the latter half of the 20th century." (It also argues that businesses are now turning against the idea that their only social responsibility is to their shareholders.)

    It would require a lot more facts and analysis than the Times chooses to present to prove that corporations decided in the past 50 years to try to make profits their main concern because of a New York Times article by an economist. People starting and running businesses have traditionally done so to make a living and to make the business do well; attributing this to Friedman's "theories on the primacy of shareholders and the priority of profits" requires more business history and social history than the paper is able to do.

    I think Uncle Milton had the better of the argument then, and continues to do so. But see what you think.


  • What is Power Line's Academic Disgrace of the Week? Competition was stiff, but the University of Chicago English Department was a clear favorite with this announcement:

    Faculty Statement (July 2020)

    The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.

    For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies. We understand Black Studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages, and time periods. For more information on faculty and current graduate students in this area, please visit our Black Studies page.

    Well, fine. There goes my dream of a graduate degree in English from Chicago.


  • And apologetic bad news from Bjørn Lomborg in the NYPost: Sorry, solar panels won't stop California's fires. You know the story: yes, "climate change" plays a role, but (as it turns out) California's unwillingness to clear out decades of deadwood from its forests.

    One prominent study published in Nature Sustainability this year estimated that California will have to burn about 20 percent of its area to get rid of all the excess fuel. But owing to popular opposition, legal challenges and regulatory limits, California manages prescribed burns for less than one-thousandth of that.

    Instead of focusing on more prescribed burns, Newsom focuses on climate change as the overarching source of his state’s fires. He suggests that the answer is to speed up California’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources.

    But any realistic climate solution will achieve next to nothing. A Californian change of policy will have virtually no impact on global climates. But even if the ­entire United States were to cut all its emissions tomorrow and for the rest of the century — an ­incredibly fanciful and enormously expensive assumption — temperatures would still climb, just 0.3°F less.

    Good luck talking sense to Californians, who blame everything on (1) climate change and (2) Trump.


Last Modified 2020-09-17 8:32 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2020-09-15

[Amazon Link]

  • The Fraser Institute has produced its 2020 edition of Economic Freedom of the World. And let's let them tell you why it's important:

    Nations that are economically free out-perform non-free nations in indicators of well-being

    • Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of $44,198 in 2018, compared to $5,754 for nations in the bottom quartile (PPP constant 2017, international$) (exhibit 1.5).
    • In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10% was $12,293, compared to $1,558 in the bottom quartile (PPP constant 2017, international$) (exhibit 1.9). Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the average per-capita income in the least free nations.
    • In the top quartile, 1.7% of the population experience extreme poverty (US$1.90 a day) compared to 31.5% in the lowest quartile (exhibit 1.10).
    • Life expectancy is 80.3 years in the top quartile compared to 65.6 years in the bottom quartile (exhibit 1.6).

    Our fine country still manages a decent showing, in fifth place behind Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

    The data is from 2018, and the authors note that Hong Kong's ranking is likely to take a dive in future reports.


  • John Tierney has been a wonderful contrarian voice to the recycling gospel, and he continues in that role in City Journal: Let’s Hold On to the Throwaway Society.

    For half a century, it’s been a term of disdain: the “throwaway society,” uttered with disgust by the environmentally enlightened. But now that their reusable tote bags are taboo at grocery stores and Starbucks is refusing to refill their ceramic mugs, they’ve had to face some unpleasant realities. Disposable products aren’t merely more convenient than the alternative; they’re also safer, particularly during a pandemic but also at any other time. And they have other virtues: the throwaway society is healthier, cleaner, more economical, less wasteful, less environmentally damaging—and yes, more “sustainable” than the green vision of utopia.

    These are not new truths, even if it took the Covid-19 pandemic to reveal them again. The throwaway age began because of public-health campaigns a century ago to control the spread of pathogens. Disposable products were celebrated for decades for promoting hygiene and saving everyone time and money. It wasn’t until the 1970s that they became symbols of decadent excess, and then only because of economic and ecological fallacies repeated so often that they became conventional wisdom.

    A bonus is Tierney's history of the Dixie Cup, once advertised with the come-on "Now’s no time to flirt with Contagion!” Maybe they'll bring that back.


  • Hollywood in Toto notes Woke, Anti-Trump MCU Stars Silent on Disney-China Ties. For the uninitiated, "MCU" == "Marvel Cinematic Universe". And the stars include those actors who have played Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, … You know, the very people most qualified to tell us ticket-buying slobs how to vote.

    It’s worth noting a crush of progressive stars reportedly refused to work in Georgia last year after the state enacted strict laws regarding abortion. Disney co-CEO Bob Iger was part of that movement, saying it would be “very difficult” for the mega company to use Georgia locales following the decision.

    So, what about China, Bob?


  • Jim Geraghty notes a funny (actually not so funny) thing about ex-FBIer (and current fibber) Peter Strzok:

    Former FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok, on Meet the Press yesterday: “I think it is clear, I believed at the time in 2016, and I continue to believe, that Donald Trump is compromised by the Russians. And when I say that, I mean that they hold leverage over him that makes him incapable of placing the national interests, the national security ahead of his own.”

    Gee, that sounds serious. We should probably investigate that, because if it’s true, surely there must be gobs of evidence to support that earth-shaking accusation. Hey, could we get some sort of trusted law-enforcement official to investigate this? Maybe former FBI director Robert Mueller or someone like that? Let’s give Mueller roughly two years to dig into this and see if he finds any proof.

    It's probably a good thing that we don't put people in jail for being self-serving idiots on TV.

    Probably.


  • And another look at the 21st Century American Progressive mindset, from David Chavern at Wired: Section 230 Is a Government License to Build Rage Machines.

    Facebook has been called the “ largest piece of the QAnon infrastructure.” The app has not only hosted plenty of the conspiracy group’s dark and dangerous content, it has also promoted and expanded its audience. QAnon is hardly the only beneficiary: Facebook promotes and expands the audience of militia organizers, racists, those who seek to spread disinformation to voters, and a host of other serious troublemakers. The platform’s basic business, after all, is deciding which content keeps people most engaged, even if it undermines civil society. But unlike most other businesses, Facebook’s most profitable operations benefit from a very special get-out-of-jail-free card provided by the US government.

    Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects “interactive computer services” like Facebook and Google from legal liability for the posts of their users. This is often portrayed as an incentive for good moderation. What is underappreciated is that it also provides special protection for actively bad moderation and the unsavory business practices that make the big tech platforms most of their money.

    Statist conservatives have also targeted Section 230.

    Of course, the Wired author and his ilk imagine that they'll be in charge of deciding which firms and organizations are not playing nice under (unsurprisingly) vague and (almost certainly) broad definitions of "rage machines".

    The author, David Chavern, is identified as "president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, which bills itself as an advocate of "local journalism". Meaning legacy media.

    So a cynic might see his article as an attempted hit job on the competition. I mean, it's not as if "local journalism" hasn't inspired rage… Can I sue Foster's Daily Democrat for publishing hate-filled ranting LTEs against President Trump?

    But don't worry! Chavern's organization is also demanding that government get its nose under the tent in favor of "local journalism". Note its support of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, a bevy of tax credits and subsidies to prop up your failing local paper. Awful details at the link. (NH CongressCritter Annie Kuster is a co-sponsor, Chris Pappas so far is not.)

URLs du Jour

2020-09-14

  • The Josiah Bartlett Center wants to make sure you can't say later that you weren't warned: The wrong policies could bring California's rolling blackouts to New Hampshire.

    Energy policy is often described in moral terms, with “green energy” representing the forces of good and fossil fuels representing the forces of darkness. But really it’s about math. California politicians have spent decades fighting a losing battle against math. In August, math finally won.

    The rolling blackouts that cut off power during an August heat wave were the entirely predictable — and often predicted — result of a series of energy policy decisions designed to impose politicians’ energy preferences on a market that wasn’t ready for them.

    The markets do a great job of bringing people what they want. Politics does a pretty bad job of bringing people what the politicians think they should want.


  • At National Review, David Harsanyi analyzes Woodward Revisionist History.

    Donald Trump will have to live with the political fallout from his own ham-fisted admission to Bob Woodward that he downplayed the virus as an effort to calm Americans.

    It’s an incident that amplifies two of Trump’s most glaring weaknesses. First, his narcissism. No one, after all, forced Trump to give Woodward White House access or interviews. If he deluded himself into believing he could convince Woodward to frame his presidency in a positive light, that’s on him.

    Second, his complete lack of messaging discipline. The president’s unscripted rants and maximalist rhetoric have their moments in political warfare, but they do not engender confidence when dealing with a genuine crisis. Everything is the “best” or the “worst,” nothing or everything. There was no reason for him to have been as dismissive as he was about coronavirus.

    But Harsanyi goes on to note that nobody in the early days of the pandemic was strongly advocating policies that might have done a better job of containing the outbreak.

    If we're going to imagine alternate realities and blame the President for not omnisciently doing exactly the right thing… well, let's take a look at FDR, pre-December 7, 1941.


  • At Liberty Unyielding, Hans Bader has an amusing observation about the New York Times' algorithm for racial pigeonholing: apparently Your race is based on your politics.

    Arabs become “people of color” when they are Democrats, but are considered white when they are Republicans, judging from a New York Times story. As Seffi Kogen notes, the Times recently described some government officials of Palestinian or other Arab descent as people of color, and others as white, in its story about the racial makeup of “922 of the most powerful people in America.”

    The Times bizarrely highlights” Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as a person of color, even “while marking” as “white” both Governor Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) — who is also of Palestinian ancestry — and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, who is of Lebanese ancestry.

    Nobody claimed—or even noticed—that Chris Sununu was New Hampshire's first Governor of Color.

    Oh, right: his dad, John, was also Gov. So Chris is the second.


  • On the LFOD front, one little-noticed result from the September 8 primary was publicized by NHInsider: Transsexual Satanist Anarchist Is GOP Nominee for Cheshire County Sheriff.

    New Hampshire’s first trans, anarchist, Satanic candidate for county sheriff says she’s not getting a lot of support from the Republican Party.

    “I can’t imagine they’re happy about this,” said Aria DiMezzo.

    DiMezzo, who is running as a Republican with the campaign slogan “F*** the Police,” said Friday she hasn’t had any help or support for the county or state GOP. DiMezzo won the Republican nomination for Cheshire County Sheriff Tuesday night running unopposed in the primary. She’ll now square off with popular incumbent Democrat Eli Rivera, who is running for his fifth term.

    Well. Cheshire County is over there in the Keene corner of the state (picture me waving vaguely westward), so I wonder how Free Keene is describing this?

    [DiMezzo] previously ran for Cheshire Sheriff as a Libertarian candidate in 2018, back when the Libertarians had major party ballot access status in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the transsexual anarchist founder of the Reformed Satanic Church only received just over 2.3% of the vote in the three-way race. However, at that point she had not yet legally changed her name, which she now has. Since the two major parties make it so hard for Libertarians and other parties to run for office, we might as well run in the two parties.

    This time around DiMezzo’s campaign attracted some attention from some haters in Rindge who mounted a sizable write-in campaign on behalf of Nelson. It is not known whether they got Nelson’s approval for this and the official republican primary results from the state show their campaign had near-zero effect outside of Rindge. However the attacks against her had a reverse effect and actually brought her new supporters who excitedly put dozens of yard signs out around Cheshire County’s roads.

    So there you have it.


  • Another excerpt from P. J. O'Rourke's latest book, peej-splaining: This is why millennials adore socialism.

    What’s the matter with kids today? Nothing new. A large portion of the brats, the squirts, the fuzz-faced, the moon calves, the sap-green, and the wet behind the ears have always been “Punks for Progressives.”

    As soon as children discover that the world isn’t nice, they want to make it nicer. And wouldn’t a world where everybody shares everything be nice? Aw … kids are so tender-hearted.

    But kids are broke — so they want to make the world nicer with your money. And kids don’t have much control over things — so they want to make the world nicer through your effort. And kids are very busy being young — so it’s your time that has to be spent making the world nicer.

    I was steered onto a different path in the early-60's, reading Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom.