URLs du Jour


I didn't mean to watch the debate, but it was on when the movie we watched last night was over, so I caught Joe Biden yelling about something. Trump being a Russkie, I think. Couldn't switch over to a TiVo'd Futurama episode fast enough.

If I wanted to watch an old man rant incoherently, I'd take my laptop into the bathroom and read my Facebook feed in front of the mirror.

  • And I rarely tweet, but let me share a retweet with you:

    Depending on how the week goes, I may need to revise that.

  • The Bulwark's Benjamin Parker asks What Would a Sanders Presidency Mean for the Rule of Law?

    For disaffected Republicans, the choice is less strategic. For those who object to President Trump’s protectionism, redistribution programs, political and economic disruptiveness, and obsequiousness to dictators, voting for Sanders hardly alleviates their concerns. Sanders’s saving grace may be that he lacks the incumbent’s personal indecency and mafioso instincts.

    But just because Sanders wouldn’t mimic Trump’s assaults on the rule of law doesn’t mean he wouldn’t start his own. Voters from any party who think of their ballot as an attempt to restore the constitutional order shouldn’t be under the illusion that a Sanders White House will herald a return to normalcy.

    Benjamin details how Bernie has voiced his support for authoritarian leaders, as long as they're fellow lefties.

  • David Harsany goes into more detail on that at National Review: Bernie Sanders Praise of Fidel Castro: Why It Matters.

    Did you know that infamous Nazi Hermann Göring was a great lover of animals, a protector of birds, and head of the forestry service in Germany? Unless you’re a history buff, probably not. After all, almost no one feels the need to preface their comments about the Third Reich with “Sure, the authoritarianism was pretty bad, but, boy, that Göring was one hell of an environmentalist!”

    Western elites, however, like to use this kind of absurd criterion whenever they talk about socialism, ignoring its vast failures and praising its piddling and alleged successes — you know, “Denmark,” but not Algeria, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, China, Congo, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Latvia, Mongolia, Romania, Somalia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, and so on and on.

    And unlike many modern progressives, Bernie Sanders is old-school, still in the habit of praising old comrades. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?” Bernie told 60 Minutes this past weekend, reacting to criticism of his near-complete praise of the dictator back in the 1980s.

    Extra observation: "When Castro triumphantly entered Havana in 1958, he didn’t bring truckloads of books; he ordered thousands of arrests and summary executions."

  • Reason's Eric Boehm observes pungently that Mayor Mike is no prize either: Bloomberg and Bernie Fight Over Which Communist Dictatorship Is the Least Evil.

    Democratic presidential hopefuls Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders clashed Tuesday night over which authoritarian communist regimes are worth praising. Both fumbled what should have been straight-forward responses.

    Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, was asked about his past praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a 2019 interview, Bloomberg said, "Xi Jinping is not a dictator; he has to satisfy his constituents or he's not going to survive." Given a second chance, Bloomberg did find the courage to criticize China's lack of press freedoms and what he called an "abominable" record on human rights—but then he pivoted, weirdly, to argue that Xi is not a dictator because he "serves at the behest of the Politburo" of the Communist Party of China, the 25-member political committee that runs the country.

    I think the word "kowtow" will work its way further into the vocabulary as the campaign goes on.

  • At Power Line, Scott Johnson quotes liberally from a WSJ column from Walter Russell Mead on China's response to the coronavirus, "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia." Which resulted in outrage from the dictators, and the expulsion from China of three WSJ journalists.

    It's all detailed in Help! Apologize to our jailers in the Chinese bakery. But there's something disquieting about this bit:

    Journal reporters are on board with the demand for an apology to the Chinese regime. Marc Tracy covers that angle for the New York Times in “Inside The Wall Street Journal, Tensions Rise Over ‘Sick Man’ China Headline.” Subhead: “After China announced the expulsion of three of the paper’s journalists, 53 reporters and editors at The Journal asked top executives to consider changing the headline and apologizing.”

    The phrase "Sick man of Asia" has a history that rubs people the wrong way even today.

    But hurt feelings are no excuse for kowtowing to tyrants.

  • I remember driving in Boston for the first time in 1973. Kind of a traumatic experience. Apparently, it's still bad. In Boston magazine Lisa Weidenfeld wonders Can We Ever Really Fix Bad Driving in Boston? There's an LFOD invocation:

    Before you start feeling too hopeless, though, it’s worth noting that Massachusetts has the lowest automobile fatality rate in the country. And Larason, who’s something of an expert, says “I think Boston drivers have become better and politer than they have been historically.” And though we may enjoy screaming at our fellow drivers from time to time, living in a heavily urbanized state means that chances are pretty good that you’re not driving anywhere fast, making it a bit harder to get in a nasty crash.

    It’s possible that despite our much vaunted reputation as rotten drivers, we’re just full of hot air. In fact, the area that Larason suggests he’d really like to see some improvement in isn’t our tendency to flip each other off over minor transgressions. It’s that we’re 45th in the nation in seatbelt use, meaning, he says, that “one in four of us does not wear a seatbelt.” New Hampshire, which does not require seat belts (live free or die, baby!), is 50th. The point: We’re not even that much better than New Hampshire.

    It's true, according to the latest data, MA has a fatality rate of 0.54 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, less than any other state. (NH is pretty bad on that score: 1.07 deaths per 100 Million annual VMT.)

    Apparently the real problem with Boston drivers is that they hurt each others' feelings instead of killing each other. Not a bad tradeoff.

Last Modified 2020-02-27 6:36 AM EDT