URLs du Jour


  • OK, I looked at Fintan O’Toole's article ("Vector in Chief") in the New York Review of Books a bit yesterday. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how mind-bogglingly dimwitted this paragraph was:

    With this stream of disparaging commentary, Trump himself became a vector of the coronavirus. His followers got the message that the whole thing might well be a media and Democratic conspiracy, and therefore that they did not need to take the threat seriously. A Quinnipiac poll on March 9 showed the effect: while 68 percent of Democrats said they were concerned that they or someone they knew would be infected, only 35 percent of Republicans felt likewise. Belief in the seriousness of the threat is a prerequisite for self-protection (not to mention for reducing the spread of the virus)—Trump’s undermining of that belief is literally lethal to his own supporters.

    So O'Toole's thesis is that Trump's supporters are at greater risk of dying, thanks to their Trump-credulity. (We could, but won't, speculate on how much wish fulfillment is going on in O'Toole's head as he fantasizes about dead Trumpkins.)

    But wait a minute. According to NPR: COVID-19 Hitting African Americans More Because Of Misinformation And Distrust.

    Across many parts of the U.S., black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates. In Milwaukee County, for example, nearly three quarters of those who have died of the virus were black. But only about a quarter of the county's population is black.

    I wondered yesterday: in O'Toole's world, are black Americans unusually susceptible to Trump's message of "media and Democratic conspiracy"?

    I don't think so either.

    But wait, there's more. Here is a list of Covid-19 Death rates by state. O'Toole thinks those damned Trump-believing red states should be at the top, right?

    Instead (as I type):

    1. New York
    2. New Jersey
    3. Louisiana
    4. Michigan
    5. Connecticut
    6. Massachusetts
    7. Washington
    8. District of Columbia
    9. Northern Mariana Islands
    10. Georgia
    11. Illinois

    OK, there are a couple non-states on there, but that's OK.

    Only three in the list voted for Trump in 2016: Louisiana, Michigan, and Georgia.

    Only three have Republican governors: Massachusetts, Georgia, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

    Again, no evidence that Trump fans are uniquely susceptible to Covid-19. If anything, it works the other way.

    O'Toole's piece is a prime example of Trump Derangement Syndrome: so enraptured with hatred, he doesn't bother to notice that the beautiful theory he's writing doesn't match up with reality that well.

    And needless to say, this counter-to-fact blather sailed right through the allegedly-prestigious New York Review of Books editors too. Nobody stops to say "Hey, wait a minute" when Trump is the target.

  • Jonah Goldberg's G-File from Good Friday declares Threat Level: Bat Guano.

    The inestimable Matt Ridley wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week:

    “In Shitou Cave, south of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, they found viruses in the bats’ droppings and anal swabs that were more similar to human SARS than anything found in palm civets, the small mammals that until then were presumed to be the source of human infection.”

    There are a lot of observations about the weirdness of these times that have become era-defining clichés. I use—or have used—many myself. “We live in a reality TV show.” “I wonder what’s happening on Earth 2?” “This isn’t the timeline I chose. “Let’s touch the orb; what could go wrong?” And, of course, “If you wrote this in a novel, people would reject it for being too unbelievable.”

    But can we take a moment just to marvel that at the beginning of the fourth season, when the plot took a wild turn, the telltale heart, the Chekov’s gun, of the massive plot twist in this batshit crazy time turned out to be actual batshit.

    Lots of good stuff at the G-File, but I just had to quote that.

  • At Reason, Robby Soave notes The New York Times Is Extremely Skeptical of Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Accusation Against Joe Biden. Imagine That.

    The mainstream media's silence regarding a former staffer's sexual assault accusation against Joe Biden is finally broken: The New York Times covered the allegations on Sunday in an extensively reported piece, "Examining Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden."

    It's an excruciatingly matter-of-fact article, bereft of the emotion and rhetorical flourishes that have often characterized the Times' past reporting on #MeToo stories. The Times' investigative piece on Deborah Ramirez, Brett Kavanaugh's Yale accuser, was headlined, "Brett Kavanaugh Fit in With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not." The paper also ran ostensibly objective pieces with headlines like "For Christine Blasey Ford, a Drastic Turn From a Quiet Life in Academia" and "With Caffeine and Determination, Christine Blasey Ford Relives Her Trauma." These were news articles, but it was not hard to detect an agenda: portray the accuser as so likable and sympathetic that readers would want to believe her.

    Of course that agenda is missing when they talk about Reade.

  • But even so, the NYT felt that even their dispassionate article was too hard-hitting on Wheezy Joe. Fox News reports: New York Times edits Biden sexual assault coverage, deletes references to past inappropriate 'hugs, kisses and touching'.

    The New York Times stealth-edited its article on the sexual-assault allegation against Joe Biden by his former Senate staffer Tara Reade just minutes after it was published on Sunday morning, removing all references in a key paragraph to the multiple past accusations by seven women that the former vice president had touched them inappropriately.

    The Times piece also focuses on unrelated sexual misconduct accusations against President Trump, and largely dismisses Reade's allegations as uncorroborated by her co-workers -- even though the Times notes later in its piece that Reade's claim was contemporaneously corroborated by two of Reade's friends.

    Gee, I don't see why people don't trust the New York Times, do you?

  • Say what you will about my state's motto, but it's certainly a boon to lazy writers. Just in the past few days:

    • an op-ed at the Concord Monitor:

      This is the “Live free or die” state that doesn’t require seatbelts and allows concealed carry even though that may impose external costs on others, so one might think that people could decide for themselves whether to patronize golf courses and health clubs with appropriate precautions to lower their heart disease risk. That is if owners chose to stay open, and with enhanced unemployment workers could decide to stay home if they chose.

    • a Union Leader business column:

      Fauci will need an army of infectious disease specialists to convince people to stop shaking hands for good. In the Live Free or Die state, we’re still resisting seatbelts and motorcycle helmets. Now someone wants us to stop shaking hands?

    • A letter-writer to the Idaho Falls Post Register: The rising specter of nihilism.

      At this time, when the majority of citizens are joining together to conform to strict social and governmental measures, the nihilists are seeking to destroy our collective resolve. It would appear that they see those of us who are trying to be socially responsible as the enemy rather than the COVID-19 virus. In this hour of crucial human need, the question is whether or not the majority will allow their resolve to be diminished by a manic minority. When the nihilists begin spouting their mantra of "live free or die," let us remind ourselves that "there is no freedom without responsibility."

      Damn us New Hampshire Nihilists!

    • And even a guy at the NBC Sports site gets in on the act.

      The whole live free or die mentality is cute, but I guarantee you that virtually all the tough talking people would take it all back if they were in the ICU using a ventilator fighting for their life as their body tried to fight the virus. It’s easy to talk tough when you’re assuming you’ll live through it.

    If not for LFOD, what would these folks do for clichés?

Last Modified 2020-04-14 5:14 AM EDT