URLs du Jour


It's pretty grim out there today, so how about a mood-elevator? Reader, you would have to have a heart of stone not to chuckle at People who wear masks vs People without masks.

  • Betteridge's law of headlines applies to Matt Welch's Reason article: Do You Feel $9,000 Richer, Punk?

    As Congress squabbles over the next multitrillion-dollar phase of coronavirus relief, it's worth asking the question: Do you feel $9,000 richer since March?

    Unless you were an early investor in the vaccine-chasing Moderna Therapeutics, the answer is likely "no." And yet the estimated $3 trillion price tag on the first four batches of COVID-19 stimulus, divided by 330 million increasingly underemployed U.S. residents, equals $9,000 per capita, which has ended up where government payouts usually go: to entities with better connections than you.

    It's probably for the best. If the Feds had just shoveled that cash out to individual Americans, they would have spent it on things they thought they needed, instead of things the government thought they should have.

  • I get some comfort into finding people out there making sense. "Yay, America hasn't gone completely bonkers!"

    One example is David Harsanyi, here at National Review: Trump & Twitter Fact-Check: A Bad Policy.

    Yesterday, after years of pressure from media and Democrats, Twitter labeled two of Trump’s tweets — in which he had claimed that the use of mail-in ballots for large numbers of people would be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election” — as “potentially misleading.” It’s a mistake for any platform to drop its neutral stance and take on fact-checking duties, a task that’s going to be impossible to accomplish either objectively or effectively. It’s going to corrode trust in the brand, but it won’t change a single mind.

    Once Twitter begins tagging some tweets and not others with “what you need to know,” it will be staking out partisan positions. The Trump tweets that precipitated its first election-related fact-check are a good example of this. It would have been far more reasonable for the social-media giant to label Trump’s ugly and libelous tweets about Joe Scarborough as misleading. Instead, Twitter decided to inaugurate its policy by alleging that Trump had dishonestly claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.”

    Even if this contention were entirely baseless, it would be as untrue as saying Russia rigged the election — a claim that politicians such as Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi, along with most major media outlets, have been making for years. But while the president’s rhetoric about voting is debatable, it is also well within the normal parameters of contemporary political discourse. It’s not exactly “unsubstantiated” to assert that more mail-in ballots “would lead to voter fraud,” as Twitter holds. There are dozens of instances of potential voter fraud investigated every year. The Heritage Foundation has cataloged 1,285 prosecuted cases.

    News flash: Twitter wasn't designed to explicate complicated issues with nuance, respect, and fairness.

  • Jonah Goldberg clears up any confusion you may have about the November election: The Media Are Not on the Ballot. (And you wouldn't want to vote for them if they were.)

    I got an email yesterday from the Trump campaign. It begins:


    President Trump isn’t running against Sleepy Joe Biden. He’s running against the Radical Left, the Deep State, the Do-Nothing Democrats, and their partner, the real opposition party, the Fake News media.

    They are vicious and crazy, but as long as we have you on our team, we will win and we will WIN BIG!

    Despite their best efforts to take him down, President Trump continues to put America First with every decision he makes. In fact, his approval ratings are SKYROCKETING among the Republican Party and voters in swing states.

    President Trump knows that the corrupt media will never report the FACTS. He wants to get the TRUTH, which is why he asked us to go straight to the source - YOU, the American People - to take the Official May Approval Poll.

    YOUR answers will represent the views of EVERY voter who lives in your zip code.

    It goes on like this for a while. But this is more than enough to make my point: The Trump campaign thinks his supporters are idiots.


    What is important is the first line: “President Trump isn’t running against Sleepy Joe Biden.” It’s important in part because there are smart and decent people who nod along when they hear statements like this. They think it’s true, in some real and vital way, that the president is running against the media, and the Deep State, and all of the forces of darkness. Yes—on some superficial level, there’s some truth to it. On another, it’s all nonsense—because as a matter of basic reality, he is, in fact, running against Joe Biden.

    As a Registered Republican ("In Name Only") I get mail like that from time to time; I've learned to throw it away without reading, because I can feel it rotting my brain through my eyeballs. An uncomfortable experience.

  • An amusing article from John Hirschauer at NR: Feminists & Media Push Narrative that Women Are Suffering More than Men.

    ‘The novel coronavirus seems to be more deadly for men,” CNN tweeted. “But in many other ways, women are bearing the brunt of this pandemic.”

    More men are dying from the coronavirus, but women, we are told, have been saddled with a disproportionate share of household chores. Who has it worse?

    Apparently a bit more laundry is a fate worse than death.

    The notion that women are “bearing the brunt” of this pandemic virus is smattered on scores of feminist think-pieces across the Internet. To pick three: The Guardian says that “UK women bear emotional brunt of Covid-19 turmoil;” NPR laments that “Women Bear The Brunt Of Coronavirus Job Losses”; and the Miami Herald reports that “Women are bearing the brunt of the social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.”

    I only quibble with that third paragraph: there's less laundry to do when hubby's out of the picture, gals. Cheer up!

  • Another voice of sanity comes from Jacob Sullum, writing in the NYPost: Following the data now means ending the lockdowns.

    How we respond to the novel coronavirus should be based on emerging evidence about the danger posed by the virus — a reasonable road.

    Despite what many people hoped, COVID-19 is clearly worse than the seasonal flu. But despite what other people feared, it doesn’t seem to be nearly as lethal as the Spanish Flu of 1918, which killed about 0.7 percent of the total US population — the equivalent of more than 2 million people today.

    As we move from lockdowns to something more closely resembling normal life, the emerging evidence about the threat posed by COVID-19 should inform our judgment about which precautions make sense. The initial, ham-handed approach — which confined hundreds of millions of people to their homes except for government-approved purposes — should be replaced by more carefully targeted measures focused on protecting the people who face the highest risk.

    People seem locked into the narratives they established for themselves back in March or so.