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  • At American Consequences, P. J. O'Rourke reviews Joe Biden’s 564 pages of empty promises.

    But although Joe has a plan for everything and can’t shut up when explaining his plans, he doesn’t make it easy to find out exactly what these plans are. (And perhaps that’s a wise move for someone trying to attract “Anybody-But-Trump” moderate voters.)

    If you care to repeat my reading experience, you’ll have to go to the “Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website” and get past all the pestering for donations and amateurish videos of Joe interacting with highly diverse and moderately enthusiastic supporters until you find the little “Menu” icon among the screen clutter.

    Click on that, and you’ll be presented with a list of (not very enticing) options. Ignoring “Home,” “Joe’s Story,” “Action Center,” “The Latest,” “Store,” “How to Vote,” and “En Español,” click on “Joe’s Vision.” This will take you to “Bold Ideas.” Beneath that heading, there’s an array of 43 boxes similar to Jeopardy! categories. (And unless you lack any political conservatism whatsoever and are bereft of every libertarian principle, the “jeopardy” comparison is apt.)

    Peej summarizes: "Every one of the 43 platform planks seems to have been written by perfervid freshmen political-science majors in a dorm room bull session after taking methamphetamine."

    But RTWT, if you can stand finding out about the progressive vapidity emitted by the campaign that the oddsmakers (still) favors to win in November.

  • The print version of National Review features a paywalled James Lileks: Transform It All.

    Does Joe Biden write his tweets? Does an aide gently guide his finger to the keys on his phone while humming a soothing melody? Whoever’s in charge of his account, this was sent a few weeks ago:

    “We’re going to beat Donald Trump. And when we do, we won’t just rebuild this nation — we’ll transform it.”

    Barack Obama made the same pledge, noting his intention to fundamentally transform America. Some credulous folk thought this meant “improve,” but that’s like saying you “improved” the Mona Lisa by painting it over, Jackson Pollock–style. No, that would be a transformation.

    The Left adores transformation, because it means the old miserable manifestations of the culture are remade to their wishes. Like this:

    “Hey, you like hamburgers? We’re going to transform them! Now you’ll eat lab-grown pseudo-beef with ground-up insects! Yes, we’re transforming the American diet, because meat is patriarchal, causes climate change, and also mustard is racist.”

    “How is mustard racist?”

    “I’m not going to perform unpaid labor to teach you. Educate yourself. Do the work. Read a book. I suggest Yellow Peril: How Condiments Led to the Anti-Chinese Riots of 1886. If you want to decolonize your burger, it’s a good place to start.”

    And, well, that's probably beyond fair use, but trust me. It's good. Subscribe if possible. Or wander into a decent library, it's the August 10 issue.

  • Boy, I'm already sick of the USPS brouhaha. One of the few islands of sanity is (of course) Eric Boehm at Reason: A Coronavirus Bailout Won’t Save (or Fix) the USPS.

    Congress has proposed a $25 billion bailout for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of the latest COVID-19 stimulus bill, but it's unlikely that any amount of cash will be enough to stabilize the agency's finances. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Oversight Committee in April that the postal service stands to lose $13 billion this year. That's an acceleration of an ongoing trend, not a new problem created by the coronavirus pandemic; the post office has lost $69 billion since 2007.

    In May, a report from the Government Accountability Office called the agency's business model "not financially sustainable"—a conclusion it had reached before the impact of the coronavirus was factored in. The report called for Congress to make changes to "critical foundational elements" of how USPS operates. In other words, COVID-19 might be an easy scapegoat to justify a federal bailout, but the pandemic is not the main problem, and a bailout would not be a permanent solution.

    Hey, if they can lose $13 billion in a year, they can certainly lose your mail-in ballot. Especially if they've been semi-reliably delivering copies of Reason to your mailbox for 30 years, they might get the idea that you're not a USPS fan.

  • I heard Biden say this, and made the mistake of talking to my TV: "That's stupid." And Thomas A. Firey of Cato agrees: No Joe, Governors Shouldn’t Require Everyone to Wear a Mask When Outside. Bottom line:

    And yet, Biden is wrong that governors should require U.S. residents to wear masks whenever they’re outside. Many times, when people are outside their homes, they do not put others at involuntary risk of infection. From hiking and biking on public lands, to boating and fishing public waterways, to driving on public roads, to outdoor activities on private property (but not at home), and countless other instances, there are plenty of instances where mask‐​wearing creates little or no involuntary risk of infection. A general mask mandate would thus produce countless government failures.

    Statewide mask mandates would both violate the principles of limited government and cause unnecessary harm to citizens. As I explain in my paper, mask policy should be left to local governments (a point that applies to both Biden and to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, both of whom at one time prohibited local mask ordinances). At the local level, policymakers are more responsive to citizens and the ordinances can be better tailored to address specific circumstances—including, perhaps, cases where there is no community spread and no need for masks.

    Apparently the strategy of providing the citizenry with accurate and full information and allowing them to judge their own risk levels is only taken seriously by those wacky libertarians.

  • And (in a column helpfully labeled "Humor") Rich Cromwell has advice at the Federalist for our favorite government agency, because rockets. Dear NASA: Don't Stop With Renaming 'Eskimo Nebula.' Probe Uranus.

    Finally, NASA is doing something important: Taking a closer look at the nicknames for cosmic objects.

    In a real and not satiric press release announcing the move, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Science Mission Directorate, said, “Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion, and we’ll proactively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value.”

    This comes a little too late. It is 2020, after all. It also focuses on things like the Eskimo Nebula and the Siamese Twin Galaxy, and doesn’t take into account all celestial bodies. The sad fact is that it’s time to cancel all the planets in the solar system, starting with Uranus.

    Discovered in 1781, the seventh stone from the sun was named for the Greek god of the sky. Although all the other planets except for Earth are named for Greek gods, this is especially troubling as the god of the sky is the sun, unless you have a misbegotten belief in a geocentric universe. Even then, though, no way Uranus would get the crown.

    In case you worry that Rich might slip into 13-year-old jokes about Uranus… don't worry, he totally does.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 5:01 AM EDT