URLs du Jour


  • 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.

Slightly Scarlet

[1.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

Another entry in the 2020 Pun Salad NoirFest. It's pretty bad: lousy acting, ludicrous plot, loopy wooden dialog, unbelievable characters. But in color. And the sets are pretty amazing, 1950s garish. It's based on a James M. Cain novel, but not one of the good ones.

Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming play sisters, one good, one bad and crazy. (I'm not sure which is which, and it doesn't matter.) As the movie opens, the bad/crazy one is getting out of jail, picked up by the good one, the tender scene being surreptitiously photographed by John Payne for some reason. (Again, it doesn't matter.)

There's election skullduggery, where a corrupt city administration is ousted, and the head cop is replaced by … oops, John Payne working behind the scenes, via his wooing of Good Sister, who works for the new mayor. He also has plans to replace the current mob boss, who he's fingered for the murder of a reform-minded political financier.

Meanwhile, Bad/Crazy Sister is giving in to her kleptomaniac urges. Also her nymphomaniac urges (which are depicted as clearly as you could in a 1950s movie). Can she stay out of jail? And out of the line of fire between John Payne and the mob boss?

I'm not quite sure how it turns out, because I fell asleep near the end. Still, I watched most of it, so it counts.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT


[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

This 2019 movie turns out to be the final entry in M. Night Shyamalan's movie trilogy that started with Unbreakable (2000, 19 years previous) and Split (2016). This was teased in Split's final scene, where Bruce Willis's character (David Dunn) learns about James McAvoy's character (Kevin, plus his multiple personalities).

So it wouldn't hurt to maybe rewatch Unbreakable and Split before you tackle this one. Although we managed OK.

Anyway, Kevin (and his multiple personalities) are up to their old tricks, kidnapping cheerleaders for their usual demented purposes. David has been in the shadows since Unbreakable, occasionally doing some vigilante work, assisted by his superpowers; the cops want to catch him for this freelancing. (Philadelphia is apparently no place to be a superhero.) He's assisted by his son, Joseph. (Nice touch: Joseph is played by the young adult actor who played the same role, as a child, in Unbreakable.)

But soon enough, both Kevin and David wind up in custody, under the care of Dr. Ellie. Who seems determined to demonstrate that there's nothing superpowered going on here. Why? Well, that's eventually revealed. But also in the same facility is Elijah, the bad guy from Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson. He seems to have been drugged into catatonia, but come on, we know he's faking, and he's only waiting for the chance to cause some mayhem.

It's supremely silly, but also pretty watchable, at least for me. McAvoy's multiple-personality schtick is a lot of fun to watch, I like Bruce Willis no matter what, and Mr. Jackson always scares the crap out of me.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT