URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link]

  • Warning: this probably shows that I am not the nicest person.

    I recently came across a letter-to-the-editor on the collective online site for a group of local surviving newspapers. It's from one Eric Kane of Exeter NH, and is in response to a previous letter (linked in the excerpt): Conservative writer lives in fictional universe.

    Mark Brighton apparently lives in a fictional universe where Colin Kaepernick did get an NFL job after his age 29 season after kneeling to protest police violence and where Muhammad Ali did not go to prison in the prime of his career for protesting the Vietnam War.

    Ah, Eric. The universe in which Muhammad Ali went to jail is pretty fictional itself. Do you live there?

    True enough, he was in a spot of legal trouble in the late 1960s. And even that wasn't for "protesting": it was for violating the Selective Service laws for refusing to be drafted.

    Moral: if you're in a public debate, and you accuse your opponent of living in a fictional universe, you better make sure you're not making stuff up yourself.

  • Well that legislation falsely labeled as "Covid-19 Relief" seems to have passed. Peter Suderman has a criticism: In the Name of Pandemic Relief, Biden Would Expand Obamacare Subsidies to Households Making $350,000 a Year.

    It's increasingly clear that President Joe Biden's so-called coronavirus recovery plan is best understood not as a coronavirus relief bill, designed to solve the specific health and economic problems that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, but as a catchall boondoggle for longstanding Democratic policy priorities that have little if anything to do with COVID-19.

    It's increasingly clear that President Joe Biden's so-called coronavirus recovery plan is best understood not as a coronavirus relief bill, designed to solve the specific health and economic problems that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, but as a catchall boondoggle for longstanding Democratic policy priorities that have little if anything to do with COVID-19.

    Biden's plan would funnel an additional $34 billion into the law over the next two years, boosting spending on subsidies for private insurance by about 29 percent. The boosted spending would move about 1.7 million people onto subsidized coverage sold through the health law's regulated marketplaces; about 1.3 million of them would be previously uninsured, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate. A substantial chunk of the effect, in other words, will be to move about four hundred thousand people who are already insured into subsidized coverage. That alone is a reason for skepticism.

    When the crisis is over any attempt to repeal this giveaway will be described by Democrats as "trying to take away people's health care."

  • Dan McLaughline reports: Cancelers Get eBay to Purge Dr. Seuss Books. Dan's NR Corner post in its entirety:

    “Don’t worry,” people were telling us as recently as this morning, “taking six Dr. Seuss books out of print is just a business decision, you can still get them, they just won’t be published anymore.” I guess that apologia for cancel culture has now been rendered inoperative, as eBay has announced that it will purge all listings for the books from its site:

    Online marketplace eBay Inc. said it is working to prevent the resale of six Dr. Seuss books that were pulled earlier this week by the company in charge of the late author’s works because they contain offensive imagery. “EBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an email. Hundreds of listings for the six books could be found on the platform as of Thursday morning, though the number appeared to be lower than it was on Wednesday evening. The eBay spokeswoman said it would take some time to review seller listings and that the company was monitoring newly published listings.

    This is particularly absurd given that several of the books contain “offensive imagery” only in the most extenuated sense of irritating left-wing zealots. You can still find plenty of listings on eBay for bongs, sex toys, provocative semi-nude photos of porn stars, old issues of Penthouse, framed covers of Hustler, handguns, rifles, swords, machetes, even copies of Mein Kampf, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and The Anarchist Cookbook. Tintin in the Congo is still for sale, and so is Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. But apparently, On Beyond Zebra is beyond the pale.

    A newsworthy story, you would think. One where the media might be interested in getting the executives at relevant companies (Amazon, eBay, etc) to try to justify their actions without tying themselves up in rhetorical knots.

  • Matt Taibbi lists The Top 10 "Controversial" Books Still On Sale On eBay.

    The Doctrine of Fascism, by Benito Mussolini, $11.38. Co-written by Giovanni Gentile, this moving work describes the ideology of collective sacrifice above self, and issues an eloquent warning against the scourge of individualism. “The Fascist conception of life,” the authors write, “stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.”

    It sounds as if The Doctrine of Fascism would be pretty useful. A how-to manual for the Woke; for the rest of us, what we have to look forward to.

  • And Glenn Greenwald points out: As the Insurrection Narrative Crumbles, Democrats Cling to it More Desperately Than Ever.

    Twice in the last six weeks, warnings were issued about imminent, grave threats to public safety posed by the same type of right-wing extremists who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. And both times, these warnings ushered in severe security measures only to prove utterly baseless.

    First we had the hysteria over the violence we were told was likely to occur at numerous state capitols on Inauguration Day. “Law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of Wednesday's ceremony,” announced CNN. In an even scarier formulation, NPR intoned that “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.”

    The resulting clampdowns were as extreme as the dire warnings. Washington, D.C. was militarized more than at any point since the 9/11 attack. The military was highly visible on the streets. And, described The Washington Post, “state capitols nationwide locked down, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities braced for potential violence Sunday mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.” All of this, said the paper, “reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations.” 

    But none of that happened — not even close.

    And (as you may remember) there were dire predictions of a March 4 doomsday. Again what actually happened was: nothing.

    Here's Glenn's conclusion:

    Ultimately, if this “armed insurrection” and threat of domestic terrorism are so grave, why do media figures and politicians in both parties — from Adam Schiff to Liz Cheney — keep lying about it and peddling fictions? Politicians and media figures do that only when they know that the threat, in reality, is not nearly as menacing as they need it to be to fulfill their objectives of political gain and coercive power.

    Awww, Liz Cheney? I kind of liked her.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I'm pretty sure The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is on every list of "Movies Guys Should See". Deservedly. I've seen it before, I think as a teenager. When I noticed it was Amazon Prime-available, I put it on.

US Senator Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart) and his wife Hallie (Vera Miles) are headed back to a small town for the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). Everybody's surprised at that, because Tom was a poor nobody. But Stoddard decides to come clean about the events of many years ago… flashback time!

Back to the days when the town was a barely-civilized oasis in an essentially lawless territory. Stoddard is incoming as the town's new lawyer, but the stage he's on is waylaid by a vicious psychopathic trio of villains, let by (guess who) Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). Stoddard stands up to the thieves when they threaten an old lady, but he's savagely beaten and left for dead.

But he's not dead, and is in fact rescued by Doniphon, taken to town where he makes a semi-miraculous recovery thanks to nursemaiding by a young Hallie.

The problems soon become obvious. The town is successfully terrorized by Valance and his thugs. Stoddard is an idealist, thinking that the rule of law must be brought to the territory. Doniphon is a cynic, scorning Stoddard's pacifism, but (on the other hand) grudgingly respecting him for his bravery. Complicating things quite a bit: Doniphon sees Hallie as his girl, and he's fixin' to propose once he gets his ranch house fixed up. But Hallie is increasingly drawn to Stoddard … It's a neatly choreographed conflict.

A large number of fine supporting actors show up. Andy Devine as the town's cowardly ineffective lawman; Edmond O'Brien as the drunkard editor of the town's newspaper; Woody Strode as Doniphon's buddy/partner; Lee Van Cleef and Strother Martin as Valance's assistant thugs.