URLs du Jour

2021-03-19

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  • In our 'If My Grandmother Had Wheels' Department: I kind of liked Daniel Dae Kim in Lost and Hawaii Five-O. But get him out of his acting wheelhouse, start him talking about hate crimes and it's bad news. He gets the pick for the dumbest thing said in a House panel hearing on anti-Asian American discrimination yesterday. In reference to the shooting of (mostly) Korean-descent young women at Atlanta massage parlors:

    “These were places associated with Asian people,” Kim said. “If this was a synagogue or a Black church, and someone shot up those places, would we really be asking whether this was a hate crime or not?”

    Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon.

    Of course, this is all politically motivated, very belated, Trump-bashing, and an effort to get in on the politically useful "hate crime" biz.

    I'm sure I've said this before, but not for a while. Efforts to look inside a perpetrator's head and finding "hate" as his criminal motivation is (at best) simplistic. (It doesn't get called simplistic, though, because it's generally a left-wing phenomenon. Lefties are never accused of being simplistic.)

    And who cares? Is a murderer deserving of harsher punishment because it's determined that his actions were based in bigotry? As opposed to what? Greed? Jealousy? Those aren't admirable motives, even in a relative sense.


  • Drop the Rosary, Teacher, and Come Out With Your Hands Up. George F. Will looks at an upcoming SCOTUS case where the justices may be asked to make sense of the unsensible:

    Decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment’s prohibition of “establishment” of religion was violated if the government supplied maps to religious schools, but not if it supplied books. So, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) mischievously wondered: What about atlases, which are books of maps?

    Now comes another occasion for jurisprudential hairsplitting about contacts between the government and religious schools. At the court’s conference on April 1, the nine judicial brows will be furrowed as they consider whether to hear a case from Maine that poses this question: Is it constitutional for that state to say that parents can use state aid to pay tuition at religious schools if the schools are not too religious. If, that is, they are not excessively serious about religion, with excess to be determined by government officials measuring such things with some unspecified theological micrometer.

    Mencken once defined Puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Progressivism seems to be the haunting fear that a kid may be getting a religious education.


  • How Can You Tell When Journalists are Lying? Glenn Greenwald might help you answer that question: Journalists, Illustrating How They Operate, Yesterday Spread a Significant Lie All Over Twitter.

    Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted.

    The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting.

    Do journalists need an automatic warning label slapped on their tweets? ("NOTE: Poster has misrepresented the truth N times in the past year.") Although I'm generally libertarian, it's a very tempting.


  • Rebranding. Is There Anything It Can't Do? The Washington Free Beacon reports: China-Backed Confucius Institute Rebrands to Avoid Scrutiny.

    The China-backed Confucius Institute is rebranding to avoid public scrutiny into its work disseminating propaganda to thousands of American students.

    United States government oversight and faculty pushback have curtailed the influence of the Confucius Institute, which has dwindled from 103 college branches in 2017 to just 51 today. But the propaganda program is not going away without a fight. Experts say that after host institutions shutter Confucius Institutes, some of the programs continue to operate by adopting new names.

    The National Association of Scholars maintains a list of Confucius Institutes. They report that the CI at the University Near Here is scheduled to close on July 30. (Something I only noticed yesterday.)

    Still no notice in local news about it, though. Today, I wrote to NHPR about it, since they've covered thi issue in the past.


  • Trade Wars Are [Not] Good and [Not] Easy to Win. If you have any doubt about that, get yourself an NRPLUS subscription if necessary, and check out Kevin D. Williamson's latest: Missing the Forest for the Trees.

    It is mystifying that free trade remains a policy without a constituency, when there are so many natural constituencies for it — people who live in houses for example.

    People who live in apartments, too.

    Join me for a trip down memory lane back to the heady days of 2017, when, under the very best thinking brought to you by the crackpots and game-show hosts of the Trump administration, our government decided that one of the biggest and more urgent problems facing Americans was a splendid supply of inexpensive lumber — specifically, that those wily, inscrutable, nefarious . . . Canadians were selling the stuff too cheap in U.S. markets, thereby undercutting the critical economic position of — oh, I don’t know, Paul Bunyan, I guess.

    The underlying issue was an esoteric dispute about something called stumpage: Most U.S. timber is harvested on private lands, while most Canadian timber is harvested on public lands (“Crown lands,” as our monarchist neighbors to the north call them), with Ottawa charging a fee that is, in the estimate of the Trump administration, too low. That’s trade protectionism in a nutshell: It’s more expensive and more difficult to do certain kinds of business in the United States than it is in Canada, and the obvious solution for that is to make it more expensive and more difficult to do business in Canada and pass on those prices to American consumers. Ingenious!

    If you get enough clowns together, a circus is bound to break out.

    Bottom line: "The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that rising wood prices have added some $24,000 to the construction price of a typical home and about $9,000 in additional expenses per apartment unit build."

    Instead of belated Trump-bashing about his "China virus" rhetoric, how about undoing some of his stupid and actually harmful policies?


Last Modified 2021-03-20 6:05 AM EDT