URLs du Jour

2021-04-23

[Amazon Link]

Well, I got that Gateway Pundit thing off my chest. Some links I've picked up in the past few days:

  • People Say Believe Half Of What You See, Son, And None Of What You Hear. And as Glenn Greenwald points out, you should certainly take anything you read in the "media" with a political slant with a massive grain of salt: The Media Lied Repeatedly About Officer Brian Sicknick's Death. And They Just Got Caught..

    It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

    So The New York Times on January 8 published an emotionally gut-wrenching but complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick's skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died — and, just like the now-discredited Russian bounty story also unveiled by that same paper, cable outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible. Just watch a part of what they did and how: [video at link]

    As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick's own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media's claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke.

    I've mentioned before that there's an implicit "read the whole thing if you're interested" on most of these UdJ post items. Let me make that explicit here. Google finds seven mentions of Brian Sicknick in my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat:

    • January 9, 2021 op-ed: "Preston: America and her government still stand": One insurgent hit a Capitol Police Officer in the head with a fire extinguisher and killed him. Officer Brian D. Sicknick: say his name. Four rioters ..."
    • January 9, 2021 op-ed: "Kerr: Ultimately, justice wins out in America": "Her death is reportedly under investigation, as is the murder of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who twice served overseas with the Air ..."
    • January 11, 2021 news story, "Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared": "But Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was wounded in the chaos, died the next night; officials say he had been hit in the head with a fire ..."
    • February 6, 2021 op-ed, "Azzi: NFL and truth-telling: White people don't know enough": " ... acts of heroism like that of murdered US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick - minimal federal resistance - which is exactly what happened."
    • February 7, 2021 LTE, "Republican senators who support Trump are gutless hypocrites": "Now you know Capital Officer Brian Sicknick did not “pass away”, he was brutally murdered by Trump's lascivious mob, angered by Trump's ..."
    • A continuously-updated USA Today story on arrests related to the January 6 riot: George Tanios is one of two suspects charged with assault related to the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. The FBI alleges Tanios and his friend ..."

    But (of course) nothing about the DC Medical Examiner's conclusion that Sicknick died of natural causes. (The report came out on April 19, four days ago as I type, so they've had enough time.)

    For the record, I hope George Tanios and sidekick Julian Elie Khater get fair trials and for their accused bear-spraying of Capitol cops, apparently including Sicknick. But their cowardly actions apparently had nothing to do with Sicknick's death.

    But if media malfeasance were a crime… Er, which, as a libertarian, I don't think it should be. But if it were…


  • It's A Good Way To Reward Cronies, Though. Eric Boehm at Reason: Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Is a Foolish Way To Fight China. (You mean someone was actually claiming it was?)

    For President Joe Biden, a proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending package is about more than rebuilding bridges and fixing up America's water and sewer systems. It's about more, even, than the overpriced high-speed rail boondoogles that Biden loves so much.

    In Biden's telling, the infrastructure bill might very well be the last stand of liberal democracy in the world.

    "I truly believe we're in a moment where history is going to look back on this time as a fundamental choice that had to be made between democracies and autocracies," Biden said last month as he rolled out his infrastructure proposal in a speech from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "There's a lot of autocrats in the world who think the reason why they're going to win is democracies can't reach consensus any longer."

    Later in the speech, Biden refined that point.

    "That's what competition between America and China and the rest of the world is all about," Biden said. "It's a basic question: Can democracies still deliver for their people?"

    Good Lord, he is such a dimwit.

    Boehm makes the point that the GOP could be (but isn't) making, ever since Hayek we should have known: "Biden's infrastructure plan—and the associated attempt to redefine everything as infrastructure—is a gift to central planners. Because infrastructure is, almost by definition, something that must be centrally planned."


  • For A Case In Point… California was ahead of the "infrastructure" game. They were Biden before Biden. Randal O’Toole looks at the ongoing train crash out there: Quadruple the Cost, 11 Years Late.

    The California high‐​speed rail project was originally projected to cost $25 billion and is now projected to cost $100 billion. It was originally expected to be complete by 2020; now they are saying some time in the 2030s. Since they don’t have the money to complete it, it may never get done, and the part that will be finished serves the least‐​populated part of the route.

    Hawaii has its own rail debacle that sounds like California’s system on a smaller scale. Honolulu decided to build a rail transit line that was originally projected to cost less than $3 billion. The latest estimates are that it will cost $12 billion including finance charges. The line was supposed to open in 2020; now they are saying 2031. But that date may be irrelevant because the transit agency building the project is $3 billion short of what is needed to finish it, and the part that will be finished serves the least‐​populated part of the route.

    OK, one more excerpt:

    This makes it particularly frightening that the Biden infrastructure plan calls for spending $85 billion more on transit. Transit carries only 1 percent of passenger travel in the United States and zero percent of freight, yet under Biden’s plan it would get nearly as much money as highways, which carry more than 85 percent of passenger travel and nearly 40 percent of the nation’s freight.

    That's gonna leave a mark.


  • Senisble Voices Need Amplification. So you might want to recommend Glenn C. Loury: An African-American professor on the case for black patriotism.

    There is a fashionable standoffishness characteristic of much elite thinking about blacks’ relationship to America — as exemplified, for instance, by The New York Times’s 1619 Project. Does this posture serve the interests, rightly understood, of black Americans? I think that it does not.

    Indeed, a case can be made that the correct narrative to adopt today is one of unabashed black patriotism — a forthright embrace of American nationalism by black people. Black Americans’ birthright citizenship in what is arguably history’s greatest republic is an inheritance of immense value. My answer for black Americans to Frederick Douglass’ famous question — “Whose Fourth of July?” — is, “Ours!”

    If Frederick Douglass were alive today… well, I think he'd sound a lot like Glenn C. Loury. And he'd listen to the CRTs and SJWs and wonder: Are you kidding me?


  • I Love Me Some Billionaires. Mainly because they make us rich too. But Kevin D. Williamson (in his Tuesday column, that's how much catch-up I have to do) writes on: The Strange Cares of Billionaires .

    First, some caveats: I don’t like the way “elite” is used as a term of abuse; I think it is enormously destructive that right-wing populists have decided that our best institutions of higher education should be regarded as class enemies to be defeated rather than important institutions in need of reform; I think it is unseemly when people sneer that this or that billionaire is still really, really rich — a billionaire, in fact! — even after making a big charitable donation; it is a sign of our national soul-sickness that in certain quarters, philanthropy as such is derided as the new Medici indulgence or scorned as an analgesic helping to put off the more fundamental structural economic changes dreamt of by such would-be revolutionaries as Senator Bernie Sanders. And of all the Democrats and crypto-Democrats who were running in 2020, Michael Bloomberg would have been my first choice.

    That being stipulated, I will confess that reading about the new Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity at Princeton University caused my eyes to roll so hard you’d have thought I was auditioning for a role in The Exorcist XVII: The Devil Goes Down to Muleshoe.

    Princeton, like practically every other similar institution in the country, believes that it has a diversity problem. I myself am not convinced that it does, but Princeton is of course entitled to decide for itself. Princeton reports that about a quarter of its student body is made up of “underrepresented minorities,” which is lower than the combined black and Latino share of high-school graduates in the United States but not radically so. (And Princeton, with fewer than 9,000 students and one of the country’s most selective institutions, offers a relatively small data set. Nationally, African Americans make up about 13 percent of college students, roughly proportional to their share of the population.) More interesting than the racial-ethnic breakdown is the fact that a fifth of Princeton’s students come from households reporting less than $50,000 a year, to me a surprisingly high figure. I see little to criticize in these figures.

    KDW notes that the "diverse" kids likely to get into Princeton aren't really "the problem" that needs to be solved: it's "black high-school dropouts, and, indeed, high-school dropouts of all races. They are addicts and people with mental-health problems, felons attempting to reenter society and find decent work, etc."

    In related news from Monday: Chicago weekend shootings: 27 shot, 5 fatally, since Friday night. Including a 7-year-old girl with her father in a McDonald's drive-thru.