URLs du Jour

2021-06-04

  • Profiles in Courage. Titania tweets:

    In related news, from the Federalist: Biden Promises To Fly Gay Pride Flags 'Around The World,' Except Where Homosexuals Are Being Persecuted.


  • Can't Improve on Ed Morrisey's Snark. Which is:

    Alternate headline: No one expects the Woke Scientistic Inquisition!

    But seriously: I didn't expect death threats from fellow scientists over lab-leak theory.

    Vanity Fair does an extensive and impressive dive into the strange but pervasive attempts by the scientific, media, and government establishments to quash any discussion of the lab-leak hypothesis for COVID-19’s origin. It got so bad that former CDC director Robert Redfield got death threats for suggesting it publicly — from other scientists:

    Ed also notes this bit from the Vanity Fair article:

    With President Trump out of office, it should be possible to reject his xenophobic agenda and still ask why, in all places in the world, did the outbreak begin in the city with a laboratory housing one of the world’s most extensive collection of bat viruses, doing some of the most aggressive research?

    Dear Vanity Fair: it was always possible to do that. The failure to do so is yours.


  • Charlie Does A Titania Impression. And it's hilarious: Coronavirus Lab-Leak Theory Racist.

    It is truly disappointing that, even at this late stage in the pandemic, some Americans remain so addicted to racism and xenophobia that they are willing to countenance the theory that COVID-19 was mistakenly leaked from a Chinese research laboratory. To these people, I say this: We see you; we know what you are doing; and it won’t stand.

    Occam’s Razor dictates that there can only be one reason why people who believe that COVID-19 originated in a lab in China keep saying aloud that they believe that COVID-19 originated in a lab in China, and that is to drive anti-Asian hatred on the streets of large cities in the United States. In truth, the “lab-leak theory” — as it is now euphemistically called — is just the latest iteration of an old and ugly stereotype that has haunted America for decades. I remember all too well how the bullies in my kindergarten class used to taunt the AAPI kids. “Hey you,” they would say, “I’ll bet you work on gain-of-function research in an institute of virology and are reckless with your gloves!” It’s been two decades now, but I can still see the agonizing tears this ignorant barb provoked in its targets.

    Disentangling the satire: why do people think it's less racist to assume that those wacky Chinese bat-eating habits caused the pandemic?


  • And It's Another Excuse For Big Intrusive Government To Get Bigger And More Intrusive. Glenn Greenwald notes The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun.

    The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new warning bulletin, alerting Americans that domestic extremists may well use violence on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. This was at least the fourth such bulletin issued this year by Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the same danger and, thus far, none of the fears it is trying to instill into the American population has materialized.

    The first was a January 14 warning, from numerous federal agencies including DHS, about violence in Washington, DC and all fifty state capitols that was likely to explode in protest of Inauguration Day (a threat which did not materialize). Then came a January 27 bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks” from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority” (that warning also was not realized). Then there was a May 14 bulletin warning of right-wing violence “to attack higher-capacity targets,” exacerbated by the lifting of COVID lockdowns (which also never happened). And now we are treated to this new DHS warning about domestic extremists preparing violent attacks over Tulsa (it remains to be seen if a DHS fear is finally realized).

    Meanwhile, Chicago experienced 12 killed, 42 wounded in shootings over the May 22-23 weekend Memorial Day weekend was sort of a respite: At least 37 shot, with 3 killed.

    But Biden sees no political advantage to decrying that, and there's no opportunity for nest-feathering at DHS.


  • Null Hypothesis Watch. John McWhorter looks at the evidence: Diversity is Great, But It Doesn't Make Students Learn Better.

    As the Supremes are about to consider taking up yet another racial preferences case – the one about whether Asian applicants are being discriminated against at Harvard in favor of black and brown ones -- we are in for the usual round of endless euphemism.

    Wise heads will opine as if what we are talking about is administrators working with a pool of applicants of various races with dossiers of equal grades and test scores, hoping to assemble a class reflecting a rainbow of “diversity” from among them. The rub is supposedly that some doodooheads just think it’s plain “racist” to ever make such decisions with race in mind at all.

    We will be led to think – or told to pretend to think – that somebody is opposed to there being too many black kids in a class, that they want whites to retain their “privilege” in admissions, that, well … it’s not always easy to glean just what people are trying to get across. But basically, doodooheads think we should just be color-blind, out of some principle hovering somewhere between naivete and bigotry.

    Professor McWhorter is OK with "Affirmative Action", but thinks it should be based on socioeconomic status instead of genes. That would be an improvement.


  • Unfortunately, Actual Astronomy Isn't Doing Well. Veronique de Rugy goes to the metaphorical cosmos: Biden Shoots for the Stars With Astronomical Spending Proposals.

    Some emergencies require an increase in government spending, but that comes with an understanding that the higher levels of spending are unusual and will not be sustained. Unfortunately, this understanding seems to be lost on the Biden administration. Exhibit A is his proposed $6 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and the accompanying huge budget deficits on the books for the next decade.

    This is bad news for everybody except politicians and their cronies. It signals once again that contrary to the words spoken by the president during his inaugural address, unity is not in the cards for us Americans. In fact, this budget, which is unlikely to pass in its current form, demonstrates an unwillingness to govern and a preference for pandering to special interests.

    In related astronomical news: NASA’s New Telescope Is a Black Hole for Taxpayer Money.

    Some instances of government inefficiency are so spectacular that they clamor for our attention. Enter the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Twenty times over budget, 15 years behind schedule, and now delayed yet again, the JWST is an eye-catching example of how egregiously government agencies can waste taxpayers’ dollars. It also should remind Americans how risky it is to be overly cautious.

    I'm sure nothing like that will happen to all that stuff Biden wants to spend $6 trillion on.

A Better Man

[Amazon Link]

Mrs. Salad has read all the published novels in Louise Penny's "Inspector Gamache" series. I put it on my TBR list at some point; I can't remember why. But we own it on Kindle, so…

It's a series, and this is book number fifteen. Maybe not the best place to start. There are a lot of continuing characters, a number of references to events that happened in previous series installments, ongoing plot threads. Reader, if you've read books 1-14, you don't need me to tell you to read this one. You've already done that, or will soon.

In this book, Armand Gamache has returned to the Sûreté du Québec after unpleasant events shook up the department in one of those previous books. He takes on the case of a missing woman, Vivienne, who may have been the victim of foul play. Suspicion immediately falls on her brutish husband, a drunk who's abused her in the past. Vivienne's father is inconsolable, and also vengeful. Gamache not only has to find the woman, but keep her dad from wreaking violence on the perpetrator everyone seems to agree is guilty.

But is he, really? Since I hadn't read Penny books before, I had no clue: does she typically cast suspicion on one character, just to reveal the actual perpetrator in a Shocking Plot Twist?

Let it be said: I assumed the husband, vile as he was, was innocent. And I had a good alternate suspect lined up. Was I wrong? Not sayin'.

Oh, and spring flood waters are threatening Ganache's charming little Quebec village. And an art critic is threatening to wreck the career of one of the charming little village's painters.

Ms. Penny is a very good writer. (I'm disagreeing with some of the reviewers on Amazon here, who thought her effort here was poor, compared to her previous books.)