URLs du Jour

2021-06-21

  • Because God Loves Us and Wants Us to be Happy. Elle answers that burning question: Why Salma Hayek Keeps Posting Bikini Photos.

    Salma Hayek has been steadily sharing bikini and one-piece selfies on her Instagram. They're all from one trip, the 54-year-old actress told Entertainment Tonight, and she has absolutely no plans to stop posting them or regrets sharing so many pictures.

    "I had to lose a lot of weight and exercise to get into the bikini towards the end of last year," she said, telling the outlet that she took many photos once she got down to the size she wanted while on her trip. "I'm glad I took a lot of pictures, I have no shame on it, because it was the first week of the vacation." She said that sharing the shots generally has been "liberating."

    OK, I felt like I had to include some article text. Force of habit. You've already clicked over, haven't you?


  • You Might Be a White Supremacist If … You Look crosseyed at a Critical Race Theorist. Robert Azzi took once again to the editorial pages of my Sunday paper with big news: White Supremacists Reveal Content of Their Character.

    Yet another white supremacist — Newt Gingrich — has emerged to hector New Hampshire about what it should think about Critical Race Theory (CRT) and systemic racism by misappropriating MLK’s “… dream of a nation in which people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character …”

    Today, we know well the content of Gingrich’s character.

    Gingrich is a white supremacist? Egads, how did this not make the TV news? Here's the Union Leader op-ed that got Azzi's knickers in a knot: NH is Right to End Critical Race Theory Poisoning Schools. It begins:

    IN 1978, I won my first election to Congress, replacing a pro-segregation Democrat. The first day in office, I co-sponsored a bill to make Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday.

    I believed strongly in Rev. King’s vision because it echoed the vision of some of America’s greatest heroes – men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

    His dream of a nation in which people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character epitomized the central principles of our founding – which ultimately he proclaimed to be the most potent and effective weapons against bigotry and injustice.

    Pretty anodyne stuff, right? And (of course) Azzi never gets around to pinpointing just what it is about Newt's op-ed that makes it clear that he's a "white supremacist". His actual sin seems to be that he's in favor of getting CRT-indoctrinators off the public dole.

    I'm sure there's a case to be made against that position. But Azzi doesn't do that. He simply flings the mud.


  • Why, Sometimes I've Believed as Many as Six Lies Before Breakfast. Noah Rothman (who, I'm pretty sure, Robert Azzi believes to be a White Supremacist) has a good how-to at Commentary for those inclined: How to Talk Yourself into Believing a Lie.

    We were privy to some welcome confirmation this week that the backlash against Critical Race Theory (CRT) is real, organic, and threatening to the elite consensus around this set of ideas. That confirmation took the form of a cable-news chyron broadcast on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes: “The Right’s Fixation with Race.”

    This textbook example of the left’s ego defending its increasingly ill-favored subconscious impulses by attributing them to their adversaries occurred during a segment in which NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny outlined the ways in which well-heeled interests are funding the effort to stop schools from teaching this philosophy. An NBC News report co-authored by Zadrozny backs up this claim and details the extent to which conservative political activists are financing the backlash against CRT. Complimenting this report, Media Matters for America identified a number of CRT critics who appeared recently on Fox News where they were billed only as “teacher” or “mother” when they were also conservative political activists.

    All this contributes to the clearly welcome impression that the reaction against CRT is entirely inorganic, mere “Astroturf,” in the parlance of liberals who tried to convince themselves the Tea Party was the artificial creation of the Koch Brothers and not something that would sweep them out of office in record numbers. Once again, we’re witnessing the left cope with discomfiting events by creating an alternate reality for themselves. And, hopefully, they’re getting the most out of it because it’s hard to imagine that a neutral observer would be swayed by this sort of manipulation.

    It's pretty good, but you might have to do some paywall evasion.


  • Selective Service Delenda Est. Jeff Jacoby says it's way past time: Women Don’t Register for the Draft, and Men Shouldn’t Either.

    My youngest turned 18 a few weeks ago, which meant that in addition to collecting his high school diploma and starting a summer job, his to-do list this month included registering for the draft with the Selective Service System. The United States doesn’t actually have a military draft — conscription was scrapped in 1973 — but registering for it is still mandated by law. Failure to do so is a felony that can be punished, at least in theory, by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

    Granted, it has been a long time since anyone was actually indicted for not complying with that law. But more than 1 million Americans have been denied various government benefits, including student loans, a federal job, or even a driver’s license, because they didn’t register. So I explained to my son that filling out the short Selective Service form was not only a legal obligation but also in his best interest.

    I'm not sure I could find my draft card. I certainly haven't seen it in a while.


  • Obstructionism?! Oh Dear! David Harsanyi debunks The Undying Myth of GOP 'Obstructionism'.

    The media have spent the Joe Biden presidency thus far pressuring moderate Democrats to join the left’s efforts to destroy the filibuster. One way they do this is by cobbling together revisionist histories that cast Republicans as uniquely obstructionist and undemocratic.

    CNN’s White House correspondent John Harwood lays out that history in broad strokes: “For Clinton’s 1993 deficit-reduction plan: 0 Republican votes. For Obama’s 2010 national health-care plan: 0 Republican votes. For Biden’s 2021 COVID-relief plan: 0 Republican votes. The modern GOP response to Democratic governance is total resistance.”

    What he fails to mention is that under President Bill Clinton, the GOP, often in significant numbers, voted for a slew of big policy reforms: 16 Senate Republicans voted for the Family and Medical Leave Act; a telecommunications reform passed 81-18; the welfare-reform compromise passed 78-21; the Brady Act gun-control bill only passed because of Republican support; the North American Free Trade Agreement passed 73-26; Biden’s crime bill passed 95-4.

    Why it's almost as if there are double standards in media coverage!


Last Modified 2021-06-22 7:33 AM EDT

Before She Was Helen

[Amazon Link]

The second book I've read this year set among old people in a retirement community. (First one was The Thursday Murder Club.) I guess this is a sign of something I don't want to think too much about. I put it on my get-at-library list because it was nominated for a "Best Novel" Edgar Award back in April.

It starts innocently enough: little old lady Clemmie lives in the leftmost of three connected villas, and she checks up daily (as old people are obligated to do) on her unpleasant neighbor, Dom. But Dom isn't responding to her texts, or her knock at his door. Could he have had an accident or worse? So she uses the key he's given her to enter his villa and … nope, no Dom. But, ho, what's this? An illegal connecting door between Dom's villa and the third, rightmost one? Which the Coglands own, but seldom visit, treating it as a motel when they visit the kids.

Well, maybe Dom's over there. So she crosses over. And doesn't find Dom, but does find a beautiful "glass tree dragon". She takes a picture with her phone, sends it out to her young relatives, and, whoa, then the trouble really starts.

It's not long before we notice that everyone in the retirement community calls Clemmie "Helen". And she carries two phones, careful not to confuse them. And she's really worried about the fingerprints she's left behind in the other villas. So she's got secrets of her own. And, oh yeah, a body turns up.

There's a lot of time-jumping back and forth, mostly between Clemmie's present-day retirement and ("before she was Helen") the unpleasant (horrific, in fact) days of her youth.

Caroline B. Cooney has a real knack for suspense and humor.

Luca

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Luca]

Thanks to our Disney+ subscription, the latest Pixar movie. It's not top-drawer Pixar, but that's still pretty good.

The premise is that sea monsters (intelligent, of course) live just off the coast of a timeless but charning Italian Riviera fishing village. The village's humans have legends of the monsters, viewing them with fear and loathing. And harpoons.

The monsters, for their part, only want to live in peace.

At this point, I think we're supposed to think to ourselves: "Who are the real monsters here, hm?" But, bless them, Pixar does not beat us over the head with this.

The monsters keep another secret under wraps: when they're on dry land, they transform into human form. So it comes as a shock to young monster Luca when this (more or less) accidentally happens to him. Fortunately, he comes under the wing flipper of young Alberto, a sea monster who's taken up land-living on his own.

Luca and Alberto become fast friends, become obsessed with young-boy things. Specifically, they become obsessed with getting their hands on a Vespa motor scooter. (They really are things of beauty.) Which draws them into the fishing village, meeting young human girl Giulia. She has a dream of her own, namely winning the yearly village race from the perennial champ (and the movie's villain) Ercole.

Whew. And that's just the beginning.