URLs du Jour

2021-09-02

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  • You had me at "Venn diagram". David French has much to say on The Descent of the Partisan Mind. But this is what caught my eye:

    If you could draw a Venn diagram between those who believed, in turn, that 1) COVID was basically the flu; 2) mandatory masking and social distancing represented ineffective acts of government tyranny; 3) the election was stolen; 4) vaccines are experimental “gene therapies” at best and an outright threat to public health at worst, and 5) the real treatment for COVID is hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin, there would be a high, high degree of overlap.

    In fact, in my experience, belief in any one of those items almost always implies a belief in most if not all the rest.

    I actually, sorta kinda, think 2) is mostly on target, although "tyranny" is too strong a word; it's just government acting like governments act. Everything else is garbage.

    But yeah, I go to a lot of sites where the denizens seem to buy into every one of those. It's like walking into a confirmation-bias lab demonstration.


  • Need some cheering up? Goodness knows I do. Elizabeth Nolan Brown tosses out 40 Ways Things Are Getting Better. She details the twitter responses to a UVa postdoc who asked… well, here's an example:

    And there's 39 more. Some may strike you as trivial, some as examples of moral decay.

    And I know that people like to put down the Internet and its associated services. But I continue to believe it's like having God's library card at your fingertips.


  • OK, enough cheerfulness. Let's get back to our day job, which is slagging our garbage political leaders. President Wheezy is the gift that keeps on giving in that category. Because, as Jordan Davidson points out, Joe Biden Has Always Thought He Was The Smartest Man In The Room.

    Take his response to the Afghanistan crisis, for example. Not only did he delay addressing the nation about the Taliban takeover and subsequent American evacuation problems in Kabul, but he has also refused to take responsibility for the lack of planning associated with the botched withdrawal, and offered flippant looks at his watch and anecdotes about his own son’s death to cancer as a response to the grieving families who lost their loved ones in the Kabul explosion last week.

    Any speech that he gives is plagued with nonsensical verbiage, uncomfortable pauses, and weird comments about how he is or isn’t allowed to answer questions from specific people about specific topics.

    Davidson recounts the infamous 1987 incident up in Claremont, NH when Biden (then running for President) told voter Frank Fahey "I think I have a much higher IQ than you, I suspect." And went on to lie his ass off.

    Biden's since stopped being so obvious an asshole, but that's a low bar. Pretty clearly he continues to harbor delusions about his own intelligence and (for that matter) competence.


  • Enough about the dead son, OK? Charles C. W. Cooke thinks Joe Biden Needs to Stop Talking about Beau.

    Joe Biden should resolve to stop talking about the death of his son, Beau. He should do this immediately, he should do it without exception, and he should keep doing it until the exact moment he ceases to be president of the United States.

    At some point in the recent past, President Biden has been informed by his acolytes that he is considered an empathetic man, and, moreover, that one of the causes of this reputation is that he has suffered an unusual number of personal tragedies — including, in 2015, the loss of his elder son. Unfortunately, at some point in the recent past, President Biden also seems to have been told that he can reproduce that empathy at a moment’s notice with the mere utterance of Beau’s name. Since last week’s terror attack in Kabul, in which 13 members of the American military were killed, Biden has repeatedly attempted to use his own heartbreak as a shield. Addressing the massacre from the White House last week, the president described himself as “the father of an Army major who served for a year in Iraq and, before that, was in Kosovo as a U.S. attorney for the better part of six months in the middle of a war,” and submitted that, as a result, he had “some sense, like many of you do, what the families of these brave heroes are feeling today.” Biden used this line again on Sunday, while meeting with the families of the slain. He used it yet again during his victory-lap press conference this afternoon. And, demonstrating that it has now become an official line, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, used it today, too. On all four occasions, it was a deeply inappropriate tack to take.

    Unlike CCWC, I would not have posed this as advice to Biden. What are the chances, at this point, that he's going to take advice?


  • But now for the important news. The Jeopardy! folks would probably have done a better job than Biden managing the Afghanistan bugout. But they've done a poor enough job with a task that should have been accomplished with a lot less drama, as Ari Blaff describes at City Journal: I’ll Take “Cancel Culture” for $500.

    In his autobiography, published shortly before his death last November, Alex Trebek noted that Jeopardy!, the trivia show he hosted for 37 years, always sought to transcend politics. Pointing an accusing finger at social media and 24/7 cable news, Trebek mourned America’s inability to see past the binary. “It forces us to choose a side and has convinced us that our side is right and the other side is wrong. If you don’t agree with me, you are my enemy. There is no room for compromise,” he lamented.

    That moderate sentiment has gone missing in recent weeks as the show struggles to replace its beloved long-time host. Two weeks ago, an article by Claire McNear in The Ringer alleged that the show’s recently appointed co-host, Mike Richards, had a track record of making offensive comments. Digging through 41 episodes of a now-defunct, nearly decade-old podcast Richards mostly co-hosted alongside his female colleague Beth Triffon, McNear excavated several Howard Stern-style, off-the-cuff soundbites about sex, money, and politics. In one conversation, following the infamous iCloud photo hacks exposing Hollywood celebrities, Richards jokingly asks Triffon if she ever took such pictures. In another episode, Richards ribs Triffon for giving money to a homeless person. This jibe goes beyond the pale for McNear, who cannot even bring herself to utter the word “homeless,” instead writing “unhoused woman.” McNear also reports that Richards called Triffon a “midget” and “retard,” which she can only bring herself to allude to as “a derogatory term for little people” and “the R-word.”

    I was unaware that Claire McNear was so involved. She was the author of Answers in the Form of Questions, a book I really liked when I read it earlier this year. Disappointing that she seems to have become a participant in host activism rather than a reporter.

    Among the guest hosts, I still liked Buzzy Cohen best. But I bet he's glad to have avoided the shitstorm.