URLs du Jour

2021-11-21

  • It's a tough competition for Worst Republican Senator. But George F. Will makes a strong case for one here: Progressives have a Republican soulmate in the Senate. His name is Josh Hawley.

    Never have so many in Washington been so eager to expand government’s responsibilities in so many ways. No federal official, however, has an agenda of government enlargement as ambitious and comprehensive as that of Missouri’s freshman Republican senator. Josh Hawley’s bipartisanship invites progressives to share the fun of making government greater than ever.

    Regarding current supply chain difficulties, Hawley says (as former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren was wont to say) that he has a plan for that. Writing last month in the New York Times, which finds such thinking congenial, Hawley said the federal government should permanently micromanage U.S. trade. Mimicking progressives, who advocate “transformative” policies for this and that, Hawley wants Washington to “fundamentally restructure” trade policy, which he apparently considers dangerously friendly to freedom.

    Have I mentioned how to evade the some paywalls, for example the WaPo's? Just go to the article, and if the site starts getting stuffy about you not paying them, hit control-S to save the page; then click on the downloaded document.


  • Enes Kanter for President. He's too brave for the NBA. Here's his latest, from the WSJ: Move the Olympics for Peng Shuai’s Sake

    Tennis champion Peng Shuai took to social media earlier this month to accuse a former top-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party of sexually assaulting her. Within 30 minutes the post was scrubbed from the internet in China. She disappeared and no one has heard directly from her since.

    For decades, Western athletes, celebrities and corporations have diligently kept silent in the face of Chinese human-rights violations. International hotel chains, airlines, apparel brands, sports leagues and Hollywood studios have steered away from “sensitive topics” such as Tibet’s independence, the Uyghur genocide, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and Taiwan’s sovereignty.

    The sports community must wake up—and speak up. We need to realize that the authoritarian Chinese government isn’t our friend. The Communist Party is a brutal dictatorship that has weaponized economic power to achieve ideological and political compliance.

    We've seen way too much craven capitulation to China from professional sports, both individuals and organizations.


  • Give me that new-time religion. Michael Shermer used to write a column for Scientific American. He was "given [his] walking papers" after his editor demanded a major rewrite of his November 2018 column, and outright rejected his December 2018 column on ideological grounds. You can read the irritating story at his substack: Scientific American Goes Woke.

    It also contains examples of Scientific American's current output. Here's one:

    The most bizarre example of Scientific American’s woke turn toward social justice is an article published September 23, 2021 titled “Why the Term ‘JEDI’ is Problematic for Describing Programs that Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” Apparently, some social justice activists have embraced the Star Wars-themed acronym JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) as a martial reference to their commitment, and is now employed by some prominent institutions and organizations such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The JEDI acronym is clearly meant to be uplifting and positive. It isn’t, opine the authors of this piece that is clearly not in the satirical spirit of The Onion or Babylon Bee. Make of this what you will:

    Although they’re ostensibly heroes within the Star Wars universe, the Jedi are inappropriate symbols for justice work. They are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks, prone to (white) saviorism and toxically masculine approaches to conflict resolution (violent duels with phallic lightsabers, gaslighting by means of “Jedi mind tricks,” etc.). The Jedi are also an exclusionary cult, membership to which is partly predicated on the possession of heightened psychic and physical abilities (or “Force-sensitivity”). Strikingly, Force-wielding talents are narratively explained in Star Wars not merely in spiritual terms but also in ableist and eugenic ones: These supernatural powers are naturalized as biological, hereditary attributes.

    One may be forgiven for thinking that anyone who sees in a lightsaber duel clashing penises has perhaps been reading too much Freud…or watching too much three-way porn. Nevertheless, the authors grouse about “Slave Leia’s costume”, Darth Vader’s “ableist trope”, alien “racist stereotypes when depicting nonhuman species,” and too many white men in the galaxy, no matter how far away or long ago they are. Worst of all, the authors propose, is that the Star Wars franchise is owned by a for-profit company. “How ready are we to prioritize the cultural dreamscape of the Jedi over the real-world project of social justice? Investing in the term JEDI positions us to apologize for, or explain away, the stereotypes and politics associated with Star Wars and Disney.”

    To quote one Jar Jar Binks: "Well, dat smells stinkowiff."


  • It's not even close to time for our famous "Phony Campaign" series. But there's plenty of phony fodder out there. For example, according to Kevin D. Williamson, there's President Wheezy's Phony Investigation into gasoline prices.

    Joe Biden claims that gasoline producers are illegally colluding to rip off Americans, that there is “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil-and-gas companies.”

    There isn’t any such evidence, of course. That doesn’t matter. As an oil executive once told me in a different context: “We’re an oil company. You can say anything you want about us.”

    That’s true.

    More to the point, Joe Biden isn’t Donald Trump.

    If you go back through the news clippings of the Trump years, you’ll find about 453,681 examples of sentences such as “President Trump today asserted without evidence,” or “Trump claims, contrary to the evidence,” that sort of thing. Some of these were tendentious, but often they were true. “Donald Trump claimed without evidence” is almost a redundancy. Trump didn’t care about evidence even on those rare occasions when the evidence was on his side.

    Biden, who resembles Trump much more closely than partisans on either side are ready to admit, is big on making assertions that are contrary to the evidence, too, e.g., his longstanding false claim that his wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver. Biden peddles outrageous lies for political purposes and has for the whole of his very long career. Remember his claim that Mitt Romney intended to put African Americans “back in chains”? That’s typical Joe Biden poison.

    [It's NRPlus. You should subscribe.]


  • More unhappy belated birthday wishes. The Reason folks are piling on a helpless government agency. (I assume the entire staff is on the "strip search on sight" list.) Anyway, as J.D. Tuccille says, After 20 Years of Failure, Kill the TSA

    The TSA launched with the passage of the Aviation and Transportation and Security Act on November 19, 2001. The new law nationalized passenger screening, which previously had been the responsibility of airlines. It's not clear why anybody saw a need for the TSA, since it's unlikely that a federal agency would have been any more successful than private contractors at predicting terrorists' unprecedented use of aircraft as kamikaze weapons. It's especially unlikely that the federal agency we actually got would have successfully diverted itself from confiscating play-doh to thwarting homicidal fanatics.

    Click through for outrage. I'm trying to avoid outrage myself, but if your doctor says it's OK, go for it.