URLs du Jour


  • So, yes, I blogged this Hot Air article yesterday: The far left bans books by not letting them get published in the first place.

    At the time I noted the "controversy" on the facts, based on the reaction to this tweet from Joyce Carol Oates:

    The excrement swiftly hit the electrical air circulator. One response got my attention:

    Hm. Many tweeters treated this as definitive debunking of JCO's anecdote. But (my confirmation bias no doubt kicking in) I noticed some problems:

    • JCO was specifically referring to "first novels by young white male writers".
    • Note: not just white writers, white male writers.
    • Also note: not all fiction books, just first novels.

    So I did some quick lazy Googling. After a few seconds, I found (I think) more relevant data:

    And after a few more seconds:

    So, two independent sources contend that only 20% of white male-authored debut novels deserved to be classified as "best".

    Is that definitive proof of JCO's anecdote? No, just supporting evidence. And… geez, certainly if the race/sex disparity worked the other way, people of Julia Carrie Wong's inclination would immediately cite it as proof of systemic racism/sexism.

    And, by the way, I put that Alex Finlay book on my get-at-library list. Looks good!

  • Absolutely no argument here: Kevin D. Williamson adjusts his view of a classic movie: Exnihilating an American Idiocracy .

    We live in a dumb world. Americans have a moral responsibility not to make it dumber than necessary — and Americans have been shirking that responsibility for a few years now.

    On Twitter, that great overflowing sewer of American life, our friend Bill Kristol suggested — jokingly, I assume — that Democrats rally behind the singer John Legend if Joe Biden should (for some totally unforeseeable and unknowable and not-at-all-age-related reason!) not complete his term or decline to run again in 2024. His argument: The Ukrainians plucked Volodymyr Zelensky from the world of celebrity, and that has worked out pretty well for them — why not John Legend?

    To which some nitwit replied with the complaint: “Kevin D. Williamson told me to grow the f*** up when I said Bill Kristol is a socialist.”


    If you think Bill Kristol is a socialist — not somebody who disagrees with you about this or that, not somebody you think has bad political ideas, not somebody you think overreacted to the Trump phenomenon, but a socialist — then, yes, you should, indeed, grow the f*** up. Words mean things, and whatever socialism means, it doesn’t mean, “I think it would be a hoot if Democrats nominated John Legend for president.” I disagree with Bill Kristol about any number of things (and agree with him about many more), but insisting that such disagreements somehow magically transmute Kristol into a socialist is idiotic kid stuff, deserving of contempt.

    You need an NRPlus subscription to read the whole thing. I'm in agreement with KDW's advice: "If the price of a subscription seems too high to you, then get a job, hippie."

  • Another perennial headline template: "Biden Administration can't make up its mind about           ". C. Jarrett Dieterle fills in the blank: Biden Administration Can’t Make Up Its Mind About Alcohol Regulations.

    This administration can't make up its mind about alcohol. Sometimes it brags that the industry is thriving. Sometimes it acts like the business needs a government intervention.

    Last year President Joe Biden issued a far-reaching executive order that, among other things, ordered the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to investigate anti-competitive issues in alcohol markets. When the report came out earlier this year, it was a complete muddle. It laid out in excruciating detail the diversity and dynamism of American alcohol markets—a result of the craft alcohol boom of the past few decades—but then urged more robust antitrust scrutiny of mergers involving large brewers.

    Since then, the administration's position on alcohol has grown only more convoluted. To hear the administration tell it, alcohol markets are flourishing. If only other industries could be so healthy, it argues; if only every industry was so competitive and flush with vibrant businesses. And that, it then declares, is why the industry might need more regulation.

    Everyone still waiting for the administration to cease its dithering: don't hold your breath. (Or, if you plan on voting Democrat anyway, maybe you should seriously consider holding your breath.)

  • It's always something. Matt Ridley notes government dysfunction in the Laccadive Sea: Eco-extremism has brought Sri Lanka to its knees.

    My article for The Telegraph:

    Sri Lanka’s collapse, from one of the fastest growing Asian economies to a political, economic and humanitarian horror show, seems to have taken everybody by surprise.

    Five years ago, the World Bank was extolling “how Sri Lanka intends to transition to a more competitive and inclusive upper-middle income country”. Right up to the middle of last year, despite the impact of the pandemic, the country’s misery index (inflation plus unemployment) was low and falling. Then the misery index took off like a rocket, quintupling in a year.

    What happened? There is a simple explanation, one that the BBC seems determined to downplay. In April 2021, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka was banning most pesticides and all synthetic fertiliser to go fully organic. Within months, the volume of tea exports had halved, cutting foreign exchange earnings. Rice yields plummeted leading to an unprecedented requirement to import rice. With the government unable to service its debt, the currency collapsed.

    Adam Smith once said "there is a great deal of ruin in a nation". (Talking about Britain's loss of its American colonies.) Seems Sri Lanka is about to find out if there's an infinite amount of ruin.

  • Well, this is just great. A Facebook post from the Cinema Shorthand Society in honor of Gracie Allen's 127th birthday (yesterday).

    I very much encourage you to Read The Whole Thing. The way things are going, I may write Gracie's name in for the next few elections.

Last Modified 2022-07-27 5:51 PM EDT