URLs du Jour

2022-09-15

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  • I could think of worse things to say about them. But Freddie deBoer (self-proclaimed Marxist) wonders, specifically, Why Are Identitarians Such Cheap Dates? His article is funny and insightful throughout, As for our excerpt, here's his response to an Upworthy article about the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid with a "diverse" cast, headlined Disney's black Ariel isn't just about diverse representation. It's also about undoing past wrongs.

    … is it? Is it really? The article is profoundly unconvincing on this score. Yes, Disney did some racist portrayals in the past. That’s bad. I don’t see how you’re evening up the score by putting more Black people in your films, really; history doesn’t work that way. Also, why does an almost all-Black film like (the deeply underrated) The Princess and the Frog not right that wrong? What’s the conversion rate, here? Six Black Disney princesses for every one Song of the South? Or maybe, sometimes, pop culture is just a fun diversion, and we shouldn’t constantly go around hanging immense political consequences on it.

    This relentless drive to celebrate diversity compels people to say things that just aren’t true. When Black Panther came out, people said it was the first Black superhero movie (nope) or the first Black Marvel movie (wrong again), in an effort to give it laurels it never needed, given that it’s just a really good movie. (Imagine that, a movie getting praised for being good!) Wonder Woman (2017) and Captain Marvel (2019) both, somehow, got tons of press as pioneering movies for women superheroes, despite the fact that Supergirl came out in 1984. A part of me feels that we have to be running out of “First X to Y!” More and more of these boxes are getting checked, and so you’d think the number of “First This Type of Person to Star in an Overlong Shitty CGI Spectacle with a Dissatisfying Ending!” headlines would have a shelf life. But the takes industry finds a way. How many more “First South Asian Polyamorous Rural Taoist Family in a Hulu Series!” headlines are we going to get? Apparently many many more!

    Our Amazon Product du Jour is right in line with Freddie's post. Find out if Nadine Gordimier and Alice Walker were cheap dates! Let me know one way or the other!

    [I'm currently reading both Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, and Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die. Both make Song of the South look pretty enlightened in comparison.]


  • Democrats will be talking abortion, abortion, abortion, 24-7 between now and November 8. At least judging from last night's local news, which had interviews with incumbents (Sununu, Hassan, Pappas, Kuster) and their challengers (Sherman, Bolduc, Leavitt, Burns). Every single Dem mentioned abortion, or some equivalent euphemism.

    Well, what are they gonna do? Talk about how wonderfully the economy is humming along?

    Their primary scare tactic is decrying a "Federal Abortion Ban".

    They were assisted in this tactic by… GOP Senator Lindsay Graham proposing a Federal Abortion Ban.

    The NR editors, all respect to them, think that's a great idea. I find myself agreeing instead with Andrew C. McCarthy in his Dissent from NR’s Editorial Favoring Federal Abortion Ban.

    I respectfully dissent from Wednesday’s National Review editorial, which supports Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposed federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks. When, in the last paragraph of the editorial, they get around to first-order question of what the supposed constitutional source of this federal power is, the editors proclaim, “We are persuaded that the undoubted federal power to defend basic civil rights under the 14th Amendment” does the trick. Count me out of the “we,” for I harbor significant doubts.

    The “who would dare doubt this” appeal is surprising to find in our pages. Until about five minutes ago, the protection of abortion itself was “undoubted” because progressives were haughtily confident that no one would call them on their dearth of constitutional mooring. I fear my colleagues go with “undoubted” because they don’t want to say aloud what this implicitly means: They believe the supposed federal power to regulate abortion is a matter of substantive due process. It’s just that, unlike progressives, they undertake to accomplish a limited ban rather than make it available on demand.

    Also weighing in on the issue from a more-libertarian perspective is Jacob Sullum: Graham's Proposed Abortion Ban Shows Contempt for Federalism.

    The federal abortion ban that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) proposed yesterday is moderate compared to state laws that have been enacted or taken effect since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. But it is based on an audacious claim of congressional authority to regulate abortion that obliterates the constitutional distinction between state and federal powers. If successful, Graham's reasoning would renationalize a controversy that Roe's opponents have long argued should be settled state by state.

    Graham's bill, which has provoked more dismay than enthusiasm among his Republican colleagues, would make it a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to perform an abortion at 15 weeks of gestation or later. Its very name, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children From Late-Term Abortions Act, is contentious. Graham controversially argues that "an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 15 weeks gestational age," and he arbitrarily defines abortions at that point, early in the second trimester, as "late-term." But in practical terms, a 15-week ban is far milder than the restrictions that many states have imposed or begun to enforce in recent months.

    I'm also persuaded by this (more practical) observation about the pols who forget about Constitutional power limits when it comes to pushing policies they like:

    This cavalier attitude is shortsighted as well as unprincipled. If Congress can force states to allow abortion, it can also prevent them from allowing it. Conversely, if Congress can restrict abortion under the Commerce Clause, it can also establish a statutory right that precludes state regulation. That position would make abortion policy throughout the country contingent on the vicissitudes of federal elections. Instead of a diversity of policies based on a diversity of opinions in a vast nation of 50 states and 332 million people, we would get just one, always subject to change depending on who happened to be in power.


  • The best I ever had. We get AARP publications here at Pun Salad Manor. The recent issue of the AARP Bulletin was absolutely gloating about the drug price controls passed as part of the "Inflation Reduction Act". Saith the AARP CEO: "With your support, we stood up to big drug companies-and we won!" And more in that vein.

    Party-poopers Charles L. Hooper and David R. Henderson write at the WSJ: Expensive Prescription Drugs Are a Bargain. And, oh yeah: "People will die".

    The Inflation Reduction Act has eight provisions intended to reduce future drug prices. Some observers were surely pleased that Congress gave the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services new powers to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. They shouldn’t have been. The Inflation Reduction Act won’t noticeably reduce inflation and it will do little or nothing to lower the cost of healthcare. Forcing drug companies to charge lower prices will likely lead to fewer new drugs.

    Virtually no products are more valuable than the modern medicines produced by the biopharmaceutical industry. They cure diseases and extend lives. We’ve all heard that Americans pay higher drug prices than people in other countries. That’s true, but only when comparing retail prices of brand-name drugs. Very few Americans pay retail prices; most pay a fraction—a copay dictated by their insurance plan. Most country-to-country comparisons also leave out generics. Nine of 10 prescriptions in the U.S. are filled with generic drugs priced lower than in most other countries.

    Another classic seen/unseen case: Lower prices (someday) for (some) people may be "seen". Unseen: lifesaving drugs that won't be developed, or can't be produced economically due to low "negotiated" prices. And also those dead folks.


  • The presidency is a bully pulpit. So Teddy Roosevelt said, "bully" meaning something different back then. How was TR to know that, over a century later, a different guy would take it the wrong way? Jacob Sullum writes on Biden's Sneaky Censors.

    "Tech platforms are notoriously opaque," the White House complained last week, saying Americans deserve to know more about how online forums decide "when and how to remove content from their sites." Yet the Biden administration, which routinely pressures social media companies to suppress speech it does not like, is hardly a model of transparency in this area.

    In a lawsuit they filed last May, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argue that the administration's "Orwellian" crusade against "misinformation" violates the First Amendment. They are trying to find out more about this "vast 'Censorship Enterprise' across a multitude of federal agencies," and the administration is fighting them every step of the way.

    So far, Landry and Schmitt have identified 45 federal officials who "communicate with social media platforms" about curtailing "misinformation." Emails obtained during discovery show those platforms are desperate to comply with the government's demands for speech restrictions, including the removal of specific messages and accounts.

    "Nice tech company you've got there. Be a shame if someone signed legislation designed to cripple it. By the way, here's some problematic content we found…"


  • Does this make me look fat? Liz Truss is not asking that question. As reported by Scott Shackford: U.K.’s New Prime Minister Targets Aggressive Food Nannies.

    Good news in England for people who like good food: New Prime Minister Liz Truss' administration is taking aim at the country's overly oppressive attempts to regulate what people eat.

    Health experts in the United Kingdom say it has a massive obesity problem, with around two-thirds of Brits classified as overweight. And because England has socialized health care, everybody is responsible for paying the additional medical expenses that may come from treating those who are obese, which the National Health Service (NHS) calculates at more than 6 billion pounds a year (almost $7 billion).

    I can't help but notice that the Brits would measure the extra health costs incurred per additional mass unit in "pounds per pound". I'm not a huge fan of the metric system, but that's a pretty good argument for it.


Last Modified 2024-01-22 9:05 AM EST