URLs du Jour

2022-05-16

  • This is your pilot babbling… It wasn’t me!. [It wasn't me!]


  • Loons can be dangerous. That's the lesson Glenn Greenwald has in the wake of the latest massacre in Buffalo: The Demented - and Selective - Game of Instantly Blaming Political Opponents For Mass Shootings. History backs up his thesis: "All ideologies spawn psychopaths who kill innocents in its name. Yet only some are blamed for their violent adherents: by opportunists cravenly exploiting corpses while they still lie on the ground."

    Interesting factoid about Payton Gendron, the Buffalo shooter:

    In that manifesto, Gendron described himself as a "left-wing authoritarian” and “populist” (“On the political compass I fall in the mild-moderate authoritarian left category, and I would prefer to be called a populist”). He heaped praise on an article in the socialist magazine Jacobin for its view that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are fraudulent scams. He spoke passionately of the centrality and necessity of environmentalism, and lamented that “the state [has] long since heavily lost to its corporate backers.” He ranted against “corporate profits and the ever increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit.” And he not only vehemently rejected any admiration for political conservatism but made clear that he viewed it as an enemy to his agenda: “conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.”

    Compare and contrast, reader, with the Rolling Stone headline: "The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican".

    Actually, I think James T. Hodgkinson has a better argument for being a "mainstream Democrat" than Gendron has at being a "mainstream Republican".


  • In his defense, the demented boob doesn't know what he's doing. Hannah Cox observes that Biden Just Single-Handedly Made the Gas Crisis Worse.

    Americans are already struggling under the weight of crippling inflation, from skyrocketing gas prices to exorbitant grocery bills. And even if few Americans thought the Biden Administration had a plan to combat these things—especially considering the fact that their spending and regulatory problems directly created them—I’m betting most Americans didn’t think the President would take obvious actions to immediately make things worse either.

    Yet, that is what he did this week, canceling one of the most important oil and gas leases at the country’s disposal in the middle of the night. This action will halt the potential to drill for oil in over 1 million acres on the Cook Inlet in Alaska, marking a devastating loss for those trying to increase the oil supply in the country.

    Meanwhile, I have to restrain myself from throwing things at the TV when that ad for Maggie Hassan comes on touting her "suspend the gas tax" gimmick. She says she's "taking on members of my own party" and "pushing Joe Biden"!

    Is this fooling anyone?


  • It seems to be "Dump On Ladies Named Margaret Day" here at Pun Salad. Charles C. W. Cooke read it so we don't have to: Margaret Atwood Profoundly Embarrasses Herself in the Atlantic.

    The only explanation I can come up with for how something this profoundly illiterate was published in the pages of the Atlantic is that the editors wanted the byline “Margaret Atwood” so much that they were prepared to let the author embarrass herself to any degree in order to obtain it.

    Riffing off of the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, Atwood asks:

    Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them?

    What is to prevent the United States from becoming “a theocratic dictatorship”? Nothing, I guess — other than that there’s no appetite for the United States to become a theocratic dictatorship; that the case against Roe is legal, not theological; that the case against abortion isn’t theological, either; and that the explicit text of the U.S. Constitution — not contrived, cynical, extraconstitutional nonsense cases such as Roe and Casey, but the explicit text of the U.S. Constitution — renders such a system illegal in every way imaginable. From separation of powers to free speech to due process to the establishment of religion to the guarantee of a republican form of government to the scheduling of elections to term limits, the Constitution flatly bars such an outcome. And nobody — nobody — on the Supreme Court has questioned a single one of the provisions that guarantee it.

    Students, if you want to fail your Constitutional Law course, plagiarizing Ms. Atwood's essay would get you pretty close to that goal.


  • In our "Worst Sequel" Department… Here's a proposed on to Kipling's How the Leopard Got His Spots, from Barton Swaim: How Disagreement Became ‘Disinformation’.

    The preoccupation with “misinformation” and “disinformation” on the part of America’s enlightened influencers last month reached the level of comedy. The Department of Homeland Security chose a partisan scold, Nina Jankowicz, to head its new Disinformation Governance Board despite her history of promoting false stories and repudiating valid ones—the sort of scenario only a team of bumblers or a gifted satirist could produce.

    Less funny but similarly paradoxical was Barack Obama’s April 21 address lamenting online disinformation, in which he propounded at least one easily disprovable assertion. Tech companies, the former president said, “should be working with, not always contrary to, those groups that are trying to prevent voter suppression [that] specifically has targeted black and brown communities.” There is no evidence of voter suppression in “black and brown communities” and plenty of evidence of the contrary, inasmuch as black and Latino voter participation reached record levels in the 2020 election.

    Swaim's article is long and thoughtful, and that's a free WSJ link, so go for it.


  • But there is something that government really excels at. As Jacob Sullum points out: A Record Number of Drug-Related Deaths Shows the Drug War Is Remarkably Effective at Killing People.

    Three years ago, President Donald Trump bragged that "we are making progress" in reducing drug-related deaths, citing a 4 percent drop between 2017 and 2018. That progress, a dubious accomplishment even then, proved fleeting. The upward trend in drug-related deaths, which began decades ago, resumed that very year, and 2020 saw both the largest increase and the largest number ever. That record was broken last year, according to preliminary data that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published this week.

    The CDC projects that the total for 2021 will be nearly 108,000 when the numbers are finalized, up 15 percent from 2020, when the number of deaths jumped by 30 percent. Two-thirds of last year's cases involved "synthetic opioids other than methadone," the category that includes fentanyl and its analogs. Those drugs showed up in nearly three-quarters of the cases involving opioids.

    It's pretty amazing that all the folks yammering about "Bans Off Our Bodies" aren't talking about the war on drugs.