Mr. Ramirez reflects on the FAA's recent System Failure:
The loving detail he puts into his cartoons always impresses me. You should always click through to get the fullsize version.
The failure that caused the FAA to prevent planes from taking off for hours was blamed on a damaged database file.
Back when I was in the computer biz, we called this a "single point of failure." Part of our jobs was to come up with ways to eliminate or have plans in place to mitigate SPOFs. The FAA didn't have that? Tsk!
Before I get on my libertarian hobbyhorse and emit a few thousand words about antiquated, kludgy, unmaintainable government computer systems… well, it's only been a few weeks since we saw comparable screwups from Southwest Airlines, a product of our partially-free market system.
Of course, there's a major difference: People are suing Southwest. Nobody's suing the FAA.
And let me point out (slightly contra Mr. Ramirez) that, say what you will about 'em, but US commercial air carriers have a remarkably good safety record. They may frustrate you, turn you homicidal, … but they almost certainly won't kill you.
How much credit does the FAA get for that? I have no idea, and I don't think there's any way to tell for sure.
Matt Welch asks the question: How Do We Solve a Political Problem Like Congressman George Santos? I like his bottom line a lot:
George Santos is a more breathtaking fabulist than Joe Biden, in a much less important job. Biden is a leaky-brained liar of a president, who nonetheless bullshits less (and with far less influence on the beliefs of voters) than the craven Donald Trump. No one here deserves a medal, nor do the people who voted these openly flawed humans into office.
You want to solve a problem like George Santos? Keep laughing at the guy—he deserves it, it's fun, and ridicule is a response that the power-hungry have a hard time coping with. At the rate of revelations, it's not hard to imagine his situation becoming untenable even to Kevin McCarthy.
But we also need to solve the problems of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, which means not excusing or minimizing their lies just because the other guy is worse, and maintaining the citizen self-respect not to succumb to political trench warfare. Not only do your political hatreds pay for an entire unproductive economic sector, they also enable awful people to get away with their past malfeasance in the improbable name of saving America. Want politicians to stop lying to you? Stop letting them.
As Dire Straits observed in "Solid Rock": When you point your finger cause your plan fell through, you got three more fingers pointing back at you.
At his shiny Dispatch perch, Kevin D. Williamson's wisdom is paywalled: Fake It ‘Til You Make It—All the Way to Congress.
A fellow writing in Esquire many years ago told of taking his wife hunting and being dismayed when she got herself fitted for traditional English shooting tweeds and expected him to wear the same in order to look “authentic.” Yes, he thought, we’ll look like authentic assholes. But who can deny that tweeds and shotguns is a great look? Young couples sometimes wander into my local Beretta boutique, drawn in by the romantic, old-fashioned country clothes and accoutrements for sale but then storm out when they realize that there are firearms being sold at a shop with the name “Beretta” on the sign. The Beretta shop is about equidistant from the Starbucks, where they expect you to order in crypto-Italian, and the Hermès boutique, where they pretend that they’re still in the equestrian equipment business. Yes, I know, Hermès will still sell you a saddle—but George Santos didn’t come out of nowhere. We are all standing on a vast beach of bullshit and surprised to see little Georgie making bullshit castles.
I have taken the liberty of de-expurgating a few words there. Read as much of it as you can.
I am a couple days late with James Lileks' weekly Bleat section: "The Wednesday Review of Modern Thought."
The great thing about the internet is the worst thing: learning about something you wish you had no need to know about, and wish was not a thing, as they say. The danger comes from confusing the loud and confident subcommunities with significant cultural forces. But (ah, the weaselwordy but) these things start small and get ridiculous. Even if they don't, they provide a look at how big ideas abroad in the culture fracture and turn into nonsense. The only question is how much legitimacy they'll have in a year.
First "thing" James looks at: the concept of "transage". Analogous to "transexual", it's (apparently) the deep-seated belief that your actual age isn't what that boring old calendar says it is.
Excuse for pedophilia? Maybe.
But it gets even weirder from there. He's not paywalled, so you can read as much of it as you can stand.
On a semi-related note, Jonathan Kay notes what's going on with those nice, polite Canadians up north: A Mob Stormed a Feminist Event at McGill Law School—in Defence of Gender Justice, of Course.
I learned a new term this week: “Forced teaming.” It describes what happens when a group of people—say, gay men and lesbian women—are forbidden from breaking ranks with some larger constituency, such as (in this case) the LGBT movement.
The example I’m discussing here is one that Quillette writers have been exploring for several years now. As author Allan Stratton noted last year, the central ideological fixation of many transgender-rights activists is the negation of biological sex as a meaningful marker of human identity. The true source of sexual attraction, they will insist, isn’t the reality of sexed male and female bodies; but rather an abstract gender spirit lodged within our souls, which somehow broadcasts itself in a way that prospective romantic partners are able to sense and interpret. As Stratton notes, this mythology isn’t just flagrantly wrong. It’s also homophobic to such extent that it denies the sexually defined nature of gay identity. Moreover, this homophobic element can’t be excised from gender ideology without fatally undercutting the (typically unspoken) mission of many biologically male trans activists, since giving up this claim “would be to admit that a lesbian isn’t going to be attracted to a male body, no matter how many times she is assured that the body in question belongs to someone who identifies as a woman.”
Which gave rise to …
This is not us.— LGB Alliance (@ALLIANCELGB) July 10, 2021
We reject the forced teaming with all these identities & proclivities that have nothing to do with us. They give the public a completely false image of the LGB rights movement & are undermining our rights.
We are gay, lesbian & bisexual.
That’s it.#GayNotQueer pic.twitter.com/rF3ygx4nor
Note the reference to "transage". Yes, it is a thing.
Anyway, the "LGB Alliance" seems to be saying: "We are just homosexual. Please don't rope us in to your wackiness."
Trouble was caused at McGill.