"Evilness" is an Underused Explanation

  • "Depravity" also works for me. Jeff Jacoby looks at a too-common feature of modern discourse: Why they rip down the 'Kidnapped from Israel' fliers.

    A CAT from my neighborhood has gone missing. Her owner has distributed fliers around the area, asking residents to keep an eye out for her. "LOST CAT," it says in big letters beneath a photo of Coco, a beautiful animal with fluffy white fur and blue eyes.

    Whether the fliers will lead to Coco's recovery I don't know. But of one thing I am certain: No one walking through the neighborhood will be grabbing all the posters and stuffing them in the trash. Even people who dislike cats wouldn't be that callous and mean.

    But ever since fliers calling attention to something far more terrible than a missing cat — the plight of the more than 200 hostages abducted from Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7 — began going up on telephone poles, subway walls, utility boxes, and worksite fences in cities around the world, a startling number of people have been eager to tear them down. Individuals have been filmed destroying or defacing the posters in Boston, London, Miami, New York, Melbourne, Philadelphia, Richmond, Ann Arbor, and Los Angeles.

    There is no possible justification for such heartlessness. The whole purpose of the fliers is to heighten awareness of the Israeli (and other) civilians kidnapped by the Hamas terror squads — to put names and faces to the hostages, all with one goal: to bring them back home. How can a project so heartfelt and humane trigger such a poisonous response?

    Jeff says "antisemitism", and that works for me too. But it's just a subclass of a more general phenomenon: people walking around with a nest of hissing snakes inside their skulls.

  • A bit of moral clarity. Karen Townsend notes it at Hot Air: Haley Does What Others Won't as She Slams Trump in Speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Quoting a New York Post story:

    She launched a clear rebuke of Trump recent comments critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not being “not prepared” for the Oct. 7 massacre, comments that appeared to be driven by animosity over his contention that Netanyahu was disloyal to him by congratulating President Biden on his 2020 win.

    Trump also called the fellow anti-Israeli Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah — designated as terrorists by the US — “very smart.” His campaign later clarified that “smart does not equal good.”

    “As president, I will not compliment Hezbollah. Nor will I criticize Israel’s prime minister in the middle of tragedy and war,” Haley vowed. “I will also not compliment Chinese Communist President Xi. Nor will I call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un my friend.”


    “The stakes couldn’t be higher. And given those stakes, we cannot have four years of chaos, vendettas, and drama,” she added in a jab at her old boss.

    I'm somewhat amazed at Trump fans who can't seem to recognize that a guy so obviously driven by a toxic mix of resentment, vanity, and delusion would be a very poor choice for president.

  • A small victory. The Josiah Bartlett Center looks at The Burgess backfire. Background: The Burgess Biopower plant is a wood-burning facility up in Berlin that generated (explensive) electric power that it sold to Eversource, the company providing electrons to many New Hampshire residences (including Pun Salad Manor).

    This meant, more or less, that our electric bills were keeping the plant going.

    The New Hampshire legislature passed a bailout bill, apparently under no pretense that Burgess would ever get off the ratepayer subsidy tit.

    Governor Sununu vetoed, and the legislature failed to override. Other than the economic issues:

    Burgess and its supporters claimed that paying more money for energy produced by burning wood made Granite Staters better off. But increasing numbers of academics who study such things conclude that biomass is not a net benefit for people or the planet.

    A professor at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health wrote last year that “air pollution from burning biomass can cause asthma exacerbations, hospitalizations for heart attack and respiratory disease, birth defects, neurodegenerative diseases and death, among many other health impacts.”

    His research found that “burning biomass in buildings, industry, and power plants leads to more deaths than conventional coal-fired power plants.”

    But the economic issues were also bad (written pre-veto):

    Burning wood is an inefficient and expensive way to generate electricity. Natural gas, more energy dense than wood, is a better fuel source, which is why natural gas accounts for 40% of U.S. electricity generation while biomass accounts for just 1.3%. (Nuclear is also better.)

    Electric utilities generally don’t buy power generated from wood, and most people no longer heat with wood. What to do with low-grade wood products, then? Politicians had an idea. Rig the market to favor this inefficient fuel source (and others).

    It was a simple boondoggle, but an understandable one: Berlin and the surrounding area are in an economic doldrum. The folks up there seem to still be able to afford fentanyl, however.