I do hope the Democrats listen to [David Shor] even if it means they do better in elections. Why? Well, for several reasons. First, because if they listened to him, the Democratic Party would move rightward. Second, I think the actual policies associated with defund the police,” birthing persons,” Latinx,” etc. are profoundly bad for America. And third, because if the Democrats stopped talking about ridiculous things, it would deny many Republicans the psychological permission to behave like idiots or support demagogic buffoons.

Jonah Goldberg, That Shor Sounds Good

If you click on the word idiot,” you’ll get a truly cringeworthy ad for a gun-totin’ calendar girl” running for governor of Nevada. But bear in mind that truly cringeworthy” is still far, far superior to anything touched by Matt Gaetz.

October 21, 2021

This is apparently real, not paroldy

October 21, 2021

Does Auto Insurance Policy Cover Spreading STD When Having Sex in a Car? — Reason.com

October 4, 2021

Some Commie on Twitter dissed strawberries. Alan Jacobs had the definitive response.

September 29, 2021

When David P. Goldman is in the mood to write grimly realistic assessments of our present difficulties, he adopts Spengler” as his pen name, a hat tip to the German author of the early-twentieth-century apocalyptic best-seller The Decline of the West. And when Goldman feels the situation especially dire, Spengler consults the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu, one of history’s most thoroughgoing realists. Here is what the shrewd cardinal had to say about the Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan:

America set out to create a modern democracy out of a tribal society, an enterprise as likely to succeed as the attempt to breed a griffin by mating a lion with an eagle. It poured US$2 trillion into Afghanistan, or one hundred times the country’s gross domestic product. It paid Afghani politicians, generals and warlords to play-act at democracy in a revolting, silly masquerade.

Whatever was not corrupt before America came in became corrupt in the maelstrom of American money. Meanwhile, American soldiers and bureaucrats made fortunes as consultants, contractors, sutlers and armorers to the dream palace of Afghan democracy.

Because the entire project was a monstrous hoax to begin with, everyone associated with the project lied—lied about the state of Afghan government forces, lied about the disposition of the Taliban, lied about the robustness of supplies to Afghan troops, lied about their dependence on airpower.

Afghan officials lied to their American paymasters, American commanders on the ground lied to their superiors and American generals lied to the politicians. The key to promotion, and to wealth, lay in perpetuating the ridiculous fiction that motivated the occupation of the country in the first place.

Where did $2 trillion go? The Taliban offensive began in April after the Americans announced their intent to depart. No one fought for Afghanistan because there was no Afghanistan to fight for. Within weeks the Afghan army had no ammunition, no food and no air support. Whoever could steal from the Americans did so. The Afghanistan government collapsed in a matter of days because it was never there to begin with.

The ghost of Richelieu gets it pretty much right.

R.R. Reno in First Things

September 29, 2021

Religion Clause: Russia Labels Church of Scientology As Undesirable” Organization

If a government is to have a category of undesirable organizations,” then Scientology should be a shoo-in.


September 28, 2021

Enid Futterman, a local journalist and Bernie Sanders supporter … told me she finds the idea that COVID is caused by 5G cellphone towers more believable than person-to-person transmission. I’ve read both sides, and that’s what makes sense,” Futterman said ….

WSJ

She read a very credible article linking Covid and 5G.

September 24, 2021

Skewing too far toward a left-hemisphere view of the world

is ruling out so much. I can’t begin to tell you, but you can imagine, all the things that this very reduced, abstract, schematic, bureaucratic — essentially, it’s bureaucratic, you know, push something, it has an action on something else and we can predict the outcome, we can organize it — that’s the left hemisphere’s vision of the world: inanimate stuff that we can move about. Very much, the industrial revolution was a kind of acting out in the outer world of the world picture of the left hemisphere … It’s ruling out everything, really. It’s ruling out our ability to understand, to see, to see at all.

Iain McGilquist, interviewed by Jordan Peterson, shortly after 1 hour 19 minutes.

September 19, 2021

Seekers of religious exemptions to vaccine mandates demonstrate that there is literally no limit to what folly you can prove” from motivated reasoning recast as personal bible study.” Vaccine Resisters Seek Religious Exemptions. But What Counts as Religious?

September 11, 2021

POTUS Biden is mightily wroth at SCOTUS and Texas. Breathing threats of mayhem, he’s ordered the whole-of-government” to respond.

I think the whole-of-government is going to find that it’s hard to find a fingerhold on Texas Law SB8.

September 2, 2021

Because the eye has a short shadow or it is hard to see over heads in the crowd?

If everyone else seems smarter but you need your own secret?

If mystery was never your friend?

If one way could satisfy the infinite heart of the heavens?

If you liked the king on his golden throne more than the villagers carrying baskets of lemons?

If you wanted to be sure his guards would admit you to the party?

    The boy with the broken pencil
    scrapes his little knife against the lead
    turning and turning it as a point
    emerges from the wood again

    If he would believe his life is like that
    he would not follow his father into war

(Naomi Shihab Nye, Fundamentalism, via Poetry Foundation)

August 27, 2021

Could not help but think of January 6

August 16, 2021

The Savage was silent for a little. All the same,” he insisted obstinately, Othello’s good, Othello’s better than those feelies.” Of course it is,” the Controller agreed. But that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.” But they don’t mean anything.” They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience.” But they’re . . . they’re told by an idiot.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

You’ll have a hard time persuading me that Huxley wasn’t more prescient than Orwell.

August 9, 2021

So, a day after I sketched why I’m cooling on David French, he comes out with both a very solid book review of Andrew Sullivan’s Out on a Limb and a sketches a perceptive parallel between Jordan Peterson and scandal-plagued narcissist Pastor Mark Driscoll: both perceive the lostness of a generation of young men and helped a lot of them get their lives together.

Here’s French on Andrew Sullivan:

This world is almost impossibly complex. Conventional wisdom is frequently wrong. No partisan side has a monopoly on truth. In these circumstances, a nation needs writers and thinkers who will say hard things, whose fearlessness gives you confidence that you’re hearing their true thoughts.

As a regular reader of Sullivan, I think this does identify a major strength of Sullivan. But as a regular reader of French, I’d draw a contrast: With French, I too often get the impression that all I’m hearing is the strained hot takes” of a guy who has committed to writing at a pace that outstrips his ability to be consistently thoughtful — somewhat as Sullivan may have done back in the days when he was a rising blogger with multiple posts every day.

August 8, 2021

I’m cooling rapidly on David French.

First, there is religion. He’s very Evangelical, a former tradition of mine from which I find myself gradually more and more alienated. His Evangelicalism shows up again and again, for no particular reason except to remind us of it.

But a bigger deal is the stuff he’ll watch on TV (or in movies) and gush about. He seems to have no idea that it’s important not to immerse our imaginations in, ummmmm, stuff with a stratospheric fecal coliform count.

Most notably, he got me watching Ted Lasso during season 1. Instantly, I was immersed in foul language and extreme sexual laxity, including from protagonists.

Season 2 episode 2 was, for me, the last straw: Protagonist Keely, live-in love interest of protagonist Roy Kent (recently retired from soccer) and former love interest of Jamie, a smug young lothario soccer star who constantly insulted Roy and cheated on Keely, is masturbating contentedly when Roy walks in on her in their bedroom. He’s fine with that, but wants to know what’s on her phone that turns her on that way. He finds that it’s a video of him weepily and vulnerably announcing his retirement from the game he loves.

Awwwww! How touching!

Keely’s worried about Roy being so separated from soccer, and suggests he try commentary. He goes on TV with two others on the panel and analyzes one team’s performance as fucking incompetent” and shitty.” He really got into it, and so do fans in pubs. So when he gets home, he takes Keely’s smartphone, pulls up the video of his retirement announcement, hands it back, thanks her for the suggestion that he try commentary, and performs cunnilingus on her in gratitude.

The End. How can one not be edified? Incomprehensibly, I’m not edified and will probably never follow one of French’s cultural recommendations again.

French’s counter-argument to Rod Dreher’s friendliness to Hungary and its president was formulaic, unpersuasive, and somewhat sub-Christian in its we’re so much richer why would anyone even consider such a place as having any lessons for us?!” (That’s what I see as the gist, not a quote. I could misrepresent it as saying that Hungary is bad for not recognizing same-sex marriage and for forbidding propagandizing kids with gay and trans stuff, but his argument really seems to be our courts wouldn’t allow such laws. Period. Full Stop.” Without a hint that our courts are out of bounds.)

Finally, he’s like a giddy schoolboy in his enthusiasm for interplanetary travel — as if we haven’t corrupted enough geography yet.

Thus my distillation of why I’m cooling on him. But he’s still a pretty sharp legal analyst.

August 7, 2021

Woke decoder

August 1, 2021

open letter from a distinguished surgeon — Snakes and Ladders

August 1, 2021

My brief chat with PayPal’s bot:

See here for background.

July 31, 2021

Doing what culture warriors do — treating one woman’s decision as proof positive that THEY are destroying all that his noble and good about America the Exceptional — the right pounced, dubbing her a quitter” and a selfish sociopath” who had brought shame to the country.”

Never mind that long before the opening ceremonies in Tokyo, Biles had proven herself to be arguably the greatest female gymnast of all time, with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals to her name. If she had retired long before this week, she would still be considered one of the greatest athletes to ever live — and one who had earned more respect and honor, and brought more glory to her country, than 10,000 editors at The Federalist.

Damon Linker

This story, sadly, has become a forum for tribalist rants. I see nothing heroic” about Simone Biles withdrawing from the Olympic competition. I also see nothing shameful about it. It’s inevitable that her withdrawal would get commentary because she’s click-bait. Because we’re cretins, it’s inevitable that the commentary will be 99% cretinous.

July 30, 2021

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge charged a police officer Wednesday in the 2016 slaying of a Black man who was sitting in a parked car, taking the rare step of overruling prosecutors years after they declined to charge the officer. Milwaukee County Judge Glenn Yamahiro charged Joseph Mensah with homicide by negligent use of a weapon in Jay Anderson Jr.’s death. Mensah discovered Anderson sleeping in his car after hours in a park in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb. Mensah said he shot Anderson after he reached for a gun.

This. Does. Not. Compute.

Judges have no power, in any jurisdiction I’m aware of, to charge anyone criminally.

UPDATE:

The reporter on the above story must never have had a civics class. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal Reported it:

A judge has ruled that police officer Joseph Mensah can be prosecuted for the 2016 killing of Jay Anderson, a Black man whose fatal shooting sparked protests last year.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Glenn Yamahiro said Wednesday there was probable cause that Mr. Mensah operated a weapon in a manner constituting criminal negligence.

On the night of the shooting, Mr. Anderson was asleep in his car in a park in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa. Mr. Mensah, who is also Black, stopped to question him and shot him through the passenger window, firing at least six times.

Police say Mr. Anderson lunged for a gun on the passenger seat. Available dashcam evidence was inconclusive. Mr. Anderson’s family deny he lunged for a gun, and question whether a weapon was on the passenger seat in the first place.

Mr. Mensah didn’t respond to a request for comment. He left the Wauwatosa police department last year, and was hired by the Waukesha County police department in January.

The real question is whether a prosecutor, when they look at all the evidence, can determine whether they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed,” said Jonathan Cermele, the lawyer representing Mr. Mensah. Clearly that’s not the case here.”

July 29, 2021

View the archives