URLs du Jour


■ We're all done with chapter 26, so let's flip back to Proverbs 25:2:

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

If I fuzz up my eyes a bit, I kind of like that. God hides, the King reveals. Interesting relationship.

Today's Getty image: a concealed kitty. Let's see if the King can find him!

■ So Chelsea Clinton spoke extemporaneously at a recent lefty conference. It was not pretty, as she stumbled to string together clichés she'd heard somewhere into semi-coherent thoughts. But this struck me as unintentionally revealing:

We also have to recognize, particularly at this moment, that sexism is not an opinion, Islamophobia is not an opinion, racism is not an opinion, homophobia is not an opinion, jingoism is not an opinion,

I recommend watching the video to get the full flavor of how she delivered this line with condescension and faux profundity. She is, indeed, her mother's daughter, and this is another repackaging of Hillary's basket of deplorables remark (replacing "xenophobia" with "jingoism").

The takeaway is, of course, that having opinions is generally OK. "You're entitled to your own opinions." But since those three -isms and two -phobias are not opinions, it's OK to take "whatever means necessary" against people who are deemed to be racists, Islamaphobes, etc.

Those five things are weaponized labels, defined vaguely, applied to enemies as it becomes convenient to do so. Not a new thing. I keep coming back to Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language". In this case, note what he said about …

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable'.

Nowadays, George would have noted that you can plug any and all of Chelsea's five deplorable non-opinion words for Fascism.

■ One of my thoughts as I heard about the horror in Manchester: How long before people start blaming Trump?. I didn't have to wait long to find out. Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing at USA Today: Manchester attack spotlights Trump damage to fight against terrorism. The argument (such as it is):

  • Trump fails to maintain "good relations with the leaders of the Muslim community". Because that worked so well with Obama, except for those untidy incidents in San Berndardino, Orlando, …

  • Trump fired FBI Director Comey. (Who had done such a swell job preventing San Bernardino, Orlando, …)

  • Trump wants to cut State Department funding, which will lead to more "Benghazis". Except that we had an actual Benghazi on the Obama/Hillary watch; was the problem inadequate funding, or a failure to foresee the outcome of a disastrous Libya policy?

To a first approximation, the number of people whose opinions about Islamic terrorism were changed by the Manchester body count seems to be zero.

■ They aren't all budget-cutters in the Trump Administration. At Cato, Randal O'Toole examines An Electrifyingly Bad Decision.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s decision to give $647 million to California to electrify a San Francisco commuter rail line tells states and cities across the nation that they should plan the most expensive and wasteful infrastructure projects they can and the Trump administration will support them. The Caltrains electrification project had no political, economic, social, or environmental justification, so Chao’s support for the project despite its lack of virtues does not bode well for those who hoped that the Trump administration would take a fiscally conservative stance on infrastructure and transportation.

Could we "savagely" cut another $647 million from the DOT budget, please?

■ An interesting look from the (left-wing) Guardian is titled: How Facebook flouts Holocaust denial laws except where it fears being sued. The implication, I guess, is that Facebook should follow the local laws even if it's in no danger of being sued.

Fine, whatever. But the general problem is age-old: once you get in the business of censorship, things rapidly get arbitrary and hair-splitting, involving "protected categories" (e.g., sexual orientations) and "non-protected categories" (e.g., political affiliations).

Other comments that flout Facebook’s guidelines include “French girls are stupid” and “Irish are stupid”. But moderators are told to ignore “Blonde women are stupid” and “Redheads are disgusting”. According to the documents, Facebook tells moderators to err on the side of allowing content if they are unsure.

Fair game: white guys.

■ In Portland OR, the rise and fall of Kooks Burritos is chronicled: White women's burrito shop is forced to close after being hounded with accusations it was 'culturally appropriating Mexican food and jobs'. Their crime was being a little too observant of the food prep techniques in Nuevo Laredo:

Explaining their trip, [one of the owners] told the newspaper: 'I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did.[…]'

The resulting furor, examples at the link: a strange combination of dismaying and hilarious. Resulting in one less burrito truck in Portland.

■ I wasn't a fan of the Roger Moore James Bond movies, but Mr. Moore was a heck of a good guy. Check out James Freeman's tribute at the WSJ's "Best of the Web": The Spy Who Loved Us, and don't fail to read the charming anecdote from Marc Haynes therein.