URLs du Jour


  • Pretend I have a regifting joke here. A funny one. Mr. Ramirez draws it: A fruitcake fell from the tree.


    Background, if necessary, here. RFKJr has since apologized for the Anne Frank thing, but not for being a fruitcake.

  • It's not just for fruitcakes any more. Specifically, wondering if there could be A Covid Origin Conspiracy? That's from Nicholas Wade, onetime science writer for the New York Times, Science, and Nature, now persona non grata for heretical views. This is in City Journal:

    From almost the moment the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in the city of Wuhan, the medical-research establishment in Washington and London insisted that the virus had emerged naturally. Only conspiracy theorists, they said, would give credence to the idea that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    Now a string of unearthed emails—the most recent being a batch viewed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee and referred to in its January 11, 2022 letter—is making it seem increasingly likely that there was, in fact, a conspiracy, its aim being to suppress the notion that the virus had emerged from research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Anthony Fauci. The latest emails don’t prove such a conspiracy, but they make it more plausible, for two reasons: because the expert virologists therein present such a strong case for thinking that the virus had lab-made features and because of the wholly political reaction to this bombshell on the part of Francis Collins, then-director of the National Institutes of Health.

    I have no dog in this fight. I don't even have a bat in this fight. But the lack of transparency and organized vituperative pushback on the lab-leak scenario from politicized scientists really smells bad.

    (I was going to add "like spoiled fruitcake", but I'm not sure fruitcake can spoil.)

  • It's not the worst possible plan, but… Rachel Bovard is pretty disgusted, and rightly so: Republicans Plan To Win Back The Senate, Then Do Nothing, Per Usual.

    The 2022 agenda for House Republicans may be out of touch with the current political moment, but at least they can say they’re trying. Over on the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the leader of the Senate’s Republican conference, has announced he’s not even putting out an agenda for 2022.

    According to reporting by Axios last month, McConnell told a room full of donors, lobbyists, and in-cycle senators that he would not be putting forward an agenda outlining the priorities for his conference should Senate Republicans regain a majority in 2022. When asked by CNN last week what the GOP agenda would be in a potential majority, McConnell responded, “That is a very good question and I’ll let you know when we take it back.” He went on, “This midterm election will be a report card on the performance of this entire Democratic government, the president, the House, and the Senate.”

    Ms. Bovard does a pretty good job of describing McConnell's probable reasoning, summed up the adage “Never interfere with an enemy when he’s in the process of destroying himself."

    Also, any concrete proposals would give Democrats something to lie about. More than they already do. For example, any effort to bring fiscal sanity to entitlement programs would be an excuse for wall-to-wall TV commercials showing McConnell pushing grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair.

    And finally, Biden (or Kamala, if it comes to that) would just veto everything anyway.

  • Scapegoating is the next-to-last refuge of a scoundrel. The nearly-as-indispensible-as-Geraghty Elizabeth Nolan Brown notes something we should have seen coming about a year ago: Biden Blames Government's Economic Failures on Big Business

    Biden continues to scapegoat American businesses for government-created problems. On Monday, President Joe Biden gave a public address during a meeting with his Competition Council, discussing an executive order he issued last July. Why now? Because inflation keeps getting worse, and the Biden administration needs somewhere to lay the blame.

    Inflation has been hitting its highest levels in decades. In late December, for instance, gas prices were up 51 percent, beef prices up 20 percent, and furniture prices up 11 percent. Food prices are up. Clothing prices are up. Energy prices are up. Used car prices are up. Booze prices are up. And the list goes on.

    As ENB notes, the Washington Post got some Democrats to (anonymously) say the quiet part out loud:

    In November and December, at least four Democratic polling experts told senior White House officials that they needed to find a new approach as public frustration over price hikes became widespread and highly damaging to Biden's popularity, according to three people with knowledge of the private conversations.

    "What we said is, 'You need a villain or an explanation for this. If you don't provide one, voters will fill one in. The right is providing an explanation, which is that you're spending too much,'" one Democratic pollster who, like the others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations, told The Washington Post. "That point finally became convincing to people in the White House."

    Emphasis added, as if I needed to.

  • Distractions are good for juicing your poll numbers too. And Mr. Putin seems to want to provide one. A big one. But Matt Taibbi suggests: Let’s Not Have a War. (Amazingly, "neocon" is absent from the article.)

    Joe Biden last week said the American response in Ukraine would be proportional to Vladimir Putin’s actions. “It depends,” the president posited, thoughts drifting like blobs in a lava lamp. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion…”

    Alarms sounded all over Washington. The rip in the national political illusion was so severe, Republicans and Democrats were forced to come out agreeing, leaping into each other’s arms in panic. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who increasingly looks like a man about to miss a historically important free throw, said of a potential Russian invasion, “We can make crystal clear the stark consequences of that choice.” Republican Senator Ted Cruz said Biden “shocked the world by giving Putin a green light to invade Ukraine.” The National Security Council issued a statement through Jen Psaki that any Russian move into Ukraine would be “met with a swift, severe, and united response.”

    In a later press conference, Biden explained he had to cut things short because, “You guys will ask me all about Russia.” He appears days from pulling his pants down to show reporters the electrodes White House chief of staff Ron Klain has probably attached to his testicles by now.

    You might think that Taibbi's knee-jerk antiwar attitude is misguided. But apply Obama's insight about President Wheezy; is he really the guy you want making the call about sending American soldiers into peril?