URLs du Jour

2022-03-19

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  • I'm with Charlie. Charles C. W. Cooke says: No to Trump in 2024

    [NRPLUS] ‘Donald Trump hasn’t said for sure whether he will run in 2024,” reports NPR. “But he’s having a hell of a lot of fun teasing it.”

    Donald Trump? In 2024? Why on earth would conservatives choose that guy?

    I’m serious: Why? Why would we do that when we have a choice? The idea should be absurd, risible, farcical, outré. It should be a punchline, a mania, the preserve of the demented fringe. Politics matters. And because politics matters, it is a bad idea to allow politics to be held hostage by someone who, in his heart of hearts, doesn’t really care. Donald Trump is an extraordinarily selfish man, and he is only too happy to subordinate your interests to his own. Why let him? It is one thing to say, “Well, he may have been a fickle boor, but I liked some of what he did once he was in office”; it’s quite another to put yourself through four more years of the man when you don’t have to. Whatever justification there may have been for picking the “lesser of two evils” in the 2016 or 2020 general election — a justification that was a great deal stronger before Trump refused to accept, and then tried to overturn, the results of the latter — it cannot obtain in 2022.

    There are (as I type) 1179 comments on Charlie's short post, and I'm sure they're all interesting and insightful.


  • In my day, everything came down to physics. But that was my major. Veronique de Rugy makes a plug for something called "culture": Campus Free-Speech Problems Come Down to Culture. She has a data point (aka "an anecdote") about her daughter's experience as a student at the University of Virginia:

    The destruction of this culture is subtle. It happens over time through comments signaling that some positions are too objectionable to be stated. After a lecture by George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok on the COVID-19 pandemic, my daughter mentioned to her suitemates that a vaccine was practically ready in January 2020, but that the regulatory ordeal was such that it took almost a year to get an emergency approval. She was mocked as someone who gets her information from Facebook. She knows now to abstain from COVID-19 conversations.

    Standing alone, each mockery is benign. But when repeated on a large scale for every topic from vaccine regulations to politics, sex or race — with some comments even treated as an equivalent to physical violence — many students will choose to stay silent.

    Vero notes a recent NYT op-ed from UVa senior Emma Camp: I Came to College Eager to Debate. I Found Self-Censorship Instead. She writes at Reason, she was an intern at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The predictable and sad reaction from many NYT readers was horror that such heresy was allowed in their newspaper.


  • “Why, this is a bag of wasteful garbage!” "But it's really great wasteful garbage, Mrs. Presky!" Eric Boehm notes a totally forseeable outcome: We Can't Fund COVID Treatments for the Uninsured Because We Spent Trillions of COVID Aid on Wasteful Garbage

    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, Congress has authorized $884 billion in aid for state and local governments, $62 billion for colleges and universities, and $869 billion in direct payments to Americans, including to individuals who earned as much as $90,000 annually and never lost their income due to the pandemic.

    And now, it turns out, there's no money left to actually help those suffering from COVID-19 who can't afford to pay for treatments.

    The White House announced this week that a program set up to give uninsured Americans access to COVID testing and treatments, including vaccines, will have to be shuttered next month unless Congress approves emergency funding. The Biden administration asked Congress to provide $22 billion in new funds for the program as part of the omnibus spending bill passed last week, Reuters reports, but the additional funding was not included in the package.

    Fun fact: of the (approximately) $5.7 trillion Covid dollars allowed by Congress, "only" $53 billion (< 1%) went for vaccines and other treatments. But a lot went toward fueling our current runaway inflation.

    [Youngsters may need this guide to appreciate the headline reference.]


  • Optimism from Jonah Goldberg? Well, maybe. His headline is: The Truth Has Its Moment. It's rambling, entertaining, and (eventually) insightful. See if the opening doesn't grab you:

    Years ago, the Goldberg family went through a brief Cincinnati-style chili phase. We don’t talk about it much, and we’ve gotten over it, but I feel like this is a safe space where I can share painful truths with you, my dearest readers. Anyway, in case you didn’t know, among the things that distinguish Cincinnati-style chili—other than disappointed local sports fans using it to soak up large amounts of beer—is that it is often served over spaghetti.

    Anyway, when my daughter was 4 or 5 years old, she was walking in the winter air with the Fair Jessica, who said something like, “Brrr. It’s chilly outside.”

    Lucy paused for a moment, and then kid-splained a key insight: “Mommy. You can say it’s ‘chilly outside,’ but you can’t say it’s ‘spaghetti outside.’”

    It’s funny because it’s true. Although since then, on very cold mornings, I have in fact said, “Man, it’s spaghetti outside.”

    I'm going to start saying that. Mrs. Salad might insist I go get tested for dementia, but I don't care.


  • Risky business. George F. Will notes that tobacco is Still troubling, even for a tobacco company. And is appropriately rough on corporate self-righteous ad-speak.

    The universe is expanding, but into what? An equally inscrutable mystery is: What is Altria, and why is it issuing gaseous pronouncements?

    An Altria subsidiary is Philip Morris, which sells lots of cigarettes. Reluctantly. Sort of (read on). It is the largest domestic manufacturer, selling almost half of the cigarettes Americans buy. Driving through Richmond on I-95, you pass Philip Morris’s manufacturing center, which has a tower emblazoned with familiar fonts used for cigarette brands such as Marlboro and Benson & Hedges.

    But Altria and its spin-off Philip Morris International have been running peculiar full-page — what? Ads? Not exactly. These word-mists in major newspapers say:

    “From tobacco company to tobacco harm reduction company … moving adult smokers away from cigarettes … towards less harmful choices.” Using “more inclusive” approaches and a “fierce commitment to science” as a “global community” transcending “provincial thinking,” Altria and PMI are making “smoke-free products that eliminate combustion,” products that “are not risk-free and deliver nicotine, which is addictive” but are preferable to continued smoking.

    Their rhetoric is, unfortunately, not eccentric: Today, many corporations slather their business calculations with a syrup of fashionable blather. By the time this geyser of corporate-gush concludes, no progressive trope has been unused: Ending “exclusionary policies” will ameliorate “climate change” and “institutionalized inequity.” PMI wants to achieve “a smoke-free future” by selling noncombustible tobacco products — e-cigarettes. PMI and Altria rightly resent those who insist that only zero-risk products are virtuous alternatives to the known high risks of cigarettes.

    "We make products that might kill you." Is that so hard to say?


Last Modified 2022-03-25 10:31 AM EDT