Mr. Bezos, Tear Down This Wall!

The WaPo paywall, that is. It hides George Will's columns if you don't cough up some cash, which is frustrating. Until Jeff decides to loosen up, I have to be satisfied with Don Boudreaux's occasional excerpting of GFW's work at Cafe Hayek. Example:

In 1977, to facilitate gathering racial and ethnic data, the government promulgated racial and ethnic categories, but stipulated that they should not be “determinants of eligibility for participation in any federal program.” This was promptly ignored, and has been exacerbated by the American tradition of self-identification.

Soon a scramble was on to win victim status, and to deny that status to groups which, if they clambered aboard the gravy train, would leave less gravy for the supposedly more deserving. Some classifications are racial (e.g., Black). Hispanic is cultural, and capacious enough to include South Americans of German descent and Ted Williams, whose mother was Mexican. The geographic classification “Asian” assumes that Vietnamese and Pakistanis are somehow akin.

Don notes that GFW's column was based on David Bernstein's recent book, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, something I'm eager to read.

Briefly noted:

  • I don't think you need to jump a paywall to read Jim Geraghty's recent Morning Jolt: Sam Bankman-Fried Launches His Biggest, Boldest Effort to Lie His Way out of Trouble.

    Right now, Bankman-Fried looks like the worst caricature of a capitalist — greedy, reckless, dishonest, creating little of tangible or lasting value but eager to ride a speculative bubble to the top — who knew exactly how to sweet-talk progressives and socialists and convince them that he was one of them. As one interviewer described him, “He got into crypto so that he could make as much money as possible and then give almost all of it away.” The title of that episode was, “Sam Bankman-Fried wants to save the world.”

    I recall that former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes kept telling us that she and her company were going to “revolutionize health care,” and that she, too, had a plan to “save the world.” Maybe the first sign that someone is out to screw the world is that they feel the need to keep telling us how much they want to save the world. I notice Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Bill Nye, Will Smith, and Black Lives Matter have also enjoyed “is going to save the world” headlines in the past.

    (I’ll bet you’re a pretty decent person. You probably get up every morning, go to work, work hard, try to take care of your family, maybe give to those in need or volunteer to help your community in some way. Nobody ever runs around giving you credit for trying to “save the world,” even though you’re probably one of the people who helps keep it running.)

    I'm retired from my saving-the-world job. It didn't pay that well.

  • Jacob Sullum's mighty effort to make sense of the recent convictions (and acquittals) of various Oath Keepers in relation to their January 6 hijinks: Verdicts Suggest Rhodes' Seditious Plot Did Not Include Capitol Attack.

    A federal jury this week convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy, concluding that he and Kelly Meggs, another member of the right-wing militia, plotted to keep Donald Trump in office "by force." This is the first time that a jury has convicted participants in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol of that crime, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The hundreds of Trump supporters who have been arrested in connection with the riot typically have faced misdemeanor charges such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, and unauthorized demonstrating.

    Rhodes stands out from those other defendants because he was the leader of an armed organization that was allegedly determined to keep Joe Biden out of the White House by any means necessary. Yet Rhodes' seditious conspiracy conviction is rather puzzling given the jury's rejection of two other conspiracy charges against him. The jury acquitted Rhodes of conspiring to obstruct the congressional certification of Biden's victory on January 6 and of conspiring to prevent members of Congress from discharging their official duties by completing that process.

    Jacob's bottom line, after reviewing the legal status of a bewildering array of goofy miscreants:

    In any case, it clearly goes too far to say that the verdicts mean the Capitol riot was "the product of an organized conspiracy." The Oath Keepers accounted for a tiny share of the rioters, most of whom do seem to have acted "more or less spontaneously." The group's tough talk and grandiose plans ultimately amounted to little more than a sideshow in a much broader spasm of vandalism and violence that was itself utterly futile, since it succeeded only in delaying the certification of Biden's victory until that night. When former President Jimmy Carter claimed the assault on the Capitol "almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power," he was giving blowhards like Rhodes way too much credit.

  • Unexpected headline of the day from Quanta magazine: Physicists Create a Wormhole Using a Quantum Computer. Bonus: the word "hologram" appears in paragraph two:

    Physicists have purportedly created the first-ever wormhole, a kind of tunnel theorized in 1935 by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen that leads from one place to another by passing into an extra dimension of space.

    The wormhole emerged like a hologram out of quantum bits of information, or “qubits,” stored in tiny superconducting circuits. By manipulating the qubits, the physicists then sent information through the wormhole, they reported today in the journal Nature.

    The paper's authors are from Caltech, MIT, Harvard, Google, and Fermilab. So this is probably not an elaborate joke.

  • And finally, my snarky tweet. in response to my newly-reelected CongressCritter, who's objecting strongly to Joe Biden's effort to force the New Hampshire Presidential Primary to come after South Carolina's.

    Other fun facts that New Hampshire politicians "don't want you to know" about the NH Primary here (at the end of a long post).

Last Modified 2022-12-02 7:13 AM EST