URLs du Jour


[When Seconds Count...]

  • "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." That saying turned out to be way too optimistic in Uvalde. J.D. Tuccille compares and (especally) contrasts: One Civilian With a Gun at an Indiana Mall Offered Better Protection Than 376 Cops in Uvalde.

    The same day Texas legislators released a devastating report on indecision and failure among hundreds of police officers during the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a single armed man ended an attack at Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana. It's impossible to avoid comparing the two incidents. Once again, taking responsibility for yourself and assisting others turns out to be a better idea than putting faith in the state.

    "Greenwood leaders have used several titles to describe Elisjsha Dicken, the 22-year-old Indiana man who intervened in a mass shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall on Sunday night," write Ryan Martin, Tony Cook, and Dayeon Eom of the Indianapolis Star. "A hero. A good Samaritan, even. Gun-rights advocates have yet another: A good guy with a gun."

    Assessments of the performance of 376 police officers at Robb Elementary School are less positive.

    "At Robb Elementary, law enforcement responders failed to adhere to their active shooter training, and they failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety," according to the July 17 report from Texas legislators. "The first wave of responders to arrive included the chief of the school district police and the commander of the Uvalde Police Department SWAT team. Despite the immediate presence of local law enforcement leaders, there was an unacceptably long period of time before officers breached the classroom, neutralized the attacker, and began rescue efforts."

    Hey, maybe you have braver and more competent law enforcement in your locality than they did in Uvalde. Maybe. You want to bet your life on that?

  • The road to hell is paved with 'em, I hear. Robert Weissberg describes How the Best of Intentions Created Today’s Academic Disasters.

    Today’s assault on intellectual excellence in the academy will eventually end. Hopefully, an investigation will then commence on its causes, and all the usual suspects will be rounded up. This tribunal will, however, likely ignore one key culprit: ordinary faculty—people like me—who complained about the assault, all while enthusiastically aiding it.

    Yes, some criticized the Diversity and Inclusion obsession and condemned identity politics. But, out of sight and on the sly, we contributed to the university’s intellectual decline. We made this disaster worse than what even the “woke” mob accomplished.

    The adage “no good deed goes unpunished” captures this culpability. In a nutshell—and here I will speak only for myself and those I knew personally from the late 1960s onward—I am referring to lowering academic standards for black students and faculty in order to promote racial progress, a Weltanschauung in which the path to racial equality lay through education and, ultimately, the act of recruiting as many black students as possible and ensuring that they graduated.

    Much of what changed in my department of political science was obvious: more bureaucratic paperwork, additional departmental offerings on race and ethnicity, a neglecting of traditional political science subjects, and untold meetings that accomplished nothing. Less obvious was the extra time spent by faculty personally tutoring struggling minority students and recruiting affirmative-action candidates at professional meetings. It’s hard to estimate all the hours taken away from our teaching and research responsibilities as a result.

    This is via Arnold Kling; he describes the academics that silently put up with DEI's "assault on academic excellence" as "enablers". On target.

  • I'm shocked. I'm stunned. And so is Eric Boehm: Senate Election Reform Bill Surprisingly Logical and Bipartisan.

    Former President Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election sought to exploit three potential weaknesses in the legal and political mechanisms for certifying a winner.

    This week, a bipartisan group of senators formerly unveiled a proposal that, if passed, would prevent a repeat attempt from succeeding where Trump failed.


    While a special House committee has been probing the scope of Trump's plots and the role the former president played in the ugly events of January 6, a bipartisan group of senators led by Susan Collins (R–Maine) and Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) has been working on a fix for the procedural issues Trump's team nearly exploited to overturn the election. This is less dramatic than what the January 6th Committee has been turning up, but it is probably the more important project for the future of American democracy.

    The Susie/Joe legislation has 15 cosponsors, eight Republicans and seven Democrats, including my state's senior senator, Jeanne Shaheen.

    Pun Salad previously looked at reform of the Electoral Count Act here, linking to Andy Craig's [Cato] wishlist. Craig has weighed in on the proposal and says: "Overall, it is a very solid proposal and would represent an immense improvement over the status quo."

    I.e., a welcome change for Congress.

  • News I can't use. But maybe you (or someone you know) can. Kat Rosenfield explores The problem with being hot. And, reader, she's not talking the thermodynamic concept.

    The late Rush Limbaugh once said that feminism was created to “allow ugly women access to society” — a comment all the crueller because it was true. A central tenet of feminism is that a woman’s social value should be predicated on her humanity, not her beauty. The only legitimate response to being called ugly, then, is surely a shrug: yes, and? So what? But Limbaugh’s comments were met with outrage, for the most obvious, human reason: even feminists want to be beautiful.

    These competing forces — a resentment of punishing beauty standards on one hand, and on the other the yearning to be beautiful oneself, with all the privileges that entails — have long been a source of tension, one that the movement keeps trying to resolve by treating beauty not as an objective quality, but a resource to which all women are entitled. Hence the endless campaigns telling women that they’re beautiful no matter what they look like, that they deserve to feel beautiful, that beauty is something every woman possesses in her own way.

    The latest iteration of this phenomenon is a howler of a trend piece, which was published at the weekend by the New York Times — and subsequently went off-the-charts viral. “A social media movement inspired by the rapper Megan Thee Stallion strikes back at the gatekeepers of beauty,” announces the subhead. This movement sees being “hot” not as the condition of being physically attractive or sexually desirable, but as a state of mind, a vibe. Gone are the days when being hot required that another person bestow the label upon you. If you identify as hot, then you are.

    I can't help but also point out:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that young people like to mess around with language, walling themselves off with vernacular from the generations that came before them.

    I think I could devote my blog entirely to pointing out current examples of that.

    I'm currently reading Ms. Rosenfield's latest book, No One Will Miss Her. A very nasty and extremely well-written crime novel.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 8:16 AM EDT