Subhed Shoulda Been: "Skip Down To Paragraph 21 For The Most Likely Answer"

The WSJ asks a poignant question: Drunken-Driving Deaths Are Up. Why Are DUI Arrests Down? And it includes an "arresting" (heh) graphic:

Let me say it so you don't have to: correlation is not causation. Still…

Drunken-driving deaths in the U.S. have risen to levels not seen in nearly two decades, federal data show, a major setback to long-running road-safety efforts.

At the same time, arrests for driving under the influence have plummeted, as police grapple with challenges like hiring woes and heightened concern around traffic stops.

Looking at those graphs, the natural question is, "Gee, what happened in 2020?"

The pandemic, of course. But that's over now, and drunk drivers are still killing others (and themselves). Eventually, in paragraph 21 of the article

Then came 2020. Soon after the pandemic began, George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis provoked a nationwide backlash against police, including in the area of traffic stops. “The perception was the public wasn’t supportive of traffic enforcement,” [Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association] said.

George Floyd's death was unconscionable. The aftermath of his death, it appears, has killed a lot more people.

Also of note:

  • Not to be confused with the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. Kevin D. Williamson relates a story that has no need of detective skills: The Curiously Relevant Case of Rick Perry. And, amazingly, there's a connection with the item above. But it's a general discussion of the thorny topic of …

    Regarding the legal (and legalistic) issues related to the current raft of criminal cases lodged against former game-show host, occasional pornographic-film performer, and disgraced ex-president Donald J. Trump, I commend to you the expert opinions of Dispatch legal analyst Sarah Isgur and frequent Advisory Opinions podcast guest David French of the New York Times.

    For my part, I have a narrow, but relevant, example to put forward: the felony case against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was indicted by a Travis County prosecutor entrusted with countering political corruption throughout the state of Texas. The prosecutor, a wildly corrupt and out-of-control drunk named Rosemary Lehmberg, indicted Perry for threatening to veto funding for a specific state expenditure: her office.  

    While she was a Travis County prosecutor, Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving, which is not a great surprise for someone who was consuming about two liters of vodka a week for more than a year in addition to whatever other drinking she did. (I sympathize.) She was pulled over after driving erratically, found with an open bottle of vodka in the car, and came in at about three times the legal blood-alcohol content. That is not great, but the much worse part is that while in custody, she attempted to use her position to bully and threaten sheriff’s officers and other personnel into giving her special treatment and letting her go. She threatened to have them arrested and jailed, among other things.

    Perry rightly understood this to be an unbearable outrage against the public interest in clean and fair government, and sought—unsuccessfully—to have Lehmberg removed from office. He subsequently announced that as governor he would use his veto powers to block state funding for the office as long as Lehmberg was the incumbent—if Travis County wanted to protect its corrupt prosecutor, Travis County could pay her.

    Lehmberg retaliated by indicting Perry on felony corruption charges on the theory that, while the governor of Texas has entirely open-ended veto power, it was an act of political corruption for him to use that veto power to try to pressure her to leave office. That was pure nonsense, as the courts eventually decided, and everybody knew it was a vindictive, frivolous case: another outrageous abuse of power from a prosecutor inclined to the abuse of power. Perry was at the time campaigning in the Republican presidential primary while under felony indictment—Donald Trump is not the first to have done so.

    Wow, kind a long excerpt. And it was hard to stop there. Skipping down to the bottom line:

    Rick Perry was indicted on felony charges for threatening a veto. The case against Donald Trump isn’t anything so obviously vindictive or trivial. But the history of our republic does not begin with Donald Trump and—one hopes—it will not end with him, either. This is something we need to get sorted out before there is an even more corrosive test case. The taste for tyranny is not limited to men as lazy and stupid as Donald Trump—and we simply have to prepare for the possibility of a more competent and capable demagogue.

  • Be a savvy Amazon customer. You'll want to avoid "workbooks". Warren Kozak has a tale to tell in the WSJ: My Fake Amazon ‘Workbook’.

    Shortly after my book “Waving Goodbye: Life After Loss” was published April 9, I noticed a companion volume for sale on Amazon for $12.99. Its title: “Workbook for Waving Goodbye By Warren Kozak: Absolute Guide to Living Your Life even After Loss.” I hadn’t written any such workbook, so I contacted my publisher, Anthony Ziccardi, at Post Hill Press. He already knew about it. “It’s the dark side of what’s happening with A.I. generated books on Amazon,” he told me in an email.

    I wrote “Waving Goodbye” as a guide for grieving widows and widowers after my wife died in 2018 and I found little help from the books I was given. Many were written in an academic style used by psychologists and psychiatrists that I found impossible to read or understand—in part because the brain doesn’t function at its normal capacity after this kind of trauma. A line in Joan Didion’s memoir, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” has stuck with me: “After a year I could read headlines.”

    I can't find the "workbook" on Amazon this morning, but Kozak describes what he found in the preview:

    What do you get for $12.99? The introduction says: “THIS PLACE, WE TRULY WISH TO SEE YOU REACH SUCCESS!” That is the entirety of page 2. There’s another gem on page 3: “Get acquainted now that deceiving yourself is one of the most foolish things you can do. Try as much as possible to be honest and straight forward during your usage of this book.” Sage advice. The workbook is 36 pages long, although I was allowed to preview only through page 5. I assume the rest is equally erudite.

    My story: I bought a "Futurama Calendar" one year that turned out to be a shoddy ripoff. ("Futurama Calendar 2022: Anime-Manga OFFICIAL Calendar 2021-2022 ,Calendar Planner 2022-2023 with High Quality Pictures for Fans Around the World!") I assume this product (which is "Out of Print--Limited Availability.") is a similar deal.

  • Grown-ups are back in charge. Or so we were told by the Financial Times back in 2021. The good old days.

    But that was then, this is now, and the Daily Caller looked at one recent incident: ‘I Don’t Get It’: Biden’s Chief Econ Advisor Struggles To Explain Theory Underpinning ‘Bidenomics,’ Mass Spending.

    Biden chief economic adviser Jared Bernstein struggled to explain modern monetary theory underpinning “Bidenomics” and mass spending in a newly released documentary.

    Bernstein stuttered and pondered as he attempted to explain why the U.S. government borrows money when it is capable of printing its own currency.

    “Like you said, they print the dollars. So why, why does the government even borrow?” an interviewer asked Bernstein.

    “Well, um, the uh … so the … I mean, again, some of this stuff gets — some of the … language that — some of the language and concepts are just confusing. I mean, the government definitely prints money and it definitely lends that money, which is why … um … the government definitely prints money and then it lends that money by, uh, by selling bonds. Is that what they do? … They, they uh … they, yeah, they um … they sell bonds … yeah, they sell bonds. Right? Since they sell bonds and then people buy the bonds and lend them the money,” Bernstein said in the documentary, “Finding The Money.”

    I also noticed some wag wondering: why do we even pay taxes, when the government can just print all the money it needs to buy stuff it wants?

Last Modified 2024-05-06 7:29 AM EDT