We’ve started a year without a dog enriching each day for the first time in over three decades. Don’t like it much.
1 . Lobbying the Supreme Court against abortion. 207 members of Congress — 39 senators and 168 House members from 38 states — filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana anti-abortion law when it hears the case in March, stating they “have a special interest in the correct interpretation, application and enforcement of health and safety standards for elective abortion by the people of the states they represent.” In the brief, the mostly GOP legislators (two Democrats also signed on) implore the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court’s decision to let stand a Louisiana statute that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is being performed. SCOTUS declared virtually the same law unconstitutional in Texas; the argument for this law is that Texas is bigger than Louisiana.
The Center for Reproductive Rights argues that the Louisiana law is really an effort to “regulate abortion out of existence,” claiming that only one physician in the state would be able to provide abortions if the law is allowed to stand.
Oh, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on.
2. Another Big Lie. When I went to a local cineplex to see “Ford vs. Ferrari,” I was stunned at how few employees were in evidence at a movie house with 18 screens and hundreds of people buying tickets. There was one human being selling tickets, the rest were dispensed by automated kiosks. There were no ticket-takers at all; we figured out that we could have just walked into any of the theaters without showing a ticket to anyone. To buy drinks and snacks, I had to stand in a line for over 20 minutes, because only one person was filling orders.
This is, of course, due to the artificial inflation of the minimum wage beyond the worth of certain low skill jobs. This is not rocket science: when it becomes cheaper to use technology than human beings, or one over-worked employee instead of three, rather than raising prices, these are the competent and responsible—and predictable—steps businesses will take. Every rise in the minimum wage eliminates jobs. There’s no such thing as a movie usher any more: an earlier wage hike killed that job.
Later in the week I read a stunningly dishonest article claiming that the well-recognized process above was a “myth” because unemployment has dropped despite minimum wage increases in many states. Unemployment has not dropped for the skills-free, however, though these articles never break those statistics out. In addition to costing jobs, the new human being-less establishments are unpleasant and stressful. Airport eateries increasingly have only one person to wait on tables; orders are given using iPads at your table. That movie theater was chaotic, with many patrons confused about what to do and where to go, with nobody to talk to. I had barely launched into my rant on the subject when the young African American in front of me joined in. “That’s absolutely right,” he said, “and the politicians lie to us, assuming we’re too stupid to understand that when you raise the cost of a service above what it’s worth, a business will eliminate the service.
“And you know what?” he added. “Most people are so ignorant that the lie works.”
3. I wonder about Ann Althouse sometimes. My favorite objective blogger (now that Ken White at Popehat has gone on to greener pastures) implied that she liked Mike Bloomberg’s statement on the Soleimani killing. Ugh. How could anyone like this?
It’s naked pandering to the “Orange Man Bad” crowd. Worse, the statement duplicates the unethical mindset that the “resistance” has tried to impose on public opinion: “we know the President had bad motives and employed flawed reasoning because that’s just how he is.” Presumed guilt, presumed incompetence.
Ann also wrote that she “is kind of okay” with Bloomberg, a sentiment I don’t understand at all. If his edict that his news service deliberately avoid criticizing Democrats or objectively covering his campaign isn’t disqualifying, I don’t know what could be.
4. Today’s “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias…or outright dishonesty and stupidity!” notes:
- Emma Vigeland , the host and producer of TYT Politics, wrote,
“Imagine the Iranian government assassinated Mike Pompeo with a drone, at the direction of the president, and called it self defense. That’s exactly what the US did by killing Soleimani — an act of war. The only difference is Iran’s self defense claims would be more legitimate.”
Yup, that’s the only difference, except that Pompeo wouldn’t have just planned an attack on the Iranian embassy, hadn’t been responsible for years of terrorism taking many hundreds of lives, and taking out an enemy leader who is in territory you are authorized to defend and protect isn’t an “act of war.”
Good analysis otherwise, you lying yutz.
Qasem Soleimani was no ordinary general. The U.S. classified him as a terrorist but in Iran, he was a national hero. Specifically, Soleimani was in charge of spreading Iranian influence around the world, and he was extremely good at it. Smart, charismatic, ruthless and bold, Soleimani knit together a loyal network of armed groups from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon to Afghanistan. Any time Iran attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and then denied it or attacked oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and denied that, too. U.S. officials saw Soleimani’s handiwork. His power made Iranians proud. Today, Iranians in the thousands came out to show their love and their anger. Soleimani was arguably Iran’s most popular leader.
THEN we get what should have been the lede:
For years, Soleimani operated in the shadows and spilled a lot of American blood. He was the secret architect of a long campaign against U.S. troops in Iraq after the 2003 invasion killing hundreds[.]
- Journalist Rania Khalek called the killing of Soleimani “the equivalent of Iran taking out Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Captain America all in one.”
Enemy of the people.
5. And now for something completely stupid...It’s not as moronic and un-American as poor Rose McGowan’s twitter meltdown (“Please don’t kill us!”), for nothing could be. However, actor John Cusack’s tweet is special:
Here’s how cognitive dissonance works for me. I like John Cusack as an actor (I like his sister Joan too.) I also believe that actors have a duty to those who employ them and audiences who watch them not to broadcast what dunderheaded jerks they are to such an extent that it interferes with them doing their jobs. I don’t care that an actor or actress is an ignorant loudmouth who abuses his or her celebrity to influence their fans who can’t distinguish between artistic talent and intelligence…until a certain line is crossed, and a tweet like Cusack’s crossed it for me. From now on, I won’t be able to watch him in anything without thinking about what an arrogant, brain-dead asshole he is. So he joins De Niro, Streep, Rob Reiner and others whose political shrillness has, for me at least, drowned out their talents.
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