1. Headline from The Great Stupid: In today’s New York Times, front page, before the fold: “Crime Surging, Cities Reassess Policing Limits.” Wow! Who could have seen that coming? There’s plenty of stupid in the main body of the article too. For example, it quoted LA citizen Helen Jones, an African-American woman, thusly: “I don’t care how bad it gets — no one wants more cops. We don’t need tougher police, we need more alternatives to help people thrive.”
This is yet another example of what Homer Simpson called “Ramalamadingdong”: meaningless blather (like “Give peace a chance”) that people just say as if it communicates anything coherent, when it doesn’t. Laws have to be enforced. Law enforcement requires police, and sometimes force. There is no alternative to law enforcement if people are going to “thrive.”
It’s unethical to advocate for policies that are in defiance of reality, Helen. Shut up. You’re not helping.
2. Ah, yes, the old “I’m only human” defense. If Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s dictatorial governor who has distinguished herself with multiple arbitrary restrictions on personal liberty using the pretense that she was fighting the pandemic, wasn’t such a proven hypocrite and phony maybe her apology for being caught red-handed violating her own protocols might be a little more credible. But Whitmer is a weasel, so when photos surfaced showing her openly violating her mandated social distancing guidelines at a restaurant, happily socializing with a large group of unmasked friends—you know, the Special People— at the Landshark Bar & Grill, her mea culpa can’t be taken seriously. “Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been committed to following public health protocols,” Whitmer said in a statement reported by the Detroit News. “Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together. Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it. In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize.”
Her “mistake’ was getting caught. She has been among the most obnoxious Wuhan autocrats in the nation: how could she “not think about it”? Elected officials don’t get to use the “I’m only human” dodge. They are entrusted with power because voters believe that they are exemplars, and have the self-discipline and ethical commitment to avoid the misconduct that tempts typical “humans.” Moreover, Whitmer is just the latest in a long line of Democratic elected officials to show their sense of entitlement, among them Nancy Pelosi, The Worst Mayor In America, Lori Lightfoot, The Second Worst, Bill deBlasio, Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler, California Governor Gavin Newsome, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (“ZELDA!”); San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Sen. Dianne Feinstein; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; Governor Andrew Cuomo (of course); and D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser (Third Worst Mayor in America). They may all be human, but the real commonality is that they are all Democrats with the classic attitude of totalitarians: laws and rules are for the underlings, not their rulers.
3. A half-victory for enemies of anti-American disinformation. On April 28, it was reported that Nikole Hannah-Jones, the force behind the discredited “1619 Project,” had been awarded, with tenure, the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Then, after considerable criticism from academics, alumni, historians and others, UNC-Chapel Hill’s board of trustees withdrew that offer and replaced it with an offer of a five-year appointment as a “professor of practice.” Well, Hannah-Jones is just as unqualified for that teaching position as she is for the Chair: she lies. She makes stuff up. She is a race-obsessed political activist, not a scholar. She’s in the business of indoctrination and disinformation, not education.
Oh, I understand why the University took this half-way measure: it was afraid of being called racist, since that what Hannah-Jones and her supporters do to all critics. The fact remains that the school’s actions make no sense. If the woman isn’t qualified to be tenured because she’s a lying, untrustworthy fraud, why is she qualified to pollute young minds for five years? She isn’t, and the teaching offer is irresponsible, incompetent and cowardly.
The usual woke propagandists, those who brushed aside the fact that the “1619 Project” was based on imaginary history, lies and anti-American Critical Race Theory cant, attacked the decision to withdraw the tenure offer, but more disturbing was the argument by Reason’s Robby Souve, who wrote, “Hannah-Jones is eminently qualified to teach race in journalism, and while all the details are not known, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that she was punished for expressing a politically disfavored viewpoint.”
Wrong. Her “1619 Project” thesis that the United States was formed to preserve slavery isn’t a “politically disfavored viewpoint,” it’s an ideologically generated lie with no evidence to support it at all. Universities don’t hire professors who claim the Holocaust never happened, or that the world is flat, or that dinosaurs are a myth. Those may be opinions, but because no facts support those opinions, a competent school doesn’t hire teachers who will promote them.
Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, does a definitive defenestration of Hannah-Jones here.
4. Amazon pretends to care about fake product reviews. About three weeks ago, Amazon purged some big brands on Amazon, including more than a dozen Chinese companies that sell electronics like phone chargers and external smartphone batteries. The sellers, analysts believe were punished for manipulating customer reviews. Amazon’s public statements support that theory. But it’s all for show.
It is impossible to police online reviews, much as it is impossible to prevent voter fraud if you allow mail-in ballots. It is an open secret that paid-for or otherwise fake reviews are common on Amazon and elsewhere on the web. A computer security recommendation website recently uncovered a database of Amazon merchants organizing payments in return for about 13 million positive reviews. This probably prompted Amazon to appear to take action against a practice it had known about for a long time.
Juozas Kaziukėnas, the founder of e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse, told the New York Times that it may be time to stop using reviews as a go-to way to gauge other people’s opinions on products or services. “It’s the internet,” he said. “Nothing is real on the internet.” Times tech writer Shira Ovide laments,
“Wouldn’t it be nicer if we could more confidently click “buy” without worrying that we’ve been misled? Shouldn’t we demand more from Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Rotten Tomatoes to make sure that feedback is as trustworthy and transparent as possible? We shouldn’t have to put up with fakes and frauds.”