For reasons that I hope I’ll explain one day, this week is going to be a bit crazy. So here are a few stories I’ve been sitting on, awaiting longer commentary:
A few weeks ago, Marvel comics unveiled an alternative Spiderwoman cover which was immediately decried as sexist because of her pose. I suspected that this criticism was largely coming from people who weren’t terribly familiar with the medium. And indeed, Maddox easily found a spiderman cover that was almost identical. As a general rule, if you ask a rhetorical question like, “Would they draw Spiderman like that?” you should probably do a little bit of research to make sure the answer isn’t “yep”. I don’t agree with everything Maddox says, but his point is well taken.
Another video you want to take in is Matt Ridley talking about global greening — the apparent rise in plants that has resulted from global warming. I disagree with parts of what he says, but toward the end he hits a very important point: Europeans are now planning to burn zillions of tons of trees under the belief that this is “green energy”. There’s a reason we stopped burning trees for fuel.
A few months ago, the town of Peoria launched a SWAT raid into the home of Jon Daniel. This incredibly dangerous man had … uh … created a parody Twitter account of Mayor Jim Ardis. During the raid, the cops found some pot on one of Daniel’s roommates. A judge has decided that the raid was lawful and they can proceed with the felony possession charges. I have no idea how the raid could be lawful when the prosecutor is not bringing charges because mocking someone on Twitter is not illegal. We have now gotten to the point where cops can raid your house based on something that isn’t a crime.
Obama has unveiled a plan to deal with drug-resistant bacteria, mainly by curtailing the massive overuse of antibiotics in farming and creating incentives for companies to develop new antibiotics. All things considered, this could be the biggest accomplishment of his administration. I mean, he’s not actively making things worse, so it’s got to be one of the top five things he’s done, at least on par with the Great Deckchair Rearranging of 2011.
Just a reminder if you need one: slavery did not make America rich.
Thanks to Miguelito, who tipped me to this video of a English Professor denying that Stalin specifically and Communism generally murdered people by the tens of millions:
Some choice quotes:
“I know they say he killed 20, 30, 40 million people,” continued Grover Furr, a professor in Medieval English at Montclair State University.
Professor Grover Furr of Montclair State University said he has yet to find “one crime that Stalin committed.”
Following the debate, a student pressed Furr on his comments reminding the professor that most historians believe “100 to 150 million people [were] killed by communist regimes.”
The professor, however, doubled down on his original comment.
“What you said is bullshit,” said Furr. “It’s wrong. It’s a lie.”
“The history of the Soviet Union is the most falsified,” he added.
(Note that while some idiot students applaud his remarks, other boo. There is a strong social stigma that makes it difficult for students to boo and taunt a professor. These students didn’t accept it. And kudos to the student for challenging this shitwit on his alternative reality.)
I’ve banged this drum quite a bit. Denying that the Communists murdered people by the tens of millions is no different than Holocaust denial. They admitted it; they boasted about it. It has been relentlessly documented by writers like Anne Applebaum and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Communists even extended their tentacles into other countries with the murders of such as Leon Trotsky and Georgi Markov. And that’s not even talking about World War II which started when the Nazi and the Communists cooperated in the invasion and conquest of Eastern Europe.
That’s just the people they deliberately murdered. They also killed millions in pointless “revolutions” in a hundred nations. They killed tens of millions when collectivized farming starved entire regions to death. They were known to use starvation as a tool to surpress rebellion.
Professors of narrow esoteric disciplines are used to having captive audiences and being able to articular bizarre and often counter-factual points of view on anything outside their own narrow field of study. Well … welcome to the Age of Youtube, Professor Furr. I suspect that, by the end of the week, everyone in America is going to know what a twerp you are.
For today’s Friday Fun thread, your favorite non-fiction books. Either because they influenced you or because they were so fun to read.
Free to Choose: Three decades after it was published, Milton Friedman’s opus to economic liberty remains one of the most cogent, inspiring and prescient defense of the free market and capitalism yet made. It’s anti-matter to Das Kapital. The PBS series that accompanied it is good too.
The Wisdom of Crowds: Surowiecki has one of the best examinations of not only how people make good decisions, but how they make bad ones. His description of the Columbia diaster is enraging.
Gulag by Anne Applebaum is a stunning and grueling indictment of the Soviet slave labor system. Gulag Archipelago should be required reading as well.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: William Shirer’s documenting of the Nazi regime is both exhaustive and exhausting. The most gripping part is the horrific plans Hitler made for Eastern Europe had he won the war. Honorable mention goes to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and The Histories of Herodotus.
The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: Probably the most comprehensive look at the game ever put together. A must for any baseball fan. Even after ten years, it’s still a great reference.
(Note: those last three combined for about 3000 pages. I used to have so much time to read …)