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The Geek in Pictures: Delta Blues Edition

So It’s wall-to-wall “Delta Variant” right now, and it’s ideally named to appeal to our Deviant Variant governing class. John has already shared some good charts on how out of whack this is, but why not have more:

One clear benefit of the lockdown madness:

Inflation? I’m sure it’s nothing.

 

That free needle program is doing great:

 

Strange how the media (and the Biden Administration) has lost interest in the anti-regime protests in Cuba—this happened Monday:

Why America is in decline:

The media death spiral accelerates:

And finally. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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D.C. mayor wants to re-fund the police

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., says she will ask the city council to spend $11 million to hire 20 police officers in the next few months and 150 police officers in fiscal year 2022. With homicides and shootings up in D.C., and with George Floyd fever finally starting to break, one can understand Bowser’s decision.

But even if Bowser gets the increase, and she may not, it will only offset the $10 million cut to the police budget imposed last year after Floyd’s death in faraway Minneapolis.

It’s also unclear whether D.C. would be able to hire 180 competent police officers in today’s climate. Given the demonization of the police by the politically ascendant left and the hazards of policing an increasingly lawless city, becoming an officer in D.C. doesn’t seem like an attractive proposition unless one is desperate for a job or desperate to exercise authority.

I wish Mayor Bowser and the city good luck. They will need it.

In a related development, the D.C. police has arrested a suspect in the killing of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney. This shooting, in which five others were wounded, produced the community outrage that likely pushed Bowser finally to call for re-funding the police.

The suspect, 22-year-old Marktwan Hargraves, should probably have been in prison. At the time he is alleged to have killed the little girl, Hargraves was free awaiting trial in Maryland on charges that included motor vehicle theft and illegal possession of a handgun. He was arrested on these charges back in 2020.

Trial was scheduled for this October.

Hargraves’ lawyer in that case said he was “shocked” by the murder charge. He described Hargraves as “a good, respectful client” who “doesn’t have much of a criminal record.”

I suppose this depends on the meaning of “much.”

Had Hargraves been convicted of motor vehicle theft and illegal possession of a handgun, he could still be characterized as “non-violent” in addition to “respectful.” Which tends to show how meaningless the “non-violent” appellation is when it comes to assessing the danger posed by convicted felons.

Further evidence comes from the police investigation into the murder of young Nyiah Courtney. It took place on a notorious block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C.

According to an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C., this block and the surrounding area have been “essentially taken over” by the “MLK crew,” which “is distributing narcotics on a daily basis.” Courtney’s father is believed to have been targeted by and/or involved with that crew.

The bipartisan jailbreak crowd, in which former president Donald Trump enrolled, considers drug felons to be non-violent offenders. Law abiding residents of Southeast D.C. would probably disagree. In fact, even as Bowser and other city officials were discussing the need for more police officers, yet another person was killed in Southeast, about a mile from where Nyiah Courtney was gunned down.

Violence is an inherent byproduct of felonious drug dealing. Any criminal justice policy inconsistent with this reality threatens public safety and puts innocent lives at risk, no matter how many police officers a city hires.

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On Political Class Privilege | Power Line

The concept of “white privilege” is a joke. In many contexts, being white gets you discriminated against. On the other hand, a very real privilege does attach to being the son of a senator or a president or vice-president. The political class is firmly in the driver’s seat, and it looks after its own.

Hunter Biden is a case in point. He is one of many such instances, but he stands out because he is a pathetic wastrel. Hunter is competitively unemployable, but was hired for $1,000,000 a year to be on the board of a company that competes in an industry about which he knows nothing, and whose meetings are conducted in a language he does not speak. Nice work if you can get it. But if you are not the son of a senator, vice-president or president, you can’t get it.

Recently a video of Hunter Biden smoking crack cocaine emerged on the internet. This is something that he does frequently, often in VIP rooms at strip clubs. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press try to keep this a secret, unsuccessfully. Everyone knows it.

Someone matched the video of Hunter smoking crack with video of Joe Biden bragging about legislation he sponsored that would sentence crack smokers to years in prison, without any judicial discretion. The contrast is informative:

This sort of corruption has been with us for a long while; to name just one example, the manner in which Willie Brown, the most powerful politician in California, made a career for his illicit mistress, Kamala Harris. But the Biden saga has a special resonance, if only because Joe himself brought so little to the table. Who could have imagined that “Slow Joe” Biden, a man famous for being dimwitted, could turn his crack-smoking, stripper-impregnating, sister-in-law seducing, unemployable son into a multimillionaire?

“Only in America,” one might say. Unfortunately, the same pattern can be found in a number of corrupt third-world backwaters.

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Trey Mancini hits one for Mo

As a kid I used to read stories about how Babe Ruth (or was it Ted Williams, maybe both) visited a terminally ill child, promised to hit a home run in his honor in the next game, and delivered. Were these stories true? I don’t know, but I enjoyed them.

Something close to this scenario occurred in Baltimore last night. Trey Mancini plays first base for the Orioles. He’s the closest thing the team has to a face-of-the-franchise star after it cleaned house (by trading Manny Machado, for example) as part of a rebuilding effort.

Mancini missed all of last season. He was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer and underwent surgery and lengthy recovery/rehabilitation.

During the rehabilitation process, he got to know Mo Gaba, a terminally ill 14-year-old plagued for much of his life by cancer. The two became friends, eating at Chick-fil-A and playing video games together.

Mo Gaba died on July 28, 2020.

To honor his memory on the first anniversary of his passing, Gaba’s mother Sonsy threw out the first pitch last night at Camden Yards. Mancini caught it.

Mancini says that when he presented her with the ball, she said, “Play hard for Mo, and hit one for him.” She also told Mancini where she would be sitting.

The Orioles quickly fell behind the Miami Marlins, 5-0. When Mancini came to bat in the third inning, they trailed 5-3.

In storybook fashion, Mancini hit a two-run homer to tie the game. As he rounded third base, he waved to Sonsy Gaba.

The gesture surprised his manager, Brandon Hyde. Mancini is old school. He’s not prone to displays like that. But then Hyde realized that Mancini was pointing to Sonsy, and it all made sense.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, it looked like truth might become stranger than fiction. The score was tied 7-7 when Mancini came to the plate with one out and a runner on third base. Would Mancini win the game with a “walk-off” hit or sacrifice fly?

He didn’t get the opportunity. The Marlins issued him an intentional walk. After a second intentional walk and an unintentional one, the Orioles had a walk-off win, literally.

After the game, Mancini said of his home run, “It was a really cool moment, and I definitely felt [Mo] with me.”

Mancini is the odds-on favorite to win comeback player of the year. He leads the Orioles in home runs (19), RBIs (60), and is second in batting average (.268). At the all-star game, he finished second in the home run derby.

But the home run he’ll remember most fondly is the one he hit last night for Mo Gaba.

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Biden the truck driver? C’mon man.

Yesterday, Joe Biden claimed that he “used to drive an 18-wheeler, man.” Biden said this to workers at the Mack Truck Lehigh Valley operations facility. Biden was there to pitch a new rule whereby any product purchased by the federal government must have at least 60 percent of the value of its component parts manufactured in the United States.

Did Biden ever drive an 18 wheeler? Probably not, considering that the White House couldn’t back up his claim.

Fox News reports:

When asked if the president had ever driven such a truck, a White House spokesperson pointed to a December 1973 article from the Wilmington Evening Journal that showed Biden rode in an 18-wheeler on a 536-mile haul to Ohio.

Fox News pressed the spokesperson about the president’s claim – noting that riding in a truck is not the same as driving one – at which point the president’s spokesperson pointed to a United Federation of Teachers post that touched on Biden driving a school bus in the past as a summer job.

So Biden once rode in an 18-wheeler and has driven a school bus. But it looks like he never drove an 18-wheeler.

Karen Townsend at Hot Air offers this take on Biden’s statement:

In the grand scheme of things, this kind of random boast isn’t a big deal. It’s just another claim made by a confused old man to let others around him think he’s one of them.

More disturbing is to watch his face register confusion so frequently [during his tour of the Mack Truck facility, for example] when he is performing normal tasks or to hear him try to answer a question and gobbly-gook comes out of his mouth.

This is a plausible way of looking at the matter. And yet. . .

I’ve known confused old men. Their memories are impaired, but this doesn’t usually manifest itself in self-aggrandizing falsehoods.

Moreover, Biden has been lying about his youthful accomplishments since he was young. In a 1974 interview, he claimed he was a football hero when he met his first wife during a college summer vacation. Biden never played a down of college football.

Biden has lied about his football career on other occasions, as well. He did so in 2008, for example. And let’s not forget about Biden’s plagiarism, a form of dishonesty, both as a law student and in 1987 as a presidential candidate.

Biden may be a confused old man. He probably is. But he’s also a chronic liar, and has been throughout his career.

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Delta Hysteria | Power Line

The current re-masking of America is driven by hysteria over the Indian variant of covid (renamed the Delta variant when it occurred to liberals that if “China virus” is racist, “Indian variant” must be racist too). It is entirely foreseeable that viruses will mutate, usually to a less lethal form, since it is bad for the virus to kill you. That is what is happening with the Indian form of covid.

A few simple charts, courtesy of the CDC, tell the story. “Cases,” many of which are false positives, are rising rather sharply:

But deaths are not:

The tally of “covid deaths” is inflated, since doctors write “covid” on death certificates in many instances where the virus had little or nothing to do with the cause of death. The better index, I think, is the total number of fatalities in the U.S., week by week. I don’t have much faith in the CDC, but I assume they can count bodies.

This shows that there was in fact a significant excess of mortality in the U.S. during 2020 and early 2021, but total deaths have now returned to a normal level and so far, at least, there is no sign of the Indian variant having a perceptible impact:

There is no reason for a return to masking, shutdowns, remote “learning” or anything else. What we see now is mostly just the proto-fascist Left clinging to power.

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Where Is Kamala Harris? | Power Line

Has Kamala Harris been sent into the federal witness protection program? It seems so. She’s disappeared from view suddenly. No more interviews with network anchors apparently. Think of it as the “Democratic Election Prospects Protection Program.”

The Hill reports today:

Harris’s bad polls trigger Democratic worries

Vice President Harris has some ground to make up in order to be perceived more favorably by the public, a complicating factor for the Biden administration as it maps out its midterm strategy.

Six months into office, polls indicate Harris is viewed less favorably than President Biden. She has also made some tactical missteps outside of the White House that Democrats say show she hasn’t quite yet found her bearings. . .

“As of right now, I think she has the potential of doing more harm than good for some of these candidates,” said one Democratic strategist. . . “No one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job, because the first question would be ‘On what?’” acknowledged one Harris ally. “She’s made a bunch of mistakes and she’s made herself a story for good and bad.”

One thing to keep in mind in reading a story like this is that The Hill, being part of the “mainstream” media, bends over backwards to downplay just how bad Harris’s plight is. (In fact the story tries to blame her problems on Republican attacks to “negatively brand Harris, oftentimes relying on racist and sexist stereotypes [boy, didn’t see that coming] to minimize her standing as the first female, Black and Asian American vice president.” Yeah, sure, that’s explains the whole thing. Funny how that didn’t work with Obama.) And yet the story still turns out this bad.

What this means is that behind the scenes, her poll numbers must be really bad, and leading Dems are panicked about it. Pass the popcorn please.

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Fighting out “Street Fighting Man”

I celebrated Mick Jagger’s birthday this past Monday in “Some kind of a fight.” I plucked the Rolling Stones song “Street Fighting Man” from Beggars Banquet for my lineup of songs illustrating, ah, Jagger’s virtues. Most commenters understood my appreciation. A good time was had by all, or almost all.

A commenter or two objected to the inclusion of “Street Fighting Man” in my lineup. “The song “is the Stones equivalent of ‘Imagine’ – insincere, infantile, unworthy,” one commenter asserted. I think this is obtuse and would like briefly to make my case for the the excellence of the song.

Marc Myers debriefed Keith Richards on how the song came to be on the occasion of Richards’s seventieth birthday in the terrific Wall Street Journal column “Keith Richards: ‘I Had a Sound in My Head That Was Bugging Me.’” For more in the way of background on the song, see Richards’s Life at pages 250-251.

The playing, the production, the intensity of the track are self-evident. Putting the lyrics aside, it is a great rock song — unlike “Imagine.”

Does the song advocate revolution or revolutionary violence? I don’t think so.

The lyrics present the persona of a poor musician struggling to make a living in a rock and roll band. He seems to be daydreaming or fantasizing about revolution. In his dreams he wants to take it to the streets and shake things up. Four verses give us his train of thought.

In each case, however, the chorus undercuts the daydreaming with cold reality:

But what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man

The narrator — it’s not Jagger — can’t afford to partake. He’s busy making a living. And his fellow citizens aren’t in the least interested. They are happy with their lives.

London is a sleepy town. There’s no place for a street fighting man in London. This revolution thing — it’s a rich man’s game, or a rich man’s indulgence.

In other words, each of the verses is undercut by the chorus. The lyrics are ambivalent and ambiguous. The ambivalence belies the attraction to the revolution. This is not “Imagine,” either in the lyrics or the music.

“Street Fighting Man” opens side 2 of Beggars Banquet. I’m a New Critical kind of guy and want to stay within the the song itself to explicate it. Looking at the album, however, the technique of adopting a persona for narrative purposes is obvious, and it is the key to “Street Fighting Man.”

The album opens with “Sympathy for the Devil.” In “Sympathy” Jagger adopts another persona — the persona of the devil. “Just call me Lucifer,” he sings. “I’m in need of some restraint.”

In the course of the song he claims credit for the Russian revolution. It is the devil’s spawn. Lucifer places it in his list of accomplishments:

Stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Tsar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I don’t think you have to be Cleanth Brooks to understand that the Stones were not advocating violence or revolution, either in “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Street Fighting Man.”

Here is the Stones version of “Street Fighting Man.”

Here is Rod Stewart’s cover of the song. It was the opening track on his first solo album.

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In an upset, Trump-endorsed Texas candidate loses congressional race

Tuesday was election day in a special race to select a successor to Rep. Ron Wright in Texas’ Sixth Congressional District. Wright died from the Wuhan coronavirus.

The candidates were Wright’s widow, Susan Wright, and Texas state Rep. Jake Ellzey. Both are conservative Republicans.

Susan Wright was the favorite and the leader in polls. She won the most votes in the primary, in which Ellzey barely finished second, just 354 votes ahead of the leading Democrat. In addition, Wright had the endorsement of former president Trump.

But Ellzey won the race by a margin of 53-47.

How did he do it? It must have helped that Ellzey had the backing of key Texas Republicans. Among them were former Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, and Joe Barton who represented the district in Washington until a sex scandal forced him out. However, Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed Wright.

Ellzey is a graduate of the Naval Academy, He served as a fighter pilot, doing tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2012 to 2018, he was a commissioner of the Texas Veterans Commission. He was elected to the state legislature last year. In 2018, he ran a close race against Ron Wright for the same House seat he won this time around.

Although Trump endorsed his opponent, Ellzey did not run as an anti-Trump candidate. Even so, the fact that he pulled off an upset victory over the Trump-endorsed candidate can be viewed as evidence that the ex-president’s influence among Republicans is waning, at least in this particular Texas district.

Trump’s team doesn’t see it that way. It blames the Club for Growth for inducing Trump to back a low-energy candidate against a proven vote-getter.

I should also note that there was no Democrat in the runoff race. Many Democrats simply stayed home — turnout for this election half of what it was for the primary. However, some Dems voted, and it’s likely that Ellzey fared better than Wright with this cohort.

But Mark Davis, a conservative talk show host in Dallas said:

The Trump base in District 6 paid little attention to the fact that Susan got his endorsement. They know that Trump had no familiarity with her and no familiarity with this race.

When, for whatever reason, the Trump base pays little attention to a Trump endorsement, that’s evidence of a loss of influence.

The Sixth District includes suburbs of Dallas/Fort Worth. Trump’s endorsements probably carry greater value in more rural districts. But any sign of waning Trump influence among Republican voters has some significance and, from my perspective, is good news.

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California’s Nuke Follies | Power Line

Of all of the endless follies of California these days—I know, it’s hard to enumerate all of them let alone put them in rank order—closing our last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon ranks perhaps at the top of the list. It provides more than 10 percent of California’s electricity, and can run 24/7, unlike wind and solar power. As one of the last nuclear power plants built and brought online in the 1980s, it easily has another 40 years of potential service left in it, if not more.

The perverse energy policy of California, which excludes nuclear along with any new dams from its legal definition and mandates for clean or “renewable” energy, virtually compelled the closure of Diablo Canyon, and the corporate socialists who run PG&E simply lied to the public that they can make up the shortfall with wind and solar power and magic batteries. In fact, they will make up electricity shortfalls in large part with natural gas and power imports from other states. It will likely cause California’s CO2 emissions (and utility rates) to rise, just as closing nukes in Germany has halted and perhaps reversed the greenhouse gas emissions decline in Germany, while doubling their electricity prices.

Even the very liberal Sacramento Bee has figured out that closing Diablo Canyon is a mistake. It editorialized earlier this week (and hat tip to our lefty friends at the Breakthrough Institute for breaking through to the Bee‘s editorial board):

The closure of Diablo Canyon and the driving forces behind the decommission project show that California’s ambitions are once again being humbled by the constraints of reality. The prospects of delivering on the promises of the 2016 agreement have sharply divided scientists, analysts and think tanks around the state.

This Editorial Board recently met with the Breakthrough Institute, an organization that argues that a carbon-free energy producer like Diablo Canyon needs to remain open. For decades, we’ve been told that closing nuclear plants is a good thing, yet a growing body of research shows that it’s far safer and cleaner than coal and gas. State regulators are failing to eliminate fossil fuels from California’s energy stock, and with alternatives lacking in scale, Breakthrough’s experts believe a more realistic path to achieving California’s climate goals is by salvaging our last nuclear facility.

Meanwhile, have a look at this short video on nuclear power from the brand new “Kite and Key Media” project, whose work we intend to feature more regularly here on Power Line.