Presty the DJ for Sept. 28

Proving that there is no accounting for taste, here is Britain’s number one single today in 1963:

Five years later, record buyers made a much better choice:

The number one U.S. album on the same day was “Time Peace: The Rascals Greatest Hits”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Sept. 28”

Presty the DJ for Sept. 26

The number one song today in 1960:

The number one song today in 1964:

Today in 1965, Roger Daltrey was fired from The Who after he punched out drummer Keith Moon. Fortunately for Daltrey and the Who, he was unfired the next day. (Daltrey and Pete Townshend reportedly have had more fistfights than Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.)

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Sept. 26”

Our shiftless (and eventually driverless) days

David L. Scott:

My first car was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air ragtop. I was 17 and it was one of the most beautiful vehicles I had ever seen. I treasured that car and six decades later it occasionally pops up in my dreams.

But it had two shortcomings: The engine was topped with a measly two-barrel carburetor (remember those?) and, more important, it was burdened with an automatic transmission. At the time no self-respecting high-school male wanted to drive an automatic—that was for parents and grandparents. I wanted a stick shift that would make me look cool. Plus, I could burn rubber in a manual, even with a two-barrel carburetor.

The baddest car in town was George Cameron’s black 1957 fuel-injected Chevy. This was a car only God himself could have placed on earth. In my boyhood home of Rushville, Ind., George spent weekend evenings cruising Main Street at a slow creep with no need to race the engine or squeal the tires. Everyone already knew this was the fastest car in the county. His Chevy sported a three-on-the-column stick shift.

Sadly, the end of the manual transmission is near, and the unfortunate truth is few people will miss it. Most young adults don’t know how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, and they aren’t interested in learning. Many modern automatics offer better fuel efficiency and quicker acceleration than their manual counterparts. Porsche now delivers 75% of its 718 and 911 sports cars with automatic transmissions. The new C8 Corvette is only available with one. When the stick shift loses Porsche and Corvette buyers, you know it’s quickly heading for the rearview mirror.

But there is more bad news. In the future, cars won’t only be automatics; it appears they’ll increasingly be automated, electric vehicles. The satisfying throbbing of the exhaust and the pleasure of driving will also become victims of progress. Traveling in a personal vehicle will be as exciting as riding in an elevator with windows.

Despite impressive improvements in vehicle technology, my devotion for manually shifting gears, listening to the rumble of the exhaust, and maintaining a tight grip on the steering wheel through a sharp curve remains undiminished. Gripping the shifter knob allows a driver to become part of the vehicle rather than someone who is little more than a passenger. Manually accelerating through the gears and downshifting into a curve are two of motoring’s most satisfying experiences.

The sound, feel and thrill of driving are to be relished, not relegated to the trash heap and memories along with carburetors, fender skirts, steel wheels and hubcaps. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in a sports car with a manual transmission and you too will become a believer.

A modest Supreme Court proposal

Glenn Harlan Reynolds:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, and the country — or at least its political class — is descending into what will no doubt be a multi-week screaming fit. In fact, the screaming has already begun.

But that fact tells us something about the state of our nation, and it’s not anything good. When your political system can be thrown into hysteria by something as predictable as the death of an octogenarian with advanced cancer, there’s something wrong with your political system. And when your judicial system can be redirected by such an event, there’s something wrong with your judicial system, too.

The mess of our political system

Our political system, of course, is a mess in general. Partly because of the influence of social media, as I argued in my book, The Social Media Upheaval, and partly because America has arguably the worst political class in its history, pretty much everything seems to send it into screeching hysteria. (I’m old enough to remember when “activists” threatened FCC Chair Ajit Pai and his family over Network Neutrality, something that was a source of screeching hysteria a few years ago but that now hardly anyone even remembers). I have some ideas on how to fix that, but those will have to wait for another column. Suffice it to say that if what we’re looking for is a long time horizon, self-discipline, and a willingness to forego immediate advantages for the long-term good of the nation, we’ve got the wrong political class.

So let’s look at the Supreme Court.

Why does Justice Ginsburg’s replacement matter so much that even “respectable” media figures are calling for violence in the streets if President Trump tries to replace her? Because the Supreme Court has been narrowly balanced for a while, with first Justice Anthony Kennedy, and later Chief Justice John Roberts serving as a swing vote. Ginsburg’s replacement by a conservative will finally produce a long-heralded shift of the Supreme Court to a genuine conservative majority.

That shift matters because, for longer than I have been alive, all sorts of very important societal issues, from desegregation to abortion to presidential elections and state legislative districting — have gone to the Supreme Court for decision. Supreme Court nominations and confirmations didn’t used to mean much — Louis Brandeis was the first nominee to actually appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee — because the Court, while important, wasn’t the be-all and end-all of so many deeply felt and highly divisive issues. Now it very much is.

The point isn’t whether the Court got the questions right. The point is that it decided these important issues and, having done so, took them off the table for democratic politics. When Congress decides an issue by passing a law, democratic politics can change that decision by electing a new Congress. When the Court decides an issue by making a constitutional ruling, there’s no real democratic remedy.

That makes the Supreme Court, a source of final and largely irrevocable authority that is immune to the ordinary winds of democratic change, an extremely important prize. And when extremely important prizes are at stake, people fight. And get hysterical.

Almost as bad, the Court is highly unrepresentative. That doesn’t matter when it’s deciding technical legal issues, but once it starts ruling on social issues of sweeping importance to all sorts of Americans, its lack of diversity becomes a problem. And not just the usual racial and gender diversity. Every current member of the Court is a graduate of Harvard or Yale Law Schools. (Justice Ginsburg offered a bit of diversity there, having spent her third year, and gotten her degree from, that scrappy Ivy League upstart, Columbia University. But she spent her first two years at Harvard). All of them were elite lawyers, academics, or appellate judges before arriving on the Court. They are all card-carrying credentialed members of America’s elite political class. Which, as I mentioned earlier, is in general pretty terrible.

Justices used to come from much more diverse backgrounds. Until well into the 20th Century, many Justices — Justice Robert Jackson was the last — didn’t have law degrees, having “read law” after the fashion of Abraham Lincoln, and for that matter pretty much every lawyer and judge until the 20th Century. Many had been farmers, military officers, small (and large) businessmen, even in one case an actuary. But now they are all, in Dahlia Lithwick’s words, “judicial thoroughbreds” with very similar backgrounds, backgrounds that make them very different from most Americans, or even from most lawyers.

Our politics is dominated by a court that decides political issues

So to break it down: All the hysteria about a Ginsburg replacement stems from the fact that our political system is dominated by an allegedly nonpolitical Court that actually decides many political issues. And that Court is small (enough so that a single retirement can throw things into disarray) and unrepresentative of America at large.

In an earlier article, responding to Democrats’ plans to “pack” the Court with several additional justices whenever they get control back, I suggested going a step further, and add fifty new justices, one each to be appointed by every state’s governor. My proposal wasn’t entirely serious, being meant to point up the consequences of opening the door on this topic. But on reflection, maybe it was a better idea than I realized.

Under my proposal, the death or retirement of a single justice wouldn’t be much more than a blip in the news, instead of something serious enough that there are people talking about violence in the streets. A Supreme Court composed of 59 justices wouldn’t have the mystique of the current Court — you might believe in 9 Platonic Guardians, but the notion of 59 such is absurd. And since governors would presumably select people from their own states, it would bring a substantial increase in diversity to the Court.

Would my approach have problems? Sure. But would it be likely to bring America to the brink of Civil War? No. Which is a pretty major advantage over our present situation. Keep that in mind as we navigate the coming storm.

 

The anti-Evers

WFLA-TV in Tampa passes on this news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis:

Gun Free Zone on the bill DeSantis announced:

Violent assembly, 3rd degree felony.  Blocking the road? Felony. Don’t touch monuments (no mention of penalty) Harassment of Citizens in public accommodations also penalized, My most thunderous applause was when he announced that R.I.C.O. will be applied to those organizing or funding riots. If you are arrested in a riot, not Portland’s Catch and Release: you are staying till you see a judge. Touch a cop? Six months mandatory minimum.  And enhanced penalties for other crimes committed during the riots. (ouch).

To municipalities “If you defund the police, then the state is going to defund any grants or aids coming to you.”

If local government is grossly negligent about a riot and let the Pantifa boys cause damage to citizens and property, Sovereign Immunity will be suspended for that government and citizens can sue the bejesus out of them.

If you are convicted of participating in riots, you will no longer be able to get state benefits or employment. Work for a living you scum!

Sounds good to me.

When the medical experts are wrong

John Tierney:

If you’re a public-minded student or teacher committed to reducing the death toll from Covid-19, what is the morally correct way to behave?

According to the epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, you should do just about the opposite of what’s being preached by college presidents, teachers’ unions, political leaders, and the scientific and media establishment. Unless you’re elderly or particularly vulnerable, you shouldn’t be wearing a mask all day, or shaming others for going unmasked. You should be careful not to endanger the vulnerable, but otherwise you should be exposing yourself to the virus in order to promote herd immunity.

Gupta, 55, wants to teach her classes at Oxford in person, without a mask, and she is appalled at her colleagues’ reluctance to go back to the classroom.

“It’s such a disservice to this generation of students,” she says. “Teachers and students who are vulnerable should have the option to go online, but for the rest of us this virus is no bigger than other risks we take in daily life. It’s not rational, and certainly not communitarian, to avoid being infected with a pathogen that carries such a low risk to you when there’s a high benefit to the community by helping to create herd immunity.”

Gupta’s strategy is heresy to the public-health establishment, but it seems to be paying off in Sweden, and her research team at Oxford has a far better track record on Covid-19 than the scientists whose work inspired the widespread lockdowns and mask mandates in the first place. In March, when Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College London terrified politicians and the public with its projections of Covid deaths—more than 500,000 in Britain and 2 million in the United States—Gupta’s team warned that this scenario was based on dubious assumptions about the virus’s spread and lethality.

The Imperial computer model assumed that most of the population had not yet been exposed to an exceptionally lethal virus, so lockdowns were the only way to avoid mass casualties. Gupta’s model, by contrast, assumed that many people had already been exposed without suffering serious consequences. That meant that the virus wasn’t so lethal and that the United Kingdom and other places were already developing herd immunity, making lockdowns unnecessary. Gupta was dubbed “Professor Reopen”—as opposed to Imperial’s “Professor Lockdown”—and she was pilloried along with the few others who shared her views.

Officials at the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health condemned the strategy of relying on herd immunity. Anthony Fauci, the White House advisor, said that it would lead to a “completely unacceptable” number of deaths—perhaps more than 10 million Americans, by one calculation published by scientists in the New York Times. A group of Swedish doctors and scientists denounced their country for keeping day-care centers, primary schools, bars, restaurants, and stores open, declaring in late July that the policy was leading to needless “death, grief and suffering” because Sweden was “nowhere near herd immunity.”

In fact, though, this strategy now seems to have fostered herd immunity in Sweden and other places. The number of daily Covid deaths in Sweden, which peaked at 115 in April, has averaged just two since the beginning of August. Fewer than 6,000 Swedes have died, a far cry from the nearly 100,000 deaths projected by the Imperial model. Per capita, the United States and Britain have suffered more Covid deaths than Sweden, and the fatality rates in the states of New York and New Jersey are three times higher than Sweden’s.

It’s true, as lockdown proponents often point out, that the fatality rate is higher in Sweden than in neighboring Nordic countries. But most of that disparity, according to a recent analysis by George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and colleagues from Scandinavia, is due to factors unrelated to those neighbors’ lockdowns, which were actually quite light and short-lived compared with those in Britain and the northeastern United States. (In Norway and Finland, for instance, schools reopened in May, and bars and restaurants reopened in early June.) Even before any of the lockdowns, Sweden was harder hit than its neighbors, partly because it had relatively more immigrants and international travelers, but mainly because of its larger proportion of highly vulnerable old people, particularly in nursing homes.

During the summer, Sweden’s critics pointed to seroprevalence surveys showing that fewer than 20 percent of Swedes had developed antibodies to the virus, well below the level of 60 percent to 70 percent assumed to be the threshold for herd immunity. But that was likely another mistaken assumption, Gupta’s team and other researchers believe, because the antibody tests miss so many people who are effectively immune to the virus.

Some of these people are immune because they have antibodies not detected by the tests, and many others—perhaps 20 percent to 50 percent of the population—have developed resistance through previous exposure to other coronaviruses. Once these people are accounted for, herd immunity could be reached even if the antibody tests show a prevalence as low as 10 to 20 percent.

That means that many places besides Sweden could have reached or approached herd immunity. In New York City, nearly a quarter of the residents tested positive for antibodies in the state’s survey in April. The city’s graph of Covid deaths maps a curve much like the one recorded in Sweden without a lockdown: a peak in April, falling to a straight line barely above zero since July, despite the city’s gradual reopening of restaurants and businesses. After looking at the data, one team of researchers recently concluded that New York City has likely crossed the herd-immunity threshold, meaning that a lockdown would not be necessary to protect the city against a much-feared strong second wave.

Herd immunity cannot eliminate deaths; like ordinary flu viruses, Covid-19 will remain endemic even if a vaccine arrives. But herd immunity ends the epidemic by greatly slowing the spread. The elderly and other high-risk people still need to be careful—and Gupta favors continuing policies to shield them from the virus—but the best long-term strategy for protecting them is letting low-risk people build up herd immunity right now.

That means reopening schools and allowing young people to study and congregate without masks. Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard epidemiologist and one of Gupta’s few allies, noted that not a single child in Sweden has died from Covid, and that Swedish teachers did not suffer unusually high rates of infection, even though the country never closed schools for those under 16 and didn’t force students to wear masks.

For American children under 14, the risk of dying from Covid is lower than the risk of dying from the flu or pneumonia, according to the calculations of Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. For teenagers and young adults, it’s much lower than the risk of being murdered. For anyone under 55, it’s lower than the risk of dying from accidents, from cancer, or from heart disease. If college students are willing to get in a car, why should they be terrified of sitting in a lecture hall? And why should they be reviled—much less expelled—for fraternizing with other students and helping to build up herd immunity?

“The Covid isolation strategies are accompanied by a lot of virtue-signaling and self-righteousness,” Gupta says, “but the costs are very high on the poor around the world as well as the young. I find it intolerable for teachers to ask youth to give up this important phase of their development—and to slow the development of herd immunity. If we really care about the common good and protecting the vulnerable, the rest of us should be willing to take a very small personal risk.”

What is taught (and not) in school today

Anthony Jones:

I gathered with the entire student body of Wyoming Catholic College on Sept. 17, 2019, for a mandatory celebration of Constitution Day. We began with the Pledge of Allegiance, witnessed a lively panel discussion between professors on the history and modern relevance of America’s founding principles, and concluded by singing patriotic songs.

If you are a student at a typical American university, that description probably sounds foreign to anything you have experienced. Anti-Americanism has spread across college campuses like a wildfire, igniting rage and resentment against anything perceived as oppressive — even the American flag. As a result, most universities would likely shy away from a celebration of our nation’s founding in favor of more “inclusive” events.

And that’s why university officials have been among the first to lash out at President Donald Trump’s still vague calls for “patriotic education” in our schools.

In a Gallup poll this June, only 63% of U.S. adults say they are either “extremely proud” or “very proud” to be American, the lowest level of patriotism ever recorded since Gallup first asked the question in 2001. Among members of my generation, the youngest surveyed, patriots are in the minority. Only 4 out of 10 respondents ages 18-34 claim to be extremely or very proud of being American.

Unfortunately, many people my age do not believe that America is worth loving. This position is certainly understandable. Recent riots, violence and corruption remind us that America is far from perfect. Patriotism, however, does not claim a country is without flaws. In fact, many people who identify as patriotic do not always feel proud of their government, their fellow citizens or even themselves.

As English author G.K. Chesterton explained, patriotism treats one’s country like a family member — you love it simply because it is yours, and that love motivates you to mend any imperfections. Today, that motivating force is rapidly receding.

Mark Twain defined patriotism as loving your country all the time and your government when it deserves it. Bill Clinton said you cannot love your country and hate your government. He was wrong.

But there’s nothing new here. The medieval philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas once observed, “Love follows knowledge.” Love of country is no different; I believe our lack of patriotism stems from a lack of knowledge.

You would think knowledge isn’t in short supply, considering members of Generation Z have grown up with smartphones and, according to Pew Research Center data, are on track to be the most highly educated generation yet. Yet in a typical American university, a basic account of the nation’s history is hard to come by.

2016 report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that more than two-thirds of top U.S. colleges do not require history majors to take a single course on United States history. Instead, several colleges require history majors to “complete coursework on areas outside the United States.”

This trend is disturbing, to say the least. This standard for history education is a cafeteria-style menagerie of classes that emphasize a global timeline over the events that have shaped America. Without knowledge of our country’s particular history, we lose a sense of our shared identity and its characteristic values, including perseverance, integrity and freedom.

The problem extends well beyond a simple lack of information. A 2019 Title VI complaint filed against the UCLA alleges a professor cited “killing people, colonialism and white supremacy” as American values. On the contrary, they are stark departures from the goals of freedom and equality lauded in our founding documents.

The principles of the founding should be lauded as guiding stars amid the stormy sea of relativism, not extra weight to be thrown overboard.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Some colleges — like mine — offer a holistic perspective of American history and honor our characteristic values. If you are a proud American, consider attending or supporting these colleges and aspire to continually fulfill the mission of our Constitution’s preamble: to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The stakes are higher than ever, and we hold the nation’s fate in our hands.

The self-defense case

Tucker Carlson:

There was an enormous amount of video shot that night in Kenosha, mostly by citizens with iPhones. We have video of all three of the shootings Kyle Rittenhouse was involved in. Critically, we also have video of the moments that preceded those shootings, the context. We’ve already showed some of that video to you but tonight, we will show you more. New never before seen footage of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha. Now, what you’re about to see comes from the non-profit “Fight Back” that was formed by Rittenhouse’s defamation attorney, Lynn Wood. For the last month, there’s been an enormous amount of propaganda surrounding this case and virtually all of it has come from the left. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts for example, denounced Kyle Rittenhouse as ‘a white supremacist domestic terrorist.’

Now, there’s no evidence that is true. There never has been any evidence, it’s a lie so far as we know. So the questions is, what else are they lying about? Tonight we will show you context from that night and we’re going to let you decide what happened. Here to begin, is video of Kyle Rittenhouse hours before the shootings took place. Now again, what you are about to see comes from a group, a nonprofit, founded by Kyle Rittenhouse’s defamation attorney. Here it is.

NARRATOR: To prevent the total destruction of their community, good Samaritans united to guard local businesses. Among them was 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE: So people are getting injured. Our job is to protect this business and part of my job is also helping people. If there’s somebody hurt, I am running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle, because I need to protect myself obviously, but I also have my med kit.

NARRATOR: Earlier that day, Rittenhouse volunteered to remove graffiti from [a] high school in Kenosha.

[END VIDEO]

CARLSON: That was the day and then night came. Kyle Rittenhouse found himself in downtown Kenosha in the middle of a riot. He wound up face-to-face with a convicted child molester called Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum was there protesting on behalf of BLM, apparently he was committing arson. What happened next between the two of them is graphic, but if you want to understand how Joseph Rosenbaum died that night, it’s important to see it. Here it is.

[BEGIN VIDEO]

NARRATOR: Joseph Rosenbaum is seen starting more fires. Around that same time, Kyle Rittenhouse was spotted running with a fire extinguisher. With his face concealed, Rosenbaum emerges, chasing after Kyle Rittenhouse. A single gun shot is fired by a protester identified as Alexander Blain. From this angle, we see the muzzle flash of Blain’s handgun. Seconds later, Kyle Rittenhouse is pinned between parked cars. Directly in front of Rittenhouse, armed with bats and other weapons, a mob is forming a barricade. With no way out and no way to know who fired that shot, Kyle Rittenhouse turns to face Rosenbaum. Kyle Rittenhouse fired four shots. Seconds later, three additional shots are fired by an unknown shooter. One bullet grazed Joseph Rosenbaum’s head, another penetrated his right groin, his left thigh, and his back. With a total of eight shots fired, it remains unclear that all four of his wounds were caused by Rittenhouse.

[END VIDEO]

CARLSON: So to restate what we know, Kyle Rittenhouse fired four shots initially that night. Another four were fired. We still don’t know who fired them all, no one else has been arrested or charged. At this point, the mob turns on Kyle Rittenhouse. They assault him, it’s clear they plan to kill him. Kyle Rittenhouse runs, they follow, Rittenhouse trips and falls, they attack him, he shoots. It’s all on video. Watch.

[BEGIN VIDEO]

MALE #1, UNKNOWN: Hey, what are you doing? You shot somebody?

RITTENHOUSE: I’m going to get the police.

NARRATOR: An unidentified protester strikes Rittenhouse in the head, knocking his hat off. Rittenhouse trips and falls to the ground, another protester attempts to jump on Rittenhouse who then fires two shots into the air. With blunt force, another protester strikes Rittenhouse in the back of the head with a sharp edge of a skateboard, then reaches for the rifle. Rittenhouse fires a single shot striking the man in the chest. A third protester fakes as if he is surrendering, then suddenly has a handgun aimed at Rittenhouse. A single shot strikes the man’s right bicep. While visiting him in the hospital, a friend of [the man who was shot in the bicep] posted the following photo and statement on social media: “I just talked to Gaige Grosskreutz too. His only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him.

CARLSON: So that’s what happened that night in Kenosha.