Friday, January 14, 2022


About how many bands can you say
you're always glad to see them?

•  It is, along with everything else, strange to say Terry Teachout has died. As you can see from his About Last Night blog, he was busy as a drama critic for the Wall Street Journal -- as well as a playwright, librettist, and biographer -- when death swooped in and took him. He was no spring chicken, but he was sufficiently buoyant to make you think he was, so his death feels even more untimely than it is. Terry was good at paying attention, which was part of his arsenal as a critic but also his charm as a human being; whether he agreed with you or not, he took account -- generous account -- of what you were saying and doing, and you knew it. I’m very bad at taking advice or criticism, but I didn’t mind it from him, for that reason. And though he was a man of strong (and, I often felt, wrong) beliefs, he had admirable perspective and a very good sense of humor about them. He knew that there was more to life than meets the eye, and I like to think he’s currently following up on that insight.  

•  The Supreme Court, allegedly a politically neutral body, has decided to kill us slowly in order to make it look less like they’re killing us. No other explanation makes allowing the CMS mandate and killing the OSHA mandate look coherent. I mean, if I were forced to come up with a rationale, I hope I could do better than Neil Gorsuch:

…[OSHA] directs us to 29 U. S. C. § 655(c)(1). In that statutory subsection, Congress authorized OSHA to issue “emergency” regulations upon determining that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful” and “that such emergency standard[s] [are] necessary to protect employees from such danger[s]”…

The Court rightly applies the major questions doctrine and concludes that this lone statutory subsection does not clearly authorize OSHA’s mandate. See ante, at 5–6. Section 655(c)(1) was not adopted in response to the pandemic, but some 50 years ago at the time of OSHA’s creation. Since then, OSHA has relied on it to issue only comparatively modest rules addressing dangers uniquely prevalent inside the workplace, like asbestos and rare chemicals... As the agency itself explained to a federal court less than two years ago, the statute does “not authorize OSHA to issue sweeping health standards” that affect workers’ lives outside the workplace… Yet that is precisely what the agency seeks to do now—regulate not just what happens inside the workplace but induce individuals to undertake a medical procedure that affects their lives outside the workplace.

If only there were some way workers could “clock out” of the onerous requirement that they be vaccinated against a deadly disease when their shifts end! But they can’t, so undue burden, everyone go get sick and spread it at work for freedom. 

If the right wing killed the health care worker vaccine mandate as well, it would have made the death-cultism too obvious, so they got Kavanaugh to take the bullet and vote with the liberals. It was truly gruesome to see, when “Kavanaugh” was trending on Twitter last night, how many of those tweets were from conservatives enraged that he let hospitals require what would seem to any sane person an elementary health precaution. (Jesus, I hope Pete Hegseth doesn’t get any more popular or we’ll soon be waiting on pins and needles for SCOTUS to decide whether hospitals have the right to demand doctors scrub in before surgery.)

The American conservative movement is objectively pro-COVID -- and that goes not only for the lunatics with their crackpot theories and tubes of horse paste, but also for the politicians and conservative justices who flatter those nuts and cause their madness to be enacted in law and practice, in hopes that the continued spread of the disease will sabotage their opponents. Weird way to live! 

•  Oh, yeah, here are two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies: one,  my own version of the hot-TV-wingnut-of-the-moment mainstream puff piece; and two, a review of Ross Douthat's foray into filmmaking. Subscribe, why don't you? 

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