Feel Good Story of the Day

Headlines like this from today’s Wall Street Journal make me smile and rush off to check on my fossil-fuel-heavy stock portfolio:

A surge in energy stocks is challenging climate-conscious money managers who beat the market for years when the sector struggled but are now missing out on Wall Street’s hottest trade.

The S&P 500 energy sector has rebounded 54% this year, outpacing the broad index’s 21% climb and leading the second-best performing group by about 16 percentage points. . . Investors who for years could easily eschew companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. or Chevron Corp. must choose whether the possibility of rosy returns outweighs their climate considerations. . .

The percentage of fund managers holding a larger position in energy stocks than the benchmarks they track recently hit its highest level since 2012 in a monthly Bank of America Corp. survey.

The old oil, gas, and coal stocks that all right-minded people are supposedly divesting from remind me of tobacco stocks in the late 1990s. If you bought them then, you made a killing. Reminder—if the energy forecast for the next 30 years from the best energy forecasters turns out like this, then you’ll make a lot of money in traditional “brown” energy:

And concerning this climate question about getting to zero carbon emissions—if only there was a technology that delivered lots of 24/7 dispatchable electricity with no carbon. . .

Baseball is no morality play, and certainly not a woke-left one

The Washington Post keeps getting worse, and that’s true of all its main sections including the sports pages. The reason for the deterioration of the sports pages is the same as the reason for the rest of paper’s descent — the leftism of its reporters and columnists.

The Post’s sports columnists are relentlessly woke. Their work is long on scolding and short on insight.

Naturally, the sports reporters have less leeway to display wokeness. But when the opportunity arises, they virtue signal, too.

Chelsea Janes, who writes well and insightfully about baseball, is one of the few Post sportswriters whose work seems largely devoid of politics and ideology. Ironically, she returned to the sports section after a stint covering the 2019-20 election campaign.

I want to focus this rant on an article by Adam Kilgore that appeared in today’s paper. He argues that the Los Angeles Dodgers botched their attempt to repeat as world champions due to poor decisions by the organization. Focusing on the Dodgers’ NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves, Kilgore writes:

The Dodgers assembled the most talented team in baseball, and their own decisions managed to undermine that talent.

This claim misses the mark for several reasons. First, any team, no matter how talented, can lose a seven-game series to an opponent good enough to make the playoffs. Drawing broad lessons from such an outcome is usually hackery.

Second, Kilgore overlooks the fact that the Dodgers made it past the crap-shoot that’s the Wild Card game and went on to beat the San Francisco Giants, winners of 107 regular season games, in a five-game playoff series. Organizations that “undermine their talent” rarely accomplish that much.

Third, Kilgore downplays, and indeed basically dismisses, the extraordinary number of injuries/absences the Dodgers had to cope with. The team had to navigate the playoffs without three outstanding pitchers — Trevor Bauer (suspended for beating up a woman), the great Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May. They were also without Max Muncy, their best hitter (highest WAR) during the regular season, and for most of the Braves series, without Justin Turner, their terrific third-baseman (tied for third highest WAR among LA’s position players).

To top it all off, the Dodgers’ best pitcher, Max Scherzer, had to pitch in the Wild Card game. That appearance, along with his workload in the grueling series against the Giants, caused his arm to go dead. He was thus unavailable for the crucial Game Six against Atlanta — the contest that eliminated the Dodgers.

The Braves didn’t have to play a Wild Card game. This, despite the fact that the Dodgers won 106 regular season games, compared to 88 wins for Atlanta.

I don’t object to this, It’s just how things worked out. However, Scherzer’s appearance in the Wild Card game, coupled with the unavailability of the three other star pitchers, put the Dodgers at a significant disadvantage by the time Game Six of the NLCS rolled around.

Kilgore acknowledges the Dodgers’ injury/unavailability woes, but blows them off by noting that the Braves were without the great Ronald Acuna Jr. and quality pitcher Mike Soroka. Kilgore doesn’t mention it, but they were also missing the powerful bat of Jorge Soler for almost the entire NLCS.

But the Dodgers’ absences were more crippling, especially in the pitching department, which is where Kilgore’s main critique of the team’s in-game decisions centers. It was due to the absence of so many top arms that the Dodgers were forced to “bullpen” their way through the Atlanta series and to focus so much on matchups instead of following Kilgore’s recommendation, in hindsight, that they “simply play” the games instead of “trying to manipulate” them.

Why does Kilgore take the Dodgers to task for losing a series that nearly any team in baseball history could have lost under similar circumstances? It’s clear to me that he did so for ideological reasons.

Kilgore hates the fact that the Dodgers signed the aforementioned Trevor Bauer. He calls that signing “ill conceived [and] shameless” and contends that the Dodgers “never recovered” from it.

Never recovered? They won 112 games this season, all told.

When the Dodgers signed Bauer, they had no way of knowing he would punch the daylights out of a woman (in what a judge found to be a consensual arrangement). Kilgore admits as much. However, he points out that Bauer had “a record of misogynistic statements.”

So there you have it. Kilgore can’t get past what he views as a politically incorrect signing by the Dodgers. That’s why he’s writing nonsense about their playoff exit.

But if baseball teams refused to stock their pitching staffs with players who have made misogynistic or other politically incorrect statements, they would probably have to dip into Double A ball to come up with 13 arms. Bauer had never been ruled ineligible to play baseball. And although he was once the subject of a protective order based on accusations of hitting a woman, he had never to my knowledge been convicted of a crime when the Dodgers signed him. Nor has it been shown that the Dodgers knew about this incident when they signed him.

Accordingly, I don’t view the Dodgers’ decision to bring him on board as “shameless.” However, it’s not unreasonable for Kilgore to view it that way. What’s unreasonable is to connect that decision to the Dodgers’ playoff exit.

The team compensated for the loss of Bauer by acquiring Scherzer in a trade. They might well have gone all the way if injuries hadn’t plagued them. In any case, failing to go all the way with great talent isn’t evidence of bad organizational decisions.

Kilgore is trying to turn baseball into a morality play. He’s not the first writer to attempt this feat (the “baseball gods” and all that). But it’s almost always a fool’s errand, and so it proved to be in this case.

Loose Ends (141)

So the latest lie the Bidenauts want us to swallow is that a tax on “unrealized” capital gains would only apply to billionaires. Do they really think we’ll believe this? That’s what the taxers said about the Alternative Minimum Tax in 1969: originally applied to only 155 taxpayers, it eventually applied to 5.1 million taxpayers.

If they pass this, they’re going to get some of my unrealized anger.

For the sheer unworkability of this proposal, see Henry Olsen’s latest column.

Meanwhile, good to see the Biden Administration is on top of the main issues.  At last—after 245 years—we finally have a National Gender Policy!

Let’s go Brandon!

Scenes from the crowded Long Beach harbor:

And there were way more further out to sea.

I repeat, Let’s go Brandon!

Bowdler Works For the Washington Post

This, via Stephen Green, is pretty funny: “Let’s Go Brandon! Washington Post Issues the ‘Greatest Correction’ Ever.” I’m not sure it is the greatest ever, but it is pretty funny:

Over the weekend, WaPo published a “return to civility”-type piece decrying the “increasingly vulgar taunts” hurled at poor Presidentish Joe Biden.

Steve wrote about that piece here: “Media Vapors Over “Let’s Go Brandon.” This is the funny part:

Here’s the correction:

A previous version of this article incorrectly said a crowd broke into a “Let’s go Brandon” chant during a Donald Trump Jr. speech in Georgia. The crowd broke into a “F— Joe Biden!” chant at that speech in September. The error, which was inserted by an editor, has been corrected.

Here’s how the story reads now:

The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has repeatedly promoted the meme, and the original chant, on his social media feeds. At a speech in Georgia in September, he took the stage after the crowd had been chanting “USA! USA!”

“There’s a couple other chants I’ve been hearing going around,” Trump Jr. said. “Have you heard the other one that’s been going around?” The crowd took the cue and broke into cries of “F— Joe Biden!”

So the Post’s editor couldn’t bring himself to record the full extent of the crowd’s disdain for Joe Biden? Apparently not. What is interesting to me is that the Post assumed everyone understands “Let’s go, Brandon,” even though, as best I can tell from a search of the Post’s web site, it has never explained that phenomenon to its readers.

This strikes me as one more instance of the liberal press’s inability to keep its readers in the dark.

Enes Kanter blasts Red China again

Enes Kanter, fresh off of ripping China for its oppression of Tibet, has now attacked the regime for its treatment of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. In a new video, Kanter, wearing a “Freedom for Uyghur” T-shirt, says:

Right now as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions, sterilizations, family separations, arbitrary detentions, concentration camps, political reeducation, forced labor. . .this is all happening right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.

The Chinese government has been taking sweeping measures to crack down on the Uyghur people simply because they embrace their own religion, their own culture, language, history and identity. The Uyghur region has become an open-air prison and surveillance state where freedoms are non-existent for the Uyghur people.

The Chinese government has sent Uyghurs along with Kazaks, Tajiks and other Muslims groups to concentration camps for simply applying for a passport, for texting someone overseas or for believing in anything that does not align with the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda.

Kanter went on to castigate leaders of certain predominantly Muslim countries for not standing up for the Uyghur population. He named Pakistani prime minister Imram Khan, Saudi Arabia’s King Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

Kanter also attacked Muslim sports stars for the same reason. In my favorite part of the video, he calls out former NBA great and current pundit wannabe Kareem Abdul Jabbar. “Why are you staying silent?” the Celtics center asks. “Say something. Do something. Speak up. Your silence and your inaction is complicity.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for phonies like Jabbar to speak up against China’s human rights abuses. I suspect he cares more about his brand than he does about his fellow Muslims.

On a positive note, Brad Stevens, former coach of the Celtics and current president of the team’s basketball operations, has expressed support for Kanter. Following the release of the “free Tibet” video, Stevens had a short meeting with Kanter. According to Stevens, he told the player “we’re always going to support any of our players and their right to freedom of speech and expression.”

Boston coach Ime Udoka also affirmed Kanter’s right to freedom of speech, albeit somewhat tepidly. He said “[Kanter] is very passionate about a lot of things, and he has the freedom to say what he wants.” “That’s above my department,” he added.

Clearly, China won’t be streaming Celtics games any longer. Heck, it’s not even streaming Philadelphia 76ers games because Daryl Morley is now that team’s general manager. Morley voiced support for freedom for Hong Kong when he was running the Houston Rockets. He issued a sort of apology, but China wasn’t appeased.

What about Kanter’s playing time? He hasn’t had any in two of Boston’s first three games. In the other one, he played just five minutes.

With Al Horford back in the lineup, Kanter’s time will probably be limited going forward. However, he’s good enough to play some. I assume, given Brad Stevens’ comment, that he will, but we’ll see.

The Voters Are On to Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland is hardly a household name, and to the extent that the press has mentioned him at all, it has mostly been to puff him up. Maybe I am forgetting something, but I can’t think of anything Garland has done to give voters a strong impression one way or another, except for his memo to the FBI directing the Bureau to work with local law enforcement to investigate, as potential domestic terrorists, parents who are unhappy with Critical Race Theory and mask mandates in the public schools.

Garland’s order was coordinated with the National School Boards Association, which asked for such an investigation in a letter to Joe Biden which the NSBA later retracted and apologized for. Was that incident widely covered in the liberal press? I doubt it, but it is well known to consumers of information from conservative sources like ours.

Apparently word of Garland’s anti-parent initiative has gotten out, perhaps fueled in part by the Virginia gubernatorial election, which may turn on Terry McAuliffe’s dismissive attitude toward parents of school children. In any event, Rasmussen Reports finds that Attorney General Garland is distinctly unpopular with likely voters:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 30% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable impression of Garland, including 14% who have a Very Favorable view of him. Thirty-nine percent (39%) view Garland unfavorably, including 29% who have a Very Unfavorable impression of the former federal judge. Thirty-two percent (32%) say they’re not sure.
***
Twenty percent (20%) of voters say Garland is doing a better job than most previous attorney generals, but more than twice as many (42%) say Garland is doing a worse job than most of his predecessors.

It is interesting that Rasmussen found voters generally more favorable to Jeff Sessions than to Garland, while Garland is slightly more popular than Eric Holder.

Among independent voters, Garland has only a 21 percent approval rating.

This is just one more data point that suggests how unpopular the Democrats’ Critical Race Theory initiatives and related left-wing indoctrination in the public schools are with voters.

All Eyes on Virgina [with comment by Paul]

News out of Washington today is that Democrats are “close” to a deal on a stripped-down reconciliation spending binge that will be only perhaps $2.2 trillion instead of $3.5 trillion (though both figures are lies, as the real cost will be much higher). The most important aspect of this story, if accurate, is that Democrats hope to be able to close the deal by this weekend, and pass both the reconciliation package and the “bi-partisan” infrastructure bill that the Senate passed back in the paleolithic era.

Democrats think they need to get it done by this weekend because they are in a panic about the Virginia governor’s election now just eight days away. Recent polls show Terry McAwful tied or well within the margin of error with Republican Glenn Youngkin. Virginia has in the last decade or more flipped purple if not totally blue, electing Democrats to statewide and national office by double-digit margins. That the race is this close shows how unpopular Democrats have become.

Recall that back in 1993 and again in 2009 Republicans swept the off-year gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, and if it happens again this year it will demonstrate that, once again, the new Democratic president has lurched too far to the left. (Incidentally, while the Virginia race is getting all the Beltway media attention precisely because it is adjacent to the Beltway, the New Jersey governor’s race, where Democrat Phil Murphy is running for re-election, is within single-digit margins according to most polls, so a GOP victory there is not out of the question. But it is drawing little media attention.) If McAuliffe loses next week, it will be a huge warning shot to Democrats.

It is a sign of Democratic desperation that they had to roll out President Obama over the weekend to campaign for McAuliffe. And to try to deflect from the Democrats’ biggest electoral weakness—their wokeness. That’s why Obama was desperate to change the subject. This fits with the desperation to pass a huge spending bill this week so as to change the headlines. Especially headlines like this that are an in-kind gift to the Youngkin campaign:

There’s also this, which might be a clever Youngkin false flag:

Seldom has the Progressive left been more open about their contempt for self-government than McAuliffe’s “parents have no right to tell schools what to teach” or this Post headline. We, “the experts,” know better. Your job as a parent is to shut up. Makes you wonder why we still have elected school boards at all. (Though with the teachers union domination of so many of them, I wonder. . . Mark Twain’s famous line about school boards—”In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards”—should be amended: “Then He made teachers unions.)

There’s a poll out today showing that Virginia voters with K-12 age children are breaking for Youngkin by about a 60-40 margin.

Chaser—Here’s a part of the Virginia code:

Chaser 2:

Fairfax County school enrollment still down 10,000+ from pre-pandemic times

 

PAUL ADDS: I’m probably missing something, but I don’t understand how passing massive spending measures is going to help McAuliffe win in Virginia. I’ve no seen evidence that infrastructure spending and the “build back better” package are issues of significance in the Youngkin-McAuliffe race for governor.

I can see why the spending measures might be relevant in next year’s congressional races. But keep in mind that Congress passed a huge stimulus bill early in Barack Obama’s presidency and still suffered what Obama described as a “shellacking” in 2010.

STEVE responds: I should perhaps have explained more. There is a lot of chatter that McAuliffe has been telling Hill Democrats to please pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill so he can change the subject. McAuliffe has said publicly that Biden’s sinking popularity is hurting him, and that the House should pass the infrastructure bill. But the progressives won’t budge. Thus the necessity to complete the grand bargain this week.