OPEN THREAD: Happy Saturday.

ANOTHER “SCIENTIFIC” MYTH, BUSTED: The Mysterious ‘Ecocide’ Collapse of Easter Island Never Really Happened. “The myth of this so-called Rapa Nui ‘ecocide’ – held up for decades as a cautionary tale about overexploitation of natural resources – should be firmly relegated to the bin of outdated theories, scientists now say. This finding is just the latest in a mounting body of evidence that the Pacific Islander population’s decline had nothing to do with their way of living.”

It now seems likely that they were casualties of open borders: “In fact, the collapse so soon after European contact in the 1700s probably had more to do with the slave trade, enforced migration, and introduced pathogens.” I don’t see people being as eager to hold that up as a warning.

GREAT MOMENTS IN LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Anti-Israel activists protest AOC, Bowman primary rally.

Anti-Israel activists protested a Democratic Party primary rally for New York City congresspeople Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman on Saturday.

The event, which featured guests such as Senator Bernie Sanders, was according to the event website aimed at rousing supporters for canvasing before the Tuesday primaries — but the “squad” members faced opposition from within the progressive coalition.

Within Our Lifetime demonstrated outside the event, demanding that the New York politicians un-endorsed US President Joe Biden in his incumbent race for the White House in November, and for them to renege on their denunciation of the anti-Israel group’s June 10 protest of the Nova Music Festival Massacre exhibit.

Accusations of genocide

The activists accused Biden of supporting a supposed genocide in Gaza, and said that Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman, and Sanders had tied themselves to that alleged crime. According to footage published by WOL on Twitter, activists chanted “Over 40,000 dead, AOC your hands are red!”

Earlier: Sandy’s War: The AOC AIPAC Freakout. And at long last, the AOC-Nick Fuentes love fast!

DISPATCHES FROM WEIMAR AMERICA: ‘Non-Binary’ Star of The Acolyte Has Total Meltdown, Writes Woke ‘Diss Track’ of Star Wars Fans.

[Amandla] Stenberg hasn’t been taking the criticism very well, and she recently had a total meltdown, writing a “diss track” of her critics. Prepare to read some of the dumbest, most woke lyrics in history.

“They spinning ‘woke,’ bastardize it and appropriate it. Last I recall, woke was something we created, speak truth to power, keep an eye out for you silly racists,” she says.

“Now they use it to describe anything they threatened by … it was all about people recognizing bigotry, the power of community, not fodder for your clickbait,” she exclaims.

Stenberg also says she has been “taking bullshit” from her critics for centuries, by virtue of having enslaved ancestors.

“I’m sick and fucking tired of suppressing my rage. 400 years of taking their bullshit to compartmentalize like my ancestors had to encaged,” she raps.

“If you don’t confront the pain that you live with it’ll manifest as addiction, disease, and hate. I’ve seen the infection repression can give ya, I’m not gonna be the next one sent to an early grave,” she says.

Yeah, I’m sure that’ll bring the disillusioned fans back into the fold. What a great decision by Disney to hand hundreds of millions of dollars to a far-left director obsessed with “LGBTQ+ representation” who had zero relevant experience so she could go cast some ultra-woke social justice warrior to crap all over those who have made Star Wars the success it used to be. Absolutely brilliant.

How bad is the Acolyte? This bad:

Related: Disney VP Takes Leave of Absence After Date with Undercover Reporter for James O’Keefe.

Michael Giordano went on a date arranged though an online service and got a lot more than he bargained for. His date was working for O’Keefe and prompted him with questions about what DEI looks like behind the scenes. Giordana said he’d personally applied for many jobs during his 11 years at the company and has seen more diverse candidates with less experience get the promotions. He says one of his friends in HR told him, “Look, nobody else is going to tell you this, Mike, but they’re not considering any white males for this job. They just aren’t.”

But Giordano wasn’t the only person who missed out because of race. He told a story about a candidate for a promotion who was mixed race, with one black parent and one white parent. He described this person as “half-black but didn’t appear half-black.” Giordano says a creative executive at the company interceded, saying something like “that’s not what’s wanted.” He added, “They wanted somebody in meetings who would appear a certain way and he wasn’t gonna bring that to the meeting.”

When it comes to casting their TV projects, Giordano said the company was very careful about what was said openly but suggested there were codes used to indicated what the bosses wanted to see. For instance, saying that they wanted something other than the usual suspects. But at times, Giordano said they were more blunt and simply said something like, “There’s no way we’re hiring a white male.” Giordano predicts that at some point there will be a lawsuit over these practices.

Video at link.

Flashback: A Word to the Wise Liberal. “This is a PSA to all male Democrat staffers: If a really hot chick goes on a few dates with you, there’s a 75% chance that she works for James O’Keefe.”

OH, TO BE IN ENGLAND: Whoever you vote for, the Blob wins.

Watch a clip of Yes Minister and it’s like looking at something from the political Cretaceous period, because Humphrey and Hacker were on equal terms. Today, when Hacker suggests a policy, Humphrey reminds him that he has devolved responsibility to the National Paperclips Authority, or it’s not within his power, or judicial review will stop it, or it’s against human rights law, or he’s bullying Bernard by asking him to turn up to work.

Rory Stewart tells alarming stories of civil service obstruction in his memoir. When he tried to stop aid going to jihadis in Syria, he was told it was not within his power, then that the decision came from a ‘small group’ of senior civil servants who outranked him. He called their bluff, exposing these excuses as false. But when he wrote to the prime minister, his draft was edited to remove his argument; when he reinserted it, they ‘lightly edited’ – i.e. re-removed – it. When he wrote his own letter to the prime minister’s foreign policy adviser, the chap refused to pass it on.

In my nine years in the House of Lords, I saw this at first hand. No matter how cogent my argument in the chamber, or even in a select committee, and no matter how polite the minister’s reply, most of the time she or he might as well have just been saying: Sir Humphrey says no. Who was the monkey and who the organ grinder? Parliament was mostly an elaborate charade. It was one of the reasons I decided to retire.

* * * * * * * *

Of course, ministers get to appoint the chairs of quangos but even that power is shrinking. Latterly, the Tories in government found that their preferred appointees were kept off shortlists by civil servants on some pretext or other. Partly this was ideological, anybody with a whiff of conservatism being deemed ‘not impartial’ (it happened to me), whereas lefties were fine, but a lot of it was just civil servants gradually expanding their power. I suspect the Starmer administration will not find it as easy as Tony Blair’s did to stuff their chums on public boards.

Wow, it’s a good thing nothing like that could ever happen to our Federal government…


The shape-shifting nature of the James Bond franchise makes it a window on each era’s vogues. Some of these fashion statements, comic stylings and approaches to action choreography have held up splendidly; others appallingly.

When settling on a ranking for all 25 films – we’ve excluded the series outliers (the 1967 Casino Royale and the independently-produced Never Say Never Again) – it’s hard to be definitive: many people might be kinder overall on the Pierce Brosnan era, or harsher on Roger Moore.

We’ve made the case for at least one entry that’s unfairly loathed, and dinged a few that have bigger flaws than generally gets admitted. By the time the next one comes out, maybe we’d reshuffle them all over again. But for now, here they sit.

The number one and two Bond movies should be pretty obvious to anyone even vaguely familiar with the franchise over the years, but number three is an excellent choice as well, and would have likely been the best Bond ever, had it starred Sean Connery.

MICHAEL LIND: Attack of the Crypto-Nazis!

If racism and white nationalism are motivating voters who prefer Republicans to Democrats, how can progressives explain the fact that the Democratic Party is getting whiter and richer, while the Republican Party is getting browner and more working class? One option is to define Blacks and Hispanics who refuse to vote for Democrats as self-hating. Another is to claim that Blacks and Hispanics and Asian Americans are not authentic members of their groups. Candidate Joe Biden in May 2020 chose the latter strategy during an interview with the popular Black drive-time radio host Charlamagne. When the host said he had more questions, Biden snapped, “You’ve got more questions, but I tell you … if you’ve got a problem whether or not you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black”—compounding the damage of his patronizing remark with his use of the faux-Black dialect that white Democratic politicians of a certain age often employ when addressing Black Americans.

Fortunately for gentry liberals, there is now a third alternative to the discredited white nationalist and economic deprivation theories of why working-class Americans vote for Republicans—the “precarious manhood” theory of Harold Meyerson and others. If “[y]ounger working-class men of all races” increasingly vote for Republicans, then the reason must be sexual frustration.

It’s not nonwhites whom the multiracial working class resents; it’s women! The Republican Party is not the Ku Klux Klan after all; it’s the He Man Woman Haters Club from The Little Rascals (NO GURLZ ALLOWED).

The partisan gender gap between young men and young women, and men and women of all races in general, is an interesting political phenomenon. But the data suggest that the greatest emotional maladjustment is not on the side of “younger working-class men of all races.” According to a recent study by epidemiologists at Columbia University, depression rates have risen the most for young progressive women. A March 2020 Pew study reported that 56% of young white liberal women, said they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, compared to only 28% of young white moderates and a mere 27% of young white conservatives.

Although Donald Trump will eventually be gone from the scene, elite center-left fear and loathing of the multiracial working class seems unlikely to change. Today’s heirs of anti-populist and anti-egalitarian Progressives, Mugwumps, Whigs, and Federalists will continue to insist that working-class Americans and rural Americans are dangerous cretins who threaten to destroy democracy by putting their grubby fingers on the voting levers and committing an unforgivable crime: voting against gentry liberal candidates.

Not to mention the former “punch a Nazi” crowd on the left don’t care that the calls are coming from within the house these days: Columbia Protestors Are Above The Law Says Alvin Bragg.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Three Columbia College administrators placed on leave amid investigation into leaked texts sent during panel on Jewish life.

Three Columbia administrators have been placed on leave pending an investigation into text messages they sent in late May during an alumni weekend panel about Jewish life on campus, Columbia College Dean Josef Sorett told staff on Thursday.

As the panel’s four speakers discussed antisemitism at Columbia for nearly two hours, one attendee captured photos of Vice Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan Chang-Kim’s exchanges with Sorett, Dean of Undergraduate Student Life Cristen Kromm, and Associate Dean for Student and Family Support Matthew Patashnick.

One of the texts included vomit emojis while referring to an October op-ed penned by the campus rabbi, and another described the panel as “difficult to listen to.” The messages have drawn criticism from Columbia affiliates and congressional leaders alike for being “disparaging” and in “poor faith.”

[The Columbia Spectator] obtained photos of the messages, which were first leaked to the Washington Free Beacon and published on June 12. The attendee, a Columbia alum who graduated decades ago, spoke to Spectator on the condition of anonymity, citing concerns for safety.

It gets better: Sorett calls the cops.

Since then, the Free Beacon’s coverage of the administrators’ text messages during the panel on the ordeal of Jews at Columbia this past spring has been impacting…, as Drudge used to put it. On June 20 Eliana Johnson (my daughter) reported that Sorett placed his three texting colleagues on leave pending an investigation. Eliana drily noted the anomalies:

A Columbia spokesman said the school had no comment regarding why Sorett, who took part in the text exchanges, was not placed on leave or on the propriety of Sorett making the announcement that his colleagues are under investigation. Likewise, the spokesman declined to say who would conduct the investigation, to whom the results would be reported, and whether the results would be made public.

Can you imagine how Sorett’s conversation with his colleagues went down? It must have been like something out of Blazing Saddles: “We’ve gotta protect our phony baloney jobs!”

Yesterday Eliana and Free Beacon reporter Aaron Sibarium turned up the heat on Sorett. With a little help from their source, they extracted one of Sorett’s previously unreported text messages during the panel discussion: “‘LMAO’: Dean of Columbia College Mocked Hillel Head in Newly Obtained Text Exchange.” Subhead: “Josef Sorett has sought to distance himself from leaked messages that are now the subject of a university investigation. The latest text message shows his participation in the affair.”

What you mean “LMAO,” Kemo Sabe?

Seeking a comment from Sorett, the Free Beacon then sent reporter Jessica Costescu to Sorett’s Morningside Heights apartment. What happened next? Sorett called the cops (both Columbia’s and the NYPD). Costescu observes yet another anomaly: “Sorett’s willingness to call the police to protect him from a reporter comes four years after he signed a 2020 faculty letter calling to ‘defund the NYPD by $1 billion.’”

As I wrote at the beginning of the month, linking to a piece by Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner: Old and Busted: Defund the Police. The New Hotness? Lock ’em up libs run the Democratic Party.

LEFT, RIGHT TRANSPARENCY VOICES BACK NIH FOIA AUDIT CALL: Sen. Roger Marshall’s demand for the FOIA compliance audit of NIH going to 2014 is getting support across a broad front of the political spectrum.

Big Government cannot survive transparency and accountability, so hopefully this NIH audit will be the first step toward mandatory annual FOIA compliance probes at every federal department and agencyc.


Even if we had a clear sense of the potential reach of AI, we would need to be careful about projecting the character of its effects.

Here, too, the examples of recent technological changes are instructive. As noted above, the digital revolution meant that ATMs could execute the core functions of a 1970s-era bank teller — taking deposits, dispensing cash, etc. — with more precision and at less expense than a human employee. As a result, banks shifted those functions from tellers to machines. But as the technology scholar James Bessen has demonstrated, this did not lead to a large reduction in the number of bank tellers. In 1990, there were around 100,000 ATMs and 500,000 bank tellers in the United States. In 2010, there were about 400,000 ATMs and just under 600,000 bank tellers.

ATMs reduced the cost of operating a bank branch in large part by nearly halving the number of tellers required to work in each branch. So why did the number of bank tellers rise rather than fall? It turns out that banks used the money they saved by installing ATMs to open additional branches — each of which required tellers.

What’s more, ATMs changed what bank tellers do. Tellers became relationship managers, handling customers whose needs were more complex than those with checks to deposit or withdrawals to request. The interpersonal skills required to make customers feel welcome when they enter branches and to handle difficult or complex situations became more important than the ability to accurately and repeatedly execute deposit and withdrawal procedures.

Something similar is likely to happen with AI over the next few decades. To illustrate, we can think of jobs as bundles of tasks. Generative AI systems will perform some of those tasks at less expense and with greater efficacy than human workers, while others will augment workers’ ability to carry out other tasks, thereby increasing productivity. Consider three examples — presented with a significant degree of uncertainty given that we are at the early stages of the AI revolution — that illustrate how this might work.

First, let’s take the case of lawyers and paralegals. These individuals will need to spend much less time writing briefs and classifying documents — two tasks that large language models will be able to perform — than they do now. This will give them more time to spend interviewing witnesses and developing legal strategy. AI tools will help lawyers complete these tasks by proposing potential questions to ask witnesses and lines of argument to support a broader strategy. But AI will not be able to effectively interview witnesses or set the strategy itself. Some law firms experimenting with AI tools today are finding it is allowing junior associates to advance faster because it is so efficient at performing basic legal research, thereby jump-starting careers.

Second, consider the case of physicians. Because AI systems will be able to read and interpret scans and test results more effectively and inexpensively than humans can, physicians will need to spend much less time performing those tasks. AI tools will also be able to record and update patient information in medical charts and records by listening in when physicians are examining patients. This will allow physicians to spend more time communicating with patients, thereby increasing the quality and effectiveness of those conversations. For advanced illnesses, it will grant physicians more time to coordinate with other physicians to manage care comprehensively.

Retail-store managers — a third example — will need to spend less time managing employees’ schedules and the cycle of inventory; AI tools will be able to complete those tasks for them. This will give managers more time to oversee and coach workers, solve problems, and create a positive shopping experience for customers. AI will also assist managers by making suggestions to optimize the shopping experience in the store and proposing potential management strategies based on an employee’s career history and other factors.

In the Wall Street Journal, Virginia Postrel looks at The Self-Checkout Revolution:

On June 26, 1974, Sharon Buchanan, a supermarket cashier in Troy, Ohio, made retailing history when she became the first person to ring up a sale by scanning Universal Product Codes, rather than punching keys on a cash register. Fifty years later, we take bar-code scanning for granted. It is the normal way to check out in most stores.
The question today is whether the person doing it is a store employee or the customer. More than half of U.S. food and grocery retailers have self-checkout systems, as do about a third of convenience and fuel outlets, according to a 2023 survey by market-research firm Incisiv for NCR Voyix. Another 37% of convenience stores are testing or scaling up self-checkout.
The cashier position is one of the most important—and trickiest—in retailing. Cashiers must balance speed, accuracy and security while leaving customers with a positive impression. Innovations at the cashier stand do more than increase productivity or profit. They reflect and shape culture.

Thanks to rapid advancements in AI technology, and alas, the rampant spread of shoplifting, in a few years, the retail experience could be a very different one for shoppers.

And regarding AI in general, as Glenn has written, “the thing about AI is that AI keeps getting better, while people stay about the same. (Indeed, there’s some evidence that the average person is getting dumber, which if true will only close the gap faster.)”

But as Strain concludes, “Like all technological revolutions, the AI revolution will be disruptive. But it will ultimately lead to a better world,” so read the whole thing.

(Of course, the better world won’t stop the March of Dimes Syndrome from marching merrily on, but that’s whole ‘nother issue.)