Thursday, March 25, 2021

So much for the folly of Brexit

The Good People in Britain and America have had a great time since since 2016, mocking the ignorant yobs who voted to leave the European Union. All sorts of bad things were certain to happen, as punishment richly deserved for their sins against globalism and the wise central government in Brussels. The upshot seems rather different. Britain's vaccination rate is the highest in Europe, with nearly 40 jabs per 100 people. Compare that with fewer than 12 in France, Germany, and Italy. Only on the fringes of the Continent (Hungary nearly 18, Denmark and Estonia nearly 15) do we see any significant progress at all, and none comes close to half what the clownish Boris Johnson has managed to do in Britain.

Oh, and Belgium, home of that government? Its vaccination rate is 10.4 overall, though I suspect it's a bit higher for members of the European Parliament.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Hurrah for the Swiss!



We can always depend on Switzerland, which in a referendum has decided, 51 percent to 49, to ban full-face coverings like the Burqa that Muslim women are forced by men to wear, not to mention the ski masks favored by rioters in other countries. Good for them! Extremismus stoppen, indeed!

Medical masks of the sort worn to avoid the Wuflu virus are, of course, permitted by the sensible Swiss, as are I'm sure ski masks worn by skiers on cold days.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

FedEx: when it absolutely, positively must be thrown into a snowbank

 We got an email from FexEx last night: "Your package from PHOTO LAB was delivered on Tue, 12/22/2020 at 4:21pm." So where was it? Not in the Rubbermaid bin with the label, Put Packages Here. Not on the doorstep. Not in the garage or in either of the cars.

Finally one of the grandkids volunteered to walk out to the main road and look for it. She found the package, with its Fragile labels intact, stuck in a snowbank, one-third of a mile from our house.

Of the four package delivery services that bring stuff to us, Amazon is always the best, followed by UPS and the mail carrier. FedEx ranks at the bottom, with an oversized truck and a driver who doesn't seem to speak English. He pretends to understand it, but I don't think he does. 

And can I email FedEx to complain? Nah. User unknown!

   ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
    (reason: 550 5.0.0 <>... User unknown)

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The couple who brought us a vaccine


Let's now celebrate (legal) immigration! Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin were born in Turkey but emigrated to Germany, she the child of a surgeon, he the son of a "guest worker" at a Ford factory near Cologne. They grew up, became doctors, met, married (during their lunch hour), and founded a firm called BionTech. Playing off their expertise in cancer research, Dr Sahin last year sketched a template for a coronavirus vaccine. The American drug company Pfizer joined BionTech to develop the most promising of the candidates. Thus Germany created, the United States developed, and Britain this week approved the use of the world's first Covid-19 vaccine from a trustworthy company and country. (Seriously, would you want a jab from Vladimir Putin? Or Xi Jinping?) And all because two Turkish parents sought a better future in the West.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

The campaign is over, and peace returns to America

 From the Rasmussen poll today:

U.S. voters now regard each other as a bigger enemy than Russia or North Korea and just as dangerous as China.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 24% of Likely U.S. Voters think Biden voters are America’s biggest enemy as 2020 draws to a close. The same number (24%) see China as enemy number one.

Nearly as many (22%) regard Trump voters as the biggest enemy, while 10% view Russia and seven percent (7%) North Korea as the largest threat to the United States. Eleven percent (11%) are more wary of something else.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The sorrows of the Taylors, father and son

The saddest part of Japan's mad vendetta against Carlos Ghosn is that Michael and Peter Taylor, the two adventurers who spirited the former Renault-Nissan chairman out of his confinement in Tokyo, are now themselves behind bars. They're being held in a bleak county jail near Boston. The elder Mr Taylor was awakened one morning in May, went to the door in his underwear, and found himself confronted by a dozen armed federal agents. (He had a ticket for that day's flight to Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. Too bad he didn't make it!) "I thought I was dreaming," he later said. "I thought I was in Baghdad."

Mr Taylor's confusion is understandable. The whole affair has a third-world quality. Shame on Japan for trying to hold Mr Ghosn in perpetual confinement, and shame on the United States for abetting Japan's pursuit of the men who snatched him from durance indefinite.

A fourth man, Mark Kelley, is still mired in Japan's byzantine criminal justice system. Tricked into returning to the country when Mr Ghosn was arrested two years ago, he's defending himself in a trial not expected to end until some time next year. This was the foreigners' reward for turning the near-bankrupt Nissan around and making it more successful than the French company that rescued it.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Pawn to Queen Four

The Queen's Gambit takes place in the 1950s and 1960s, and if Beth Harmon is to be the world champion of chess, she must beat the Russians at their own game. There's some Cold War menace in the background, and Netflix, like most of the entertainment industry, thinks the Soviet Union's only flaw was giving up too soon on Karl Marx. The Americans therefore are shown as crass and the Russians as big-hearted, and at the close Beth finds fulfillment in a Moscow park, playing chess with sweet old men with not a hint of sexism or xenophobia. 

The critics have gone gaga over Anya Taylor-Joy, who does indeed do a great job as a chess-obsessed and Librium- and booze-addicted girl and woman who wipes the floor with almost every man and boy she plays against. For me, though, the more amazing actor is Isla Johnston, who plays Beth as a 9-year-old whose life is changed by a sad-faced janitor in the basement of her orphanage. With her terrifying calm, Ms Johnston is so good she's spooky. 

But she's replaced in episode 2 by Ms Taylor-Joy as a teenager adopted by a dysfunctional couple and placed in a standard-issue US high school. Again, chess saves Beth from the Heathers and football heroes who populate the place. Nothing can stop her now, save the occasional Russian! By episode 6, we're on to Paris, with Moscow not far behind. Altogether, and despite the occasional slowdown, this is the best piece of television I have ever seen. (And speaking of addictions, look more closely at the chessmen on that board!) Blue skies! — Daniel Ford