URLs du Jour

2017-06-27

Proverbs 24:17-18 discourages gloating, but not because it isn't nice:

17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
    when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
    and turn his wrath away from them.

Closely related to advice that Napoleon (never quite) offered: "Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself."

The Proverbialist adds the whimsical fickleness of a wrath-dispensing Old Testament God. You don't want to get on His Bad Side.

■ Peter Suderman at Reason notes that the New CBO Report Says the Senate GOP Health Care Would Make Obamacare's Problems Worse. What "problems"? Well, the very problems that Senator Mitch McConnell said back in January that he wanted to fix!

At the time, Republicans had not released their own health care legislation, or shared the framework for their plan. But now they have, and it is hard to square McConnell's criticisms of Obamacare with the legislation his office helped produce. According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate released this afternoon, the Senate health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), would make every single one of the issues that McConnell mentioned worse.

There might be a few Republicans out there that realize that the iron fist of Your Federal Government is absolutely lousy at imposing a grand design on provision of health care services to customers. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have much influence.

■ Nancy Maclean’s recent taxpayer-funded smear job on Nobel Prize-winning economist and scholar James Buchanan also managed to tar-and-feather GMU Econ prof Tyler Cowen. Russ Roberts lays out the details, and concludes: Nancy MacLean Owes Tyler Cowen an Apology. It's a detailed demonstration of how Maclean de-contextualized Cowan's arguments to make him appear to be "a sinister enemy of American institutions and democracy."

Of course I am not an unbiased reader of these issues. I was a fellow at the Mercatus Center for nine years. Tyler Cowen was my colleague. I’ve interviewed him many times for EconTalk and I’ve learned much from him. But I think the full quotes of Tyler Cowen make it clear that MacLean’s portrait of at least this essay of his are not accurate. I hope Nancy MacLean, who is a chaired professor of history at Duke University, will concede that her characterization of Tyler Cowen’s view of democracy is inaccurate or at least incomplete. She owes Cowen (and her readers) an apology.

Maclean's response to Roberts is appended, and it appears no apology is forthcoming.

■ At NRO, David French shares Three Thoughts on the Masterpiece Cakeshop Cert Grant. (The Supreme Count has agreed to hear the case of a Colorado baker who might be forced, against his conscience, to bake a cake for a gay wedding.) Here's thought one:

First, don’t let anyone tell you that this case is about status-based discrimination. The bakery is no more discriminating against gay people than a baker discriminates against white people if he declines to bake a Confederate flag cake. The baker bakes cakes for gay customers. He didn’t want to lend his talents to send a specific message — namely, approval of gay marriage.

Thoughts two and three are at the link. Spoiler: the whimsical Justice Kennedy might be key, as he has a First Amendment angel sitting on one shoulder, and a LGBT-friendly demon sitting on the other.

Power Line's Steven Hayward notes a new discovery out west: Seattle Discovers Gravity Is Not Socially Constructed.

Well not quite gravity, but close enough for post-modernist work. You know how liberals like to attach taxes on cigarettes so we’ll buy fewer of them, and on alcohol so we’ll drink less, etc? Funny, though, how the basic lesson of supply and demand and price sensitivity falls by the wayside when it comes to the minimum wage.

The occasion is a recent study showing that a boost in the minimum wage to $11/hour caused low-wage workers to take home $125/month less in wages.


Last Modified 2017-06-27 11:04 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2017-06-26

■ I'm not sure what to make of Proverbs 24:15-16:

15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

So the bottom line is: rob the wicked, it's easier? That can't be right. Or is it?

■ We've posted a number of links with the opposite opinion, but in the interest of equal time, here's David Harsany at the Federalist: The GOP Senate Health Care Bill Isn’t Great, But It’s Better Than Obamacare.

If Republican leadership had told conservatives in 2013 that they could pass a bill that would eliminate the individual and employer mandates, phase out Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, cut an array of taxes, and lay out the conditions for full repeal later, I imagine most would have said “Sign me up!” Especially if they contemplated the only other viable option: ziltch.

I'm trying very hard to care about this, and not having very much luck. In theory, I'd get behind any bill that might move the country toward a free market in health care, but that seems to be not in the cards.

■ Prof Don Boudreaux opines on the new book purporting to study the Nobel prize winning scholar James Buchanan, and deems it Fiction

As is true of GMU Econ alum Dan Mitchell, I haven’t yet read Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.  And I’m unlikely to do so any time soon, for what I’ve read and heard about it, this book is a work of fiction masquerading as a work of non-fiction.  MacLean, I gather, tries to show that the scholarship of my late Nobel laureate colleague, Jim Buchanan, somehow fueled efforts by right-wing plutocrats to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses.

Prof Boudreaux further demolishes MacLean's argument. It's interesting.

■ At Heat Street, Emily Zanotti reports: Chicago Gay Pride Bans ‘Jewish Pride’ Flag Over ‘Safety Concerns’.

Members of a Jewish LGBT group in Chicago were said they were insulted and confused after Chicago Pride parade organizers said their “Jewish Pride” flag—a rainbow banner with the Star of David—made other marchers feel “unsafe.”

When you're on the left, some issues trump others.

@kevinNR writes on Civil Asset Forfeiture: Where Due Process Goes to Die:

Current asset-forfeiture practice, like much that is wrong with U.S. law enforcement, has its roots in the so-called war on drugs. The practice of seizing assets is ancient: It dates back at least to 17th-century maritime law, under which ships illegally transporting goods would be seized, along with the contraband inside. Asset forfeiture was used against bootleggers during Prohibition, but it really came into its own in the Reagan era, when the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 empowered federal and local law-enforcement agencies to take property from drug kingpins for their own use. The sudden, unlikely inventory of exotic cars and yachts possessed by law-enforcement agencies inspired that great cultural document of the 1980s: Miami Vice.

The practice was also the premise for a season-five story arc on Justified. But that's about the best that can be said for it. (Season Five was widely considered to be the worst season, even so it was still better than 95% of the dreck on TV.)

There's a long quote from Clarence Thomas in Kevin's article, so you'll want to read that.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-25

■ I think we have to classify Proverbs 24:13-14 as, at best, a strained simile:

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
    honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
    If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Reader assignment: compare and contrast with Proverbs 25:27 and Proverbs 25:16. Not to go against the Good Book, but it's difficult to extract consistent honey-based wisdom from Proverbs.

■ This has been stuck in my craw for a while, so it's not quite timely, but anyway. Powerline's John Hinderaker uncovers Another Left-Wing Science Scandal. It involves glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp.

A simple Google search on glyphosate will give you a lot of scary/ominous (and a few level-headed) results. But the scary ones are really scary and seem to come from ostensibly reputable publications like Scientific American ("Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells") and National Geographic ("What Do We Really Know About Roundup Weed Killer?"). And the resulting fear, uncertainty, and doubt has made pictures like today's Getty image very easy to find.

Much of this fear springs from a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which, back in 2015, declared that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic". But, as Hinderaker quotes a Reuters report:

Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that [National Cancer Institute epidemiologist Aaron] Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis.

This has caused articles in left-wing publications wouldn't seem out of place in Reason or National Review. Example:

As of yet, there are no signs of IARC backing off its conclusion that RoundUp causes cancer. “Despite the existence of fresh data about glyphosate,” reported Reuters, the agency is “sticking with its findings.”

But the cat is out of the bag. During an EPA budget hearing Thursday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to look into the withheld evidence on RoundUp. [UC Berkeley professor of genetics, genomics, and development Barry] Eisen, meanwhile, worries that IARC’s handling of this case will damage public perception of the group. “This is going to end up undermining people’s confidence in this agency’s ability to do this well,” he said. “They don’t seem interested in getting to the bottom of these things. These decisions seem based in politics.”

Readers, that's from Mother Jones, not previously thought to be a part of the toady corporate press. Wow.

This is something to keep an eye on, mainly to see if all those mainstream publications will back off their scaremongering.

■ The Supreme Court giveth, but also taketh away. Specifically (as Eric Boehm writes at Reason): Supreme Court Deals Blow to Property Rights.

When governments issue regulations that undermine the value of property, bureaucrats don't necessarily have to compensate property holders, the Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court voted 5-3, in Murr V. Wisconsin, a closely watched Fifth Amendment property rights case. The case arose from a dispute over two tiny parcels of land along the St. Croix River in western Wisconsin and morphed into a major property rights case that drew several western states into the debate before the court.

The whimsical Justice Kennedy voted with the reliably-statist Breyer/Kagan/Ginsbug/Sotomayor bloc. Jazz Shaw at Hot Air quotes Justice Thomas:

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.

One can only hope that President Trump will get some more chances to appoint replacements.

■ I am a mild baseball fan, and I'm in agreement with (superfan) George F. Will, who reports from Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park: Baseball’s Pace of Play Needs Some Juice.

From Little League on up, players emulate major leaguers, so Major League Baseball’s pace-of-play problem is trickling down. Four innings into a recent College World Series game here, just seven hits and three runs had consumed 96 minutes. During a coach’s visit to the pitcher’s mound, the other team’s three base-runners visited their dugout to confer with their coach. The Congress of Vienna moved more briskly.

Will suggests (among other things) limiting catchers' visits to the mound. I'd suggest an outright ban, enforced by hungry wolverines, but there are probably downsides to that I'm not considering.

■ And Mr. Ramirez notes that elephants can forget, or at least pretend to:

GOP Repeal

URLs du Jour

2017-06-24

■ Chapter 24 of Proverbs has been at best a mixed bag so far, but Proverbs 24:10-12 is just plain wonderful:

10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
    Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

■ My Google LFOD alert was triggered by a Union Leader LTE from Richard Whitney, who's on the shitlist of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Why? Well, there's a clue in the headline: Feeding Stoddard bears is safe and beneficial.

Most citizens are unaware that Fish and Game officers can walk on to anyone’s property, any time, without notice or a warrant. As long as they are at a distance from your house and grounds, they can film you or watch you anytime without your knowing about it. What happened to the Fourth Amendment? We no longer live in a Live Free or Die state.

Mr. Whitney challenges Fish & Game's mantra "a fed bear is a dead bear", and (although I have zero expertise) it seems he knows whereof he speaks.

■ At NR, David French reminds us: Anti-Free-Speech Radicals Never Give Up.

Lest anyone wonder about the actual definition of “hate speech,” look to campus and liberal activist groups. At Evergreen State College in Washington, a progressive professor’s statement against racial separation and division was deemed so hateful that he couldn’t safely conduct classes on campus. Influential pressure groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center label the Ku Klux Klan and other genuine racists “hate groups” but also apply the same label to mainstream Christian conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council. The SPLC has branded respected American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray a “white nationalist.” Moreover, it’s far more forgiving of leftist extremism than of moderate speech that is conservative or libertarian.

It's a good fight to make. Although nobody (yet) is literally "staggering toward slaughter" (see above), this is no time to falter.

■ At Bleeding Heart Libertarians, Jason Brennan notes a new book by historian Nancy MacLean, and deems it a "hit piece" on the late James Buchanan (the Nobel Prize-winning scholar, not the lousy President). And asks: Conspire Me This: Is Nancy MacLean a Hired Gun for the Establishment?

Brennan notes that Buchanan's crime was a clear-eyed and unsentimental look at how government actions are corrupted by interest groups to screw over everyone else. And so?

So, along comes Nancy MacLean. The government paid her over $50,000 to smear Buchanan and people like him. Rather than challenge his ideas, she accuses him of this and that. Yet, all the while, Nancy is quite literally a hired gun for the government seeking to rationalize its oppression and abuses.

The National Endowment for the Humanities should be abolished.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-23

■ Your Pun Salad Challenge du Jour is to distill useful advice or insight out of Proverbs 24:8-9:

8 Whoever plots evil
will be known as a schemer.
9 The schemes of folly are sin,
and people detest a mocker.

Things have changed since those days. Now, you can get a lucrative TV gig when your sole meager talent is mockery. Just ask Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Chelsea Handler, …

■ Thank goodness for people willing to plunge into the sausage that comes out of the legislative process. For example, Michael F. Cannon of Cato looks at the "Better Care Reconciliation Act": Senate Republicans Offer a Bill to Preserve & Expand ObamaCare. As you might expect, Cannon blows big holes in it. The details are dispiriting, here's the bottom line:

The Senate bill is not even a step in the right direction. If this is the choice facing congressional Republicans, it would be better if they did nothing. Consumers would continue to struggle under ObamaCare’s regulations, but those costs would focus attention on their source. The lines of accountability would be clearer if Republicans signed off on legislation that seems designed to rescue ObamaCare rather than repeal and replace it.

That's an excellent idea.

■ Megan McArdle is also a reliably knowledgable pundit on the topic, and her take is similar: Republicans' Health-Care Bills Boil Down to ... More Obamacare.

Well, you know, if you tilt your head to one side and squint a little, you can sort of see … Obamacare.  I called the House health care bill “Obamacare Lite,” but compared to the Senate bill, the House was offering a radical new taste sensation. The Senate bill touches very little of the underlying architecture of Obamacare; all it does is eliminate the insurance mandates, cut spending and give states somewhat more autonomy in how those dollars are spent. Repeal Obamacare, you say? They’re barely even worrying it.

It would make a lot of sense to run away from this.

■ Had enough? Sorry, one more. Peter Suderman at Reason: The Senate GOP's New Health Care Bill Is Just Obamacare, But Less Of It.

For Republicans, this might be the notable failure to think beyond the terms set by Obamacare. It means that Senate bill not only won't be Obamacare repeal, it might not even be Obamacare lite. Instead, it might be Obamacare lite—later. And later could easily turn out to be never.

Well, we'll see what happens.

■ I can only assume that there's a mole inside the New York Times editorial department, because they published an op-ed from Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Nomani, displeased at the treatment they received at a recent Senate hearing. Kamala Harris Was Silenced. Then She Silenced Us. Although California's Senator Harris gets the headline, as we've mentioned before, she was not alone in her indifference:

Both of us were on edge. Earlier that day, across the Potomac River, a man had shot a Republican lawmaker and others on a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Va. And just moments before the hearing began, a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled us, putting Capitol police officers on high alert. We were girding ourselves for tough questions.

But they never came. The Democrats on the panel, including Senator Harris and three other Democratic female senators — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill — did not ask either of us a single question.

Maggie's just not interested in learning anything that might not fit into her narrative.

■ If you can't figure out how to breach the NYT paywall, John Sexton at Hot Air excerpts their op-ed, and comments:

I can’t improve on the take by these two women who seem legitimately concerned about human rights and especially women’s rights in the face of primitive and barbaric practices. It’s a shame that their experiences, and the lessons they’ve drawn from them, are so easily dismissed by Democratic women in the Senate. But then, when the former Democratic President of the United States is telling the world that “ISIS is not Islamic,” maybe this sort of avoidance of uncomfortable truths doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

I also tweeted about this, but I don't expect a response.

@JonahNRO asks the musical question: Are Things Getting Better?

The standard brief against the president, from the Left and much of the desiccated center, is that Donald Trump is a threat to the constitutional order. I do not dismiss this view out of hand, and if President Trump were much more popular, I’d worry about it more. But to date, things aren’t working that way.

When you were expecting much, much worse, things simply being bad is sort of a relief.

■ Matthew Continetti has come to the reluctant conclusion about so-called "experts": They’re Wrong About Everything.

Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.

I'd like to hear Tom Nichols in response. Maybe Matthew needs to pick his experts better.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-22

■ A slightly obscure Proverbs 24:7:

7 Wisdom is too high for fools;
    in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.

So back in ancient Israel "assembly at the gate" was a thing, and fools were admonished to not cause problems there. What would a modern equivalent be?

@kevinNR writes About That Russian ‘Interference’.

Even if one assumes the very worst about President Trump and the people around him (as I am inclined to do), it is unlikely that evidence of collusion would be uncovered because — this is key — it almost certainly is not there. I don’t expect to see any evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians for the same reason I did not expect to see any evidence of collusion between Lois Lerner’s politicized IRS and President Obama: The invisible hand of the corruption marketplace can do its work without a lot of committee meetings. Lerner didn’t need to be told to persecute conservative political groups, and the wild boys in Moscow weren’t waiting for the keen thinking of Donald J. Trump before they got moving on whatever it is they were actually up to. Contact between the two wouldn’t serve anybody’s interests — it would have endangered both parties’ interests.

This is turning into the Democrat equivalent of the "must be a pony in here somewhere" joke.

■ Jay Nordlinger writes on China dissidents: Hard Choices, Hard Lives.

It is a vicious period for human-rights lawyers in China. The boss of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has cracked down on them, hard. Two years ago, the Party rounded up some 250 of them, in what has become known as the “709 Crackdown.” (The arrests started on July 9.) These lawyers have been tortured, some of them into insanity.

There's a link to a longer article by Jay. It would be nice to think that this would be the kind of thing to stop President Trump from kissing up to the Chinese dictator. Not holding my breath.

Power Line blogger Scott W. Johnson writes on his legal woes, all due to his attendance at President Trump's 100-day reception for conservative media in the White House: Don’t Subpoena Me, Bro.

In a sequel to this particular magic carpet ride, however, I have now been caught up in the so-called “travel ban” litigation challenging President Trump’s executive orders “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” On June 10, I was served with a letter and draft subpoena from Tana Lin of the Keller Rohrback law firm’s Seattle office alerting me to my “document preservation obligations with respect to documents that are relevant or potentially relevant to this litigation.” Lin represents plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump, venued before Judge James Robart in the federal district court for the Western District of Washington.

It's chilling, in a legal sense. Johnson notes that it seems "like glorified harassment of a conservative writer."

■ At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Steve Kolowich starts the joke: 2 Professors Walk Into a Dumpster Fire .... The profs are Lawrence Tribe of Harvard and Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth, the University on the Other Side of the State.

"Bizarrely," wrote Mr. Nyhan last weekend, Mr. Tribe "has become an important vector of misinformation and conspiracy theories on Twitter."

Nyhan is far from a Trump apologist, but he's one of the few honest liberals; he's on the "Blogs I Read" over there on the right, but he seems to have gone over to mostly-Twitter these days. Pun Salad tweaked him years ago here and here.

■ Emily Zanotti at Heat Street reports on the dialog between California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Pun Salad Hero Eugene Volokh: Sen. Dianne Feinstein Defends Campus Fascists Instead of Free Speech. You will not be surprised who got the better of the argument.

[Senator Dianne] claimed that a university could stop a conservative speaker from taking the stage just to protect students’ “general welfare.”

“I think particularly in view of the divisions within this nation at this time which are extraordinary from my experience, I think we all have to protect the general welfare too. And I appreciate free speech but it’s another thing to agitate, it’s another thing to foment, and it’s another thing to attack.”

Constitutional scholar and law professor Eugene Volokh, was forced to explain, slowly and in terms Feinstein could understand, that it’s the government’s responsibility to protect Constitutional guarantees of free speech. A simple difference of ideas is not “fomenting” an attack—students have a choice on how to behave.

Is the 84-year-old Senator immune to education? We'll see, I guess.

■ Charles C. W. Cooke, writing at NRO notes that the FBI Report on Alexandria Quietly Debunks the Gun-Controllers’ Talking Points

Over the past two decades, Democrats have focused on three major proposals for reform. They are: 1) That all private transfers should be contingent upon a federal background check; 2) That firearms that look a certain way should be classed as “assault weapons” and prohibited from sale; and 3) That civilians should be forbidden from buying magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. None of these proposals intersect with what happened in Alexandria.

Specifically, the shooter bought his weapon in Illinois, which had (and has) some of the strictest gun-purchase restrictions in the country.

■ Jazz Shaw (a Navy vet), at Hot Air, notes the heroism of Gary Leo Rehm Jr.: Paying The Last Full Measure Of Devotion On The USS Fitzgerald

Petty Officer Rehm was someone who was up topside at one point as the emergency unfolded. He had “made it” to where there was fresh air and the chance to escape if the ship wound up foundering. He could have chosen to stay there. He could have bailed out. But he didn’t. He went back down below decks into that hellscape of flooding and blaring alarms to rescue his crewmates. He did so repeatedly, saving twenty of them. But his last trip to get the remaining men was one too many.

It's a sobering, inspiring story, and—oh yeah—something not "fit to print" at the New York Times.

I Should Remember This Every June 21

… but fortunately, we have Justice Don Willett.

If I were a presidential candidate, campaign promise number one would be: appoint Willett to the first available Supreme Court vacancy.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-21

■ In Proverbs 24:6, we get a little Sun Tzu-style advice:

6 Surely you need guidance to wage war,
    and victory is won through many advisers.

This reminded me of something… Oh, yeah here it is.

Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things."

Yeah, this is all starting to make sense.

■ I'm a little tired of the "but Democrats did the same thing" mantra, so I don't see how this is good. Peter Suderman at Reason: Mitch McConnell Might Hold a Vote on an Obamacare Rewrite Next Week. It’s Not Even Drafted Yet.

Is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell planning to hold a vote on the Senate's version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would rewrite Obamacare, next week?

If so, that would be quite remarkable, given that there is currently no bill available for either the public or Republican lawmakers to see. It is even more remarkable given that Republicans spent the last seven years criticizing Democrats for having rushed Obamacare into place, on a party line basis, without sufficient debate or clear public support.

Suderman offers a number of theories as to why McConnell is embracing this strategy, and any might be correct. Most likely: McConnell doesn't care too much about whether the bill passes or not, he just wants to get it off the Senate's plate.

■ Daniel J. Mitchell likes (with caveats) the latest rankings of states by Government Dependency, as determined by WalletHub: Red State, Blue State, Independent State, Moocher State.

[…] if we look at their 25 least-dependent states, you see a very interesting pattern. Of the 10-most independent states, only three of them are Trump-voting red states (Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah).

By the algorithm used by WalletHub, New Hampshire is in ninth place.

The full WalletHub article is here. When other measures of dependency (financial, job-market, international trade, and "vice") are taken into account, NH rises to fourth place. Wallethub invites me to embed, so I shall:

Source: WalletHub

■ Ben Shapiro writes at NRO on those, left and right, who seem to be Addicted to the Apocalypse. A point we've made before: if "we" adopt the tactics of the left, we're losing something important.

It’s far more dangerous when the self-stated guardians of Judeo-Christian morality declare war. Then nobody is left to stand for decent behavior — to remind us that we are brothers rather than enemies, that the proper response to an unhinged violent attack on members of Congress isn’t storming a stage at a play in Central Park, and that the proper response to a judicial verdict you don’t like isn’t setting local stores on fire.

There's only been sporadic nonsense from "our side", always rebutted and, when necessary, condemned. But it's worrisome nonetheless.

Just One Minute notes, with a certain amount of disgust, a recent New York Times story about the Navy sailors who died in the collision of their destroyer with a Japanese container ship: They All Died Serving Their Country, Even The White Ones.

The NY Times covers the deaths of seven US Navy sailors in a collision with a Japanese freighters and seizes an opportunity to advance their favored diversity narrative. Sadly, that means the two white male sailors who died are left to share one paragraph of a thirty four paragraph eulogy. No tearful interviews or fond remembrances from friends and family for these two. White privilege must always and everywhere be resisted.

Especially galling was the NYT's half-sentence brushoff of Gary Rehm Jr., who (as the Daily Beast reports) saved at least 20 sailors, and gave his life attempting to save more.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-20

Proverbs 24:5 dives again into the difference between wisdom and knowledge:

5 The wise prevail through great power,
     and those who have knowledge muster their strength.

Or does it? Try the King James, which seems to blur the distinction:

5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

So, no, I'm not sure what's going on here. But maybe this is where Faber College got its motto: "Knowledge is Good".

■ At Power Line, David Horowitz asks the musical question: Have the Never Trumpers No Shame?

Horowitz puts all Trump critics ("both left and right" and "Democrats and Republicans") into one big basket, which is problematic in itself. This allows him to conflate (usually) bogus criticism from left-Democrats with (possibly) valid criticism from libertarians and conservatives. And he doesn't specify any particular person or criticism he considers shameless, so there's a strong strawman component.

And other bits of Horowitz's argument are just bizarre. Here's a sample:

Consider also the most frequent lie about Trump – the claim that he himself is an extraordinary and inveterate liar, somehow even worse than his predecessor or his defeated electoral rival. But the “lies” Trump is accused of telling fall mainly into the category of opinions over which the left differs with him, or the exaggerations of a salesman who makes off-the-cuff claims without bothering to check the facts (not the same thing as a lie proper). The most memorable case of such overreach seems to be his claim that he lost the popular vote to Hillary because of voter fraud committed by illegal aliens. Since no one can seriously claim that voter fraud is non-existent, the “lie” consists in the number of fraudulent votes – three million or so – that Trump seems to have plucked out of the air. Obviously, Trump doesn’t know that there were three million fraudulent votes cast in the 2016 election. But neither do his critics know there weren’t, since there has never been a national survey of voter fraud, while Democrats have done everything in their power to prevent a system of voter identification from being put in place. In other words, both sides are sustained by unsubstantiated claims, although it is Trump alone who has proposed to settle the argument through a new commission that will look into voter fraud across the fifty states.

I almost want to take Horowitz by the shoulders, look him in the eye, and say: "David, President Trump is making wild charges about election integrity without a shred of evidence. Do you seriously see no problem with that?"

[Yes, unlike most Democrats, I think investigations and increased vigilance against vote fraud are good ideas. If Trump had just said that, there would be no problem.]

■ If (1) you are wondering whether Voter-ID laws 'suppress' turnout and (2) your name is Hillary, then you should check out Hans A. von Spakovsky and Benjamin Janacek at NR: No, Hillary, Voter-ID Laws Don’t ‘Suppress’ Turnout. (This in response to non-President Clinton's recent allegations otherwise.)

In fact, turnout data from 2012 and 2016 do not show any “voter suppression” because of ID requirements. Nine of the eleven states that have implemented so-called strict ID Laws either saw an increase in turnout or exceeded the national average in turnout in 2016. Two of them, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, finished in the top five nationally. Meanwhile only two of the 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have no ID requirement finished among the top five.

So: as it turns out, we would have had a President prone to making wild charges without evidence no matter who won the election. Yay!

■ At Cato, Christopher A. Preble describes The Consensus in Favor of BRAC.

Today a broad coalition of more than 40 different scholars from over 30 different think tanks and academic institutions have issued a letter calling on the relevant House and Senate committees to grant the Pentagon authority to reduce excess military infrastructure. Simply, we need another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The full letter can be found here.

Opposed to a new BRAC are my CongressCritter/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter, and both New Hampshire senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan. Why? Because the beloved sub-destroying Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would definitely be on the chopping block.

■ But there's good news too: In Major Free Speech Victory, SCOTUS Rules for 'The Slants' and Strikes Down Federal Trademark Restriction

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in favor of the Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, holding that the First Amendment protects the rights of the band's members to register a trademark in their band's "offensive" name.

Pun Salad wrote on the case here and here.

■ Which brings me to the tweet du jour from Frank J.:

I'd be OK with a more mild penalty, like automatic expulsion from Congress. And automatic impeachment and conviction for the signing President, if still in office at the time.

URLs du Jour

2017-06-19

Proverbs 24:3-4 is sweetly inspiring:

3 By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
4 through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.

It's interesting that the ancient Proverbialist found "wisdom", "understanding", and "knowledge" to be three separate qualities. No quibbles here.

■ A couple of people disrupted a "Shakespeare in the Park" presentation of "Julius Caesar", in which the stabbee JC was made to resemble Donald Trump. In how many ways was that wrong? Andrew Klavan knows: The Attack on 'Julius Caesar' Was Wrong in Every Way. Key paragraph:

Putting on a tasteless and ugly version of Shakespeare is not an injustice, not an outrage, not an act of war. It is speech — the very stuff we right wingers are fighting to keep free. This is more than a mere matter of law. The First Amendment, which protects us from anti-speech legislation, is not worth the crinkly brown paper it's written on if the values of free speech are not upheld in our hearts and minds.

Andrew's right. If libertarians/conservatives want to be better than their opponents… then they have to be better than their opponents. If you (1) agree, and (2) you want to get somewhat depressed, read the comments (536 as I type).

■ Paul A. Offit writing in the Daily Beast reminds us of How Rachel Carson Cost Millions of People Their Lives. You probably know this already, but it was not due to her somnolent science writing, but her strident crusade against DDT.

Since the mid 1970s, when DDT was eliminated from global eradication efforts, tens of millions of people have died from malaria unnecessarily: most have been children less than five years old. While it was reasonable to have banned DDT for agricultural use, it was unreasonable to have eliminated it from public health use.

Pseudo-scientific advocacy kills. Good to remember.

■ Joel Kotkin asks (and answers) the question in the Orange County Register: Is America now second-rate? Spoiler:

America is likely to remain the dominant country in the world — economically, culturally and technologically — for decades to come. Unlike Germany, China, Japan or Russia, its population will not be shrinking in 2050, and it enjoys both advanced technology and vast resources. Trump may damage our image in the world, but even his clumsiness will not be sufficient to undermine our continuing pre-eminence.

I'm a little more pessimistic, primarily because we can't seem to muster the will to get our fiscal house in order.

@kevinNR recounts Planned Parenthood’s Century of Brutality (from the print magazine). You might know the genesis of Planned Parenthood's genesis in the Progressive movement, but the details are chilling.

[T]he word “planned” in “Planned Parenthood” can be understood to function as it does in the other great progressive dream of the time: “planned economy.”

As Kevin shows, the eugenicist memes live on today.

■ At Cato, Jeffrey Miron has a headline that basically sums up how I feel about pols these days: “Everyone is Terrible”. But (specifically), he notes the terrible bipartisanship displayed in the push for new Federal drug legislation.

Much discussion assumes liberals are more libertarian-leaning on drug policy than conservatives. This is partly right; liberals are more likely to favor marijuana legalization, for example.

But many liberals endorse marijuana legalization because they view marijuana as relatively benign, not because of a principled stance for freedom or a consistent understanding that prohibition of any substance almost certainly causes more harm than good. Thus politicians across the spectrum are indeed “terrible” on drug policy.

Drugs are not "benign". But drug prohibition is worse.