URLs du Jour

2017-11-18

Foolish

■ All good bloggers should all take the opportunity for introspection provided by Proverbs 18:2:

2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.

A relevant quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi is our pic of the day.


■ P.J. O'Rourke writes at his new American Consequences gig on (wait for it…) The Next Presidential Campaign. Start drinking early:

Get ready for a lot of lying.

The Republicans will lie about what they’ve accomplished. It will be a straightforward lie. They’ll say they’ve accomplished something.

The Democrats will have a more rich and varied set of lies to tell. These lies will be, per Mencken, in the form of worthless promises to the electorate.

The "per Mencken" to which he refers is a quote worth copying:

The government consists of a gang of men [who]… have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction sale of stolen goods.

That was in 1936. Today things are different, because we'd have to add "and women" to that first sentence.


■ At Power Line, John Hinderaker writes that of ominous news: Democrats Revive the “Trickle Down” Smear. Quibble: to say it's "revived" would imply that it was moribund at some point. I don't think so. But Hinderaker's right that they currently want to turn the volume on that particular fallacy back up to 11. And they're getting plenty of help from the media. Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett's answer to a hostile query is worth quoting:

So trickle-down economics is something that, I guess, people who criticize the idea that taxes affect the economy will use to characterize approaches like the one that we’re pursuing. But I don’t think the idea that’s celebrated by even the non-partisan staff of the OECD — that if you have lower marginal rates, you get economic growth — is voodoo economics or controversial at all.

And yeah, the fact is that countries around the world have cut their corporate rates and had broad-based reforms, like we’re doing on the individual side, and then seeing economic growth result.

I don’t think there’s anybody who thinks that you’ll get no growth or negative growth for this. Maybe there are a few people. But in every economic model I’ve seen, you get growth — either a lot of growth, or sometimes if it’s a closed economy model, a little growth. But you get positive growth out of this. And that growth will benefit workers, and let’s talk about that.

So, right now, the way a U.S. firm avoids U.S. tax is they locate activity, say, in a country like Ireland instead of here. And so if you build a plant in Ireland, then you can sell the stuff back into the U.S. And when you sell the stuff back into the U.S., then it increases the trade deficit and doesn’t do anything for American workers, but it does increase the demand for Irish workers and drive up their wages.

And so what the President wants to do is cut the rate to 20 percent and build guardrails around the tax code so that people can’t transfer price — everything to Ireland anymore. And if we do that, then the people who benefit will be the workers here in the U.S. who have increased demand for their jobs.

Actually, it's the Democrats who want you to think that the Federal Government vacuuming up ever-increasing amounts of tax revenue will somehow trickle its way into your pocket, or something. Instead, it kind of pools up where a cynic would expect. Of the 25 wealthiest counties by median household income, six are in Maryland, and five are in Virginia. (See Mencken quote above for an explanation if necessary.)


Granite Grok's Kimberly Morin notes a certain amount of irony: Hassan and Shaheen to Attend Dinner Revering ‘Serial Sexual Assaulter’

Tonight, New Hampshire Democrats will hold their annual dinner at which they honor two womanizing philanderers, one of whom was accused by multiple women of sexual assault, including rape. The annual Kennedy-Clinton dinner will take place in Hollis and Democrats don’t seem to have any issues with revering these men, even during heightened allegations across the country about women who have been sexually assaulted by politicians and men of power in their beloved Hollywood.

Democrats changed the name of the dinner last year because they felt the Jefferson-Jackson dinner didn’t send the right message due to both men having been slave owners. Apparently, abusing women in modern times is perfectly acceptable to the New Hampshire Democrat Party.

All four of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation, all female, were in attendance. No doubt with frozen smiles on their faces.

My suggestion, left at GG, is to ridicule Democrat hypocrisy as necessary. I've done my part:

■ And a certain amount of ridicule is fun, and probably necessary, but let's not go too far, as @JonahNRO's G-File for the week reminds us: That ’90s Show.

But […] there’s a downside to all the gloating on the right. When people change their minds and accept your position, pelting them with rotten cabbage is not necessarily the best response. As a general proposition, it’s a good thing when people in the wrong “flip-flop” to the right position. If my kid starts cleaning up her room without being asked, I’m not going shout, “Hypocrite!” at her. I understand that the political climate makes that more difficult, given that there really is more than a little cynicism at play. But I think it’s worth keeping in mind.

Again, see the Proverb up at the top of today's post. Don't be a fool.


■ But, again with the gloating, from Michael P. Ramirez.

Al Franken is a big fat idiot and a hypocritical creep

URLs du Jour

2017-11-17

■ We start a new Proverbial chapter today with Proverbs 18:1

18 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Yeah. It's not as if you weren't warned about Trump.


@kevinNR wonders whether We Were Young is really much of an excuse for progressives who just now realized that Bill Clinton is a pig.

Our progressive friends have discovered their consciences on the Clinton matter at the precise moment the Clintons ceased to be useful instruments of political power. The Clinton camp has been moribund for a while now, stale leftovers from the go-go 1990s, the political equivalents of one of those AOL discs that ironic tech bros save and use for coasters. Political necessity forced the faction that brought Barack Obama to power — call it the New New Left — to make common cause with the Clinton gang, but they’ve been eager to see them off since well before the emergence of the tangerine nightmare currently commanding their dreadful attention. Bernie Sanders wasn’t quite enough to get the job done, but the fact that a rotten old red with a surprising amount of rape porn on his CV — and no formal affiliation with the Democratic party — even laid a glove on Herself is an indicator of just how long the Clintons overstayed their welcome. You think Elizabeth Warren is happy in Mrs. Clinton’s shadow? She’s got problems of her own.

My best guess: people who feel a need to grasp at ever-increasing amounts of political power just might have psychological/sexual issues several sigma outside the mean?

It's not an infallible predictor, but I think it's time to assume guilty until proven innocent.


■ A good article from the latest dead-trees Reason, an interview with Emily Yoffe, has made it out to the web: Dear Prudence Meets Due Process. [Ms. Yoffe previously wrote an advice column, "Dear Prudence", for Slate.] Intro:

"There is no doubt that until recently, many women's claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded," journalist Emily Yoffe wrote in a three-part series published in September at The Atlantic. "But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence."

These problems, Yoffe explains, are rooted in a set of directives from the Obama-era Department of Education, which nudged college administrators to adopt new procedures for adjudicating sexual assault disputes under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in higher education. While the goal of such changes may have been to protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice, the rules have in practice made it vastly more difficult for the mistakenly or maliciously accused to clear their names, obtain legal assistance, confront their accusers, or even make sense of the specific charges against them. What's more, Yoffe shows, many of these efforts were predicated on junk statistics and misconceptions about how human beings cope with unpleasant experiences.

Yoffe's no knuckle-dragging troglodyte. [Unlike me.] She takes sexual assault seriously, though, unlike "feminists" who use it as a political weapon.


■ My state's senior senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, is a reliably partisan Democrat, but lets give her credit for taking on some crony capitalism: Senators Aim to Axe Program Giving Farmers Guaranteed Profits While Sticking Taxpayers With the Tab.

A popular federal crop insurance program—the Harvest Price Option, or HPO—will cost taxpayers an estimated $21 billion over the next decade in order to guarantee profits for farmers who experience crop failures.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are aiming to slash agricultural subsidies by eliminating the Option. The bill would keep traditional insurance crop programs in place.

So: yay, Jeanne. She's also good on sugar reform. Now if she'd only stop her silliness on biodiesel


■ At Cato, Vanessa Brown Calder, shakes her head in wonder at the lack of swamp-draining in one of the most useless Cabinet departments: This is What “Effective” Looks Like at HUD?

Yesterday HUD Secretary Ben Carson tweeted that “The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit [LIHTC] is one of the most effective tools we have to create affordable housing.” And Secretary Carson’s presidential advisor published an op-ed yesterday which lauded LIHTC as a prime example of “the most effective and efficient use of the government’s resources.”

That is high praise for a program known for expense, complexity, lack of oversight, and abuse. LIHTC is arguably one of the most inefficient housing subsidy programs that the federal government administers.

Why, Ben, why?


■ At the American Spectator, Jon Cassidy is a fan of neither Richard Cordray, nor apparently Ohio voters: Cordray Is the Sort of Nanny Ohio Loves.

An official who’s been in charge of a Democrat-created federal office for blame, scapegoating, and extortion announced Wednesday that he’d be stepping down at the end of the month from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

This was followed almost immediately by the news that the official, Richard Cordray, was expected to run for governor of the Ohioans, a people united by a belief that, whatever it is, it’s not their fault. The lassitude of the Ohio economy in one stat: no state spends a higher percentage of its GDP on unemployment insurance, workers compensation and government pensions than Ohio.

I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a five-time Jeopardy! winner, but … no, he's pretty bad.

URLs du Jour

2017-11-16

■ Chapter 19 of Proverbs sputters to an end with Proverbs 19:29. Again, we're pretty rough on mockers and fools:

29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,
    and beatings for the backs of fools.

The Proverbialist is being metaphorical here, right? I mean … right? Beatings?


■ What should you do when people question your sacred cows? Megan McArdle advises: Listen Up!

… [P]artisans with an axe to grind are often the people who see what others don't. The faked Second Amendment scholarship of Michael Bellesiles, the forgeries that suggested Bush had gone AWOL during Vietnam, the imaginary gang rape at a UVA fraternity -- in all cases, the people who raised questions were dismissed as cranks and partisans, and often this was actually true. And yet, they were the ones seeing clearly, while the people questioning their motives were not.

Truth is powerful stuff; it can be bottled up for just so long before it bursts its container and splatters all over the place. And when that happens, the revelation of the lie hurts the credibility of everyone who embraced it -- and harms the very cause they thought they were helping.

Which brings up …


■ At NRO, Jeremy Carl discusses Democracy in Chains and the Scandal of Tonight’s National Book Awards

A few hours from now in New York City, the National Book Awards will be bestowed on a few fortunate winners. Past recipients of nonfiction awards include such luminaries as George Kennan, Barbara Tuchman, and Robert Caro. Former president Bill Clinton will be presenting an award at this year’s ceremony. And, unfortunately, he’ll be presiding over yet another prestigious American institution that has fallen prey to radical leftism, complete with a farcical judging process, all largely funded and overseen by America’s major publishers, who perhaps need to be reminded that conservatives buy a lot of books. It represents how the definition of merit itself has been twisted by our elite cultural institutions to undermine not only conservatives but anyone who does not share their radical political vision.

I must admit that I knew none of this before I was asked to review Democracy in Chains, by Duke historian Nancy MacLean, which has been listed as one of five finalists for the National Book Award for Nonfiction. It is a book riddled with intentional deception and errors and one that has been criticized by commentators left, right, and libertarian.

[Amazon Link]

Pun Salad has provided a lot of coverage to criticisms of MacLean's book over the past few months, but slagged off after a point, because it was just continuing to shoot fish in a barrel, even after the last fish was already bullet-riddled.

But, yes, the event to which Jeremy Carl refers happened last night, and in a slight win for opponents of tendentious Progressive twaddle, Nancy didn't win.

Instead, the non-fiction winner was The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, by Masha Gessen. The WSJ reviewer found the stories the book about those living under Putinism "compelling", but Gessen's diagnosis to be "a reductionist argument full of psychospeak about “energies” and an entire society succumbing to depression."

Still, probably an improvement over Democracy in Chains.

But I hope you didn't miss that little detail in Carl's report: "Former president Bill Clinton will be presenting an award at this year’s ceremony." Which is interesting, because…


■ In the wake of all the Weinstein/Cosby/Moore/Louis C. K./etc. scandals, even Liberals are noticing how differently Bill Clinton was treated back in the 90s for his equally sordid behavior. And—magically!—those Liberals are expressing Sudden Concern about that. What does David Harsanyi think? Well, here you go: Liberals’ Sudden Concern About Bill Clinton’s Behavior Is Cynical And Self-Serving

In the past few days a number of notable liberals have decided to take allegations of sexual assault against former president Bill Clinton seriously. Let’s just say that discarding the Clintons when they’re no longer politically useful to retroactively grab the higher moral ground isn’t exactly an act of heroism. But if we’re going to re-litigate history, let’s get it right.

“That so many women have summoned the courage to make public their allegations against Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’Reilly—or that many have come to reconsider some of the claims made against Bill Clinton—represents a cultural passage,” says David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker (my italics). It takes plenty of courage to face powerful men with sexual assault allegations. But how much courage needs to be summoned to “reconsider” Bill Clinton’s behavior now, more than 20 years after we first learned about it? Zero. Democrats pay no political price for going after the former president, nor will Clinton face any consequences.

Well, he might not be invited to give out an award at next year's National Book Awards.


■ At Hot Air, Allahpundit, peace be unto him, piles on with a request: Please, Democrats, No More Op-Eds About How Terribly Bill Clinton Behaved 20 Years After It Mattered.

But the stench of opportunism is so thick, it’s suffocating. Only now, 20 years later, with the Clintons at the nadir of their political influence and a storm of sexual misconduct allegations in the media raging against left- and right-wingers alike to provide cover — only now is it safe to say, “Yeah, in hindsight, that wasn’t very woke of us”? Democrats had an opportunity just 18 months ago to reckon with Bill’s behavior and Hillary’s enabling of it by denying her their party’s nomination and they punted again. There’s not a right-winger from coast to coast who believes this sudden moment of candor about Bill’s scumbaggery would be nearly as candid if he and Hillary were in the White House today, assuming the moment came at all. Despite proudly proclaiming themselves the party of feminism, most Democrats would have approached it the same way most Republican voters approached the sexual assault allegations against Trump and the same way most Alabama Republican voters will approach the allegations against Roy Moore — the party simply has too much invested in this particular person to believe the accusations against him, no matter how credible. The women are lying because they have to be lying. Our hold on power depends upon it.

Speaking of stenches, my doggie got sprayed by a skunk the other night. He still didn't smell as bad as "woke-when-convenient" Progressives.


■ You may have the impression that Pun Salad plugs every single article from @kevinNR. Not quite, but close. His latest is Regime Change.

It’s time for regime change, and I’m not talking about throwing President Trump out of office.

Robert Higgs, the great economic historian, coined the term “regime uncertainty” to describe a situation in which investors lose confidence that their property rights as currently constituted will be respected by the government. Regime uncertainty makes productive economic activity difficult, because it inhibits long-term investment. If you believe, for example, that government may be about to violate the rights of landowners and embark on a land-redistribution scheme, then you have to think twice before building a factory on ten acres of land or investing $1 million in new equipment for a ten-section farm. Ask Robert Mugabe’s unhappy subjects how that works out.

A common Progressive misapprehension—I know, there are a lot, but bear with me—is their idea that there's a vast amount of wealth that could be taxed away by the government, in the name of "equality". The problem with that is that a considerable amount of wealth gets its value from the underlying property rights regime. If you erode those rights by suddenly deciding that certain kinds of property are OK for the state to confiscate, that automatically makes such property a lot less valuable.


■ And Mental Floss comes up with some reassuring news: How a Wall of Lava Lamps Makes the Web a Safer Place.

A secure internet network relies on bits of data that hackers can’t predict: in other words, random numbers. Randomization is an essential part of every encryption service, but spitting out a meaningless stream of digits isn't as easy as it sounds. Computerized random number generators depend on code, which means it's possible for outside forces to anticipate their output. So instead of turning to high-tech algorithms, one digital security service takes a retro approach to the problem.

As YouTube personality Tom Scott reports in a recent video, the San Francisco headquarters of Cloudflare is home to a wall of lava lamps. Those groovy accessories play a crucial role when it comes to protecting web activity. The floating, liquid wax inside each of them dictates the numbers that make up encryption codes. Cloudflare collects this data by filming the lamps from a wall-mounted camera.

I have recommended this to a number of my former co-workers at the University Near Here. If UNH can afford a million-dollar football scoreboard, surely it can shell out for a wall of lava lamps. Because security!

Here's the video to which the Mental Floss article refers:

URLs du Jour

2017-11-15

Proverbs 19:28 is not fond of either the corrupt or the wicked:

28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
    and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.

That second line does not conjure a pleasant mental image. No sir.


@kevinNR offers an executive summary of Glenn Beck's interview with ex-GM honcho Bob Lutz: ‘The World Is Never Finished’.

"The world is millions of years old,” he says sagely. “And the world is never finished.”

Professorial and at times even a little prophetic, Bob Lutz, late of General Motors, isn’t what you’d expect from an old-fashioned American car guy: Zurich-born and Lausanne-educated, he knows a half-dozen languages and did stints at GM Europe, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, and the Marine Corps before returning to General Motors, where he was, among other things, an early advocate of electric cars. In a wide-ranging radio interview with Glenn Beck (who made his reputation as a conservative polemicist but whose straightforward interviews often are terrific and barely touch on politics), Lutz spoke at length about the future he imagines for the automobile industry: autonomous pods that consumers hail on demand rather than owning, networked together in ways that render such familiar 21st-century headaches as traffic jams and car accidents largely (perhaps entirely) a thing of the past. Rich people in the future will own sports cars for the same reason today’s rich people own horses.

Very interesting and insightful, even by @kevinNR standards.


■ Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ for the week is a lot of football, but also muses on the nature of sci-fi time travel. For example:

The Terminator franchise has been sustaining itself with new timelines. The Harry Potter play involves alternative timelines. The 2009 flick simply called Star Trek that rebooted the franchise as super-advanced from the get-go—TMQ liked the Original Series setting in which Starfleet was low-rent and coffee was served in foam cups spray-painted silver—created a new timeline in which the planet Vulcan is destroyed; in which two Mr. Spocks exist simultaneously (there’s Old Original Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy, and New Improved Spock, played by Zachary Quinto); in which Scotty possesses tech centuries before the tech is invented; and in which the actors have way better haircuts.

Spoiler in there for the next Star Trek movie, so beware. Well, not a biggie (mouseover to reveal): Kirk's father, George, played by Thor, will be in it. Perhaps McCoy's line will be "He's not dead, Jim."


■ Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon notes a sad story: VOA to Fire Three Employees Over Controversial Radio Interview.

The Voice of America, the official U.S. government broadcaster, has notified three employees of its Chinese language division that it plans to fire them for conducting a controversial interview with a Chinese dissident.

I'm old enough to remember when it was the VOA's frickin' job to broadcast the truth into Commie countries. If we aren't going to do that any more, why have a VOA at all?


■ The LFOD bell chimed for an article by Spencer Tulis in the Finger Lakes Times. link

Riggs Alosa, 23, graduated from Hobart College this past spring. He headed back to his family’s current home in Vermont to ponder his future. He has a degree in English with a focus in poetry but didn’t have immediate plans to enter the crazy 9-to-5 work world quite yet.

Having grown up in New Hampshire, it isn’t a surprise that he takes that state’s motto — “Live Free or Die” — to heart.

Sitting on the family property was a 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia microbus that his dad had bought some 10 years earlier. His dad was a fan of the Grateful Dead but bought it more because he liked the looks of it.

Bottom line: Riggs and his late dad's Westfalia are on a classic American Odyssey. For an English major with a poetry focus, it will no doubt be filled with interesting encounters with the real world. I wish him well, and suggest a return to NH when he's ready to settle down.

URLs du Jour

2017-11-14

Truism

■ Obvious good advice from Proverbs 19:27. Maybe a little too obvious, edging over into banal truism:

27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,
    and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

"Duh, Dad."


■ At Reason, A. Barton Hinkle notes that, to his Progressive friends, Money in Politics Apparently Isn't So Bad When Democrats Win.

Political experts have cited many reasons for Democrat Ralph Northam's huge win in Tuesday's elections. Credit has gone to the state's changing demographics. And to high voter turnout. And to loathing for Donald Trump, which helped drive turnout. Some on the right blamed Republican Ed Gillespie not being Trumpian enough.

One explanation was conspicuous by its absence, however: money.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Northam enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in financing: He went into October with $5.7 million in his pocket, compared to Gillespie's $2.5 million. By the time the polls closed, Northam had spent $32 million to Gillespie's $23 million.

ABH notes further a certain disparity in the way things are covered:

The difference in scrutiny is revealing, in the same way that frequent references to "the gun lobby"—but never "the abortion lobby"—are revealing. When conservative or libertarian groups support a Republican candidate, it's proof that the candidate is "in the pocket of" powerful and nefarious interests who have "bought and paid for" her support. When liberal or progressive groups contribute to a Democratic candidate, it's proof that the candidate's principled stand on important issues has earned the support of ordinary people who share her values.

Hinkle's linkles are interesting, restricting searches for those phrases to the NYT: as I type, "gun lobby" gets 1520 hits, "abortion lobby" gets 57.

Ironically (or is it), a similar hit count disparity is shown if the search is restricted to reason.com.

The hit counts are nearly equal at nationalreview.com.


■ What does the Biden 'Sunday Night Football' interview show? At the Daily Signal, John York has a suggestion: Biden ‘Sunday Night Football’ Interview Shows Campaign Finance ‘Reform’ Would Benefit Media, Not All People.

Many liberals point to the rising price tag of American political campaigns to support calls for campaign finance reform.

According to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and many others, the billions of dollars donated to political campaigns by individuals and corporations amount to “legalized bribery” on the part of big corporations and the super-wealthy.

But constraining private citizens’ ability to fund political speech would not empower the average citizen. Instead, one of the major beneficiaries would be nationwide media conglomerates and their wealthy owners.

Neither York nor I want to tell NBC who they are and are not allowed to interview during a football telecast. But Progressive calls for "campaign finance reform" are largely about cementing in Progressive advantages in getting their mugs on-air in "friendly" situations.


@kevinNR has a suggestion you've seen here before: End the Visa Lottery.

The diversity lottery is emblematic of our wrongheaded thinking about immigration. Here’s the way it works: Countries that have sent lots of immigrants to the United States (more than 50,000 over five years) are put on an exclusion list, and the rest of the world gets to enter an immigration sweepstakes in which first prize is an immigration visa for the United States. Those are much coveted, because there aren’t a lot of other ways for people who do not already have family in the United States or highly prized work skills to immigrate. So, Canadians are out of luck, along with Mexicans, Colombians, Vietnamese, Indians, and those pesky Englishmen who have for generations been packed into the squalid Anglo-Saxon ghettos that mar so many of our otherwise fair cities with their tea and cricket and ironic diffidence.

Not to mention the stiff upper lips.

But Kevin's right: the "diversity lottery" serves no compelling American interest. Junk it. Yesterday, if possible.


■ At the College Fix, Coy Westerbrook got Knox College administration and faculty to open up about their cancellation of "The Good Person of Szechwan", a play centering around a Chinese hooker sex worker: College leaders defend decision to cancel play after students criticized it as ‘racist’.

Mainly notable for the quotes, for example from Elizabeth Carlin Metz, chair of Knox’s theater department:

“I believe that academia needs continually to be vigilant about the shifting nuances in addressing sensitive texts,” Carlin Metz told The Fix. “I think we must put them in our syllabi and on our stages so that we can interrogate our assumptions and examine our past in order to understand [our] present…We need to acknowledge privilege in all sectors and the inherent bias that ensues. And we all need to listen.”

Prof Carlin Metz, master of academic bafflegab. From the "General Interests" of her faculty page:

"As a stage director in both the profession and academia, I am most stimulated and delighted by theatre that is visceral, provocative, and challenging. While I am interested in all forms of theatre, I am most drawn to contemporary non-traditional theatre that explores the human condition. I seek to integrate physical theatre techniques with more traditional Western theatre practices so as to discover new levels of expressiveness and meaning in theatre of all styles and genres and, thus, in the world."

Provocative, but not as provocative as "The Good Person of Szechwan".


■ LFOD alert: Our state's local cell of Commie Radio takes a look at You Asked, We Answered: Why Doesn't Everyone Wear Seat Belts in N.H.?. The NHPR comrade queried Russ Rader at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

I explained to Russ that we have, as a state, collectively considered passing seat belt laws in the past and decided we preferred that the government just stay out of it. I asked him what he thought of that line of reasoning.

“Well, it works,” he said, referring to seat belt legislation.

Studies have concluded that seat belt legislation measurably increases seat belt usage.

“The motto ‘Live Free or Die’ may be ingrained in the culture of the state, but people are dying needlessly because of lack of belt use," Russ said.

"We could be saving a lot of lives if people were required to buckle up.”

What Russ doesn't mention is that we could be saving a lot more lives with all sorts of other laws. Alcohol prohibition, this time with real teeth! Mandatory helmets for passengers and drivers! 25 MPH speed limits everywhere!

Where's the line? Commie Radio didn't ask that.


■ Geoffrey Surtees of the American Center for Law and Justice takes note of movement on the compelled-speech front: Major First Amendment Update: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Pro-Life Free Speech Case.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court took a critical first step in protecting the First Amendment right of pro-life pregnancy care centers to speak to their clients free from government coercion.

At issue is a California law requiring those centers to notify all comers of possible "free or low-cost access" to, among other things, baby-killing services. And there's an LFOD connection:

The First Amendment not only prohibits the government from telling people what they cannot say, it prohibits the government from telling people what they must say. Based on that principle of law, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of a New Hampshire citizen to black out the state’s motto (“Live Free or Die”) on his car’s license plate. It has upheld the right of students and teachers not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance if doing so would violate their conscience. It has struck down a state law requiring newspapers to print a reply critical of a paper’s editorials.

So, good luck with that. Kennedy's still on the SC, so I'm not optimistic about their chances.

URLs du Jour

2017-11-13

EA4

■ Some Proverbs are insightful and wise, but Proverbs 19:26 is just belaboring the obvious:

26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother
    is a child who brings shame and disgrace.

Yeah, the kid should not have done that. Next?


@kevinNR reads a WaPo article and hits the ceiling about The Myth of the Idle Rich:

The Republican tax plan may be kind of dumb, but if it were three times as dumb as it is, it would only be half as dumb as the Washington Post’s analysis of it.

Catherine Rampell, the scrappy young self-described Princeton “legacy” who handles the class-war beat for the Post’s opinion pages, offers up a truly batty take on the Republican tax plan: that it too strongly favors “passive” income in the interests of those who spend their days — here comes the avalanche of banality — “yachting and charity-balling . . . popping bottles of champagne and hunting endangered wildlife.” All of the usual clichés make an appearance: “passive owners of capital” vs. “workers,” “those who work and those who don’t,” etc. The New York Times isn’t the only newspaper getting carried away with celebrating the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, it appears.

Ms Rampell's article is here, should you want to expose yourself to the dumbness.


■ Our Google LFOD alarm bell rang for a Concord Monitor opinion piece by "editor emeritus" Mike Pride: The ongoing perversion of the Second Amendment. Ooh, perversion!

But it's really bad, an argument that has all the logical coherence of a pachinko machine.

Pride starts by telling the story of Howard B. Unruh, who strolled the streets of his Camden, N. J. neighborhood with a Luger, killing 13 and wounding 3. This was in 1949.

Reporters of the day looked into the details of Unruh's life to try to find his motivation. And Pride notes that reporters find themselves doing the same thing today, nearly 70 years later. In fact, everything's the same! Including:

And one other certainty in the pattern: “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”

And one more certainty: others taking advantage of cheap emotionalism, fear, and virtue-signalling to "discuss" gun control anyway. Pride doesn't mention that, in spite of the fact that he's doing exactly that.

But Pride finally, kind of, gets around to his point:

If the subject comes up, those who resist the idea of banning private ownership of military-style assault weapons are ever-ready with the bromides. Guns don’t kill people, etc. I’m sure that if any of them are reading this piece, they’re thinking: Aha, in your opening paragraphs Mr. Unruh packed only a Luger when he went on his shooting spree. Or hey, the New York mass murderer a few days ago drove a rented truck. What are we s’posed to do – ban trucks?

So Pride advocates "banning private ownership of military-style assault weapons". He doesn't argue for that, however. Instead he takes on the opponents of this idea, with their conveniently-imagined responses. (The "s'posed" is a nice touch: Pride imagines people who might object to a ban as being unable to pronounce words properly. Easy to dismiss those slack-jawed yokels.)

He does, however, brush up against a real argument. The targets of his proposed prohibition, "military-style assault weapons", despite recent headlines, are used in a vanishingly small percentage of homicides.

And there's another point that Pride ignores, and may not be aware of: There's nothing important that distinguishes "military-style assault weapons" from other semi-automatic weapons other than cosmetic features that seem scary to some: pistol grips, detachable magazines, flash supressors, etc. (The clue here is "military-style"; we're talking style over substance.)

Anyway, back to Pride:

But there is only one point to my writing this: It is time – way past time – for this country to stand up against the perversion of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court and Congress and the moneyed power of the National Rifle Association.

Pride, of course, finds "perversion" in thinking the Second Amendment means what it says. He doesn't bother in making a legal argument. He doesn't have to, because to disagree is simple "perversion". So there.

But the LFOD? Ah, there it is, at the end:

Military veterans and responsible gun owners know this better than anyone. In the Live Free or Die state, they should be first to stand up for what is right. If they did, perhaps Democrats would regain their backbone on this life-and-death issue and sensible Republicans, a sadly shrinking lot, would also see the light.

No, the LFOD invocation makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in this paragraph.


■ We're coming up on the 60th anniversary of The Music Man, and Mark Steyn's song of the week is: "Till There Was You". I liked this:

Meanwhile, four thousand miles away from River City, in Liverpool, a young lad called Paul McCartney was just getting into rock'n'roll. But his cousin, Bett Robbins, was into Peggy Lee and, on her occasional babysitting nights with Paul and his brother, it was Bett who controlled the Dansette. Paul ended up developing quite a taste for Peggy Lee, as did John Lennon, who couldn't stand Sinatra but thought Peg was a different kettle of fish. In 1961, her single of "Till There Was You" was a modest hit on the British charts, and Paul thought it was just another great Peggy Lee record. I sat next to him once at a British songwriters' get-together and, in an effort to avoid more problematic conversational topics such as "Mull Of Kintyre" or "Wonderful Christmas Time", I asked him about "Till There Was You". He said he'd had no idea until years later that it was from The Music Man, but he liked the simplicity of the song and of Peg's arrangement. And so, when the Beatles auditioned for Decca Records a few months later, "Till There Was You" was one of the numbers they offered. They didn't get a contract, but they kept the song in the act at the Star Club in Hamburg.

My face hurts after watching some movies, simply because I'm smiling all the way through them. The Music Man is one of those movies. (Another is Singin' in the Rain.)

Although, as an Iowa native, I'm partial to "Iowa Stubborn":

So, what the heck, you're welcome,
Glad to have you with us.
Even though we may not ever mention it again.


■ And our tweet du jour:

The teacher has nice handwriting, but doesn't have a lot of room for complaint here.

URLs du Jour

2017-11-12

■ As we've seen before, the Proverbialist was not a fan of mockery. Proverbs 19:25 continues that tradition:

25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;
    rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.

I can't agree with the disparate treatment advocated here. Although I'm sure it reflects the mindset behind advocates of campus censorship.

Our pic du jour shows some mockery committed against Adam Smith by some rowdy Scottish drunks ("but I repeat myself"). Obviously candidates for flogging. I'll make an exception to my general rule, and as a lame excuse … um … oh, yeah, Scotland has no First Amendment.


■ At Reason, Sheldon Richman wishes for Real Common Sense on Gun Control.

Here's how to judge the pragmatic case for gun control: if the pro-control lobby managed to have each of its favorite restrictions enacted, could we as individuals be more casual about our safety than we are today? The answer clearly is no. So what's the point of the restrictions beyond letting their advocates feel good about themselves?

A false sense of security is worse than no sense of security at all.

A crackpot idea of mine is to amend the Constitution to require all Congressional legislation to have a suicide clause: (a) a list of objective benefits it would allegedly confer; and (b) automatic repeal if those benefits did not materialize.

In short, CongressCritters would have to believe in their pie-in-the-sky promises so strongly that they would bet on them coming true.

I think such a measure would safeguard against proposals such as those discussed in our next item…


■ … in which Eric Boehm (Reason again) looks at a recent proposal from a genuine enemy of liberty: Sen. Feinstein's New Assault Weapons Ban Proposal Is the Perfect, Pointless Response for the 'Do Something' Crowd.

The bill exempts weapons used for hunting, and it would allow anyone who already owns one of the proscribed guns to keep them. In other words, it would be completely ineffective at removing these weapons from American society. But that's not really the goal at all. The goal is to do something about gun violence, and Feinstein's proposal certainly counts as something. Something ineffective and useless, but still a thing. A thing that could be done.

Complete sham symbolism, in other words.

■ But let's move on from guns to simple robbery, committed without violence. Well, only that violence (usually just implicitly, but not always) involved in taxation. An AEI report on farm subsidies claims Agricultural subsidies aid the wealthy, not those in rural poverty.

The subsidy programs that the House and Senate agricultural committees are defending and would like to expand include the federal crop insurance subsidy program, direct payments to farm businesses through so-called supplementary “farm income safety net” initiatives, and outlays on conservation programs.

Taken together, these programs cost about $20 billion every year. Crop insurance subsidies alone cost $8 billion, 30 percent of which goes to private insurance companies. Two additional “safety net” programs — price loss coverage and agricultural risk coverage — cost taxpayers between $6 billion and $8 billion in annual payments. Farm businesses also receive $5 billion a year in subsidies for adopting or simply continuing farming practices (such as soil conservation and protecting the environment) that are already being used because they are profitable.

And folks that like to say "the system is rigged" will find plenty of support from the article:

Who gets all that federal money? About 70 percent of all crop insurance and other farm income safety net payments flow to 10 percent of the largest crop-producing farm businesses. This group comprises less than 100,000 farm operations, each of which on average receives more than $140,000 every year. Those farms are owned by households with annual incomes and levels of wealth that are multiple times higher than those of the typical American family, and certainly far higher than those of families in poverty. Conservation subsidy payments also predominantly flow to the largest farm operations and wealthiest farming households.

Cliche: if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.


■ George F. Will has a modest proposal: Repeal and Replace the Tax Code.

The Republicans’ tax bill would somewhat improve the existing revenue system that once caused Mitch Daniels (former head of the Office of Management and Budget, former Indiana governor) to say: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tax code that looked as though it had been designed on purpose? Today’s bill, which is 429 pages and is apt to grow, is an implausible instrument of simplification. And it would worsen the tax code’s already substantial contribution to “moral hazard.”

Economists use that phrase to denote circumstances in which incentives are for perverse behavior. Today’s tax code is such a circumstance, and the Republican bill would exacerbate this by expanding the $1,000 child credit to $1,600 with an additional $300 “family credit” for each parent and non-child dependent, and by doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples. These measures would increase the number of persons not paying income taxes and would further decrease the percentage of income tax revenues paid by low-income earners.

The GOP tax proposal has some good ideas, but I can't get excited about it. (1) It only reminds us of how gutless the GOP is on spending, which is the more serious issue; (2) as GFW notes, it's full of social-engineering gimmickry.

Personal note: our family would have benefited from the generous adoption tax credit that was (briefly) on the chopping block, had it been in place back when we adopted the Salad kiddos. But it is (nevertheless) an example of the gimmickry that should go.


■ And our Tweet du Jour speaks for itself:

I, for one, regret party disunity over sex clams.


Last Modified 2017-11-12 10:30 AM EST

URLs du Jour

2017-11-11

■ We interrupt our usual Getty/Flickr embed for Michael P. Ramirez on Veterans Day

Veterans Day

None of this bogus "Veterans Day (Observed)" stuff for Pun Salad.


■ I want to like Proverbs 19:24, but …

24 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    he will not even bring it back to his mouth!

… we have, literally, seen this one before. Specifically, Proverbs 26:15, back on May 13 of this year. We had some fun with it back then, so click over if necessary.


@JonahNRO writes on the Roy Moore scandal, and the reactions thereto: Less Is Moore.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about the unfolding corruption of conservatism these last few years, but the events of the last 24 hours have shocked me about how deep the rot goes. Forget the people who refuse to even give the heavily sourced and corroborated Washington Post account a fair reading on the tired and predictable pretense that inconvenient facts are simply proof of the conspiracy against them. What galls and astounds me are the supposedly conservative public figures arguing that even if it’s true that Moore molested a 14-year-old girl, it doesn’t matter because, well, because the Bible said it was okay or Democrats are eeeeevil or it was a long time ago. At least Roy Moore admits that the allegation is serious and has denied it.

Bless my heart, I assumed that people who are so much more sanctimonious and preachy than I am would be able to draw a line at plying 14-year-old girls with booze and molesting them, particularly when the guy they’re defending won’t even defend the behavior himself. You’d think this would be the Colonel Nicholson moment where, like Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai, they would mutter to themselves, “My God, what have I done?” and collapse to the ground.

But no. They’d rather be more pro-kid-touching than the alleged kid-toucher himself.

At least Colonel Nicholson (spoiler) managed to blow up the bridge and take out the train. That didn't stop Major Clipton from observing, semi-coherently, "Madness! Madness!" What can we say to top that?


■ Clyde Wayne Crews writes at CEI on The Significance of Sen. Al Franken's Call to Impose Net Neutrality on Google, Facebook and Amazon.

In a recent speech at an Open Markets Institute panel session called "Are Tech Giants Too Big For American Democracy?" Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) had a surprise for big tech.

Not only does the Senator want to preserve government oversight over information flows in the form of regulated "net neutrality" for Internet service providers (the rules that Federal Communications Commission under Ajit Pai wishes to roll back); Franken also wants to extend the neutrality concept to content companies.

As we observed yesterday: for regulation-lovers it's real easy for "more" to become "never enough". The Road to Serfdom is slippery, and once you're on it, brakes can be ineffective.


■ Speaking of the Road to Serfdom thing, over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux reacts to news that the US citrus industry is looking to undo a USDA rule that allows importing lemons from Argentina: Lemonessence.

Protectionists are masters at frightening economically uninformed people with far-fetched hypotheticals. ‘What if all of our farmers go bankrupt and we are then left at the mercy of our military enemies to supply us with food? Do you want to risk that outcome?!’ – is the sort of absurd ‘argument’ that protectionists mistake for serious argument. This sort of precautionary-principle argument is prevalent when protectionists are trying to persuade people to allow the government to restrict their – the people’s – access to goods and services.

But the true essence of protectionism is captured nicely by this headline about Argentine lemon imports. No one with any sense can possibly interpret this demand by the U.S. citrus industry as reflecting anything other than an attempt to pick the pockets of consumers by denying to consumers access to imported lemons.

The masks keep slipping, but…


■ It's not just lemons, but also aluminum foil. Virginia Postrel makes the (obvious) point that Aluminum-Foil Duties Won't Make America Great.

Aluminum foil wraps burritos, physics equipment and the highlighted tresses of hair-salon customers. It forms flexible ducts and lasagna pans, lines cigarette packs and fast-food sandwich wrappers. It hides between layers of film in flexible packaging. It protects aspirin bottles from tampering, petri dishes from light and tractor engines from overheating. It tops yogurt cups and peanut cans. It backs blister packs of antihistamines, antacids and birth-control pills. It goes into automotive parts and air-conditioning systems.

U.S. manufacturers rely on aluminum foil. So do nail salons, building contractors and bakeries.

To the Trump administration, however, none of these businesses—or their employees—matter as much as a couple of domestic aluminum makers. Disregarding the ripple effects, the Commerce Department has said it will impose preliminary duties of 97 percent to 162 percent on the Chinese imports that supply much of the U.S. market with thin aluminum foil. That’s likely to have much more far-reaching effects on U.S. companies than the minor deals President Donald Trump announced on his trip to China.

So: get ready to pay more for nearly everything. Thanks to President Trump.


■ Like many, I am a Lee Child fan, and I was aware "Lee Child" is a pen name. This WSJ article has (among other things) a cute story of the name's origin: Lee Child Was Saved by the Beatles in Gray Britain. And I'll yank it from behind the WSJ paywall. The story involves his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Jane:

One night we went into the city by train to see a show. On our way back, we had to sit in separate seats. The guy next to me heard my accent and told me he owned a European car—Le Car by Renault. Except he pronounced it “ Lee Car. ”

Later, I told Jane, and we began using it as an inside joke for everything—lee table, lee chair and so on.

When our daughter Ruth was born in 1980, we called her Lee Child. That seemed like a perfect pen name.

Someday, we'll probably read how Jane asked him to fetch sugar from a high shelf, and he replied "Sure, I'll be your Sugar Reacher."


Last Modified 2017-11-11 5:29 PM EST

URLs du Jour

2017-11-10

content

Proverbs 19:23 is just not working for me:

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life;
    then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Not to complain, but … OK, never mind that, I have a complaint: you are not untouched by trouble, you do not rest content, and you point this out to the Proverbialist, and what does he say?

"You must not have been doing it right, the 'fear of the Lord' thing. Keep trying."


■ Hey, kids, what time is it? According to Daniel Payne at the Federalist: It’s Time For Gun Controllers To Put Up Or Shut Up.

Perhaps the chief problem with the U.S. gun control movement is that its proponents seem to have no idea what they want. Few areas of American public policy debate are as fact-free and as devoid of substantive meaning as the repeated and seemingly endless demands for more gun laws.

"More" is quite easily transformed into "never enough". Payne urges would-be gun-controllers to just be honest about their ultimate goals.

No, I don't see that happening either.


■ You can read a lot of subtext into this NYT story: After Night of Drinking, F.B.I. Supervisor Wakes to Find a Woman Stole His Gun.

An F.B.I. counterterrorism supervisor is under internal investigation after a woman stole his gun following a night of heavy drinking in a North Carolina hotel, according to documents and government officials.

In July, Robert Manson, a unit chief in the F.B.I.’s international terrorism section, had his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex watch and $60 in cash stolen from his room at the Westin hotel in Charlotte, N.C., according to a police report.

According to the story, alcohol was involved! Manson and others "had been drinking with women who said they were exotic dancers." And Manson was (reportedly) still "incapacitated because of alcohol" at 6:30 the next morning.

And I'm still parsing that bit about the $6K Rolex.

So: incompetent, overpaid, morally compromised. The FBI seems like a swell outfit.


■ Speaking of "incompetent, overpaid, unfit", @kevinNR writes on Our Tarnished Media, teed off by one of the tarnishers:

Dan Rather, in a recent interview, says he is worried about the political culture and the bitter divisions within it. I wonder whether he has considered his own unique personal contribution to the bitterness and hysteria of our political discourse.

Donald Trump would have a great deal less credibility dismissing every reality he does not like as “Fake news!” if Dan Rather had not infamously attempted to peddle some actual fake news for the transparent purpose of trying to hurt the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Rather’s attempt to use forged documents to push a fake story about a Republican candidate for political purposes did more than any other single episode of the past 20 years to undermine the credibility of the mainstream media.

It is a sign of our sick political culture that Dan Rather was not shunned into ignominy 13 years ago.


Reason's Ronald Bailey notes that Public Health Nannies Want to Stop You From Boozing. Why? Because Cancer.

Now come the doyens of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with their statement on alcohol and cancer. ASCO cites research estimating "3.5 percent of all cancer deaths are attributable to drinking alcohol" in the United States. That would mean some 21,000 of the 596,000 Americans who died of cancer in 2016 were killed by cancers associated with alcohol consumption. In comparison, smoking tobacco is estimated to cause 32 percent of all cancer deaths (about 120,000 deaths).

And the nannies (unlike gun controllers, see above) are not shy about recommendations:

The group treats consuming alcohol as a pure public health problem to which the only solutions are various forms of prohibition. They recommend regulating alcohol outlet density; increasing alcohol taxes and prices; maintaining limits on days and hours of sale; enhancing enforcement of laws prohibiting sales to minors; restricting youth exposure to advertising of alcoholic beverages; and resisting further privatization of retail alcohol sales in communities with current government control.

At least they're honest prohibitionists.


[LFOD Pinot Noir]
■ But our Google LFOD alert was triggered by (of all things) a non-prohibitionist review of a Pinot Noir offering [2015 vintage pictured at your right], written by Jim Beauregard, the Union Leader's wine guy:

So, I was gearing up to write about a big bold red to pair with this chilly season of storms, wind, rain, power outages and so forth, but I was breezing through Harvest Market last week and came across wine that I haven’t written about for a few years — Peter Paul Pinot Noir.

Peter Paul, you may know, is a New Hampshire native, and yes, if you look at the bottom of the label you will see it: “Live Free or Die.” The benefactor for whom UNH’s business school is named, Paul is currently the head of Headlands Asset Management in California, and while still working in the financial industry, his passion for wine remains undimmed.

The usual disclaimer: this Peter [T.] Paul is not the same guy as this guy, Peter F. Paul, serial felon, onetime huge Clinton donor (both Bill and Hill), turned Clinton enemy, …. It's a pretty sordid tale. Stan Lee, yes, that Stan Lee, is also involved.

Anyway: A bottle of the pinot will set you back $22.99 at New Hampshire's fine liquor and wine outlets (on sale this month). Unavailable in the Dover and Somersworth locations, but the big store at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle has 9 bottles in stock as I type.

But is it any good? Here's Jim:

This is a fairly dark Pinot Noir, purple heading into ruby overall, with a clean and refreshing nose of medium intensity that presents delightful aromas of raspberry, and with a little air, strawberry as well. On the palate, it presents itself as a developing wine, dry, with medium acidity, tannin that’s fine-grained and blends well, as well as alcohol at 14.2%. Medium body and medium-plus flavor intensity that run from fruit to some oak hints. The flavor profile includes raspberry, following the nose, but also strawberry, red plum, a slight earthiness and some slight hints of cedar that come and go over the finish, which is long and pleasing.

So that's good, right?

But the big question for me: will I be able to tell any difference between this and the 15-bucks-for-a-five-liter-box plonk I usually buy?

URLs du Jour

2017-11-09

Proverbs 19:22 looks like a non sequitur:

22 What a person desires is unfailing love;
    better to be poor than a liar.

That's the New International Version translation, our default. I believe a paraphrase might be: you're better off getting your unfailing love from a poor man; you won't get it from a liar. That makes a certain amount of sense.


■ John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has some bad news: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Still Endanger U.S. Economy.

Nearly a decade since the housing bust of 2008 sent the U.S. economy into a tailspin, much legislation has been enacted and regulation promulgated in the name of “financial reform”—to little effect. Many of the problems that precipitated the financial crisis continue to threaten the American financial system.

Fannie and Freddie haven't been reformed so much as they've been transformed into 100% socialist enterprises. Which means Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer will be on the hook if when things go south, a direction in which socialist enterprises invariably go.


■ At NRO, David French invites us to Lo and Behold the Free-Speech Hypocrisy of the Corporate Left. Working off Apple CEO Tim Cook's acceptance speech of the Newseum's "Free Expression Award"…

Late last month, Cook’s company joined 36 other corporate hypocrites (such heavyweights as Yelp, Amazon, American Airlines, and Citigroup) to urge the Supreme Court to rule against the free-speech rights of a small business, Masterpiece Cakeshop. This tiny Colorado bakery did nothing more and nothing less than exercise the very same rights that Cook proclaimed in April: It used its voice to defend its corporate values. Just as Apple was unwilling to use its App Store to express ideas it found offensive, Masterpiece Cakeshop chose not to create a rainbow wedding cake to celebrate a gay wedding. Just as Apple claims that it engages in expression, not discrimination, Masterpiece Cakeshop says it serves all comers, without regard to race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

I believe the current Apple et. al. ideology is: free expression is just fine, unless we disagree with it.

French's bottom line, with which I agree: "Tim Cook, give back your award."


■ Rand Paul was My Guy in the 2016 election, until he dropped out. Now, thanks to an attack by a friendly neighbor, he's laid up with…

A pleural effusion, it says here, is a buildup of fluid in the cavity around the lungs, making breathing difficult.

Matt Welch notes the outpouring of sympathy deranged ideology-based sneering from our "compassionate" friends on the left: Rand Paul Getting Attacked Is What’s Wrong with Libertarianism. Wait, What?

But if you think a seemingly non-political man-fight would escape the relentless Politicization of Everything, you haven't been paying attention. By dint of his unusual ideology, Rand Paul suffers from the Weird Man's Burden, which means sustaining an unprovoked assault is a splendid occasion to call him an asshole.

Welch has a dispiriting number of examples. It doesn't take any imagination at all to think how the responses would differ if the Rs and Ds were reversed.


■ It's been alleged the attack had nothing to do with politics, instead was over Sen. Paul's insistence on growing pumpkins and maintaining a compost pile. That's now disputed, for example in the Washington Examiner: Rand Paul's neighbors rip media 'landscaping dispute' reports.

But seven neighbors in the Rivergreen gated community told Secrets Wednesday that the Pauls are friendly homeowners who kept their property tidy.

“The Paul’s landscaping looks just like everyone’s place in Rivergreen. Wish I could get him to cut my lawn,” said neighbor Robert Warner. “As a friend, neighbor and senator, Rand has been first class in every way. What I find amazing is the fact that he cuts his own grass. Our neighborhood is fortunate that the Paul’s live here,” he added.

Something smells, and it's not compost.