URLs du Jour - 2014-12-16

  • Jonah Goldberg is a master pundit. His Friday "G-File" mail is great PG-13 fun to read, and often preview his more respectable op-ed columns.

    Example: last Friday's G-File was subject-lined with: "Jonathan Gruber’s Pants Inferno". Sample:

    In almost every exchange, Gruber fell back on language you’d expect from a stockbroker tied up in an S&M dungeon. I did it because I am a flea! A worm! I am no master of the universe, I am nothing! Punnnniissshhh meee!

    All that was missing were some riding-crop and melted-candle-wax welts, and maybe a shorn scrotum. Hey man, it’s a defense.

    But it’s not a good one. You can blame your arrogance for calling the American voters stupid, but you can’t blame your arrogance for claiming that the bill was designed to hide taxes and deceive the public. If I stab someone 34 times, the jury might want to hear about my arrogance, but whether I’m arrogant or humble, it doesn’t change what I did — and apologizing for it doesn’t clarify where the body is buried.

    But the argument carries over to the less raucous version in Jonah's op-ed, "Jonathan Gruber should've been Time's Person of the Year". The word "scrotum" does not appear. The sober conclusion there:

    […] Gruber's arrogance goes beyond the personal. He represents the arrogance of the expert class writ large. They create systems, terms and rules that no normal person on the outside can possibly penetrate. They make life and living more complicated and then get rich and powerful off of their ability to navigate that complexity. Time and again they sell simplicity and security and deliver more complications and insecurity, which in turn creates demand for more experts promising simplicity and security the Gruberians never deliver.

    So read both, and give thanks for Goldberg.

  • Could P. J. O'Rourke's employer, The Daily Beast, make him write about Lena Dunham? Find out the awful truth at "They Made Me Write About Lena Dunham". Part of Peej's research was to watch an episode of Dunham's HBO series, Girls.

    The young people in Girls are miserable, peevish, depressed, hate their bodies, themselves, their life, and each other. They occupy apartments with the size and charm of the janitor’s closet, shared by The Abominable Roommate. They dress in clothing from the flophouse lost-and-found and are groomed with a hacksaw and gravel rake. They are tattooed all over with things that don’t even look like things the way a anchor or a mermaid or a heart inscribed “Mom” does, and they’re only a few years older than my daughters.

    The characters in Girls take drugs. They “hook up” in a manner that makes the casual sex of the 1960s seem like an arranged marriage in Oman. And they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit.

    It’s every parent’s nightmare. I had to have a lot to drink before I could get to sleep after watching this show about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters.

  • I like the homepage at MagicLeap.com. Neal Stephenson is involved with them somehow, so it—whatever "it" is—could be indescribably wonderful.

  • Also check out Kevin Clark's wonderful article about Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck's "trash talk".

    Luck has become famous for congratulating—sincerely and enthusiastically—any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as ”great job” or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.

    Weird is a welcome relief from most of the NFL news this season. If the Pats falter, I think I'll be cheering for the Colts.

  • And I think you will laugh at least twice while reading through VAViper's collection of warning labels.

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URLs du Jour - 2014-12-10

These posts don't often have a unifying theme. But (you may have noticed) it's been an apology-filled few days. So:

  • Iowahawk calls it the "latest dispatch from Planet College". As Robby Soave says:

    Smith College President Kathleen McCartney thought she was showing solidarity with students protesting racism and police brutality when she sent a campus-wide email with the subject line, "All Lives Matter." But the anti-racism slogan popular with students is actually the more selective "black lives matter."

    Prez McCartney apologized. Abjectly. Of course.

    At today's institutions of higher learning, you have to utter your stupid slogans using exactly the right words.

    (I thought there might also have been a perception that Prez McC was making a subtle point about abortion. But it seems that misconception was not seriously entertained: nobody thought she was implying that unborn babies' lives matter. At Smith? Be serious!)

  • University of Iowa President Sally Mason found herself apologizing as well. Was her apology even more craven than President McCartney's? It's a close call, I think.

    University of Iowa (UI) students, faculty, and administrators are speaking out in support of the censorship of a statue created and displayed on campus by visiting professor Serhat Tanyolacar that they say constitutes “hate speech.” Tanyolacar’s piece comprised a seven foot tall sculpture of a Ku Klux Klan member whose robes are crafted from newspaper articles about racial violence. Many members of the UI community, however, ignored the intended anti-racist message of the piece and instead demanded that the university take action against what they perceive as a racist display—and the university is complying.

    President Mason apologized, as did UI's Office of Strategic Communication (is there also an office of Tactical Communication?). As did the artist.

    To any mind not inclined to be offended, the "sculpture" was clearly intended to be anti-racist (albeit lamely). But, as at Smith, a lot of Hawkeyes decided to ignore intentions and get outraged instead. The Iowa City collective IQ dipped about 10 points, and gutless self-censorship won. Yay!

    Hopefully, Iowa's football team will show more spine next month against Tennessee in the Bowl Formerly Known As Gator.

  • Lena Dunham also apologized. (Although that apology is buried in, to quote Treacher, a mass of "self-pitying claptrap".)

    But anyway: when Lena wrote that passage in her recent book accusing a library-employed, Oberlin College Republican named "Barry" of raping her back in her college days, she didn't mean the actual library-employed, Oberlin College Republican named "Barry". That was—and I am not making this quote up—"an unfortunate and surreal coincidence."

    I must admit, I would have liked to see this played out in court, with Lena paying "Barry" a very large sum, enough to send his kids to … well, probably not Oberlin. But it appears he's gonna let her off the hook.

  • MIT Professor J. Gruber also got his apology out yesterday.

    He delivered a mea culpa of sorts in his opening remarks on Tuesday for what he called his "mean and insulting" comments, explaining some of his remarks while trying to take some of them back. After once saying a lack of transparency helped the law pass, Gruber said Tuesday he does not think it was passed in a "non-transparent fashion." He also expressed regret for what he called "glib, thoughtless and sometimes downright insulting comments." "I sincerely apologize for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion," Gruber said. "I knew better. I know better. I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry." He said he "behaved badly" but stressed that "my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act."

    Enough? But let me tell you what made me chuckle.

    One of my favorite old sitcoms was "WKRP in Cincinnati". It opened with a driver fiddling with his car radio, briefly hitting a news station:

    "And the senator, while insisting he was not intoxicated, could not explain his nudity."

    Compare with this Newsweek paragraph (quoted by Jennifer Rubin):

    Gruber could not fully explain his comments about subsidies through the federal exchange—comments that Democrats fear will become grounds for the Supreme Court to gut the law. But Gruber repeated Tuesday that he always assumed in all of his economic models that subsidies would be available for plans purchased through the federal exchange. He also offered one theory on why he might have made those comments.

    Or: "The professor, while insisting he was not intoxicated, could not explain…"

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URLs du Jour - 2014-12-04

  • income quintile net transfers One would hope that the people who prattle on about the continuing need for "the rich" to pay their "fair share" of taxes would read Mark J. Perry's post with the lengthy title: "New CBO study shows that ‘the rich’ don’t just pay their ‘fair share,’ they pay almost everybody’s share". But, alas, they probably won't.

    Key graphic at your right. I would like to ask (say) President Obama: how tall does that blue bar have to be in order for you to pronounce it "fair"?

  • And one would hope MSM bigwigs might read Mollie Hemingway's "Dear Media: This Elizabeth Lauten Nonsense Is Why Everybody Hates You". But (again), alas, they probably won't.

    If you don't know what the "Elizabeth Lauten nonsense" is: (a) good for you, it's stupid; (b) Mollie will provide you background. But it's only the latest instance of the MSM's blatant double-standards, bias, and hypocrisy in deciding what is to be considered "news".

    Disclaimer: I'm not a hater myself, but I'm a disrespecter.

  • And one would hope that anyone who believed a word of what Lena Dunham claimed about getting raped by "a Republican" at Oberlin College would read John Nolte's article "Investigation: Lena Dunham ‘Raped By a Republican’ Story in Bestseller Collapses Under Scrutiny". But (once again), alas they almost certainly won't.

    Ms. Dunham claimed that her assailant was the host of a show "Real Talk with Jimbo" on a local radio station, almost certainly the campus radio station. Nolte's efforts to check whether such a show existed were stonewalled down the line, but not before the current station manager deemed Nolte's efforts to check Dunham's story were "irrelevant" and "could create a conflict of interest on campus regarding sexual assault."

    I'm thinking that if Dunham's story could have been verified on this detail, Oberlin would have been a lot more cooperative.

    And John Nolte should be widely commended for doing actual investigative journalism. But he won't be.

  • A little astronomical geekery: a gentleman named Michael Zeiler is looking forward to the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse and after visiting his blog, perhaps you will be too.

    The highlight is an eight-inch by ten-foot (!) graphic (if you printed it full size), that shows the path of the moon's shadow as it will travel across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. It is an amazingly fact-packed, beautiful visualization. (You'll learn, for example, that "Hotels in Oregon in the center of the eclipse path between Salem and Albany are scarce or already reserved.")

    The April 8, 2024 eclipse will be closer to us here in New Hampshire, but, um, who knows how mobile we'll be then?

  • Pun Salad's public service notice du jour: Taylor Swift is not singing about "all the lonely Starbucks lovers."

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URLs du Jour - 2014-12-03

  • [I HATE TEA (PARTIES)] The Official Store of the Democratic Party has decided to shed all that phony we-are-all-Americans rhetoric, and is selling the "I HATE TEA (PARTIES)" travel tumbler". It's a cool $30.

    A message-free mug will only set you back, what, $7 or so? But if you're a Democrat, apparently your party apparat thinks you're willing to shell out more than that in order to perfectly express your blind hatred.

  • Kevin D. Williamson unveils "The BET ME Challenge":

    If I were inclined to violate my own libertarian leanings, I’d lobby the new Republican majority in Congress to enact the Better Expertise Through Monetary Exposure Act of 2015 — the BET ME Act. The purpose of the BET ME Act would be two-fold: First, it would impose accountability on pundits and self-appointed experts of all descriptions by requiring them to wager a month’s pay on the real-world outcome every time they published a prediction.

    Second, and consequently, it would surely eliminate the national debt in a matter of months.

    As Kevin notes, there are Constitutional issues. But…

    I've occasionally avocated a similar proposal for politicians and their legislation:

    • Each bill going through the legislature must explicitly describe, precisely and objectively, the foreseen benefits it will accomplish.

    • Then—this is the critical bit—if at any point any of those benefits fails to materialize, the legislation will immediately and automatically go out of effect.

    I.e., force advocates of the bill to bet its continued enforcement on whether it will do what they claim it will. (It would be OK to claim that the bill would have no measurable benefits, but why then would anyone vote for it?)

    Is there any doubt that if this provision had been in effect in 2009, ObamaCare would have been gone by now, and its advocates even more embarrassed than they are?

  • For example:

    [About to be ex-] Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill.

    Harkin spent 5 terms, 30 years, in the Senate. And it took him all this time to admit he was really bad at the job.

    Peter Suderman, by the way, deems Harkin's musings "a revisionist liberal fantasy". Not that there's anything unusual about revisionist liberal fantasies.

  • And another example comes from Walter Olson at Cato:

    Economic sanctions, when they have an effect at all, tend to inflict misery on a targeted region’s civilian populace and often drive it further into dependence on violent overlords. That truism will surprise few libertarians, but apparently it still comes as news to many in Washington, to judge from the reaction to this morning’s front-page Washington Post account of the humanitarian fiasco brought about by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law’s “conflict minerals” provisions. According to reporter Sudarsan Raghavan, these provisions “set off a chain of events that has propelled millions of [African] miners and their families deeper into poverty.” As they have lost access to their regular incomes, some of these miners have even enlisted with the warlord militias that were the law’s targets.

    But I'm sure Dodd and Frank are quite proud of their handiwork.

  • At Reason, Ira Stoll looks at the recently-defunct "green" Xunlight Corporation, the latest "example of how government at all levels—state and federal—and in both parties—Republican and Democrat —wastes taxpayer money by subsidizing politically connected businesses." Worth reading, especially if you think one party's more guilty than the other on this issue.

  • I liked Jonah Goldberg's essay on integrity when it was in my dead-trees National Review and now it's out from behind the NR paywall. He bemoans the ever-more-popular Nietzschean concept that one must "look within" for one's moral compass.

    Such saccharine codswallop overturns millennia of moral teaching. It takes the idea that we must apply reason to nature and our consciences in order to discover what is moral and replaces it with the idea that if it feels right, just do it, baby. Which, by the by, is exactly how Lex Luthor sees the world. Übermenschy passion is now everyone’s lodestar. As Reese Witherspoon says in Legally Blonde, “On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise professor quoted Aristotle: ‘The law is reason free from passion.’ Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life.” Well, that solves that. Nietzsche-Witherspoon 1, Aristotle 0.

    As usual, Jonah draws multiple lessons from pop culture. Check it out.

  • Finally: Readers on Pun Salad's "Default" view might be interested in my takes on some recent reads: The Up Side of Down by longtime blogger Megan McArdle (aka "Jane Galt"); and The Norm Chronicles by Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter.

Last Modified 2014-12-05 11:17 AM EST
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URLs du Jour - 2014-11-24

  • Kevin D. Williamson detects in President Obama a case of "A Small Man in a Big Office". It's a very interesting take on how character, or the lack thereof, manifests itself, either on the playing field or in elective office:

    I have seen a high-school football coach refuse to shake the hand of his opposite number after a football game in response to perceived affronts to sportsmanship, and that’s a serious thing. (They take it seriously in that other kind of football, too.) It’s basically Sampson biting his thumb at Abraham in the opening of Romeo and Juliet. “When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed, too, ’tis a foul thing.” You don’t shake hands with somebody who has behaved dishonorably.

    I do not think I would shake hands with Barack Obama.

    That's a thought experiment I doubt either Kevin or I would get a chance to test in real life, but I think I'd probably go the same way.

  • There is P.J. O'Rourke content at the Daily Beast: "Why 2016’s Hopefuls Are Hopeless", a quick look at both parties' likely presidential candidates. Jeb Bush, for example:

    He’s got everything.

    He’s young (for a Republican), just 61.

    He was a Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Texas. Hook ‘Em, Horns!

    He was a successful businessman.

    And a successful two-term Governor of a state where the balloting incompetence and idiocy is absolutely vital to the GOP.

    He’s fluent in Spanish. His wife is Hispanic. His children are too! He’s sure to move, temporarily, from Coral Gables to Houston so he can choose fellow Floridian Marco Rubio as his running mate. Kiss the Latino vote goodbye, Democrats.

    John Ellis Bush has just one problem. Perhaps you can take a “Bush-league” guess what it is. But don’t worry. Jeb is all set to legally change his name to “Scott Walker.”

  • You probably saw or heard about this past weekend's Saturday Night Live opening sketch that was openly non-reverential to President Obama and his immigration moves a few days ago! Heresy! At Breitbart, John Nolte noticed that the Washington Post actually spent time fact-checking the sketch. (Something nobody can remember happening in response to the approximately 2,396 anti-Ford/Reagan/Bush/GOP SNL sketches over the past 40 years.)

    And at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey lists a few things the WaPo could also correct, for example:

    • There are actually very few people with cone-shaped heads, and they rarely talk like robots.
    • Don’t Fear The Reaper didn’t really need more cowbell.
    • Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her house.

    And more.

  • And finally, a couple of seasonal links. Reason reports that the latest attack in the War Against Christmas has been beaten back:

    It's a Christmas miracle! An elementary school in a Boston suburb that was going to cancel its annual trip to see The Nutcracker has decided allowing kids to see a Christmas tree on stage will not destroy the non-Christians in the audience.

    It's usually wise to check that these stories aren't coming from some wackily paranoid right-wing source, but not in this case: link above goes to WHDH, the Boston NBC affiliate.

  • But the season would not be complete without perusing Dave Barry’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

    [Amazon Link]

    But what if you want to go “old school” this holiday season? What if instead of giving your loved ones high-tech devices that will, in time, become obsolete and useless, you’d prefer to give gifts that are already useless?

    In that case, you have come to the right place: our annual Holiday Gift Guide, which has been a beloved American holiday tradition dating back to the dawn of time. Each year, we scour the entire solar system, looking for unique and tasteful gift ideas. Each year, we fail utterly and wind up with a collection of random crap we found on the Internet. This is our holiday gift to you.

    My "favorite" would have to be "The Meat", which is one in a series of toy action figures from to the Rocky movies. Pictured (with handy Amazon link) at right. No, your right.

Last Modified 2014-12-10 12:16 PM EST
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URLs du Jour - 2014-11-21

Once again, a catchup UDJ post:

  • I liked Keith Hennesey's take on MIT prof Jonathan Gruber's invocation of the "stupidity of the American voter".

    Now: goodness knows I have no illusions about the intelligence of the electorate that elected President Obama twice and (in my own state) just re-elected Jeanne Shaheen. But Keith notes that when lefties digress on "stupidity" it is really a composite complaint, lumping together at least six different gripes against its target. RTWT, but Keith's conclusion is well-taken:

    If American voters are stupid because they think academic credentials do not perfectly equate with intelligence…

    If they are stupid because they think policy decisions should be informed both by sound science and values…

    If they are stupid because they would rather let people make their own mistakes than allow government to make different mistakes for them…

    If they are stupid because they support less redistribution than certain progressive policymakers and their allies in academia…

    If they are stupid because they don’t spend all their time trying to sift through policies intentionally designed to deceive them…

    If they are stupid because they trust that elected and especially appointed American officials will not abuse the power temporarily granted to them…

    … then I’m with stupid.

    Yes. Me too.

  • In the earlier days of the Obama Administration, Pun Salad invented the word "Barackrobatics" to refer to President Obama's rhetorical tics that were reliable indicators that he was saying was detached from reality, lacking in honesty, or demagogic bullshit. (And often all of the above.) Pun Salad's efforts to popularize the word went nowhere, as you can tell by asking the Google.

    Nevertheless, Megan McArdle gets so close to "Barackrobatics" when she headlines her analysis of the President's immigration speech last night "Obama's Immigration Speech Acrobatics".

    There's a perfect word to describe President Barack Obama's speech tonight, and that word is "blatherskite." He was supposed to be explaining his actions to regularize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants; what he delivered was a festival of glorious nonsense.

    I watched "The Big Bang Theory" instead.

  • The word "blatherskite" does not appear in Kevin D. Williamson latest article. It is a generalized discussion of the dishonesty of our rulers, of which Obama's speech was but one example. RTWT (I probably don't need to say that), but the penultimate paragraph is:

    The problem of illegal immigrants is not insoluble; it is, rather, a problem that people in power do not wish to solve, partly out of anxiety related to Hispanic identity politics, partly because many of them find it convenient to maintain a permanent class of marginalized serf labor. That is the truth obscured by the gigantic heap of lies piled up around the immigration debate — that we are ruled by criminals who will ruthlessly violate the law while claiming that they not only enjoy the authority to do so but occupy the moral high ground as well.

    As Iowahawk says:

  • A straight news story from Reuters leads off:

    The U.S. Export-Import Bank has mischaracterized potentially hundreds of large companies and units of multinational conglomerates as small businesses, a flaw in its record keeping that could undermine the export lender's survival strategy.

    Or, shorter: they lied, they got caught.

  • Daniel J. Mitchell notes that Ex-Im is just one example of reprehensibility:

    [T]here are some forms of redistribution and intervention that are so self-evidently odious and corrupt that you can’t give supporters the benefit of the doubt. Simply stated, there’s no justifiable argument for using government coercion to hurt poor people in order to benefit rich people.

    Another recent example, Mitchell notes, is the Obama Administration's efforts to shut down Wisconsin's school choice system, clearly a goodie thrown to benefit teacher unions at the expense of poorer students.

  • There is now one less reason for Mrs. Salad to keep me around: Meet Boris, the robot that can load a dishwasher.

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URLs du Jour - 2014-11-13

  • We've occasionally run into Mark Bittman, who specialized in writing in the NYT about food (and did a fine job with that, as far as I know) and "food policy" (a very, very poor job of that). (Pun Salad articles mentioning Bittman here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) He recently teamed up with Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador and Olivier De Schutter to write a WaPo op-ed: "How a national food policy could save millions of American lives"

    Opening paragraph:

    How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity. The food industry is the largest sector of our economy; food touches everything from our health to the environment, climate change, economic inequality and the federal budget. Yet we have no food policy — no plan or agreed-upon principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole.

    It's (of course) nonsense to claim that "we" have "no food policy". We have, in fact, a vast collection of laws, regulations, subsidies, prohibitions, programs, mandates, nudges, and nags all designed to affect what gets produced and eaten. What the authors really mean is: they don't like this current policy.

    But it's not hard to see where these earnest statist nannies are going:

    This must change.

    (Picture four fists hitting the table to punctuate this totalitarian demand.)

    Bittman and his co-authors prattle (on and on) about the current "food system" but the "system" of letting people freely decide what to consume on their own and letting the marketplace provide it is never really considered. Quoting myself from a few years ago:

    The whole notion of food being a "system" that can be "fixed" is another instance of what Thomas Sowell called the "unconstrained vision": the unexamined, unshakeable belief that it's all one big well-understood machine, and to get the outcomes we prefer, all we have to do is "fix" it. And there's the obvious corollary: anyone who disagrees is either evil or foolish, and can be safely ignored, or made ineffective "by any means necessary".

    And (indeed) the four authors assure us:

    Only those with a vested interest in the status quo would argue against creating public policies with these goals.

    Any opposition is illegitimate.

  • Which naturally brings us to "Liberal Bullshit" from the perceptive writer William Voegeli (excerpted from his new book). See how this relates to the "policy prescription" set forth by the aforementioned nannies:

    A bullshit prescription, by the same token, might actually work to some degree, but any such efficacy is inadvertent and tangential to the central purpose: demonstrating the depths of the prescriber’s concern for the problem and those who suffer from it, concerns impelling the determination to “do something” about it. As the political project that exists to vindicate the axiom that all sorts of government program X’s can solve an endless list of social problem Y’s, liberalism is always at risk of descending into prescriptive bullshit. Liberal compassion lends itself to bullshit by subordinating the putative concern with efficacy to the dominant but unannounced imperative of moral validation and exhibitionism. I, the empathizer, am interested in the sufferer for love of myself, Rousseau contended. Accordingly, an ineffectual program may serve the compassionate purposes of its designers and defenders as well as or better than a successful one.

    Vogeli's book is going on my read-someday list.

  • The Fire tells the story of a recent panel at Smith College, where Wendy Kaminer used words that made the ladies shriek and stand on their chairs. Well, figuratively. There was the n-word, for example, but that's not all. The student newspaper published a bowdlerized transcript of the discussion, including the following from Ms Kaminer (WK):

    WK: And by, “the c-word,” you mean the word [c-word]?

    The paper also couldn't resist expurgating a word used by Smith President Kathleen McCartney:

    Kathleen McCartney: … We’re just wild and [ableist slur], aren’t we?

    The [ableist slur]? It was "crazy". As in "You don't have to be [ableist slur] to send your daughter to Smith, but it helps."

  • Read David Weigel on the "nobody" Rich Weinstein, who's made it a sideline to discover the "speak-o"s and "off the cuff" remarks of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that revealed how intentionally dishonest and opaque the process of crafting the legislation was.

    This is kind of priceless:

    “The next day, I woke up and turned on my iPad,” Weinstein recalls. “I did a quick search. You know, 'Gee, if I wonder if anything is out there about this Jonathan Gruber guy?' And the first result was about this video. 'Holy crap, what is going on?' Excuse my language. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. Later that day, a friend told me that Rush Limbaugh was talking about this video. I’m at WaWa, and I'm eating a sandwich in the car, and Limbaugh comes back from commercial and says 'There's more on this Gruber video. The White House is responding.' I’m like, 'What do you mean, the White House is responding?'”

    If our mainstream news organizations weren't such mindless shills for the left, uncovering this story would have been their job. But in this world, it's left up to folks like Weinstein.

  • Back this summer when I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I mentioned that Andy Serkis, who played the noble Ape leader Caesar, deserved on Oscar for his performance. I'm happy to report that according to this Wired article, that could happen. (Video at the link.)

  • … and your tweet du jour is from the great Dean Norris:

    I can't be the only one wishing that he'll bring a little Hank Schrader to his role.

Last Modified 2014-11-14 3:55 AM EST
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Veterans Day 2014

Veterans Day 2014

… thank a vet near you.

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URLs du Jour - 2014-11-10

  • In case you haven't seen it: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragged about the "lack of transparency" during the debate to be a "huge political advantage". ("Lack of transparency" is a euphemism for "nonstop dishonesty, occasional outright lies") And he credited "the stupidity of the American voter or whatever" for making that strategy a winning one.

    People will be offended, but I'm writing to you from a state that just re-elected Jeanne Shaheen, one of the eager participants in the obfuscation and bullshit. So to me "stupidity of the American voter" seems to be simple, blunt honesty on Gruber's part.

  • President Obama came out and asked the FCC to regulate the Internet as a "public utility". The proposal is cloaked in feel-good language about "Net Neutrality" (which polls remarkably well, for an empty slogan), keeping the Internet "free and open", blah blah blah.

    Nick Gillespie cuts through the fluff:

    Obama is old enough to remember Ma Bell, which was even worse to customers than today's cable and Internet providers. And he is smart enough to recognize the Orwellian contradiction in introducing onerous new regulatory regimes in the name of keeping anything "free." The FCC has never been particularly adept at acting in the "public interest." The less control it has over the Internet (and TV and anything else), the better off we will all be.

    It's the default "progressive" position: remove power from private hands, place it in the clutches of the almighty State.

  • The FCC was originally established to divvy up the broadcast spectrum among its corporate welfare recipients. A bad idea, but par for the fascist course at the time. In any case: that's a done deal, and one of ever-shrinking importance. So the official Pun Salad position on the FCC is not to give it more to do, but to abolish it. Some pointers that might convince you this is the only sensible policy: Matt Welch at Reason; Peter Suderman at Reason; an Investors Business Daily editorial; David Harsanyi at Real Clear Politics; and (even) Jack Shafer at Slate and Larry Lessig at Newsweek (in 2008).

  • There is P.J. O'Rourke content over at the Daily Beast, and it's highly recommended for anyone who might be feeling giddy over last week's election results.

    Extraordinary things occurred the last time Republicans took legislative power away from a liberal quack. To sum those things up in just two words, which still stir the heart of every right-thinking member of the Grand Old Party: Monica Lewinsky. Was that fun or what?

    Need I tell you to Read The Whole Thing? Didn't think so. But it's also worth clicking over just for the (I'm pretty sure) Photoshopped picture.

    [Today's illustration: a liberal quack. Get it?]

  • Dave Barry is Principal for a Day at Coral Reef High School ("Miami's Mega-Magnet"). It's not hilarious, but worth reading.

  • … and your tweet du jour is:

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URLs du Jour - 2014-11-06

I'm just about politicked out for the week…

  • But first, a brief analysis from Mary Katherine Ham: "The man who would not pivot". Opening (about yesterday's press conference):

    President Obama took to the podium today to inform the nation that he will change exactly nothing about how he does his job after a historic drubbing in the midterm elections. He will tout the same policies in the same ways, with no particular plan for how to get any of them passed, with no particular nevermind paid to how the politics have shifted tectonically beneath his feet, armed with nothing but his assertions of his rightness. Again.

    Are we in for a couple of years of a petulant, detached, taking-my-golf-ball-and-going-home presidency? Interesting. (As in the alleged Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times.")

  • According to this quiz, I am a "Objectivist Libertarian Isolationist Nationalist Traditionalist". Not that there's anything wrong with that. How about you?

  • But it's "Saxophone Day" today, and not coincidentally the 200th anniversary of the birth of its inventor, Adolphe Sax.

    I'm more of a guitar fan myself, but a saxophone can really make a song work. Spend a few minutes coming up with your own list, then check out " 10 Of The Most Memorable Sax Solos In Rock" or The 25 most awesome saxophone songs of all time".

    Prominent on both lists is (you probably could have guessed) Springsteen's "Jungleland" with the late Clarence Clemons (misspelled as "Clemens" in the latter). I'd kick in "Born to Run" and "Rosalita", but that's me.

    I am also partial to Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' version of "Walk Away Renee", a cover ten times better than the original. I think Joey Stann played sax on the original version. Seek it out.

  • Pun Salad's official (but unaware, and uncompensated) mascot Cathy Poulin has been spotted at a Foxboro blood drive:

    [Cathy with Bob himself]

    [For the uninitiated, Cathy is the Director of Public Relations for Bob's Discount Furniture, a chain with multiple locations in the Northeast. She also appears with Bob himself in their irritating commercials. That's Bob Himself on the donation couch. Our ISP-provided stats tell us that Googling for "Cathy Poulin" is the number one reason people come to Pun Salad.]

  • And (since a goodly part of me is still thirteen years old) your tweet du jour:

    Allegedly out December 18, 2015. To quote Jonathan Last (about a different movie): "Have my money now. I was only keeping it warm for you, anyway."

Last Modified 2014-11-06 6:29 PM EST
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