URLs du Jour — 2014-09-30

It's been awhile …

  • You should read everything Kevin D. Williamson writes. Of course. But in case you don't, here he is today poking holes in the arguments of the "inequality police". (Who also stick in my craw.) Sample:

    The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005. “The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is true and the latter is not.

    The inequality-peddlers attempt to stir up resentment in order to foster the truly outrageous inequality: the transfer of more and more power to the political classes.

  • One of those inequality-peddlers: Paul Krugman. At Cafe Hayek, Professor Don Boudreaux briefly notes that a mere five days separated (a) Krugman's complaint about the wealthiest "flaunting" their riches in orgies of ostentatious consumption; and (b) Krugman's complaint about how the rich cloak themselves in privacy, so that we peons might not see their wealth and be moved to resentment.

    Krugman is an indisputably brilliant economist, but when he ventures outside that narrow expertise, he can't even manage consistent assertions from day to day.

  • Fed up with mushy GOP mainstreamers, you just feel like chucking the whole "voting" thing? Maybe you should read Jim Geraghty first: "God Save Us from the Loud ‘I’m Staying Home This Year’ Conservatives".

  • At Hit&Run, Patrick Hannaford asks "Why Is the Pentagon Sending Grenade Launchers to College Campuses?"

    The libertarian part of me found this to be outrageous, of course. But the ten-year-old kid part of me thought: Cool! I wonder if the University Near Here got any grenade launchers?

    So it is with mixed feelings (specifically: Rats!/Whew!), I report: According to this list, we didn't get anything from the Defense Department. Even the U. of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Police Department wangled a couple of socket wrenches!

  • Iowahawk has pretty much moved his act over to Twitter, and I thought his comment for the NFL Fandom Map was pretty good:

    Oh, and in case you missed the fine print: "The New York Jets do not have a plurality of fans in any US county."


Last Modified 2014-10-07 5:04 AM EST

Nothing To Lose

[Amazon Link]

Number twelve in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, from 2008. (Yay, I'm only six years behind!) My subjective impression: above average.

Reacher is meandering from New England down to San Diego, and this odyssey takes him through the southeast corner of Colorado, and two little towns named "Hope" and "Despair". Hope is nice enough, but before you can say "hey, is this a metaphor or something?" Reacher is tossed out of Despair on trumped-up charges of vagrancy.

So he resolves never to go to Despair again, and jogs a little bit out of his way to continue his trek.

Just kidding! Reacher (correctly) surmises that there's something shady going on in Despair. He resolves to figure it out. This involves him with a lady cop from Hope, who's got her own secrets about her life and family. There is much violence, and (unusual for this series) weird near-horror elements, as the citizens of Despair are revealed to be in total pod-people-like thrall to the town's mayor/owner.

Consumer notes: Reacher reveals strong opinions on religion (he's agin' it) and the Iraq War (also agin' it) and decent treatment of disabled vets (he's for that). I would prefer he remained above such common controversies, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.

Kept waiting for the title phrase to show up. Finally did, right near the very end.


Last Modified 2014-12-10 12:28 PM EST