URLs du Jour

2017-01-28

A week into the Trump Administration, and no nuclear holocaust yet! I'm cautiously optimistic!

  • But speaking of nuclear holocaust, you may have seen the stories about the "Doomsday Clock" being pushed up to 11:57:30 PM. Aieee!

    But what is the "Doomsday Clock"? Fortunately, Sonny Bunch has the answer to that burning (heh) question: "The Doomsday Clock Is Fearmongering Gobbledygook With an Intellectual Veneer".

    The Doomsday Clock is the worst sort of pseudoscientific claptrap, one given a veneer of respectability by the fact that NOBEL SCIENTISTS are the ones who arbitrarily move the hands on its face closer to, or further away from, midnight, the zero hour, the time when we wipe ourselves from the face of the Earth. How do I know that NOBEL SCIENTISTS are the ones who arbitrarily pick and choose where to place the minute hand? Because many, many outraged people on Twitter informed me that NOBEL SCIENTISTS are totes in charge of it when I pointed out that calling a press conference to announce the movements of a fake clock is the height of silliness.

    Wikipedia is more sober about the Clock, but you can't help but notice that when we were actually close to nuclear war, the clock was relatively copacetic:

    • In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis: 11:53 PM.
    • In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War: 11:48 PM.

    And now it's 2.5 minutes before midnight? Please.

  • Robert Tracinski got a New York Times reporter to admit: "Our Readers Are Too Dumb To Understand Global Warming Numbers".

    Well, almost. What Justin Gillis, the NYT reporter actually tweeted was: "You really think those numbers would mean anything to the ordinary reader?"

    Well, actually, reporting actual numbers, and their uncertainties, might indicate a healthy respect for the ability of ordinary readers to make up their own minds. But Gillis is more in the business of pushing a one-sided narrative. Tracinski is not impressed:

    In short, a New York Times reporter’s job is to repeat the talking points of government agencies and transcribe quotations from partisans for one side of the scientific and political debate. Gillis refers to this as “a 1970s journalism model,” as if that’s supposed to reassure us, but there’s another name for it. It’s “press-release journalism”—journalism that consists, not of questioning or investigation or skepticism, but of restating partisan press releases. It’s the lowest, laziest form of journalism.

    Hey, I've seen lazier.

  • Someone who does exhibit respect for his readers: Ronald Bailey of Reason, who notes a new study showing "Energy Efficiency Mandates Are Worse for Poor Americans Than Energy Taxes".

    Both are regressive, in the sense that they hit lower-income citizens harder than the rest. And the benefits, such as they are, flow to upper income families. Bailey concludes:

    Levinson does not speculate on why politicians and advocates tend to favor energy efficiency mandates over energy taxes, but I will. Energy taxes are obvious to voters, while the effects of energy efficiency standards are sneakier. The latter allow cowardly politicians to avoid telling their fellow citizens that they'll pay more for the privilege of consuming energy.

    Cowardly politicians… but I repeat myself.

  • Looking to re-establish her theocracy, Nancy Pelosi.

    Of Republicans, the Democrat congresswoman from California declared, "They pray in church on Sunday and they prey on people the rest of the week. And while we're doing the Lord's work, ministering to the needs of God's creation, they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them."

    I, for one, eagerly await Nancy Pelosi going full Matthew 21:12 and overturning tables in Congressional anterooms. Well, light ones anyway. She's not a young woman.

  • At Bleeding Heart Libertarians, Steve Horvitz finds "Liberalism in the Balance". He has issues with libertarians who attempt to "find a pony" in Trump's moves to deregulate, cut taxes and (some) spending, etc., while ignoring the illiberalism in his other rhetoric.

    [Trump] is a baboon flinging shit at the liberal tradition and the liberal order, while some libertarians sit around, covered with it, thinking that the drink of water he’s promising them later somehow offsets it.

    Ouch! [Puzzled by the "find a pony" bit? Please click here.]

  • At NR's Bench Memos blog Adam I. Klein takes apart a WaPo op-ed calling Antonin Scalia a "part-time liberal". Klein knows what the WaPo writer does not:

    Unfortunately, the piece makes the all-too-common error of classifying judicial decisions by their policy consequences — a valid metric for grading legislators, not judges — rather than their reasoning. Justice Scalia was a full-time originalist, and that’s what explains both his “conservative” and his “liberal” opinions.

    It's not so much an "error" as a way of thinking, attempting to fit everything into a right-to-left political spectrum, and getting surprised when someone like Scalia doesn't fit neatly into your fallacy. One can only hope that Scalia's replacement will do as good a job at confounding the prejudices of WaPo writers.

  • I enjoy reading Rich Cromwell's "The Week in Weird Twitter" at the Federalist, and you might as well. If you, as I, laugh out loud at stuff like this:

    … you should check it out.