URLs du Jour

2017-02-22

What guidance is provided unto us today by Proverbs 29:19?

Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond.

In the modern world, I believe this is most applicable to those who deem themselves "public servants". One possible method of non-verbal correction pictured at right.

  • Who trusts media "fact checks"? Nobody, that's who. And for good reason, as the Federalist's Mollie Hemingway shows with "4 Recent Examples Show Why No One Trusts Media ‘Fact Checks’". Chuckle-inducing intro:

    A few weeks ago, Donald Trump responded to Meryl Streep’s insults by calling her overrated. Some fact checks came out saying that Streep, in fact, had won many awards. The Associated Press’ “Meryl Streep overrated? Donald Trump picks a decorated star,” was one such example. Four of the seven paragraphs to the story listed awards and honors she’d received.

    As Victor Morton noted, “‘She has won a bunch of awards’ isn’t even a prima-facie rebuttal of the claim ‘she is overrated’.” He added, “If anything, ‘She won a bunch of awards’ is a necessary precondition for being ‘overrated,’ i.e. rated highly in first place.”

    Ms. Hemingway proceeds from there, with four additional fact-check debunkings.

  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum: "The NEA Today, Entitlements Tomorrow". First paragraph notes hysteria from the Sundance Kid …

    Robert Redford says an Office of Management and Budget memo suggesting the Trump administration might try to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts is "another example of our democracy being threatened." The actor, director, and independent-film booster explains that "arts are essential" because "they describe and critique our society."

    Completely obvious point, made by Sullum: Our democracy might (or might not) be threatened by sinister forces (within and without), but the presence (or absence) of the NEA and its $146 million budget is unlikely to turn the tide (one way or the other).

    (Some say I use too many parentheses. Others say, too few.)

    It's good news and bad:

    According to The New York Times, which reported the highlights of the OMB memo last week, most of the targets have budgets of less than $500 million, "a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year." But judging from the examples cited by the Times, the programs on the OMB's list deserve to be zeroed out, since they are either unnecessary (e.g., AmeriCorps, Bill Clinton's attempt to co-opt and take credit for local volunteer work) or positively pernicious (e.g., the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes deals by big corporations like Boeing, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which tries to put a happy face on the government's immoral war against consumers of arbitrarily proscribed intoxicants).

    In other words: the amounts are dinky, but the symbolism of actually getting rid of various Offices, Bureaus, and Endowments is priceless.

    But: there's upcoming stress predicted between Trump's OMB Director Mick Mulvaney (who's seen as in favor of going after big-ticket items) and Trump (who's not). Who's the boss?

  • Kevin D. Williamson reports from "Planet Nebraska".

    Answer: California, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

    Question: Whatever happened to world hunger?

    On less sunny days, I would bemoan the continued presence of the Department of Agriculture and its indefensible (but politically untouchable) policies/programs/subsidies/etc.

    But thumbs up for the farmers who are actually saving peoples' lives around the world.

  • I've long wanted to try embedding Michael Ramirez editorial cartoons. The "embed.ly" service looks promising, let's try it on …

    Obamacare Flight 101

    Hey, not bad. I'll remember that. ObLink to Megan McArdle, who has a text-based version of the news: "A Sign That Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing"

  • Scott Sumner poses the musical query: "Whither the Ex-Im Bank?". A great job of analyzing the debate (which, as with the NEA item above, shows some disagreement inside the Trump Administration). And:

    One other point. Like government subsidies to NPR, the Ex-Im bank is largely a symbolic issue. There are far worse examples of crony capitalism, such as agricultural subsidies. And it's almost infinitely less important than the differential tax treatment of debt and equity.

    Perhaps. But (one more time) symbolism is important, and if you can't get rid of such an obviously lousy program, how are you ever going to tackle anything bigger?

  • But let me submit that the real answer to "Whither X?" was forever and always answered forty years ago by an impossibly young Jeff Goldblum in the Boston-based movie Between the Lines:

    The only real answer to the question … is "hither". Some misguided people think that the answer is "thither", they're wrong, those theories are passé.

    But you should probably watch the clip for the full flavor:

    … and I just noticed that the girl at 1:06 in the clip looks like Frances McDormand. Is it?