URLs du Jour

2017-03-12

■ Proverbs 28:8 ventures into the realm of economics:

Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.

If I fuzz up my eyes a bit, I can almost turn this into something more or less true:

Whoever does business with the poor benefits both himself and the poor, despite what you frickin' Commies think.

Today's Getty image is one example of that. Maybe I should start work on the Pun Salad Translation of the Bible.

■ I don't consider myself a Bleeding Heart Libertarian, but Roderick Long is one, and he makes a good point here: Stop Banning Muslims, Stop Banning Guns.

The debate over President Trump’s travel ban and the debate over gun control look surprisingly similar – except for who’s on which side.

Pun Salad Truth-O-Meter: True.

Now (before you say anything) I know that they're separate issues, one involving a Constitutional right, the other not, etc.

That aside: (1) both are marketed by fear-mongering demagoguery (poison Skittles, anyone?) And (2) both Trump's ban and gun-grabbing proposals are largely "do-something" symbolism which don't do much if anything to curb actual problems. And (3) opponents fear that the proposals are merely foot-in-the-door, nose-in-the-tent, frog-in-hot-water, slippery-slopes bound to lead to something drastically worse down the road.

But that may be just a specific instance of a more worrisome trend: this is how we argue about political issues these days, because it "works".

■ My LFOD Google Alert was set off by some good news: New Hampshire Exempts Bitcoin from Money Transmitter Regulation.

New Hampshire is known as the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. Living up to its nickname, the state house passed House Bill 436 early Wednesday morning. The bill exempts virtual currencies like bitcoin from costly money transmitter regulations and could pave the way for Bitcoin businesses to flock to New Hampshire.

With all the bathroom-bill hoopla (which also generated its share of LFOD Alerts), I'd missed this. The article has an amusing second paragraph:

“Listening to twenty politicians debate an esoteric issue is fantastically entertaining,” Jeremy Kauffman, who served as New Hampshire’s governor-appointed advisor for the virtual currency bill, tells Bitcoin.com. “At one point in committee, there was a fifteen-minute debate as to whether or not a previous bill [pertaining to virtual currency] would have regulated Beanie Baby trading, and whether or not such trading should be regulated even if it did.”

Not that it matters, but my kids are sitting on a horde of Beanie Babies acquired in their youth, in hopes they will fetch ludicrous prices in 2050 or so.

■ The print version of Reason had a fine interview with Simon Tam, and now it's available online. Tam plays bass for The Slants: The Band Who Must Not Be Named.

Simon Tam didn't think it would be a big deal when he applied for trademark protection on the name of his band, The Slants. It was 2011, and the band—a dance-rock group whose members are all Asian-American—had been getting some buzz. A lawyer buddy told Tam he'd do the application, saying the process would take a couple hundred bucks and six months, tops.

But—you probably saw this coming—it didn't work out that way. The article is yet another example of a large government bureaucracy acting arbitrarily and unconstitutionally. The matter is now before the Supreme Court.

Worth linking is the (PDF) Supreme Court brief filed in support of Tam and The Slants: BRIEF OF THE CATO INSTITUTE AND A BASKET OF DEPLORABLE PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS AS AMICI CURIAE SUPPORTING RESPONDENT. I detect the deft hand of P.J. O'Rourke within; it's almost certainly the funniest legal brief you will read today.

[Amazon Link] ■ A plug for Michael J. Knowles' Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide, available at Amazon. And, as I type, their number one best selling book.

Consumer note: if you haven't got the idea from the title, there's a "Look Inside" feature you might want to explore before buying. And the reviews are kind of a hoot ("I can't wait for its release on Audible!")

■ Sensible parents of smart high-schoolers should probably scratch Wellesley off their shortlists: Anti-rape activists ‘shut down’ female professor who decried ‘sexual paranoia’ on campus.

Nearly two years after she beat a Title IX investigation stemming from her essay on “sexual paranoia” on campus, Northwestern University Prof. Laura Kipnis got a rude welcome to Wellesley College.

Specifically, the "welcome" was in the form of a video titled “Shutting Down Bullshit with SAAFE” [Sexual Assault Awareness For Everyone]. a Wellesley student group proactively yammering about Prof. Kipnis, who gave a talk last week as part of the college's "Censorship Awareness Week." (Video at the link, if your tastes run to potty-mouthed smug female undergrads.)

And what better response to "Censorship Awareness Week" than a video about "Shutting Down" ideas you don't happen to agree with?

That said, Professor Kipnis apparently gave her talk (despite the College Fix headline implying otherwise), and nobody required hospitalization afterward. Pun Salad's suggestion for Wellesley's new motto: "We want you to shut up, but probably won't resort to mob violence."


Last Modified 2017-03-12 10:48 AM EDT