URLs du Jour

2017-05-20

■ Proverbs 26:22 seems to have mixed feelings about gossip:

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

Some translations, like King James, say "wounds" instead of anything about morsels. So there seems to be some confusion there. Best ignore this proverb.

■ My Google LFOD alert was triggered by (of all things) this article in the Buenos Aires Herald (yes, that's Argentina) by Edgardo Zablotsky: Learn free or die. It's a discussion of school choice initiatives in the US, and…

New Hampshire may soon be the next state to establish a universal right to freedom of education. The Senate opened up this possibility by passing a universal ESA bill that would give parents who withdraw their kids from public schools 90 percent of funds of their child’s per-pupil state allocation. Legislation is now facing resistance in the GOP-controlled House. If Republicans don’t lose their nerve, they would be fortifying the state’s motto to “Live free or die” by embracing the freedom to learn.

Republicans losing their nerve is a pretty safe bet, but we'll see.

■ What could possibly get Grandma Clinton in trouble? Let's find out: Hillary Clinton in Trouble for Using Fake ‘African Proverb’ on Her New Website.

Hillary Clinton says her newly launched political group Onward Together takes its name from an old African proverb that’s displayed prominently on the group’s site: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

I wonder if there isn't some guy in a basement somewhere making up these treacly aphorisms and attributing them to some ancient culture (African, Indian, Chinese, whatever) or or revered American statesman (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, …).

But anyway, it's nice to have a phony hit on Hillary again. Brings back memories of the campaign. Good times.

■ KDW@NR takes the occasion of depraved MSNBC mutterings in the wake of pedestrians' deaths in MYC to look at how "we" handle drunk drivers in the US of A: Sobering Success. As a Schrödinger-cat libertarian, this paragraph leapt out at me:

Libertarians may wish to avert their gaze, but prohibition played a big role in [preventing a significant number of traffic deaths]. As NIH runs the numbers, the single policy change that had the most significant effect was raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. Some of you will remember that the states did this under duress, with Washington threatening to withhold highway funds from non-compliers under the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The federal law did not call for a ban on alcohol consumption by those under 21, but only on sales. This had the effect of moving teenage drinking from bars and restaurants to house parties and other settings where young drinkers might be less likely to drive — and where arranging for alcohol to be served required some organization and forethought, qualities not generally associated with the general run of 19-year-olds.

It's an interesting question: what role should the government play in reducing risk to the citizenry via its coercive functions? It's easy to make fun of the "if it saves just one life" nanny-statists, but KDW is highlighting a policy that seems to save about 1000 deaths per year. Is that a high enough number for you?

■ Whatever Trump's misdeeds, takeover of the FCC by Ajit Pai has brought cheer to the hearts of all. At PowerLine, Scott Johnson summarizes the Life of Pai.

As a conservative Republican of libertarian stripe, Pai forcefully opposed the FCC takeover. See Tim Heffernan’s 2015 National Review article “Ajit Pai’s fight for Internet freedom.” My daughter Eliana had more background on Pai’s struggle at the FCC in the 2014 NRO column “Ajit Pai’s next move” (quotable quote: “It’s hard to think of any regulated utility in our economy that’s cutting edge”).

As a bonus, Mr. Pai reads "mean tweets" in a video.

■ A thoughtful article at the Tech Liberation Front from Adam Thierer: Does “Permissionless Innovation” Even Mean Anything?. Thierer has long been seen as advocating permissionless innovation, so that's kind of an interesting title. He thinks we may be headed toward a "soft law" compromise course between "permissionless innovation" and its nemesis, the "precautionary principle". (Characterized: Don't do anything unless it can be proved that it won't have negative effects.)

Much as Churchill said of democracy being “the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,” I think we are well on our way to a world in which soft law is the worst form of technological governance except for all those others that have been tried before.

Hey, maybe! Thierer has certainly thought about this more seriously and deeper than I have.


Last Modified 2018-03-29 1:27 PM EST