URLs du Jour

2017-06-04

■ Let's hear from Proverbs 25:14 on this beautiful Sunday morning:

14 Like clouds and wind without rain
    is one who boasts of gifts never given.

I'm OK with rainless clouds and wind, but I can understand why an ancient Israeli might have a different outlook.

Today's Getty image shows… I'm not sure what, exactly, but it looks relevant.

■ KDW@NR has a basic explanation of the congressional budgetary process: United Fiscal Front. I think he might need a question mark after that title, but:

What some congressional Republicans are considering is using reconciliation to impose $400 billion to $500 billion in spending cuts, spread out over ten years, to so-called mandatory spending. Usually, “mandatory spending” refers to the big-ticket entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, etc. But because Washington is full of crazy people, Social Security is specifically exempted from the reconciliation process, so that’s off the table. But there is a lot more than the popular retirement entitlements in mandatory spending: There’s also SNAP and TANF and other welfare programs, agriculture subsidies, federal pension and retirement-benefit programs, some grant programs, and much else. Those outlays together add up to an enormous bucket of money, but each of those programs also has a built-in constituency that makes it difficult to impose cuts. It’s the old problem of concentrated benefits vs. dispersed costs: The few thousand people getting big farm-subsidy checks every year will fight a lot harder to keep them than the 300 million people funding those programs will fight to keep the few pennies a year that each of them pays in taxes to support them. While using reconciliation to impose cuts is not universally popular, there are some in Congress who would absolutely love to have reconciliation force them to do the right thing that they don’t have the huevos to do on their own initiative.

Heh: "huevos". KDW is unafraid of being accused of cultural appropriation.

■ George F. Will is bewildered that government funds are still being spent on programs that have outlived their raison d'être, in particular: Public broadcasting’s immortality defies reason

Fifty years and about 500 channels ago, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created to nudge Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society — it aimed to make America great for the first time — the final inches toward perfection. Today, the CPB, which has received about $12 billion over the years, disperses the government’s 15 percent of public television’s budget and 10 percent of public radio’s. Originally, public television increased many viewers’ choices by 33 percent — from three (CBS, NBC, ABC) to four.

Will asks, sensibly, at what point did America need "government-subsidized journalism that reports on the government." The correct answer: never.

■ Mike Godwin was an occasional debating foe back in my Usenet days. Our opinions seem to have converged since, I'm not sure who's moved more. Here he is at Reason: Everyone Should Be Getting Wikipedia for Free.

What he really means by "for free" is "without incurring extra billing on your cellular data plan." And some providers would like to do that. So what's the problem? Hint: it starts with "N" and ends with "et Neutrality".

Internet providers should be able to experiment with giving subscribers free stuff, such as access to Wikipedia and other public information and services on their smartphones. Unfortunately, confusion about whether today's net neutrality regulations allow U.S. providers to make content available without it counting against your data plan—a practice called "zero-rating"—has discouraged many companies from doing so, even though zero-rating experiments are presumptively legal under today's net neutrality regulations.

Mike, a lawyer, used to be employed at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Their opinions seem to have diverged.

■ Get used to seeing stories in this vein (CNN via Slashdot): Twitter Isn't Removing Enough Hate Speech, Complains The EU.

Twitter is not good enough at removing hate speech from its platform. That's the judgment of Europe's top regulator, which released data on Thursday showing that Twitter has failed to meet its standard of taking down 50% of hate speech posts after being warned that they include objectionable content. Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Google have all agreed to do more, promising last May to review a majority of hate speech flagged by users within 24 hours and to remove any illegal content.

There's so much wrong here, it's difficult to know where to start. I'll confine myself to one thing: it's semi-alarming how quickly and obsequiously US companies bow to foreign demands for censorship.

■ Your tweet du jour is something not yet (as I type) flagged as "hate speech" by Twitter:

Written, I'm pretty sure, in response to those blaming the latest atrocity in London on "religion".


Last Modified 2017-06-04 11:48 AM EST