URLs du Jour

2017-07-13

Wisdom

■ Some of the Proverbs are weird products of a bygone age, but Proverbs 23:15-16 gets it timelessly right:

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.

It would be nice if they threw in the daughters there too, but what are you gonna do?

Well, you fudge the translation, and change "son" to "child". See, for example, the New Revised Standard Version.

And I can imagine President Trump reading Proverbs 23:15-16, looking at Donald Jr., and heaving a deep sigh. "Oh, well."

■ Considering the Jr. Imbroglio, Dan McLaughlin makes a lot of sense at NRO: It’s Not Treason, but It’s Not Defensible, Either.

One of the rules you should try to follow, if you talk or write about politics, is to apply the same basic standards and rules for longer than just whatever gets you through the current news cycle. That’s true of what you think is right and wrong and scandalous, and it’s doubly true of what’s legal and illegal. The rule of law exists so that we know what rules apply to our friends and political foes alike. When it comes to yesterday’s big bombshell story, too many Trump defenders are forgetting to apply that to the question of what’s right and wrong, and too many Trump critics are forgetting to apply it to the law by throwing around words like “treason.”

Given how rare that attitude is, we should give thanks that people like McLaughlin exist, no matter how lonely their voices.

■ At the Federalist, David Harsanyi is tired of a certain argument. Specifically, he explains Why The ‘Whataboutism’ Charge Is Dishonest. His conclusion:

At the end of the day, it’s best to take consistent positions always support strengthening the separation of power. If you were cheering on the last president as these standards were being corroded, your laments about abuse of power can’t be taken very seriously. In fact, it’s legitimate to point out that you’re part of the problem. Either working with a foreign agent is treason or it isn’t. Coddling up to Russian authoritarians (or Iranian Islamists) is gross, or it’s not. Ruling by fiat is how we do things when the opposing party is engaged in “obstruction,” or it isn’t. We can’t keep changing the rules every time it’s convenient for Democrats, then cry whataboutism when someone points it out.

An interesting take on "whataboutism" is this entry at the Rational Wiki. The wiki-author insists on a more narrow meaning that what we're seeing today; in order to be considered "whataboutism", the "what about" issue really should be an irrelevant "red herring". Instead, we are seeing a storm of more general tu quoque.

Perhaps the term has shifted in meaning—that happens—or maybe people are just being sloppy, or maybe they just don't like using Latin.

■ At Reason, Carrie Lukas notes Libertarians' Lost Voice in the Paid Leave Debate.

Policy leaders are pressing the government to ensure workers have paid time off. Whether government has any businesses dictating what benefits must be included in the employment packages of Americans is rarely considered. The libertarian perspective is all but entirely absent in the discussion. That needs to change.

Our federal government has limited responsibilities, and micromanaging leave practices isn't one of them. Even the best-intentioned policies have unintended consequences that backfire on those they are supposed to help. We need to call out policymakers who use the excuse of a safety net to justify any new rules and regulations that needlessly restrict options for all Americans.

One of the sorriest trends of recent years is that the headline "Libertarians' Lost Voice in the X Debate" can be applied to almost any issue X.

Wired's Adam Rogers says, gee whiz, it Looks Like Google Bought Favorable Research to Lobby with.

Officially, the online search giant Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” According to two new reports—one from The Wall Street Journal and one from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign for Accountability’s Google Transparency Project, the company doesn’t just organize. When Google wishes it had information that’d maybe help further its policy and regulatory goals, it just pays academics under the table to gin it up.

That’s pretty evil, y’all.

I don't see big corporations as either saintly or the epitome of capitalistic evil, but given Google's strident politicking on behalf of "net neutrality", I'm willing to assume that it has bought and paid for every last academic in that advocacy corner.

Well, probably not. But still, it's worth taking with the same skepticism that other funded research receives.

■ My Google LFOD alert was triggered by a slow news day for Portland ME's channel 6 news: Patriots support is rock solid in Granite State.

It should come as no surprise that the team with a motto of "Do your job" finds plenty of support in the state with a motto of "Live free or die."

<sarcasm>Yes, deep down, those mottos express exactly the same mindset!</sarcasm>

The occasion: the Pats' Vince Lombardi trophy is on tour, and visited Dover NH's Henry Law Park this previous Monday.

And (by the way) the dateline on the story is "Dover, Maine". Only off by a few hundred miles; thanks, professional news organization!

■ I suppose you're wondering if the Kelly Miller Circus animal caretakers are hiding anything? Well, you can find out in this NH1 news story: Kelly Miller Circus animal caretakers take on activists: 'We're not hiding anything'. Circus General Manager, Tavana Brown, is quoted on the animal rights protesters besetting her business, and I bet you can see this coming:

“We’re in New Hampshire. Live Free or Die, right? You have a right to protest, you have a right to your opinion, but you don’t have a right to be disruptive or use profanity.”

Well, that's at least half bullshit. Or maybe elephant.

■ And finally, good news from Julie Kelly at NRO: The Organic Industry Is in Turmoil. Wha?

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the grocer that brought pricey organic food to the masses, comes during a time of turmoil in the organic industry: The Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate the importation of millions of pounds of phony organic grains. The move is in response to a lengthy Washington Post exposé published in May that tracked shipments of corn and soybeans from Turkey, Romania, and Ukraine that were labeled “organic” but were not (I wrote about it here).

There's a whole host of things to Shake Your Head about here: (1) the base story of fraudulent organic grain from overseas; (2) the idea that consumers are willing to pay a pricey surtax for the "organic" label that probably means nothing (specifically, in this case, but also generally); and (3) your Federal Government is involved in "regulating" this phony food fad; and (4) doing a lousy job at it.