URLs du Jour

2017-09-05

On the government’s latest handout to
agri-business

■ The past few days have been rocky for our study of Proverbs. Proverbs 21:19 reiterates the point made just 10 verses before:

19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

Yes, we get it, Proverbian: being married to a shrew is no fun. Let me propose an alternate wording, based on the words of the Prophet Henny:

19 Taketh thy wife everywhere,
     In hope that she will eventually not findeth her way back.


■ In the "of course they do" Department, let me share a recent press release from the website of my Congresscritter/Toothache, Carol Shea-Porter: Shea-Porter, Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster, Bipartisan Group of New England Members Urge USDA to Provide Relief to Dairy Farmers.

As dairy farmers across New England continue to struggle with historically low milk prices, Congresswoman Shea-Porter (NH-01), Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress on Wednesday [August 23] in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use its authority to provide dairy farmers with the relief and new insurance they desperately need. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the members of Congress emphasized that safety net programs for dairy farmers, such as the Margin Protection Program (MPP), have failed to provide farmers with adequate support. Led in the House by Congresswoman Kuster, the letter urged the Agriculture Department to make milk an eligible commodity under the Federal Crop Insurance Program – which successfully insures farmers across the country for hundreds of different kinds of crops – and to work with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to develop new insurance products for dairy producers.

I believe an adequate translation, shorn of euphemism: dairy farmers aren't getting enough money they think they deserve from the citizenry through voluntary free-market exchange, so we need the government to force people to cough up the difference.

This Downsizing Government is a useful remedy to the euphemism-laden pleas for agricultural subsidies. For example, the "Federal Crop Insurance Program":

Crop insurance run by the USDA's Risk Management Agency has become the largest farm program with annual outlays of about $8 billion. Subsidized insurance protects against various business risks, such as adverse weather, low production, and low revenues. It covers more than 100 crops, but corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat are the main ones. It subsidizes both insurance premiums and the administrative costs of the 19 private insurance companies that offer policies to farmers.

Everyone makes out: the private insurance companies get to overcharge for premiums, and most farmers get more money in claims than they spend for premiums. And the private component makes the program opaque, avoiding those exposés about wealthy recipients of taxpayer largesse.

So it's no surprise that the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation finds that to be an excellent program to extend to dairy farmers.


■ An unexpectedly sensible op-ed column from Bari Weiss, staff editor and writer for the New York Times: Three Cheers for Cultural Appropriation.

These days our mongrel culture is at risk of being erased by an increasingly strident left, which is careering us toward a wan existence in which we are all forced to remain in the ethnic and racial lanes assigned to us by accident of our birth. Hoop earrings are verboten, as are certain kinds of button-down shirts. Yoga is dangerous. So are burritos and eyeliner.

It’s no longer just the online hordes that will string you up for your unintentional sins, though the cost of that public shaming can be devastating. In Portland, Ore., activists recently created a list of “white-owned appropriative restaurants” for residents to boycott on the grounds that white people probably shouldn’t make banh mi or dosas. This summer, the University of Michigan posted a job for a “bias response team” employee to “enact cultural appropriation prevention initiatives.” I wonder if they’ll go after people for using algebra (thanks, Muslims).

I promise not to use eyeliner if I can still get burritos.


■ Andrew C. McCarthy suggests a good idea at National Review: To End DACA, Follow the Constitution. DACA, for those living under a rock without an NPR-receiving radio, is "Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals", President Obama's executive action, taken because "Congress failed" to take the legislative action he desired.

There has never been a shred of honesty in the politics of DACA. Democrats have taken the constitutionally heretical position that a president must act if Congress “fails” to. They now claim that to vacate DACA would be a travesty, notwithstanding that the program is blatantly illegal and would be undone by the courts if President Trump does not withdraw it. For his part, candidate Trump loudly promised to repeal Obama’s lawless decree but, betraying the immigration-permissivist core that has always lurked beneath his restrictionist rhetoric, Trump has wrung his hands through the first eight months of his presidency. As for the Republican establishment, DACA is just another Obamacare: something that they were stridently against as long as their objections were futile, but that they never sincerely opposed and — now that they are accountable — cannot bring themselves to fight.

This is one of those times where (gasp) Trump seems to be doing the right thing. (Except waiting so long to do it.)


■ At Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown discovers More Evidence That Everything the Government Teaches Us About Eating Is Wrong.

The ongoing Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) project has found both saturated and unsaturated fat intake linked to better heart health, that a high-carb diet is a better predictor of health risks than fat consumption, and that the health benefits of fruit, vegetables, and legumes like beans and chickpeas may plateau at three to four servings per day.

Bad news: my morning bagel and orange juice is killing me. I'd say "see you tomorrow", but… who knows?