URLs du Jour

2017-10-14

■ Please, nobody show Proverbs 20:26 to President Trump:

26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;
    he drives the threshing wheel over them.

I'm especially looking at you, Senator Rubio.


■ With respect to Trump's decision to stop Cost Sharing Reduction payments to insurance companies, you couldn't ask for a wider disparity in commentary between Obamacare fans and foes. But Megan McArdle has always been a straight shooter on this topic: Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits.

Remember how we ended up with the particular version of Obamacare that became law. Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, and a growing sense that they were on the verge of a second New Deal. They thought they didn’t need Republicans, and they thought they couldn’t get Republicans, so they made little effort to involve Republicans in drafting, beyond offering token concessions to a handful of liberal Republicans who might have made nice bipartisan window-dressing at the signing ceremony. Republicans, predictably, spent a year talking down the bill, and by the time it was nearing passage, a majority of the public opposed it.

The resulting creaky mess required continual extralegal executive patch jobs to sputter along. And now we have an executive not really interested in playing that game any more.


@JonahNRO's G-File this week is headlined Binders Full of Asininity. Recalling Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" from the 2012 campaign, widely mocked on the left.

“Virtue signaling” is an over-used term these days. One problem with the concept is that it often implies a touch of cynicism to the signaler: “I want people to believe that I’m as righteous as this symbolic gesture suggests.”

To be sure, there often is cynicism involved. For instance, people who drive Teslas in states in which electricity is predominately coal-generated signal a lot of virtue — but they do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions because their cars essentially run on coal and condescension. More relevant, Harvey Weinstein, that bloated carbuncle of hormones and insecurity, virtue signaled with cash quite a lot. In his initial statement after the scandal broke, Weinstein tried it again, offering to atone for his transgressions by going after the NRA. Even for Hollywood liberals, that was too pathetic. It wasn’t virtue signaling so much as an attempt to buy an indulgence from the Church of Liberalism.

Bottom line (which I've said before, and will again): if you want to be a member in good standing of the Virtue Police, you can't blind yourself to the sins committed by members of your political tribe.


■ Which brings us to @kevinNR and his comments on Trump vs. the First Amendment.

President Donald Trump’s recent (most recent) testing of the censorship waters is disturbing in a by-now-familiar way, combining the hallmark elements of the president’s political style: ignorance, stupidity, pettiness, and malice.

It's kind of a whipsaw with Trump, combining the correct refusal to spend money that Congress has not appropriated with… well, this. But:

You’d think that Americans would love the First Amendment, which gives every ordinary yokel on Twitter the right to say the president is a fool and the police chief is incompetent and the chairman of the board might profitably be replaced by a not-especially-gifted chimpanzee. But it isn’t very popular at all: Gutting the First Amendment is one of the top priorities of the Democratic party, which seeks to revoke its protection of political speech — i.e., the thing it’s really there to protect — so that they can put restrictions on political activism, which restrictions they call “campaign-finance reform.” They abominate the Supreme Court’s solid First Amendment decision in Citizens United, a case that involved not “money in politics” but the basic free-speech question of whether political activists should be allowed to show a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the days before an election. (Making a film and distributing it costs money, you see, hence “money in politics.”) They lost that one, but every Democrat in Harry Reid’s Senate — every one of them — voted to repeal the First Amendment.

And—I'm sorry to harp on this, but it really bugs me—we have at the University Near Here a journalism instructor who thinks the First Amendment doesn't apply when someone considers you "ignorant and hurtful".


■ And the (eminently predictable) reaction to left-wing shoutdowns of campus speakers: Trump Supporters Shout Down Liberal Speakers. It happened at Whittier College ("alma mater of Richard Nixon") and the speakers were California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California State Assembly Leader Ian Calderon.

The disruptors, who apparently were not students, shouted slogans like: “Build that wall,” “lock him up,” “respect our president,” and “American first.” Becerra’s question and answer session with Calderon was severely disturbed and cut short as a result.

I'd say "serves 'em right." Except that it doesn't.

And it would be nice if Trump would condemn things like this. But he won't.


■ Our Google LFOD alert rang for an article in (of all places) the San Francisco Chronicle: Governor's panel on regulatory reform holds first meeting. And it's not Jerry Brown, it's Chris Sununu.

A committee aimed at making New Hampshire more business friendly heard about burdensome regulations affecting ski areas, builders, bagpipe makers and more on Thursday.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who called New Hampshire a "regulatory police state" during his campaign, appointed a regulatory reform steering committee last month to conduct in-depth reviews of state regulations and recommend changes.

Though critics note that the state already has a committee tasked with reviewing regulations and call Sununu's efforts a political stunt, he told the committee Thursday that it's time to "clear out the gunk" and return the state to its "Live Free or Die" foundation.

Well, that's excellent. But… bagpipe makers? Isn't that totally illegal? Shouldn't it be totally illegal? Apparently not. And there's an explanation:

Rich Spaulding, operations manager at Gibson Bagpipes in Nashua, told the group he is struggling not with state regulations but international regulations regarding the wood his company uses to make its products. Even if he obtains the necessary federal permit, he said he'd have to drive to New York to have the products inspected before shipping them out of the country.

The wood in question is African Blackwood, and international treaties require that exports containing it be "inspected". But the only US inspection station is at JFK airport in NYC.


■ And have you been wondering why NH won't land Amazon? Fortunately, we have an answer from NH Business Review: Here’s why NH won’t land Amazon. Unsurprisingly, the answer involves our state's unwillingness to pony up corporate subsidies. For example, Tax increment financing (TIF):

This is not unique to New Hampshire. It is used widely around the country, including Vermont. But that state subsidizes the municipality’s share. In exchange, the state must approve each program. In the Live Free Or Die state no such permission is needed, but the towns shoulder the entire cost.

Apparently being paid by the word, the author writes "the Live Free Or Die state" to avoid writing "New Hampshire" again.


■ And here's your Tweet du Jour, leading to one of the best threads ever seen on Twitter:

An impressive use of infographics, and diligent research by Twitterers.

But nobody found any occurrence, anywhere, of "New Hampshire Fried Chicken". Understandably. Although such a restaurant could have the motto "Live Fried or Die".