URLs du Jour

2017-10-19

■ We open up a new Proverbial chapter today with Proverbs 19:1:

1 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
    than a fool whose lips are perverse.

I'd say that's a safe bet. Still, here in the US of A, even perverse lips enjoy First Amendment protection (within well-defined bounds).


■ A dead-trees National Review article from @kevinNR, On Amazon and the Tech Monopolies, has burrowed its way out to the NRO website, and there was much rejoicing:

Everybody hates Amazon. It’s kind of weird.

Donald Trump, as a candidate, threatened to bring antitrust actions against Amazon and accused the Internet retailer of dodging taxes, and as president Trump has taken a special interest in the company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, which offends Trump by reporting on his antics from time to time. “Believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems,” he said. “They are going to have such problems.” Farhad Manjoo, writing in the New York Times, said Amazon’s behavior during its dispute with book publisher Hachette “is confirming its critics’ worst fears and it is an ugly spectacle to behold.” Tony Schwartz blasted Bezos for having an overly aggressive management style marked by periodic angry outbursts. (Tony Schwartz is the man who actually wrote Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal.) Paul Krugman insists Amazon “has too much power, and it uses that power in ways that hurt America.” Krugman also suggested that Amazon was scheming to help Republicans’ electoral chances. The company has been the target of boycotts since the 1990s, and it has been criticized for its handling of taxes, for selling and not selling certain items, and for — incredibly enough — not making enough of a profit. Junie Hoang, an actress you’ve never heard of (Hood Rats 2: Hoodrat Warriors), once sued the company for revealing her age on IMDb, which Amazon owns. Whole Foods shoppers, who tend to be as crunchy in their political preferences as in their produce preferences, have lamented Amazon’s acquisition of the high-end grocery chain, perhaps unaware that Bezos’s politics are well to the left of those of Whole Foods’s libertarian founder, John Mackey. Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers pronounced himself “disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility” for kicking WikiLeaks off of its Web-hosting service.

Kevin's article is wide-ranging, thoughtful, and highly recommended.


[Amazon Link] An entertaining left-eats-its-own article at NRO from Kyle Smith: Mob Rule in the Book World. It's about American Heart, an upcoming book from Laura Moriarty.

American Heart, a young-adult novel to be published in January, is a kind of Huckleberry Handmaid’s Tale, only with Muslims. In a dim dystopian U.S. of the near future that’s been overtaken by a nasty “patriotic” movement, a white girl is oblivious to the burgeoning horror of Muslims being placed in internment camps, but she experiences an awakening and decides to strike out against them to rescue a Muslim immigrant from Iran, who is in hiding and needs to flee the country to save herself. Ho-hum, says the experienced observer. Since 9/11, the Left has been spooking itself with scary tales about how the anti-Muslim Inquisition is going to start any minute now.

Ah, but the book (apparently) runs afoul of a different leftist tenet about popular entertainment: Thou shalt not feature a "white savior" aiding your oppressed minority.

And you won't believe what happened next. Or maybe you will.


■ A replay of the 2016 Presidential election is shaping up in the Alabama election to replace Jeff Sessions, as in "which candidate do you have to hold your nose harder for". The GOP guy is Roy Moore, and, as chronicled by Robby Soave at Reason, Roy Moore Says Kneeling for the Anthem Is Illegal, and He’s Totally Wrong.

The former judge—who was twice removed from office for his conservative culture war agenda, contrary to the law—told TIME magazine that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are actually breaking the law.

"It's against the law, you know that?" said Moore. "It was a act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That's the law."

The law in question is here. It appears to have been passed in 1931, when American pols were much more enamored with Fascism.


■ Matt Ridley writes from across the pond on The Curse of Good Intentions:

The curse of modern politics is an epidemic of good intentions and bad outcomes. Policy after policy is chosen and voted on according to whether it means well, not whether it works. And the most frustrated politicians are those who keep trying to sell policies based on their efficacy, rather than their motives. It used to be possible to approach politics as a conversation between adults, and argue for unfashionable but effective medicine. In the 140-character world this is tricky (I speak from experience).

If you're not sure how to reliably distinguish between: "here's what I think would be a good idea" and virtue-signalling, Ridley's column is a good place to start your inner discussion.


■ Opting for a higher position on the "do as I say, not as I do" list: Bernie Sanders’s Senate Campaign Spent Nearly $40K on Private Jets Last Quarter.

The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) spent nearly $40,000 on luxury private jet travel during the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Sanders, who has said global warming is causing "devastating problems" and is in favor of a carbon tax, made the payments for the posh private travel arrangements from his Senate campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, to Apollo Jets, a New York-based private charter company that is "dedicated to providing a luxury flight experience based on superior safety and exceptional customer care," its website states.

Bernie is running for re-election to the Senate in 2018. But he won re-election in 2012 with 71% of the vote—it's Vermont—so I'm skeptical about how much money he really needs to spend on his campaign.

As previously noted, Bernie will be within walking distance this coming Sunday. While I don't want to shell out $20 for a ticket (that would only cover 0.05% of his private jet travel), maybe I should make a sign and do the activist thing outside the venue.