URLs du Jour

2018-02-07

■ I think the best way to read Proverbs 16:29 is as a movie plot summary translated from English to Lithuanian and back to English again:

29 A violent person entices their neighbor
    and leads them down a path that is not good.

Examples: Pacific Heights; Lakeview Heights; Arlington Road.


■ At Reason, Eric Boehm describes a pretty good idea: Rand Paul's Plan to Eliminate Government Shutdowns: Automatic 1 Percent Budget Cuts,

Under the terms of Paul's Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which he introduced last month, Congress would agree to ongoing continuing resolutions that would kick-in if a budget was not passed on time. The catch is that the automatic CR would come with an automatic, across-the-board cut of 1 percent for all government agencies. After 90 days, if there is no budget deal, funding would be reduced by another 1 percent.

"Around here, spending 1 percent less ought to be a enough of a punishment to get people to do their jobs and do appropriations on time," Paul said Tuesday during a hearing on his bill. "We know both sides don't want spending to go down. They're all for more spending."

A little gimmicky, but an improvement over the current finger-pointing brinkmanship.


■ If you've been wondering who put the FBI in a bind, David French (at NRO) has a possible answer: American Voters Put the FBI in a Bind.

No one forced primary voters in the Democratic or Republican parties to select two of the sleaziest candidates (and sleaziest campaigns) in modern American history. No one forced Democrats to rally behind a woman whose list of political scandals is older than many Millennials. No one forced Republicans to vote for a guy who praised Vladimir Putin relentlessly and whose near-orbit and medium-orbit featured such luminaries as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page.

In the face of such sleaze, including sleaze that implicates the Espionage Act or includes alarming contacts with Russian officials, a functioning law enforcement agency in a nation governed by the rule of law will of course investigate. Parties dominated by such sleaze will then invariably clutch their pearls and decry any investigation or action as proof-positive that law enforcement itself is corrupted by their partisan opposition.

Criticizing voters is something you won't hear from politicians—at least the ones who have instincts for self-preservation. And since the pols won't do it, you won't hear cheerleading pundits do it either.

So it remains to lonely iconoclasts like Mencken to point out: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

And "we" decided: hey, how about Hillary and Trump?


■ Gregg Easterbrook's final Tuesday Morning Quarterback of the season analyzes the Superb Owl, of course. And that's interesting, but there are also entertaining sidetracks, like…

Bad predictions rule the world! Jeff Sommer shows that Wall Street stock pickers consistently do worse than chance. In recent years Federal Reserve “central tendency” forecasts generally have foreseen more growth than occurs. The overshoot is only by a couple of tenths of a percent. But forecasting more growth than is likely makes the national debt seem less of an issue—a couple of tenths of a percent of growth swings the annual federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. This in turn allows the White House, of either party, to give out goody bags full of borrow-and-spend. Don’t worry, Janet Yellen says there will be no more financial crises in “our lifetimes.” Bear in mind she’s 71.

Easterbrook also belabors the obvious: the NFL needs to rip up its absurdly convoluted definition of "catch". Suggested replacement: "It’s a catch if it looks like a catch." Works for me!

Confession: as a New Englander, I was sorta rooting for the Pats (excuse: "I was a fan even when they sucked.") But the Eagles really had the better game on Sunday.


■ And Elon Musk has our Tweet du Jour:

I retweeted with the comment: "I'm happy I lived long enough to have seen this." And I am.