URLs du Jour

2018-02-09

■ The previous Proverb deduced perversion and evildoing from facial expressions. What can we figure out from … hair color? Proverbs 16:31 tells us:

31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.

Let's check out our pic du jour … hey, Houston, Proverb 16:31 has been confirmed!


@kevinNR bids Välkommen, Senator McConnell. Varför Svenska, Kevin?

[T]he current Trump-McConnell-Ryan model of Republican economic policy would seem to be moving the United States in a Swedish direction, which would come as a surprise to many of the Trump administration’s progressive critics. It would come as less of a surprise to Trump’s critics on the right, or to those more familiar with the actual ideological orientation of our current right-wing populists and the so-called alt-right allied with the Trump movement. They are “welfare chauvinists” who combine their support for the welfare state, anti-trade policies, etc., with an exclusionary politics focused variously on immigrants (as it is in the United States and the United Kingdom) or on more malicious versions of ethnic or religious minorities. (The Germans still shout “Germany for the Germans!” while Swiss nationalists wink and boast of representing “Swiss quality.”) The alt-right’s rejection of Anglo-American classical liberalism for a more European blood-and-soil-and-welfare conservatism is what distinguishes it from the traditional American Right, which historically has proposed to move the United States in a more Australian direction of lower spending and lower regulation.

The Swedes, however, have the guts to pay for their welfare state. Their top marginal tax rate of 56.9 percent applies to all income over 1.5 times the average income in Sweden. But here in the US of A we prefer to pretend that someone else is gonna pay for the goodies.


■ At Reason, Ken White (we know him as Popehat) provides legal advice to you, me, and President Trump: Donald Trump Shouldn’t Talk to the Feds. And Neither Should You. Why not? If you didn't do anything wrong, isn't the easy solution to just tell the truth?

Some people say, "Well, there's an easy solution—just tell the truth." Casual acquaintance with President Trump suggests that's not an easy solution to him. I'm not saying that he constantly lies consciously and deliberately, but he certainly says untrue things constantly and gratuitously, in the way that characters on Deadwood swear. There's little reason to think he can learn to change for an interview, particularly one with a nemesis who infuriates him.

Anyway, even an honest, circumspect person faces grave peril in such an interview. FBI agents and prosecutors are adept at putting interviewees ill at ease. The pressure is immense. Human memory is fallible, and the interrogators are not disposed to view misremembered statements as accidents. You don't know the significance of everything they are asking you, and most people simply cannot sustain the sort of focus necessary to respond to complicated questions precisely and accurately for a sustained period of time. "Just tell the truth," applied to a complicated interview, assumes that the witness is extraordinarily disciplined and that questioners have an open mind and will act fairly and in good faith. Those assumptions are not warranted.

Good advice, I'll try to remember.


■ Our local media conglomerate profiles the latest effort (spurred by our GOP Governor, no less) to appear trendy: ‘Diversity Speaks NH’ podcast gives voice to inclusion, equality.

Many would say the state of New Hampshire is a novice at diversity work. A newly established council is looking to change that.

Gov. Chris Sununu’s new Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion met for the first time this week. Seacoastonline.com and Fosters.com will chronicle its progress in coming months with a new podcast called “Diversity Speaks NH.”

I generally find that life is too short and busy to listen to podcasts even from people I like. Here's one of the councilcritters:

Allyson Ryder is associate director of Leadership New Hampshire, an organization that increases civic engagement and strengthens communities through connecting and educating a diverse pool of leaders.

Ryder, of North Hampton, identifies as a gay woman and said she’s spent the last decade working for gender and racial equality. She said there’s an outside notion of New Hampshire being a state that is “behind the times, old-fashioned.”

“The more we can do to hear the bias the exists and also simultaneously raising the profile of the acceptance that does inherently exist here in our little state, I just think will help make New Hampshire a more attractive place,” she said. Ryder said she hopes the state can begin to live up to its motto: Live Free or Die.


But shall we ever Live Free of the tedious people who only measure "diversity" by counting the racial/sexual pigeonholes they "identify themselves" into?

■ Finally, Michael Ramirez on Trump's proposed parade:

Trump's Parade for the Military