URLs du Jour


Proverbs 15:5 is a fortune cookie candidate:

5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
    but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

Hey, I have a million-dollar idea for any wannabe entrepreneur out there: Fortune Cookies for Your Kids. Marketed to parents, the cookies would contain pearls of wisdom specifically encouraging decent/studious behavior. ("A child who scorns mathematics / Will someday be restocking shelves at Walmart.")

This would work, assuming kids are more likely to heed advice they get from the mysterious Orient than that they get from parents.

■ Thomas Winslow Hazlett has a good article in the latest Reason, and now it's available for free reading: Making the Fairness Doctrine Great Again. He discusses the (unsurprisingly) bipartisan clamor from pols/pundits to Do Something Regulatory about the Internet.

It's time to "get us on offense and scare the hell out of Google, Facebook, Twitter," declares Phil Kerpen, top dog at the avowedly free market American Commitment. He has concocted a strategy for conservatives, described in a memo obtained by Axios, which calls for government to treat social media platforms not like the newspapers of the 20th century, with unencumbered speech rights, but like the railroads of the 19th century—as "incumbents with market power [who] therefore pose a serious threat" to society.

Meanwhile, the "establishment" is eager to regulate new media, too. Three senators—two Democrats and a Republican—have proposed a bill to extend campaign finance disclosure rules to the internet, constraining who is allowed to buy online advertisements. Alarmed by Russian provocateurs and by the suspiciously improbable electoral triumph of Donald Trump, they aim to bring the wonders of McCain-Feingold to broader information markets.

History speaks loudly on the merits of these ideas. Twentieth century regulatory policies dedicated to furthering "the public interest" in media—the Equal Time Rule, the Fairness Doctrine, the licensing of broadcast radio and television—triggered perverse outcomes that squeezed competition, pre-empted innovation, and quashed free speech. They scorched the very values they were ostensibly designed to advance.

Google/Facebook/Twitter have come in for some well-deserved criticism, sure. You know what would be worse? The visible fist of US government regulation, that's what.

■ When we ask "What was that bipartisan budget deal loaded with?" the first answer that leaps to mind is …, well, obvious. But, at the Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney is more specific: That bipartisan budget deal was loaded with bipartisan corporate welfare. Example one:

The bill includes an extension of the “7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes.” In other words, it’s a special tax break that applies only to NASCAR tracks and the like. The “7-year recovery period” means that the owner of a racetrack gets to divide its cost over only 7 years for tax deduction purposes. By contrast, if you’re a landlord, you have to divide the cost of your rental home over 30 years. The speedway provision pretends, in effect, that a racetrack survives only 7 years.

Maybe you can justify this special tax break as an “incentive” to stimulate local economies? No. Because the break “shall apply to property placed in service after December 31, 2016,” the bill reads. In other words, this is a tax break for speedways built last year.

Mr. Carney provides additional examples, all should be infuriating.

■ At the Federalist, Alex Grass explains: Why A Schizophrenic Hobo Is More Qualified To Teach Your Kids Than Most College Administrators Are.

Lord, I love that headline.

Puppy therapy. My law school has puppy therapy. Let me slow it down for you. Puppy. Therapy. Let that sink in.

A professional legal educational institution is spending money to bring in puppies for grown adults — future litigators, future trial lawyers, people who are someday going to try rape and murder cases — so they can rub Fido and Spike’s furry little tummies and giggle while they piddle on the rug.

Just to be clear, the puppies are the ones who are piddling on the rug.

Mr. Grass is very funny. To be clear, he's not talking about just any schizophrenic hobo; he's a fan of Wesley Willis, who "wrote songs about trans-fat filled junk food and who tagged the end of every song with a corporate catchphrase." Still, he's more coherent than Grass's college example, Elizabeth Carlin Metz, chair of the Knox College theater department.

■ An interesting story at the Washington Times: FBI investigating Confucius Institutes.

The FBI is investigating scores of Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes around the country over concerns the institutes are part of covert spying and influence operations.

The centers, mainly located on American college campuses, ostensibly were set up to teach Chinese language and culture. But they have become centers for spreading pro-China propaganda and influence activities, including organizing Chinese communist student groups that challenge human rights activists and others.

There is a Confucius Institute at the University Near Here. Pun Salad wrote on this issue back in 2014, and noted that it was one of those rare issues on which both National Review and (gasp) the Nation were in agreement: Confucius Institutes should not be welcome on college campuses.

And now the FBI is after them. Well, better late than never. I foresee a perp walk out of Hamilton Smith Hall. I hope someone's there to tape it.

■ A bit of levity at the Olympics (see pic du jour up there), but not everyone was amused. North Korean Cheerleaders Were Not Impressed by Kim Jong Un Impersonator.

The impersonator, identifying himself as "Howard," approached the 230-member cheerleading squad while waving a unified Korea flag. The initial response was icy, with several of the cheerleaders openly scowling and others sitting uncomfortably in silence.

Howard, who is of Chinese and Australian descent, told Yahoo Sports that he is a musician and his intent was to enjoy the match, "meet the cheerleaders," and "create some good political satire."

Howard only had a few moments in front of the crowd before two men, who are suspected to be employed by the North Korean regime, attempted to remove him from the scene.

There are also pics out there of Howard hamming it up with a Donald Trump impersonator.

■ The Babylon Bee provides us impatient folk with The TL;DR Edition Of All 66 Books Of The Bible.

The Bible is really long.

Luckily for you, we at The Babylon Bee have studied our official company Scofield Reference Bible for the past 80 years in order to distill each of the 66 books down to a bite-sized snippet even you can understand. We reduced every book to a single, memorable line, so you don’t have to read a word of it for yourself. Nice!

Obviously, we'll look at Proverbs:


Yeah, that's about right.

■ Confession: I am sort of a T. S. Eliot fanboy, so I was amused by this Tweet

If you know the reference, some obvious Smart Remarks will have occurred to you. Trust me, they've already appeared in the comments.

OK, just one:

Last Modified 2018-12-27 4:35 PM EDT