URLs du Jour


■ Proverbs have tended toward the obvious so far in Chapter 15, so Proverbs 15:11 comes as sort of a slap in the face:

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord
    how much more do human hearts!

This sounds shocking to modern ears: of course God knows all about Death and Destruction; so you better believe He also knows about what's going on in your perverse little psyche.

At least, that's my interpretation.

■ Speaking about that innermost depravity: I am a sucker for these state-comparison things, so let's check out WalletHub's list of 2018’s Most Sinful States in America.

Red states and blue states may like to point to one another as the source of all that is wrong with the U.S., but the truth is that each of the 50 states has its own virtues and vices. For example, Vermont has the worst drug use problem. And it certainly comes as no surprise that Nevada is the most gambling-addicted.

Put it all together (using a somewhat arbitrary scoring/weighting system) and Vermont actually weighs in as the least sinful state. New Hampshire is only slightly more boring less sinful at #44. New England as a whole isn't very sinful at all; the highest scorer is Massachusetts, #33.

■ OK, they're not very sinful over there in Vermont, but that doesn't mean they can't pout and stomp their feet when they don't get their way: U. Vermont Students Demand Administrators Resign Over Failure to Meet Diversity Demands.

University of Vermont​ students and Black Lives Matter activists are demanding top administrators resign over the college's failure to meet student demands for diversity initiatives, including the installation of BLM flags on campus.

Occupying the main administrative building Tuesday, some 200 students loosely organized under a group called NoNames for Justice chanted for the UVM president, provost, and vice provost for student affairs to step down for failing to be adequate allies for students of color.

Oh, wait, I'm pretty sure "wrath" is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

So far, the University Near Here has been spared such publicity. Any recent campus outrage, as near as I can tell, has been directed at the decision to can 18 lecturers in the College of Liberal Arts. The whining about that has been pretty loud.

■ At AEI, Cliff Asness does some math in We Are the 98 Percent.

The central issue of our time is the debate over the size and scope of government. Two unpleasant but undeniable mathematical truths limit the feasible policy choices. The recent sound and fury of the fiscal cliff follies in the end signified nothing because the resolution was in fact just a denial of both truths.

The first truth is that the current tax rates cannot support the promises made to middle-class Americans. The most unaffordable items in fiscal projections are Social Security for everyone and government-sponsored health care for the middle class. You cannot preserve these even with Draconian slashing of military, infrastructure, welfare, education, and other expenditures.

The second truth is that you cannot pay for the Life of Julia, or any vision of a cradle-to-grave welfare state, without massive and increasingly regressive middle-class taxes. The poor don’t have the money to pay for a European-style welfare state, and the rich, rich as they are, don’t have anywhere near enough.

The article is actually from 2013, but could have been written today.

■ At NR, Jonah Goldberg has some advice: Don’t Overestimate Trump’s Ability to Knowingly Collude with Russia.

He could have cut that to three words: Don't Overestimate Trump. But he's more specific than that:

The conspiracy theories that capture our imagination usually depend on false assumptions about how the world works. They rely on the idea that government (or some other large organization) is both profoundly evil and profoundly competent, particularly at keeping secrets. Sometimes the former may be true, but the latter virtually never is. Conspiracy theories also rely on the belief that objectively bad outcomes are subjectively intended. It’s like trying to read the world like a work of literature, where all actions foreshadow future events.

That’s why I tend to avoid conspiracy theory in favor of what one might call character theory. Character is destiny, as Heraclitus observed, and it serves as a far more reliable guide than feverish dot-connecting of disparate events.

It is President Trump’s character that leads me to think he didn’t do it, at least not in a way the impeachment-hungry mob hopes he did.

Put that way, it's pretty obvious: Trump and many of his retinue are braggarts and egomaniacs; it strains credibility that they could pull off a secret conspiracy of any magnitude.

■ Relax, folks, JLaw has us covered. The Bablylon Bee says: Americans Prepare For Unprecedented Golden Age As Jennifer Lawrence Takes Break From Acting To Fix Nation.

Jubilant citizens from sea to shining sea have begun preparing for an unprecedented Golden Age after Hollywood superstar Jennifer Lawrence revealed in an interview that she will be taking a year off of acting to “fix our democracy.”

“Finally, after all this strife, J. Law is going to save us all!” ecstatic Americans exclaimed Wednesday as they foresaw an idyllic new age of peace, prosperity, and happiness in the United States and around the world. “If Katniss can’t do it, nobody can!”

She is really a fine actress. I'm sure she'll need only a year to fix our democracy.