URLs du Jour


  • Proverbs 15:22 is an ostensible ode to collaboration:

    22 Plans fail for lack of counsel,
        but with many advisers they succeed.

    This Proverb was inserted thanks to the generous support of the Judean and Israeli chapters of the International Brotherhood of Plan Advisers. Our motto: "Plans Failing? Hire More Advisers!"

  • At NR, Kevin D. Williamson shares Jamie Kirchick's insight: "Everything Trump says makes sense when you just preface it with, ‘Donny from Queens, You’re on the Air’."

    The formal term for what’s at the root of all this is “rational ignorance.” Many of you will have experienced the phenomenon of the very smart person who has very dumb ideas about politics — and who, if challenged, will immediately retreat into the vaguest of generalities, and often ends up displaying surprising ignorance about the most basic public-policy questions. These are the people who believe that you can walk into Walmart and buy a machine gun, that foreign aid represents half of federal spending, that the CIA introduced crack into inner-city neighborhoods, etc., and who tend not to know things like who their representative in Congress is or how our tax system works. Why are these smart and often very successful people so ignorant about politics? Because they’ve spent their lives getting really smart about a different subject and achieving their success in a field in which political knowledge isn’t very important. This is why Albert Einstein had such batty ideas about politics.

    Bottom line: Trump has learned one big thing: given the reality of tribal loyalties and antipathies, his ignorant babbles don't impact what he really cares about. Which is, to a first approximation, satisfying the appetite of his massive ego.

  • The Daily Signal calls attention to new frontiers in proposed judicial meddling: Progressive Activists Look to Courts to Undermine the Electoral College.

    Having failed to generate enough support to abolish the Electoral College through a constitutional amendment, the institution’s detractors are now looking to the courts to upend it.

    A new lawsuit, spearheaded by Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig and filed in four states, charges that the “winner-take-all” element of how states divvy up their Electoral College votes is unconstitutional.

    I'm no fan of "winner-take-all" and (let me yammer about it one more time) my crackpot election reform proposal showed one way around it for Congressional elections. But—here's the thing—I realize it would take an actual Constitutional Amendment to implement.

    Lessig and his ilk should simply say what they really want: "Let's get the judicial system to rewrite the rules of the game until we win".

  • Richard Bernstein, writing at the New York Review of Books website, lists off The Brands That Kowtow to China.

    A couple of years ago, a satirist on Taiwan, the democratic self-governing island that China claims as a province, created an online “Apologize to China” contest. Shortly before, an eighteen-year-old Taiwanese pop singer named Chou Tzu-yu had prompted patriotic outrage in mainland China when it was discovered that she had waved a Taiwanese flag on South Korean television, a gesture taken as disrespect for the sacrosanct One China idea. Facing furious demands that she be banned from performing in China, Chou made a video in which she tearfully begged for forgiveness for her offense, which itself aroused a good deal of dismay on Taiwan about Chinese bullying of a naive teenager. Hence the “Apologize to China” contest.

    It was a joke, but there’s been no joking as the apologies to China have come thick and fast in recent weeks, issued not by teenage singers but by some of the largest and richest multinational corporations in the world—the German luxury car manufacturer Daimler, the Marriott Hotel chain, Delta Airlines, and others. Like Chou Tzu-yu’s statement of regret, moreover, the apologies have been striking in their abjectness, their reaffirmation of China’s position on crucial issues like Taiwan and Tibet, even the use of boilerplate language right out of China’s propaganda lexicon.

    What pricked up my ears a bit: Delta Airlines is kowtowing to China? The same company that made a big deal of yanking its discount for National Rifle Association members?

    They would prefer to do the bidding of a Communist dictatorship instead?

    Delta's sin, as reported by Reuters:

    China’s aviation authority on Friday [Jan 12] demanded an apology from Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, while another government agency took aim at Inditex-owned (ITX.MC) fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic Plc (MDT.N) for similar issues.

    The apology was swift:

    Delta Air Lines apologized on Friday [also Jan 12] and said it recognized the seriousness of the issue after it was criticized by the Chinese aviation regulator for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website.

    But the funny thing is: the press release that Delta issued back in January seems to be unavailable on its website. (You can still find cached versions on Google.)

    And: Taiwan is still shown on Delta's route map, labeled as "Taiwan" in the same typeface as used for other countries. Both "Tibet" and "Taiwan" appear as pulldown menu options on Delta's Group Travel Request Form. Tibet does not appear on their "Countries & Territories" list, but Taiwan does. And they have a page devoted to Taiwan Instant Savings.

    Gee, I hope I don't get Delta in trouble by pointing this out. Oh, wait: I hope I do.

  • Alton Bay's Robert Wyszynski pens a Concord Monitor LTE, and it triggered our LFOD alert: Ban conversion therapy.

    Right now under New Hampshire law, parents can force their children to undergo therapy designed to brainwash their children into believing that who they are and who they love is wrong. This practice, conversion therapy, has been proven to increase rates of depression, anxiety and suicide among teens, and it must be stopped.

    OK, fine. Good luck finding any full-throated support on the web for "conversion therapy". (Sometimes called “reparative” therapy. Whether you call this a euphemism or not depends on how you feel about what's going on.) About the best I could do was an anti-banning op-ed (from 2013) at the NYT.

    But what about LFOD? Ah, here it is:

    If we truly want to live by the “Live Free or Die” motto, then we have to work to make sure that our children can live free from discrimination and judgment, and we can do this by banning gay conversion therapy for minors.

    Because nothing says freedom like getting the state to ban things.