URLs du Jour

2018-04-24

[Amazon Link]

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

  • Proverbs 13:2 hits three common Proverbial tropes: (1) reference to the mouth area; (2) good people vs. bad people comparsion; (3) not making a lot of poetic sense.

    2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,
        but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.

    That's our default NIV translation. I think the KJV does it a little better:

    2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

    And the "Message", as always, goes its own way:

    2 The good acquire a taste for helpful conversation; bullies push and shove their way through life.

    The underlying message, readers: be good, not bad.


  • Nick Phillips asks the musical question at Quillette: Is Political Diversity on the Op-Ed Page Worth Defending?

    The Atlantic’s decision to fire the conservative columnist Kevin D. Williamson has occasioned an avalanche of think pieces, the latest of which is a Wall Street Journal article from Williamson in his own defence. All these commentaries swirl around the same question: Exactly how important is political diversity in media? For some, Williamson’s firing is proof that the mainstream media practices something like institutional discrimination against conservatives. For others, Williamson’s views were so beyond the pale that hiring him in the name of ‘diversity’ would be no more justifiable than a university astronomy department hiring a flat-earther. Diverse, yes, but also disqualifyingly wrong.

    Of the latter group—those who are skeptical of the need for media outlets to pursue political diversity—the ablest pen currently belongs to Osita Nwanevu, who laid out his argument in a piece for Slate entitled “It’s Time to Stop Yammering About Liberal Bias.” There are two layers to his critique: firstly, the media actually has plenty of political diversity, but secondly, this diversity isn’t a particularly important value for publications like the Atlantic to pursue.

    Phillips does a simple head count on Nwanevu's assertion that there are 18 (or maybe 19) "conservative" writers for the ‘big tent’ publications (Atlantic, NYT, WaPo), and that's plenty. But, even if you buy the characterization of those writers as conservative, that's a relative sliver of the 105 regular opinion writers at those publications. Everybody else is a reliable lefty.


  • Reason's Nick Gillespie (optimistically) kicks some dirt onto a grave: Net Neutrality Is Officially Dead. That's a Victory for Free Speech..

    Whatever side of the debate you're on, net neutrality is, at least for now, a dead letter. Supporters will continue to push for its return and could ultimately prevail. All of this sets up a powerful and, I hope, illuminating natural experiment. Before 2015, we had an internet that was lightly regulated. From 2015 til now, the net was governed by stricter rules. From now until the rules may be reinstated, we'll be back to a light-touch regime. Let's see if anyone notices a real difference in his or her online experience.

    My bet: The internet will continue to improve, both in terms of the speed of connection and the range of content, applications, and experiences we'll be accessing. As economist and net neutrality critic Tom Hazlett suggests, there may well be "paid prioritization" and continuing attempts to build "walled gardens" like Facebook's, but they will flourish or die based on whether they serve consumers' interests and needs. The advent of 5G and other technologies that will add to the competitive marketplace for internet access will make current arguments about net neutrality completely moot.

    That's one take, and one I agree with. To see what the other side's saying…


  • There's good old Slashdot, consistent only in its paranoia: Net Neutrality Is Over Monday, But Experts Say ISPs Will Wait To Screw Us.

    "Experts".

    Parts of the Federal Communication Commission's repeal of net neutrality is slated to take effect on April 23, causing worry among internet users who fear the worst from their internet service providers. However, many experts believe there won't be immediate changes come Monday, but that ISPs will wait until users aren't paying attention to make their move. "Don't expect any changes right out of the gate," Dary Merckens, CTO of Gunner Technology, tells Inverse. Merckens specializes in JavaScript development for government and business, and sees why ISPs would want to lay low for a while before enacting real changes. "It would be a PR nightmare for ISPs if they introduced sweeping changes immediately after the repeal of net neutrality," he says.

    In the modern version of the story, Chicken Little doesn't exclaim "the sky is falling!". Instead, he says, "The sky will fall someday, don't expect it soon, it would be a PR nightmare if it fell right away, but don't worry, experts tell us the sky is out there, just waiting to screw us over."


  • The Google LFOD News Alert rang for an LTE from Matt Simon (the New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project) in my local fishwrap, Foster's Daily Democrat. Marijuana study commission chair shows true colors

    The chairman of New Hampshire’s study commission on marijuana legalization, Rep. Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham, thinks Granite Staters who support ending marijuana prohibition should have waited for his commission’s report before supporting reform efforts in the Legislature (“Commission to deliver pot report on Nov. 1", April 8). While all three neighboring states have already approved legalization measures, Rep. Abrami seems to believe advocates in the “Live Free or Die” state should be content, at least for now, with the fact New Hampshire is finally bothering to study the issue.

    Abrami and Simon seem engaged in a pissing contest about the legalization process (or lack thereof). Can't help but think there is at least one elephant (and maybe more) in the room that neither is talking about.


  • The Greenwood, South Carolina Index Journal marks A fitting conclusion to tragic day in Abbeville. That tragic day was December 8, 2003, and the death of Abbeville County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Wilson and former deputy, turned state Constable Donnie Ouzts at the hands of Steven Bixby. At issue was a 20-foot easement onto the Bixby's property that the state's DOT wanted to widen the adjacent state highway. And the "fitting conclusion", over 14 years later, is the razing of the Bixby house.

    The Bixbys apparently were not about to give an inch, much less a 20-foot wide strip. Having lived in New Hampshire, they took to heart that state’s motto, “Live free or die.” They threatened the DOT, and when Wilson showed up to try to discuss the matter with the Bixbys he was shot by Steven. His mother proudly told someone her son had shot his first law officer. Steven dragged Wilson inside the house, handcuffed him and let him die. When Ouzts and another officer showed up to check on Wilson but turned from the door to wait for backup, Steven shot Ouzts in the back and the constable died in the yard.

    As the gratuitous LFOD reference shows, the Index Journal editorial writer is a hack. Does our motto make our state a hotbed of homicidal maniacs? No. New Hampshire's homicide rate was lowest in the nation in 2016; South Carolina's relatively optimistic motto, "Dum Spiro Spero" ("While I breathe, I hope") does not stop its inhabitants from racking up the eighth-highest homicide rate, about 5.7 times higher than New Hampshire's.

    Meanwhile, Steven Bixby still sits on Death Row, according to the IJ, because "the state does not have the drugs to perform lethal injections".