URLs du Jour

2018-05-22

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 12:4 gives the guys advice on spouse-picking:

    4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
        but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

    Whoa. And I'm somewhat surprised that even the more modern translations don't try to bowdlerize the sexism here. Is there any equivalent Proverb cautioning wives about bad husbands? Haven't seen one, but I'll let you know if I do.


  • RIP, Robert Indiana, who in did that "LOVE" thing—see the Amazon Product du Jour—back in the 1970s. According to the Bangor Daily News: "In his later years, he was known for living an increasingly reclusive life 15 miles off the [Maine] mainland on Vinalhaven, where he moved in 1978." Love only goes so far.


  • My local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat published an op-ed from one Jim Fabiano, identified as "a retired Newmarket Jr./Sr. High School teacher and writer living in York, Maine." Warning, it's pretty whiny: It’s time for all teachers to be able to afford a great day. It begins … unpromisingly:

    Teachers across the country can no longer survive on the salaries they are offered to do the most important job of all.

    The median annual salary for high school teachers was $58,030. in 2016. The poverty level for a family of four in 2016 was $24,300 [48 contiguous states, AK and HI slightly higher].

    But Mr. Fabiano's fact-impaired whining is not the only problem.

    On the saying "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.":

    I do get a kick out of this statement because those who can do because they were taught how too [sic].

    Referring to (I assume) student transport:

    The busses [sic] arrive.

    And on the diversity of student achievement:

    Some are better in English than math and vica-versa [sic].

    Trust me, these are just the easy-to-find spelling errors. Punctuation is (to be kind) non-standard, and stylistic blunders abound.

    I've been known to make errors myself, but Foster's did Mr. Fabiano's argument serious damage by not editing his prose before publication.


  • Haven't read Steven Pinker's new book, Enlightenment Now yet? Well, maybe his interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie will nudge you into it: Steven Pinker Loves the Enlightenment. Sample, on nuclear energy:

    [Gillespie:] You talk about how there's a strong argument for nuclear energy if what you care about is how to get the most energy out of the fewest greenhouse gases. How did you come to appreciate nuclear

    [Pinker:] Partly from thinking through that we really do need scalable, abundant, affordable energy, particularly in the developing world. There's a moral imperative to allow India and China and Africa to enjoy the benefits that we've enjoyed from abundant energy. Nuclear energy doesn't involve burning anything, so it doesn't emit carbon, and a lot of our dread of nuclear energy is because it hits all of our cognitive buttons for the fear response: It's novel; we can imagine a catastrophe; it's man-made as opposed to natural. There are a few salient events that lodge in our cultural memory, mainly Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now Fukushima, despite the fact that the human damage in each case was trivial compared to what we tolerate day in and day out from burning coal.

    I hadn't thought about it in these terms, but you mention that only 60 or 100 people died directly in Chernobyl.

    Yeah, and then there probably was a slightly elevated cancer rate, barely detectable.

    So is this a case where we can imagine the disastrous outcome and that overwhelms the cognitive ability to talk about this stuff rationally?

    That's right, because the far greater number of deaths come from fossil fuels—from mining, from transporting, from pollution. It just never happens all at once in a photogenic event. Coal kills, according to one estimate, about a million people a year, but that doesn't make the headlines.

    Also not making the headlines: countries getting out of nuclear energy using fossil fuels instead.


  • Clinton pollster Mark Penn makes some sense at The Hill: Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all.

    The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.

    At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton “matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

    An interesting take.


  • Also interesting is David Harsanyi, who has just one more question: Did The Obama Administration Spy On Trump Using Flimsy Evidence? Let’s Find Out.

    If the Justice Department and FBI are, as we’ve been told incessantly over the past year, not merely patriots but consummate professionals incapable of being distracted by partisanship or petty Washington intrigues, why are Donald Trump’s antagonists freaking out over the fact that an inspector general will assess whether political motivation tainted an investigation into the president’s campaign? The American people should get a full accounting of what transpired during 2016. Isn’t that what we’ve been hearing since the election?

    You believe Trump is corrupt. I get it. But surely anyone who alleges to be concerned about the sanctity of our institutions and rule of law would have some cursory curiosity about whether an investigation by the administration of one major party into the presidential campaign of another major party was grounded in direct evidence rather than fabulist rumor-mongering. Otherwise, any administration, including Trump’s, could initiate an investigation for whatever cooked-up superficial reason it wanted.

    I better check the larder to see if we have enough popcorn.


  • The Cato Institute's Daniel J. Ikenson claims, credibly: Trump’s Trade Policy is a Disaster, But Postponing the China Trade War Was Smart.

    This weekend’s announcement, arguably, was the first piece of good trade policy news the Trump administration has delivered during its tumultuous 16-month reign. Yes, the administration’s trade policy has been a comedy of errors from the outset. Trump’s America First policies have betrayed his administration’s utter ignorance of the interdependence of the global economy, divided the country, and strained long-standing relationships with governments, businesses, and people on every continent. Had the president been remotely informed about international trade before taking office—instead of taking his primer courses on our time and on our dime—we might have been spared 16 months of wrenching policy mistakes.

    I also suggest this twitter thread from Ilan Goldenberg:

    It's not a pretty picture, Emily.


Last Modified 2018-05-22 10:53 AM EST