URLs du Jour

2018-06-08

[Amazon Link]

  • How many ways does Proverbs 12:19 instantiate standard Proverbialist tropes?

    19 Truthful lips endure forever,
        but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

    I count four:

    1. Mentions of mouth parts (two!)
    2. Good/bad compare-and-contrast
    3. You come away saying: "That is not an accurate description of today's reality."
    4. … then quickly add: "But President Donald J. Trump should really read this."


  • The good folks at Commie New Hampshire Public Radio are doing (I must admit) a clever Twitter campaign: What is PEAK New Hampshire?

    As part of our "Only in New Hampshire" series, we've compiled some of the best stories about our state. The competition is on to find the thing that most captures the spirit of New Hampshire. Voting for each round will begin at 12 p.m. and run for 23 hours.

    It's a NCAA-style tournament. It appears that (what else) "Live Free or Die" is the number one seed, and it has already won its first round. If you have a Twitter account, and you don't want to let Commies Typical NHPR Listeners govern the contest outcome, you might want to click over.

    By the way, if you live in a state with a wimpier slogan on your license plate—that is, if you live anywhere other than NH—our Amazon Product du Jour is for you. (Pun Salad gets a cut if you click-n-buy.)


  • Hot Air's John Sexton observes the latest from Central America: Nicaraguan Socialist Daniel Ortega Turns Tyrant…Why Does This Keep Happening?

    It’s never a good sign when your socialist President sends his police and unofficial goon squad into the street to start shooting protesters against his regime. We’ve seen this playbook recently in Venezuela under President Nicolas Maduro and now something very similar in Nicaragua where former socialist revolutionary Daniel Ortega seems intent on ruling for life.

    As reported by the Atlantic, the body count is over 120.

    Wikipedia still describes Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front as a "democratic socialist" party.

    It also says that the latest election, in 2016, demonstrated "that the application of the Christian, Socialist and Solidarity Model of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity implemented by the Sandinista National Liberation Front has the support of the immense majority of Nicaraguans."

    On the other hand, the New York Times editorialized that the election was a "farce".

    To answer Hot Air's question, "Why does this keep happening?": see Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, with special attention to Chapter Ten, "Why the Worst Get on Top."


  • Some personal notes, not that they matter: (1) I'm easily amused. (2) I have minimal insight into why I find things to be funny. (3) I still watch Saturday Night Live, but (4) often sit stone-faced during political skits at which the audience laughs uproariously. What's so funny?

    Kevin D. Williamson returns to the pages of National Review with an I-hope-unpaywalled article on the dismal state of "comedy" in 21st Century America: Monkey Hear, Monkey Laugh.

    The great tragedy of George Carlin’s life was that he stopped being funny before he stopped performing comedy. The great tragedy of Samantha Bee’s life is that she stopped before she started.

    KDW goes on to note—with some support from ape-observing science—that laughter can be a signalling of social status; roughly: "I am in agreement with the things this famous celebrity just said in the form and tempo of a joke, even though the actual humor content was less than zero."


  • Megan McArdle provides the news: Saving Social Security and Medicare now seems hopeless.

    The math of fixing our entitlement programs has always been easy, but the politics have always been difficult. The long time horizons over which such problems unfold, and over which solutions are best implemented, are ill-suited to the exigencies of the American political calendar. The political bases of the two major parties want something right now — a gargantuan tax cut, perhaps, or a massive new health-care entitlement that must be paid for by using Medicare payment reforms that could otherwise have shored up the finances of the existing program. Politicians facing a choice between giving the base what it wants, or giving the base higher payroll taxes and later retirement ages just to keep something they already have, unsurprisingly chose the easy path to fiscal meltdown, rather than the rocky road to sanity.

    But if the politics of entitlement reform were bad before, they seem hopeless now. The necessary reforms necessarily have to be bipartisan; any party that tried to force this unpleasant fiscal medicine on the American public by themselves would be committing electoral suicide. Given the bitter rancor gripping the country, it’s hard to see either party agreeing to hold hands and jump together. 

    We've delayed reform so long, that it's a guarantee that whatever happens will be painful. The ugliness of the class-warfare rhetoric is already painful.


  • I say "painful" above in a metaphorical sense. At least I hope so. But to mix metaphorical pain with actual pain, let's check out Jacob Sullum's notes on the latest efforts in the drug war: This Is Your Hand on Opioids: Trump's 'Very Bad Commercials' Rely on Dishonest and Pernicious Scare Tactics.

    Three months ago, Donald Trump promised to spend "a lot of money" on "very, very bad commercials" that would "scare" teenagers away from opioids by depicting "pretty unsavory situations." Today the White House unveiled four of those government-sponsored ads, and they are indeed very, very bad, in the sense that they rely on deceptive tropes and misleading half-truths.

    "The first four ads, which are based on real life, tell the graphic stories of four young adults going to extreme lengths to maintain their prescription opioid addiction," says White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "These ads show young adults how quickly opioid addiction can occur, and the extreme lengths to which some go to continue use of drugs while in the grips of addiction."

    All four ads feature young people who deliberately injure themselves so they can obtain prescription pain medication. Amy crashes her car into a dumpster, Kyle smashes his hand with a hammer, Chris closes his arm in a door, and Joe drops a car on himself by crawling under it and releasing the jack. "I didn't know they'd be this addictive," each of them says in a voice-over narration. "I didn't know how far I'd go to get more."

    Ouch! But again, falsifying the Proverb 12:19 claim that "a lying tongue lasts only a moment." Government lies about drugs go on for (so far) decades.