URLs du Jour

2018-06-18

[Amazon Link]

  • We move (backward) into a new Proverbial chapter today. Proverbs 11:1 notes that, at times, the Lord concerns Himself with the small details of life:

    1The Lord detests dishonest scales,
        but accurate weights find favor with him.

    Today, the watchful eyes of the Lord have been usurped assisted by the Office of Weights and Measures, part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (Hey, I used to live just across the street from there!)

    I have nothing but admiration for the diligent Federal employees who are no doubt doing the Lord's work in producing prose like this (from "Update for the Test Procedure for 3.13. Determining Net Contents of Compressed Gas in Cylinders"):

    The NIST Office of Weights and Measures (OWM) received an inquiry about compressed gases and legal metrology require‐ ments. Upon research and discussion with Dr. Eric Lemmon, NIST Thermophysical Properties of Fluids Group, we learned that NIST Handbook 133, “Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods,” Section 3.13. Determining the Net Contents of Compressed Gas in Cylinders test procedures did not provide an updated reference document. The current test procedure cites an obsolete NIST Technical Note 1079 (1985), “Table of Industrial Gas Container Contents and Density for Oxygen, Argon, Nitrogen, Helium, and Hydrogen.”

    Note that, unlike much of what Your Federal Government does these days, this is all quite Constitutional:

    The Congress shall have Power […] fix the Standard of Weights and Measures […]

    If only they had stuck to that.


  • P.J. O'Rourke writes on the 2018 Farm Bill, and his conclusion is: Stick a Fork in It, It’s Done.

    On May 18, the big, stupid, wildly expensive farm bill – the “Agricultural and Nutrition Act of 2018” – was voted down in the House of Representatives.

    Traditionally, a farm bill is a cozy bipartisan boondoggle. But in this case, the partisan doggles failed to cozily boon.

    Democrats refused to vote for the bill because they’re furious about its stricter work and job-training rules for Food Stamp recipients. And 30 conservative Republicans refused to vote for the bill because they’re furious about… all sorts of things… about the ridiculous spending in the bill, but also about the refusal of Democrats to compromise on immigration policy, and about other Republicans being complicit with Democratic intransigence, and…

    In short, the House of Representatives is so bitterly divided by ideology that its denizens cannot agree on even such an obvious piece of log-rolling and jobbery as the farm bill.

    The farm bill – which, with an even-handed picking of the taxpayers’ pockets – dispenses boodle, booty, and pelf to both the hopeless clodhoppers of stalwart Republicanism and the urban slobs of the Democratic base.

    The House of Representatives can’t get anything done.

    Thank goodness.

    But (as P.J. says): don't get your hopes up.


  • You may have heard that pretty damning evidence has been uncovered showing that Harvard put its learned thumb on the admissions scales to be sure they don't have too many of … those people … getting into their school. By which I mean: people of Asian descent. At NRO, Michael Brendan Dougherty calls it A Different Kind of Diversity.

    It’s been an open secret for a long time that Harvard and Yale viciously discriminate against Asian-Americans. Now it is getting even more public attention in light of a new lawsuit aimed to stop it. Harvard typically admits classes where roughly one in five students are Asian-Americans. This is done by systematically downgrading Asian-American students on the subjective portions of the admissions process. An internal review found that if Harvard only looked at academic achievement, Asian Americans would rise to 43 percent of Harvard’s class.

    Michael suggests that, instead of attempting to achieve "diversity" in exactly the same way, "elite" schools could adopt diverse (but explicit) admissions goals. While (say) Caltech just looks at raw academic achievement, Harvard could instead aim for a reasonably accurate mirror of US demographics, Yale could do … something else. And so on.

    Wouldn't matter, as long as schools were open and honest about their standards, and applied them fairly. And could get away with doing it without threats from Your Federal Government.


  • At Reason, Steve Chapman tells the sad story of How Trump's Republican Party Went Soft on Communism.

    If you had told Ronald Reagan in 1988 that in 30 years, the president of the United States would be chummy with communist dictators in China and North Korea, eager to please a brutal Kremlin autocrat, and indifferent to the needs of our military allies, he might have said: That's what you get for electing a Democrat.

    Today's Republicans make up a party he wouldn't recognize. For decades, the Russians and Chinese dispatched spies and enlisted American sympathizers to try to harm the United States and tilt its policies in their favor. Under Donald Trump, they don't have to. They have a friend in the Oval Office.

    Chapman notes that in the behavior of GOP leaders, there are weird echoes of the old CPUSA's whiplash reversals during the 1930s, to reflect whatever Stalin was doing at the time.


  • And our Tweet du Jour is from @Reverend_Scott:

    Ah, it's good to know my dog is, more or less, normal. For a dog.