URLs du Jour

2018-06-24

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 11:7 breaks the bleak news to us:

    7 Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
        all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

    What a downer! Reminding me of the somewhat better known: Psalm 146:3 (KJV)

    3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no salvation.

    And as long as I'm here, I couldn't help but be amused at how The Message "translates" this:

    3 Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, of salvation life.

    I expect to see Tom Nichols tweet angrily at the Psalmist someday soon.


  • But speaking of experts, let's take a look (via Jonah Goldberg's G-File) at the late Charles Krauthammer’s Take on Life.

    As I mentioned on the Remnant podcast last week (and on TV this morning), one of my goals was to make Charles laugh on the Special Report panel. I had once said about someone — I have no idea who — that he was “a couple fries short of a Happy Meal” or something like that. And Charles cracked up. He’d bring it up every now and then, like it was an inside joke. Well, to mutilate the metaphor horribly, Charles — a truly happy man in the broadest sense — had more fries in his Happy Meal than any man I can think of. He had more reason to be bitter or haughty or vain than the next 100 men, and yet he overflowed with eudaimonia. He couldn’t use most of his body, but he was a man in full. And just being around him made me feel lucky — like finding that mysterious curly fry amidst all the normal ones.

    I will always be (probably more than a) couple of fries short of a Happy Meal, but I was somewhat surprised at the number of of times I quoted Mr. Krauthammer over the years. Thanks to grep: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. He was an expert at spotting phonies, and that's been kind of a thing here too.


  • As usual, another state offers us a cautionary tale, relayed by Nikhil Sridhar of Reason: New York State Spends $1.4 Million on an Old Movie Theater To Create 6 Jobs.

    On Saturday, New York state officials participated in the groundbreaking for the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. The center will reportedly "restore the Sag Harbor Cinema and preserve the showing of independent, foreign and documentary films on the East End of Long Island."

    The center is being developed by the nonprofit Sag Harbor Partnership, which pledged $13 million toward the project. However, they aren't the only investors. The Regional Economic Development Council awarded the Hampton theater a $1.4 million grant last December through Empire State Development. The result of that massive bill to the taxpayers? Six jobs, according to the government's own report. That's over $230,000 per job!

    Well, I spoke too soon about that "cautionary tale" thing. Because our fair state has a Film and Television Commission as well. Budget seems to be slightly north of $1 million/year. Other than maintaining a blog, a Facebook presence, and a Twitter account, they … do what, exactly, for that money?


  • George F. Will urges us to Affirm nation’s honor in November. By doing what, exactly?

    Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, which was merely the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans — these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively — fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.

    The principle is: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.

    I probably won't go so far as to vote for a Democrat to replace my current CongressCritter/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter. Current wisdom says I'll vote for the Libertarian nominee, current candidates seem to be Dan Belforti and marijuana activist Rich Paul (whose Facebook page seems to be defunct).


  • Language Log's Mark Liberman eulogizes Koko, the sign language-using gorilla, and speculates on The (Non-) Evolution of language.

    That makes it all the more mysterious that non-human animals have not gone further down the road of developing and using symbolic communication systems. What's to stop them? Where are all the other participants in Jungle Book conversations? If language is as valuable and useful as we instinctively believe it to be, and if some species of animals are so ready to learn, why does it take thousands of hours of expert human training to get a gorilla to Koko's stage of quasi-linguistic interaction?

    What caught my eye is that Liberman describes this as a "one-planet version of the Fermi paradox". There are other capabilities that evolved multiple times: swimming, flight, vision, sound generation, etc. Why not language?

    I'm feeling very creationist lately.