URLs du Jour

2018-06-28

[Amazon Link]

  • Another oral reference crops up in Proverbs 11:11:

    11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
        but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.

    If you have a city with both upright blessers and wicked mouthers, then you have … kind of a Schrödinger's cat situation, I guess. What will happen today, exaltation or destruction?

    But if you have mouth-of-the-wicked problems, might I suggest our Amazon Product du Jour, Tom's of Maine Natural Wicked Fresh! Mouth Wash? You're welcome.


  • There sure has been a lot of Supreme Court news over the past few days, amirite? One of the bits of good news is reported by Father Matthew P. Schneider at Patheos: Supreme Court Protects Crisis Pregnancy Centers from Forced Speech. He's particularly brutal (for a priest) on the claim made by Cecile Richards that "fake clinics … lie to women about their pregnancies and withhold medical information."

    Besides the bias that calls them “fake clinics” while calling abortion “medical information,” we have a deeper claim. She is claiming these centers lie. There are plenty of laws on the books in every state against lying and false advertising. I have not heard of any one of the 2,500 Crisis Pregnancy Centers being guilty of false advertising. On the other hand, not mentioning what you don’t provide isn’t lying. My brother-in-law owns a series of vending machines. It would be ridiculous to force him to post on the front of those machines a list of snacks 7-Eleven provides that are not in his vending machines.

    I've noticed that a lot of abortion advocates can't even bring themselves to utter the word "abortion" any more. Which was already a euphemism.


  • We previously linked to George F. Will's column urging his readers to vote against Republicans in November. In the interest of equal time, I suggest Dan "Baseball Crank" McLaughlin at NRO: Don’t Throw the Republicans Out: A Response to George Will

    There are four main reasons why running Republicans out of Congress will not produce the results that Will is seeking. One, Democrats do not respect the values Will champions and cannot be counted on to advance them. Two, the recent history of divided government shows that it moves policy toward the out-party’s ideology and away from the in-party’s, but it does not actually restrain corruption or abuse of executive power; if anything, it tends to expand them. Three, if voters follow Will’s advice, it will make the Trumpist faction more, rather than less, powerful within the Republican party. Four, Will underestimates the importance of the judiciary and the administrative state and the extent to which Democratic control of Congress would empower them to further erode the constitutional powers of Congress as well as those of the presidency.

    These points are expanded in the remainder of Dan's essay.

    As I've (no doubt tediously) said before: neither NH senate seat is involved in the election this year, but New Hampshire Congressional District One is up for grabs as usual. I can't see myself—sorry, George—voting for whatever Democrat is nominated, but I'm still on the fence about whether to vote Republican or Libertarian. Depends on the nominees.


  • At the WSJ's "Best of the Web Today", James Freeman profiles The Dishwasher Rebellion.

    The digital revolution relentlessly enables consumer products to become better, faster and cheaper. But environmental regulation has for decades been making household tasks more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. A new effort to rewrite some old rules suggests a consumer backlash may be brewing.

    “Make dishwashers great again. It should not take 2-3 hours to clean a dishwasher full of dirty dishes,” writes consumer Laurelle Hess in one of more than 2,000 public comments collected by the Department of Energy in response to a rule-making petition from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The free-market think tank is asking the feds to reconsider their long-term campaign to degrade the kitchen appliance.

    Consumer's Union ("the advocacy division of Consumer Reports") which bills itself as a pro-consumer group, is unsurprisingly on the anti-consumer side on this matter. They would prefer consumers not be given the choice of dishwashers that are able to use slightly more energy and water to get dishes cleaner.

    They should change their name.


  • At Reason, Veronique de Rugy is Telling the Truth on Trade With China.

    We hear quite a bit of misleading rhetoric against China these days. Let's grant, for argument's sake, that the Chinese overproduce steel, dump some of that steel into Canada and Europe before it makes its way to the United States, pilfer intellectual property and have a plan to dominate the world by 2025. It's still not a good reason to protect a few privileged American producers by slapping tariffs on the stuff other U.S. firms use to manufacture their goods—or for the government to restrict the supply of goods that households consume to raise their standard of living.

    Since when do free market advocates believe that a communist authoritarian regime like the one in China can successfully and centrally plan and execute economic growth? These days, newspapers are full of quotes by noted free marketeers who would usually oppose trade barriers such as those put in place by the Trump administration but nevertheless support such barriers because they worry that China's 2025 "plan" will successfully lead to its domination of many industries.

    America: soon to be 242 years old, and still unable to keep its free market story straight. Well, maybe someday.

  • And Mr. Ramirez cartoon-tweets on civility:

The Late Show

[Amazon Link]

In this book, Michael Connelly introduces a new character: Detective Renée Ballard. (It says this right on the front cover.) It's a page turner, but feels a little padded. 405 pages, could have easily been cut back to 300. But I suppose that's what Connelly's book contract demanded he churn out.

The book's title refers to Renée's work shift: the early A.M. hours. That's where she was stuck after losing a sexual harassment complaint against her one-time superior, Lt. Olivas. Which loss was incurred due to betrayal by her partner, Det. Chastain. She's professionally moribund.

But there's always cop stuff to do in LA. Three cases: (1) an elderly lady reports a stolen credit card; (2) a transvestite hooker gets badly beaten up and left for dead; and (3, the biggie) a mass shooting at a crowded Hollywood dance club. Renée is dragged into the latter while at the hospital checking on the nearly-dead hooker; one of the victims is brought there in the (futile) attempt to save her life.

Renée exhibits, unsurprisingly, a Bosch-like devotion to dig out the perpetrators in all these cases. Up to and including investigatory behavior that would get her shitcanned if the department found out about it. She seldom sleeps, loves to paddleboard in the Pacific, has a rescue dog, and (small spoiler) finds herself in mortal peril on one occasion. (It's not a spoiler, since this book is "introducing" her character, to observe that she escapes and prevails.)

Not that it matters, but there's a weird (but amusing) interplay here: one of the club murder victims is an innocent employee, a waitress looking to break into acting. One of her credits is "Girl in Bar" on the TV show "Bosch". Oh yeah, Renée thinks, that's the show based on the exploits of that now-retired detective.

So yes, I'm reading a fiction book where TV shows have fictionalized versions of its already-fictional characters. But there is a Bosch TV show in our "real" world…

Connelly does this on occasion. It's funny, but it also makes my head hurt. Is this the sort of thing Jorge Luis Borges did?

Not that it matters either, but I often "cast" book characters in my mind while reading. Initially, I envisioned Renée as being played by Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Rosa Diaz on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine". That would be fine, but as the 405 pages of the book went by, I kept seeing her as … don't laugh … Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

OK, you can laugh. Mrs. Salad did.