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  • RIP, Steve Ditko.

    Steve Ditko, a comic-book artist best known for his role in creating Spider-Man, one of the most successful superhero properties ever, was found dead on June 29 at his home in Manhattan, the police said on Friday. He was 90. […]

    Mr. Ditko, along with the artist Jack Kirby and the writer and editor Stan Lee, was a central player in the 1960s cultural phenomenon known as Marvel Comics, whose characters today are ubiquitous in films, television shows and merchandise.

    Though Mr. Ditko had a hand in the early development of other signature Marvel characters — especially the sorcerer Dr. Strange — Spider-Man was his definitive character, and for many fans he was Spider-Man’s definitive interpreter.

    The coolest scenes in the Spider-Man movies are those that redo Ditko's original comic panels. One of the best examples is Voxsplained by Alex Abad-Santos. (You'll want to click for the pics.) Bottom line:

    One of the frequent criticisms that comics fans level against Stan Lee’s legacy is that Lee took all of the credit and often left none to spare when it came to work and characters that he co-created with legends like Ditko, including Spider-Man. But this scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming won’t let anyone forget what a genius Steve Ditko was at giving life to the legendary webslinger.

    But let's not forget Mr. A, Ditko's uncompromising sorta-Objectivist hero, and one of the inspirations for Alan Moore's Rorschach.

  • Back to our normal programming. Proverbs Chapter 11 seems to be stuck in a rut over the past few days. Proverbs 11:20 is yet another good people/bad people comparison:

    20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
        but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

    What can you say, except "that's good to know"?

  • At Reason, Steve Chapman notes that The Debt Clock Keeps Spinning.

    Federal debt now equals 78 percent of gross domestic product, the highest since we had just finished fighting World War II. The CBO says that under current policies, it can be expected to "approach 100 percent of GDP by the end of the next decade and 152 percent by 2048. That amount would be the highest in the nation's history by far."

    The Trump administration pretends that its policies will unleash such rapid economic growth that the treasury will get a flood of new revenue. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, bragged the other day that the deficit "is coming down, and it's coming down rapidly."

    Later, he amended his false claim, saying that he "probably should have said future deficits." But that would also have been false. The CBO projects the deficit will balloon from $804 billion this year to $1.3 trillion in 2022.

    Kudlow should know better. Congress—and not a penny can be spent without Congressional assent—hould know better. And voters should know better.

  • At NRO, David French makes a point that really shouldn't have to be made: Defending Donald Trump Isn’t a Sign of Masculinity.

    Last year I wrote an essay describing the emerging “tough-guy Right” and the almost-comical tendency of Trumpist conservatives to equate their man with toughness, their tweets with combat, and their movement with masculinity. In their minds, Never Trumpers aren’t just wrong, they’re also wimps. They’re beta males. It’s not uncommon to see throwaway phrases in essays condemning Never Trumpers like Emerald Robinson’s description of some conservatives as “low-testosterone” and “dilettantish” or Kurt Schlichter’s condemnation of so-called fussy fredocon gimps. Or, when they describe their own writing, they’ll use vivid war imagery — like Jesse Kelly’s recent loving description of “scalping” his ideological enemies.

    I’ve written a lot about our culture’s attacks on masculinity. I’ve discussed a man’s duty to defend the weak and the vulnerable. I’ve even decried the apparent increasing physical weakness of men and boys and argued that men were meant to be strong. Yet not once in the modern fights over masculinity had I thought for a moment to include — as markers of male toughness — the ability to deliver spittle-flecked tirades on cable news, to tweet like a punk, or to circle the wagons around a man who avoided service in his own generation’s war and who compared sexually transmitted diseases to his own personal Vietnam.

    I'm probably guilty of, on occasion, writing about progressives getting their panties in a bunch … or clutching their pearls … or … maybe something about douches.

  • Ah, well. David Henderson has a simple proposal: allow competition in first class mail. But what would that really mean? Thankfully: Rick Geddes Explains the Postal Monopoly.

    The USPS actually has two legally enforced monopolies, as per Title 39 of the US Code. One is over the delivery of anything defined as a “letter,” which is within certain size and weight limits. The second is over the use of your mailbox. That is correct: there are criminal violations if anyone puts anything in your mail box that is not US government approved “mail.” The US is the only country that I know having that latter monopoly, while most countries (including all 27 member EU countries) have done away with the first, the delivery monopoly.

    Yes, when it comes to letter delivery, the US is actually more socialist than most other countries.

    As David notes, President Trump has ordered a study for USPS reform, but that seems to have been driven more by his animus towards Jeff Bezos than his devotion to free market philosophy.

  • James Freeman writes on a recent WaPo effort to debunk Ivanka Trump's claims about employment news and food stamps: Ivanka Checks the ‘Fact Checker’.

    Ivanka made a single factual comment: "Two million people have come off food stamps and have come back into the economy."

    WaPo: two out of four "Pinocchios". Even though it admits the two million number is, well, true.

    Freeman quotes his predecessor:

    Some good work is done under the rubric of “fact checking,” but the label is deceptive. Calling it “fact checking” is meant to convey an extra degree of objective authority, but “fact check” journalists do not limit themselves to questions of verifiable objective fact. Frequently they accuse politicians of dishonesty because the journalists favor a different interpretation of facts that are not in dispute. Sometimes their “rulings” are mere opinions on matters about which they do not know the facts, or that are not factual questions at all.

    This is why most—ahem—honest people only quote the WaPo fact checker or the even-more-lefty Politifact when they debunk some progressive talker. As in, usually, "even the WaPo couldn't believe this."

  • Michael Ramirez on the sudden enthusiasm for socialism among Democrats:

Last Modified 2019-01-06 6:28 AM EDT