URLs du Jour

2018-08-02

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  • Is Proverbs 10:15 a trivial truism, or do you see some deeper meanings?

    15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
        but poverty is the ruin of the poor.

    The poor don't have enough money to build their own fortified city? Instead they have to live in ruins?

    As usual, Biblical understanding of economics is suspect.


  • At National Review, editorial intern Karl J. Salzmann muses on Communism, Fascism, and Double Standards. Double standards on view, specifically, in the response to Ms. Ash Sarkar:

    Earlier this month, a British left-wing blogger, Ash Sarkar, received her 15 minutes of fame when she screamed at Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. Morgan had insisted on deeming Ms. Sarkar a supporter of Barack Obama, to which she responded by yelling, “He’s not my hero . . . I’m literally a Communist!” — a response for which she was praised by left-wing, mostly Internet-based writers all over the world, including in Teen Vogue and Elle, which offered her as a role model for young women.

    Karl quotes the always-sensible Daniel Hannan:

    “At this stage in the article,” Hannan writes, “the columnist traditionally says, ‘Just imagine if she had declared that she was “literally a fascist.”’ But you can’t imagine it, can you?” No, we can’t, and that’s because we have completely demonized Fascism and, socially, taken it out of public discourse — thank God. Yet Fascism’s kissing cousin, the equally evil and equally bloody Communism, remains not only celebrated but also recommended as worthy-of-emulation in Teen Vogue and Elle. And, unlike Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Sarkar actually knows something about something, even if it isn’t much: In her Teen Vogue interview, she surprises the interviewer by quoting Marx at length. Often, but not incontrovertibly, Fascism is said to be a right-wing ideology; arguendo, how is it that the evil far-right ideology is thrown out to the everlasting darkness yet the evil far-left ideology exalted? Or, even less drastically, how is it that conservatives are (rightfully) called upon to decry far-right madmen, yet liberals are given the opportunity to laud far-left crazies?

    There's no decent excuse.

    Although I'd quibble with "equally bloody". Every estimate I've seen shows Communism's body count dwarfs Fascism's.


  • The Intercept reports: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal.

    Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.

    The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

    Related Gizmodo news from earlier this year: Google Removes 'Don't Be Evil' Clause From Its Code of Conduct.


  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi invites: Let’s Debunk The Misleading Panic Over 3-D Guns. Yes, let's.

    The newest bugaboo of the gun control crowd is the bloodcurdling “3-D printer gun.” Or, as Alyssa Milano, a self-styled expert on these matters, might call it: “downloadable death.” Reporters at CNN ask, “3-D guns: Untraceable, undetectable and unstoppable?” Even President Donald Trump tweeted that “he’s looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

    It makes plenty of sense.

    First of all, “3-D Plastic Guns” aren’t being sold to the public. Nor are “downloadable firearms” or “ghost guns.” These things don’t exist. Data, code, and information is being sold to the public. There is no magical contraption that creates a new gun on demand. Sorry.

    Harsanyi goes on to show how much of the commentary is fearmongering, based on ignorance of (1) current law; (b) the Constitution; (c) the realities of firearm manufacture.

    Adding to the fearmongering is (once again) my state's junior Senator:

    My ill-tempered response:

    Related link: codeisfreespeech.com. (But can you find it via Google?)


  • Our Google LFOD news alert rang for a letter in the Laconia Daily Sun from Mr. Frank M. Weeks of Gilmanton Iron Works. (Yes, that's a real place, with its own zip code and everything.) Frank's letter entertainingly muses on a hypothetical scenario: N.H. would lose a lot of revenue if college students become residents. But it goes back to the recently passed legislation to tighten up voting requirements:

    An addendum to a prior article concerning an impact of N.H. House Bill 1264 has been suggested by a communication from a state college professor. Recently out-of-state/resident-university/college students were declined the privilege of voting in New Hampshire. Various civic-minded politicians condoned this decision based on residency manipulation, and surely not for surreptitious political reasons. One can only assume that these office holders thoroughly thought through all of the possible monetary ramifications of their beliefs.

    I detect sarcasm. But there's also data:

    At the University of New Hampshire, out-of-state tuition for 2018-2019 is $30,520 and in-state tuition is $15,140. Enrollment is approximately 15,066, of which 54 percent (or 8,135 students) are out-of-state students. At Keene State College, the out-of-state tuition is $20,432 and in-state is $11,468; while 63 percent of the 4,282 students are from out-of-state. At Plymouth State University, the out-of-state tuition is $20,250 and the in-state is $11,580. The student body of 5,050 is 49 percent out-of-state students. The out-of-state tuition for Lakes Region Community College is $14,802, and the in-state is $6,642, but the out-of-state enrollment number is not readily available. It's probably minimal.

    Probably. Frank becomes somewhat incoherent:

    Obviously, the out-of-state tuition is a welcome financial incentive for the state aid to post-secondary public education (which is 50th in the United States, and if Puerto Rico is included, 51st). And student debt here is the third highest in the nation. As is obvious (compared to other New England states), N.H. state aid to public education is not a priority, and out-of-state tuition is needed to adequately fund public post-secondary education. Thus, a reason to accept out-of-state students. Yes, there are those who denigrate the university and colleges for whatever their reasons, but it is difficult to operate on a deficit budget. Then again, $12 billion would be a nice subsidy (What national debt?). Almost like a tariff on out-of-state students!

    I am not sure what "financial incentive for the state aid" could possible mean. And the stream-of-consciousness diversion to $12 billion and tariffs is, well, stupid. But there's also math:

    Utilizing the mathematical equation: [(O-I)X(SXO%)=ET] or (difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition) X (student body enrollment) X (percent of out-of-state students) = (excess tuition income due to out-of-state enrollment): the yearly out-of-state "contribution" to U.N.H. would be $125,116,300; $24,175,908 for KSC; and $20,443,500 for PSU. The overall total would be $169,735,708. Hmm! Quite a "donation" to New Hampshire post-secondary education! Almost like "taxation without representation."

    Sigh. Frank, taxation is mandatory. Going to UNH is voluntary. So, no, it's not like "taxation without representation" at all. It's like "paying tuition".

    Hypothetically, if all of these out-of-state students decided to obtain N.H. drivers' licenses and/or reside in the state for a year, they could then vote as in-state residents and could reap a tremendous savings in tuition, e.g. U.N.H.: $58,280 per student over 4 years. And $35,072 per for KSC; and $33,040 per for PSU. Quite a four year "I was smart!" savings for the individual student!

    Frank shows a charming ignorance of USNH's actual byzantine rules for determining New Hampshire residency. Frank, if you think it's as simple as getting an apartment and a driver's license, the Campus Residency Officer has some very bad news for you. (As in, "Sorry, we expected long ago that people might try that.")

    But where's LFOD? Ah, here it is:

    If such a scenario occurred, it would be interesting to ascertain how the state would compensate for the $169,735,708 loss of revenue. Apparently the fiscally-focused citizens of this state would hope that this scenario would not occur or else the politicians would have to dream up some other excuses for residency requirements, e.g. must be conceived in the state; enrolled at a N.H. public school for all 13 years; and at 18 years of age, a tattoo of "Live Free or Die" inscribed on one's forehead. One can only wonder what 1984 will bring!

    Memo to self: do not send a Letter to the Editor that you think is "clever" without re-reading it the day after, when sober.