URLs du Jour

2018-08-16

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 10:29 is another reminder that it pays to be good, rather than bad:

    29 The way of the Lord is a refuge for the blameless,
        but it is the ruin of those who do evil.

    The Message "translation" of this verse is amusing:

    God is solid backing to a well-lived life, but he calls into question a shabby performance.

    God as movie reviewer. "Paul was just not believable in his role as a decent human being, his singing was execrable, and his dancing was painful to watch. A really shabby performance."


  • Robert Tracinski has additional thoughts at the Federalist about ownership: Trying To ‘Own The Libs’ Is Actually How You Get Owned by Politicians.

    Nikki Haley’s recent comments about the downside of the “own the libs” style of conservative activism — which is heavy on mockery, insults, and other forms of Internet trolling — touched off a certain amount of debate in conservative circles. Some agreed about the folly of pursuing the cheap satisfaction of a caustic putdown over actual persuasion, some thought mockery still has an important role in political debate, and the defenders of “owning the libs” admitted that they don’t believe in political debate anyway, declaring that “this is not about persuasion anymore.” I would ask why they don’t just pack it in and proceed straight to civil war, but it seems unethical to encourage people to get themselves killed doing something stupid.

    I've been tempted to point this out to my progressive Facebook friends, who share things, well, like this:

    The "quote" is conveniently of straw. The hatred and vituperation indicates that neither persuasion nor rational discussion is the goal here.

    So what is the underlying point? Is it virtue-signalling? ("I'm morally superior to conservatives and libertarians, at least the ones I imagine in my head.") Or is it (pointlessly) preaching to the already-converted? Or is it just trolling for the sake of trolling?

    I seriously don't get it, no matter if it's "us" or "them" doing it.

    Tracinski suggests a different and (possibly) more productive way to spend your resources: holding politicians accountable.

    Or if you really want to persuade someone, check our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • Hey, whattya think about the $289 million verdict against Monsanto? I'm pretty much in Ron Bailey's boat: The $289 Million Dollar Verdict Against Monsanto Is Scientifically Outrageous.

    I am truly sorry that DeWayne Johnson is suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but years of scientific research has determined that it is exceedingly unlikely, despite the outrageous verdict of a California jury on Friday, that he contracted NHL from using the herbicide glyphosate. Applying the relatively low standard of proof required in California civil courts that a claim is "more likely to be true than not true," the jury awarded Johnson a $289 million judgment including $250 million in punitive damages against Monsanto, the maker of the herbicide.

    This is an injustice. So far every regulatory agency that has assessed the safety of glyphosate has concluded that it is unlikely to be a human carcinogen at doses at which people encounter the herbicide. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's December, 2017, draft human health risk assessment concluded that "glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans." The agency's assessment additionally found "no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label."

    It's unjust, but also self-defeating. As Phil Greenspun notes, Bayer (Monsanto's owner) has a market cap of $86 billion. At $289 million a pop, it can at most pay off about 300 people before it goes poof. And then what?


  • At NR, Robert VerBruggen has news you can (possibly) use: Stand Your Ground Laws Are More Common Than You Probably Think. In response to:

    Specifically, in many states you can SYG even in the absence of legislation:

    […] the problem with the map is a bit more interesting. It does depict the states that have Stand Your Ground statutes, by and large. (Wyoming, an exception, is a newcomer.) What it leaves out are the states where courts have done away with the duty to retreat themselves, in the course of interpreting and implementing those “standard self-defense law[s].” In my own state of Virginia, for instance, court decisions stretching back more than a century have held that there is no duty to retreat from an assailant, so long as you are not at fault yourself for the confrontation.

    I'm still happy that NH is an outlier up here in the Northeast.


  • At AEI, Jonah Goldberg describes The problem with the left’s attempts to redefine racism. (Just one problem?) The redefinition being that "racism" must be about power: white dudes have it, various intersecting others do not. (Neener.) Jonah objects:

    Even if we were to collectively accept that “racism” means structural oppression by whites, we’d still need a word for hating or degrading people solely on account of their race. Why reinvent the wheel? And why muddle the principle that this is bad?

    I think Jonah means those questions to be rhetorical. But the "whys" are obvious: twisting the language for the purposes of obtaining political goals.


  • At Cato, Vanessa Brown Calder trumpets a bit of good news out of the Trump Administration: Secretary Carson Gets Housing Affordability Right.

    Something promising is happening at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Recent New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles suggest Secretary Ben Carson and his team are impressing on policymaker’s minds that 1) local policymakers have created housing affordability problems and 2) local policymakers can solve those problems.

    According to the Times article, “as city and state officials and members of both parties clamor for the federal government to help, Mr. Carson has privately told aides that he views the shortage of affordable housing as regrettable, but as essentially a local problem."

    You have to translate the NYTese: "clamor for the federal government to help" really means "clamor to the federal government for money".