URLs du Jour

2018-08-24

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs Chapter 9 is kind of a flawed gem. Had I, instead of God, written the Bible, I would have omitted verses 7-12. But verses 1-6, about the House of Wisdom, were wonderful. And today, in Proverbs 9:13-18, the Proverbialist looks at the House of Folly:

    13 Folly is an unruly woman;
        she is simple and knows nothing.
    14 She sits at the door of her house,
        on a seat at the highest point of the city,
    15 calling out to those who pass by,
        who go straight on their way,
    16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
        To those who have no sense she says,
    17 “Stolen water is sweet;
        food eaten in secret is delicious!”
    18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
        that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

    If you feel like checking out alternative translations, the "Message" is funny and straightforward, none of those "unruly" euphemisms about what's really going on here.


  • At Granite Grok, Steve MacDonald notes a report of The Climate “Theocracy” Consensus in Portsmouth, NH.

    The sort of folks who rant about the coming right-wing theocracy break ideological bread with the fundamentalist-environmental movement which gets us right to the point. The Portsmouth City Council is aflutter over a “climate conference” at which, to their surprise, Bjorn Lomborg would be a participant.

    The result of the reported afluttering is reported in Seacoast Online: Portsmouth rescinds support for climate conference. Which involves taking back a $2500 donation the City Council made to the conference organizers last month.

    As I said in a GG comment, I'm not a fan of governments handing out checks to private conferences. But if they do that sort of thing—and apparently they do—they should do it without viewpoint discrimination.

    The conference website is here. (It costs $250 for a ticket, so since I am ElderlyOnAFixedIncome, I won't be going.) The organizer is pretty respectable: Citizens Count, aka the "Live Free or Die Alliance".

    And Bjorn Lomborg's website is here. Read it and wonder what the Portsmouth City Council is so scared of.


  • At the Free Beacon, Stephen Gutowski reports the latest effort by Huge Internet Companies to protect us from things we shouldn't want to see, hear, or read: Amazon Bans Gun Book.

    The book in question, The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in Freedom of Speech, contains a stereolithography (.stl) file for 3-D printing of a single-shot handgun.

    Relevant information from Gutowski's article:

    Amazon has long sold a wide range of the world's most controversial books. Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf is available through multiple listings on the site. Marx and Engles’s Communist Manifesto is also available through multiple listings. Hunter by Andrew Macdonald—the white supremacist manifesto that helped inspire Timothy McVeigh to commit the Oklahoma City bombing—is for sale on the site. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the world's most famous anti-Semitic diatribe, is featured for sale in multiple listings.

    Amazon has also long sold a wide range of instruction manuals detailing how to construct improvised weapons. The Anarchist Cookbook is available for sale on the site. The U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook is available for sale. The U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare: Devices and Techniques for Incendiaries is listed for purchase. The U.S. Department of the Army Field Manual on Boobytraps is available on the site as well.

    The company even sells The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How To Build an Atomic Bomb, which is a collection of previously classified documents detailing how scientists who worked on the first nuclear bomb went about building it.

    Amazon, as is increasingly typical of Huge Internet Companies, claims the book was "violating our content guidelines", although they totally stonewall when asked about specifics.


  • As another signpost on the road to Fahrenheit 451, Slashdot reports on the censorious musings of Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon: The Consequences of Indecency.

    In an interview with Recode, Wyden said that platforms should be punished for hosting content that goes against "common decency." "I think what the Alex Jones case shows, we're gonna really be looking at what the consequences are for just leaving common decency in the dust," Wyden told Recode's Kara Swisher. "...What I'm gonna be trying to do in my legislation is to really lay out what the consequences are when somebody who is a bad actor, somebody who really doesn't meet the decency principles that reflect our values, if that bad actor blows by the bounds of common decency, I think you gotta have a way to make sure that stuff is taken down."

    We should know better than to let the government judge standards of "common decency". Comments on the Slashdot article are (somewhat surprisingly) hostile toward Wyden.


  • Enough with the censor stuff for today. At Reason, Clark Neily advises: Trump Might Be a Criminal. But So Is Everyone Else. That's you, pal. And maybe me, but I ain't sayin'.

    The first thing to understand is that there are so many laws, so broadly written, that just about anyone who has earned money, paid taxes, and run a business—or, God forbid, a political campaign—can be credibly accused of multiple criminal violations. Harvey Silverglate's estimate that the average American commits three felonies a day may be high, but his basic point is sound.

    As a result, America's social elite have granted themselves free passes to commit a broad array of nonviolent offenses without fear of prosecution. Those passes are quite valuable, because their holders can do riskier business deals, ignore more tax laws, and take fewer precautions (in the handling of classified materials, for example) than non-holders. While the passes are revocable in theory, they are seldom revoked in practice.

    Until Robert Mueller, revoker of passes, came upon his pale horse. And indictments followed with him.

    We will have more to say on this at a later date, assuming our attorneys are OK with it.


  • And Richard R. Gerken of Meredith NH rang our Google LFOD News Alert with his letter to the editor of the Laconia Daily Sun: Don't need elites to lecture us on what is right & proper.

    My family moved to N.H. in 2001 for the quality of life and low taxes. Prior to moving here, I spent my entire life in NJ, NY, CT and IL. I know first hand how the tax and spend mentality can ruin a state’s economy and degrade the quality of life. N.H. is great because we have concerned citizens and direct input in town and state government. Progressives and Democrats have been pushing for socialism — one size fits all top down government. If you want that move to VT, CA, NY, CT, NJ or IL or maybe study what has occurred in the once prosperous country of Venezuela. “Live Free or Die” reflects freedom and the ability not to be told or lectured on what is right and proper by the elites.

    Although I'm pretty sure that (even) Vermont is not about to become the next Venezuela, Mr. Gerken's point is well-taken, and one can only wish that the Portsmouth City Council might have read it.


  • And (finally) a new edition of Cato's Freedom in the 50 States is available. And—shitshitshit—New Hampshire has dropped to number two in overall freedom.

    Losing. To. Florida. I'm ashamed.

    Anyway, Cato has some suggestions on how to regain our rightful spot:

    • Fiscal: Local governments need to get a handle on school spending and taxes. State government may be able to help by moving town meetings and local elections to coincide with state elections, boosting turnout and diluting the political power of insiders.
    • Regulatory: Review local zoning ordinances, and strike down those that increase the price of new housing beyond that needed to pay for the cost of new infrastructure.
    • Personal: Legalize more forms of private gambling that pay out at a higher ratio than the state lottery and therefore, even for anti-gambling advocates, should be considered less exploitative.

    All good ideas.


Last Modified 2018-08-24 9:42 AM EDT