URLs du Jour

2018-09-19

[Amazon Link]

I've felt a great need to skip over reading any article that mentions … you know … that guy. Or that lady. Or those senators. So for today at least, a K-free zone.

  • Imagine a machine that reliably churns out ever more elaborate justifications for politicians' fiscal irresponsibility. It's fueled by voter gullibility. And Michael Tanner discusses its latest output: Congress Finds a New Excuse to Avoid Balancing America’s Books.

    In April of this year, the Congressional Budget Office warned that we were on track to return to trillion-dollar budget deficits by 2020. That warning turns out to have understated the problem: The latest estimates suggest we will now reach the dubious trillion-dollar milestone this coming fiscal year, and the deficit for the current year is now expected to be close to $900 billion, $222 billion more than last year. Our current $21 trillion national debt will likely top $30 trillion by 2025.

    Democrats were quick to blame last year’s Republican tax cuts for exacerbating the deficit, but tax revenues, fed by increased economic growth, are actually up one percent over this time last year. The real culprit is spending, which increased by 7 percent from last year, the largest year-over-year increase since 2009.

    That's an interesting bunch of numbers, but Tanner's actual target is the latest stupid economic theory: "Modern Monetary Theory". He's not a fan.


  • My local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, is in full moral panic mode this morning over… well, the headline is Stealthy Danger of Teen Vaping. Aieee! (The online version's headline is slightly less alarmist: "Youth 2 Youth targets danger of teen vaping".)

    "Youth 2 Youth" being the local high school organization that earnest upwardly mobile students join to burnish their résumés for their college applications.

    Opening para:

    When the head of the Food and Drug Administration recently called the underage use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic,” it was not breaking news to members of Dover Youth 2 Youth. The local group has long warned fellow students, teachers, administrators and elected officials of that epidemic they see first hand.

    And the rest of the article meekly goes along with the alarmism of the FDA and, of course, The Children.

    Leave it to Reason's Jacob Sullum to bring some facts to the party with respect to the "epidemic": New E-Cigarette Restrictions Could Be Lethal.

    [FDA Chief] Gottlieb is responding to "an epidemic of e-cigarette use among teenagers," which he erroneously equates with an "epidemic of addiction" and even "a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine." According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), the share of high school students who reported vaping during the previous month peaked at 16 percent in 2015, fell to about 11 percent in 2016 and remained roughly the same last year.

    The percentage of teenagers who vape often enough to become addicted to nicotine is much smaller. In the 2015 NYTS, for example, just 2.5 percent of high school students (16 percent of "current" users) reported vaping on 20 or more days in the previous month, and almost all of them were current or former smokers.

    Today's Amazon Product du Jour is a real-life panic button ("with screaming effect"). If only newspaper reporters and bluenose students would just use this instead…


  • An unusually honest admission, reported by Recode: Twitter is so liberal that its conservative employees ‘don’t feel safe to express their opinions,’ says CEO Jack Dorsey.

    “We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” Dorsey said. “They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right.”

    Dorsey also explained why he brought up Twitter’s left-leaning employee bias to begin with.

    “I think it’s more and more important to at least clarify what our own bias leans towards, and just express it,” he added. “I’d rather know what someone biases to rather than try to interpret through their actions.”

    Hey, tell me about it, Jack. I used to work at a local university!


  • And finally, our Google LFOD alert rang for (of all things) an online story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: From Afghan Refugee To U.S. Political Hopeful.

    "Live free or die" is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire.

    It's a mantra that resonates deeply with Safiya Wazir, an Afghan refugee who fled Taliban rule in the 1990s, resettled with her family in neighboring Uzbekistan, and is now a U.S. citizen vying to make political history in her adopted state.

    The 27-year-old won the Democratic Party primary for a seat in the state legislature on September 11, and should she defeat Republican Dennis Soucy in the November general election, she would become the first former refugee to hold public office in New Hampshire.

    Safiya defeated fellow Democratic four-term incumbent Dick Patten, who has said he'll vote for Dennis Soucy in November.

    Unfortunately, there's no indication that Safiya is a small-government advocate. She "campaigned for expanded health care and paid parental leave, and fought for more funding for childhood education."