URLs du Jour


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  • Zach Weissmueller's outstanding/infuriating article from the November issue of Reason has been released to non-subscribing peons. And he asks the musical question: Has America's Obsession With Manufacturing Jobs Gone Too Far? (Strongly implying the correct answer.) Start:

    In 2009, Kim and Jim Mahoney bought a one-acre parcel of land in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, and began designing a home from scratch. A rural village in the southeast corner of the state, the location offered the Mahoneys the chance to enjoy a slice of country living. Jim would have the space to practice target shooting with his bow and arrow, while Kim could view magnificent sunsets from the front yard every night.

    But (can you see this coming?) the town of Mount Pleasant wants to take the Mahoneys' property via eminent domain, via the simple process of unilaterally declaring the area "blighted".

    To build a highway, or something equally governmenty? No, to give the land to Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronic manufacturing company, for a factory. The whole deal being enthusiastically embraced by Republican Wisconsin Governor (and up for re-election) Scott Walker, the Mahoneys' Republican Congressman and current Speaker of the House (not up for re-election) Paul Ryan, and Republican President Donald Trump.

    Many more details in Weissmueller's article, all enraging. For more detail, see the Verge story we indirectly linked last week: Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn boondoggle.

    I kinda vaguely liked Scott Walker; now I hope he loses.

  • George F. Will recounts The Madness Of College Basketball Goes Well Beyond March.

    Until last week it seemed that the Division 1 college basketball industry could produce nothing more risible than its pieties about cherishing the amateurism of the "student-athletes" who generate, but get mere crumbs of, the industry's billions. Last week, however, a New York jury, which perhaps had a sense of humor, embraced this novel argument by the federal government: Basketball factories such as Kansas, Louisville and North Carolina State are actually victims of the operatives — representatives of shoe companies, and actual or aspiring agents — who use unsavory methods to direct "blue chip" recruits to the schools' lucrative basketball programs.

    The three men convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the first of at least three similar trials face imprisonment because of this supposed crime: The three schools mentioned above gave athletic scholarships to five elite recruits whose families had received — presumably, but perhaps not really, unbeknownst to the schools — through the three men (one of them a former consultant for Adidas shoe company) payments, one of $90,000, to purchase their help in directing their sons to those schools, which receive much larger payments to advertise, by wearing, Adidas gear. (Nike and Under Armour also compete in the auction for schools' allegiances.)

    Whyever did institutions of "higher education" get the idea that big-time, big-money athletics was a desirable, even necessary, part of their mission? Reference: Taylor Branch, the October 2011 Atlantic, The Shame of College Sports. He describes a bad situation, and I'm not sure it's gotten any better. Schools should walk away from the NCAA, but they won't.

  • A hilarious (but long-titled) post from Ann Althouse: "'I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility,' [Gary] Hart says, picking at a 'game plate' of elk, buffalo and quail at The Fort restaurant outside of Denver." From a Maureen Dowd column, she picks this quote from non-President Hart:

    "If all that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected, there would have been no gulf war. H.W. wouldn’t have been president. W. wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed. I don’t say that to aggrandize myself. It’s just, history changed. And that has haunted me for thirty years. I had only one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics — I could see farther ahead than anybody."

    I dearly love Prof Althouse's reaction:

    And what a gasbag! "I could see farther ahead than anybody." You couldn't see far enough ahead to the part where the newsfolk you told to follow you around actually followed you around and discovered the tacky sex you were enjoying in contravention of your upstanding family-man image.

    Too true.

  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson writes on Prosperity, in the Present.

    From where I’m standing, it looks like Michael Tomasky has a terrible sense of timing.

    Writing in the New York Times, Tomasky argues that Democrats are in dire need of those two magical commodities — “spin,” as the headline puts it, and “narrative” — to best the Republicans on the economic debate.

    Where I am standing is in the parking lot of a Chick-fil-A in Midland, Texas, where I have stopped to take a photo of the big sign out front, which doesn’t say anything about specials on chicken sandwiches: It says “$13 an hour,” which is the starting wage at many fast-food establishments here. They have a tough time filling those jobs, because working in the oil business, even in a semi-skilled capacity, pays a heck of a lot more than that: One company right now is offering new drivers with Class-A commercial drivers’ licenses $20,000 bonuses. Other companies will take anybody with a clean driving record and train him to get a CDL.

    Chick-fil-A? Thanks, Kevin. Now I'm hungry.

    KDW's article rambles a bit, but in a good way. Noting that neither Republicans nor Democrats are telling a true story about the economy, taxation, and entitlements.

  • And the Google LFOD News Alert Siren went off for an article in my own local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat: Seacoast nonprofit offers voter guide app. It's a plug for Citizens Count, "a nonpartisan Hampton-based nonprofit organization." The voter guide app is available via this page. Seems legit! (And if you dread installing Yet Another App, I'm pretty sure you can just root around their site for the same info.)

    But what about LFOD? Ah, here it is:

    The organization changed its name from Live Free or Die Alliance a few years ago to avoid being associated with libertarian organizations.

    Well, fine. Can't have that. Completely understandable. Best to have a completely blah, inoffensive name like "Citizens Count".

    Except I keep hearing in my head" "Citizens count? What, up to ten?"

Last Modified 2018-11-05 7:03 AM EDT