URLs du Jour


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  • Yeesh, it snowed. Hope the snowblower starts. But first:

  • Eric Boehm reports the sad news at Reason: The Postal Service Lost $3.9 Billion Last Year.

    The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) finished fiscal year 2018 nearly $4 billion in the red—a whopping 44 percent increase in losses from the previous year, despite the fact that the post office saw revenue increase by more than $1 billion at the same time.

    In its annual fiscal report, released Wednesday, the USPS attributed more than $2 billion of the deficit to an "ongoing volume loss"—largely the result of fewer people using the government's mail system for sending letters—of 3.6 percent. The rest was the result of increasing payments for pensions and retiree health benefits.

    It's not a one-time deal, either. Increasing personnel costs are on a trajectory to continue multi-billion dollar losses as far as the eye can see.

    Privatization is the way out. It's been the way out for years, if not decades. But, as Eric notes, it's not in the cards, thanks to our craven politicians.

  • In NR, Michael Brendan Dougherty draws The Election’s Lesson for Democrats: Don’t Nominate Hillary Clinton.

    Political consultant Mark Penn wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Hillary Clinton not only will run for president again, but will prevail. He writes: “Mrs. Clinton has a 75% approval rating among Democrats, an unfinished mission to be the first female president, and a personal grievance against Mr. Trump, whose supporters pilloried her with chants of ‘Lock her up!’ This must be avenged.”

    Actually, it doesn’t. Not if Democrats want to keep winning.

    Michael notes (amusingly) Hillary's long career of blunders, lies, and uniting Republicans of all stripes against her.

    So all the Democrats need to do is avoid the Hill? I think Michael underestimates all the other ways Democrats can mess up. In the last half-century: Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry. And Obama, who did OK for himself, but delivered Democrat carnage that they're only now climbing out of thanks to Trump.

  • Jonah Goldberg's column this week is on Stan Lee.

    Lee grew up professionally in this “Golden Age” of comics, but he also rebelled against it. While a member of the so-called Greatest Generation, Lee better represented the more ironic attitudes of the postwar generation. His superheroes struggled with their powers and their moral responsibilities. Spider-Man, the quintessential Marvel character (at least until the introduction of Wolverine) was a nerdy, angst-ridden teenager who only reluctantly accepted his role and the idea that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Lee’s heroes quarreled with each other, had romantic setbacks and sometimes even struggled to make the rent.

    The baby boomers, Lee’s target audience, were plagued with a great unease about living up to the legacy of their parents’ generation. “We are people of this generation,” begins the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto that largely launched the ’60s protest era, “bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” They believed they were special but didn’t know exactly what to do about it.

    My comic book days ended about 45 years ago. But I still like this bit, in the midst of batter:

    Dr. Doom: They don't call me the most dangerous man alive for nothing.

    Daredevil: You mean they pay you?

    (Gene Colan, I believe, but Stan was probably involved.)

  • Philip Greenspun notes: Women suing Dartmouth demanding damages sufficient to send every Dartmouth student to University of New Hampshire. (The women are suing because of alleged sexual improprieties, including rape, by Dartmouth facules.)

    There are approximately 4,300 undergraduates at Dartmouth. In-state tuition at University of New Hampshire is $18,500 per year (source). At rack rates, therefore, 4,300 students would pay $79.5 million at UNH. Assuming only a modest amount of financial aid, then, it would cost less to send all 4,300 of these undergrads to UNH than the amount of damages that was inflicted on these seven women.

    Well, yeah, but just for a year. And UNH would have no place to put them.